Nyumba's Profile

Display Name: Nyumba
Member Since: 8/17/12

Latest Comments...

Amazing. Genius. Lots of extra points for pulling off a fabulous result without spending a ton of money.

Kitchen Before & After: A Super Budget Kitchen Makeover For $500 Kitchen Remodel
7/4/14 10:46 AM

I was warned when I first moved to Europe that closets were unknown. I brought some Ikea wardrobes with me...luckily! I've since lived in a few places in a few countries; never have I had built-in closets. Ironically, my NYC apartment had massive closets, to the point where I installed shelves in one and turned it into a floor-to-ceiling cupboard.
Clothes need to be stored in a closed, dark environment. They will become discolored in sunshine, and they will gather dust (and in NYC, grime).

No Closet, No Problem: 10 Fixes for Apartments with a Lack of Closets Renters Solutions
7/3/14 04:20 PM

I painted most of our house from white to a color I wanted to resemble butter (the real stuff, which is almost white but not quite), or what a lot of people would classify as beige, ecru, off-white, etc. I wanted to get the yellow of the exterior light to resonate inside, especially during the grey, rainy winters. Since then, I have felt the slings and arrows of the anti-beige crowd, but I am OK with the choice. It's warmer than a pale grey (so essential during those wet winters), and it really calms down the large space of the great room, which includes reddish marble in the kitchen area, terra cotta tiles on the floors throughout and three different Belgian carpets.

Basic Befores and Awesome Afters: 3 Rooms, 3 Total Makeovers
7/3/14 04:10 PM

Fabulous. I love cobalt blue

Kitchen Before & After: A White Rental Kitchen Gets a Bold Color Kitchen Remodel
7/1/14 11:00 AM

An induction stove has all the flexibility and subtility of gas but is electric. It uses electromagnets to heat the food. Your pans must be magnetic (no copper or aluminium), and I had to replace mine for induction-compatible ones (and I used the opportunity to buy really nice ones, and only replaced what I used a lot, saving space). Advantages of induction:
It's very fast. A big pot of pasta water boils in about 3 minutes.
It heats only the bottom of the pan. The sides will eventually warm up as the contents get hot, but I can pick up pans without hot pads.
It's immediate, both on and off. Of course the burner will remain warm after being shut off, just as the gas stove top does. But it cools down very fast.
If you have kids, it's very safe because turning on the stove accidentally does nothing at all without something magnetic on top. You can turn on the stove and set down your hand and nothing happens.
I adore mine, two years in. We don't have gas service here and when we had to replace our furnace, we went electric (heat pump). We didn't want to keep a propane tank just for the stove, so we tried induction. We love it. I will never go back, either to gas or to halogen or other electric stoves.

Moving From Gas to an Electric Stove: What I've Learned So Far
6/29/14 07:52 AM

A good mattress is indeed important for a good back. Avoiding back pain is definitely a grown-up thing to do.
Re art: it doesn't have to be expensive. You can make it yourself. I don't have a problem with prints if they really have meaning for you. The point is meaning--not just, oh, this goes with my color scheme and it's on sale!
Re appliances: the point is similar to the mattress argument: you buy something that works well (not just that more or less gets the job done), and that will continue to work for a long time. That said, I have a Dyson vacuum and am disappointed.
Re cleaning service: I have always been disappointed in them. I thought it would be nice to have the floors and bathrooms done frequently by somebody else, even if it wasn't done to my standards, but in the end, they drove me nuts. Not worth it, even if I don't really have time to clean as often as necessary for the place to be as clean as I like.

Home Design Decisions Only Grown-Ups Will Make
6/26/14 12:18 PM

I live not far from Toulouse. We call this an "apero-dînatoire"--sort of like mezze or tapas, with small dishes of snacky foods laid out buffet-style.
The key is to have good, real foods, rather than industrial stuff.
Another option is what my husband has been making us when gym practice goes late and we don't have time to cook: a big salad on an enormous plate: bed of lettuce (laitue), decorated with rolled-up Serrano ham, rounds of chorizo, wedges of cheese, olives, wedges of tomatoes, thin slices of onion, even cut-up nectarines. Seasoned lightly with a drizzle each of oil and vinegar, plus a little salt and pepper. With a good baguette, it's a meal that's filling but not heavy.

How the French Make the Best No-Cook Summer Meals The Kitchn Abroad
6/24/14 04:37 AM

Much better. That first before picture is a really wallop between the eyes--brown overload.
I love subway tiles, but I'm starting to see too many. I think they will be one of those things that date design a few years from now.

Kitchen Before & After: A Brown, Cramped Kitchen Opens Up For Under $3,500 Kitchen Remodel
6/19/14 12:38 PM

This is how they cut pineapples in the markets in Kenya near Thika, which is a big pineapple-growing area.

How To Cut a Pineapple in the Prettiest Way Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn
6/17/14 10:16 AM

Very pretty. However, in real life, I regret not having done the "before" style of raised bar in front of the sink. It can help hide stuff you need to keep out, like blender, toaster, etc. We try to put as much as possible in drawers or cupboards, but it still isn't empty enough for me. And when people come over, everybody can see the gigantic mess in the kitchen (pans that held food just served, piles of dirty plates cleared between courses), whereas with a higher bar counter, people seated at the dining table can't see the mess.

Kitchen Before & After: A Smart, Stylish, and Budget-Friendly Kitchen Update for $5,500 Reader Kitchen Remodel
6/16/14 12:17 PM

Battez la crème....
Oh, la crème fraîche
Qu'on fouette gaiement
Parfum vanille, un peu de sucre blanc
On l'aime à la folie, la crème chantilly.....

One of the cutest French nursery songs, an ode to whipped cream. Can be sung as a round.

Can You Really Make Whipped Cream with Just a Mason Jar? Putting Tips to the Test in The Kitchn
6/10/14 10:31 AM

Fabulous. So elegant! So cheerful! I love the molding. It looks like it goes only around the cupboards, and looks OK that way. I have an arch that complicates my dream of molding.
Is anything in that space that was built up? I really want cupboards for storing seasonal stuff, but husband says it would be difficult to execute.

Kitchen Before & After: A Custom Cabinet Upgrade For $250 Reader Kitchen Remodel
6/2/14 10:18 AM

A group of Brits had bought it in 1989 and gave up without doing any restoration despite spending 450K euros. I don't find anything in the local press about the sale to this couple.
It's up pretty high, so it used to be a summer camp for kids in the '60s and '70s.
My husband and I renovated a house in the south of France, not terribly far from this. Two bedrooms, not 94, but we had no trouble with the artisans who did the work. There was work, too--it had been the village showers, then a restaurant. We had to redo everything to make it into a small home.

We Bought a 94-Room French Chateau
5/30/14 12:05 PM

It's in Ariege, near Ax les Thermes and Tarascon.

We Bought a 94-Room French Chateau
5/30/14 11:30 AM

Fabulous work.
That marble painting is genius.
When people put duct tape and washi tape on appliances or walls, do the ends eventually peel up? How to avoid that?

Kitchen Before & After: A 1960s Studio Kitchen Gets a Budget Glam Makeover Kitchen Remodel
5/29/14 10:09 AM

Or go for a croque monsieur--grilled cheese with a slice of ham inside. Or a croque madame--ham inside and an egg on top.

This One Small Extra Step Makes the Cheesiest Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ever Tips From The Kitchn
5/29/14 09:56 AM

I stand corrected. Kaseylulu is right: people want to get gifts for new babies, even second and third ones, and they are just as glad to have some guidance.
I would suggest, rather than "stuff" to get books, even books the kids might not read for several more years.
Eric Carle's books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, etc.); anything Curious George (there's a fantastic anthology of the original set); anything Dr. Seuss; Madeline.....the list goes on. Books also can be shared among siblings, and a book like Curious George might be "for" a new baby, but the older sibling will enjoy it and perhaps be assuaged by its immediate pleasure in the midst of this intruder arriving, while the baby will get it in his/her turn.

4 Ways To Expand Even the Tiniest Budget for a New Nursery
5/12/14 04:14 PM

Baby time is one of those vortexes you get sucked into and you feel overwhelmed and that you absolutely have to have all the widgets out there or you will be a bad parent.
But it's over in the blink of an eye. At the time it seems long, but once your kid can walk, you look back and wonder why you had so much crap and what are you going to do with it now.
Rest assured there would not be 7 billion of us on this earth if raising kids required all the paraphernalia retailers would have you believe is absolutely essential. You need love and patience. That's about it. Neither is on sale anywhere.

4 Ways To Expand Even the Tiniest Budget for a New Nursery
5/12/14 03:09 PM

I cut them in the can with a serrated knife. I read someplace that a serrated knife is better on tomatoes (I think for cutting the skins on fresh ones, and I can vouch that it's true). A friend who's a chef said she has a "tomato knife" because she doesn't want the tomato's acid to ruin her other knives. So I use my dedicated tomato knife, right in the can.

The Best Way to Deal With Whole Canned Tomatoes Tips from The Kitchn
5/12/14 10:05 AM

I have to thank you guys for this. I am on another continent from my parents, which means I have limited ability to intervene, but I also don't have the same pressure as people who care for their parents on a daily basis.
I have tickets to visit and hope to get some cleaning (tossing stuff and disinfecting) done. I wonder whether it's worth the trauma to my mom to clean when she might not be around much longer. I hope to enlist the social worker from my dad's rehab center to press the issue and find some way to make it livable without making her feel violated.
Excuse me while I toss some stuff......seriously this has put me on a big anti-materialism kick. I come to Apt Therapy mostly for the DIYs and how-tos, not for shopping. Oh, and also for the community!

5 Ways You Can Simplify Your Life at Home
5/12/14 03:51 AM