...because home doesn't happen overnight.

A few gift ideas for those of us who live, work and feel better in a tidy environment…

the tidy house gift guide

 

1 – heritage catchall – Perfect in an entryway or laundry room for emptying pockets.

2 – pinwheel geo box – Use it on a coffee table or bookshelf for stashing playing or flash cards. Gift it with a deck of cards!

3 – angled heirloom pencil holder – Corrals pens for grab-n-go list-making. Don’t forget the pens!

4 – easy clean corded hand-held vacuum – Great for households with pets and / or kids.

5 – hairpin magazine rack – Clever and stylish reading material storage for small spaces. Throw in a few favorite magazines to get ‘em started.

6 – steel and walnut coat rack – Practical and fun near a door or on the back of one.

7 – kraft and gold polka dot planner – For old school folk like myself. If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen.

8 – power squeegee – For streak-free windows, mirrors and showers every time. No paper towels needed.

9 – printed woven storage – “I have too many baskets,” said no one ever. *BONUS* – It doubles as a gift box.

And a complete splurge for those who have been extra nice this year ;)

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

 

modern family laundry 1

modern family laundry 5

James and Kristina‘s laundry room is less of a room and more of a hallway that runs between the kitchen and garage.

modern family laundry before

The original laundry room consisted of nothing more than a washer and dryer. James and Kristina were looking to add storage without adding square footage.

modern family laundry

So they built up! James created a platform for a front-loading washer and dryer and took advantage of wall space by installing horizontal wall cabinets from Ikea. (They are a nod to similar cabinets above the kitchen sink.) A laminate countertop provides a surface for laundry detergent and grab-n-go early morning coffee. Keeping the coffee maker in the laundry room frees up counter space in the minimal kitchen.

modern family laundry 4

Kristina is a hair stylist for friends and family and works out of the house so a separate utility sink for washing and rinsing clients’ hair is a must-have. Food and water bowls for the family’s two dogs sit at the base of the sink cabinet. The entire space is tiled in the same porcelain tile as the entry, dining area and kitchen. (Sock feet photobomb.) The wall color is Behr ocean pearl, the same color used in the entry and family room.

It just goes to show that a laundry room needn’t be big (or even a room) to be tidy and functional. I’m especially inspired by how the space flows so well with the rest of the house due to repeated elements like the horizontal wall cabinets, floor tile and paint color. Way to work with whatcha got!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

flexifelt 1

This is the first house we’ve lived in that doesn’t have carpet. When we moved in, we put adhesive protector pads on the feet of all the furniture that rests directly on the wood floors. For larger, stationary pieces (i.e., the sofa, living room chair, media cabinet, etc.) the standard felt pads work fine. But we’ve always had an issue with the protectors staying put on the counter stools at the kitchen island. The stools get moved in and out several times a day and I’ve had to replace the felt pads at least four times. New pads start shifting out of place after only a few days. They attract dust bunnies to the bottom of the stools. I’m constantly cleaning adhesive residue off the floor under the island overhang. At one point, I decided to forego the pads all together because they were more work than they were worth. But the kids like to tip the stools when they’re sitting on them (drives me bonkers) and it was leaving small dents in the floor.

Steve did some googling and came across these flexi-felt covers. The presentation videos are super hokey but the concept was appealing. The flexi-felt cover is basically a small sleeve of clear, flexible plastic that grips around furniture feet. A quality felt pad on the bottom of the sleeve allows furniture to glide along floors without leaving scratches or dents. Out of desperation, we measured our stools (an essential step) and shelled out $35 for sixteen felt sleeve covers. It seemed like a lot of money but we realized we had spent as much – or more – on furniture pads that had failed over the past two years.

flexifelt 3

When the felt covers arrived, Steve couldn’t get them on fast enough. I’ve never seen a grown man so excited about furniture pads. The process of putting the covers on, however, was NOT exciting. Even with the included installation tool, it took nearly forty-five minutes to put on all sixteen covers. Our stool legs don’t taper perfectly (a section of the metal leg juts out just above the feet) so it was difficult to slide the tool out during installation. But once all covers were in place, we were surprised by their appearance and performance.

flexifelt 2

Sure, we could have slipped cut tennis balls onto the stool legs but I wasn’t keen on the stools looking like geriatric walkers. Rubber cane tips would probably prevent dents and dings but, again, geriatric. Not to mention, they don’t glide easily. The transparent flexi-felt covers aren’t obnoxious looking at all. In fact, they’re barely noticeable. But the game changer? THEY WORK. It’s been over a month since we installed the new covers and they haven’t budged. Steve and I are impressed. The pads come with a one-year warranty but the limitations are questionable. For instance, the warranty doesn’t cover “normal wear.” At any rate, we have no complaints so far and I’m curious to see how they hold up in the long run. I’ll keep you posted.

Do you use furniture pads? Have you discovered any pads that stay put on frequently moved furniture?

FYI – This post is NOT sponsored in any way. Just sharing a non-geriatric furniture pad option that’s working for us so far.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

quick and easy beans 5

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. The weather is glorious. Nature’s colors are beautiful. Our family schedule slows down a little. And the comfort food brought on by the change of seasons is pretty great, too. One of my favorite dishes to make this time of year is spicy pinto beans. They’re quick & easy, healthy and – best of all – everyone in my family loves them. No whining at the dinner table is a small happy moment in our often chaotic home. The recipe requires only three ingredients (!) and very little prep. I thought I’d share it with you.

quick & easy beans 1

SPICY PINTO BEANS

3 cans of 15 oz. organic pinto beans, preferably BPA free (We like Trader Joe’s brand.)

5 slices of bacon, preferably nitrite free

3 T. McIlhenny tabasco chipotle pepper sauce (more or less to taste…I would say this recipe is at a mild-medium spice level.)

Pour beans (undrained, not rinsed) into medium sauce pan. Cut bacon into 1″ pieces. (I use kitchen shears.) Add bacon pieces and 3 T. pepper sauce to beans. Stir to mix then simmer on low heat for 25 minutes or until bacon is cooked through. Serve with cornbread. (Again, we like Trader Joe’s brand.) Makes 4-5 servings.

quick & easy beans 3

Super simple, right? Steve and I are always surprised by how good these beans are. They definitely taste like they’re more work. Sometimes it’s nice to have a “don’t have to think about it” meal lined up for crazy days or for evenings when you’d rather spend more time playing with the kids and less time prepping in the kitchen. Not to mention, this meal is easy on the wallet.

Steve follows a paleo diet most of the time. I was so bummed the first time I made this dish (sans cornbread) and he informed me that legumes were not on his paleo menu. Seriously?! They’re beans! I told him if he was going to follow a caveman’s diet I would prescribe to a cavewoman’s personal hygiene routine. He eats the beans, folks. #cheatmeal

quick & easy beans 2

Anyway.

Like I said, this is a spicy dish (if you want it to be). You will need some fresh water on hand to quell your thirst. Luckily, the kind people at Soma sent us one of their water carafes to try. It’s a smart setup – a functional water filter and a beautiful carafe in one. You guys, we made it through an entire meal without anyone whining OR getting up from the table to refill their glass. I didn’t know what to do with myself so I ATE MY ENTIRE MEAL IN ONE SITTING WITHOUT REPRIMANDING ANYONE.

quick & easy beans 4

Back to Soma for a minute. The sustainable carafe features shatterproof glass, BPA-free plastic and an appealing hourglass silhouette. It can hold up to six 8 oz. glasses of water and is right-sized to fit your hand, sink and fridge. The biodegradable filter is made of coconut shells and reduces the amount of chlorine, lead, selenium and arsenic in tap water. You can opt to have a new filter sent to your doorstop every sixty days and each filter bought provides a donation to charity : water, an organization that helps to bring clean water to families across the globe. It’s beauty meets brains meets philanthropy. I call it the beauty queen of water filters and you can learn more about it here.

Our fridge features a built-in water filter / dispenser but it’s sometimes cumbersome (sometimes impossible) to fill large containers. The carafe is nice for said containers, entertaining and the *rare* uninterrupted family dinner. I wish we had owned one when we were living in our interim apartment during renovations. Instead, we used a bulky pitcher-like filter that hogged fridge space. The Soma carafe is a great idea for renters. I’m looking forward to busting it out over the holidays when we have guests. Refilling Cheetah’s water bowl is a cinch with the Soma. (Who knew cats are water snobs? Not me.) And I’ve been using it to fill my kettle in the morning when I brew my coffee Chemex-style. It’s much easier than wrangling the kettle into position under the fridge’s small water dispenser.

Do you use a water filter? Either in your fridge or at the faucet? We always have. Filtered water is the drink of choice in our home. I don’t buy pop / soda, juices or bottled water. If you’re interested in Soma, H*T readers will receive $15 off the first 50 purchases made by entering the discount code “HT15OFF”.

*This post was sponsored in part by Soma. All original content, imagery and opinions are my own. If you don’t care for the carafe, I hope you still enjoy the recipe. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking