Category Archives: Oza Home Improvement

New Kitchen Trends for 2017

We kick off each year at the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, exploring the latest introductions from top brands and designers that will refresh your home. From innovative materials to color and hardware trends, there is no shortage of new ideas to take away and apply to your own kitchen or bath. Whether you’re ready for a renovation or just craving a quick fix for an old room, find inspiration in the most exciting trends that caught our eye at the show.

Matte BlackTrade in typical chrome, bronze, or stainless-steel finishes for sleek matte black, seen on everything from faucets to outdoor kitchens and window finishes. Clockwise from top: Free-standing outdoor kitchen made with Dekton by Cosentino for Brown Jordan, brownjordanoutdoorkitchens.com; Vettis closed-spout single-handle sink faucet by Brizo, brizo.com; contemporary casement with matte black hardware, and detail of hardware by Marvin, marvin.com

Industrial TouchesTextured knurling details give a modern, craftsman-like quality to faucets and hardware. Knurled lever industrial lever handle by Brizo, brizo.com, and Italian Campo U-spout lavatory faucet by ROHL, rohlhome.com

ColorWhile gray dominated color schemes last year, bright hues are in for 2017, as seen in appliances, cabinets, and tile. Clockwise from top left: 6th Avenue tiles by Walker Zanger, walkerzanger.com; Amora vanity in navy by Ronbow, ronbow.com; Crown vent hood by Best, bestrangehoods.com; Quartz Luxe sink in Maraschino by Elkay, elkay.com; outdoor grill in prince by Hestan, hestanoutdoor.com

CustomizationNow more than ever your kitchen and bath can feel personal and unique. Custom options for finishes and hardware range from pattern to color, and appliances like Liebherr’s refrigerator become modular with custom configurations. Clockwise from top left: Script decorative enamel works lever in celeste blue wave by Kallista, kallista.com; custom finish and hardware wine refrigerator by True, true-residential.com; customized refrigerator configuration by Liebherr, liebherr.com

How to Keep Your House Clean for Longer Than 5 Minutes

So you’ve scrubbed every corner of your home until it’s sparkling. But what does it look like a few hours later? Chances are, not nearly as neat (and, for some of us, like a tornado came through). According to Becky Rapinchuk, the expert behind the blog Clean Mamaand the author of Simply Clean, the secret to ensuring your house stays relatively tidy between deep-cleans is to do a few quick chores every day to keep things in order. Before you turn in for the night, keep reading for your room-by-room to-do list.

In the living room

Every night, do a quick pickup of anything you spot out of place on the floor; think toys, TV remotes, old issues of AD. Then, turn your focus to the sofa, refolding throw blankets and fluffing up pillows. “A daily run-through-and-grab of any errant items is much easier than a weekly full-on cleanup,” explains Rapinchuk.

In the kitchen

“A clean sink is the symbol of a clean kitchen!” says Rapinchuk. “But in order for a sink to be clean, the dishes have to be done.” First things first: Make sure you’ve unloaded the dishwasher so there’s room for a new batch of dirty plates and cutlery. Once the last dish is put away after dinner, give the sink a scrub. “You’ll be happy in the morning that you don’t have a sink full of dishes staring back at you,” notes Rapinc​huk. Last, wipe down the counters to get rid of any pesky bacteria.

In the bathrooms

Wiping down your toothpaste-splattered counters every day is the secret to a bathroom that at least looks neat. But Rapinchuck also suggests keeping a squeegee on hand to remove soap scum from the tile after you shower, then immediately hanging your towels so they have a proper chance to dry. “This simple little habit will reap big results that will save you time in the long run,” she says.

In the bedrooms

Your mother was right about this one—you’ve got to make your bed. “Pull up the covers and put the pillows back on your bed when you get up, or before you leave the house,” says Rapinchuk. “This little step will pull your whole bedroom together.​” Next, gather dirty clothes off the ground and put them in a hamper. “Any objects on the floor should be picked up daily to avoid overwhelm and mess.”

How to Make Over Your Ugly Air Vents

Central air conditioning is a luxury, yes, but it does come with one particularly unsightly problem: air vents. Look around any room and your eyes are likely to snag on bright white slats marring otherwise perfectly lovely ceilings, walls, and floors. But all hope is not lost: We’ve found some genius solutions to this design dilemma, whether you want hide a vent completely or make it stand out in a good way. It might seem hard to fathom, but with the help of these ideas, it’s possible to forget those air vents were ever there.

Conceal it

Out of sight, out of mind. Architect and designer Ernesto Santalla covered the air vents in this home with architectural millwork. With its floating shelf, the installation looks like a piece of furniture.

Paint it

Hide an air vent in plain sight with a fresh coat of the same paint color you used on the walls. Voila!

Switch out the cover

Say goodbye to those sad slats and replace them with a piece of framed, patterned mesh. In illustrator and designer Jacqueline Schmidt’s bathroom, the vent is an artistic detail rather than an eyesore.

Go shopping

Aria Vent sells minimalist vents “designed for the perfectionist,” which you can customize to match your flooring, then pop into place yourself.

Details of Tile Grout Key?

There’s no denying the importance of grout color in a kitchen or bath. “The selection of grout can truly define the character of a space based on the amount of contrast and rhythm that is introduced. The job of grout is to bring out the best in the tile or stone that it surrounds,” says Philadelphia-based interior designer Ashli Mizell. But there is one detail you may have overlooked: the spacing between the tiles. In other words, how thick the lines of grout are. “Regardless of color, keep the joints as tight as possible for a cleaner, more tailored look,” explains Mizell. “In some cases, the best result is no grout at all!”

When she does choose a grout color, Mizell takes a simple approach: “I typically prefer a grout color that represents a shade of color found within the tile or stone, and that provides a subtle contrast for definition,” she says. “I generally avoid pure white and absolute black, as these are often too harsh and can overshadow the natural material. However, once you have considered all of the elements in play, don’t be afraid to be bold!”

According to Mizell, your color options are almost endless. Along with black and white, there are lighter neutrals, grays, and browns, and even shades of green, red, and blue grout to choose from. Of course, don’t forget to consider function, too. “Bright whites are certainly harder to maintain than medium or darker shades,” notes Mizell. Thankfully, with her advice, you really can’t go wrong.

How to Clean Velvet Furniture

Choosing velvet furniture is choosing to make a bold style statement in your space—there’s no ignoring its soft sheen, rich color, and innate elegance. But velvet’s commanding presence also means that any discoloration or stains are that much more visible. Anthropologie’s website has pages of velvet sofas and chairs to peruse, so who better to ask for advice on cleaning and caring for these luxurious pieces? According to Anne White, the brand’s head of home interiors personal styling, the first thing you should think about is actually completely unrelated to the furniture. “If you’ve opted for a bright, richly pigmented color, like navy or chartreuse, we recommend avoiding direct sunlight, which can cause the fabric to fade,” she says. “Consider window coverings substantial enough to protect your piece but lovely enough to catch the eye. The technology for window films, which block the sun’s rays without blocking your view, has improved and may be another avenue to explore.” All you need to do to the item itself is give it a good dusting. “We recommend regular vacuuming,” says White. “A soft brush can also loosen surface dirt and brush it away.”

If someone does happen to spill their cocktail on your couch, White suggests blotting the area immediately with a clean, dry absorbent cloth. But she doesn’t recommend any further spot cleaning. “It’s best to professionally clean the entire piece to ensure the color remains uniform,” she explains. “To ensure your velvet furniture remains in optimal condition, you should have it professionally cleaned with pure, water-free solvents.” If a dried stain is staring you in the face and you just can’t help but do something about it, test any cleaning products (even basic soap and water) on a hidden spot to ensure it doesn’t ruin the fabric. “Once the velvet is dry, use a soft, dry brush in the direction of the pile to restore its direction and loft,” adds White. Next up? Sit back, relax, and enjoy your good-as-new upholstery.

Cleaning Tips for the Things You’re Forgetting

Vacuum, mop, dust—cleaning one’s home tends to be a checklist of the same tasks on repeat. But while you’re busy wiping down that same table for the fiftieth time, items you never thought to wash are under full assault by germs and dust mites. “I think that a lot of people have a regular rotation of things they clean in their house, but you tend to get in a rut,” says Joss & Main style director Donna Garlough. We grilled her on the most neglected household items:

Curtains

“It may not seem like they get terribly dirty, but they get a lot of household dust, pollen, and dander,” says Garlough. “And if you have a wood-burning fireplace, that can cause a lot of buildup.”

How to clean them: If your curtains are made of linen or silk with complicated detailing, head to the dry cleaner. But simple cotton ones with grommets can go straight in the washing machine. “I like to hang dry,” says Garlough. “I think they get less wrinkled.”

Throw Pillows

You know those throw pillows you rest your head on while binging on Netflix? They’re veritable dust bombs. But it’s not just the cover that needs cleaning; the insert is where dust mites accumulate.

How to clean them: Vacuuming throw pillows can loosen up all that dust, but the inserts themselves can benefit from a toss in the wash. Unexpectedly, inserts made of feathers are much more tolerable of washing than synthetics. Afterward, put them in the dryer on a low heat cycle so you don’t damage the fabric.

Outdoor furniture

Frequent weather exposure means more maintenance, particularly if the pieces are wood. In addition to the usual dust and spider webs, they can splinter and gather pollen after going unused for a couple months.

How to clean them: Use a homemade solution of vinegar and water to scrub wooden pieces before you oil them. If you have upholstered furniture, wipe it down with a wet rag at the beginning and end of the season.

Throw blankets

Most people fluff their pillows and call it a day. But that blanket you drape over the couch for cozy evenings? It’s probably filthy—particularly if you have pets, says Garlough.

How to clean them: Toss them in the wash. If they have tassels, use cold water on a delicate cycle.

Bath mats

The feet and shoes of every person that walks into your bathroom come in contact with your bath mat, yet usually they’re left in the unwashed abyss.

How to clean them: Throw the mats in the washing machine every couple of weeks, or at least once a month, Garlough suggests. If it has a rubber backing to avoid slipping, avoid the dryer and just drape it over a railing or clothesline.

Ways to Conceal an Air Conditioner

Window and wall air conditioners are the definition of an eyesore. They’re bulky, ugly, loud…and hard to give up. Admit it, there’s nothing better than entering a cool room on a blazing hot day. Luckily, this dilemma is nothing a few design tricks can’t solve. Concealing the machine entirely is your best bet (this is one of the few times paint isn’t the answer), and there are multiple ways to go about it without sacrificing style. Here are some of our favorite ideas:

Curtains

Designer Doug Meyer hung a wall of ball bearings in this living room, which he says “slightly moves, almost creating this kinetic sculpture” when the A/C is turned on.

Custom covers

Wooden slats allow air to flow through but appear to be just another architectural detail. They blend in even further when they’re an extension to another furnishing, like kitchen cabinetry or a floating shelf.

Cabinets

Lockers have built-in vents, making them the perfect vestibule for your A/C. A tall bespoke cabinet can conceal a unit located higher on a wall. (But note you’ll need to open the doors to get the breeze.)

Plants

Dealing with a central air conditioning unit in your backyard? Hide it behind a wall of wooden planks, then attach floating shelves filled with greenery to distract the eye. Even easier: a trellis covered in climbing plants.

Wicker Furniture Care Tips

Wicker furniture isn’t just for country houses anymore. Even the most minimalist of spaces can benefit from the addition of these warm natural-fiber pieces—that is, until they start to age. Left alone, the furniture will eventually become brittle, warped, and potentially too damaged to sit on. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; a few protective measures will go a long way, says Alison Davin of San Francisco interior design firm Jute Home. Here’s what you’ll need to do to ensure your beloved bench or perfect pair of armchairs never falls into disrepair.

Keep furniture inside

Although your wicker and rattan pieces probably look fantastic out on your deck, it’s best to use them indoors or on a completely protected porch, where they aren’t subject to the weather. “The sun causes the fibers to become dry and brittle and the glue joints to loosen,” Davin explains. “Conversely, too much moisture from dew, rain, and snow can cause the furniture’s rattan and hardwood frames to warp.”

Clean it like any other surface

“Wicker and rattan furniture should be kept as dust-free as possible by vacuuming it regularly using the soft-bristle brush attachment,” says Davin. “For dust and dirt in hard-to-reach crevices, try a new dry paintbrush.” If you live in a particularly arid climate, Davin suggests buffing your pieces with furniture polish to keep them supple: “Start at the top and work down, paying extra attention to crevices and any spots that are noticeably drier.” Of course, humidity isn’t great either—it can cause mold or mildew. If that’s the case, brush off the furniture, then clean it with a mixture of bleach and water. “Allow the furniture to dry completely,” says Davin, “ideally outside in direct sunlight on a windy day.”

But use water sparingly

“Remove any spills or dirt with a damp cloth and a small amount of diluted Murphy Oil Soap,” recommends Davin. “Some people spray wicker down with a hose and then clean it, but, in my experience, this extra water contributes to the breakdown of woven furniture over time.”

Comfort is key (literally)

Don’t sit directly on the wicker, says Davin: “Padded cushions will add years to the seats of wicker and rattan chairs, sofas and chaises.”

Ways to Remove Water Stains from Wood

Being in the middle of a great party is the best feeling—you’re surrounded by the buzz of conversation, the clink of glasses, the glow of candles. But then there’s the worst feeling, which you are sure to experience when you catch sight of the water rings dotting your coffee table the next day. Luckily, just like all the dirty glasses, these spots can disappear fast. “White rings on wood furniture reflect the moisture that has soaked into the top layers of the wood finish. Basically, it’s moisture that gets into wax, which naturally clouds up,” explains Sabrina Fierman, vice president of luxury cleaning service New York’s Little Eves. Here are her tried-and-true methods for removing those pesky marks:

A hair dryer

Put your hair dryer on its lowest setting and direct it at the water ring. “Be sure to move the dryer around so there is no direct heat and the wood doesn’t overheat,” warns Fierman.

Mayonnaise or petroleum jelly

Apply a dab of either substance with a soft cloth and rub it into the mark in a circular motion. “If the stain is not removed completely, apply more product and leave on for an hour or two and try again.” In fact, Fierman says you can leave it on as long as overnight.

Toothpaste

Look for one that’s non-gel and non-whitening, then apply it to the wood in the same direction as the grain, says Fierman. Remove the paste, then use a wood polish to make the surface shine.

Steel wool

Fierman suggests asking your hardware store for the finest grade steel wool available—you don’t want to scratch your table. Use it to gently rub lemon oil in the wood in the direction of the grain. “Tread carefully and do not go beyond the confines of the stain or you can further damage the finish,” she says.

Over-the-counter products

“I like Old Craftsmen’s Brand’s White Ring Spot Remover,” says Fierman. “I also like an old-fashioned product called Jubilee Kitchen Wax. It’s very good for a variety of surfaces, including wood, enamel, and Formica, and protects surfaces from moisture that causes rings in the first place.”

Here’s Why Your House Is Always So Freaking Dusty

One day, your home is sparkling clean, the next, it’s covered in a layer of dust. There might be no more frustrating housekeeping conundrum, and we’ve all been there. Perhaps endless dust is just one of those things we have to learn to deal with, but Kadi Dulude, owner of New York City cleaning service Wizard of Homes, names a handful of reasons your home could be particularly dirt-prone—plus the best ways to tackle the grime. Get ready for a few aha! moments. . .
You keep the windows open
Fresh air isn’t the only thing streaming into your home, especially if you live in a busy city or are near roadwork.

You have a lot of synthetic upholstery
“I notice that synthetic materials attract more dust than natural surfaces like wood and stone,” says Dulude. Grab your vacuum to suck up any dust that’s settled on your sofa or armchairs. “Every once in while, I would also recommend steam cleaning,” she adds.
You recently renovated (or your neighbor did)
“Construction dust is difficult to get out as it keeps floating in the air and slowly settles over a long period of time,” explains Dulude.
You have wall-to-wall carpeting
Rugs and carpets trap dust so well that it seems like it’s not there. “You need a very good vacuum cleaner that gets it out; vacuum at least once a week,” Dulude says. “Also, use a steam cleaner twice a year to kill dust mites and allergens.” In fact, when it comes to those with allergies, Dulude recommends forgoing wall-to-wall carpeting altogether.
Your AC unit’s filter is dirty
When it’s working properly, your window air conditioning unit will trap any particles in the air from coming inside. This is not the case when the filter is full; while you may be basking in a cool living room, your air quality won’t be the best. Dulude recommends checking filters frequently and cleaning them according to the company’s instructions as soon as you notice any dust buildup. (If that seems like a giant commitment, at least wash them once before summer begins and once at the end of the season.)
You only dry dust
Whipping out your feather duster might seem productive, but all you’re actually doing is moving the particles around. “Dry dusting is effective for daily upkeep, but to really get the dust out, you need to trap it and get it off with a wet cloth,” explains Dulude. Afterwards, she recommends polishing the surface with a dry microfiber cloth.