One Good Thing: The Simple Effective Hand Powered Breathing Mobile Clothes Washer

One Good Thing: The Simple Effective Hand Powered Breathing Mobile Clothes Washer

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Welcome back to One Good Thing! This week I got a tip from a friend that there was a new trend around washing your clothes at home with this thing called the Breathing Mobile Washer. At first I was skeptical and I also thought it looked like a plunger, but then I tested it and found it to be a surprisingly smart new tool for the home. Why? Because, although I have an electric washer in my apartment now, there were many years when I didn’t and this thing would have made my life a lot easier.

Simply put, this Breathing Mobile Washer allows you to wash small batches of clothing really well in your bathtub, sink or a large bucket. Unlike a washing machine which simply agitates the water around your clothes, this thing pushes and pulls water in and out of your clothes, pulling the dirt right out as well. Gentle on the clothes and quick to use, I heartily recommend this as an alternative for any of you who want a great home washing solution when you don’t have a machine. Additionally, it’s good for delicates that you wouldn’t want to put into your machine. Check it out and leave me your comments below!

Best, M

The Top 6 Most Popular OGTs

(I keep changing this each week based on your clicks!)

Maxwell Ryan

CEO

Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver. Since then he has grown ApartmentTherapy.com, added TheKitchn.com, our home cooking site, and has authored four books on design. He now lives with his daughter in a lovely apartment in Brooklyn.

How to Match Your Candle to the Music You’re Listening to Right Now

How to Match Your Candle to the Music You’re Listening to Right Now

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

There’s always been something magnetic between candles and music. Is there anything more soothing and enjoyable than turning up the volume on a favorite song and getting a whiff of your favorite scent? Try to count how many times you’ve had the subconscious draw to light up a votive before spinning a beloved record and you’ll probably run out of fingers. Turns out, there’s science behind this innate desire. Multiple studies have shown how scents and tones presented together not only suppress or increase certain activity in the brain but change human perception overall.

Luckily, there are ways to deepen that experience by pairing the notes of a song to the notes of a candle — or even listen to music while lighting a candle created by the very artist you’re listening to. Here are three ways to let your music lead you to the right candle, or let the right candle direct you to the perfect playlist. 

Let the artists lead you to the right candle.

Over the years, plenty of artists have developed their own perfumes, so it only makes sense that some are getting into candles, too. Take Kacey Musgraves’ collaboration with Boy Smells, a candle called Slow Burn that transforms the sentimental and measured country track by the same name into an award-winning (and often sold-out) wax version of her song. Musgraves called the black pepper, smoked papyrus, incense-scented candle “a little dank, a little crisp” and “the ‘sentiment’ of ‘Slow Burn.’” 

Tyler the Creator took a different approach with his “Coldwater” candle; instead of being inspired by one of his songs, he was inspired by an overall feeling. His brand Golf Wang collaborated with fragrance label retaW on a scent that Tyler likened to the “soft but crisp floral type scents I’ve always worn and candles I’ve always burned,” resulting in a candle meant for both “body and soul.”

When it comes to finding the perfect candle for every listening session, there’s truly something for everyone, even for those interested in feeling closer to the actual artist, and not just their sound. “I can just imagine what the studio felt like as The Rolling Stones recorded their tunes: Steamy, rhythmic, and the sweet smells of creating pure gold,” Samm Stangeland, the founder of Rock & Roll Candle Co., tells Apartment Therapy. She created her candle company to go a step further and transmute classic rock songs into scents and found inspiration in the Stones’s vibe when creating Rock & Roll Candle Co.’s Brown Sugar candle. And retailer Revolve claims that the Carby Musk candle by Drake’s Better World Fragrance House, with its notes of musk, ambers, cashmere, suede, and velvet, “actually smells like Drake.”

Let the scent of the candle bring you to a specific song.

Even scents that aren’t necessarily created with music in mind have a way of capturing the certain sentiment of a song. D.S. & Durga, a perfume company founded by an architect and a musician, seems to understand the pairing of smell and sound well, even adding liner notes and playlists to their product listings so customers have a soundtrack to experience their candles with. Before even clicking through to hear which tracks were chosen for the eucalyptus root, pacific spray, and wet wood notes of their candle Big Sur After Rain, I hypothesized correctly that Led Zeppelin’s moody ‘70s ballad, “Going to California” would make the playlist. You can almost feel the breeze and inhale the air of cool west coast night while listening, an experience the candle captures as well.

Let your mood guide you to the right scent and sound.

Deciding whether a sound or scent is suitable will always be a subjective process, centered around the person experiencing it and what they wish to experience. For that reason, it’s difficult to find a song, artist, or in this case, a scent, that every person agrees with. It is possible, however, to choose a candle with your mood, and the warmth music conjures up, in mind. 

Heretic Parfum decided to convert their best selling fragrance, Dirty Vanilla, into candle form, and with its vine-grown vanilla bean base and hints of soft sandalwood and spicy coriander, it seems to be an apt choice to pair with whatever music you’re listening to — whether that’s a soulful R&B ballad, lovelorn acoustic guitar track, or pop-centric love songs (and not just because Dirty Vanilla could double as a band name.) There’s also Brooklyn Candle Studio’s Santal Minimalist Candle which blends earthy and woodsy smells, and because multiple reviewers described it as “not overpowering” it could work as a clean slate to start with, and lend itself to any mood or playlist that calls to you. 

“I think it just gives you that warm hug of a feeling,” Stangeland says. “There’s nothing cold about it. It can work universally in any setting, but I think it really takes you home as well.”

The Best Advice for Actually Finishing Your Weekend DIY Project

The Best Advice for Actually Finishing Your Weekend DIY Project

Scrolling through DIY Instagram is one of those things that’s both incredibly satisfying and completely mind-boggling. Seeing before-and-afters gets you dreaming of what could be possible within your own home, until you consider the all-important question: When do they have the time?!

There are the big-time DIY bloggers who secure sponsorships with every home improvement company under the sun and turn their craft into a career. They dedicate every waking hour to mastering molding and cultivating carpentry skills. But for every one of those unicorns, there are 100 other DIYers who are making it work and doing incredible, professional-grade projects, all while holding down a 9-to-5 job.

Apartment Therapy talked to five weekend DIY warriors who are tackling impressive projects both big and small about how to make it work on a mornings, nights, and weekends schedule. Here’s the wisdom they shared.

Break big projects into small tasks and celebrate every win.

Leona Rosenblum and Garrett Berntsen are the couple behind The Olde Standard, an Instagram account dedicated to renovating their 1870s Italianate row house in Washington, D.C. They’ve tried their hand at everything from retiling, wallpapering, and adding molding to their vestibule to creating an interior transom — and they both work demanding Washington jobs by day.

The two former consultants use their work skills to focus on one DIY at a time and break projects down into small, digestible tasks. They knock out simpler items before or after work and, to keep the momentum up, they track their progress in Todoist and celebrate every win. 

“For big tasks like installing paneling or painting, we do those on weekends and prep the night before so we can wake up, drink coffee, and get started fast,” Rosenblum says. “Because we’re new to DIY, we factor in the time to watch a bunch of videos to know what we’re supposed to do next, the time for making mistakes, and the time for fixing our mistakes.”

Rosenblum adds, “Most importantly, we try not to get stressed if things aren’t going quickly. This is our first time trying many of these projects, so we try to cut ourselves some slack and just keep doing our best.”

Set goals and expectations, then reset as needed.

Callie Plemel, a lawyer, mom, and DIYer, runs Homeonharbor, where she chronicles the projects that make her Cleveland house a home. In the past year, she and her husband, Robert, who also has a busy full-time job, have installed hardwood floors, renovated their fireplace, remodeled their master bedroom, and created a built-in desk wall out of leftover IKEA bookshelves for their home office.

Again, both work full-time jobs.

How do they do it? Plemel says, “My advice is to live through a global pandemic and have nowhere else to be.” She adds, “I’m somewhat joking, but not having other plans certainly helps to tackle projects. Almost all of our spare time has gone into our home.”

The two have a toddler son, so they work after bedtime and during nap time, which means realistic expectations and deadlines are critical. She says, “It might take others a weekend to paint a room from start to finish; sometimes it takes us a few weeks. We set goals for ourselves from week to week, and reset them when we don’t get everything quite done.”

Despite resets and a sometimes-slower pace, Plemel says, “In the thick of it, it often feels like we’re getting nowhere fast. But, when I look back on it, it’s amazing to think we’ve accomplished so much!”

Consider how you actually need to use your home in the process.

Maryland-based Jackie Whisman works at a technology think tank by day and takes on DIY design projects by nights and weekends — not to mention stepping in as a homeschool teacher for the past year and launching her design firm, Jackie Whisman Interiors, in March 2020. To say she’s skilled in time management is an understatement. 

How does she do it? Advance planning down to the hour. “I set alarms for when I need to start each next step,” she says. She also considers how spaces within her home may need to be used during the process. 

Whisman says, “I try to do as much advance planning as possible, especially when I’m working on areas that I can’t afford to leave unfinished, like a kitchen or bathroom. This could mean doing the project in phases. When I painted my kitchen counters, I knew I couldn’t go without some counter space for the full week it takes for the epoxy to cure, so I did two-thirds of the counters one weekend, and saved the last bit for a few weeks later.”

Schedule time and honor it.

Emily Bichard, a full-time teacher who restores furniture in her free time, gives us one key tip: “Lots of COFFEE!” She explains that she sees working on her DIY projects as a form of self-care. Just as she schedules and respects her time for her day job during the school day, she schedules and respects her time for DIY passion projects on nights and weekends. 

Bichard says, “I make sure that I set aside at least an hour or two a week for my hobby as a form of self-care. I actually write it on a schedule so I don’t schedule anything else during that time. It’s something I look forward to it, so finding the energy is never an issue — though the coffee helps! It’s just making sure I allow myself the time.”

Always be prepared to work when inspiration strikes.

A master of DIY in a small rental space, Liz Malm, a D.C.-based VP and head of marketing at a government affairs firm, takes a project-management-inspired, step-by-step approach to her frequent off-hours DIYs. But the real secret is in her preparation. As a city dweller without a car, she can’t easily stop by Home Depot when she dreams up a new project. Instead, she has to plan ahead for success.

Malm says, “I always have a running list of things I’d like to get done around the house in the Notes app on my phone. If it’s something that requires measurements or supplies, I include those in the list to make sure I’m prepared if I happen to find myself at the hardware store.”

She also keeps extra supplies from small projects so that items can be repurposed and recycled for future projects. “There are times when inspiration strikes, and I knock out a full project because I happen to have what I need on hand. On a recent Sunday evening, I decided I wanted to paint an arch in my entryway and mount a sconce. I got it done in a few hours — but I had all the paint and other supplies, like a laser level and painter’s tape, on hand from previous projects. Keeping your ‘leftovers’ can make it easier and cheaper to tackle future projects.”

These Are IKEA’s Best New Items for a Seasonal Refresh

These Are IKEA’s Best New Items for a Seasonal Refresh

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Some people look forward to swapping their tanks for sweaters and their iced coffees for pumpkin lattes the second the cool weather hits. Me? I get excited about trading my linen throws for cashmere ones and my cotton pillows for velvet covers. Though the focus is different, the ethos remains the same — readying my life (and home) for the subtle shift a change in seasons brings. 

I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to refresh all of my decor for each season (especially considering I live in the Northeast; that’s four seasons worth of home shopping, people. No thank you!). Instead of scrambling to flip my house like I’m on an HGTV makeover special, I focus on small and affordable seasonal swaps that bring the cozy without breaking the bank. 

IKEA has long been a go-to of mine when it comes to on-trend and seasonal decor additions that come in at a modest price point. Their fall collection this year definitely doesn’t disappoint — it’s filled with weighty fabrics, trendy finishes (think brass and matte black), and of-the-moment materials (hello, rattan!) that make transitioning your home into the next season seamless and fun. Here are just a few favorite items I’ve earmarked for a fall makeover.

Ok, so I’m not actually sure this should be referred to as a specimen frame, but this type of design always reminds me of something you’d find in the wood-paneled office of a chemistry professor. I digress. Regardless of the name, this frame is an easy way to swap in seasonal photos or pressed botanicals for a fall-ready vibe. 

Buy: HÖSTKVÄLL Frame, $7.99

If you live in an area that experiences winter weather, you’re probably preparing for things to get a bit messy in a few months. Come fall, I like to swap out our lightweight doormat for something more hearty, like this up-for-anything coir mat. The herringbone pattern is visually dynamic and playful but also serves to help remove excess salt, dirt, and snow from your boots.

Buy: HÖSTKVÄLL Door Mat, $7.99

This charming faux wreath mimics the look of dried grass without any of the crumbly mess that comes from preserved branches. The minimalist shape and density keep things feeling modern, so you can easily eschew that craft store vibe circa 1989 (if you don’t like that nostalgic look). I love the idea of hanging this on the front of a cabinet door or a stove hood.

Buy: HÖSTKVÄLL Artificial Wreath, $14.99

Metallics are such an easy way to warm up your decor in preparation for a seasonal shift, and this candle holder has all the personality. Part of the bold Zandra Rhodes collection that launched at the beginning of September, the asymmetrical shape and fluted edges of this piece are somehow modern and retro at the same time. A slew of these down a dining table would complete the vibe-y dinner party of my dreams.

Buy: KARISMATISK Candle dish, $4.99

In general, fall means cooler weather (at least in this hemisphere), and cooler weather means it’s time to bring your plant babies indoors so they don’t meet an untimely death. Ensure you prep their new home for comfort and style with this sleek and simple plant stand. The dual tiers ensure plenty of air space for your bigger ferns and greenies, while the powder-coated steel material will stand up to your sloppy watering skills (no judgment!).

Buy: OLIVBLAD Plant stand, $19.99

Natural light can be scarce in the fall and winter, which is why it’s a good idea to make the most of whatever sun you do have. Hanging a mirror is a great way to ensure those beams of light get bounced around your room throughout the day, and this seashell-shaped design could not be more charming. Don’t be surprised if it gets mistaken for a vintage find!

Buy: LOMMARYD Mirror, $69.99

Add a touch of natural texture to your space with a hit of trendy rattan, as seen on this new oval tray. The generous size (it’s almost 20 inches long!) makes it great for corralling any number of items around your home, from your keys and wallet by the front door to a slew of TV remotes in the living room. You could even use it to house equally rustic seasonal accents like pinecones and mini pumpkins.

Buy: NÖJAKTIG Decoration dish, $12.99

Swapping out your textiles — like pillows, throws, and even curtains — can be such an easy way to usher a new season into your home. Nubbier fabrics and warmer hues work wonders in transitioning the rest of your decor without having to break the bank, and this budget-friendly blanket is basically begging for a couch, a book, and a big ‘ol mug of spiked cider, IMO.

Buy: EKKRONMAL Throw, $24.99

Become the host with the most… style, that is, this fall with these autumnal-patterned oven mitts. They feature a chic rust and black color palette and a leaf motif that will put you in the running for best dressed at the table — besides the bird at Thanksgiving, of course. Plus, at just $5 a pop, they’d also make for a great gift, and matching pot holders are available, too.

Buy: HÖSTKVÄLL Oven mitt, $4.99

A rug may not be something you think to swap out seasonally, but if you’re in the market for one or like to go a little fluffier and cozier for the fall, I happen to think this newest style from IKEA is super stunning. The cream is such a beautiful shade for a low-traffic area, and the delicate fringe adds a decidedly boho feel. It looks like it’d be super soft underfoot, too.

Buy: PEDERSBORG Rug, $89.00

A Small 1929 Spanish House’s Remodel Retained Its Charming and Creative History

A Small 1929 Spanish House’s Remodel Retained Its Charming and Creative History

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Name: Peter Quinn, Caitlin Dawson, Crosby and Gordy the dogs, and Tazo the cat.
Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Size: 1074 square feet
Type of Home: House
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

Originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland, Peter Quinn, a video director and motion graphics artist, and Caitlin Dawson, a communications specialist and ceramicist, lived in Canada for six years before moving down to Los Angeles. “Once our Green Cards were approved, we started house hunting in Mount Washington, our favorite LA neighborhood,” explains the couple. “This was actually the first house we saw and we fell in love with it immediately. We’ve always had a thing for Spanish-style architecture, and homes with some history and original features. (In Belfast, we lived in a cottage that was built in the 1880s!). As we were leaving the open house, I remember the realtor saying the homebuying journey was ‘a process.’ I thought — not this time! This is the one!” 

Along with the architectural history of the house, the couple also loves the home’s creative history. “We joke sometimes that we bought the house because of the beautiful big arched window in the living room — but we’re only half joking. It turns out, the stained glass portions were handcrafted by the home’s previous owner, who lived here for many years before us. He did such a beautiful job,” explains the couple.

“Mount Washington is a special neighborhood — it has a similar feel to Laurel Canyon, but with the convenience of being close to some of our other favorite neighborhoods, like Highland Park and Eagle Rock. It has such a rich creative history, and many of our neighbors are now friends. A few months after we moved in, our neighbor gave us a box of stuff he said ‘belonged to the house.’ He got it from the previous owner, and we had no idea what was inside. When we sat down and opened the box, we found decades’ worth of photos, art, books, and ephemera from the couple who owned the house in the ’40s and ’50s: Manuel Rivera Regalado, a Mexican/American artist, and his wife, Barbara, a greeting card designer.” 

“In addition to working as a scene painter for motion pictures, Manuel painted portraits on Olvera Street, and frequently exhibited his work around Highland Park (there were obituary clippings in the box, which gave us the background information). There was even an exquisite stamp with an insignia, his name, and his (now our) address. I guess Mount Washington has always been a Mecca for creatively inclined folks! The previous owner must have recognized the importance of keeping this little piece of the home’s history. We framed some of these pieces and hung them on the wall, and the rest is stored under the benches Peter built into the nook.” 

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Warm and eclectic. A little bit bohemian and Southwestern, a little bit California Modern, with some mid-century elements. In general, we go for a neutral palette with pops of color, usually with green and orange accents. 

Inspiration: The house itself — it’s a Spanish-style home, built in 1929, and we wanted to stay true to that. The desert, Laurel Canyon in the ‘70s (especially Joni Mitchell’s house on Lookout Mountain), the California landscape, New Mexico. 

Favorite Element: The big arched window in the living room, with its handmade stained glass flowers. 

Biggest Challenge: Our tiny backyard was covered in AstroTurf when we first moved in, and it just felt kind of unloved and sad. Last summer, we decided to brighten it up with white tiles, white stones, and a pergola, handmade by Peter. The whole idea was to keep it low-cost, uncomplicated, and bright. Our new bougainvillea are struggling a bit (after people telling us they would take over the whole yard!), but it’s now a lovely space to have coffee in the morning, or drinks in the evening with friends. We feel like we gained a whole new “room.”  

Proudest DIY: For the first few years, we had a table and two chairs in the nook, but it was a bit of a redundant, uninviting space. Peter made a built-in bench to wrap around the window area, incorporating storage with fold-up seats. In our little house, it’s important to take every opportunity to gain a few extra cubic feet. It’s now a whole new space we actually want to spend time in, and one of the best work-from-home spots in the house.

Biggest Indulgence: The Cafe appliances in the kitchen. We drooled over these for a while, but initially wrote them off as being too expensive. One day, after being cautious with the rest of the kitchen reno project, we decided to splash out. It was absolutely worth it. They’re amazing appliances and a joy to see every time you walk into the kitchen. 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? It might sound a bit unromantic, but our Nest thermostat and lock system — you can control them from anywhere, which is super handy, especially if you have a tendency to lose keys, or forget to lock up (guilty on both charges). 

Also, I’m a hobby ceramicist, and while the house is full of my own creations (often early pieces, or seconds that I can’t sell — sorry, Peter), I also love owning work from my favorite small-batch potters. Our handmade plates and bowls by bX ceramics, an amazing local ceramicist, were definitely worth the investment.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: The newly created space under the nook bench stores all our miscellaneous things, like documents and invoices. It’s also just a nice space for art materials. We’ve also tried to reduce branding around the house, so we decanted bathroom products into brand-less glass pumps and put spices in mason jars. It limits visual clutter, and you can buy in bulk and reduce waste.  

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t rush — take your time selecting pieces you really love. 

You don’t need to spend much money — very few pieces in our house were splurge-y. We have three pets, so we can’t be too precious about soft furnishings. It’s how you put it all together! For instance, the IKEA mirror got a face-lift using dried flowers from old bouquets. It’s an ever-changing arrangement, depending on what we have available. 

We also found that changing up handles can be an inexpensive, simple way to make furniture more personalized. We had our eye on kitchen cupboard handles that were $50 each. Peter trawled through Etsy for something similar, and found almost identical pulls that made a lot more sense. So if you’re on a budget, you can almost definitely find cheaper versions of things you like.

Polish up old hardware — you never knew what beauties are hiding under years of grime! As our little house is almost 100 years old, some things like hinges and handles had been painted over or tarnished over the years.  The glass door handles and brass fixtures were coated with paint and dirt. Once we cleaned them with vinegar and baking soda, they got a whole new lease of life. Some of the glass door handles actually had a beautiful lavender tone, which only appeared after a good cleaning. 

Thanks Peter and Caitlin!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Marisa Vitale

Contributor

A California native who loves to travel and explore, meet new people, laugh, play and capture all of these pieces with her camera. She lives in Venice Beach, CA with her husband and twins, Oliver and Macy, and their twin siamese cats, Choco and Blu.