Author Archives: SM Soleri

Wood credenza with wood table clock

Homemade furniture polish conditions wood naturally

Whether new, vintage or reclaimed, hardwood furniture is meant to last for generations. Yet many of us are unaware real wood needs regular conditioning, not waxing. Homemade furniture polish made from all-natural ingredients is right for your furniture, as well as the air in your home.

For decades, most of us have grown up with aerosol furniture waxes. Although they do  produce a nice shiny surface initially, they have some significant drawbacks. Aside from the  aerosol aspect itself, waxes don’t condition the wood. They aren’t meant to and the waxy build-up over time looks bad. Removing it is a major pain. Waxes aren’t good for the long-term health of wood furniture, the environment or for people.

According to the Environmental Working Group, fumes from everyday cleaning product fumes can trigger attacks in persons previously diagnosed with asthma. Studies have also linked fumes from the frequent use of many common cleaning products with the development of asthma and other respiratory problems in healthy individuals. 

There is a better way to care for hardwood furniture. Here are two easy to make all-natural alternatives:  one, a homemade furniture polish and another, for the best dusting spray we could find.

Homemade Furniture Polish

beeswax pellets for homemade furniture polish

Beeswax pellets. Photo source:

Fill the Mason jar with jojoba oil and beeswax. Place the jar in a small saucepan with 2-3 inches of water on the stove and heat on low setting. Slowly stir the oil mixture with a wooden popsicle stick. Melt the pellets completely.

Remove pan from heat and very carefully remove the jar from the pan and set aside on a heat-resistant surface. Add the essential oils and mix with the wooden stick until well-combined. Let the mixture cool for a couple hours, then, pour into the Mason jar and close it with a good-fitting lid.

To use:

Apply sparingly to any flat surfaces first, in a light, even layer with a soft cotton cloth and a circular motion. Use the already polish-infused cloth to address any nooks, crannies or carved areas.  Buff gently with a clean cloth. Remove all visible streaks from the surface.

Best Dusting Spray

  • 4 oz. Spray Bottle (amber or cobalt glass bottles are best for preserving the essential oils and  prevent them from reacting with plastic. (See bonus tip below.)
  • 1/3 Cup water (distilled is best)
  • 4 Drops Cedarwood essential oil
  • 8 Drops Citrus Fresh essential oil OR
  • 2 Drops Lemon +2 Drops Lime + 4 Drops Orange essential oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon liquid castille soap
Water Splashes

Photo credit: Alexas_Fotos

Put all ingredients in spray bottle and shake to combine.

Shake well before using. Spray onto a soft, dry cloth and wipe dust away.

Bonus Tip: Heinz Wine Vinegar (from the Dollar Store) comes in amber glass bottles that can be fitted with spray nozzles from plastic spray bottles (also from the Dollar Store).  Just pour the wine vinegar into another jar and use it on salad!

Nest x Yale Lock Touchpad

New smart lock offers real time access with app and passcodes

Nest, maker of the smart thermostat has partnered with Yale, the established lock brand to create the Nest x Yale Lock, the new smart lock that addresses household security issues with a smartphone app, passcodes and touchpad system.

As the responsibilities of modern life require more time spent away from home, the risks that brings increase as well. Multi-generational households are another common reality bringing along its own unique set of challenges.   

Smart Lock Technology

Nest x Yale Lock touchpad and deadbolt

Image source:

The Nest x Yale Lock has the ability to lock and unlock doors from anywhere with just a smartphone. This means small children or elderly adults can’t just wander off because all deadbolts lock automatically. The app can turn house lights on remotely before you even leave your office, so you can always be aware and feel confident on your property. 

If you’re concerned what happens in case of a power or cell tower outage, don’t be. In the event of either a power or Wi-Fi failure, your smartphone can override the outage and unlock the door. Should phones become unavailable, the lock can be opened using the touchscreen. 

Digital Trail

If there are teenagers in the home, it’s good to know who is coming or going. This smart lock can be programmed to send you a text message when a particular code is used or if a door is unlocked when it shouldn’t be. 

Some Specs

Next x Yale Lock touchpad mounted on door

Image Source:

The touchpad on this lock runs on 4 AA batteries and stores up to 250 passcodes. Add or delete users easily, as needed. Installation is simple — in most cases, it can be installed with only a screwdriver.

To protect it from physical and digital breaches, the Nest x Yale Lock sports a rugged outer case and boasts strong encryption. The touchpad is available in three finishes: Polished Brass, Oil-Rubbed Bronze and Satin Nickel.

The Nest x Yale Lock is part of the ‘Works with Nest’ family of smart home devices. When used with the Nest Hello video doorbell, for example, it can unlock after confirming a visitor’s identity. The lock also integrates seamlessly with the Nest Secure alarm system.

The Nest x Yale lock is available for delivery this month. For more information visit: Nest x Yale Lock

mid-century living room

10 Essentials for Your Mid-Century Modern Interiors

Maybe it’s the compatibility with contemporary life. Perhaps it’s the elegance and functionality. Whatever the reason, the keen interest in mid-century modern design over the past decade remains strong. 

Getting the look isn’t hard once you know its basic elements. Here’s the breakdown: 

1. Aim For Light and Airy  

Even if a true, open concept, split-level floor plan isn’t possible, you can still create the light and airy feel of the mid-century modern (MCM) style with the right colors. Use white or neutral walls and create layers with saturated brights and patterns. The standard rule for color schemes is 60% dominant color, 30% secondary color and 10% accent color.  

mid-century living room

Mid-century Living Room

2. An Indoor / Outdoor Motif 

Nature plays a prominent role in MCM interiors. Showcase any outdoor views, flower gardens, rock gardens and patios by making the most of wide windows, sliding or folding glass doors. Locally sourced stone to clad fireplace mantels and accent walls is another way to achieve this interplay.   

mid-century modern white living room

Photo credit: Homepolish


3. Large House Plants  

The Monstera, Rubber Tree and Snake Plant / Mother-in-Law’s Tongue were the favored house plants of the period. The use of potted house plants in floor arrangements is common for this style and helps reinforce the nature motif.  They’re easy to grow too. 

Rubber Tree Plant

Rubber Tree Plant, Photo Credit: Sunset Magazine

Monstera Plant

Monstera Plant Photo Source: Pinterest

4. Simplicity and Clean Lines  

These are mainstays of the mid-century modern style. Furniture is mostly smooth surfaces with tapered legs and simple, deliberate embellishments, if any. Any accessories are highly curated to keep the look uncluttered and on point.   

5. Wood Elements  

Keeping with the nature theme, Teak was the favored wood for MCM interiors, but Rose, Oak and Walnut were also used for furniture as well as wall coverings. 

Teak Paneling in bedroom

Teak Paneling

6. Iconic Mid-century Modern Pieces   

The Bertoia Diamond Chair, Saarinen Tulip Table or a Nelson Clock are unmistakable pieces of the period. Whether original or reproduction, adding even one of them would go far toward anchoring the look.


7. Geometric and Graphic Patterns  

Here is where this design style gets playful. The restraint required in order to achieve those smooth and simple lines gets rewarded in the iconic patterns in wallpapers, rugs and fabrics. 

8. The Home Bar  

Cocktail culture was big part of the lifestyle during this period. Every home had some sort of bar, be it large or small, for mixing drinks.  

9. Statement Lighting   

Lighting is key to the MCM style. It should have a sculptural look and make a bold statement. If  there is enough space,  put in a floor lamp. Brass, bronze, chrome and copper finishes all work well with this style. 

10. Abstract Art  

Whether using sculpture, framed artwork or both, abstract art was the art of the times, so it fits very nicely. It also adds a lot of character to a room, so include it with confidence. 

That wraps it up. Have fun incorporating any or all of these elements into your MCM project then leave a picture in the comments.

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Nick Williams' sustainable outdoor furniture

Landscape Designer Develops Sustainable Outdoor Furniture Line

California landscape designer Nick Williams partners with furniture manufacturer Phillip Roth to create the Longridge Collection, a custom-crafted, outdoor furniture line  

For more than 50 years, nature is where landscape designer Nick Williams has spent much of his time working. Phillip Roth (not the novelist) has more than 30 years of experience in the furniture and hospitality industries. With the increasing popularity of outdoor living spaces, the two men saw a gaping void in the outdoor furniture market for functional, eco-friendly options. Who better than two veterans in landscape design and furniture building to come up with a concept for a sustainable line of outdoor furniture?

Using the principles of beauty, comfort and sustainability to guide them, Williams and Roth set about designing a collection that could be used anywhere throughout one’s yard. “All of the pieces are made from reclaimed and repurposed teakwood, which holds up extremely well under all different weather conditions,” said Williams. The result is the Longridge Collection, a furniture line for creating fabulous garden rooms that also honors the environment.  

Nick Williams' sustainable outdoor furniture line, detail

Photo credit: John Alden, JA Photography


Another distinctive feature of this collection is the addition of furniture “jewelry.” One can choose from sea shells, ammonite, turquoise, natural stone, patina-finished accents and inlaid glass tiles to further customize the pieces.

By using warm-hued wood stains, various fabrics, Virofiber weaving (an eco-friendly, all-weather wicker), the furniture can be custom-crafted for different settings. “There are literally thousands of different combinations that we can put together,” said Williams.  The collection includes sofas, loveseats, club chairs, dining tables and chairs, chaise lounges and ottomans. 

The Longridge Furniture line can be found at Nick Williams and Associates:

Tartan Plaid Potted Cyclamen

Using Fall Fashion’s Trendy Plaids at Home

Though plaids and checks are pretty standard for fall and the holidays, there’s just something about about the cool air and brightly colored leaves that makes us reach for the cozy and familiar.

This year, checks, tartans and plaids dominated the fall / winter fashion runways – in everything from plaids at Stella McCartney, to buffalo checks at Dior.  It has been said, as fashion goes, so goes the rest of the world. In keeping with that sentiment, here’s a round-up of some easy ways to incorporate this year’s top fashion trend for fall and winter into your home.

The Bedroom

Ever since watching the first “Home Alone” movie many years ago, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of styling the bedroom for the holidays. What better way than with a cozy flannel tartan plaid duvet cover and shams?

Land’s End Velvet Flannel Plaid Duvet Cover and Shams in classic tartan plaid ($109 – $169)

Land's End Velvet Flannel Plaid Duvet and Shams

Photo Credit: Land’s End

The Dining Room

There’s nothing quite like a festive table to set the right tone for a holiday meal. Spiking your dinner table’s holiday factor by ditching the formal silverware in favor of some plaid-etched flatware is a safe bet.

Plaid-Etched Flatware

Tartan-Etched Flatwear

Photo Credit: Houzz

If you’re looking to make a statement with your holiday table not only this year but for years to come, consider investing plaid dinnerware.  Bright and cheerful, yet easy, plaid plates are the set it and forget it option that will work hard from Thanksgiving all the way to New Year’s Eve.

Lenox Winter Greetings Plaid 5 Piece Place Setting

Lenox Plaid Plates

Photo Credit: Lenox

The Tree

Because it’s just not Christmas without ornaments…

Waterford Green Plaid Heart Ornament

Waterford Plaid Heart Ornament

Photo Credit: Waterford
















Suzanne Kasler Mackenzie Plaid Ornaments – Set of 12 $89

Suzanne Kasler Mackenzie Plaid Ornaments

Photo Credit: Ballard Designs

Taking the Chill Off

Coming in from the cold is even better when you get to sip your favorite hot beverage in a plaid monogrammed mug.

Pottery Barn Plaid Alphabet Mugs $8 each

Plaid Alphabet Mugs

Photo Credit: Pottery Barn



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