Category: Fireplaces

The Way to Identify Large Appliance Receptacles

120-volt 20-amp service is used by Conventional household power. You can tell the kind of electrical service by the holes for a plug to any outlet. A conventional plug has two square holes, the one slightly larger, with a hole below that has a top. A ground fault circuit interrupter plug includes those holes and. As adding circuits for a appliance can be very pricey for a purchaser in the Bay region, adequate wiring is essential in selling a home.


Kitchens are required under the National Electric Code to have GFCI outlets, which suffice for many appliances such as microwave ovens and garbage disposers. Larger appliances, such as refrigerators, have a similar plugin, but the left slot machine has a flat segment on the left side so that it resembles a”T” on its side. This indicates more powerful than household light, service.

220 Service

Because that is the minimum voltage that must be offered a 20-amp circuit is indicated by A similar outlet with all the right-side slot horizontal instead of vertical with 240 volts, commonly referred to service. This is usually used on a huge appliance such as an air compressor.


A larger outlet that has a rounded top rather than being rectangular signifies support with higher amperage. A 3-wire 240-volt outlet with 30-amp support has three holes, one at the top just like a backward”L” and 2 on the sides placed diagonally. This functions appliances such as kitchen ranges or clothes dryers.

4-Wire Outlet

A outlet is the largest. It has three rectangular slots in a triangle, with a fourth hole in the bottom with a round top plus one in the top. These are 50- or 60-amp circuits used for appliances that are big.

Circuit Breakers

Call an electrician if you have questions regarding the power coming to a home or into a specific outlet or consult a utility such as Pacific Gas & Electric. You also can look in a circuit breaker cupboard; breaker switches will be labeled with all the amperage and voltage for the circuits they control.

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Good Strategies to Insulate Your House for Less

Heating and cooling compose a big part of your home’s energy requirements, leading to the cost of energy and making a house more, or even less, appealing to potential buyers. One way to increase the energy efficiency of a house is to insulate it so that as far cold or hot air as possible stays in the house.

Use Fiberglass

Fiberglass insulation is among the most traditional way of insulating a house. Is is also one of the most affordable. Fiberglass insulation comes from rigid panels, called batts, for attaching to vertical surfaces, and flexible rolls which unfurl to cover a horizontal surface. Adding fiberglass into the attic helps avoid warm or cool air from leaving your house via the roof and decreases the necessity to run a heater or air conditioner. In picking fiberglass insulation, it’s important to start looking for the product with the highest R value. The R value represents the material’s ability to resist the transport of warmth and indicates the insulation power of every type of insulation. Adding fiberglass is one of the means of insulation a house per dollar.

Seal Leaks

Sealing leaks around windows and doorways is a relatively simple way. This may consist of caulking the difference between a door jamb and the framework, or adding a seal into the bottom of a door so that it will seal tightly when shut. During winter months, shrink wrap insulation is a really cheap method to seal off windows which won’t be opened until warm weather returns in the spring.

Utilize Cellulose

Cellulose insulation is a low-cost option with many of the uses and benefits of fiberglass. Instead of utilizing a construction procedure which pulls threads from molten glass, as fiberglass does, cellulose comes out of recycled paper. Cellulose comes in a variety of forms including batts, rolls, an insulation spray and as loose fill for dispersing or wrapping in another material. Like homeowners, fiberglass who put in cellulose insulation should start looking for the item with the highest R value.

Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane foam is a faux spray-on foam which can complement other methods of insulation. One inch of the foam can have double the insulating power of a traditional type of insulation, as stated by the website House Energy. While the spray cans which polyurethane foam comes in aren’t appropriate for insulating big places, they can give homeowners a method to insert insulation to tight crevices in the house or between pieces of current insulation to plug gaps.

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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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11 Apartment Hunting Tips for Renters

I clearly recall one flat search that attracted me to tears. After sifting through dozens of not-right rentals, and together with our moving-out date , we thought we finally had the ideal place at the bag — just to have it awarded to another applicant in the last minute. If you have ever needed to search for an apartment, you understand the process can be stressful; much more so if you are new to a town or are looking in a competitive marketplace where hoards of people show up to every open house.

There might not be a way from doing the legwork, but these 11 tips can help you to get organized, set your priorities, search smart and stay focused every step along the way.

Valerie McCaskill Dickman

1. Narrow your search. Focus on a favorite area or 2, but be smart about it. Balance things like charming shops and a lively community with variables like cost and access to transport. Narrowing your search to a certain area will help streamline the process, since you can easily reach multiple open houses in one morning.

If you are only moving to a new town, there isn’t any better way to learn about the neighborhoods than to spend some time walking about — so get out there and research.

Laura Garner

2. Identify your top 3 priorities. Make the budget among your top 3 priorities; the other two may be anything important to you: excellent natural lighting, proximity to work or school, or even a washer-dryer from the unit, as an example. If you are having difficulty coming up with your top three, try listing all you need and cross off things one by one until you are left with your most important priorities.

mango design co

3. Keep track of multiple listings with a contrast checklist. When you are hitting half a dozen open houses in one morning, they start to operate together. Keep applicable info neatly piled on a single checklist and snap an image of each place to accompany it, if at all possible.

Annie McElwain Photography

4. Take your ducks in a row. Be ready to fill out application paperwork, plunk down a deposit or sign a lease before attending that open house. Bring the info that you need to fill out a typical rental application (contact info for company, present and past landlords etc.), plus your checkbook.

Also consider printing out a copy of your credit report — some landlords may insist on running their own check, but only having it to show could be reassuring and put your application ahead of others in a competitive market.

Casey Grace Design, LLC

5. Uncover hidden prices. Know everything you could potentially be carrying on, beyond the rent, by asking crucial questions if you look at a new place. A few to consider:
Are window treatments contained? Which (if any) utilities have been included?
Is there a fee to utilize building amenities or for parking?
Are there any cable hook-ups in which you want them, or will you need to get a new line put in?

Tervola Designs

6. Rely on your senses. Odd smells and sounds you notice during a revealing could end up being a significant problem when you proceed in. Natural lighting, or a lack thereof, can make all the difference in the world, so try to attend a daytime open home rather than looking at the flat after work.

Southern Hospitality

7. Don’t be afraid to be a bit nosy. Open the closets to find a realistic picture of the storage space. Turn on the shower, run the water from the kitchen and bathroom sinks, and flush the toilet. Check below the sinks for signs of mold and creatures — it’s a whole lot better to understand currently when there’s an issue.

Schwartz and Architecture

8. Combine methods for the very best search. Search online through Craigslist and similar websites, or contact a local real estate agent who handles rentals — but don’t forget to hit the sidewalk, too.

Even now there are loads of landlords that rely on a simple sign posted in the window, even a scrap of paper tacked up at the neighborhood café or word of mouth to rent their units. Keep your eyes and ears open wherever you go.

Andrea Schumacher Interiors

9. Planning to stay a while? Negotiate! When you have outstanding credit and a solid rental and work history, and you desire somewhere to call home for many years to come, you might be in a position to negotiate a much better deal. Finding excellent long-term tenants is the hardest aspect of being a landlord, so remember, you are a catch!

Whenever it is not likely any landlord would lower the rent, you could try negotiating to get a longer lease to lock in your current rent, request improvements to be made (and paid for) before proceeding in or get permission to paint and make improvements on your own.

CDA Interior Design

10. Quantify key parts of furniture… and check when they fit through the door. When you have not gathered much furniture or you don’t mind swapping a few things out, this might not be an issue. But if you have a distinctive piece, like a canopy bed, large sofa or piano, it would be dreadful to find out it won’t make it through the door after you have signed the lease. Bring a tape measure with you to each open house, and assess doorway and stairwell dimensions to be sure your cherished pieces will make it in.

Pour Toujours

11. Get everything in writing. So that your landlord guaranteed that the leaky faucet would be repaired, you can paint the walls any color you need and your kitty is allowed with no deposit? Get it in writing. If you and your landlord ever get into a disagreement down the road, having documentation is going to be a lifesaver.

Inform us Share your best apartment hunting tips and stories in the Remarks!

More: How to Steep Your Rental at Color — Without Painting the Walls

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9 Ways into Family Room Guests to Bring Comfort and Joy

Odds are, you’re just about to experience a lot of family togetherness. It’s a good idea to have your main gathering space ready for the range of generations you’ll be hosting. Comfort, ambience and entertainment are important. Here are nine components that will keep your guests happy, warm, relaxed and refreshed in the family room.

Old World Stoneworks

1. Fire. There’s nothing like a roaring fire to draw everyone together. If your chimney is wood burning, then be sure to have a whole lot of dry wood and kindling stashed close by.

Check out the way ers have decked their mantels for your holidays


A Charlie Brown Christmas CD – $7.74

2. Music. This is my favorite Christmas CD to put on while trimming the tree, baking cookies or collecting. Other records you need to try are The Best of Jackson 5: The Christmas Collection and some of those A Very Special Christmas albums.

In fact, this is a matter of personal preference, and it seems every musical artist features a holiday album. Are you strictly Johnny Mathis or would you like Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Josh Groben or even Michael Bublé? Do you like your Christmas tunes to be sung by R&B celebrities or country crooners? Perhaps you prefer to stone into the Trans-Siberian Orchestra? Please share your favorite holiday tunes and albums.

GM Construction, Inc..

3. Warmth. On a chilly night, it is nice to have a whole few throw blankets handy. A rear or storage ottoman allows you to stash them all.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design

4. Comfortable seating for everyone. A large, deep and soft palate couch provides relaxing areas for everyone in the household; copious cushions mean each individual could be propped up or lie back in personalized comfort.

Normandy Remodeling

Fitting in two matching ottomans signifies no one needs to fight over who gets the corner Ls with this couch — there is space for all to place up their feet while they digest the big holiday meal. This place is also great for overflow sleeping; when I was a child, we loved to make a slumber party fort out of a large sectional couch. You can also move it out to the space when you would like to distribute.

Whether there are little ones round, a few beanbags could supplement the seats. If you have extras in kids’ bedrooms or playrooms, give them a good cleaning and toss them in your family room for additional relaxing areas. You may find yourselves fighting them.

Michael Abrams Limited

A soft area rug helps with seating. Personally, I love to grab a few throw pillows and maintain a place on the floor.

John Kraemer & Sons

5. Entertainment. Of course, a movie night is always a fun way to unwind with all the family. What movies do all the generations in your family like? This year everyone in my family (ages 3 to 71) has enjoyed The Great Outdoors, A Christmas Story and Up together. When the little ones were tucked in bed, everyone from tweens around seniors enjoyed Tower Heist and Love Actually.


National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Special Edition DVD) – $9.41

I’ve enlisted some er help with a survey over in the Discussions section. So far our list of favorite holiday movies includes:

• It’s a Beautiful Life
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
A Christmas Story
Home Alone
The Holiday
The Santa Clause
The Polar Express
Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Love Actually
Miracle on 34th Street
The Muppets Christmas Carol

Mahoney Architects and Interiors

It’s also nice to have the ability to tuck that TV out of sight with built-ins when you are not seeing.


Clue, Parker Brothers Vintage Game Collection – $28.49

6. Games. Many people would rather have a TV-free holiday; possess your board games, cards and charades topics on hand.

Some suggestions include Chutes and Ladders, Scrabble, Clue, Candyland, Go Fish, Jingo, Jenga, Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, Checkers, Boggle and Life. Consider games the youngest of this group can play with.

What are some of your favorite board games to play with friends and family? Please let us know in the Comments section below.


Dream Snow by Eric Carle – $16.53

7. Books. Maintain a stack of kids’ favorite Christmas books around so they can cuddle up with an older relative for story time.

Powell/Kleinschmidt, Inc..

8. Good lighting. Soft lighting gives the ideal ambience. Use dimmers and table and floor lamps with multi-colored or low-wattage bulbs to receive the very best light for the event.

West Elm

Greenpan Nonstick Cookie Sheet – $34.95

9. Aromas. Baking Christmas cookies is always a fun activity to do with little ones; they especially love decorating with sugar sprinkles and frosting. Everyone can enjoy the yummy aroma of the baking all the way in the family room, as well as the yummy cookies later.

Candle Luxury

Thymes Frasier Fir Votive Candle – $12.50

An easier way to add aroma is with a candle. A Frasier fir scent is a fantastic holiday choice.

Do you have some tried and true procedures for prepping the family room for a family gathering? Please share them below.

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Corner Fireplaces Give Bathrooms a Style Edge

Need additional square footage but nevertheless want that cozy and warm focus of a fireplace? A large and bulky fireplace can become quite compact when you use the frequently wasted space in a room’s corner. A perfectly tailored fireplace at a corner not only heats an whole space easily, but it enlarges the floor plan also. Get inspired to build a corner fireplace into your home with these clever designs.

Dan Waibel Designer Builder

Storage. Bring your room to life by flanking your fireplace with bookshelves, like in this living room. This is a good way to integrate storage into a beautiful focal point.

Tip: Stretch your mantel to the shelves for much more storage and a cohesive design element.

Lake Country Builders

Outdoors. Do you have a four-season space or lanai that could use just a tiny coziness? Put a fireplace in a corner to create instant visual attraction at a small or big outside space.

Tip: Build a raised hearth under your fireplace opening for extra seating while you amuse.

BW Interiors

Constructed in. Consider wrapping your new customized entertainment centre entirely around your fireplace. This fireplace is built into the adjacent cabinetry, making the whole center feel like an essential part of the room.

Tip: Keep the design of your built-in constant for a truly cohesive look. Glass doors over the mantel would have made this fireplace blend in more.

COASTROAD Patio & Hearth

Space saver. Build a small electrical fireplace into a corner cupboard or custom-made piece when you have a smaller house or condo that could use an extra-cozy element.

Tip: set the fireplace at eye level for exaggerated visibility.

Happy Interiors Group

Wall to wall. Have a corner in your house that just seems like wasted space? Do what was done here — build a fireplace from 1 wall to another out.

Forgo the flooring hearth or raised hearth, such as in this shot, and your fireplace will be aesthetically pleasing and less interactive.

Freestanding. Adore the look of a freestanding unit but do not want one projecting into your floor plan? Try out a fireplace unit that is compact for size. These pieces can be placed in a corner to heat a space.

Tip: When installing a freestanding model, do not just select the conventional black. Attempt to express yourself by choosing an accent color that’s already in your design.

Arthur Dyson Architects

Room divider. You do not need to have a corner made out of two partitions for a fireplace. This artful fireplace is located at the open corner of their living room and functions as a space divider between the living room and the adjacent kitchen brilliant!

Tip: Positioning your fireplace in an open corner such as this means that you can enjoy it from a number of distinct rooms.

Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture

Camouflage. When done correctly, you can practically make your fireplace disappear into the area’s design when it is not in use. The horizontal banding of the wood runs within this fireplace front so it doesn’t stand out.

Tip: you’ll have to take your city’s codes and regulations into consideration using a design in this way, as there are regulations concerning how shut combustible materials can be implemented around the firebox opening.

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Brick Oddities Throw Home Design a Curveball

Among the hundreds of thousands of home photographs on , many fall into some broad stylistic types. Designs rooted in conventional fashions tend to predominate , and contemporary houses receive their fair share, even though both camps can scarcely agree. Even in the eclectic category, lots of the buildings are still quite similar to conventional or modern/contemporary houses, with minor idiosyncrasies.

However, what about the really odd? Showing some of these houses was my target in this ideabook, and mercifully, I have discovered a couple of.

Bernard Andre Photography

Take away all the curves moving this way and that, and this house in Northern California may just fit in with additional contemporary houses on . However, why do so? They give this hillside residence so much character. It appears as though the numerous volumes and curves work in perfect balance, the convex curve on the left rooting the house into the site as the concave curve on the right leans over the incline.

Bernard Andre Photography

A ravine of sorts stays between these two curving volumes. This is the entry stairway below a third volume that’s also restricted by a curving roof.

Bernard Andre Photography

This view of this leaning volume provides a small glimpse inside, where we can observe a curving interior wall around the floor. It’s excellent to see that the curves are not just skin deep.


Additionally curved at odds with the first instance, are these DomeHouses out of Korea. Where the hillside house is habit indoors and outside, the DomeHouse is a prefabricated construction purported to take four hours to get a few people to build. Bucky Fuller may be proud, given they’re prefab, around (surrounding the most space) and extremely lightweight. I’m not sure about these square windows inserted into the domes, though.


Indoors, the DomeHouse is precisely what you would expect: a dome. Furnishing a little, single-room dome isn’t simple (note the way the apparel “violates” the world), but you can not assert that it does not have character.

Uni architecture

This is the XS House, which I believe is pretty cool–it’s so basic yet so distinct. Uni Architecture altered them relative to each other and used three boxes. Windows are cut into portions of the boxes.

Uni architecture

Along with the windows, light comes in through the gaps that are created by altering the boxes relative to each other. Like I said.

Charles Debbas Architecture

This house is completely contemporary, without one detail: that curved window cut into the metal facade. Is your house smiling? Can Amazon’s largest stockholder live there?

Charles Rose Architects Inc..

Speaking of odd facts, how about this scupper that projects from the copper-clad residence? Let us call this the Pinocchio scupper.

GMK Architecture Inc

I have heard of reusing barns for residences, but how can one reuse a concrete silo? In the looks of it, the cylinder connects the two pieces on either side, so stairs would be a good guess. The “hat” on the top indicates a secluded loft or escape as well.

Illinois Outdoor Playhouse – EUR 8,500

The strangest example yet may be the miniaturization of a contemporary masterpiece into a playhouse, like in Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House (Plano, IL, 1951). Mies supposedly said, “God is in the details,” in that case the playhouse is sadly lacking — it is wood rather than steel and contains corner posts where the first had none. But it instantly recalls the first in an odd sort of way.

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A Manhattan Loft Slides Into Flexibility

This Tour is an instance of art impacting life: architect Azin Valy took inspiration from her customer’s artistic work when changing a cramped two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood into an open, expansive loft. In her work, artist and client Suzanne Russell frequently deals with “interrelated parts that are constantly shifting and moving.” It’s a philosophy that Valy applied when she incorporated sliding doors, built-in cabinets and “smart glass” windows that go from transparent to opaque.

“Casper [Russell’s partner, a Danish attorney] also has an eye for perfection and minimalism, so the attic is our collaborative attempt at translating their requirement for a space that reflects their characters and thoughts,” says Valy.

at a Glance
Who lives here: A retirement home for Suzanne Russell and Casper Munter
Location: New York City
Size: 1,500 square feet
That is interesting: In the late 1900s, the flat was tenement housing.

I-Beam Design

All the walls in the flat were stripped to the first brick foundation. “The apartments used to be row-house buildings before they were converted to condos from the 1980s,” says Valy.

I-Beam Design

The sleek, contemporary spirit of the appliances, the Caesarstone countertop and the white cabinetry contrasts using the white oak floor and recycled-beam pub in the kitchen.

Would you see that the smart-glass windows that transition from clear to frosted at the flick of a change (from inside the bathroom)?

I-Beam Design

Following is a closer look at one of the windows from the kitchen right now it’s in transparent mode and allows light to flood the bath from the home living room. Along with being a natural light source, the windows are just plain fun.

Kitchen designers: Urban Homes; countertop: Caesarstone

I-Beam Design

Following is a peek at the window inside of the toilet while it’s frosted for privacy.

I-Beam Design

Materials utilized in the kitchen can also be utilized in the bathroom, linking the two spaces. “Reclaimed classic subway tiles from the kitchen also surround the tub in the toilet,” says Valy. The identical Caesarstone countertop used from the kitchen cascades on sills and shelves in the toilet as well.

I-Beam Design

The clients’ minimalist style is evident from the bedroom, in which a task lamp and a pair of reclaimed planks are the only decoration. A reddish side table gives the spare room a place of color.

I-Beam Design

A close look at this picture reveals a mirrored door, which creates the illusion of a extended narrow space by representing the distance resulting in the living space. Interestingly, the hallway used to be a shaft between two row houses.

“Our goal from the renovation was always to reflect the clients’ modern sensibilities,” says Valy. “But keeping the brick walls and keeping up the appearance of the shaftway-turned-hallway roots the space to its tenant housing history.”

I-Beam Design

The living area and the dining area can be connected or separated. Sliding doors (the track along the ceiling is envisioned here) let the room to change from open to private.

I-Beam Design

A closer look at the sliding doors that separate the living area in the dining room.

I-Beam Design

Here we see the sliding door can separate the guest bedroom (at right) in the dining room — and the way that it can also visually connect the two spaces.

I-Beam Design

The floor plan shows the way the living spaces are interconnected and the way one area bleeds into another. The flat retains its raw and open quality with the help of temporary obstacles that allow the room to accommodate and transform based on the privacy requirements of the clients.

400-Square-Foot Unfolding Apartment in Manhattan

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5 Awesome Small Maple Trees

There are many “A”s at the alphabet of beloved trees, but for the money, the A+ goes into the genus Acer, more commonly referred to as maples. You understand the form of their leaves, you understand maple syrup, and if you understand plants, you understand big maples like sugar and red maple, as well as smaller, superpopular Japanese maple. But there is a wealth of additional small trees in the pine clan. Here are only a couple — add your favorites in the Comments.

My treasured native maple is snakebark maple (Acer pensylvanicum, zones 3 to 7), which also goes by striped maple, goosefoot maple and moosewood ( here and in first photo). Some time ago I talked about hardy plants that looked tropical, and this is just another one. Its big, rounded leaves grow to 7 inches long, its bark is lined and mottled like snakeskin, and it increases to around 20 feet tall and wide. Fall color (this photo) is fantastic, and cultivar ‘Erythrocladum’ has young stems and branches which are glowing red. This maple is an understory tree, and it requires partial to full shade and cool, damp woodland soil to flourish.

I really like Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), however the Fullmoon maple (Acer shirasawanum, zones 5 to 9) ups the ante with leaves which have up to 13 lobes. This little pine grows 15 to 30 feet tall and wide, and prefers at least light shade, maybe complete shade. The cultivar ‘Aureum’ (shown) is a standout, with spectacular gold foliage. (Yet another gold foliage plant for shade!) It turns stunning shades of red and gold in autumn.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons consumer Abrahami

Maples are not known for fantastic foliage. Even better than snakebark maple, paperbark maple (Acer griseum, zones 4 to 8) is just another little tree with excellent cinnamon-color peeling bark — yet another eye-catching characteristic even in winter. Throughout the growing period, it contrasts with heavy green leaves. Paperbark maple grows to 25 ft high and wide, and so are happy in full sun to part shade.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons consumer Sten

Pacific Northwesterners will soon be familiar with their native vine maple (Acer circinatum, zones 6 to 9), which develops as well in different areas of the country in well-drained land with afternoon shade. This tiny maple grows 20 to 30 ft tall and wide (sometimes more in its home range), and I am especially interested to try some newer cultivars with purple leaves, such as Pacific Purple.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons consumer Walter Siegmund

Looking for all the world like a maple-holly hybrid, evergreen or Cretan maple (Acer sempervirens) hails from Greece, and being a Mediterranean plant, it thrives in ponds with moist winters and droughty summers, as well as poor soil. Additionally, it has incredibly glossy, evergreen to semievergreen foliage, and it is cold hardy as far north as zone 6. I guess this rare walnut’s hardiness is somewhat untested in regions with humid summers — if you live east of the Mississippi and want to attempt it, I propose planting it in a dry place with a great deal of sunlight and lean, fast-draining soil. It increases to roughly 30 feet tall.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons consumer Abrahami

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Ditch a Door to Open a Space

We are in the middle of renovating a tiny obsolete midcentury ranch. To maximize space and traffic flow, we have decided to eliminate all of the cupboard doors in the 3 bedrooms. By hanging cloth in place of true cupboard doors, we expect to start up the chambers, add texture and encourage business, since shutting the door on cupboard insanity will not be an alternative.

In preparation for our cupboard door removal, I researched other designers’ takes on ditching doors. I discovered several cupboard designs that steer clear of doors, in addition to whole room designs that split away from the beaten path and utilize open shelving and cloth panels in place of doors.

Have a peek at what I discovered, then turn to your home and see if it wouldn’t gain from dropping a door or two. Sometimes less really is.

Studio Zerbey Architecture + Design

Use one wall for clothing storage when cupboard space is at a minimum. Add built-in storage and cloth doors to create a custom “closet.” Especially in a small bedroom, this also optimizes traffic flow.

Dijeau Poage Construction

Into an open cupboard, turn a hall instead of a cupboard. Implementing shelving that is tidy and hanging sticks negates the requirement for doors, which would impede traffic flow.


Remove from an existing closet and hang on a vibrant fabric curtain instead. Add a floating desktop and open shelving to reinvent the office concept. For an enjoyable surprise, set up printed background inside the cupboard. Pull up a chair and you’re prepared to get the job done.

Watch more cupboard offices

In a utility room, create a coordinated storage nook by bypassing a door and installing floor-to-ceiling shelving. Keep the appearance neat with baskets, containers and bags.

Tara Seawright Interior Design

Ditching the door doesn’t just apply to cupboard spaces. Forgo doors between rooms when the view is well worth looking at. Here, the view of the adjacent sitting room draws you in from the bedroom. Curtain panels maintain the chambers atmosphere whilst enabling the eye.

Bennion Construction & Carpentry

Avoid smashed fingers by removing doors from closets in kids’ rooms. Not only are cloth doors more easy for children to use, but they also encourage cleaning up.

Jerry Jacobs Design, Inc..

Rather than hanging a good door separating this lovely library in the property’s entrance, the designers hung a single fabric panel in the ceiling. The result is more subtle than a door and very welcoming.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

An existing hall cupboard receives a custom appearance with built-in drawers and open shelving. Without the extra door, traffic flow is enhanced and two open doors will not bang into each other.

The Shabby Nest

Create a miniature mudroom in a cupboard by removing the door, then adding wall hooks, cushioned seats and open storage beneath an integrated bench. This is a great way to turn an underutilized cupboard to a multifunctional space.

Joan Heaton Architects

This tiny modern cottage makes the most of natural light using as few interior walls as you can. Simple floor-to-ceiling panels separate the bedroom from the home living room at night and permit a lot of sunlight to pour into the bedroom through daylight hours.

Inform us Have you ditched a door? Share a photograph below.

Letting It All Hang Out: The Attractiveness of Open Shelving
Blended Doors for Standout Style

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