Thursday, September 24, 2009

rouge secrets

Here are just a few secrets of the industry that I thought you might find useful in your own home. And this bunch of little tips and tricks are also entertaining! Trust me, these are not old wives tales. Mostly, because I’m not an old wife. But I know you won’t believe some of these until you try them out for yourself, and that’s ok.

Candle drippings -- for spilled wax on a carpet, use a brown paper bag as a blotter and run a hot iron over it, which will absorb the wax.

Removing scratches from wood furniture/floors – rub mayo into the scratches on furniture with your finger, let it stand, and remove with a soft cloth.

Deep scratches – for a deep scratch, break a walnut or pecan meat in half, and rub scratch with the broken side of the nut.

Nicks and scratches – mix enough water with instant coffee to make a thick paste. Rub it into the scratch or nick, let it dry, rub off the excess, and wax as usual. (only use on dark wood)

White water rings – rub the spot with petroleum jelly, let stand 24 hours, and rub into the wood. Wipe off excess and polish as usual.

Refrigerator odor – place a cotton ball soaked with vanilla on the lower shelf to eliminate any nasty odors.

Stainless steel sinks – remove spots on stainless steel sink with white vinegar. Use carbonated water to add shine.

Shiny kitchen chrome – parts made out of chrome can be polished with flour. Pour some flour on a dry cloth and polish for a bright shine.

Window cleaning – the best mixture for cleaning windows is ½ cup of ammonia, 1 cup of white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a bucket of warm water.

Remove rust – if you need to remove light rust from metal, take the skin off a potato and dip it into baking soda. Keep dipping it in the baking soda and rubbing the rusted area to remove rust fast.

Clean toilet – pour your not-so-favorite cola in the toilet and let it sit for an hour. Flush it and it’s clean as new.

There are lots more to come…stay tuned to future blogs for more handy tips & tricks like these!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

living the dream

The Sullivans are living their dream.

It’s what happens when an artist, a chef, business owners, and two active toddlers get together to make a decision about where they want to live. Actually, that’s only 4 people – Lisa, Brendan and their two kids, Ava and Fox, recently built their dream home on 10 acres of land just outside Windsor, Nova Scotia.

With a real passion to live a more sustainable lifestyle, which includes the slow-food movement, their new home was built around the kitchen. But I’ll get back to that.

Their build included using reclaimed timbers, sustainable cork floors, and pine plank flooring as integral parts of the design found throughout the entire house.

Their home also features a large cold storage room. Based on “old-fashioned physics”, the air-tight room is equipped with 2 vents – one up and one down. In the Fall, they open the lower vent and close the upper one so that the outside air goes into the cold storage room and sinks. When the air in the storage room reaches the desired temperature, the bottom vent is also closed so it’s trapped in the room. Adjustments are made as the outside temperature changes with the seasons.

Their land is incredibly unique because they are quite literally right next door to the elementary school. It’s about 100 ft. from door-to-door for Ava on school days. And they have a wonderful view of Martock Ski Hill from all the windows on the other side of the house.

But they also have space for 32 chickens and 2 pigs (dubbed Snuffy and Wilber) that will find themselves contributing to their food supply. Did I mention Icecream and Milkshake, the pet goats? What about Banjo the puppy? They all find lots of room to peck, root, nibble, sniff, and roam around the property.

In the spring, they also planted a small orchard of 26 apple trees that will be fruitful for years to come.

There is a 100 x 100 ft. garden that will produce squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, asparagus, strawberries and more.

And of course, all the herbs any chef would want in abundance like basil, parsley, sage, oregano and cilantro are also grown. In fact, the day rouge visited, Brendan turned a garbage bag full of basil into jars and jars of the best pesto I’ve ever tasted. It was hard to find room on the expansive countertops for them because of all the recent pickling and canning Lisa had just finished. A skill she learned from her Grandma.

Now, you can probably understand why the kitchen truly is the heart of this home. It features a beautiful, large custom-made table that can easily seat 10, a kid’s booth for arts and crafts (or extra seating while entertaining a big crowd), and a wall of windows that offer a spectacular view and tons of light.

Rouge is excited to help put the finishing touches on this kitchen – a little added storage, some increased functionality of what’s already there, and a little boost pull together the overall design. We’re inspired by the beautiful design and the commitment to living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Friday, September 11, 2009

rouge is stylin'!

rouge has recently learned that a senior editor is a fan and frequent reader of the just a little rouge blog! We are thrilled, of course, because rouge is a big fan of theirs – the magazine, the website, and the blogs.

Here’s something you may get a kick out of…their latest project is the Style at Home Makeover Contest. The contest invites Canadians to share a photo of a room in their home that’s in desperate need of a makeover. Whether it’s a kitchen that’s buried under a sea of clutter or a bedroom that’s just plain boring, they want to see pictures of rooms that need a decorating overhaul.

There are two grand prizes of $2,000 each in Home Depot gift certificates, plus 20 $50 Home Depot gift cards are up for grabs, just for voting and posting comments. Visit for more info (and full contest details).

Prizes aside, it’s incredibly entertaining to browse the entries submitted so far (over 450 entries), as well as reading advice other people have offered in comments.

Be sure you check out my very own entry…. “Airing my dirty laundry”. Vote for it after September 25!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

dining chair makeover

I have been without dining chairs for almost 3 months now. Which makes it sort of difficult to sit at the table for a meal. When I sold my old ones on kijiji, I didn’t think it would be hard to replace them with something I really liked. I just added it to my “to do” list.

Aside from the fabulous “ghost chair”, that sells for about $400 each (craziness!), not much out there was really grabbing me. I think the problem was that I really couldn’t decide what would look best. Maybe it was best to wait for a bit until I see something I really like...

I have an old harvest table that I got in a swap with a friend (she wanted a smaller table, I wanted a bigger one). I painted it black, fixed the drawer and added new hardware. For seating on one side of the table, I used a large vintage bench, complete with the original tufted leather and chrome frame/ legs. I got this gem for free when I rescued it from the junk pile that was being thrown out by a previous employer who was cleaning house to gain more storage. All I had to do was scrub off 30 years of dirt and dust. I love both of these pieces because they are originals and because they come together to make an interesting and eclectic look.

All that to say I was really having difficulty choosing two chairs to complete the seating around the table. And I thought it would be easy!?!

As I was trolling the good ‘ol Army Navy Store on Agricola Street, I saw these typical hotel/conference room chairs. Nothing to get too excited about…except I really liked the shape. Looking past the 80’s pink itchy fabric, there was some potential here.

For 10 bucks each, I figured I’d give it a shot. Next, I headed to Fabricville and scooped up some heavy-duty vinyl that looked a lot like the leather on my bench for $30. I re-upholstered the seat back myself…after a slightly frustrating hour spent trying to figure out how they came apart (!).

Because I wanted to be sure these chairs could stand some wear and tear, and because I wanted to make sure they looked more professional than the attempt I could make, I took the seats (and the rest of the fabric) to a professional upholsterer.

And I’m glad I did. For $60, he replaced the foam, re-upholstered the seats – complete with piping -
in an hour. I took them home, popped them back into place and…voila! Now I have two dining chairs that look kinda like vintage 1950’s diner chairs for $55 each.

They are a great fit with the existing table and bench. All together, I love the set…it’s original to me and it perfectly fits the style of my home.