6 Winter Home Maintenance Tips Real Estate Agents Always Tell New Homeowners

6 Winter Home Maintenance Tips Real Estate Agents Always Tell New Homeowners

Terri Huggins

Contributor

Terri Huggins is a lifestyle writer, personal finance writer, and race and culture writer who is convinced she’s figured out the trick to living life with no regrets: do what you love, give love, lead with love. When not writing, she can be found working out via Zumba or pole dancing, reciting her favorite affirmations, and covering her adorable kids in kisses. You can learn more about Terri and how to lead with love in your own life by following Terri on social media or signing up for her monthly uplifting email newsletters.

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This Bangalore Rental Comes Alive with DIYs, Like a Tassel Headboard

This Bangalore Rental Comes Alive with DIYs, Like a Tassel Headboard

Name: Himadri Das, husband, and two dogs
Location: Bangalore, India
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 1300 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I live in a small apartment in Bangalore, India, with my husband and two adorable dogs. This is our first home (rented) together and we have spent six beautiful years here. I don’t have a specific style but I’m definitely inclined towards boho and Indian design styles and love to incorporate that in our space. My two dogs Odie and Oreo are my life and I can’t imagine my life without them.

I identify myself as a colorful person who equally loves neutrals. I believe in functional decor and my space definitely reflects that.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Mix of Indian and boho

What is your favorite room and why? Our main bedroom is my most favorite room. I have designed the makeshift headboard myself and it’s something that I’m really proud of. It has given me a chance to express myself through the various looks that I’ve created. It’s the coziest space in our home and I love cuddle with my two doggos or relax with a book here.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing that I’ve bought for my home is the gorgeous custom-made dining table and thrifted chairs that I absolutely love!

Any advice for creating a home you love? The only advice I have is enjoy the process and you will definitely end up with a beautiful and happy space. It’s the journey that counts!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

A Designer’s Brooklyn Rental Apartment Is One Large DIY Project

A Designer’s Brooklyn Rental Apartment Is One Large DIY Project

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Name: Alyse Eisenberg, Aaron Dean Eisenberg, and our pup, River (Black Lab/Shepherd Mix rescued during Covid from Social Tees)
Location: Gowanus — Brooklyn, New York
Size: 1,800 square feet
Type of Home: It is a two-story duplex, loft-style apartment with three large rooms and a small kitchen/bathroom. It’s on the third and fourth floor of the building.
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

Alyse Eisenberg, interior designer and owner of Studio Alyse, knows a gem when she sees one, so when she received a Zillow alert for an 1800-square-foot two-story loft in Brooklyn, she knew it was go time. 

“It was a huge blank canvas,” said Eisenberg. “You entered through a small, unassuming kitchen, which gave way to a double-height, brick-filled dining room and ornate open staircase. This was the big ‘ah-ha’ moment.” On top of that, the upstairs bedroom boasts a magical city skyline view through arched windows.

“As an interior designer, the open floor plan and high ceilings were a dream challenge,” said Eisenberg. “The main goal for the space was to curate a feeling of warmth and creativity.” She and her husband, actor Aaron Dean Eisenberg, did this by creating flexible zones in the space that could change with their needs. They also took an intentional, sustainable approach to decorating the space. “I scavenged Brooklyn stoops, finding the large female figure painting seen in the dining room, and carried it 25 minutes through Park Slope,” says Eisenberg. “We found items at scrap yards, vintage stores, and second-hand stores.” They even turned the dining room into a makeshift art studio and hand-painted many pieces during their 2020 quarantine time. 

“Most of the pieces seen throughout are a progression of pieces made in the past year,” said Eisenberg. “As the space began to come together, the once-barren white box became our cozy oasis.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I usually opt for a more neutral palette that is heavy in texture and pattern. My goal when designing is to create a space that is comfortable and warm. My husband, Aaron, loves color, so we have found a balance of our styles that creates a more eclectic, laid-back aesthetic.

Inspiration: We wanted a space that felt inspiring and creatively freeing. Because the space was so large, we took the opportunity to add larger furniture pieces and artwork throughout. We were inspired by artist lofts, art galleries, and friends’ spaces.

Favorite Element: The bedroom’s focal point is an arched window that has a sunset view of the city skyline. It’s by far my favorite element in the loft. When the sun starts to set, there’s an orange glow that illuminates the bedroom, creating the warmest and coziest space.

Biggest Challenge: When we moved into this space, all the furniture we owned from our previous one-bedroom (barely 400 square foot) Chelsea apartment could fit easily in one corner of our new living room. We’d never seen an apartment with this much open space. The challenge was to create a feeling of home and warmth, in a large white box, with a tight budget. Because we were renting, we didn’t want to spend too much on a space that might not be our forever home. We sourced many items from second-hand stores, craigslist, scrap yards, and even the street! We were also able to find a few key pieces from the set sale for HBO’s “The Deuce,” which my husband was an actor on. We wanted the space to feel conducive to artistic creativity and work productivity, without losing a true sense of home.

Proudest DIY: In essence, the whole apartment was a large DIY project. The lack of segregated rooms and storage led us to create functional components that allowed the loft to work with our lifestyle. I hung linen curtains with copper piping in our bedroom to create two rooms. We added additional storage in the form of IKEA cabinets throughout. The cabinets shown in my office were a raw wood that I painted to add a pop of color to the space. As creatives, we chose to use the white walls as gallery walls and painted artwork. Most of the pieces seen throughout the home were painted by me or my husband, framed, and hung. This was a labor of love, and created a very personal feel to the loft.

The gallery wall of photos by the balcony are filled with friends and loved ones, with simple IKEA frames. After nailing into the grout of a brick wall, this was one of the more challenging DIYs I tackled. I also painted our kitchen cabinets and stairs. The kitchen had the traditional orange oak cabinets and rotting (yes, rotting) laminate countertops. I asked the management company if we could paint the cabinets white and replace the laminate with butcher block and they said yes! After that, I tackled the main staircase that leads from the living room/dining room to the office and bedroom upstairs. The previous tenants painted the stairs a bright blue “painters’ tape” color that was such a focal point as soon as you entered. I chose to use a black paint to soften the stairs. It took me much longer than anticipated, but I was so proud once they were completed. Adjacent to the stairs, Aaron and I hung LED outdoor string lights in the double-height space because there was no light source when we moved in. This created a warm glow, almost like having an outdoor patio above our dining table to make up for the fact we had no outdoor space. By adding plants throughout, we were able to bring in a sense of the outdoors! Finally, in our bedroom I installed a mirror into a vintage “Now Showing” sign to create a perfectly dramatic vanity mirror.

Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest splurge was also the largest piece of furniture we bought — the modular sofa for the living room. It was a floor model we found walking through Chelsea. It’s a six-piece sectional with an ottoman. As soon as you sit into it you almost melt instantly. It was the perfect piece for creating a large movie room vibe, and gave the flexibility to split it up if needed. We’ve hosted many game nights and movie nights with friends, and we all have a place to easily spread out on. For our purposes, it was 100% worth it!  When we had a NYE party to celebrate the end of 2019, we hosted around 65 friends comfortably. It was an amazing send-off before the world as we knew it changed.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? We love the flexibility and interchangeability of the loft. We’ve been able to transform each of the rooms into what we need at any given time. The dining room has transformed into an art studio, and back to a dining room many times. The lofted space has become a functional home office, a spare bedroom, and a happy hour lounge all in one. We used Poppin’s white board dividers to brainstorm for projects, and to create privacy for our guests. Our 20’ x 20’ bedroom has been split in two rooms with a curtain and copper pipping to create a yoga/fitness space separate from the bedroom. I wasn’t keen on the idea of waking up and seeing a treadmill, so I created a DIY removable wall. The linen curtains can open and shut to let more light in, so it became a very flexible room. Overall, we curated a space that works for us and could evolve and grow with our changing needs.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I love all the vintage pieces we were able to source for this apartment. Giving furniture a second life is really rewarding, and it’s also more sustainable. In my design practice, we work with local artists and makers for all of our projects. Some of my favorite finds include:  the vintage neon sign from a 1970s Chinese restaurant, my wooden desk that can be folded up and tucked away, and the metal writers desk in our home office.

My favorite workroom, Stitchroom, was having a pillow sample sale around the time we moved in, so I bought pillows that added the color Aaron was hoping for, and the one-of-a-kind look I love! We also splurged on a great sound system and lighting set up, which made a huge difference in the space. We purchased a Sonos sound system and Hues LED lights, which allows us to create any mood or vibe. There were nights where the whole apartment would glow purple, or red, just for fun!

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: The apartment has no closets in the space, so we had to get creative in order to add storage for clothing, cleaning supplies, and other household items. I used IKEA to customize our bedroom storage using the PAX systems. I absolutely love this feature on their website because I was able to plan exactly where each pair of shoes, suitcases, and vacuum would live. I also used IKEA IVAR cabinets in my office. As an interior designer, I have many samples and books that I like to keep concealed. I used the Ivar cabinets, painted them with a Sherwin Williams paint, and added oak legs, from Etsy, to raise them above the baseboard heaters. The cabinets in the living room are also BESTA IKEA cabinets that I custom designed to fit the span of the wall creating a bit of balance between the brick and large TV.

The kitchen is the smallest room in the apartment with very limited cabinet space. We decided to carry the storage out into the dining room area. We chose open shelving to display our plates, bowls, and glasses. We also found rolling butcher blocks online that could house additional appliances that we weren’t using every day. These were great because we could move them as we needed!

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? If you have time, I always suggest living in your space for a month before making any large decorating decisions. I find that this allows you to really understand what you need and how the space will function for you. When we first moved in, we both were in awe of our empty shell, but we came to realize the furniture pieces we’d need for functionality. With this in mind, we were able to curate inspiration boards and dive deeper into the design process.

OFFICE LOUNGE/SPARE BEDROOM AREA

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

Erin Johnson

Contributor

Erin Johnson is a writer covering all things home, plant, and design-related. She loves Dolly Parton, comedy, and being outdoors (in that order). She is originally from Tennessee but currently lives in Brooklyn with her 11-year-old dog named Pup.

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6 Ways to Hack a Platform Storage Bed from IKEA Products

6 Ways to Hack a Platform Storage Bed from IKEA Products

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Here’s an idea: turning your basic IKEA storage cabinets and dressers into multi-functional lofted beds. It’s a smart way to address the problem of having a small bedroom — you get both a bed and storage in the same footprint. And if you already own these IKEA storage pieces, you’re saving a pretty penny too. 

The innovative IKEA platform storage bed hacks below work well for studio apartments, kids’ rooms, dorms, and more. And after you’re done hacking your storage bed, try one of these ways to hack an  IKEA Lack table, an IKEA desk, or even a sheepskin rug.

This bed is simply made up of the MALM dresser with a mattress on top, and it offers so much more storage space in Erica Massey’s bedroom.

Lummi balanced this mattress on top of two IKEA bookshelves, which are filled with baskets to hide knick-knacks.

This colorful kids’ bed is simply made of two Trofast shelves painted black. Learn more about how to make your own on Amy’s Instagram.

MALM Dressers Repurposed 

A mattress placed over two MALM dressers works well in this Swedish boy’s room seen on the Hitta Hem blog. The desk is hung at the same level to make it look built in, and forms a continuous line around the room.

Kitchen Cabinets in the Bedroom

IKEA kitchen cabinets and doors form storage and steps up to a bed in this small apartment, seen on the Oh Yes blog.

Weekday Carnival came up with this configuration, with different colored kitchen cabinets (that have dinosaur pulls!) holding up a mattress.

15 DIY Desk Ideas to Make Working from Home a Breeze

15 DIY Desk Ideas to Make Working from Home a Breeze

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PSA: You deserve better than settling for your kitchen countertops as your “office” space. With so many of us still working from home, a home office space has become a must. But if buying a brand new desk keeps getting put on your budget backburner, there are tons of DIY ideas that can finally make your oft-imagined office space a reality. And if you don’t consider yourself the craftiest person, don’t sweat it—there are a variety of options for you here, too.

Up ahead, ideas for painting, constructing, and revamping yourself a desk. 

1. DIY Custom Plywood Desk/Bookcase

Anne Louise Marquis’ boyfriend DIYed this awesome plywood bookcase/desk combo for her Brooklyn condo one weekend. It may not be a project for beginners, but the results offer not only a workspace, but also a place to showcase books and house a TV.

2. An Under $50 Desk Redo

Mary Weafer of Weafer Design found a $25 desk on Craigslist which she revamped for her daughter. She painted it white, added new gold drawer pulls, and used light teal as an accent color for a totally refreshed look.

3. Table and Bench DIY Desk

A farmhouse-style table can easily be repurposed into a desk, as Laura Barthelmess of Refunked Junque did. It offers ample space for spreading out your materials, or for allowing two people to comfortably work at the same time.

4. Eclectic Queen Anne Leg Desk

Jodi Bond of House on a Sugar Hill put together this super sweet desk all with a few supplies from Home Depot. After assembling the table, the color came from a few coats of Rust-Oleum spray paint. Getting creative with your desk’s color and shape makes for the perfect accent piece.

This three-cubby, plywood desk built by home decor and DIY blogger Erin Spain is industrial and utilitarian chic. We love the addition of an acrylic chair and matching metal lamp.

6. Simple and Bright Wall-Mounted Desk

Floating desks, like this dreamy minimalist version from Julie of Lavender Julep, save space without cramping your style. Keeping the desk simple and decorating around it allows you to make changes when you get bored of your current setup. All it takes is a piece of wood and brackets to create a platform that’ll bring you years of use.

7. Chalky Finish Paint and Wax DIY

Found the perfect desk, but can’t stand the color or finish? Well, that’s an easy fix. Stephanie from My Seattle Farmhouse upgraded this desk with chalky-finish paint and a wax finish to make it better suit her bedroom. If you’re not keen on building a desk from the ground up, simply give an old item a new life. 

Painting an accent wall to go with a DIY desk instantly elevates the space. Amanda Smith of @dreaminofafarmhouse shows how a double desk can be made from a wood platform and drawers—making a double workspace (or homework station) that looks super cool.

 
Haley Jones converted a $40 thrifted console table into a sleek desk. She simply painted it a matte black and spent $240 on a marble top for it.

10. Storage Cabinet DIY Desk

Balance a wooden board across two IKEA storage cabinets, and boom—you have an instant desk with plenty of room to stash your office supplies. The one above was spotted in a home designed by Shift Interiors.

To make an extra-long desk, add three sawhorses, as seen in a tour of Le Petite Studio’s office on The Everygirl.

This minimalist desk involves a sheet of glass or plexiglass resting on top of two slender wooden sawhorses. Add more functionality with a storage cabinet underneath.

14. Chic Minimalist DIY Desk

For a cohesive look, pair vintage sawhorses with a salvaged wood top, à la the desk above from Vintage Piken for KK Living.

Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann