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Where Do You Put Your Litter Box??

Now that we’re spending so much time inside, we are confronted, face to face, with our own disgustingness. (Showering with disappointing frequency? Same here. Eating cheese straight out of the bag? Thought it was just an archetype, but nope, here we are…) But today, I want to shift blame and focus on something else: our cats’ disgustingness.

Unless you’re one of the few who have trained your cat to use a toilet (which, I know you can do, but HOW?), you probably have to deal with the litter box and all the grossness that inevitably comes along with it. But honestly, it’s not the litter — it’s the aesthetics of this gray, lumbering, plastic monstrosity. It’s just…so THERE. All the time. Today, we are going to work together to tackle this problem.

Here’s the truth: this is a new annoyance for me. I adopted my cat, Buffalo, nearly 7 years ago and have never had an opinion about her litter box — I’ve always acknowledged it as a necessary evil and tolerated it as one of the things that just goes along with cat ownership.

But y’all, I now desperately need some help because I AM NOW LOOKING AT THIS BOX ALL THE TIME. I know someone out here has a smart fix that I can implement and I WANT YOUR HELP. 

This is it. Welcome to my kitchen — linoleum floor, 1930s cabinets (nothing says “vintage LA apartment” like 90-year old doors that don’t close), tile countertops, and my new nemesis: the litter box. This is truly the only spot in my house where I can keep it — and size-wise, it does feel like a perfect little alcove — so I’m trying to make it work. 

But here’s the root of my problem: when I walk into my kitchen now (which is probably about once every 30 minutes, if I’m being honest), it’s ALL I can look at. It simultaneously takes up too much space (it sticks out a little, length-wise) and not enough space (there’s a ton of room on both sides). I need your help here because it feels so easy and fixable and I just want to cross SOMETHING off my to-do list. 

Here’s what I’m considering: 

  • I’ve seen people cut holes in custom furniture, but that doesn’t really make sense for this space…or does it? What piece could go here that makes sense?
  • Do those fake plant litter boxes ACTUALLY look good in person? Maybe that? 
  • Maybe I can do a tension rod across and just curtain if off? But what about the opening at the top? 
  • Should I try and build a window breakfast bar (I do think I have enough space for 2 barstools — I have about 6’ of window space) and hope that it just distracts from the box down below? 
  • Do I just stop getting snacks every 5 minutes, therefore reducing my exposure to the litter box? (Probably not a terrible idea to at least try and implement this a little, honestly) 
  • ??? 

In an effort to solve this conundrum, I asked some fellow cat owners from team EHD how they manage their litter (read: I wrote a bunch of complaints about it in Slack and asked someone to figure out a fix) but it turns out that we all have our struggles. (Just like everyone else, baby!)

Sara

I truly CANNOT believe Caitlin convinced me to take a photo of my current litter box situation and then post it on the internet for everyone to see. There are at least 10 different health code violations happening in this corner of my house, and about 7 of them are related to the color palette of my kitchen. Do we think it’s disgusting to have our litter box in our kitchen? Yes. Do we think it’s even more disgusting to have our litter box under our open pantry? Extremely yes. But where else does it go? In our living room? Our BEDROOM? We’ve no room for it in our bathroom. We also have the fun chore of figuring out where to hide a second litter box, because we have two cats (the second one is currently in our empty master bathroom, which is literally just a box with subflooring and drywall). HELP.

Veronica

My roommates and I were very lucky to find an apartment with an enclosed balcony even though we didn’t have the plan of getting a cat when we moved in. We adopted our sweet lil’ kitten about a month ago and keep his litter box on the balcony. My roommate and I share the balcony and both have doors that lead out there, so one of us always keeps a door open so he can access it. Pros are that it is out of the way and any litter that gets out of the box is already outside. 🙂 Cons are that the second we go to clean that baby, the smell hits us HARD. “

Emily’s Solution

Now I, Emily, was able to customize a piece that worked about 50% better than a normal litter box, but the flap didn’t work and inside that cabinet, the litter collected everywhere. Sometimes Bear would just get lazy and pee on the floor, basically ruining our cement tiles. It is a fancy solution that I liked because we didn’t have to look at it, but it wasn’t a perfect solution. “

photo by tessa neustadt | from: how we styled our living room to sell

In our last house it was in that small closet in the middle of the hallway, making it basically a poop closet and we had to keep it open all the time (we could have/should have just put a cat door on that I realize now). But we sacrificed a whole closet AND the litter would get all over the hallway as they would hop out which was the more disgusting part.

Now, I personally think that Caitlin should build that breakfast table and I actually love her tension rod ” curtain” idea underneath. There is something really cute/funny about a cat having to go behind a curtain to use the restroom.”

Ok, it’s Caitlin again. As Sara embarks on her kitchen remodel and I stare aimlessly at the gray plastic lump in my kitchen, what is actually our best option? (Any time I write a question like this, I feel like Carrie Bradshaw.) Should Sara consider building a permanent litter cabinet in her next pantry? Should I consider trying to build a longer version of Emily’s custom piece (maybe it could be a window seat, albeit a narrow one)? THOUGHTS?

At the end of the day, there is so much I will endure for my cat — I will pick up tumbleweeds of fur; I will embrace her preternatural ability to shed the tightest-woven upholstery fabric; I will cheer as she channels her inner Usain Bolt at 2 AM and employs my home as her track (though I am kind of starting to understand the impulse, TBH).

But this is litter problem is so SMALL and fixable and I think changing something will actually make me happier. Please advise. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE. (And also thanks to Emily, who let me hijack her blog for an afternoon so I could crowdsource opinions. There’s no one I’d trust more to design AND decide than y’all :))

Buuuut if you are also at your wits’ end and are looking for a quick and easy solution, here are some pretty stellar options that Emily and the team rounded up:

  1. The Designer Catbox | 2. The Refined Feline’s Enclosed Litter Box | 3. Antique White Ginny Litter Box Enclosure | 4. Spruce Wood Cat Litter Box | 5. Mize Litter Box Enclosure | 6. Dyad Wooden Cat Litter Box Alpine White | 7. White Grinnell Litter Box Enclosure | 8. Plant Litter Box | 9. Freda Litter Box

The post Where Do You Put Your Litter Box?? appeared first on Emily Henderson.

Idea House Build: Let the Light In | Cottage on the Cape (E2)

Installing windows at the Cottage on the Cape Idea House.

In episode 2 of the Idea House Build: Cottage on the Cape series, Matt explains the roof layers that will be installed after the last of the sheathing goes down, and Pete installs a Velux skylight. Back on the ground, a Bilco ScapeWell gets installed for egress and added light in the basement.

Previous episode: Idea House Build: Cottage on the Cape (E1) | Next episode: Coming soon

In this episode:

Dry-in is almost complete at the Cottage on the Cape. Matt explains the multi-layered roofing system that will be installed when the sheathing is completed. With the sheathing over the ADU finished, Chris joins Pete on the roof to see how the skylights will fit in with the layers and learn how the opening will be made water-tight. Back on the ground, a ScapeWell gets built along the side of the house for additional egress and provide natural light to the finished end of the basement, and Chris jumps in to help with the install.

Locations:

Cape Associates

Products/Resources:


About the Idea House Build Series:

Join This Old House Pro2Pro Editor Chris Ermides as we chronicle the build of the 2020 Idea Houses in two new video series, Idea House Build: Cottage on the Cape and Idea House Build: Farmhouse in Fairfield County. Follow along as we document everything from breaking ground to the home transformation journey, as well as inspire and educate about the latest products and trends in the industry.

A Totally Thrifted (and Weird) House Tour Full of Fantastical Style Risks

In the spirit of shaking up our visual sameness, I am craving spaces that are inspirationally weird, and yet doable. I want approachably odd, refreshingly brave, with some risks taken that can take me on a fantasy during these lock down times. We shot this house for Styled, and you may have seen some of the photos but never seen it all together. It’s the former home of vintage picker Mike Andrews. It’s a loft apartment that looks 100% personal and yet totally timeless (HOT LIFE TIP – when it’s personal it’s always timeless). I love a creative non-designer’s home because there is a level of brave risk-taking that can easily be trained out of a “Professional Designer” in the name of function and sophistication (speaking from personal experience, I assure you). So while we all can’t go out to thrift and garage sale search right now (although Chairish, Etsy, eBay, and Instagram are all up and running), we can get some visual fantasy going to keep our eyes interested during this monotony.

So Jess is going to walk you through what Mike did RIGHT, how this loft looks interesting but not insane, and the style risks taken that succeeded in making this space worth looking at 5 years later.

Ok, so this apartment is nothing but visually exciting. It’s beautifully chaotic, yet with everything having a specific place and working together harmoniously, not chaotic at all. How? Well, there are a lot of things that Mike did right. He kept a relatively tonal color palette with pops of bright color, LOTS of visual texture and seamlessly mixed in different styles of art and furniture like a true vintage ninja.

However, there is one main element above all that makes this home, work… That “element” is his incredible array of collections. From art pieces to objects, this house is full of “visual abundance”. I’ll explain what I mean in a second.

Yes, when you want your home to be filled with your timeless treasures, the best way to show them off (in a way that will be impactful and not look like disorganized random clutter) is by displaying them in bulk. Think Costco but if Costco was a beautiful vintage heaven.

Side note can we first applaud that adorable little easel (it’s so cute it hurts). Then we need to seriously high five him (high five? What am I bro now?) that he not only put those mini 3-D busts in those cloches but also chose art with a different “type of bust” in the two lower pieces of framed art right behind them. It makes it feel so cohesive, multidimensional and very cool.

Now for some food for thought. When you go to a flea market or thrift store there is that moment when your eyes pop out of your head because your brain is overloaded with the joy that can only come from vintage decor shopping (in person). And at these flea markets and thrift stores, vendors typically display their goods in collections of similar items. It’s that intense sensory stimulation that you want to be able to bring back into your space. The sad part is you usually don’t because you will likely only buy “one cool decorative plate” instead of the whole set. Money sadly does not grow on trees, as I have been told my entire life. But I am still crossing my fingers for it to one day reveal itself to us so all of us so we can buy the whole set if we so choose.

This theory is not mine. So back in November, I was listening to a Goop podcast episode with designer, Ingrid Fetell Lee (yes, I am one of those annoying people that refer to podcasts WAY too much). She and Elise started talking about this idea of sensory stimulation and visual abundance. All of a sudden it all made sense!

How many of us have gone to the flea market and grabbed a special but simple little object only to feel a little less in love with it when you got home? Ya, me too. Likely the reason why was the “visual abundance” of the collection of those objects ALL together made you feel overjoyed and is actually why you fell in love – it was the collection, not the individual object.

I bet you didn’t expect us to get this deep with a house tour, did ya? Well, don’t worry the theories are done and now let’s just focus on this incredibly unique home again.


Hot Tip

When you have a lot of collections in one space consider displaying them in grids like Mike did all over his loft. This way you still get to show off your treasures but they will look less visually chaotic.

Another reason why this home and its collections work is because almost all of them have an old world feel even if they are actually new world. That could be the shape, material, an/or patina.

Em has this general rule/belief that anything can stylistically go together if they live within the same color palette and the materials speak to each other. Honestly, I think this a big ingredient in the secret sauce of her success. A room will look far more interesting and special if you play with styles that “don’t” traditionally go together.

One example in this home is that beautiful, traditional dresser placed next to that giant red toothbrush. Unlikely friends? Sure. But does it look so fun and cool? “Yes. yes. A thousand times yes!”

The moral of the story is that homes filled with personal treasures take time to create. But that is also the beauty of designing your own space. It’s always evolving and becoming more you as you change and grow. The important thing is to take risks (why not?! buy the toothbrush!) and if you want to start some collections be intentional about them. This way, someday when you walk into your home your eyes pop out of your head because your brain is overloaded with the joy.

Once again normal is boring, let’s get weird.

So the real question is WHAT COLLECTIONS DO YOU HAVE? Do you plan to start one now? What are the little things that make your heart skip a beat? Do you agree with the “visual abundance” theory? I want to hear all about it.

Love you, mean it.

**Styled by Scott Horne and Me
***Photos by David Tsay

The post A Totally Thrifted (and Weird) House Tour Full of Fantastical Style Risks appeared first on Emily Henderson.

#168: Our Florida Renovation Kicks Off With (Surprise!) A Plumbing Issue

We knew our new house in Florida would involve some big repairs, but we didn’t anticipate a certain plumbing curveball to get lobbed our way (although given our past plumbing luck, maybe we should have seen this coming). So this week we’re sharing how it popped up, why it cost thousands of dollars, and what we’re doing to resolve it. And with so many people suddenly working from home, we’re sharing our top tips for being productive in a home office (even a temporary one) – including what has and hasn’t worked for us over the last decade. Plus, the app that’s blowing our minds and the binge-worthy show that we still can’t believe.

You can download this episode from Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherTuneIn Radio, and Spotify – or listen to it below! 

What’s New

  • Well, our plumbing “curse” followed us to Florida with the revelation that our house was NOT hooked up to the county sewer system, as the real estate listing indicated.

Continue reading #168: Our Florida Renovation Kicks Off With (Surprise!) A Plumbing Issue at Young House Love.

How to Cut Stone with Hand Tools

Ask This Old House mason Mark McCullough demonstrates various techniques for cutting stone with hand tools.

Steps:

1. Mark first demonstrated how to cut stone using a feather and wedge system:
a. Start by drilling holes in the stone along the line you want to cut.
b. Place the feathers on the outside of the hole and the wedge in between them.
c. Gently tap on the wedges using a hammer. Listen carefully and pay close attention to the vibrations in the hammer to ensure the rock is splitting slowly and carefully. This step should take some time.
d. Keep tapping on the wedges as needed until the stone splits.

2. Mark then demonstrated how to cut stone using a hand tracer:
a. Identify the line for the desired cut.
b. Place the hand tracer straight down on the line and tap the end of it with the hammer.
c. Slide the hand tracer along the line, tapping it with the hammer as you go. The goal is to create a channel for the tracer to eventually slide into.
d. Continue to slide the tracer and hit it with the hammer along this line until the stone splits.

3. Finally, Mark explained how to smooth out edges and cuts using a hand point:
a. Point the hand point along the bottom edge of any bumps.
b. Gently tap the hand point with a hammer and try to get underneath the bump.
c. Continue this process slowly and carefully until the bump separates from the stone.


Resources:

Mark demonstrated a variety of stone cutting tools, including feather and wedges, a hand tracer, and a hand point. These can all be found at home centers and masonry supply stores.


Shopping:

Stones


Tools:

Touring the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.

Ask This Old House landscape contractor Jenn Nawada travels to Washington D.C. to see the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Resources:

Jenn toured the National Mall during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which occurs every Spring to celebrate the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Japan to the United States in the Spring of 1912.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by the National Mall and Memorial Parks Park Service and Cordt Gardens, LLC

S41 E17: Cape Ann Shingle Style

Homeowners John and Molly plan to put the history back into their 1890s shingle-style home. They’ll remove ‘70s carpet, repair cracking balusters and transform the front entry, restoring the home’s original beauty and updating it for modern living.

Previous episode: S41 E16 | Next episode: Posting on Apr. 5, 8pm ET

In this episode:

Kevin O’Connor sets the scene in Cape Ann, full of fishing and granite and picturesque harbors. He, Richard Trethewey, Tom Silva, Norm Abram and Jenn Nawada head to the house—a rambling 1890s shingle style that’s in need of a major overhaul.

Homeowner Molly gives Kevin a tour of the first floor, where they’ll convert a three-season porch to all-season, expose hardwood floors under the tattered carpet, refinish some of the beautiful historic woodwork and move the kitchen to the center of the home.

Homeowner John leads Tom to the second floor, where they’ll create a larger closet and updated bathroom in the master bedroom. Two additional bedrooms will also get altered into full suites. The third floor will be gutted and transformed into one guest bedroom and a playroom.

Richard shows Kevin the “archaeological dig” in the basement, tracing the heating back to when the house was first built. Ductwork was added at one point but very large and not very effective in the winter. More recently, a boiler was added to heat water for kitchen and bathrooms. In an adjacent area under the porch, they’ll pour a slab and lay radiant to make an exercise room. And the area under the new kitchen will become conditioned to make the kitchen easier to heat and cool.

Architect Thaddeus Siemasko discusses the design elements of Shingle Style with Norm and Charlie Silva and presents his design plan for the house. They’ll build a new garage and mudroom off the side and add a porch onto the front that’s more in keeping with the original style. Inside, they’ll create a more open floor plan that will require some engineering.

Jenn and Kevin walk the property, which is embedded in a woodland area covered with granite ledge. The homeowners want to keep the lot natural but will have to work with the ledge to create space for the garage and mudroom. Around the back, Jenn hopes to get rid of old beds and weeds and lay some sod. A paper birch by the existing garage will be saved.

Original Air Date: March 29, 2020 Season 41; Ep.17 23:43


Products and Services from this Episode:

Architect
SV Design

How to Replace Full Mortise Door Hardware

Ask This Old House carpenter Nathan Gilbert helps a homeowner to replace his traditional mortise hardware with hardware that locks.

Steps:

  1. Start by removing the old hardware. This can usually be done by removing a few screws in the door knobs, around the face plate, and the lockset.
  2. Fit the new lock body into the old mortise. If it’s a tight fit, try loosening the opening with a chisel to ensure the door doesn’t split during the installation.
  3. To ensure the lock body cover also fits in the old mortise, it may be necessary to chisel out some depth into the door. Secure the lock body into the door with a screw, trace the opening with a utility knife, then remove the lock body and chisel it out.
  4. If the holes for the lock body no longer line up with the holes on the face of the door, trace out the new holes using a pencil.
  5. Cut away the excess wood in the door using a rasp.
  6. Install the new hardware with the provided screws.
  7. Make any adjustments to the striker as needed to ensure a nice, tight fit.

Resources:

Nathan used reproduction door hardware, provided by Rejuvenation. In order to match the existing hardware, he purchased individual components that included Plain 2-in Door Knob, Colonial Revival Plate, Colonial Revival Plate with Thumbscrew, Replacement Privacy Strike Box Kit in Burnished Antique, 3-1/12 Inch Doorknob Spindle, and Privacy Mortise Lock, all in Burnished Antique finish.


Shopping:

Reproduction full mortise door hardware


Tools:

S18 E17: Cherry Blossoms, Mount Rushmore

The team travels to and appreciates different national parks and makes a few house calls.

Previous episode: S18 E16 | Next episode: Posting on Apr. 5, 8pm ET

In this episode:

Jenn travels to Washington D.C. to see the Cherry Blossom Festival and then helps a homeowner select and plant a cherry tree for his own house; Mark learns about how Mount Rushmore was built and demonstrates various techniques for cutting stone; Nathan visits Abraham Lincoln’s house in Springfield, IL. Then, he helps a homeowner to replace his traditional mortise hardware with hardware that locks.

Touring the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.

Jenn travels to Washington D.C. to see the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Where to find it?

Jenn toured the National Mall during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which occurs every Spring to celebrate the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Japan to the United States in the Spring of 1912.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by the National Mall and Memorial Parks Park Service and Cordt Gardens, LLC

How to Plant a Cherry Tree

Jenn helps a homeowner select and plant a cherry tree for his house.

Where to find it?

Jenn planted a Yoshino cherry, which grows best in Hardiness Zones 5-8 and can be purchased from a nursery or garden center.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Cordt Gardens, LLC

How Mount Rushmore was Created

Mark learns about how Mount Rushmore was built.

Where to find it?

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

How to Cut Stone with Hand Tools

Mark demonstrates various techniques for cutting stone with hand tools.

Where to find it?

Mark demonstrated a variety of stone cutting tools, including feather and wedges, a hand tracer, and a hand point. These can all be found at home centers and masonry supply stores.

Touring Abraham Lincoln’s House

Nathan visits Abraham Lincoln’s house in Springfield, IL.

Where to find it?

Nathan toured the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

How to Replace Full Mortise Door Hardware

Nathan helps a homeowner to replace his traditional mortise hardware with hardware that locks.

Where to find it?

Nathan used reproduction door hardware, provided by Rejuvenation. In order to match the existing hardware, he purchased individual components that included Plain 2in Door Knob, Colonial Revival Plate, Colonial Revival Plate with Thumbscrew, Replacement Privacy Strike Box Kit in Burnished Antique, 3-1/12 Inch Doorknob Spindle, and Privacy Mortise Lock, all in Burnished Antique finish.

Original Air Date: March 29, 2020 Season 18; Ep.17 23:43


Products and Services from this Episode

Side trips
National Cherry Blossom Festival
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Expert assistance
Cordt Gardens, LLC

Reproduction door hardware
Rejuvenation