Lessons in Living Comfortably: Adopt Dents and the Scratches

Can you remember when English country style was all the rage? I pored over magazine photos of chintz-filled houses, with their centuries-old furniture and baker’s-dozen dogs float across wealthy silk cushions. But what enticed me was that the tattered upholstery, the scraped and dented floors, the chests with peeling paint, and thecomfort,welcome and character which these rooms exuded.

Wear and tear may make Americans uncomfortable. “Eeek! It’s a scratch! Aarrgghh, it’s a dent!” The gentle harm of day-to-day life can make us want to place velvet ropes around certain rooms in our houses. The ropes might be removed for particular occasions, but it still feels like you’re living in a tradition and it destroys the welcome we want our loved ones members and guests to encounter.

Maybe we can learn from our English forbears. Let us embrace the character and warmth — such as the scrapes and dents — which inevitably result if we really live in our rooms.

Bliss Design

As soon as we select furniture that is already bothered, it takes the agony of that first mar or scratch. When grandsons run their alloy trucks across your brand-new coffee table (trust me, it happens), or some large dude plops down and puts up his feet, it’s no problem. Actually, the fact that somebody feels comfy enough toput their feet up means my interior decorating has accomplished its purpose.

John Maniscalco Architecture

Let us make one thing clear: Embracing a we-actually-live-here style does not mean that you have to love the Shabby Chic look! Quite the contrary. This sleek, contemporary room is created welcoming by the distressed coffee table whilst still staying sleek and contemporary. But pay for the coffee table with your thumb and you have a considerably different space.

Van Wicklen Layout

Remove the distressed black cupboard from this toilet, and also the character of the space varies radically. The scars with this practical piece give the loo a lived-in, comfy texture.

Isolina Mallon Interiors

Among the most basic elements of your home — the flooring — may create an immediate and unmistakable statement. Can you envision that a “Please take your shoes off” sign at this door? Rather, this flooring says, “Please do not be concerned about your high heels or muddy shoes. I only would like you to come in and get comfy.” Plus, do not you love the colorful contemporary furniture with this flooring? Very well done.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

I totally understand if a worn painted flooring isn’t your cup of tea. But do not discount the idea outright. A stained flooring can just as easily have built-in era, warmth and welcome. Consider utilizing a wide plank, such as these pictured here. They are inherently more homey than compact pine strips and are easily available, even in laminate. Check out Armstrong or Pergo for some great, affordable choices.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

OK, I know this is the third picture of floors I have shown you. But floors are such an important part of the subject that I can’t help myself. If your flooring shows serious wear and tear, then rejoice! But if you’re an inveterate and decided do-it-yourselfer, you can spiff up your floor with paint whilst retaining its “you can’t hurt me so do not stress” look. Can not opt for opaque and shiny — you desire a slightly worn appearance.

When the paint is completely dry, complete with a couple of coats of polyurethane and you’ll have a durable but very family-friendly floor. Diamonds really are a girl’s best friend!

Dreamy Whites

Embracing scrapes and dents opens up all kinds of budget-friendly shopping places. Flea markets, antique stores, thrift stores and barn revenue are some of my favourite places to shop because what I find there will be well-used. While I repurpose it for my own home (like using those classic doorways as a headboard), not only will I decorate on a dime, but I shall instantly make clear that no one needs to walk on eggshells in my property.

Girl Meets Lake

The older I get, the klutzier I become. But when I am hanging an image above a chest like this one and I drop the hammer, then the claws and then the picture itself, I do not have to swear at myself! There is nothing I can do for this that will not boost its look — a couple more lumps and dents will not hurt a little. (If only my body were the same way.)

Beccy Smart Photography

Don’t be leery of carrying your lived-in fashion outside. These flea market chairs are painted a bright colour that’s clearly unafraid of rain or snow. And they are easily folded away. The dining table is a warm, rustic wood which happily invites you to sit and stay awhile. Pieces like these positively radiate personality and fashion. It is possible to discover old folding chairs at just about any thrift shop, then paint them your preferred color. Or Google “classic metal folding chairs” and while away the hours searching.

Historical Concepts

Ever so subtly, timeworn furniture tips at history. I wonder if this primitive table came from Grandpa’s barn or served in Great-Aunt Martha’s kitchen during the Depression. In fact, it may have dropped off the back of a truck last week, or been a wonderful garage sale find. Regardless of its source, the dents and scrapes make me interested.

Karen White Interior Design

Do not hesitate to create your own well-worn pieces. The chest in our bedroom is very similar to the one in this picture. I found ours at a lawn sale, moldering in the California sun. The blot was old and faded, but the torso’s bones were good. I took off the first hardware and cleaned it a little — but not too far! Following some selective sanding, then I painted the chest a soft spa-blue color, with latex paint. When it completely dried, I sanded off the paint in places where wear would naturally occur, such as the borders of drawers and the corners and sides of the cupboard. I finished by rubbing Briwax, which is a wonderful adhesive wax. It protects and provides great patina whilst marginally muddying and aging that the colour.

Kate Jackson Design

Why do I think embracing wear and tear is so important? It’s because great interior layout is not hands-off, and is not intended to impress or intimidate. Fantastic layout causes anyone who enters your home — including your own kids — to feel welcome, precious, nurtured. When our houses and furnishings say, “Look, life happens, and we are just fine with that,” folks are instantly put at ease. The old back in this area is merely one one-piece bit, but it says, “Make yourself comfortable. You are more important than our stuff.”

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Kitchen Luxuries: The Pizza Oven

Wood-burning ovens and Pizza are a favorite addition to luxury kitchens nowadays. Few meals beat the taste of a totally crisp pizza pie from one of these ovens, and they bake everything from bread into poultry, which makes them an incentive cooking center to your dream kitchen. In cold weather you can just start a flame and invite family and friends over to unwind while you cook in the front of the open fire pit.

Can a pizza oven be right for your next kitchen?

Applegate Tran Interiors

Ovens require careful planning and meticulous attention to detail. They require a concrete foundation to support the weight of the stone around the oven, which is a project best left to an expert mason. The oven’s inside ought to be produced from clay-fired bricks to stand up to high temperatures and hold the heat nicely. The exterior could be produced of any other fireproof material.

Ford Creative Group

Here a traditional stone outside complements the warm tones of this kitchen cabinetry.

Billy Beson Company

I really like this wood countertop has a few windows for visual interest when the oven is fired up.

TEA2 Architects

If you have a tendency to do larger meals or a lot of bread baking, then a rectangular oven provides more room for batch cooking and baking.

The French Tradition

Although you have to wait around for the oven to heat up, once it’s in full cooking style, your meals will really cook much faster. Plus, it offers the bonus of radiant heating.

I recommend including a space below the oven to store wood and kindling.

Veranda Homes

It generally takes one hour to one hour and a half to get a wood-fired oven to reach its optimal temperatures. A traditional stainless steel thermometer can help you discover the exact temperature; a few models come with temperature gauges. Keep in mind that you will want doors or some type of barrier before the fire to assist you get an accurate reading.

Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design

When the oven is heated, the heat is saved in the walls and radiates evenly round the inside dome. The flooring of the oven stays a few degrees cooler, which helps give pizzas a crispy exterior and a soft inside.

Don’t forget to obtain a pizza paddle!

Visbeen Architects

Custom pizza ovens are a large investment of money and time. If you need one built onsite, you will want to account for labour, material choice and the necessary chimney and enthusiast (which may add another $2,000 to the price). Overall I find these to be equal in price to some custom wood-burning fireplace.

There are portable and modular wood-burning-oven kits, which supply the same performance with no custom look. These kits have a tendency to vary from $6,500 to $13,000, depending on the dimensions and material.

Southview Design

If you don’t have the option to include a indoor wood-burning oven, then consider carving out a little bit of space at the yard to build a more compact version.

Whether or not you decide on an indoor or outdoor pizza oven, check the local building codes and talk with the building inspector prior to starting your project. Some municipalities do not allow exterior fireplaces or wood-burning ovens.

Can you have a indoor pizza oven? Please let’s your favourite way to use it in the Comments section below!

More: 9 Gorgeously Modern Kitchen Fireplaces

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Kitchen of the Week: Quaint Cottage Style at Historic Wilmington

This charming home had hardly been updated since its structure as part of a 1940s development for the port workers of Wilmington, North Carolina. The kitchen has been obsolete, but the home has a manageable size and superior bones, therefore it works perfectly as the client’s part-time residence. After gutting the original kitchen, designer Melanie Bowe reversed its location with that of a neighboring bedroom, opening it to your backyard and living space for a more modern layout. Vintage materials and plenty of classic accents add personality and patina that combines with the rest of the home.

Kitchen at a Glance
Location: Historical district ofWilmington, North Carolina
Size: 121 square feet

En Vie Interiors by Melanie Bowe

The brand new kitchen sits at the center rear of the home, using the outside and the living room. In the original layout it sat next to this room, which was formerly a bedroom, and has been closed off from the remainder of the home. Bowe switched the 2 spaces, turned a window into a double glass door and knocked down the wall between this room and the living room.

En Vie Interiors by Melanie Bowe

Bowe installed new reduced cabinetry and countertops on each side for a galley-style layout. Early-20th-century salvaged upper cupboards, complete with their original painted finish, add a sense of history. Antique brackets produce a shelf to the brand new range hood.

En Vie Interiors by Melanie Bowe

The kitchen sink sits on the opposite wall in the range and stove. This main sink includes a wall (and plumbing) with the original kitchen, currently a utility, laundry and pantry space. Here salvaged shelving, vintage art and Victorian glass drawer pulls combine with new Carrara countertops and cabinetry.

En Vie Interiors by Melanie Bowe

The kitchen’s galley-style layout fits the house’s age, but the new and open location feels more current. To incorporate the kitchen into the remainder of the home, Bowe opened the wall between this area and the living room using a brand new double door.

You can see into the kitchen and the garden as soon as you walk in the front doorway; the opinion straight through the home makes the home feel more expansive.

Floors: original oak

En Vie Interiors by Melanie Bowe

A 19th-century French fixture located on an antiquing trip hangs above a 20th-century painted worktable. As with the top chimney, the table’s worn, original paint finish adds texture.

Wall paint: Blue Bonnet, Benjamin Moore; dining chairs, table, rugs: vintage

En Vie Interiors by Melanie Bowe

This classic painted chest, also with its original finish, holds additional cutlery and serving dishes.

En Vie Interiors by Melanie Bowe

The owner uses this home part time and doesn’t need much storage. A small fridge and freezer to the left of the stove (not visible in these pictures) suit her perfectly.

Stove: Kenmore; teakettle: Le Creuset; hood: Nutone

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Exuberant Self-Seeders for Gorgeous, Easy-Care Gardens

As garden designers we have to show ourselves on each new job. When constructing new walls, terraces and lighting systems realtors and homeowners invest a lot. And there is a lot necessary to keep these things, especially if they are poorly built or if inferior materials are selected. When it comes to plants, I have discovered that not all are created equal.

In his publication The Exuberant Garden and the Controlling Hand, landscape designer William H. Frederick, Jr., refers to select plants as aristocrats, for their refined character that amuses itself without much intervention. Others might call them thugs for their competitive, carefree nature.

Whatever you call them, these plants allow for gardens to thrive on a grand scale without a lot of maintenance. See which of those below could work for your landscape.

A backyard of the scale, in this place, could not be built with finicky plants commonly found in garden centers. This backyard borders a stream that feeds the Brandywine River in Philadelphia, and it is littered with undesirable weed seeds continuously trying to find a house. Aggressive, carefree plants make this project sustainable and manageable.

Caution: As with any self-seeders, check with a local native plant society before planting to make certain your choices are noninvasive in your area.

Golden ragwort (Packera aurea or Senecio aureus, USDA zones 3 to 8) is a very competitive seeder. You can cover a massive area in a couple of years by starting with just a small number of plants. In my own garden, I have been experimenting with underplanting hot- and – cool-season blossoms with perennials such as this to suppress early cool-season weeds with great success.

Name notice: Now this plant is called Packera aurea, but I have loved it as Senecio aureas, and thus the name stands for me.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Raydon’s favorite (Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skies’, zones 3 to 8) was described by a friend as bulletproof. This plant seeds and spreads out to the backyard readily in a variety of lands and explodes from the autumn with vibrant purple, as most other plants are beginning to take in their mellow fall colors.

Barbara Pintozzi

Yes, another aster for you to consider. I can’t say enough about these plants. Tartarian aster (Aster tartaricus ‘Jindai’, zones 4 to 8) has become more available recently. Launched by Rick Darke and Skip March in Japan from the Jin Dai Botanic Garden, it could grow taller. It also spreads via rhizomes, making it a worthy foe to most weeds.

Ginkgo Leaf Studio

Gooseneck loosestrife (Lysmachia cletheroides, zones 3 to 2) is misunderstood — or, dare I say, loathed — by many gardeners who want to keep eclectic gardens. This plant is a tremendous ground cover and will have to be planted amongst other strong plants to help keep it in check. If you want to transform a large area to a backyard, this is an amazing plant to utilize.

Donald Pell – Gardens

Fleece flower (Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’, zones 4 to 7) doesn’t seed outside, but it does manage to stand strong in the landscape. This plant could become fairly broad in moist soils, but I have also used it over shallow bedrock with success. It grows in full sun and more shade than you may think. Its sexy pink blossoms appear red in the shade and will bloom from July on, until the frost knocks the plant down.

Layout Farm Group

Lily turf (Liriope muscari ‘Big Blue’, zones 5 to 10) has stuffed the racks of several retail outlets. However, the species I find truly successful is Liriope spicata (zones 4 to 10). This plant gradually spreads across the ground plane and creates masses so thick, I have found myself laying in its relaxation with my little ones. Go ahead and try it ; the plant won’t mind in the least! Summer flowers are a bonus for this unique plant.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

I have yet to understand gardens in bright places without grasses, also I feel the same about woodlands and ferns. Ferns are older, simple and graceful plants which can be particularly effective when sited nicely.

Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris, zones 3 to 7) could be one of the most competitive spreaders. It’ll live forever in dry soil but tends to look ratty when it dries out, therefore site it into a moist, rich soil where it could take over. For dry woodlands try hay-scented fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula, zones 3 to 2).

The Carter Rohrer Co..

Chinese astilbe (Astilbe chinesis, zones 4 to 8) is a great addition to the backyard. As a summer bloomer, it grows thick, glossy foliage in typical garden soil, so long as the soil does not get too dry.

‘Purple Candles’ is one of my favorites, but try ‘Visions’ or ‘Pumila’ for quite a low ground cover.

CYAN Horticulture

Bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis, zones 7 to 10) grows in huge clumps on rhizomes, making for very simple branch. It has grand purple blossoms and dark, leathery foliage. These plants create bold ground covers when set in drifts and will keep the most tenacious weeds at bay. Acanthus hungaricus (zones 5 to 10) is a near cousin and equally as striking.

Van Zelst Inc

Bee balm (Monarda didyma, zones 4 to 9) has come to be a favorite operational perennial of mine. I have used this plant to battle latent bud seed spikes of Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense, zones 3 to 7) with little maintenance.

Though this plant is susceptible to powdery mildew, it actually looks bad to me en masse. If it’s a bother to you, cut it into the ground and see it push out new, clean foliage the same calendar year.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Windflower (Anemone x hybrida spp) cultivars distribute aggressively. These plants are very effective in shade and sun, as long as they do not get overly dry. Windflowers bloom in the late summer and have what might be one of my favorite blooms. They are downright mesmerizing.

Exteriorscapes llc

Dead nettle (Lamium purpureum, sets 3 to 2) can disperse in dry shade, in rugged outcroppings, under pines, in dense woods as well as in some shade. It can be effective at handling erosion, even as it spreads from rooting stems. I have seen this minimal spreader find its way through wood a lot and also hold its own against stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum).

Donald Pell – Gardens

Hard to find but worth the hunt, drooping sedge (Carex pendula, zones 5 to 9) is a monster among the sedges. This plant has been semievergreen, based on vulnerability, and can consume turf grass — like in this picture, where it was planted in my yard since an experiment. Within two decades most of the grass had expired, buried under the color of the big leaves with minimal weeding.

With so many great plants out there to consider, I invite you to look for and adopt aggression in your garden. Plants such as barrenwort (Epimedium ‘Frohnleiten’), comfrey (Symphytum), houttuynia (Houttuynia cordata), plume poppy (Macleaya cordata), blue wild indigo (Baptisia australis) and Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium ‘Gateway’) have places in the backyard.

The most important lesson I hope I can impart is that gardening does not have to be pricey. If you are mulching or weeding, stop and query your methodology and planting selections. The perfect plant in its appropriate place is the right solution!

More: Why mass plantings work much better in the landscape

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6 Water-Wise Perennials for Blazing High-Altitude Summers

Keep your backyard vibrant and your soul refreshed during the long, hot days of summer with the gorgeous blooms of those tough perennials. Gardening at high elevations — altitudes of 5,000 feet or more — presents a unique set of challenges. The intense glare and heat of sun, lean soils, sparse rainfall and low humidity may intimidate any gardener. The key is to concentrate on native plants and the ones that are well adapted to those tough growing conditions.

The assortment of plants presented here offers many weeks of gaudy flowers with very little care or water, after their root systems are created. They are particularly ideal for warm zones in the landscape — gardens situated from south- or west-facing building foundations or walls, adjacent to driveways and sidewalks, or even in the narrow strip beside the road.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Creeping Hummingbird Trumpet
(Zauschneria garrettii)

Vibrant orange-red trumpet-shaped blossoms create a mass of colour for months on end. A true ground cover and an incredible noodle jar, it spreads to form a living mulch. Let it drape over retaining walls one of large boulders. Plant this bold blossom with blue or purple ones for even more punch.

Globe thistle (Echinops ritro), blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) and lavender (lavandula spp) are great companions for creeping hummingbird trumpet. It prefers a moderately enhanced, well-drained garden soil but will tolerate (and disperse less harshly in) a lean ground. It is deer resistant.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Where it will grow: Hardy to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zones 5 to 9; locate your zone); elevations around 8,000 feet
Water requirement: Low
Light requirement: Total sunlight; day shade at lower elevations
Mature size: 4 to 6 inches tall and 18 inches wide
Seasonal attention: Blooms July through August
When to plant: Spring

Read about a flatter species of Zauschneria

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Chocolate Flower
(Berlandiera lyrata)

Who can resist chocolate? You can keep your diet on track by forgoing the candy and enjoying the sweet treat of fragrance from these types of blossoms instead.

Bright yellow petals surround a mahogany-red center atop an open, sprawling form. This native perennial is best used in small groups or masses at a prairie or wildflower garden.

Put it near stones or paving — the surface warmth will enhance the blossoms’ aroma. Pair it with ice plant (Delosperma spp), dwarf Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’) and Parry’s agave (Agave parryi). Chocolate blossom enjoys poor, dry dirt. It is deer resistant.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Where it will grow: Hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 4 to 9); elevations around 7,000 feet
Water condition: Low
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 12 to 18 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide
Seasonal attention: Flowers June to September
When to plant: Spring or fall

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

(Alcea rosea)

This classic favorite sports 5- to 6-foot-tall spikes packed with big (4-inch-diameter) blossoms in yellow, red, pink or white. The blossoms bring both hummingbirds and butterflies.

Hollyhock is a short term perennial or biennial and will self-sow (without being weedy) when the flowers are allowed to ripen and place seed.

It is a stylish addition to a wildflower garden, meadow or mixed boundary. Blend it with lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis), bearded iris (Iris germanica) and tall sedum (Sedum spectabile). Provide well-drained, average to lean soil.

Where it will grow: Hardy to -40 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 3 to 2); elevations around 8,000 feet
Water requirement: Moderate to low
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 2 to 3 feet wide and 5 inches to 6 feet tall
Seasonal attention: Blooms July to August
When to plant: Spring or fall

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Prairie Red Coneflower
(Ratibida columnifera pulcherrima)

deep red flowers that dance atop long, slender stalks and delicate, airy foliage create prairie red coneflower a terrific addition to a xeric mixed border or wildflower garden. Prairie red coneflower, also known as Mexican hat, is native to a large area of western North America. It is an important nectar source for native bees, butterflies and other insects.

Plant it using dotted blazing star (Liatris punctata), crazy four o’clock (Mirabilis multiflorus) and Missouri evening primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa). Although it is a short-term continuing (two or three decades), it is going to reseed readily. Plant it in well-drained clay to sandy soil.

Where it will grow: Hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 4 to 10); elevations around 8,000 feet
Water condition: Very low, but can withstand moist soil
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 18 to 24 inches tall and wide
Seasonal attention: Blooms late June to August
When to plant: Spring or fall

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Yellow Pineleaf Penstemon
(Penstemon pinifolius ‘Mersea Yellow’)

A long-lived, native penstemon that blossoms non invasive, has evergreen foliage and can be bunny resistant — what more can you desire? Use pineleaf penstemon as a low edging plant for a shrub border or in drifts with blanket flower (Gallardia spp), red yucca (Hesperaloe parvifolia) and ‘Terracotta’ yarrow. Well-drained soil with low fertility is excellent for this penstemon.

Where it will grow: Hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 4 to 9); elevations around 8,000 feet
Water requirement: Low
Light requirement: Full to partial sun
Mature size: 12 inches tall and 15 inches wide
Seasonal interest: Blooms late June to July
When to plant: Spring or fall

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Here’s a zoomed-out look at yellowish pineleaf penstemon.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Big Blue Sea Holly
(Eryngium ‘Big Blue’)

Every backyard needs some architectural crops — those who are inflexible and sculptural — to contrast the ones that are soft and billowy. Enormous blue sea holly may be exactly what you have been searching for. Stiff blue stems using a 4-inch diameter and spiny, blue bracts make a distinctive metallic appearance.

Sea holly is deer and rabbit resistant, but appealing to butterflies. Include it in a cutting garden, since it’s excellent for both dried and fresh arrangements. Pair big blue sea holly with lavender (Lavandula spp), as shown, plus whirling butterflies (Gaura lindheimeri) and ornamental grasses. It adapts to average, clay as well as sandy soils.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Where it will grow: Hardy to -30 degrees Fahrenheit (zones 4 to 9); elevations around 7,500 feet
Water condition: Low (but water well the initial year to establish it)
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 30 inches tall and 18 inches wide
Seasonal attention: Blooms July to August
When to plant: Spring or fall

More manuals to your best summer garden

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A Glimmer of Gold Leaf Will Make Your Room Shine

Gold-leafing, or gilding, has adorned everything from furniture to picture frames for thousands of years. Now, gold leaf may add a bit of old-world luxury that still feels modern — whether it’s peeking from underneath a pendant lamp or boldly glowing on cabinet doors.

The rich, deep hue of gold leaf is a far cry from the glistening brass of the ’70s, so don’t be afraid to experiment with this earthy metallic. Big, bold statement bits or a couple of shiny accessories will look beautiful.

Jerry Jacobs Design, Inc..

What’s gold leaf? Gold leaf is sometimes mistaken with metal leaf, but they’re different products. Metal foliage generally refers to thin sheets of metal (of any color) which don’t contain real gold. Gold leaf is made from gold. I use gold-colored metallic leaf for most jobs, as it might be prohibitively costly differently.

The outstanding display in this room probably uses genuine gold foliage, and provides an ideal dose of opulence to an otherwise serene and tranquil setting.

Heather Garrett Design

Gold leaf has its own challenges.

Here, a set of seats goes from quite to perfectly extraordinary with gold-leafed backs. The gold provides this sophisticated area a moody and alluring feel that would be missing if the seats were plain white.

But deciding to utilize gold leaf may be a large commitment. Beginning with something first is a safe bet.

I decided that a client’s giant, classic, Ming-style coffee table required to be gold, and it sounded like a very amazing idea when I explained it to her. I pictured this mass of previously unloved teak because a discovered treasure — something casually tossed besides a palace (yes, I really went there). We decided that the table should be gold-leafed, because there’s something incredibly special about the squares of gold which surpasses anything paint can achieve. Then I spent countless evenings applying delicate metallic sheets to a desk which seems to grow bigger with time.

Understand what you are getting yourself into when you decide to use gold leaf. Any surface can be gold-leafed as long as it’s prepared. Channel your inner alchemist and try some home-leafing. Most craft stores sell bundles of gold-toned metallic leaf and adhesives. But as I said, begin little.

Flat 46 for the Home

4 Strategies for Using Gilding in Your Home

Insert carefully selected accents. Gold gives off a heat that both absorbs and reflects light. Nearly every room may use some metallic, while it’s a gold-toned beverage dining table, a gilded mirror or the glint of a classic frame.

This classic Italian mirror is a timeless instance of gilding which works with almost any style. In a modern minimalist area, it would be the set bit. Within an eclectic home, it would complement surrounding treasures.

Denise DeCoster Architect

Play with scale. Today, gold leaf shows up in larger furnishings, like this elegant foyer cabinet. Adorning only the doorways, the gold makes a statement without overpowering the other items. It is the sort of laid-back luxe which makes a room special.

Jane Ellison

Highlight architectural features. Choose an architectural detail in your home to emphasize with gold. The door frame in this photo goes from hidden to front-and-center with gold leaf.

Leslie Hayes Interiors

Change your area’s light. Leafing the beautifully manicured ceiling of this dining room gives it a rich luster that educates the remaining furnishings underneath it.

More: Color Guide: How to Work with Gold

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IRS Rules on Sales

A short sale occurs when a lender allows a homeowner to sell his house for less than the mortgage balance to avoid foreclosure. The lender can accept a loss and then release the homeowner from additional debt liability, or the lender can pursue a deficiency judgment to collect the amount owed. If the lender not pursue a deficiency judgment following a short sale, however, the former homeowner is still totally clear and free. The lending company will issue a Form 1099-C and the deficient amount may need to be included as income on the former homeowner’s tax return.

Canceled Debt

According to the IRS debts are taxable income. If a lender releases a homeowner out of her debt obligation, the homeowner has effectively gained income, which usually must be contained on her tax return. Suppose a homeowner owes $100,000 on her house and finds a buyer that will pay $80,000. The lender agrees to accept the purchase price and compose the remaining $20,000. The lender will send the former homeowner a Form 1099-C for the deficient amount of $20,000, which the IRS may consider taxable income.

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act allows homeowners to exclude canceled debt from income so long as the debt has been incurred to buy their primary residence, according to the IRS. This provision applies to debts discharged between 2007 and 2012 and is capped at $2 million ($1 million if married filing separately). Furthermore, this rule doesn’t apply for any motives besides a drop in home worth or a decline from the homeowner’s financial status.

Other Exceptions

Filing for bankruptcy may even absolve a taxpayer by paying a large tax bill because of forgiven debt. According to the IRS, debts discharged through bankruptcy can be deducted from taxable income. What’s more, demonstrating insolvency will even permit the citizen to exclude forgiven debt out of income. Insolvency occurs when a citizen’s total liabilities exceed total assets.

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The Way to Pick the Perfect Bedsheets

Consider the most comfortable bed you’ve ever slept in, and what comes to mind? When it’s the sheets, you are in good company. Because they come in direct contact with our skin, sheets are as important as a quality mattress and cozy blanket in sending us off to dreamland.

The sheer variety of sheets on the current market, however, can throw you for a loop when you are searching. Here are our top pointers to help you decipher the labels and decide on the sheets that will suit you best.

Connected: How to pick the right pillow

Sightline Art Consulting


Back in the day, many sheets in the marketplace arrived in cotton and … cotton. And it is still the hottest sheeting fabric, because of its durability, comfort and breathability.

Cotton equally traps heat and allows cool air pass through summer time, so it is a great choice for virtually any climate. It may be mixed and feel. As with almost any sheets you buy, do a hand check to gauge how you like these combinations.

KUBE architecture

Egyptian, pima and Sea Island cottons would be the gold standard, so look for those terms on the packaging and check to be sure the fabric is 100% that material. Some growers use the term “Egyptian cotton” loosely, however — true Egyptian cotton is grown and processed according to specific stipulations. Be certain that you’re buying from a quality manufacturer and, feel the material for softness.


Bamboo blends are becoming popular in recent years, often combined with cotton or other materials. Because bamboo is sustainable and naturally antimicrobial, and sips up moisture, it is well worth considering.

Linen sheets, that operate well in hot climates because they wick away body warmth, are another option. Just be ready to do a great deal of ironing, unless you prefer the wrinkled look. Although satin sheets seem glam and feel intimate, they are sometimes too warm and slick for many people.

The Company Store

350-Thread-Count Supima Solid Sateen Bedding – $29

The signature name Supima, a hybrid of “premium” and “pima,” is employed to pick sheets of 100 percent pima cotton, developed in the United States (the title stems in the Pima Indians of Arizona). These luxurious versions, offered in a variety of rich colors are a fail-safe choice for any style bedroom. Have them monogrammed for a preppy, personal signature.


Inhabit | Plus Sheet Set – $182

This eco-friendly cotton, bamboo and rayon blend wears a low-key graphic pattern that will fall right in step with a contemporary space.

Ken Gutmaker Architectural Photography

Thread Count

including all the buzz around thread count — how many threads in 1 square inch of fabric — it’s easy to presume that greater means softer. But that is not the case. A lower-thread-count sheet produced from fibers that are softer by character, like Egyptian cotton, will feel silkier than a high-thread-count sheet produced from a lower-quality cotton blend.

Paul Rice Architecture

All other things being equal, higher thread counts can indeed translate to increased relaxation. Do not hesitate to buy 800- or 1,000-count sheets, however; you will do just fine using a design in the 400 or 450 range. The extra thread count does not produce enough difference in texture to warrant the purchase price. In reality, the highest-count sheets may even be rigid because a lot of fibers have been jammed so tightly together.

Pottery Barn

Classic Stripe 400-Thread-Count Duvet Cover and Sham, Sandalwood – $39

A broad, cheerful stripe highlights those versatile sheets, which would seem especially nice in a darkened space.

Crane & Canopy

400-Thread-Count Coral Scalloped Embroidered Sheet Set – $159

Dainty scallops plus a hint of coral give these female sheets an extra touch of elegance.

Thom Filicia Inc..


Crisp or soft? If you prefer your sheets with just a tiny snap, choose percale, which is a plainer weave than the supple sateen. Neither is inherently better; it is an issue of personal taste.

Jersey sheets — that you likely think about as T-shirt sheets — are all made using a flat knit that retains them soft but also means they can be more prone to slipping and slipping on the mattress. If you live somewhere that gets really cold, think about nubby cotton flannel sheets, unsurpassed for keeping you toasty.

Garnet Hill

Lilly Pulitzer Scarlet Begonias Percale Bedding – $50

Percale sheets at a bright, playful print awaken a mattress dressed differently in white.

Navy Gobi Embroidered Sheet Set – $145

These dignified sheets, bearing a contemporary twist on a Buddhist theme, possess a faint sheen as a result of their own sateen finish.

Su Casa Designs


In case you have ever attempted to wrestle a too-small fitted sheet on a mattress, then you know how important it’s to buy sheets that are the correct size. In case you’ve got a standard-size mattress, such as a double, queen or king, then start looking for features like elastic edging all the way around, which helps guarantee a smooth, comfortable fit.

Tom Stringer Design Partners

For extra-long twin, California king, pillow-top and other nonstandard mattresses, you will need to look for sheets especially marked for those sizes. Should you add a foam pad or alternative topper into your mattress, then assess the height, then buy an extra-deep sheet that corresponds.

And don’t forget about pillowcases: In case your pillows are under- or overscale (king pillows on a double mattress, for instance), buy fitted sheets, flat sheets and pillowcases as separates rather than as a same-size set.


Matouk Twin Extra-Long Fitted Sheet – $77.90

Extra-long twin sheets stretch comfortably within a mattress that accommodates taller sleepers.

Tailored Pinefore White Pillowcase Set, King – $63

Dressmaker details like pintucks and hemstitching grace this sharp king-size pillowcase.

More: 10 Quick and Easy Ways to Dress Your Bed


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Window Rail

On a window a railing is the horizontal portion of the frame at the top and bottom of the sash. Rails contain grooves that hold the window panes. Muntins extend from rail to rail.

Chris Hill

The term “rail” is not exclusive to windows — it’s used widely with furniture to reference horizontal parts.

Mathews Brothers Company

Window locks can be put on the railing.


Muntins extend up and down between rails.

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Smell This Shocking Flower in Your Own Risk

As someone who’s smelled more than one Titan Arum within her lifetime, Joan Leonard gets the odor nailed: “Roadkill with a little sauerkraut and dead fish blended” Leonard, program manager at Ohio State University’s Biological Sciences Greenhouse, observed the wonders of one Titan Arum blossom on May 14, 2013, and will experience another blossom this week, called on May 24.

The plant — many commonly called the corpse flower — is most renowned for its distinct and incredibly pungent odor. However, the remainder of its unbelievable lifestyle is not as well understood: Over decades what starts as an almond-size seed grows into a huge leafy plant or even an 8-foot flowering construction which can heat itself up to 100 degrees and develop more than 3 inches in 1 day. Not both — just one or the other. And you never know which way it goes. And, of course, there’s its startling shape. “Surely, the Latin name is very descriptive, since it is literally translated to mean ‘giant deformed phallus,'” says Leonard.

Woody — yes, that is this particular specimen’s moniker; it is named after Ohio State University’s beloved football coach, Woody Hayes — is a 12-year-old Titan Arum that bloomed last week. After a seed the size of an almond, Woody is now a 49-pound tuber that is 12 feet tall when in leaf stage. Woody has had one blossom. The most blossom, pictured here, reached higher.

Most people will smell the flower long until they visit it. The blossom often opens at night and provides a strong odor for approximately 12 hours afterwards. Blooms tend to begin wilting after 48 hours.

For Woody’s most recent blossom, nearly 1,500 people came to the greenhouse to experience the foul odor. “Someone compared the smell to the liquid slop at the bottom of the Dumpster,” says Leonard. “Another person told me they thought it smelled like a mouse which was regurgitated by a snake after a couple of days.”

Although corpse flower blooms are rare, they have become much more prevalent due to the germination of seeds from private collectors and institutions. The University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley, as an example, currently sells seedlings for $50 to $100.

The seedlings (one is pictured here) do little to signify what’s ahead. The corpse flower goes via various dormancy and leaf cycles throughout its lifetime, wilting down to its root each time. After each period of dormancy and regeneration, the leaf and underground potato-like tuber grow considerably. Sometimes (and seldom) the plant will undergo a gorgeous bloom cycle.

Here, Maudine — Ohio State’s next slated Titan Arum blossom — displays the plant’s appearing bud stage. Although Titan Arum is often known as the largest flower in the world, it is really a group of flowers, called an inflorescence.

The stalk in the middle of the flower, called the spadix, has thousands of female and male flowers at its base. After the plant opens, the female flowers open. They die, and pollen opens and create. This procedure helps prevent self-pollination.

Note:Maudine is named after Ohio State’s 1926 homecoming queen that was a cow.

The spadix component of this plant is what generates the oh-so-distinct odor. In fact, the plant itself really heats up — generally to around 98 degrees Fahrenheit — to help dissipate the odor. Combined with the blossom’s unusual color (“It looks a lot like rotten liver,” states Paul Licht, director of the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. “It is very flesh-like.”) , the corpse flower really imitates its namesake.

But why?

Based on Licht, wild corpse flower plants have been found only in Sumatra, an island in western Indonesia. Not only do they blossom seldom, but they have to be at least 10 years old until they do. Sumatra’s tropical climate doesn’t have seasons, so the flower can bloom at any time of year. The likelihood of it being near another blooming corpse flower is slender, so the plant uses smell and colour to attract carrion insects to pollinate it.

After it flowers the flower quickly collapses and rots. When it’s been brilliant red fruits — pictured here begin to grow at the peak of the stalk. Finally the plant goes back into dormancy, growing back after a few months with an even larger leaf or flower structure.

“Ninety-nine percentage of this moment, the flower isn’t blooming,” says Licht. “It is really a gorgeous, leafy plant.” After each dormancy, a single leaf emerges from the floor. At first it is impossible to tell if it’ll go into a bloom or leaf state. When it’s the latter, then the only leaf grows into a very long stalk that branches out into leaflets — shown here. The plant itself grows very quickly as much as 3 inches every day in some cases.

Despite the crazy life cycle, the smell remains the most memorable thing about this plant that is curious. “We did have a visit from someone who works at the morgue, and she confirmed that corpse flower was an apt moniker,” says Leonard.

Ready to sniff the corpse flower yourself? If you hurry you can take a whiff at the Ohio State University Biological Sciences Greenhouse. Maudine will blossom for 2 days beginning May 24, 2013.

Have a survey! Tell us exactly what stage of the corpse flower you like best.

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