Garden Levels Vary a Steep Slope in Australia

Untouched for a long time, this steep website in Northridge, a suburb of Sydney, had an unusable sloping lawn having an unfortunate perspective of the family’s carport. This outdoor area had small usable space, with the exception of a tiny paved area surrounded by a stone retaining wall.

Landscape designer Ken Pattinson and his team redesigned the space with a modern slant, incorporating several luxurious heights of tumbled travertine, water characteristics and gentle greenery. The levels take advantage of the entire space, now a relaxed oasis which allows the clients to enjoy the Sydney sunshine in solitude.

Location: Northridge, Australia
Designer: Artwork in Green
Size: 1,650 square feet

Art in Green

Pattinson met the challenge of this lot’s 7-foot height shift with several tumbled travertine patios, each connected with elegant stone staircase.

Curry leaf (Murraya koenigii, USDA zones 10 to 12)andlilly pilly (Syzygium spp) hedges help disguise the stunning level changes, making the garden feel more tolerable. Covering the carport wall in wood beamed its true identity and added a warm element.

Art in Green

Pattinson lighting strategy creates depth and entices people. Brushed chrome fixtures beckon visitors up the staircase, across stepping stone and above wooden patios. Light fixtures in water features highlight adjacent surfaces and plant shapes.

Art in Green

The garden’s most important water feature, a perpendicular drop, crosses three of those rock patios, linking them. Water is pumped from the lower level to the upper level, then pushed across the waterfall at the very top. A one way valve prevents it from draining to the lower pond once the pump is off.

A tank captures rainwater running off the garage roof and helps keep the water level consistent.

Art in Green

One of the plants featured in the bottom level of this water attribute are imperial bromeliad (Vriesea imperialis, zones 10 into 11) sweet flag (Acorus spp) and spiny-head mat-rush (Tanika Lomandra longifolia, zones 8 to 11).

Art in Green

Nick Kennedy of Art in Green made the tumbled travertine hardscaping; he utilized the very same stones on the stair treads, water feature stepping and coping stone.

Tiny Trev lilly pilly (Syzygium australe Tiny Trevas)lines the edge of the water. Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus, zones 9 to 10) adds elevation.

Art in Green

Turpentine, a durable Australian wood, was utilized for the decks, lounge chairs and carport wall. Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. japonica, zones 5 to 9), bay tree (Laurus nobilis, zones 8 to 10),hawthorn (Raphiolepsis spp), coastal rosemary(Westringea fruticosa) and wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum, zones 4 to 8) are pruned into ball shapes. The consistent use of substances — turpentine, travertine and similar plants — helps unify the multilevel layout.

More: See a Lush Australian Garden That Needs Little Water

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Roots of Style: Forms and Colonial Revivals Span Eras

Colonial revival architecture, in the context of the American house, first emerged in the previous two decades of the 1800s. It is considered among one of the very first diverse styles that proliferated through the first half of the 20th century. Its key origins are about the Georgian and Adam styles, which defined 18th-century home layout in the U.S.

Because this is an eclectic style, you will get a vast array of details and forms. The Dutch colonial, with its gambrel roof, is a favorite subtype. Most colonial revivals are symmetrical two-story homes, but you will also find asymmetrical and one-story colonials, in addition to a few with postmedieval influences.

Hansen Architects, P.C.

Another subtype of the style has a hipped roof and full-width porch on the main level, similar to this house. Compare it to the similar makeup of neoclassical designs, where the porch rises two floors. In addition, the hipped and based dormer, along with the centered triple upper-floor window, also helps to define this house as an eclectic colonial revival.

RWA Architects

At first glance you might consider this house Georgian, but have a closer look at the fenestration. Commonly on colonial revivals, the lower-level windows are grouped rather than spaced apart enjoy the upper-floor windows. The double-hung dividers have divided panes, or lighting, on the upper sash, but possess one pane of glass to the lower sash, a trait common to the revival but not used on authentic colonial houses.

Bearing in mind the eclectic nature of the resurrection, strange here would be the eave brackets, which can be reminiscent of the Italianate style. Also note the brick. Many ancient examples of the style needed wood siding, however, grand examples were full masonry construction. It was not till the early 1920s that the method of brick veneering developed, and it became the fashionable selection for many colonial revivals built later afterward, as illustrated here.

The architects have labeled this house for a foursquare, which describes its building type, rather than its style. Colonial resurrection foursquares are typical, as are Prairie-inspired foursquares. A foursquare is merely a strategy with two degrees, each two rooms wide and two rooms deep. The style is established in the particulars of windows, cornices, porches and entrances.

Jan Gleysteen Architects, Inc

This 1938 New England colonial revival confirms its classification with its date of construction. Since the popularity of this fashion persisted through the decades, tastes for much more densely correct designs resulted in many examples being almost indistinguishable to the Georgian and Adam houses that provided their inspiration. Set yourself back 80 decades and imagine comparing this house to one that has been 100 years old at that moment. The differences would be easy to see, because the more exact execution of machine-finished details on the newer house would be evident.

Notice the replicated Georgian entrance surround and its classically thorough entrance porch. Many variations and mixtures of these two elements alone help define the colonial revival style.

Morgante Wilson Architects

Notice the variety of window shapes and configurations in this side-gabled Chicago colonial resurrection. Dormers atop possess an arch; you will find just two sizes on the second degree; and tall, narrow French casements complete the motif on the main level. A small curved and classically detailed entrance porch shelters a modestly styled Georgian entrance surround.

The winged expansion to the left is another indication of colonial revival. Flat-roofed parts similar to this one can be enclosed or used as a porch, and were often added to original Georgian and Adam houses through the years.

Rock Spring Design Group LLC (David Verespy, ASLA)

A mixture of materials, windows and details makes for a unique composition here. Double-hung windows are characteristically grouped on the initial level but are capped with a wood lintel supporting the stone veneer. The balanced placement of oval windows and the classically comprehensive porch and entrance surround confirm its relation to Renaissance architecture, which affirmed the Georgian era. The mixture of colonial details and differently rustic appearance continue to be favored in neoeclectic variations of colonial revivals.


One-story versions tend to be called Cape Cods; they have origins in the first coastal New England settlements. Other variations of this form were reinterpreted in the Southeastern U.S., but were built mostly after ancient times. The setup, as in this instance, is still quite popular and appears in regional varieties around the nation. This contemporary house can be considered neoeclectic. Notice the wing to the left and the brick veneer quoins.

Steven Corley Randel, Architect

Although this 1941 California house is in need of some TLC, it marvelously demonstrates another subtype of their resurrection, known as the Garrison colonial. The inspiration goes all the way back to postmedieval New England houses. Several traits seen here are common to this type.

Postmedieval English houses often had a small overhang of the second degree, as does this house. Look carefully at the underside of the overhang and note the dangling pendants, another medieval trait and occasionally found in Garrisons. The overhang additionally provides a roof for its massive bay windows, which became remarkably popular in many styles through the 1950s.

As inside this altitude, Garrisons often had brick-veneer first levels and wood-clad second floors. This case goes somewhat farther with second-floor windows set into wall dormers with segmental arched contours and arched divided-light details.

Dennis Mayer – Photographer

Compare the previous house to this San Francisco–region Garrison interpretation. At right the second degree characteristically overhangs the very first. A similar prominent bay window comes forward under its gable. It is very likely that the wing to the left is a good addition to the original residence.

Dennison and Dampier Interior Design

A subtype using a casting centre gable is not as common. Notice the single-level porch here. Had the columns climbed to the second degree, this would closely follow Greek revival design. Pilasters at the corners and a Palladian window at the pediment supply more colonial revival individuality. This house also offers a flat-roof wing at left and 16- over 16-pane double-hung windows.

Wright Building Company

The colonial revival houses still being built are probably best defined as neoeclectic. The mix of rustic stone and classical details has become quite popular, as can be seen in the subsequent few examples.

While the centre body of this house follows the conventional configuration a wing at left and the protruding garage wing right bring this case securely into the 21st century. Classical proportions and particulars combine with a compound plan, setting a handsome and joyful appearance.

Peter Zimmerman Architects

Much more asymmetrical than the previous case, this house is extended at a similar compound formation. Several different secondary elements, like the dormers and chimneys, dance from 1 end to the other. Stone covers both centre kinds, helping to anchor its place and supplying contrast to the clapboard wings.

E. B. Mahoney Builders, Inc..

Note the subtle asymmetry with this house. As far back as the Queen Anne style, the classical detailing of the colonial revival would be implemented to less-formal front views.

The colonial revival has its deepest roots in Renaissance classical design. However, true to the eclectic designation, it borrows bridges and from other popular styles.

The colonial revival became overshadowed in the first two decades of the 20th century by Craftsman and Prairie styles, ancient forms of contemporary architecture. Nevertheless it trumped those two styles in the decades after World War I, as did American Tudor, Spanish and French eclectic, chateauesque and lots of different styles.

From the 1960s another wave of contemporary architecture, this time midcentury, suppressed the colonial resurrection as an influential and dominating taste across the United States. Nevertheless, the conventional type of the colonial revival is very likely to persist indefinitely, partly because it has so much historical importance and is such a classic and popular appearance.

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Morocco Meets Texas at a Family Townhouse

This Texas townhouse was bedecked in French country style for decades and needed a fresh look. The design inspiration: that the souks of Morocco and that nation’s love of cobalt blue, elaborate handmade rugs and patterned tiles covering expanses of walls, flooring and fountains.

Interior designer Laura Umansky responded with a new design inspired from your family’s extensive travels around the world and their love of Morocco in particular, including carved cupboard doors and cabinets, handmade Moroccan-style tiles, bold colors, forged metal figurines, textured cloths, rugs and more.

Switch off all portable electronic devices and buckle up; we are taking off for a location where Marrakech matches Houston.

in a Glance
Location: Southampton area (adjacent to Rice University) of Houston
Size: 2,965 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 31/2 bathrooms

Laura U, Inc..

“The heavy cobalt colour was the jumping-off point with the home’s color palette — I totally love this color,” says Umansky, of Laura U. “It’s a color seen frequently in Moroccan homes and is throughout the famed Majorelle Garden at Marrakech.”

Umansky and her staff worked with some architectural components from the original French country decor, such as these beautiful iron doors, which include a rich bronze finish, and the checkerboard travertine flooring.

Laura U, Inc..

“While there were no specific Moroccan interiors we referenced, we did incorporate Moroccan motifs, textiles and materials during,” Umansky says. She bought some special pieces through importers, while her clients supplied some of their own furniture and accessories.

Lamp: Arteriors

Laura U, Inc..

The house’s existing checkerboard travertine flooring tiles have been laid out in 45-degree angles and operate nicely with the Moroccan design.

Laura U, Inc..

This formerly dark study off the foyer is presently a light and colorful area that inspires among the owners, who spends her days writing.

Lights: Four Hands

Laura U, Inc..

Umansky and crew designed built-ins with woodwork that includes exotic curves and laser-cut panel inserts. Perforated hammered-tin lanterns hang.

Panel inserts: Custom Mouldings

Laura U, Inc..

A local artist painted this mural in the nursery, which adds vibrant graphics for the clients’ newborn daughter.

Laura U, Inc..

A variety of fabrics transformed the owners’ existing white slipcovered sofa. “It’s the combination of different textures and patterns which makes this space feel comfy and warm,” Umansky says.

The doorways throughout the house are painted high-gloss cobalt blue. “This was a tiny scary decision, but once we watched them, we were thrilled,” she says.

Laura U, Inc..

“Our customer requested a blue sofa — it was in the very top of her list,” Umansky says. “It made it very simple for us to inject color into the home. She had no dread of vibrant hues whatsoever!”

Laura U, Inc..

The customer found this complicated mirror at an importer’s warehouse at Los Angeles and knew it belonged to the home. Umansky had an armoire fabricated to allow the mirror function as its center doorway.

Dining table: Oly Studio; Moroccan dining area lanterns: Curry and Company, accessible via Laura U

Laura U, Inc..

Umansky utilized quite a few textured tiles at a monochromatic palette to create architectural details about the dining area’s columns. “We were able to enrich the inside without using color anyplace,” she clarifies.

Laura U, Inc..

The vibrant zigzag tile surrounding the fireplace draws the eye to the center of the far end of this space. More custom built-ins surround it but fade into the background, allowing the tiles require the spotlight.

Laura U, Inc..

The kitchen was closed off from the remainder of the living space. Taking away the wall between the living room and the living area was the first design movement. “We utilized a graceful curve to create a bit of separation in the ceiling,” Umansky says.

Dimensions: Walker-Zanger; pub stools: Abacus, Noir Furniture

Laura U, Inc..

Cobalt blue appears again at the master bedroom on the mattress and the doorways.

The blue-green timber flooring that worked with the house’s former French country style translated nicely to the new Moroccan style. “We loved them and thought they brought a bit of rustic ambiance,” Umansky says.

Laura U, Inc..

Both client and designer agreed that window chairs create spaces in which people really like to spend time, and they found areas to nestle them through the home. This one provides a reading nook just outside the master suite.

Laura U, Inc..

The main bath needed a complete remodel, such as taller-than-average dressing for the tall homeowners.

Patterned-tile walls are common sights in Morocco. Umansky picked a lively pattern at a subdued palette to fit the Texas home.

Laura U, Inc..

A chair-rail-high band of teal paint supporting tall upholstered headboards plays with scale and complementary colors in the guest area.

Laura U, Inc..

Bold cloths, curved walls and elaborate lanterns continue onto the loggia. “This home has a fantastic outdoor area that people diagnosed with outside drapery,” Umansky says. “The drapery is made using 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic fabric, which is excellent for outdoor use and a breeze to maintain,” she says. “You can clean it with a bleach-water solution.”

Laura U, Inc..

A bonus room over the garage functions as a small getaway spot and is a complete departure from the rest of the house — with the exception of this bit of cobalt blue. Everything else is black and white. “It’s an unexpected color combo which we had a ton of fun with!” Umansky says.

Refrigerator: Smeg

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Big Bay Views Buoy a Seattle Floating Home

The owner of the floating house wanted to have the ability to delight in the sublime Pacific Northwest views beyond its walls longer. She’d dubbed her current house”a floating double-wide,'” says interior designer Kim Mankoski of Kim Mankoski Interiors. She wanted something more contemporary, industrial and open to make the most of her life on the water.

Mankoski, architect Ryan Mankoski of Ninebark Design Build and Dyna Contracting flocked to create a cohesive design with an open design. The result has two glass sides wide open to spectacular views of bay waters, the University of Washington and the mountains beyond.

Floating at a Glance
Who lives here: A woman and her cats
Location: Portage Bay (between Lake Washington and Lake Union), Seattle
Size: 1,200 square feet, 1 bedroom, 1 bath

Dyna Contracting

The house was tugged away to neighboring Ballard, Washington, where the work was completed, then reunite. The original float serves as the base for the new residence. Everything was constructed from scratch. The project took about 10 months.

Dyna Contracting

Glass partitions fitted with double doors anchor two sides; another two sides include smaller and storage windows for privacy from neighbors. The open plan allows the owner to enjoy the views from every room.

The homeowner wanted a contemporary industrial fashion, but a concrete flooring was out, because of its weight. Kim Mankoski discovered a marmoleum product that has a concrete appearance.

Floor tile: Click tile in Lava, 12 by 36 inches, Forbo; pendant lighting: David Trubridge Coral Pendant, YLighting

Dyna Contracting

The exterior has a challenging industrial appearance as well, mixing structural steel, Cor-Ten steel glass and panels. Salvaged cedar accents hint at the warmth inside and remind us why this whole home floats in the first place — that the cedar float below.

Dyna Contracting

“My client wanted everything shipshape,” Mankoski states, so she made streamlined, efficient storage through the house to hold everything.

If you look closely, you can see a ladder out across the left side of the photograph. The homeowner uses this to access the kayak attached to her house.

Cabinets: habit, Baywood Cabinets

Dyna Contracting

The design team took some inspiration from The Farnsworth House and used a central center to hold the kitchen, bathroom and closets, and to divide the major living space from the bedroom. A strict color palette through the house highlights the beauty in the substances’ textures as well as the contrasts.

Sofa: Theater sofa, Design Within Reach; dining table: client’s own

Dyna Contracting

High-gloss crimson painted cabinets include a burst of colour, while a steel backsplash and shelves include industrial fashion. Bamboo woodwork conceals the fridge on the right. The countertops are Squak Mountain Stone, a composite product made from recycled paper, recycled glass and low-carbon cement.

Dyna Contracting

A wall of storage incorporates spots for books and display. The”D” is from the exterior of the old floating home. Mankoski made the built-ins with a TV in your mind for that spot.

Tongue and groove fir paneling wraps up the walls and ceiling. A few of the closets have acrylic doorways by 3form with an organic pattern on these, a detail that’s replicated from the bathroom.

Coffee table: walnut, BoConcept; rug: Flor; cabinet doors: acrylic, 3form

Dyna Contracting

Dyna Contracting

Reclaimed tongue and groove paneling extends to the bedroom, and the bed looks through a generous wall of glass.

Wall paint: Just White,Benjamin Moore; bed: Malm, Ikea; shag carpet: Ikea; Danish chairs: classic

Dyna Contracting

The bathroom also has streamlined storage composed of floating pine shelves as well as the exact same 3form acrylic doors used in the living area.

The custom zinc counter and sink are one piece. Mankoski chose porcelain tile with a patina that resembles that of basalt. The wall tiles have ridges that include a subtle industrial texture.

Dyna Contracting

Skylights bring natural light to the bathroom. In this deep shower, an old part of the cedar log float that wasn’t needed now serves as a shower seat. Since it had floated to the water for a number of years lived just fine, the client opted to not seal it.

Tiles: BSP, Pental; showerhead: Raindance 240 Air Showerhead, Hansgrohe

Dyna Contracting

Cable railings and metal measures continue the industrial vibe out. Untreated cedar produces a rain screen, a must in Seattle’s climate. The timber also adds contrast and warmth to the metal and glass.

Dyna Contracting

Between the roof deck and the smaller balconies below, the homeowner gained about 450 extra square feet of living area. The roof deck has got the best uninterrupted views.

Know more about life on a houseboat or floating home

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Fashion a Greens-Laden Tablescape for Spring

For a fresh and personal way to decorate your spring table for brunch, Mother’s Day or any day, combine particular pieces from the china cabinet with a delightfully casual mix of blossoms and bright green foliage. Get the one-of-a-kind out of New York floral designer Dana Worlock here.

Rikki Snyder

Rikki Snyder

With this placing Worlock stuck with a green colour scheme with a touch of pink. The greens include plumosus, hellebores, peonies, dogwood and, for only a little edge, tins filled with grass.

Tools and Stuff:
Clear floral tapeScissorsSharp cutting knifePermanent markerTins
Flowers and foliage:

PeoniesRanunculusPaperwhitesPlumosusHelleboresDogwoodFlat of bud

Look through your dishes to learn what pieces you can utilize. We opted for Many Different milk glass vases and a cream and sugar set from Ole Carousel Antiques in Stanfordville, New York.

Rikki Snyder

1. Start with your bouquet.

Beginning with the most significant vase and peony blossoms and buds, hold the flowers upright on the table near the vase to measure out the desired elevation. To maintain the peonies fresh while you are working, cut the stems at a sharp angle and set them in cold water.

Rikki Snyder

Add additional peonies to fill out the arrangement. Include stems with buds not yet available for a natural, asymmetrical arrangement. Twist the vase as you go to ensure every side seems great. Fill gaps with paperwhites.

Rikki Snyder

2. Produce a simple bud vase arrangement.

In a bud vase, begin with a long slice of plumosus, allowing its branches to drape across the vase. Insert a simple stalk of hellebores next.

To help keep the hellebores fresh longer, cut the stems at a sharp angle and set them in hot water before adding to the arrangement.

Rikki Snyder

3. Fill a sugar cup with dogwood and ranunculus.

Use strips of clear floral tape across the top of smaller vessels to hold the flowers in place.

Rikki Snyder

Beginning with more plumosus since the base, put each piece from the vase around the tape.

Rikki Snyder

Next add twigs of dogwood for more height and texture.

Rikki Snyder

Finish the arrangement with green and pink ranunculus, stems trimmed so that only the blooms are visible. Fill out the empty spaces with more dogwood.

Rikki Snyder

4. Fill a creamer with plumosus and hellebores.

Start again with a base of plumosus.

Rikki Snyder

Insert snippets of the green hellebores. The wildness of the arrangement adds great contrast to the screen.

“I typically don’t have a set method of arranging,” Worlock states. “I like to be inspired by the appearance of each vessel and play with flowers, texture and shape to acquire something that is unique and beautiful.”

Rikki Snyder

5. Insert spring bud to rustic tins.

For a fresh accent piece, Worlock used a flat of grass and metal tins out of Terrain in Westport, Connecticut. Grass similar to this is found at the local florist.

Flip the sheet of bud over, up root. Use a permanent marker to trace around the tin to get the appropriate size.

Rikki Snyder

Using a sharp knife, cut along the line you attracted to separate the piece in the flat of grass. Cut directly through the roots and dirt.

Rikki Snyder

Carefully set the piece of grass to the tin, then using the knife to assist it into place. Water the grass daily to keep it fresh longer.

Rikki Snyder

6. Arrange your centerpiece.

Now you’re ready to set the arrangements on the table. Put the tallest arrangements in the center and the shorter ones on the ends.

Rikki Snyder

Have fun adjusting every arrangement, checking for equilibrium from many angles. Permit the plumosus in every arrangement to intertwine with the one next to it.

Rikki Snyder

Stagger the tins of bud throughout, as you would with a garland.

Rikki Snyder

7. Put the table.

Use dishes you have on hand which go with your colour scheme. Worlock used classic white plates with a golden rim from Cottage Antiques in Westchester, New York; stemware she bought at an estate market; and white mugs which were a gift from her sister.

Rikki Snyder

Flatware passed down from grandparents and quantity napkins from Wisteria finish the setting.

Tip: You are able to temporarily anchor the ends of these tables with additional grass tins, then whisk them away when it’s time to sit down.

Rikki Snyder

Insert any extras you like. A green toy and white votive candleholders add a unique touch. Change the water and trim the ends of these flowers daily to keep them lasting longer.

Your turn: Will you be hosting a brunch this spring? Please share a photo of your tablescape below.

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12 Vegetable Peelers to Make Quick Work of Your Garden Bounty

I am already dreaming about gardens and exactly what I can plant this season. At our home a garden means plenty of vegetables. Part of preparing for the summer harvest means locating exactly the right tools to prep those vegetables for dinnertime. We certainly need to put in a peeler that’s ready for the hard skins of butternut squash, in addition to the softer apples my daughter likes to munch on. It appears the 1 peeler we have is always missing at our house. So maybe it’s time to pick on on one of those peelers. They’re definitely up to the job.


Ghidini Dual Blade Peelers – $9.95

A handle with lots of areas for grasping and reversible blades create these peelers very useful. The reddish peeler reverses into a serrated blade, while the green peeler reverses into a julienne blade.

Chef’s Resource

Palm Peeler – $5.95

This palm peeler makes fast work of peeling potatoes and carrots. You hold it in the palm of the hand, which feels far more natural than trying to grasp a slippery handle.


Swissmar Stainless-Steel Curve Peeler – $15

Although this peeler seems odd at first glance, the activity shot proves it should be a breeze to use, ergonomically speaking.

Gretel Home

Peeler, Yellow – $17

This peeler gets top marks for modern appearances — and the silicone-covered handle is also functionally gripworthy.

Kitchen Kapers

Joseph Joseph Rotary Peeler Green – $11.99

Three peelers in one, using a simple turning to get to the peeler you require for the job available. Additionally, the protective case opens for easy cleaning.


Rösle 12735 Crosswise Swivel Peeler – $27.95

This peeler combines classic lines with modern purpose — the simplicity of the shape is essential.

Misto Dual Twist Peeler – $4.99

This little peeler features two blades: 1 for softer veggies and you for harder skins.


Vegetable Peeler

This peeler has a finger-friendly design plus a pleasant, sharp double-sided blade. The curved shape imitates your natural motions, also.


WMF Cromargan 18/10 Stainless Steel Profi Plus Vegetable Peeler – $12.99

Heavyweight and ready for the most professional of chefs, this peeler has a slick style that’s ideal for a modern kitchen.


Swissmar Peeler Scalpel Blade, Blue – $9

This thinner scalpel peeler still peels all the difficult stuff — plus it’s a side cutter for the eyes on potatoes and other small blemishes.


Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler With Blade Protector – $15

Get fancy with your veggie demonstration by changing to a julienne peeler.


Kyocera Adjustable Ceramic Peeler – $19.95

A ceramic blade helps maintain vegetables from discoloring, and an adjustable-angle attribute helps you find just the right depth.

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Kitchen Sinks: Easy-Clean, Amazingly Affordable Ceramic

It’s easy to see why ceramic countertops shine in kitchens. Their high-end appearance, dazzling complete and effortless maintenance make the cost surprising. Additionally, they’re incredibly available — since ceramic countertops can be found virtually wherever sinks are offered, you can often arrange a ceramic sink installation on the exact same day you purchase it.

Can ceramic perform for your own kitchen sink? Find out here.

More kitchen sink materials

Emily McCall

The fundamentals: Ceramic countertops are created out of a raw material that includes clay, glass and metal. This mixture was used as a sink material for decades. With a smooth, impervious surface and exceptionally low moisture absorbency, it is a fantastic material choice for sinks.

Price: $100 to $800 on average.

Beau-Port Kitchens

Benefits: Ceramic sinks are easy to maintain. Their impenetrable surface is stain resistant, so you can easily wash it with basic all-purpose cleaning products.

Cons: Most ceramic countertops are made from raw materials, which means that a number of them differ slightly in complete and color. Prone to chipping, cracking and scratching, ceramic sinks frequently require replacing if broken.

Ceramic countertops are also more sensitive to heat than other sink materials, but most should be able to take care of regular kitchen temperatures.

Signature Design & Cabinetry LLC

Sustainability: Unless you’re searching specifically for an ecofriendly ceramic sink, then this material isn’t an especially green choice. Ceramic manufacturing utilizes a lot of energy, and lots of the ingredients are mined from the earth.

While ceramic can’t be recycled, it may be downcycled. Downcycled ceramic countertops are ground into a powder that’s used to make other, new ceramics.

Luciano Group

Care: Most companies recommend that ceramic kitchen sinks only be wiped clean with a damp cloth and mild dish detergent. To get a clean, look at using a diluted solution of bleach or vinegar.


Domsjö Single-Bowl Inset Sink – $105.99

Are you really a lover of ceramic kitchen countertops? Let’s talk! Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

More: Learn about more types of kitchen countertops

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Color Feast: When to Use Orange in the Dining Room

Orange is a high energy, fun and friendly colour, so it is fantastic for the area where we break bread with family and friends. Orange oozes confidence. But for those who lack the confidence to examine this outgoing color within their own spaces, I have gathered together 10 yummy orange dining rooms to inspire one, together with ideas about how to successfully incorporate this fun-loving colour.

Jennifer Ott Design

Orange can quickly flip light if you decide on a lighter shade. To acquire a more sophisticated-looking (and dining area–worthy) light crimson, pick a hue that has some brown in it, like the first and third paint colours displayed here.

Orange paint picks for dining rooms (clockwise from top left):

1. Sea of Sand KM3540-1, Kelly-Moore Paints
2. Mandarin 121-6, Pittsburgh Paints
3. Peach Sorbet 2015-40, Benjamin Moore
4. Ripe Pomegranate 2009-3, Valspar
5. Shanghai AO410, Glidden
6. Orange Nasturtium 103-6, Mythic Paint
7. Summer Citrus S-G-270, Behr
8. Laughing Orange SW6895, Sherwin-Williams

Mark Newman Design

The simplest way to draw bold orange in your dining area is to pick a hue you prefer and paint a wall or 2. Having trouble selecting the right orange? Pull a color out of a favorite painting or upholstery fabric. It’s probably a colour you are attracted to, and it’ll coordinate nicely with the decorative item that inspired it.

Scudder Construction LLC.

A red-orange like this one is not for the timid. Make it work by maintaining the other colours in the area neutral and light. I would also recommend limiting the amount of attention-getting accessories; otherwise the distance can become overwhelming.

The Cousins

Can not pick on or manage artwork you prefer? Make your own work of art via painted stripes or other geometric shapes using a bold colour palette. The colors of orange and gray used here are a superb choice, as they pick up in the crimson and gray hues used elsewhere in the area.

The best way to paint ideal stripes

Philpotts Interiors

This intense red-orange wall shade works well here because it is adjacent to the window. All that bright natural light flowing in accounts out the profound, bold color. Remember that a large window may grow to be a dark abyss at night, depending on the view beyond the glass. A white or alternative light-colored window color can help lighten the room up at night.

Marie Burgos Design

Bold, bright red-orange looks modern and tasteful paired with crisp white and dark brown. This room exemplifies my favorite colour advice: choosing neutral hues for items that you want to keep for quite a while, but going for bold colour on things which are simple and relatively cheap to alter, like an accent wall colour.

Ejay Interiors

Maybe because it reminds me of Thanksgiving feasts, there is just something so delectable about pumpkin-colored walls in the dining area. Think about your favorite orange meals — sweet cantaloupe, wealthy butternut squash soup or even a glass of refreshing freshly squeezed orange juice for colour palette inspiration. For fans of daring, yummy colour, it is a simple way to discover a sweet colour.

Falcon Custom Homes

Obviously, not everyone would like to be cocooned in a bold-colored room. But you can certainly mix in some fun, bright colour and have a light and airy space. I love the tiny bits of happy orange these hip chairs increase the backdrop of cool gray.

Tommy Hein Architects

More cool orange dining chairs, now in a dining area washed in warm neutrals. The warmth of the palette makes this a cozy and inviting area for a dinner party on even the coldest of Denver evenings.

Terrat Elms Interior Design

Following is a somewhat milder orange color that packs a wonderful punch, due to its richness. If you’ve got interesting artwork or decorative accessories to display, it is a good idea to limit the colour palette or pick more toned-down hues. They will complement (rather than compete) the accessories.

Spacecrafting / Architectural Photography

A rust activator added to iron paint achieved the orange, patinated finish with this dining area accent wall. It’s a brilliant, distinctive means to inject interesting colour and texture.

More: Watch all of our orange colour guides

Tell us A little dash or a big splash? Share the ways you’ve used orange on your dining area in the Comments section.

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Let Nature Inspire Your Landscape: Devise a Desert Garden

Deserts are a few of the most intense environments our blue world offers. While they may bring to mind intense isolation, a blatant lack of hospitality and boredom, we should reconsider our place and see, at least in photos, a few dry and remote locales to steal cues for our gardens. The results may be spectacular.

CYAN Horticulture

The Antarctic and the Arctic are regarded as the largest deserts on the planet. With hardly any precipitation, these cold deserts, mostly covered in snow, provide few plants of backyard interest, so let us overlook them.

In the hot and temperate deserts we locate plants which manage to accomplish feats with just a few sparse drops of water. To do so, they’ve developed various innovative mechanisms which are quite often particularly pleasing to the eye.

In this case, much in the desert of southwest Bolivia, this lettuce comparative termed yareta (Azorella compacta) grows gradually into a thick, mossy mound, restricting evapotranspiration.

CYAN Horticulture

A little further away, on an isolated island of rocks and poking from an immense salt level, this candelabra-type cactus provides a conspicuous life shape to an otherwise barren landscape. Can you imagine the spectacle when these all bloom concurrently?

CYAN Horticulture

Cacti have varied shapes; this gold barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) is a good example of an architecturally interesting option. Growing one of it is a sky-blue senecio (Senecio serpens). Both are frost sensitive.

CYAN Horticulture

One of the most preferred of garden cacti is that the paddle cactus (Opuntia sp). Some species are native to the Canadian prairies, making them hardy to zones 3 or 4 — hardy, possibly, but drenching sun and super well-drained soil are still compulsory.

Here, we have a charming duo of Opuntia x ellisiana and Yucca glauca.

CYAN Horticulture

All but one species of cacti are located in North America. In Africa, the cactus-looking native plants are, strangely enough, often members of the Euphorbia family. Both families and their horticultural selections offer endless possibilities for gardeners blessed with a warm, humid climate.

These crops may be utilised in innumerable ways: Some gardeners pack them tightly, like they’d annuals; others show more restraint, like in this section of the Berkeley Botanical Garden in California, leaving a sand and rock exposed.

CYAN Horticulture

The agave is just another desert favorite. Beyond its role in tequila making, agaves are exceptional for their dramatic rosettes of fleshy, often gorgeously colored leaves.

Incapable of carrying on through most real sleeplessness nights, agaves are happier in California and the southern United States. For those in colder climates, agaves create fantastic and easily cared-for potted plants.

CYAN Horticulture

In the same vein but considerably hardier (zone 4 and up) are yuccas (Yucca flaccida ‘Golden Sword’ is shown here). Their rosettes of spiky foliage play a significant part in virtually any desert garden layout; being so perceptible, they are the anchor around which other crops evolve. A creeping verbena fires off this combination.

D-CRAIN Design and Construction

Wisely combined, these dryland crops are perfect for stark, modern plantings.

CYAN Horticulture

Drylands have, by definition, too little water to sustain verdant growth. The outcome is often an environment sparsely populated with crops and plants, during the driest season, somewhat darkened. Though some think this boring, others believe it minimalist on a budget.

Here we’ve got a forest of quiver trees (Aloe dichotoma) in South Africa.

CYAN Horticulture

However when rain finally arrives, this gloomy territory often bursts to a short-lived riot of colors. Bulbs and annuals, like these Cape daisies (Ursinia sp), cover the ground long enough to finish their cycle from bloom to seed.

CYAN Horticulture

A similar phenomenon takes place in the dry hinterland of Oregon, with this spidery cleome. It’s simple to imitate this in backyard settings by sprinkling seeds of annuals (California poppy is a fantastic choice) between the existing permanent plants.

CYAN Horticulture

When the weather turns overly cold or moist for proper desert crops, substitutions are key — look for better-adapted plants with similar appearances. For example, that knawel (Scleranthus biflorus) may change the yareta we found earlier on.

CYAN Horticulture

Thus stonecrop, like this ‘Matrona’ sedum (Sedum ‘Matrona’), is invited to the coldest dry gardens. Hardy to zone 2 or 3, this succulent plant is pretty much indestructible.

CYAN Horticulture

Some of these lower grasses will also be welcome additions to the dry garden. With their fine foliage and tufted growth habit, they sway in the conclusion, contrast with thicker succulents and don’t mind becoming parched. Blue fescue (Festuca spp) and this Ponytail bud (Stipa tenuissima) are a few of the best choices.

CYAN Horticulture

It would not require much more than a drift of these grasses, together with some choice cacti, to transfer you to a much removed patch of desert. And if your backyard proves so convincing, may we even anticipate vicuñas and flamingos to cover a visit? Let’s hope so.

More in this series: Shape a Sea-Inspired Garden | Suggestions for a Woodland Garden
Grasslands to Garden | Mighty Mountain Gardens

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New York's Wilderstein House Dresses Up to Christmas

Design professionals have decked out that the Wilderstein Historic Site in a stunning array of Christmas decor for 2012. Tucked away on a tropical knob overlooking the Hudson River in Rhinebeck, New York, this prestigious Queen Anne mansion is considered the Hudson Valley’s most important example of Victorian architecture and has a Calvert Vaux–designed landscape. The Wilderstein estate has also played host to important figures in American history — that the home was once home to Margaret Suckley, an intimate companion of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The pair’s near and well-chronicled relationship is the subject of the film Hyde Park on Hudson, starring Laura Linney as Suckley and Bill Murray as FDR.

Only a short drive from New York City, the 19th-century home supplies ideas and inspiration for traditionally elegant Christmas decor, either in person or through this virtual trip.

Location: 330 Morton Road, Rhinebeck, New York
Hours: Weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. throughout the end of December; open for tours May through October, Thursday through Sunday, from noon until 4 p.m.
Price: $10 adults; $9 students and seniors; complimentary for children below 12

Rikki Snyder

Rikki Snyder

Tess Casey of Aisling Flowers decorated the main dining area. Warm reds play ornate coffered ceilings and the first chandelier. Roses take centre stage on a gold-dressed dining table.

Rikki Snyder

Metallic ornaments, traditional candelabras and glittery artificial birds finish the tablescape. Pinecones, crimson roses and silver and gold decorations decorate a tree in the corner.

Rikki Snyder

Evergreen garlands draped in crimson fabric dress the fireplace.

Rikki Snyder

New flowers in the sink, vegetables in a colander and a simple hanging wreath add a sense of story to the butler’s pantry, decorated by Marijane Grassie.

Rikki Snyder

Designers in The Flower Barn gave the library splashes of holiday sparkle.

Rikki Snyder

Greenery, pink poinsettias and crimson ribbons decorate the fireplace.

Rikki Snyder

The crimson and pink color scheme has a fragrance on the desk.

Rikki Snyder

Rikki Snyder

Geoff Howell styled the salon, with a trio of all tree-decorating polar bears.

Rikki Snyder

Rikki Snyder

The combination of blue, gold and white brings a different feel to the more conventional parlor, decorated by Wonderland Florist. This miniature tree is trimmed with an unexpected combination of blue bows and dried hydrangeas.

Rikki Snyder

Gargoyles decorated the entry hall with red poinsettias and classic gold bits.

Rikki Snyder

Simple decorations are sufficient with timber this lovely. A simple pile of red and gold Christmas balls is this mantel requires for the holidays.

Rikki Snyder

A wreath of dried citrus, berries, pinecones and artificial veggies by Battenfeld Christmas Tree Farm greets visitors at the entry.

Rikki Snyder

Position window baskets with evergreens and red berries bring holiday color to the porch, decorated by Joyce Meisinger.

Rikki Snyder

Rikki Snyder

The property surrounding the Wilderstein house was first bought by Thomas Holy Suckley in 1852, because his wife, Catherine Murray Bowne, wanted a construction site with striking natural features. The cedar and evergreen trees on the house gave the couple the link to nature they were trying to find.

Evergreens, crimson berries and pinecones come in a simple swag outside.

See more photographs from this holiday home tour

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