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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