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.

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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
Browse more backyard ideabooks

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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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5' Smokin' Warm-Season Grasses

When last we talked of grasses, I shared some of my cool-season favorites. Today let’s talk about grasses that wake up in the second half of spring, when temperatures begin to grow and the soil starts to warm. These are known as warm-season grasses. They develop and bloom throughout summer’s warmth and frequently peak in fall. Many remain attractive through dormancy into winter, and all require little more than an early spring haircut before growth starts for maintenance.

Habitat Design

Popular miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis cultivars) is the grand dame of warm season grasses — so much that I locate people are more likely to know it by its botanical name than its common name (“maiden grass”). You’ll find a lot of varieties of miscanthus on the current market, but many are 4 to 6 feet tall, have a vase shape and blossom anytime from midsummer to fall. My favorite is the standby’Morning Light’ (zones 5 to 9), a vision in rather slim, flocked blades. This one blooms late or not at all, which makes it more a foliage plant, however, that is good in that Miscanthus sinensis, the parent species of all these grasses, has come under fire because a weedy, seedy invasive species in the past couple of decades. Experts question the cultivars’ capability to seed, however, the main point is: When it does not blossom, it won’t set seed. Miscanthus enjoys full sun.

A warm-season grass that is exploded in popularity lately is change grass (Panicum virgatum, zones 5 to 9). The species is pictured here along with its cultivar ‘Dallas Blues’. Switch grass is native to almost all of North America, save to the West Coast. Its grace as a foliage plant is surpassed only by its pretty pink blossoms, and this grass thrives in heat and drought. Most cultivars come in either blue, such as’Dallas Blues’ or popular’Heavy Metal’, or crimson, as in’Prairie Fire’ and’Shenandoah’. ‘Northwind’ is another blue cultivar of fantastic use to designers because of its striking vertical posture. All prefer sunlight.

Terra Nova® Nurseries, Inc

If you need a fabulous grass for shade, look no farther than Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, zones 5 to 9). Another newly popular group, these little grasses excel in shade, even reasonably dry shade. Forest grasses are inclined to be a bit chartreuse, and my favorite is’All Gold’ (shown here), that positively glows. These little men max out at about 11/2 feet tall and wide, and their obviously cascading habit makes them gorgeous for elevated beds and walls. They take their time getting settled in, but once they do, they will more than return your investment of time.

So many great grasses have just lately come into vogue, and one is muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris, zones 5 to 9). Muhly is another indigenous, calling the southeastern half of the United States home. This grass much prefers sunlight, inadequate soil and well-drained soil, which makes it a prime candidate for coastal planting. Its narrow blades are beautiful, but its misty pink-purple blooms in fall are its real claim to fame. White-flowered varieties may also be found in the marketplace today.

Last but certainly not least is a grass that deserves far more attention:’Karley Rose’ fountain grass (Pennisetum orientale‘Karley Rose,’ zones [5] 6 to 8). There aren’t many grasses I do not adore, but this could be my favorite. ‘Karley’ gets larger and beefier than your average fountain grass — about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It blooms in fuzzy pink early in the summer, with blossoms that fade into some buff pink. On top of that, it reblooms throughout the season, so it is an all-summer stunner. ‘Karley Rose’ needs full sun and dry soil to thrive, and good drainage is essential in the northern reaches of its scope.
Ornamental Grasses in the Landscape
Great Plant: New Zealand Wind Grass

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House Rule: Off With Your Shoes

In places like Japan, Austria and Sweden, entering a house with sneakers is a charm. However, those residing out of these countries know that not many guests are acquainted with or respect the shoes-off policy.

It is a challenging house rule to implement as on one hand, since the host, it must really be your house, your rules. But on the flip side, guests must be made to feel as comfortable as possible — and most of us know that not everybody is comfortable going shoeless.

Listed below are a couple methods to implement entryway shoe elimination with tact, frequently without ever having to say “Off with your shoes!”

CapeRace Cultural Adventures

Set the case. When guests see a person answering the door with stockinged toes, they have a tendency to follow the lead. If you’re entering your home with someone who’s unfamiliar with your shoes-off coverage, then you may want to mention that your house rule before they come to see.

According to the Emily Post Institute, it’s sensible to inform guests about your rule ahead of time so they bring slippers or indoor shoes together, stressing that “no one enjoys being told to take their shoes off if they are oblivious to do so.”

Designing Solutions

Children are a wonderful reason to require shoe elimination inside. According to a report by researchers at the University of Arizona, pedestrian shoes carry a fantastic chunk of these, at least 66 million cows. The study also discovered that not only do bacteria live longer on shoes than in other places, but germs on shoes transfers easily to tile floors.

Jennifer Grey Interiors Design & Color Specialist

Supply instant cues. House rules must be put out as quickly and clearly as possible. Make shoe elimination a knee-jerk response by placing a boot rack or shoe storage near the door. On the reverse side, requiring off shoes in the house means you have to offer a safe and clean walking coating for guests (so you can not whine about shoe or foot odor).

Connected Fair Trade Goods & Gifts

Handmade Fair Trade Woven African Knitting Basket – $55

Give options to going barefoot. Martha Stewart seemingly keeps a basket of footies by the front entrance of her house — a fantastic idea from the hostess with the mostess.

Nowali Cable Knit Moccasin – $26.95

Coaxing guests to get into barefoot in the summertime likely won’t be overly difficult, but during winter, a fantastic host must provide options to bare feet. All these cable-knit moccasins or a new pair of socks encourage shoe shedding.

The Emily Post Institute says that it’s “considerate to have several pairs of disposable, paper slippers by the door so that when they remove their shoes, and might also be unprepared to accomplish this, you have some thing for them to slip into.”

Alexander Johnson Photography

Bauhaus Custom Homes

Encourage barefoot play with splashes of color, buttery softness, plush textures and playful patterns.

Neiman Taber Architects

Provide a seat and storage. Entryway chairs or chairs are important in encouraging shoe removal. You do not have to go overboard…

TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design

…a simple chair or bench is going to do. However, no matter your entryway seat selection, make sure it’s cozy.


Make their toes nice and toasty. The floors of the eclectic ranch house in Portland are heated, which makes them warm and pleasant to walk on.

This West Oakland, California, industrial loft also includes heated floors, balmy enough for bare little feet and pudgy hands.

Nilima Home

Art-A-Peel Wall Wisdom Mahalo For Eliminating Your Shoes – 22823 – $17.99

Say the words. Additionally, it pays to be direct, either by stating your policy explicitly before or if they arrive, or simply by setting up a sign by the door.

Contemporary Rugs – EUR 220

Regardless of what your preference is in your home, in case your host request off shoes, please, because this beautiful entryway rug educates, maintain calm and continue — with either bare or stockinged feet.

Tell us : have you got a shoes-off policy in your residence? How do you implement it?

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