Your guide to local living
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CONTENTS home issue INDOOR living 7 Counter Intelligence
Choosing the right kitchen surfaces for you.
10 Setting the Season
Create seasonal ambiance for your table.
OUTDOOR living 15 Plant on a Hot Tin Roof
Facing the challenges of Texas green roof.
18 Merrideth Jiles
Following passion to its logical conclusion.
21 Raw Loquat Pie
Foraged or homegrown, loquats are delicious.
GREEN living 23 Home Work
Making your home work for you.
Eco-friendly tips for a squeaky clean house.
DIY living 30 A Second Chance
Joys of using reclaimed wood.
Find us on Pinterest for more inspirations on all things home.
32 Top Remodel
Remodel with tips from the professionals.
COVER: Photography by Knoxy.
BE A HOMEBODY
PUBLISHER Marla Camp
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER ood and shelter are two of our basic human needs. At Edible Austin we tell stories about the former through
a sustainable and local lens. We know that our readers’ appetites for these are large and we are fond of declaring that the whole world is in this oyster because “everybody eats.” Upon realizing that our readers might like a taste of our take on shelter as well, we created this special annual issue: Edible Austin Home—your guide to local living. Inside you’ll discover that we found plenty to write home about! We
EDITOR Kim Lane
ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Dawn Weston
COPY EDITOR Anne Marie Hampshire
EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Claire Cella, Michelle Moore
wondered where to start when remodeling your kitchen and discovered
that you should be in love with the countertops. Start there first. With
some help from our friends at Métier Cook’s Supply, Callahan’s General
Store, Kettle & Brine and Keith Kreeger, we designed some pin-worthy
Christine Andrews, Brandy Fox, Valerie Kelly
table settings to reflect the seasons and complement local harvests. Several stories within offer up gardening and landscaping tips for dealing with our often harsh Central Texas climate—whether installing a green roof or planning for a landscape change in your back or front yard—and we tame the ubiquitous loquat tree with a recipe for raw loquat pie. And there’s more. Want to know how to remove those wine stains from your sofa in an eco-friendly way or how to make your home more energy-efficient and comfortable? Experience the joy and satisfaction of reusing materials when building or remodeling your home. And listen to what a remodeling expert has to say about venturing into that world. Just settle in with our Home issue and relax into your next special home project or undertaking. And let us help you put the “local life” into your lifestyle.
DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Grayson Oheim
INTERN Rian Rendon
ADVISORY GROUP Terry Thompson-Anderson, Paula Angerstein, Dorsey Barger, Jim Hightower, Toni Tipton-Martin, Mary Sanger, Carol Ann Sayle
CONTACT US Edible Austin 1411A Newning Ave., Austin, TX 78704 512-441-3971 firstname.lastname@example.org edibleaustin.com Edible Austin is published bimonthly by Edible Austin L.L.C. All rights reserved. Subscription rate is $30 annually. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher. ©2016. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us.
P.S. As this is the first of an annual addition to our regular bi-monthly stable of issues, we’d love to hear your feedback on this Home issue and what you might like to see in our next one. Please send your thoughts and ideas to email@example.com.
G R A P H I C G AT E S V I E W T H E C O L L E C T I O N A T B O B O W O R K S H O P. C O M
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SPOTLIGHT
Spotlight on indoor
Distinctive pieces for discerning clients.
hen Jennifer Fisher has finished a project, she feels satisfied knowing that no one else will have the same design. “That’s what I strive for,” she says—and it’s also what she’s known for. In just two years, J.Fisher Interiors has built a reputation for providing some of the best interior design in Austin—bringing more than 12 years of experience in the industry, including training in Los Angeles under two of the top 25 interior designers in the country. Since moving to Austin, Fisher has offered her talents to the city’s homeowners—especially those who desire eclectic, modern spaces filled with distinct pieces. Fisher’s knack for reading people helps her connect with her clients and their needs for the space; ensuring each room is comfortable, unique, and most importantly reflects the originality of the client. While Fisher admits she can excel in traditional design, her strength lies in combining vintage and modern pieces with clean architecture and decorative arts to design a home that is truly one of a kind.
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COUNTER INTELLIGENCE BY CLAIRE CELLA • PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARC BROWN
Austin artisan Eric Billig with one of his one-of-a-kind custom kitchen countertop creations.
he choice of countertops for your kitchen is anything
wine, dropped knives. From one day to the next, your coun-
but a surface-level decision. It can establish the mood
tertops could be asked to serve a variety of unexpected roles
of the room, set the stage of a certain time and place
as cutting boards, office desks, snack bars, even seats.
and influence the style of your entire home. The heart of the home is, after all, the kitchen.
Of course, the plethora of options can be overwhelming. Just remember the advice of local furniture and countertop
Beyond their aesthetic qualities, counters also largely
artisan, Eric Billig: “There’s no one right way to set up a home
dictate how we operate in and around our kitchen area. For
kitchen. All that matters is choosing a counter that works for
most, an efficient kitchen is functional and practical, an in-
the way you prefer to cook, bake and just be in your kitchen.”
viting space to spread out ingredients and preparation tools with plenty of room to move around. So, while countertops
have the ability to create stunning lines and vibrant visuals,
n Not every surface has to be the same—consider installing a
shoppers should keep in mind that counters also need to be
section of wood for chopping, or a slab of marble for rolling
able to withstand the realities of an active kitchen—meal
dough. Different colors on a kitchen island can add intrigue,
prep, pots of boiling water, frozen casserole dishes, spilled
and creative edges and backsplashes can add more personality. EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
Choose the countertops before anything else in the kitchen.... You should be in love with the countertops. n “Trends come and go; so will materials,” says Moe Freid,
are valued for their usability—foods can be placed and cut di-
owner and operator of Moe Freid Marble & Granite for over
rectly on the countertop to maximize space. Despite the conve-
40 years. Consider whether the color and style of the count-
nience, the blocks are easily scorched, stained and scratched,
er you’re drawn to will maintain its appeal over time.
and need continual upkeep (oiling, sanding and resealing—ei-
n Look at, and feel, any stone or material samples in the show-
ther DIY or professionally) to maintain that velvety look. And
room, but also do the same in the kitchen itself. As with
because wood is porous, there is potential for a sanitation con-
paint, different light can cause the color of natural stones
cern. If made from reclaimed wood, these countertops have a
and finishes to vary greatly.
mild environmental impact. Cost: $30 to $75 per square foot.
n Choose the countertops before anything else in the kitchen. Not only are the counters one of the most expensive components, but they also affect the rest of the kitchen. You should be in love with the countertops.
Synthetic Materials Concrete. Made from a mix of cement and sand, concrete countertops have also been finding their way into contempo-
n “There is nothing in the world that is truly maintenance-free,”
rary kitchens, and if sourced from local, recycled pieces, are
says Freid. “You have to clean any countertop, and with
an environmentally sound choice. Concrete is also extremely
enough traffic, every material will eventually wear.”
versatile—imaginative artisans like Billig can mold it into any
n Freid also notes that synthetic materials require research
shape, tint it myriad hues and even cast it with other materi-
into their component parts while natural materials require a
als such as glass, tile and fabric. It’s an excellent choice for
degree of patience with their unpredictable natures.
modern, heavy-use kitchens because of its scratch-resistance and industrial edginess. Concrete is treated to help eliminate
Natural Materials Granite. Granite is known for its impressive durability— holding up to all manner of stains, scratches, nicks, tempera-
ther DIY or professionally) for protection. Cost: $65 to 135 per square foot.
tures and bacteria. Granite is also timeless and elegant, and fa-
Solid-Surface and Laminate. Formica and Corian are
mous for evoking gasps in the presence of its beautiful mottling
well-known manufacturers of solid-surface countertops—a
and color striations. But granite needs to be resealed (either
conglomerate of acrylic, polyester resins, marble dust and
DIY or professionally) every few years, and—because it’s often
other pigments. Solid-surface is a cousin to laminate, which
mined in the U.S. and shipped to China for manufacturing be-
is made by gluing paper or fabric sheeting to plywood sub-
fore being shipped back—Billig warns that the associated car-
strate. Both have been kitchen mainstays for years. While not
bon footprint can be high. Cost: $100 to $225 per square foot.
always the most stylish option, newer designs mimic the de-
Marble. Few things are more glamorous than a marble coun-
tail and distinction of other high-end surfaces, without the
tertop—conjuring up dreams of classic French patisseries. In
added cost. Yet, while impervious to stains and germs, these
terms of radiance and distinction, marble is in a category all
surfaces are vulnerable to heat and scratches, and environ-
its own. However, despite its noted heat tolerance, marble is
mentally, are energy-intensive and not recyclable. Cost: $75
susceptible to stains even once sealed, and can also scratch and
to $120 per square foot.
chip more easily than granite. It’s also one of the most expen-
Stainless Steel. These counters are the darling of the
sive options and involves the same environmental cost as gran-
restaurant industry and for good reason—they’re antimicro-
ite to quarry and ship. Cost: $125 to $250 per square foot.
bial, non-staining, nearly indestructible and a breeze to clean.
Soapstone. Composed predominantly of mineral talc with
They’re also affordable and an ideal choice for hard-working
added quartz, soapstone brings a subtle depth and smooth
kitchens. Note, though, that stainless will proudly display that
matte finish to older and rustic homes. Soapstone counters
hard work through dents, scratches, etchings and the loud
are installed in light gray and green hues but darken over time
clanging of pots and pans. Environmentally, it can be recycled,
and acquire a patina—a cherished characteristic. Soapstone
although the components to make it—steel, chromium and
requires polishing or sanding frequently (either DIY or pro-
nickel—are originally mined. Cost: $75 to $140 per square foot.
fessionally) to maintain its silky surface and is not as durable as other stones. Cost estimate: $60 to $105 per square foot.
porosity and cracking, but must be sealed when needed (ei-
These are just a handful of the basic options available to countertop shoppers. When you add in recycled glass, ceram-
Butcher block. Made from an assortment of fused hard-
ic tile, lava stone, limestone, engineered stone, quartz and pa-
woods, such as walnut, oak, maple, cherry and bamboo, butcher
per composite, the possibilities seem endless. “Years ago, the
block countertops have enjoyed a recent surge in popularity.
selection we had in different stones and materials didn’t even
They provide a rich and sought-after coziness to a kitchen, and
touch what we have today,” says Freid.
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SETTING THE SEASON PHOTOGRAPHY BY KNOXY
winter Valet Tray with Gold by Keith Kreeger Guten Co Banded Nesting Bowls from Kettle & Brine Small Gramercy Bottle in Matte White with Gold by Keith Kreeger Gold Pattern Rocks Glasses from Métier Cook’s Supply Madrid Matte Black Flatware and Hawkins Simple Linen Napkin from Kettle & Brine Chelsea Dinnerware Collection by Keith Kreeger 10
spring Sertodo Copper Rectangular Tray and 12 oz Copper Cup from Métier Cook’s Supply Dew Recycled Glass Tumbler from Kettle & Brine Pour in Linea from Keith Kreeger Maple Pinch Bowls and Teak Spice Spoon, Herdmar Oslo Flatware in Stainless and Edged Dinner Napkins in Indigo from Kettle & Brine Chelsea Dinnerware Collection from Keith Kreeger
fall A&K Walnut Cheese Board, Antler Handle Steak Knife and Moon & Stars Salt & Pepper Shakers from Métier Cook’s Supply Medium Hudson Serving Bowl in Turquoise with Gold by Keith Kreeger Recycled Glass Tumbler, Bud Vase, Hannah Gold Linen Napkin, Funagami Brass Chopstick Rest, Maku Chopsticks, Foxware Ceramics Mira Dinner Plate in Charcoal Glaze and Humble Ceramics Stillness Dinner Bowl from Kettle & Brine 12
summer Melanie Schopper Tumbler, Wagner Ware #3 Skillet, Vintage Cast Iron Trivet, Flat Wooden Spoon from Métier Cook’s Supply Crow Canyon Home Dinner Plate with Grey Trim and Grey Marble Cereal Bowl from Callahan’s General Store Acacia Wood Plate, Teak Wood Spoon + Fork Set from Kettle & Brine Blue and Coral Jerga from Métier Cook’s Supply
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SPOTLIGHT
Spotlight on outdoor
Barbara Van Dyke
Helping you find a place to call home.
arbara Van Dyke is a Real Estate Professional for Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty in Austin. Although she spent more than 20 years in marketing and public relations, she’s now found a home in real estate— and in Austin, after living all over the U.S., including California, Florida and Hawaii. “I love the lifestyle, and I feel like I’ve finally arrived home.” In real estate, she helps others find home here, too. Currently, Van Dyke is working to sell the Flat Creek Estate winery, an 80-acre estate with a vibrant vineyard that produces thousands of cases of award-winning wines. The owners are ready for someone to take over who will love it like they have and take it to the next level. “It’s an hour from Austin, yet it feels so far away. You’re in a whole new place,” Van Dyke says. At the estate, Van Dyke feels a strong connection to the land. “It’s something I learned in Hawaii; they call it ’aina. Not everyone understands it the same, but you feel it.” It’s a feeling she elicits in her clients—when they know they’ve found the perfect place to call home.
centraltexaswinery.com || 4301 Westbank, Bldg B Suite100 || 512-431-2552 || barbaravandyke.kuperrealty.com
PLANT ON A HOT TIN ROOF BY MATT WELCH
ardening in Austin is a perpetual and mysterious ex-
find their way into our hopeful-gardener souls—creating vi-
periment. Our confusing climate, varied and inhos-
sions of verdant vistas and explosive wildflower meadows.
pitable soils, and brutal terrain force gardeners to
What results is typically a heartbreaking chasm between
come up with creative solutions to many horticultural prob-
what we might want in our gardens (hydrangeas, camellias,
lems not faced in cooler, less geologically challenged areas
hostas), and what we can actually have.
of the world. Those same areas with milder climates, such as
Perhaps nothing, though, has fostered such a gut-wrench-
Chicago and New York, also happen to be epicenters of pop-
ing reality check quite like the relatively recent advent of the
ular gardening magazines, books, blogs and websites, which
“green roof.” Green roofing began in Germany in the 1970s, EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
We can’t deny the harsh reality of life on a Texas rooftop: hotter in the summer, colder in the winter and windier year-round than anywhere else in the garden.
plants. Scott employs hardy native grasses, sedges and succulents in his trays—grown at his nursery prior to installation. Scott’s method, which has been tested on large installations in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, includes achieving full coverage of the soil surface by the plants before installing the trays. This allows him to keep the growing medium (soil) relatively moist and cool throughout the day, which places less stress on plant roots and those all-important soil microbes. Of course, we can’t deny the harsh reality of life on a Texas rooftop: hotter in the summer, colder in the winter and windier year-round than anywhere else in the garden. Add to that a roof’s necessarily thinner soil profile, its slope and irrigation challenges, and we get back to the question of should we build green roofs in our area? The fact is, not much has been published analyzing the overall costs and benefits of green roofing in the South. Until that data exists, we have but a few metrics to judge by, such as the aforementioned storm water filtration
and is now a growing horticultural trend worldwide. And if industry claims are true, it’s popular for good reason. Urban cooling, storm water filtration and reduction, interior cooling, and lower utility bills are but a few of the benefits noted by green-roof manufacturers. So…can we install successful green roofs in our region? And if we can, should we? Can our sweltering, fry-pan rooftops possibly support the same oceans of green that we see in those tempting photos of high rises in Germany and Denmark? According to three prominent green-roof pioneers in Central Texas, the answer is a resounding yes. Local garden de-
and evaporative cooling. And of course, there are those ethereal, immeasurable qualities—beauty, novelty and emotional well-being and so on—that come with hands-on participation in nature. Regardless of which side of this complex rooftop fence we fall, though, rest assured that local green-roof pioneers are working hard to fine-tune the plants, materials, technology and methods to help bridge that ever-present gap between what we see in popular media and what actually thrives on—or above—our sometimes tricky local landscape.
signer and green-roof expert, Casey Boyter, insists that anything that can be grown on the ground can be grown on the roof, as long as there is ample structural integrity and adequate horticultural resources, such as soil quality and depth, as well as enough water for your chosen plant palette. On her rooftop projects, Boyter has grown a wide variety of plants— from vegetables and hardy perennials, to Hill Country native xeric species such as beargrass (Nolina texana) and bunchgrasses. She’s also quick to note the importance of a good soil mix that will hold up over time without shrinking or rotting. Designer Pat Kirwin—who has installed several notable green roofs and rooftop gardens in Austin—says the key is to keep it simple. He has a rooftop soil blend he developed with the folks at Geo Growers—it’s a no-frills blend of mostly coarse, easy-draining minerals and just enough manure compost to keep the microbes feeding and the nutrients flowing. Although his plant palette is often a mix of the hardiest of desert bromeliads, agaves, bulbines and other Texas-tough succulents, he’s had great success with fruit trees, tender vegetables and perennials where deeper soil profiles are possible. Boyter and Kirwin both agree that in the hotter months, most plants will require extra watering to stay alive and verdant. A dash of afternoon shade doesn’t hurt, either. For larger commercial and residential installations, Georgetown green-roof manufacturer, David Scott of Joss Growers and LiveRoof Texas, recommends using modular trays of pre-grown 16
Whether you are looking to build your own green roof, or simply want to toughen up your garden with some of the most heat-loving, Austin-proof plants available, our experts have provided lists of a few of their favorites. David Scott, LiveRoof Texas, recommends: Blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) Texas bluegrass (Poa arachnifera) Texas bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) Hardy ice plant (Delosperma sp.) Frog fruit (Phyla nodiflora) Horseherb (Calyptocarpus vialis) Purple heart (Tradescantia pallida) “Scott’s Turf” sedge (Carex texensis) Pat Kirwin, Kirwin Horticultural Services, likes to use: Hardy bromeliads (Puya, Dyckia species) Desert spiderwort (Tradescantia sillamontana) Small agaves (Agave bracteosa, Agave schidigera) Hardy rain lilies (Zephyranthes drummondii, Habranthus tubispathus) Cemetery iris (Iris albicans) Texas beargrass (Nolina texana, N. lindheimeri) Fall bulbs: Oxblood lilies (Rhodophiala bifida); Red spider lilies (Lycoris radiata)
LET’S ENJOY EATING OUTSIDE.
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MERRIDETH JILES BY CLAIRE CANAVAN • PHOTOGRAPHY BY MELANIE GRIZZEL
“Your landscape is going to have to change and evolve, and eventually you’ll find the things that work well.”
errideth Jiles never intended to have a career work-
er advised him to just pick one type of plant at a time and
ing with plants. The Atlanta native graduated from
learn everything he could. Jiles picked orchids and started
Georgia State University in 1992 with a degree in
to devour books about them. And as he learned more about
commercial music recording and worked for a while as a studio
plants, he began to admire them in a new way. “They’re pret-
engineer. But it wasn’t the right fit. “I realized I like music too
ty amazing when you look at some of the things they sur-
much to listen to bad music over and over,” Jiles says. So in 1993,
vive,” he says. “Oak trees that are paved over and survive,
he headed toward Texas, thinking he would live here for a short
desert plants that only get a little water a year and survive.”
stint and then join the Peace Corps. Instead, when he moved
From this initial spark of interest, Jiles built a long, green-
to Austin, he joined a band, got a job as a water boy at a plant
thumbed career—working for 13 years at the beloved South
nursery a few blocks away from his house—and never left.
Austin garden center, The Great Outdoors. But after al-
At first, the nursery gig was just a job, but Jiles soon want-
most two decades in retail, he felt burned out. Wanting to
ed to know more about the plants he was working with. Diving
do something completely different, he took a job installing
into a whole new area of study appealed to his curious na-
phone lines with AT&T. To his surprise, when people heard
ture. “I don’t read a lot of novels,” he says. “But if you give
that he had left The Great Outdoors, they started asking him
me an encyclopedia, I will sift through it.” A fellow co-work-
to work on their garden projects. In response to this new EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
demand, Jiles decided to start his own landscape company— doing everything from design to installation. Currently, M. Jiles Garden Service is focused on small landscape projects such as patio courtyards and front yards. And while many landscapers have a signature look or style, Jiles chooses to work closely with his clients to develop a vision for their yard. He first looks at their house and neighborhood and tries to design something that complements the look and feel of the environment. He also feels it’s important to clearly inform people about what kind of attention their yards will need. “People want low maintenance,” he says. “But low maintenance isn’t no maintenance.” Jiles himself needs a low-maintenance yard because he rarely has leisure time to spend on gardening these days. His wife, Angi, is a busy pastry chef and owner of Blue Note Bakery, and the couple has two children, ages 3 and 5. Though the kids like
Gardens . Landscapes . Structures
cap es .
my’s job than Daddy’s job,” Jiles says with a laugh.
b out ou
D E S IGN
to go out and play in their yard, “They’re much more into MomFor people interested in starting a garden, Jiles encourages experimentation and patience. He thinks the accessibility of information on the internet has made people believe that gardening and landscaping are easy when in fact these things require trial and error. “A lot of people try one time and fail and then say, ‘I’m not good at plants.’ But there are very few things that people are good at the first time they do it,” Jiles says. Austin’s climate and soil present particular challenges for home gardeners. Jiles points to the fact that for several recent years, Texas has been in a terrible drought and then had a year of record rainfall in 2015. He decided to stop watering his own yard in 2011 because of the drought. Afterward, he watched his garden—which is filled with a jumble of different kinds of plants—to see which ones could survive with minimal water and which could not. This let him share real-world knowledge with his clients. “The biggest thing I would tell people is that every plant isn’t going to live,” he says. “Your landscape is going to have to change and evolve, and eventually you’ll find the things that work well.”
JILES’ TOP FIVE LANDSCAPING TIPS
now your yard. A place that’s shady morning and eveK ning (when most folks are home) may get full sun in the middle of the day.
ook around the neighborhood to see what plants your L neighbors are having success with. hortcuts in the beginning lead to problems in the future. S Fully cleaning out weeds and prepping soil is hard and time-consuming, but it’s the right way to start.
ig-box stores may have good prices, but they don’t always B have great plants and knowledgeable staff. Visit a local gardening center instead.
ou can create a low-maintenance garden, but there is Y no such thing as a no-maintenance garden.
EAT YOUR LANDSCAPE BY LYDIA JARJOURA
RAW LOQUAT PIE Makes 1 pie For the crust: 1 c. dates, pitted 1 c. raw almonds 1 c. raw walnuts ¼ t. ground cardamom ¼ t. ground cloves ¼ t. ground cinnamon ¼ t. sea salt 1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut, divided Soak the dates in filtered water for 10 to 15 minutes to soften, then drain. Blend the dates, nuts, spices, salt and half of the coconut in a food processor until a firm ball is formed. Press the filling into a glass pie dish, making sure there’s no space near the edges. Put into the freezer to chill.
’ll never forget when I first moved to Austin and noticed our abundance of loquat trees—in yards, parks, abandoned lots—they seemed to be everywhere! But if it
weren’t for my Lebanese father, Peter, I may not have ever tried this sweet, tart fruit. Loquats, or akedenia as they’re called in his country, are one of my dad’s favorite treats. The look on his face when he saw a heavy, fruit-laden tree on his first visit to Austin was one of pure joy! As we drove past a tree in an empty lot, he yelled, “Turn around!” We spent the rest of his visit on a daily hunt for loquats, and it’s become a tradition each time he visits in the spring or early summer. He fashions a stick called a naehli with a hook on the end to gently pull down, with touching familiarity and confidence,
For the filling: 1 c. dates, pitted 3 c. loquats, pitted, divided 1 t. lemon juice Soak the dates in filtered water for 10 to 15 minutes to soften, then drain. In a food processor, blend half of the loquats (no need to peel them) with the lemon juice and dates until smooth. Chop the other half of the loquats and place into a mixing bowl. Pour the blended loquats over the chopped loquats, mix together and add any additional spices, to taste. Spread the fruit mixture on top of the chilled crust and chill again for another 1 to 2 hours. Before serving, top the pie with the remaining shredded coconut and garnish with edible flowers, if desired.
the high branches. I can almost picture him harvesting and eating the beloved fruits in his native country. There’s no need to forage around town for loquats—the trees are a snap to grow. Consider adding one or two to your edible landscape.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SPOTLIGHT
Spotlight on green
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hen traveling, especially internationally, being a furniture connoisseur can be hard: That hand-carved teak bookshelf you just fell in love with in Bangkok won’t exactly fit in a suitcase. That’s where World Interiors comes in—a sustainability-driven, world-centric design company headquartered in Austin. Headed by Hank Cravey, the company has flourished over the years, thanks in part to the eclectic mix of furnishings, home accents and lighting fixtures Cravey designs to fit every style: rustic, traditional, modern and industrial. The company’s success can also be attributed to Cravey’s commitment to ensuring products are crafted from environmentally friendly materials—like reclaimed pinewood and recycled cast iron—and use sustainable practices such as sourcing from non-protected woods and using water-based finishing. Customers who step into the showroom not only feel worlds away without leaving Austin; they also feel good about their decision to purchase from World Interiors, knowing their product was manufactured with the highest attention to detail and sustainability.
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HOME WORK BY KATE WEST
hen Sunshine Mathon and his wife purchased their
tioning in. Plus, there was minimal to no insulation.”
two-bedroom/one-bath bungalow in the Cherry-
As the design and construction lead for affordable build-
wood neighborhood of East Austin, they knew an
ings at Foundation Communities, Mathon already knew how
addition was in their future. The couple was expecting their
to create an environmentally friendly home. His goal was
second child and 1,000 square feet wasn’t going to cut it with
to eventually achieve net-zero—meaning their energy bills
a growing family. “The home was in a good spot with sun and
would cost $0 every month. To make that a reality, every-
shade,” says Mathon. “It had a mature tree canopy, but the
thing needed to be changed. “We ended up replacing all of
original house had single-pane windows, which are beautiful
the windows with modern fiberglass windows to retain the
but leak and don’t keep the sun out or the heat or air-condi-
character,” says Mathon. “We wrapped the existing concrete EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
structure with about four and a half inches of insulation and replaced the HVAC to serve the new and existing structure.” The couple also added solar panels, a tankless water heater
and an induction stove to avoid using gas for cooking. The total cost came to nearly $30,000 for the upgrades to the existing home prior to the addition. “With the help of federal tax credits and Austin Energy rebates, the cost of insulation is relatively low,” says Mathon. “Overall, it’s a five- to
Every Shade of Green.
seven-year payback.” But the payback might be the easiest part. Mathon says the process of designing and building his net-zero home was “daunting.” This very issue led to the creation of Treehouse in 2011, an Austin-based sustainable home improvement center that aims to make the process easier. “For free, one of our consultants can come to your home to build a roadmap of what you can do to reduce your bills,” says Kane Sutphin, director of marketing for Treehouse. Often, the first recommendation for reducing energy bills is to replace the thermostat with a Nest thermostat. “It’s a smart learning thermostat,” says Sutphin. “For a week, you play with it by adjusting the temperature in the morning when you wake up, when you leave for work and in the evening before you go to bed. The system learns your habits and will adjust the temperature for you to the most energy-efficient setting. You can even use your smartphone to change the temperature.” It retails for $250 and Austin Energy offers an $85 rebate. When it comes to water consumption, 27 percent gets flushed down the toilet. A $30 conversion kit can turn the existing toilet into a low-flow one—saving on average two gallons of water with each flush. “Same goes for the shower and faucets,” says Sutphin. “Those add up to nearly thirty percent of the water we use. By simply changing the heads to more efficient ones, you could save about forty gallons per day.”
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Treehouse also recommends LED lights to save on energy bills and buying nontoxic cleaners and houseplants to make the air inside the home cleaner. “People assume it’s going to be expensive upfront in order to save on bills, but it doesn’t
w w w. e t h r e e p r o p e r t i e s . c o m
have to be,” Sutphin says. For other fairly simple DIY projects, Austin-based green-builder Gil Lohr of Lohr Homes recommends caulking
around windows and doors so that air doesn’t escape, and adding more insulation to the attic. “The insulation might run you around $1,000, but you’ll notice a difference,” says Lohr. The most expensive energy-efficiency project Lohr recommends is adding solar panels to a home. For those who take on this project, Treehouse recommends adding a charging system to make the investment stretch even further (they recommend the Tesla Powerwall, due out this summer). “The home battery charges by using the energy that comes from the solar panels,” says Sutphin. “It stores the energy created during the day instead of putting it back on the grid. That way, you can power appliances at night or, if the electricity goes out, it can power your entire home.” Another natural resource that’s not yet as popular as solar
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energy is wind. A home turbine system, either set up on the
roof or somewhere on the property, is capable of generating a
steady stream of power as long as there’s a consistent breeze of at least 11 miles per hour. Of course, there are space and safety issues to consider before installing turbines in neighborhoods, as well as potential restrictions or rejections from
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HOAs. Also, Austin Energy warns that wind turbines are probably not worth the investment in our area because we don’t have enough wind. The cost can range from $3,000 to $350,000 depending on the size and height. So how does a homeowner begin the process of creating a more energy-efficient home? The average cost depends on the square footage and the construction of a home, but Lohr recommends following projects in this order: n Change the fixtures inside the home—new faucets, LED
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lights and low-flow toilets. Cost: $100 to $300 n Insulate the attic. Blown-in insulation is recommended. Cost: $1,000 to $3,000 n Install a tankless water heater. Cost: $3,000 n Replace the HVAC system. Cost: $7,000 to $15,000 n Install new energy-efficient windows. Cost: $500 per window, installed
n Install solar panels. Cost: $20,000 to $30,000 EDIBLEAUSTIN.COM
HOUSE CLEANING Upholstery Steam is the best. Check for the fabric-care instructions. Look for the letter “S” or “W” or both. “S” indicates that a dry-cleaning method should be used, and “W” means that water can be used. Unless the fabric is silk or a natural fiber that may shrink with heat, it’s still possible to test-patch dry-clean-only fabrics in a hidden spot. As with fabric, too much soap can cause the dirt to cling to upholstery fibers. For fruit or wine spills on washable upholstery, sprinkle the stain with salt, remove the salt with a warm, wet cloth, soak in milk and launder. Fabrics with ink stains can be soaked in milk or hydrogen peroxide before laundering. (Hydrogen peroxide should be color-safe for most fabrics, but test first to be sure.) For a coffee spill, mix an egg yolk with warm water (not hot, unless you want an omelet), apply, then remove with more warm water.
Carpet & Household Fibers Use steam to clean your carpet. Add a combination of 2 tablespoons of vegetable-based Castile liquid soap and 1 tablespoon of borax in the carpet cleaner’s tank to do the job. Pretreat and blot carpet with the same formula. For blood and other protein stains, put several drops of eucalyptus oil in a small bottle of club soda (small bottles keep their fizz longer), apply and blot. Sprinkle a fresh, still-damp stain with cornmeal, baking soda or cornstarch, let sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum and blot. Salt and baking soda work equally well on fresh mud. Remember, never rub a stain! It drives the staining agent deeper into the pile. And always do a patch test before cleaning the whole carpet.
Dry Cleaning Many fabrics for which dry cleaning is recommended can actually be laundered at home. Acetate and rayon can be hand-washed with mild detergent (no vinegar or other acid); cashmere and other wool can be hand-washed with a low-pH detergent (vinegar is great on these fabrics to rinse out residue); and silk can be washed with Castile baby liquid soap.
Laundry Use half of the manufacturer’s suggested quantity of detergent. For hard water, add borax to the wash cycle—it breaks down the minerals that interfere with detergent. For soft and fluffy clothes, add half a cup of distilled white vinegar to the wash or rinse cycle—vinegar breaks up trapped grease and oil and dissolves uric acid, making it perfect for baby clothes. Make homemade dryer sheets by sprinkling 3 to 5 (never more than 5) drops of your favorite essential oil on a small cloth before tossing it in. You can reuse the cloth again and again—just wash and add more fragrance. Cold water is just as effective as warm or hot, so save the energy and stick with cold-water washing cycles.
By Tamara Mayfield & Charlene Price | Illustration by Cathy Matusicky
All-Purpose Cleanser In a spray bottle, mix 1 part distilled white vinegar with 1 part water, then add a few drops of a mild dish soap (like Seventh Generation’s Free & Clear Natural Dish Liquid) and 3 to 5 drops of your favorite antibacterial/ antiseptic essential oil (optional). This solution works well on kitchen and bathroom surfaces; hard-surface, non-wood floors; glass; and mirrors.
ESSENTIAL OILS that contain antibacterial & antiseptic properties
Toilet Bowl Cleanser Pour a little distilled vinegar in the toilet bowl and let it soak. Then, using a toilet bowl brush (and some of the all-purpose cleanser if you need to supplement), scrub the inside of the toilet.
Black peppermint (Eucalyptus radiata) Black spruce (Picea mariana) Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) Distilled Mexican lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
Scrubbing Paste or Powder In a small, lidded container, mix together a quarter cup of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of liquid Castile soap. Add 3 to 5 drops of your favorite antibacterial/antiseptic essential oil. Apply with a wet sponge to remove soap scum and stains from your bathtub and sink, and hard-water stains from your glass shower doors.
Tools of the Trade For uncoated wood floors, a warm, damp microfiber mop with a removable mop face (toss into the wash for easy cleaning) works best to prevent standing water, which can damage wood. To cut down on paper towel use, invest in a stack of microfiber cloths. They’re excellent for polishing, picking up dust from surfaces and wiping away dirt and grime. It’s worth the price to buy the ones made especially for cleaning glass—they’re lint-free and make quick work of a window or mirror when used with a simple all-purpose cleanser. The same is true for the cloths made for stainless steel, which help to remove fingerprints and water spots.
Eucalyptus or blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) Geranium (Pelargonium roseum x asperum) Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Green mandarin (Citrus reticulata) Juniper berry (Juniperus communis) Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Lemon (Citrus x limon) + all citrus Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool) Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
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his July, Capital Farm Credit celebrates its centennial. For 100 years, the company has been financing rural agricultural producers, agribusiness firms and country homeowners across the state of Texas. Their cooperative business model allows the farmers, ranchers, businesses and homeowners to have a say in the business and a share in the profits. Many of the same farms, ranches, vineyards, orchards and other organic or culinary businesses—even beekeeping operations—that we write about in Edible Austin got their start (and continue to get support) thanks to the help of Capital Farm Credit. And this year, the company awarded $23,000 in grants to qualifying farmers’ markets, helping to keep these viable forms of marketing open and alive for farmers, ranchers and their customers. And while “many people know of Capital Farm Credit as helping to finance and advance rural America,” says Hector Martinez, a senior lending officer, “many don’t know that we also finance the construction of unique properties and homes—anything that is not in your typical neighborhood or subdivision, and something that many traditional banks and mortgage companies won’t finance.” For example, the construction of “barndominiums” is on the rise—multipurpose, versatile buildings that function as living quarters and workspaces suited for anything from tractor storage or tack rooms to automotive storage. The key is that they are designed and built according to the customer’s specific needs. Martinez admits that “lending isn’t always sexy,” and that most of it consists of looking at numbers and helping to make it happen. “But, if we can do it, we step in, we provide education up front and we loan people the money they need to help them fulfill their dreams.”
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A SECOND CHANCE BY RACHEL JOHNSON â€¢ PHOTOGRAPHY BY MELANIE GRIZZEL
Larry Butler on the porch of his Dog Trot House.
“It is real special to walk in the front door and be in a house that is built out of the pines that were killed here. It’s like the phoenix.” —Kay Rogers
here’s magic in the feel and smell of reclaimed
then brought back to the property. But Rogers saw the ben-
wood—whether it’s found along the silky surface of
efits, and rebuilt her home from pieces left over from the
a newly milled tabletop or in the soft earthiness of
catastrophe that destroyed it. “It is real special to walk in the
freshly installed floorboards. The comfort of trees with his-
front door and be in a house that is built out of the pines that
tories, character and stories to tell is palpable. And when it
were killed here,” she says. “It’s like the phoenix.”
comes to finding new purposes for our tired or felled tree
Rogers relied on the support of her friends in the after-
sentinels, several businesses and establishments around Aus-
math of the fire, including Emmett and Lisa Fox, owners of
tin are choosing to incorporate those histories and stories
Cantine in Austin. “[They] showed up right away with a cool-
into their own.
er full of pots and pans and knives,” says Rogers. “I’ll never
During our recent and lengthy drought, Carol Ann Sayle
forget that…they were some of the first out. They were so
and husband Larry Butler of Boggy Creek Farm tried to sal-
supportive.” When Emmett approached Rogers about using
vage as many of the dead trees on their property as possi-
her wood in the design plan for their restaurant, Rogers knew
ble. This wood was then used for the main elements in the
that it was an excellent use for the leftovers from rebuild-
construction of their 2012 Dog Trot House, located on the
ing her home. “We could have gone out and bought wood,”
western side of the urban farm. But then came another cri-
says Emmett, “but because she is our friend, we were able
sis. “When the 2011 Bastrop fires happened, we were able to
to help her as well as help the environment.” The beautiful
mill eight large logs and reuse them in the construction of
reclaimed wood-paneled walls immediately greet visitors to
this house,” says Sayle. She points to the large wooden beam
the restaurant—a design choice that Emmett says makes peo-
supporting the awning. It was constructed from one of those
ple feel good when they hear of the wood’s origin.
logs, and features what Sayle calls a “live edge” detail: a line of exposed natural bark burned black from the fire. “You just can’t get this stuff,” says Sayle. “It’s special.” Salvaged wood was also used in the cabinetry and furniture at Dog Trot House; almost every piece in the home has a backstory. Sayle gestures toward a large pecan wood table. “This is the tree that fell on our house from a tornado in 2001,” she says. Contractor Mark Marsee was brought in to help build the Dog Trot House and fill it with objects that have a history, like the reclaimed black walnut wood cabinets featured in the kitchen. “The patinas you get on the wood…it really is unsurpassed,” says Marsee. Now a bustling place to host family and friends, the Dog Trot House utilized materials hundreds of years old to celebrate a new time and place. “We gave the wood a new life,” Sayle says. “The trees have an immortality.” Kay Rogers of Bastrop played an instrumental role in preserving some of the loblolly pines the fires destroyed. Her home was leveled by the devastation, but she couldn’t just walk away. “We were trying to figure out a way to live on these fifty acres again,” says Rogers. “It had been such a beautiful place. I just saw all this pine and said, why aren’t people harvesting them?” The process of harvesting and milling the trees was daunting and expensive—the damaged trees were loaded and transported to mills, processed and preserved, Emmett and Lisa Fox at Cantine.
TOP REMODEL BY STEVE WILSON
G&S Design-Build operates out of an old family home, and much like the business itself, the place has had some work done. The company converted the south
Austin ’60s ranch-style home into a sleek and modern office-studio, which is fitting for this former construction outfit that’s morphed into a one-stop destination for home remodels. Well-regarded for warm and contemporary renovations all around Austin, CG&S handles every aspect of a job, from the rough idea to the architectural plans to the actual construction work. The approach makes more than a little sense to anybody who’s felt caught in the vast chasm between aloof architects and short-sighted builders. “With us, the builder and architect are working together from the beginning of the project to the end,” says Stewart Davis, CG&S co-owner and head architect. Davis joined the company after first joining the family. His wife, Dolores Guerrero Davis, along with her siblings, purchased the Clarence Guerrero & Sons construction business from their parents in the ’90s. With Dolores at the helm as general manager and her brother Billy as co-owner and president, Davis soon came aboard and added an in-house design firm to the established, three-generations-old business. In ’94 in Austin, a construction/design mash-up team under one roof was a bit of a wacky approach, but the idea quickly caught on when clients saw the benefits. “People who work with us like the convenience and lower risk of having someone doing everything,” says Stewart. In that vein, some of CG&S’s most striking jobs completely rethink a home. One project—dubbed “Collector’s Paradise”—is a contemporary reimagining of a ranch home whose “bones” are hardly recognizable underneath the second floor addition, new roof and completely reconfigured first floor. Architects are trained to tailor reality in this way,
but general contractors or DIYers may lack that kind of vi-
targeting the kitchen. Simply expanding the area, or flipping
sion. “It’s one thing to redecorate, but thinking about new
the kitchen to the back of the house and away from the center,
ways a house could be laid out is a whole other matter,” says
can open up vast possibilities and launch a refreshing domi-
Stewart. “It’s the house you’ve lived in for so long that your
no-effect of new flow, light and life for a home. “When that one
brain is conditioned to see it only one way.”
change gets made,” he says, “then everything falls into line.”
A complete home renaissance is one thing, but let’s say
Regardless of the size or scope of a project, CG&S al-
you’re a client hoping for a big-impact change but you’re on a
ways has clients prioritize what they want done and sched-
budget that can only afford one big project. Stewart suggests
ule those goals into different phases of completion. The first
“Don’t go into a project without understanding what happens, when it happens and what it will cost.” —Stewart Davis
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After. “Collector’s Paradise.” Photo by Paul Finkel.
phases are usually the most complicated tasks best reserved for the pros. “Anything that changes the layout of the house or adds space are things you want a professional to do,” says Stewart. But many of the subsequent phases may include jobs that homeowners can take on themselves, like installing new light fixtures, painting shutters, taking up carpet or even doing a modest revamp of a kid’s room or guest suite. “Surface things like ceiling fans or paint can go a long way toward changing the look of your house,” he says. The most important thing is to make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what’s going on. “Don’t go into a project without understanding what happens, when it happens and what it will cost,” he says. “Do whatever it takes to avoid surprises.”
Over the many years, CG&S has seen the popularity of myriad house styles come and go (and worked with many
of them): cleaned-up craftsmen, Texas Tuscan, ultra-modern,
list. By reinventing instead of tearing down, you’re keeping
even barn-chic. But one trend the company doesn’t see going
materials out of the landfill. And, according to Stewart, “The
away any time soon is green remodeling and building. If so-
act of renovation is, by definition, green building.”
lar power and rainwater collection aren’t at the top of your
Though CG&S is in the business of changing the way peo-
priority list, though, Stewart says you can still plan ahead by
ple think about their homes, it strives to keep one idea con-
ensuring there’s adequate space on the roof for the required
stant in the minds of those about to embark on a remodel:
panels and gutters. But he also says not to be too hard on
“It’s supposed to be fun and fulfilling in the end,” says Stew-
yourself if these projects aren’t on your remodeling short
art. “And that is possible.”
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