Category: Kitchen


Quick Tip: The Right Temperature Setting for Your Fridge

Preserve foods and prevent food-borne illnesses by freezing these refrigerator temperature recommendations into your memory.

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Ideal Fridge Temperature

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The kitchen is the heart of the home, a place for cooking, eating, and gathering with friends and family. But oftentimes we’re so focused on maintaining the perfect temperature for guests’ comfort that we forget to create a welcoming environment for another VIP at the dinner party: the food in our fridge. In an overly hot or extremely cold refrigerator, your culinary creations can perish at a quicker rate and run the risk of developing microorganisms like Salmonella and E. coli. By maintaining an ideal fridge temperature, you can slow or stop the invasion of bacteria while also maintaining the flavor and texture of your food.

Ideal Fridge Temperature - Fridge Thermometer

Photo: fotosearch.com

While most modern refrigerators contain adjustable temperature dials and displays, they are not always a true measure of the fridge forecast. More confusing yet, some compartments run at different temperatures from others (the doors may be warmer zones while the bottom and back may be cooler). For the most accurate overall reading, pick up an inexpensive fridge thermometer and set it in the center of the middle shelf. The lucky numbers you should aim for are between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit, as that range is high enough above the freezing point (32 degrees) to stop your celery from turning into icicles, yet low enough below 40 degrees—the point at which bacteria starts to triple (yes, triple)—to keep foods safe. After finding and adjusting the general temperature, set the thermometer in the different sections of your fridge to gauge the variations, and then arrange your food accordingly: dairy products and eggs in the chillier zones, and condiments in the warmer ones.

And don’t forget about the crisping bins at the bottom of the fridge, as they can play a similarly vital role in keeping produce fresh and vibrant. Use the click or toggle settings on the bins to adjust the humidity higher or lower. Store quick-to-rot produce like apples and pears at a lower humidity, while reserving quick-to-wilt greens like lettuce for the higher humidity bin. After setting the optimal fridge temperature from top to bottom, you can rest easy knowing your food is being properly preserved.


DIY Lite: Declutter Your Kitchen with a Coffee Mug Tree

Keep your coffee mug collection on display between brews using this unique handmade tree.

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Coffee Mug Tree - How to Organize Your Coffee Bar

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

In a groggy morning, you want that first cup of coffee to be as accessible as possible. That means mugs at the ready so that you can find them even with your eyes half-shut. To remove fumbling in the cabinets from your morning routine, corral (and display) your favorite cups at your coffee bar using a DIY mug rack. Easily assembled with dowels and a concrete base, this modern mug tree injects warmth into your kitchen, breakfast nook, or drink station—all before your java begins brewing.

 

Coffee Mug Tree - Supplies to Make Your Own

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- 1-1⁄4-inch wooden dowel
- 5/8-inch wooden dowel
- 1⁄4-inch wooden dowel
- Ruler
- Pencil
- Handsaw
- Utility knife
- Drill with a 5/8-inch bit and a 1⁄4-inch bit
- 2-inch nails (4)
- Hammer
- 2.5 lbs of dry concrete mix
- Trowel
- Painters tape
- Plastic container (8 inches diameter)
- Level
- Wood glue
- Foam brush
- Mineral oil

 

STEP 1

Coffee Mug Tree - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

The thickest wooden dowel (1-1⁄4 inches in diameter) will serve as the “trunk” of your mug tree. Cut it to be 18 inches long. Then, you will use the 5⁄8-inch dowel to make “branches” for hanging cups; cut it into three pieces, each 8 inches long. Sand every piece to remove splinters.

 

STEP 2

Coffee Mug Tree - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Next, you’ll drill three holes through the trunk that for the 5⁄8-inch dowels to slide through. Using a ruler, mark where to drill the first hole at 1 inch from either end—going forward, this will be the top of the tree. Then mark for the second hole 5 inches from the first, and a third hole 5 inches from the second.

As you’ll see in the photo of the finished project, the top and bottom branches run parallel, while the middle one is perpendicular. Keep this in mind while making the cuts: Hold the trunk firmly with one hand and use the 5⁄8-inch bit to drill the top and bottom holes through the same side of this large dowel, then roll it so that you can drill the middle hole perpendicular to the others.

 

STEP 3

Coffee Mug Tree - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

To prevent hanging cups from easily slipping off any of the branches, you’ll create a short hook at the end of each from the thinnest dowel. First, switch to your 1⁄4-inch bit and drill a hole at each end of the 5⁄8-inch dowels (the three branches), without piercing all the way through.

Then, cut the 1⁄4-inch dowel into six 3⁄4-inch-long pieces. You can use a utility knife or a small handsaw—just watch your fingers. Set all of the dowel cuts aside for now except for the trunk.

 

STEP 4

Coffee Mug Tree - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Take the end of the trunk that is without a hole—the bottom of the tree—and hammer in four nails, equally spaced around the dowel’s circumference. (If the nails were clock hands, they’d be at 3, 6, 9, and 12.)

 

STEP 5

Coffee Mug Tree - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Now, mix up your concrete. Pour the dry mix into a plastic bucket that’s 8 inches or so in diameter (about as wide as your branches are long). Then add as much water as the package recommends, and stir. Your wet mix should be at least an inch deep to create a substantial base for the tree.

 

STEP 6

Coffee Mug Tree - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Push the trunk, nail-end down, into the center of the concrete-filled bucket. Check with a level to ensure that the stick is perfectly vertical, and then tear 4 long strips of painters tape and lay them across top of the container to hold your trunk steady while the concrete cures. Don’t move it for at least 48 hours.

 

STEP 7

Coffee Mug Tree - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Once the concrete is fully dry, cut off the plastic mold. Sand the concrete base for a better finish.

 

STEP 8

Coffee Mug Tree - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Slide the 5⁄8-inch dowels through each of the three holes. When they are pushed exactly halfway through, twist them so that the holes at the ends face up.

 

STEP 9

Coffee Mug Tree - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Squeeze a dot of wood glue into each of the remaining holes and fit a short, 1⁄4-inch-wide dowel inside. Allow the glue to bond for the amount of time recommended on the bottle, for best results.

Finally, brush a coat of mineral oil—or any other desired (food-safe) finish—and, while that dries, head to the cabinets to unload all of your favorite mugs. You’ll be able to hang them from your assembled coffee mug tree and enjoy the newly organized kitchen corner before the next morning!

Coffee Mug Tree - How to Build Your Own

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.


Genius! The In-a-Pinch Vegetable Peeler

If your space is full of bulky gadgets that you almost never use, declutter by DIYing a simple, smaller version of this meal prep must-have.

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diy-vegetable-peeler-1

Photo: instructables.com

Single-use kitchen gadgets—garlic presses, juicers, and vegetable peelers—all do their jobs exceedingly well, but even a small collection quickly clutters drawers, counters, and cabinets. Each additional helper eats up space, especially if you’re not using them for a month or more at a time. Still, the guilt of trashing tools you’ve spent good money on keeps them around. For zero regrets and a decluttered kitchen, donate your underused gadgets today, then follow the lead of DIY-er ShakeTheFuture to craft this disposable (and totally free!) vegetable peeler.

His process, which he demoed for the camera, is simple: Start with a clean soda can. Wiggle the tab back and forth until it falls off, and then lop off the top with scissors or a can opener. Once the metal flap is removed and the thin rim bent, the inside edge of the hole (once used for drinking) can be used for quick, angled cuts—perfect for skinning potatoes, carrots, apples, and more.

Even though the peeler is free to make, you don’t have to be broke to see the beauty in this simple DIY. Minimalists will approve of the peeler’s stainless steel design and slim profile, and campers will love whipping up dinner with a convenience that’s normally reserved for home-cooked meals. At about 1/3 the size of traditional peelers, it saves space in a storage-starved kitchen without sacrificing functionality—an a-peel-ing idea for every renter or homeowner. And if your DIY peeler is so small that you’re afraid you’ll lose it, go ahead and toss it after dinner! You can remake it in minutes with a clean soda can and a pair of scissors.

FOR MORE: Instructables

diy-vegetable-peeler

Photo: instructables.com


The Dos and Don’ts of Painting Laminate Cabinets

Prime your laminate cabinets for the perfect paint job with these tips for surface preparation, paint selection, and application.

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Painting Laminate Cabinets - Kitchen Paint Job

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Short of committing to a more costly replacement of outdated laminate cabinets, repainting them is an affordable way to turn the eyesore into eye-catching, modern cabinetry. But while you may be well-versed in painting most any old wood furnishings, from side tables to pantry doors, laminate is another beast altogether. Not nearly as porous as its wooden lookalike, this type of surface requires unique preparation, paint, and paint application. Follow these best practices to reinvigorate your laminate cabinetry with a fresh face that lasts!

DON’T PAINT OVER DAMAGED LAMINATE

If laminate is cracked, warped, or peeling, that damage can interfere with the bonding of paint to the cabinet. Ensure that the laminate is in good condition by repairing minor laminate damage or re-facing cabinets before applying paint.

 

DO REMOVE CABINET HARDWARE

Remove knobs, pulls, and other visible cabinet hardware before painting for smooth paint application without obstructions. You can mask metal on the hinges with painter’s tape and paint the doors in place, or, if the hinges are visible and removable, take the doors down from the cabinets and paint them separately on a work bench or sawhorse.

Painting Laminate Cabinets - White Kitchen Cabinets

Photo: Zillow Digs home in New York, NY

DON’T LEAVE DIRT AND GRIT BEHIND

It may be tempting to eyeball your cabinets and decide that any dirt is minimal enough to conceal with a paint job, but your dirty secret will get out when the color fails to adhere well to the laminate. Before you start any painting, gently wipe away settled-on grime and grease using trisodium phosphate. Then, rinse with fresh water and dry the cabinets completely.

 

DO SAND THE CABINETS

To create a strong bond between the paint and your cabinet, you’ll need to roughen up the slick laminate with the help of a gritty companion: sandpaper. (For better coverage of a large surface area, consider upgrading to a motorized orbital sander. Your upper body will thank you.) Thoroughly scuff the surfaces of the cabinet with 120-grit sandpaper—enough to get a dusting, but not so much that you tear through the paper-thin laminate surface—and clean up any dusty remains with a handheld vacuum and a damp cloth.

 

DON’T USE ANY OLD PRIMER AND PAINT

Laminate doesn’t play well with all primers and paints, only those specially formulated to adhere to its picky surface. If you opt for a primer, choose a bonding primer tenacious enough to stick to laminate, and then top it with an oil- or latex-based paint after the primer has cured. If you select a paint that can be applied directly over laminate, you can skip the primer—just know that this qualification may limit your color choices (or, at the very least, rule out using paint leftover from another household project).

Painting Laminate Cabinets - Green Kitchen Cabinets

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Altanta, GA

DO PUT YOUR PAINT TO THE TEST

Paint in hand, you’re almost ready to get to work. But first, double-check that your stock is well suited for the job. Testing its bonding capabilities before diving into an entire paint job could save you from a case of peeling paint down the road—and the need to redo hours of work. Apply your paint to a small, inconspicuous area of the cabinet (like the back of one you hardly ever open), let it cure, then inspect the bonding. If you spot some bubbles in the coat, that means it is not adhering well; consult a paint dealer at your hardware store to pinpoint a more suitable paint for the job.

 

DON’T LEAVE BRUSH STROKES BEHIND

If  your first-choice paint applicator for the traditionally flat surface of laminate cabinets is a brush, take a moment to reconsider. These popular paint tools tend to leave an unsightly trail of brush strokes in their wake. Opt instead for a roller, sprayer, or a paint pad for a streak-free finish.

 

DO MINIMIZE YOUR EXPOSURE TO FUMES

Due to the powerful fumes released from the primer and paint (and your close proximity to them during a cabinet repaint), station a respirator in the room for increased ventilation, and keep children and pets out of the room. Lastly, pull on a pair of chemical-resistant work gloves before you go off to paint the town—or, perhaps in this case, cabinets—red!


7 Smart Tips for Saving Big Money on Major Appliances

If you’re in the market for a major home appliance this year, strategize to save with these secrets for savvy shopping.

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Discount Appliances - Ovens and Stovetops at the Store

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If your New Year’s resolutions include remodeling a room or two, while you’re at it you should consider replacing any outdated appliances you still have hanging around. Yes, even on a budget you can spruce up your kitchen or laundry room with these investment pieces—and for just a fraction of the retail cost. The key to finding great deals is to think outside the “big box.” Don’t settle for full retail rates when you can score big savings by seeking out strategic shopping alternatives, from online e-tailers to secondhand sellers. Once you know when and where to look, you can get a real deal on all your major appliance purchases.

Discount Appliances - New Refrigerator

Photo: fotosearch.com

Time It Right for Retail Bargains

September and October are the best months to buy most major appliances, as these are the months when manufacturers unveil the latest models. Even January is a good time for savings, though; while the selection may be limited, the prices on last year’s models will be significantly lower.

Ask About Floor Models, Returns, and Discontinued Items

Retailers will often discount a floor model by as much as 15 percent, even if it hasn’t been damaged in any way. If the model has been discontinued or sustained damage, however, you could see the savings increase by as much as 20 to 30 percent. If the damage is significant, or if the product has been used or returned, expect as much as 40 to 50 percent off the price of the appliance.

Negotiate with Competitors’ Coupons and Price-Match Guarantees

As the saying goes, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Some retailers match competitors’ coupons or advertised prices, so it’s important to do your homework before you shop and make sure you have the published prices on hand as evidence. If you can’t negotiate a lower price, perhaps you can score some perks with free delivery and installation—it never hurts to ask.

Don’t Overlook Mom-and-Pop Shops

Local independent businesses don’t have as much overhead cost as big-box stores, so the savings may be passed on to you, the consumer. Shoppers often overlook these small retailers when it comes to large appliance purchases, but consider the perks: Smaller businesses are often more customer service-oriented, so they may place an emphasis on individualized attention both during and after the sale, especially when it comes to installation and future repairs.

Survey the Online Market

These days, manufacturers and retailers offer the same products online as they do in their showrooms, making online shopping for large appliances increasingly popular and stress-free. Online shopping offers yet another advantage: Although supply is necessarily limited at brick-and-mortar stores, great deals and selection can be found year-round on those same stores’ websites.

To make things even easier, aggregate sites like Bizrate, mySimon, and PriceGrabber search the Internet for the appliances you want using their own large databases and then provide a list of the most competitive prices. (PriceGrabber even includes shipping costs in its results!) Should you find a favorite appliance just outside your budget, you can set alerts on a few of these product search engines to notify you of a price drop.

Cash In On Craigslist

Once you get over the stigma of buying things secondhand on Craigslist, you can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars on major appliances. Even more open-minded? Browse white appliances, too, rather than restricting your search to “stainless steel finish.” The online marketplace is saturated with appliances that have white finishes, because people often replace good-quality appliances in an effort to “upgrade” to stainless steel for purely aesthetic reasons. That translates to more options at competitive prices. Who knows? A white appliance covered in panels of faux stainless steel contact paper may be the budget-friendly alternative of your dreams.

Don’t Discount Scratch-and-Dent Specialists

Pay a visit to your local scratch-and-dent appliance store, which stocks never-been-used appliances that have been dinged on the sales floor. Your big-box store might have a corner devoted to damaged pieces; otherwise, a quick search on Google should turn up the specialty scratch-and-dent store nearest you. But don’t discount (pun intended) the amazing savings you can find from online scratch-and-dent specialists, such as DesignerHomeSurplus.com.

While no one wants a range or refrigerator with a huge gouge down the front, you may not mind a little imperfection in your laundry room. Considering the fact that many of the scratches are cosmetic, a touch-up with a little appliance paint might be all that’s needed to get the machine looking new again. With a little elbow grease and some ingenuity, you can avoid shelling out megabucks for these major investment purchases.


The Do’s and Don’ts of Open Shelving

Before you opt for open shelving, consider these best practices for installation, upkeep, and styling that will help you make the most of this popular trend in kitchen design.

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Open Shelving Kitchen - Modern Style

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Lake Oswego, OR

Open shelving provides a unique opportunity to showcase your dishware (and your personality) in the kitchen. You might believe that the storage and organization options it offers are as wide open as the shelves themselves—but the wrong move here could turn your rosy design dream into an unattractive, cluttered mess. Whether your kitchen already features open shelving or you’re considering a cabinet makeover, adhere to these best practices to make optimal use of your shelves.

Open Shelving Kitchen - Storing a Ceramic Collection

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Bridgehampton, NY

DON’T Start Full

Just as you wouldn’t start a meal on a full stomach, don’t start out by just rearranging shelved items or styling shelves that are already fully stocked. Clear off your work space by first removing all your possessions from the shelves. Once you have a clean slate, you’ll be able to implement a fresh, well-devised organizational scheme and refine the aesthetics of your shelf arrangement.

 

DO Secure Heavy Ceramics

If you intend to load up your open shelves with your entire ceramic dish collection, secure the shelves with wall anchors to create the sturdiest foundation possible. Then, assemble your pieces into bottom-heavy arrangements, keeping the biggest ceramics on the lowest shelves and limiting stacks to eight or fewer pieces.

 

DON’T Set Yourself Up with Unreachable Arrangements

Now that you’ve removed the barriers that your cabinet doors imposed, all your kitchenware will seem more accessible. Don’t, however, let this apparent convenience tempt you to stow must-have necessities like frequently used dishes, everyday Corningware, and your spice collection on higher shelves. Instead, continue to place these essentials within arm’s reach, and reserve the higher shelves for decorative pieces and seldom-used dishes.

 

DO Install a Range Hood

Think about the last time you opened a cabinet and the door or knob felt sticky to the touch. Grease, cooking fumes, and condensation from the stove are often deposited on kitchen surfaces. Without the protection of a wooden or glass door, open shelves can leave their contents vulnerable to stubborn n grimy buildup. Consider installing a range hood to siphon off unwanted heat, smoke, odors, and airborne grease before these particles end up on your possessions.

 

DON’T Always Shelve Your Glass

Especially if you live in an earthquake-prone area, refrain from resting glassware on floating shelves—particularly at the upper reaches where these pieces are apt to come to an earth-shattering end. Consider instead lodging them in whatever closed cabinet spaces you have left, or aboard a wheeled bar cart. To further disaster-proof your shelving, install shelves with a lip at the edge to keep any objects in motion from sliding—and falling—out.

 

DO Employ Variety

In your closed cabinetry, you may have grouped together similar cookware, glasses, and spices, but with open shelving it’s important not to forget that crucial spice of life: variety. Now that your storage contributes as much to the appearance of your kitchen as its function, create visual distinction on the shelves by mixing and matching different sizes and shapes of dishware, and throwing in the occasional splash of color or decor.

 

DON’T Forget to Bust Dust Early and Often

Critics of open shelving often cite these surfaces’ tendency to accumulate dust as their major downfall. But if you regularly cycle through your most-used dishware, you can ensure that your cookware will never sit long enough for the dust to settle. Wipe down the shelves themselves frequently to ensure that unwelcome dirt bites the dust.

 

DO Try It First

Before taking the plunge on an open shelving arrangement, give it a test run by temporarily removing existing cabinet doors. This is a great, no-cost change that provides a window into how your new shelves will look. If you don’t like the appearance—or if you learn that you just can’t keep your shelves organized enough for the new style—you can easily revert by putting the doors back on their hinges.

Open Shelving Kitchen - Remove Cabinet Doors

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Seattle, WA


3 Fixes for a Grimy Sponge

If your sponges are living a life of grime, get them squeaky clean again using one of these fast and functional approaches.

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How to Clean a Sponge - Three Ways

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It’s often said that we tend to neglect those nearest to us, and this is especially true of our closest cleaning confidant: the sponge. This porous powerhouse stays by our side during life’s messiest, murkiest hours—mopping up tough grit and slippery spills in the kitchen—all the while accumulating its own fair share of germy filth. Fortunately, you can restore a sullied sponge to its former glory with three techniques that banish bacteria, keeping your right-hand cleaning buddy safe and sanitized.

 

1. ZAP IT CLEAN 

How to Clean a Sponge - Microwave a Sponge

Photo: fotosearch.com

If the relationship between your sponges and the microwave is usually limited to an afternoon spent scrubbing away stubborn food debris, it’s time to turn the tables and make that countertop oven the cleaning hero. The microwave’s superpower lies in its high-temp capabilities, which enable it to use heat to destroy or inactivate most malicious bacteria, viruses, and spores hiding in your sponges.

Rescue any nonmetallic sponge from the toxic turf of the kitchen counter—where it may have been exposed to raw meat, eggs, vegetables, and more—and moisten it with a half cup of water. Place the sponge in the microwave and nuke it on high for two minutes to zap germs and kill bacteria. Allow the steaming-hot sponge to cool completely before removing and reusing.

 

2. SOAK IT UP

How to clean a sponge - With Bleach

Photo: fotosearch.com

Long heralded for its stain-removing prowess in the laundry room, bleach can also act as the surprising standout for getting your sponges squeaky clean. Among its many talents, bleach can eradicate 99.9 percent of the harmful pathogens that often rear their head in the kitchen and on your trusty scrubber—namely salmonella, E. coli, and pseudomonas.

To help this germ destroyer go to battle with the bacteria in your sponge, combine three-quarters of a cup of bleach with one gallon of water in a bowl or bucket. Let the sponge soak in this bath for approximately five minutes. Remove the sponge from the bleach solution, and wring it out to reveal your old, trusted cleaning companion, but now sporting a fresh new look.

 

3. DISH IT OUT

How to Clean a Sponge - In The Dishwasher

Photo: fotosearch.com

Even if your dishwasher is already crammed with everything but the kitchen sink, aim to squeeze that dirty sponge into your next load. The high heat and vigorous spray of the dishwasher pack a double whammy, deodorizing and disinfecting your sponge by destroying any stealthy bacteria that may have taken up residence in its walls.

To leave all those germs behind, place the scrubber in the dishwasher and set it to the hottest wash cycle and a heated dry. When the timer sounds, you’ll find your slob of a sponge transformed into one very hygienic housemate—and you’ll be armed with three techniques to keep it that way in the future!


Bob Vila Radio: Cabinets or Shelves in the Kitchen?

One of the biggest developing trends in kitchen design, open shelving provides a lighter, more streamlined look than traditional cabinetry. But is it the right choice for your kitchen? Here a few things to consider.

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These days, a lot of homeowners are trading kitchen cabinets for open shelving, and there are some great reasons why!

Open Shelving Kitchen

Photo: fotosearch.com

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First off, open shelving makes it simple to find what’s needed, something that’s especially convenient if you often host guests in your kitchen. Transitioning to open shelving also enables you to proudly display items you cherish, be it your grandmother’s china or all those cool coffee cups you’ve been collecting for years. Open shelving can make your kitchen look bigger too—never a bad thing. And if you’re on a tight budget, shelves are easier on the wallet than cabinets.

Best of all, if you’re not sure you want to make the switch, there’s an easy way to test the look. Remove the doors from your cabinets and leave them off for a few weeks. If you’re not happy, simply reinstall the doors. No harm done!

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: Clean Oven Window Glass

The inside of your oven may be spic and span, but for a clean kitchen and the benefit of your hardworking appliance, don't ignore the oven window. Grease-splattered though it may be, you can restore the glass to spotless condition. Here's how.

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How to Clean Oven Glass

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You know the story: After cooking a big meal—especially after doing so several times a week, for months—splattered grease and unidentifiable bits of stuck-on food inevitably end up clouding the glass of your oven window. There’s no harm in allowing gunk to accumulate there for a while, but sooner or later you need to clean the oven glass, not only for appearances’ sake, but also to uphold the performance and longevity of your appliance. The catch? It’s rarely easy to clean oven glass, especially if a lot of time has passed since you last made the effort. In fact, getting the glass truly spotless may be the toughest part of cleaning your oven. It can be more difficult than cleaning the oven interior, especially if you’re fortunate enough to own a model with a self-cleaning mode (which, sadly, does little to clean the glass). Even cleaning the oven racks can be much less of a chore, as there are methods of getting the job done that require relatively little exertion. In comparison with these other tasks, cleaning the oven glass is labor intensive, but it’s uncomplicated work, and you probably already own everything you need for the job.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Baking soda
- Water
- Glass bowl
- Microfiber cloth
- Handheld vacuum (optional)
- Razor blade (optional)

STEP 1

How to Clean Oven Glass - Vacuum

Photo: JNoonan

Start by preparing the oven. After making sure it’s off, open the door all the way and remove any loose bits of blackened food. As you work, pay special attention to the area where the oven glass meets the door. A handheld vacuum makes it easy to draw crumbs out of the seam here, but a moistened cloth works fine in a pinch.

 

STEP 2

How to Clean Oven Glass - Apply Paste

Photo: JNoonan

Start by mixing baking soda and water into an effective, natural cleaning agent. In a small bowl, combine one-half cup or a full cup of baking soda with just enough water to form a thick, shaving-cream-like paste. Spread the paste evenly over the oven glass, adding a bit more water for even coverage, if necessary. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

 

STEP 3

How to Clean Oven Glass - Wipe

Photo: JNoonan

Allow the paste sufficient time to work its grime-loosening magic, then proceed to wipe the glass using a clean, moistened microfiber cloth (or any rag, really, so long as it’s fresh). Next, rinse the glass thoroughly with water. Afterward, wipe the surface dry, taking care to pick up any residual baking soda.

 

STEP 4

How to Clean Oven Glass - Razor 2

Photo: fotosearch.com

Depending on the condition of the oven door when you started, you may have one more step to tackle. If, after you’ve applied and wiped away the paste, burnt-on grease stubbornly remains, use a razor to scrape it away—gently! Finish by vacuuming up debris (or wiping it up with a cloth), then wipe the door down once more with a clean, damp cloth.

 

In extreme cases—for example, if you’re living in a rental where the oven window hasn’t been cleaned in years—a natural paste may not pack enough power. To get the job done, you may have to opt for a more potent, store-bought, and potentially toxic solution. If you go that route, be sure to follow the instructions on the product label. For me, though, the timeless combination of baking soda and water left the oven glass restored. By the time I’d finished razoring off the last chunks of gunk, the glass was so clean that I could see my reflection in it!


Weekend Projects: 5 Style-Boosting Bar Stools You Can Build

Your home bar isn’t fully stocked for the holiday season until it features one of these DIY bar stools.

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Whether located indoors in the kitchen or outdoors on the patio, a home bar can be a scene of rest, relaxation, and revelry during your potlucks and cocktail parties. But if there are more drinks to go around than there are seats, your guests will spend most of the party playing a game of musical chairs. To prevent a lack of seating from hampering your hosting duties, we’ve handpicked five DIY bar stools that would elevate the ambiance of your bar—and have every guest flocking to it.

 

SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS

DIY Bar Stools - with Adjustable Height

Photo: ana-white.com

This industrious, adjustable-height stool from Ana White will feel right at home in an industrial-style kitchen or bar. Like the DIY maven, you can achieve this look by cutting and assembling rectangular scrap wood planks for the legs and cross beams, a square with angular-cut corners for the seat, and a round for the booster seat. Drill an all-thread rod from the booster seat to the cross beams to construct the adjustable-height mechanism and ensure that no order is too tall for your home bar.

 

THE THREE-PLY APPROACH

DIY Bar Stools - Built from Plywood

Photo: subtletakeover.com for abeautifulmess.com

When creating an ultra-flexible work environment for his wife, the handy husband at Subtle Takeover devised this modern, elevated stool from rustic plywood to accompany her standing desk. Cut from plywood into three pre-drilled planks for the seat, front leg, and back leg, the stool can easily be glued and screwed together. A coat of polyurethane over the finished furniture heightens its style in the refurbished workspace—though this workhorse of a stool easily transitions from the office to the bar.

 

INTO THE WOODS

DIY Bar Stools - Wooden Design

Photo: diypete.com

Nothing is better than pulling up a seat at the outdoor patio bar with this rustic all-wood stool from DIY Pete. Start by cutting your cedar lumber supply into lengths for the legs, seat, support beams, and seat back. Pete’s detailed guide to cuts at seven different lengths and exact spots for holes will walk you through each step of the weekend woodworking project. Once you finish attaching the seat boards to the support, test them out while you call up friends and family to invite them over.

 

PIPE UP

DIY Bar Stools - Built from Industrial Pipe

DIY Bar Stools - Built from Industrial Pipe

This industrial pipe stool from Love Grows Wild is the best seat at the bar—bar none. Give the idea some legs—specifically, four legs—by assembling together pipe, pipe fitting, 90-degree elbows, and caps. After adding a floor flange to the top of each leg, secure the round, wooden seat to the top of the stool. Let the seat go au naturel, or stain or paint it to make a splash long before drinks are served.

 

SPLIT PERSONALITY

DIY Bar Stools - How to Upgrade What You Already Have

Photo: remodelandolacasa.com

The blogger at Remodelando la Casa wasn’t always sitting pretty in these inviting, industrial-style stools. After observing the clash between her modern bar stools and rustic kitchen, she settled on a hybrid of the two styles. To mimic the DIYer, create the wood round from pine, poplar, and plywood boards, all glued and cut to size for a comfortable seat. Then simply spray-painted metallic base of an existing stool to marry the old world with the new, and finish off with the addition of the new tops.