Blog :: 06-2019

Welcome to our blog! Here you will find posts about can't miss properties, local events, and more! Here at Maple and Main Realty we pride ourselves on our knowledge of the Northampton area. Feel free to leave a comment, we would love to hear from you! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us

Workroom Design Studio Comes to Town!

Just a wee plug for this wonderful local interior design business, Workroom Design Studio. Full disclosure, we (my husband and I) hired these talented women to help us design our remodeled 1890's farmhouse in Florence Center, and we couldn't be happier with the results. Thanks to them, the star and pineapple wallpapers below, grace our walls. Local interior designer and upholsterers of Workroom Design Studio, Sally Staub and Hannah Ray, were featured in the Daily Hampshire Gazette this week. Read on for more information.

This is not your mother’s wallpaper

A new business in Florence is helping people design happy homes — with color, pattern and ridiculously great wallpaper

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For the Gazette
Published: 6/28/2019 10:15:22 AM
Modified: 6/28/2019 10:15:11 AM

If you’re looking for a dose of happy, just open the door to Workroom Design Studio, a new interior design studio in Florence. If the wallpaper with monkeys holding fuchsia pomegranates doesn’t make you smile, then step into the gallery with cherry red walls and explosively colorful art — and if you still haven’t felt a gentle lift of spirits (are you even awake?!), then amble over to the long table with a giant, 42-inch-wide, red pendant work light above it. That should do it! And that’s the idea — the studio’s owners, Sally Staub and Hannah Ray, are preachers and practitioners of creating joyful spaces. “If people walk in and say, ‘Oh, this feels good, this is a happy space,’ then it’s a happy thing,” said Staub.Joining design dreams 

For nearly a decade both women chugged along with their own businesses — Staub ran her interior design company, Sally Staub Design, from her home, and Ray ran Tack Upholstery Studio, often giving interior design advice with her furniture.

But they itched to do more — yet had no employees or extra time. “We were both working our tails off on our own,” said Staub, “and we both had larger visions of what we wanted to be doing.” A mutual friend had introduced them seven years before and they had a friendly relationship, sending each other clients. Then one day last summer they started talking more, and over some margaritas at Homestead in Northampton, they had a “what if we had a design studio?” conversation. “Our aesthetics were lined up, our vision lined up, our energy too,” said Staub. “It was like falling in love — OK, let’s do this!” And, added Ray, “The impressive part was we did it!”

They started looking for a space. They also began merging companies. “We asked each other, ‘How do you spend your days?’ We made lists: ‘When you meet a client what do you do?” said Ray. They also got invaluable help from a local management consultant, Karen Carswell, who said that these days a business plan was less important than a website, which they got in the works. “When you’re working on that one paragraph about who you are — it’s really informative,” said Ray. 

Carswell also told them communication was key. “Call each other every single day,” Staub recalls hearing. “Ask: What are your stumbling blocks? Tell each other.”

At first, all this communication was awkward, but: “Now you should see how many times a day we talk,” said Ray. “Our husbands keep asking if we’re leaving them.”

Finally, they found a dreamy space in Florence, entering into an agreement with the landlord. For nine weeks they stockpiled stuff in Staub’s garage: furniture, wallpaper, and art, collaborating on their first big project together—the showroom that would feature Ray’s custom upholstery, the art of local creators, and one of their shared loves: incredible wallpaper. “Wallpaper elevates walls into visually charged places,” said Staub. They had palm paper planned for their space. Then, just before the 2018 holiday season, the landlord bailed, deciding a design shop wasn’t for him. Staub and Ray were devastated. “It was a financial blow and a time blow,” said Staub.

“We were so keyed up and working so hard,” said Ray. They scrambled to return and cancel all the items they could.

But the loss ended up revealing that they could rely on each other in rougher times: “It was great because we held each other up,” said Staub. “When one of us was feeling down emotionally, the other one would rise up.”

 

A launch pad for interior joy 

Then, on January 1st, 2019, a painter friend alerted them to a space in his studio’s building — a full floor across the parking lot from Café Evolution. They started from scratch — scrapping every design idea from the previous space — and got to work, adding drywall, fixing brick walls, re-doing the floors, painting the walls. And of course, they added carefully selected wallpaper — the monkey and more. The studio opened in April. “What’s nice about having the studio is that people can see it in place,” said Staub. “If a client had just seen a sample of the monkeys, they might be like, What is this and why would you put in on a wall? But here they can see impact.” They can also see (and buy) Ray’s upholstered furniture, flip through sample books of fabric and wallpaper, and peruse and purchase art in their Red Light Gallery.

Now they have one employee who helps with the upholsery, and they meet with clients under the giant red light fixture — which matches their company logo. A demi-wall on casters has a presentation board on one side and blue, white-patterned wallpaper on the other — meant to be spun around for a dramatic mood board reveal for clients. They’re working with homeowners locally, in Boston and as far as Washington D.C. using FaceTime to assess faraway spaces. When working with clients, they try to strike a balance between respecting their comfort zones and nudging them into new, more colorful pastures. “I like to push people a little bit, but be respectful. If someone is all neutral and they want to stay all neutral, OK, we’ll do that, of course,” Staub said. “But sometimes we’ll push a little bit and they’ll push back a little bit. And they’ll come back and say — it’s OK to push me.”

 

Offering a design education 

They presented one such client with the idea of adding wallpaper with a pattern of silkscreened clouds to a vaulted stairwell. “Our pitch was: Look, here’s a rather unnoticed, mundane space that you can elevate to a beautiful focal point,” Staub said. But the client said no. “We don’t often pout over things,” said Ray, “but on that one, we were pouting.” Yet a few days later, the client told them, “’I can’t get the clouds out of my head,” said Ray. The client was so gung-ho she asked if they could extend the paper to the ceiling. “That’s exciting for us when we see the happiness,” said Staub.

The designers also feel that they’re educators — a bridge between the sometimes obscure world of design and people who don’t spend their time flipping through wallpaper samples for fun. “A lot of clients will come back and say, ‘Now that we’ve talked about the lights, I went down this road and suddenly see all these beautiful lamps that have those arcs that you showed me that I’d never noticed,’” said Ray. “Our job is to introduce concepts.” They do this in every décor style — from modern to French Country and everything in between.

They design rooms or whole houses or offices. And what they aim to offer is the same dose of happiness that’s in their studio. “It’s good for your emotional wellbeing to be happy in your surroundings. There’s lots of research on that,” Staub said. “We think that color and pattern and contrasting elements create energy, happiness, and all those things are important for our emotional existence.”

 

Laundry Hacks, Whoop!

I don't know about you, but I have a love/hate relationship with laundry. I love when it's clean, and I don't actually mind "doing" it. But I hate folding it and putting it away. With a household of 4 people and one dog - there is always laundry to be done. This time of year, I like to take advantage of the sunny Northampton skies (when they comply) and air dry most of our clothes on drying racks outside. I'm also a sucker for home remedies for stain removal, wrinkle reduction, whitening whites, etc. I found this Laundry Hack "fun fact" list on Apartment Therapy to share. Read on if you are so inclined!

The 27 Greatest Laundry Hacks of All Time

by TARYN WILLIFORD

There’s really something for everyone to hate about laundry. Impatient people hate the waiting. Easily-distracted people hate the folding. And there’s not a soul on Earth that enjoys the part where you leave piles of folded clothes in your living room for five to seven business days before reluctantly carrying them upstairs.

While we can’t come do your laundry for you, we can try to make it easier by rounding up a big list of our very favorite hacks, tricks, and techniques for making laundry day go a little bit easier. 

1. Soften Sheets with Vinegar

Run a cycle with your bed sheets and a half-cup of distilled white vinegar to give them a quick boost of softness and brightness, and to remove lingering odors.

2. Sort unconventionally, like by soil level or details.

There’s no laundry police to tell you you must sort your laundry by color. If a different sorting solution works better for your family, try it instead. For instance, large families might like to sort their laundry by person, or you can save detergent and energy by sorting by soil level—keeping filthy gym clothes or diapers separate from once-worn tee shirts and optimizing each load.

3. Throw your detergent cap in with the laundry to wash it.

You know those messy drips and sticky spots that decorate the lid of your laundry detergent bottle before too long? Don’t waste time wiping them away. Just toss the detergent lid right into the wash with your clothes (avoid delicates) to get it clean. Just make sure you remove it before it enters the heat of the dryer.

 
 

4. Keep chalk in the kitchen to treat grease stains.

Grease stains be gone! Because chalk is ultra-absorbent, you can rub a bit on any oily kitchen stains as they happen, to absorb grease and hold you over until you can throw the garment in the wash.

5. Dry clothes fast with a clean towel in the dryer.

You can speed up the machine-dry process by adding a clean, dry towel to the mix. Toss it into the dryer with your wet clothes to dry everything faster.

6. Make your own wrinkle releaser in a pinch.

Wrinkled clothes? No time to wash or iron? You probably have everything you need to make a DIY wrinkle releaser in your bathroom and kitchen cabinets. Take a spray bottle and fill it with 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of hair conditioner and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Spray the mist onto your wrinkled clothes until they’re lightly damp, then stretch and pull the fabric until the wrinkles release.

7. Fake-iron your clothes with ice cubes.

If you have a dryer in your apartment, you can quickly “iron” your clothes with an ice cube. Just toss the wrinkled clothes in the dryer with an ice cube or two, on the warmest possible setting, and let the ice cube create steam in the dryer to leave your clothes looking smooth.

 
(Image Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. Collect dryer lint in a tissue box.

If you don’t have room for a trash can in your laundry room, try repurposing a tissue box to collect your dryer lint. When the box is full, you can toss the entire thing out or — even better — compost it! Both the cardboard tissue box and the dryer lint itself is likely compostable.

9. Use shaving cream as a stain remover on the go.

Shaving cream contains similar active ingredients to many household soaps, and the foamy nature works great at lifting stains, especially in a pinch or on the go. Work some cream into the stain, let it sit, then blot it up.

10. Spray clothes with vodka.

Vodka is a natural deodorizer. Keep a spray bottle full of cheap vodka on hand and use it to freshen up your smelly clothes for a re-wear before washing.

11. Master a laundry folder.

One quick upgrade to your laundry routine is getting yourself a laundry folder. It’ll turn folding into somewhat of a game—and you’ll get through that pile of clothes faster than ever. Plus the uniformity of your folded clothes is enough to put a forever-pep in your step.

(Image Credit: Joe Lingeman

12. Lift sticky stains with ice cubes.

If you notice a stubborn, sticky mess on your clothes (like gum!) try this: Leave some ice cubes on top of the mess for a few minutes, then easily peel the gunk away once it feels like it’s hardened.

13. Put your clothes in the freezer.

It won’t kill bacteria, but an overnight stay in the freezer will help to de-stink your clothes enough to, say, wear that smokey top or pair of jeans one more time before washing them.

14. Keep socks paired in a mesh laundry bag.

Those mesh bags meant for delicates? They’re also great at keeping small items from getting lost to… wherever it is all those odd socks go. Get a big one (like one from this set), hang it near your hamper, and toss pairs of socks in there as you take them off. When it’s laundry day, zip it up and throw the whole bag in the wash. 

15. Trade your dryer sheets for dryer balls.

ICYMI, dryer sheets are not that great. Instead, opt for a set of wool dryer balls. They’ll keep air moving, smoothing out wrinkles and speeding up your drying time. And if you like to scent your laundry, you can drip a few drops of essential oils onto your dryer balls every 10 or so loads.

16. Hang your dirty clothes back up—but mark them.

Instead of piling your still-sorta-clean, wear-again clothes in a pile on the bedroom chair (where you can assure yourself they’ll be too wrinkled to actually wear again), hang them back up. If they’re clean enough to wear again, they’re clean enough to go back in the closet. To make sure you know which clothes to grab from the closet next time it’s laundry day, mark already-worn clothes with a special signifier. Some ideas? A special-colored hanger, a bread tag, safety pins, or just turn the hangers around to face the other way.

17. Hand-wash your clothes in a salad spinner.

Those hand-wash-only items can be a chore to clean. Throw them into an inexpensive salad spinner with a bit of soap (laundry detergent, baby shampoo, castile soap—whatever you prefer) to give them a wash that’ll be more powerful than hand-massaging but gentler than the laundry machine. You can also use the spinner to dry them off afterwards!

18. Use a dry erase marker to keep track of items between the washer and dryer.

There’s a simple answer to your “line dry only” forgetfulness: A dry erase marker. When you put a load of clothes in the washer, keep track of which items should be sorted out before the dryer, and write them down right on the metal surface of your machine with a dry erase marker.

19. Use a pool noodle to keep from creasing while drying.

If you’ve ever draped your freshly washed clothes over a drying rack only to have them come up with a big crease, try this: Cut a pool noodle to the length of your drying rack rods, then cut along one side lengthways to open up the noodle to the center. You’ll be able to slip the noodle around the rod of your drying rack and avoid any harsh lines on your clothes.

(Image Credit: Joe Lingema

20. Make a mega lint roller.

If you have large areas that need de-linting, or just have misplaced your lint roller, you can hack one together with duct tape and a paint roller. Just wrap the tape sticky-side out around the roller and start spinning it over your clothes or furniture.

21. Pre-soak your gym clothes in vinegar.

For an especially foul-smelling load of gym clothes, soak your clothes in a half a cup of white vinegar mixed with cold water for at least an hour before washing. This will help remove unpleasant odors and break down sweat stains and buildup. And don’t machine dry them.

22. Iron clothes with a hair flat iron.

A hair straightener is great for getting in between buttons on a shirt or straightening out a bendy hem. Just make sure the hair iron is totally clean and dry (and not caked with product) before you clamp it down on your clothes.

23. Use white bread on stains, in a pinch.

If you’re, say, out to lunch and get a big ol’ barbecue sauce stain on your shirt, reach for a slice of plain white bread and use it to gently blot up as much of the stain as you can from the fabric to tide you over until you can get to the Tide. 

 

24. Pre-treat sweat stains with baby shampoo.

Dab a bit of baby shampoo on your sweat-soiled shirt collars and underarm areas and let it soak in for half an hour before throwing them in the washer to say goodbye to those unsightly pit stains once and for all.

25. You can un-shrink sweaters with baby shampoo, too.

Fill up a bucket with lukewarm water and two tablespoons of baby shampoo, then let your shrunken sweater soak for twenty minutes. When time’s up, drain, flatten, and lay it out as taut as possible to dry to stretch your shrunken sweater back to its original shape.

26. Try “bluing solution” to battle yellowing.

If you notice your whites growing a little warmer (a.k.a. they’re looking more “buttercream” than “icy white”), you can add something called liquid bluing solution to your wash to impart a subtle blue tint to bring your whites back into balance.

27. When you get back from vacation, dump the whole suitcase in the wash.

It seems dramatic, and there might be clean clothes in there, but dumping your vacation suitcase in the wash is a power move for anyone who struggles with their vacation re-entry moment (i.e. living out of a suitcase for a week or more).

 

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