'The Collected Home' Offers a Wealth of Layout Tips

Lawyer–turneddecoratoring celebrity Darryl Carter defined “new traditionalist” style in his first book, and now he’s created a second volume full of practical advice about how to achieve the appearance. More important, he describes how to create a home that functions the way you need it to, in a manner that applies not only to his own unique aesthetic but to every design style.

Including everything from highlighting architectural details to the way to hang your baseball hat collection. He balances and combines a love of antiques, patinas, textures, crisp white paint, Asian rugs, minimalist style and a love of collecting by adhering with a cohesive color palette and cautious curation. Here’s a sneak peek in his new book, The Collected Home (Clarkson Potter, 2012).

Clarkson Potter

Carter is a big fan of light neutral colors, which place an emphasis on textures and special objects. “When carefully executed, white helps develop a logic and continuity that will relate rooms to one another,” he states. “The serene palette reinforces the experience plus a cohesive flow throughout the house, and against this backdrop, life and people take centre stage.”

Carter’s Nuts and Bolts of Good Design

Among the most useful parts of the book is a cheat sheet in the conclusion of every chapter — lists of topics to think about when planning each space and hints.

Clarkson Potter

Flooring. How can you mix items like this classical bust, ornately carved antique dining table, well-worn Oriental rug and modern Zig Zag chair? Through careful colour cohesion and fabric choices, like this dark hardwood flooring, which contrasts, ties and succeeds in with numerous pieces.

A couple of Carter’s floors nuts and bolts:

Consider installing a special padding or a cork subfloor for noise absorption. Hard surfaces in an upper level can be noisy below.
Consider the durability of flooring materials in high-traffic places.
Specifying the direction of this flooring, if discretionary, can visually enhance the sense of distance.

Clarkson Potter

Rugs. Carter is an expert in picking out the right carpets and layering them. Some of his advice for picking and putting rugs:

Consider: Is there a hearth, a pattern on the ground, floor vents that can not be obstructed, doors that will not be able to swing open within a thick rug?
Try flipping classic rugs, as the beautiful patterns are still there but are more subdued and faded.
Layering a classic rug atop a natural-fiber rug is comparable to framing a beautiful piece of artwork.

Clarkson Potter

Clothing storage. For cupboard and dressing room storage, Carter states:

Decide if you want to see all your clothing at once or conceal them behind doors.
Figure out if you will be moving your clothes seasonally.
if you are going to need easy access to suitcases, plan to leave room for them.
Consider adding an accessible iron and ironing board, a full-length mirror or semi-gloss mirror.
Mount rod heights based on your true pant/dress lengths rather than in the standard heights.

Clarkson Potter


Consider whether you need a place where children can hang out and watch food prep.
Decide whether you want to be able to shut off the kitchen after food prep whilst eating supper.
View the full slab when selecting the stone for your countertop or backsplash, as many stone have veining that may not appear on a small sample.
Consider a foot pedal for sink operation.
Review all of appliance specifications to determine whether there are any specific plumbing or power requirements.
Consider adding a wine fridge or a fridge drawer for kids’ snacks.

Clarkson Potter

Lighting. In a girl’s room, Carter combined table lamps and wall sconces for bedtime reading. Here are a few more things to consider when placing lighting:

Consider adding sockets in the ground so that floor lamps will “float” in a room. Complete your furniture plan so that you know where to set the outlets.
Prevent placing lighting switches, alarm controls and thermostats in the middle of a wall that may otherwise be used for art.
Make sure antique sconces are around code and pay particular attention to the dimensions of their backplates.
Consider adding darker switches to create ambience.
Figure out placement for ceiling lighting, then find out if a fixtures will need extra interventions overhead, including as heavy duty junction boxes or wood supports for heavy fixtures.

Clarkson Potter

Carter has been a really busy man; in addition to writing this book, he has a line of lighting for its Urban Electric Co., has recently added more colors to his Benjamin Moore paint collection and has been preparing for the introduction of his original home boutique in Washington, D.C.


The Collected Home: Bathrooms With Style, Grace, and History, by Darryl Carter – $28.35

See related

Fantastic Design Plant: Sasanqua Camellia

I’m not certain if plant breeding, birth order or some thing else explains this, but at the camellia clan the Sasanqua camellia is your striving, adapting, hardworking sibling — compared to the hoity-toity Camellia japonica,using its perfect, almost waxen flowers and precious cultivar names such as’Debutante’ and’Swan Lake’.

There are scores of Sasanquas, plus they bloom earlier, with smaller flowers, than Japonicas. They can also perform far more landscape tasks in a garden, in sun or partial shade: floor cover, hedge, espalier, container plant, freestanding specimen. Plus they take considerably more sun (full sun except in hottest climates) and bloom before — in autumn and winter, when flowers are especially welcome. All in all, Sasanquas are one of the top tier of helpful evergreen landscape plants in California, the Southeast and similar light environments.


Botanical name: Camellia sasanqua. Many colours and varieties can be found;’Setsugekka’ is shown here.
USDA zones: 7 to 10 (find your zone)
Water necessity: Moderate; do not overwater.
Moderate requirement: Partial color, especially in hot climates. Will take more sun than Camellia japonica.
Mature size: As much as 10 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide, depending greatly on number
Tolerances: Generally trouble free if circumstances are appropriate; not as prone to petal blight (infection ) as Japonicas.


Distinguishing attributes. Evergreen leaves are deep green and fine annually. Flowers in shades of red, white and pink, double or single, are small (2 to 3 inches or so) but abundant. Shown here’s rose-red, double-blossom’Shishi-Gashira’ (also considered a Hiemalis camellia).


Bright red with a yellow center, Yuletide’ Sasanqua camellia blossoms in late autumn, just in time for the holidays. The plant is distintively upright, perfect for a container near the front door or other narrow place.


‘Pink a Boo’ is a offshoot of’Yuletide’ — note the similar bright yellow centre. The blossom is larger but this plant can also be a vacation bloomer. It shares the same upright habit, so it’s also great in a pot.

How to use it. Choose a Sasanqua selection based on colours you like plus growth habit. Some varieties have a tendency to disperse; others stand upright. It is possible to see tendencies in young nursery plants, for example as’Shishi-Gashira’ (revealed ), which is compact and fairly low growing by character. To get a floor cover, start looking for spreaders like’Mine-Yo-Yuki’ or’Bonanza’. To get a hedge, try out a more upright type, for example as’Jean May’ or’Setsugekka’.

Growing hints. Plant in partial shade or full sun except in hot climates. Be sure that the soil drains well. At planting time refill the hole or bed with at least 25 percent organic matter. Cover the soil with mulch, keep it moist and feed regularly with special camellia food. To prevent diseases from spreading, try to pick up dropped blossoms — although Sasanquas are not as susceptible to petal blight as Japonicas.

To grow a Sasanqua at a container, start with commercial camellia combination or create your own with as much as 50 percent organic matter. Pot size can also be important: choose a diameter of 12 to 14 inches for gallon-can-size crops, and 16 to 18 inches for 5-gallon size.

See related

7 Bulbs That Flourish at Mild Climates

Many conventional spring-flowering bulbs work beautifully in California and other gentle climates, as shown here in the glorious yearly display on Daffodil Hill in California’s Gold Country. But lack of enough winter chill sets a damper on certain different bulbs — and creates opportunities to develop some very special bulbs. Here are some tips for picking and growing bulbs if you reside in a mild climate.


7 Rules for Planting Bulbs in Mild Climates

Here are a few things to remember if you garden in a climate with relatively mild winters. Order early, plant late. For the best choice, look for bulbs whenever they arrrive in fall. But don’t feel you need to rush them into floor that is still warm. Mid to late October and November are fine for planting, and even early December is not too late. Chill out. Mild winters don’t provide certain bulb species with enough cold weather. To compensate, cool tulip and hyacinth bulbs for six months prior to planting; store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator. Think deep. Stick to the recommended planting depths for all sorts of bulbs. Better to plant too heavy than overly shallow. Multiply. Most bulbs appear better when planted in groups of three or even more — drifts of 50 to 100 in case your budget and space allow. Or plant a dozen or 2 in a pot. Impact liberally. Enhance bulb functionality by fertilizing at planting time. It is easiest to sprinkle bulb fertilizer in the planting holes or blend it into the planting bed. Water thoughtfully. Keep the soil moist through winter if rains don’t perform the job. Do not expect longevity. Many bulbs don’t offer more than just one outstanding blossom show in mild climates. Specifically, tulips and hyacinths are one-and-dones; after blossom time dig up the bulbs and discard or give them away.

The New York Botanical Garden

Daffodils (narcissus).The classic symbols of early spring are easy to grow in most mild climates, and they can return year after year when left in the floor. Plant in flowing drifts, seen under trees, in boundaries between shrubs and perennials, or in pots. Vintage yellow kinds that perform well in mild climates comprise ‘Dutch Master’ and ‘February Gold’. ‘Gigantic Star’ is shown here.

USDA zones: 3 to 9 (find your zone)
moderate requirement: Full sun or light color
Mature size: 6 to 24 inches high
Bloom period: Ordinarily late winter through early spring; as early as midwinter in California and other mild climates
Planting strategies for mild climates: Plant daffodils in well-cultivated soil in mid to late fall (early December is still OK). Bury bulbs at a depth that is 2 or three times their height, 6 to 8 inches apart. Water the bulbs after planting, and keep the soil moist through winter if rains don’t perform the job. After blossom time cut off faded blossoms. Let the leaves to dry (or wait at least six months) before eliminating them. It’s possible to leave the bulbs in the floor (avoid heavy summertime watering) or dig up and store them for next season.

Glenna Partridge Garden Design

Tulips (tulipa). The most ordinary tulips are hybrids, and they are great in formal gardens, containers and beds. Or try a few of the smaller species especially suited to mild climates, such as Tulipa clusiana chrysantha (star-shaped, yellow and rose).

USDA Islands: 4 to 10; best in 4 to 6
moderate requirement: Full sun, or partial shade in hot climates
Mature size: Varies greatly among many species and cultivars
Bloom period: Early to late spring, based on climate and number
Planting strategies for mild climates: Supply additional chill by storing the bulbs on your refrigerator’s vegetable crisper for six weeks prior to planting. Wait until November or early December to plant them. Plant bulbs at a depth that is three times their width, 4 to 6 inches apart. After blossom time dig up the blossoms and (sorry to say) shed them.

The New York Botanical Garden

Hyacinths (hyacinthus).Dutch hybrids such as ‘Peter Stuyvesant’, shown, are lavish and aromatic but last only one season in mild climates. Plant them in which you can smell them along a walk in beds or in baskets on a porch.

USDA zones: 5 to 9
moderate requirement: Full sun or partial shade
Mature size: 6 to 14 inches large
Bloom period: Early to mid spring
Planting strategies for mild climates: Purchase huge bulbs for large blossoms. Before planting, keep them in the refrigerator, as for tulips. Plant in mid to late fall. Bulbs 5 inches deep. After blossom time, treat them like tulips.

California Flowerbulb Company, Inc..

Ranunculus (ranuniculaceae). The growing areas of vivid ranunculus in blossom make a tourist magnet close to San Diego. Tecolote hybrids — white, orange, yellow, crimson, pink — are longtime favorites, exceptional in borders or pots. In mild climates, plant them in fall for spring blossom; in cold-winter climates, plant them in spring.

USDA zones: 8 to 10 when planted in fall
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: as many as 2 feet high
Bloom period: Late winter or early spring
Planting strategies for mild climates: Plant bulbs (actually tuberous roots) in fall in pots or well-cultivated floor. (Bigger bulbs produce more blossoms.) Place the roots pointed down, 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart. Water and wait until leaves emerge before watering again unless the soil dries. Protect seedlings from birds. You may have to lightly stake floppy plants. After blossom time cut off faded flowers, let plants warm, and dig and store roots — they can do well a second year.

California Flowerbulb Company, Inc..

Freesia (iridaceae).Known due to their sweet fragrance as cut flowers, freesias bloom longer than most spring bulbs. White is the most common color; there is also orange, yellow, red, pink and blue. In mild climates to their liking, they could spread and naturalize.

USDA zones: 9 into 10
moderate requirement: Full sun or partial shade
Mature size: 12 to 18 inches
Bloom period: Spring
Planting strategies for mild climates: Plant corms in fall, two inches deep and 2 inches apart. After blossom time, when leaves have yellowed, dig and keep the corms in a dry place. Or abandon the corms in the floor for blossoms in following years.

The New York Botanical Garden

Crocus (crocus). Pint-sized harbingers of spring, they are most meaningful if they wake up through snow but they are still fun to grow in sunny winter climates. Squeeze the bulbs in between rocks, stepping stones or pavers. There are many species and cultivars. The most popular is Crocus chrysanthus, in white, yellow, blue, purple and other colors. The plant shown here is Crocus tommasinianus var. pictus.

USDA Islands: 3 to 9, based on species
moderate requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 2 inches high and up, based on species
Bloom period: Ancient spring (some species bloom in fall)
Planting strategies for mild climates: Plant the tiny bulbs (actually corms) in fall, 3 inches deep and 3 inches apart. After bloom time try leaving the bulbs set up — they may return or may not.

The New York Botanical Garden

Allium (liliaceae). This big group of plants includes garlic, onions and chives as well as many types of spring-blooming bulbs, a few with blossoms softball size or larger, such as Allium giganteum, shown here. Just a couple bulbs could put on quite a show.

USDA zones: 4 to 10, based on species
moderate requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 6 inches to two feet high and up, based on species
Bloom period: Spring and summertime
Planting strategies for mild climates: Plant bulbs in fall, 3 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart. Place the bulbs with the pointy end facing upward.

See related

How to Use a Childproofer

As anybody who’s spent time with tots can tell you, kids have a way of courting tragedy, particularly around their own homes. They are curious, they are on the move, and when there is a danger — from insufficient stair railings to exposed electrical outlets and prescription medication within reach — they will discover it.

Input professional childproofing, an industry that’s seen massive jumps in the past several years. If you are worried that your home isn’t as safe as it could be for small ones, selecting a specialist may pay off in peace of mind. Keep Reading to Discover More.

Boor Bridges Architecture

What a childproofer does: even though it’s hard to earn any house 100 percent childproof, these pros come as near as possible. Childproofers survey your house inside and outside for problem spots where kids can get hurt, devise customized solutions and select and install security gear. They are up to speed on the newest security codes and recalls and in the loop on new, innovative goods.

When to employ one: in the event that you have young kids or grandkids, or when little children regularly visit your house, professional guidance can be priceless. A child-safety expert can reveal hidden dangers that you did not know about and poisonous areas you might overlook.

Even teens are subject to certain dangers, so many people choose to call in a childproofer before baby arrives. Child security becomes crucial once kids are portable, beginning to roll, crawl and pull up.

Pool Guard Of Ohio

What it will cost: Costs vary based on the size of your residence and also the safety equipment required, but expect to pay roughly $500 to $1,500 or more to childproof an ordinary single-family house. Some childproofers will agree to a consultation fee, usually around $100 to $200 — they create recommendations; you purchase and install the security equipment. Others offer the consultation at no cost and earn their gain from equipment sales.

Should you do your shopping, make certain the expert has vetted the brands and products you choose; occasionally the cheapest gear is also the least reliable. And if you are not handy with a drill or screwdriver, it may be worth the extra price to make sure that the items are installed correctly.

Where to find one: Contact the International Association for Child Safety, which offers a directory by state. Hospital maternity centers, baby and toddler shops, and that old standby, the local parent grapevine, can also offer suggestions.

Any expert you consider should have passed the HHT (Home Risks Test), the industry standard. Some have earned the CPC (Certified Professional Childproofer) designation, so they have at least 600 hours of childproofing expertise and have passed a background check, a certification examination, and reference and continuing education requirements.

Got a childproofer in mind? Here’s what to do.
Request references.
No matter how personable and capable a childproofing expert sounds, ask the names of a few references to get a true handle on her or his work. Request past customers about the security gear that the childproofer recommended, the quality of the setup, unexpected difficulties during or after the process and more.

Detail special considerations. If your child has restricted mobility or is unusually prone to activities like climbing and leaping, make certain the childproofer knows that at the beginning. It is going to also help share any information regarding your lifestyle that may affect products and alternatives (if you use a cosleeper in lieu of a crib, by way of instance).

Do not assume that childproofing must ruin your decor. Some parents aren’t pleased with the utilitarian appearance of gates, latches, grab bars and other equipment. While security always trumps design, work with the childproofer to produce alternatives that fulfill both goals — just be prepared for them to price more in several scenarios.

For example, if you can not abide the thought of padding onto the corners of your coffee table, think about replacing it with a round design or some cushioned ottoman that removes sharp angles. Cordless cellular shades or cornice boards may look just as smart as traditional draperies. Many childproofing products also come in sleek designs which will blend in well with the appearance of your space.

See related

Pile On Design With a Dry-Laid Stone Retaining Wall

Stone retaining walls have existed for ages. Examine the pyramids in Egypt as well as the stone walls that line much of the southern countryside — those constructions have stood the test of time.

Unlike dry-joint walls, which utilize mortar to hold the stones together, properly installed dry-laid stone walls only utilize gravity and friction to stay together. Because the walls incline slightly inward, floor movement actually locks the structure closely together. Concrete footing is not needed, which saves on labour and material costs.

If you’re searching for a retaining wall that will stand the test of time, consider dry-laid stone.


Dry-laid stone walls create a sense of definition, distance and privacy in a landscape. They also maintain the soil in varied terrains.If you’ve got a home on a hilly terrain and want different degrees of landscape, this art form might be a good alternative.


Kinds of stone used. Consider using native stone in your region for dry-laid retaining walls. Fieldstone and boulders create a more natural look, while layered flagstone can supply a dressed and clean look. You can even integrate boulders within the wall, as shown, to combine both.

Stone with a sandy texture, such as the reddish sandstone found in the American Southwest, might not be wise to work with around a patio or pool area due to the sandy residue that can collect.


Benefits of dry-laid stone retaining walls:
They withstand fire, water and insects.They can be recycled due to the dry-laid method.They supply natural drainage with no damage to the structure, including mortared walls, which tend to crack and split into segments. Notice: You may not wish to utilize the dry-laid method right up against a swimming pool due to the silt that filters throughout the stone wall from rain or sprinklers. A dry-joint method is a much better option to achieve the same look.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Installing the stone. Reaching a sound structure means adhering to certain instructions. When picking a contractor, be sure he or she is experienced at the craft and check out previous work. Each stone is hand chiseled to fit within the wall, and there are no wobbly stone. Stone wedges are utilized to stabilize rocks within the wall. Rubble stone, or backfill, is put behind the trim stones to aid with the ethics of the wall.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Cost. Labor costs vary greatly, depending on the region and the wisdom of the contractor, however, usually are between $36 and $45 per square foot. Materials are additional.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Design options. Dry-laid stone retaining walls can match most landscape layouts. Curving lines or ordered lines create definitive boundaries from 1 distance into another.

The wall pictured above has a stone bench integrated within the structure. If you are restricted in space for seats, why don’t you integrate seating into your wallsocket?

See related

Cool-Season Vegetables: How to Grow Lettuce

Lettuce is over the iceberg range of diner dinner salads. In reality, even iceberg lettuce (also known as crisphead) is no longer that recognizable. The family is huge and rapidly growing. Lettuce itself is still a standard for salads, but it may also be added to sandwiches, used as a wrapping for a filling or cooked. (Look for darker leaves to get the most nutrition from the leaves) And despite its incidence in summertime salads, it is an actual cool-season harvest.

Lettuces are generally divided into four distinct kinds:
Leaf lettuces are easy to grow and quick to mature; you might have greens as early as a month after planting. They’re also pretty in the garden, with leaves varying in color from bronze to red to dark green. Butterhead lettuces are little and cream coloured, with a delicate flavor. Romaine or cos lettuce forms are vertical instead of round and dispersing. Crisphead lettuces are the recognizable iceberg types and Batavian lettuces, which resemble a mix of iceberg and leaf lettuces. They withstand heat the very best, but iceberg types specifically can bolt quickly.Within all these groups, there are different rates of maturity and degrees of heat tolerance. Start looking for lettuces that will do well in your climate.

Amy Renea

When to plant: For spring crops, sow seeds set out seedlings in early spring. (See thinning recommendations for spacing.) Continue to sow or transplant each couple of weeks so you’ll have a constant crop, remembering that unless the garden is shaded, temperatures above about 75 degrees will lead to lettuce plants to bolt (flower and set seed). Start up again in late summer or fall, when the soil temperature has cooled. In cold-winter climates, plan your crop so you’ll have lettuce until the first frost. In mild-winter climates, you can continue to sow or transplant through the winter.

Days to maturity: 30 to 90

Light requirement: Sun to partial shade; to prevent it from bolting ancient, plant in which other plants can color it.

Water necessity: Provide regular, consistent water; the dirt should stay moist.

Batavian: Cherokee, Nevada, SierraButterhead: Bibb, Buttercrunch, Deer’ s Tongue, Marvel of Four Seasons, Rouge d’Hiver, Sangria, Tom Thumb, Winter MarvelCos: Blushed Butter Cos, Crisp Mint, Little Gem (a rainbow variety), Parris Island, Parris WhiteCrisphead: Great Lakes, Red Iceberg, Reine de Glace, SummertimeLeaf: Australian Yellow, Black Seeded Simpson, Lolla Rossa, Oak Leaf, Red Sails, Red Salad Bowl, Salad Bowl

Barbara Pintozzi

Planting and maintenance: Sow seeds in rows about 1/8 into 1/4 inch heavy or simply by broadcasting; cover lightly with soil. Thin leaf lettuces to about 1/4 to 3/4 of a foot apart. Butterhead and romaine lettuces should be 6 to 8 inches apart. Crispheads want the most space; let at least a foot.

Fertilize the soil once you plant and around a month and a half afterwards. Maintain the soil consistently moist and weed carefully around the plants. Pests and diseases are usually not a issue, but a number of the typical suspects aphids, leaf miners, snails, mildew and wilt — along with birds, deer and rabbits may make inroads on your harvest.

Randy Thueme Design Inc. – Landscape Architecture

Harvest: Though you usually view heads of lettuce for sale in grocery stores and in the markets, you can harvest individual leaves of leaf, romaine and Batavian lettuces. In reality, a common way is to sow a mix of those seeds, enable them to grow, then cut leaves about 1/2 inch above the crown. They’ll quickly regenerate, and you’ll have an ongoing source for lettuce. It is also possible to consume the thinnings and young leaves of butterhead and iceberg lettuce, then wait until the entire head forms and harvest the entire plant.

The way to grow arugula and other salad greens

See related

Great Design Plant: Oakleaf Hydrangea

If you think of hydrangeas, you probably imagine blue or pink snowball-shape blooms. However, there’s another type of hydrangea you might be missing out on, and it is a stunner. The oakleaf hydrangea blooms with big white panicles for most of the summer, along with the big leaves have a shape very similar to those of this oak tree. Even before the white blossoms bloom and after, their big spires add texture and interest to the landscape. The plant is a large shrub that’s indigenous to the southeastern United States, grows rapidly and has a more organic woodland appearance than its ornamental relatives.

Fernhill Landscapes

Botanical name: Hydrangea quercifolia
Common name: Oakleaf hydrangea
USDA zones: 5 to 9
Water necessity: Medium
moderate condition: Grows in sun or shade; sunlight is advocated in the northern zones, while daytime color is ideal in southern zones.
Mature dimension: 4 to 8 feet high and 10 to 12 feet wide, depending on variety
Tolerances: demands fertile, well-drained soil to prevent root rot. In zone 5, wrap newly planted shrubs in burlap for the winter.
Seasonal interest: This tree has year-round interest, with big leaves, long-lasting blooms, fall color and exfoliating rich brownish winter bark.
Best time to plant: Fall or summer


Distinguishing attributes. The showy white racemes have a spire shape and are filled with delicate white blossoms. They develop anywhere from 4 to 12 inches.

The leaves are big and shaped like oak leaves (hence the name; oakleaf hydrangeas are not related to oak trees). In the fall they change into a variety of rich colors, such as red, bronze, burgundy and purple.

The New York Botanical Garden

Before full blossom, the light green spires add structural and textural interest; following the peak bloom, the flowers fade from white to purplish-brown and pinkish-brown hues, hanging on until fall. These make them a favorite dried-flower option.

The New York Botanical Garden

How to use it. These shrubs have a tendency to escape from you in dimension, so if you’re planting near a home, make sure they will not be covering too much of your chimney at full height. They’re fantastic for massing, for loose woodland border hedges and woodland gardens.

The tree is deciduous, but as it ages its bark peels back and reveals rich brownish tones, including winter interest.

Planting notes. Plant oakleaf hydrangeas at the fall, late spring or early summer. The most important aspect of the soil is the fact that it’s well drained and fertile. While these are native understory woodland plants, they can withstand a lot of sunshine in the north and need only partial shade in the south (for best results, find day shade for them in the south). If you’re in zone 5, wrap your freshly implanted oakleaf hydrangeas in burlap for the winter.

1. Dig a hole three times the circumference of the container and about precisely the same height as the container. Remove the plant gently.
2. Add enough soil to hold the plant in place, fill the hole with water and let the plant absorb the water. If your soil appears too dense and heavy, add tree-bark mulch to the mix. Fill in the rest of the hole with soil and tamp it down.
3. Add mulch atop the ground to maintain the moisture, then spreading it all around the planting area without allowing it to touch the foundation. Water it but be sure not to overwater. You do not want this region to remain soggy, just consistently moist.

See more guides to good design plants

See related

What Can You Do With an Extra Room?

Let’s pretend for a minute. Say you’ve got an extra room in your house and you can do anything with it. Pretend you do not require the space for that extra child or that collection of merry-go-round horses. It is just extra and you can do anything with it.

It could be your salsa dancing room or your indoor basketball court. Maybe it’s a meditation room, a home gym or a household room.

In fact we could all use an extra room. Once we are all set and the kitchen, baths and common rooms have been taken care of, there appears to always be a demand for just a little extra space. A fantasy room.

I’m trying to chose between a comfy, comfortable library and also a playroom for the kids. Not that there’s any hurry for my decision.


A game area? A billiard dining table, board games, possibly even a built-in bar. It is like a playroom for adults.

SchappacherWhite Architecture D.P.C.

There’s no reason a game room can’t be stylish, no matter what your style is. This shed (OK, deluxe shed) is a bright, open-air take on the dark, leather-and-beer-signs version of the living room.

Jennifer Bevan Interiors

A screening room? Otherwise called a media room. This one goes out using supercomfy chairs and cocktail tables. I’ve been wanting to see all of the Harry Potter movies in a row. This room are the place to get it done.

Read thousands of media room designs

John Willis Homes

A screening room does not have to have particular architecture. A big screen and a lot of comfortable seating are actually all you need (oh, and blackout shades).

Krieger + Associates Architects, Inc..

A home library? Is your book set in teetering piles against the wall? Is your idea of a fantastic time a few hours of quiet solitude with a fantastic novel? Floor-to-ceiliing built-ins, a sliding ladder and a fantastic reading seat would do well.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

You do not need built-ins (rows of matching Billy bookcases out of Ikea can do the trick), but they do look good, do not they? And books are their own form of decoration, adding colour, texture and personality to an area (and to a person, for that matter).

Habitar Design

An audio room? Just picture the epic jam sessions with your buddies to be had here. You may never be the Rolling Stones, but if you’ve got your own private music room you’ll be able to pretend you’re.

Bruce Palmer Interior Design

Soundproofing does not have to be egg cartons stapled into the garage door. Support you mini Mozart with soundproofed, vinyl-covered walls. It can double as a padded room for all the thrashing.

Globus Builder

A craft room? Indulge your inner Martha. Imagine what sort of amazing and beautiful things you could make if you had the surface region and the storage room to accompany your imagination.

It does not have to be fancy. A fantastic craft room just must be organized and provide a tiny surface space. A painted pegboard and a number of containers are a fantastic start.

See how to set up a workshop

Kate Jackson Design

A playroom? It is fun for the kids and fun for the grown-ups (the kids have somewhere to go to raise a ruckus). It does not have to have to be an architect-designed tree house. Indoor swings, beanbags and some shelving for toys. There you have it.

Obviously it’s possible to go full-on forest (or whatever) fantasy and turn your playroom into a themed romp through the land of make believe.

Wendi Young Design

A perfect guest room. A designated guest room is always ready, nicely decorated and cozy. Nobody must sleep on a blow-up under your desk. How relaxing to not have to go digging for the extra sheets each time Aunt Agnes visits.

David Howell Design

A guest room can reflect your personality and design quirks as much as any other room. Use it to create an aesthetic dream room where clutter isn’t welcome.

Judith Balis Interiors

A home office. Whether you’re a writer, a bookkeeper or a homemaker, you deserve your personal space.

Sett Studio

This backyard prefab cottage is the best home office — off but close. Tiny but just big enough.

See related

Designer's Touch: 10 Luxurious Libraries

Even with iPads and e-books, few things beat sitting down with a fantastic book in a cozy space. Don’t let your books languish from your attic or garage — place them on display on your home library. Even in case you don’t have the space these libraries have, then you are still able to design a reading corner that retains your favorites on hand. Embrace these top-notch designer tips to create your own ultimate house library.

Lizette Marie Interior Design

1. High-end library. A vacant wall is all you must build a library. If your space has vaulted ceilings, show them off by stretching the wall of publications to the exact top.

Belsey & Mahla Architects

2. Wall of built-ins. Flank your fireplace and gratify your space with oversize built-in bookshelves. They’ll make a visual statement and behave as art.

3. Study hall. For those who have a hallway that’s wide enough, then create a handy library by lining it with freestanding bookshelves from end to end. Utilize the space to store all of your favorite magazines and books that you’ll want to catch on the go.

See more smart uses for your hallway

Glenn Gissler Design

4. Library beneath the stairs. Utilize the superb space beneath your staircase as the ideal cozy library space. Add shelving, a comfortable bench along with a reading lamp to create a reading hideaway.

Susan Jay Design

5. Book nook. Transform a closet into a library oasis by installing wall shelves to store your favorite notes. Tuck a bench and cushions inside for comfort while reading.

6. Floating library. Wall-mounted and suspended bookshelves are great for sleek and modern libraries. This simple solution makes sweeping easy also.

PLACE architect ltd..

7. Urban trendy library. If you’re convinced you do not have a place for a library, then try this fix: Put shelving on the back wall of your stair landings. If you reside in a small condo or loft, this is a terrific way to make use of every inch.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

8. Powder room reading. A built-in bookshelf might be the perfect custom alternative to the usual bathroom magazine stand. Put books of your choice onto the shelves along with some accessories for a miniature and decorative bathroom library.

9. Art wall. Install a slat wall anywhere in your house and place floating shelves onto the slats to carry books and other memorabilia. Make your own shelving layout or purchase one that’s ready to assemble.

Denise DeCoster Architect

10. Bedtime story. Having books directly by the bedside is handy for bedtime readers. With built-in shelving for books and a corner desk for diary writing, this chamber is a literature lover’s fantasy.

See related

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

See related