California Gardener's July Checklist

This time of year that I wake up considering watering — sometimes, though, about the Giants game the night before, or Mad Men if it’s Monday. True, most of California has had hardly any rain since last Christmas, but rather than obsessing about what a backyard most desperately desires in midsummer (irrigation, crabgrass remedies, security against tomato-stealing varmints), wouldn’t it be much better to focus on the beautiful items during what may be the most abundant and joyous time of year?

Many California native plants are on summer hiatus, by nature dormant for the long, dry summer, but let’s give a distinctive shout-out to heat-loving plants from all around the world that revel in the California summer: jacarandas, gardenias, summer fruit trees (for example, apricots) and many more delights.

Grow a jacaranda at least once. In case you have any doubts about the beauty of the jacaranda tree, then simply look for it in Google Images. You’ll see magnificent trees in magnificent bloom in virtually every warm portion of the world — Australia, India, South Africa, Los Angeles and Brazil (the tree’s native home), as an example.

Of course, the tree has its haters, including a number of those who have developed it and swept up underneath it — the constantly falling leaves, branches, blossoms, seedpods and every conceivable kind of tree litter. Everything depends on your tolerance of chaos and disease.

My proposal: if you reside in a gentle coastal portion of California, attempt jacaranda at least once — as a yard tree, as a street tree, even in the background, even as a patio tree if you have a big broom. It develops quickly and blossoms when young — in other words, if you have made a mistake, then you are going to understand it quickly.

Botanical name: Jacaranda mimosifolia
USDA zones: 10 to 11
Water requirement: moderate to medium; gets along with minimal water once established
moderate requirement: Entire sun
Mature size: 25 to 40 feet tall and 25 to 35 feet wide
Growing tips: Make sure you have room for a big tree. Plant it where falling blossoms, leaves and seedpods will not create a messy issue. In marginal climates don’t make jacaranda a centerpiece of the landscape — freeze can ruin it back to the floor. Water it to the first couple of years, then decrease irrigation. Prune it in winter to control the form and size.

If you have space for a single fruit tree. Whom I grew up, apricots appeared almost like annoying weeds — an orchard staple, simple to develop, so productive that individuals with trees in their own gardens didn’t know exactly what to do with of the fruit. Little did I know exactly how dicey it is to develop an apricot tree if you’re not in exactly the correct climate — and exactly what a highlight of summer their ripe fruit (perfectly timed for Fourth of July) can be.

The lesson: In case you want to develop a fruit tree, then make certain it’s right for your climate. And choose one that is going to provide you something unique. For example, would you wish to develop a peach tree (which requires careful pruning and spraying) when you can buy these fantastic peaches at farmer’s markets? Think twice, also, about cherry trees — you are going to have to fight birds off for ripe fruit.

More easygoing choices include old-fashioned plums such as Santa Rosa and figs (successful but amazingly expensive at niches). If you reside in warm coastal climates, especially in Southern Calfiornia, choose from a whole other group of tropical fruit trees, such as cherry, guavas and sapote. Check with local nurseries on proper varieties, and make sure you study up.

Common name: Apricot
Botanical name: Prunus armeniaca, many varieties
USDA zones: 5 to 9; the trees are rather hardy but bear fruit well only in climates without spring frosts. Mainly that means California’s coastal valleys.
Water requirement: Moderate; the soil has to be moist while the fruit is developing
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 15 to 20 feet tall and broad
Growing tips: Plant bare-root trees in winter, grow plants in containers almost any season. Prune in summer after harvest. As with the majority of fruit trees, bone up on pruning, fertilizing and pest control.

The New York Botanical Garden

Meet the gardenia challenge. Should you buy one pristine white, lusciously fragrant bloom, all the travails of growing a gardenia will seem worthwhile.

Remember a couple of things from the start. Opt for a robust nursery plant, together with bushy growth and green leaves — a few buds or blossoms are a bonus. Gardenias come from warm, humid Southeast Asia; they function much better in the southern countries but do fine in California should you compensate for our drier air and more alkaline soils.

They desire a spot that’s sheltered from the hottest sun but can also be plenty warm. Try out a single plant near a partially shaded entry, where you can smell the perfume. Growing one in a container will provide you an opportunity to try various locations.

Botanical name: Gardenia jasminoides. Popular types include ‘August Beauty’ and ‘Mystery’.
USDA zones: 8 to 11
Water requirement: Moderate or more, as long as the soil drainage is perfect
Light requirement: Entire sun in cooler climates; semi sunlight in warm climates
Mature size: 3 to 6 feet tall and 3- to 4 feet broad; compact types are somewhat smaller
Growing tips: The soil has to be just right: rapid draining but with sufficient organic matter to hold lots of moisture — combine equal parts of ground bark or peat moss with native soil at planting time. Or plant in a container using a commercial soil mix. Never let the soil dry out, but don’t overwater! Feed monthly during growing season with acid fertilizer. Watch for aphids and scale insects. Those are the main warnings, but there are others.

Inhale the sweet smells of summer. Along with gardenias, there are other strategies to perfume a summer backyard. More or less all of them are less demanding.

Among your choices are annual flowers like nicotiana and heliotrope. Burmese honeysuckle is a wild tender blossom. Banana shrub (Magnolia or Michelia doltsopa) is an evergreen shrub with an intriguing fragrance like a banana. Then there is night jessamine (Cestrum nocturnum), a nondescript shrub with unnoticeable little flowers that scent the nighttime summer air — also potently for many people.

Most versatile and easiest to grow of all of the scent makers is the old reliable star jasmine, revealed here, one of California’s most widely used evergreen plants for centuries. Grow it as a blossom, as a ground cover, in a pot — where you want all-year good looks and summer perfume.

Common name: Star jasmine
Botanical name: Trachelospermum jasminoides
USDA zones: 8 to 11
water requirement: Moderate — it seems better and has a lusher, darker colour with regular watering
Light requirement: Full sun or semi shade (especially in warm climates)
Mature size: 2 feet tall and 10 feet wide as a ground cover; 20 feet tall or more when trained as a blossom
Growing tips: Pruning can control the size; also much pruning cuts on blooming

Lend a paw from the backyard. Fuzzy blossoms on long stems create kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos) striking in just about any scenario — in a group or alone. It is especially convenient in summer. Purchase a blooming plant, put it in a pot and it’ll bloom for weeks — or, more accurately, the drying flowers hang on and look great. The hybrids currently available come in a range of bright colours: yellow (try it in a purple pot), red, orange, green and more. The plants are continuing and will return year after year in most California gardens.

Botanical name: Anigozanthos hybrids
USDA zones: 10 to 11
Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: Leaf clumps 1 to 3 feet tall and wide; blossom stems 2 feet long and more
Growing tips: For a container plant, use a lightweight soil mix, with lots of sand. Cut off drying blossoms to encourage more, or leave them on in the event that you like their appearance.

Try a native tree as a rugged problem-solver. Catalina ironwood is an evergreen tree to your toughest places. Plant one or more in the narrowest strips along a driveway or make a grove on a dry hillside. The foliage is ferny and the sole real delicate thing about the tree. White flowers in spring and summer come in clusters up to a foot or more over. The most handsome feature is the reddish brown trunks using peely, shaggy bark — a look of antiquity.

Botanical name: Lyonothamnus floribundus asplenifolius
USDA zones: 9 to 11, essentially a California-only tree
Water requirement: moderate to medium; gets along with minimal water once established
moderate requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 20 to 35 feet tall and 15 feet broad
Growing tips: make sure that the drainage is perfect. Cut off dry blossoms in the event that you can reach them. Prune in winter to form plants.

What Else to Do in July in Your California Garden

Continue planting summer blossoms. Along with zinnias (shown here), other heat-loving annual blossoms set out today can bloom into early or even late fall: ageratum, bedding begonias, celosia, dahlia, marigold, petunia, portulaca, salvia and vinca rosea among others.

Plant for late harvest. In much of California, you can still plant summer vegetables and expect crops in late summer and early fall: beans, beets, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes. It is ideal to choose types with short growing seasons.

Do your own tomatoes. In midseason mainly you will have to control uncontrolled growth by tying, staking and trellising. Try to strike a balance between watering too far (which hurts fruit quality) and too little (the crops wilt). Watch for insects, like whiteflies; control with organics that will not ruin your crop. Look out for hornworms, gross and oversized they virtually can munch a tomato plant to the floor before your eyes. Unless you are too squeamish, pick off hornworms (typically there aren’t many) and eliminate them.

guide to growing tomatoes
Prevent and control fleas. Avoid plants that are vulnerable to hot-weather pests in your town. Petunias and geraniums are an example: In certain places they nearly always endure attacks by budworms, which hollow out blossom buds and leave telltale black droppings underneath.

You will find organic controls, but it’s often wiser to attempt different pest-free plants; find out exactly what a nursery implies for your local conditions.

Save water. Before turning on the sprinklers, make sure the soil is actually dry. Evaluation for moisture by probing with a hand trowel into the top few inches of soil at least.

Mulch as far as you can. To save water and cut down on weeds among flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees, spread a 2- or 3-inch coating of ground bark, compost or other organic matter; gravel and stones are also effective mulches. How to pick a mulch

Maintenance for your yard. Make sure that the grass is getting sufficient water. Examine blades for signs of wilting and drying out. Test the soil by copying it with a screwdriver. During summer set your lawn mower to cut higher: two to three inches to bluegrass and other cool-season types; about an inch to Bermuda grass.

Search for bargain tropicals. Nurseries can offer sales on fast-growing tropical plants which might not be winter hardy in your climate, for example bougainvillea, hibiscus and palms.

Prune and trim lightly. Encourage a milder and more bloom from annuals and perennials by cutting off faded flowers — notably on marigolds, dahlias and zinnias. Pinch back marguerites and chrysanthemums for bushier growth and more flowers.

More: How To Grow Your Own Sweet Summer Compounds

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10 Ways to Receive Your Lighting Right

Let’s put it to the table right away: I don’t like torchiere-style lamps. I may even be permanently traumatized by the 1980s salmon-colored pair I struck in a client’s living room a couple years ago. Some folks like them, which is great; I frankly love that there are a lot of styles of lighting for all folks to choose from on the planet. After all, a lamp is a functional attachment, unlike a glimmering hunk of amethyst that stays there looking amazing while the husband asks why we want such a thing. But I digress.

Lamp style is unquestionably important, but so is lamp amount. The way that you light a space will completely change the distance, and using multiple lighting sources lets you control ambiance, mood and the way you use the space. Putting those light sources on a dimmer makes it unbelievably simple to change up the brightness as frequently as you want. I am fairly sure dimmers are a gift from the decorating gods.

Here’s the way to receive your own layers of lighting right.

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

1. Utilize a mix of table and floor lighting. Depending on the size of a area, I nearly always suggest both floor and dining lighting. I really like the mix of lighting in this room. Each piece is interesting in its own right and adds to the general design. Lamps are an opportunity to add something extra to a room — whether it’s shine, color, artwork or abstraction.

Shaw Coates

2. Get the scale right. Overhead lighting adds a fantastic touch when it is done right. Contemplate its size and purpose if going for an overhead fixture in a living area. This openwork geometric fixture looks stunning against the paper-white ceiling and walls. It adds a distinct focal point with no sole lighting source. The floor lamp beside the couch functions as a warm match and retains the lighting levels soft. It is more a catch-up-on-secrets distance to me.

W Design Interiors

3. Use canned lights sparingly. I actually don’t actually considercanned lights overhead fittings. I see them as ambient lighting which ought to be used sparingly and purposefully. When using canned lights, folks have a propensity to go a little nuts. From a design perspective, canned lighting should never be your sole source of lighting. I’ve been in a lot of homes that look like a landing strip or gambling arcade because they’ve had the whole ceiling done in canned lighting. It becomes a missed design prospect.

Have a look at this stunning room. Why can not more chambers be like that? The designer did it exactly right by using only a dab of canned lights to accent a beam while employing matching tripod-style floor lamps to illuminate the space in a very stylish way.

Rachel Reider Interiors

4. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colours. There aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to lighting and lamps. There are suggestions, but in the end, it all comes down to what works best for your lifestyle and your own private tastes.

Rooms feel more layered and interesting with a few mismatched products. The tall floor lamp in another color than the vivid blue bedside lamps actually works. Not only is that the floor lamp attached to the general color scheme through the colours in the cushions, but it also has a distinct function in lighting the seating area, making it the perfect spot for settling down to read a magazine without any other lights on. The bedside lamps lighting either side of the bed.

With all the lights on, the space is likely brighter but not overwhelmingly vivid, and lighted in a controlled way. I love mismatching that works this well.

For Folks design

5. Know the right way to choose a table lamp. I don’t hold to many established design principles, but I really do believe you need to not have the ability to observe the neck of the light bulb, or even the lightbulb socket, from a standing or seated position. If you do, the lamp is probably too tall. The glare of a bare bulb is not pleasant for anybody.

I believe tall table lamps provide a room a little bit of elegance. The gorgeous cream-colored table lamp shown here is bigger than you may expect for a delicate side table, but it works so well due to its classic shape and neutral color and the overall eclectic chic of the space. If you find a large lamp base which you absolutely love, I say buy it! Receive a color which will allow for the bulb to be coated, and you are all set.

Philpotts Interiors

6. Permit your lamps make a statement. The table lamp within this area is a lot smaller compared to the one in the last photo, but it has only as much presence as a bigger lamp, due to its unexpected black color and glistening copper base. It is a sexy little piece which makes a big announcement.

Jennifer Brouwer (Jennifer Brouwer Design Inc)

7. Mix bases, match colors. This chamber is a great example of mismatching lamps: The sharp white drum colors connect the floor and table lamps, even though both are quite different.

The almost Roman styling of the floor lamp and the crystal-ball base of the table lamp both operate beautifully against the dove-gray walls, and the two serve different functions. A floor lamp generally lighting a bigger place than a table lamp, but light a whole room.

Together they make for a warmer lighting scheme that’s bright enough but not overbearing.

Tucker & Marks

8. Try mixing lighting fashions, too. In this magnificent home, the mismatched table lamp, floor lamp and overhead lighting function together effortlessly. Many men and women are convinced they need to stick to a formulaic approach to style to achieve the type of luxury this room occupies. Certainly, that is not correct. When you look at the space as a whole, everything clicks. Everything is in its proper place, but nothing is matchy-matchy.

Taking a look at the lighting separately, you may be amazed that a Spanish castle-style overhead has been paired with an extremely traditional floor lamp. When picking any element for your area, examine the room as a whole. It is way too easy to get stuck on whether or not a toss pillow goes with a bookcase accent. Never is a whole-room aproach more important than with lighting options.

Take into account the ways in which you want to light your area, not if the lamps fit, then purchase accordingly.


9. Consider what type of lighting you want. I am a dedicated fan of arcing floor lamps. They are dramatic and lovely, they offer surprisingly warm and diffused light, plus they add a direct touch of contemporary. They are best positioned in a corner, so that no one exiting or entering the seating structure lumps her or his head. The way this arcing lamp is paired with a smaller floor lamp is interesting. I can envision the bigger one is used for studying or more romantic lighting, and the arc lamp can light the whole sectional.

As I sit here typing, I have three of my living room lamps on: my pharmacy-style reading lamp above my left shoulder, my classic industrial lamp using a contemporary burlap shade to my best and my midcentury chrome reading lamp in the corner. It makes the space brightest when I am working. Normally I’ve only the classic light on when I am watching television and the drugstore lamp on for studying.

Jobe Corral Architects

10. Learn all about lamps.

Contemplate scale. A giant floor lamp over a small occasional seat wouldn’t work well. However, a bigger midcentury ceramic lamp base using a contemporary drum shade would be awesome alongside a significant love chair or a sectional. The same goes for tiny table lamps. If your seating is big, look for moderate to large lamp bases.

Realize that lampshade cloths are crucial. I often replace the colors lamps come with in favor of ones which look more custom. If you like a more diffused-looking light, go for linen or burlap; should you want brighter light, stay with sharp white. For more ambience, any fabric-covered shade is going to do, but bear in mind the cleaning demands of fabrics such as pleated silk and cotton. They are not easy to dust.

Pay awareness of colour fashions. For those who get a contemporary or darkened home, I’d go for drum colors. Romantic or traditional homes would be best fitted with tulip or fluted-style lampshades. An eclectic house can employ many different styles as long as they match the design narrative of the room. If the area is relaxing and fun, as an example, a large fluted shade may look too formal and out of place.

Set the lamp correctly. Details matter! If your sole electrical socket is across the area from where the seat is, don’t string the lamp cord throughout the carpet and in plain view. Not only is it dangerous to have long strands of cord lying around, but it appears unfinished, as well as unsightly. Either invest in having another socket put where the seating will be or swag a lamp in the ceiling out to the space to provide better illumination.

More: Get the Lowdown on High-Efficiency LED Lighting

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Do You Dare Bring Home Some Liberace Razzle-Dazzle?

I just finished watching Creating Behind the Candelabra, and it has me more excited than an undercover rhinestone salesman prepared to land a Liberace lover’s account. Soderberg, Douglas, Damon, Debbie Reynolds and each one of the over-the-top, overdecorated, overbedazzled, overmirrored fabulousness that was Liberace’s costumes, sets, cars, mirrored pianos and homes in the late 1970s and early 1980s all in one movie? Yes, please!

Liberace did all of his own decorating, and he loved surplus. He likened himself to King Ludwig II, another king of bling. He overshopped, and once one house filled up, he’d purchase a different location. As someone with a loft full of things for “my lake house” (I don’t have a lake house, and at this rate, I will) I totally relate. Behind the Candelabra premieres on HBO Sunday, May 26, 2013, and I Can’t wait. Here is a peek at the movie sets and some approaches to add only a dash of Liberace’s exuberant style to your home.

Home Box Office (HBO)

Liberace got lots of repairs of his own image through mirrored walls, doors, pubs, cars, pianos … even some of his costumes resemble mirrors. A candelabra on the piano was Liberace’s trademark (as well as crystal-encrusted and mirrored pianos). In addition, he utilized candelabras and chandeliers extensively throughout each room in the house.

Home Box Office (HBO)

The moviemakers utilized Zsa Zsa Gabor’s house in Los Angeles to stand in for Liberace’s Las Vegas home. Liberace decorated in a style he dubbed “palatial kitsch.”

Home Box Office (HBO)

Liberace could not get enough of his own image and had a wonderful sense of humor about it. He had portraits of himself everywhere — fulfilling a cardinal, his face floating over his Grecian tub, etched into mirrors … everywhere. Within this picture, I’m sorry that Michael Douglas is obstructing the one of himself as Liberace playing with the piano, however you can also see his shape to the left of Matt Damon. Portraits e-ver-y-where.

The film’s set designers painstakingly re-created many of the pictures from the originals they obtained via the Liberace Foundation, but together with Douglas as Liberace.

Home Box Office (HBO)

Liberace not only had lots of bling, but he had a lot of swag. Windows were adorned with as many layers as you can, in luxe fabrics trimmed out in fringe, tassels and other finishes.

Home Box Office (HBO)

Home Box Office (HBO)

Liberace commissioned his variant of the Sistine Chapel for his bedroom. He also loved to collect items; one of the set designers notes she bought most items for the sets in pairs, such as you see in his sack (he even had a pair of elaborately mirrored pianos, which appear in the movie).

He had a mural on his Grecian toilet’s ceiling.

Home Box Office (HBO)

Liberace’s had one of the world’s most extensive collections of their most elaborate costumes, some of which weighed over 100 pounds. His $300,000 white fur and crystal coat had a 16-foot-long train. (Do not fret, animal lovers; for the movie version they employed faux fur.)

Laura U, Inc..

Hints of Liberace Around ?

Mirrored walls have come back into style but with some fresh designer twists, such as the diamond pattern found here, in addition to antiquing. The Venetian design and marble inside this toilet make mirrored furniture and walls glam and sexy again.

If you watch the trailer, you’ll spy a full mirrored wall in Liberace’s dining room. The appearance is obsolete, however there are ways to enjoy reflective surfaces while dining.

For example, antiquing gives this centered grid of mirrors today’s popular patina-style look in a streamlined way. It is a great mixture of old and new.

Robeson Design

Statement draperies stand up to the scale of big rooms and high ceilings. These are lavish yet tasteful — streamlined long curtains hanging between custom valances. If you look at the high windows above these, you can find an notion of just how much window treatments changed this room (without going full Liberace).

Sean Gaston Interior Design

Statues and busts. Component of Liberace’s “palatial chic” included many statues and busts; many many many statues and busts.

The statue in this photo is actually from Liberace’s estate. Its classical form is complemented by the new crude, minimalist Palm Springs structure surrounding it there is a pleasing balance between conventional and modern here.

Heavenly Homes

Ceiling murals. Today many designers add artificial architectural components via ceiling murals. To me, this bathroom is an elegant, toned-down variant of Liberace’s.

Michael Merrill Design Studio, Inc

Candelabras make you think of many dangling crystals in the case of Liberace, but streamlined contemporary versions can be found, and they still add the same quantity of romantic candlelight to a dining table.

Elizabeth Dinkel

An apple-green chandelier shape is an unexpected touch in this outdoor area.

Habachy Designs

Luxe cabinets. Liberace’s elaborate costumes deserved an equally fabulous home, like this modern closet. It seems to be channeling Liberace, by the mirrored doors to the chandelier, the blue rug to the white throw, and it is all a fantastic thing. If you have the means and Liberace design, don’t wait when it comes to the location where you store your outfits.

Tracy Murdock Allied ASID

A grand piano needs not only a lot of room, but a place that can highlight its acoustics and the player’s skill. This beautiful foyer suits its own grandeur. I believe Liberace might have oohed and ahhed within this curved staircase and intricate railings.

Home Box Office (HBO)

If you watch the movie, please come back and tell us what you think!

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Color Your World With Otomi Embroidery

The Otomi are a group of individuals native to central Mexico. Their traditional embroidery incorporates vibrant, simple images of the natural world — flowers, rabbits, deer and trees — contrary to a natural white cotton background. And it is stunning.

I love Otomi cloth for its color and shape, but also because though it’s ancient, it has a crisp, modern look. You can set Otomi cloth with modern lines, colours and sensibilities, and it makes great sense. You can also layer it in pattern- and – color-filled rooms. It’s a designer’s dream.

Jacaranda Home

Otomi Embroidered Fabric – $425

A bright orange Otomi bedspread.

Tara Bussema – Design and Neat Organization

Bright rosa Mexicana Otomi throw pillows and a suzani coverlet. Oh, what heavenly modern ethnic loveliness.

My brilliant blue Otomi cushions contrary to my yellow velvet sofa.

Grace Bonney’s now-famous home made Otomi headboard. This is a few hundred bucks’ worth of cloth, and worth every penny.

Sarah Greenman

Pink Otomi drapes at a Mexican-inspired kitchen. They’re so fun and playful. How can anyone be gloomy with drapes like this?

Amity Worrel & Co..

It’s so amazing, it is art. I also have noticed smaller panels framed behind glass. A triptych in white frames are a modern beauty.

Jacaranda Home

Otomi Throw Pillows

This vibrant selection of Otomi throw pillows is magnificent against this beige background. The traditionally multicolored pieces form the framework for the single-color lumbar pillows. I absolutely love this.

Michael Cadden • Kiel Thomson Company

A neutral beige Otomi cloth adds a subtle hint of layout to the beige room.


Stray Dog Designs Otomi Floor Lamp – $863

Traditional Otomi embroidery is multicolored, like this remarkable lampshade.


Otomi Wallpaper, Almost White/Red – $125

Otomi-inspired wallpaper. This could work in a crazily vibrant Mexican room or in a spare, mostly white modern box.

Jacaranda Home

Otomi Upholstered Chair – $595

Otomi cloth on modern chairs.

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Remodeling attempts the homeowner. While building debris and dust fills the air and melts the ground, a ZipWall will safeguard your living area. Adjustable poles create a door, you add the heavy-duty plastic sheeting, and the tall, vertical zipper creates an opening letting you pass through.

Before Photo

Ventana Construction LLC

Contractors and homeowners utilize ZipWalls as security that is fast and simple to install during a remodel.

Before Photo

Ventana Construction LLC

A ZipWall is a substitute for fragile and thin taped-up sheets of plastic, and it’s reusable.

Before Photo

Lauten Construction

Simply unzip to maneuver between chambers after the dust settles.

Before Photo

Lauten Construction

Raw demolished spaces could be worked on without the debris and dust settling into the other living areas of the home.

Before Photo

Lauten Construction

Since the zipper and poles are reusable, any size gap could be created with sheets of plastic.

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A 1898 Church at Wisconsin Finds Resurrection

Despite its dilapidated facade, architect Kurt Melander immediately spotted this Wisconsin church’s architectural value. Set in the midst of a large field in the magnificent northern Wisconsin landscape, this 1898 church was once a gorgeous portion of the local Scandinavian and Lutheran community. But after years of fail (it had been decommissioned in the early 1980s), it had fallen into complete disrepair. Melander purchased it for a steal at $25,000.

In the get-go Melander decided to conserve as much of their original craftsmanship as possible, while turning it to a house. Replicating the details he could and paying tribute to the original structure in his new layout, he transformed this old church into a suburban area that honors its history. “It felt great,” he states. “It felt as though I had been doing something important for the community.”

at a Glance
Developed for: Kurt Melander
Location: Northern Wisconsin
Size: Slightly less than 2,000 square feet
Price: $260,000

Melander Architects, Inc..

The church had no indoor plumbing or electricity, but Melander was struck by its scale and volume. “It was a stunning volume,” he states. “The proportions are just beautiful.”

Exterior siding: painted plaster clapboard; roofing: green asphalt shingle

Before Photo

Melander Architects, Inc..

BEFORE: Despite its magnificent original structure, the arrangement was in bad form. The roof needed to be replaced almost instantly, costing Melander about $15,000. Even though the original roofing was made out of cedar shake, the current fire code banned this, so Melander chose classic green asphalt shingles.

Unfortunately, much of the clapboard siding had rotted off too. Melander took off several intact pieces and had new ones custom milled to match the originals for a total of $12,000. Structural fix for the bell tower came for about $8,000.

Melander Architects, Inc..

Melander wanted to keep the clapboard church quintessential feel. “It felt extremely important to not touch that whatsoever,” he states. All the original windows were replaced using closely replicated double-paned duplicates, coming to about $23,000 complete. Just a few new windows — done in early-20th-century proportions — have been inserted into the rear side to the bedroom and bathroom.

Melander Architects, Inc..

The original front doors open to an understated entrance full of light. Although background after hung in specific areas of the inside, it was brittle through the years and could not be uninstalled. Melander opted for simple white instead.

Before Photo

Melander Architects, Inc..

BEFORE: The oculus above the entrance in the bell tower is also an original feature. It faces east and after bombarded the church with light on Sunday mornings.

Melander Architects, Inc..

The tower contains three distinct levels: the entrance, a painting studio inside the oculus and storage on very top. A ladder on the upper level leads outside to a deck with amazing views. Inside, Melander built a ladder and platform to access the small studio.

Melander Architects, Inc..

The 80-square-foot studio has a clear perspective of the surrounding property. The church is comparatively isolated, but a couple of farms could be viewed at the distance. A small ladder on the opposite side of this room contributes to the next level.

Melander Architects, Inc..

The original church was entirely open, so Melander featured a few barriers for solitude. The vertical fireplace gave him a room for the kitchen along with a staircase to a new upstairs attic, but it will not divert from the church’s degree. Instead, the vertical element exaggerates the ceiling height and imitates the bell tower outside.

Before Photo

Melander Architects, Inc..

BEFORE: Melander found a false ceiling was put up at a certain stage, disguising the church’s true height. Tearing down the dilapidated wood and insulation shown an 18-foot-high ceiling.

Melander Architects, Inc..

AFTER: Melander was careful to keep up the old when adding some new features. The trimming and window details have been custom matched to the initial layout. Yellow pine heartwood, 120 years old and reclaimed from old ship beams, lines the primary floor.

The majority of the remodel — almost $130,000 — went towards building the new inside, including sheet rock, insulation, new finishes and paint.

Demolition additionally revealed some surprises from the church’s past. Many churches built during this period had a Bible built into the foundation. During the remodel Melander found that it was excavated out after the church had been decommissioned. He also discovered a number of old coins along with a knitting needle that had fallen beneath the floorboards.

Shutters: painted plaster; bench, armchairs, love seat: classic

Melander Architects, Inc..

Behind the fireplace a steel and apple plywood stairs leads up into the lofted bedroom and bathroom.

Melander Architects, Inc..

Translucent blue vinyl hangs on steel rings outside the narrow windows in the bedroom. Melander cut these openings to permit light from the bedroom west window to flooding the primary living space beneath the loft. Since the vinyl is fastened only on top, it waves gently whenever a breeze comes in from the exterior. “The layout was also a nod to an imaginary organ, together with all the ‘pipes’ ascending upward,” states Melander.

Bedroom flooring: white mosaic Daltile; sconces: Artemide Tolomeo Sconces

Melander Architects, Inc..

White mosaic tile flooring proceeds in the adjacent bathroom. Melander discovered this 20th-century French bath at a salvage store in nearby Minneapolis.

Putting in septicsystem, electrical and plumbing systems for the church turned into a big investment, totaling to about $52,000.

Toilet fittings: Chicago Faucets

Melander Architects, Inc..

Downstairs the kitchen is simple but practical. Melander didn’t want this new necessity to interfere with the main space, but he also needed it to be readily accessed. Tucking it behind the stairs and fireplace helped accomplish both. Sconces behave as task lighting when required but also provide ambient lighting mirrored up toward the ceiling.

Sink: Bobrick commercial stainless sink; cooker: Garland commercial range

Before Photo

Melander Architects, Inc..

BEFORE: From the outside the church looks exactly the same, which is exactly what Melander wanted. “I just wanted to allow the envelope be,” he states.

Melander Architects, Inc..

AFTER: The church is set on a distant 3-acre property; only woods and farmland could be observed from its front.

More: From Olden Church into a Soaring Modern Marvel

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Morning Nook Tips for Sleepyheads into Get-Up-and-Goers

Start your morning on the ideal note by crafting a space which lifts your spirits and also fills you with energy for the day ahead. Whether or not you want to get energized to get moving, or you also crave a milder awakening, the first step is to set up a special corner that supports your purpose. Morning sun is the important ingredient, therefore search all around your home to get the spot with the best light during the wee hours. While it’s normal to gravitate to the kitchen in the morning, if another room has better morning lighting, you might think about establishing a sitting area there too.

Soak in the light of lengthening days using a cozy corner or an whole room. From sunporches and breakfast nooks to window chairs and more, let your creativity be sparked from these spaces that are jazzy.

R Brant Design

If You Crave a Private Nook Where You Can Awaken Slowly

Room for a single. Look for a little corner of your house, one with just enough space for one ideal chair — that way you’re certain to be left to your own devices. If you reside in a hot climate, a spot on a backyard or patio can be a wonderful option, letting you find a little bit of fresh air as you sip on your tea or coffee.

Schwartz and Architecture

A private oasis. If your bedroom is positioned well to get early-morning light, benefit from positioning a window seat or an armchair where you are able to soak in the beams.

Ethos Interiors

Utilize each of the sensations to bring your distance. Recently cut branches, green plants, soft blankets and cushions, and nubby rugs will increase the sensory joys of your distinctive morning space. Do whatever you need to to make a peaceful feeling — if you lack an opinion, bring into a landscape painting; if the street outside is noisy, then add a softly gurgling fountain.

Watch more on how to participate the five senses in decorating

Terrat Elms Interior Design

If You Crave an Energizing Space That Will Lift Your Mood

If your morning spot of selection is the kitchen, it’s particularly important to devote to clearing away dirty dishes and clutter at the night before, which means that you can wake to a new space. Set up your tea or coffee channel and place cut flowers on the dining table, and you will feel ready to tackle the day.

Take it outside. Nothing invigorates love being outdoors, so if getting charged up for your day is the goal, consider preparing a morning zone into your backyard. A few comfy chairs and also a place to place your mug are all you really need, but be sure to also have a cozy throw hand to warm your shoulders on chilly mornings.

Premier Prints Suzani Slub, Yellow/White – $8.48

Colors to contemplate: if you want to wake up a room, turn to the colours of a bright, sunny day. Colours of sky blue, refreshing white, sun yellow and the green of spring plants are foolproof in any mix.

If you’re not certain where to begin, consider choosing one fantastic cloth, such as the yellow suzani shown here, and also have pillows or seat cushions made with that. The remainder of the room ought to fall into place easily once you have a focus.

Cristin Priest Simplified Bee

If You Crave a Cozy Spot for Sipping Coffee, Reading or Chatting

If mornings mean family time for you, focus on pulling together a spot in a bright window which can accommodate the whole brood. Adirondack chair chairs are a terrific way to go, because they frequently match more than regular seats. Have a cue in the new, colorful space exhibited here and utilize papered walls and a pendant lighting to define your seating area.

Frank Shirley Architects

Spruce up your sunporch. If you have a sunporch (also called a three-season room), look for ways to freshen it up to make it even more appealing to use every day. Painting the floors and ceiling pale hues will help amplify the lighting, and comfy furniture is a must. If your porch furniture has seen better days, consider reviving it with a coat of paint and restuffing the seat cushions.

Siobhan Loates Design Ltd

If you want to include: If renovation plans are on the horizon, consider ways of working the lighting to your advantage. Add a skylight, widen a window or switch a regular doorway to get a French door or sliding glass doors, and you may soon find yourself with a new favourite spot for your morning coffee.

Inform us : What kind of start do you crave in the daytime — slow and peaceful, energizing or social?

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9 Flirty and Frilly Rooms for Feminine Types

A female room is quite a bit more than pink and ruffles. It warmth, softness, curves. It might have a little twinkle and shine. It’s fun and intimate.

Feminine doesn’t need to imply pink, but in the majority of cases pink reads as female. As does white, gauzy, lacy, floral or elaborate.

These two rooms are classically female, but none are over-the-top amusing, and indeed, there are just a few frills. What they share is a certain dreaminess and beauty.

Dreamy Whites

Round, soft, fluffy and pink. This isn’t a dude’s room. But it’s the feeling of warmth and intimacy that actually makes it girly.

This is an area made for conversing and intimacy. It’s welcoming and warm and lavish, such as your favorite, well-read aunt. This chamber would make you a cup of tea if it might.

Feminine rooms could be slick and simple also. The touches of shine, rounded shapes and nods to coziness from the carpet and cushion are exactly what make this relatively spare space a ladylike one.

Supon Phornirunlit / Naked Decor

Playful and Modern and definitely flirtatious. Have a look at those curves! And this distance is a member of a guy, so there you have it.

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

I adore the high glamour of the gold chandelier using all the soft dove-gray walls in this intimate and private little corner.

Unique By Design Ltd..

Traditional, but at a way. The gentle pinky beiges and the elaborate chandelier give it a grande dame vibe. If Maggie Smith have been a space, this could be it.

This chamber never fulfilled a flounce it did not love. This is so completely Miss Havisham and Goth amorous.

Caitlin Wilson Design

It’s pink, certain, but the curving lines of the headboard and table lamps are what bring out the girl in this area.

Alan Design Studio

Pink, patterns and shapely fixtures. This is the Carrie Bradshaw of powder rooms. Hubba hubba.

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20 of Those Coziest Home Offices on

“Cozy” might not look like the first thing you’d use to describe your ideal workplace; it may make you think about quilts and clutter which do not inspire efficiency. However, “cozy” can indicate a room that’s warm, inviting, layered and, yes, actually organized. For example, personal items, a comfortable seat and a rich blend of textures all provide the comfort that “cozy” implies. Here are 20 of the coziest home offices around — and what makes them so.


Cushy leather club chairs, a roaring fire and cowboy artwork add Western heat to the complex office space.

Margaret Donaldson Interiors

Grounding the room with a reddish, well-worn Oriental rug is a great way bring in warm textiles. Library lights and an overhead lantern make a soft light spectacle. I believe I’d reward myself to getting my job done while lounging in that overstuffed chair.

Krieger + Associates Architects, Inc..

A cozy library vibe incorporates warm wood floor-to-ceiling shelves stuffed with books and a comfortable leather chair for reading.

Adrienne DeRosa

A table tucked into the corner, grass cloth wallpaper, warm timber tones and heaps of novels make this workspace in a Frank Lloyd Wright home reassuring.

Beach Glass Interior Designs

Rich grey walls, a comfortable chair, a stately wood desk plus a long and comfortable window seat give this workplace its cozy appeal.

Moving Home To Roost

Individual touches — such as the graphic floral wallpaper, the dress form, the power of shelves with neatly exhibited supplies along with the artwork wall — provide this workspace a very personal appearance.

Personal touches make this area, also; the wall above the desk looks like it’s a collection of meaningful favorite things. The low wood ceiling, braided rug, built-in shelves and rustic chair give a camp atmosphere.

Gast Architects

A rich texture palette, autumnal hues, a red leather armchair and a blazing fire will tempt the homeowner within this workplace.

This ideabook is giving me severe office fireplace envy.

Laura U, Inc..

Exotic shapes and colours provide this workspace the feeling which the owner has attracted precious items from far-flung adventures.

The Cross Interior Design

This is stripped-down cozy. The black, white and shades of grey keep the palette clean and allow for eclectic touches, such as the library wallpaper, chalkbaord wall and amazing table lamp.

Diane Bergeron Interiors

Grass green and glistening white keep this office light and fresh, but the vintage camel leather desk chair, overstuffed sofa, thoughtful lighting and architectural information on the ceiling make it inviting.

Oak Hill Architects

The wraparound desk, individual spaces all within precisely the exact same room, low pendant lighting, red throw cushions for when one needs extra lumbar support, and beautiful windows make this a space where a group could work in harmony.

Jute Interior Design

Vintage industrial bits are made comfortable by soft creams and tans and also a large woven rug underfoot. This office holds a great deal of items, but they’re neatly organized, along with the reclaimed wood plank provides a great deal of space for spreading out.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

Wood grain, layered rugs and that to-die-for modern take on a coffered ceiling attract trendy charm for this transitional office. The large window gives it a tree home feel.

Nicole Lanteri Design

Allowing work right next to the radiator on a chilly day creates this workplace supercozy, for starters. The casters on the chair allow the employee to go from background to files with ease, along with also the small proportions of this space feel just perfect.

Debra Campbell Design

Warm gold tones, traditional design, wood trim and a bay window make this type of room where anyone would like to devote a great deal of time. It seems like it’d make paying bills less painful.

Studio Schicketanz

Instead of being pushed against a wall, this desk loves sitting in the middle of this space, atop an area rug. The furniture structure is tight, yet the room isn’t too full. The ceiling and walls and built-in shelves keep it from slipping from cozy status to cramped status.

RLH Studio

This office has a classic men’s club vibe — rich tufted leather chairs, timber paneling, an iron chandelier, a coffered ceiling and, best of all, a panel opens to reveal a hidden bar.

RLH Studio

Oh, and this very same men’s clubfashion office does have a desk. (I thought you might ask.)

You can have Hollywood Regency elegance (starburst mirror, animal print desk chair) and clean surfaces yet still have a homey-feeling office. The printed drapes, grass cloth wall covering, private photos and window seat are reassuring touches.

Joe Schmelzer, Inc. dba Treasurbite Studio, Inc..

This office, filled with the homeowner’s favorite collections, is a portion of a full-blown man cave.

Watch the rest of this guy cave, a remodeled basement

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Easy Green: Cut Electricity Use With 15 Unplugged Home Devices

Whether you want to slash your energy bill, go greener or be prepared next time the power goes out, those hand-cranked and other human-powered household items can help you get the job done in style. In the slick and innovative to time-tested classics, every one of those 15 finds offers a refreshing antidote to 24/7 plugged-in lives.


Hand-Cranked Blender – $98.95

This hand-cranked blender out of Lehman’s will give you a workout while you whip up this breakfast smoothie. The Lehman’s catalogue is a fantastic resource for nonelectric alternatives to ordinary household items — the company was set to function Amish communities but now enjoys widespread attraction.


Papervore Coffee Table

This coffee table doubles as a paper shredder and as a conversation piece. Insert the paper on top, crank the handle and watch as ribbons of paper fill up the oil base.


Handy Manual Shredder – $45

This slick little hand-cranked paper shredder might be all you need for handling small amounts of paper and it looks really adorable that you will not need to hide it.


Vintage Rotary Telephone – $198

In a power outage, cordless phones will not work, even if the telephone line is still operational. This revamped vintage rotary phone will keep working when newer models fail — and looks adorable to boot up.


BoostTurbine 2000 Backup Battery Pack – $59.99

Having the ability to use your cell phone in an emergency is key. Now you can always have backup energy with this slick little hand-cranked electricity generator out of Etón in your pocket.


Ball Jar Coffee Mill – $98

Coffee connoisseurs insist that the top brews begin with legumes ground in a Burr grinder. This one is run by a very simple hand crank, and it has a charmingly old-fashioned appearance.


Chemex 8-Cup Coffee Maker – $38.95

The simple, elegant design of the Chemex coffeemaker makes it a designer favorite — and the effortless pour-over method makes amazingly delicious coffee.


Clipper USA 19-Inch Reel Mower – $599

Plan a greener backyard in more ways than one this year by trading in your gas-powered mower for a conventional reel version. Fantastic for smaller yards, this traditional push mower will give you your workout whilst trimming the grass.

Fred Flare

Dynamo Solar Crank Radio – $34

I like that this petite radio offers your choice of electricity method: solar or hand fold. Additionally, it is so good looking that you’re guaranteed to find yourself using it all of the time — not just when the power is out.


Weston Hand Juicer – $27.99

Some juicing purists think that the warmth from a typical electric juicer takes something away from the freshness of raw juice this hand-cranked version will maintain your juice as fresh as you can.


Glass Juicer – $28

Trade in your black orange orange juicer for this utterly basic glass version and save a bit of room in your cupboards.


All-Clad Food Mill – $149.95

A well-stocked kitchen should not be without a fantastic food mill. Use it to process tomatoes and create applesauce, mashed potatoes and heaps of different dishes.


Table-Mount/Wall-Mount Manual Pencil Sharpener, Black – $25.65

Just like those that used to grace teachers’ desks all around the nation, this traditional black pencil sharpener does the task with a satisfying turn of the deal.


Ljusa Flashlight, Hand-Powered – $4.99

You won’t have to remember to keep extra batteries on hand with this adorable little hand-powered flashlight out of Ikea. Stash a few around the home and leave an extra in the car for roadside crises.


Greatest Hand Wringer – $199.95

Give your clothes dryer (a notorious energy hog) a rest with this classic hand-cranked wringer from Lehman’s. After washing squeezing the surplus water will shorten drying period.

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