Bye bye, Maytag repairman… 10 tips for good lighting… and 3 more weekend reading stories

vintage-washer-and-dyersFriday-Link-Love-logoNOoutlineWhat have I been reading that might be useful to other Retro Renovators? Friday link love: #1 — The Wall Street Journal says “Pity the Maytag Repairman” (use this link to bypass paywall) — because more and more homeowners are tackling appliance repairs on their own. Seems like the internet has given them the access to the DIY info — and the parts — to do basic repairs themselves. Above: Ted and Stella surely could use this advice — their basement is full of their vintage appliances collection.

Martin’s #1 piece of advice for good ambient lighting: Paint the ceilings white and install ceiling fixtures that throw light upward. This replicates the sky and is most functional — and cheery, too.

#2 — Martin Holladay’s 10 rules for good lighting. Let’s cut right to the chase:

The U.S. is cursed by a plague of senseless recessed can fixtures.

As usual, Martin provides reality-based guidelines on how to accomplish something super basic. Want to (1) have a better lit house, and (2) possibly cut your electric bill in the process? Read his story and get to it.

awaytogarden#3 — A Way to Garden’s 10 tips on underplanting. Finally: The snow has melted here in the North following Snowpocalypse 2015, and we can think about digging our hands into the earth again. Would you like the areas under your trees to look like this? I would! My BFF Margaret Roach explains how to get there.

midcentury modern living room#4 — Mark and Cathy buy, repair and furnish a midcentury home for $80,000 total. Mark emailed me when his and Cathy’s home was featured in the Kansas City Star. They bought a foreclosure for $50,000, then fixed and furnished it for another $30,000. That’s epic! Fantastic! Amazing!

love the house you're in collage#5 — Are you saving enough for retirement? This research — heavy duty reading, but heck this is a serious topic — from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that:

… As of 2013, more than half of today’s households will not have enough retirement income to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living, even if they work to age 65 – which is above the current average retirement age – and annuitize all their financial assets, including the receipts from a reverse mortgage on their homes. The NRRI clearly indicates that many Americans need to save more and/or work longer.

This is why I write stories like this.

  1. Karin says:

    Mark and Kathy, I LOVE your home. Your taste is impeccable. I love all your amazing Heywood Wakefield furniture. I’m quite jealous, because it’s not so widely available here in Canada. A quick question– what is the brand name of the star shaped shower head? I’m assuming that it is new. Thanks all, for posting this inspirational story, great stuff.

  2. Carolyn says:

    My husband is the delivery driver for THD and sometimes he takes appliances to repairmen. They’ve told him that when he needs to replace any appliances made after the 1990’s to search out an older one because they really don’t “make ’em like they used to.”

  3. Joe Felice says:

    You could have shared some of that snow with us here in the Denver area. We don’t get enough anymore, now that the climate has changed, and the ground doesn’t even freeze. It’s so dry, sometimes I think it’s a miracle anything grows here. Of course, everyone wastes a lot of precious water on their bluegrass lawns, one of things Denver is noted for. There are beautiful lawns here, but we need something that doesn’t use so-much water. I lost 3 perennials this winter. But on the plus side, I don’t have to dig up bulbs anymore. They just come back on their own. The pictured garden would be much-better ground cover than grass!

  4. carolynapplebee says:

    I repaired my old refrigerator a couple of years ago. the freezer died and I went on repairclinic, found out it was something wrong with the back panel of the freezer getting frozen up and the fan wouldn’t spin. this was an cheapo $200 model from HD, small enough for my mini condo kitchen. not worth the cost of a repairman visit. it held out for another two years and I lucked out and got a nice slimline stainless steel fridge on Craigslist for $500. then a neighbor took the old one to build some kind of special telescope with his son. so a win-win, saved some bucks, learned a repair, recycled it.

  5. Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Interesting to see people going back to DIY. Looking at old magazines from the 50s & 60s, it seems home owners did a lot more for themselves then.

  6. ChrisH says:

    Repair videos plus on line parts suppliers are making appliance repair easier and much cheaper.

Comments are closed.