“Did you ever think your house would burn down?” Eden, my afterward seven-year-old daughter asked me every few days, for months, after an arsonist randomly put our house on fire.

“No,” I’d answer each and every moment.

“I never thought my home would ever burn down,” she would say, shaking her head. Neither did I and, regardless of the fact we only marked the second anniversary, I can not quite believe it did.

There are hundreds of people in Colorado Springs who understand this feeling exactly.

Sandi Gunnett Photography

Last Wednesday (June 27, 2012), since the wildfires raged, while over 35,000 residents who were evacuated waited to figure out if their homes had been destroyed, my mind and my heart were left using them. It had been two years to the day of our very own fire.

Ours was set in the wee hours and we were home and in bed. My husband and I gathered our kids and the puppy and fled with the clothing on our backs. I stopped just to grab my notebook, which was at hand, and ran barefoot to the darkness.

Sandi Gunnett Photography

As we stumbled on the course across the road and watched the flame spread, what surprised me was the absence of pain, even when I knew everything was missing. I was in shock, true, but I was also clearer than I have ever been : “That” (our home and possessions) was things and may be substituted; my loved ones, standing beside me, alive and physically unharmed, was irreplaceable. I could live with no rest.

“We have been through worse.” I said repeatedly in the early days, and we had, but I didn’t understand trauma, and I didn’t understand that the flame was just the start.

Sandi Gunnett Photography

As the months and weeks passed, I couldn’t believe how hard it became. It had been such a surprise that getting somebody set fire to our house and losing all our possessions was not the most terrible part; it had been struggling against bureaucracy and creating each single financial decision — from what spatula to purchase to how big to build the home — while still traumatized and exhausted.

And in the early days, the horror of passion was mingled with and nearly covered with the extraordinary outpouring of service, the beautiful and astonishing generosity of our community.

Sandi Gunnett Photography

It started while our home was in flames, together with Paul’s (my husband’s) sister and brother-in-law scooping up us from the side of the road and welcoming us into their home, where we remained six weeks, catching our breath and planning the next step.

Very early, I called one of those pastors, who declared the fire in church. A buddy was given checks and money for us, there on the spot. Friends from college assembled another day to strategize our immediate, midterm and long-term demands. Our house was smoking when a local business was established as a drop-off place for donations.

Paul’s coworkers helped set up an account at our credit union and were collecting donations the following day. Many continued to watch out for us over the long year of rebuilding.

Neighbors, some we barely knew, stopped and handed us money or provided furniture, clothing, even a place to stay.

Friends and family at a distance called, sent care packages and wrote wonderful, adoring cards and mails.

Sandi Gunnett Photography

I asked Paul, more than once, “Does anybody understand we’re well insured? That we’ve got savings?” I didn’t have any idea how slow and hard insurance would be how fast we would go through our economies. It was embarrassing being the focus of much attention and, as strange as it sounds, I found overwhelming generosity — at times — simply overwhelming.

Here’s What Happens, and What You Can Do

Perhaps you have friends who lost their house in Colorado Springs, or one of those other regions affected by wildfires. If that’s the case, you might be longing to do some thing, and I’d really like to offer a couple suggestions.

Sandi Gunnett Photography

Message, text or email them your love and concern. Crisis is so isolating, and hearing that others understand what’s happening and that they care is wonderful. However keep it simple: “I’m so sorry for the loss. I’m so glad you’re alive.” There is actuallyn’t much else to say.

Listen. Everybody is going to have a unique response to this terrible event. Following our passion it seemed I was constantly out of step with all the prescribed story. When folks believed I should despair, I was hopeful. When others assumed things were looking up, I had been tanking. Your buddy, that (in case Colorado Springs) is surrounded by many others going through this exact same catastrophe, will require someone to just listen to how it is for her or him.

Send a test. This is one of the most helpful things you can do. Your friends are going to be spending money every which way, and insurance can take a while to process, even if everything goes smoothly.

Sandi Gunnett Photography

Send a gift certificate. Everybody in our household is a reader, so we have been given many gift certificates. Our books were one of the first things we wanted to replace. You can send a certificate to a favorite restaurant or a grocery shop.

Give clothes or home things. Be really thoughtful here. If they have been insured, your buddies will be given with all the family basics and might not be prepared to sort through a lot of stuff.

Make a meal or bring groceries. Your buddies are probably exhausted and struggling on many levels. Even if they are staying with people briefly, this could aid their hosts.

Sandi Gunnett Photography

If you are local, run a needed errand. Once I went on my very first shopping trip after the flame to obtain a pair of sandals, my regional mall didn’t have the style I wanted, but the mall on the opposite side of town. I was not able to take the opportunity to drive that way, but a friend discovered, purchased them and sent them right to me. It meant a lot better.

Concentrate on the kids. If kids are involved, it is complicated. Losing everything is particularly devastating for these; their belongings mean so much better. If you can, figure out a game or toy a kid is missing especially and get him or her immediately. You will have done a great thing for the entire family.

Consider taking the long term. The procedure after a flame is extended. You might choose to check in during the rebuild and do any of the above a couple of months down the road when they might require it most.

Sandi Gunnett Photography

Do you have friends who had to flee, but their home lived? They’ve been through a terrible ordeal also and are likely feeling wrecked. Pick anything on the listing and I’m positive it will greatly appreciated.

Don’t know anybody personally, but wish to help?

The American Red Cross Disaster Relief does good work. They help people in crisis undergo the first 48 hours after a catastrophe with money for food, shelter and clothing. Find out more at redcross.org or even 1-800-RED-CROSS. Folks can also text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to create a $10 donation.

The Humane Society for the Pikes Peak Region took in hundreds of pets belonging to Colorado Springs evacuees and always needs assistance.

Sandi Gunnett Photography

When we watched our home for the very first time after the fire, I told Paul, “I never need to stop being grateful we lived. I don’t understand how things are going to go with insurance, I am aware that it may get stressful, but I never wish to get past gratitude.”

An argument may be made I did.

But once I think about the goodness of our community, the astounding kindness and overflowing generosity that surrounded and buoyed us I know I didn’t and I never will.

Photographs of the author’s home after the flame by Sandi Gunnett

More: Simple Acts — The Unsung Power of a Fantastic Neighbor

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Summer Living: How to Welcome Weekend Guests

Being a good host is something of a lost art. Assessing the roles of tour guide, innkeeper, cook and friend (while still managing to have fun yourself) could be challenging, to say the very least.

Make seeing family and friends feel at home, and ease the load on your own, this summer with a little extra preparation. Read on for a dozen methods to welcome guests, and also make weekend visits more fun.

Dreamy Whites

Supply a grab-and-go breakfast channel. Maintain fresh fruit, breakfast cereals and other essentials together on the counter for early risers. Give guests a fast kitchen tour the night before so they can get their morning coffee or tea without waiting for you.

If you would like to set an extra-special table or surprise that a birthday guest, then including a monogrammed mug along with a small arrangement of flowers is lovely and doesn’t require much extra effort.

Tim Cuppett Architects

Establish a casual tone. I’m not saying you should not clean up a bit before guests arrive, but keeping things near the typical state of things around the house will help guests at ease. Newspapers on the coffee table, flip flops piled from the door and music in the background set the stage for comfort.

Jennifer Grey Interiors Design & Color Specialist

Ask ahead about favorites and patterns. Check beforehand to see exactly what your weekend guests typically eat for breakfast, lunch, or if they have any particular food or drink requests or allergies. Picking up a couple of things especially for your guests is a nice touch and isn’t any problem — it just requires thinking ahead a bit.

Katerina Tana Design

Prep your front porch. It is the very first thing guests see, after all, so make sure it is well lit, freshly swept and equipped with fresh cushions and green plants.

Richard Bubnowski Design LLC

Stock bedrooms with essentials. Clean sheets and extra pillows are a no-brainer, but try adding a few of those extras to carry it to another level:
iPod dock with speakers
Small alarm clockVintage house or fashion magazinesAn electric tea kettleSmall basket with sample-size toiletriesLocal travel guide

Make young guests feel at home. Make the stay in a new location easier on small ones by creating their mattress fresh and inviting and stocking their room with some of your favourite childhood toys.

Be sure to request parents of young children beforehand if there is anything you can have ready for them borrowing a top chair from a friend, for example, signifies the grownups can pack lighter.

Witt Construction

Allow for downtime. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of overplanning actions for weekend guests. Possessing a few tentative outings or projects on the schedule can be helpful, but avoid the desire to fill every last minute. Most guests will really enjoy some blocks of unstructured time to unwind, talk, read, rest or perhaps venture out on their own.


Give guests a project in the kitchen. When dinnertime rolls around, don’t hesitate to have guests toss in with a few simple tasks in the kitchen. Ask them to pour the wine, then choose the songs, prep greens for a salad or set the table, and soon your visitors will be feeling right at home.

A Beach Cottage

Eat alfresco. Eating outside makes meals tastier, conversation livelier and individuals more relaxed. Even in the event that you don’t have an outdoor table, think about carrying your kitchen table out for the day. It will make for a memorable night.

Ellen Kennon Design

Offer old-school entertainment. Together with the oversaturation of high-tech gadgets in our lives these days, it can feel very refreshing (and even indulgent) to unplug for a day. Play board games or cards, perform on a significant mystery, read, speak, go for a stroll, ride bicycles or swim.


Leather Handled Market Tote – $39

Fill baskets with outing essentials. I love the idea of keeping baskets from the door, ready to go for excursions that are ordinary. You could have a beach basket with sunscreen, towels and spare sunglasses, or even a picnic basket with blankets, cutlery and unbreakable dishes. Just grab the proper tote and head out!

Frederick + Frederick Architects

Reconnect in the end of the day. Even if you and your customers part ways through the day, it can be nice to regroup and reunite together in the end of the day. Make a ritual of snacks and drinks to the backyard or on the porch and sharing stories from your day.

Inform us: How do you prepare for weekend guests? Have any fun activity ideas? Share them in the comments section!

Impress Your Guests: 8 Tips for Gracious Guest Rooms
Creating the Perfect Guest Room
Your Guest Bath: Creating Your Friends Feel Pampered

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Kitchen of the Week: Small

Past the great recipes, Kate Taylor’s adorable blog Cookie + Kate teaches the cook which determination and creativity are the keys to a meal that is fantastic. Although the kitchen at Taylor’s 500-square-foot Oklahoma apartment isn’t anything but fancy, a knack for cooking and a couple of well-chosen tools help her create the simple and tasty recipes to get her blog. Like utilizing planks to make cleanup easier with tips, Taylor offers wisdom for virtually any kitchen.


Hint: Do not be scared to leave your kitchen for snacks which involve a whole lot of prep. Since Taylor has limited counter space, she often moves to her dining area to place dishes together and picture them for her blog.

Q. What is your neighborhood like?
A. I reside at Central Oklahoma, at a good-sized school town named Norman, 30 minutes south of Oklahoma City. I live near campus, at a comfy neighborhood lined with historic Arts and Crafts–style homes and large trees. It is a nice area to go with my dog, Cookie.


Hint: Keep oils, drink supplies along with other kitchen things on trays for simple removal and cleanup. Taylor has all of the makings of a great cocktail on this adorable tray, which is picked up from the counter at a flash when she needs more room.

Q. How do you earn cooking in a small kitchen simpler?
A. My biggest challenge is finding adequate counter space, especially since I tend to make a major mess! I love to put my large, cheap cutting boards under prep bowls to help catch a few of my mess, and it definitely helps if I place dishes directly into the dishwasher rather than piling them into the sink.


Hint: Spice racks are lifesavers in small kitchens. Rather than letting these bottles pile up in drawers or shelves and take up precious space, put in a rack on the wall to keep them organized and at hand.

Q. What do you love about your kitchen?
A. I really like the pullout shelves for bulky pots and pans. In addition, I appreciate my spice shelves that are built-in.


Hint: Simple furniture with clean lines helps Taylor’s dining room feel bigger than it actually is. Choose furniture that’s easy to wash — especially if your table doubles as a prep station.

Q. Your go-to dish for a dinner party?
A. I don’t entertain a good deal, but once I do, I attempt to make something simple so I can relax and spend time with my guests. Homemade pizza is enjoyable. Provided that the dough is prepared in advance, the rest is simple. Drink ample beer and wine to it, and everyone’s happy.

Hint: Shade makes a difference in small spaces, and also a kitchen is no exception. Then work it, if you are cooking in a kitchen! Utilize a bold wall color to give it life.

Q. Just how large is your kitchen?
A. My kitchen is really small — smaller than it appears in the photographs. Fortunately, it has just enough cupboard space to hold all of my cooking equipment and photography props. My flat is over 500 square feet, but it feels really spacious thanks.


Hint: Fancy drawer dividers and dish racks aren’t always a choice in rental kitchens. Keep things organized storing them and by stacking like things.

Q. What is a Fantastic space-saving secret?
A. Well, I really don’t have one magical trick, but I like stacking mixing bowls since they take up less cabinet space. Additionally, storage containers that are rectangular take less space in the fridge up than ones.


Hint: Clear containers help make the most out of limited kitchen storage. Utilize Mason jars Weck canning jars or glass containers to store goods. This way you’ll know without needing to dig about in a pantry exactly what you’re catching.

Taylor’s intellect: Cord clutter is the bane of my existence, so I attempt to keep my cords under control using twist ties. I go through my kitchen at least one time annually and give away the equipment I am not using, and I try to just buy what I really, truly need … although that is coming from a girl who possesses a waffle iron along with an Ice Removal Services Little Rock cream maker.


Above, Cookie the dog watches Taylor whip up a noodle that is ancestral.

Q. Three kitchen necessities you use the most often?
A. I really like my Wusthof santoku knife, 10-inch cast iron pan and stacking glass mixing bowls.

Q. What exactly are three kitchen luxuries you really adore?
A. I am quite attached to my waffle maker, Ice Removal Services Dover cream maker and Le Creuset French ovens.


Q.: And last but not least — what exactly are you making in these pictures? It looks delicious!
A. I improvised a Southwest-style salad to your photo shoot, but it was so nicely that I might need to make a post of it. The salad consisted of mixed greens, red onions, fresh tomatillo salsa, toasted corn tortilla strips and lime-cilantro tahini dressing.

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Flat Roof

A flat roof is flat and has a minimum amount of slope to permit for drainage. Flat roofs have trouble bearing the burden of Commercial Snow Removal Boise, have been supported by ceiling joists and don’t have any rafters.

Hanrahan Meyers Architects

Flat roofs require a small slope to keep water from pooling, along with a waterproof membrane and extra flashing to keep them from leaking.

Feldman Architecture, Inc..

No pets or kids will tramp through this rooftop garden, made possible by the horizontal roof.

Bernard Andre Photography

A flat roof actually contrasts and showcases the landscape around it.

Dumican Mosey Architects

There are no eaves on this apartment roof. Roofs work best in ponds with rain. Though called”flat”, technically they need a slope of 1 inch each 8 feet.

Feldman Architecture, Inc..

Rooftop gardens give many energy efficiencies They shop rainwater in their foliage and also have sound-dampening and thermal properties.

Vanguard Studio Inc..

The reduced surface area of a horizontal roof restricts how much a home will heat up throughout the daytime, also reflects the sun’s beams.

Browse more horizontal roof photographs

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Backyard Bliss: Conjure a Worldwide Oasis Outdoors

Enjoy your lawn like you would like a hotel this summer. If you can not manage to get to Thailand or Spain, transform your backyard to bring those countries to you. A small backyard, patio, loggia, porch, balcony or deck could all take on an international appearance. Here are three ways.
Close your eyes, spin the planet and stop it with your finger. If it lands somewhere like Antarctica, spin again.Take out the photos from a favourite excursion and remember which components made you feel as if you were on vacation. Decide whether any of the outdoor spaces below hit your fancy and replicate what you like about these.

Supon Phornirunlit / Nude Decor

Designer Supon Phornirunlit looks for inspiration on his world travels. A Thai resort lobby’s reflecting pool inspired him to lose his high-maintenance plant set on his deck in Washington, D.C., and substitute it with a pool. He made a relaxing Far East air by amassing inexpensive umbrellas, chairs and elephants out of Pier 1 Imports and Ikea.

See the rest of this home

Artisan Books

The Moroccan exterior lifestyle is all about sun protection and relaxing. Rich local textiles bring softness and colour to sandy stucco and rattan.

Blasen Landscape Architecture

Earthy colours on the walls and under your feet produce a Tuscan foundation, whereas potted plants, especially citrus trees and blossoms, create an edible container garden. Insert a dining table and chairs and enjoy drinking Italian wine out.

Summerour Architects

There might not be a view of minarets beyond these arches, but the kilim cushions and rugs used during this second-story covered patio whisk visitors away to Turkey.

Leslie Hayes Interiors

Traditional Chinese garden stools in blue and white bring China into Philadelphia. Designer Leslie Hayes has cleverly grouped a trio of these together to form a foundation for a glass-top dining table.


Don’t forget to focus on lighting. There is no requirement to have a grand electric system installed; candlelight adds all of the ambience this resortlike lawn needs. If I had a lawn in this way, I would not ever have to travel everywhere.

Kikuchi + Kankel Design Group

Transport yourself to Kyoto by opting for Japanese fashion in your garden. While Japanese gardens seem to be minimal and easy, each rock, sculpture, plant and course was placed with fantastic care. These elements inspire calm meditation when you are sitting and looking out in the garden and provide a very specific experience when you are walking.

Tommy Chambers Interiors, Inc..

Tommy Chambers Interiors paid particular attention to the outdoor spaces surrounding a timeless California Mediterranean home. He imported bright colours, tropical plants and geometries found on Spain’s Mediterranean shore.

Elad Gonen

Deep blue and white will take you away to Mykonos, Greece.

Vanni Archive/Architectural Photography

If your home doesn’t have each the crisp white structures seen in the previous picture, add it through your furnishings to get a relaxed Greek island look.


Attain your French dreams by adding lavender oil, lavender fabrics and café furniture.

Space of the Week: The Supreme Breakfast Patio
Garden Tour: A Colorful Patio Blooms in Arizona

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Layout Calendar: May 3–24

Get inspired on a day trip to the hilltop Rockefeller Estate in Hudson Valley, New York, where you can see art by Picasso, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder and more in the underground art gallery. Also this month: Explore the sprawling grounds of this updated 1900s Glynallyn castle, learn how to build a backyard barnyard in town and much more.


EXHIBIT — May 4–July 6, 2012
Richard Avedon: Murals & Portraits
Gagosian Gallery, 522 W. 21st St., New York City

Known for his powerful and dynamic portraits, the photographer is the field of Richard Avedon: Murals and Portraits, which showcases his iconic murals depicting the cultural cultural and cultural years of 1969 to 1971. The controlling photography installation is developed on panels measuring 20 to 35 feet wide, with subjects such as Andy Warhol and the stars of The Factory (photograph ); the Chicago Seven, the political toxins charged with a conspiracy to incite riots during the 1968 Democratic convention; beat poet Allen Ginsberg and his extended family; and the Mission Council, a group of army and government officials that governed the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War.

The Gagosian Gallery collaborated with the Richard Avedon Foundation for the exhibit, tapping architect David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates to look the streamlined installation. The display design celebrates the craft of architectural choreography through a stunning spatial makeup: Four smaller rooms painted black are created through tiled walls.

Hours: Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.


FAIR — May 4–7, 2012
Frieze Art Fair
Randall’s Island Park, New York City

With the East River serving as a backdrop, Frieze New York will exhibit the work of more than 1,000 of the world’s leading modern artists for four days. The fair includes an outside shadow theater and a collaborative choral painting inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and young and old alike can participate in exhibits and discussions. There’ll be a lot of thought-provoking modern art to see and buy, and the festival itself is placed in a bespoke temporary structure designed by SO–IL architects that’s worth checking out. Bonus: The ferry trip over to Randall’s Island Park is included in the entrance price.

Hours: Friday and Saturday, 12–7 p.m.; Sunday and Monday, 12–6 p.m.
Price: Single day $40; discounts for seniors and students; 16 and younger freeTickets available online only


TOUR — May 5–Nov. 4, 2012
Kykuit: The Rockefeller Estate
381 N. Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, New York

Have a day trip out to Kykuit, a hilltop Hudson Valley landmark that was formerly home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Walk through the meticulously maintained rooms of this century-old six-story stone home, such as an impressive underground art gallery with works by Picasso, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore and lots of others. The estate also features a mentor barn with a group of classic automobiles and horse-drawn carriages. Pick from a menu of five tours. If the weather is fine, the panoramic views of the valley and also well-manicured gardens are particularly beautiful.

Hours: Visitors’ centre opens at 9 pm per day; shut Tuesdays
Price: $23–$40; $15–$30 for Historic Hudson Valley and National Trust members
Buy tickets online


SHOW HOUSE — May 3–31, 2012
Mansion in May Showhouse and Gardens
Morristown, New Jersey

Spring signs that it is time for show houses, and this season the Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center secured the historic Glynallyn castle nestled in what was formerly known as”Millionaire’s Row.” The sprawling 32,000-square-foot castle includes authentic English Tudor architecture and will exhibit the layout imaginations of 40 local interior designers, such as Canterbury Design, and 16 landscape architects, such as Susan Cohan. Come ready with comfortable walking shoes, since the mansion tour will take you through 66 rooms and 7.5 acres of terraced gardens. This year’s display home advantages the new Inpatient Hospice and Palliative Care Center.

Hours: Monday–Saturday, 10 Gamble –3 p.m.; Sunday, 11 Gamble –4 p.m.
Price: $30; seniors $25
Buy tickets online

Lola Nova

WORKSHOP — May 12, 2012
Urban Menagerie: The Way to Raise Food Animals in the City
Oakland, California

In case you’ve ever had the urge to raise your own meat or build your own backyard barnyard, combine SPUR, Kitchen Table Talks and 18 Reasons for a unique workshop and bicycle tour. Led by Esperanza Pallana of Pluck and Feather and Kitty Sharkey of Havenscourt Homestead, the day’s events include a bicycle tour visiting two houses where goats, hens, rabbits and other animals are raised at the garden. You will learn about the viability and legality of raising animals in cities, in addition to get advice on feeding, sheltering and slaughtering. Light snacks will be provided; make your own lunch.

Price: $35; 18 Reasons and SPUR members $25
Hours: 11 a.m.2 p.m.

More layout occasions: April 19–May 20, 2012, April 27–May 17, 2012

What’s on your calendar?Let us know in the Comments.

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Great Design Tree: Australian Tea Tree

I am not going to try to conceal the reverence and adoration I have to the Australian Tea Tree (Leptospermum laevigatum). Wind disregarded and architectural, these trees seem to be formed by hand rather than grown. They sweep wildly across the landscape, and no two trees are ever alike. Growing up in San Diego, I would climb these trees in my favorite beach, only later discovering the name. As it turns out, Australian Tea Trees create for beautiful landscape layout features in more than just my childhood shore.

Ms. Sadie

Botanical name: Leptospermum laevigatum
Common names: Australian Tea Tree, Coast Tea Tree
USDA zones: 9 to 11
Water necessity: Little to none
Light requirement:Total sun
Mature size: 10 to 30 feet tall and wide
Tolerances: Drought; thrives in coastal Problems

Distinguishing attributes. Australian Tea Tree is a showstopping specimen tree that exudes a casual and understated aesthetic. The flaky gray bark and twisting type of the tree’s back are identifiers of the tea tree and that which make it so unlike every other. The trunk and bark just become more sculptural with age.

Fine foliage and petite white flowers softly contrast the coarse back of the tree, creating a balanced juxtaposition. Flowering in spring, the tree creates a dazzling display of small, white flowers throughout the leaves and stalks.

Photograph by Stephen Bain through Wikimedia Commons

Deborah Cowder

How to utilize it. The picturesque appearance of the tea tree, highly ornamental and sculptural, makes it a specimen tree. Given room and time to mature, its limbs will only disperse and twist more, creating a living landscape sculpture and ideal shady landscape spot.

J Brew

Australian Tea Tree can also be trained as a windbreak, a backyard display or a covered walk — revealed here at Lotusland in Santa Barbara, California. Although this treatment of the tree prevents its branching structure from taking form, fine leaves and flowers will still blanket its branches. This usage requires labour.

Ms. Sadie

Planting notes. Native to coastal climates, tea trees flourish in well-drained, somewhat acidic soil. The tree is susceptible to root rot if the soil is too moist. Long term living and quick growing, Australian Tea Tree requires little extra care once established. If you allow it to grow out entirely, you are able to narrow regions to highlight its shape; it requires very little pruning.

More amazing layout trees:
Dove Tree | Bald Cypress | Chinese Witch Hazel | Japanese Maple | Manzanita
Persian Ironwood | Smoke Tree | Texas Mountain Laurel | Tree Aloe

Great layout flowers:
Ornamental Allium | Canna Lily | Catmint | Golden Creeping Jenny | Pacific Coast Iris
Plumbago | Red Kangaroo Paw | Sally Holmes Rose | Slipper Plant | Snake Flower

Great layout crops:

Euphorbia | Red-Leafed Mukdenia | Blue Chalk Sticks | Hens-and-Chicks
Redtwig Dogwood |Toyon

Great layout grasses:
Black Mondo Grass | Cape Rush | Feather Reed Grass | New Zealand Wind Grass

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5 Amazing Landscapes Across the U.S.

I’m going to have a trip across the continental U.S. from east to west, to look at some gorgeous outdoor spaces. From gardens in rural Maine into a contemporary roof deck overlooking the Pacific, these landscapes are certain to stun. Whether you are seeking to plant a perennial garden or bedeck your deck, stop a moment to pick up some lessons for your own backyard.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Pastoral Property at Maine

In rural Maine, a retired couple desired to remove the need to purge their present 2 acres of grass. The new design includes meadows, an orchard and colorful perennial gardens near the house.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

In the foreground, the landscape architect intended out more manicured elements: a diverse mix of perennial colors, shapes and textures, offering interest during three seasons. In the distance are views of Acadia National Park and Blue Hill Mountain.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Lesson from the backyard: Perennials supply a palette of colors, textures and shapes to work with, in addition to seasonal changes. Plants like irises add tall green spikes and blossom earlier in the season, while plants like lamb’s ear add soft silvery green texture closer to the floor for weeks. When developing a plant program do your homework. It is as easy as reading the tags.

Watch the rest of this property

Cottage Gardens at Virginia Wine Country

Two landscape architects made beautiful gardens at the Virginia countryside, a stone’s throw from the homes of former presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. The principal part of the yard is really a rectangle of grass surrounded by perennial borders.

They made this stairs from the driveway into the back entry out of stones located on the property.

Extensive border gardens on a hillside welcome those who come up the driveway.

Lesson from this backyard: working with a simple grassy rectangle, or tapis vert, surrounded by edge gardens is a very simple and striking method to style your yard. Verify the tags in your plants when you’re putting them so that they move from shortest to tallest from the border of the grass to the edge of the backyard.

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Windsor Firms

Sculpture Gardens to a Minnesota Lakefront

Once a tangled woodland, this expansive property takes advantage of the spaces and outside views, including among Lake Minnetonka.

Windsor Firms

Entertainment space and sculpture placement helped drive the plan, as did the spectacular trees that are present.

Windsor Firms

A cutting garden occupies this place between the main house and the swimming pool and tennis court.

Lesson from the backyard: Choose flowersyou’ll enjoy using in floral structures within the house.

Watch more of the property

Prideaux Design

A Desert Oasis at Arizona

This well-planned backyard contains a pool, an open fireplace, an outdoor kitchen, a dining area and a lot of room to socialize and lounge.

Prideaux Design

Fireplace illuminates the outdoor lounge on cold desert nights, which makes this room as comfortable as any indoor living room.

Prideaux Design

An outdoor dining and kitchen room imply that what is close at hand, and the homeowners may maximize the time they spend outdoors. Colours and materials continue from one area to the next, such as the piled stone, the tile and the pops of orange, red and bright blue.

Lesson from this terrace: Plan outside rooms just as you’d indoor rooms. Consider how they are arranged (for instance, the dining room near the barbeque), the stream between the scale, the joys of materials and the views each will have.

Watch more of the backyard

Joani Stewart-Georgi – Montana Ave. Interiors

Coastal California Roof Deck

Large lots are difficult to find at Marina del Ray, so citizens make the most of vertical space and roof decks.This expansive area enjoys views of the Pacific and supplies lots of room for soaking in sunlight and entertaining.

Joani Stewart-Georgi – Montana Ave. Interiors

An extensive outdoor kitchen means lots of parties and entertaining on the roof. Stacked stone creates continuity between the outside rooms.

Lesson from this space: Don’t overlook that outdoor furniture is more trendy and comfortable than ever. Do your homework and find durable and trendy pieces, in addition to fabrics, like Sunbrella, that can stand up to the weather.

Watch the rest of the home

Remember the Rooftop
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Novel to Know:'Living in a Nutshell'

Crammed into a teeny apartment, I can tell you firsthand that decorating a small home is a lot of work. Less space can feel overwhelming when your style isn’t exactly minimal, and it can be hard to unite form and functionality without everything becoming cluttered.

Blogger and Emmy Award–winning manufacturer Janet Lee faced the same Issue. Minimalism doesn’t exist in her language — Lee adopts colour, pattern and all of her cherished belongings. After residing in tiny New York apartments for years, she started compiling her hints to other small-space dwellers on her blog, Living in summary. Now her ingenious ideas are available in a book released March 27, 2012.

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

Living in a Nutshell, by Janet Lee – $25

What prompted your decision to write this book?
I was a sequential small-space nester for over a decade, fine-tuning storage and fashion solutions on the way. But when my Brooklyn apartment had two supplies and marketed in less than an afternoon in the midst of one of the toughest real estate markets in history, it confirmed that I had a style and point of view that others react to and like.

My apartment’d green living room walls, a chocolate-striped bathroom plus a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard wall in the kitchen. The specific same unit, still pristine in contractor-white paint, on another floor in the building was on the market for six months without an offer. I needed to get a rental quickly and find out a way to design it with items that would not damage the walls or windows or flooring. I wanted to record it and discuss the process, so the Living in a Nutshell site was born.

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

DIY wall socket coating hooks: Industrial C-clamps are a quick way to upgrade a simple wall shelf into a coat and purse rack. Opt for some in fun colors (or spray paint them) for extra style. This is a great solution for tenants, because it doesn’t require any possibly damaging nails or glue.

Where do you go for inspiration?
Fortunately, walking down the streets of New York City offers you inspiration around every corner. I walk everywhere and soda into stores of every ilk. I like taking a look at displays more than the merchandise itself, and hardware stores constantly challenge my imagination. I am always thinking of how I could repurpose a thing or hook or nail in a stylish way.

There are lots of international magazine stores in the city, and the staff doesn’t mind if you sit down with a massive pile. I love what they are performing in Australia and the U.K. that I love their fearless use of color and their mixture of high and low, new and old.

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

DIY pet-corner chalkboard label: Pet-food places have a tendency to take over a small space when they are forced out into the open. Keep items in check by labeling this area using a fun splash of chalkboard paint. A unique colour will brighten up the space and define your pet zone inside a larger space.

What is the smallest space you’ve ever lived in? How large is your home now?
The tiniest apartment was about 500 square feet, but a number of the tiny quarters I’ve lived in were shared spaces, so divide that square footage from half. My challenge has always been that I am none of those small-space dwellers using a minimal design perspective. I can not live within an all-white box with a single photograph and a vase. I adore my things round me, and I really like design and colour. I presently live in 720 square feet and only threw a party for 28 comfortably. So it’s an area that works, springs and moves with my needs and lifestyle.

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

DIY balloon colors: Make classic balloon colors in a jiffy with patterned twin extra-large fitted sheets. Leave the lower half of each sheet elastic edge on to make the balloon effect. Remove the upper edge adjustable, fold the sheet over a curtain rod and fuse the cloth together with iron-on webbing.

Hang the rod up and finish off the look with ribbon pinned to the top of the colour. Tying the ribbon ends together at different heights enables this sheet to function just like a real colour.

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

DIY built in wine rack: Take the fresh and contemporary appearance of open shelves and provide them a quirky spin by installing them in a zigzag pattern for wine storage. The end result is a fresh and distinctive built-in storage bit that frees up cabinet and shelving space from the kitchen.

What do you believe is the most important thing for a small-space owner or renter to keep in mind?
Do not take a size-ist attitude towards your distance. You do not have to decorate with small junior-sized furniture and accessories. You can go bold with colour and design. A small space includes a list of flaws, but if you discover a way to emphasize them as quirky design attributes, then guests will be so dazzled, they’ll forget you live in a box.

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

DIY pillows: Decorative pillows could make or break a living space or bedroom, but buying nice ones could get pricey. Instead of scouring the web for cheap pillows, try making a few of your own. Lee proposes looking for a set of linen placemats from a home collection you adore. Placemat dimensions are about the same as a decorative pillow, so no cutting or measuring is necessary. Look for placemats using a cloth backing, give two of them a quick whir together under your sewing machine and then fill with a pillow insert.

Before Photo

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

DIY secret: brightly colored stripes. How to receive your stripes right, with no bleeding color:

1. Paint the lighter colour for a base coating. Allow to dry completely, then use painter’s tape to mark off the stripes to the darker colour.

2. Before handling the stripes, do yet another layer of the lighter colour along the seams of the tape. This fills the gaps so the darker color will not bleed.

3. Wait for this coating to dry completely, then paint your stripes. Let dry again before pulling the tape off.

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

DIY secret: Hide that eyesore. No matter how perfect your apartment seems, there is always the inevitable unsightly attribute — it’s just like a law of nature. Instead of awkwardly sidestepping guests round your sink or refrigerator, produce a clever method to conceal it.

This apartment needed a refrigerator in the foyer. A collection of cute magnets and a graphic curtain immediately transformed it into an eye-pleasing addition to the apartment.

Living in a Nutshell: Posh and Portable Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces, by Janet Lee. Photography by Aimée Herring. Harper Design, An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers. Hardcover: $25.

More Books to Know:
The Happy Home Project
Salvage Secrets

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Contemporary Style at Idaho

There’s a fine line between a house that’s been designed to match with its own locale and one that veers off into theme territory. This may be especially true for homes located in resort towns like Sun Valley, Idaho.

Much to the relief of designers James Dolenc and Thomas Riker of all jamesthomas, the couple who commisioned this 12,000-square-foot residence was dead set on not using a Western-theme house. “But that didn’t mean we couldn’t reference the West without being literal about it,” says Riker. “We brought nature and a lot of pure elements into the plan, but in a more modern manner.”

Additionally they capitalized on the striking work of Ketchum, Idaho, architect Michael Blash of Michael Blash and Associates. “The architecture is indeed strong, and the views of Bald Mountain are magnificent,” says Riker. “Our aim with the insides was to be quiet and impartial, which we realized using a lot of earth tones.” But as these beautiful photographs illustrate, quiet and impartial does not translate into dull and neutral.

jamesthomas Interiors

The living room has a dramatic view of Bald Mountain, one of Sun Valley’s greatest ski destinations. Riker and Dolenc produced a small seating group by the bay window using two Holly Hunt seats and floor lamps from Boyd Lighting. “The seats are upholstered in a light blue wool, and there is a very subtle effect where you’re looking at them and the sky at the exact same time,” says Riker. A Troscan Leigh Chaise joins the two seating areas in the big 16-by-24-foot entertaining area and allows people to confront in either direction, or toward the wood-burning fireplace designed by Blash.

jamesthomas Interiors

Still another view of the living space highlights the versatility of the furniture choices. The Troscan Weekend Bench in the foreground has a timber table that slides and may be placed anywhere along the bench, or placed elsewhere in the room. The stools from Chista and coffee tables from Bradley Hughes are also easily transferred to accommodate guests.

“We kept the colours fairly neutral — beiges and browns — and made sure the furniture would be comfortable for a family that includes three children and a dog,” says Riker. The Donghia couch sits on a carpet from Tufenkian. The floors throughout the house are walnut.

jamesthomas Interiors

“We felt it was significant that when you walked into the house, you were presented using a mixture of contemporary and Western components,” says Riker. “We needed something that felt appropriate for Sun Valley and immediately conveyed this house is all about.” The designers had noticed artist Ashley Collins’ paintings at a gallery in Napa, California. Her work hangs above a games console by John Houshmand. All the pieces is individually handmade — this one is composed of an elm tree trunk that sits on a steel foundation.

The lattice light fixture has been designed by Blash to feel as if you’re walking though organic light. In addition, he chose the habit pivot glass doorway.

jamesthomas Interiors

An imposing spiral staircase joins the 3 levels of the home’s north wing. The reduced level of the wing includes a wine room and a home theater, while the entry level (shown in the last photograph ) includes a guest bedroom and a work out room. On the next floor, there is access to the major living spaces as well as the children’s bedrooms plus a powder room.

The south wing is entered on its lower level, in which there is a mudroom, the children’s playroom and a bathroom. The second floor comprises the wife’s office, a lanai and added entrance to the main living areas. The next level includes the master suite. This wing of the house is also serviced by an elevator.

The 20-foot hanging chandelier was designed from the Kirkland, Washington, firm Charles Loomis. Riker notes “it feels rustic but functions in a modern environment.” At the very base of the stairwell, the designers installed a water feature using a column of rock at its center. “It points up into the obelisk-shape light fixture so the contour of each one imitates the other.”

jamesthomas Interiors

The fireplace wall divides the living room from the family room (revealed in the next photograph ), and both spaces are available to the dining and kitchen locations. The white sculpture a part of the owners’ art set.

jamesthomas Interiors

The family room is a somewhat compact 12-by-16-foot area where everybody hangs out and watches television. The custom-made couch is covered in a wide-wool corduroy. Riker says that the Ellipse Chair from Modernica”provides a fun, poppy element. It’s a statement piece that stands by itself.” The glass piece on the huge ottoman from Doma Home Furnishings slides so you can push it away to put your feet up or deliver it close when it is holding food or beverages. The carpet is a wall-to-wall carpet that has been cut and jumped. “We do this a lot as it saves money when you need a very specific size,” says Riker.

jamesthomas Interiors

“The kitchen is very open, so it was significant that all work together and the colours and materials remained in the exact same household as the ones in the adjoining chambers,” says Riker. “We didn’t need you to be jarred as you seemed from room to room.” The large L-shape pub, which can be surrounded by pub stools from Berman Rosetti, includes a raised countertop so you can not see directly into the kitchen. “We had the White Beauty granite waterfall down the front so that it feels like a monolithic piece of rock,” notes Riker. “It’s very architectural and performs the feeling of the home’s environment and the mountains.”

The center island and backsplash have been performed in quieter tones of mocha granite so they would fade into the background a little. The cabinets will be the exact same mahogany that’s in the living space, yet to create a subtle distinction they had been stained slightly darker. The stainless steel hood has been custom developed for the oversize Wolf cooktop.

Beyond the kitchen, a step up and a twist to the ideal lead to an outdoor entertaining area. The floor is a Gaston beige limestone. Bamboo planters soften the rock wall.

jamesthomas Interiors

The owners needed to be able to host small and large gatherings in the dining room. Riker and Dolenc designed two square tables that seat , when pushed together as revealed here, eight. There’s an additional leaf that expands the dining table, which has been fabricated from the Chicago firm EuroCraft, so it can accommodate 12 people.

The seats are from Holly Hunt, and the custom light fixture is from Pagani Studio. An Atelier Credenza from Morlen Sinoway and candlesticks from Baker sit under art chosen by the owners. Knoll fabric drapes open to reveal views of the nearby foothills.

jamesthomas Interiors

“We constantly look at powder rooms as an chance to do something more fun and push the envelope just a little bit,” says Riker. A custom made concrete spout is surrounded with a floating walnut dressing table and marble backsplash. The sconces from Fuse Lighting are made up of a metal sword with black crystal beads that wrap around the bulbs. “It’s kind of sparkly and surprising, and we enjoyed how the rock and metal use everything else that’s going on in the house,” Riker explains. A glass top protects the dressing table from water damage.

jamesthomas Interiors

The designers wanted the guest room to feel like an all-inclusive hotel space. The desk from Niba Home is the perfect spot to use a laptop, but in addition, it serves as a vanity (the mirror is from Arteriors) and a nightstand. “The adjoining bathroom has a limestone floor called Seagrass, so we moved with a slight green and gold color scheme,” says Riker. The Berman Rosetti bed is on a platform that incorporates a bench. Crate and Barrel lamps flank the bed.

jamesthomas Interiors

The guest area’s en suite features wall tile from Walker Zanger that”provides a modern spin on a rustic part,” says Riker. “We designed the floating dressing table, the sconces and the walnut millwork to coordinate with the hotel-like surroundings of the bedroom. It feels a whole lot more habit than simply slapping a mirror up on the wall.” The sconces are from Boyd Lighting, the sink and taps are Lacava, and the tub is by Kohler.

jamesthomas Interiors

The hallway leading to the children’s bedrooms is awarded architectural interest with small built-in benches and markets that highlight the owners’ art set. The carpet is from Odegard. “I had been going through the sample rugs the showroom gifts in a striped arrangement,” explains Riker,”and that I loved the way they appeared, so I had them create a rug that mimicked the sample. I also like that it’s a more playful feel as it is outside the kids’ bedrooms.”

jamesthomas Interiors

The whole back wall of the master bedroom has been coated in a panelized Ultrasuede headboard that goes all of the way to the ceiling. “The bed feels like it is floating up to it,” says Riker. “The metal tables on each side of the bed are rather big, and we actually wanted to center the Baker lamps in the window. They are really more decorative, whereas the sconces are all for reading.” The owners enjoyed the expression of the bare floors and only wanted something underneath their feet once they got in and out of bed, so the designers used runners. “We do this a lot in bedrooms in which you don’t need a major rug since a lot of the floor is coated by the bed,” says Riker.

The Nankin Bench at the foot of the bed is by Christian Liaigre. The metal bedside tables and storage cubes are jamesthomas layouts that were fabricated, respectively, by Gentner Fabrication and EuroCraft, both in Chicago. The seating area in the foreground features the Stop Club Chair and Ottoman from John Hutton for Holly Hunt.

jamesthomas Interiors

It’s an overused expression, but there is no getting round the reality that this toilet is spalike. Architect Blash came up with the idea for its latticework ceiling, while Riker and Dolenc designed the dressing table and chose the finishes. “We love the striation in the classic vein-cut travertine floor,” says Riker. They also used big pieces on the wall to maintain the space feeling clean. “The sink is just one enormous concrete trough that has an earthy feel but is modern and modern, such as many other components throughout the house.” Stones include a textural element and have been placed around the perimeter of the whole toilet. Glass transoms provide ventilation for the walk in cupboard and the water cupboard.

jamesthomas Interiors

A patio off the master bathroom wraps round to a corner in which a Waterworks bath has a view of the nearby nature preserve. The light fixture is by jGoodDesign.

jamesthomas Interiors

The 200-square-foot dressing room is located off the master bathroom. The cabinets’ walnut end is the same as the one that’s used throughout the remainder of the house. Massive ottomans covered in Ultrasuede — a jamesthomas layout that has been fabricated by Eurocraft — provide a cozy spot to consider the”What should I wear today?” dilemma. The drum light fixture is from Stonegate Designs.

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