Welcome to Krrbside Questions, a column created solely to answer your queries about living local and being the good neighbor we know you all are. Taking a stab at your home decorating woes this time around is Megan Meany, televison host and secondhand hobbyist. With her finger on the pulse and a knack for turning furniture from drab to fab, we’ve asked her to answer your burning questions. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any.
Q: My freezer and I have a love/hate relationship. I love to freeze foods and hate when it gets overcrowded and smelly. Help me develop a good system to keeping it organized, neat and full of good foods to eat.
A: Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has spoken on TV about her clever “freezer files” storage system. Use large freezer-friendly plastic bags to store leftover food flat on the freezer floor from peas to soup to hamburger patties. Once they freeze flat, stand them upright like books on a bookshelf. By not using the typical bulky container, you’ll keep more frozen food filed neatly in your freezer.
Now, you know how the file folders have tabs for easy organization? You would label them with “taxes” or “birth documents,” right? So get out your marker and write on the outside of the bag “mixed veggies” or “meat sauce” and record the date you froze it.
Other organizing tips include storing food like fish, meat or chicken in meal-ready proportions rather than in bulk. Forget about digging through the back of your freeze to unearth surprise meals. Keep your meats and poultry grouped together, breads on a separate shelf, and frozen vegetables on another.
Different foods last in the freezer longer than others. Some foods will develop a smell when frozen too long and should be discarded and some foods can last what seems like indefinitely. You can find charts on freezing foods or entire guides to creating frozen meals.
Q: I really love watching television in bed. But a flat-screen just goes against the look of my Mad Men-esque bedroom that I’ve worked so hard to put together. How can I conceal a modern TV among the clean lines of my Mid-Century furnishings?
A: There’s plenty of ways to work the television into your decor so worry not! I found at least two sideboards on Krrb (here and here) that would fit right in with your Mid-Century aesthetic even if the TV is on top and not concealed. If you would rather have the TV out of sight you can search for a cabinet with doors that isn’t too tall for the room and has clean lines. Search local secondhand stores that specialize in Mid-Century furniture.
Another option is to buy a flatscreen in white or silver and treat it like a framed photo on your wall. Center it on the wall opposite your bed and surround the TV with smaller art or photographs framed in the same color — all white or silver. The effect blends your flatscreen into your picture wall, where the biggest picture is actually a television.
If the picture wall sounds too busy for your decor sensibility then consider framing the TV all by itself like a single piece of art. Take the measurements to a custom framing shop or bring your flatscreen to them. Have a frame designed to fit around the flat screen. Mount the TV on the wall and place the frame over it. Whether or not the television is turned off, it will still look like a clean, simple focal point.
Take it a step further with the help of a clever handyman. Conceal a mounted flat screen with a piece of art. The art would have to be bigger than the TV in order to cover it. A handyman could attach a runner system to the art and the wall so you can slide the artwork to one side and reveal the television when you want it on.
Q: It’s finally spring and time to decorate my 12X12 condo balcony. I’ve been dreaming of lazy brunches outside all winter. Tell me what I need and how I can achieve that put-together look without it looking like I bought out Ikea. I have a $250 budget.
A: It’s all about bringing the indoors out. Treat your outdoor space the same way you would an indoor space. You want it to look good, be comfortable and functional. Shop flea markets, tag and estate sales and online classifieds for affordable, unique, secondhand furnishings. This will keep things from looking like they came out of an IKEA catalogue.
Consider a wood floor for a natural feel or cool tile. Flor rug squares could also work in that space since they are easily removable and washable.
Once the floor is settled, these are my outdoor space must-haves:
- a table
- live plants
- a sculpture or two
- a bar cart
- an outdoor rug
- and extra seating
I like the idea of a round table in a small space. It’s an intimate seating arrangement and takes up less room. Just hunting through the Krrb classifieds, I found a few items on my list including an a CB2 table and chairs set. There is also a free available table base that you could get creative with to make into a functioning dining surface.
Mis-matching dining chairs makes it easier for you to stay on budget plus it adds a nice whimsey to your decor. If you see a couple for a great price you don’t have to worry if there isn’t a matching set of four. And remember, a simple coat of outdoor paint can do wonders to a tired frumpy chair! One quick search on Krrb turned up a set of cool turquoise chairs for just $20!
Add prints to your space with an affordable indoor/outdoor rug from Dash and Albert or Domestic Construction and throw pillows made from outdoor friendly fabrics.
If you’ve got room in one corner, add a chaise or a chair and ottoman combo would be great for reading and napping. A zebra pouf by Heaslips Designs currently on sale on Fab adds a fun pop of pattern with a removable slipcover for washing off sangria or coffee stains. It comes in orange and white if you like color or grey and white if you prefer neutral tones. It can also double as extra seating for guests.
Good balcony plants depend on how much light your balcony gets. Your conditions could be ideal for azaleas or better for spider plants. Ask your local nursey or greenhouse for advice. I like the look of a tall floor plant to fill one corner of the balcony or a row of them for privacy. You could also group several smaller pots along the perimeter of the balcony and grow fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, thyme and basil to spice up those omelettes you’ll be making for brunch! Choose matching pots to avoid a cluttered feel. Balcony planters that sit on either side of the balcony or porch railing are popular right now and I’m loving the brightly colored designs by Greenbo.
Scour local flea markets for an antique bust that you could place in another corner of the balcony or mix in with the potted herbs. And a bar cart is a must-have if you’re serving mimosas at your future outdoor brunches. You can use it for anything from serving Bloody Marys to lemonade to a buffet surface for food.