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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

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SkyFrame

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One of the most essential elements of home design is wall art. Whether that means your kids' art, art auctioned off at Sotheby’s, or treasured personal photographs, all decorative pieces need a good frame. One of our go-to framers at Martha Stewart Living is SkyFrame. They’re a great resource, which we’ve used multiple times for Living shoots, because they have a expansive selection of frames.

Recently I went to SkyFrame to get my September 2010 Living cover with Martha framed for my office. I took along my camera to show you their Midtown Manhattan offices and the process they go through to make the perfect frame.

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The entrance to SkyFrame. As you can see, frames are everywhere.

1 The entrance to SkyFrame. As you can see, frames are everywhere.

We've used SkyFrame in a lot of Living shoots. They've framed all the articles in their offices.

2 We've used SkyFrame in a lot of Living shoots. They've framed all the articles in their offices.

It's so nice to see these...

3 It's so nice to see these...

This is just the beginning of all the frame options available at SkyFrame.

4 This is just the beginning of all the frame options available at SkyFrame.

A range of darker frames.

5 A range of darker frames.

The frames are stuck on the wall using velcro. Customers can easily take down and try out potential frames.

6 The frames are stuck on the wall using velcro. Customers can easily take down and try out potential frames.

A selection of frames with more embellished details.

7 A selection of frames with more embellished details.

They really have frames for everyone. Even the glittered or printed frames shown here.

8 They really have frames for everyone. Even the glittered or printed frames shown here.

I love the gilded frames.

9 I love the gilded frames.

The way they arrange the frames makes it easy to try out different looks.

10 The way they arrange the frames makes it easy to try out different looks.

They do all kinds of framing, ranging from small pictures to large canvases. As you can see above, the frames can get pretty huge.

11 They do all kinds of framing, ranging from small pictures to large canvases. As you can see above, the frames can get pretty huge.

The many different options of mat boards.

12 The many different options of mat boards.

This is the image that I wanted to get framed.

13 This is the image that I wanted to get framed.

Skyframe had done my collection of Martha's modeling photos for my office, and I wanted everything to be uniform.

14 Skyframe had done my collection of Martha's modeling photos for my office, and I wanted everything to be uniform.

I wanted all of the frames in my office to match, so I brought in one of the Martha modeling frames.

15 I wanted all of the frames in my office to match, so I brought in one of the Martha modeling frames.

They measured the image and placed the mat and frame in position...

16 They measured the image and placed the mat and frame in position...

I think everything is going to look great.

17 I think everything is going to look great.

These use these little bean bags to weigh down the corners. What a good idea.

18 These use these little bean bags to weigh down the corners. What a good idea.

They even frame televisions!

19 They even frame televisions!

You can also get a mirror framed. They have different options available.

20 You can also get a mirror framed. They have different options available.

Framed options on the wall of SkyFrame.

21 Framed options on the wall of SkyFrame.

22

A view from the upstairs of SkyFrame.

23 A view from the upstairs of SkyFrame.

Prop stylist Scott came along and got to see the upstairs with me.

24 Prop stylist Scott came along and got to see the upstairs with me.

Shelves organize some pieces waiting to be framed.

25 Shelves organize some pieces waiting to be framed.

An intense cutting board.

26 An intense cutting board.

Finished pieces.

27 Finished pieces.

Mat boards are stacked at the side of the room.

28 Mat boards are stacked at the side of the room.

Frames are laid horizontally, waiting to be custom constructed.

29 Frames are laid horizontally, waiting to be custom constructed.

30

These frames look ready to be assembled.

31 These frames look ready to be assembled.

My African Violets

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I'd like to introduce to all of you my executive assistant, Chavo.

Chavo has been with me for almost a year now, and is an integral part of everyday life at Martha Stewart Living. Coincidentally, today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Chavo!

Not too long ago, I gave Chavo several African violets to bring back to life. In just a few weeks he has really done an amazing job. They were dried up and dying, and now they're vibrant and healthy again.

Please have a look at how beautiful these violets are–thanks to Chavo.

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This is Chavo, happy to be giving his violets their daily check-up.

1 This is Chavo, happy to be giving his violets their daily check-up.

Look at their colors!

2 Look at their colors!

3

A close up gives you a sense of how healthy these plants really are.

4 A close up gives you a sense of how healthy these plants really are.

5

The African violet is a perennial flowering plant native to tropical parts of east Africa. When content and healthy, the violet is beautiful and sustainable. However, proper care and nurturing are essential for the violet's growth. Lots of indirect sunlight and steady temperatures around 70°F are preferable conditions for the plant. Over-watering is a common cause for concern, as the violet likes to stay moist, but should never be soggy. Have a look at a story on violets from Martha Stewart Living.

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Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

1 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

2 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

3 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

4 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

5 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

6 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

7 Martha Stewart Living, May 2001.

And now, let's see what Chavo has to say about his "little babies."

Why are these African violets so special to you?

They were the first set of flowers that I've had to take care of as a job. You brought them in when they were dying. All of them were dead. No flowers. It became my job to keep them alive. It was a challenge, and you know me, I love a good challenge.

Would you say that you have a green thumb?

No. Absolutely not. I remember you saying to me, "Chavo, plants need water!" I had no idea about flowers. I think that's why you were challenging me with the violets, to become more aware of things outside scheduling and appointments. This is a job, too.

What is the secret to their success?

The secret is abundance of water and also the placement of the plants in sunlight–this is an amazing spot where nothing blocks their sun and they can be watched.

What is your advice to people attempting to grow and nurture plants?

It's all in the details. You just have to watch them, become aware of their needs. Now that I am aware, I can start to feel or sense when water is needed. I love them now!

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To water the violets, Chavo places them in a plastic bin for several hours.

1 To water the violets, Chavo places them in a plastic bin for several hours.

He fills the bin with about an inch and a half of room temperature water.

2 He fills the bin with about an inch and a half of room temperature water.

Pay attention to the water level in the container.

3 Pay attention to the water level in the container.

He picks away at some of the yellowing leaves or decaying matter and checks the soil, to make sure it is moist.

4 He picks away at some of the yellowing leaves or decaying matter and checks the soil, to make sure it is moist.

A final shot of the plants in my office!

5 A final shot of the plants in my office!

Homekeeping: The Invaluable Squeegee

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I have a housekeeping secret to share with you...

It all started with a gift I received from my friend Alexis upon moving into my current apartment.

We live in the same building which has floor to ceiling windows, so she thoughtfully gave me a squeegee window cleaning set. It came with a bucket, cleaning solution, and an extension rod that helped me clean the hard to reach upper reaches of the beautiful but challenging windows.

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(ettorecleaning.com)

1 (ettorecleaning.com)

(ettorecleaning.com)

2 (ettorecleaning.com)

(ettorecleaning.com)

3 (ettorecleaning.com)

Soon  enough, I found that squeegees could be used for so much more than cleaning windows. They're great for floors, showers and to quickly wash off counters.

Here are a few of my favorite products that will help make your surfaces squeaky, squeegee clean...

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This fun-colored squeegee brush is for cleaning up pet hair. (bissell.com)

1 This fun-colored squeegee brush is for cleaning up pet hair. (bissell.com)

This broom is good for cleaning up both dry and wet messes, and messes with a little bit of both. (containerstore.com)

2 This broom is good for cleaning up both dry and wet messes, and messes with a little bit of both. (containerstore.com)

This curved squeegee makes sure liquid messes will be well contained.

3 This curved squeegee makes sure liquid messes will be well contained.

This shower squeegee comes with a handy hook that fits around the shower nozzle. (casabella.com)

4 This shower squeegee comes with a handy hook that fits around the shower nozzle. (casabella.com)

A simple floor squeegee is good for cleaning up spills. (northerntool.com)

5 A simple floor squeegee is good for cleaning up spills. (northerntool.com)

This combination brush and squeegee cleans up small messes. The squegee in the middle of the brush makes sure nothing is left behind. (bissell.com)

6 This combination brush and squeegee cleans up small messes. The squegee in the middle of the brush makes sure nothing is left behind. (bissell.com)

I actually own this sleek shower squeegee by Vipp. It's in my shower at home. (vipp.com)

7 I actually own this sleek shower squeegee by Vipp. It's in my shower at home. (vipp.com)

I love that this squeegee has a microfiber pad on it. (casabella.com)

8 I love that this squeegee has a microfiber pad on it. (casabella.com)

A stainless steel squeegee that would look in place in almost any kitchen. (oxo.com)

9 A stainless steel squeegee that would look in place in almost any kitchen. (oxo.com)

Another great squeegee for the shower. Easy to hang up and barely noticeable. (containerstore.com)

10 Another great squeegee for the shower. Easy to hang up and barely noticeable. (containerstore.com)

They call this brook the

11 They call this brook the "bulldozer" which I find very fitting. (quickie.com)