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.

Gardening with Confidence®

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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8 Pool Water Characteristics That Venture Into Fantasy

Extremely hot temperatures can take away your breath and leave you begging for relief. For many people, floating in a swimming pool can only proceed so far. Water features can offer another welcome reprieve from hot, hazy days.

From easy, sheer descents to numerous swim-through waterfalls, these spectacular pool designs incorporate some sort of water. Did you know the sound of moving water has been proven to lower the heartbeat? Still another reason to add a water feature in your next outdoor design.

Harold Leidner Landscape Architects

This pool has a custom made water display that enables TV and pictures to be viewed from the pool and the patio.

Systems with rear projection and a water display bundle, for example Tsunami Waterscreens, start at around $7,600. And keep your surroundings in mind — if your garden is rancid, this kind of water feature is not the best bet.


Natural boulders incorporated with a faux stone grotto give swimmers multiple places for sitting and interacting on this particular pool. A variable-speed pump provides different water flow amounts, from intense to soft. The Jandy ePump variable speed pump retails for approximately $2,000.

Here is another great example of enormous waterfalls that result in a hidden grotto. Smart-phone programs like iAquaLink or Pentair today allow you to control your pool or pool with one touch.

Phil Kean Designs

Who says water features need to be enormous? I really like the easy design of the feature and also the calm spillover of water in the table leading to the pool.

The Garden Consultants, Inc..

This water feature doesn’t spill in the pool but complements the modern design and provides the homeowner a beautiful and tranquil focal point.

JM Lifestyles

This wonderful water feature has one large entry to the grotto for swimmers. The innovative use of lighting produces an excellent ambience at night.

Landscape Techniques Inc..

Do you have a yard elevated above the home? Landscape designers love a yard in this way! The topography allows for different levels of entertaining, for example with this water quality that connects the upper-level pool with a lower spa.

Highline Partners, Ltd

Another example of utilizing the terrain is this water feature, which fits perfectly into the landscape. This majestic swimming pool has a meandering water quality that blends with its surroundings.

Watch more of the house and swim-up pond

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13 Ways With Window Valances

Versatile fabric valances in a variety of fashions can add that extra finishing touch to windows in every room. A brief length of decorative drapery, valances are usually hung above windows to disguise curtain rods or simply offer a space polish.

From super simple to extremely customized, these remedies can be installed on formal image windows, on functional doors and even above beds. Use a valance alone or combine it with draperies, horizontal blinds, cellular shades or shutters to create the appearance that works best with your home.

Tewes Design

1. Box-pleated valance. This photograph illustrates a formal box-pleated valance with centre and corner pleats. The cloth valance covers the bar for the draperies underneath.

Styling suggestion: This crisp treatment is excellent for master bedrooms and living rooms if a more formal sense is needed.

Sew Unordinary

2. Arched valance. An arched valance is a highly proportioned, decorative cloth valance with a high arch and centre pleat. The base of the valance has a coordinating group of fabric to get an accent.

Styling suggestion: Use this stylized valance to break up the tough horizontal and square edges often found in kitchens and breakfast areas.

3. Rolled valance. This valance can do double duty as a curtain when necessary. A very cabin chic treatment, a wrapped valance is made from fabric that is simply wrapped to the desired elevation and supported by contrasting ties. Use bows or knots in the cloth of your choice to dress it up or down.

Styling suggestion: With a fast change of substance, it’s simple to produce this casual, formal, contemporary or traditional. A valance that is rolled is an easy and inexpensive DIY window treatment.

Gavin Rae / Legacy Kitchens

4. Stepped valance. High modern design satisfies elegance with this straight-edged valance, which has many tiered fabric peaks to make a stepped appearance.

Styling suggestion: Carry the valance from window to window into a room — or perhaps across cabinetry — to make a visual bridge for your eye to follow.

Sew Unordinary

5. Ring-top valance with jabots. This strategically placed valance has top and underside scalloping that’s symmetrically assembled to make a centre fold, called a jabot. The bottom hem of the valance and the jabot are adorned with a decorative beaded fringe. On a drapery pole with sewn-on rings, this valance was installed for a conventional design.

Styling suggestion: employing a drapery bar with finials and rings can help add those additional details that may be lost in your home’s architecture.

6. Gathered valance. This very conventional valance is made by using twice the needed fabric width to make the gathered effect. Decorative fringe on the bottom of the valance adds extra flair.

Styling suggestion: When choosing coordinating or contrasting fringe, consider using a fringe that has crystal or glass beads to grab the incoming light in the window.

7. Sculpted valance. This architectural valance combines a daring style with contemporary simplicity. The bottom hem, which can comprise several geometric patterns, supports a contrasting band to accent the cutout. Within this room, the same valance is used again over the mattress to make the most of drama.

Styling suggestion: When designing your very own sculpted valance, organize your cloth color together with the area’s paint colour. You are going to want this exceptionally dramatic valance to accentuate, not to define, the area’s decor.

Jack and Jill Interiors

8. Balloon valance. Extra cloth is cinched proportionately in the ends to make a balloon valance. Within this room, the conventional style is installed on a decorative drapery rod with finials and underside fringe for a elegant appearance.

Styling suggestion: Use a heavily assembled bead skirt to give balance between the two flanking window treatments.

ECOterior Solutions from Carolyn Tierney

9. Straight valance. Simple and minimal, the basic right valance will help soften an area’s hard edges and is easy to install and design.

Styling suggestion: Your valance must hang between 16 and 21 inches, depending on the elevation of your window. A valance that’s too brief or too long will distract the eye.

Home Staging Career for Less

10. Tie-top valance. This carefree valance often is achieved in a lightweight fabric that is hung with ease on a simple pole. Tabs made from exactly the same cloth were sewn on and used to hang the valance in this photograph to get a more put-together appearance. The fitting shower curtain is attention to detail in its very best.

Styling suggestion: For just the ideal fullness when using this kind of valance, double the amount of your cloth dimension.


11. Valance with cafe curtain. Blend a highly stylized valance with a cafe curtain at a coordinating fabric for a conventional, layered appearance. The mix provides the style of heavy draperies while still allowing for privacy and light.

Styling suggestion: when choosing a pole and rings for your cafe, make sure you coordinate with another metallic finishes inside the area.

12. Queen Anne valance. This stunning valance has a horizontally set cord detail near the top and a scalloped bottom edge. A fan pleat for a sense divides each space. In this area, fitting functional draperies are pushed into the side for needed privacy.

Styling suggestion: To completely organize your draperies in your area, consider adding the exact same fringe from the valance round the edges of your comforter or duvet cover.

Robin Baron Design

13. Gathered valance with finials. This gathered, conventional valance hangs hangs on ornamental hooks installed on the wall above the window.

Styling suggestion: Browse your favourite home products store to find decorative hooks at a style that matches your decor. The more you add, the more striking the valance becomes.


Locate Your Window Treatment Style

Custom Draperies 101

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The Honor Roll is Made by homeschool Spaces

Each of the homeschool spaces below earns an A-plus for challenging work. Not only are they soothing, beautiful and clutter-free, but they also provide intellectual stimulation — not a simple task for even the very experienced designer or DIY-er. Here’s a look at four houses that do not just aid their owners teach their kids, but help to teach us also.

Julie Ranee Photography

1. Industrial Farmhouse in Ohio

This family’s homeschool is located in a loft above the kitchen. Homeowner and photographer Julie Ranee purchased the hammock on a trip to Ecuador 22 years ago. “I’ve been carting the hammock around for so long and now I’ve finally put it to good use. The kids love using a relaxing and new reading nook,” states Ranee.

Julie Ranee Photography

A farmer’s table and four blue chairs from Target compose the major gathering room for Ranee’s three kids.

Hint: if you’re able to, carve out a dedicated space for homeschooling. The physical and visual separation between the learning region and the remainder of the house helps kids mentally prepare for a day’s work if they enter the school distance.

Julie Ranee Photography

Ranee, an enthusiastic DIY-er, salvaged an old wooden electric spool left from her house’s construction. She uses it as a shelf for textbooks and other reading material.

Julie Ranee Photography

This old barn torso, bought for $10 in an auction, is a homeschooler’s dream. Ranee spray painted the drawers metallic silver and black; every drawer is large enough to store documents and papers.

Julie Ranee Photography

Hint: Sprinkle inspiring and inviting messages throughout your school region to lift the kids’ spirits.

Amy Renea

2. Conventional house in Pennsylvania

Interior designer Darlene Weir is about flexible seating options. Though her boys use a conventional chair and desk set up for writing assignments, they perform virtually all of their reading, researching and memorizing together on a beanbag, preferring to break away from the heirloom table handed down from Weir’s husband’s family.

Says Weir,”My boys love drawing and doing math on the floor. Flexibility is a perk of homeschooling, so why not work on the floor once in a while?”

Hint: If you opt for a conventional chalkboard, try to find one that is antique — the chalk won’t squeak as you write.

Amy Renea

Homeschooling calls for several tiny things: glue sticks, tape, crayons, pipe cleaners and more. Weir finds storage and storage clutter-control comfort in baskets. “Baskets leave things readily accessible, but they conceal the distinct miniature parts from perspective,” she states.

Weir additionally uses the workbox system, where all her kids has his own workbox that has his individual assignments for the day. Each child returns all things to the box when finished. “The machine keeps the daily newspapers manageable,” says Weir.

Hint: Although it’s great to have a designated homeschool area like this, Weir likes to break up the monotony of daily education by changing to a different place in the house occasionally. “Sometimes we’do school’ from the kitchen because it divides the speed; the new setting reinvigorates us,” says Weir.

Natasha Barrault Design

3. ‘Gentle Modern’ Home School in Malibu

Interior designer Natasha Barrault and architect-designer Hervé Daridan made this family house with education in your mind.

“We utilized the present rooms of the house and enabled each space to change to the demands of the school. In essence, the chambers could actually shape-shift [into ] a homeschool in the morning and then return to being a normal living room or dining room for the remainder of the moment,” states Barrault.

This picture shows a part of the living space, used as the language arts room when school is in session.

Hint: Don’t underestimate the ability of slipcovers and furniture protections. Barrault added specially designed and elegantly shielded decor and furnishings so that every piece can survive the wear and tear of school days.

Natasha Barrault Design

Barrault and Daridan custom made fabric-covered boxes with metal frames to fit from the bookcases. Each box is full of letters, numbers, toys and other educational products.

Natasha Barrault Design

“The customer did not need to sacrifice the beauty of every room. I think we proved that practicality and prioritizing kid-related activities in the house aren’t detrimental to good home layout,” states Barrault.

Hint: Homeschools don’t necessarily need to be full of dispensable furniture. Beautiful, elegant interiors can serve these requirements; you just need to find the most flexible, flexible pieces.

Amy’s Affordable Interiors

4. Homeschool Remodel in Florida

Interior designer Amy Steenson’s homeschool works really difficult for her loved ones. The efficient space does triple duty as a school, a home office and a guest room for friends and loved ones.

Hint: Maximize your distance by aligning furniture from the walls, freeing up the center of the space for reading and creative group activities.

Amy’s Affordable Interiors

Steenson enjoys versatile storage options, such as table legs with storage room and wall-hung shelves and cups. “Locate storage boxes that can fit under desks, sofas and tables, and elastic furniture options like end tables that twice as filing cabinets,” she states.

Hint: Source furniture from other Areas of the house. A futon, sleeper or daybed sofa may be a good addition to a homeschool. “This sofa is a place where my kids and I will read together during the school day, but also doubles as a full-size bed we could use for seeing guests,” states Steenson.

ers, do you own a homeschool? Tell us about your style challenges and reveal images from the Remarks section below.

Children’ Study Spaces Make High Marks
Get Your House Back-to-School Ready

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Amazingly Low-Maintenance Picks for Outdoor Planters

Between the scorching summer sun and extended holidays, it is probably no surprise as soon as your outdoor plants begin looking like they want a little love. Rather than paying the neighbor children to keep your vegetation hydrated every time you reach the shore, rethink your landscape strategy to need less maintenance and be sun tolerant and much more in accordance with your carefree summer attitude.

The ideal plant picks can endure extended sunlight and a tiny neglect. You can save your plant guilt to get ice cream!

Debora carl landscape layout

For extra-hot outdoor conditions, extended holidays or people who just can’t appear to keep a plant alive, succulents really are a wonderful option. Most survive very well in sunlight and need at least one to two hours per day of sunlight. For larger planters or spaces that call to get a taller plant, then consider using American aloe or Parry’s Agave.

Susan Cohan

Aloe, scilla, gasteria and haworthia are a few examples of succulents that flourish in the hot, bright summer sun. If you’re looking to increase the beauty of your outdoor scape, consider planting flowering Fall Joy — that not only is pretty in its own right but also attracts butterflies.

Kate Michels Landscape Design

Succulents tend to require less water than other plants. But be wary when using terra-cotta baskets — they tend to dry out quickly. To see whether your plants need to be straightened, put your finger a centimeter or two below the ground. If it’s moist, no water is necessary.

More fuss-free ways to garden

Sandy Koepke

Bear in mind, lots of succulents thrive on neglect. Always err on the side of underwatering, not overwatering. If they look a little limp, then it is time to water.

Notice: Some succulents are frost tender and may require a cover in chilly weather.

If you’re really concerned about your outdoor plants, then a crate like that one does double duty. It looks good hanging on your walls, and you can always pull it down and take it with you. For succulents who do double duty, consider planting edible succulents. Yuccas, aloe vera, prickly pear and night-blooming cereus are yummy varieties.

If succulents aren’t something, many green shrubs result in clean, easy-to-maintain exterior planters. Boxwoods, by way of example, demand afternoon shade and need to be pruned but need watering only every seven to 10 days — more frequently if you’re using a scorcher.

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Ornamental grasses are another fantastic low-maintenance alternative for exterior planters. They need to be cut back only once per year in the spring and, following the first year of expansion, need very little water. They tend to flourish in regions of total sunlight.


An outdoor scape like this one, where plants are divided into separate baskets, is not difficult to maintain. When one plant begins to look a little wilty or needing replacing, it is no problem to just remove one without bothering others.

Max Crosby Construction

Topiaries are a very simple method to keep your outdoor planters looking refreshing. For a burst of electricity through celebrations or special events, a brightly colored perennial around the foundation adds pizazz.


Driftwood Succulent Garden Basket – $89

Create your succulent scheme even easier by ordering a prefilled planter.

Amazing Succulents for Your Garden

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14 Ways to Reduce Your Summertime Laundry Load

The very last thing you probably need to do in the middle of summer is spend a good deal of time cleaning. But with each one of the beach days, pool parties and picnics, the house can easily be overrun with sand and moist towels. Discover how to establish a smart laundry system which will see you through the summer with ease.

First, prepare for summer with a seasonal swap. Have a day to go through every drawer, closet and cabinet, pulling things out which are no longer appropriate. Stow off-season clothing and equipment in an out-of-the-way spot and dig out the beach towels, swimsuits and sarongs. Often after a season in towels, storage and other items end up a little musty; if so, throw everything in the wash before using. If you come across any items with tears or stains, now’s the time to toss them out.

Jackson Cabinetry LLC

Minimize laundry lots. Doing a load here and there works best for most people. When laundry builds up to giant mountain levels, it may feel overwhelming to tackle. Utilizing smaller baskets can be a helpful reminder to take the laundry and start a load. If doing regular loads of laundry doesn’t work for you, a fantastic choice is to invest in a sizable three-bin laundry sorter that can keep things tidy until you’ve got a chance to get to it.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

Cease moist, sandy clothes until they enter your house. Putting up a simple peg rail or some row of pins on the exterior of your house makes it effortless to remember to hang moist beach towels to dry.

Munger Interiors

Keep new towels and matches in a designated spot. Inside the doorway, a second set of hooks or hooks can hold fresh, clean towels ready to grab and go.


Galvanized Washtub – $39.95

Make hand washing chores a snap. Keep a washtub at the ready in the bathroom and toss in bathing suits and other fragile items as needed.


Slat Rack – $89.95

Insert a space-saving drying alternative. Rather than strewing swimsuits throughout the shower pole or dealing with a bulky drying rack, try leaning a magazine rack or a classic ladder against the wall. It’s just as effective and so much sleeker!


Keep towels off the ground. Supply wall hooks for every member of their household, and a seat or shelf to stow extras and a small hamper for dirties. For larger households, labeling each hook using a letter or number is an easy way to keep track of whose towel is.

Tara Seawright Interior Design

Try this easy summer cleaning routine. Obviously every once in a while it is a fantastic idea to do a cleaning, but that wishes to deal with that in the summer heat? By sticking with this routine, your bathroom can stay fresh looking in only a couple of minutes every day.

1. Keep a heap of microfiber cloths in the cabinet or under the sink.
2. Whenever you think about it, give everything a quick swipe with a microfiber cloth dampened with plain water.
3. Start with all the lightest region (mirror, sink) and finish with the grimiest (bath, then toilet). Toss the cloth in a hamper.
4. Summer may mean more mildew buildup, so every once in a while throw the shower curtain and bath mat in the wash, also.

Munger Interiors

Put a laundry basket (nearly) every room. Kitchens, bedrooms and baths every need their own laundry basket. I have found that generally, if you keep the basket onto the small side, this makes it easier to keep along with the laundry.


White-Dipped Barrel Baskets – $59

Go for summery baskets. I adore those white-dipped baskets from Wisteria, however you can certainly attempt to create a DIY version with the addition of paint to present baskets. Cute bins like these may be easily tucked into a corner of the kitchen or bath without screaming “laundry basket”

The Container Store

Commercial Garment Rack – $69

Prevent summer ironing. Pull shirts and other items you usually should iron out of the dryer when it is completed, and hang up them on hangers — a garment rack or an extra closet rod is perfect for this endeavor. By simply smoothing your dressy clothing out somewhat and dangling them while they’re still warm will minimize (or even eliminate) the need to iron.

Tracery Interiors

Create your laundry room a location that brightens your whites — and your mood. Keeping things light and fresh in the laundry room can make this chore feel a bit more fun. Sterile white or bright, bright colors are a excellent option. Should you like to purchase giant containers of detergent, decanting them into glass jars will make them more attractive and much more convenient to use.

Pottery Barn

Linen Pin Board – $99

Insert a multipurpose pinboard. Put a pleasant, large covered bulletin board in your laundry room and find out the number of ways you wind up using it. It’s possible to hang household photographs and inspiration, of course, but also attempt dividing wrapped socks, lost items and a fabric care chart for easy reference.

Tina Kuhlmann

Designate a spot for pocket contents. A basket or bowl set on top of the washer serves as a visual reminder to check those pockets before washing that lip merchandise or money. For additional organizing credit, give each person their very own little basket for small items which would otherwise be easily lost.

Atypical Type A

Outdoor or Indoor Summer Trellis Hooked Rug – AUD 60

End the area using a vibrant rug. Since so many laundry rooms are in basements with unfinished cement flooring, it is logical to bring just a little softness underfoot. There are lots of great indoor-outdoor rugs in the marketplace nowadays that would be perfect in the laundry room. These hard-wearing rugs will be easy to care for, yet will still offer a fun burst of colour.

See more ways to make the most of your laundry room

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