Catrin Morris

Pro Organizer Tips: What NOT To Do When Decluttering Your Home
Organizing words of wisdom from a pro.
Aug 4, 2014
Know Thyself: Setting Realistic Decorating Expectations
One of the biggest mistakes I see in home decorating and decluttering is that people often make purchasing and design decisions based on aspirations (the kind of life you want to lead; the kind of person you aspire to be) — not reality. So, before you spend a ton of money and time decorating, face the facts. Distinguish between who you are — your real life habits, your idiosyncrasies — vs. who you WANT to be.
Nov 29, 2012
Stain Lab: Which Rugs Passed the Test?
I love the look of natural fiber rugs, with their warm colors and nubby textures. I want to buy one for my dining room but am scarred from previous experiences with sisal rugs, which stained so easily. So, I decided to compare a bunch of rugs with various natural fibers, including jute, seagrass, sisal, wool and various synthetic blends (indoor/outdoor rugs made to look like natural fiber rugs).
Nov 9, 2012
Why an Undercounter Fridge May Set You Back $1K — And How to Get Around It
When we drew up plans for renovating the basement, I told our contractors I wanted to install a compact under-counter fridge in the basement’s mini kitchen. I figured I could just shove in a standard compact dorm fridge, which can be found for as little as $150 new. I just wanted a fridge big enough to store basics for houseguests as well as water and fruit and milk for the kids while they hung out in the playroom.
Oct 17, 2012
Modern Classics: The Cherner Chair
There is so much to love about the Cherner armchair. Let me count the ways. It is elegant and graceful, with twists and curves that are reminiscent of ancient tree roots or undulating sand dunes. At the same time, the chair is a technical masterpiece in furniture making: It seems impossible that anything organic could be bent in such a way without snapping!Indeed, the Cherner chair looks fragile but is not.
Sep 19, 2012
Advice From a Pro Organizer: Fall Closet Cleaning
People always think of the new year as the perfect time to clean out closets, but professional organizer and declutterer Nicole Anzia of Washington DC-based Neatnik prefers to do it after Labor Day. “I always think of fall as a new beginning. Summer is over, kids are back at school and everyone else resumes a “normal” schedule in September. Plus, the weather is about to turn crisp, so what better time to clean out your closets?
Sep 13, 2012
Design Details: Bathroom Mirrors Done Right
The bathroom mirror is the kind of decorating detail that should receive far more attention than it does. After all, you look at it every day. It provides a critical function for daily grooming but is also a relatively easy way to inject a dose of personality and style into even the most clinically stark bathroom.And it is easier (and usually cheaper) to change a mirror than to replace a toilet, wall tile or sink!
Sep 6, 2012
Movie Moves: Film Scenes About Moving Out (And Moving In)
I will never forget the wagon wheel coffee table scene from When Harry Met Sally, which captures so beautifully those early tensions about how to decorate a shared home… and gives a glimpse of the brutal division of property that comes with divorce…Harry and Sally are over at the new apartment of their newly in love friends (Jess and Marie), who have just moved in together and are negotiating whether to keep Jess’s ridiculous coffee table.
Aug 29, 2012
Beadboard Vs. Wainscoting: Do You Know the Difference?
It’s one thing to paint the walls in your home, but for an added dose of charm, you might consider adding beadboard to the wall. Beadboard adds visual interest to any wall. It is relatively durable, an inexpensive alternative to tile, can be painted any color, and installed at any height. While you often see it in traditional or rustic settings, beadboard doesn’t have to impart a cutesy country feel; it can be positively sleek and cool.
Aug 16, 2012
Living Room Layout Challenge, Revisited: A Before & After Based On Your Advice
One of the best things about Apartment Therapy is the community of real voices weighing in on real-life design dilemmas and challenges. No matter how (relatively) easy it is for me to dish out advice to others about interior decorating and layout, I find I can get stuck in a decorating rut when it comes to some of my own spaces.Sometimes, all it takes is getting fresh, new perspectives on a room to overcome design challenges, especially when it comes to layout and furniture placement dilemmas.
Aug 15, 2012
How Much Fabric Do I Need to Reupholster This Chair, Sofa or Stool ?
Next time you are standing in that thrift store (or your great aunt’s living room) pondering whether to take home the groovy chair with the hideous and shredded upholstery, this tool may come in handy. Because sometimes it is hard to imagine just how much fabric would be needed to redo a chair or sofa. And every yard counts.Via: Honey & Fitz. – click through for an option to download them for easy printing or to keep them on file for handy reference.(Images: Butler K.
Jun 22, 2012
Case Studies of Real Life Upholstery Jobs: What Do People Really Pay?
Here are some examples of real people who have had work done–and what they actually paid. And we have also included some words of wisdom (and pricing ranges) from a handful of designers and upholsterers.Case Studies of Real Life Upholstery JobsHere are some real examples from friends who have upholstered various pieces of furniture. It should be noted, of course, that most of these folks live in Washington DC, which is hardly the country’s best locale for bargain goods and services!
Jun 19, 2012
Time to Toss: A Guide to Expiration Dates in the Bathroom
Whether you have a lot of storage space in your bathroom or a little, chances are your drawers and cabinets are full to capacity. It seems that the more space we have, the more stuff we buy.Our need for bathroom storage seems to be growing. Has our collective skin become more zitty? Are we stinkier? Or do we just get seduced too easily by the promises made by the growing panopoly of beauty and self-care products?
Jun 5, 2012
Before & After: A Bathroom Goes From Pinky Peach to Sleek and Chic
When Josh, Lauren and their twins moved into their new townhouse in Washington DC’s historic Mount Pleasant neighborhood, they knew right away they had to change the bathroom. The retro pink, peach and black tiled bathroom, while quaint and vintage, was not their style. And in a smallish townhouse the room felt too busy and crowded. (Perhaps they also knew that once their daughters got old enough to talk they would fall in love with the bathroom’s perky pink: time was of the essence!
May 29, 2012
Budget to Luxe: 20 Bathroom Vanities
It’s hard to find a bathroom vanity that doesn’t scream “bathroom vanity”. Vanity is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, after all. We are redoing our bathroom and I really want a pedestal sink but it just isn’t practical for a bathroom shared by four people. But it’s hard to find a vanity that doesn’t look cheap and cheesy– or completely space-age (though I do love many of those; they’re just not going to work in my particular bathroom).
May 24, 2012
Bottoms Up: The Pros Picks for Top Toilets
Picking the best toilet seems like it should be straighforward — but it isn’t. Trouble is, there are many variables to consider. But at the end of the day, certain toilets tend to rise to the occasion. Terry Love, who is a plumber and plumbing blogger, loves his Toto toilets. Consumer Reports and Consumer Search, which is a meta-analysis of a whole host of reviews, also give props to some American Standard, Kohler and Gerber toilets.
May 21, 2012
Always a Classic: The Many Faces of Black & White Floor Tile
Black and white floor tiles for the bathroom have a long history. They were popular during the Victorian times and during the Arts and Crafts period. The style has been copied in vinyl form, but there are many elegant versions available today. White hexagon tiles can be used with contrast dots, or with contrast circles which look like flowers. Or you can go with simple square tiles in various sizes and patterns. And then there is the pinwheel design, with its lovely geometric symmetry.
May 17, 2012
Ergonomic or Not: Are All Chairs Bad For You?
A hilarious and provocative article in the latest issue of the journal Jacobin posits that chairs are…well, evil. Author Colin McSwiggen writes, “I hate to piss on the party, but chairs suck. All of them. No designer has ever made a good chair, because it is impossible. Some are better than others, but all are bad.
May 3, 2012
Old & New: Pairing Antique Dining Tables with Contemporary Chairs
We have all seen the eclectic look of rustic farmhouse tables with modern chairs. But what about a more polished and formal dining tables? How would such a table look with chairs from a different era?Our dining room chairs, antique balloon back chairs we snagged at an auction, are on their last legs. They are unstable and not very comfortable for lingering around the table. I still love them but think I would rather scatter them through the house as occasional chairs.
Apr 26, 2012
Black and White & Great All Over: The Striped Rug That Works (Almost) Anywhere
No, it’s not new. It’s not even particularly newsworthy. But I find myself drawn to rooms with this popular black and white offset striped rug. For something so modern and graphic, the rug is surprisingly versatile.It gives formal antique-filled rooms some punch and brightness. It serves as a neutral backdrop for more modern rooms. How can something with such a busy pattern suit so many styles?
Apr 18, 2012
Donor Beware: Do Your Clothing Donations Go to Those in Need?
You’ve taken the plunge and are cleaning out your closet. Now, where to donate? For many, the easiest option is to drop off the bags at one of those big dumpster-like donation bins scattered around grocery store parking lots and parks. Bingo. Easy. Convenient. And you can sleep better knowing the needy will benefit from your lightly used clothing. Or will they?A closer look reveals that some of these donation bins are not all they claim to be.
Apr 16, 2012
5 Strategies for Decluttering a Small Space
It is a lot harder to keep an apartment or small house organized and tidy — but it is critical that you do so. It only takes one pile of papers and one box to overwhelm a smaller space. What to do?We asked organizing and de-cluttering guru Nicole Anzia of Neatnik in Washington DC what her top five strategies are for harnessing chaos in smaller homes and apartments.
Apr 3, 2012
Tips For Storing Luggage at Home
For those of us who don’t have much closet space (let alone garages, attics, or basements!) where oh where are we supposed to store our luggage? Sure, there are some decent soft-sided suitcases out there, but many of the most durable suitcases are not exactly beautiful and they have hard sides and take up some serious space. One solution comes from the folks over at the blog In Decent Order who screwed in hooks high up on the wall of a large closet to hang their luggage from.
Apr 3, 2012
How to Make Ceilings Look Higher: 10 Cool Tricks to Try
High ceilings come with many benefits, like lighter, brighter spaces and cooler rooms in the warm months. While you may not be able to enjoy some of these benefits if you live in a space with 8-foot-ceilings, don’t despair: with a few simple tricks, you can still make your home appear to have higher ceilings. Designers have plenty of tricks for making your ceiling look higher. Below, we’ve included ten key tips for how to make ceilings look higher.
Mar 13, 2012
Opening Up A Galley Kitchen in a Rowhouse or Apartment
For those of us with small kitchens, galley or otherwise, it’s always tempting to knock down a wall and open up the space. I have explored this option for my own home in Merging a Modern Kitchen With a Traditional Dining Room, and the advice I received from Apartment Therapy readers, while varied, was very helpful. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few examples of townhouses where the kitchen has been opened up with lovely results.
Mar 8, 2012
Space-Saving Magic: “Hide” Your Dining Table On The Wall!
Before they bought their current home in Washington D.C.’s Mount Plesant neighborhood, Josh and Lauren lived for six years in a studio apartment. Determined to host dinner parties in their tiny space, the couple came up with an inspired idea that allowed them to have a instant dining room–but only when they needed one. They bought a dining table light enough and compact enough to be hung on the wall when not in use.
Feb 21, 2012
PANYL: Easy & Affordable IKEA Customization
Many of us are IKEA fans but do you ever wish there were more finishes and colors to choose from? Sure, some DIY IKEA hackmasters may be able to put orange cabinets on their Expedit shelves but for the rest of us IKEA is a universe dominated by white and birch. Until now. A new company called Panyl is giving IKEA lovers a way to personalize and customize their favorite flat-pack pieces.
Jan 31, 2012
No Substitute: Which Products Inspire Brand Loyalty?
When it comes to most things I buy for my home (toilet paper, for example), I am pretty flexible: I will buy what is at Costco or what is on sale, including generic or store brands. But with certain products I am very brand loyal (even when my budget tells me to be otherwise).Do you have brand loyalty with certain household products?
Jan 26, 2012
Bench Pressing: The Case for a Bench at the Dining Table
As I tried to squeeze my bulky dining room chairs around our Thanksgiving table to accommodate a gaggle of toddlers and tweens, I remembered why I always wanted a bench at the dining room table…Optimizing horizontal space (no chair arms means more space for actual bodies) is not the only reason a bench makes practical and aesthetic sense in the dining room. For smaller rooms, a bench takes up much less vertical space; and it can be easily tucked under the table.
Nov 28, 2011
Art Nouveau Style (When You Can’t Afford the Real Thing)
Sometimes I torture myself by doing a search for Art Nouveau furnishings on 1stDibs. I covet the impossibly beautiful lamps, mirrors, plates and furniture — all impossibly priced. You won’t impress your purist collector friends (and some of these pieces are very loose interpretations of the style!), but these pieces can give your room a bit of Art Nouveau-esque whimsy and fun.
Nov 8, 2011
Cozy at the Computer: Using Armchairs as Desk Chairs
It happened by accident but I am now using an old oversized armchair as my desk chair. Carpal tunnel experts and physical therapists may gasp in terror but so far I love doing work in this unconventional cocoon of comfort. I feel like I have upgraded to First Class. Meanwhile, in my old workspace (the TV room), my ergonomically correct black high-tech monster of a desk chair spins alone.
Oct 4, 2011
Better with Age: The Allure of Antique Sofas
There were two sofas in our living room when I was a kid. One was a squishy velvet 1970s couch and the other was a Victorian sofa, with tightly packed and unforgiving seat cushions and a firm upright back. Guess which one the kids fought over? Still, with a little tweaking (maybe even re-stuffing), antique and vintage sofas can actually be quite comfortable (maybe not for TV lounging but certainly for conversation).
Sep 29, 2011
Linen Bedding: Are Wrinkled Sheets Sexy or Messy?
Ever since the Restoration Hardware sourcebook fell with a thud through my mail slot I have been obsessed with their new(ish) linen bedding collections. The catalog shows them just perfectly rumpled and textured and wrinkled. Not messy wrinkled; sumptuously wrinkled. But taken out of the studio and into the real world (my bedroom) I wonder if linen sheets like these would look less “sexy rumpled bed head” and more “morning after walk-of-shame disaster”.
Sep 15, 2011
Bathroom Basics: Stocking Your First Home
When it comes to stocking your first home, it’s easy to see why the bathroom could be an afterthought. After all, you’ve got furniture to add to your living room, and pots and pans and tons of tools and appliances to purchase for your kitchen. But bathroom essentials are every bit as important as the things you’ll need for other rooms of your home. Remember, not only will you use your bathroom multiple times a day, any guests that come to your house may use it as well.
Aug 18, 2011
Dishwasher Cutlery Racks & Baskets: Which Is Best?
Everyone has his or her own idiosyncratic approach to dishwasher loading and unloading. My particular quirk is that I am extremely lazy and haphazard; everything gets shoved in at random. But at our rental house this summer, the dishwasher wouldn’t comply with my approach. It was equipped with an extra top shelf dedicated to utensils. I had to insert each spoon, knife and fork in it’s own slot!What do you think of this alternative to the standard cutlery basket?
Aug 11, 2011
Gold and Brass Fixtures and Faucets: Promising or Passe?
In describing its Purist single-control lavatory faucet in Vibrant Moderne brushed gold or polished gold, Kohler says, “We’ve approached the undeniable, romantic allure of gold in an entirely new way.” Is there an undeniable allure to gold faucets and bathroom fittings/hardware? Or does a gold-colored finish (whether brushed, polished, or unlaquered brass or “matte gold”) just scream early 90s to you?
Jul 12, 2011