How to Insulate a Basement Cinder Block

Buildings constructed from concrete cinder blocks offer long-term strength and durability against weather, wind, fire and pests. Regrettably, concrete cubes also provide hardly any natural thermal resistance. With insulation, cinder block walls enable unwanted cold air from the outside to go into your home, particularly in the basement. Add insulation to your cellar walls to improve energy efficiency, decrease heating and cooling expenses, and improve the comfort of your home.

Visit the Department of Energy site to find out how much insulation you need. Most homes need thermal resistance of R-13 on outside basement walls, though houses in the coldest areas of the country could gains from around R-21. Your uninsulated concrete cubes offer just about R-1 or R-2, therefore subtract this from the R-value you’re trying to achieve prior to buying insulation.

Install 2-by-2 wooden furring strips along the length of the cinder block wall. Set the strips perpendicular to the floor every 16 inches and secure them to the block utilizing masonry or concrete screws.

Cut your foam insulation to match between the furring strips. Keep the foam panels tightly to the edge of each strip to minimize air leaks. Cut your foam boards using a utility knife.

Put a double layer of foam board involving each furring strip. Two layers of foam offer an R-value between 8 and 16. Together with the insulation already provided by your block wall, you’ll achieve roughly the R-value advocated by the Department of Energy. In very cold climate zones, then you may need to use 3-inch furring strips to match one extra layer of insulation inside the wall cavity.

Use extra masonry screws to anchor the foam board to the wall every 6 to 8 inches. Choose screws to pass through both layers of foam and into the wall. Think about purchasing specialty foam board anchors designed for this type of program to make the job simpler.

Put in a coating of any typical vapor barrier across the whole wall. Overlap the seams by 6 inches and use nails or screws to secure the vapor barrier to the furring strips.

Insert a layer of 1/2-inch drywall to complete the basement walls. Even if you’re delighted with your unfinished basement, most building codes require foam insulation to be covered with 1/2-inch shingles to improve fire resistance.

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Measures to Stucco a Home

Stucco is a Portland cement-based plaster material that is most frequently employed as an exterior wall finish. It is employed to Spanish- or Mediterranean-style homes. Color pigments can be added to the plaster mixture before it’s applied, or it may be painted after application. Section of stucco’s allure is that it may be textured in many different approaches to make distinctive and beautiful patterns on a home’s exterior.

Assess Your Foundation

Stucco must be applied to a solid material for adhesion. A cement or masonry wall that has been inspected for imperfections and washed nicely is ideal. Should you wish to stucco over some other material besides cement or masonry, a substructure made from wire mesh, wooden or metal slatting is recommended.

Scratch Layer # 1

The base coat of stucco is referred to. Before employing the scratch layer, the structure or substructure should be dampened. Employ a 3/8-inch-thick layer of stucco to the damp surface with a trowel and allow to dry for several hours, until it’s just damp. Scratch the surface together with criss-cross ridges together with the edge of the trowel or a similar tool and allow to dry for 24 hours.

Scratch Layer # 2

Apply a second scratch layer in precisely the same manner as the very first and allow to dry for 24 hours.

Smooth Layer

Apply a thin layer of stucco, measuring roughly 1/8 inch, over the scratch layer. Create designs and textures while the smooth layer is still wet and pliable. If high temperatures threaten to dry the stucco too fast and cause fractures, mist the stucco with water several times during the drying period.

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What Exactly Does House Appraisers Look at to Set a Value on a House?

The job of a house appraiser would be to determine the market value of your house, according to its size and location, and on”comparable sales” in your neighborhood. This task is crucial to the home-buying market and notably to lenders, who have to have an accurate notion of property worth when extending loans secured by that property to potential buyers. Appraisers work for public agencies which impose property taxes according to the assessed value of a property.

Comparables

For the most basic initial estimate, appraisers consider the square footage of the house and the number of rooms and compare it to properties of a similar size and configuration which have recently sold in the exact same location. Residential houses are in contrast to other houses, and condos are in contrast to other condos. All these”comps” can be adjusted up or down according to several additional factors. These comps have to be carefully selected, as in California property values can change substantially from 1 block and square mile to another.

Exterior Condition

The appraiser next believes the exterior appearance of the house or building. He examines the condition of the paint, windows, roof, windows and landscape surrounding your house. The garage is analyzed, as is your driveway, sidewalk, and any exterior furnishings such as patios, verandas, decks, pools and fencing. Damage or bad maintenance ends in a downward-adjusted evaluation.

Interior Condition

The inside of the house then comes under examination. The appraiser checks the condition of the plumbing and electrical wiring, where visible. The heater, air conditioning unit, ventilators, water heater and the other mechanical equipment in the residence is examined carefully. The appraiser looks for signs of mold and mildew on the walls, ceilings and floor, and examines the condition of tile and carpeting, kitchen appliances and fixed lighting units

Pest Control

The appraiser also must watch carefully for any termite damage by analyzing the condition of exposed studs, rafters, paneling, floorboards and other wooden fixtures which are a part of the house. Termite and other pest damage is noted on the evaluation report.

Owner Opinion

Finally the appraiser can speak with the homeowner to ask her fair opinion of the worth of the house, to inquire about any unseen damage in addition to developments the homeowner has left, along with her overall expertise with the house. Appraisers need to make honest assessments of land, without inflating the amounts at the behest of the house owners, which would be in breach of the law.

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Explanation of Homeowners Insurance

A home is likely the largest investment anyone will make in his life and needs to be guarded. Home buyers purchase homeowners insurance to shield them from loss due to fire, deliberate or unintentional destruction of the home by another individual, and damage caused by household pets. Most homeowners policies exclude acts of God, like floods and earthquakes, from coverage, although supplementary policies are available for these possible occurrences.

Construction

Homeowners insurance provides coverage for the construction of the home and will repair or reconstruct it if it’s damaged by storm, fire, lightning or some other insured disaster. Additionally, it covers structures which aren’t connected to the home, like gazebos, tool sheds and garages. Insurance will not pay for regular wear and tear.

Personal Belongings

Furniture, clothing, art, sports equipment, electric appliances and other household goods are covered by homeowners insurance if they are ruined by any disaster outlined in the policy or lost to burglar. On average, companies look at how much the construction of the home is guaranteed for and provide 50 to 70% of the value on the contents of the home. A complete replacement cost policy may also be purchased if the amount of coverage offered in the policy appears insufficient. Coverage for expensive items like family heirlooms, jewelry, silverware and art ought to be insured to their entire value via a special personal property endorsement, because their worth under the overall homeowners policy is restricted.

Liability

The liability portion of the homeowners policy protects against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that policyholders or family members cause to other men and women. Obligation also pays for damage caused by pets. It pays for the expense of defending the policyholder in courtroom and anything the court awards the other partyup to the limit of this policy.

Living Expenses

In case a homeowner ought to be forced from her home by natural disaster or fire, homeowners insurance may pay the additional costs associated with living away in the home although it’s uninhabitable. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses. Coverage for additional living expenses varies from policy to policy, therefore it is advisable to read a policy carefully before registering.

Endorsements

Owners of multifamily properties normally purchase a homeowners policy with an endorsement to cover the dangers associated with having tenants living on your premises, such as anything which may happen to other folks while they are seeing. These policies are available from”bare-bones” to comprehensive coverage.

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About Federal Government Mortgage Help to Stop Foreclosures

The federal government offers several programs to prevent homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure. Throughout the Making Home Affordable plan of the President, you can use to refinance or change your mortgage. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, eases refinancing through its HOPE for Homeowners program. To ascertain which program is right for you–or if you’re even qualified –you want to know some fundamental facts.

Function

The foreclosure process begins once you start missing mortgage obligations. By the fourth missed payment, based on HUD, you’re perilously close to losing your home. You should not wait until this point to seek out assist. Earning Home Cheap and HOPE for Homeowners accepts mortgage holders who believe they’re in danger of default in addition to those behind. The overarching goal of these programs is to bring your monthly payment down to a manageable level.

Eligibility

Eligibility varies from program to program. The federal government requires lenders who service Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans to take part in Earning Home Affordable; all others are”encouraged” to take part. To refinance through Earning Home Affordable, you should be present in your loan and realistically be able to meet the payment obligations of your loan. To modify your current mortgage under Earning Home Affordable, you must document financial hardship which renders your present mortgage payment unaffordable. The present payment needs to exceed 31 percentage of your monthly gross income. The HOPE for Homeowner’s refinance strategy uses the exact same hardship and 31 percent standards. Both applications require that the house you have is a one- to – four-unit dwelling.

Features

If you refinance, you move out of your present presumably unaffordable loan into an entirely new loan with new terms and a reduced monthly payment. Below a modification, your lender simply”changes” the conditions of your present loan. The Building House Affordable and HOPE for Homeowners’ refinance options get homeowners to new fixed-rate loans with constant monthly payments, unlike the flexible rate alternatives many past-due homeowners are fighting with. Making Home Affordable’s modification program tweaks the conditions of your loan to bring the down payment. Lenders can increase the term of your loan, lower the interest rate and forgive or forebear a portion of the principal balance.

Factors

Making Home Affordable includes a program for the jobless. Your Home Affordable Unemployment Program reduces your mortgage payment below 31 percent of your gross monthly income, generally for three months. In the conclusion of this period, your lender provides instructions about the best way best to use for Earning Home Affordable’s alteration option.

Alternatives

If you’re ineligible for unemployment aid, refinancing or a modification, the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program, or HAFA, could be your very best option. This system uses two choices — either a brief sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Your lender permits you to sell your home for less than you owe him under a brief sale. The lender then forgives the balance left in your loan after a sale. With a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure you”voluntarily” hands over the deed on your home to your lender, that lets you walk away, exonerated from financial obligation, according to this Building House Cheap site.

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First-Time Home Buyer Expense Checklist

Buying your first home is one of life’s major events. It’s easy to get caught up in the euphoria of the decision and overlook the reality that it costs a substantial amount of money not only to obtain a home, but to keep it and maintain it.

Care

If you are purchasing your first home, there’s a good chance you are coming from a situation in which someone else–your landlord, a property management company or your parents–will be responsible financially for maintaining the property in which you live. It is a good idea to understand that you will be responsible for keeping up your property for a homeowner before you commit to a purchase. Julie Holden, a real estate agent in Austin, Texas, indicates homeowners put aside about 2% of their home’s purchase price to pay maintenance costs, including the purchase of lawn maintenance equipment and home tools, in the first year.

Appliances/Furnishings

Not only do you need to keep your new residence, but Holden notes that you probably ought to stock it with appliances. Most new houses don’t come supplied with a refrigerator, washer, dryer and other necessities. You’ll be on the hook for at least an extra couple of thousand dollars for those items alone. If you are moving from a smaller to a larger area, you have a choice–abandon the extra space chilly and empty or supply it. Spare beds, dressers, couches and chairs–the listing of furnishings you need, or at least will want, when you move into your first home is endless.

Insurance

You might need to spring for mortgage insurance when you get a new home. Many first-time home buyers utilize less than 20 percent for a down payment. In this case, mortgage insurance is necessary, as stated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mortgage insurance provides your creditor with security in case you default on your loan. If you are receiving an FHA loan, you are going to cover a 2.25 percent mortgage insurance premium up front in addition to monthly premiums. Homeowners insurance can be required when you get a home. You’ll need proof of a coverage at final. As HUD clarifies, premiums for mortgage and homeowners insurance are usually contained in a monthly mortgage payment.

Property Tax

Though it’s handled different depending upon where you live, you will likely pay property tax on your new residence. The last thing a first-time homeowner needs is a surprise once the bill comes in the mail. In California, thanks to the state’s controversial Proposition 13 passed by voters in 1978, property tax is limited to roughly 1 percent of the assessed value of your home, as stated by the state’s Board of Equalization.

Earnest Money

Whenever you choose to make an offer on a home, you’ll typically need to submit”earnest money” with it. According to HUD, real money is a deposit, which range from 1 to 5 percent of the expense of the home, that ultimately gets applied to your down payment or closing costs and is used to show the seller you are seriously interested in the transaction. In case the vendor does not accept your offer, you get your earnest money back.

Down Payment

Obviously, you will need a down payment to buy a home. After the housing crash that occurred in 2008the days of zero down are just about all gone. On FHA loans, your down payment can be as low as 3.5 percent. On a conventional mortgage, expect to pay somewhere around 20 percent for a down payment. Your individual financial situation greatly influences what is required.

Closing Prices

Closing costs consist of a string of fees–seemingly arbitrary fees, even to”seasoned” home buyers–you need to cover when it is time to sign the deal in your residence. HUD reports that closing costs include attorney’s fees in addition to a loan origination fee, a survey fee and record preparation fees. HUD estimates that final costs equal about 3 to 4% of your home’s value.

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What Forms of Contracts Are Employed in Real Estate?

As in any lawful trade, contracts are necessary to execute a property sale. Real estate buying and selling demand a number of contracts depending on the stage of negotiation. Some contracts are somewhat unique to the buyer or seller. Others have been shared and signed by both the buyer and seller. The laws and the contracts required may vary from state to state. It is a good idea to hire a lawyer before signing legal documents.

Exclusive Contracts

Licensed real estate agents are often utilized in property transactions. The buyer and seller obtain separate property agents to represent them in the trade. When enrolling with a realtor, the seller signs a contract typically known as an Exclusive Right to Sell Contract. This arrangement provides the broker exclusive rights to list and market the property. A purchaser signs what is often known as an Exclusive Buyer Agency Contract, which requires the purchaser to completely use the signed agent to buy a house.

Seller’s Disclosure

By law, the vendor must finish what is typically known as the Seller’s Disclosure and Condition of Property Addendum. This arrangement divulges specific facts about the house to prospective buyers. Sellers are required to answer questions concerning the era of the house, the roof along with the HVAC system. Foundation movement, bug issues and issues with the land or soil has to be disclosed in this contract.

Lead-Based Paint

Federal law requires sellers to finish a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure contract for homes built before 1978. The vendor should disclose any knowledge of lead-based paint in the house. Both buyer and seller fill out and sign this contract.

Financing Addendum

Buyers are occasionally needed to finish a Lending Addendum, which indicates the sort of financing obtained, whether the purchaser is prequalified to your home loan along with his arrangement to particular conditions in the contract. Some terms in the contract allow the purchaser to legally withdraw from the actual estate sale.

Sale Contract

When a buyer is ready to make a deal on a property, what is commonly known as a Residential Real Estate Sale Contract has been initiated. The vendor indicates what things will be included and excluded from the sale. For example, the vendor may want to include the refrigerator, but exclude the washer and dryer. Both buyer and seller accept and sign this contract.

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Why Is Urban Sprawl an Matter?

Urban sprawl–low-density development spreading into previously rural or agricultural soil –has been a problem since Jane Jacobs wrote about it in 1961's”The Life and Death of Great American Cities.” Sprawl critics such as the Sierra Club state sprawl damages the environment; free market advocates such as the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), state the injury is overstated and that we ought to respect homeowners' desire for big suburban lots and low-density improvement.

Driving

One of the qualities of sprawl, says California State University, is that there is little combined use: Homeowners no longer live close to their jobs or near stores. Because of this, the Sierra Club says sprawl means more driving, which means more use of petroleum, more pollution in the atmosphere and more pollution running off the streets as it rains.

Homeowner Desires

Sprawl reflects how Americans want to live, the NCPA states. Land outside cities is cheaper, making it possible for homeowners to pay for the huge piles they crave. According to the NCPA, the perfect thing to do would be respect home buyers’ wishes and permit sprawl to develop unregulated.

Taxes

Another reason for leaving cities, the NCPA says, is the fact that taxes are usually reduced in the suburbs. One of the criticisms of sprawl recorded in a California State University research, however, is that suburbanites still use city services–parks, streets, police services–even though they’re no longer paying taxes to encourage them.

Infrastructure

It costs more to expand infrastructure such as roads and sewage systems to a suburb outside a city than to growth within city limits. The Sierra Club says that among the issues of sprawl is the cost of the extra infrastructure is borne from the city taxpayers. The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC), on the other hand, says it is around the city government to insist that the developer or the sprawl homeowners endure the expense of expanding infrastructure.

Leapfrog Development

If a developer”leapfrogs” over rural land near a city to build farther out, the land between city and suburb will fill up, often with commercial growth catering to new homeowners and commuters. Critics such as the Sierra Club say that this increases the problem of sprawl; PERC argues in favour of fill-in development for a boost to the local economy.

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How to Decorate a House in the Southwestern Style

Homeowners have always looked for a way to create their houses stand out from the cookie-cutter crowd, a way to add a little personality and spark into the interior decor. In the 1980s, a interior layout craze swept the nation, introducing Americans to kitschy, ethnic-inspired objects and howling bright colours. The trend didn't last long as other, more subdued styles of layout took centre stage. The Southwestern style of interior design has been revisited with a fresh, classy look meant to provide a more elegant alternative for lovers of the old fashion.

Create the illusion of pure adobe walls by using a pre-mixed texture compound, available at any home improvement center. Lay wood beams, or a facsimile of wood beams, to your ceilings, providing your home a genuine”Old West” feel. Natural light is an important element in Southwestern design, significance window treatments must be nominal and made of natural materials or regional fabrics. Interior shutters may be an alternative to draperies, pulled open to allow sunshine to pour through during the daytime.

Introduce Southwestern colours . This Southwestern style’s bright colours are drawn from the property. There are the bright reds of the fiery red chili peppers, cobalt and turquoise of the sky, yellows and oranges found in desert plants, and the sage greens, browns and beiges that scatter the desert floor. Utilize Taos blue, a mixture of sky blue and purple and a standard in Southwestern decorating; legend has it that the color was introduced with the Spaniards who believed it would ward off evil spirits.

Use fabrics. Roughly textured fabrics and fabrics supply a degree of authenticity to a Southwestern-inspired room. Scatter them throughout the space by using them throw pillows and tapestries.

Mix styles of furniture. Antiques, primitive furniture and distressed bits blend perfectly with comfortable leather in a Southwestern style house.

Accessorize your space with artwork and crafts items related to Native Americans and Hispanic culture, that have come to represent the Southwest style. Intricate carvings, Talavera pottery, woven blankets, Kachina dolls, bleached skulls and bones, punched tin Spanish folk art, and hand painted tiles on the walls, countertops and floors all punctuate the interior layout of a Southwestern style home.

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How to Prep Your Ground for a Healthy New Lawn

Low-maintenance lawn alternatives are growing in popularity, but many homeowners still love a little bit of turf grass — yards make great areas for entertaining; children can play along with pets can operate on them. However, what if you have to put in a new yard or start over if your current yard is past its prime? Is this a great DIY project for someone with average skills? As it happens, yes. However, just like the majority of things, a thriving yard starts with the ideal preparation.

Samuel H. Williamson Associates

Materials and tools:
Soil testSod cutterHoeTillerHard rakeSpreaderSoil amendmentsFertilizer

How to Prep for a New Lawn

1. Test your soil.
The only way to learn what’s on your soil (and what’s not) is to test it. For about $15, you can have a sample of your soil tested at your regional county extension office. There are fundamental kits available for you to conduct a test, but your extension office will have the ability to give you more extensive info about what’s going on with your own soil, so it is money well spent.

A good soil test will tell you what your soil pH is; what kind of soil texture you’ve got; the comparative quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; and quantities of other minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and copper. Once you have this info, you can amend your soil properly to prepare it to your new yard.

Photo by Ryo Chijiiwa

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

2. Remove present grass weeds and plants. Starting out with a fresh slate is important — you don’t wish to spend time and money on a new yard if you are simply placing it on top of a weedy area. The way you eliminate this undesirable material is up to you, and largely depends on how big the area is and what kind of plant material you’re going to be removing. For small areas having old weeds and grass, a hoe will work nicely, but for larger areas consider renting a sod cutter (normally $70 per day). If you’ve got big plants (shrubs, woody perennials), remove them first and decide if you want to replant them in another area or transfer them into a compost pile.

3. Loosen the soil with a tiller. This is an optional step, since there are a couple of schools of thought concerning tilling your own soil. Some specialists believe tilling is required to completely combine old dirt with amendments; others think tilling simply disturbs weed seeds and produces a mess. My recommendation is that if you’ve got a place of very hard dirt, it might make sense to break it up to a thickness of 6 to 8 inches utilizing a rear-tine tiller (normally $55 daily to lease) before incorporating your soil amendments, but otherwise feel free to omit this step.

Photo by Flickr Commons user Topslakr

decordemon

4. Add compost. All lands, regardless of the results of a soil test, can benefit from a 2- to 3-inch use of compost. This is sometimes compost taken from your pile or bought from a landscape supply yard. Use well-rotted mulch, as compost that is too new or “warm” won’t be broken down and won’t benefit your new yard. Good-quality compost costs about $30 to $50 per cubic yard, depending on the kind you purchase along with the area in which you live. Make sure you distinguish the landscape supply yard which you need it to set a new yard, since there are often different combinations for various backyard software.

You can also put in other soil adjustments, such as sand, to break up clay-like lands. Soil amendments tackle the soil’s physical state (feel, ability to drain), and are not to be confused with fertilizers, which tackle the nutrient amounts in the dirt.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

5. Add fertilizers and rake smooth. Based on the results of your soil test, you might elect to add some starter fertilizers to get your lawn off to a good start. Your soil test should make some recommendations on what to add to bring your particular soil up to healthful nutrient levels; search for a lawn starter fertilizer with those components. If you have any questions, make certain to ask your county extension office for clarification to avoid performing any unnecessary actions or steps.

Use a spreader to add the compost evenly, then use a hard rake to evenly smooth the surface of your soil. You’ll want the dirt to be approximately 1 inch below grade to permit for the elevation of the installed bud. Ensure that your soil surface is totally free of “hills and valleys,” which will make for a lumpy lawn along with a less-than-professional look.

Koch Architects, Inc.. Joanne Koch

Plant sod or spread grass seed as soon as possible after completing your prep work. The longer your unplanted soil is bare, the faster weeds will once again stake their own claim.

Special considerations:
Every geographic area has its dirt quirks — too much rock, sandy soil, clay dirt etc.. Get to know so that you can better tackle your gardening issues.Don’t skimp on soil planning when planning for a new yard — even though you won’t find the specific materials in the end, a healthy lawn will be your reward.Always use sod or grass seed that is suggested for your region and your website. More:
5 Great Grasses for a New Yard
Getting Along With Less Lawn
The situation for Losing the Traditional Lawn

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Fantastic Garden Combo: A Fall Landscape Scene That Lasts

Fall is one of the most exciting seasons in the backyard, when we can benefit from the many autumn foliage superstars to make a frame for late-blooming perennials. As opposed to thinking in terms of picking a favourite flower or two, make a vibrant vignette of trees and shrubs which will span the seasons and offer your garden a picture-perfect appearance in autumn.

When decorating a space, we generally start by choosing a wall color. With that in place, the fun starts as we locate the perfect floors or accent rug prior to finally think about the placement and style of furniture. The total color palette can be kept restrained, with attachments providing the finishing touch and extra color punch.

Creating a backyard vignette is a little like that. Start by choosing the key vertical elements — picking the trees which will look great over many seasons but that also have wonderful autumn tints. For the floor plane, search out grasses and shrubs which bring color, different leaf shapes and exciting textures to the spectacle. Finally add a swath of your favorite late-blooming perennials and garnish with an enjoyable container or 2 to get a bright splash of color.

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Creating a Foliage Picture Frame

In the scene below the eye is naturally drawn to the wide sweep of golden black-eyed Susan, yet this scene’s great looks rely a lot more on great foliage than on these ephemeral flowers.

A mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs creates a frame for these sunny daisies. Although two trees punctuate the boundary, notice how several of these grasses and shrubs are planted in massive classes to help balance the bulk of flowers.

Strategic placement of simple containers helps to carry the color scheme through the cabin’s porch, making a wonderful escape for people who care to linger and enjoy the autumn screen.

The principal color scheme is green and gold, with a few bold accessories in crimson, showing restraint while being enjoyable.

This combination will start to develop in late July as the flowers begin to bloom. Those plants which are deciduous or die back in winter will do so over a period of many months. Even when the last leaf has fallen, the evergreen blossoms, conifer and striking bark of the pine tree will add interest.

Here is how to get the appearance.

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1. Begin with the trees. Insert structure and height with a couple of trees. Both the golden locust tree and the paperbark maple used here offer you excellent fall foliage, so this late-season border will continue to become a garden display for many months.

The golden locust tree shines a foliage spotlight on the entire scene. The chartreuse leaves of summer and spring turn into a softer yellow in autumn — a beautiful counterpoint to the adjacent maple and a wonderful comparison to the cedar-shingled cabin.

Botanical name: Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’
Common title: Golden locust tree
Where it will grow: Hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zones 4 to 9; locate your zone)
Water requirement: Low once established
moderate requirement: Full sun for best color
Mature size: 30 to 50 feet tall and around 20 feet wide
Seasonal interest: Spring to collapse
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring or autumn.

Caution: Golden locust trees can produce unwanted suckers in some parts of the U.S.

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The paperbark maple is a modest-size, slow-growing deciduous shrub, prized not just for its beautiful foliage but also for its appealing paring cinnamon-colored bark.

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In autumn the leaves of the paperbark maple vary from green to shades of peach, coral and caramel — a wonderful highlight of any autumnal screen.

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Botanical name: Acer griseum
Common title: Paperbark maple
Where it will grow: Hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 4 to 8)
Water requirement: Low once established
moderate requirement: Full sun or partial shade
Mature size: 18 feet tall and around 15 feet wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring or autumn.

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2. Insert a lesser tier of shrubs. With the elevation established, it’s time to fill in the floor plane with an range of shrubs and low-growing conifers. Soft gold shades blend with blue-green to make a vibrant fall tapestry.

Feelin’ Blue deodar cedar is a standout in the garden with its low, wide-spreading habit and stunning blue tones. This evergreen conifer is totally low maintenance and deer resistant, and has also been drought tolerant in my backyard.

Botanical name: Cedrus deodara ‘Feein’ Blue’
Common title: Feelin’ Blue deodar cedar
Where it will grow: Hardy to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 7 to 9)
Water requirement: Low once established
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 2 to 4 feet tall and around 6 feet wide. It can also be trained as a low standard to form a brief weeping shrub.
Seasonal curiosity: Year-round
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in autumn or spring.

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Spirea come in many sizes and its foliage comes in many colors — it is really just a matter of choosing your own favorite. This layout features Double Play Big Bang spirea.

In spring the leaves opens in shades of orange and aluminum, turning a gentle green in summer and yellow in autumn. Apartment clusters of pink flowers attract butterflies in summer. And although deer do nibble the new shoots, I do not mind — it boosts a flush of new rosy growth, as shown here.

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This is unquestionably a shrub to put in your backyard for 3 seasons of interest.

Botanical name: Double Play Big Bang Spiraea ‘Tracy’
Common title: Double Play Big Bang spirea
Where it will grow: Hardy to-30degrees Fahrenheit (zones 4 to 9)
Water requirement: Low once established
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 3 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Spring through autumn
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring or autumn.

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3. Use wispy textures to add softness. Bring a feeling of movement to your garden by including delicate grasses or other fine-textured foliage which will move in the breeze. They will produce a soft background for the stiffer shrubs and flowers.

Who can withstand bronze fennel? Not me! Just look at that foliage — and it looks even more amazing when the early-morning dew collects on its feathery branches. Yes, it does self-seed, so perhaps this isn’t for everyone — and really, this autumn combo would still look lovely without it but you need to acknowledge the feathery foliage is spectacular and certainly adds to this scene.

Botanical name: Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’
Common title: Bronze fennel
Where it will grow: Hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 4 to 9). In zone 3 it could be appreciated as an annual without anxiety of these seeds’ overwintering
Water requirement: Low
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 6 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Spring through autumn
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring.

Caution: Bronze fennel can self-seed and become a nuisance.

Le jardinet

Grasses are the typical choice for adding excellent texture to the backyard, and the evergreen Mexican feather grass is one of my personal favorites, as it is not invasive where I live. You may prefer to substitute orange hair sedge (Carex testacea, zones 7 to 10), which is also evergreen and would stay within the color scheme.

Botanical name: Stipa tenuissima
Common title: Mexican feather grass
Where it will grow: Hardy to -10degrees Fahrenheit (zones 6 to 10); avoid planting where it’s invasive.
Water requirement: Low
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 18 to 36 inches tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring.

Le jardinet

4. Add bold sweeps of your favourite autumn flowers. Black-eyed Susans are with no doubt a drop favorite. Place them within a picture frame of beautiful foliage, and they’ll really shine.

Botanical name: Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’
Common title: Black-eyed Susan
Where it will grow: Hardy to -10 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 6 to 10)
Water requirement: Reduced to moderate
Light requirement: Full sun or partial shade
Mature size: 3 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Summer through fall
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring or autumn.

Le jardinet

Zagreb tickseed is a remarkably low-maintenance perennial which produces dozens of 1-inch-diameter yellow daisies within a period of many months without deadheading. In the first picture you can see they’ve been used to flank the pathway resulting in the cabin.

Botanical name: Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’
Common title: Zagreb tickseed
Where it will grow: Hardy to -40 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 3 to 9)
Water requirement: Low
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature size: two feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Spring through autumn
When to plant: Plant it into well-drained soil in spring or autumn.

Le jardinet

5. Accessorize. Insert detail and an excess layer of color by incorporating a drop container garden in your vignette. This container sits on the cabin porch, and while the mix keeps within the general warm color scheme of this garden planting mix, it moves past the golden yellows to fiery orange and red.

Caution: Some of the plants listed in this ideabook may be invasive in your area. Check with your neighborhood cooperative extension or county extension office prior to planting any.

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Do You Really Want That Hallway?

What exactly makes a fantastic layout? Well, it’s less about how your job looks (Though It should look amazing ) and much more about how efficient it is.” ‘Design’ is a funny word,” Steve Jobs once said. “Many people today think design means how it looks. But of course, when you dig deeper, it’s really how it works”

Fantastic home layout can get you all you need in a smaller footprint, which means there is less to build and more room within your budget. Among the initial actions to a fantastic layout is having an efficient floor plan. Cutting back on circulation space, including unnecessary and massive hallways, can assist you to decrease square footage, and in the long run, can save you money on the general cost of your new home.

Harrison Design

A hallway ought never to be a narrow, dark passageway between two chambers. On the contrary, it should get the most out of space and enhance functionality. There are two ways to take care of hallways: Get rid of them or embrace them as part of the property’s architecture.

Kenorah Design + Build Ltd..

Among the greatest ways to produce a hallway disappear is by adding it in the circulation of the more public rooms. By opening rooms up to a another, you remove the need for different circulation (a hallway) and can use the present room circulation to get you out of 1 side of the house to the other. This room, for example, combines the living and dining room, eliminating the need for a hallway in between. The big, open area makes the house feel larger.

A open plan does not work for each and every house, and many men and women prefer a more formal separation between the main rooms in their homes. That is OK. After all, it’s your house, and you need to have what you would like. Just remember, if you spend a little additional time to produce your hallways greater than just an afterthought, the reward will be enormous.

Dylan Chappell Architects

Here’s an example of a floor program with an excessive quantity of circulation space. The customer came to us with a self-designed program; he said that he was on a tight budget and needed some help obtaining a construction permit. I told him right away he could save a lot of cash if he cut down on all the hallways in his property.

This diagram indicates the circulation spaces in orange and the living spaces in blue. The entire square footage for this home is 2,815 square feet, and 924 square feet of this was delegated to circulation — that is 32 percent of total square footage squandered on unnecessary hallway space.

JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction

What does that mean in real numbers and real cash? Well, if you are building a house in Santa Barbara, California, where I work, building costs average approximately $300 per square foot. So all of that extra circulation space may cost more than $270,000. That is a good deal of cash to spend on hallways.

Dylan Chappell Architects

Here is just another conceptual floor plan; this one is for a four-bedroom, four-bath house. The general area is 2,588 square feet, with 115 square feet of it utilized for circulation (highlighted in orange). That is a superefficient 4 percent of the total square footage utilized for getting round the house. The remaining portion of the space goes to great use in dwelling spaces or can be taken out of the entire square footage prices.

MAC Custom Homes

So why do we have hallways? Obviously, sometimes nothing else will do. Most of the time, you have to have some way to get to each of the rooms in your house. But that does not signify that a hallway can’t function as yet another space. A fantastic way to manage a hallway is to give it another purpose. Maybe it can be a small study area, a window seat or a place for book storage.

Koch Architects, Inc.. Joanne Koch

The truth is, fantastic layout doesn’t signify some glass box which each architect loves but nobody could reside in. Rather, fantastic design translates into a house that works better, costs less to build, is much more efficient to run and keep, and gets you more .

More: Put a Narrow Hallway to Function

Tell us: Do you have a great hallway layout? Just how do you cut back on circulation space in your property?

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Blast Decluttering Roadblocks Once and For All

There is enough information on decluttering and organizing to fill an entire wing of a publication, and a fast internet search brings up billions of outcomes. But if it were as simple as picking up a book and after the author’s information, wouldn’t we all have perfectly organized, compact homes? Well, judging from my experience, and by the experiences of many readers that have chimed in with opinions on the subject, there is a lot more to culling clutter than tossing items in a bin. Our relationship with our home, and the things in it, is charged with emotion — it is not so simple to give up things when something as simple as a rusted tackle box or a worn picture can bring memories flooding back. In the past several months we have been exploring this topic, and a number of the best tips from our discussions are pulled together in this guide.

Beneath, locate eight ways to maneuver through your psychological and emotional roadblocks to operate through your clutter, from the interior.

Lux Decor

1. Come to terms with whether you are naturally arranged or not. Shimmering magazine spreads featuring perfectly organized spaces with nary a stray paper or shoe from location could possibly be fun to look at, but they’re not right for everybody. The truth is, some folks are more prone to be neat and orderly, while some feel more comfortable with a great deal of stuff around. Instead of fighting against your character, learn from it and work with it.

Get the guide: Get Organized: Are You a Piler or a Filer?

Tamar Schechner/Nest Pretty Things Inc

2. Put things in perspective. The ideabook below, by Alison Hodgson, is an excellent place to begin any decluttering travel. Hodgson and her family lost their home and all of their possessions in a fire, and the lessons she has to discuss are priceless. If you’re thinking about where to start, or how you could ever possibly eliminate items you love, it’s a must-read.

Get the guide: Suggestions to Get With a New Minimalist Mentality

Justine Hand

3. Face your fears. That is what stands between you and the clean and neat home you wish you’d: fear of creating a poor choice, fear of tossing something out and regretting it later or fear that a family member will make you feel guilty to get rid of something. We are all experts at inventing excuses for keeping things we really do not want anymore.

Confront your fears, and you may find it easier to give up possessions which are becoming a burden for you.

Get the guide: Decluttering: Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Siemasko + Verbridge

4. Tackle your upper problem area. What is the 1 thing in your home you find it tough to consider decluttering? Think about starting there. For some it may be novels (see below for a fantastic ideabook on decluttering the library); for many others, china or clothes. Find the something which would make the biggest impact if you were able to streamline this, and begin your job there. Use tip number three (face your fears) and dig in.

Get the guide: Not My Favorite Books! Pain-Free Ways to Reduce Your Library

5. Get and remainmotivated. Find your motivation by imagining what a clutter-free home would feel like. What would it enable you to do? Why do you want this? Keep your answers in mind while you get started decluttering. Once you’ve gotten the ball rolling, then prevent yourself from backsliding by creating a few important habits: for each new item you purchase, get rid of a similar item, and once you see something which must be cleaned, put away or returned, just do it.

Get the guide: Clutter Clearing 101

Amplio

6. A special note for parents. Having kids in the home, as any parent will tell you, can ramp up the chaos in the most (previously) organized homes. Fortunately, as parents, we do have control over a fantastic deal of the things that moves our houses, including toys. For starters, knowing how many toys and games your child needs — an overabundance of playthings is less appreciated, tougher to clean up and more likely to receive wasted or broken. To acquire a crazy-cluttered family home back in shape takes some work; there is no doubt about that. But the habits you form to deal with the kid chaos will pay off in sanity in your home, and you’ll be passing those good habits along for your kids.

Get the guide: Stop the Toy Takeover by Changing the Way You Think

Tom Stringer Design Partners

7. Get help if you need it. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed or if the job seems too big to undertake alone, you can get help! Telephone a really organized buddy and bribe him or her free food in exchange for decluttering physical or advice help. Or call in a professional. Professional organizers have observed it all, will be able to help you sort out the very cluttered space, and can teach you systems which will assist in preventing your overstuffing your home in the future.

Get the guide: The way to Use a Professional Organizer

ras-a, inc..

8. Take it to another level: Simplify your daily life. Once you’ve been working on paring down for a while and are feeling good about the progress you’ve made, consider taking things a step farther. Downsize to a smaller, easier-to-maintain space, go paperless or challenge yourself to eliminate items you do not use.

Get the guide: Surprising Ways to Pare Down at Home

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6 Ways to Get a Decorated Room

I recently wrote in blending two disparate interior design styles, like conventional and modern, to help couples develop a new style based on compromise. But that was only scratching the surface. The matter is, every couple is different, and each design style is different, even if it’s lumped into a broad class like conventional or modern — there will remain personal nuances that slightly change each space.

To create a pleasing design equilibrium, a few designers use the 80/20 rule, where a room represents 80% of one style and 20 percent of a contrasting appearance. However, creating a lifetime together is much more of a 50/50 proposition. Occasionally 60/40, occasionally 40/60, but overall it’s a balancing game.

I do not get wrapped up on the percentages, but the key is to produce a prosperous result which respects each person. Working with two people’s styles when the styles have little in common could be a source of conflict, but this can also be a chance to create a new appearance with components common to both.

Here is more on how to process the job while keeping harmony on the front.

Architects, taC studios

Relate via form. This chamber is powerful because the usage of organic kind is normal among the components, and all of them have a tactile quality. It’s possible to attain a great result like this when you really understand why each of you’re drawn to a specific look of a bit.

This chair, by Eero Saarinen, was called the Womb Chair if made for Knoll in 1948. Named because of its comforting sense of security, it marries well with other security- and comfort-offering pieces with which it retains business. For many people historical or traditional elements offer you a feeling of relaxation because they have stood the test of time.

Knowing the reasons your partner is drawn to a different look is essential to knowing how to operate with these tastes. And if both spouses’ tastes are mirrored in a room, the result can be a lot more interesting.

Jane Lockhart Interior Design

Compromise. Transitional spaces like this occasionally please both spouses. If you really are a purist and can’t bear to find a less-than-ideal version of the look you love, you might need to start looking for something that you both can enjoy.

This chamber is neither too conventional nor too modern. The ideal design and peacekeeping solution might be a straight-up-the-middle compromise.

More about transitional style

Andrea Schumacher Interiors

Freshen up. You could find that traditional pieces are more pleasing for your partner if they’re updated through routine and colour. With your grandmother’s handed-down ottoman, by way of instance, it might be the floral pattern your partner is objecting to.

The ottoman here feels quite current in a neutral cloth. And the remainder of the furniture is a carefully disciplined mix. The room has traditional furnishings and elements, but the textiles keep it clean and modern. You can see that the fireplace has been once very detailed — again a case for simplifying. It currently reads as feel and does not create the space too fussy. If you’ve got elaborate millwork, try painting it to reevaluate the detail.

Debbie Basnett, Vintage Scout Interiors

Add something bold and unexpected. This chamber was decidedly traditional until the bold and picture rug was introduced with the sectional. If among you enjoys modern, do not hesitate to actually shake things up by adding a bold announcement. The strong blue of this upholstery retains the appearance together because it has the exact same visual weight because the carpet.

BARBARA SCHAVER DESIGNS

Duplicate, relate and get the mix just perfect. This beautiful room, by C.R. Lane, is a great illustration of a balanced mixture of traditional and modern furniture. The couch and the chairs on the left are flexible pieces (they would work well in a modern or modern room) that contrasts well with the more traditional wing chair on the right, in addition to with all the kilim-upholstered ottoman.

When you look at the details, you will notice that each element is connected to another by colour or pattern, as well as the components are repeated. If you love this appearance, do not forget that the key to success is repetition (do not just include one bit that is conventional; encourage it to welcome a buddy), and relate the pieces by usage of colour or pattern.

Island Architects

Stick with the 80/20 rule. It works superbly here. If you are just gaining confidence in this mix-and-match match, take some cues from this look. A traditional area rug grounds that this otherwise modern living room, giving it a feeling of history. If you’ve got modern furniture, putting a bit of history through a conventional element will keep it from looking like a showroom setup. The result will be individual and personal.

Inform us What would you fight with including your partner just can’t live without?

Component 1: Practical Ways to Merge Tastes

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Southwest Gardener's September Checklist

Summer’s almost over and temperatures have started to cool, so it’s time for desert gardeners to venture outside and dress their own landscape with new trees, shrubs and succulents. Vegetables and fruits growing in upper-elevation gardens are ready to be harvested, and bulbs may be planted now for a gorgeous spring display.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Low Deserts (around 3,000 Trainers)

Add feel with distinctively shaped succulents. The spiky traces of agave contrast beautifully with the rounded shapes of shrubs here, including a distinctive layout twist to the landscape.

Plant a couple of big agave, such as octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana), smooth leaf agave (Agave desmettiana)or Weber’s agave (Agave weberi). Add three to five flowering ground covers around the base of each agave, such as purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis), verbena (Glandularia spp), blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)or prostrate rosemary(Rosmarinus officials ‘Prostratus’).

Shown: Weber’s agave with gopher plant (Euphorbia biglandulosa)

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Fertilize palm trees. Palms should be fertilized throughout the hot months of summer, since they can uptake fertilizer only when the soil is warm. Use a fertilizer specially formulated for palm trees, which will include the significant nutrients and micronutrients that palms need to be healthful. Follow the directions on the fertilizer package water and carefully deeply after applying. When in doubt about how much to use, it is best to apply a little less fertilizer rather than a lot of, which may burn your crops.

Find the Ideal palm to your lawn

Shown: Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis)

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Prepare your vegetable garden before planting cool-season edibles. Add a 3-inch layer of compostor manure to existing vegetable garden dirt and lightly rake it in.

Toward the end of September, plant broccoli and cauliflower from seed or transplants.

Shown: Broccoli

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Give citrus trees their last application of fertilizer to the year. Citrus trees have to be fertilized three times each year: in late winter, early summer and late summer. Apply citrus fertilizer around the base of this tree, after the package instructions. Be sure to add fertilizer out to the drip line, which is really where the majority of the origins of citrus trees are situated.

For the best results, water before and after applying fertilizer to allow it to attain the roots.

Shown: Kumquats

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Mid- to High Deserts (3,000 to 6,000 Trainers)

Spice a boring garden with ornamental grasses. There’s a great reason why these grasses are known as cosmetic. They add beauty to the landscape with their gently mounded shapes.

Plumes of varying colours of burgundy to tan look in autumn, based on the species. Plant ornamental grasses in groups of five or three; try gulf muhly(Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Regal Mist’), deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens)or Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima)for a gorgeous autumn display.

8 Spectacular Grasses to Energize a Fall Garden

Shown: Regal Mist pink muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Regal Mist’)

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Year-old perennials by breaking them. If your elderly perennials are not flowering just like they used to, it is probably time for them to be divided (that is, dividing the root system of a large plant into at least two sections that may then be replanted). Perennials such as daylily, Shasta daisies, coneflower and iris do best when divided every 3 decades.

You can use a scoop to separate plants to smaller portions and then replant them in your backyard or give some to friends.

Shown: Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Change outside warm-season annuals for cool-season blossoms. With the approach of fall, it is time to switch out of summer-flowering annuals to people that will thrive in Southwestern winters. Before planting new flowers, amend the soil with compost and a slow-release fertilizer.

Create lovely colour combinations in your favorite container by incorporating three distinct flowering plants. Try planting yellow snapdragons at the center, then add deep purple petunias and finish off with white alyssum round the exterior. Or use bright pink geraniums surrounded by white petunias and gloomy lobelias.

Shown: Snapdragons

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Fertilize your warm-season lawn. Even though summer lawns will shortly go dormant, now’s the very best time of year to fertilize. Fall fertilizing adds vital nutrients which will strengthen the roots and will help the grass to green up earlier in spring.

See more autumn lawn maintenance

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Plant leaf lettuce. Leaf lettuce is very easy to grow from seed or transplants. Anyone who has tasted new homegrown lettuce understands that the flavor of store-bought lettuce simply can not compare to it.

Shown: Leaf lettuce

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Upper Elevations (More than 6,000 Trainers)

Harvest tomatoes before the first frost. September generally attracts the first frost, so head out in the backyard and pick each one your tomatoes — green ones and all. Don’t worry if you’ve got a bunch of green tomatoes; they will ripen indoors.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Plant spring-blooming bulbs now to ensure a gorgeous show. The blossoms from spring bulbs would be the much-looked-for harbingers of spring. But to appreciate them, you need to plant bulbs now, so they are going to grow roots before the ground freezes.

For maximum color effect, plant crocus, daffodil, hyacinth or tulip bulbs in massive swaths rather than in a single row.

Shown: Blue hyacinth

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Grow your garlic. Plant garlic now for a yummy harvest next summer. Garlic is very easy to grow. Only plant person tsp 2 inches deep in your vegetable garden or in a container. Plant each clove with the pointed end up, 6 inches away from each other in rows which are just 1 foot apart.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Preserve the flavors of your summer garden by drying herbs. Herbs can readily be dried by tying them in bunches and hanging them in a dry, dark location. Drying takes. When the herbs are dry, then crumble the dried leaves into small pieces, keep them in sealed jars and use them to flavor your favourite dishes.

Prepare for October. Plants need less water as the temperatures cool, so adjust your irrigation control as needed.

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Set Your Shade Garden Aglow With Light

Light and life are inextricably related. From its beginning, the human race has worshipped, celebrated and sought to catch light. And I feel that gardeners, over most people, are aware of lighting: how it affects our plants and the way it influences our moods. Phototropism (how plants grow toward sunlight ) and seasonal affective disorder are just two examples of its effects.

People appear to desire what they apparently can’t have. People with straight hair want curly hair. People that have curly hair want straight hair. Shade gardeners want more sun. Sun anglers desire more colour. My personal garden resides in partial to full shade. Through the years I have celebrated it, cursed it, embraced it and tweaked it. My garden has gone through this procedure with me, indulging me, being patient with me and sometimes fighting back at me. Finally, my garden is all the better for it, as am I. We’re at peace.

Let me take you on my journey. If your garden is a color garden, I think that I can help save you time, money and frustration. Let’s take a stroll and have that dialogue.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Take inventory of the way that light plays in your own garden. Since most gardeners realize, a truly great personalized garden takes some time to develop. This type of garden is no one-weekend DIY project, regardless of what television commercials preach to us. A fantastic gardener is one who has developed a keen sense of observation. An experienced gardener knows that sunlight strikes her or his garden differently at various times of year, the intensity of the sun ebbs and flows with the seasons, and that the color of sun varies with its own intensity.

Whether you are in the process of initially developing your colour garden or at the continuous process of renovating and editing, take a year to really notice how light interacts with your garden. Take photographs or maintain a journal to document your findings. Your garden is going to be better for it.

On the edge of my pond, beside the largest waterfall, is a flat boulder I affectionately call my”wine stone .” I sit in the evenings with coffee or in the day with a fantastic malbec, watch the koi and reflect in your life.

I shot this movie one day in late spring, when the morning sun appeared through the trees and flawlessly choreographed the interactive dance between the hardy begonia (Begonia grandis, zones 6 to 9) and also the fall fern (Dryopteris erythrosora, zones 5 to 9). This only happens for a few minutes daily, but what a spectacular way to begin the day. I wouldn’t miss it.

Ron Yeo, FAIA Architect

Consider pruning, limbing up or elimination to open up your distance. Your garden space will talk to you if you open your mind and soul and just listen. My approach to garden design incorporates a bit of mysticism, as I feel that a distance will enable you to know what it yearns to become. A successfully implemented garden is a cooperation between what the space says and the way the gardener interprets this speech. This skill comes naturally to some people but is a learned skill to most. If you are having trouble in this area, don’t hesitate to request the help of a fantastic garden designer or landscape architect with whose work you are familiar.

Once you have a vision to the shape and scope your garden needs to take, you might find it necessary to prune, thin saplings or limb your trees up to create an environment that welcomes sun. You might also need to hire a fantastic arborist to remove trees that are detracting from the overall feel of your garden or inhibiting your sight lines. This occasionally requires fortitude, but your garden will thank you in the long run.

Chicago Specialty Gardens, Inc..

Embrace the art of backlighting. Some of the mundane plants in your garden will suddenly take on fresh vibrancy when placed in front of available light.

Some of the best plants for this technique are the ones that are translucent by nature, the ones that catch and diffuse light.

My favorite translucent plant is the sometimes-invasive horsetail rush (Equisetum hyemale, zones 3 to 11). Its 3- to 4-foot vertical growth habit is an ideal foil for a curved or rounded sculpture, or a clumping shrub. Just make sure you contain it, lest it spread indefinitely.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Aside from backlighting an individual plant, you can backlight an whole garden scene. This photo shows a magic late-afternoon garden second. Who wouldn’t wish to return home to this after sitting at rush-hour traffic?

Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

Catch reflections on water. Water features are excellent instruments to use in our quest for inviting light into our garden spaces. Water churns, bubbles, spills and cascades, all the while catching light in ever-changing ways. A correctly sited and designed water feature may be a mesmerizing focal point.

I wholeheartedly suggest that you consult a pond specialist, and that you view her or his work in different gardens, before you design and set up your own pond. A badly constructed water feature will probably be an expensive disappointment.

Locate pond designers on

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Watch ice light the winter garden. Most of us think ponds to be warm-weather features that are coated, drained or place to bed for winter. Your pond may reinvent itself in winter, performing double duty as a cold-weather garden focal point. Consider the captivating elegance of ice because it forms at a pond. Notice the way its opaque beauty captures the winter light better than any artist could.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Insert glass. Nothing catches, reflects and refracts light such as glass. The pieces shown here have been custom designed to mimic fresh shoots of plant growth and placed so that they rise out of a sea of shade-loving ground cover.

One thing to consider before installing a glass sculpture in your garden is potential breakage from overhead limbs falling in inclement weather. Assess your financial plan and tolerance amount for reduction before purchasing your glass. If you decide to put money into a glass garden sculpture, then you’ll get shining rewards.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

Let light project onto a screen. Much like the drive-in film theaters of the past, you are able to project light in your garden, capturing its movement and nuances, by erecting a wall or screen, or perhaps by enlisting the side of your residence. This three-paneled privacy screen, built from concrete backer board like you’d find beneath a tile flooring, faces west and jobs a virtual documentary of the day sun. Who wouldn’t wish to watch this light display?

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

Create the illusion of light with chartreuse foliage. The human eye generally reads sun as having a yellow cast. You can present the illusion of light into a color garden by introducing plants using chartreuse foliage. This photograph illustrates the principle brilliantly. Do not you almost wish to squint when you view this photo? On a closer look, you understand this really is a shaded area, the impact of sun is an illusion.

Pulling off this illusion does require some skill, but here are some tips to get you started.
Begin by observing the way that shafts of sunlight pierce the tree canopy in your garden and the consequent shape on your garden floor. Is it an elongated triangle, a line or a patch? Leave your plants in their pots and arrange them in this pattern until the outcome is gratifying to you. Easier still, wait till the sun creates its distinctive shape on your garden flooring, then trace the pattern with your potted plants.
Among my favorite chartreuse-leafed plants for you to consider, taking into consideration your specific growing requirements:
‘Sun Power’ and ‘Sum and Substance’ hostas (Hosta cvs, zones 4 to 9)‘All Gold’ and‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra cvs, zones 4 to 9)‘Orange Fantasy’ Japanese walnut (Acer palmatum‘Orange Fantasy’, zones 5 to 9)Golden sweet flag (Acorus gramineus‘Ogon’, zone 5 to 9)Scotch moss (Sagina subulata‘Aurea’, zones 3 to 9) ‘Skylands’ Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis‘Skylands’, zones 4 to 8)
Note that plants with chartreuse foliage require at least a few hours of sun to carry out correctly.

Katia Goffin Gardens

Insert plants with white flowers or foliage foliage. Nothing brightens a color garden such as white flowers and foliage. While white doesn’t imitate sun quite as well as chartreuse, it’s still quite effective in providing the illusion of lighting. It’s also especially effective at dusk, when it appears to glow.

What’s a color garden without a minumum of one hydrangea? Before buying your hydrangea, do some quick research on the types best suited to your location.

The oakleafs and mopheads are much better suited to colour, whereas the paniculatas require sun to achieve their thriving possible. ‘Little Honey’ (Hydrangea quercifolia‘Little Honey’, zones 5 to 9) combines the best features for our discussion since it may take colour or partial sun, also has chartruese foliage and white flowers. Another one of my favorites is ‘Incrediball’ (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Abetwo’, zones 3 to 9). Its nondrooping 12-inch flower heads are real showstoppers.

Some plants with variegated foliage that you consider are bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla, zones 3 to 2 ),’Patriot’ hosta (Hosta‘Patriot’, zones 3 to 2 ),’River Mist’ Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium‘River Mist’, zones 4 to 9), also’Floating Clouds’ redbud (Cercis canadensis‘Floating Clouds’, zones 5 to 9).

Possidento Lightscapes LLC

Invest in garden light. Nothing animates a garden quite like good-quality lighting. This spectacular photo says everything. There are a number of points to consider before light setup. Do your research concerning technology, yearly utility cost, and fixture and bulb life.

LED light has come a long way in just the last couple of years and is extremely economical as time passes. Buy the best-quality light you are able. Cheaper lighting is going to wind up costing you more in the long term, in terms of both replacements and electricity usage.

Most significant, decide which focal points should be illuminated and which ones are better left to daylight. There is a fine line between just enough light and also much. Consider the enchanting elegance of shadows and shadow to gain the most from light your garden.

I have seen way too many DIY lighting jobs that wind up looking like the vegas strip. If you are not gifted with an eye for design, please consider having your system designed and installed by a certified professional with whose work you are familiar.

More:
Discover outdoor lighting experts on
The 3 Best Ways To Light Up Your Landscape

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Transition Time: How to Connect Tile and Hardwood Floors

Transitioning a bathroom’s tile floor into the wood of some other room is often given little forethought. However, not going the transition could cause a final product which doesn’t satisfy your expectations, or even a floor assembly that is destined to fail.

Most of the floor framing in North America is designed to fulfill a base business standard. This regular (usually quantified as a deflection score) enables for materials such as little ceramic tile, vinyl, carpet and wood to be used on floors. However, these days a lot of my customers want large, natural stone tile.

Many also want the tile to transition seamlessly from one room to another. This can be done, but most homeowners don’t know that their home has to be equipped with extra strength and rigidity to carry this weight.

Below you will learn what to define when planning a transition from tile flooring to hardwood.

The Turett Collaborative

This bath is a great example of current trends in bathroom design: plenty of room, bright light, a good soaking tub and a walk-in barrier-free shower.

Notice the flush transition out of hardwood flooring to tile. Looking closer (click on the photograph to enlarge it), you will understand that the tile is large (approximately 1 foot by 2 feet) and made of marble; both attributes require a more solid floor than most houses have.

Tip: If you’re working with large-format tile or natural stone, define that your rooms fulfill a stronger deflection score: L/720, rather than the base-standard L/360. This number indicates how much flex a floor has before tile is set up — both the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and the Terrazzo, Tile and Marble Association of Canada (TTMAC) need L/720 for thick installations.

kbcdevelopments

Many of today’s floor tile is ⅜ inch to 3/4 inch thick. Most hardwood flooring is 3/4 inch thick. It follows that when you place tile beside hardwood flooring, your tile selection will be critical to get a flush transition.

Simply tiling along with a plywood subfloor is not an option — this practice is frowned upon and is not allowed by the TCNA or even TTMAC. Nevertheless, you can install a thin uncoupling mat (such as Laticrete’s Strata Mat or Schluter Systems’ Ditra) to fulfill with the tile business’s requirements.

Tip: Installing another layer of plywood over your subfloor and under your hardwood enables for more floor preparation options later on. In addition, this is a valid option if your house’s floor joists were not designed for a stronger, thicker floor. Nevertheless, this should be planned early on, since it affects how your stairs and stair risers are built.

Here’s an action shot of timber being installed over an uncoupling membrane out of Laticrete, which adopts the plywood subfloor for tile.

Tip: If your floor is not powerful enough to satisfy the right deflection rating, an uncoupling membrane will not help. Increasing the floor joist width or adding another layer of plywood is a much better and safer option.

Before Photo

Tarkus Tile, Inc..

Here Tarkus Tile is prepping to get a tile installation with another layer of plywood and an uncoupling membrane. The orange substance (Schluter Systems’ Ditra) was set up with a quality modified thinset (mortar). Since this house’s existing framing wasn’t suited to maintain the new tile choice, the installers beefed up the subfloor to make sure that the installation would last for many years to come.

Tip: The selection between a flush installation from tile to hardwood and one which meets business guidelines shouldn’t be a hard one. Always follow industry guidelines! They will most likely be stricter than local construction codes.

This custom walnut transition helps adjust for the difference between the bathroom floor and the bedroom floor in this master suite. This is often referred to as a reducing wood transition, since it functions with two surfaces, reducing their height differences.

We focused the tile installation below the door, so as soon as the door is closed you see only tile in the bathroom and walnut in the bedroom.

Tip: I discover that these alterations seem cleaner if the door jamb (the perpendicular area of the door frame) overlaps the tile just a bit. However, this is hard to do if the tile has not been set up yet. If you can, install your bathroom door after the tile installation.

Megan Buchanan

The simplest way to link floor tile and hardwood of different heights is with a transition strip. These strips may be finished to look like the ground or painted to stand out.

Tip: Leave ⅝ inch to 3/4 inch of space based underneath the door for the base of this transition strip. Should you affix a bit of scrap baseboard or plywood in precisely the exact same dimensions, it’ll help keep this channel clean of thinset, making the transition strip simpler to install.

FRONTIER FLOORING

A custom made transition could be milled by your floor contractor for installation after the tile is complete. Notice in which the wood transition matches the tile — the wood is not cut into a feathered edge but kept to approximately ⅛ inch thick. This produces the advantage stronger. The transition also overlaps since tile and wood expand at different rates, the tile, which assists with motion.

More: 20 Great Examples of Transitions in Flooring

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Budget Decorator: 8 Ways to Make Mature Furniture Look Brand New

Staining, stripping and whitewashing, oh my! If you would like to revamp a well-loved old piece of furniture but are not sure where to start, this manual is for you. Here you will find tips for when to use what technique, along with some invaluable how-to advice.

Susan Duane

1. Strip finishes. This is not an easy task and definitely is not advisable for anybody with respiratory issues to tackle — but aside from those caveats, stripping your own old furniture may save you money and produce good outcomes.

Tools of the trade: Chemical stripper (note the faster-acting strippers will also be the most poisonous), solvent respirator with new filters, safety goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, work apron, brushes, scrapers and steel wool.

DOXA Home

How-to: Move the piece to an outdoor location or well-ventilated garage and remove any hardware. It is crucial to protect yourself from the caustic fumes of a chemical stripper (see the list of safety equipment above).

After you brush the stripper, the paint must start to bubble up. Use a scraper or steel wool to remove the layers of paint. Afterward, be sure to give the piece a coat of mineral spirits or denatured alcohol to remove traces of this stripper.

Theresa Fine

2. Stain wood tables and seats. For those who have an old solid wood piece of furniture, then look at staining rather than painting it to show off the wood grain. The walnut dining table shown here was a Craigslist locate — it had been initially orange, along with the homeowners stripped it and gave it a lovely dark end.

Tools of the trade: Sandpaper, wood conditioner, rubber or nitrile gloves, wood stain, soft fabric and polyurethane varnish.

Theresa Fine

How-to: Starting with stripped wood, smooth the slice with vacuum and sandpaper or rub away all dust. Implementing wood conditioner will help the finish proceed more evenly.

Rub the wood stain evenly using a soft fabric (you may want to use a number of coats) and finish with a coat of polyurethane.

Before Photo

Wild Chairy

3. Reupholster a classic. Taking on an upholstery project takes some significant DIY skills — but if you’re patient and prepared to learn, it may be carried out. Andrea Mihalik of the reupholstery biz Wild Chairy learned her craft by studying an upholstery book and recommends that potential DIYers do exactly the same.

Tips: Take photos at every step as you take apart your seat; save the first cloth pieces to use as a pattern.

When to find an expert:
as soon as your bit has structural issues or uncomfortable springs. A pro can completely rebuild your chair … maybe not something the average person ought to try in your home.

Watch our interview with Mihalik for much more seat makeovers and DIY upholstering tips.

How to Work With an Upholsterer

Studio Marcelo Brito

4. Whitewashing, liming and pickling. You can achieve a faded, cursory appearance using lots of methods. What they all have in common is they lighten wood whilst still allowing the grain to show through.

Tools of the trade: Brass or copper wool or brush, sandpaper, liming wax, liming alternative or primer, soft rags and very clear wax or clear polyurethane.

perfectly imperfect

How-to: Rough up the wood using a copper or brass brush to allow the whitewash to stick better. Sandpaper and vacuum the face or wipe the dust away.

To lighten the wood, you may use liming wax, liming wash or a way of primer and water, working it in with a rag. If you’re using wax, remove excess wax with fine steel wool and seal the surface with wax. If you’re using primer or liming alternative, wipe off the excess with a rag. When the piece is dry, then seal it with a coating of polyurethane.

5. Milk paint. The most natural type of paint on the current market, true milk paint is really made out of milk; it comes in powder form and you mix up the paint yourself. It is nontoxic, comes in a wonderful range of customizable colors and functions on unfinished or finished wood surfaces.

Tools of the trade: Buckets and stir sticks for blending, paintbrushes and shed fabric.

Rethink Design Studio

6. Latex and oil paints. First, which to select? Latex paints have the distinct advantage of being water soluble, which means cleanup is as simple as dunking your tools in a bucket of water.

Oil-based paint necessitates taking more safety measures: The fumes imply it is best to work outside; harsh chemical solvents are needed for cleanup; also you must bring all leftovers to a hazardous waste center. The advantages of oil-based paints are better coverage and, some say, richer colors.

Tools of the trade: Fall cloths, sandpaper, mini foam rollers, painter’s tape, primer, latex or oil paint, and solvent for oil paint.

Amoroso Design

How-to: Eliminate all hardware and drawers, and set the piece up on bricks or wood blocks on top of a drop cloth. Sand lightly and wipe out dust. Tape off the edges of the drawers as needed with painter’s tape. Give the piece a coat of primer and allow it to dry.

For painting, then use a small roller to get a smooth program without adhesive lines. Start at the top and work your way down; let the paint dry thoroughly between coats.

Adrianna Beech

7. Spray paint. For outdoor furniture, nothing beats a couple of coats of spray paint. Decide on a formula created for outdoor furniture, and it will stand up well to the elements.

Tools of the trade: Outside furniture spray paint, rubber gloves, painter’s mask and fall fabric.

How-to: Gently wash the furniture, scrubbing off scuffs and rust, and let it dry thoroughly. Wear rubber gloves and a painter’s mask while spray painting. Working outside on a drop cloth, spray on the furniture with even strokes. A number of light coats will provide even coverage with no a lot of drips.

Caitlin Wilson Design

8. Re-cover a seat cushion. Unlike a complete reupholstery job, re-covering a seat cushion is a relatively simple and gratifying project.

Tools of the trade: Staple gun, new cloth and foam or batting.

How-to: Unscrew the seat cushion from the seat. Eliminate the old cloth and use it as a template to cut new fabric. If the batting or foam cushion is very worn, replace it. Wrap the new cloth over the seat and use a staple gun to attach it. Screw the seat back in place.

Step-by-step directions: How to Re-Cover a Chair Cushion

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Show Us Your Great Patio, Deck or Rooftop!

I’m putting my Basement of the Week series on hold for the summer to get us away in the underground spaces and outside during the wonderful weather. We’ll be featuring a great terrace, deck, rooftop or other imaginative backyard space each week. We are looking for jobs from homeowners as well as pros, so get out your cameras, get a great shot and provide your new outdoor space its big break.

Shoot us a picture of your space and post it in the Comments section below. If we choose it for a featured ideabook, we will want at least four high quality, high-resolution shots; they could be a mix of the entire space, smaller areas within it and close-ups. They don’t have to be accepted by a professional, but they do need to be in focus, nicely lit and large (at least 1,000 pixels wide).

McClellan Architects

If you’ve got beautiful environment, we’d really like to see that the views from the terrace as well.

PLLC, Lynn Gaffney Architect

Let us know where you are located and how you enjoy your outdoor space. Can you sunbathe, entertain or see the little ones as you enjoy a cocktail, have foods or toast marshmallows?

Spore Design

Be prepared to have a tiny phone or email conversation with yours truly in the event you are interested in getting your deck or patio comprised as a Patio of the Week. I guarantee it will be quick and painless.

LOCZIdesign

Paul Davis Architects

Pros and amateurs are both welcome and will receive equal attention. I look forward to seeing everybody’s spaces. Bring them!

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Spring Patio Fix-Ups: 12 Ways With Planters

Whether you use these to pay up flaws, ramp up fashion or just delight your senses, there is little that the right planters (filled with the proper plants) can’t do. And unlike intensive projects, such as building a new deck, setting out fresh pots are readily achieved in a weekend. From conventional topiary to modern bullet planters, wall gardens into privacy screens, let these 12 creative ideas motivate you to make your terrace glow.

MB Build & Design

1. Use planters to create privacy. Lush greenery, tall grasses and trailing flowers create a pure privacy screen on this terrace. Try putting large window boxfashion planters atop a low wall to achieve a similar impact.

Alex Amend Photography

2. Create a garden that is formal texture with topiary. Neatly trimmed topiary in identical pots brings the look and texture of a formal garden into a terrace. Pick tall, sleek figurines such as those shown here to get a modern look, or try massive urns if conventional style is exactly what you love.

Bright Green

3. Plant a wall garden. As intricate and beautiful as a work of art, a wall-mounted garden can be the focal point of a terrace. Try your hand at a smaller-scale variant or hire an expert to design something similar to what is shown here.

Tara Bussema – Design and Neat Organization

4. Go mod with bullet figurines. The iconic kind of these planters immediately dresses up a modern terrace. One or two are all you need to make a big impact.

Watch more about bullet figurines

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

5. Channel a traditional Italian garden with an urn that is oversized. It is hard to beat the love of a weathered urn brimming with blooming roses and trailing ivy.

Revealed: Iceberg Rose with Glacier Ivy

Integrated

6. Plant a dwelling privacy wall. Long, low planters full of palms offer privacy on a metropolitan patio. Check with your regional garden center to find types that can do well with the mild conditions on your terrace.

Kenneth Philp Landscape Architects

7. Learn how to combine plants in a single pot. It can be tough to know which plants to match — take the guesswork out of it using this useful guide from picture designer Margie Grace.

Avant Garden

8. Take a cue from cafés. Carve out a specified patio area inside a larger yard with extra-large planters around the border. Fill the planters flanking the entrance with trees and complete the look with some strategically placed umbrellas.

Arterra Landscape Architects

9. Accent your seating room using a tabletop cactus garden. Fill out a shallow, round container with one or more types of cactus for a tasteful display. Complement your desert planting with raw wood furniture, smooth stone and chunky carved candlesticks.

SB Garden Layout

10. Bring climbing plants into new heights using a wire trellis. Less anticipated than wood, a metal framed trellis gives the terrace an appealingly rustic look. The custom trellis design shown here is by SB Garden Layout.

Arterra Landscape Architects

11. Delight the senses. Encourage roses, jasmine or a different blossom blossom to scale over a pergola or trellis to get a sensory treat.

Logan’s Hammer Building & Renovation

12. Window boxes — not only for windows. Frame a view in an elevated terrace with a row of window boxes placed along the border.

Inform us What is your favorite way to use planters?

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Out Of Baseball Factory to Homey Loft at Toronto

When Robert Van Every casually popped to a neighborhood open house one day in Toronto, he was not expecting the attic to blow him away. But the distance was just what he’d always wanted. Located inside a former Rawlings baseball glove factory constructed in 1902, the area needed an industrial shell which held contemporary finishes, 10-foot ceilings, original wood beams and exposed brick. “I immediately began imagining myself alive here; it was really meant to be,” he states.

He purchased the attic and got to work filling the area with standout classic furniture for a smart but dim look which permits the many expansive windows to play a constant loop of the West Toronto area. “This is my final dream house,” Van Every states. “It is what keeps me inspired.”

in a Glance
Who resides: Robert Van Each and his greyhound, Jason
Location: Roncesvalles area of Toronto
Size: 1,300 square feet; 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

Windows wrap the attic, flood the area with light from the north, south and west, while warm wood ceilings and floors soften the exposed brick.

Van Every maximized space with a large sectional, weighty bronze lighting and a coffee table he created with old crates and a classic marble top.

Sofa: Mirabel, Domison; rocking seat, Thonet, Worth Village; lighting: Bronze Copper Pendant, Tom Dixon; rug: Alvine Ruta, Ikea

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

The elevation and openness of this loft initially drew Van Every to the distance, which, he states, lends itself very nicely to entertaining.

The fireplace was not something he believed he’d ever desire, but he can not imagine living without it.

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

On the very first night in his new attic, a couple of days before Christmas, as he waited to get the paint to dry in his bedroom Van Every place his bed on the floor in front of the fireplace and curled up with a glass of wine. That moment may have been the impetus for the positioning of the greyhound’s bed nearby.

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

The kitchen had aged, although the attic had not been remodeled since the ’80s. Concrete flooring set the space apart from the wood-floor living room.

Green seat: Value Village; taxidermy, Smash!

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

The kitchen’s galley style helps keep the jumble of entertaining confined to the wide-open living spaces. A Persian-inspired rug, combined with a taxidermy deer head and also a midcentury armchair, adds eclectic flair.

Rug: Valby Ruta, Ikea

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

Van Each created this small seats nook off the kitchen ; he enjoys his morning coffee and news. “My decorating philosophy relies on expertise,” he states. “I imagine how I wish to use a space and then work out the best possible furniture positioning. Each area has a reason to be.”

Suitcases double as storage due to their favourite magazines.

Seat: Papa Bear, Hans J. Wegner

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

Van Every’s favorite recent purchase is a bright aqua Era seat he found on Craigslist.

Chair: Era, originally from Design Within Reach; dining table: Stornäs, Ikea

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

The sunken principal bedroom is an exercise in simplicity, with intricate empty frames and a simple hanging pendant lighting which illuminates the hot wood ceiling.

Bed: Svelvik, Ikea

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

The building allows Van Every, revealed here with dog Jason, to walk and bike to virtually everything in the Roncesvalles area of West Toronto, where he’s lived for the past five decades.

Your turn: Show us your attic!

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Kitsch and Humor Meet Midcentury Modern

Clean lines, good bones and a quintessential midcentury apartment roof attracted James and Cindy Stolp to their Dallas house, despite its poor state. “The home was in horrible shape, but we knew we wanted it the moment we stepped inside,” Cindy says. “We definitely had on our ‘possible’ glasses when we bought this home,” James adds.

James, a designer and cofounder of smart-home-technology firm Smart Things, and Cindy, a freelance interior designer and stylist, each have a strong personal aesthetic. Their love of contemporary design, pop art, kitsch, graphic and typographic layout, architecture and midcentury design informs each inch of their property. “We’ve got a sense of humor,” says Cindy. “Modern design could be so uptight, but we wanted our house to be warm and approachable — a place where our kids would like living.”

at a Glance
Who lives here: James and Cindy Stolp and their sons, Jack (age 5) and Mike (3)
Size: 2,000 square feet: 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms
Location: Highland Meadows neighborhood of Dallas

Sarah Greenman

Kitschy art, midcentury furniture and contemporary light fixtures make for an eclectic yet cohesive combination from the dining area. The Heywood Wakefield dining place and two midcentury hutches placed side by side keep the room grounded with honey-colored wood.

Table, chairs: Strictly Hey-Wake; pendant lighting: West Elm; art: We Are 1976

Sarah Greenman

The Stolps bought many of the furnishings online. “Cindy isn’t afraid of getting furniture shipped,” James says. Some of her favorite sites are Furnish Me Vintage, Etsy, eBay and Fab. The pair looks to Lula B’s for furniture and accessories and We Are 1976 for art when shopping locally.

Paint: Iced Cube Silver, Benjamin Moore

Sarah Greenman

A badly constructed remodel in the 1980s divided up the house into little spaces. The first thing that the Stolps did was remove the walls and open the main living area to a fluid space.

They also installed a bank of windows across the rear side of the home. The rectangular window theme repeats throughout the home.

Club chairs: Fab

Sarah Greenman

“Some of the significant design challenges in this home was furniture placement,” says Cindy. “I wished to keep the house from feeling like a giant bowling alley.” Therefore the Stolps created separate seating areas while still maintaining ample room for visitors flow.

Bookcase:
Ikea

Sarah Greenman

A blue-gray tile fireplace, circular shag rug and midcentury sofa make another comfy seating area at the far end of the main living space.

“The watch artwork is titled ‘A Mother’s Love.’ It is by Oklahoma artist Matt Goad and has been a present from James to me for our 15th anniversary,” Cindy says. “The baby bears are such precise representations of the boys. It is difficult to surprise me, but I was shocked by this bit, and it remains the funniest present James has given me.”

Sarah Greenman

Before going into their house, the Stolps dwelt in a loft apartment in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of downtown Dallas. “We’re so accustomed to attic living we re-created the attic feel in our house,” says James. Wide-open spaces, light walls and lots of natural lighting are hallmarks of this home.

Sofa: Lula B’s

Sarah Greenman

A little half bath close to front door pops with dim gray walls, a wall-mounted sink and thematic travel art.

Paint: Rocky Coast, Benjamin Moore

Sarah Greenman

A little anteroom is the best spot for a TV, sofa and classic movie posters. “We had such a hard time locating a sofa that would fit in the space we ended up using one custom made,” James says.

Sofa: custom, Cantoni

Sarah Greenman

Space tends to be lacking most midcentury houses, so the couple use an oversize Italian kitchen unit referred to as a schränke to carry things in the eat-in kitchen. “No loft, no garage and terrible storage means we must find creative,” says Cindy.

Pendant mild: FL/Y Suspension Lamp by Kartel

Sarah Greenman

The kitchen includes a glowing smattering of orange, blue, gray and wood accents.

Fiberglass bar stools and a trio of pendant lights bridge the space between the kitchen and the dining space.

Bar stool foundations: Modernica

Sarah Greenman

The Stolps maintained the wood cabinets but updated the space with stainless steel appliances.

Backsplash tile: ModWalls

Sarah Greenman

They created a play area off the kitchen for their own sons, Mike and Jack. “I wanted them to get their very own play space where I could watch on them,” Cindy says. The carpeting floor tiles specify the area and make the sensation of a room within a room.

The conical pendant lighting in the corner of this room is original to the home. Cindy rewired many of the original fixtures with assistance from Royal Touch Lamp & Fixture Service.

Table, chairs: Area; storage device: Stuva, Ikea; place carpeting: Flor

Sarah Greenman

Wall-mounted shelves and a Herman Miller desk chair keep the house office tidy and stylish.

Shelving: Lula B’s

Sarah Greenman

Cool aqua and daring green brighten Jack’s bedroom. The Stuva storage system from Ikea keeps toys, games and clothes tucked away.

Paint: Hazy Blue, Benjamin Moore

Sarah Greenman

Mike’s area comes alive with bright green with blue accents. “Kids deserve good layout, and our boys are extremely happy with their bedrooms,” Cindy says.

Paint: New Grass, Benjamin Moore; storage: Stuva, Ikea

Sarah Greenman

Sugar cube tile in a double sink from Kohler create the boys’ bathroom a showstopper.

Sarah Greenman

Simple furnishings and ice blue walls make for a calm main bedroom. Each of the home’s three bedroom doors includes a tiny rectangular window on top. “We were planning to put frosted glass in the doors, but then I decided against it when I realized that I could glance in at the boys while they were sleeping,” Cindy says.

Paint: Hazy Blue, Benjamin Moore; bed frame: Russel Wright Studios; bedding: Draper Stripe, DwellStudio

Sarah Greenman

“When we first saw the home, we fell in love with the apartment roof. But horizontal roofs are high maintenance,” says Cindy. “Whenever it rained, I’d start pacing through the house looking for leaks.”

“The roof was also badly insulated,” James says, “along with the Texas heat would beat down on it. We could not keep the home cool.”

A brand new roof with appropriate insulation, ventilation, furnace and drainage operate ran the Stolps $17,000. “It was worth every cent,” says James.

Roofing: Tillery Roofing Service

Sarah Greenman

James and Jack high-five from kitchen. “When we moved in, nine years ago, the neighborhood has been in transition,” James says. “Our friends thought we were mad, since the place was economically sad and sort of beat up. But Cindy and I had faith in it, and it feels like the sun is shining on Highland Meadows.”

See more photographs of this home

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Travel Treasures Personalize a Denver Comedian's Home

When comedian Adam Cayton-Holland is not traveling to perform stand-up, he’s enjoying his 1885 Victorian in Denver. Although the avid traveler — 30 countries and counting — told jokes before this season on Conan, he takes himself seriously enough to provide his house with purpose, displaying artwork and collectibles from his excursions. With an eclectic mix of family heirlooms and travel memorabilia influenced by Cayton-Holland’s dad and art-collecting grandfather, this hot and innovative atmosphere provides a welcome intermission between gigs.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Adam Cayton-Holland along with his puppy, Annabel
Location:Baker neighborhood of Denver
Size: 1,500 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

Lauren Mikus

Cayton-Holland relaxes from the master bedroom along with his puppy, Annabel. “I remember bringing her to my home for a puppy, and I thought, ‘Now this is my property,'” he states.

“I travel a lot for work, and when I come home, among the first things I do is walk my puppy. I like to check on the few-block radius round here and see what, if anything, has changed. Folks say they always find me walking my puppy. It’s my way of announcing, ‘Hey I am back.’ I like things like this.”

Lauren Mikus

Cayton-Holland regularly hosts friends and fellow comedians in his bedroom that is . “A lot of comedians come into town for a monthly stand-up comedy show I do called The Grawlix,” he states. “People are always wanting to come in town for it, so we try to fly comics and then they wreck together with me for a few days. I prefer trying to give them a wonderful spot to stay.”

Lauren Mikus

He’s traveled all around the world and at a single point called the Spanish city Santiago de Compostela house. So obviously, virtually every decor piece in his house includes a narrative along with a passport stamp. A print in the Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamin hangs over a vintage record player. A classic Indian wood carving out of Denver’s Antique Row on South Broadway hangs in an adjacent wall.

This dining set, nevertheless, is a family heirloom.

Lauren Mikus

The comedian attributes his style — what he describes as that of a “tenured professor’s office” — to his father, a civil rights lawyer, and grandfather, who was an art dealer. When he was growing up, his father “needed a room we called ‘the library’ because of the number of books,” he states. “My father had only festooned the place with paintings — Indian arrowheads, old binoculars, garudas from Indonesia, Persian carpets, old lamps. It’s very eclectic, but everything gets the feel of being a treasure. I have always wished to emulate ‘the library’ from the living room.”

It was a challenge to distinguish the living room and dining room, but afterwards what Cayton-Holland describes a “war of attrition,” he now loves his open area. “I slowly acquired more and more stuff, which I deemed fitting of the space, and now it seems full and lively. I am still moving. Next I need a player piano.”

A kitchen rug, just past the dining room, hides a panel that opens to a stairway leading into a basement. The previous homeowner was a contractor who upgraded the area, and this is one of their home’s few untouched original features. “To get down to the basement, you have to scale down,” the homeowner says. “It’s kind of terrifying but also really cool, because you can see the skeleton of the home and an old staircase I assume led up to storm-shelter doorways now just goes nowhere.”

Lauren Mikus

The homeowner and his dad are known to regular antiques shops and are great friends with local antiques dealer Rick Rose.

The antique chest here originated out of a Mexican monastery and dates back to the late 1800s. The three birdcages are also antiques.

Lauren Mikus

Typical of early-20th-century homes, the walls in this house are extremely thick. Red paint adds dimension to the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen.

Lauren Mikus

Masks from Senegal line the stairs from the foyer to the next story.

A vintage window framework that has been a Christmas present from Cayton-Holland’s sister hangs out of the 14-foot ceilings.

Lauren Mikus

The foyer’s mission-style furniture piece is from an antiques shop in Colorado Springs and holds the homeowner’s many hats.

Lauren Mikus

Once leased to a roommate, this space is now tCayton-Holland’s office, using a mission-style desk, chair and lamp.

Mexican folk art retablos and tapestries out of Mongolia and Indonesia adorn the wall.

Lauren Mikus

Cayton-Holland sometimes performs in Los Angeles in The Meltdown, linking other comics, such as Pete Holmes, Rory Scovel and Brent Weinbach. The place is found in the back of a comic shop, and for each display a poster is made. Some of them decorate the cupboard doors.

Lauren Mikus

Cayton-Holland relaxes on front porch with Annabel. “I am always visiting new cities, and I always love returning to Denver,” he states. “It’s fun to be a part of a city that’s constantly defining itself, that no one has really written the book on yet. This makes you feel a part of something. There is a spirit of anything that you need to see or do, you can do it here.”

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House Hunting? Look kindly at the Light

When I was growing up, my mum could bemoan others’ restricted imaginations: “Some folks can not see possible; they just can’t picture things.”

My difficulty was not a lack of creativity. An argument may be made that I’ve had too much creativity, bordering on delusion. Take the second house my husband and I purchased. When there had been a category on Facebook for posting the status of someone’s relationship with one’s house, mine could have stated, “It is complicated.”

Let us start with the good things: It was in a beautiful setting with a pool, large yards and many gardens, surrounded by lovely woods. It was near my husband’s office and in a fantastic school district. Most important of all We could afford it.

A wall of windows overlooks natural lighting and the view.

Today you want to brace yourself. The prior owners were DIY-ers from the 1970s. That about says it all, however, I will press on with all the details. There was wall-to-wall carpet everywhere, and I really do mean everywhere: bathrooms and kitchen included. The ceilings laughed at mere popcorn, aspiring to stalactites. Are you seated? Because I am just getting started. Faux beams? You betcha! Cedar shakes? A wall of them! Fake brick? Two partitions! Paneling? Eight rooms and seven fashions! Volcanic-looking rock? Going all the way up the staircase! I knew it was a nightmare, however, I watched all the possibilities. I knew we could sand ceilings and paint paneling and tear out the carpet as well as the faux everything. And we did. We went room by room, including windows and replacing, retexturing and repainting walls, ceilings and floors — from the day we took ownership until days before it burned down. However, all this was only makeup; there was more.

We fulfilled our house on a rainy day so, not surprisingly, it was dark inside. The entrance led to the dining room, which was the center of the house. To the north was a doorway to a hall that led to a bath and bedrooms. However, the east wall was a door to another bedroom. To the south was a large archway that opened into the kitchen and the rest of the house. On the other side of the west wall were the mudroom and the garage. That there were no windows did not register for me as a problem; neither did the home’s deep eaves nor that it faced north and south sat in a valley surrounded by woods.

Bruce Wright

I am sorry to let you know, I saw that the light (figuratively speaking) once we closed on the house, and that was just about the only light we found in that house. We put in so many windows and light tubes, which surely helped, but the overall lack of light was an eye-twitch-inducing source of frustration to me. True, I was sensitive to temptation from sunlight and a bit claustrophobic, but a troll could have suffered from seasonal affective disorder in the house.

My sister, Torey, pooh-poohed me. She recorded all the great things we’d done and our beautiful setting. I gently scratched in my neck and held my peace. A couple of weeks later we were watching a detective series and there was a suspenseful moment when a character is locked in a toilet and might or might not be dead. The detective runs up many flights of stairs, pounds on the door and must break down it.

“If the detective was running up the staircase, you were wondering if another man was dead, were not you?” I asked Torey later.

“Obviously.”

“Well, I wasn’t. I noticed that the stairwell didn’t have any windows, but there was a shaft of sun, and I was wondering if there was a skylight or when the gaffer had lit it unnaturally.” She simply stared at me, all the Pollyanna run dry. Several years later, when she was house hunting, she availed herself of my mania/expertise.

Emerick Architects

This well-placed window lighting a hall and is a beautiful focal point.

If you are in the market for a house, light may not be in your own checklist, but it should. Here are some things to think about:

1. What direction does the house face? Our new house still faces north, but it’s an open floor plan and is filled with windows, so every room and hall has indirect light constantly and direct light at least sometime in the day. The principal living areas and bedrooms all face the south, which here in Michigan allows passive solar energy throughout the winter. Throughout summer time the sun is so large that the light downstairs is indirect and beautiful but upstairs the bedrooms heat up considerably. I wouldn’t ever say we’ve got too much light, but I’ve invested in window coverings to allow us to temper our glorious prosperity.

2. What rooms do you use the most and when? Since we’ve got a wooded hill to the west, the hot and low light of the setting sunlight is filtered. My sister-in-law’s house faces west, but the majority of her living spaces were designed with large windows to take advantage of the lake views to the west. A line of trees to the south shelters the house in the summer from the beams of the intense summer sun.

Shannon Malone

3. What is the window scenario? What was so challenging about my prior home was that the lack of windows. The room shown here is dark, but the beautiful windows makes it feel as if you are in a tree house rather than a cave. Friends of ours designed and built a beautiful, light-filled house. In working out the floor plan, they opted to put their bathrooms and mudroom in the center of the house and hence without windows, an option they regret.

The window scenario goes both ways. Other friends have a house on a hill. A bank of windows in their living room showcases the magnificent view to the east and floods the room with morning light. It was all I could do to keep from throwing myself onto the (bright!) Floor, in a sense of wonder and envy. For my friend it was a nuisance — her blinded toddlers encounter each other while they played. She purchased a huge and expensive shade soon after they moved in.

When a house has an abundance of windows, assess whether you need to add window coverings to your budget. The cost for even the least expensive shades can be considerable.

Kanner Architects – CLOSED

A big corner window is perfect for a modern house.

If we were planning the new house, I made it crystal clear that maximizing natural light was overriding. (Picture Scarlett O’ Hara shaking her fist and swearing she’ll never be hungry again.)

Throughout the framing phase, the builder posted pictures online. The caption next to our great room stated, from the understatement of the century, “An unobstructed, naturally day lit open space was a priority for the homeowners.”

What about you personally? Did you consider light once you purchased your house? Did you overlook or dismiss another fundamental attribute? Tell your story in the Remarks.

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Kitchen of the Week: Practical Beauty at Dallas

After five decades of living together with her 1952 ranch kitchen, Deb Young decided she was done using all the dilapidated material palette. Sticking with the kitchen’s unique layout and deciding on all of the materials beforehand helped her cut down on the remodel’s price and time. Only one month of construction resulted in a brand new, contemporary kitchen with plenty of practical additions.

Kitchen at a Glance
Location: Lakewood area of Dallas
Size: 13 by 17 feet
Budget: $25,000

Young and her family lived with all the obsolete setup for so long partly to save cash and partly to put a disruptive remodel, but also because it gave them insight about what needed to be fixed.

Young had an additional stainless steel sink custom made. The Grohe faucet handle turns into the sink, instead of to the side, so wet palms do not drip on the counter prior to doing dishes. “It’s easier for the 7-year-old to achieve, too,” she says.

Faucet: Grohe Concetto

Young was never a fan of their first layout, but the cabinetry and appliances were in great shape. Rather than pull them out, she stuck to the basic layout, saving cash for future bathroom renovations.

Cabinetry: solid Lyptus stained in walnut; paint:White Dove, Benjamin Moore; countertops: Luce de Luna quartzite, stainless perimeter

Choosing the colors and materials was all about practicality. Dark cabinets, sturdy flooring and stainless steel–lined countertops can all stand up to heavy family use.

Backsplash: fireclay tile, Crater Lake

Before Photo

The prior all-white cabinets put every speck of dirt and spilled drop of coffee on display. The awkward handles also made it hard to clean the entire door fronts.

Dark stained doors now conceal most stains, and easy hardware is not difficult to clean around and under. “At no point did I put anything in this kitchen that wasn’t practical because it had been pretty,” says Young.

From the beginning, Young knew she wanted to keep the first pivoting bar top. Connected to the countertop with a rotating grommet, it’s an incredibly functional seating solution for this particular kitchen’s layout.

On the other side of the rotating bar, a lockable caster allows for seamless movement. When it’s time to consume, the bar drops into the kitchen, stopping just short of the island. When it’s time to clean or entertain, it slides back into place against the window.

Flooring: Volcanic Ash Marmoleum

Selecting flooring was simple — Young knew in the get-go that she wanted to use Marmoleum. This legitimate linoleum product is frequently used in schools and hospitals because it’s extra durable but still feels soft and works well. Even though it took some time to find someone to put in it in a residential project, it had been worth the hunt.

Bar stools: CB2

This existing cabinets got a fresh update with walnut-stained panels and new hardware.

Texas artwork: Draplin Design

Before Photo

The kitchen previous finishes were completely worn out. The yellow paint peeled off the walls in areas, the vinyl floor had stains, the cast iron sink had massive scratches, and the laminate countertops had their fair share of burns and stains.

The older island’s open shelving did not provide enough storage for the Youngs, and food was constantly falling upon the open shelves. Adding several pullout drawers made additional, defined storage space.

Dishwasher: Miele

The Marmoleum flows into an adjacent hallway — the key route to the family’s backyard swimming pool.

Before Photo

While Young adored the existing glass-front refrigerator, it did not have the storage that she wanted — particularly when it came to ice for drinks during summer parties.

New refrigerator and freezer drawers were a splurge for the brand new bar area, but they make a significant difference when it comes to the family’s daily actions and enjoy of entertaining.

Bubble glass above the bar provides a little bit of contrast. “We put glass there because it permits our friends to wander in and help themselves to drinks,” says Young. “It’s easier for them to do so if they could see what’s in the cabinets”

Refrigerator: Jenn-Air

Your turn: Can you just redo your kitchen? We’d like to hear about it and see a photograph below!

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