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How To Make a Vintage Kitchen in a Jetson’s World

1940-Broadway--8-KitchenIf you’re trying to figure out how to get the feel of a vintage kitchen in your modern-day apartment, there are many things you can do to make it happen. Smart fixture and design choices can help you blend vintage elements into a modern-day kitchen setup.

No matter how close we’ve come to matching (and surpassing) Jetsons-level technology, many of us still pine for a vintage kitchen. That said, while you might harbor a deep appreciation for vintage bronze faucets, you’re not immune to space-age comforts, either: You love a homemade, piping-hot cappuccino straight from that fancy machine of yours, and if you’re gripped with overwhelming thirst in the middle of a hot and steamy summer night, you prefer to get a cool drink from the dispenser in your fridge, not a hand-drawn bucket of well water.

Weep not! There is a happy medium: If you love a kitchen with vintage flair but you don’t want to give up any of your modern conveniences, you can still put together a kitchen that shows your reverence for the past while you’ve got your shoes planted firmly in the present and the future. Here are three approaches you can use:

1. Use Vintage Design Materials

Materials like copper, brass, iron, and wood are hallmarks of 19th- and 20th-century kitchens. Incorporating some of these materials in your kitchen is easier than you think, and the transformation will be immediate.

  • Wooden or butcher block countertops can give a kitchen a homey, old-fashioned look and feel.
  • Copper or brass pot holders suspended from the ceiling can provide you with valuable extra storage while giving off a yesteryear vibe.

2. Redo the Flooring

You may have noticed that kitchen flooring is one of the easiest ways to give a kitchen a retro look. Linoleum flooring? 1940s and ’50s. Tile? Mid-’80s. The following flooring styles can take your kitchen back to the past.

  • Installing gorgeous black-and-white checkerboard floors is one of the best ways to bring instant vintage and retro charm to your kitchen. You can get the look from all sorts of materials. If money’s no object, open up that wallet and spring for marble. If you’re watching your pennies or if you live in a rental, consider a green material like Forbo’s Marmoleum. It’s beautiful, relatively easy to install, and incredibly comfortable underfoot. Architect Maia Kumari Gilman of NYC-based Gilman Architects lauds the material and has used it in her own homes with great success. Environmentally conscious retailer Green Depot is one of the NYC-based businesses that sell Marmoleum.
  • Laying down vintage wooden floorboards is another way that you can bring a bit of chic vintage styling into your home. Many people scope out reclaimed wood retailers on the hunt for antique wooden planks that will help give their kitchen a cozy feel. Have a modern kitchen but love reclaimed wood? You’d be amazed at how well those two looks go together.

3. Change Your Kitchen’s Jewelry

And by “jewelry,” we mean all its accent pieces and accessories that give the finishing touches to your kitchen’s decor. Those accessories can make a kitchen look modern or vintage, so choose accessories that remind you of (the good parts of) your grandmother’s kitchen.

  • Replace that ball faucet with an oil-rubbed high-arc bronze one, and you’ll think Hercule Poirot will be walking through your door at any moment. You can find antique reproduction faucets at really great prices. And if you’re want the real thing, check out Built It Green NYC‘s Brooklyn or Queens showrooms.
  • Are you looking for doorknobs that will turn your Lower East Side galley kitchen into one more suited to Victorian London? Get thee to Anthropologie; enough said.

Start with these tips, and you’ll be able to achieve that vintage kitchen look you’ve always wanted, in no time.


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4 Tips For Paring Down Your Stuff Prior to Moving

If you’re planning a move, you may have an overwhelming urge to throw all your possessions into cardboard boxes, tape them shut and think, “I’ll deal with this after moving!”

We get it. But before you start dumping drawers into boxes willy-nilly, we implore you: Declutter first.87717930-300x199

There’s no better time to get rid of unnecessary stuff than right before a move. You’re in the right mindset—you’re open to change.

Plus, you have to go though everything already, and if you follow through, you’ll start life at your new home with less junk and a stronger connection to the items you decided to hold onto before moving.

Sounds great, but how do you do it? We recently gave a best-selling book—“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo—a read.

The book isn’t necessarily about moving; it’s more about how to live a less cluttered, happier life. But many of the suggestions Kondo offers are invaluable to those brave souls about to pack up their possessions and begin anew.

Here are four tips from Kondo’s book we found for downsizing before a move.

1. Category by Category

Think about your past attempts to tidy up or simplify your physical space. Odds are you went about it room by room. Rookie mistake!

Kondo subscribes to the theory you should instead go category by category. For example, if you keep some dinner plates in the kitchen and others in the dining room, put them all together in one place before going through them and deciding what to keep. Same for clothes, books, athletic equipment and so on throughout the house.

Don’t focus on what you’re discarding. Rather, focus on the things you are choosing to keep: This makes the process feel more positive.

2. Handle Everything

Kondo suggests touching everything you own in order to determine if you truly want and need it.

Take clothes, for example. Kondo believes it best to remove all your clothes from your closet and dresser, physically hold them and decide one-by-one if you want to keep each item.

You might be tempted to just flip through your shirts as they hang in your closet. According to Kondo, that’s a no-no. You have to get everything out of its place to determine if you want it—and if it truly brings you joy.

3. Find the Joy

This is a little touchy feely, but bear with us: Kondo believes that a possession either “sparks joy,” or it doesn’t.

It’s all about keeping the items that do offer that spark and getting rid of everything that doesn’t. Kondo uses books as an example: Does being surrounded by books you’ve never read bring you joy? Maybe not.

Of course, the standard doesn’t work for each and every item in a household. A plunger isn’t likely to “spark joy”—but having one around is still a good idea.

4. Make Moving an Event

Most people believe tidying is something you need to work at, something that requires upkeep. However, Kondo writes that if you’re constantly tidying up, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Instead of doing a little tidying up here and a little there whenever you have time, make your clean-up an event—something you spend a weekend doing with friends and family.

Painful? Maybe. But you’re more likely to experience a significant and long-lasting change. Of course, you’ll still need to put stuff away (unless you have a butler), but the effort will be minimal.

In short, think of Kondo’s method as a marathon that ends rather than daily sprints that go on and on and on.


Again, Kondo’s techniques aren’t specifically written for people undergoing moves. But there are few better times to assess whether you really need that old two-prong extension cord than when you’re holding it in your hand and have the option of packing it or chucking it.

You can check out Kondo’s book here or here.

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Sharks Around Maui Are ‘Aumakua

Despite the minuscule numbers of people killed every year by sharks (and massive numbers of sharks killed by humans each year), there’s something about the creatures that terrifies many visitors to Hawaii. For Hawaii’s native kanaka maoli, this is unfortunate, given that to them sharks are ‘aumakua, the reborn spirits of deceased ancestors who serve now as guardians.SharksOnMaui

For marine biologists, sharks are neither benevolent spirits nor dangerous monsters–they’re mysteries, deserving of studied, careful research. Following a cluster of shark bite incidents in 2012, two internationally recognized shark experts began tagging tiger sharks in the waters around Maui and Oahu in hopes of learning more about the creatures.

In 2013, “24 large tiger sharks were captured and fitted with tracking devices off Kihei, Olowalu and Kahului, Maui,” stated a Nov. 20 news release from the University of Hawaii. “The tagging efforts are providing new insights into the coastal habitats most frequently visited by tiger sharks around Maui.”

Now the data is coming in. According to the researchers, tiger sharks really prefer shallower waters.

“We are seeing a strong preference for coastal shelf habitats shallower than 600 ft,” said Dr. Carl Meyer, who’s with the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, in the Nov. 20 UH news release. “Although these sharks also roam far out into the open-ocean, they are most frequently detected in the area between the coast and the 600 ft depth contour which is up to 10 miles offshore around Maui.”

What’s even more fascinating is that the sharks seem to behave differently around each island.

“We are tracking tiger sharks around O‘ahu and Maui simultaneously so that we can have the clearest possible comparison of tiger shark behavior between these two islands,” said Dr. Kim Holland, UH’s senior shark scientist, in the Nov. 20 UH news release. “Both O‘ahu and Maui have high levels of recreational ocean use, yet Maui has a higher rate of shark bites. We are trying to determine why.”

Holland added that “We are seeing the exact same depth preferences around O‘ahu, but the most frequently used sites don’t line up with popular swimming and surfing sites to the extent that they do around Maui.”

Of course, all this data is preliminary. But you can also see some of their tracking data (though not in real time). Go to www.pacioos.org/projects/sharks to see the shark tracks.

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