Category: Interior Design


How To: Make a $5 Stool with Concrete

Take a seat! With just a few materials and a little bit of time, you can make this stylish, industrial-chic stool that can come to the rescue whenever you need an extra perch.

How to Make a Concrete Stool

Photo: quikrete.com

Do-it-yourselfers have a new favorite material: concrete. Inexpensive and versatile, it can be used in seemingly limitless ways, not only for large applications out in the yard, but also for smaller creations inside the house. Such projects require no special skills or prior experience. In fact, to make a straightforward stool like this one, all you really need are a few basic tools, a bucket, a wooden dowel, and some QUIKRETE® concrete mix. Easy to make and appealing in its pared-down look, the so-called bucket stool offers a wonderful introduction to the process of working with concrete. Perhaps best of all, it’s going to cost you only about $5!

 

MATERIALS AND TOOLS

How to Make a Concrete Stool - Materials Array

Photo: quikrete.com

- QUIKRETE® 5000 Concrete Mix
- 1  1/4″-diameter wooden dowel, 48″ long
- 5-gallon bucket
- Copper pipe caps and washers (optional)

 

STEP 1

How to Make a Concrete Stool - Cutting Legs

Photo: quikrete.com

Begin your concrete stool by preparing its three legs. Starting by cutting the 48-inch-long wooden dowel (available at your local hardware store or home center) into three equal 16-inch lengths. To make the cuts, use whatever type of saw you feel the most comfortable with; it doesn’t need to be a power tool like the circular saw shown in the photo. Be aware that the diameter of the dowel determines, to a large extent, the sturdiness of the stool. These instructions specify a dowel with a one-and-a quarter-inch diameter. While you can work with a dowel that’s wider, it’s best not to cut your legs from a dowel that’s any narrower than one inch. That said, if you find an old broomstick or rake handle whose diameter fits the bill, you may be able to save a little money and the hassle of a trip to the store.

 

STEP 2

How to Make a Concrete Stool - Mix

Photo: quikrete.com

OK, so what role does the bucket play? Well, for wet concrete to take on the right shape, the material must be placed into, and allowed to dry within, a form whose hollow space corresponds to the desired design. In this project, the bucket serves as the form because its circular interior conforms to the shape and size needed for the seat of the stool. If possible, use a bucket that has a smooth bottom interior; that way, no indentations end up on the top of the seat. Typically, you would mix the concrete separately and only then deposit it into the form. Here, the bucket serves double duty as both the form and the concrete-mixing vessel. First clean and dry the bucket, then pour in three inches of QUIKRETE® 5000 concrete mix. Next, add some water and thoroughly combine the two. Be careful not to use too much water. Doing so may result in weak concrete with a tendency to crumble. Mix the wet concrete until it takes on the consistency of cookie dough.

 

STEP 3

How to Make a Concrete Stool - Set Dowels

Photo: quikrete.com

Once you’ve mixed the concrete to the appropriate consistency, it’s important to dislodge the air bubbles suspended within the material. There’s an easy way to do this: Simply shake the bucket from side to side and repeatedly tap the exterior with either your hands or a hammer. When the concrete, now free of air bubbles, has settled, you’re ready to set in the stool legs. Stick each leg about an inch and a half into the concrete, letting its opposite end rest against the bucket. Pay attention to placement. Don’t place the legs close together; instead, try to place them equidistant apart. Once the legs are in position, wait about a full day for the concrete to dry.

 

STEP 4

How to Make a Concrete Stool - Caps

Photo: quikrete.com

When the concrete has cured, you can move on to the “unveiling”—that is, taking the virtually complete stool out of the bucket. To do so, bend the sides of the bucket outward in all directions, gently detaching the concrete from the form. Next, pull the stool out by the legs—it should come out easily, but if you run into trouble, you can always cut away the plastic. Inspect the concrete seat and, if desired, smooth any rough edges with 120-grit sandpaper (at this point, the concrete still ought to be easily workable). Finally, address the legs. If your stool came out a bit wobbly, or if you’d simply like to add some decorative flair, then go ahead and attach washers and copper pipe caps to the ends of the legs. To keep those caps from moving, you may opt to secure them in place with construction adhesive, but it’s not strictly necessary. Before capping the legs, you may also consider painting, staining, or dip-dyeing the legs with semi-gloss house paint in your favorite color.

 

Watch the project come together in a step-by-step video, courtesy of QUIKRETE®!

For even more details on the concrete stool project, visit QUIKRETE®!

DIY Concrete Stool - Complete

Photo: quikrete.com

This post has been brought to you by QUIKRETE®. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Quick Tip: Removing Coffee Stains from Carpet

Spilling coffee on the carpet doesn't have to mean the hassle of a patch job or the expense of a new floor covering. You can remove the stain using items from your pantry. For best results, though, you've got to act fast.

How to Remove Coffee Stains from Carpet

Photo: fotosearch.com

It’s not what you feared. Spilling coffee on the carpet doesn’t have to mean living with an eyesore until you replace the floor covering. Besides the branded cleaners readily available in stores, you can remove coffee stains from carpet using a combination of only a few common household items you likely have on hand already.

Time is of the essence—the faster you treat the stain, the better your chances of restoring the carpet to pristine condition. As soon as you discover the accident, jump into action by moistening, not soaking, a clean cotton cloth. Next, use the cloth to blot around the sides of the stain, gradually working toward the center. Do not press down hard on any portion of the affected area. Rather, continue blotting, dampening fresh sections of the cloth as needed, until the stain becomes faint.

If blotting alone isn’t doing the trick, follow the steps outlined below to remove coffee stains from carpet, whether the mark has been there five minutes or five days.

How to Remove Coffee Stains from Carpet - Spill Detail

Photo: fotosearch.com

STEP 1
Mix one tablespoon of liquid dishwasher detergent with one tablespoon vinegar and two cups of water. While the detergent works to dissolve the stain, the vinegar dislodges the coffee from the carpet fibers.

STEP 2
Dampen a clean cotton cloth in the solution, then apply it to the stain with frequent blotting. First, blot the perimeter of the mark, then work gradually towards the center, re-moistening the cloth as you go along.

STEP 3
To absorb the detergent and vinegar, sponge the affected area with cold water, then blot it dry with paper towels. Before finishing up, consider going over the once-stained carpet with a hair dryer or hand vacuum.

In the grand scheme of cleaning solutions, homemade or store-bought, liquid detergent and vinegar are quite mild. Even so, before applying the mixture to your carpet, it may be wise to test it somewhere inconspicuous. In the case of wall-to-wall carpeting, experiment on the floor of a seldom-used closet. Otherwise, focus on the carpeting located beneath a large piece of furniture. When testing, be sure to wait a few minutes before assessing the results. If the mixture seems to have hurt rather than helped, try to remove it right away with cold water and a sponge. Even if the attempt fails miserably, you will have jeopardized only a small patch of carpet in an out-of-the-way place, while learning to look for a new strategy.

Of course, the right approach to cleaning a coffee-stained carpet can return the textile to its unblemished state, so long as you are prepared to be patient and persistent in your efforts.


Meet the Kansas City Artist Modernizing a Centuries-Old Craft

What's behind the art you hang on your living room wall? If it's a Hammerpress print, then it's history, design, and solid craftsmanship.

Hammerpress - Brady Vest

Photo: Chris Mullins

Brady Vest, founder of Kansas City-based Hammerpress, has his pulse on a letterpress renaissance. Even if you haven’t heard of letterpress, you’ve certainly benefitted from its invention. Until the middle of the last century, letterpress printers were responsible for creating books, pamphlets, and newspapers. To some, these movable type machines are considered junk in our digital age. But letterpress prints, cards, and posters are making a big comeback—as offbeat decor for your home. This vintage tool is leaving its mark on our walls and throughout our houses today.

Now, the letterpress isn’t your dad’s power tool. (For one, it’s probably too large for most home workshops.) But take a look at Hammerpress designs and you’ll find that the vintage machinery is far more versatile than you might think. We had to know more about what motivates Hammerpress makers so we caught up with Brady as he was in the midst of opening his new, expanded Kansas City storefront.

Hammerpress Kansas City

Photo: Hammerpress

The reason I started Hammerpress is…
I suppose my initial attraction to letterpress printing was the machinery and the objects involved in the process. The type, the cabinets, the old machinery. Also, I think the fact that it was sort of a hybrid of art and design seemed intriguing.

Once I got a little more involved, the commerce aspect of it intrigued me—as did the fact that you could mass produce artful products in a way you could not do in the fine art world. Plus, the process seemed to lend itself to collaboration.

Hammerpress print happiness will find you

Photo: Hammerpress.net

The thing I love most about working with letterpress is…
There’s always an excitement when you start working on a design, pulling all of the pieces out of the drawers. I go into a project with a fairly good vision of what it will look like—the ways the inks, patterns, type—will lay over each other, but it always changes. I suppose, in that way, the thing I love is also sometimes the thing I hate. The machinery sometimes dictates what happens more than you can. I love that, but it’s also a little scary.

Hammerpress - Lucinda Williams poster

Photo: Hammerpress.net

My main source of inspiration is…
I look at a lot of things that are outside of my experience. Lately, a lot of textiles—older and newer—a lot of vintage ephemera, photo collage, architecture and space design, children’s books from the past, etc. I try to not just look at things that are similar to what we do.

I’d describe the Hammerpress aesthetic as…
Hard to nail down. I feel like we are constantly trying to keep some continuity while also trying to push ourselves to do things we aren’t totally comfortable with. I think the main thing we always try to maintain in each design is a sense of handwork. Although we do work digitally a lot now, our goal is to always keep handwork involved and not allow it to get too clean or refined.

Hammerpress calendar

Photo: Hammerpress.net

The most challenging thing about this work is…
Trying to maintain consistency and keep it fresh. It’s always a challenge.

My favorite part of the design process is…
Seeing it go to press. Usually—not always, but usually—it’s like the clouds opening up and the sun shining through once you see the actual ink on paper.

Hammerpress - Stay Strong Badge

Photo: Hammerpress.net

I think the biggest mark of Hammerpress design is…
We tend to use a lot of large floods of color and try to work with the layering of colors and textures a lot. That seems to be what most people are attracted to in our work.

The story behind our name is…
I had a friend in college with whom I collaborated a lot. He would put the name “one ton press” on his work, with an anvil as a logo. When we started working together, I wanted something that would look and sound good on collaborations between us. The anvil and the hammer seemed to make sense. And I continued to use the hammer from there on out.

Hammerpress Kansas City store front

Photo: Hammerpress

The new Hammerpress shop is now open in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, but no matter where you live, you can also find their letterpress designs at the click of a button right here.


In a New Short Film, BoConcept Steals the Show

Contemporary furniture from BoConcept stars alongside international sensation Mads Mikkelsen in an amusing—and revealing—new short film.

BoConcept Storage Bed

Photo: BoConcept

BoConcept furniture returns to the screen in a new short film starring Mads Mikkelsen—the suave Danish actor famous for his role in the NBC series Hannibal. Like an earlier BoConcept film with Mikkelsen, “The Guest” centers on the actor, playing himself, at home in a luxurious villa in Spain. And once more, sleek and modern furniture from the European-based retailer absolutely steals the show—though numerous cameos compete for viewers’ attention.

In its five minute duration, the film sets its sights on answering a lofty question: “What exactly is comfort?” As the plot unfolds with Mikkelsen showing off his new place to an old friend, we see the functionality and versatility of BoConcept living, dining, and bedroom furniture. Although the visiting friend’s interests lie elsewhere, Mikkelsen cannot get over the fact that, while elegant and eye-catching, BoConcept pieces are much more than mere showpieces. As BoConcept designer Mortgen Georgsen says, “Beauty and function must go hand in hand. What’s the point of beautiful design if you cannot use it?”

This just in: BoConcept is giving fans a chance to win an interior makeover worth up to $5,000! Visit BoConcept today for all the details on entering.


Bob Vila Radio: Restoring Rattan

With care and attention—and in some cases, the help of a professional—you can bring back the beauty of rattan furniture. The next time you go flea market shopping, keep these hints in mind.

Vintage rattan furniture is getting harder to come by, so if you happen to run across a nice piece at a garage sale, you might want to snap it up and take it home for restoration.

How to Clean Rattan

Photo: shutterstock.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON RESTORING RATTAN or read the text below:

If the rattan has been neglected, mix some gentle cleaner in water, then apply the suds to the dingy spots using either a soft cloth or a toothbrush. Avoid getting the rattan excessively wet, as that can damage the material as well as the cane wrapping that holds it together. Also avoid stripping the rattan, as you would do with wood; that, too, would likely cause damage. Instead, if some of the finish has been worn bare, you can work with an experienced restorer to create a custom stain that’ll return the piece to its original warm hue. Periodic application of lemon oil will also help protect the finish.

Once the restoration is done, position your vintage prize where it won’t get too much sun or moisture, as the elements can quickly undo even the finest restoration.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.


How To: Patch Carpet

If a section of your carpet has seen better days, why not patch it rather than replace the entire thing? Here's how.

How to Patch Carpet

Photo: shutterstock.com

Carpeting inevitably undergoes wear and tear, whether from foot traffic or the accidents of everyday life. If those fraying, discoloring factors have concentrated in one particular section of your carpet, you can patch the installation rather than replace the entire thing. Properly planned and executed, a new carpet patch blends seamlessly into the original floor covering while enabling you to side-step the considerable cost of starting from scratch. To learn how to patch carpet, read on.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Utility knife and carpet patch adhesive (or carpet patch kit)
- Carpet patch
- Tape measure
- Heavy-duty tape
- Scissors
- Carpet seam roller

STEP 1
Gather your supplies. If it’s your first time patching a carpet, consider opting for a carpet patch kit. Available at hardware stores and home centers, these contain all you need to complete the project, including an adhesive and some cookie cutter-like tools that facilitate removing the stained or damaged area. Of course, carpet patch kits are not a must. You really only need a utility knife and an adhesive (the glue that’s going to hold the patch in place). Above and beyond tools and materials, the critical prerequisite here is an extra section of carpet that matches what’s already on the floor. If you don’t have any remnants left over from the original installation (and the style has been discontinued), you can, in a pinch, remove a section from an unnoticeable area, be it the closet or beneath a bed.

How to Patch Carpet - Floorcovering Texture

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 2
Look closely at both the existing carpet and the patch. Is the pile biased in a certain direction? If so, you take care to orient the patch so that its pile direction correctly corresponds to the surrounding carpet. As a helpful reminder to yourself, draw an arrow on a piece of tape and stick it to the patch.

STEP 3
Measure the carpet area in need of replacement. If using a carpet patch kit, the included tools make it easy to cut a precise size and shape out of both the existing carpet and the remnant piece. Skipping the patch kit? Simply tape off a square or rectangular section of the stained or damaged carpet.

STEP 4
Using the kit tools or a utility knife, carefully carve out the carpet section you wish to patch, then immediately proceed to prepare the replacement. After measuring and double-checking your measurements, cut the carpet remnant to fit precisely within the now-empty area. For easier and more precise cutting, be sure to lay the patch face down and to cut along its underside.

STEP 5
It’s time to get gluing. Apply the carpet patch adhesive directly to the empty space, followed by the patch itself. (Again, remember to align the carpet fibers so that they lie in the same direction.) Work swiftly, if possible, as the adhesive is likely only to take approximately 15 minutes to dry completely.

STEP 6
With the patch in place, finish with a couple tweaks to make it look as though there’s been no repair. First, use a pair of scissors to trim any long, shaggy carpet fibers that might draw attention. Then, as a last step, go over the area with a carpet seam roller to blend the fibers and hide any visible seams.


Quick Tip: Clean Carpet Stains with a Clothes Iron

Take a cue from professional carpet cleaners and harness the power of steam to remove even months-old stains that have firmly set in.

How to Clean Carpet Stains with a Clothes Iron - Texture

Photo: shutterstock.com

You know and loathe the traditional way to clean a carpet. But however laborious it may be, there’s no doubt that blotting the stain can be effective—so long as you act immediately, before the stain has the chance to set in. What happens, though, if you fail to notice the stain right away? How do you remove it days, weeks, or even months after the fact? One option is to shell out for professional cleaning. Another, less-discussed method involves less hassle and costs nothing at all. The key? Your clothes iron.

How to Clean Carpet Stains with a Clothes Iron - Isolated Appliance

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 1
In a spray bottle, mix together a solution of vinegar (1 part) and water (3 parts). Alternatively, if you’re convinced of the need for extra firepower, combine 1 part clear ammonia with 3 parts hot water. Once ready, liberally spritz the entire stained area and leave it to sit for several minutes.

STEP 2
Now lay an old, light-colored towel over the stain. Since the iron is going to transfer the stain to the fabric of the towel, don’t use one of your favorites! Meanwhile, a light color makes it easy to discern whether or not the method has worked for you. The dirtier your towel, the cleaner your carpet.

STEP 3
With your iron to its highest steam setting, apply it directly to the towel, moving it back and forth over the stained area briefly, for about ten seconds. As you do so, expect the iron to hiss and release steam. Place the iron aside, lift up the towel, and look: You should now see the stain on the towel.

STEP 4
If a mark remains on the carpet, lay the towel back down, being careful to place a clean section of the fabric over the stain. Again, apply the iron directly to the carpet for about ten seconds. With additional attempts, the stain ought to transfer, gradually and completely, from the carpet to the towel. Once you’re satisfied, let the carpet air-dry. Finish by vacuuming the carpet to restore its fluff.

As you work, take pains not to allow the iron to come into contact with the carpet (as opposed to the towel). The heat of the appliance can singe or melt the carpet fibers, whether natural or synthetic.


The World’s First and Only $99 Light Bulb

Would you pay $99 for a light bulb? For a product that so completely redefines a familiar technology, you just might.

Lifx Light Bulbs

Photo: lifx.co

Light bulbs didn’t change for decades—arguably for a full century. But then, somewhat all of a sudden, a confluence of scientific, cultural, political and technological factors combined to create a special set of circumstances permitting the advent of this—a $99 light bulb. No, it’s not glazed in gold or encrusted with jewels; the jaw-dropping sticker price owes only to an impressive array of features. And people are really excited about the whole thing. When LIFX, the maker of the bulb, set out to raise $100,000 in funding through Kickstarter in 2013, it wound up generating, in just six days, well over $1 million. A year later, the LIFX bulb had gone on sale at Amazon, and the most tech-savvy homeowners began to experiment with this WiFi-enabled, multi-color, energy-efficient LED.

Even when it’s off, the LIFX looks like no other light bulb you’ve ever seen. There’s no glass orb, but rather a flat-topped disc atop a textured plastic body. But the single most noteworthy thing about LIFX is that you can control the bulb from your smartphone or tablet, modulating not only its brightness, but also its color. At a swipe, you can settle on a standard LED color or pick any of the millions on the spectrum between warm white and cool. What saves the color options from being a mere novelty is that you can temper your selection with a layer of white light, thus creating a tinted hue that flatters your home decor while creating an appealing atmosphere, be it buoyant or serene. LIFX even includes a number of pre-sets allowing you to transform the mood in your house at one touch.

Lifx Light Bulbs - Multicolor

Photo: lifx.co

To get started with LIFX, there’s no peripheral hardware to set up; the bulb can be used as soon as you take it out of the box. You simply screw it into the socket and connect it to your home network using the free LIFX app. Whereas many other smart home products on the market excite with their possibilities but intimidate with their complexities, LIFX bulbs are inviting and immediately useful to anyone, tech geeks and Luddites alike. However, if you’ve been closely following the Internet of Things movement, what you may find most interesting are the third-party integrations. For example, LIFX syncs with the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector, and it even has an IFTT channel. That means you can program the lighting to dim after 10pm or to pulse when an email arrives from a certain someone. Any number of configurations are possible. It’s all up to you—if you decide limitless lighting options are worth $99.

 
Purchase LIFX WiFi Enabled Multicolor Dimmable LED Light Bulbs, $99


Quick Tip: Restore Shine to a Light Fixture with… Denture Tablets?

To bring the brilliance back to your glass lighting fixtures, look no further than the oral hygiene aisle of your local drugstore.

Clean a Light Fixture with Denture Tablets

Photo: shutterstock.com

Highly Effective Fizz

While denture tablets work wonders on light fixtures, these fizzy fighters can also be used to clean a surprising range of glass, ceramic, and porcelain items in the home. For instance, if you scrubbed and scrubbed but cannot purge the brown bits from inside a glass baking dish, try soaking it in warm water with a couple of denture tablets. Likewise, if your ceramic mug has coffee stains you were beginning to consider permanent, fill the vessel with water and drop in a denture tablet. Hey, you can even use denture tablets to clean a toilet bowl!

Time has a way of proving the old adage “out of sight, out of mind.” Case in point: Whether your ceiling lights are flush-mount fixtures or hanging pendants, chances are you’ve neglected to clean them—not because you’re lazy, but simply because those fixtures seldom enter your eyeline. Of course, like anything else in your home, glass lighting fixtures accumulate dust and dirt; left unattended for months or even years, their radiant dazzle slowly dulls to a hazy glow. Fortunately, even if you’ve fallen far behind on housekeeping, you can catch up quite quickly, thanks to an unlikely yet effective secret weapon—denture tablets!

Clean a Light Fixture with Denture Tablets - Fiz

Photo: shutterstock.com

Denture tablets are those fizz-making additives Grandpa plops into a glass of water, along with his dentures, before he goes to bed. Just as the tablets’ effervescence manages to penetrate and sanitize the crevices of dentures, so too does the fizziness lift ancient residue from within the facets and angles of any glass lighting fixture. A box of denture tablets, conveniently available at any pharmacy, costs less than ten bucks, so even if you’re skeptical, we think it’s definitely worth a try.

STEP 1
Fill a bucket with hot water. Make sure the bucket is large enough to accommodate the fixture you are trying to clean. Place the glass fixture into the bucket, then add a handful of denture tablets (about six or eight, depending on the size of the fixture). Let the bucket sit for about 30 minutes.

STEP 2
Remove the fixture and set it aside, then dump out the dirty water from the bucket.

STEP 3
Refill the bucket, this time adding one part bleach for every two parts water. Rinse the fixture off, then place it back in the bucket. Let it sit for another half hour, ventilating the area as necessary. When the time has elapsed, rinse and dry off the fixture before finally putting it back into position.

While the denture tablets pull dust and debris from all the nooks and crannies that would otherwise be hard to reach or inaccessible, the bleach goes the extra mile toward restoring sparkle to the glass.

A word of caution: Make sure that neither pets nor children have access to the bucket when it’s full. Denture tablets can be toxic if ingested, and of course the harmful effects of bleach are well known.


Danish Modern Furniture Stars in a New Drama from BoConcept

In a brand-new cinematic short film, BoConcept modern furniture plays a leading role opposite the international television and movie star Mads Mikkelsen.

Mads Mikkelsen

Photo: boconcept.com

We’re stunned by the latest marketing campaign let loose by BoConcept. In the past, we’ve always appreciated BoConcept in its role as a leading purveyor of Danish modern furniture. Today, we’re seeing the company’s wares in a scintillating new role—as the backdrop for a sophisticated short film known as “The Call.” Here, BoConcept sofas, tables, and chairs play opposite Mads Mikkelsen, an international star best known in the United States for the TV series Hannibal. 

The Call Living Room Furniture

Photo: BoConcept Furniture

Shot over a six-day period on location in Valencia, Spain—inside the real-life home of a BoConcept designer—the set features pieces carefully chosen for their ability to highlight and enhance the storyline. “You can take our concept in many different directions,” says Jette Christensen, Visual Manager for BoConcept, “but in this case, we wanted to achieve a mature, luxurious ambience to complement Mikkelsen’s character.” Sumptuous materials, glossy surfaces, and a moody mix of colors all combine as the ideal stage for a thrilling scene that features a pair of nice-to-look-at actors doing what they do best. Watch “The Call” right now, below!

 
This content has been brought to you by BoConcept. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.