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Getting Ready For Summer

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I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  The weather here on the East Coast was just perfect.

Martha and I spent the long weekend in Maine getting the house ready for the coming summer season.   There certainly was a lot to do and all the prep work really got me thinking.  Most people already know about spring cleaning and have their routines for cleaning and re-organizing,  but what are the steps you need to take to get your home ready for the summer?

Below are some easy and practical suggestions to help you enjoy your home during summer a little more.

Throughout the house, hang window screens, clean fans, inspect alarms, clean the fireplace and air everything out.  Then, open up screen windows and doors and let in the fresh air.

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Take down storm windows and wash and dry them to store.  Also, make any repairs that are needed on them.  Install window screens.  Repair any holes in screens before installing.  Use a label maker to identify where screens belong.  It will make the seasonal switch much easier.

1 Take down storm windows and wash and dry them to store. Also, make any repairs that are needed on them. Install window screens. Repair any holes in screens before installing. Use a label maker to identify where screens belong. It will make the seasonal switch much easier.

A patch can easily repair a hole in a damaged screen.  For a complete guide to screen repairs go to marthastewart.com and type screen repairs in the search bar.

2 A patch can easily repair a hole in a damaged screen. For a complete guide to screen repairs go to marthastewart.com and type screen repairs in the search bar.

At Bedford, Martha had custom wood cases built to house the screens and storm windows for the house.  A carpet lining was installed on the bottom to keep them from scratching when pulling them in and out.

3 At Bedford, Martha had custom wood cases built to house the screens and storm windows for the house. A carpet lining was installed on the bottom to keep them from scratching when pulling them in and out.

The tops of each compartment are labeled with P-Touch tape indicating their location in the house and making it easier to return them to their proper places when it's time.

4 The tops of each compartment are labeled with P-Touch tape indicating their location in the house and making it easier to return them to their proper places when it's time.

Unplug fans before cleaning.  Remove protective grilles and wash them in warm soapy water.  Wipe down the blades and dry everything thoroughly.  Replace grilles.

5 Unplug fans before cleaning. Remove protective grilles and wash them in warm soapy water. Wipe down the blades and dry everything thoroughly. Replace grilles.

Remove and clean air-conditioning filters according to manufacturer's instructions.

6 Remove and clean air-conditioning filters according to manufacturer's instructions.

Inspect smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors.  Replace batteries if neccessary, and perform a safety test.  If you're looking to upgrade your smoke alarms, I love the look of the Kidde Silhouette.  It only extends about a half inch from the ceiling.  It's available at The Home Depot (homedepot.com)

7 Inspect smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors. Replace batteries if neccessary, and perform a safety test. If you're looking to upgrade your smoke alarms, I love the look of the Kidde Silhouette. It only extends about a half inch from the ceiling. It's available at The Home Depot (homedepot.com)

Clean out the fireplace by shoveling ash into a metal bucket and sweeping out the hearth.  Remove any remaining soot with a dry sponge or steel brush.  It's also a good idea to have a chimney sweep inspect and clean the chimney annually.

8 Clean out the fireplace by shoveling ash into a metal bucket and sweeping out the hearth. Remove any remaining soot with a dry sponge or steel brush. It's also a good idea to have a chimney sweep inspect and clean the chimney annually.

Vacuum furniture and bring out any small pieces to air outside.  Be cautious however with fine fabrics such as silk which can be damaged by sunlight.

9 Vacuum furniture and bring out any small pieces to air outside. Be cautious however with fine fabrics such as silk which can be damaged by sunlight.

In the living areas, freshen up the entryway, change out curtains, clean rugs and carpets, and clear surfaces.

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Change out your doormats to fit the season.  You can make this rope one yourself.  Instructions are online at marthastewart.com.  Type braided doormat into the search bar.

1 Change out your doormats to fit the season. You can make this rope one yourself. Instructions are online at marthastewart.com. Type braided doormat into the search bar.

Replace heavy curtains with lighter weight ones.  Before storing your heavy window treatments, be sure to clean them properly.

2 Replace heavy curtains with lighter weight ones. Before storing your heavy window treatments, be sure to clean them properly.

Vacuum, air out, roll and store winter area rugs.  If you have wall to wall carpeting, steam clean it on a dry day.

3 Vacuum, air out, roll and store winter area rugs. If you have wall to wall carpeting, steam clean it on a dry day.

Remove unneeded items from cluttered shelves and tables.  Replace multiple objects with one container of cut flowers.  Dust regularly.

4 Remove unneeded items from cluttered shelves and tables. Replace multiple objects with one container of cut flowers. Dust regularly.

Make these easy updates in the kitchen and bath.

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Switch out dark colored and heavy table linens for lightweight cotton or linen ones.  Their casual feel is perfect for summer.

1 Switch out dark colored and heavy table linens for lightweight cotton or linen ones. Their casual feel is perfect for summer.

Restock your pantry and discard any expired items.  Especially spices.  Replace other pantry supplies as needed and refill shakers and containers.

2 Restock your pantry and discard any expired items. Especially spices. Replace other pantry supplies as needed and refill shakers and containers.

Do the same for the medicine cabinet.  Dispose of an expired items and replace old cosmetics.  Stock up on any essentials.

3 Do the same for the medicine cabinet. Dispose of an expired items and replace old cosmetics. Stock up on any essentials.

Have bright colored towels on hand for the beach.  I love these stripe towels from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's (macys.com)

4 Have bright colored towels on hand for the beach. I love these stripe towels from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's (macys.com)

In the bathroom, light color towels will make the room look cooler.

5 In the bathroom, light color towels will make the room look cooler.

Don't forget to switch out the shower curtain too.  The bold stripes of the Martha Stewart Collection Encore shower curtain at Macys (macys.com) will surely put you in the mood for summer.

6 Don't forget to switch out the shower curtain too. The bold stripes of the Martha Stewart Collection Encore shower curtain at Macys (macys.com) will surely put you in the mood for summer.

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.

Partner Monday: Martha Stewart Clean Products

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The display of Martha Stewart Clean products at the 23rd St. Home Depot store in Manhattan.  Looks good and definitely gets me in the mood to clean.

1 The display of Martha Stewart Clean products at the 23rd St. Home Depot store in Manhattan. Looks good and definitely gets me in the mood to clean.

Everything you need to maintain a clean and healthy home and the prices are great too.

2 Everything you need to maintain a clean and healthy home and the prices are great too.

All of the bottles are recyclable and contain recycled content.  Plus, the shipping cartons are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (www.fscus.org) to ensure that they are sourced from only well-managed forests.  Very responsible.

3 All of the bottles are recyclable and contain recycled content. Plus, the shipping cartons are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (www.fscus.org) to ensure that they are sourced from only well-managed forests. Very responsible.

MS Clean products are safe for every family member.  Sharkey and Francesca are checking out the display and approve.

4 MS Clean products are safe for every family member. Sharkey and Francesca are checking out the display and approve.

I use the all-purpose cleaner for all my hard surfaces in the apartment.

5 I use the all-purpose cleaner for all my hard surfaces in the apartment.

The glass and mirror cleaner definitely comes in handy for all the windows and mirrors in my place.

6 The glass and mirror cleaner definitely comes in handy for all the windows and mirrors in my place.

Bon Ami Cleanser (bonami.net) is a must for cleaning and scouring sinks and tubs.  Definitely a classic and good for the environment too.

7 Bon Ami Cleanser (bonami.net) is a must for cleaning and scouring sinks and tubs. Definitely a classic and good for the environment too.

There are so many great sponges on the market.  I love the pop up kind because they're packaged flat so it's easy to store a lot of them.

8 There are so many great sponges on the market. I love the pop up kind because they're packaged flat so it's easy to store a lot of them.

An old toothbrush is great for detailing and cleaning tight areas and scrub brushes come in a variety of  shapes and styles.  Choose ones that feel good in your hand.

9 An old toothbrush is great for detailing and cleaning tight areas and scrub brushes come in a variety of shapes and styles. Choose ones that feel good in your hand.

Squeegees make quick work of cleaning windows and they're also great for cleaning glass shower doors.

10 Squeegees make quick work of cleaning windows and they're also great for cleaning glass shower doors.

These bar mop towels from Williams-Sonoma (williamssonoma.com) are perfect for most cleaning jobs.

11 These bar mop towels from Williams-Sonoma (williamssonoma.com) are perfect for most cleaning jobs.

I'm sure many of you know that Martha has developed a line of green cleaning products called Martha Stewart Clean available at The Home Depot and other retailers across the country.  Martha did extensive research on what was currently available in the market and saw the need for a line of cleaning products that were not only green but were also effective and cleaned really well.  The result is Martha Stewart Clean.

Our partnership with Hain Celestial Group is an exciting one because homekeeping is such a big part of our business and brand, so having our own line of cleaning products is a natural fit.  Martha Stewart Clean products are 99+% plant and mineral based formulas that are responsibly made so you can feel confident that your home is clean and that you are making a healthy choice for your family, pets and the environment when choosing our products for your home.

To keep my apartment clean, there are a few basics that I always keep on hand for general cleaning:  all-purpose cleaner,  glass cleaner, powdered cleanser, sponges, toothbrush, squeegee, scrub brushes and small white terry-cloth towels.  These products and tools are all you need to tackle everyday household cleaning but for bigger cleaning challenges, be sure to check our Homekeeping Solutions Happy cleaning!