Merlino & Gonzalez - June 2021

Check out our June newsletter!

June 2021





we’ve struck out on our own with our business, Touch of Decor, to use our years of experience as interior decorators to help our clients with their needs. We’ve had some amazing projects so far, and we love getting to know each client and helping them feel more comfortable in a new space — or breathe new life into a place they’ve lived for a long time. Whether you want to do a big, Tuscan-style wine cellar in your basement (we’ve done it, and it was fabulous!) or just need help picking out a new accent wall color and upholstery for a sofa, we’re your gals. There’s no such thing as a job too big or too small — as long as you’re okay with a little class and a “touch of decor” with your project. Our services include:

I’ve known Cathy DiGeorgio since we were teenagers working at Carmen’s Restaurant on the south shore of Staten Island in the mid-‘80s and ‘90s. Over the years, we’ve stayed in touch, and I have had the pleasure of working with Cathy and her family on a variety of real estate and estate planning matters. I’ve also been fortunate enough to see Cathy and her business partner, Ellee Nolan, achieve great success in their new interior decorating venture: Touch of Decor. These days, when the inside of our homes have become offices, schoolhouses, day cares, restaurants, and more, the value of Cathy and Ellee’s work is self-evident.

After leaving the restaurant business behind, I discovered my true passion as an interior designer, which is how I came to meet my business partner, Ellee. Ellee and I have spent a lot of time working together, and we’re really like two sides of the same coin. Clients remark on that, and it’s pretty clear to them that we’re an effective team operating on their behalf. And now,

I’ve been friends with Ken since before he went to college, never mind law school. Life has taken us in some funny directions since then, but one real pleasure has been getting to reconnect and work with Ken and his firm on a professional level.

• 2-Hour Consultation • Drapery Design • Whole Room Makeover • Paint Consultation

Continued on Page 3 ...




Classic Horseshoes: Intermediate DIY Tossing horseshoes is a great way to pass an afternoon. To play, you’ll just need to set up two sand pits in your yard. Get a handful of horseshoes, and you’re ready to go! Many DIY plans are available online, including one from Buy: Check out the kid-friendly rubber horseshoe set from, which requires no installation, can be used indoors or alongside your outdoor game, and is safe for younger children. Cornhole: Advanced DIY The humble beanbag may be the most versatile backyard game piece. It’s used in the popular game commonly known as cornhole. To build your own cornhole set, you’ll need a couple of sheets of 1/2-inch-thick plywood along with two-by-fours, some hardware, and a variety of tools including a drill, jigsaw, and sander. Visit to get both written and video instructions. Buy: Ready to play ASAP? Cornhole sets are available from many large retailers around summertime, or you can order a customized set featuring your favorite team, family name, or characters from your favorite movies by looking at

The warm summer sun may be enough to beckon your family outdoors, but lawn games will guarantee hours of fun outside. If you’re handy, there are plenty of great lawn games you can make yourself. If not, buy an off-the-shelf alternative and enjoy the easy setup. Giant Jenga: Easy DIY All you need to build a giant Jenga tower are two-by-fours that are cut to length. If you’re handy with a saw, you can do this at home. If not, ask to have the wood cut at your local lumberyard. Be sure to sand down the edges before stacking the boards to create a classic Jenga tower! For extra fun, pick a few paint colors and paint each board. Visit this-giant-jenga to see a complete set of instructions. Buy: Skip the project and buy GoSports Giant Wooden Toppling Tower online, which retails for about $70 and stacks over 5 feet high.

Whether you buy or DIY, remember to have fun and always supervise your children while playing outdoors, especially when it comes to yard games!

Drowned by Beer: The 1814 London Beer Flood

housing inhabited by prostitutes, criminals, and the destitute. Eight people — Irish mourners in a basement, a mother and her child, and a teenage barmaid — were killed.

Drowning from beer became a real and dangerous cause of death in 1814, when the iron rings on massive vats of beer snapped loose. This bizarre, tragic event claimed the lives of eight people. Here’s the story about the time a tsunami of hot, fermenting beer came pouring down on densely populated streets of London.

Despite the dangers, some people scooped up as much liquid as they could in whatever containers they could find. Consequently, a ninth death was reported days later due to alcohol poisoning.

An ‘Act of God,’ London courts proclaimed. In St. Giles, London, the Horse Shoe Brewery stood at the corner of Great Russell Street and Tottenham Court Road — which is nearly in the exact middle of London. They had 22-foot-high wooden fermentation tanks installed on the premises, held together by massive iron rings. These vats held over 3,500 barrels of brown porter ale, which is a beer similar to stout.

Were there consequences for the brewery? The streets of St. Giles smelled like beer for many months afterward. The flood cost the brewery over £23,000 pounds (£1.25 million pounds today), but they were able to reclaim the excise duty paid on the beer and were granted £7,250 (£400,000 today) as compensation for the barrels of lost beer, which saved them from bankruptcy. But what about the deaths? Although the brewery was taken to court, the London courts ruled the flood was an “Act of God,” and the eight victims had lost their lives “casually, accidentally, and by misfortune.” Nobody was held responsible. We’re not so certain the Horse Shoe Brewery would’ve been as lucky in American courts! Thanks for joining us in remembering this very strange historical event, and we’ll see you next month.

During one busy afternoon on Oct. 17, 1814, an iron ring around the tank snapped. An hour later, the whole tank broke open, releasing hot, fermenting ale with such incredible force that the back wall of the brewery collapsed. It also crashed open several more vats, releasing nearly 320,000 gallons of beer into the area.

It created a 15-foot wave of beer and debris. The flood swept through the St. Giles Rookery, a densely populated London slum filled with cheap


‘Can I Disinherit My Adult Child?’

No matter why you’re choosing to disinherit the child, make sure to include some short notes that indicate your decision and certify your soundness of mind. DO NOT give a specific reason, however, because that reason may go away (e.g., a gambling problem that is now in abeyance). You should still leave a small bequest so that the individual cannot claim he/she was forgotten entirely, and you can also include a no-contest clause in your will, which, with some exceptions, means that any heir who legally contests the will receives no part of the estate. Just as difficult is the emotional aspect of disinheritance, which many feel is the “final nail” in the coffin of a relationship with a child. We’ve done many, and they are never pleasant — no matter how the parent may have felt going in, by the time it’s done, they can be left very fragile indeed. It’s not a good time to have just “any” attorney; you want ones you trust and feel comfortable around — something we understand completely.

Family estrangement is not nearly as rare as you may think. Throughout history, literature, mythology, and even textbooks have been filled with stories about children who become estranged from their parents. Though most people don’t discuss major tears in their own family fabric, a recent report from Scientific American found that 17% of young adults in their study were estranged from an immediate family member, often a parent. It’s not uncommon for parents who find themselves in this situation to desire to disinherit the son or daughter who is estranged from them. Disinheriting a child is a common reason for a will being contested, a process that can be prolonged and expensive. That’s why it is essential to contact an experienced, highly skilled estate planning attorney if you want to protect your assets for your designated beneficiaries and prevent unpleasant arguments among family members after your death.

You should be aware that nowhere in the U.S. is it legal to disinherit a minor child.


... continued from Cover

• Custom Bedding • Bathrooms • Kitchen Finishes • Unique Basements • And More ...

Inspired by


Lately, we’ve modified our consultation process due to COVID-19 and can work remotely. That’s something a small, personal, flexible partnership like ours is uniquely suited to deal with. Whether it’s helping your contractor get materials online or making sure things are in stock for delivery, we can make your decorating process as easy as possible. If you’re reading this newsletter, odds are good that you may need a hand getting a new home ready to move into or even an old home ready to sell. We want your spaces to feel like home, truly, and we want to do it with a Touch of Decor. If you’re interested in seeing the work we’ve done (both big and small) or in making your condo, house, or apartment a home that is uniquely yours, please check us out on Instagram @touch_of_ decor. You can also call 718-614-8912 to reach us directly. – Cathy DiGeorgio

• 1/2 cup baker’s sugar, divided • 1 tsp baking powder • 1/2 tsp salt

• 1/4 cup vegan margarine • 1/2 cup soy milk • 2 tbsp sunflower oil, plus more for frying • 2 cups plain flour


1. In a small pot, melt margarine over medium heat. 2. Once melted, stir in soy milk and sunflower oil. Once combined, take off heat and set aside. 3. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Once mixed, combine with margarine mixture until thick. 4. Using your hands, roll dough into flat circles and press a hole through the center. 5. In a pan, heat more sunflower oil to at least 360 F and no more than 375 F. 6. Gently add doughnuts to the oil and fry for 3–5 minutes on each side. 7. Once fried, place doughnuts on paper towels to soak up excess oil. 8. Roll doughnuts in remaining sugar and enjoy!



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314



718-698-2200 |


Needed: A Touch of Decor Page 1

DIY or Buy: Summer Lawn Games The 1814 London Beer Flood Page 2 ‘Can I Disinherit My Adult Child?’ Classic Vegan Doughnuts Page 3 Have You Explored a National Forest? Page 4

Explore a National Forest for Free On National Get Outdoors Day

• Tongass National Forest: Spanning 16.7 million acres and several islands across Southeast Alaska, the Tongass is the country’s largest national forest. • Salmon-Challis National Forest: This Idaho forest is the largest contiguous

While parking and day-use fees to access national forests tend to be relatively modest, fee-free days open up the opportunity to all visitors. The U.S. Forest Service has a great interactive map tool that prospective

Many people in the U.S. and across the world have a national park trip on their travel bucket list. While Zion, Yellowstone, and the Great Smoky Mountains are all awesome locales, outdoor enthusiasts often overlook a resource that is less busy, less expensive, and usually right in their backyard: national forests. All but 10 states have a national forest (or more than one!), so if your home state doesn’t have one, it’s very likely a neighboring state does! And there’s no better time to hike, bike, forage for mushrooms or berries, or camp at a nearby national forest than this month. The tree-filled landscape will provide shade and help you beat the summer heat, and to further incentivize visitors, the U.S. Forest Service (the organization that oversees the national forests) is offering a fee-free day on Saturday, June 12, in honor of National Get Outdoors Day!

park-goers can use to learn more about the forests in their area, amenities and activities, and

wilderness area in the lower 48 and contains the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. • Cibola National Forest and Grassland: Spread across north-central New Mexico, west Texas, and Oklahoma, this forest and

accessibility. Visit FS.fed. us/ivm to access the map and see what’s near your hometown!

If you’re dreaming up travel plans beyond your state’s

border, consider visiting these notable U.S. national forests. • El Yunque National Forest: Located in Puerto Rico, El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the United States.

grassland area is notable for its diverse ecosystems and wildlife. The Sky Islands portion of the park is also home to over 200 rare plant and animal species. 4

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker