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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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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A Prewar Brooklyn Home Benefits a Modern Edge

This tour begins in the kitchen, where the placement of cupboards and other storage introduced a challenge. Designer Stefanie Brechbuehler, intent on creating a visually pleasing workhorse of a kitchen area, rearranged the layout to accommodate updated appliances, fixtures and flush custom cabinetry. “The placement and unique design of this cabinetry transformed the way the space functions and how it opens to the dining area and living room,” she says of her work on the home, in the Prospect Heights area of Brooklyn, New York. “You can say that the family lives in the kitchen”

in a Glance
Who lives here: A household of 3, originally from India
Location: New York City
Size: 1,300 square feet


Brechbuehler along with her staff members, Robert Highsmith and Ryan Mahoney, saved space by building the majority of the tall kitchen cabinets into the underside of stairs resulting in the second floor. The cabinets act as both storage area and a railing. They also add geometric play to the dining area.

Hood: Rangecraft, custom painted in brushed brass


The rustic live-edge counter tops makes a lovely partner for the sleek, custom cabinetry. The wood’s natural edge disrupts the sleek lines and sharp angles of the whole kitchen; it is a nice surprise as you come round the island corner.


Brechbuehler’s clients challenged the designers when it came to color. “We’re known for having an extremely muted palette. But because our clients come from such a colorful culture, we couldn’t really deny colour in their property. We infused our design with some colour while staying true to our design sensibilities,” she says.

The designer integrated brass accents with a pinkish colour through the flat, most especially in the kitchen. She bought brass fittings, door handles and light switches, and splurged on a custom hood replated in brass.

“I feel the brass details actually make the design sing,” says Brechbuehler.

Faucet: Rohl, custom-made in brushed brass


The clients, who”cook like crazy,” she says, have additional baking and entertaining for their listing of weekend activities. They threw a large party here, and everybody lingered in the kitchen,” Brechbuehler says. “That is really our goal in the conclusion: to enhance the lifestyles of our clients.”


The designer gets excited when she speaks about the hidden gem of this kitchen: the pantry. Its built-in outlets and countertop make the coffee maker and other appliances fully accessible.

“Everything is plugged in, ready to use and inside of the cupboard. Our clients love the pantry’s performance,” says Brechbuehler.


Wegner wishbone chairs in white laquer and oiled walnut work well with the sharp angles of this paper clip–legged dining table.


The living room is a study in midcentury furniture. Wood materials and furniture particulars warm up the area. Sliding doors with metal handles open into an office area drenched in sunlight.


The designer continues the design theme in the office with brass cupboard handles and a custom live-edge table.


A skylight provides the differently windowless bathroom with soothing natural light.


Brechbuehler left the exposed brick walls across the duplex (seen here in the master bedroom). “They show the bones and age of the prewar flat and work well with the warmer wood furnishings and flooring,” she says.

“I love that this household trusted us enough to design a space for them, a place where their kid can grow and play and revel in her parents’ cooking. The genuine love that they have for their home gives us much joy. It is a massive part of why we do what we do,” says Brechbuehler.

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Two-Cook Kitchens Enjoy Smart Space Chops

Whether you live in an apartment using a 25-square-foot kitchen or possess a spacious house with hundreds of feet to cook in, odds are you’ve experienced the complications that come with too many cooks at once. Cramped counter space, one sink and attempting to cook and clean at the same time can wear patience thin.

We requested ers what their single kitchen/multicook alternatives are — and those seven kitchens are full of imaginative ideas to make cooking with more than 1 individual a breeze.

consumer Anne Marsden resides in a 1940s bungalow near Atlanta, Georgia. The kitchen was a very small galley style average of houses like hers. She and her boyfriend love to cook — although admittedly, she does more cleanup — and often bring in food from their backyard, so that they wanted to design a kitchen which would make cooking together easy and efficient.

The long central island was key to organizing this job area. The butcher block top provides plenty of space for 2 and generates a simple pass-through from 1 side of the kitchen to the other. Each individual receives a side with its own sink to call his or her very own — Marsden functions on the dishwasher and her boyfriend gets the cooker side.

Jbroten’s recently remodeled kitchen changed by a one-person U-shape layout to a space that can handle two or more cooks easily. Multiple counter work stations were musts, two islands anchor the space: 1 for prep and one which facilitates cleanup. The dishwasher to the sink island also faces the cutlery and plate drawers, making cleanup easier.


Ione Victoria of Paradise Interior Design designed this Aptos, California, house for two retired professionals. He likes to cook and she is more of a baker, so Victoria decided to separate the cooking and baking areas by putting the main refrigeration and cleaning gear in the centre for shared usage.

The kitchen includes two dishwashers and 3 sinks, which makes crossing paths nearly impossible. Space planning has been complicated by the fact that the wife is less than 5 ft tall, whereas the husband is roughly 6 ft tall. Victoria had the island lowered toward the baking end so that the wife could use it comfortably.

Jamie Walsh’s 150-square-foot kitchen Washington wanted something simple to make it a space where she and her husband can hang out and cook. A seat and a cart located at a local garage sale was shown to be exactly the solution.

Now, when the two are in the kitchen together, 1 person perches in the seat while the other cooks, shifting off from time to time. Walsh also had a metal fabrication shop make a stainless steel top for the cart so that it’s easy to clean and stays in Good shape

Sawhill Kitchens

Sarah Michalowski from Sawhill Kitchens worked using a household of five to design this multiperson Minnesota kitchen. Because they have three busy, young kids, this couple needed a space that will allow for five people to sit down at the staircase, do homework and cook — all without disrupting each other.

The exceptional island layout allows for easy cooking, eating and cleaning. A prep sink in the middle divides the island into two areas, allowing people to do separate things while having access to the sink. An appliance garage close to the fridge makes it possible for children to create smoothies without interrupting the workflow, and the desk stays out of the traffic path but also in plain view.

When user Sue Hausmann remodeled her Ohio kitchen, she wanted it to be an open and easy-to-use space for her and her husband. The sink, with three 2 taps, was a very simple and straightforward solution. It allows two people to prepare meals or clean up at the same moment. Lots of counter space, a spacious layout, a full-size fridge and freezer, and a double-drawer dishwasher assistance too.

Neal Nesbit of Shoreline Cabinet Company also designed this Wilmington, North Carolina, kitchen with just two islands intended as separate work and entertaining spaces. One island includes a prep sink and easy access to the fridge, range and main sink. The other island faces the dining room area and has a beverage center, making it appropriate for hosting guests away in the workflow.

Separate cooktops allow two people to cook at once, and a clear route between the island to the sink in the range causes for smooth traffic flow.

Have a two-cook (or more) kitchen? Inform us about it below!

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Stay Free With House Swapping

With the cost of airfare, rental cars and resorts, a summer vacation can quickly surpass the budget. But what if you didn’t need to stay in a hotel or even pay for a vacation rental? House swapping is another choice.

This tendency was gaining steam, and now among the most popular websites for home swapping,, has more than 42,000 listings in 150 nations. If this has piqued your curiosity, here is what you want to know to make a swap of your own.

Vanni Archive/Architectural Photography

Can swap a home rather than stay in a hotel? Aside from saving substantial money, staying in a home or apartment really gives you the taste of an area. You’re able to settle in and feel as a neighborhood rather than a person, and the homeowner you are swapping with will probably fill you in on all kinds of neighborhood keys not from the guidebooks. Another big bonus for foodies is being able to use great neighborhood fresh foods to cook dinner in “home” instead of eating out for every meal.

Fabrizia Frezza Architecture & Interiors

Dream about where you would like to go … With apartment and home listings all around the planet, the world is your oyster. A villa in Italy? A whitewashed home on a Greek island? Why not?

… but keep an open mind. While there are lots of foreign listings to choose from, you may be surprised and find something appealing a little closer to home. What about a beach home in Florida or North Carolina, or even a sun-filled apartment in Los Angeles?


But I just have a regular home in the suburbs. Who’d wish to rent? If you’re concerned that nobody will want to stay in your home, do not be. By what I have heard concerning the house-swapping community, you’d be surprised at how well homes in “ordinary” towns perform. Some people are traveling on business or might have relatives in your region, so don’t discount your home before you start. You might be surprised.

Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

Play up your home’s strengths. That said, it will pay to highlight what is so good about your home specifically. Why should someone choose it? If you have an especially spacious or newly remodeled kitchen, be sure to describe its characteristics in detail and take excellent pictures in natural light.

Ben Herzog

Learn how to “sell” your region. Pretend a comparative is coming to visit. What will top your list of must-see regional attractions? What do you enjoy about your neighborhood? Perhaps there is a good café or farmer’s market in walking distance, or even a wonderful row of antiques shops, or a mythical stone of a museum. Shine the best possible light on your neighborhood to entice people who might know little about it.

Scot Meacham Wood Design

Spruce up your external zone. When you have a lawn or patio, be sure to have somewhere for people to sit — and in case you have a table for al fresco diningtable, all the better! There’s nothing wrong with a tiny bit of staging, so go ahead and place your table for dinner prior to snapping the photos to go for your home’s listing.

Jill Sorensen

Maximize sleeping area. Especially if you are swapping with a household, the amount of people your home sleeps can be a deal breaker. Make it a selling point rather of squeezing in an extra twin bed or 2, or swapping out a regular couch for a sleeper variant.

Kerrie L. Kelly

What about my dog? Or vehicle? Or precious stuff? Or … ? There are plenty of ifs involved in setting up a home swap, and it’s certainly not for everyone. That said, there are hundreds and hundreds of happy home swappers on the market, and by the coverage on individual swapping websites, issues seem to be somewhat rare. As it’s a reciprocal arrangement, the majority of people may want to care for your home as they expect you are caring for theirs. Just use your common sense and lock up anything quite valuable or which you’d be heartbroken to lose.

As for Fido, a few home swappers make caring for pets part of the arrangement, while some prefer to take the pups elsewhere while the house is currently used. Roughly half of home swappers using include their vehicle in the swap, but it is your call.

Prepared to swap? Listed below are a number of tools to check out: It guarantees you’ll find a swap, or you get the following year free.Craigslist. Look under “home,” afterward “home swap. “Digsville. Additionally, it has a swap guarantee.Intervac. Among the very first house-swapping providers, this site currently offers more than 30,000 listings.HomeLink. Second-year-free assurance; this site is just another of the pioneers of this concept.

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Is an Online Decorator Right for You?

Between house makeover TV shows and also the wealth of online resources available today, there are more options than ever for those people wanting to decorate and improve our homes independently. However, what happens when things just aren’t coming together? DIY projects go awry, paint colours look wrong, color schemes and furniture fashions don’t come together — we have all been there. Occasionally turning to an expert full-service professional or interior designer is the right course; however, if the price of an in-person decorator is out of reach, or in the event that you merely need to have more control over the design process, there’s a new choice to take into account.

“E-decorating” or even”virtual decorating” allows clients to get a decorator from any place on earth, receiving a design program either in a package through the mail or through email. Much less expensive than in-person interior design, e-decorating may consist of everything from mood boards and floor plans to certain resources for furniture and paint colours, and a growing number of decorators are getting on board with virtual services. Here, learn about four decorators on the forefront of the trend and discover if this strategy is right for you.

Burnham Design

1. “Immediate Space,” Betsy Burnham. A leader of the online decorating concept, Betsy Burnham of Burnham Design developed Instant Space, her online design support, to fill a demand she realized: supplying high quality design to budget-conscious and long tail customers.

Full-service interior design from the highly sought-after Burnham can become quite pricey. But when a client is prepared to do some of the legwork, an instantaneous Space box complete with furniture plans, resources, fabric swatches and paint samples, plus specific instructions on the best way best to implement the plan, arrives in as little as a month — and in a tiny fraction of the cost.

Need to know: You send in dimensions and photos of your space plus inspiration photos, complete an online questionnaire and cover the complete fee up front. Four to six months later, you receive a pretty sheet box in the email containing a design board, cloth and paint samples, a furniture plan drawn to scale, a shopping list together with resources available anyplace in your area or online and step-by-step directions for pulling the space together.

Cost: $975 to $1,950

Is it appropriate for you? Immediate Space is a good option for anyone pining to work with a fancy decorator but that want to execute the plan on their own time. If you love the Burnham Design appearance and love receiving a luxe box using samples and skilled design planks in the email (rather than emailed documents alone), this could be the right option for you. Also worth noting, you may choose to add trade-only furnishings and fabrics to your Immediate Space design plan for an additional 25 percent commission.

Watch the meeting with Betsy Burnham

Burnham Design

The Betsy Burnham appearance: famous for the expert way with color, Burnham offers stunning and unexpected color palettes that are really liveable. Expect interiors that are polished and upscale but consistently comfy.

Vanessa De Vargas

2. Turquoise, Vanessa De Vargas. After running her own successful design shop, developing a line of furniture and supplying complete interior design services through her organization, Turquoise, Vanessa De Vargas has garnered a dedicated clientele in the Los Angeles region. Wanting to offer a less expensive option, De Vargas a long time ago expanded her services to include e-decorating.

Need to know: You send in dimensions, photos and drawings of your space, along with inspiration images, your budget and an info sheet, and cover the fee up front. All information is filed electronically. About three weeks later you receive your personalized design program, including suggestions for wallpaper or paint, ideas for design items you own, furniture placement and resources for everything displayed, from furniture to accessories and artwork.

Cost: $500 to $1,050

Is it appropriate for you? Turquoise e-decorating offers the experience of a time-tested interior designer in a less expensive price point, and communicating entirely via email makes things easy and fast. This could be a fantastic fit for your job if you love Vanessa De Vargas’s contemporary glam look and need advice for utilizing some of your current furniture in a new manner.

Watch the meeting with Vanessa De Vargas

Vanessa De Vargas

The Turquoise appearance: Brand New, contemporary and a bit glam, De Vargas’ style blends new and old pieces for a look that feels personal and fun yet polished.

Vanessa De Vargas

Things to expect with design planks: whichever decorator you choose, you will likely receive some kind of design board — either as a hard copy in the email or as a PDF download. In the case shown here, from Vanessa De Vargas, it is possible to see that images of the actual furniture pieces chosen for the client are organized alongside paint color swatches and fabric patterns.

Design boards reveal suggested products and substances, and therefore are meant to help you visualize how the appearance will come together; it is different from the floor program, which (if included) will reveal where to put all that furniture. A written description might also be included to iron out the exact particulars that are not easily displayed on the design boards. Last, you also need to receive a source list with directions on where to purchase everything displayed in your strategy, either locally or online.

Tobi Fairley Interior Design

3. InBox Interiors, Tobi Fairley. Chosen as among Traditional Home magazine’s Top 20 Young Designers in the usa, Tobi Fairley is an accomplished designer offering full-service interior design in addition to an online decorating choice by InBox Interiors.

Need to know: You send in dimensions and electronic photos of your space, inspiration images and also a questionnaire, and cover the full fee up front. All communication happens using a Tobi Fairley team member through email. Six to eight months later, you receive a stunning box comprising a hard-back”look book” with floor plans, sketches and elevations of important details, a concept board, a shopping guide with pricing and detailed directions on implementing the design. You’ll also receive a packet with swatches of your preferred fabrics, paint and wallpapers.

Cost: $1,350 to $2,500

Is it best for you? For those with traditional preference looking for a thorough strategy and hands on materials and design boards from a high-end design home, minus the significant sticker shock, Tobi Fairley’s InBox Interiors team could be a fantastic fit.

Watch the meeting with Tobi Fairley

The Tobi Fairley appearance: famous for her freshened-up conventional appearance, Fairley uses large-scale prints, classic furniture shapes and contemporary pops of color. Her design is simple yet luxurious.

4. Birdhouse Interior Design Consulting, Jessica McKay. Jessica McKay offers in-person remodeling and decorating consultations for those in and around Omaha, Nebraska, in addition to online consultations for customers who just require a little bit of help pulling everything together.

Need to know: Online consultations incorporate an area mood board with resources for furniture and accessories, tips on developing a color palette, ideas for repurposing items and a written explanation of how to execute the strategy.

Cost: $250 per room

Is it right for you? Birdhouse Interior Design Consulting could be a fantastic fit if superaffordable design help from somebody with a fantastic eye is what you are after.

The Birdhouse Interiors appearance: Expect trendy, classic touches and lots of ideas for creatively aligning items. It’s hip and contemporary with an eclectic flair.

Interested in hiring an Internet decorator? Here are a couple more e-decorating companies worth checking out:
Maggie Rose Interiors: Decorator Maggie Morgan offers e-decorating bundles in addition to in-person decorating in the Seattle region.
Kelly + Olive: Courtney Davis and Lauren Paradise offer color consultations and mood boards online, also online decorating decorating for those from the Chicago region.
Nesting: Specializing in baby and children’s spaces, designer Susan Hutchinson offers e-design bundles in addition to in-person design consultation in the Philadelphia region.

Tell us: What do you believe? Can you (or have you?) Tried e-decorating?

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5 Weed-Smothering Ground Covers

So many anglers profess their love of weeding. “It’s therapeutic,” they say, and I see their point. Spending some time in the garden can be good therapy. However, I have a confession: I hate weeding. I’d rather have a stroll or sit with a book in my garden, enjoying the crops I’ve endeavored to develop. I wholeheartedly resent the time suck of eliminating those I have not.

As such, I am a big fan of earth covers that choke out weeds. Sure, if you would rather mild-mannered plants, you may consider them weeds within their own right, but for anglers like me, they help keep the “bad” weeds.

If it’s odor you’re after, look no farther than soda-scented ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’, zones 4 to 8). Brushing its foliage releases a beautiful bouquet into the air, and it flowers lavender early to midsummer. I shear mine a little with a hedge trimmer as it flowers for a new flush of foliage and blossom. This cool cat thrives in sun and lean, dry soil, and you will be amazed by how far one little clump will stretch. It divides readily in spring should you discover you want to help it together.

Creeping raspberry (Rubus pentalobus) is a little locomotive of a plant, with crushed-velvet leaves that turn a beautiful bronze color in zones where the weather gets cold but not cold it melts. It’s hardy in zones 6 to 9, grows well in sun or shade and even reasonably dry conditions, in typical soil. You may also find it under the name Rubus calycinoides and the very similar cultivar ‘Emerald Carpet’.

Photo by J.smith via Wikimedia Commons

Terra Nova® Nurseries, Inc

Asian jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) has been a popular evergreen ground cover in the South for decades, and when we say weed smothering, we mean it with this one. It’s for people who want an extremely low, very compact hedge. If you’re in the market for that with a little additional pizzazz, have a look at these fabulous variegated cultivars: ‘ ‘Gold Brocade’ (shown here) features wild and mad gold foliage with reddish new growth, whilst ‘Tricolor’ (next photo) is much more demure in mottled white with pink new growth.

This brand of vanilla has been grown mostly for foliage and seldom blooms. All these cultivars thrive in average conditions in sun or shade. They are solidly hardy in zones 8 to 10 but definitely worth a shot in zone 7. Their unvariegated parent grows just fine well into warmer parts of zone 6, even though it’s less known there. All are playful, glossy-leafed garden additions that send weeds packing.

Terra Nova® Nurseries

I recently extolled the virtues of plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, zones 5 to 9) here, and I think that it’s worth mentioning twice, simply to drive the point home: This plant grows well in sun and part shade in all sorts of states all around the U.S.. It chokes out weeds, blossoms in a clear blue that reflects the summer sky and tops it off with fantastic fall color. What more can you ask for?

Last but not least is a sumac. No, not the poison kind — this is ‘Gro-Low’ sumac (Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low’, zones 3 to 9), and it is not poisonous in the least. Grow it for its shiny blue-green leaves, buttery-yellow spring blossoms, fuzzy red fruit in late summer and fire-engine-crimson fall color. This plant is one tough cookie and grows great in color, but it picks up steam faster with sun and warmth — the first place I found it had been a parking lot. And as if all that weren’t enough, its parent plant is native to the whole eastern half of North America.

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

Great layout blossoms:
Catmint | Golden Creeping Jenny | Pacific Coast Iris | Plumbago
Red Kangaroo Paw | Sally Holmes Rose | Slipper Plant | Snake Flower

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

Great layout crops:
Blue Chalk Sticks | Hens-and-Chicks | Redtwig Dogwood | Toyon

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Cool, Calm Edwardian Gets Another Update

Recall Lucy McLintic’s cool, Serene Edwardian at San Francisco? She’s just completed a remodel of her kitchen, dining area, family room and powder room in a build that took three months and was in preparation for nearly nine.

The intent to redesign was in place because they moved into five years back and this was finally the right time.The design had two major issues: a narrow corridor leading from the kitchen to a small one-quarter bathroom (only a toilet, no sink). The bathroom was so tiny the door knocked the toilet bowl once it opened. And more space was required for 2 boys to playwith. Some crafty rearrangement was obligated to prevent major structural work or another addition. Read on to find the glowing, natural and modern haven now.

Lucy McLintic

Lucy has dreamed of the kitchen for ages! She knew the countertops and cabinets had to be whitened. That required darker shades for the tile and flooring, and some pattern. She chose herringbone floor tiles to echo the zigzag rug that could be reused in the family room. Silver travertine wall tiles added a touch of luxury and texture, while staying within the modern, clean-lined look.

Lucy McLintic

Lucy McLintic

The old kitchen was badly organized (with four entry doors), and falling to bits. The issues were solved by blocking up a door between the kitchen and bathroom, creating more counter space for the kitchen and room for a sink in the bathroom. The doors have been eliminated between other rooms.

The countertops have a strange border profile: a reverse bevel, or’sharknose’. Lucy noticed that as an emerging fashion in Europe and wanted to give it a shot. It was hard to describe, but her builder knew what she meant and got it just perfect.

Lucy McLintic

Open walnut shelves and toe kicks warm up the area. A white kitchen can be so clinical, but open shelving lets you bring some character to the room. The shelves are full of a mixture of old items, gifts and products by a local restaurant supply store.

Lucy McLintic

The dining area and family room were swapped, making the dining room currently visible from the kitchen so that it seems just like a kitchen-diner. It all feels like one area, though no major structural changes were made.

The small dining area is the best size for the household. Attention is focused on the dining table from Room and Board. The neutral palette is in shades of java, latte and milky white but intriguing shapes and textures have been added, such as the hyperlink suspension pendant by LZF. It’s made from wood veneer and can be rather the statement bit.

See the preceding arrangement in this earlier house tour

Lucy McLintic

The inlay mirror was the beginning point for the powder room. Lucy didn’t need the overall effect to be traditional, therefore she paired it with modern minimal glass tiles and a floating walnut vanity with square-edge countertops at the same Caesarstone as the kitchen. The dressing table is habit but from the same shop as the kitchen cabinets. The paint is Benjamin Moore’s Iron Mountain. Wall-mounted taps were selected as a result of limited space.

Lucy McLintic

The family room is used all the time. It’s the middle of the house physically, so there is a natural gravitational pull toward this area. Now the dining area transferred to the rear of the house, the space feels more open and inviting. Most of the items in the area — the sideboard, mirror, rug and end table — were reused. The sofa and the Cherner chair were the only new developments.

Lucy McLintic

The area was intentionally kept sparse to book the floor area for the kids to play. The deeper wall color (Benjamin Moore Wiemeraner) and patterned carpet prevent it from feeling empty.

A Little Cottage Grows Up
A Kitchen to Family and the Joy of Cooking
New Style With Old-World Warmth

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Hilltop Palace in San Francisco

Unparalleled views of the city and bay were what drew Geoffrey De Sousa to this San Francisco house, but it’s his stunning mixture of natural materials and exquisite product selections that truly sets it apart. An interior designer and one of the owners of this showroom De Sousa Hughes, De Sousa was residing in a Victorian home in the city when he discovered the perfect location for his dream house. Perched on top of the greatest of San Francisco’s hills in Clarendon Heights, his new house has views of the city in virtually every direction.

De Sousa opened up the home to benefit from their views and natural lighting, working with architect Mark English to double the square footage and create a clean and crisp appearance. He then outfitted the house with impeccable product choices to flaunt its clean architecture and comparison the surrounding fog.

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

De Sousa significantly expanded the space, starting the main floor to a gallery-like foyer, stairway, dining room, living room and kitchen. The dining room is simply one of many rooms that opens up onto the house’s brilliant view.

Dining room table: Stephanie Odegard

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

The simple and contemporary dining table is made out of forged metal, and also the Robjohns Gibbons dining chairs are one of De Sousa’s favourite finds. “It took five years to locate all 6,” he states. “We discovered them in San Francisco, in Palm Springs, in St. Louis.”

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

An elegant custom glass and walnut staircase leads from the foyer to the top floor, which contains the master and guest suites. Another pair of stairs leads down to a media room and exercise room on the floor. The mix of cold and warm stuff with this unique stairway is the perfect transition between the distances and acts as a great way to highlight pieces of De Sousa’s artwork collection. “The foyer is just like a little gallery space of its own,” he states.

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

De Sousa’s previous home was a Victorian decorated entirely in white, so he chose to do something completely different this time around. Lush colors, contemporary lines, and incorporated indoor/outdoor living define the house’s aesthetic. The blend of products within this main-floor living room surely echoes that. The yellow upholstered chairs and the coffee table in this room are De Sousa’s own designs.

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

De Sousa chose plush textiles in rich browns, grays and reds which play from the city’s cool and muddy disposition perfectly.

Chaise: Charcoal Velvet Preston Chaise, Geoffrey De Sousa
Tables: Plexiglass tables, Ted Boerner
Mirror: Blackman Cruz

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

A cozy outdoor seating area, complete with a fire pit, sits just inside the entrance courtyard. The stacked stone walls and calming water feature have made this a relaxing outdoor sanctuary.

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

“We live at the banquette at the kitchen,” says De Sousa. “I’ve wonderful memories of friends and family gathered around that table.” The beautiful rope chairs are produced by Christian Astuguevieille, one of De Sousa’s favourite designers. The black-and-white photos above the banquette are part of a series of 1950s circus photos.

Black and white photos: Robollo Home

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

The open kitchen design allows for a clear view of the San Francisco Bay. Clean and crisp architectural lines keep this space simple but magnificent, and automatically direct the eyes out to the perspective. De Sousa wanted to emphasize natural substances in his house, and used a mix of walnut, Brazilian mahogany, piled slate, and also Calacatta marble throughout. The comparison between timber, glass and stone creates an artful and visually satisfying look.

Artwork: Created by Alon Langotsky

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

Chocolate brown accents liven up the calming taupe tones in this bedroom.

The home’s appearance is a result of a love for several distinct styles and eras. “It’s also a portion of the cities where I have lived,” he states. “Boston, where I grew up amidst classic American architecture and interiors, to San Francisco, to Palm Springs, where we have a modest mid-century-style retreat.”

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

The master bathroom is a calm, light-filled space that highlights natural timber, tile and stone. Employing the pebble-style tile round the edge of the space provides a unique contrast that ties the whole space together.

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

The rooms on the base floor have a clear perspective of the city. A small outdoor patio off a guest bedroom enables visitors to fully enjoy the occasional sunny San Francisco day.

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

Of course, the terrace has by far the most magnificent view in the home. The Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge are visible here, and therefore are best enjoyed with a warm blanket and a glass of wine.

Photography by Matthew Millman

More Tours:
Elegant and Modern at San Francisco
Sleek San Francisco Getaway
Georgia Peach Grows California Roots

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