Month: July 2019

11 Popular Materials for Fireplace Surrounds

The fireplace has been the most prominent element at the home for centuries. In just about any configuration using a world of substances, it may be designed. From the height of the firebox opening, to the shape of the hearth, to incorporating mantels and light, the most distinguishing detail remains what we choose to pay it with. Take a look at some of the most popular substances that designers are utilizing.

Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers

Ledgestone. This sleek floor-to-ceiling fireplace is constructed from among the most popular substances currently in the marketplace. Little pieces of rock are applied vertically to look like miniature ledges, creating a soft contemporary feel.

Design idea: With no hearth and mantel, the firebox floats within the rock, almost like artwork.

Cary Bernstein Architect

Steel. An whole fireplace clad in steel has a commanding presence. The industrial feel goes hand in hand with minimalism for those who love the look.

Layout idea: Applying texture to this frequent material during manufacture ensures a unique visual thickness.

Synthesis Design Inc..

Concrete. A popular of eclectic and industrial designs, raw concrete is lasting and distinct. Aim for this hardy solution if you want to have an edgy, outside-the-box look.

Design idea: Utilizing exposed components to adhere the concrete panels to the fireplace adds a little detail which makes a significant difference.

Julia Ryan

Brick with hardwood. Exposed brick with surrounding millwork appears timeless and can be a fantastic way to update an old brick fireplace. The untouched brick adds a more textural contrast to some freshly painted mantel and surround.

Style tip: Forgo whitened or off-white; paint your fireplace surround a bold color and see that your room change from good to good.

Xstyles Bath + More

Tile. Is there anything more serene in relation to the fireplace at the base of the bathtub? Glass tile at a camel color transports this fireplace to a transitional style.

Design tip: The market above the fireplace serves as a fantastic place for vignettes, photographs and other accessories for ambience.

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

Metal. Edgy but old college, this firebox surrounded puts an old-world material in a more contemporary form.

Design tip: Mixing and matching finishes — like with the raw wood planking, metal fireplace and extremely lacquered furniture here — feels eclectic and spontaneous.

Peter A. Sellar – Architectural Photographer

Wood. Floor-to-ceiling millwork at a coffered design surrounds this fireplace in true classic style, updated with a trendy hue of gray.

Design tip: Placing a decorative layer of rock around the firebox opening in addition to on the hearth divides all of the vertical and horizontal lines of this wood moldings.

Alpha Design Group

Slab material. A totally segmented wall pattern in wood generates this transitional center fireplace. The surround is served as by A single piece of stone with a hole cut out for the firebox. Smooth lines provide casual elegance in this living space.

Design tip: Select slabs from a rock yard’s remnants (material left over from other projects) to finish your job at far lower cost.

Harrell Remodeling, Inc..

Fieldstone. This rustic family room includes a fireplace made from stone which look and feel like they were located in an adjacent field. The wood mantel and a raised hearth beg for family parties.

Design tip: Faux fieldstone is now available for those who are looking for a more budget-friendly alternative to this look.

Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers

Marble. The quintessential contemporary living room wouldn’t be complete without a dramatic all-white Carrara marble fireplace.

Design tip: Should you desire a touch more flair, the mill can book match your rock — which is, put all of the veins of the marble to form a layout.

Plaster. Common at the American Southwest, plaster (quite like a textured drywall) fireplace surrounds are traditional in layout but oh so cozy. I enjoy dining room fireplaces!

Design idea: Eliminating a protruding hearth onto a fireplace in the dining room can free up much-needed floor space.

More: See more fireplaces | 10 Ideas for a Fireplace Facelift

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20 Ways to Create a Chartreuse Splash in the Landscape

Gardeners know that chartreuse can be combined with nearly anything, and also the range of plant choices is growing each year. Below are some ways to utilize old favorites, new cultivars and bold accents to provide garden spaces additional flair.

Paintbox Garden

1. Go for impact with a wall. This low solitude wall repeats the vivid green of yellow pitcher plant (Sarracenia spp, zones 7 to 10) in this unusual water garden made by Thomas Hoblyn to get London’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Bright Green

2. Use distance. Low-growing chartreuse plants enliven a living wall, complementing the greenish blues of the glazed pottery in this terrace at Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco. I really like the way the cool greens pop against the red siding.

RW Anderson Homes

3. Paint your door. While most of us prefer to stick with traditional colors, a chartreuse entrance is enjoyable in the ideal setting. The door at this contemporary Seattle home would look great hung with chili pepper lights wrapped round garlands of ivy.

When to Paint Your Door Green

Paintbox Garden

4. Enliven foundation plantings. With its feathery appearance and finely cut foliage, Golden Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa‘Sutherland Gold’, zones 3 to 8) makes a fantastic choice for foundation plantings in colour, and it tolerates moist conditions.


5. Integrate art with plantings. The homeowners have hung a weather-resistant modern art bit onto a swimming pool enclosure wall and also utilized chartreuse pillows to select up its trendy disposition at this Oregon home. The subject is repeated by lime-colored shrubs in containers.

Paintbox Garden

6. Play with form. Bowles Golden Sedge (Carex elata‘Aurea’, zones 5 to 9) creates the golden tuft of hair in this Vermont backyard. With its slim, grasslike type, it creates a perfect contrast plant for large-leaf hosta or black cohosh (Cimicifuga ramosa‘Brunette’ or’Hillside Black Beauty’).

Exteriorscapes llc

7. Bring red into mixed plantings. Containers soda with contrast in this Seattle backyard. For maximum impact, pair red or burgundy coleus with golden sweet potato vine in bathtubs and blend in vivid pink annuals for extra punch.

Debora carl landscape design

8. Use plants that are small as ornamental objects. I love the simplicity of the tabletop centerpiece in San Diego. The low-growing sedum (Sedum rupestre‘Angelina’, zones 3 to 8) is extremely touchable, has yellow-green new growth and looks fantastic in this black terrazzo pot.

Paintbox Garden

9. Let the shade garden be a swirl of green. Hostas (zones 3 to 9) are easily split anytime from spring through autumn, so gardeners don’t have any excuse to not mix and match — frequently. Once you start adding, watch out: Hostas are slightly addictive, as the colour permutations are endless.

Rhodes Architecture + Light

10. Create a small space feel bigger. Repeated stains of chartreuse deliver a feeling of brightness to the narrow backyard, which might otherwise have felt cramped. Plants with variegated leaves, fine texture and wide forms help brighten up the setting, and the orange lily provides good contrast.

Paintbox Garden

11. Slopes can be amazing, too. That is’Aureola’ (Hakonechloa macro‘Aureola’, zones 5 to 9), named Perennial Plant of the Year in 2009. Here it’s been planted on a dishonest bank among violets, hostas, ferns and epimedium, and creates a gorgeous focal point as it spills down the slope.

Paintbox Garden

12. Cover the ground with bold shade. This mass planting of Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macro‘All Gold’, zones 6 to 9) really stands out, doesn’t have any variegation and is much more significantly yellowish than’Aureola’. In addition, it is acceptable for sun and looks amazing with dispersing annuals.

13. Repeat colour to draw the attention on points. Can you see the cow? I really like the way the chartreuse pathway plantings join with all the much bed and attract the attention on the sculpture. It is a harmonious composition that’s lively and enjoyable.

Paintbox Garden

14. Concentrate on small details. Some of the easiest perennials to grow, lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis, zones 3 to 7) creates whorls of delicate light green florets on airy stems in midseason that combine beautifully with pale lavender cranesbill.

Paintbox Garden

15. Purple makes a fantastic companion colour. Try developing ornamental onion (Allium spp) using spurge (Euphorbia spp) for cut flower arrangements. The colors clash attractively, and it works differently. Do not ask me how.

Paintbox Garden

16. Ensure children’s play arrangements wildly enjoyable. This playhouse in the Cleveland Botanical Garden has a chartreuse painted green roof that’s full of prairie plants — certainly eye catching.

OKB Architecture

17. Show your style. Another eye-catching structure that creates a statement, this Los Angeles construction is difficult to miss. Look closely in the exterior walls to see the colors of bright green utilized.

GM Construction, Inc..

18. Bring a sense of character to outdoor living rooms. Pale green accents on this daybed produce a soothing mood and combine well with wood walls and trim, bringing character a little closer to the comforts of home.


19. Produce a stylish terrace with all-weather cushions. Lightweight pillows in lime green aid anchor a seating area and tie in to the planters and surrounding plant. Offer your patio cushions a style redo using a mix of glowing greens.

Hursthouse Landscape Architects and Contractors

20. Cool down. Make a backyard retreat more inviting using subtle variations of green, and also place comfortable furniture in a place that permits comfort and comfort. When it’s hot, nothing stinks like green.

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New Classics: The Metropolitan Chair

The Metropolitan Chair by B&B Italia has been a hit with architects and interior designers since its release in 1996. The seat is sophisticated and modern, yet its pliers and curves capability tap into nostalgia for midcentury modern design. The base foundation takes up small visual space, making the seat appear to float. Its curved form puts all the components (armrests, seat, back) in harmony; it’s the pleasing symmetry of a Pringles potato chip.

This really is a versatile seat — I’ve seen a caramel model concealed in the recesses of a masculine man cave and an elegant white one at a glamorous, blinged-out feminine bedroom. It had been important to designer Jeffrey Bernett it look great from every angle, so it can be set in the midst of an open space. An optional ottoman increases comfort and looks fantastic shared between a set of Metropolitan Chairs. Check out these photographs to decide if there’s a place on your house screaming for this sophisticated seat.

Blue Desert Interiors

This seat has a very solid presence without consuming a huge chunk of visual space.

Design Within Reach

Metropolitan Chair and Ottoman | DWR – $3,895

It comes in several colors, in both leather and cloth. The ottoman is offered individually.

The chair is perched atop a sleek cushioned base. You can spin from viewing the game over for your buddies for some at-home commentating.

A set of seats looks smashing side by side or separated by a coffee table.

Kevin Bauman

The back of the seat has pleasingly simple curves. This means you don’t have to put this baby in a corner or up against a wall. Bernett was very careful to be sure the chair looks great from every angle, together with the armrests flowing into the chair and back.

Shannon Malone

Magnets hold the neck rest in place and allow it to be flexible.

ras-a, inc..

Claudia Leccacorvi

The seat and ottoman look slick in a minimalist bedroom.

In a room for 2, a set of Metropolitan Chairs creates a nice place for a few to drink coffee, browse or lay another day’s clothing on. However, since this seat is an investment bit, I’ll not permit everyone to let laundry pile up on it.

This room features not just the B&B Italia Metropolitan Chair from the living area, but also B&B Italia Solo Dining Chairs at the dining room table.

alene workman interior design, inc

Note how the Metropolitan’s base, the ottoman’s bottom and the dining table seat bases all coordinate in this space.

More: Have a Spin in a Swivel Chair

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Plan Your Residence Remodel: The Construction Phase

It has been some time since we last looked in on our ranch house renovation project. As most projects do any delay was experienced by us. The good thing is that we are now actively engaged in the building phase of the project.

We started building in earnest right after Labor Day 2012. In the weeks since then, we have seen quite a little progress. Our builder, Steve Perry of J.S. Perry & Co., has worked on many renovation projects in Florida’s gulf coast. Perry’s experience working in this coastal zone has been a boon in getting our project moving. Actually, his Indian Rocks beach bungalow renovation convinced homeowners Mike and Leann Rowe and me that Perry was the builder we had.

Watch Part 1 of the renovation project

Before Photo

AIA, Bud Dietrich

The day that I anticipate in any renovation project is that the day that the Dumpster shows up. Demolition activities can not be too far behind using the Dumpster in place. Our builder made sure to line the region underneath with plywood to help distribute the weight, preventing damage to the driveway pavers. If you’re considering doing a renovation, be sure that you know where your builder is putting the Dumpster (in addition to portable toilets). The more you know up front, the less surprised you are going to be when the work occurs.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Before we could begin building, we had to naturally get a building permit. The single largest issue that we have to deal with in coastal Florida, and much of the eastern seaboard, is still hurricanes. With high wind speeds, wind-driven debris and storm strikes, the impact that a hurricane could have on a building’s layout is very significant. In fact, if we were constructing a new residence in lieu of renovating an existing one, then we would have to raise the house on stilts to accommodate the inevitable flood that hurricanes cause.

11 Ways to Hurricane Proof Your House | 4 Matters a Hurricane Teaches You About Design

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Therefore the drawings used to receive our permit include details on how the structural components of the building will defy hurricane-force winds and wind-driven debris. The ways in which windows are anchored and the relations between components all have to be precisely detailed and spelled out.

Before Photo

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Perry’s team has indicated the areas to be eliminated. We always like doing a walk-through with the builder only before demolition starts so that all of us have a excellent understanding of what’s going to be eliminated and what’s going to remain, as well as everything will get stored and reused. Even though the drawings can be quite clear about all of this, nothing replaces a walk-through.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

1 task that had to be taken care of ancient was getting rid of all of the overgrown trees and bushes that surrounded the house. Sometimes trees and bushes could be saved and replanted, occasionally not. So it’s important to have a survey using a landscape architect or arborist before starting the project.

Before Photo

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Just about the first real bit of demolition work was removing the fast-food-restaurant-style storefront in the back of the house. Watch exactly what it looked like before here). The majority of the building work is going to be along this back wall, in which new glass doors and windows will replace the old storefront.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Nothing blocked the view of the intercoastal waterway when the storefront was eliminated. However, the low ceiling and deep beam actually didn’t provide us the view we wanted.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Altering the roofline and increasing the ceiling to catch this view was not something Mike and Leann originally conceived when they started the project, but using that grand view of blue skies and water, there’s no doubt that the excess expense will be worth it.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Soon we will have the big sliding-glass doors and windows installed, and the house will return to become weathertight so we are able to concentrate on the interior.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Something I truly enjoy is working with the builder to solve details in the field. We end up with details sketched on a piece of timber or something else. While this kind of sketch is not as probably needed when constructing a new residence, I find it to be standard operating procedure for renovation projects. There are simply too many unknowns to own that which completely resolved before the beginning of construction.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

We have also started to develop landscaping plans. Mike and Leann have engaged Ted Michel, a local landscape architect. Michel and I have started working on the deck layout, and he’s made a few recommendations on Mike and Leann about plantings. It is really nice when the owners, architect and landscape architect put their minds together to think of a program.

Next: The interior renovation has underway

Start in the start: Component 1 of the Renovation Diary

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Home Tech: There Is an Easier

Home automation has been around for years, but the programs are expensive and hard to set up and use.

They need an integration builder, and also then, installation frequently causes a complex, confusing system which either does not work directly or that nobody can work out how to utilize. These programs also generally charge thousands of dollars or for fancy systems, thousands of thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Why so complicated and expensive? As there are so many components that go into a house automation program. First you have to decide what things to control: home entertainment, security, heating and cooling appliances and lighting. Then you have to decide on a platform. Decisions have to be made about what the interfaces will be — including remote controls, touch tablets or proprietary keypads — and what the connectivity is going to be, like wireless, wired or a mix. And finally, everything has to be connected and programmed with some nontrivial, custom-written applications.

Of course, expensive and complicated custom-installed house automation systems will always exist. Nevertheless, the future promises a lot better: simple, inexpensive home automation products to the masses.


The Nest Learning Thermostat

Clunky, proprietary and complicated home automation solutions will be superseded during the next few years by low-cost, smart, easy-to-use and programmable goods.

Instead of needing custom programming, programs will learn. Instead of utilizing proprietary user interfaces such as keypads or special tablets, they will rather use smart-phone programs and voice commands. They will use standard link interfaces, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

And rather than a smart core commanding dumb appliances by a centralized computer hub, the devices themselves will have all the intelligence they need, thus eliminating the need for a hub.

An excellent first illustration of the future of all home automation is your Nest thermostat. Nest installs in your wall just like any additional thermostat (although it looks way cooler) but uses sensors, algorithms, machine learning and cloud computing to determine what you want. It looks at the time, the temperature, the day of the week along with other factors. It notices what time you get up, go to work and come home, what temperature you would like and when you prefer it.

It’s smart configurations for when you are away. And you can override the automatic controls with an app on your phone.

If Nest supported voice command, it might be an ideal illustration of what’s coming for the whole future of home automation. One by one, home entertainment systems, washer-dryers, heaters, air heaters, lighting, colors and much more will become available with intellect, accurate automation, wireless connectivity and mobile phone control.

The whole home automation scene will evolve from being a technical pursuit to being a capability which accompanies the electrically powered materials you buy for your home.

WeMo Home Electronics Controllers – $49.99

Yes someday everything electrical will also have a digital mind and a wireless link, controllable from your cell phone. And do not think the consumer electronics business will wait for the appliances and home entertainment market.

A firm called Belkin, which creates a variety of small, inexpensive electronics accessories, recently announced a line of home automation products beneath the WeMo brand. In a nutshell, WeMo products comprise all the electronics which appliances of the future is going to have. They feature tiny computers and motion sensors, and have wireless connectivity. You plug them in to outlets, then plug in lamps, audio players etc. into the WeMo unit.

All the WeMo goods do is turn things on or off. But this can happen from motion, on a timer or controlled in the cell phone.

You can also use a favorite online service called IFTTT (which stands for “if this then that”), which enables you to get creative with control. As an example, you can use it to turn on your TV if CNN’s Twitter feed uses the words “breaking news” or have a thousand other imaginative customizations that can incorporate “occasions” on Facebook, email, the phone, weather programs and others.

Best of all, it is inexpensive and simple to use. As soon as you’ve paid for your hardware — every connected wall plug is roughly $50, and every motion-sensor ones is roughly $100 — you are finished paying. The program and the IFTTT service are all free, and no contractor, service provider or programmer is needed.

SmartThings Bundle – $174

A little company called SmartThings is raising cash on Kickstarter.

The SmartThings product line includes an program, a heart, a cloud assistance, a development environment (for software makers to create applications) and most interestingly, a “maker’s toolkit” that enables engineering-minded folks to “hack” their apparatus, connecting a wireless smart chip to everyday things which were never designed to be controllable by phone.

Inevitably, some hobbyists will use the toolkit to personalize their own appliances. However, others are going to use it to invent goods, which can be marketed to other SmartThings customers.

The organization plans to market a vast selection of sensors, such as motion sensors, moisture sensors and so forth, which can be employed by the system to determine what’s happening and empower a specific action. By way of example, a very simple sensor on the door combined with motion sensors can tell the system nobody is home, tripping a shutoff of all lights and cooling and heating appliances, and setting the security alarm.

Ubi – $189

Another Kickstarter project, the Ubi, is a very simple box that plugs directly into a socket. It is an Internet-connected minicomputer that listens for voice commands. By plugging these into many rooms in your house, you can control home appliances, send email and perform Internet searches by simply talking.

Like the inventors of SmartThings, the creators of Ubi intend to create a “platform” upon which other companies can invent and build features and functions.

And, needless to say, that the Ubi is going to be usable with SmartThings devices, enabling voice command management of appliances connected to the SmartThings system.

More: Switch On the Phone-Controlled Home

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Cool-Season Vegetables: How To Grow Collards

Collards, or collard greens are a staple of Southern cooking known for the sweetness that they create after the first light frosts, making them ideal for a fall and winter garden. What most people don’t see is that collards can also handle warmth, not bolting such as spinach does, so it is possible to plant this green for a summer harvest as well.

Collard greens don’t form cabbage-like heads. Instead, the loose leaves form a ring, or rosette, much like kale does. They taste a bit like kale as well, although there are indications of cabbage in there also. They can be braised on their own, boiled with salt pork or ham and black-eyed or split peas, added to soups, or cooked like spinach or cabbage.

More: The way to grow cool-season veggies

When to plant: In cold-winter climates, set out plants in spring or late summer, or sow seeds in late summer (it develops best in autumn). In mild-winter climates, either sow seeds or put out plants in spring and again in late summer for a fall and winter crop.

Days to maturity: 50 to 85

Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Water requirement: Regular to mild

Favorites: Champion, Georgia Southern Flash, Vates

Planting and maintenance: Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart; place crops 1 to 2 ft apart. Thin seedlings to the exact same space (use the thinnings in a stir-fry). The soil should be fertile and well drained. Do not plant in which you’ve planted other cabbage relatives in the previous couple of decades.

Maintain the soil weed free. Water less than you would for additional cabbage relatives to avoid the plant from growing too tall. Maintain your watering schedule consistent, however, to whiten the greens.

Collards are much less susceptible to problems than other cabbage relatives, but keep an eye out for aphids, cabbage loopers, cabbage works and harlequin bugs. Damping off can be an issue.

Harvest: Cut off the lower leaves and depart the middle of the plant after 40 to 50 times to lengthen the crop. You are able to eliminate the entire plant at once as well.

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Display Your Resourceful Side With Vintage Coastal Style

Soft pastels, bleached wood, faded linens, gauzy muslins, found objects and distressed paint finishes specify the classic coastal appearance. This fashion is resourceful — nothing is lost. Instead, new ways are found to use worn or mismatched items. An old piece of rope can be reused as a tieback, as a trim around a table or to hang a painting.

Most significant, this appearance should not feel contrived. There’s beauty in imperfection, and the allure of timeworn objects is a lasting one. Vintage coastal style looks best when it evolves — the things you find and collect over time will look kitsch.

Woodmeister Master Builders

Window Treatments

Believe muslin, voile or gentle linen for your own window treatments. Old sheets, whether cotton or linen, can make great curtains. Add a DIY shell trimming for a more defined coastal appearance.

Muslin is actually affordable, so use loads of it to find the soft, opulent look which works so well in a classic coastal home.

Woodmeister Master Builders

It’s simple to find this look even in the event that you can’t sew. Get the local fabric shop to cut muslin or voile to the lengths you want. Add an excess half meter over the length so that it puddles on the ground. Clip some curtain rings on the surface of your cloth lengths at regular intervals and attach them to your curtain rod — or maybe use an old oar for a rod instead.

Darci Goodman Design


Shades need to stay soft with this classic look — cream, white, soft corals, aquas and gentle blues work superbly with this particular style. Consider keeping everything one colour for a fresh texture. By accessorizing with bursts that are bright or go for more of an eclectic appearance.

Bosworth Hoedemaker


Adding colour with striped bed linens, cushions and a throw generates a different classic feel. In this case, the appearance is more fisherman’s cabin than beach shack.

Kelley & Company Home

Furniture and Accessories

Painted furniture is perfect for the classic coastal appearance. Modern pine chests, tables and desks often need just a quick coat of paint to fit to a coastal house.

Glass jars like these are perfect for a group of beach shells. I use glass vases for my set of sea glass and mussel shells.

Hint: Give your piece a couple of coats of paint. Try using a darker shade first, then a lighter color, and gently sand the edges for a distressed look.

Rough Linen

Vintage coastal style is all about shooting found items and turning them into something different. What a fantastic idea for a headboard! Start looking for pieces of old pallets washed up on the shore or a single piece of driftwood you could use for a shelf. When you are fed up with it, turn it into something different.

A Beach Cottage

Take something really simple, like this deck chair, and bring it into your house for an instant and unexpected beach vibe. Some of my favourite items to use in a classic coastal house are hurricane lamps — there are lots of different ones available, but with this appearance I like those with silver frames.

Molly Frey Design


A big part of the classic coastal appearance is all about making things look like they’ve been around forever. Using architectural moldings and paneling, such as tongue and groove, board and batten or just wide boards, you may create interesting features in an otherwise characterless room.

Hint: Fix 2-by-4 foot lengths of timber to your ceiling in intervals. To make them seem older, I like to have the edges chamfered, or you can resolve a round bead molding (available at many wood or craft stores) to the borders. Line the remaining ceiling with groove and tongue or wide boards. Paint all of it, including the walls, in soft whites.

Zhush LLC

Do not be fearful of painted floors! There are some wonderful hard-wearing floor paints available. And if you are using white, which really does look beautiful, these paints won’t yellow.

Liz Williams Interiors

Wall Art

Use Engineered wood to make easy frames to your beach finds. You could be fortunate enough to find some wood that’s been washed up on the beach, but should not, make use of scrap wood from the local lumber yard.

Hint: Try painting the frames using a dragging technique. Have plenty of paper towels ready and paint the wood a section at a time. As you paint every segment, use another brush to drag off the paint. Wipe the excess paint off on the paper towels.

This technique is generally used with a darker paint beneath a milder one, but it looks great with just one color over the bare wood.

Kelley & Company Home

Weather-worn signs actually embrace the classic coastal appearance. Keep a look out at auctions or secondhand shops, or make your own using pieces of old wood.

Vintage coastal is about an eclectic mix of items and styles. These old ice cream–making buckets are made into lamps — a great case of upcycling.

Pottery Barn

Weathered Painted Oars – $29

Think outside the box when it comes to decorating your walls. Different, quirky items may look really great grouped together as part of a collection.

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Get It Done: Organize the Toilet for Well-Earned Bliss

This weekend we’re going to jump into a space which can be wholly organized in a couple of hours: the toilet. This project will satisfy those who prefer to jump from room to room as well those who prefer to finish one room all at one time.

We’re going to strike all those drawers, medicine cabinets and loose baskets floating in your own bathroom. Even the most well-organized neatnik probably has a couple of ancient resort shampoo bottle samples or drugs out of several years back still floating about. After all, these drawers can be long and deep, and are often quite full of things.

Wear your comfy shoes and your cleaning clothing, and let’s go for this toilet.

De Meza + Architecture


Don’t let this picture make you feel too terrible — it was staged for a show house. It will provide great inspiration though; I especially like the glowing yellow drawer interiors.

Note: Beware of using pretty ceramic boxes, planters or bowls to keep your bits and bobs organized. They often chip and break due to knocking into one another each time you open and shut the drawer. If you are simply dying to use them, you can glue the bowls and small trays to the base of the drawer.

AMI Designs

I love a clean counter top. It makes your bathroom seem bigger and makes it a more relaxing spot to invest some time in. That is our objective.

Michelle Hinckley

Organize Your Bathroom Products

Approximate time:
You to 3 hours; it actually depends upon how big your toilet is and just how much stuff you have

Materials required:
• Wastebasket
• Recycling box
• Donation box
• Container for old drugs
• A few boxes or baskets for organizing the items which you’ll be keeping
• Cleaning wipes
• Drawer organizers (optional)
• Contact newspaper (optional)

Hint: Take a before shot of the messiest drawer or cupboard so that you can feel extra fulfilled when this is all over.

Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

We’re going to start little to get some confidence going. Head for the shower and eliminate any item that is used less than once every week. Every person should require only one sort of shampoo and conditioner (better yet, use the same manufacturer), soap or bodywash, razor and maybe a facial cleanser and shaving lotion.

Get this deep-conditioning hair remedy and mud mask from there. You may keep one exfoliator. Odds are, that loofah issue is encouraging its ecosystem. Toss it.

Throw everything that you will use within the next few months but less than a week at the “store” basket.

Pat yourself on the back; you’ve already finished an organizing job.


Eliminate all of the goods and other items in your drawers, baskets and cabinets and on shelves. Odds are, there’s a mud mask you got at a swag bag in a party five years back, a rusty razor, expired sunscreen (that is harmful; yours actually got a serious burn thanks to a old SPF 30 that had lost its electricity this summer), a crusty old bottle of cream and old drugs.


Give all the drawers and shelves a good wipe-down. Insert contact paper or skidproof liner if you prefer.


This is the largest aspect of the task. You wish to group like items together. A few tips:

1. Everyday items. Group that the items that you use daily. Including your moisturizer, cosmetics, face lotion, shaving items and whatever else is within your daily routine. You will want to keep these close at hand. As a consequence, that you should designate a drawer, a basket, or perhaps a box with a lid in reach of this mirror.

House & Hold

Harry Allen Pill Box 8 – $18

2. Medications. If you are utilized to taking vitamins and medications as part of your morning or evening routine, locate a handy spot for them in here. I highly recommend a days-of-the-week pillbox; I never believed I’d need one but now I can not live without it. Keep it in a place protected from small ones.

A note about old drugs: Just tossing them in the trash or flushing them is not always prudent; check the FDA’s updates on the best way to dispose of them property. Most physicians will accept the bottles for recycling.

The Furniture Guild

3. Hair products and appliances. Should you use a good deal of tools to your hair on a daily basis, you’ll want those within an easy-to-find spot, in addition to a means to manage their strings. Among the most recent trends has been rectified from salons: custom cabinets which hold hair appliances and also have a place to plug them in. We will not be accomplishing this now, but it’s something to consider for your dream-house wish list.

Atypical Type A

4. The remainder. I like to group similar items together as you see: first aid items; dental-related goods; over-the-counter drugs; cosmetics; hair-related items; glasses, contacts and saline; toilet cleaning products; cotton balls, cotton swabs, facial wipes and toner; kid-related materials; beach-related stuff … you get the idea.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Put Everything Off

Now that you have everything sorted, how you keep it organized is dependent upon the size of your toilet, the storage you have and what you like.

In a bathroom with a pedestal sink and not much storage space, maintain a tidy shelf of things you need in the sink, like soap, and a pretty basket to corral everyday items. You might also want to put money into a mirrored medicine cabinet to store your toothpaste and toothbrush, hairbrush and other items.

I like to use small baskets to around up cleaning supplies, washcloths, lotions and all of the other items mentioned. I use a cute enamel bucket bathside for the items I’d like to have about during a boil. You would be amazed how great some of the smaller items seem in mason jars; I use them to corral soaps, cotton swabs and cotton balls and create a cute arrangement of them in my medicine cabinet.

Design Solutions

MagnaPods Makeup Organizers

Insert Storage Capacity

Once you set things away, you’ll realize immediately if your storage area is lacking. Think about where you might have some wasted space, like the back of a door (watch the shoe organizer employed for goods in a previous photo), the inside of a medicine cupboard door, some floor area (for baskets) or over the commode, where you might fit a rack.

Geneva Cabinet Company, LLC

The backs of cupboard doors can benefit from storage racks.


simplehuman Triple Shower Dispenser – $69.50

You may be prepared to take the shower dispenser leap. A good deal of people I know swear by these things, especially for households; you wind up taking smaller dollops of shampoo, conditioner and body wash than you would from the bottle (did you realize that you really need only about a quarter-size dollop of shampoo?) . They also tame those unwieldy megabottles you drag home from Costco.

Bed Bath & Beyond

Roll-Out Under-Sink Drawer – $74.99

Reaching the rear of a bottom vanity cupboard can be just like an archeological dig occasionally. A rolling cupboard makes the most of the space to both sides of your sink pipes.


Neatnix Finishing Tray, 2-Section Clear Cosmetics Stax – $11.49

In case your drawers make it impossible to locate anything, invest in certain organizers. You do not need to buy a glamorous Lucite one; you can create your own by cutting up cardboard box bottoms (like cereal boxes) or arranging tin lids from jars.

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS

I love this organizer, since it makes keeping the drawer tidy a pleasure. It can also display jewelry or office supplies beautifully.


Wall-Mount Flat Iron and Hair Dryer Holder – $12.99

You might have to create use of a blank wall, whether with racks for certain appliances …

… or with some catchall baskets, open shelves or an excess medication cabinet. If you go for the baskets, then hang them in a perfectly coordinated arrangement. This will make them seem less cluttered.

Reward Yourself

Evaluate your before picture for your beautifully organized accomplishment. Now that you know where your fancy bath salts are, fill up the tub and have a nice long soak.

Prove us Share your best toilet organizing trick at the Comments section below!

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Stunning Sunroom Ideas to Light Up Your Home

Probably the one thing that we all look forward to enjoying during summer is the feeling of the sun’s warmth and radiance on our skin, which means getting outdoors to the park and the beach as much as possible. What’s even better is being able to enjoy the long summer days from the indoors as well, by incorporating a window repair into your home’s design as a space where you can enjoy a good book or an afternoon siesta while soaking up the sunlight.

Below are our top picks of stunning sunroom décor ideas to take inspiration from this summer:

Comfortable Seating

The best part about decorating a window replacement is the fact that you can incorporate a lot of comfortable furniture that you wouldn’t typically use in an outdoor space. Think upholstered seats, lavish summer throws and vibrant cushions, as well as uniquely designed nature-inspired coffee tables that take the indoor-outdoor living theme to the next level. You can even install a few electrical outlets so that you can use the sunroom as an additional living room or workspace whenever the weather is nice out.


There are ways to diversify your sunroom so that it can be used interchangeably as a living and dining space all year round. For example, you can customize it with simple additions such as a ceiling fan to cool the space during the summer, or an indoor fireplace to warm things up in winter. If your space is big enough, you can also split the sunroom into an open plan dining and living space at once.


Sunrooms are designed with wall to ceiling glass windows for the purpose of fully allowing you to feel as though you’re outdoors while protecting you from the harsh effects of the elements. However, the full visibility created by this design can also limit your privacy, which is where curtains and blinds come in. Apart from shielding you from complete visibility, shades and blinds can also protect you from direct sun exposure, especially on hot days.


The direction in which you choose to place your window installation depends on a variety of factors including how you’ll be using the space and the area you live in. Generally speaking, north-facing sunrooms typically enjoy partial sun exposure which prevents overheating; south-facing sunrooms get ample sunlight throughout the day; eastern sunrooms get plenty of sunlight in the morning and shade for the rest of the day and evening; whereas western sunrooms start out with shady mornings and end with brilliant sunsets.

Window Wisdom

It’s important to pick the right kind of material for the windows that you install in your sunroom. Experts often recommend Low-E glass which has a coating of metallic oxide that acts as a sunscreen for the room. Tempered glass and double glazed glass are also widely used for sunrooms.

Upgrade to a Solarium

Accentuate the indoor-outdoor living theme of a window cleaning by incorporating plenty of green plants and trees.

Little Solar: Big Home Tech Trend in the Creating

As soon as we think about the energy we need to power our houses, we tend to think large. Big dams. Big nuclear power plants. Big wind turbines. Even if we speak about creating solar power, we’re still thinking large, as in large arrays of solar panels onto the roof.

However, I believe the biggest trend in house energy will be little solar. Instead of a single house electricity plant juicing everything, our devices and appliances will increasingly draw their own electricity directly from sunlight, in tandem with large solar power production and other alternative energy approaches coming on line.

How do I know? Because this is what the Pentagon needs.

Technologies are developed just if someone invests in their own development. For small stuff — for example better cell phones and TVs — private companies with an incentive to get wealthy in the consumer market make those investments.

But large stuff requires big investments. And nobody is a larger investor in technology than the U.S. military.

For instance, the computer, the world wide web, the cell telephone and GPS all began as Pentagon research projects. Even Siri, the voice helper in the Apple iPhone, has its roots in a huge military project.

In the past ten years, the Pentagon has waged two significant wars, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan. An immense quantity of time, money and effort has been spent getting gasoline tanker trucks across hundreds of miles of hostile territory to gas tanks, Humvees and first and foremost, gas-powered generators which heat water, electricity computer control centers and much more. And they had to transport millions of batteries for flashlights, mobile communications equipment and other demands.

All this dangerous and expensive transportation of gasoline and batteries occurs in areas where sunlight is beaming down unfathomable amounts of free energy. That fact hasn’t been lost on the Pentagon. So for the previous decade, they’ve been investing in startups developing lower-cost mobile solar power technologies. In the end, their vision is to create a cheap combination of solar power generators and small solar panels, which is integrated into the most objects which are using the power.

All this investment has hastened the rate of change. Military investment in U.S. companies has helped those businesses compete against Chinese companies in the race to the cost bottom for solar technology.

In a nutshell, it means that little, mobile solar power is getting much cheaper and much quicker than it otherwise would have, which solar is “winning” the struggle between alternate energies. For small solar devices, prices are dropping so quickly that very soon, adding panels to a large array of electrically powered household appliances and gadgets will make a good deal of sense.

Solar Panel Windows

Can It Affect?

Solar research is enabling the development of solar power technologies which blend into their environments, which makes them simpler to incorporate into fine home design. Only last month, UCLA researchers announced the development of transparent solar cells. The technology can be employed to develop ordinary dwelling windows which generate electrical power.

What’s intriguing about the technology is that it captures energy in the infrared spectrum, although not the visible spectrum. The technology would allow solar panels to be fabricated at a very low cost, too, according to investigators.

Electree – GBP 349

Solar Gadget Chargers

Nearly everyone’s got a cell phone nowadays, along with a number of other consumer electronics devices which have to be billed every night. The consumer electronics industry has generated a world of solar charging options for mobiles and other devices. Most are designed for backpackers and travelers. But others, such as this Electree solar bonsai, are designed to become permanent fixtures in your home.

The “tree” is actually composed of individual modules, which you connect together to create the solar panel of your pick — large, little, high-capacity, low-capacity. It is up to you.

The Electree includes a battery at its base, which the solar panels charge. Subsequently, when you plug various devices into the USB port, then they will be billed just as if they were plugged into the wall outlet.

Trace M

Solar Lamps Without Electricity

The conventional approach to solar is to convert light into electric power, which is usually stored in a battery, then used to power items such as lamps. However, a more direct approach is to store the light itself.

Gionata Gatto and Mike Thompson have developed a lamp called the Trace M, which stores light during the daytime, then “glows” at night to present ambient outside lighting. They utilize a polyurethane rubber using photoluminescent skins.

The Trace M has been designed for exhibition, but a lot of products which use this exact same concept exist, usually on a much smaller scale such as nighttime lights and ambient outside lighting.

Aluminium Solar Wave Wall Clock – $149

Solar Without Sunlight

A few types of house devices require just a tiny quantity of electricity — such a little amount that to power them does not even require direct sunlight, just the ambient light typical inside a house during the day. Solar-powered versions of these devices can remove the batteries normally demanded.

One instance is the Muji Aluminum Solar Wave Wall Clock, a standard-looking wall clock using a solar panel regarding the size of a credit card on the face. Muji products are nice too as they have no visible branding.

Replacing one battery thing with a solar-powered one will not create much of a difference. However, as you substitute small electric devices around the house, it is a great idea to search for solar options. Over time, the savings and environmental advantages accumulate.

Automower Solar Hybrid – $2,999.95

Solar Hybrids

A few types of solar power use the sun’s energy not just to reduce electricity consumption, but to boost the quantity of time the devices can operate between costs. One great example is the Husqvarna Automower Solar Hybrid. It is a robot lawn mower that cuts your grass with no nagging.

The whole top of the mower bears solar panels, enabling it to keep on cutting the grass on sunny days without needing to go back to its charger (which plugs into a standard outlet).

Quite simply, the solar panels permit the lawnmower to utilize a much more energy-efficient motor overall, without sacrificing function time.

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