Ann Marie Martin


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 3/30/2020

A home bar is one thing that most adults should have in their homes. Even if you’re not a drinker yourself, you should have something on hand to offer guests when they come over for an evening of food and conversation. You’ll need the right setup, the right tools, and the right recipes handy to have the perfect home bar. Whether you have a bar already or are looking to build your own, we have all the tips that you’ll need as a rookie bartender.  


The Essentials


You’ll need quite a few essentials in your home bar including but not limited to:


  • Glasses
  • Bitters
  • Bar tools
  • Recipe books
  • Spirits
  • Mixers
  • Garnishes

Find The Right Surface To Transform Into A Bar


You can easily transform any table, sideboard, or cart into a bar. If the vessel that you’re using has a drawer, that’s even better. You can keep all of your bottles, glasses, decanters, and openers in one convenient place. It’s not bad if you can’t fit all of your supplies in one place. Less used items can be stored in the pantry. 


You can even use a simple bookshelf to store all of your bar supplies. Transform any bookcase from “boring bookshelf” to home bar in no time. You can arrange the shelving by category, giving each shelf a purpose. You can keep spirits on one shelf, glasses on another shelf, tools on another, and recipe books on another shelf. 


Does Your Home Have An Actual Bar Built-In?


Many homes actually have bars built in, but people rarely use them because they feel inexperienced in using the bar tools of the trade. Whether you have a full wet bar or a simpler dry bar, keep all of the essentials there. You’ll need:


  • Bar towel
  • Trash can
  •  Glasses
  • Decanter
  • Bar spoon
  • Strainer
  • Shaker
  • Access to ice
  • Juice
  • Sodas
  • Juicer
  • Limes
  • Lemons
  • Jigger
  • Simple Syrup
  • Old fashioned glass
  • Peeler
  • Mesh strainer

Location Of The Bar


If you’re setting up a brand new bar, there’s a variety of places that you can put the bar. If you have space in the kitchen, you can add it to a corner right there. Other great places for your bar could be a den or a man cave. Wherever you’ll spend time hanging out with company is a good place to keep your bar. If you have children, you might even consider getting a locking cabinet system for your liquor. You don’t want little hands getting into what they’re not supposed to.  


Setting up your own home bar is something to be proud of. It will be quite the conversation piece when guests come over. You’ll be able to discuss your collection of liquors and see if friends have any recommendations as to what you might add to your selection of liquors. A home bar is an entertaining essential.





Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 3/9/2020

Photo by Jafar Mansuri on Unsplash

To resurface or replace? That's the question. Consider replacing if:

  • They have significant water or humidity damage.
  • They're poorly constructed and/or falling apart.
  • The design frustrates. You could do better starting over.
  • The style can't be easily updated, for example, floral moldings.
  • The cost to refinish is more than new cabinets. It can be.
  • Otherwise, you may want to refinish what you have to make your cabinets.

    How to Replace Cabinets

    Replacing cabinets rarely involves building them yourself. Most kitchen remodeling professionals don't even do that. You can purchase pre-made cabinets. They'll fit in most kitchen. But don't forget to measure.

    Start by evaluating how the cabinets are attached. Most cabinets simply unscrew from the wall for clean removal. You can now hang new ones in their place. But remember, if you need to stain or finish, always do that and let them dry before hanging. It will just be easier when they're on the floor or a work table.

    If it's just the hardware you don't like, consider replacing it instead of the whole cabinet. That's generally a small job that just needs a screwdriver and new handles.

    How to Give Cabinets a New Look

    A coat of paint or stain can work wonders. But know that refinishing actually takes a lot longer than hanging new. Plan for three to eight weekends of work and a semi-functional kitchen during that time. The more cabinets, the longer it will take. Let's get started

  • Choose your resurfacing medium. Polyurethane, varnish, paint, lacquer, shellac, penetrating oil or vinyl are all excellent choices. Purchase this, a stripping agent, clothes and brushes and your local home supply.
  • Ventilate. Open some windows and turn on your stove vent to keep the smells from overpowering you. Safety first.
  • Clean the surfaces. They may have collected years of grease, dust and hand oil.
  • Protect your kitchen by laying down plastic 
  • Remove the hardware and soak it in soapy water. Scrub it, if needed. But a good soak should do most of the work.
  • Strip & refinish the cabinets according to the instructions on the finish you choose. If you're getting creative with alternating colors or finishes, you may want to remove the doors and lay painter tape to create crisp contrasts between shade. 
  • Once dry, replace your glistening hardware. And you're done. 
  • *Pro tip* Some woods soak up oils like a sponge, so you might need multiple coats to achieve the desired look. That's one reason the job takes multiple weekends since each layer must dry.




    Categories: DIY  


    Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 2/10/2020

    Houseplants are a great way to make your home feel more comfortable, colorful, and--in the winter--to bring a bit of living nature back into your life until spring arrives.

    There are houseplants that will thrive in just about any location of your home. Plus, you can find houseplants that are low-maintenance or ones that are a bit more rewarding as you care for them and watch them grow.

    In today’s post, I’m going to list the best houseplants for each room of your home. I’ll cover “impossible to kill” low-maintenance plants and some that require a bit more work. I’ll also cover large and small plants, as the size will often depend on the available space in the rooms of your home.

    Read on for the list of the best houseplants for each room of your home.

    Bedroom

    The bedroom is a place for rest and relaxation. You don’t want anything too high maintenance or too big and bright. Lavender gives off a calming scent that is perfect for your cozy sleeping space.

    Lavender is relatively low-maintenance, just be sure to water sparsely in the winter time, and only when the soil has dried out completely to avoid root rot.

    Lavender works in other rooms as well, such as on a kitchen windowsill where it can be used for cooking.

    Bathroom

    The bathroom tends to be a humid place without much spare room. A single aloe vera plant near a light source can be a great accent.

    Extremely low maintenance and useful after a day out in the sun, the bathroom is a perfect home for aloe vera. Simply snap off a leaf and use the gel inside for your burn.

    Office

    There are a few choice places for plants in the home office. A large snake plant in the corner of the room is a great way to add some life and color. Similarly, a money tree is easy to care for and fun to watch grow as you braid its stem (and what’s a more fitting place for a money tree than the place where you make your money!?).

    For the desk, a small cactus or succulent will do the trick, as you don’t want it to take up too much room.

    Living room

    For the living room, we can finally start talking about some of the bigger houseplants on the list. A Norfolk Island Pine looks like a small pine tree (though it technically isn’t one) and it can grow several feet high indoors. This is a great choice for homeowners in colder climates who don’t want to fill their house with unfitting tropical looking plants.

    Palm and Yucca, on the other hand, are perfect for homes in warmer climates. They can grow several feet high and fill up empty spaces in a large living room with ease. There’s a reason these are used in so many hotel and office building lobbies--they’re easy to care for and can grow large enough to fill the void in a big building.

    Windowless rooms

    Most plants will need at least indirect sunlight to stay healthy through the year. But, if you have a windowless room in your home that you want to brighten up with a houseplant you have options.

    Dracaena, snake plants, and creeping fig all grow well in little to no light and are easy to take care of.  




    Tags: decorating   houseplants  
    Categories: Decorating   houseplants  


    Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 2/12/2018

    Humans have been thinking about the way they decorate their homes for thousands of years. In ancient India, Vastu shastra (literally, "the science of architecture") has been informing decorating techniques since as early as 6,000 BCE. The more commonly known influence for home decorating, feng shui, has its roots in ancient China where practitioners were inspired by astronomy. In the early 1900s, however, a modern science was founded that attempts to solve some of the problems that arise based on our environments. Environmental psychology is a field that focuses on the interplay between humans and the environments they live and work in. Scientists have studied the way humans (and other animals, like rats) are affected by their environment. Their findings help to inform us of how we can live more relaxed or focused based on how we decorate our home and workplace.

    A place to call your own

    As society becomes increasingly urbanized, many psychologists are studying the problems that arise from being in constant contact with one another, both physically and in the digital world. One thing that scientists have discovered is that it is important for humans to have a place of sanctuary during their day. Whether this is your cubicle at work, your home office, or your tool shed, everyone needs a place they can be alone. Ask yourself if your home setup provides you with a space that you can go to be alone.

    How colors can affect mood

    Have you ever been in a school or hospital that was painted an awful color that just made you uncomfortable? Many of us have trained ourselves to adapt and live with environments that aren't ideal for us. For example, the bright red walls of McDonald's or the blinding fluorescent lights in a department store probably aren't conditions we'd pick for our homes. Scientists have discovered that there is a correlation between colors, brightness, and our mood. Try to match the colors of your rooms with their functions. For example, you wouldn't want to paint your bedroom bright red, as your bedroom should be a place you can relax to fall asleep. Instead, go with a less-pronounced color for the bedroom.

    The balance between cluttered and sterile

    Much of the way we choose to decorate our homes is informed by our childhood. If you learn meticulous cleaning habits from your parents, you might carry on with this into adulthood. As a child, you probably went to a friend's house and marveled at how differently they did things. Part of that lesson is learning that the way someone chooses to decorate and clean their home is part of their personality. But like most things in life, it's important to find a balance. If you find yourself restless or distracted you should ask yourself if the room is too cluttered or messy. Maybe it's the opposite; you could just as easily become distracted or uncomfortable by an environment that is too sterile looking.

    Listen to yourself

    The most important thing to remember when decorating your home is to follow your intuitions. Decide if you decorated a room a certain way because that's what everyone else does or if it actually makes you feel more at home.





    Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 10/23/2017

    Your living room is one of the most used rooms of the house. It’s where the family gathers and company comes to chat. If the furniture in your living room is not arranged comfortably, then you may not enjoy the space as much as you should. Heed the tips below in order to get the furniture in the living room is arranged for comfort and practicality.  


    See How Conversations Will Play Out


    You want your living room to be a place where face-to-face conversation actually thrives. Even in the age of the smartphone, people still like a certain kind of connection with one another. Make sure that food and drinks will be in easy reach and that the seating is arranged in a way that allows everyone to be involved with a conversation. 


    Use Dividing Factors


    If you have a large living room, you’ll need to divide the space with either a room separation apparatus or a piece of furniture. Using furniture actually keeps the room cozy and free from feeling stuffy. If the living room bleeds into another room with an open floor plan, this becomes especially important. Use a sofa, and allow it to face away from the dining area in order to divide the conversation spaces and keep your home’s interior design flowing. 


    Use A Focal Point


    Most living rooms have a TV or a fireplace, or both. You can keep both on the same wall, or create separate spaces for both activities in order to have some division in the room. There are many different strategies that can be used in order to keep both the fireplace and the television in the same space without making a dizzying focal point.


    Think Outside The Box


    By arranging your furniture at a diagonal, or different angle than simple straight lines, you’ll be able to give your living room some flavor. First, set the sofa and the coffee table, then create the rest of the space around these establishing angles. This will make the room feel bigger and give it a sense of symmetry with flavor.          


    Matching Furniture Gives Flow


    By getting matching sofas, chairs, and side tables, you’ll be able to create a sense of symmetry in the room. The way you arrange the furniture ultimately depends on your needs and tastes, but you’ll have a few anchoring pieces to work with that will allow you to make the living room your canvas and your furniture your subjects. Have fun playing with the layout and design of the room. There’s really no right or wrong answers, just simply what will make you happy and what looks good in the space.




    Categories: Decorating