Readers' Choice: The 10 Most Popular Garages and Sheds of 2012

Garages and sheds on came with lots of surprises this season. While users added lots of photos showcasing organizational theories to their ideabooks, they loved seeing creative transformations of the often-underused space. A backyard workplace, a exceptional play pavilion and an amazing man cave are just a few of those spaces that topped the popularity list for the past year. Which one is your favorite?

TransFORM | The Art of Custom Storage

1. Ultimate organization in Brooklyn. This little New York garage includes a place for all. The compact solutions — hooks onto the walls, file cabinets, open shelving — could prove useful in any storage area.

Sett Studio

2. A 92-square-foot refuge in Austin. A wonderfully modern surprise at a Texas backyard, this prefab shed serves as a backyard office and part of an outdoor harbor. Many ers thought something this small are the perfect way to experiment with prefab layout.

Watch more of the backyard office

Cardea Building Co..

3. San Francisco backyard cabin. Even homes with a lawn smaller than this one often have room for specific touches. This lawn has many inspiring small-space notions — readers especially liked the raised garden beds.

Menter Byrne Architects

4. Seattle garage-turned-playspace. These homeowners turned their garage into the greatest play pavilion to their kids. While the first floor still stores the family car, the next floor now acts as a multipurpose space that concentrates on action instead of TV.

Watch more of the space

Lands End Development – Designers & Builders

5. Cabin-style Minnesota carriage home. This heavenly winter house is actually a spacious carriage home, constructed at a rustic log-cabin style. ers adored every little detail of the space — including the red trim, exposed rock and shingled dormer.

Woodbourne Builders Inc

6. Customized storage to get a Massachusetts family. A big and active family can always use a little help with organization. These custom-built storage units in a glossy gray each possess a little bench where family members may take shoes off, and a lid that lifts up for additional storage.

Siemasko + Verbridge

7. Conventional stonework in Marblehead. Nestled next to a romantic house in Massachusetts, this garage has the exact same storybook feel as the main property. Most ers spared this photo for its exquisite custom garage doors made from dark wood.

Flow Wall System

8. On-the-wall storage. The best thing you can do to maintain your garage organized would be to get things from the ground. This garage makes use of a useful system that keeps everything to surfboards out of the way.

Norris Architecture

9. Rustic Tennessee shed. ers adored the dreamy, rustic feel of the potting shed. It’s set amid rural forests, and recycled wood pallet walls provide the space the worn-in look and feel of a barn.

TR Building & Remodeling Inc..

10. Car lover’s man cave in Connecticut. Made to be the greatest man cave, this space stores a whole lot more than just a few great cars. A wine cellar, subterranean parking, a vehicle elevator and a vanishing TV in the bathroom mirror are only a few of its amazing capabilities.

Watch more of the space

These photos made the 2012 Most Popular list based on how many times they were inserted to user ideabooks. Still looking for your dream garage or shed? Find thousands more here

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Sexy Colour Touches for Neutral Kitchens

Sure, you chose your color palette sensibly, doing your kitchen up in bright, timeless and sophisticated neutrals. But now those planes of ecru, ivory and ice are feeling a little ho-hum, and you’re ready to bring some character. Maintain the elegance (and your investment) by augmenting neutral countertops and cabinets using a color or personality-rich two or detail. Here we look at over a dozen smart neutral-based kitchens which have sexy color or details and that will inspire you trade in ho-hum for hubba-hubba.

MN Builders

Glass Backsplash

The backsplash is one of the greatest regions to switch your kitchen’s character. Due to its limited expense and setup time, it can be a great place to indulge in, say, the color of the minute.

This kitchen’s white cabinets and grey countertops play second fiddle into a cheery grass-green back-painted glass backsplash. Smart too, to tuck it behind the range, as the glass makes for easy cleanup of sauce splatters.

Amitzi Architects

A wall of white cabinets and counters almost disappears when played against ruby-colored back-painted glass. The discreet robin’s egg blue on the island retains the palette modern.

Increation

A turquoise back-painted glass backsplash commands all the focus in this otherwise clean and simple white kitchen.

This white kitchen is elevated with a timeless cobalt-blue tile backsplash from countertop to ceiling. Opting for a few shelves and the drama of all that tile instead of upper cabinets led to a just luxurious kitchen.

Green Apple Design

Tile Backsplash

Potentially normal white countertops and cabinets look more intricate paired with an eye-catching tile backsplash that’s extended from countertop to ceiling. A single isolated wall similar to this is a excellent location for a unique substance, as it produces a focal point and also can cut the expense of pricey particulars.

Buckminster Green LLC

This striking Cuban Heritage Design handmade cement tile backsplash is well shown off against an otherwise straightforward and neutral kitchen, where its character can shine. The swing-arm wall sconces are a fine and unexpected means to light a kitchen counter, too.

Pale blue and white encaustic cement tiles, extended full width and also into the ceiling, lend a cheery chicness against the backdrop of white cabinets.

Andrea Schumacher Interiors

Background

This mostly white kitchen’s character comes using scene-stealing hand-painted wallpaper that’s sealed to protect it from wear and tear. (Ironically, these chandeliers are no shrinking violets either.)

More: Background from the Kitchen: Is it a No or a Go?

Renewal Design-Build

Paint

All these glass-front cabinets with mint paint in the backmake for a candy kitchen feature. If you do not have any glass-front cabinets, you might have a pair or two made. As an alternative, you could just remove the doors from one of the upper cabinets boxes and then paint the trunk for a special screen.

Layouts by individual.

Envision this kitchen without the orange paint. Nice, but a bit boring.While paint is an obvious selection for spiffing up a kitchen, few pictures illustrate the power of paint so well.

Jeni Lee

Fixtures

A sexy faucet? Really. This wise architect-homeowner had a typical faucet powder covered. Alternatively, Vola offers faucets in a rainbow of colors. This unexpected color move might be all that’s required to bring some fun and character to your kitchen.

Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders

Lighting

Lighting is just another component where you can readily exercise your style whims. The designer of the light-filled kitchen reinforced its white cabinets and counters with fresh-looking large-diameter shades which could be easily swapped out.

Marsh and Clark Design

This handsome but fundamental all-white kitchen is adorned and transformed using a dramatic chandelier in Restoration Hardware on the island.

360 design studio

This sleek kitchen employs sparse but fearless use of color with not just one but better still — a set of bold orange bracelets to lend some critical character to an otherwise stoic space.

Inform us : How will you spice up your kitchen in the new year?

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Northeast Gardener's December Checklist

It’s a year’s last month. Most of us have stashed away gloves and tools for the season, and a few can kick off their boots with a toasty fire to warm their tired limbs. While our gardens sleeping beneath a blanket of mulch and snow and do not require attention, there are still plenty of things to think about and do.

For starters, look at the landscape, discovering its basic outlines and contours. Tall or short deciduous trees, shrubs and evergreens comprise vertical walls, critical focal points in the winter garden. With off the leaves deciduous woody plants, the structure becomes more evident, and masses of shrubs or parasite trees accept new character — particularly if they’ve got interesting bark, like the multistemmed redtwig or even yellow dogwood (Cornus spp), or even the Japanese coral bark maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, zones 5 to 8), an outstanding cultivar with odd coloration.

With everything looking gloomy and empty, evergreens become the dominant landscape feature, therefore take inventory — do you have a good mixture of evergreens on your beds and borders?

Paintbox Garden

Enjoy winter evergreens. Vertical evergreens, like the columnar white cedar ‘Emerald’ (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’, zones 3 to 7), are great for mixed borders, as they punctuate space and take up little room. Planted in classes, they draw on the eye and offer a good backdrop to grasses and stonecrops.

Keep in mind that deer love to eat cedar and can easily defoliate plants. If you are in deer country, loosely wrap burlap as high as possible around the tree to protect it. It’s awful, yes — but it is far better than having to change out your cedars, that can be costly.

Paintbox Garden

Nothing beats on boxwood for classic good looks in containers in this time of year, especially by doors, where it can be dressed up with miniature white lights or left au naturel. For best result, mix things up with different-size containers and plants, and be sure they are watered on a regular basis throughout the season. If you are utilizing ceramic pots, it is ideal to keep them on a covered porch therefore freeze-thaw cycles do not harm the containers.

Boxwood (Buxus spp) is also lovely in the winter when planted in groups of varying sizes with all the creeping ground cover bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, zones 2 to 6), that Native Americans telephone kinnikinnick. It’s a dependable evergreen that enjoys acidic soils and full sun.

Paintbox Garden

Bearberry is a good choice for cold-climate areas where winters are harsh, and it seems particularly good planted around the base of white birch (Betula spp).

Its reddish stems contrast brightly with its shiny, rounded leaves, which turn bronze in dormancy. Good cultivars of this underused perennial comprise ‘Massachusetts’ and ‘Emerald Carpet’.

Cut little packages and tie them together with ribbon or twine to decorate preferences, or add them into fresh arrangements for the holiday table.

Paintbox Garden

Take inventory of outside seating. Most terrace furniture gets winterized beneath protective covers or moved into the garage, however the Adirondack-style chair shown this is made of tough postconsumer plastic from recycled milk jugs and will stand up to winter’s worst weather. Since the substance is a composite, the color won’t fade and the seat resists cracking and splitting, unlike its own wooden counterparts.

Furniture that stays in position is a great option, and on gentle days it is good to have the ability to sit outside and soak up the sun. Doesn’t that sound better than dragging a lawn chair from a storage shed?

Paintbox Garden

Keep an eye out for wildlife. This birdhouse makes a great focal point from my kitchen window, and it is practical too. As juncos, cardinals and grosbeaks forage for crabapples and winterberries on my house, they often perch on its roofing or land on the split-rail fence nearby.

Feeders suspended from branches or wrought iron poles set in strategic places can offer many hours of viewing pleasure. Make sure to install your feeder sticks before the ground freezes solid.

It’s true that birds are the blossoms of the winter, bringing color and joy!

Paintbox Garden

Walk around your premises and check trees for fallen limbs or broken branches. Winter storms can wreak havoc and cause widespread harm; get outside with a broom following moist, heavy snow and brush it off shrubs and tiny trees to prevent permanent damage.

Collect branches and add them into a brush pile on your property — somewhere from view, where they can decompose and make a shelter for wildlife.

Light pruning may be done at any time today that plants are dormant. Look for healthier bud tips and snip off dead branches to increase the brush or burn pile.

Paintbox Garden

Note areas that may require stonework. Start getting names of reliable masons or landscape contractors who service your community.

If you are a new home owner, notice slopes and grade changes that may require retaining walls and be prepared to devote some hard-earned cash on hardscaping next calendar year. Be sure to check references and be sure that your contractor is fully insured.

Smaller jobs, like walkways, patios and chair walls, are good to think about in the landscape design process; the stripped-to-the-bones view of your premises at this time of year can make you see where privacy is needed or where to route a stepping stone path through a side yard.

Paintbox Garden

Get outside with a camera and take photos of your backyard. Back indoors, you can brew a pot of tea and examine the images while you thaw.

Keeping photos organized in easy-to-access folders on your computer will help immensely as you plan your next movement. You are able to organize plants by particular areas of the backyard, such as “Front Walk” or “Peony Bed,” or set them by groups, such as foliage or blossoms. It’s good to have a visual record of your own landscape, particularly as you chronicle the growth and development of new areas. I am amazed at the transformation of a lengthy border I installed a few years ago — I’d forgotten how small everything was!

See the way to arrange photos in a flash

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Acid-Etched Concrete

Acid etching is the process of roughing up the glossy surface of concrete with compounds. Concrete can also be roughened with a grinder, but acid can do it with much less dust and muscle strength. Acid creates tiny holes at the surface of the concrete, enabling it to bond with topical treatments like paint, epoxy or stain.

Visionscapes NW Landscape Design

Typically muratic acid can be used to chemically treat concrete so that it can form the proper bond with topical surfaces. This concrete needed metal flakes sprinkled while the concrete was wet, then the surface was acid etched.

Cody Anderson Wasney Architects, Inc..

Acid combined with stain will etch and colour the concrete at precisely the same time. Applying stain can be tricky, and puddles and thin areas should be avoided to prevent the look from being mottled.

Victoria’s Interiors

The more the acid is left on the surface, the more porous the concrete becomes more. Note the grainy pits at the surface of this kitchen floor. After etching, a neutralizer has to be implemented to block the chemical reaction. Some acids time out so that neutralizer isn’t vital.

Artisan Custom Homes

Even with a careful use of an acid or stain chemical, a pure amount of imperfection will lead to. A marble-like effect is created, because the acid is unpredictable. The result is a superbly distinctive surface.

Hufft Projects

Concrete also has to be acid etched before you can apply epoxy. Epoxy is a polymer-based adhesive or paint which has a plastic feel to it. Thicker than paint, it’s the benefits of being stronger as well as oil and heat resistant, and it fills in surface imperfections easier. Epoxy flooring are common in professional garages.

RD Architecture, LLC

The industrial look of this floor was created with an acid stain and the stubborn leftover adhesive from the original floor. Sometimes the top situations arise from mishaps.

Genesis Architecture, LLC.

Acid stain comes in many different colors. Color can also be added by sprinkling pigment onto the moist surface after the concrete is poured.

Treoma Design

Whether the acid happens before the stain, epoxy or paint is added or not, the amount of sheen or gloss is determined by the clear topcoat. A high-gloss topcoat reflects light but also creates the surface.

Holly Marder

This concrete flooring has been acid etched and then painted with a low-sheen paint, making a matte look, and a topcoat was not utilized.

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Sublime for Skiing in the Rocky Mountains

A Denver couple with four children hired interior designer Donna Grace McAlear before they began construction on this ski house. “This was a big job — while the architect designed the house and engineering, I chose each of the interior and exterior finishes and fixtures, designed the lighting schemes, laid out the kitchen and baths as well as the decor and furnishings,” says McAlear. She had these priorities:
The mountain views were paramount, so the decoration needed to enhance them, not compete with or distract from them.The house had to be functional for a family with young children who loved to collect with and entertain extended relatives members and friends from far-flung places.The home’s insides necessary to have continuity and associate with the natural environment outside.McAlear, of New Mood Design, began by deciding upon the rock for indoor and outdoor accents, creating a warm, modern sanctuary inspired by its color palette. The rock, known as Mountain Ash, contains the colors of the surrounding landscape, by the glean of silver into sky gray, from heavy bronze into the hot ocher of earth. She utilized the numerous colors to create distinct spaces inside the wide-open third floor strategy and continued their use throughout the rest of the house. The result: Beautiful interiors that complement the mountain views, no matter the season.

at a Glance
Location:
Breckenridge, Colorado
Who lives here: This really is another house to get a Denver couple and their children (3 sons, 1 girl )
Size: 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms
That is interesting: The house is arranged upside down, with the common areas at the top (so everybody can enjoy the best perspectives ), the bedrooms on the middle floor, and the guest suites and wine cave onto the first.

New Mood Design LLC

We’ll begin our tour at the front door, run up to the third floor and work our way down.

The entryway foreshadows a lot of what awaits inside. “The colours [of the stone] reminded me of the Colorado landscape — mining cities, earth, rock, mountains and sky,” McAlear says. “Also it was the most clean-cut, rectangular and flat rock they had.” Every one of these attributes made it the ideal selection for the hot, modern mood she had been creating.

McAlear also chose the stainless steel door, which divides on the silvery grays in the rock and lets people know they are not planning to enter a rustic mountain house full of antlers and mooseheads.

New Mood Design LLC

The elevator shaft is shrouded in Mountain Ash stone in the first floor up into the third. On the very first level, the entry foyer and wine cave floors are an Idaho silver quartzite flagstone, which can be utilized as an 18-inch border around the hardwood floors on the third degree.

New Mood Design LLC

McAlear used the exact same rock on the fireplace along with elevator shaft surround. This connects the inside and outside and provided a hot, rich palette to use throughout the house.

New Mood Design LLC

When selecting the furniture, flexibility, flexibility and relaxation were key. “As my clients like to entertain, we made certain things were flexible and easily moved about,” she says. “They love to sponsor friends and family from far and wide, and wanted this distance to work for 20 to 25 people.”

New Mood Design LLC

These dining room chairs are comfortable and light, for instance, and the clients move them over to the living room area whenever they have a party.

The Pascal Mourgue Calin dining seats have slipcovers made of Alcantara cloth, which is similar to microsuede. “This cloth is very easy to clean, and the buttons in back allow them easy to eliminate — a must for a household with children,” McAlear says.

Dining table: Homme into koa timber with bronzed aluminum thighs, Berman Rosetti

New Mood Design LLC

McAlear also gave the dining area a distinct presence by pulling the warmer earth tones in the stone’s color palette. “I chose some of the warmer ocher tones since I needed the dining area to stand out as its own space inside the open plan.”

She tradition designed the onyx light fixture to pick up on these colours without blocking the views.

New Mood Design LLC

The bar stools, coated in hot bronze , can be pulled into the living space and used as additional seating; they can adjust from down bar height to seat height. “These are the most comfy bar stools I have ever sat in,” claims McAlear.

Kitchen cabinets: Pedini Cucine Integra foundation and tall closets in grey stained European walnut; counters: Quartz Reflections, Caesarstone; bar stools: designed by Karim Rashid for Bonaldo

New Mood Design LLC

“In this kind of open program, I needed to ground the kitchen,” says McAlear. “This backsplash anchored the kitchen to the area. It is also reflective and changes color based on the time of day.” The glass upper cabinets also reflect light.

Upper closets: taupe reflective glass, Pedini Cucine

New Mood Design LLC

The living area is comfortable, flexible and versatile, and also gets its color palette from the rock, now in a range of warm grays.

“The Puzzle coffee table is another versatile bit; it’s composed of 2 coffee tables that could be combined as a single, used individually or reconfigured,” McAlear says.

New Mood Design LLC

Because clear views of character through the windows proved to be a priority, there is not any artwork on the walls, also because this is another home, the clients didn’t need a bunch of accessories around. Therefore, McAlear chose artful, sculptural lighting fixtures to function as dramatic features throughout the house.

Light: Oh Mei Ma Kabir suspension lighting, Ingo Maurer; Deadly ireplace: LED gasoline, Heat & Glo LUX60; swivel seats: Portofino, Minotti

New Mood Design LLC

A versatile sectional couch from Ligne Roset could be divided in 2, arranged in an L shape or pushed into a long couch. “Pushing it into a long couch can clean up space to make a dancing floor,” McAlear says. “It is also very hardy; you are able to perch atop the trunk comfortably.”

New Mood Design LLC

A pair of comfy Pierre Paulin Pumpkin seats can swivel around to take in the view at sunset.

New Mood Design LLC

McAlear custom designed this chandelier with C Lighting to work with the exterior and interior architecture. “It needed to fit in a rather horizontal space and extend down the stairs,” McAlear says. “Each of both tiers drops between the stairs and large windows on the second and third levels. It is minimalist but very dramatic at precisely the exact same moment.”

New Mood Design LLC

Moving down to the family’s private areas on the second degree is the children’ lounge, which connects physically and visually into the landscape.

The area also picks up on the warmer colours of the stone’s palette and tweaks them up a few shades. Ligne Roset’s Togo series couch is great for flopping on following a long day of of skiing. The 2 doors on the left lead into a toilet and a ski area for keeping clothing and dressing to the slopes, and another door leads to a deck. As you can see through the window, this house is ski in, ski out.

New Mood Design LLC

This bath attaches to the family space and the ski space, so one could enter the house après ski, strip off snowy outerwear, then enter this toilet and hop to a nice, hot shower.

New Mood Design LLC

The color palette continues to the master bedroom, where McAlear plucked a hot terra-cotta colour in the earthier colors in the rock. The cherry ceiling adds heat.

The fireplace in the master bedroom is an abstraction of the huge rock fireplace on the third floor; the exact same palette is used but rendered in glass tile . Again, McAlear set up a stunning, artistic light fixture — this one, the Aloe Bud Multi from Jeremy Cole, is made from porcelain.

Bed: Bloom by Bonaldo, table lamps: Coral, Swank

New Mood Design LLC

New Mood Design LLC

In the master bath, a curved, high-gloss lacquer cherry vanity from Pedini Cucine echoes the master bedroom ceiling.

New Mood Design LLC

Before you go believing these clients are aprés-ski exhibitionists, look very closely at the windows. There are up/down shades by Hunter Douglas Silhouette that mix right into the window casing.

New Mood Design LLC

The boys’ bunk area has six beds complete, so that the couple’s three sons could bring friends on weekend ski trips. There’s also a girls’ bunk area for the daughter and her friends on this floor.

New Mood Design LLC

Down on the first degree, the wine cave joins an old-world feeling with modern design. The wine and ceiling rack are both white oak.

The primary level also includes a mudroom, garage access and two guest suites.

New Mood Design LLC

The two guest suites provide instantly visitors their own domainname, each with its own private bath suite and closet.

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California Gardener's November Checklist

Other than the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven or the sight of a quarterback tossing a football to a receiver at the flat, nothing makes me feel much better about November compared to a persimmon tree completely loaded with glistening orange fruit among foliage turning a matching color.

That is a plant that says a lot about gardening in California, and maybe about California in general. Native to Asia, it’s made itself home from the state. It’s simple to grow. It is quirky — that the fruit of the most typical species is so sterile that you can not eat it until frost or time softens it.

Naturally, this persimmon is also a reminder of distinctive California’s plants and gardening climate are — and also the number of awesome things we can do in the garden this month when much of the nation is moving indoors for an annual hibernation.

If you don’t have space for a persimmon tree, then just purchase some of the veggies and maintain them on the counter for a couple weeks. Or at least browse this homage to the persimmon from Gary Snyder, California’s most haunted modern nature poet.

Glenna Partridge Garden Design

Grow bulbs. Like nearly everything else that has to do with growing bulbs in California, placing them in containers calls for a few twists. You need to compensate for the lack of winter chill required by the majority of bulbs and to the shallower planting thickness in a kettle. Here are a few methods for planting the most popular bulbs — tulips and daffodils — in containers.

Choose terra-cotta or plastic pots that are at least 8 inches in diameter — just as large as 14 inches for larger daffodils.
For an 8-inch kettle, use five or six bulbs. To get a 14-inch pot, use as many as 15 to 20.
Add 3 inches of good soil mix, industrial or your own, preferably including fertilizer, towards the bottom of the pot. Place bulbs on top; the flat sides of tulip bulbs must all point in precisely the exact same direction. For the greatest splash, pack bulbs closely together.
Cover bulbs with sufficient dirt to reach to 2 inches under the pot’s rim. Water thoroughly, then set the pots in a cool, frost-free spot outdoors.
Pile a minimum of two inches of compost on top for security. Keep the soil moist.
When foliage begins to poke through the dirt in late winter or spring (gently scrape back the mulch occasionally to test), remove the mulch carefully along with the transfer pots to a sunny spot.
Water often enough to keep the soil moist until flowering finishes.

Fireside play with. As bold as a piece of sculpture, this steel background adds a sense of theater — along with a measure of safety for nearby plants — into the flame pit. Produced by Koning Eizenberg Architecture of Santa Monica, California, the piece is a 8-by-8 steel sheet attached into a steel framework behind the rectangular concrete fire pit. The steel is oiled to detain rust. Cor-Ten steel, available in sheets like plywood, 3/16 or 1/4 inch thick, is typically used for heavy-duty landscape situations such as this.

Monrovia

Previewing the new and hot (and blue). In a recent seminar of the American Society of Landscape Architects, I had a chance to see what Monrovia nursery believes its hottest new plants. Standouts included ‘Winter Bee’ lavender, ‘Limelight’ rugged hydrangea and ‘Angel Red’ pomegranate.

Most impressive for me was ‘Bountiful Blue’ blueberry. The “blue” from the name doesn’t come in the berries but out of the strong blue cast of the foliage. The blossoms are fairly too: white and small, with a pink blush.

The handsome, compact shrub grows 3 to 4 feet tall. Plant a range of these in rows for an agrarian texture or in masses. Or just plant one or 2 at a shrub border or container.

This blueberry’s most important claim to fame is its ability to thrive and bear a tasty crop past the customary blueberry range (it takes much less winter chill compared to traditional blueberries). A landscape architect told me well ‘Bountiful Blue’ works in her Santa Barbara backyard. That’s a long way, geographically and climatically, from traditional blueberry country — which you understand is Maine if you’ve read Blueberries for Sal for your kids.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Sowing wildflowers and busting myths. Sorry if I am disillusioning anyone, but growing wildflowers in the home isn’t just an issue of scattering seeds, waiting for winter storms, then in spring romping through a meadow of gold poppies, tidy methods and shooting stars. (Do not you love those titles? Were our great-grandparents or whoever did the naming natural-born antiques?)

The fact of California annual wildflowers is that they developed to thrive under very specific conditions of moisture, sun and warmth, and growing most types requires some care. However, the wildflower that is easiest to grow can also be the best known and the most in-your-face gorgeous: the California poppy, either its normal form (shown) or “improved” varieties such as ‘Chiffon’. Other comparatively simple wildflowers include world gilia (Gilia capitata), goldfields (Lastenia glabrata) and ruby chalice clarkia (Clarkia rubicunda).

Mid to late autumn, preferably after the first storms, is the best time to sow California poppy and other wildflowers. (You can also begin with plants in tiny pots offered in early spring.) Select a spot in full sun. You don’t need to cultivate the soil, but eliminate weeds and rake it roughly so seeds have a place to lodge. Cover the dirt with a thin layer of compost and sprinkle it throughly, and stay moist until winter storms do the task for you.

Alder Group, Pool and Landscape Co..

Instead of striving for a meadow effect (which can look kind of shabby-dead after blossom), scatter wildflowers as highlights at a natural-looking landscape, as exhibited here. Combine wildflowers with native shrubs such as ceanothus or with sun-loving perennials such as lavender and salvia. An excellent source of wildflower information in addition to seeds is Larner Seeds of Bolinas, California.

A lesson from minimalism, Arizona style. With just three kinds of stones and plants as a ground cover, this is a striking illustration of what might be called Arizona minimalism (instead of Arizona max, a less sustainable arid-climate approach that utilizes lawns, palm trees and lots of water). Even if you can not grow the totem cactus displayed here, you are able to emulate the keep-it-simple approach.

Fava beans: their humble roots. Half a century before the French Laundry’s menu provided fava beans, the ranchers of the Santa Clara Valley, in which I was growing up, were counting precisely the exact same plant. They called it horse bean, and every drop they planted it into their orchards as a cover crop (“green manure”), which could be plowed back into the floor in spring in order to add nitrogen to the ground.

Growing fava beans nevertheless makes sense. You don’t need an orchard. In a 4- from 10-foot plot, among my neighbors crops favas every fall after she pulls her out berries, has enough beans for some spring meals, then turns over the crops to the ground to enhance the soil to summer plants to come.

The way to grow fava beans. Choose a sunny spot, cultivate the soil and bury seeds 1 inch deep, 4 or 5 inches apart; after seedlings are a few inches tall, thin them to 8 to 10 inches apart. Keep the soil moist winter. Plants grow fast and, as you see here, can grow to be fairly rangy in 3 to 4 feet tall; bet them if you desire a neater appearance.

The New York Botanical Garden

What else can you do in November from the California backyard? Along with the traditional fall chores, such as leaf raking, general cleaning up and up, it is a fantastic time to put in trees trees and all sorts of natives. You are able to plant a new lawn — it is usually much better to go with sod now than seeds. And take advantage of the special planting chances that California offers:

Plant cool-season annuals. Continue to place out seedlings of annual flowers such as calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and violas (shown), and snapdragons. For earlier blooms, begin with plants in 2- or 4-inch pots. Be sure to decide on a spot that gets as much winter sun as possible.

Plant cool-season vegetables. These plants are easy to begin from seeds: beets, peas, carrots, radishes, spinach and Swiss chard. These are usually greatest put out as seedlings: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. Watch for snails or their slimy telltale trails; place out bait.

Plant spring-blooming bulbs. In November there’s still time to plant all bulbs: crocuses, daffodils, freesias, hyacinths, tulips and ranunculus. Be sure to chill tulips and hyacinths for four to six weeks in the refrigerator before placing them.

Plant perennials. Fall planting gives perennials a chance to build up strong root systems before blooming next spring and summer. Perennials include lavender, coreopsis, salvia and several others.

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Decorate With Intention: Obtain Your Home Office Right

It is really simple to let a home office slip off the base of the decorating to-do list — after all, many visitors will never even see it. However, the way that space is organized and decorated can considerably affect productivity (and happiness) in your home. From finding the proper furniture and space to organizing thoughts, ergonomics, personal style, dealing with distractions and much more, let’s tackle that home office and for all.

Hillary Thomas Designs

Recall the luxury of a home office is that you’re in your home. Do not be afraid to forgo standard office furniture in favor of a style that blends with the rest of your dwelling. A Chippendale-style chair with armrests and a thick pillow is incredibly chic and nearly as comfortable as a traditional desk chair. And unless you prefer the look of a bent-arm task lamp, then nobody is stopping you from picking a glam table lamp with a silk color instead. Do what makes you happy!

Style notes: In this home office space, floral colors dripping with lush trimming set a warm, intimate tone, echoed from the portrait, the floral painting and the bright orange armchair. Glossy black accents soil the arrangement and take the room in an elegant way.

Alan Design Studio

Check your ergonomics. Pay attention to the way you feel after logging a few hours in your desk in your home. If you have any pain or soreness, then it’s time to inspect the ergonomics of your installation.

• Your chair height ought to be adjusted so that your feet can be flat on the ground.
• Align your display with your sight line to avoid eye strain and shoulder stiffness. In case you’ve got a laptop, consider placing it on a rack to adjust the height.
• Check the lumbar support of your chair. Add a cushion or get a new chair if you have been experiencing lower back pain.
• Invest in several cushy pads to keep your wrists raised because you type and use the mouse, especially if you devote a good deal of time in the computer.

CB2

Knitted Poufs – $79.95

Consider adding a pouf. More than only a fun accessory, a pouf of the proper size could be tucked beneath your desk to use as a footrest. If not needed, you can pull it out and use it as a miniature side table for heaps of magazines and books.

Vosgesparis

Move past the desk using an extra work surface. Prevent clutter pileups by putting another work surface near your main desk. This can make it simpler to maintain your computer area clean and clear, and supply dedicated space where you can spread out a project and not worry about cleaning it up. This extra surface (if you’ve got room for it) is an excellent place for integrating meaningful items and art that inspires you. It’s also great for stepping away from the computer every once in a while to brainstorm, read or just sit with a cup of tea.

Style notes: This workspace feels clean and crisp in all white and black. A rotating display of artwork on floating shelves and a 3-D cable deer sculpture keep it sense personal and refreshing.

AVP ARCHITECT VIEW PRODUCTS BY IMASOTO

Do not require a serious office? Bring out your desk to the open. In case you don’t use your home office a great deal, it might make more sense to preserve that spare room for a more practical purpose. Look around your home for another space within a larger room instead. Take advantage of a very long room (like the one displayed here) by putting two desks with each other. Piano stools, vintage schoolhouse seats and café seats are stylish and airy, perfect for occasional usage.

Style notes: A tiled runner around the ground, easy industrial-style pendant lights and clusters of green plants unite to make a greenhouse texture, as well as the lines made by the row of desks and lights draws the eye outside to the patio beyond, expanding the feeling of space.

Cary Bernstein Architect

Add a distinctive zone to keep youngsters occupied. If you have little ones at home, it’s well worth it to create an extra effort to make the office kid-friendly. Sure, in an perfect world, we’d only close the door and everybody would not bother us — but as every parent knows, that is just not how it works.

Consider adding these kid-friendly Characteristics to your own office:
Chalkboard or chalkboard wallPlayhouse or play cupboard that kids can climb intoChild-height activity table and chairsComfy rugBaskets or bins of toys or art supplies
Play kitchen

Domestic Stories with Ivy

Produce privacy within a larger space. Should you not have an whole room to dedicate to your office but really need you, it is still possible to carve out a personal nook with a few space suggestions. You can use an open-backed bookcase for a room divider, placing your desk on the other side (as shown); make a workplace corner by positioning a decorative display; or even put a large potted tree on your desk.

Modern Craft Construction, LLC

Make a closet office more than an afterthought. In case your only accessible office space is in a spare closet, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like second best.

Specifics to Remember when converting a closet into an office:

Lighting is key. Add recessed lighting in the ceiling when possible, and a couple of desk lamps.
In case you can’t find a desk that fits perfectly, have one constructed (or attempt a DIY job) to create the best use of this space.
Quantify potential desk seats before purchasing to be sure they’ll sip under the desk enough to close the door(s).
Speaking of doors, consider setting out the standard-issue cupboard doors for French doors, pocket doors as well as crisp curtains.

MAK Design + Build Inc..

Plan office storage with efficiency in mind. The storage areas directly around your desk — drawers, shelves, cabinets and surfaces — ought to be reserved for frequently used essential items. Should you purchase some office supplies in bulk or possess gear that is extremely rarely used, store it on the highest shelves or in a different room completely if you’re short on space.

Desire to Inspire

Surround yourself with things you love. What do you need to include (or remove) to really love your home office? Give favourite colors, artwork, photos, plants and individual things pride of place, and get rid of (or at least hide in a cupboard) anything that is bumming you out, from nasty tech gear to bulky binders of older work cloth.

Soledad Builders, LLC

Commit to maintaining a clean and clear desktop. For supreme productivity and peace of mind, make a habit of completely clearing off your desk before finishing the day.

Inform us What’s your best tip for a stay-at-home house office?

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A Vertical Park at Zurich Greens Up the Grid

One of the highlights of my trip to Zurich, Switzerland, was MFO Park at the Neu-Oerlikon District, an industrial area transformed with residential housing, schools and offices. The park sits among the newest buildings, and it’s a building in its own right: A steel construction functions as an armature for climbing plants. I first learned about the project. It was completed five years earlier that, and photos show plants just starting up their voyage the arrangement. Half a decade later, the green has engulfed the gray, making for a fabulous atmosphere for citizens and employees in the region.

This ideabook tours the playground, made by Burckhardt + Partner and Raderschall Landschaftsarchitekten. With vertical gardens gaining popularity in residential layout, could it be offer inspiration for creating your own dwelling wall in your home?

John Hill

MFO Park covers a rectangular plot of land. It’s available on both sides, and the other three sides include stairs and walkways for traversing the structure. The whole is covered by a space framework that will someday be covered by vines like a lot of the remainder of the construction.

John Hill

The majority of the region below the roof is just sand, more a walkway than a place for hanging out. Seating is grouped beneath multistory regions on the side and near the regions where the plants climb, which makes sense, as these are where the color is.

John Hill

The structural framework meets with the floor via columns and diagonal bracing. These points are where the crops begin their climb. Given the roughly five-story height of the construction, the designers helped the plants with a raised trench, visible here in which the plants are hanging down.

John Hill

One of the nicest touches is the incorporation of lookouts, which inspire people to trek up through the green arrangement and sit — habit seats occupy the couple lookouts.

John Hill

A group of splayed columns — made up of many diagonal members to the plants — is also a distinctive feature. The columns anchor end of the park by creating a density of green.

John Hill

The bunch of columns is visible from a elevated walkway near the open end of the strategy.

John Hill

Another view of the bunch of green columns — appearing from the opposite direction in the preceding photo — shows a Pac-Man-shape pool beneath. Note the numerous seats that are observed in this portion of the park.

John Hill

With the success of the climbing plants on the construction (thanks to irrigation as well as layout, it needs to be mentioned), the multipurpose structures on both sides feel burnt; they become spaces characterized by the green “walls” The overhead plane on the right is not another walkway; it’s the raised trench mentioned earlier.

John Hill

Here is a close-up of among those soil-filled elevated trenches, which includes a gangway for maintenance accessibility on the best.

John Hill

The density of the green walls is evident in this view of the closed-off end of the park. I really like the play of shadows out of the roofing on the crops.

John Hill

This last view of the park is in the patio that in fact projects over the roof. This patio includes custom seats shaped for lounging and sunning. From here we can see the very top of the columns as well as the wires that will be someday be covered in green.

More:
11 Inspiring Vertical Gardens
Landscape Suggestions From New York’s High Line

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Fantastic Design Plant: Coast Live Oak

This really is the most familiar and cherished California oak — the shrub that cities and high schools are named for. A large live oak is a shrub to treasure, protect and build a landscape around; it’ll dictate the microclimate of your garden, overseeing birds, moths and squirrels as well as what develops under. If you have the space, you can plant your own nursery-grown live oak. It will grow quicker than you think and most likely outlive you — live oaks in the wild live several hundred decades or longer.

Be conscious of possible bamboo maladies. Trees often succumb to soil diseases brought on by summertime watering. And, regrettably, a constant pathogen called sudden oak death is striking live oaks and dispersing throughout the state. Native oaks are so well loved and worthy of protection there are associations, like the California Oak Foundation, devoted to rescue them.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Botanical name: Quercus agrifolia
Common title: Coast live oak
USDA zones: 9 to 11 (find your zone)
Water necessity: Light; present trees usually suffer if watered in summer.
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: Potentially huge with time — around 70 feet tall with an equal spread
Weaknesses and tolerances: Susceptible to oak root fungus; avoid summertime watering. Subject to defoliation by pine moths. Most serious is sudden oak death, a pathogen that has been killing tens of thousands (or millions) of Northern California’s coast live oaks and relevant species for the previous two decades.

Distinguishing traits. About hilltops and valley floors, its dense canopy of foliage and thick trunk make an unmistakable picture of this disappearing agrarian and crazy California.

The evergreen leaves are oval, rigid and spiny. Notice here in this patch of suburban open space that grass does not grow under the tree, and that dropped leaves create a organic mulch — an attractive and healthy position to emulate in a garden setting.

Blasen Landscape Architecture

The best way to utilize it. A live oak is a shade maker, a shrub to build a fort in, to climb in, to hang a swing from. Younger trees, as in this layout by Blasen Landscape Architecture, look perfectly at home in wilder or casual sections of a garden.

Envision Landscape Studio

Because of their size and untidiness (falling leaves, catkins, acorns), live oaks are best at the edge of property, in a somewhat natural section. Do not plant lawn or ground covers beneath present trees that are old; this promotes root diseases. It is also better not even to pave the soil surface. Trees which you plant generally withstand lawn watering better; attempt to avoid summer watering. Mulch, gravel or stones undeneath, as shown here, is healthier and appears more natural.

Sutton Suzuki Architects

Live oak thrives and looks best with other California natives and Mediterranean plants, such as manzanita, ceanothus, lavender and rosemary. Pruning out whole branches can restrain the size somewhat, open up a opinion and neaten up the tree’s form.

Botaniscapes by Tracey

Planting notes. Young trees grow amazingly fast. You can start with nursery plants, available in containers from gallon dimensions to boxes 10 feet square. Pick single-trunk or multiple-trunk shapes. To make a naturalistic grove, plant several trees. Find live oak away from a lawn or other place which gets heavy summertime watering, and plant it in sunlight.

Make sure the drainage is good. Generally there’s no need to amend the planting soil. You’ll need to water the tree frequently, even in the summertime, for its first couple of decades. Provide a sturdy stake. If you live about wildlife, protect young tree trunks from rabbits, deer and other critters.

The main pest is the pine moth caterpillar, which can shred a tree every now and then. If you visit caterpillars falling out of the tree or descending on silk webs, or if you see signs of defoliation, call a professional tree service. Spraying for walnut moths is a major job.

The most fearsome threat to native oaks is sudden oak death, a pathogen that has been murdering Northern California’s coast live oaks and relevant species. (Not all native oaks are vulnerable.) The pathogen’s spores spread during the rainy season, and leaves of affected trees wilt and die; sap exudes from the trunk and branches. If you notice signs of disorder, call a professional arborist.

Las Pilitas Nursery

The best way to develop an oak from an acorn. It is not tough to start an oak tree from an acorn right in the ground. Your enemies will be the typical suspects: birds and squirrels. In fall or winter, start with a wholesome (no insect holes) dropped acorn.

In a sunny place, dig a planting hole 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Refill the hole with the excavated soil and bury the acorn sideways a inch deep. The acorn should sprout through spring. Water the soil and help keep it moist throughout the first summer at least.

To boost your chances of succeeding, plant at least several acorns a foot or two apart. Thin the survivors to leave just two or one. Produce a display of wire mesh to protect the sprouting seedlings from famished monsters.

More manuals to California landscaping

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Cheery Massachusetts Beach Getaway

This home in Marblehead, Massachusetts, is the first house on the sea side throughout the causeway from the town’s beautiful Marblehead Neck neighborhood. “It’s a house everyone understands,” says designer Dee Elms.

Her Boston-based clients desired a summer and weekend home that would completely embrace its waterfront location. Elms and her staff at Terrat Elms Interior Design worked with them in their remodel, making an ocean-inspired, low-maintenance house full of natural light and happy doses of colour.

at a Glance
Location: Marblehead, Massachusetts
Who lives here: A busy Boston household during weekends and holidays
Size: 5,300 square feet; four bedrooms

Terrat Elms Interior Design

Windows facing the water line the rear of the home. The eyebrow window near the peak of the great room adds additional all-natural light. “That made such a massive difference to the interior and exterior,” says Elms.

TV console: Hudson; window seat fabric: Dalston, Cowtan & Tout

Terrat Elms Interior Design

Elms relied on the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams showroom for plush upholstery and also chose Sunbrella fabrics to keep the furniture comfortable and easy to keep. Backgrounds and accent fabrics came mostly from China Seas. “The scale and colours just went flawlessly with the house,” says Elms.

Rug: Faber’s Rug Co.; java table: Brickmaker’s table, Hudson; white sofas, rattan chairs, glass table lamps, linen chair, dining table: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

Terrat Elms Interior Design

Grass fabric wallcovering and wide moldings from the entryway set the tone for a warm, coastal-inspired house. The home was owned by three families, each of whom left developments. “The improvements actually didn’t speak to each other,” says Elms. “Our job was to take what we had and set a cohesiveness that was missing.”

Background: China Seas

Terrat Elms Interior Design

Among those clients loves red and can’t get enough of it. “Whenever we had a meeting, she’d even be wearing red,” says Elms. “We chose to use the colour in particular spots around the house.” The kitchen was a great area. Overscale gingham-style fabric covers upholstered benches in a connected casual dining area.

Bench fabric: Sun Check, Ralph Lauren; barstools: Brewster Barstools, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; dining table: Big Sur Dining Table, Crate & Barrel; chairs: Kiki slipcovered chair, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

Terrat Elms Interior Design

The front part of the house does not let in as much light as the back and can feel really exposed to the road. Elms had plantation shutters installed all the front windows for solitude and left the rear windows uncovered.

Terrat Elms Interior Design

The kitchen design was created with plenty of counter space for food prep, serving and eating. Calacatta marble counters sit at a low height for convenient baking and cooking. The large bar counter is constructed of Caesarstone. Custom made cabinetry and neutral backsplash tile work nicely with the vivid walls.

High counter: Lagos Blue, Caesarstone; Elson; cabinetry: Brookhaven; backsplash: Hudson Brazil Nut, Stone Source; wall colour: Poppy, Benjamin Moore

Terrat Elms Interior Design

A cheerful green Chippendale chair from Hudson accents a built-in desk region and message centre beside the fridge.

Terrat Elms Interior Design

An indoor/outdoor cabana room toward the rear of the house has a massive slider that opens up to the backyard. Elms Lay the walls with white fabric for a tropical feel.

White couch, black side table: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; pink and taupe chairs: Clementine, Verellen; trunk: classic

Terrat Elms Interior Design

A deep red bedroom reflects the customer’s love of the colour. A traditional white bedspread with subtle traces of blue in a decorative pillow retains the palette from going overboard.

Terrat Elms Interior Design

“When we didn’t use red, we used derivatives of it such as pink, which she also loved,” says Elms. Pink China Seas background in the master bath gives the space a light, feminine feel.

Terrat Elms Interior Design

A wine storage and tasting area filled with custom walnut wine racks is nestled to the bottom floor. A Caesarstone pub and luxury barstool offers the ideal spot to enjoy a glass out of a favorite bottle.

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