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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

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Mirror, Mirror On The...

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Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis and followed my apartment renovation knows that I love to use mirrors to bring in light and to add interest to a space.  The proof is in the many places I have installed mirrors throughout the apartment.

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The mirror that started it all.  I worked with Desiron (desiron.com) to create this custom Klar floor mirror that I had mounted on the wall outside my closet.   I loved it so much that I decided to have more made for other areas in the apartment.  You can see my blue painter's tape outline in the background for the one I wanted above by my desk.

1 The mirror that started it all. I worked with Desiron (desiron.com) to create this custom Klar floor mirror that I had mounted on the wall outside my closet. I loved it so much that I decided to have more made for other areas in the apartment. You can see my blue painter's tape outline in the background for the one I wanted above by my desk.

Inside the closet, in the corners on each side, I had Junior from Narcissus Mirror and Glass install strips of mirror to open up the space and give the feeling that it goes on forever.

2 Inside the closet, in the corners on each side, I had Junior from Narcissus Mirror and Glass install strips of mirror to open up the space and give the feeling that it goes on forever.

I also mirrored the back of the lowest shelves on each side of the closet.  They bring so much extra light to the space.

3 I also mirrored the back of the lowest shelves on each side of the closet. They bring so much extra light to the space.

Another custom size Klar floor mirror from Desiron in my dining room.  Just beautiful.

4 Another custom size Klar floor mirror from Desiron in my dining room. Just beautiful.

The finished product.  What was once a tape outline is now a reality.  I love how it reflects the river outside.

5 The finished product. What was once a tape outline is now a reality. I love how it reflects the river outside.

I did a series of custom Klar floor mirrors above and below the wall mounted cabinet in my living room.

6 I did a series of custom Klar floor mirrors above and below the wall mounted cabinet in my living room.

The mirrors in this tear sheet, space designed by Karl Lagerfeld and shot by Francois Baudot, were my inspiration for the living room mirrors.

7 The mirrors in this tear sheet, space designed by Karl Lagerfeld and shot by Francois Baudot, were my inspiration for the living room mirrors.

In my powder room, I decided to remove the standard, installed medicine cabinet and replace it will a floor to ceiling mirror behind the sink.

8 In my powder room, I decided to remove the standard, installed medicine cabinet and replace it will a floor to ceiling mirror behind the sink.

In my main bathroom, mirror installed under the sink and below the shelf helps to brighten up the space and dark floor.

9 In my main bathroom, mirror installed under the sink and below the shelf helps to brighten up the space and dark floor.

Another great trick is to back the inside of a medicine cabinet with mirror.  It's an easy project with a big impact.

10 Another great trick is to back the inside of a medicine cabinet with mirror. It's an easy project with a big impact.

I did the same in my bath supply cabinet.

11 I did the same in my bath supply cabinet.

Even utilitarian spaces can benefit from mirror.  The dark closet where my washer and dryer are located is now a bright workspace.

12 Even utilitarian spaces can benefit from mirror. The dark closet where my washer and dryer are located is now a bright workspace.

I needed a smaller size mirror for my entryway to fit the space between the sconce and floating shelf and found a great option with the Infinity mirror from Room & Board (roomandboard.com)

13 I needed a smaller size mirror for my entryway to fit the space between the sconce and floating shelf and found a great option with the Infinity mirror from Room & Board (roomandboard.com)

A while back, I was in my office looking through a book on Jacques Émile Rhulmann, one of the most celebrated Art Deco interior and furniture designers of the twentieth century.  An image in the book really caught my eye and got me thinking about a new project for my apartment.  The image shows a indoor pool.  The water is so still and reflective that I thought it was actually mirror installed on the floor until I read the photo's caption.

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This is the image from the Florence Camard book, Ruhlmann, that got me thinking about installing mirror in the cove ceiling in my living room.

1 This is the image from the Florence Camard book, Ruhlmann, that got me thinking about installing mirror in the cove ceiling in my living room.

For some time now, I've been trying to think of something interesting that I could do in that space.  What about installing mirror there?  I contacted Junior, my friend at Narcissus Mirror and Glass, to come down to the apartment and talk about my idea and take some inital measurements.  A few questions came up during the visit.  Would the mirror reflect into the open space between the cove and ceiling?  If so, that wouldn't too be pretty.  Was there lighting originally installed in the cove?  That's a question I have for my contractor, Bob Tobin of BC Interiors, Ltd.  If there is wiring for lighting up there, it would be great to reconnect it to illuminate the ceiling.

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The cove ceiling in my living room.  It would be a great opportunity to do something really interesting in this space.

1 The cove ceiling in my living room. It would be a great opportunity to do something really interesting in this space.

This is the view from the front windows.  As you can see, it's a substantially sized space.

2 This is the view from the front windows. As you can see, it's a substantially sized space.

Another angle.  Whatever I decide to do is really going to change the look of the space.

3 Another angle. Whatever I decide to do is really going to change the look of the space.

I scheduled a visit with Junior to come in and have a look at the ceiling.

4 I scheduled a visit with Junior to come in and have a look at the ceiling.

One great point that he brought up was that if there is mirror on the ceiling, it would reflect whatever appeared in the cove.

5 One great point that he brought up was that if there is mirror on the ceiling, it would reflect whatever appeared in the cove.

I had to get up and see for myself what was in there.  Definitely not so pretty in there.

6 I had to get up and see for myself what was in there. Definitely not so pretty in there.

During my renovation, I think I remember that there may have been lighting that was installed in the cove but I'm not sure.  I need to ask Bob, my contractor.

7 During my renovation, I think I remember that there may have been lighting that was installed in the cove but I'm not sure. I need to ask Bob, my contractor.

A flashback of my entry hall.  The hall has certainly come a long way since this picture was taken.  This was the lighting that existed.  I hoping that's  the case for the cove in the living room.

8 A flashback of my entry hall. The hall has certainly come a long way since this picture was taken. This was the lighting that existed. I hoping that's the case for the cove in the living room.

Junior begins taking measurements to get an idea of the size of the space.

9 Junior begins taking measurements to get an idea of the size of the space.

Junior did a quick sketch of the space.

10 Junior did a quick sketch of the space.

Another important point to consider is that any irregularity in the space where the ceiling meets the wall will be highlighted once the mirror is in place.  Maybe the mirror is not the best option.   We'll see.

11 Another important point to consider is that any irregularity in the space where the ceiling meets the wall will be highlighted once the mirror is in place. Maybe the mirror is not the best option. We'll see.

In additional to installing mirror in the cove, what other options do I have?  We recently launched a new line of specialty paint finishes at The Home Depot.  One of the finishes is called Precious Metals and has a beautiful decorative sheen.  That could be really beautiful painted in the space .  I am also researching some metallic and reflective wallpapers that could also be another great option.

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This is the palette from our new specialty finishes project paint at Home Depot.  Painting the ceiling in either Mirror Glass or Tin would be a good solution.  It would add a beautiful sheen to the space without reflecting everything like the mirror will.

1 This is the palette from our new specialty finishes project paint at Home Depot. Painting the ceiling in either Mirror Glass or Tin would be a good solution. It would add a beautiful sheen to the space without reflecting everything like the mirror will.

So, what do you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts on what you think I should do?  Please comment and stay tuned in the coming weeks to see what I decide to do in the space.

Deep Cleaning My Apartment Furniture

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Although I've lived in my apartment for less than two years, it recently needed a good cleaning. I entertain so frequently that the rug, upholstered furniture, and pillows showed signs of the many fun-filled parties and events.

I decided to call in some professional help.

Founded in 1886, Restoration by Costikyan is a leader in cleaning and carpet restoration. The Costikyans have maintained an incredible level of quality for well over 100 years -- offering a wide range of services including cleaning, restoring, installation, appraising, and custom-rug design.

I hired the Costikyans to clean my furniture and carpets and I cannot give them enough praise for the amazing work they did in my apartment.  I had stains galore and now there is no trace of any previous spills or mishaps.

I was so impressed with every aspect of the company's work. They were quick, fastidious, pleasant, and conscientious.

It was an absolute pleasure to spend my morning with Mr. Costikyan and his team and to learn first hand what it is that makes them the best in the business.

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From here, my living room looks quite crisp and clean. However, upon closer inspection, you can see all of the work that needs to be done.

1 From here, my living room looks quite crisp and clean. However, upon closer inspection, you can see all of the work that needs to be done.

My pillows show signs of some champagne spills.

2 My pillows show signs of some champagne spills.

Here's another unfortunate stain.

3 Here's another unfortunate stain.

Oops.

4 Oops.

Let's start by looking at my pillows...

5 Let's start by looking at my pillows...

Silk is beautiful but quite risky for a living room seating area. Time is of the essence when treating silk fabric stains: After applying the cleaning solution,  dry quickly and make sure there is no adverse reaction.

6 Silk is beautiful but quite risky for a living room seating area. Time is of the essence when treating silk fabric stains: After applying the cleaning solution, dry quickly and make sure there is no adverse reaction.

I love my dining room chairs, but the velvet requires maintenance.

7 I love my dining room chairs, but the velvet requires maintenance.

Here's a mark on one of my living room side chairs.

8 Here's a mark on one of my living room side chairs.

There are a couple more on the front of the arm.

9 There are a couple more on the front of the arm.

Another small subtle stain on the seat.

10 Another small subtle stain on the seat.

The ribs on the fabric on my living room sofa disguise a lot. But if you look at it from the certain angle, you can see all of the marks.

11 The ribs on the fabric on my living room sofa disguise a lot. But if you look at it from the certain angle, you can see all of the marks.

Now onto my carpets. I pray they can get out this stain.

12 Now onto my carpets. I pray they can get out this stain.

Remember this stain on my bedroom carpet?

13 Remember this stain on my bedroom carpet?

This stain is a result of a vase leaking on the top of my armoire.

14 This stain is a result of a vase leaking on the top of my armoire.

I called in the professionals -- Costikyan to the rescue!

15 I called in the professionals -- Costikyan to the rescue!

Both the owner Phillip Costikyan and Zavar Megeredichian (Head Conservator) came to personally make sure everything was done just right.

16 Both the owner Phillip Costikyan and Zavar Megeredichian (Head Conservator) came to personally make sure everything was done just right.

A member of the crew.

17 A member of the crew.

They set up a staging area in my hall and got to work.

18 They set up a staging area in my hall and got to work.

They came well equipped with all the right tools.

19 They came well equipped with all the right tools.

Unloading the big cleaning guns.

20 Unloading the big cleaning guns.

A serious looking vacuum.

21 A serious looking vacuum.

That looks like it pick up some severe spills.

22 That looks like it pick up some severe spills.

I kind of love seeing all of my pillows lined up like this. They are all waiting to be cleaned.

23 I kind of love seeing all of my pillows lined up like this. They are all waiting to be cleaned.

Everything had to be moved so that they could get to individual spots.

24 Everything had to be moved so that they could get to individual spots.

Here is Cesar hard at work.

25 Here is Cesar hard at work.

Zavar inspects each pillow.

26 Zavar inspects each pillow.

The pillows are silk velvet so special dry-cleaning solvent is applied to remove the stains.

27 The pillows are silk velvet so special dry-cleaning solvent is applied to remove the stains.

Ready to receive its spot treatment.

28 Ready to receive its spot treatment.

The cleaner is always applied to the rag -- not the pillow itself.

29 The cleaner is always applied to the rag -- not the pillow itself.

Gently dabbing the stains.

30 Gently dabbing the stains.

A special industrial blow dryer is used to dry the fabric after the solvent has been applied so that no damage occurs.

31 A special industrial blow dryer is used to dry the fabric after the solvent has been applied so that no damage occurs.

The Costikyan crew were so neat and careful and made sure to paper the floors.

32 The Costikyan crew were so neat and careful and made sure to paper the floors.

Here is Phillip inspecting the work.

33 Here is Phillip inspecting the work.

Moving the long vacuum.

34 Moving the long vacuum.

This is a hand extraction tool which is a small steam cleaner designed for upholstery.  My sofa has a cotton linen fabric so the crew used a water-based cleaner.

35 This is a hand extraction tool which is a small steam cleaner designed for upholstery. My sofa has a cotton linen fabric so the crew used a water-based cleaner.

Stains are steamed out and then quickly dried.

36 Stains are steamed out and then quickly dried.

It looks like a blow dryer.

37 It looks like a blow dryer.

You can see all of the water spots were stains once were.

38 You can see all of the water spots were stains once were.

Working on the seat area.

39 Working on the seat area.

Almost dry!

40 Almost dry!

After the initial drying, they hand blot any last damp areas.

41 After the initial drying, they hand blot any last damp areas.

Don't forget the seat cushions.

42 Don't forget the seat cushions.

Dirt is there -- even if you don't immediately see it!

43 Dirt is there -- even if you don't immediately see it!

Spraying some more.

44 Spraying some more.

The proof of past stains.

45 The proof of past stains.

Finishing up in the bedroom. I was told my wool carpet stains are easiest to clean because the fiber is amenable to a stronger detergent.

46 Finishing up in the bedroom. I was told my wool carpet stains are easiest to clean because the fiber is amenable to a stronger detergent.

They have locations in NY, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Newport and Florida

You can contact them directly at 800-247-7847 or go to Costikyan.com or go to their website to purchase your own spot & stain removal kit.

Join me on my radio show today when I welcome Philip Costikyan as my special guest. We will be talking all about caring and cleaning for your upholstery and rugs. You can listen at Home Design on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius 112 XM 157 from 4 to 5 P.M. EST.

And stay tuned for my "after" rug and furniture pictures.

Fabulous First-Aid Kits

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The 100th anniversary first-aid kit from the American Red Cross.  I really like the retro look of the metal case and the color is great.  It will go perfectly with wall color in my apartment.

1 The 100th anniversary first-aid kit from the American Red Cross. I really like the retro look of the metal case and the color is great. It will go perfectly with wall color in my apartment.

It has a handle so you can easily carry it to where it's needed.

2 It has a handle so you can easily carry it to where it's needed.

There's also a plate for wall mounting it.

3 There's also a plate for wall mounting it.

The inside contains small boxes organized with all the necessary first-aid supplies.

4 The inside contains small boxes organized with all the necessary first-aid supplies.

Inside the front cover, there's a key so you can put things back in proper order.  The boxes also have quantities listed so you can restock easily.

5 Inside the front cover, there's a key so you can put things back in proper order. The boxes also have quantities listed so you can restock easily.

On the right hand side of the key, there's an interesting history of the Red Cross.

6 On the right hand side of the key, there's an interesting history of the Red Cross.

I love how the small white boxes compartmentalize and organize the supplies.  A first-aid manual tucks neatly in between them.

7 I love how the small white boxes compartmentalize and organize the supplies. A first-aid manual tucks neatly in between them.

This is a vintage style personal first-aid kit also from the Red Cross.  It contains enough supplies for one person.  Great for trips.

8 This is a vintage style personal first-aid kit also from the Red Cross. It contains enough supplies for one person. Great for trips.

A vintage first aid-tin, also from the Red Cross.  Perfect for your desk drawer at work.

9 A vintage first aid-tin, also from the Red Cross. Perfect for your desk drawer at work.

This is a Johnson and Johnson first-aid kit designed by Harry Allen Design.  The shape is great.  It's available for purchase at Target stores or target.com.

10 This is a Johnson and Johnson first-aid kit designed by Harry Allen Design. The shape is great. It's available for purchase at Target stores or target.com.

This is a nice looking first-aid box I found at Mxyplyzyk. It's a great little shop on Greenwich Ave. here in NYC.  You can also purchase online at mxyplyzyk.com

11 This is a nice looking first-aid box I found at Mxyplyzyk. It's a great little shop on Greenwich Ave. here in NYC. You can also purchase online at mxyplyzyk.com

For the magazine, we've created a few custom first-aid kits using found containers.  This hinged top metal box makes a looks great looking kit.

12 For the magazine, we've created a few custom first-aid kits using found containers. This hinged top metal box makes a looks great looking kit.

This is a custom first-aid kit for gardeners.  It contains supplies specific to a gardener's needs.  A great gift idea.

13 This is a custom first-aid kit for gardeners. It contains supplies specific to a gardener's needs. A great gift idea.

I really love this idea for making your own first-aid kit container and other types of kits too.  Paint metal kitchen canisters, easily found at tag sales, and then designate them with an icon to indicate their contents.  One for shoe care, one for sewing repairs and one for first-aid.

14 I really love this idea for making your own first-aid kit container and other types of kits too. Paint metal kitchen canisters, easily found at tag sales, and then designate them with an icon to indicate their contents. One for shoe care, one for sewing repairs and one for first-aid.

Martha organizes her first-aid  supplies in small containers in a kitchen drawer.  Practical and very pretty.

15 Martha organizes her first-aid supplies in small containers in a kitchen drawer. Practical and very pretty.

These are not technically first-aid kits, but these little packs from Help Remedies Inc., are great to keep in your bag.  $4.00 ea. from helpineedhelp.com

16 These are not technically first-aid kits, but these little packs from Help Remedies Inc., are great to keep in your bag. $4.00 ea. from helpineedhelp.com

I've been looking for a top-notch first-aid kit for my home.  Recently, I was on the Red Cross website and found one I love.  The kit commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Red Cross and the design is similar to one of the original Red Cross first-aid kits.

It contains all of the essential first-aid items, nicely compartmentalized in a khaki-green metal case.  The retro-looking kit is only available for a limited time, so hurry if you want one for home.

While you're on the Red Cross site,  please also consider making a donation to disaster relief efforts.

While  searching for my first-aid kit, I came across some other well-designed containers for holding emergency supplies.

Whether you choose to buy one or create your own, being prepared with a well stocked first-aid kit for your home is a smart, easy, and even stylish neccessity.