Decorating for Children: How Your House Can Support Creative Play

When children play they’re discovering the world around them. Playing on their own and others helps them sort out characters, theories and relationships. Sure, playtime can be boisterous and rambunctious, but it can also be quiet and introspective — it’s important to give your child with the opportunity for the two kinds.

Let us take a peek at how to create opportunities for your child to play creatively and freely in your house.

Cary Bernstein Architect

1. Provide space. It is tempting to try and control messes by limiting play area to certain corners of the home. But giving kids the freedom and flexibility to spread out and play with abandon can be liberating for them. Utilize cubbies, storage bins and other organizers to keep the clutter under wraps when playtime is done. But every now and then, adopt the chaos!

Fantastic Impressions Home Staging/Interiors

2. Create channels for drama. Committed channels for drama can help your child learn as much at home as at school. They foster active learning and invite kids to engage, explore, discover, learn and solve problems on their own. Organize your playroom, living room or kid’s bedroom according to activities: a special spot for toying with building blocks or loose components, a dress-up or art nook, a quiet spot for reading and so forth.

3. Contain materials to create with. Don’t limit your child to simply crayons. Providing a broad array of creative materials without providing specific instructions on how best to use them will enhance your youngster’s creativity. Create a craft corner or put aside a few cubbies on your kitchen for watercolors, markers, crayons, clay, pipe cleaners and more. Of course, use discretion when determining what materials are acceptable for your child’s age or developmental phase. And use your imagination when choosing — the sky’s the limit!

Kelly Donovan

4. Offer role-play and dress-up items. Playing dress-up helps kids make sense of the functions they see performed around them daily by family, teachers and friends. Set aside a special corner and hang fun hats and costumes on a wall for your kids to try on. Supply them with drama with dishes, tools and other real life things for role play.

Flea Market Sunday

5. Nurture problem solving and innovation. Sometimes your kid’s Legos seem as though they’re just a loose assortment of annoying bits to measure on from the hallway or suck up to a vacuum cleaner. However, these very small toys actually go a long way toward helping your child come up with creative solutions to issues. Insert a loose-parts station to your playroom to get those creative juices flowing.

Jute Interior Design

6. Support multisensory play. Children establish a connection to the world around them by experiencing it through sensory drama. Design your kids ‘ play area with multiple perceptions in mind: tools for playing and hearing music, several textures for touching and lively lighting or art for visual stimulation.


7. Add complex sizes and shapes. Invite kids to comprehend the relationship between the space around them with different-size play things. A tunnel out of blankets and chairs, a fort built in the living room plus a playhouse made of boxes encourages them to see the world in another light.

More: Children’ Room Color Wisdom: How Colors Affect Behavior

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5 Roofing Materials That Last for a Long Time

When it comes to the best roof repair Gilbert AZ material, longevity is a very important factor to consider. You can rate the different roof materials based on other factors, such as the cost, aesthetics, and resale value, but if longevity is your main priority, then below are some of the best options you should consider.

Composite Shingle Roof

Composite shingles are expected to last from 15 to 50 years. Furthermore, they are cheap and easy to install. However, the longevity of this material usually varies significantly because the quality of the materials also varies. If you’re going to invest in premium quality composite shingle from the best manufacturers, then you can expect it to last for up to 50 years!

Wood Shingle Roof

The lifespan of wood shingles is 25 years. However, as an organic material, shingle is prone to weathering and decay. Keep in mind that these are wooden shingles that we’re talking about and not the shakes. Since the shingles are often sawn from a log, they are usually thin and flat. You can make them last even longer by replacing any cracked and split shingles immediately.

Standing Seam Metal Roof

This material is expected to last up to 50 years! In fact, metal has become very popular in the recent years. Besides, there can be nothing stronger than metal when it comes to roofing Gilbert. However, a metal roof may not be everyone’s choice of a roof material. Also, it’s rare to find an installation company that specializes in metal roof installation. To make this material last even longer, regularly inspect the roof to check for any bent panels, and make sure you replace them immediately.

Wood Shake Shingle Roof

Wood shakes are expected to last up to 40 years! They are thicker than the wooden shingles. Shakes are often sawn and split from a log. Either way, these thick wooden shakes are more capable of withstanding UV rays and harsh weather than the thinner wood shingles.

You can make this roofing material last over a quarter century with proper care and maintenance. Once you install this roof covering for your home, you must make sure to continuously maintain it. Remove all the debris that falls into the roof and take time to eliminate the moss. Split or damaged shakes must be replaced immediately.

Slate Roof

The slate roof is perhaps the most long-lasting of them all, with a lifespan of more than 100 years! This material is very durable and resembles the look of a rice paper. Made from real stone, this roofing material is laid thick directly into the roof. However, the right truss strength is needed in order to handle this heavy load.

To ensure that this roof lasts for a long time, replace any broken tiles immediately. Make sure that the flashings are installed correctly and are in good working condition at all times. If the copper flashing has started to turn black, then consider replacing it immediately.

So these are some of the best Gilbert roofing materials in terms of durability, strength, and longevity. Remember, their longevity will also depend on how well you care and maintain them.

Smart Kitchen Investment: Lighting Too, for Function and Great Looks

Lighting will be one of the most overlooked and underappreciated aspects of a kitchen during the design process. There’s an art to lighting a kitchen, even though lighting usually goes unnoticed unless it is planned badly. That is not found until after the contractor is long gone.

Recall the times when kitchens have been lit with one fixture in the middle of the ceiling and perhaps some fluorescent beams that would constantly flicker? There’s no explanation for this anymore, thanks to the vast array of lighting options and industry experts accessible to devise a personalized plan for your kitchen.

I talked with two such experts, interior designer Katie Anderson and lighting designer Randall Whitehead, concerning the value of investing time and money into a proper lighting program, and how to design the best strategy for virtually any kitchen.

Katie Anderson Interior Design Consultants

“Most people never really consider lighting,” states Anderson. “But good or bad, you will feel its effects with time both physically and emotionally.”

Investing in a well-lit kitchen is a herculean blessing. One, it increasesquality of existence. Consider it this way: When you walk around an unevenly lit kitchen, your pupils have to constantly adapt to the vivid and dark spots. Over time this may result in eye fatigue, nausea and a general sense of fatigue.

Bunker Workshop

If, on the other hand, your own kitchen is evenly lit, it may be a more effective workspace — regardless of the time of day. And lights you can dim produce a more celebratory mood when guests come over.

Randall Whitehead Lighting Solutions

The second reason to get a designing a well-lit kitchen is improved resale value. “Kitchens and bathrooms are the 2 rooms that help sell a home the most,” notes Anderson. “No matter how far you’ve put to a kitchen to enhance it, home buyers are not likely to appreciate it if they can not properly see everything — or worse, they view the space as gloomy. A well-lit kitchen only reads to everybody.”

Katie Anderson Interior Design Consultants

A perfect kitchen lighting plan includes four kinds of light sources: task, accent, decorative as well as ambient. Some light sources may have several purposes.

Hughes Studio Architects

1. Task lighting. This is the light by which you work. It includes lighting mounted to the bottom of upper cabinets to light countertops, lighting directed toward the kitchen countertop and lighting in the pantry.

Fireclay Tile

The colour of task lighting is equally important. “If you would like the light source to seem like incandescent at full blast, then select 2,700 Kelvin,” advises Whitehead. “If you enjoy the colour of dimmed incandescent, which is my taste, start looking for a light source that’s 2,400 Kelvin. These colour temperatures will blend nicely with the incandescent sources in adjoining chambers”

More about understanding light shade

Design Platform

2. Accent lighting. This source (also called focal lighting) highlights art and decorative items on the walls and atop upper cabinets that don’t move all of the way to the ceiling.

“Recessed downlighting is a nice source of accent lighting,” says Anderson, “but people will need to recognize that such fittings produce a triangle of light and so need to be spaced according to the angled disperse they throw so there are no shadows.”

Randall Whitehead Lighting Solutions

3. Decorativelighting. This may include one or more pendant fixtures within an island or a peninsula. Additionally, it may be a chandelier over the dining area. “This type of light provides the jewelry in the kitchen,” says Whitehead.

Katie Anderson Interior Design Consultants

Pick a pendant or chandelier that has a warm shade of light plus also a dimmer switch so that it can place just the correct mood.

Hankins & Associates, Inc..

4. Ambient lighting. This indirect source offers an overall glow. “I like to put strip lighting over upper cabinets that don’t stretch all of the way up into the ceiling to make this kind of effect,” states Anderson. “It allows light to bounce off the ceiling”

Whitehead notes, “This result may also come from lighting mounted on the very top of support beams that run parallel to the floor in a kitchen with ceilings that are pitched”

Kenorah Design + Build Ltd..

Getting started with your own kitchen lighting program. To get the best results, consult with a lighting professional who will be able to produce a customized plan to suit your kitchen’s design, style and price range. You need lighting; you may also have them installed in the areas where they will help you the most.

Tell us What’s your favourite kitchen lighting source?

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Warm Sophistication in an Alabama Lake

David and Atalie Whitley have changed their lake home into a rustic feel-good getaway, drawing inspiration from the beauty of Alabama’s Smith Lake and the lush organic surroundings. “We wanted to create the spaces look and feel casual and combine with the gorgeous backdrop of the trees and lake,” says Atalie.

The Whitleys live an hour off in Birmingham for most of the year, therefore they wanted to minimize maintenance. They picked natural wood finishes, neutral colours and accents of rope and driftwood.

at a Glance
Who lives here: David and Atalie Whitley along with their puppy, Annie
Location: Smith Lake, Jasper, Alabama
Size: 2,600 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 3 baths
That’s interesting: Smith Lake is the second largest lake in the U.S.

Corynne Pless

The entrance leads straight into the living room, where large windows face the water. The couple painted the window trim to frame the views. Dark stained hardwood flooring helps draw attention to the outside, also.

The Whitleys bought the house supplied, but the preceding homeowners’ design was “the extreme reverse of ours,” Atalie says. They replaced the pieces with a nature-inspired palette and with furniture and accessories mainly by Restoration Hardware.

Wall paint: Sealskin; trim paint Smokestone, both by Martin Senour

Corynne Pless

Large pendants hang over a large trestle table that is able to accommodate the entire family — that the Whitleys have five kids — when everyone arrives to see.

Bowls: Juliska, Table Matters; plates: Target; kayak, furniture and lighting by Restoration Hardware: table: Trestle set; seats: Hudson; pendant lights: Barrel Shade

Corynne Pless

The couple decided the colours of the stones from the new surround to match the furniture’s rustic and honed surfaces while mimicking the natural surroundings.

Stone: Jenkins Brick and Tile; artwork: Ben Carlisle, Richard Tubb Galleries

Corynne Pless

Annie loves napping inside this sunny living area spot.

Chair: Lyon, Restoration Hardware

Corynne Pless

The Whitleys enjoy the living room as much. “We love to sit down in here in the evenings when we’re not out on the lake and watch the sun go down,” Atalie says. “It is such a cozy space to kick back and relax in.”

Sofas, Dutch Industrialcoffee table:Restoration Hardware

Corynne Pless

Corynne Pless

For your first-floor facelift, they saved money in the kitchen by painting instead of replacing the existing black walnut cabinets. “It is amazing what a coat of paint can do to totally alter a room,” says Atalie. The couple also brightened the design with a new granite backsplash and granite countertops.

Countertops: River White granite; tile backsplash: Cararra marble; pendant lights, bar seats: Restoration Hardware; sink: dual stainless 60/40; faucet: Delta; appliances: KitchenAid

Corynne Pless

Wall paint: Sealskin; trim paint: Smokestone, both by Martin Senour; console: Parisian Cornice, Restoration Hardware; lamp: Pottery Barn; mirror: Iron and Rope, Restoration Hardware; small birds: StudioByTheForest, Etsy

Corynne Pless

Richard Tubb, the Whitley’s beloved designer (he designed their house in Birmingham), proposed the neutral wall and trim colors. “He’s an amazing ability to make a house feel and look classy but very warm and inviting,” says Atalie.

Wall paint: Sealskin; trim paint Smokestone, both by Martin Senour

Corynne Pless

The framed sea fan over the headboard is motivated by one Atalie saw at an interior design store. She sourced one on eBay and had it framed at Gallery Services in Birmingham.

Bed, Trumeau mirrors: Restoration Hardware; wall paint: Sealskin; trim paint Smokestone, equally by Martin Senour; chair: Barnett Furniture

Corynne Pless

The couple painted the bathroom walls and changed the hardware out to update the conventional double vanity.

Mirror: Trumeau, Restoration Hardware; wall paint Spiderweb; trim paint Smokestone, both by Martin Senour

Corynne Pless

Corynne Pless

In the cellar the couple replaced the existing carpet with ceramic tile flooring made to seem like hardwood. Since the cellar is the first entrance from the lake, they picked tile because of its easy upkeep and minimal water absorbency.

Both framed artworks are by David’s son.

Corynne Pless

Atalie and David followed directions online to build these bunk beds in one of those cellar guest rooms, including ceiling support beams to affix the weight of the beds. David built the pine wood base in a few hours. The screws and rope are from a local hardware store. The ladder is repurposed from another pair of twin beds in their property.

“We are the most proud of this bunk room, because David and I created those beds and hung ourselves, which was a significant feat,” says Atalie.

Bedding: Ikea

Corynne Pless

A screened-in porch is an intimate location for relaxing and enjoying the view of the lake.

Rockers: Cracker Barrel

Corynne Pless

A conventional exterior with low-maintenance landscaping wraps the house. The connecting patios and extra parking lead to the rear lake view.

The rear of the house looks out over the lake and boasts several windows, covered patios and porches. Stone steps lead from the home to the dock amid shrubbery, lights and pine straw.

Corynne Pless

“We love spending time with our kids here,” Atalie says. “There’s so much to do about the lake, and we’ve made so many enjoyable memories just in the past three decades.”

See more pictures of the dwelling | please reveal your cottage!

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Landscape Design: A Secret Garden

All of us could use a distinctive place in a backyard where we can unwind, read a novel, like a cup of java or listen to the birds. It can be a escape we discuss with others or use for personal contemplation. No matter the size, place or purpose, the key feature stays the same — it needs to be partially hidden from the external world: a garden.

Among my design mantras is that a garden ought to be experienced, not just detected, and integrating a secluded nook is one approach to attain this. Create a sense of anticipation by winding paths around billowing shrubs to obscure the last destination. Or split a winding path in this manner that people unexpectedly discover a clearing in the forest where a weathered wooden bench or 2 invites them to linger. Smaller gardens can still have this sense of surprise; just tuck a simple chair below a statuesque tree or maybe behind wispy ferns and tall grasses.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. Many of these projects are possible to complete in a weekend or not.

Thuilot Associates

1. The Hidden Clearing

there’s something exciting about abruptly coming across an open space in an otherwise densely planted backyard. It is possible to attain this effect no matter how big or small your garden is. Even clearing just a little spot behind a stand of tall grasses can make that sense of intrigue.

While larger spaces can serve as gathering places for toasting marshmallows over a fire, smaller nooks can be a place for sitting and viewing dragonflies dance.

Le jardinet

The clearing has to be discovered, instead of fully visible. Use layers of trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses to wrap your secret garden with living walls.

This hidden oasis might be a destination point at the end of a path or a midpoint to be appreciated as part of a longer garden journey.

Oehme, van Sweden Landscape Architecture

The clearing can be a large entertaining space or a secluded spot for 2. Think about the planned function before you tackle any significant construction. Main entertaining areas are best sited near the kitchen, whereas the secret garden is likely to be tucked further away.

Le jardinet

Eliminate a few plants from the interior portion of a heavily planted edge and add a layer of bark mulch or gravel to make an instant nook.

Use repurposed objects to create your own seating. Here the designer put an off cut of ornamental acrylic over sections of pipe. Logs would be another ideal seating choice for a setting.

NatureWorks Landscape Services, Inc..

2. The Secluded Nook

Not all backyard seating areas need to be formal decks, patios or balconies. A secret garden can be nestled into the edge of a border right one of the plants, providing you a front-row seat for viewing butterflies and smelling the roses. Add a lot of plants behind and to each side to make a leafy enclosure. Fragrant plants in such an intimate space could be a beautiful bonus.


Limb up an existing tree (prune the branches) to make a little space beneath its dappled canopy. The tree can be alongside a path or within a backyard border.

Search garage sales and thrift stores for enchanting chairs which can be spruced up with paint.

Le jardinet

3. The Arbor Refuge

An arbor might seem to be an unlikely option for a secret garden, however you can allow it to be even more secluded by shrouding the structure with appealing vines and from planting shrubs and grasses into the side.

Camouflage furniture by selecting finishes and colors that blend in with the surroundings, such as timber tones and soft greens.

MCM Design

Hang a hammock or swing chair from an existing overhead construction. Raised decks frequently have an area underneath that goes rancid.

Island Gardens Company

4. The Hillside Retreat

Substantial changes in altitude are frequently considered a design challenge in gardens, nevertheless they can be used to advantage when you’re designing a secret escape. Tuck a bench against the face of the hillside so it’s going to be seen only when someone is exploring the winding path. The hillside and plantings will conceal the bench when it is seen from above.

Put the bench so that it hugs the hillside safely while allowing sufficient room to pass by easily. A view of a decrease garden or an open vista increases the adventure of discovery.

Dig Your Garden Landscape Design

Save the price of furniture by just adding vibrant weatherproof cushions to the top of a retaining wall.

More: Unwind in Your Own Private Garden Escape

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Make Money From Your House While You're Away

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to actually make money whilst off visiting relatives for a week? It was expected that only someone with a second house could rent out a room, but this is changing. New services have helped streamline the process, which means you are able to set up a rental profile for your house with a couple clicks of the mouse.

So instead of leaving your home sitting empty the next time you go away, consider listing it as a holiday rental — your house may be able to assist you earn a little extra cash for that new couch you have had your eye on, or even finance your next holiday. Those who lease or who have a co-op should consult the landlord or co-op board to see if subletting is permitted before leasing the space. If you have your house, rent off!

Below you will find answers to some typical questions about renting out your house, plus the nuts and bolts of working with a holiday rental support.

Angela Flournoy

FAQs About Occasionally Renting Out Your House

Who’d want to rent my home? Even if you don’t reside in a holiday mecca or large town, you might still have great luck renting out your house sometimes. Folks traveling to your city for business or to visit family or friends may be on the lookout for a comfy, nonhotel location to stay, and your house might meet that need. Those in college towns can snag visiting professors or kids traveling together with their parents to check out the local schools. And needless to say, if you’re lucky enough to live in a beach town, vibrant town or popular holiday spot, your house listing is likely to create interest.

Arcanum Architecture

How can I protect my possessions? This is a clear concern, and there are a few frequent sense things you can do to put your mind at ease. For starters, talk with your insurance agent and assess everything, if anything, would be covered if a tenant damaged your property or your possessions.

When you are deciding what service to use to let out your location, pay attention to the security deposit needed and also inquire any other security measures which are going to be required to protect you. When it comes time to lease your location, eliminate or lock up anything you would be heartbroken to lose.

Cary Bernstein Architect

How is this different from home swapping? When you swap houses, you stay in your guests’ house and they stay in yours — normally in the exact same time, even though it can work otherwise. In a housing swap, typically no money is exchanged — you are simply trading a stay in your home for a stay in their house. When you lease your house as a vacation rental, you consent to vacate your house during the time that the guests have payed to lease it; it’s up to you where to stay while your home is being used!

More about home swapping

Megan Buchanan

Selecting a Service

Property management businesses. If you don’t need to deal with managing bookings, communicating with guests and managing problems as they arise, you may want to allow a property management firm do the legwork for you. Look for one locally with a good reputation and reasonable prices.

Managing an occasionally leased, owner-occupied home may not be something that your property managers are used to doing, however if you can work out an agreement, it might be worth it. Property managers can handle listing your house, communicating with and screening tenants, collecting deposits and payments, and cleaning.

Cary Bernstein Architect

Online solutions. There are many sites today offering semi-DIY rental services — two well-known businesses are profiled below, though a very simple search will turn up others. If you pick an online listing service, you will be ultimately responsible for communicating with tenants, drawing up a leasing agreement, letting tenants into your location, and locating and paying for your home cleaning service involving guests if needed.

Lauren Gries

Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) is among the original sites for homeowners looking to rent out their homes, and it can do the job for your occasional tenant too. There is an annual fee for owners to list a home on the website, but it is refunded if you do not get a booking in a year. You have the choice to require tenants to buy property damage coverage, which can pay damages up to $5,000. The website also has rental arrangements, pet policies and other forms accessible to use.

Airbnb. This relative newcomer to the online holiday rental market is designed with the typical homeowner in mind — listing a property is free, and each booking automatically includes a “Host Guarantee” that covers property damage. Airbnb takes its fee when you get a booking, and both guest and host have to pay.


Getting Ready to Rent

Create a home reference binder. Make things simpler on guests and on yourself by compiling everything tenants will need to learn about your house into one neat binder. Besides info about your house (explained in detail below), you can include maps; instructions to favorite local restaurants, markets and stores; and contact numbers. Create a note if you would prefer contact by text or email for nonemergency questions.

Set home rules. If some spaces are off-limits for visitors, or if you have any home rules (such as a no-shoes coverage), include them into your house reference binder and do everything you can round the home to ensure it is clear what is okay (or not) — a boot tray and a basket of lace with a sign that reads “Help yourself!” Would be a nice way to encourage visitors to remove shoes. For a room you want to keep guests out of, a lock on the door is most likely best.

Zinc Art + Interiors

Label or record where items are. For kitchen items, labeling your cabinets or shelves isn’t a bad idea, especially if you would prefer items be returned to the location you left them. For larger items your guests could be searching for (the vacuum, bikes etc.) a notice in the house reference binder should do just fine.

Explain how things operate. Leave clear directions for working the TV and entertainment systems, dishwasher, laundry, Internet link (such as access codes), house security system, and also heating and ac systems. Either include all of the directions together in the house binder or tape up notes around the home.

Zinc Art + Interiors

Maintain another thing for you. Create a list of those things you want to eliminate or lock up before leasing, and you also won’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. It’s also smart to keep a household stock — then do a walk-through with it each time you lease your house, both before and afterwards.

Tell us Perhaps you have rented out your property? Would you like to attempt it?

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