When you’re picking out that new couch, floor or kitchen countertop, do you ever stop to ask yourself: hey, wait, how easy is this to keep clean? If you don’t, you should, because the ability to keep a spic and span home will not only lift your spirits on a daily basis, (when you get to come home to a clean home), but it will also extend the life of your furniture and finishings. And the easier it is to keep your home clean, the less time you’ll have to spend cleaning! So you see, it’s worth some attention.
1. Choose flooring that’s easy to keep clean — concrete or hardwood floors.
First choice, in my opinion, is hardwood, which is simple to sweep and dust or damp mop when needed, as long as it’s got a protective sealer on top. As hardwood floors age, they just get better. Plus, they’re a classic and work well with all types of furniture styles. But for those worried about scratches or the potential for water damage, concrete has to be the way to go. It may not be quite as comfy as hardwood, (it can be hard on the knees and joints) but when it’s stained with a nonporous protective sealer it’s a snap to sweep or mop and impervious to spills. Another great choice can be tile, especially with so many great tile choices today, including wood-look tile.
Clean home no-no: wall-to-wall carpet. It’s impossible to keep really clean, and is a horror for allergy sufferers or those with children and pets.
2. Choose washable paint.
This is an absolute necessity for anyone with pets or children. When the inevitable marks appear on the wall, you’ll be able to whip out a sponge and restore the wall to its pristine state. And for those wanting to try something a little bit different look into vinyl wall coverings that mimic grass cloth, silk and linen. These coverings are easy to scrub down and they hide marks.
Clean home no-no: cheap, unwashable paint.
3. Opt for leather or eco-leather.
Leather and eco leather furniture hold one huge advantage over cloth upholstery. If you want, you can sponge it off every day. Try that with a fabric chair! When opting for leather, choose darker colors, such as tan, chocolate or taupe, as white and ivory can stain.
Clean home no-no: couches and chairs upholstered in nubby white silk.
4. If you do fabrics, choose microfiber or slipcovers.
There are a myriad of microfiber fabrics out there that repel dirt and stains. These fabrics can look fresh and new for years with a little care, and they don’t have to be that boring taupe microfiber you see everywhere. If you don’t get microfiber, consider contract-grade fabrics that have been treated to be stain repellant.
Clean home no-no: untreated fabrics like velvet that attract pet hair and soak up liquids.
5. Avoid countertops and surfaces that stain easily —- Carrera marble, we’re talking about you!
If you’re looking for a countertop that won’t show stains, that are hygienic and easy to clean, you have choices! Solid surface countertops like Corian, can be an excellent choice, as can stainless steel, quartz, formica, concrete or granite. However, if you’re concerned about stains, avoid light stones that are prone to stain, such as white marble and some other stones.
Clean home no-no: If you’re concerned about icky stuff getting stuck on your countertops, avoid tile, as foods tend to get stuck in the grout. A few other clean-freak tips:
- Beware of beadboard, chair rails, trim and millwork, as they can be a dusting nightmare. If you’ve got a lot of detail, be sure to invest in a feather duster and good windows to keep the dust at bay.
- Take off your shoes when you enter the house. You’ll be amazed at how much cleaner your home will stay without bringing in the outdoors on your shoes.
- Limit knick-knacks and clutter. Cleaning surfaces becomes a breeze when you don’t have to move dozens of objects to wipe, dust, vacuum or mop.
Behind a high white stucco wall is the exotic tropical Garden Villa Iguana on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire.
I love its perfect framed pavilion at the end of a languorous pool.
The simple structure is simply a four poster daybed raised a little off the ground, offering shade in the hottest part of the day.
Tropical cool marks the scrupulously eco-minimalist resort, contrasting the zing of white stucco, the warm embrace of tropical hardwood with the sheen of a soft grey patina of its flooring.
The furniture is constructed in a similarly straightforward no-nonsense style.
The presence of the nearby Caribbean Sea provides both a brisk trade wind and a tropical shelter.
In the sultry heat, the chill of a polished concrete floor can be very inviting.
The same material is used to sculpt a kitchen island table that works very well – the sink is out of the way at the narrow head of the table, rather than across from diners.
Similarly, the same concrete material creates the resort’s eco-minimal bathroom sinks.
Carving also this most elegant and simple of bathroom cabinets – with Dutch practicality.
The very exotic and tropical holiday retreat can be found in the town of Kralendijk, in the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire
What a wonderful crisp contrast. The white framing and the green roof; spliced by a white-framed peephole, spying a pool on the deck below.
The house, set in in Jarabacoa in the Dominican Republic, was designed by VASHO architects to house 18 people comfortably.
The jiggered green roof allows for a clerestory, bringing the cool forest light in from all around.
The roof evolves very softly and naturally out of the hillside slope.
The eco-chic deck offers real immersion in the rainforest setting.
The house is built into the hillside – which cools it to the temperature of the bedrock.
Stones collected from the site itself make a sturdy and low impact building structure.
This stone is not a mere facade, but actually forms both the finished interior and the exterior structural wall.
Each bedroom has its own bathroom and study, while the living room-dining room-kitchen is a generous shared space.
A modest pool at the end of the deck invites one or two guests to lazily idle away the summer afternoons.
The house is designed as a second home for use intermittently through the summer.
For the architects, the greatest challenge was to create a space that comfortably houses 18 people on such a steep section.
The architects’ solution was burrowing the length of the two floors into the hillside – not only creating the maximum of horizontal space, but an ecological retreat that partakes sensibly of its rainforest environment.
Set in the familiar confines of a traditional Croatian village on the northern Mediterranean coast is this modern home for a small family by Zagreb-based 3LHD.
In direct contrast to the surrounding village, the home is unabashedly modern in its lines.
Lozice, Dubrovnik is an old Croatian settlement with a star-struck view straight across the Mediterranean Sea towards Italy.
The house takes advantage of this with glazing on several levels bringing the ancient fabled sea right into the space, to seem almost like part of the house.
An astonishing closeup from the parents’ bed makes it seem almost like floating directly above the sea.
A charming stairway is broader than normal for an interior, adding a relaxing horizontal line to a gracious space.
The interiors are simple and modernist, tough enough for kids, but no frills.
A spacious shower area is reflected in a full length mirror that seems to double the bathroom.
Glass is employed on the balustrading inside and out, creating an easy flow from outside to inside.
The living spaces directly connect to the outdoor decks in terraces that are connected by stairs and go down to the sea.
The architects have created an easy and pleasant home that takes full advantage of its stunning setting.
Gorgeous simple clean lines mark the luxurious El Portal Resort in the historic Mesa neighborhood of Palm Springs.
Through a tall gated wall, the entry path leads to a pure white cube entered along the side of an inviting turquoise pool in the arid desert landscape.
An impossibly green lawn makes a surrealistic contrast with the natural brown of the San Jacinto Mountains in the background.
Once inside, two floors of soaring glass bring the bright blue desert sky indoors.
An unusual pattern of three slim horizontal windows stacked in a column offer a glimpse of the distant mountains.
The resort is the epitome of understated luxury.
A series of huge glazed doors open out to the balmy desert air.
Striking lighting makes the utmost of a lone group of desert palms.
Warm California sunshine plays over an all blonde-on-blonde interior.
Bathroom mirrors are intriguingly set in to frames that suggest deeply inset windows.
Another series of stacked horizontal windows offers a glimpse of the perfectly manicured landscaping.
The elegant simplicity of its contemporary bathrooms complete the sense of relaxation and respite from the busy Southern California life.
The villa boasts four double bedrooms each with their own bathroom and a spacious shared kitchen/dining room that seats eight.
A home away from home where the discerning traveler can get away from it all – with their seven best friends.