Month: September 2018

One Fern Day

I recently joined a group of fellow designing writers at West Elm to get a planting and terrarium-making workshop directed by designer Shane Powers, famous for his work since the design and decorating editor for Blueprint and Martha Stewart Living. Powers, who has developed products for brands such as Martha by Mail, collaborated with West Elm to make a collection of garden-vessel designs comprising his love for simple, organic forms.

Woodland-style terrariums are everywhere, so it was refreshing to see how Powers used succulents, cacti and sand to produce terrariums and other plantings with a sudden twist. These design tips out of his workshop will get you started producing unusual indoor gardens of your own.

West Elm

Powers started by adding maidenhair ferns to one of those ceramic vessels out of his West Elm collection. First he included a foundation of soil, then a layer of activated charcoal (the same substance used in aquariums). Then he nestled the ferns .

West Elm

Shane Powers Ceramic Wall Planters – $19

To plant an orchid in a ceramic boat, utilize orchid mix (a mixture of tree bark and charcoal). The origins should be green — remove any white or yellow ones. Orchids must be watered every 12 to 14 days.

Powers’ design suggestion for your orchids: Remove the plastic ties that often arrive with orchids and replace them together with twine.

Powers gave these ceramic containers a rounded, soft form — instead of an angular contour — because they’re intended to stand out from a wall socket.

West Elm

Powers also demonstrated how to make a terrarium in a fishbowl with succulents and different colours of sand:

1. Add a layer of grey sand (available at blossom markets) towards the base of the container)

2. Nestle succulents and cacti from the sand. You may leave them in their containers should you like.

3. Add a layer of smooth black stones.

4. Top with a layer of brick-color sand.

5. Clean sand the leaves off with a soft paintbrush.

West Elm

To earn a terrarium inside this glass boat, Powers started with an inch of gravel. Then he added a thin layer of charcoal and a few succulents (now taking away the plastic pots and loosening the origins ) inside the terrarium. He included dirt round the plants utilizing a skillet, to safeguard the glass and his palms.

West Elm

This fishbowl in the collection holds a delicate fern in a little pot.

Care suggestion: Avoid overwatering or pouring water directly on terrarium plants. Water ferns in a fishbowl vessel every 7 to 10 days, with a turkey baster or dropper to prevent spills. Check the moisture level of the ground by sticking your finger in the sand.

For succulents in a glass terrarium, Powers suggests waiting a month between waterings.

West Elm

Air plants do not need dirt, so that they can float anywhere in dirt-free glass vessels. Powers made these handblown containers to permit air circulation for those plants.

West Elm

To warm water air plants, just put them in a bowl of water.

Inform us: Are you currently growing ferns, succulents, orchids or air plants at home? Please share your design from the Comments section.

Dirt Optional — Beautiful Air Plants

Read more photos of plants under glass

See related

Fantastic Design Plant: Redtwig Dogwood

Each spring I find myself amazed and surprised by the newest growth and rebirth that happens on the exact same deciduous plants I was sure had been dead long since winter began. Pass a redtwig dogwood (Cornus sericea) in January, and also any lingering uncertainty that these crops are not still consciously living is instantly drop.

Cold hardy and water tolerant, redtwig dogwood is an especially elegant garden addition throughout the year. Its crazy growth habit, delicate blooms and vibrant winter colour contribute to it being the absolutely untamed, yet sophisticated, design plant.

Tom Debley

Botanical name: Cornus sericea (syn. Cornus stolonifera)
Common names:Redtwig dogwood, red osier dogwood, American dogwood, red willow, redstem dogwood, redosier dogwood, creek dogwood
USDA zones: 2-7
Water requirement:Moderate
Sun requirement: Full sun to color
Mature size: 7-9′ tall, spreads to 12′ wide
Tolerances: Deer, soil — such as moist soil and clay soil
Safety advantages: Fruit attracts birds and wildlife; flowers attract butterflies

Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds

Distinguishing attributes. Redtwig dogwood is a shrub for many seasons. Having a compact multi-stemmed arrangement for a foundation, ovate green leaves cover its sleek green stalks in spring. Leaves are linked with creamy white floral clusters in summer, followed by creamy white or blue berries.

Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds

Transitioning from summer to autumn, stems and foliage turn a brilliant red, persisting into the onset of fall.

U. of Maryland Arboretum & Botanical Garden

It is in winter is when redtwig dogwood is extremely noticeable, and it’s for this seasonal transformation that redtwig dogwood is named. The stems of the tree turned into a fiery shade of red before losing its leaves for the season. In Alaska and Newfoundland its winter colour is especially vibrant — starkly contrasted from a blanket of white snow.

The ‘Baileyi’ cultivar, shown here, is similar in colour but lacks the spreading look of the straight species.


The best way to use it. Consider adding a rain garden to your landscape to curb stormwater runoff. Found naturally in damp areas, redtwig dogwood is inherently suited wet conditions.

In a time of year that many crops are on hiatus, redtwig dogwood is in the peak of its visual attraction. A fast spreader and soil stabilizer, redtwig dogwood produces a fantastic hillside or bank room filler. Plant in mass to get a lush green display in spring and summer and a fiery red landscape accent in fall and winter.

U. of Maryland Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Keep it growing. Whilst redtwig dogwood transplants well and simple to grow, its rapid growth rate and spreading nature can sometimes take over the landscape. In order to restrain the spread of redtwig dogwood, cut back branches and roots that touch the earth, preventing suckers.

Following its seasonal display of colour, the plant goes dormant before leafing out again in spring. Take this opportunity to lessen the shrub so as to permit for new growth. It’s about the younger stalks that you will observe the most spectacular red color.

While the plant was proven to be susceptible to leaf and twig blight, maintaining air circulation and light penetration are two good ways to become proactive and preventative.

More great design crops:
Hens-and-Chicks | Snake Flower | Toyon | Black Mondo Grass | Feather Reed Grass | New Zealand Wind Grass | Red Kangaroo Paw | Blue Chalk Sticks | Catmint | Slipper Plant

Great design trees:
Manzanita | Japanese Maple | Persian Ironwood | Smoke Tree | Bald Cypress | Tree Aloe

See related

10 Ways to Make Decent Use of the Light of Winter

Fall’s sun is waning, and it’s noticeably chillier both indoors and out. Since heat is expensive (and it’s more fun to spend the amount on sledding excursions and hot chocolate anyhow), use what sun there’s left to warm up your property. Some of the very best changes are neither hard nor expensive; check out the following photos for inspiration. You may get a house that not just warmer, but more trendy, also.

More: Smart Home Designs Capitalize on the Sun


Make the most of your home’s smaller spaces. Because of the smaller square footage, sunlight streaming through the windows will maintain these spaces warmer for a longer period of time. If you work from home or have an activity that requires you to spend a lot of time in one spot, transfer it to one of your rooms. You’ll be comfortable and cozy.

ZeroEnergy Design

Set up seating areas around your windows. This may appear counterintuitive (we constantly hear about chilly drafts near windows), but if your windows are well sealed, there should not be a problem. This way you can enjoy a meal or read the paper whilst basking in the immediate heat of the sun.

Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc..

Place a sofa right in the front of your windows. It’s not ideal for every room, but if it works in yours, beams of sun will warm you when you relax on the sofa.

Sylvia Martin

Contemplate sheer curtains. People today feel the need to cover their windows with heavy drapery from the winter. While layers of fabric do include heat, they can also block out what sunlight there’s. Sheer curtains provide privacy and that same sense of heat without completely blocking the sun.

Celia James

Mirrors are a godsend when decorating for any number of reasons, such as their ability to maximize sun. Placing mirrors across from or adjacent to your own windows allows them to reflect warm sunshine throughout the space.

Rupal Mamtani

If you reside in climate that is usually chilly annually, you may want to put money into darker upholstery fabric, that feels cozy and may even keep more heat.

Atmosphere Interior Design Inc..

If a full furniture makeover is out of your budget or just unnecessary, reach the same effect with accessories. The inclusion of dark throw pillows will add heat …

Globus Builder

… as will a few throws. Imagine how good you’ll feel wrap yourself in a throw that’s toasty warm from lying in a bright spot.

John Maniscalco Architecture

I don’t know about you, but my feet are almost always chilly from the colder months. A simple fix for this is really a rug at a dark shade — it’ll collect heat from any sunlight it may get during the day. Your toes will thank you.

Atmosphere Interior Design Inc..

Another idea: swapping your summertime linens for dark ones. Not only is this appearance uber chic, but you are going to feel extra cozy when snuggled up on a winter’s night.

More: 10 Elements of this Just-Right House
Innovate Home, Heated and Cooled by Design
High Design With Solar Panels
Smart Home Designs Capitalize on the Sun

See related

Winter Makeover: Naturally Beautiful Christmas D├ęcor

Taking a eco-friendly approach to holiday decorating may save yourself money, storage space, and also help save the environment on the way. Read on for some easy ideas that could give your home a festive look, the natural manner.

Christie Thomas

Decorating for the holidays can be time consuming and costly, and their non-recyclable materials frequently wind up in landfills.

Take an eco friendly approach having an evergreen garland. You can discover natural garlands in Christmas tree stands and farms make your own at a weekend. Gather evergreen trimmings out of your lawn and wrap long bunches with wire or twine, overlapping them to create long strings of pine, cedar or fir. String them together the mantle or banister.


Drape an evergreen garland round a mantel or bookshelf for an instant Christmas look. Accent with pinecones collected from a hike in the woods.


Do not overlook the exterior of your home and add some cheer to a front porch. Prep your mailbox or flower box using evergreen trimmings, berries, and a few candy canes.

Hydrangea Home

Wrapping an entire banister in evergreen boughs appear to be a hassle? Create a simple focal point in the base of your stairs with a swag of greenery wrapped in a festive decoration.

Michelle Edwards

If winters are hot where you live, take your holiday feast outdoors. Enjoy a meal in a table decorated with what is around you.

My Sweet Savannah

Put a candle on a glass pedestal and combine it with walnuts for an easy, tasteful seasonal centerpiece.

Do not forget about your washroom when decorating for the holidays! Put a few pine boughs round your bathroom sink or round your own mirror.

Sandra Howie

A bowl of acorns and garnish with red berries is a eco-friendly method to decorate your mantle.

When the holidays are completed, return to character to decompose. Enjoy your free and effortless decorating, and less clutter around your home!

Have you got any eco-friendly ideas? Share these below!

50 Pictures of Amazing Holiday Decorations
Seattle Tudor Christmas House
Decking The Halls

See related

13 Ways to Paint Interior Door

It’s possible to change the way your house looks by simply painting your interior doors. Add life to them, show off architectural detail, or earn a door less noticeable. Go somewhat dark on the paint, or simply take it to another level, using a daring or deep color.

Strategies for painting interior doors
Remember that any time you paint a doorway a deep color, you should take your time and prep well because the darker the paint, the more lines you’ll be able to see. Most doors and trims are painted semi gloss because it cleans easily and discreetly shines. If you want to go to get a more glistening look use a high-gloss paint, which when done well can look stunning, making the colour you use very deep and reflective. Prep well before painting and use substances referred by a paint specialist, so it seems smooth. When painting doors, start at the top and work your way down. And always brush at the direction of the wood grain on wrought iron doors.

Patricia Benson

Painting this glass door and trim the identical bold colour as the wall creates an illusion there’s absolutely no doorway, only panes of glass. I would really like to attempt this on a frosted door resulting in the basement. A doorway with a daring color is quite tempting to start to find out what pleasure lies beyond.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

If a doorway is at an awkward place or divides a little area, make it almost disappear by painting your door and trim the identical color as your walls.

Atmosphere Interior Design Inc..

If you’re using stunning wallpaper in a room which has deep and light colours inside, use the dark color on the door , and the light color on the trim to get a dramatic feel.

Valerie pasquiou interiors + design, inc

Pick a soft gray or beige on your doors and trims for a stunning look that still feels light and airy. Why don’t you add a little bit of personality to doorways that have lovely weathered molding?

Paint your interior doorway a lighter or darker shade of same colour used on the walls. Bring out the door panels by outlining them in the exact same colour as the trim.

Carey Dodson

Create a chalkboard door using chalkboard paint.

Lisa rubenstein – actual rooms design

Outline your doors to get a comprehensive look. Utilize a profound paint colour on your own door trim only. If you have raised panels at the doorway, outline each groove in the exact same colour.

Isabel Beattie @ K Cabinets Oakville

Let the doorway stand out. By painting the doorway itself black and leaving the trim round it white, it becomes a highlight of this room, especially if you’ve got a doorway with a great deal of glass or intriguing architectural details.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Try out a decorative paint finish. Paint is not pricey, so have a ball!

Hint: You do not have to remove doors from hinges to paint them. It is faster to paint them attached, and the end result can be equally as fantastic. Regardless of what color/finish you’re doing, paint at the direction of the grain.

Peg Berens Interior Design LLC

Black or deep brown painted doors keep a contemporary space looking chic and clean. In this area there are no bright-white stark-feeling minutes. To acquire a fine end, take your time and prep well.

Visbeen Architects

Color code a doorway or two to remind both adults and small ones this chamber is a particular place (for doing homework or another activity).

Mark Dodge Design

This beautiful, glossy orange doorway leads into a gorgeous wallpapered bedroom. It is the perfect first impression.

Suggestion: whenever you’ve got a door painted a daring color on one side but not on the flip side, what color do you paint the borders of the doorway? I decide to paint the borders the colour of the side that opens inward, as in this photo.

Rachel Reider Interiors

At a house painted with neutrals, black doors pop with interest. You may just paint the doorways in the public areas and abandon the private chambers a creamy light white color.

DIY: Upgrade This Ugly Door!

See related

11 Ways to Produce a Multipurpose Office Space

If you are like a growing number of people, you do portion of your work from home. If you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated room for this, you may find yourself needing to create an office that’s really multipurpose. Here are 11 great suggestions for working an workspace into pretty much every other type of room, from putting your desk on wheels, to concealing your work in a cupboard, putting it on simple view, and more.

Erica Islas / EMI Interior Design, Inc..

1. Use your wall area for storing nearly everything. I can’t say enough about the benefits of the Murphy bed. More comfy than the ubiquitous sleeper couch, the Murphy bed gearing up against the wall would be the best option for obtaining that spare bed out of their way and providing you maximum floor area to your office. Notice that even the little side table by the bed will slip back into the display shelving on the wall. Wall storage over the desk provides you room for tools and materials to other activities without taking up floor area.

Angela Todd Designs, Portland, OR

2. Make your furniture mobile. Casters on this desk allow it to be rolled back so the floor mat can be rolled out for meditation or yoga. Use locking casters so your desk doesn’t roll around as you’re attempting to work — unless of course, you enjoy that type of thing.

I adore the profound blue metallic stria faux-finish on the walls is just as acceptable for promoting a calm place to work and a calm state of mind for yoga or meditation.

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

3. Avoid the cubicle-farm look when picking your office furniture. Let’s face it, a lot of us decide to work in the home since we can’t withstand cubicle farms. So, why do you need your home office to seem like, well, a cubicle farm?

This office at a bedroom looks spectacular with a glamorous black seat rather than the typical office chair. They’ve utilized a handsome table lamp rather than the usual anglepoise desk lamp, and the desk itself is a beautiful piece of furniture. Note that there’s a lit mirror onto the desk too, so this desk doubles as a dressing table.

Scheer & Co..

4. Now it is an office, today it isn’t! Use simple branch to change the function of a room. It may take nothing more than a drape to literally save the entire office from view of the remainder of the room.

Can it hang luscious full-length drapery. When they’re closed, the remainder of the room may be an inviting guest room, a calm sitting room, literally, anything you want. Decorating the office space behind the drape to coordinate with the rest of the room guarantees it looks great even when the curtains are open.

Rossington Architecture

This office definitely looks like you, with its rolling ergonomic chair, adjustable desk lamp, etc. But just as in the prior case, the entire office can be hidden, this time together with folding doors. This office is in a closet in a dining room, but it works for any closet, even at a hallway.

Cravotta Interiors

5. If you can’t conceal the office, at least conceal the work. Not every room has a spare closet in which to conceal the office.

However, if you can fit everything you need to a secretary desk, then it’s possible to close up the desk itself and still conceal the office. This can work whether you’ve got a beautiful conventional room like this, or …

Elias Kababie

… a very modern room like this, or …

Cynthia Mason Interiors

… a more transitional look.

Cynthia Mason Interiors

Secretary desks come in all styles.

Case Design/Remodeling, Inc..

6. Combine functions that are compatible. In the event that you typically match your office work with household chores, consider making your office area in the same area to save measures.

Case Design/Remodeling, Inc..

Seen from the other end of the room, this seems like it also serves the mudroom feature, so it is the ideal place to keep your eye on the comings and goings of children also. If you don’t need or want perfect peace and quiet to your office area, being at the middle of the daily household action can be very handy.

David Churchill – Architectural Photographer

7. Flaunt it. This photograph and the next two will be of an open-plan home where the office, living room, TV viewing area and dining room are all completely open to each other. Instead of attempting to conceal the office or to conceal the purpose of this, they simply design a workplace that’s so trendy it looks great from the open area.

David Churchill – Architectural Photographer

The light green Lucite display shelving doesn’t conceal the office, but it defines the distance so it feels set apart in the other activities in the room. The black office chair is a nice one and it works in the modern space. The built-in storage is all in the same wood and cabinetry style as the remainder of the space.

8. Be discerning about what you place on display. Though I think this is excellent advice even for a dedicated office with a door that you can close, it is extra important in a multi-purpose office area. With your office open to the main living space, you wish to be sure to conceal papers and cords which may look messy, so a few closed storage is a must. There are a number of books in the open storage over the desk, but just a couple. Hide that collection of dog-eared paperbacks.

David Churchill – Architectural Photographer

This angle shows the dining room beside the office space. The black seats work nicely with the black used in the office chair and the dark of this desktop shown in the prior picture.

Leslie Goodwin Photography

This office is also outside in the open at the center of the home. Using exactly the identical cabinetry style as the remainder of the home and very carefully editing items out on display help this office to match right in. This is a nice option if you want feel isolated working at a closed room all by yourself.

Venegas and Company

9. Consider combining your office together with the kitchen. That is such a favorite place for home office space that lots of builders are now including a built-in desk area. If you are a work-at-home mom or dad and will need to keep your eye on your kids or dinner because it simmers on the stove, then this can be the ideal place for your multi-purpose office area. Inside this kitchen the cabinetry to the desk is constructed in and they’re using an attractive seat that contrasts with all the barstools.

Designer Kitchen by Morgan

If all you want is a place to sit down with your laptop and a little desk area, the solution over could be all you need to create your kitchen office area. This would also be an ideal area for kids to do homework using a parent nearby to help.

Rossington Architecture

10. Think about combining your office with an area that’s never used at the same moment. For a lot of us, it will not get the job done well to be in a room in which other activities are going on at the same moment. It can be very hard to focus on the distraction of others from the area. At first glance, you may think putting a workplace at a game room would not be compatible. But if you work through the day, and nobody uses the sport room until the day, then the two uses for this particular chamber may work out perfectly.

11. Select furniture that can do double duty. Plenty of people turn their dining rooms into offices, then never have a nice place for a sit-down dinner. Using a dining table instead of a desk means all you need to do is remove the laptop, place the table and voila — it is a dining room again. Using all the upper wall area for storage means that they don’t need to fill the floor area with filing cabinets.

This chamber does not conceal its double intent. But if you wished to disguise the office seem when utilizing the space as a dining room, then matching the office built-ins into the wood cabinetry and producing closed storage to conceal the office supplies would do just fine. Oh, and there is no law that says you can’t use rolling seats as dining seats: I have seen dedicated dining rooms using this style of rolling seat all the way around the dining table.

So, let’s see, we have looked at offices sharing space together with all the kitchen, the bedroom, a yoga or living room, the dining room, a guest room, a laundry room plus mudroom, a game room and the entire living room. If you can think of any additional area and how to successfully integrate the office into it, I would love to hear from you!

More: How To Turn a Closet Into an Office
Desk from the Bedroom: Yea or Nay?
How to Create a Client-Worthy Home Office
8 Ways to Reduce the Dining Room

See related