Home Maintenance- 5 things that drive me crazy

By Barbara Schmidt

If you want weekend warrior ideas just ask yourself what drives you crazy about your home. It could be something in disrepair or maybe something that never worked in the first place. 

Most of my crazies are things that don’t work – either they were never designed correctly in the first place or something was never set up right. Try to tackle these items “bird by bird” as they say so that a little sanity can creep into your daily life.

  1. Lights on Lights off.

The winters in the New North (Minneapolis) are long, cold and dark. We used to rely on a motion sensor to turn on our lights when driving up to the house. The sensor would get cloudy so that after a year or two it wasn’t very responsive so we’d be coming home in the dark.

I was out on a project in LA when I ran across the timer duplex switch from Lutron. I love this switch because we can program it turn on and off by the amount of daylight streaming onto the sensor inside the house.

As the days get shorter and shorter the garage lights come on earlier and earlier. The switch allows for manual operation as well.


2. Migrating Toilet Seat

That’s right, our master bath has a toilet seat that stays tight for one or two tries and then migrates back and forth just to make those middle of the night trips to the bathroom really perilous. 

I asked around – spoke to a photographer friend of mine who suggested going back to old stock toilet seats but they fit round fronts not the elongated front toilet we have. 

I asked at the wholesaler where the toilet came from and they didn’t have a suggestion either. My husband complained and complained about it until one day it came up at topic of conversation in our of our remodeling projects.

Finally I’m in a meeting at Aspire Showroom and the local representative for Bemis tells us about STATITE® the professional hinge fixing system. Well, I felt vindicated – obviously we have an issue that many other homeowners have had as well. So hallelujah! We now have a toilet seat that stays put and the toilet seat itself is slow close from churchseats.com. 

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3. Organized Flatware

Admittedly I do not have this problem solved yet but I have big plans. Every year at KBIS I see the Hafele booth with their drawer organizers and I proclaim my intentions to fix our flatware drawer. 

Sometime in 1994 someone had the great idea to use a plastic molded drawer form to rest our silverware on. The big problem is that silver and plastic are slippery so every time you open or close the drawer the silverware slides forward or back and after a few times the entire situation is a jumbled mess. Felted bottoms would be great and sections so that we can keep my chef husband happy and at peace.

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4. Dingy Bath Towels

We are having family over for dinner in a few weeks and all of sudden I noticed how worn and sad our guest bath towels look. They are embarrassing so I’m on the hunt for some better quality bath towels in a grey or charcoal. 

It’s funny how we miss things everyday and then all of sudden they cross that line needing replacement. No one should have to dry off with a questionably clean towel. Come to think of it my husband did ask for new bath towels that are “fluffy” and bigger. 

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5. Wall Marks

We move a lot furniture in and out of our home for photography so it’s not surprising that we have a lot of marks on our white walls. Once a year I try to take Mr. Eraser to visit all the high traffic areas in our home to freshen up all the dings.

In the meantime I look at each wall ding as a sort of birthmark of each my projects. Do they drive me crazy? Yes but on the positive side it’s so satisfying to rub them out of existence.


What’s On Trend?

My first visit to the Aspire Design Showroom Gallery in Plymouth was to attend a recent Women In New Construction (WINC) meeting. It was also my first time attending a WINC group meeting and it was so inspiring. There were women from the interior design side to manufacturing to media in attendance.

The Aspire showroom is so beautiful and informative. For instance, the shower display is something I’ve thought about for years. Wouldn’t you want to try a shower-head before you buy it? Sure you would and they are all lined up so consumer’s can feel the spray on their hands before choosing the shower system for their dream home.

This particular event featured Kohler’s Jennifer Nye, Marketing Manager, and she presented trends in the Kitchen and Bath industry. Here are some of the trends Kohler has identified as influencing the kitchen and bath industry:



“Travel is a spending priority for most consumers,” said Nye and it competes with disposable income that could be invested for home improvements.

As one of my biggest sources of design inspiration, I find travel a must-do on my priority list. One of my favorite ways to see more is to work in other cities across the country. It forces me to see what else is out there for resources and design.



Nye explained, “… consumers seek …peace of mind, serenity and freedom from chaos.”

The idea of what is ever is included in design has a purpose is a wonderful tenant. Clear focus on what the purpose is of everything in an environment can be very satisfying. It is in the nature of humans to arrange and rearrange. One of the principles of our firm is to “edit” oneself but first to have the freedom to try whatever one feels may be a possibility because design is full of surprises.


Tech tightrope

“Technology has become a modern addiction, invading all aspects of life… Consumers are finding that they have to mediate and at times, experience the joy of missing out,” Nye presented.

With just about every appliance in the industry linked in someway to a smart phone we are seeing the creep of technology in more places in the home than ever. Window lock and patio doors are now configured to open via apps on your smart phone. So where are we headed with this? Will we need to simplify? We say yes.


treat yourself

Second to last, Nye said this, “Our New Sophisticates are willing to spend more on things that matter, and more likely to indulge in everyday things that bring them joy. Those things are not considered a waste of money because they center around happiness and not necessity.”

This is the idea of experiences vs. owning things just to own them. Will you use that extra space or will it become a burden? Will you need to store and organize inventory or delight in the presence of its existence? Sometimes this is hard to say because human nature is extremely adaptable. The question is what truly brings you happiness?


modern momentum

Lastly, Nye said this, “Nearly all consumers want a ‘modern’ space, but by that they mean up-to-date, not necessarily a certain aesthetic….online environments create real-time exposure to the latest and greatest, accelerating consumers’ tolerance for what is ‘in style.’”

We used to be design influenced by our parents, neighbors, friends and local environments. Publications broadened our sphere but now we have video and Airbnb to expand our horizons even further. Just about any style can be found within vertical categories. Overall, the modern mash includes a touch of transitional contemporary everywhere.

All in all it was a wonderful peek into how Kohler looks toward trend for their product inspiration and offerings. In fact, I was there to specify bath and kitchen products for our upcoming project @Dohmicile. Absolutely everything we could ever want and more is displayed at Aspire. Now it’s going to be hard making decisions. To watch our progress follow us on Instagram @Dohmicile or @studiobstyle.