Posted by Amanda Bruen on 3/14/2017

There are few things more frustrating than having to put multiple holes into your drywall just to hang a picture frame correctly. One would think that, in this age of advanced technology where anything seems possible, we would have developed a standardized frame hook that cures all of our frame-hanging woes. Unfortunately, we still have single hook frames that can't hold a picture straight or two-hook frames that we can never measure just right. Well now you can put all of your bad frame hanging experiences in the past. In this article we'll cover the basics of hanging different types of frames and share some frame-hanging hacks that will help you get it right the first time--every time.

Choosing the right hook for the job

Over the years several cutting edge innovations have occurred in the work of frame hooks that you may never have even heard about. Monkey hooks, for example, weren't front page news when they hit the shelves, but they should have been. These painfully simple hanging hooks push right into your drywall and secure themselves on the back side holding up to 50 pounds (wow!), no hammer necessary. You can also go with tried and true nails, anchors, and wall plugs. The important thing to remember when using these methods is to consider the weight of your frame. A 10-pound monster of a frame shouldn't be put on the shoulders of one lonely nail that isn't even penetrating a stud. That's a for-sure way to break your frame and rip up your drywall as it comes crashing to the ground.

Placement is key

It isn't a picture hanging party without someone standing behind you saying "up a bit more" for 10 minutes while you lose circulation in your arms. You'll need a partner standing back a bit to tell you exactly where it should go. It's essential that they tell you where it should be hung so†they can't blame you if they don't like the placement later on.†If you don't have the luxury of a picture hanging partner, try tracing a part of the frame (extremely lightly in pencil) on the wall and standing back. If you're hanging a gallery or a frame that you want to align with another object on the wall, don't try to "eyeball" it. Get out the tape measure and be meticulous when measuring the dimensions for the other object.

Hanging Hacks

Thanks to the internet, there are several picture framing hacks that will make this whole process a lot easier. They are:
  • Use painters tape for marking and leveling. If you want the frame to line up with one near it, simply run the tape along the lower edge of the frame that's already hung to where you want the new one to be.
  • For frames with two hooks, run a wire between them and hang it on a single nail. It is virtually impossible (for me anyway) to get two nails exactly level for hanging a picture.
  • If you must use two nails, use your level as a ruler. Put one nail into the wall and rest one side of the level on it. Move the other side up or down until it's level and then mark exactly where the next nail should be.
 




Tags: home   hacks   frame   picture frame   wall   hanging   home hacks   life hacks  
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Posted by Amanda Bruen on 12/13/2016

When I was younger I loved to read books and collect my favorites in my room. I dreamed of someday having my own home with a massive library of books, the shelves going all the way up to the ceiling. As I grew up and it came time to move out on my own, I realized my accumulation of books became an obstacle to moving. My bookcase was huge and heavy, as were my books. It wasn't until I started packing things into old†milk cartons for moving that I realized I had a ready-made bookshelf. In my new home†I painted the milk crates fun colors and stacked them in a way that best utilized the space in my small apartment. This is just one of the many simple and fun ways of storing your beloved books in your home. Read on for more creative bookshelf solutions that you'll wish you thought of years ago.

Deciding what books you need

Even though we live in the era of smartphones and ebook readers, there is still value in owning a physical copy of a book. There's the joy of holding it in your hand, admiring the cover art, flipping the pages, and--of course--that new book smell. However, you might not need to own a physical copy of every book you've read. With interlibrary loans, ebooks, and the Kindle app there's really no need for a huge collection of books. Weed out your collection and keep the ones that are most valuable to you. It will be hard to part with them, but if you donate to your local library or a charity†you can feel good about your decision. You'll soon realize it's great to have the extra space.

Creative book storage

If you want to a fun, minimal bookshelf but aren't into the idea of having old milk crates stacked up against your wall, fear not--there are innumerable other options.

Staircases

There have been countless fun and minimal staircase bookshelves created over the years. Sometimes people build on to the side of their staircase, other times they utilize negative space underneath to build a bookshelf that fits opposite each step of the staircase. If it's children's books you need to store in your kids' rooms, consider building a staircase bookshelf that leads up to the second bunk of a bunkbed. It will safe space and provide a safe way for your child to reach the top bunk.

Invisible bookshelves

If the idea of having another piece of furniture in your living room just to put a few books on drives you crazy, consider using an invisible bookshelf. These wall-mounted systems are totally invisible behind your books and give the illusion that the books are just floating up against the wall, creating a minimalist's dream bookshelf. If you're more into cozy than minimal, try stacking the books from biggest to smallest on top of one another on a corner table. It's also a good way to hide wires that come from an outlet on the wall.

Built-in bookshelf

Some older homes were built in a time where reading was a highly respected (and admittedly, one of the only) indoor pastimes. Many of these homes have walls with built in bookshelves. They add a stately look to a room and can serve as storage for items besides books too. It's possible to make your own if you're savvy when it comes to building. However you can also purchase bookshelves that give the illusion of being built into the wall.  




Tags: home   home decor   bookshelf   books   bookshelves  
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Posted by Amanda Bruen on 11/22/2016

If you live in an older home or neighborhood thereís a good chance your house holds a rich history within. Aside from talking with the previous owners, most people donít look much further into the stories their house might have.

If youíre curious about your family history there are resources available so you can find long lost relatives and discover where your family lived over the years. Most people donít think to do the same research for their home, even though they might spend years in it.

?Why should I research the history of my home? 

There are many reasons why someone might want to learn more about the history of their home. The main reason is because itís fun and interesting. Your search will bring you to places youíve likely never been before, whether itís federal records on the internet, or to dusty microfilm archives in your basement.

Aside from the fun of researching, your work could also bring to light useful information. You might be able to add to resale value by discovering additional details about the home. Similarly, if you come across old photos of the home you could attempt to restore some architectural and design details to their original form. Whether you do this to stay true to the roots of your home or to attempt to add value is up to you.

Where should I begin?

Like most research projects, the internet is probably your best place to start. To learn more about the property your home sits on you could search the National Archives land records. These records detail when a piece of land was transferred from the U.S. government to private ownership. In other words, you might be able to find information about the first person to ever own your home.

A good place to head from there is to run a title search on your property. You will most likely need to visit the town clerk or your local courthouse to access titles. This will paint a fuller picture of who the people who owned your home were.

Now that you know who, learning about the home itself will be much easier. There are several genealogy sites online (some free, others paid) which will help you learn about the previous inhabitants of your home. Feel free to Google their names, especially if they were a public figure. You might even find photos of your home.

What to do if you canít find any information

Just because you canít find any photos or details online doesnít mean they donít exist. You might need to reach out to relatives of previous owners to find out more information. 

Another option is your local library. Not only do libraries have a local history section complete with town records, but the librarians are also trained researchers who will be able to help you navigate the stacks. You could discover books containing details like population, town meeting notes, and new ordinances, including building codes.

Once youíve learned a bit about the history of your home, see if you can spot the changes that have been made to it over the years.




Tags: home history   home   history   research  
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Posted by Amanda Bruen on 11/8/2016

 

If youíve paid any attention to home and living catalogues over the years youíve probably noticed how quickly home decor trends come and go. Just like in the world of fashion, the people who manufacture homegoods do it with one idea in mind: to keep you coming back for more.


Thereís an important distinction to be made between a trend and a style. Youíve probably seen several homes that adhere to the styles of farmhouse, mid-century modern, industrial, and so on. However, within these styles there are several trends that flood magazines and houses each year. While everyone wants to keep their home up to date, itís important to keep a watchful eye out for homegoods that are just capitalizing on the latest trends.


In this article, weíll break down some home decor tips that will help you pick the homegoods that will look great year after year while also serving a useful function in your house. And, weíll help you avoid the trends that put a strain on your wallet each year.

Keep the big picture in mind


When browsing through the latest Crate & Barrel catalog, itís tempting to order items based on liking the way they look in the picture. However, itís important to remember how it would look in your own home. This is true for many items around the home, like houseplants. If you have a farmhouse-style home, decorating it with cacti or zen gardens might appear out of place and thus will be short-lived decorations.


Aside from the inside of your home, itís important to keep in mind the architectural style of your house. It would seem strange, for example, to enter a brownstone building in Brooklyn to find it filled with country style decorations. That isnít to say you need to always adhere exclusively to the architectural style of the building (some juxtapositions work well together and are a fun way to give your home some originality).

Good design sticks around


Appearance isnít everything. When it comes to things like furniture, appliances, and kitchenware youíll find that usefulness and ease of access is a key feature. Before buying one of these items, think about whether it serves a purpose, and if it serves that purpose better than your current item. Read reviews or ask friends and family about these items before purchasing them.

Stick to the classics


One of the latest trends to hit coffee shops around the country is the tall metal stool. Sometimes they have a backrest, sometimes they donít. They can be painted a neutral color or left metallic and unfinished.


While these stools may fit neatly into the modern, industrial look, they might not fit your particular needs. In some instances, itís better to stick to the tried-and-true furniture items for your home. If youíre placing the stools somewhere that people are going to sit often and for long periods of time, youíll want them to be comfortable. Donít sacrifice comfort in your own home just because something looks good.




Tags: home   house   interior design   Decor   homegoods   design  
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Posted by Amanda Bruen on 9/6/2016

If there's one thing more stressful than moving it's moving over long distances. Moving far away often means new jobs, new friends, and a new way of life. It's a big change that doesn't need to be made any more difficult by a complicated moving process. In this article, we'll cover some ways to prepare yourself for a long distance move so that you can rest easy knowing you're ready for this new chapter of your life.

A new home, a new lifestyle

If you're moving across the country you probably don't know where to begin when it comes to preparing yourself. A good place to start is with the basics of daily life. Ask yourself these questions before you start packing:
  • Do I have the right clothes? You don't need a whole new wardrobe before you move, but you don't want to brave a Northeast winter with just a sweatshirt either.
  • What can I get rid of? Think about all of the items you have and how much you use them. If you haven't used something in a year there's a good chance it's not worth hauling across the country.
  • How much space will I have? If you're moving into a house bigger than the one you have now you might not need to part with many bulky items. If not, consider having a yard sale before you move.
  • Do I know enough about†where I'm moving?† When moving to a new place, you'll want to know where the closest hospitals, gas stations, and grocery stores are. Explore Google Maps and websites for the area you're moving to to get to know the place beforehand. Write down important addresses and telephone numbers.

Create a timeline

With all of the changes that are about to happen in your life, odds are you'll get overwhelmed with many of the details of moving. Create a moving timeline, whether it's in an app on your smartphone or on a piece of paper. On this timeline, write in†dates you'll need to accomplish certain items by. Here are some sample items for your timeline:
  • Pick a move-in/move-out date by today
  • Choose a moving company by today
  • Sell or donate unwanted items†by today
  • Sign paperwork and exchange keys today
  • Donate clothes†by today
  • Going away party†by today
  • Pack up office†by today
  • Pack up living room†by today

Packing your belongings

When packing for a long distance move there is more pressure to do it right and not forget anything. Follow these packing tips to ensure a safe travel:
  • Take inventory.†Use an app that helps you categorize your belongings. Check off important items as they're packed and cross them off as they're unpacked at your new home.
  • Pack one room at a time.†This will help you keep everything together and ensure you don't forget anything. It will make unpacking much easier.
  • Don't forget to label all your boxes.†Keep that Sharpie in your back pocket at all times.
  • Communicate.†Make sure everyone who is moving with you and helping you move are all on the same page when it comes to packing so that no details are overlooked.
  • Use extra padding.†A longer drive means more opportunities for something to get broken along the way. Pack boxes full and put fragile items on the bottom of the truck.




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