Monthly Archives: October 2019

Deed of Trust Terminology

Real estate transactions that involve financing will use the property as collateral for repayment of the loan. There are two basic documents that can be employed to establish the safety for your loana mortgage or deed of trust. Most states require a mortgage although some states, such as California, use a deed of trust. Mortgages and deed of trust differ in both language and the manner in which they can be employed to enforce payment of the loan in case of a default.

Three-party Transaction

A legal mortgage only requires a borrower—the owner or purchaser of the home —along with a lender—a bank, credit union or other business or person providing financing. In order to have a legitimate deed of trust, three parties are necessary: a trustor, beneficiary and trustee. The trustor will signs the deed of trust and the heirs and trustee will be specifically identified in the record.


The trustor under a deed of trust is synonymous with a debtor under a mortgage—this is, the owner is using the property to secure payment of a loan or other duty, like the court appearance of a relative or friend who is released on a bail bond while awaiting trial. In order to be legitimate, the trustor must sign the deed of confidence in the presence of a notary public and file the record with the office for recording property records in the county where the land is located. The deed of trust then becomes a lien against the land.


Every deed of trust names a beneficiary who receives the action of trust in exchange for being provided some type of benefit to the trustor. The deed of trust will even recognize the basic terms necessary to fulfill the heirs ’s repayment requirements. In the case of a purchase money loan, then this includes the loan provisions, like the principal, interest rate, payment schedule and due date. In the instance of an obligation like a bail bond, the deed of trust would define the court proceeding and who is required to comply with the court’s order to appear for trial or other appearances.


A significant difference between a mortgage and deed of trust is the addition of a trustee in the deed of trust. Although the trustee is usually a title company or other expert trustee, it can be any individual or business entity agreed upon between the trustor and beneficiary. If the trustor is diligent in complying with the conditions of the deed of trust, the trustee will do nothing more than act as the holder of legal title to the property and, as such, doesn’t have an obligation to perform any particular actions. In states where deeds of trust are commonly used, title companies deliver preprinted deed of trust forms together with the title company’s name inserted as trustee.

Power of Sale

The vital difference between a mortgage and deed of trust is that the deed of trust contains the power of sale—that is the ability of the trustee to sell the property to pay back the loan or other duty without needing to go to court. If a debtor defaults on a mortgage, the lender must file a lawsuit to force the sale of the property to settle the debt. When a trustor defaults in performing any repayment conditions, the beneficiary has the right to instruct the trustee to sell the property, called a non-judicial foreclosure. This remedy is desirable since it can be completed in less time than a lawsuit and is less costly.

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What Is a Ground Lease?

1 method to create revenue from real estate you own is by renting the property. This is possible even if the property is bare land, with no improvements. In this instance, the property owner typically enters into a ground lease with a tenant.


Ground lease or A land rental is a long-term rental of land, generally 50 to 99 years in length. The tenant normally makes improvements to your property, such as constructing a supermarket, supermarket or other constructions. The details of the lease dictate what happens to the improvements at the close of the lease term, which might provide the landowner rights into the buildings, permit the tenant to remove the enhancements or provide the landowner the option to buy the improvements.


At a property lease, the tenant is typically required to pay expenses on the property, such as taxation, insurance, maintenance and repairs, during the period of this lease, referred to as a net lease. The lease’s states can fluctuate, depending on the agreement between the property owner and lessee.


A property owner has the benefit of retaining possession of the land when making revenue on the property, without the cost of creating the land. Since it is typically a long-term rental, the home owner has a tenant locked into a commitment for a long period. In the close of the rental, the home owner may reap the advantages of all improvements the tenant made into the land.


Ground rentals tend to be commercial leases, providing lessees a means to build a business without the cost of purchasing land. When building buildings, ground leases are sometimes entered into by governments. This makes it possible for them to construct buildings, such as libraries, even when public land isn’t available and buying real estate is unaffordable.


An entity which owns land, yet isn’t in the position to sell the property, often uses ground leases as a means to create income from this property. This might be land, or lands. The Federal Bureau of Land Management often enters to develop resort areas.

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Programs of a Real Estate Attorney

Real estate transactions involve the exchange of a substantial quantity of money. Regardless of the high stakes, many people manage to run their real estate business without a hitches. After all, agents, appraisers, mortgage companies and real estate brokers offer their advice. In several instances, however, additional assurances are provided by hiring an attorney. These lawyers are experienced and knowledgeable about real estate legislation, and, in certain states, they are a required element in the preparation of home-purchase records, name searches and closings. In California, you are not required to use an attorney when purchasing or selling real estate.

If Purchasing

Property attorneys review purchase contracts to make certain that there are not any issues to be solved. Some insurance and mortgage lenders ask you to use a lawyer. Among specific areas attorneys explore are making sure the name is good and that there are no exemptions against your land. In the end, the attorney makes sure the contract provisions are acceptable and guarantees that there aren’t any issues that will cause difficulties at closing. Buyers can also direct lawyers to help them understand the conditions of the purchase contract; a few buyers request lawyers to check into local covenants and codes which could impact how they plan to utilize the property. According to the financial site, real estate lawyers also help buyers by clarifying the details of the mortgage and changing them if needed and by checking to ensure there aren’t any taxes or utility costs owed on the property to be purchased.

When Purchasing

Real estate lawyers help vendors. Their primary role involves reviewing the item, a formal offer by the buyer that commits the person to buying the property, and preparing the purchase and sale agreement. Property lawyers can take part in the process on behalf of the seller to ensure that the seller receives the very best terms possible. A vendor ’s real estate attorney deals with name issues and also prepares the deed for the property. The closing is also attended by the attorney and reviews all papers the seller signs.

Answering Legal Questions

In California, real estate attorney involvement is optional. In certain states, however, there is a real estate attorney needed for the preparation of documents such as the binder. Even if an attorney isn’t mandated, proposes hiring an attorney under certain circumstances. Essentially, website says an attorney should be consulted everywhere the buyer, seller or real estate agent is unable to tackle a legal question. In accordance with, real estate agents are knowledgeable, but can’t answer some legal inquiries.

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What Are the Benefits of an FHA Loan?

FHA loans are government-insured loans backed by the Federal Housing Authority. Personal lenders fund the loans but the authorities insures them from default. Since the authorities covers losses if you foreclose, creditors have minimal criteria for qualification. Though some creditors will impose tougher criteria, such as minimal fico scores or reserve guidelines (quantity of”rainy day” savings) for FHA loans, many honor the minimal guidelines set out by the FHA. These guidelines give the best hope for most borrowers to qualify for home loans on good terms they could afford.

Reduced Downpayment

FHA loans, along with other government loans like VA loans for military service members and veterans, and USDA rural loans, also require the cheapest downpayments. Conventional loans take a minimal of between 5 and 10 percent down, while FHA needs as little as 3% down. Low downpayments allow people to buy homes and start building equity earlier.

Lower Mortgage Insurance

Typically, the monthly mortgage insurance fee paid on an FHA loan is lower than the fee paid on a traditional mortgage. This results in a lower monthly payment overall, even for the ones that could qualify for a traditional loan.

Better Interest Rates

FHA loans offer you the exact same interest rate for many borrowers, so there is no interest rate penalty for those who have credit issues. If you qualify for the loan, then you have the current rate. FHA loan rates are normally very aggressive, typically within a .05 percent of conventional premiums charged to the well-qualified borrower. These loans gives credit-challenged buyers the ability to be eligible at rates they couldn’t get on traditional mortgages, when the conventional rate is adjusted upward for risk.

Greater Debt Ratios

You’re able to qualify with a higher total monthly debt for an FHA loan than you possibly can for a traditional loan. Traditional loans allow for a new home payment of 28 percent of your monthly grossincome, or pre-tax, income, while FHA loans allow 29 percent, according to the FHA and Lending Tree. Your total monthly debt, such as car payments, credit card minimums and installation loans must remain under 36 percent of your monthly income for a traditional loan, even while FHA loan guidelines allow up to 41 percent, allowing more people to qualify. These ratios exist as of July 2010.

Liberal Credit History

FHA loan guidelines do not require a minimum credit score. Borrowers may be approved with little or no credit history, as long as there isn’t any adverse credit history in their own report. For the ones that have credit, you require only 1 year of credit history. You can qualify for an FHA mortgage in as little as two years after a bankruptcy and three years following a foreclosure, as long as there is clean credit within the time period. Traditional loan guidelines require two decades of credit and a minimum of four years following a bankruptcy or foreclosure.

Greater Seller Contributions

There is a higher allowable seller contribution on FHA loans compared to there is on many traditional loans–6 percent rather than 3%. This usually means you could negotiate for the seller to cover most, if not all, closing costs, which reduces your out-of-pocket costs. You may even request the seller to buy down the interest rate for your loan, which lets you cover a proportion of the loan amount upfront to”buy down” the interest rate to a lower rate.

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The Code of Ethics

“Ethics” identifies customs, principles and values that a culture or community consider to be sound, where our behavior is quantified. Ethics are considered particularly significant when related to the activities of skilled or influential professionals. Though there’s not an official code for most real estate agents, many are members of the National Association of Realtors, that includes an integrity code. The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors has 17 articles that can be outlined in the golden rule: do to others as you’d like them to do to you. Failure to follow this code of ethics can result in a member to lose his or her membership.

Obligations to Clients

Articles 1 to 9 deal with the responsibilities property brokers have toward their clientele. Article 1 requires representatives to promote the interests of the customers first, while they remain obligated to treat all parties honestly and fairly. Agents should not mislead owners or buyers in the marketplace worth of a property or the savings they can make through their services. Article 2 instructs agents not to exaggerate or hide pertinent details. According to Article 4, realtors can’t represent themselves, immediate relatives or businesses they have an interest in without informing the owner in writing. Article 8 requires brokers to keep a special account, separate from their private accounts, to hold monies in trust for customers or other parties in a property transaction.

Duties to the Public

Articles 10 to 14 deal with the responsibilities of a property agent to the general public. Article 10 forbids brokers from denying services to individuals for reasons of race, colour, religion, sex, family status or nationality. According to article 11, an agent should also be cautious not to provide”technical services” in areas he or she is not competent. Agents have to be careful they don’t create misleading adverts. But, according to article 12, an agent can provide prizes, bonuses and other incentives for customers that employ his services, as long as the terms of the offer are clearly explained. Article 13 forbids property agents from providing legal guidance that constitutes unauthorized practice of the law; instead, he must recommend contacting a lawyer.

Duties to Other Members

Articles 15 to 17 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors govern interactions between its own members. These comprise not making false statements regarding competitors (post 15), or soliciting the work of exclusive customers of other brokers (post 16). The rule aims to restrict agents from targeting the customers of other brokers by telephone or email. However, this is acceptable if the services offered are somewhat different than what the other agent is now offering. It is fine to provide property management services to the present customer of an agent who is offering brokerage services.

The Code of Ethics and the Law

A code of ethics is not the same as state or federal law on property. Even though the code of ethics will usually require higher standards of practice than the legislation, it’s the law that takes precedence in any battle. Property brokers, irrespective of the professional business they are affiliated to, should be knowledgeable about the actual estate laws of the nation (see Resources for information about California legislation ).

Condition Codes of Ethics

Each nation’s professional association provides its guidelines for realtors. The California Association of Realtors creates its own code of ethics and arbitration manual to employ the National Association of Realtors code to California state legislation. If you are a realtor you should become acquainted with the National and state principles of ethics (see Resources).

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Pattern Primer: How to Pair Different Prints

I reupholstered my dining room seats in a fun floral a couple weeks ago. I knew what color I wanted (I am into teal right now), but picking the pattern was barbarous. I have an open living space, so my choice required to pair nicely with the stripes, florals and chevrons in my living space. I moved back and forth on several patterns; in the end I chose to simply match the colors, maybe not the prints — doing both was just too much to manage.

At the same point or another, we have come across an identical pattern issue: What goes nicely with my favorite plaid armchair? Can my brand new chevron ottoman work together with my damask bedding? Can I use polka dots, animal prints and florals in my child’s bedroom?

Finding the perfect balance is tough, but this pattern primer will provide you all the need-to-know details regarding your favorite prints. Two designers, Suzanne Tucker, cofounder and principal designer at Tucker & Marks, and Abbe Fenimore, principal designer at Studio Ten 25, discuss their expert insights on publish personalities, pairings and intriguing new decorating techniques.

Michelle Miller Interiors


Versatile, on trend, daring yet relaxing.
Where to use it In tiny doses, such as on vases, drapes or pillows. Try out a painted or tile accent wall to make a statement.
Pairs nicely with: any additional publish, Tucker says. The trick: Maintain the colour palette consistent and balance the scale — a big and bold pattern, yet another small and subtle.
Pulling off it: To prevent a DIY appearance, combine it together with luxurious velvets, Fenimore suggests. It also pairs nicely with metallics and stone tones, especially when used as art.

Watch chevrons in more chambers

Kerrisdale Design Inc


Romantic, timeless, light and airy.
Where to use it Everywhere! Wallpaper, draperies, bedding, upholstery and cushions.
Pairs nicely with: A stripe that pulls out a less-obvious colour in the floral pattern — which way the space will appear less “decorated”
Pulling off it: “Center a large-scale floral pattern on smaller pieces for a fantastic effect,” Tucker says.

Watch florals in more chambers

Erika Bierman Photography


Global, eclectic, exotic, earthy, adventurous, handmade looking.
Where to use it Pillows, dining chair cushions, drapes.
Pairs nicely with: Stripes, tone-on-tone images and strong silks, Fenimore states.
Pulling off it: “Ikats create a fantastic surprise lining on a more traditional drapery therapy, or as one facet of portieres because you pass through,” Tucker says.

Watch ikats in more chambers

Kropat Interior Design


A true chameleon. Energetic, retro, daring, bohemian, but warm and cozy.
Where to use it Curtains, curtain linings, walls and upholstery
Pairs nicely with: Herringbone.
Pulling off it: “Use large scale to get a daring and playful appearance,” Tucker says. “Maintain your paisleys tonal to get a more transitional appearance.”

Watch paisleys in more chambers

Abbe Fenimore Studio Ten 25


Eclectic, sassy, daring, lively, glamorous.
Where to use it Rugs, pillows, bedding, background, drawer liners and art.
Pairs nicely with: Shimmery velvets and nubby linens, Fenimore states.
Pulling off it: “There is a very fine line between posh and sleazy, so purchase the best — it has to be top quality,” Tucker says.

See monster prints in more chambers

Tom Stringer Design Partners

Polka Dot

Entertaining, happy, outgoing and playful.
Where to use it Rugs, pillows and accent pieces — on a small or large scale.
Pairs nicely with: Likewise colored stripes and plain colors, as long as they do not compete.
Pulling off it: “Steer clear of giant polka dots, or you will seem like a game of Twister,” Tucker says.

Watch polka dots in more chambers

Tucker & Marks


Buttoned-up classic and conservative; French, English and Scottish feel.
Where to use it Upholstery pieces and headboards with straight lines; silk drapes when paired with vibrant colors.
Pairs nicely with: Likewise colored florals and strong colors.
Pulling off it: “Pay attention to matching the pattern exactly — nothing seems worse than a badly sewn or mismatched plaid,” Tucker says.

Watch plaids in more chambers



Tailored, formal, French.
Where to use it Upholstery on big pieces, such as chairs and sofas; stencil patterns; etched glass; iron gates.
Pairs nicely with: Solids, stripes and chevrons, but maybe not herringbone, Tucker says.
Pulling off it: To get a look that’s much less formal, more eclectic and edgier, look for quatrefoil prints which incorporate at least three colors, Fenimore states.

Watch quatrefoil prints in more chambers

Jane Lockhart Interior Design


Demure, subdued, versatile, traditional.
Where to use it Metallic background and on flooring and draperies.
Pairs nicely with: Florals, stripes, solids and plaids — everything except another damask or routine with the exact same scale.
Pulling off it: “An authentic woven damask can be employed on the opposite too, with subtle differences in coloration,” Tucker says.

Watch damask in more chambers

McCroskey Interiors


Adventurous, bold, natural, forgiving, natural.
Where to use it Small Designs, such as upholstered ottomans, beanbag chairs and puppy beds (great for concealing all that hair).
Pairs nicely with: Solids, stripes, plaids and chevrons.
Pulling off it: “Treat camouflage as a strong,” Tucker says. “Maintain the colour palette neutral and sophisticated.”

See camouflage in more chambers

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3 Essential Components of an Artful Garden Path

An outdoor route comes in one of two categories: 1) a directional instrument to move visitors to a destination as efficiently as possible, or 2) a device which permits people to engage the senses as they meander toward a destination at a leisurely rate.

I talked with landscape architect Sandy Ayers, co-owner of The Garden Route Company, about the nuances of getting the most out of each type of path.

The Garden Route Company

“The three main things to designing a route are ensuring that it leads somewhere, that it remains in character with its surroundings and it’s comfortable to walk,” Ayers says.

Let’s break down this step by step.

The Garden Route Company

1. Make sure the route leads somewhere. A successful route, regardless of what its type, has to have a destination, otherwise it’s just plain useless and pointless. The phrase “wild goose chase” springs to mind.


But that doesn’t mean that the destination needs to be a front door or garage. It can be a calm fountain with a bench or a stone garden. The idea is to provide people a reward at the end of their trip.

The Garden Route Company

2. Keep the trail. Path materials which don’t make sense will sense jarring and confusing. Pick either materials which match an present motif of your house’s outside or garden, or natural features that will blend harmoniously with what’s already in the area.

More on course materials in a bit.

The Garden Route Company

3. Give the trail a proper sense. That really is a twofold issue. If you’re likely to make a stepping-stone route, the stones have to be placed a comfortable distance from each other.

An average space is 36 inches from the center of one rock to the center of the next rock, Ayers says. The gaps between stones should typically be no more than 4 inches. The true distance may differ based on who the route is for: A tall, athletic individual, for example, will likely have another stride length compared to someone more petite.

The Garden Route Company

The issue of relaxation is stability. You simply can’t ask people to walk onto a stepping-stone route that’s wobbling. It’s disconcerting and potentially harmful.

Lou Penning Landscapes Inc..

Ayers suggests that stepping stones be at least 18 by 24 inches big and 11/2 inches thick. “The generous surface measurements will boost stability because of the stones’ consequent shape and weight, while the thickness will keep the step from splitting,” she states. “Place the stones on a level foundation of sand, mortar or pea gravel for best outcomes.”

The Garden Route Company

If you’re creating a route from decomposed granite, then place the trail at a greater altitude (11/2 inches or so) compared to the surrounding land so water doesn’t puddle.

The Garden Route Company


Paths can be made from wood, concrete, brick, decomposed granite, flagstone or any other substance that feels good to walk, offers a grip when wet and will not wash off.

The Garden Route Company

If you’re going with a stepping-stone route, use the gaps between the steps as another opportunity to add attractiveness. For dwelling joints Ayers likes to use creeping ground covers like elfin thyme, dymondia and infant tears. “Recess the plants under the top of the stone with at least a half inch,” Ayers says. That will keep the stones visible, preventing trips.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Gaps, or joints, can also be filled with granite countertops, concrete, another type of rock than the step, river stones, pebbles, gravel, beach glass or marbles.

The Garden Route Company

Setting the Pace

The type of path you choose will set the pace for how fast or gradually someone will get to the intended destination. If you’re trying to get guests into the front door, then a straight route makes the best sense. “An entry route is at least 5 ft wide in order that two people can walk side by side comfortably,” says Ayers.

Jan Enright Creations

A meandering garden path, however, can be much narrower, as the aim is for guests to follow it to discover what lies ahead. “If you need someone to linger,” says Ayers, “curve the trail about focal points, like a tree, boulder or berm of property. The engaging paths curve around points of curiosity rather than arbitrarily twist and turn.”

Paces Construction Co

Plant Layout

Despite a path’s destination, make the journey a visually appealing one with many different features.

Which features you choose depends on how long you would like to catch someone’s attention. “For a straight, wide path that leads to a front door or doorway,” Ayers says, “I’d provide a single species of flora, like grasses. This way they can appreciate it while walking directly right through. On the other hand, a meandering path might get a large variety of species to maintain somebody’s attention”

Dane Spencer Landscape Architecture

Your turn: We would really like to find a landscape route you have created. Please discuss a photograph from the Remarks below!

More photographs: Read thousands of inspirational path designs

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After a Cluttered Closet, Now a Creative Workspace

I built a “cloffice” — an office in a cupboard. Cloffices are done many times before, and I chose to put my own spin on one.

This cloffice was for my 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom, a workspace for her. She’s a bit of a tomboy with a total of four or three items that require hanging. We have tons of other closets in our home, including a sizable walk-in cupboard in our guest room. And next to her cupboard is an integrated cabinet that can hold whatever clothes will need to hang. Her chamber also has a wall unit with eight shelves and eight drawers, as well as a sizable underbed drawer. Lots of storage all around.

When she had been a very girly girl, I may not have decided to go this course. I’m a firm believer, though, in making you home work for you. My children’s cabinets tend to be such lifeless spaces filled with mess that I don’t have any issue with using them for other things that better match their requirements. In this case shifting my daughter’s desk to the cupboard opened her entire room.

The new workspace has really helped her room remain neater than previously. Here’s how it was made by us.

Before Photo

Christina Katos

Christina Katos

The project started out with a normal bedroom cupboard having a double sliding door. We tested out the cloffice concept for a couple weeks with a classic desk to see if it’d do the job. My daughter was pleased with the installation and loved the space that her chamber gained.

I gutted, painted, installed lighting, place in shelves, built a desk and made an organized and fun space for the 10-year-old daughter.

Christina Katos

Christina Katos

I included interesting accessories to maintain craft materials and add personality. Any of these items will be simple to alter as she develops and her tastes change. In the meantime there is plenty of storage to help keep my youthful daughter organized for years.

Christina Katos

We wanted a space for homework, creating, reading and having fun. There would be storage shelves, bins for markers and pencils, and a good deal of desk space.

Christina Katos

Once the cupboard was empty I began by removing the doors, cabinet and shelf rod. (If you worry about resale, then just save these bits to place back) My preferred cleaning crew came in to see mother wielding a crowbar and then pick up the wreck. Be sure that you get all the nails and screws right away if you are doing something similar to this in a kid’s bedroom.

Christina Katos

I then painted the entire cupboard, ceiling comprised, with two layers of Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint. After the paint was dry, I treated the walls to set the chalkboard paint. It’s done by rubbing on the side of a piece of scatter all over the paint and allow it sit for a day. I then rubbed it with a chalkboard eraser and let that sit for a day as well. Then I wiped it all down with a wet cloth.

Christina Katos

The cupboard is 76 inches wide and 20 inches deep. I had enough room to bring a 65-inch-wide desk as well as an Ikea Billy shelving unit on the side. The unit, turned sideways, is not visible from outside the cupboard. A 4-inch gap in the face of the shelving unit into the back wall is perfect for larger items such as board games.

Christina Katos

Next I added an Ikea Fintorp wall storage method. The railing is 221/2 inches wide and contains three caddies for pens, chalk and markers. Extra hooks hold scissors and other tools.

I centered the railing with the introduction of the cupboard. The chalkboard finish came in handy for marking off the studs, which supplied a good spot for procuring the railing to the wall.

Christina Katos

Next came floating shelves and two of Ikea’s Astrid light fixtures that were light. They are plug-in lamps that turn on with a pull button.

I purchased poplar plywood, cut me by fine gentlemen in Home Depot, to serve as a desktop computer. After ensuring it match perfectly, I sanded the edges and gave it one coat of primer and two coats of Benjamin Moore semigloss paint. I primed the entire piece of wood but painted just the top, bottom and front edge, because those are the only sections of the background that would be visible.

Christina Katos

I attached the background with four cleats — strips of wood used to fortify a surface and support items like shelves and desktops. In this case I screwed the cleats to the studs to support the desktop and provide it the floating appearance I was searching for. I made sure to leave room between cleats so that the wires in the wall-mounted lamps could hang back down.

I measured so that the top of the desk was 30 inches away from the ground. Additionally, I made sure it lined up with a few of the shelves in the storage unit. I attached the cleats into the studs and added L-brackets for extra support. I then attached the background with screws underneath.

(Because the bookcase is around the left side of the desk, the background does not reach all of the way into the left wall, so I was not able to put a cleat there. I place a small cleat supporting the door frame instead. It is not visible in the front of the desk and also secures the front-left corner)

Christina Katos

Here’s a shot from beneath the desk, showing how the background attaches to the cleat.

Christina Katos

I added a piece of poplar into the front of the desk with mounts also. It had been hauled into the desk from underneath and helps you to keep the middle of the desk from sagging. It fits perfectly between the front of the desk and the door frame, providing the whole background a more finished appearance.

Christina Katos

We inserted a hole for cords to operate into a surge protector under the desk. My 10-year-old isn’t using an iPad, cell phone or notebook now, but she’ll be later on.

Christina Katos

Christina Katos

Once the desk was I was able to address the issue with wall-mounted light fixtures: the telltale wires running down the wall. I had a way to make them vanish. I bought a cord hider having a glue backing in my hardware store. The plastic D-shaped tube is hollow in the centre with room for one cable. I cut mine into the desired lengths for both cords and coated it with two layers of chalkboard paint to blend in with the wall. Once the strand covers were sterile, I peeled off the backing and stuck them into the wall.

Christina Katos

Using cable tacks I then ran the wires beneath the background and attached them to the cleats on the wall. Cable tacks are similar to large staples with a rounded top to securely hold cords down. They are the perfect way to keep your cords hidden over a baseboard or tacked into a piece of furniture. Both cords in the lamps operate beneath the desk and match up with the surge protector.

Christina Katos

The finished cupboard! The steps weren’t overly involved but were time consuming. The outcome is a unique and fun space that is is a hit with my 10-year-old and would do the job for an adult also.

Christina Katos

The bedroom is filled with shelving and drawers. A massive wall unit occupies one whole wall and makes up for the cupboard loss.

Christina Katos

Christina Katos

This built-in cupboard fits her few hanging items. (I included the closet rod.) The cabinet appears small from the outside but really reaches into the ceiling interior.

Your turn: please reveal your creative home office!

More clever closet-sized workspaces

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The Way to Look Good From Any Angle (the Garden Edition)

Many professional versions are photographed from one angle, their best side. A truly beautiful model, however, will look great from any angle. Similarly, a number of our gardens were created, usually unintentionally, to look good from one vantage point. If it’s a front lawn, that vantage point is traditionally the street. If it’s a backyard, that spot is most likely the back door, patio or deck. We all have spots in our gardens that leave us less than satisfied, needing more. At some stage it’s time for a makeover.

Many years back I got a question from a homeowner having an undeveloped backyard that sloped radically toward the lake. The challenging thing about this project was that the backyard was seen from a number of different angles. There were just two loggias, one on the first floor and one on the second, and a view toward the home from the lake, and ultimately, a view from a sidewalk. Then there were the bull.

How was I to process all of this to a gorgeous, cohesive strategy? Perhaps your space is not this complicated but you know deep within that you have not yet tapped to its full potential. Here’s help in creating a garden area that looks good from any angle.

Huettl Landscape Architecture

Vary the heights. Engaging a dominant third dimension in your garden is a good way to add interest. Notice the heights of the planar surfaces here. This garden would shed much of its interest if all of the surfaces were on the exact same degree. It is strong enough today to command attention when seen from any angle.

D-CRAIN Design and Construction

Let’s think about this remarkable three-dimensional courtyard. The varying heights of the Cor-Ten steel planters add immeasurable interest. The reduced wooden decking, juxtaposed with the steel, provides continuity in color when adding textural interest. The upright sort of the succulents mimics the support beams on the home.

Gregory Lombardi Design

Add artwork. Another way to add multilevel interest would be to use appropriate artwork. This stone medallion is a centerpiece that looks great from any angle. If you are thinking about sculpture, make sure that its form and dimensions make a statement from every vantage point. A tall, thin sculpture, for example, would most likely look underscale and improper seen from above.

Adam Woodruff + Associates, Garden Artisans

Plant en masse. Now that we’ve discussed hardscaping, let us proceed to planting approaches. Mass plantings of the exact same or similar crops will most certainly have a positive influence in your garden when seen from above or at ground level.

Notice the gorgeous number of clumping and upright plants at the prairie-style garden here. An incredible amount of interest is produced on account of the appropriate and artistic usage of texture, shape and color. The serpentine hardscaping lines make a daring yet relaxing statement from ground level and would take on an artistic flair if seen from above.

PC Landscape Architects & Associates, Clinton

Mix textures and materials. The plan of the garden is relaxing and constant whilst including a variety of decorative grasses and Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia, zones 4 to 9). The similarity of form and wide range of substance create cohesion and interest. With its serpentine bed lines, the garden pulls the eye through the space from every angle.

Arterra Landscape Architects

3 Garden Case Studies

1. The boardwalk that is metropolitan.
This urban backyard is stuffed with interest from every viewpoint. Running the boardwalk at a diagonal to the fence has created unexpected interest that brings the attention and engages the viewer.

Arterra Landscape Architects

The identical garden is arguably much more interesting at ground level. The boardwalk brings the eye through the space, enticing the viewer to experience each vista. The mass plantings of blossoms from side to side bring much-needed softness and goodwill to this contemporary garden. The planar surfaces create the illusion of spaciousness.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

2. The woodland path. I live on a really wooded lot, together with front yard receiving the majority of the sunlight. My deck wraps around the front of my property, so this garden space is seen from the street, the lawn back toward the street and looking down from the deck.

I wanted a usable front lawn, so I made a serpentine, wider-than-normal pathway to a stacked-stone seating wall. Strong route lines define both the space and its own purpose. Because this garden was a clearing in the forest, I made the trail very wide; this damaging space allowed me to overflow the beds without making the space seem or feel overly busy. A narrower route would have felt immortal. Since the garden is casual by layout, I utilized repurposed railroad ties and gravel to split out terraces to provide the guest places to linger and revel in the space.

Repetition is a really useful concept to help a space sense homogenous and familiar. Here I used Japanese maples and chartreuse foliage across the pathway to create continuity.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

This second view is looking from the seating wall back toward the street. The challenge here would be to conceal views of the street and neighboring homes, since I wanted to get a level of solitude.

As I planted my trees and larger shrubs, I made sure they were just placed to conceal as lots of the undesirable viewpoints as possible. When siting trees and trees, always look at them from multiple viewpoints. Occasionally moving a plant 6 inches can make an immeasurable difference in the overall sense of a garden.

Jay Sifford Garden Design

The next view is looking down from the deck. Prominent lines specify the space, carving out a bold presence in the midst of the forest. With no lines that are notable, the space would uneventfully fade to the woodlands. Pops of chartreuse accentuate the space and cross over the path, whilst burgundy and blue foliage both stand up to the chartreuse and calm down it just enough.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

3. The rill. Strongly defined lines provide the interest that brings the eye toward the focal point. Notice how the urn in the middle of the water feature mirrors the color and shape of the flagstone. By supplying this continuity, the designer has created an informal yet organized area.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

This garden works just as well from ground level, providing continuity from one garden room to another. The color of the hardscaping and the flow of water from a focal point to some other guarantee a relaxing garden experience.

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13 Ways to Keep the Peace With Roommates

Sharing space with roommates can be challenging in the best of times — and that isn’t mentioning the other times. You know, the instances your roomie requires your food without requesting (or replacing it), leaves a huge mess for others (you) to clean up, or attracts a significant other home to stay for weeks (or months).

With a new school year here, and a lot of individuals moving into new flats with fresh roommates and good goals, let’s get a couple things straight about roommate etiquette — and save a great deal of headaches down the road.

Better: Pass this along to your roommates, so that you can all start off on exactly the same page.

Sealy Design Inc..

Be social. You certainly don’t need to do everything together or become the very best of friends — but hiding out in your room constantly and decreasing every time that your roommates invite you to do some thing sends a negative message.

Component of what could make living with roommates pleasure is hanging out together. Likewise, do not form a clique and exclude a different roommate from actions. If a roommate situation isn’t working outside, address it directly.

Corynne Pless

Chat decorating area. That means that you need to all get equal wall space (if you need it) to hang art in common areas, and you should work together to decide on furniture arrangements and accessories. To each his or her own in bedrooms, however shared space actually should be shared.

When you move in, it can be a fun bonding experience to undertake a household project together. Reach the local flea market together, paint a bit of furniture, or collaborate on a artwork wall.

A Gallery Wall for Every Personality

Maggie Stephens Interiors

Keep common areas clean. Maintain your own personal items from taking up permanent residence in common areas. The living room shouldn’t be a dumping ground for heaps of unfolded laundry, teetering stacks of magazines, or crusty cereal dishes!

Whenever you are finished with something, put it back. Just because your roommate seems to always leave her things laying around doesn’t mean that you should, also. Especially in households with a couple of roommates, messiness is a slippery slope. Set a good example, and it’s more likely your roommates will follow suit.

Betty’s Room, LLC

Look after your own pets. If you’ve got a pet, do not expect your roommates to help care for this. Even if they had been excited to have a furry friend in the house, it isn’t their obligation to perform the dirty work.

If you would like to request your roommates to take care of your furry friend when you are away on a trip, inquire first (do not assume they’ll do it) And offer to pay them or treat them the next time you go out. If it’s your roommate who has the pet, it is fair to expect them to take care of daily pet duties — and offer a pet fur-removing brush for your couch.

Madison Modern Home

Do your own dishes. This has become the most common roommate complaint of all time — do not allow it to be around you! Do your own dishes immediately after meals, and if your roommate cooked dinner for the two of you, get in there and wash up after. When handling roommates who do not wash their dishes, try speaking with them straight first, aiming for a tone that is firm but not angry.

In an extreme instance of dish-neglect, try removing a few of the dishes out of the cupboards entirely (if you will find tons) — fewer dishes means the pile of dirties can never get too poor. Let your roommate know how serious it is for you, and begin keeping separate dishes. Their dirties can go in a dishpan out of sight under the sink until they are ready to deal with them, and your clean ones could be stored wherever you like (even on your room if necessary).

Sarah Phipps Design

Decide how to take care of groceries and stick with it. A roomie who eats your food without inquiring is up there with the person who renders the dirty dishes piled up in the sink. Let’s hope you never need to live with somebody who does both.

The best method to avoid conflict around food is to agree early on how you will handle groceries, and stick with it. Here are three common ways to take care of the food situation, along with pros and cons:
Discuss everything. For some, sharing meals and splitting costs evenly works out with no hassle. Conflicts can arise if one of you has friends over a great deal and feeds stated friends from the (allegedly) equally shared meals stash. Should you go this route, make clear that the food is for roommates only. Independent sides of the refrigerator. Shop separately, and keep your mind off your pet’s meals. This can be a wise option if you have a tendency to buy very different sorts of meals (i.e., 1 roommate is vegetarian, yet another loves meat). Share staples, split the remainder. This compromise sounds good, but can be a little tricky in training. Make sure that you agree on what’s on your list of staples, and trade off paying for them.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Share bathroom cleaning (and other onerous tasks). Nobody wants to clean out the bathroom or take out the garbage, but it has to be done — and when one ends up doing the dirtiest jobs all of the time, tempers can flare.

Set up a chore chart someplace easily viewed with housemates, and use it to rotate tasks. Common courtesy dictates that every person should pull her or his own hair in the drain after showers, and replace the soap or TP if you apply the last of it.

Corynne Pless

Don’t monopolize the TV and stereo. With notebooks and iPads, sharing the TV is not as much of a problem as it once was, but it is still not fair to hog the huge screen. Each roommate should have the chance to watch favorite shows and get an equal chance to DJ the sound system. And no judgments — everyone is permitted to watch (or listen to) total junk from time to time!

Lauren Gries

Create a landing zone to take care of mail. Especially among the first-apartment set, keeping track of bills can be problematic — and it only takes one missed payment to wreak havoc on your credit score.

Make things easier on yourselves by setting up one spot where email always lands as soon as you walk into the door.

Make a spot for a charging station for devices, and you won’t lose them.

Taylor Jacobson Interior Design

Be respectful of your roommate’s schedule. If you understand your roommate must get up early, be polite and keep noise down at night.

Always speak with your roommates about celebrations in advance, and bypass it if a roommate asks you throw the party another weekend.

Corynne Pless

Respect personal space and possessions. Do not go into a housemate’s room when they are not home, and do not use or borrow whatever theirs without asking. Should you share a bedroom, do not sit or put stuff on your roommate’s bed. And should you borrow some thing (with permission) and it gets stained or damaged, it is your responsibility to have it cleaned, repaired or replaced immediately!

If your roommate was taking your things without asking, have a conversation with her about it as soon as possible. She might have only assumed it was OK with you, so be clear about how and what you are prepared (or not willing) to share. And be honest: If you frequently borrow your roomie’s shoes, do not get your feathers in a ruffle if she dominates your sweater.

Sealy Design Inc..

Keep up with your laundry. Big, stinky piles of dirty laundry can win you no more lovers, even when the piles are comprised to your room. Keep that laundry moving, or make regular trips to the laundromat if you don’t have access to a washer drier.

For roommates who neglect laundry, step one is getting them to keep it contained for their own space. Offering to go along on a shopping trip for additional hampers could be enough to get the message across.

Corynne Pless

Practice the golden rule. See to your roommates as you would like to get treated. When something is bothering you, then tell them in a clear but polite way instead of letting bad feelings fester. And remember that small, fine gestures — such as bringing home flowers to your dining room table or a bag of biscuits to share — could go a very long way to exude calmness.

Tell us Share your best (or worst) roommate tales in the Remarks!

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