Arglebargle's Profile

Display Name: Arglebargle
Member Since: 9/27/10

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In the hurry to replace furniture after a fire, my husband and I decided we'd like to put a sleeper sofa in our office so we could accommodate more house guests. We have a very narrow stairway with low ceilings heading up to that room, and knew we'd never get a traditional sofa bed up there. So we decided on a sleeper loveseat from IKEA--it would come in pieces, so we could assemble it in the room, right? We visited the store, found the loveseat, and ordered it. It came in two boxes. One HUGE 200-pound box and another tiny box that held the slipcovers for the damn thing. There was no way we were getting this thing up the stairs and over the railing. We tried to take out the sleeper mechanism in the foyer, but we were missing some tools and ended up giving up, as it was around 2 am at that point. Fortunately, while I was at work the next day, my husband had the bright idea of calling our 6'5" handyman, who had the tools and was able to help my 5'4" husband get the frame and loveseat up the stairs and reassemble the whole thing all in about an hour. Thank god for Sam. And yes, the whole thing had an awful plastic smell for weeks. I kept the windows open in order to air the darn thing out. Suffice it to say, that thing is never coming out of there without the help of a saw.

Reader Regrets: An IKEA Oops
4/7/14 12:58 PM

I almost never clean with soap. Even after my stepdaughter cooks pork chops and burns them to the pan, all it takes is kosher salt, some olive oil, and elbow grease. Then I rinse with water and dry with a paper towel. I have two Lodge 12" skillets and I love them. I cook everything in them.

The Complete Guide to Buying, Cleaning & Seasoning Cast Iron Pans
2/25/14 02:55 PM

I love our Brooklyn house. We looked for a long time for the perfect place in the neighborhood we wanted (where the housing stock rarely turns over--just goes in families from generation to generation). We got everything on our list: backyard for the dogs and for outdoor entertaining, detached from other houses, a basement large enough and soundproofable enough to make music in, enough bedrooms to have a dedicated guest room, a dining room for large holiday dinners. I fell in love with it from the moment I saw it. We put money into a renovation that turned it into everything I ever wanted. Right now I'm in our lovely master bedroom lying in bed and drinking coffee and planning my spring gardening, and the dogs are up here with me staring out the windows at the trees and the passers-by. Sorry this post is getting a little braggy, but I'm truly grateful multiple times a day that I get to live here. I love coming home every day, I love making dinner and entertaining our friends and family, I love the amount of space and beauty we have and I especially love that I get to stay in New York City. I was born here and regretted every single time I ever moved away. I'll never leave again.

What Do You Love About Your Home?
2/25/14 01:47 PM

Eh. I always liked doing my laundry by myself. Also, I know I would get annoyed by people who get so involved in their socializing and cheese fries and video games and laptops to empty their dryers and washers when their laundry is done. The closest I ever came to a situation like this is when I would drive to the next town over to use the 24-hour laundromat at midnight (because no one was there) and go to the bar across the street for a beer or two and maybe a snack--but I always brought a book.

Wasbar: A Cool, Functional Update on the Laundromat Messy Nessy Chic
2/13/14 12:26 PM

We have our liquor (and a wine rack) on a sideboard in our dining room. I'd love to put it away somewhere, but the sideboard (which is where my parents kept their liquor neatly tucked away) is full of table linens and serving pieces, because we do Thanksgiving and Passover for 13 every year, and that's a lotta dishes. So the booze is arranged on a shelving piece that sits on top of the sideboard (which also holds our bar ware). We entertain a lot, and it' since to set up the bar with ice and mixers and garnishes and let guests help themselves to drinks, or a pitcher cocktail if I've made one for the occasion. It's a nicely curated selection of alcohol and I take great pains to avoid items like sticky, dust-covered bottles of creme de menthe and Kaluha.

Fun or Faux Pas? Liquor Bottles on Display
2/13/14 12:18 PM

I have a 1930s house and when we renovated I INSISTED on keeping the original doors with their beautiful glass knobs, much to the architect's chagrin.

Are Doorknobs on the Outs? Design News
1/4/14 10:29 AM

It does look like mold. The stamps are way too small for the space they need to take up, and the color is a moldy green or something. Cute idea, not so cute execution!

Putting Your Stamp On It: Budget, DIY Accent Wall for the Nursery
1/3/14 10:49 AM

Really enjoying reading about everyone's traditions!

As a kid, we'd go out and get our tree and decorate it on Xmas eve, frantically wrapping presents and oohing and aaahing over forgotten ornaments. Then we'd go to a relative's or friend's house for Christmas Eve, go home, and try to sleep! The next morning was stockings, then breakfast (Eggs Benedict made by Dad!), then presents one at a time. Then packing up to go to another relative's house for Christmas dinner.

Now, it's a little different. My husband is Jewish, but nonobservant, and doesn't have a feeling about Christmas, but his daughter (now 19) loves Xmas and usually spends it at her Mom's. However, since she lives with us most of the time, I've always tried to decorate and have a little Christmas feeling for her at our house: tree, presents, a fun dinner. We celebrate on the Solstice (I'm convinced my husband is a pagan at heart) and have fondue and open gifts (one at a time!), and then she goes to her Mom's on the 23rd.

Idea Exchange: What's Your Christmas Present Opening Tradition?
12/20/13 11:46 AM

So great to see this, as I just decided to surprise the family with a cheese and hot-oil fondue (two separate pots, of course) for our little Solstice celebration this weekend! Traditional cheese fondue plus hot oil for dipping bits of filet or shrimp. Really looking forward to it!

Switch Up Your Christmas Dinner: Make Fondue The Cheesemonger
12/20/13 01:46 AM

I had people over for fondue--and one friend showed up with a vegan lasagne. He's a dear friend, and had recently decided to eat a vegan diet, and so brought his own food. At least he brought enough so other people could try some. I was slightly offended, as I've always tried to accommodate their needs,and if he had told me I would have made sure to have some options for him, but it got over it. The one incident I DIDN'T get over was at another fondue party, a friend brought his Raclette set and cheese and proceeded to plug it in and make Raclette for himself. While we were all eating fondue. It was weird.

My husband and I are currently dieting but we keep it to ourselves, especially when out to eat or at friends' houses. We eat whatever they have and don't mention diets to avoid the endless chatter about it.

What to Do About the Guest Who Brings His Own Meal to Your Dinner Party
12/6/13 01:16 AM

WHOA! Awesome!

Before & After: From Big, Brown Box to Pretty & Posh
11/4/13 11:26 AM

We have a large bay window in our front room that used to be an enclosed porch. It gets cold in the winter because it's over an uninsulated crawl space, there's no radiator in the room, and the windows are large. We will eventually fill in the crawl space with insulation, but for now we have double-cell top-down, bottom-up cellular shades and a thick shag rug on the floor. The windows aren't drafty (they're brand new) but they're big. We also use a small space heater when we're in there (it's our TV room). And an afghan.

What Is the Best Way To Keep Our Apartment Warm This Winter? Good Questions
10/23/13 12:30 PM

1) Formica. Ugh.
2) Ugly office chairs. Double ugh. Maybe re-covered, but as-is? Uh-uh.

Is This Set Good Retro - or No Go? Good Questions
10/23/13 12:20 PM

The pile of clothes on the rocking chair in the corner of the bedroom. Once-worn jeans, sweaters I'm too lazy to put away, my hand-knitted socks waiting until there's enough to put in the wash. Cashmere scarf that needs to go to the dry cleaner. It's a catch-all and is the bane of my existence.

What's Your Cleaning Weak Spot?
10/23/13 12:14 PM

Our upstairs hallway is way too narrow for a chair or even a bench. But our second-floor rooms are large, so I consider that a good trade.

Simple Update Idea: Chairs in Hallways, Even in Small Homes
10/17/13 10:49 AM

Braised Beef in Tomatoes and Red Wine (from this site!):

Polenta: Make according to package directions (I use chicken broth instead of water for "savory" polenta, and plain water if I want to fry it up for breakfast later to top with maple syrup), spread into a rimmed baking pan, chill, slice up into squares. I freeze this in a big bag with each slice separated with wax or parchment paper.

Black bean soup: my favorite is the Black Bean Soup from ( I add a little piece of chipotle and a spoonful of adobo.

I also cook brown and white rice (sushi and long grain) in large batches in my rice cooker, then portion it out in 1-cup increments (I use a dry 1-cup measure) onto plastic wrap and freeze each separately.

Meatloaf: I take my favorite meatloaf recipe and cook it in muffin tins. Let cool, and put the "muffins" in a ziplock bag. They freeze really well, and voila! automatic portion control. (Adjust the cooking time--a big meatloaf might take an hour to cook; mini ones take 20 mins-1/2 hour. I check their internal temp before taking them out of the oven.)

Green Curry Fritters from Cooking Light. This is a BIG favorite.

Little tiny quiches, crustless and not. I make a standard recipe of quiche filling and then use my muffin tins to make baby quiche. I've used puff pastry as the crust, and I've even used egg-roll or spring-roll wrappers, prebaked and then filled and baked.

Meatballs, nem nuong, any type of little patty freezes really well.

I like doing everything in portions, because I work weird hours and it allows my husband and teenage daughter to feed themselves and pack their own lunches when I'm not around. I tend to spend a day every two or three weeks cooking and replenishing my "freezer pantry." I'll also make big batches of dinner stuff and freeze the leftovers (chili; roast chicken; stew--without potatoes!).

What Are Your Favorite Meals to Make Ahead and Freeze? Reader Intelligence Request
9/3/13 01:49 PM

I grew up in Cobble Hill in the 70s-80s (back when it was known as just part of "South Brooklyn." My dad used to get beat up by the local thugs outside our brownstone (which we bought as a fixer-upper for $17,000). Now I can't afford to live there. My husband and I live in Kensington. Diverse, beautiful, affordable.

What Does it Really Cost to Live in Brooklyn? Apartment Therapy's Cost of Living Report
8/14/13 11:24 AM

I tend to agree that a pizza is something made from white flour with cheese and sauce and maybe some toppings in it. But I'm not as much a pizza purist as I am a martini purist. Just because it's served without ice in that long-stemmed, tria gular glass does NOT mean it's a martini. A martini is gin (ok, MAYBE vodka, blech) with a teeny bit of vermouth and a big ol' olive. End of story. (sorry to go so far off topic!)

When Is A Pizza Not A Pizza?
8/12/13 11:55 AM

1) Hire movers.

That is all.

Seriously. If you're over a certain age, you need to hire movers. It should be part of the budget. That said, we had friends (both over 30) who begged for help moving--and both of them make more money than both of us combined. It was really weird. I can understand helping out by being at the new place to receive the movers or cable guy or whatever while someone else finishes up at the old place (sweeping etc) but I'll never carry furniture or boxes again.

When we were preparing to move back in after we had a fire, we asked friends to come over and help clean up and organize our rehearsal space in the basement--and these were all people who use the space on a regular basis and store stuff there, so it wasn't weird. But in general, having your thirtysomething/fortysomething friends haul your stuff around? No way Jose.

No-Fail Tips for Keeping Your Friends Happy While They Help You Move
8/6/13 11:32 AM

I like the look of an open shower. But that said:
1) I love baths.
2) all the open showers I've been in have been COLD! I've used them at other people's houses, in hotels, and in apartments rented while traveling. Ugh.
3) when we were renovating out house, one architect looked in our adorable 1930s bathroom and was like, "of course we rip all this out and put in a shower with glass panels." Guess who didn't get the job? I KEPT the original black and white floor tile, the tub, sink, and even the medicine cabinet.

The only open shower I've ever seen that was worth it was a friend of ours basically turned their teeny tiny second bathroom into a shower room--tiled everything, tiny sink and toilet. A closed cabinet held towels. It stayed nice and warm and thanks to an ingenious vent fan nothing gets musty.

Set Your Shower Free! Open Shower Renovation Inspiration
7/25/13 10:54 AM