Monthly Archives: January 2019

Fantasy Room Makeover Progress Report

It is a fantastic time to check in on the house of our Dream Living Room Sweepstakes winner. A couple of months ago, Mary Pucul of Vandling, Pennsylvania, won $20,000 of style services and $20,000 of furniture from Design Within Reach. (Check out our very first setup, where you will meet with the winner, husband Carl and designer Ani Semerjian, plus have a furniture shopping excursion together and take a look at the plans.)

The living room is well on its way to being a dream come true, but it’s an active construction zone. “It is a little difficult not having access to the place where we invest most of our time, and all the stuff that was in that room is spread out throughout the remainder of the home,” Pucul states. “But it’s all worth it, due to being here each day you can see things continuously shifting.”

Here is a peek at the way the room is coming along.

The dark brown cut the beams, moldings and stairs is painted in Benjamin Moore’s French Press AF-170. The light walls are Benjamin Moore’s Cosmopolitan CSP-100.

Semerjian Interiors

Semerjian’s original plan for the room indicates some of the furniture choices from Design Within Reach. (Read more about the purchasing and selection process here.) Besides the design furniture and services, the remodel includes tiling, a new ceiling, recessed lighting, painting, removing a sink inside the room (previously a kitchen) and shutting up the pipes.

Living in a construction zone isn’t fun, however, the couple has found ways to accommodate. Pucul is great at turning negatives into positives. “My husband went to the library, where you can purchase a bag of used books for $5, and he’s now on his next luggage,” she states. “We’ve been reading a lot. The radio, CD player and DVD player have been disconnected for the last couple of months, so we’ve had more discussions. I have tried cleaning the rest of the home, however, also the sawdust and plaster dust finds its way upstairs virtually every day, so I have given cleaning up until the work is completed — that’s a fantastic thing.”

At one stage during construction, Carl found a way to enjoy his favorite TV-watching place, that has a new wall-mounted plasma TV and a comfy lawn chair that could stand up to drywall dust. “Our only other TV is in the bedroom, so some nights we are in bed by 8 or 9 o’clock,” Pucul states.

Demolition comprised removing the drop ceiling and the rug. This brought back memories for Pucul, who grew up in this home. “After taking out the rug, we were left with all the linoleum from the time when that room was our family,” she states.

“Back in 1964 my mother won an electrical stove and informed my father the new stove was moving in the living room on the second floor,” she recalls, “so that was our kitchen got moved upstairs and the kitchen became the family room. Seeing that linoleum brought back a great deal of great memories … but I have to say, the hardwood floor looks a ton better.”

Semerjian’s programs include a white painted tongue and groove ceiling and recessed lighting. “The initial ceiling was half acoustic tile, and another half has been wood-grained paneling that looked very obsolete,” she states. “Instead of removing it, I chose to add it to another part of the ceiling, removing the acoustic tile.”

“Since the home is in the nation and the furniture is so contemporary, the tongue and groove ceiling introduced a nation element to the space. It will help tie the room together,” Semerjian states. “painting the paneling white upgraded the space and added dimension and interest to the ceiling.”

Ceiling paint: White Dove OC-17, Benjamin Moore

“I really like the appearance of dark molding and trim,” Semerjian continues. “I picked the dark paint help tie the ceiling and the flooring together, because we decided to opt for a gorgeous dark walnut floor.”

“I was not sure about the colour scheme initially but trusted Ani’s judgment,” Pucul states, “and she’s been put on!”

The flooring is an engineered timber by Mohawk. It is the Queenstown (a 5-inch-wide plank) in Hickory Antique. As this space is a cellar, Semerjian chose engineered flooring for their stability and resistance to moisture. “We chose to proceed with the dark floor because it’s much more wealthy and elegant, and I really like the appearance of wide plank flooring.”

The firebox was arranged prior to Semerjian came onboard, so she is working on a design for a surround to deliver it in the new scheme of the room.

Semerjian took good advantage of the space under the stairs to make open shelves for networking gear.

The owners like seeing progress almost daily. “We’ve come a long way,” Pucul states.

Our next article will be the big reveal. I can not wait to see this dream living room!

More: Watch the first installation of this makeover

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Fantastic Design Plant: Paperbark Maple

Suited to small gardens but both at home in bigger landscapes, the paperbark maple is guaranteed to be a favorite feature in your garden.

Le jardinet

Botanical name: Acer griseum
Common title: Paperbark maple
USDA zones: 4 to 2 (find your zone)
Water necessity: Water frequently until recognized
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 18 feet tall and 15 feet wide
Benefits and tolerances: Tolerates both clay and sandy land; no pruning is necessary
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Preferably in spring or autumn; I’ve successfully implanted this in August with daily irrigation.

Le jardinet

Distinguishing attributes.
Striking cinnamon-colored exfoliating barkBeautiful fall color

Le jardinet

How to use it. Play off the rich bark color by surrounding this maple with foliage and flowers in sunset colors of gold, orange and burgundy.

Orange montbretia (Crocosmia) seem beautiful exploding from the foundation — even their seed heads form an exciting venture, as seen here.

Avoid obscuring the shrub with evergreen plants. Its bark is one of the highlights of the winter landscape.

Le jardinet

Think about the backdrop where the tree is seen. In this picture the warm cedar shingles are a perfect foil for the autumn foliage and bark.

Planting notes.
Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Amend the soil you have removed with about 20 percent well-rotted compost.Add some bonemeal into the planting hole and mix it this boosts root growth.Add the tree into the hole and backfill cautiously tamping down gently.Water thoroughly.If you are feeling staking is necessary, make sure to allow some motion — this really helps encourage more powerful roots.Keep the tree well watered for the first two decades; after that water during prolonged dry spells.

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Great Design Plant: Pansy

There are few flowers more charming than the pansy. Yes, it is one of these blooms that you used to see in your grandma’s garden, but there is a reason for its longstanding allure. Its sunny, cheerful face, combined with low maintenance and a vast range of colours, makes it a traditional choice for cooler-weather gardening. Even though pansies will grow in almost any zone, they are a great choice for gardeners in the South that wish to supply a drenched spectacle in their autumn and winter gardens.

Sherri Fitzgerald – Ultimate Decor

Botanical name: Viola
Common title: Pansy
USDA zones: 7 to 11 throughout the winter; 6 and lower throughout the summer (find your zone); could overwinter in colder climates after well established.
Water necessity: Consistently moist soil
Light requirement: Full to partial sun
Mature size: Up to 9 inches tall and wide
advantages and tolerances: Nonstop blooming and strong colour in the garden
Seasonal attention:Dependably blooms throughout two seasons
When to plant: Fall for southern climates, spring for northern climates.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Distinguishing traits. Pansies have one of three basic colour patterns — one solid, clear colour; a solid colour with black “pen” markings radiating in the centre; or solid colour with a dark centre. Colors include purple, yellow, lavender, russet, orange, white, red and even black. Some varieties, particularly the blue and yellow ones, possess a subtle scent that is quite noticeable in the early morning or at dusk.

J. Peterson Garden Design

How to utilize it. Pansies are unstoppable bloomers in front of a mixed-perennial or annual bed, as well as features in container plantings.

Use one colour or variety for the maximum impact, or choose two different colours and plant in masses or cubes. Employing a high number of different colours will water down the overall impact. Both the leaves and flowers of pansies are edible, perfect for garnishes or for making syrups, flavored salads or honey.

Pair pansies with dusty miller (Senecio cineraria), viola (Viola), English dais (Bellis perennis), sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus).

Westover Landscape Design, Inc..

Planting notes. Plant pansies in a sunny place — they will tolerate some light shade but may become leggy and unattractive if they’re grown in darker colour. Ensure that your soil is loose and well drained, and simmer monthly with a nitrate-based plant food to get larger and more profuse blooms. Maintain your pansies consistently moist for optimal health and best results.

Bright Plants for Flower Beds That Wow

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Kitchen of the Week: A Lease Kitchen That Moonlights

Andy Sermonia is one of those rare tenants with a great kitchen, which includes ample wood cabinets, granite counters and a granite counter. But prepping and photographing dishes for Sermonia’s blog still may be a struggle when she is working with a lot of ingredients. The photographer and mom maneuvers just like a whirlwind, making the most of her San Mateo, California, kitchen by finding new storage tricks and keeping her counter space clear and clean.

Cooking for the her website and her family may get complex in this layout, but the ample cabinetry helps keep things up and away from the counters.

Magnetized items keep must-haves neat. Magnetic spice holders and notepads — such as those on the side of the fridge at the far right of the photo — help Sermonia remain organized. “Laptops are really crucial for my recipes,” she says. “I always have one at the kitchen.”

Q. What’s one thing you enjoy on your kitchen?
A. It’s a lot of storage. I am able to hide away kitchen equipment easily, which is important to mepersonally, because I enjoy using a great deal of countertop space to work with.

Cabinets are organized carefully by task and types of items. Keeping items helps to keep counters clear and the kitchen looking spick-and-span. Any additional counter space may be used to dress things up with practical and pretty kitchen accessories.

To maintain her cabinets additional arranged, Andy often makes use of simple white hooks which may be attached with tape. “It’s definitely helped me with regards to storage, and it is great for tenants with landlords which don’t allow drilling from the walls.”

Q. What’s one storage or space-saving secret you have learned from your kitchen?
A. Keep everything close by — not they aren’t yet! Have everything categorized; this way, looking for things you need becomes easier.

Sermonia’s hardwood flooring make cleanup a snap. Since she elevates, she didn’t choose her kitchen finishes, but her all-white kitchen accessories and dishes produce brightness and goodwill.

Q. What are three of your kitchen comforts or accessories which you love?
A. Definitely the food processor — I use it a whole lot to prep; the mixer to get when I inhale pastries; and the oven.

Sermonia shoots the majority of the stuff for her website and portfolio in a little place right next to the kitchen. A little table with black and white backgrounds nearby helps her get the most from her house’s natural light.

Q. What’s one thing you aspire to modify in your kitchen in the not too distant future?
A.Since we are just renting, I’m learning more and more what I actually want in a kitchen. Absolutely lots of space, larger cabinets and a very big pantry! An island would be fine also. And since I’m 80% photographer and 20 percent cook, I really need large windows to allow a good deal of natural lighting in to picture my small kitchen experiments.

Straightforward, crowd-pleasing pasta dishes are one of Sermonia’s favourite things to whip up for a dinner party. This creamy mushroom pasta is a staple in her home and may be put together with nominal cookware and ingredients.

Q. What’s your go-to dish for a dinner party at your house, and why?
A.Almost anything Filipino. I grew up eating Filipino food and have watched my mom, father, aunts, uncles and grandmas cook it. It was something that came naturally and still does. And then there’s pasta! It’s simple, and everybody likes it.

Like most food-loving tenants, Sermonia dreams of the day when she could have a new kitchen exactly to her liking. “The best advice I could give is to make sure to always clean your kitchen and clean outside the countertops as much as possible,” she says. “The things on these, the better.”

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Southeast Gardener's September Checklist

With atmosphere, creating a feeling of excitement and a scent, September opens with the dog days of summer . The source of this excitement might be no other reason than the weather being bearable enough to spend some time outdoors once more.

Reds dominate. Yellows generate. Purples empower. Grasses sway, with flowers. Themselves steady because they feed on seeds. Box turtles mosey around the tomatoes, eating what the birds or deer knocked to the ground. Life abounds. September was made for sitting on the terrace.

Gardening with Confidence®

Strawberry wants. If you did not fertilize your berries in August, do this in September. For plants that were planted this past spring, apply 4 to 6 oz of ammonium nitrate (33 percent nitrogen) or 12 to 18 ounces of 10-10-10 for each 25 feet of a row.

For plants in their next year of expansion, increase the application rate to 6 to 8 oz of ammonium nitrate or 18 to 24 ounces of 10-10-10 for each 25 feet of row.

Spread the fertilizer uniformly at a band over the row, about 14 inches wide. Apply when the foliage is dry. Brush the fertilizer off the leaves to avoid leaf burn.

In cases like mine, where the berries are not planted in rows but rather as a backyard boundary, just estimate the square footage and apply the equivalent quantity of fertilizer. My strawberry border is 2 1/2 feet wide by 10 feet long, which is equivalent to 25 feet of rows.

Gardening with Confidence®

September (and August) is when the cell size of next spring’s strawberry buds is determined. The more positive the growing conditions that your berries receive the bigger the berries will be next year.

Ensure your berries have 1 inch of water each week. If nature doesn’t provide this, then plan to supplement with water from the spigot, rain or well harvester.

Gardening with Confidence®

Wait to prune shrubs. Fight the urge to prune shrubs that seem overgrown after a lengthy summer revealing. It is best to wait until late spring to prune, before the next growing season starts.

Pruning today could spark new growth that could be too tender to endure an early deep freeze. You could also be cutting off following spring’s blooms, like azaleas and camellias.

Gardening with Confidence®

Prune roses. Fear of trimming the next year’s bloom is not a worry with roses, but it’s still best to wait until March.

Knock Out roses can be pruned any time, however, particularly once you want to shape the shrub. All sorts of roses benefit from elimination of diseased canes and leaves in almost any season.

Gardening with Confidence®

Fall planting. October is a great time to plant or go a tree or shrub. To search for one that will do well in your area, visit the local garden centre this month while the choice is at its peak.

Remember to dig a planting hole no deeper than the root ball height, and excavate the hole two to three times the width of the root ball diameter.

Gardening with Confidence®

Lawns. The first two weeks in September are the best times to reseed cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue or even Turf-Type Fescue. Additionally our gardens will profit from a core aeration.

Gardening with Confidence®

Feed hummingbirds. Hummingbird feeders are not necessary if you have enough plants to nourish these people, but they are a great way to ensure you get a consistent food supply for the hummers. It’s possible to place the feeder at a place that is easy to view from your favourite seat, indoors or out.

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Make your own hummingbird nectar. Making sugar water nectar to fill your feeder is easy to do and takes less than a minute. Boil four parts water with one part sugar. Decrease the heat as soon as the sugar dissolves.

Allow the sugar-water mixture cool, fill out the feeder. Store any remaining nectar in the refrigerator for up to a week. When temperatures are hot, greater than 86º F, then alter the nectar water daily.

Gardening with Confidence®

Weeds. There never seems to be only 1 bud; they arrive in multiples and just like to hang gangs. You will find the sedges, the spurges, the grasses and the oxalis. There are too just many to mention and still hope for a happy day.

Stay ahead of your weeds. If you have a issue with poa annua, annual blue grass, like I do in my Raleigh backyard, today (early September) is the opportunity to utilize a pre-emergent like corn gluten.

Watch more ways to combat weeds

Gardening with Confidence®

Pests. Should you discover fall webworms in your own trees — hickory, walnut, birch, cherry and crabapple, to mention a few — pull them out and dump the caterpillars into a bucket of soapy water. This is a control measure for those planters within reach.

For those nests that are not within reach, you might need to resort to spraying. Control webworms with BTK (Bacillus thuringiensis). Apply just to the affected branches; utilizing BTK as a wide spray will hurt beneficial insects as well.

Planting guides for your Southeast backyard
Browse flowers, plants and garden design ideas

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