Granite vs. Quartz

If you’ve recently shopped for new kitchen countertops, you know firsthand how many options there are today. Houzz research says that for most people, the choices often boil down to granite or quartz. Two out of five homeowners choose one of these two surfaces, often for durability and easy cleaning, according to a 2017 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study. If you have whittled it down to granite or quartz, here’s a quick way to learn all about their pros and cons.
 Granite vs. Quartz

SHOULD YOU BE WASHING YOUR SHEETS MORE OFTEN IN SPRING AND SUMMER

This is an article I found that is a little “out of the blue”, but interesting. I remember growing up we had to change our sheets every Saturday, but I don’t think most people change them that often.  I would love to know the average.

Thumbnail for Should you be washing your sheets more often in spring and summer?
Warm weather may mean more rooftop cocktails and outdoor workouts, but it also means there’s a whole lot more sweat on your body by the time sunset rolls around. So when you get into bed at night in the months from May to October, chances are you’re bringing more dirt and grime than in the cooler months.

We spend 56 hours per week in our sheets that’s a lot of time.  There is a natural accumulation of microorganisms in bedding as people constantly shed skin, saliva, and hair. In the spring and summer, heat and humidity provide the perfect environment for dust mites to thrive, which means they’re likely joining you while you sleep. Oh, and since it’s allergy season, pollen from the air can get in there with you, too, which means it’s basically a full-on microscopic mixer every night. So how often should you be washing your sheets in the heat?

 Keep scrolling to find out how often you should clean your bedding in the spring and summer.
Bedding First things first: There is a difference in the frequency with which you should wash your bedding. In the winter, it’s perfectly acceptable to change your sheets every other week. During the warmer months, though, that doesn’t cut it. We recommend a weekly routine in the spring and summer as we have a tendency to sweat much more.

Pillowcases should be swapped every week, regardless of the season (your face has bacteria that transfer directly to it), and duvet covers should always be washed every other week. As for the oft-overlooked items, which can also be loaded with some of the creepy crawlies, Calleja suggests washing pillows every six weeks and comforter inserts every month.

There are all sorts of things lurking in your sheets, pillows, and comforters that you may not be aware of, and they could pose a threat to your health if cleanliness isn’t maintained, and your bedding properly laundered. All those dust mites, bacteria, fungi, and pollen on dirty sheets can cause nasal congestion, stuffiness, runny nose, scratchy throat, allergies, provoke asthma, and worsen eczema and acne. Yikes.

To wash properly, research shows that hot water is an effective way to kill dust mites and other allergens. Calleja also suggests using gentle hypoallergenic, phosphate-free soaps and chlorine-free whitening powder when necessary. Because TBH, if you’re going to spend 56 hours a week in your sheets which is basically all of your free time, not counting the hours you’ll spend at the beach or sipping rosé on rooftops you may as well keep them as fresh and clean as possible.

If Fido sleeps in your bed with you, there are a few more things you should know about washing your sheets. 

If you’re a hooman (as they say on the Internet) to a Fido or Fluffy or if you live with someone who is you’re likely aware of the overwhelming number of health benefits associated with dog ownership. From potentially lowering blood pressure to maybe even increasing your lifespan, pups are basically an immunity booster in a cute furry package.

And so it only makes sense that dog people would want to spend as much QT as possible with their pups, including at bedtime. Studies show that about 40 percent of dog owners sleep with their pets, but is it really safe to co-sleep?

While dogs can actually transmit some 70 diseases to humans, you don’t need to kick your little buddy out of bed in a hurry.  The risks for the average population are probably overall low, especially if you do some simple basic things.

How to safely co-sleep with your furry friend

It may sound obvious, but washing your hands often is a top priority,especially if you’ve just touched your dog and are planning to eat a pre-bed snack (but it’s good advice to follow all the time). This is really really important, pointing to a recent outbreak of multi-drug resistant Campylobacter transmitted from puppies to people, which could have been avoided with proper handwashing. And don’t forget to wash your sheets, comforter, and any other dog bedding on the reg. Probably more often than you think you should.

Secondly, and this is likely another obvious one, keep your dog healthy and clean. One of the biggest concerns for people who sleep with their pet is getting fleas or ticks, which is a valid concern because pet owners are more likely to encounter ticks on themselves than non-pet-owners. (Although, to be fair, this could just be because dog owners tend to spend more time outside.) But you can help keep your bed bug-free by speaking to your vet about the appropriate flea and tick control products, which are now very safe for pets.

One of the biggest concerns for people who sleep with their pet is getting fleas or ticks, which is a valid concern because pet owners are more likely to encounter ticks on themselves than non-pet-owners.

Keeping a close eye on your dog when it’s on a walk or playing in a park is also important for co-sleepers. Eating rotten garbage or dead animals can cause your pet to become ill, and they may spread their sickness to you. There have even by documented cases of the plague and other serious diseases being transmitted from pet to owner.

Everyday grime and dirt that undoubtedly sticks to your dog’s paws could carry some risks, but they “haven’t necessarily been well-quantified. As long as their paws aren’t overly full of muck and all kinds of other things, then probably especially for the average person, the risk is pretty low. And here’s a tip: Clean your pooch’s paws before bedtime! 

Of course, there are certain populations of people who should think twice before cuddling up, including young children under five, elderly people over 65, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised generally those with HIV/AIDS or people with cancer and receiving chemotherapy. These groups are not only more susceptible to the types of diseases dogs can spread, they’re also likely to get more severe cases. 

What it really comes down to is: Before you let your dog in your bed, invite him to be part of your nightly self-care hygiene routine. You’ll both be better for it.

SHOULD YOU BE WASHING YOUR SHEETS MORE OFTEN IN SPRING AND SUMMER

5 Ways to Take Better Care of Your Knives, According to Chefs

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Having a great knife makes cooking so much more enjoyable when you have this joy of cutting through something that’s so easy and effortless, plus it’s going to last you a lifetime and can even be an heirloom for your kids.

If you want to get the most out of that fancy new knife you bought—and have it last long enough to actually be an heirloom follow these tips from the experts.

Whatever you do: Don’t put them in the dishwasher.

The biggest mistake people make at home, according to Blanchard and Cox, is putting their knives in the dishwasher. Newer high-powered dishwashers can even warp the steel. You always want to hand wash and hand dry your knives.

“Use a kitchen rag or soft sponge be gentle.”

Taking care of your knives

Remember that boning knives aren’t for … bones.

When it comes to knife work, bones are off-limits. Period. (And boning knives are designed for working around the bones and through the joints.)

People assume that Japanese knives can go through anything, that they’re like samurai swords. They cannot go through bone. They are finely made, like jewelry.

And please don’t try to cut through frozen food, either. That can damage the knife.

Ditch the bamboo cutting board.

What you’re cutting on is almost just as important as the technique you’re using. Hardwood is preferable. You can use plastic or composite rubber, especially when you’re cutting raw proteins, so you can just put it in the dishwasher. Bamboo is a little too rough.

Learn the difference between honing and sharpening.

Both are important. Honing, which you should do more frequently, involves grinding the edge of the knife on a stone to even it out. The process doesn’t sharpen the knife, but it fixes the blade’s alignment, which makes it feel sharper and cut better. Sharpening, on the other hand, involves actually shaving off some of the blade, and should be done a few times a year at home, or at a shop that professionally sharpens knives.

“”you don’t want to sharpen or hone your knife on anything harder than the steel of the knife itself,” says Cox, suggesting ceramic honing rods. “Hone your knife a couple times on each side – always use the same amount of passes on each side. Go ten or twelve. But if you’re going more than ten or twelve on each side, and it doesn’t go right back, then its time to sharpen.”

Incorporate oil.

Applying oil to a carbon steel knife will help prevent any oxidation or rusting, though don’t use any vegetable oils like canola or olive.

What happens with vegetable-based oils is they get rancid, so use Tsubaki oil, Camellia seed oil, very thin and neutral and you don’t need a lot of it. You can get mineral oil at the grocery store.

In many respects, you want to treat your knives like they are cast-iron pans.

For a stainless steel knife and carbon steel knife, you want to treat it like a cast-iron pan. Even for a stainless steel knife, some knives are high polished and contain nickel and silver. Humidity speeds up the oxidation process, causing the knives to rust, so you want to store them in as dry a place as possible.

5 Ways to Take Better Care of Your Knives, According to Chefs

Hallway Hacks = Usable Space

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space
Here are some great hallway ideas from Dwell.
Put your corridors to work as storage, seating, or gallery space with these ideas.

Hallways don’t just have to be connective space they can serve a multitude of functions despite the challenges that their long, narrow proportions present. Below, find a practical guide to making hallways that aren’t just for passing through.

1. Install Shelving

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 1 of 12 - Installing wood shelves in this nook in a hallway adds visual interest that breaks up the hallway's length, and provides storage for books and other vignettes.
Wood shelves in this nook in a hallway add visual interest that breaks up the hallway’s length and provides storage for books and other vignettes.

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 2 of 12 - Custom millwork and cabinetry can be a great way to add storage while keeping the hallway looking clean, neat, and bright. Cut-outs in the doors instead of knobs or cabinet handles ensure that hardware doesn't take up any extra space in the narrow corridor.
Custom millwork and cabinetry can be a great way to add storage while keeping the hallway looking clean, neat, and bright. Cut-outs in the doors instead of knobs or cabinet handles ensure that hardware doesn’t take up any extra space in the narrow corridor.

2. Hang Artwork

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 3 of 12 - Installing artwork in a hallway is a great way to create drama in a small, narrow space; textured pieces like this one work particularly well because viewers can get very close. 
Artwork in a hallway is a great way to create drama in a small, narrow space; textured pieces like this one work particularly well because viewers can get very close.
6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 4 of 12 - Artwork can also bring balance to a space, acting as a counterpoint to closets and doors, and introducing color schemes that play throughout the rest of the home.
Artwork can bring balance to a space, acting as a counterpoint to closets and doors, and introducing color schemes that play throughout the rest of the home.

3. Add Seating

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 5 of 12 - Placing seating in a hallway or corridor might sound counterintuitive. However, adding seating— in particular a piece that takes advantage of the length and narrowness of a hallway, like a bench—is particularly well-suited because it works as a waiting nook.
 Placing seating in a hallway or corridor might sound counterintuitive. However, adding seating, in particular, a piece that takes advantage of the length and narrowness of a hallway, like a bench is particularly well-suited because it works as a waiting nook.

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 6 of 12 - A bench in a hallway can also provide a moment of respite, encouraging new perspectives and rhythms within a residence, even if it's just a pause to look out a window or into another room.
A bench in a hallway can also provide a moment of respite, encouraging new perspectives and rhythms within a residence, even if it’s just a pause to look out a window or into another room.

4. Turn it Into a Library

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 7 of 12 - You may think that a library has to be its own room, but books can be stored and read just about anywhere. Lining a hallway with books turns it into a library that you’ll walk through, and be inspired by, every day. Cabinets below provide extra storage and even a place to sit and read. 
You may think that a library has to be its own room, but books can be stored and read just about anywhere. Lining a hallway with books turns it into a library that you’ll walk through, and be inspired by, every day. Cabinets below provide extra storage and even a place to sit and read.
6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 8 of 12 - Creating a library along a staircase out of open shelving means that the books can be accessed from both the staircase and the stair hall on the other side.
Creating a library along a staircase out of open shelving means that the books can be accessed from both the staircase and the stair hall on the other side.

5. Install Hooks

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 9 of 12 - Wall space in a hallway can easily be activated by a series of hooks for hats, coats, or scarves. If the hallway is particularly visible, you may hang items in an artful way, so that there's a mixture of aesthetic cohesion and functionality.

Wall space in a hallway can easily be activated by a series of hooks for hats, coats, or scarves. If the hallway is particularly visible, you may hang items in an artful way, so that there’s a mixture of aesthetic cohesion and functionality

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 10 of 12 - Colorful, scattered coat hooks by the architect-designers Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster create a functional, eye-catching wall that works well whether the hooks are used for hanging or just for decoration.
Colorful, scattered coat hooks create a functional, eye-catching wall that works well whether the hooks are used for hanging or just for decoration.

6. Create a Drop-Off Station

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 11 of 12 - An entrance hallway is the first space you enter in a home, but it can also serve the very important function of acting as a drop-off station or mudroom for keys, shoes, and coats.
An entrance hallway is the first space you enter a home, but it can serve the very important function of acting as a drop-off station or mudroom for keys, shoes, and coats.

6 Hallway Hacks to Turn Them Into Usable Space - Photo 12 of 12 - A drop-off station can consist of anything, from nothing more than a narrow shelf with a mirror above it, to a series of hooks with seating, storage, and plants.
A drop-off station can consist of anything, from nothing more than a narrow shelf with a mirror above it, to a series of hooks with seating, storage, and plants

.

Hallway Hacks = Usable Space

Popular New Entry Spaces

In the first three months of the year, Houzzers saved photos of grand main entry spaces and casual backdoor mudrooms that were full of great ideas. Benches for slipping off shoes, cubbies, and cabinets for storing outerwear and striking design elements such as flame-stitch-patterned wallpaper, an urban landscape mural, and log cabin siding caught our attention. Here are 10 great ideas from the most popular new entry photos uploaded in the first quarter of 2018.
Popular New Entry Spaces

Top Kitchen Innovations From Milan

Dream kitchens, live presentations of the latest smart-home appliances and cooking demos by famous chefs greeted visitors to EuroCucina and FTK (Technology for the Kitchen), the biennial events that took place during the latest installment of the Salone del Mobile trade fair in Milan, Italy, from April 17 to 22.

We kept an eye open for signs of how the most lively and innovative space in the house, the kitchen, is evolving. Among the exhibits were increasingly flexible setups, commercial appliances redesigned for the home cook and innovative new technologies. Picking up on the current trend of the integration of kitchen and living spaces, designers also presented kitchen features that either blend seamlessly into their surroundings or disappear altogether. Here are some of the kitchen innovations coming your way in 2018.

Top Kitchen Innovations From Milan

How to Choose Your Kitchen Lighting

Pendants, uplights, downlights, LEDs: are you confused by all the options out there in kitchen lighting when it comes to creating the illumination you need to prep, cook and dine? We’ve asked an expert to explain the different lighting types and the main things to consider in planning an effective design.
How to Choose Your Kitchen Lighting

5 Layers of a Well-Lit Kitchen

When planning a lighting scheme for a client’s kitchen, I like to think about cake. Let me explain. On my birthday, a red velvet cake always comes my way, and it includes four layers with a cherry and icing on top. Just like that cake, a well-lit kitchen should have four layers for different lighting needs. I call these light layers: “doing,” “knowing,” “feeling” and “changing.”
5 Layers of a Well-Lit Kitchen

102 Eye-Popping Powder Rooms

Powder rooms are often the jewel box of a home. Usually the smallest room, they lend themselves to doses of color and pattern that might be over the top in a larger space. Today we celebrate them in a new photo series highlighting areas of the house particularly rich in personal expression and beautiful design.

Which would you choose?

102 Eye-Popping Powder Rooms

Key Measurements to a Powder Room

At one time a luxury found only in grand homes, the powder room has become a staple in new American residences. When planned for new construction, they are often given ample space. But when you want to fit one in during a remodel or into an addition, you may have constraints. No matter what type of home you have, it helps to understand how much space is needed for these little or not-so-little very special rooms.
Key Measurements to a Powder Room