October 23, 2019

HOT HOME IDEAS — #4 OF 12

People today seek to personalize, economize, and make the most of their space—inside and out.

Today’s home owners seek style and comfort, but they’re ever mindful of the toll that our choices can take on the environment. These home-furnishings trends reflect current priorities and aspirations. Some of these phenomena will inevitably fizzle, while others will become mainstays of the home, but for now they are attracting lots of industry and consumer buzz.

#4 Integrated stone composite sinks
Why trendworthy: They blend seamlessly into a countertop for a cleaner look, plus they’re more durable and easier to clean.

Stainless steel sinks are still common, but stone composite designs built into a countertop are coming on strong, says Tim Maicher, director of marketing at Blanco (www.blancoamerica.com). The prime motivator is growing consumer demand for easier to clean, more durable surfaces that don’t scratch or stain. Blanco’s Silgranit II line offers another perk: multiple colors and textures. The designs will reflect demand for longer, deep models, yet not so deep that aging home owners have trouble setting down or removing pots and pans.

HOT HOME IDEAS — #3 OF 12

People today seek to personalize, economize, and make the most of their space—inside and out.

 Today’s home owners seek style and comfort, but they’re ever mindful of the toll that our choices can take on the environment. These home-furnishings trends reflect current priorities and aspirations. Some of these phenomena will inevitably fizzle, while others will become mainstays of the home, but for now they are attracting lots of industry and consumer buzz.

#3 Energy-sipping refrigerators
Why trendworthy:
Pares the electricity consumption of a standard guzzler.

Future refrigerators will be better insulated to improve energy efficiency. The challenge is to add insulation without reducing interior space, says Matthew Kueny, senior manager of product development at Miele, which is working to provide a solution (www.miele.com). Also on the horizon: New interior lighting that’s more energy-efficient and that better illuminates dark corners without distorting the look of the food, which is common with the blue hue cast by LED lighting. Miele refrigerator-freezers start at almost $7,000, while simpler conventional models start at $600.

HOT HOME IDEAS — #2 OF 12

From induction cooking to relaxation retreats, new home-furnishings trends are catching fire.  Excerpts from Realtor Magazine, by Barbara Ballinger

People today seek to personalize, economize, and make the most of their space—inside and out. 

Today’s home owners seek style and comfort, but they’re ever mindful of the toll that our choices can take on the environment. These home-furnishings trends reflect current priorities and aspirations. Some of these phenomena will inevitably fizzle, while others will become mainstays of the home, but for now they are attracting lots of industry and consumer buzz.

#2 Environmentally friendly cabinetry
Why trendworthy:
Popular with green movement.

With sustainable products continuing to draw fans, more kitchen and bathroom cabinets are expected to be fabricated from green materials, says John Troxell Jr., director of design at Wood-Mode Inc., a large manufacturer (www.wood-mode.com). But it’s not materials alone that make consumers pick one line over another, Troxell says. “Where materials come from, how cabinets are manufactured, and whether they’re finished without pollutants will be more important. While bamboo is renewable, it comes from halfway around the world, so is it environmentally friendly given transportation costs?” asks Troxell. He predicts greater interest in indigenous walnut and cherry, less in endangered mahogany and rosewood.

HOT HOME IDEAS . . . #1 OF 12

People today seek to personalize, economize, and make the most of their space—inside and out.

Today’s home owners seek style and comfort, but they’re ever mindful of the toll that our choices can take on the environment. These home-furnishings trends reflect current priorities and aspirations. Some of these phenomena will inevitably fizzle, while others will become mainstays of the home, but for now they are attracting lots of industry and consumer buzz.

#1 Induction cooking
Why trendworthy:
  Thirty percent more efficient than gas or electric.

Cropping up in more and more homes, induction cooking uses a power coil to produce a high-frequency electromagnetic field that heats only the contents of a magnetic pan, leaving the surrounding surface cooler to the touch. By maintaining a precise temperature, it immediately stops heat generation when the cook element is turned off or cookware is removed, and it doesn’t produce an open flame that heats up a kitchen, says Malte Peters, product manager for cooking products at BSH Home Appliances, parent company of Bosch and Thermador. One downside: Special cookware must be used. Retail prices range from $1,500 to $4,399.

LIVING COLOR

The leading expert in color, Pantone, Inc., has made it official: Turquoise is the “it” color for 2010. But before you deck the house from top to bottom in the gemstone hue, consider the other latest color trends.

Behr paint company says neutral is still in — think light colors such as grays, camels and off-whites. Experts suggest buying bigger furniture such as sofas or armchairs in these safe colors, which never truly go out of style. Complement neutrals with aqua and gold tones, but stay away from darker browns, which are becoming passé.

While monochromatic schemes are still versatile and dependable, HGTV says the real winners in the color game right now are bold jewel colors such as ruby red or emerald green, and the brighter the better — especially if it’s a purple hue. Experts advise pairing these daring tones with a smoky charcoal or a softer black to give a room a vintage feel.

Going green and getting back to nature is a major trend, too. Earthier tones, such as sand or yellow-greens, are perfect for living rooms or kitchens. But going back to your roots does not just mean dipping into Mother Earth’s favorite colors.

Decorators say Asian-inspired or tribal patterns are adorning decorative elements as consumers look to get the most bang for their buck. Think pillows, area rugs or murals as key items this season.

HOUSE-CLEANING SHORTCUT — #5

Keeping your house clean doesn’t have to take hours. By learning a few tricks and shortcuts, you can have an orderly home in minutes.

SMALL APPLIANCES:  Cleaning tricks for small appliances…

— Food processor. Rinse the bowl to remove most food, then fill it halfway with water. Add a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Close, and turn the food processor on for 30 seconds. Rinse. Let the blades spin for a few seconds to dry.

— Microwave oven. Pour two cups of water into a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the middle of the microwave, and cook on high for five minutes to create steam. Using oven mitts, remove and empty the bowl — the water will be scalding hot. Wipe the inside of the oven with a damp sponge.

— Garbage disposal. Put a few lemon, lime or orange rinds in the disposal. Run cold water, and turn on the disposal. Grind until rinds are gone. The disposal will smell clean and fresh.

HOUSE-CLEANING SHORTCUTS –#4

Keeping your house clean doesn’t have to take hours. By learning a few tricks and shortcuts, you can have an orderly home in minutes.

CLEAN YOUR KITCHEN IN 12 MINUTES

— Clear all counters — put food away in the refrigerator and cupboards, place utensils in drawers and sweep papers into a basket to sort later. Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

— Wipe counters with a sponge sprayed with disinfecting cleaner.

— Spray the sink with disinfecting cleaner, and wipe with a damp sponge. Dry handles and faucet with a dish towel or microfiber cloth to prevent spots.

— Pick up stray items from the floor, and put them away.

— Take throw rugs outside, and shake for 10 seconds. Vacuum the floor. If it looks like it needs it, give the floor a quick mopping. Put throw rugs back.

— Spray disinfecting cleaner onto a sponge and wipe the refrigerator, stove, microwave and other appliances.

— If you have a window over the sink, spray it with window cleaner and wipe with a microfiber cloth.

HOUSE-CLEANING SHORTCUTS — #3

Keeping your house clean doesn’t have to take hours. By learning a few tricks and shortcuts, you can have an orderly home in minutes. 

CLEAN YOUR LIVING ROOM IN 12 MINUTES:

— De-clutter all surfaces by putting magazines in racks, DVDs in the TV cabinet and books on shelves.

— Move all lightweight furniture — such as chairs, end tables and magazine racks — into the center of the room (to make vacuuming and dusting easier).

— Dust from the top down. Walk around the room in a circle, using your duster’s extension wand and a stepstool if needed to reach high moldings, shelves and lighting fixtures.

— Walk around in a circle again, using an electrostatic cloth to dust any surfaces between your head and knees. Switch to a clean cloth when necessary.

— Run your dusting wand along the baseboards.

— Vacuum the perimeter of the room.

— Put furniture back in place, and vacuum the center of the room. Vacuum sofa and chairs with the upholstery attachment. If you have an extra few minutes, mop hard-surface floors.

HOUSE-CLEANING SHORTCUTS — #2

Keeping your house clean doesn’t have to take hours. By learning a few tricks and shortcuts, you can have an orderly home in minutes.

CLEAN YOUR BATHROOM IN SEVEN (7) MINUTES:
— Clear counters by putting toothbrushes, deodorant and other toiletries into drawers and cabinets.

— Squirt toilet bowl cleaner around the inner rim of the toilet.

— Spray disinfecting cleaner on the toilet seat and exterior, as well as on the sink, faucet, counter and tub.

— Using a toilet brush, scrub the toilet bowl for 10 seconds. Flush.

— Spray glass cleaner on the mirror, and wipe with a microfiber cloth.

— Use a damp sponge to wipe (in order) sink and faucets, counter, tub, toilet seat, toilet exterior. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe chrome so that it doesn’t spot.

— Tear off a six-inch length of toilet paper, and use it to sweep up loose hair and other debris from floor and corners.

If you have an extra five minutes, add these steps: Toss the bath mat, tub mat and towels into the washing machine. Hang fresh towels. Mop the floor. Empty the trash can. Spray cleaner onto a microfiber cloth, and wipe off the doorknobs and any smudges on the door, light switches and cabinets.

HOUSE-CLEANING SHORTCUTS

Keeping your house clean doesn’t have to take hours. By learning a few tricks and shortcuts, you can have an orderly home in minutes.

THE RIGHT SUPPLIES
Keep cleaning supplies in a plastic caddy with handles so that you can easily move items around the house as you work. If you live in a multistory home, keep a caddy and cleaning supplies on each floor.

Supplies that you should never be without (all available at supermarkets, discount stores and online)…

Microfiber cloths. Microfiber pulls dirt into the fabric better than standard cotton fiber cloths or paper towels, requiring fewer swipes — often just one — to clean a surface. Between launderings, microfiber is easy to clean — just rinse under warm water and squeeze.

Electrostatic cloths. Treated with chemicals to make them negatively charged, electrostatic clothes pick up dust particularly well. You can buy washable or disposable cloths.

Scrubber sponges. Buy sponges that have a white, abrasive surface on one side. The white scrubber pad is abrasive enough to scour tough grime but less likely than other types of sponges to scratch surfaces.

Plastic toilet brush. Unlike wire brushes, plastic won’t scratch porcelain. Look for the type that comes with its own stand to catch drips.

Duster with extension wand. Lamb’s wool dusters and disposable dusting heads work well. (With feather dusters, sometimes the feathers break and the sharp ends can scratch furniture.)

Flat mop. The flat style reaches under furniture easily. The removable pad can be washed in the washing machine. Or you can use a Swiffer mop with disposable moist pads.

Cleaning solutions and sprays. You’ll need a disinfecting cleaner. Look for both words — “disinfecting” and “cleaner” — on the label. A cleaner without disinfectant may not kill germs, while a disinfectant without cleaner won’t loosen as much dirt from surfaces. You also will need glass cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner.