Performed Through Special Occasions With Gracious Home, a Ready

It is simple (and not very pleasant) to get caught unprepared when guests stop by, or even to do nothing to bring to a wedding or housewarming. But with a little additional effort today, you can sail through all your spring and summer occasions easily.

From cleansing shortcuts and long-lasting flower structures to ideas for stocking the ideal gift cabinet, these 13 tips will help make you ready for casting parties, giving presents, writing thank-you notes, hosting unexpected guests and more.

Tres McKinney Design

1. Make an easy-clean entry with considerable storage. A chest of drawers or storage bench from the entry makes last-second tidying up simple. In a smaller space, try stashing stuff in lidded boxes beneath a slender console table or in French marketplace baskets hung on hooks.

Make a habit of keeping the surface of your own storage bit clear, aside from fresh blossoms or a blooming orchid, stowing everything else at the drawers beneath — that way it will always seem new when guests pop by.

Alice Lane Home Collection

2. Keep one cabinet devoted to parties. Never be stuck with no birthday candles again! Pick one place for all things party related: cake plates, fancy teacups, candles and matches, serving trays, the works.

Extra credit:
Learn one fancy fold technique and keep a pile of freshly laundered and folded cloth napkins in the ready.

3. Stock a cart with entertaining essentials. A cart is excellent for holding everything from glassware and paper napkins to bottles of wine and boxes of cheese straws. Keep yours stocked with a couple of favorite things, and it’s going to be simple to create snacks and beverages for buddies in a moment.

Extra credit: learn to make a signature drink, and keep the recipe card tucked off on your own cart.

4. Stow additional seating under a console. An easy way to squeeze in a couple of extra seats in the living space is by tucking a set of poufs or stools beneath a console desk — close at hand when you want them but readily tucked away.

Lux Decor

5. Create long-lasting (or perhaps faux) arrangements. Fresh flowers and greenery can go a long way toward making a room feel festive. Master a couple of simple arrangements which just look like they took ages to collect. Try lining up a series of little square containers down the middle of your dining table, filled with short-cut blossoms stuck into floral foam for strength.

Or, for everlasting green, pick up some high-quality faux topiaries and place them on your buffet.

Kerrisdale Design Inc

6. Get in the habit of picking up flowers in the market. If making fussy arrangements worries you vow instead to keep things clean and simple. Pick up single-color blossoms (white is always posh) in the grocery store or farmer’s market and plunk them at any vase or pitcher you have got. Large flowers (such as hydrangeas) and booming branches offer you a lot of bang for the dollar.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

7. Keep a stash of elaborate hand towels and soap at a bathroom cabinet. Toilet a mess when guests arrive? Duck in for a moment and pull the shower curtain closed, wipe out the faucet and mirror, and then put out fresh towels and soap.

Su Casa Designs

8. Bypass the mess and host last-minute guests outdoors. When the weather is good, entertaining outdoors can be a wonderful alternative. To keep outside cushions from becoming damp and filthy, try storing them at a bench outdoors where they’re still handy but secure.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

9. Make your kitchen attractive, guests will want to hang out while you cook. We might not all be able to have a dream kitchen such as the one shown here, but there is obviously a way to take advantage of what you have. Consider rolling out a true rug on the ground, pull up a few cute stools into the island and be sure speakers are useful for turning on some music while you cook.

Martha O’Hara Interiors

10. Always be ready with presents and wrapping supplies. Instead of picking themed gift wrap, try picking up an assortment of solid colors, together with an enjoyable variety of ribbons and trims. That way you can produce a number of different appearances for any occasion, all with the very same supplies.

Extra credit: Store a couple of go-to presents together with your wrapping supplies, for all those times when you are caught by surprise. Attempt to have something appropriate for baby, child, housewarming and wedding.

Christina Marie Interiors

11. Stock up on stationery for all occasions. Thank-you notes, clean cards and birthday cards must see you through almost any note-writing crisis.

Extra credit: Order personalized stationery with your name or monogram, and use it for all.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

12. Decide on a single place to note important dates and to-dos. Write down birthdays and special occasions, and notice presents you have received, so you will remember to thank the giver.

Extra credit: Store a book of quotes or famous toasts together with your calendar — if you’re asked to talk at a wedding, then you may at least know where to start.

Chandos Interiors

13. Get your guest room ready in minutes. First of all, keep the mattress made so that you do not need to worry about that. Next, dedicate a shelf in your linen closet to storing guest room essentials, so that you just have to catch the whole stack and go. Consider adding: a new set of towels, slippers, a robe and a little basket of toiletries that are spare.

Bonus: Stock the bedside table with intriguing books, books, chocolates and a carafe of water.

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A Modern Renovation at a Colonial-Era Town

English colonists came in Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1633; hence, the majority of the town’s housing inventory is anything but modern. When these homeowners, who lived in a very traditional home in Hingham, adored their preferred town, the wife longed for a modern house. So when this midcentury house went on the market for a teardown using a water view, the household snapped it up.

“The house was in such poor shape that we can not even show several before films,” says architect Don DiRocco of Hammer Architects. (Though see below for just one.) But, his group’s design saved a huge part of the home while they tore down the darkened and dark parts which didn’t get the job done. Both the new and old segments were designed to create a light, bright atmosphere that took complete advantage of their harbor views. The new home has an awareness of entrance; an easy, open stream; and a fresh kitchen hub for gathering cooking, holding cooking classes and doing homework.

at a Glance
Who lives here: A household with 4 children in high school and school
Location: Hingham, Massachusetts
Size: 5 bedrooms, 4 baths
Year built: Original house, 1950s; renovation, 2010

Hammer Architects


They tore down the old garage and built a new one, along with a brand new breezeway that connects it to the new principal doorway and helps specify an entrance courtyard. “Before, the entrance to the home was tucked around the back of the home and was hard to locate,” DiRocco says. Now “there is not any longer any confusion regarding where to enter the home.” The door on the right is a second entrance that contributes to a large mudroom with cabinets to your kids’ sports gear, coats and shoes.

Before Photo


“The original home had a set of strange intersecting gable roofs which caused escapes,” says DiRocco. “They had a small spiral stairs into the roof set up, because they had to move up there and repair it so often.” The house’s problems gave the architects good ideas about what to do. It had been “quite dark and dreary; it had a great water view that it was not taking advantage of,” DiRocco says.

Hammer Architects


The architects added a new kitchen, a brand new garage and entrance courtyard, along with a brand new master suite, and reconfigured existing spaces (view the programs at the end to get a precise idea of these modifications). The attached greenhouse found in the previous photo was donated and carted away. On the right side of the photo you can see the brand new screened-in porch and master suite.

Hammer Architects


“Occasionally negative existing aspects such as these inspire the new design. We added glass wherever we could, and the home is now filled with natural light from large windows and clerestories,” DiRocco says. This corner is your master bedroom, in which 6- by 3-foot windows take full advantage of the view of Hingham Harbor.

Hammer Architects


Around the corner from the garage, big windows make the most of the water views. Exterior doors from the office/fifth bedroom and the living room link to the patio.

Hammer Architects


Translucent glass on the garage doors expands the Japanese lantern–such as glow of the house at night.

Garage doors: Clopay Avante

Hammer Architects


Red cedar tongue and groove clapboard siding has a natural stain that may stand up to the sea air and harsh winter climate. The house is well insulated and works nicely in summer, too. “This home can really breathe,” DiRocco says. “They’ve air-conditioning, but they seldom need to turn it on.”

Hammer Architects


Wood beams and a tongue and groove ceiling are original to the home.

While the clients desired stairs down to a basement family room to be a part of their space, they desired to partly hide them. “We did not have much wall space on the first floor, because we wanted to depart the views as open as possible, so this was a good opportunity to include shelves,” DiRocco says.

Floors: stained walnut

Hammer Architects


The kitchen is a completely new part of the home and serves as the heart of the house. The wife was a well-known chef in Boston and had a large, workable kitchen in which she could do some serious cooking and also have enough room to hold courses. The household also desired a multipurpose space for spending time together.

Appliances: Thermador; counter stools: Ikea; cabinets: custom, Ted Franklin, Welfleet, Massachusetts

Hammer Architects


“The kitchen serves as a fantastic hub in the house; all these corridors meet here, and it’s a significant gathering spot. The family is quite tight-knit, and the children do their homework at this table,” DiRocco says.

“The kitchen has a high volume which pops up 14 feet and has wonderful natural light all day,” he says. Clerestory windows bring in light from three sides.

Pendant lighting: Ikea; faucet: Grohe Minta; counters: Surrell solid design in Arctic White, Formica; ceiling: tongue and groove fir

Hammer Architects


The kitchen glows like a lantern at night.

Hammer Architects


The long dining/living room goes all of the way into a sitting/TV viewing area which leads out into the patio. This component of the home was spared from the initial structure. All the windows are fresh and are larger than the originals.

Hammer Architects


The architects also rescued the original large chimney and hearth found on the left. While dreaming of moving out of their traditional home for their new modern house, the owners knew they’d be starting fresh with new minimalist decor and furnishings.

The doors at the end of the room result in a screened-in porch, with the master suite beyond it.

Before Photo


BEFORE: This is the plan of the existing home when the architects were hired. While the neighborhood was an enclave of quite small midcentury modern homes, most of the original homes have been torn down and replaced with big homes on account of the prime views.

Hammer Architects


AFTER: This is the brand new plan of this home as it is today. “This home is a anomaly in Hingham,” says DiRocco. “The kids’ friends absolutely love hanging out here, the family loves the design, they continue to be within walking distance from downtown Hingham and live near their schools.”

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Happy Clients Unwrap a New Home on Christmas

Project supervisor Ben Cervantes pushed especially difficult for the rapid completion of this Santa Barbara, California, remodel. “My customers lost their cherished home of 30 years at the 2008 wildfires, therefore our staff and, of course, architect Richard Warner wanted to come through for them by finishing this home remodel by Christmas Day,” says Cervantes. And come through they did — the customers not only came home to a finished house, but more important, to a home with a seamless indoor-outdoor link and an expansive grand room filled with natural light.

in a Glance
Who lives here: A sociology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a graphic designer and illustrator
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Size: 2,400 square feet

Allen Construction

Cervantes and his staff removed the home’s existing wood siding and replaced it with noncombustible plaster. The stucco exterior departs from the home’s origins as a midcentury ranch home, a sacrifice the customers were eager to make for the interest of safety.

The team also eliminated other poor connections — places at the home where embers can burn off, such as wood veneer along with other combustible exterior substances.

Roofing: fiber cement, Monier

Allen Construction

A large pivoting door greets guests in the entrance and connects the interior with the outside.

Flooring: solid white walnut, Old Tyme Floor

Before Photo

Allen Construction

BEFORE: The home had limited windows which didn’t maximize its verdant views. Partway through the remodel, the customers’ daughter seen the home and proposed creating an expansive living room by opening the living area, dining area and kitchen.

“It changed the scope of the remodel — and the budget — but our customers are more than happy with the results,” says Cervantes.

Allen Construction

AFTER: NanaWall doors open the interior to the outside. Cervantes and crew ran the electrical wiring which has been previously stored in the interior wall at a fresh beam running the length of this room.

Armchairs, couch, coffee table: Restoration Hardware

Allen Construction

One of the most significant challenges of this project was finding a way to encourage the roof following the team removed a load-bearing wall between the kitchen and living area.

In the end, the team kept two of the steel columns, but they weren’t very pleasant to check out. “One of our carpenters suggested cladding the columns with 3/4-inch white walnut to match the floors and kitchen cabinetry,” Cervantes says. “For decorative flair, in addition, he proposed adding an oak plinth block in the column bottom.” The exposed beams and pillar accentuate the room’s expansiveness.

Dining table, chairs: Restoration Hardware

Allen Construction

“We refaced both present fireplaces with dark grey plaster, then turning them to focal points on opposite sides of the room,” says Cervantes.

Armchair, couch: Pottery Barn

Before Photo

Allen Construction

BEFORE: The old wall divided the kitchen from the dining area and living area.

Allen Construction

AFTER: The team utilized the customers’ present appliances but applied a few cosmetic changes: The refrigerator had been refaced with 1/4-inch walnut plywood to match the brand new cabinets, the stove hood has been painted and framed, and Ceasarstone countertops and custom cabinetry were installed to get a warm timber and white kitchen.

New low-e (low emissivity) glass skylights drench the kitchen with lots of light. The low-e skylights are more energy efficient than the previous Plexiglas skylights; they block heat gain, reduce heat loss through the skylight and let in a cozy flow of light.

Bar stools: Crate & Barrel

Allen Construction

When the customers left the home to visit their daughter on Christmas Eve, scaffolding and construction supplies were strewn throughout. The couple had already give up the notion of spending Christmas Day at a finished home — but little did they know that a Christmas miracle was awaiting them upon their return. They arrived back to a spotless home: The scaffolding was gone and the painting was finished.

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Boost Backyard Chickens Without Ruffling Neighbors' Feathers

A report in the New York Times tells the story of a Brooklyn community which has turned neighbor against neighbor — all because of this Warren-St. Mark’s community backyard decision to temporarily home eight hens. The chicken war between the urban farmers and longtime residents of this area brings up a problem: How can you maintain the peace while raising backyard chickens?

Photographer and chicken keeper Amy Renea says it starts with neighborly acts: advanced notice to neighbors and strategic coop placement go a long way in keeping the peace. She houses her chickens in a far corner lot on her property where neighbors can’t see, smell or hear the chickens when they’re cooped up. The hens roam free when they are released from the coop, and although they generally stick near her property, the cluckers sometimes drift to a neighbor’s lot. “We find the best way to fight any issues is using a giant basket of eggs every once in a while,” Renea says.

Here are additional strategies for keeping things neighborly.

Amy Renea

Keep neighbors informed. Lyanda Haupt, that has been keeping chickens for more than 12 years, sought her out neighbors’ ideas before building a coop in her Seattle lawn. “I told them about what we were planning to do and asked what they thought about it. Once people are informed, they will determine that real safety and health concerns are minimal,” she says.

Leslie Divoll did the specific opposite in her beachfront Florida community. She retains her coop a mystery since the neighbors complain at the drop of a hat, she says.

For Gwen Weerts, consulting neighbors about the left, right and right behind is essential, but she admits that living in the “crunchy” city (her description) of Bellingham, Washington, ensures that more people are supportive of agriculture. “I can see how urban areas without much exposure to small-scale agriculture could have these community flare-ups because of misinformation,” she says.

Check city ordinances. Kathy Siegel, that used to have a coop in Los Angeles, underscores the importance of adhering to city ordinances. “You don’t wish to be in the wrong when your pets’ lives are at stake. In L.A., they have ordinances that say no roosters could be maintained, that limit the hens to five only and dictate clear space minimums between the coop and your neighbor’s home,” says Siegel.

Most chicken keepers will tell you assessing ordinances can prove to be difficult when chickens are involved, since rules concerning chickens may fall under pet, noise or small livestock ordinances. “The Backyard Chickens website has a fantastic choice of city ordinances regarding domesticated fowl. I would check there,” says Weerts.

Amy Renea

Anticipate noise and odor issues. Although Divoll retains her coop a secret from her neighbors, she proposes having only hens in the coop for noise reduction. And if you keep cows or cows, more means more noise and odor; limit a backyard coop to five to make sure less noise. “I’d also strictly adhere to an odor-free practice,” she says. “It is very easy to do. Individuals who don’t pick up their pet’s poop have stinkier lawns compared to people who have chicken coops.”

Amy Renea

Strategize your coop’s location and design. Screen chickens from street perspective and from the perspective of neighbors’ dogs, which might become barking nuisances if they are not utilized to seeing chickens.

“Our neighbor didn’t wish to see that the coop, so we lowered our coop’s roof to them,” says Shannon Demma, that keeps chickens in Santa Cruz, California. “We maintain the coop in a completely enclosed lawn, so from the outside you don’t even know it is there. After watching us chickens, our neighbors now have their very own coops.”

Some chicken keepers purposely assemble coops without windows and lock their chickens in nightly. Haupt says they’re quieter in the dark, and that she doesn’t let them out until after 8% to maintain early-morning clucking from waking the neighbors.

Amy Renea

Know how to manage predators and rodents. Keeping a sterile coop reduces troubles, but occasionally leftover food onto the ground still can encourage mice — nothing which a cat can’t handle. “In an urban setting, I would definitely suggest daily crossing of any spilled or spilled food to avoid rodents,” says Amy Renea.

A high-security coop can defend chickens against predators, like skunks and raccoons. But keeping the area inside and outside the home clean ought to still be a high priority. The effort of keeping up a home is well worth it for these chicken keepers, who state that the cluckers are becoming part of their family. “My children play together; they supply wonderful fresh eggs; they eat our scraps and create compost for our backyard. We feel very blessed to have them,” says Demma.

“I feel like having a flock of hens harkens back to days when most folks had a vegetable patch, evenings were spent collectively on the porch and acquaintances spoke to one another over their fences,” says Weerts. “Chicken possession is an excellent reminder that we ought to go back to this”
Tell us Do you maintain backyard chickens? Please show us your coop and share your experience in the Comments below.

The Scoop on Chicken Coops
Chicken Coops That Rule the Roost

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Get the Scoop

Selecting a new paint is kind of like choosing out a fresh toothpaste — they look the exact same but may massively differ in price. How do you know which one is right for your residence? Although the least expensive option may seem appealing, costlier paints are high quality and also come in much more vibrant colors.

We spoke with three paint professionals to get the scoop on which is the greater value.

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Why is some paints better than others?

Each paint has the following ingredients, says Karl Schmitt, vice president of advertising research and design at Sherwin-Williams:
Pigment: The more pigment a paint has, the more it’ll retain its true colour. Binders: These hold the paint together and allow it to stick to several surfaces. Binders help paint resist blistering cracking and peeling. Liquids: High-quality paints have a higher ratio of solids (pigments and binders) to fluids. “The more liquid a paint has, the more it will vanish during the drying procedure, finally producing the demand for additional coats,” says Schmitt. Additives: Different ingredients that give the paint special properties, for example extra durability or mildew resistance.The ingredients of a paint affect colour as well as quality. “Higher-priced paints can occasionally offer more exceptional colors,” states Philip Storey of Redhill Painting. Some lines offer colors that can not be seen in other manufacturers’ palettes or replicated without high quality materials.

Why is a high quality paint?

For those who have used both high quality and not as expensive paints, the gap between the two is apparent. “Some cheaper paints look chalky or even more plastic-like,” says Storey. “Also, how the paint feels, or the’hand’ of the paintcan make a big difference aesthetically.” More expensive paints can be a lot easier to apply, hide imperfections better, last longer, have more vibrant colors and make washing easier — all because of the higher-quality ingredients in each batch.

If you’re looking for a single kind of paint that’s”the top,” it depends on what you’re searching for. The Paint Quality Institute evaluates paint on different qualities according to manufacturer. Some manufacturers are better at concealing flaws, some on flow and leveling, and many others on adhesion. Each manufacturer has its own particular balance of characteristics. If you want to play it safe, pick the top-quality item from the brand you’re interested in.

Still hesitant about paying the extra cash? Purchase samples of several distinct types of paint and see if you can tell the difference. “While a gallon of Fine Paints of Europe paint may cost you $40 a gallon, the policy will be exceptional, and you might have the ability to pay the surface fewer coats and extend the time between expensive future repaints,” says Storey.

Buying a fantastic paint won’t solve all your issues, though. “A fantastic paint job is only as good as the preparation,” says painter Alex Davison. “That will be roughly 60 percent of the work. A quick prep with the ideal paint won’t continue.”

Erica George Dines Photography

Can low-VOC ingredients make a difference in price?

Today, Environmental Protection Agency regulations ensure that paint businesses produce the majority of their product with low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) content. Low-VOC paints used to cost more, but that’s not necessarily true now. Low VOC”is among the several elements in the formula of a paint product, and it’s the overall quality of ingredients and formula of these ingredients which affect the purchase price of the item,” says Schmitt.

Inform us: What would be your favourite paints to utilize? What’s your experience with different brands and price ranges?

How to Paint Interior Walls
How to Use a House Painter

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Best 9 Hardware Styles for Kitchen Cabinets

The flat-panel, or slab-door, style of cabinet is most frequently seen in contemporary or contemporary kitchens. The essence of this style is frequently about minimal embellishment and allowing the natural substances speak for themselves. The wood grain could be the statement, or it could be a straightforward linear pull on a high-gloss white cupboard. Regardless of style, this appearance gets its strength from understatement. So subtle hardware choices can make a large impact in a kitchen using flat-panel cabinets.

Compare more kitchen cupboard styles

LDa Architecture & Interiors

1. Tubular Stainless Steel Bar Pulls

This really is one of the hottest kitchen cabinet hardware styles of the past 10 decades. You will observe these as frequently on vintage Shaker-style cabinets as on contemporary flat-panel ones. They often make the greatest statement when they are run as long as possible about the door or drawer. This style has end caps that are flush, so that you don’t have little pieces that stick out and grab the pocket of your trousers. Anyone who has ripped a pocket while walking through a kitchen knows what I mean.

Atlas Homewares Round 3 Point Pull 128 millimeter CC, Polished Stainless Steel – $17.90

What they do for the kitchen: Insert a contemporary, industrial and fresh appeal. These pulls have a very pragmatic sense, as though they are designed for a science-lab cupboard.

They operate well together: Modern flat-panel or Shaker doors. Be a purist using a sleek glass backsplash or be more diverse and combine them with subway tile and Shaker cabinets.


Stephani Buchman Photography

This is the most famous pub attraction for flat-panel cabinets. The ends stick out beyond where the screw holes attach to the cupboard. Cabinet lines from Italy and Spain kicked off this appearance with their supersleek contemporary kitchen installations more than 10 years ago, and they are still holding their own. It is a design that has stood the test of time.

The Home Depot

Richelieu Hardware Stainless Steel Bar Cabinet Pull – $10.26

Venegas and Company

2. Flat Bar Pulls

These will be the draws for modernists who favor square edges and linear elements. It could look like a ridiculous distinction to a, but in contemporary design, these tiny statements make a large sound.

Hardware Hut

Valli and Valli Forges Cabinet Pull – $39

What they do for the kitchen: Insert a strong linear feel that accentuates strong square and rectangular elements.

They operate well with: Horizontal wood grain, flat long closets and tile backsplashes.

Barker O’Donoghue Master Builders

3. Recessed Pulls

These are superbly functional and pragmatic — almost office-y — pulls. They are a great alternative for a high heeled, high-use kitchen in which you do not want the pulls sticking out and getting in the way.


Vintage Hardware Marella Design Forme Recessed Pull – $39.81

What they do for the kitchen : Give it a commercial and functional feel.

They operate well together: Bypass doors, stained wood doors and glass and metal doors.


4. C- or J-Channel Metal Rail Pulls

These pulls provide another fantastic solution for those who don’t desire their pulls to stick out to the traffic flow. They’re extremely sleek, but be careful of dust and spills getting caught in the stations.

Lisbon Door

What they do for the kitchen: Accentuate linear design by conducting the continuous, complete length of the doors and drawers.

They operate well with: Painted or stained wood flat-panel doorways, minimalist backsplash elements and waterfall countertops.

Venegas and Company

5. C-Channel Integrated Wood Pulls

These pulls are for the purist who does not want to mix a lot of substances in a kitchen. They are not the most pragmatic alternative for high-use kitchens.

What they do for the kitchen : Create a smooth appearance in which metal cabinet hardware does not disrupt the wood surface of the doorways.

They operate well with: whirlpool kitchens without a wall cabinets, kitchens with open shelves and gorgeous wood veneers.

thirdstone inc. [^]

6. Tab Pulls

These pulls are for the minimalist who wants a bit more. They are discreet but still functional. They are sometimes done little on all cabinets or longer, running the full length of the cupboard door or drawer.


Atlas Homewares Successi Collection Small Tab Pull – $5.96

What they do for the kitchen: Insert a nonkitchen-y feel.

They work well together: Wood veneers and high-gloss painted finishes.

Croma Design Inc

Whether they are smaller tabs in silver or longer tabs in black, their appearance completely changes the kitchen. Strong black lines on the tops of all the drawers in this kitchen produce a trendy vintage-modern contrast.


Atlas Homewares Successi Collection Long Tab Pull – $7.09

Lucy McLintic

7. Cutout Flat Bar Pulls

Cutout bar pulls are decorative and easy at precisely the same time, and have almost a ’70s atmosphere in antique brass. I love a pull that adds just a tiny furniture detail and glamour to a contemporary flat-panel door style.


Atlas Homewares 275 Centinel Pull – $10.26

What they do for the kitchen : Insert a decorative and glamorous part into an otherwise easy modern kitchen.

They operate well together: Rift-cut travertine and high-gloss finishes.

kimberly peck architect

8. Wire Pulls

Simple, classic and pragmatic, these are fantastic for those who don’t want their hardware to generate a strong statement.


Linnea LLC 111 tug – $15.99

What they do for the kitchen : Keep it simple and humble. Add a small commercial, no-nonsense feel.

They work well together: Industrial appliances, stainless steel countertops and easy industrial lighting, like pendants using a single exposed bulb.

John Maniscalco Architecture

9. Hidden Touch Latches

Not for those who utilize their kitchens frequently for cooking items heavy on the butter or oil. Fingerprints on the bottoms of your doorways will drive you mad! Nonetheless, it’s very sleek and trendy looking not to have a stick of hardware in sight.

The Home Depot

Liberty Single Touch Latch

What they do for the kitchen : These latches provide the ultimate minimalist choice — no hardware statement or accessorizing in any way.

They work well together: Exotic veneer cabinets for which you do not want anything to compete with the gorgeous wood, and full-height stone backsplashes that fit the countertops to get a restrained palette.

Compare more kitchen cabinet designs | Find your kitchen style

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Your Pool Long Past Labor Day

When the weather begins to cool down, most homeowners believe that they will need to shut down their pool until summer begins to warm up. But today’s pool products and accessories may push your swimming season from early spring through the autumn — and place energy savings in your pocketbook through the summer too.

Consider the investment you have made in your outdoor living area. Products that allow you to enjoy your pool a month or two more every year may provide you a greater return on it.

Grainda Builders, Inc..

Snow-melting cable systems may be set up fairly easily underneath patio areas to stay outdoor areas warm and free from frost and cleaning snow Little Rock. Pricing begins at $10 per square foot for materials only.


Automatic freeze protection may keep your water flowing in freezing temperatures. A Jandy AquaLinks System automatically turns on the water features in your pool when the temperature drops below a certain preset stage.

iAquaLink Smart-Phone App – $1,628.13

Cooler temperatures do mean you are going to need to heat your pool if you want to keep swimming — unless you adore a fantastic icy swim. Smart-phone apps like the iAquaLink allow you to control all elements of your pool and outdoor living room — such as spa and outside lighting — anytime and from anyplace.

If there’s a danger of falling temperatures, you can turn pool gear off or on with a flick of the finger. It is also possible to check the air and pool temperatures.

Jandy Guru Series EE-TI Heat Pump – $8,496.91

This Jandy Guru Series EE-TI heat pump can save as much as 80 percent of the energy that alternate heating systems require in order to heat your pool, extending your swimming season by at least a month or two. These heat pumps only absorb free heat in the air and move it to the water, making the heating procedure efficient and ecofriendly, with lower energy bills as a outcome. While an upfront cost of greater than $8,000 can provide you sticker shock, this may be a worthy investment in the long run if you love to swim and reside at a four-season climate.

AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc..

An inexpensive out-of-pool alternative is an outdoor heater, which may heat a swim-up pub or other gathering space, or just the region where swimmers get out of the pool. Look into wall-mounted options as well as freestanding units. One alternative, a Danville wall-mounted heater, will run you $260.

Zbranek & Holt Custom Homes

If you’re still in the process of planning your pool, consider including a fire component for all those chillier autumn nights. This fire pit incorporated with the pool design provides not just another entertainment area for the guests and homeowner, however, a warm reprieve for sailors during cooler weather.

Prideaux Design

This customized fire attribute is an ideal example of how to incorporate a fire component close to the pool within an outdoor living room. Putting it between the pool and the outside seating area enables it to benefit equally spaces.

Platinum Poolcare

Fire components like these bowls by Fire By Design are a excellent ready-made alternative for outdoor pool attributes.


Pricing varies, and some of these units may be expensive, so be aware prior to adding one to your wish list. Complete units with electronic ignition, like this one from Fireside Expressions, start at $2,500.

Inform us : Would you like to use your pool in cooler temperatures? Share your cold-weather swimming tips together with us in the Remarks section below.

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Distinctive Edwardian 'Design Lab'

The house which designer Jay Jeffers shares his spouse, Michael Purdy, serves a double purpose: It is part escape and part design laboratory, nurturing creativity for Jeffers’ interior design business along with the pair’s San Francisco atelier, Cavalier. “Our house has mirrored my style evolution throughout the years,” says Jeffers, whose clients are often drawn to his vibrant, playful design touches. Architecturally, the house is tucked in a row of “handsome small Edwardians,” he states. But inside, it makes a daring departure from the remainder of the block.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Jay Jeffers and Michael Purdy
Location: Eureka Valley, San Francisco, California
Size: 2,500 square feet


One of the first design lessons Jeffers provides his clients is that colour does not always mean vivid, splashy hues. “It is about creating new, unexpected pairings,” he states. “We just finished a gorgeous modern penthouse at a palette of grays and creams.”

Vintage tufted chairs in rich blue Holland & Sherry fabric complement the persimmon-stained walls.


A floral lampshade with metallic trim almost looks like a framed watercolor bit next to an etching by Christopher Brown.

Wheel book weight: vintage, Coup d’Etat; wall paint: Persimmon, Benjamin Moore


Gray trim highlights the molding in the dining area and provides a neutral complement into the bolder orange tones in the upholstery, decor and wall treatments. “I totally love the dining room,” Jeffers says. “It has a handsome, quirky appearance, with a gallery wall of portrait paintings”

Molding paint: Bear Creek, Benjamin Moore; wall paint: Pittsfield Buff, Benjamin Moore; dining table: vintage, Monteverdi Young; chandelier: vintage, Maitland Smith


A Forrest Williams oil painting makes an alluring dialogue piece, including the illusion of another window within this living room sitting room. The settee is a custom piece by Jeffers.

Area rug: habit by Jay Jeffers & Kelly Hohla


The kitchen was the only room in the home that really needed work — but that which designer stops following renovating just one room? Jeffers put into a tartan tile backsplash “à la Burberry,” he states , and custom cabinets with back-painted glass.

“it is a cliché to say, however, we are living in our kitchen,” he states. “The floor plan is circular, so that you can observe the kitchen from the dining area and living area, and guests always collect there. It is the ideal place for cooking — beef bourguignon, preferably — kicking back with a cocktail and glancing out in our view of the city”


Like everything in Jeffers’ house, this tabletop vignette is meticulously curated.

“I’ve just started my first store, Cavalier, together with my spouse, and our focus with it’s on those kinds of carefully curated bits using a masculine edge,” says Jeffers.


“I really put my stamp on the home. I believe the colour palette is what sets it apart and gives it its own distinct style notice,” he states.


The guest area is swathed in acidity green wallpaper. “I am not sure anybody else on the block includes a sexy pink portrait of Abraham Lincoln,” Jeffers says.

Wallpaper: Studio Printworks; Abraham Lincoln screen-print: Natalie Ammirato


This bedroom vignette combines handsome bits with quirkier things: An ornately framed mirror hangs over a vintage dresser, a sculptural bust adds gravitas into the corner and styled artwork stipulates a dash of whimsy.


“This residence is my design laboratory,” says Jeffers. “It is where I crisscrossed pink and orange grosgrain ribbon in my master bedroom walls at one stage and hand-stencilled the drapes with my monogram in homage to Sir David Hicks.”

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4 Herb Container Gardens for Fabulous Global Cuisine

Do you have a flair for Asian cuisine? Or do your tastes lean Italian? Make cooking your favorite food easy by mixing the herbs that you use frequently in 1 container or a group of pots. Having fresh herbs to season dishes will make your dishes even more amazing.

Many varieties of herbs work flawlessly in containers. These handy kitchen gardens may be obtained, letting you pick a handful of your bounty as the whim arises.

Aloe Designs

First Things First: Pick the proper Pot

The roots will require ample room for expansion, so I advise starting with a pot that is at least 12 inches in diameter and at least 8 inches deep. Any substance or shape will work; only remember that alloy and dark-colored pots warm up more quickly than others.

Terra-cotta containers work nicely for blossoms, as most favor the soil to be on the other side. You may need to water plants in these pots a bit more if you reside in a really dry climate. Small pots will require more frequent attention than bigger pots.

Glenna Partridge Garden Design

To know the number of plants to put in 1 pot, it is ideal to check the mature size of this plant. If that is not feasible, you can follow these guidelines using 4-inch starter plants:

• three to five plants for a 12-inch-diameter pot
• Six to eight plants for an 18-inch-diameter marijuana

The majority of herbs such as well-draining soil, so it is vital to use potting mix (not garden soil) specially created for this.

Jennifer Ashton, Allied ASID

Herbs need at least of four hours of sunlight, and several need six to eight. If your plan is to maintain your kitchen garden indoors, make certain the pots are placed where they will get direct sun for the appropriate amount of time.

Kim Gamel

As soon as you’ve your containers ready, you can plant herbs that work together for a specific food or type of cuisine. Listed below are four of my favorites.

1. Italian Herb Garden

Botanical name: Ocimum basilicum
USDA zones: N/A; treat as an Yearly
Water requirement: moderate to moist, well-drained soil
moderate requirement: Complete sun
Mature size: 18 to 24 inches high and wide

Missouri Botanical Garden

Botanical name: Origanum vulgare
USDA zones: 4 to 9
Water requirement: moderate to dry, well-drained soil
moderate requirement: Complete sun
Mature dimensions: 12 to 18 inches high and wide

Missouri Botanical Garden

Italian (Flat-Leaf) Parsley
Botanical name: Petroselinum crispum
USDA zones: N/A; treat as an Yearly
Water requirement: moderate to moist, well-drained soil
moderate requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 9 to 12 inches high and wide

Andrea Meyers

Botanical name: Thymus vulgaris
USDA zones: 5 to 9
Water requirement: moderate to dry, well-drained soil
moderate requirement: Complete sun
Mature dimensions: 6 to 12 inches high and wide

Missouri Botanical Garden

2. Asian Herb Garden


Botanical name: Cymbopogon citratus
USDA zones: 10 into 11
Water requirement: Medium moisture; well-drained soil
moderate requirement: Full sun; tolerates light color
Mature size: 2 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

Lenkin Design Inc: Landscape and Garden Design

Botanical name: Mentha spicata
USDA zones: 5 to 9
Water requirement: moderate to moist, well-drained soil
moderate requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 1 to 2 feet high and wide
Planting note: This plant can be invasive, so it is ideal for containers.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Botanical name: Coriandrum sativum
USDA zones: N/A; treat as an Yearly
Water requirement: Medium moisture; well-drained soil
moderate requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: as Many as 2 feet high and 1 1/2 feet wide

Missouri Botanical Garden

Botanical name: Allium schoenoprasum
USDA zones: 4 to 8
Water requirement: Medium moisture; well-drained soil
moderate requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 12 to 18 inches high and wide

Missouri Botanical Garden

3. Mexican Herb Garden

Botanical name: Origanum majorana
USDA Zones: N/A; treat as an yearly
Water requirement: moderate to dry, well-drained soil
moderate requirement: Complete sun
Mature size: 1 to 2 feet tall and wide

Add tsp, spearmint and oregano to a Mexican herb garden too, paying attention to their own needs as recorded in the Asian and Italian herb gardens above.

Missouri Botanical Garden

4. French Herb Garden

Botanical name: Artemisia dracunculus
USDA zones: 5 to 8
Water requirement: moderate to dry, well-drained soil
Light requirement: Complete sun
Mature dimensions: 1 1/2 to 3 feet tall and 1 1/2 to 2 feet wide

Botanical name: Rosmarinus officinalis
USDA zones: 8 to 10
Water requirement: moderate to dry, well-drained soil
moderate requirement: Complete sun
Mature dimensions: 3 to 6 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide

Include Italian parsley and simmer on your French herb garden, paying attention to their own needs as recorded in the Italian herb segment.

How do you combine your herbs? Feel free to leave me a comment below. Happy gardening!

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Little Homes Surprise With Comfort and Performance

Recently New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a contest to come up with a building with so-called “micro units” — apartments of around 250 to 300 square feet. Presently the city’s codes do not permit apartments under 400 square feet. The rivalry is in response to changing demographics in the city, largely the increase in a single- and – two-person families; 1.8 million individuals fit this demographic, but just 1 million apartments serve their requirements. By supplying smaller components, the town hopes to make it even more affordable for couples and singles. San Francisco is also considering shrinking the minimum dimensions of rental apartments to 220 square feet.

Update: See the winner of the New York contest

But how can one or two people adequately live in 300 square feet or less? My first flat in Chicago was roughly 200 square feet (known as an efficiency apartment — basically one room serving as living and kitchen area, using a walk-in-closet and a bath), but I lived there just one year, and then I could afford a bigger area. In new york, rents are so high that individuals may live from the micro components, once realized and allowed by law, to get a little longer. Making the flat perform a lot in a small space is so important. This ideabook looks at a few smallish apartments to see what lessons can be learned for micro living.

General Assembly

This home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was remodeled with General Assembly for a household not ready to enlarge. The small living area works for cooking, eating and lounging. These functions are clearly demarcated from the L-shaped space, however the bounds between are available. This is not unique to small homes, but it’s carried out rather efficiently here.

On the left is the relaxing area with a couch, a coffee table, a seat and storage, while the small kitchen is on the right, helping the dining area (shown in the next photograph). The kitchen is crucial, since it’s accessible on either side and contains storage that’s also accessible from different sides. (Note the shallow shelves onto the staircase in the ideal foreground.)

General Assembly

This view appears from the seating area supporting the dining area, which includes built-in seats before a bay window. Note how the stepped ceiling additionally will help demarcate various zones, including some height into the living room.

General Assembly

This open-plan living area is so small that the refrigerator and shelves buttocks up against the dining area. Yet what is well worth carrying here is the way the built in seating next to the refrigerator becomes a visual extension of the kitchen cabinets. The extra seating removes what would have been an embarrassing bump-out for the refrigerator, turning the dining and kitchen areas to a unified space.

General Assembly

On the other side of this kitchen is accessibility to the remainder of the home. The open shelves suspended from the ceiling include storage while allowing light and views throughout the space.

Another job by General Assembly focuses on an integrated wall of storage which hides plenty. The custom cabinetry is tailored to the owner’s many possessions, meaning that the sewing machine has its place having a rolling base. The hardware on the left side means something must be hidden behind the surface.

A drop-down desk enables the room to be utilized as a small home office. But that is not all.

Fold the desk up and the space becomes a bedroom. Murphy beds are great for smaller apartments and will probably be a requirement for people moving into New York City’s miniature units.

vgzarquitectura y diseño sc

This flat in Mexico City by vgz(a) does a lot with its square footage. The living area is not small, but it feels larger than it’s since the wall between the living room and the bedroom is visually open. Horizontal slats give a feeling of enclosure while letting light filter from one space to another.

vgzarquitectura y diseño sc

The bedroom is just steps away from the kitchen, but that closeness is readily overcome …

vgzarquitectura y diseño sc

… by sliding the patterned glass wall closed. Like the slatted wall, this sliding wall lets a few light reach the kitchen throughout the bedroom. It also presents an interesting image of character when the viewer is in the kitchen, much removed from the real thing.

vgzarquitectura y diseño sc

Looking out of the bedroom door/wall into the window, one thing stands out: the tall timber cabinetry behind and towards the side of the mattress.

vgzarquitectura y diseño sc

Not a closet, it’s also a Murphy bed. I could see this flat doubling as a home office. The character of this space is fitting for an office in addition to a bedroom.

vgzarquitectura y diseño sc

One final bit in this Mexico City flat would be your swivel stand for your flat-panel tv. I think this is great, meaning just one TV is necessary to serve the living room and the bedroom. In a small flat, one won’t have to see in both chambers at the identical time, therefore this sort of flexibility makes a great deal of sense.

Gut Gut

Last is this flat in Bratislava, Slovakia, by Gut Gut. The character of the existing space is very raw, with painted brick and a scalloped concrete ceiling. The interior design doesn’t try to compete with this specific circumstance, rather fitting as much as possible within the space. Note the shelving to the ideal cut to the brick wall (click picture to see full view).

Gut Gut

The kitchen has a lovely blue countertop under a window. The tall shelves on the left offer plenty of storage yet allow light throughout the space (recall the very first instance doing something like a smaller scale).

See more of this home

More innovative homes of 500 square feet or less:
Efficient Manhattan Studio
500-Square-Foot Charmer in Santa Cruz
Industrial Minihouse in Seattle
Mobile Microliving in Oregon
Tiny Fold-Out Apartment in Barcelona
Ingenious Garage Makeover in Bordeaux

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