Archive | Our Houses

Tours of Jane’s and Allison’s houses

Making Sense of Buying Bed Sheets

buying bed sheets - second skin fern green king bed sheet set - Atticmag

We spend a third of our lives asleep. That’s why buying bed sheets merits of our attention and a little research.

I’ve read at least six guides to buying bed sheets and all of them left me with more questions than answers. None gave specifics about how to choose high quality sheets. And savvy shoppers have wised up to the thread-count marketing game that suggests high thread count equals quality when, in fact, that’s no guarantee.

So for a long time I’ve been looking for a textile industry expert who can provide specifics about bed sheet quality. Why? Well, think about it: Based on hours we spend sleeping, bed linens arguably get heavier use — but often less buying scrutiny — than clothes, towels, sofas, cars or even computers.… Continue Reading


Making Sense of Buying Bath Towels

buying bath towels - Coyuchi Twill Weave Air Weight towels in mid dusty aqua, midnight and fog - Atticmag

I’ve become obsessed with buying bath towels online — shopping is like a home décor treasure hunt.

Summer white sales are coming soon. Meanwhile I’m been trying to make sense of buying bath towels online given the huge number of brands, styles and sources that have cropped up since I bought towels five years ago. It’s a whole new world. I’m looking for towels because my current sets began to feel too heavy. For me, it’s time to lighten up.

My priorities are: comfort, style, size, price and durability.

Comfort to me means a soft “hand” or feel for washcloths and hand towels, plus an absorbent bath sheet that’s wraps easily around my body and stays put.… Continue Reading


Holiday Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

holiday kitchen cleaning - cleaning the kitchen - cleaning-services via atticmag

Five pre-holiday kitchen cleaning must-dos. Five things that can wait. Plus some of my favorite kitchen cleaning products.

Families can get a little snoopy when they visit relatives especially during the holidays. Someone will open a kitchen drawer or a pantry cabinet and get a little judgmental about what they see. It rarely becomes a big deal but, as we all know, unless someone says “this is the cleanest kitchen I’ve ever seen,” a little offhand remark can sting. All this is on my mind since we’re having two family visits this week. And with Thanksgiving and Christmas in view, early Fall may be the best time to get the holiday kitchen cleaning list done so the house is ready for company quickly.… Continue Reading


My LED Light Bulb Moment

LED light bulbs - eyeball accent lights in the tv room - Atticmag

Finding the right LED light bulb became an exercise in absurdity this week. I thought I understood new lighting tech.

Two of the ceiling lights in our TV room burned out a few days ago. And while that may sound like a domestic detail hardly worth noting, what with beheadings in the news and the ebola virus spreading, this one small event has taken on a larger significance. So I hope you will indulge me while I break today from talking about kitchen design or chair styles. I want to explore why changing a lightbulb now requires a 22-year investment, a magnifying glass to read the fine print, and an email to the electrician to be sure the house won’t burn down.… Continue Reading


Really Simple Spring Cleaning

spring cleaning tips - food network via atticmag

Room-by-room spring cleaning tips for removing dirt and germs from often overlooked surfaces.

I confess I’m a bit crazy-clean when it comes to my house. But I’m also practical because I don’t have a week to focus on pulling it apart for cleaning then putting everything back. So this year, I compiled some really simple Spring cleaning tips that won’t take long to do. This is not about home-made products or basic maintenance like deep-vacuuming furniture and draperies, dusting book cases, window blinds or light fixtures. It’s a room-by-room alcohol-based approach to getting rid of hidden dirt and germs on common surfaces.… Continue Reading


My Laundry Room Redo

felted rug pad from Rug Pad USA via Atticmag

Minor changes make major visual improvements in a redone laundry room.

A few things have changed in our main level laundry room since moving into our Alabama Stone Cottage.  It’s my “pretty” (and functional) recently redone laundry room, a well-deserved space after making do with a corner of the unfinished basement in our last house for 20+ years.  I started looking for the perfect Soumak runner for the long, narrow room a bit too late. When I finally found Mr. Perfect Rug it had been discontinued and the twelve-foot-long runners were sold out.  After a few months of sulking, I started searching again and decided on this brown and ivory hand knotted flatweave by Kalaty (Su-148 from Payless Rugs).… Continue Reading