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YOHE ROJAS Team Leader

Whirlpool plant in Clyde, Ohio

It matters who makes it. When you want consistent, proven quality in an appliance, depend on Whirlpool Corporation. Of the appliances we make, more than 80% of those sold in the U.S. are assembled in the U.S. They’re built with pride,

Fischer Homes, one of America’s

integrity and skilled craftsmanship. We offer warranties, including our

Top 50 Builders, has been building

10-year limited parts warranty * on every new Maytag® model. And we

quality homes for over 35 years. Their

provide post-delivery service that remains unmatched. For the peace of

customer service rating is among the

mind that comes with absolute quality, count on the number one major

highest in the industry, proving that they are a builder that you can depend

appliance manufacturer in the world.

on. Fischer Homes’ attention to detail is reflected in their selection of quality partners like Whirlpool Corporation, chosen to supply all of the appliances that they put into every home. *

Visit Maytag.com/warranty for warranty details.


CINCINNATI 859-341-4709

COLUMBUS 614-896-2554

®/ ™ ©2016. All rights reserved. All other products, company names, brand names, trademarks and logos are the property of their respective owners.

INDIANAPOLIS 317-348-2500

More of the tub taking care of you. Less of you taking care of it.

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EverClean Apron Perfect for replacing standard bath tub with whirlpool tub 60 ” x 32 ” x 21 1/2 ”

EverClean Classic Standard size and spacious deck for storage 60 ” x 32 3/4 ” x 19 3/4 ”




What’s your style?


Take a journey as we look at four very different home design trends. Find one that fits your vibe.




8 10 12 14 18 22


OUTDOOR LIVING ALFRESCO KITCHENS 76 Create an open-air cooking oasis


ON THE COVER: Kitchen design reflects

transitional style, PAGE 43. PHOTO BY: Casey Dunn Photography DESIGNED BY: Dillon Kyle Architects

and Kathy Masterson of KJM Design



SMART HOMES Technology advances ease home management






Designers boost rooms with ‘Botox’

Incorporate natural elements inside your home


FAMILY ROOMS 82 Plan a backyard that has something for everyone

DECK REFRESH 86 Give living areas

new life for spring

YARD-TO-TABLE 90 Easy ways to grow veggies and herbs

LAWN ALTERNATIVES 96 Think beyond grass for your landscape

Find out what megastores have to offer All product prices and availability are subject to change.




DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com



Valerie Finholm is a journalist whose credits include HGTV.com, The Washington Post and Woman’s Day. She has a passion for writing home stories, from how to unearth the history of your home to how to furnish your living room for $250 or less. “Like most people, I hadn’t thought much about ceilings when considering home design. But while reporting this article (“High Style,” PAGE 22), I learned about the importance of adding color and texture to the ceiling when finishing a room. Now I look up for the wow factor.”

Writer, editor and journalist Paula Andruss loves researching and writing stories that solve mysteries ranging from the secrets of successful brands to why babies love boxes. “A lifelong lover of the outdoors, I couldn’t wait to find out new ways that people are blurring the lines between outside and inside in their homes (“NatureMade Design,” PAGE 60). I was thrilled to discover you don’t need a big budget or overly green thumb to add a living wall, something that has moved to the top of my DIY to-do list.”

MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com EDITORS Chris Garsson Elizabeth Neus Hannah Prince Sara Schwartz DESIGNERS Ashleigh Carter Miranda Pellicano Gina Toole Saunders Lisa M. Zilka CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Paula Andruss, Rachel Barron, Hollie Deese, Nancy Dunham, Maisy Fernandez, Valerie Finholm, Lisa Marie Hart, Lambeth Hochwald, Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Margaret Littman, Janene Mascarella, Peggy J. Noonan, Debbie Swanson


VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Justine Goodwin (703) 854-5444 jgoodwin@usatoday.com






A freelance journalist, Lisa Marie Hart also serves as the Home+Design editor for Palm Springs Life magazine and has authored a Frommer’s travel book on New York City. “Well aware of these trending styles (“What’s Your Style?” PAGE 43), I jumped at the chance to interview interior designers across the nation regarding the appeal surrounding each one. What surprised and thrilled me most was that behind each aesthetic are countless possibilities for translating it and personalizing it in your own space.”

Katherine Reynolds Lewis, an award-winning independent writer based in the Washington, D.C., area, is a regular contributor to Fortune, The Washington Post, USA TODAY magazines and Working Mother. She’s covered everything from farm policy to technology and the White House. “While reporting about smart homes (“How Smart Is Your Home?” PAGE 26), I purchased a Samsung smart TV and tried out a Canary smart home security system. Next on my list: a smart lock for the front door.”

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved herein, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or reproduced in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written consent of USA TODAY. The editors and publisher are not responsible for any unsolicited materials.

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Start your spring fling with design and décor trends of 2016. Usher in the season by freshening up your home’s look with tips and advice from experts and boost its cool quotient with the latest tech gadgetry.


Ceiling St yle

How to m “fifth wall ake your ” stand o ut.





HOME, MADE EASIER These gadgets put convenience at your fingertips BY MAISY FERNANDEZ


ife can get pretty hectic, so anything that makes it run more smoothly, especially at home, is a good thing. Check out these home technology products that can help you with your grocery shopping and save money on water bills. You can even answer your door when you’re away and fall asleep to a faux sunset.

2 1

Gather round the new Samsung Family Hub refrigerator, where you can organize your life by posting photos, notes and calendars to the 21.5-inch full HD LCD screen, rely on interior cameras to check on the contents of your fridge when you’re at the store, manage recipes and stream music. Samsung says it will be available this spring, with the price to be determined.

The Skydrop smart sprinkler controller uses real-time neighborhood weather data and detailed zone settings to adjust the duration and frequency of water cycles. It maximizes water conservation while helping nurture a beautiful yard. $279.99, skydrop.com


For more home tech, see pages

26-32 8



Use a smartphone to answer the door with the SkyBell video doorbell. The device sends a live feed to an iOS device, allowing you to see and speak to visitors in full HD. SkyBell has a video monitor, motion detector, microphone and speaker. $199, skybell.com


The Drift Light by Saffron Lighting was designed to mimic a sunset, dimming over a 37-minute period to help you fall asleep naturally. Drift Light produces very little blue light, which can inhibit the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, and can also be programmed for moonlight mode, dimming to a night-light level instead of darkness. $24.95 each, amazon.com


BEDROOM Emanuel Morez is a top-notch manufacturer of furniture and lighting based in Northridge, Calif. Top interior designers around the country incorporate the company’s pieces into designs that vary from traditional to contemporary and each piece is made to order. The Maji chandelier features cream-colored lights and an antique iron finish. $9,200; find showroom locations at emanuelmorez.com

CHIC CHANDELIERS Trendy lighting options boost a room’s style profile BY JANENE MASCARELLA


othing adds high drama and style to a room like a chandelier. Above all, these sparkling sources of light can illuminate a room’s character and create an eye-catching center of attention. From opulent investment pieces to understated (and affordable) simplicity, today’s chandeliers appeal to a variety of tastes and fit in nearly any space in your house: powder rooms, offices, kitchens, even walk-in closets. As long as the ceiling is high enough, anything goes. Here are some bright ideas, all made in America, that can help you light up your life — and your space.



HALLWAY Taylor Burke Home is a luxury home décor brand that focuses on bold and sophisticated designs. Among the company’s most popular products are their light pendants, available in solid metal or cut metal fretwork. The Don’t Fret is available in standard colors (which include white, emerald, coral and charcoal) but they can also match any Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams colors. $4,500, taylorburkehome.com

KITCHEN The Atom Cyclopean chandelier from Wine Country Craftsman will add warmth to any room. The charming rustic fixture is customand handmade using recycled wine barrel rings from Napa County, Calif. The Edison bulbs that form its triple light exude a cozy glow. $395, houzz.com


FOYER The Celesse Pendant chandelier from Hubbardton Forge fits well in a contemporary or transitional design setting. The eyecatching fixture can be personalized, with its aluminum rings available in soft gold or vintage platinum, with a range of steel finish options for the core. $3,069, dominionelectric.com

American Brass & Crystal’s Crystella 8 Light chandelier blends traditional and contemporary stylings for a truly transitional fixture. The single-tier chandelier features brass and crystal details and eight incandescent lights. $2,669.99, wayfair.com


OFFICE The bulbs of this subdued and elegant six-light, 40-inch Saturnia chandelier by Robert Abbey, stunning in deep patina bronze, sit under a set of two distinctive shades. The outer shade is fashioned from transparent bronze fabric with an ascot white inner shade. $994.75, lampsplus.com


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U P F R O N T | PA I N T

BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL Bold, classic color goes beyond basic for a fresh, new look that wows

An entryway dons a stunning, classic look, dressed in SherwinWilliams’ Tricorn Black paint with white trim.






f you’re looking for something fresh and different in home decorating, don’t overlook black. Far from dull and drab, black is alive with elegance, power, warmth and authority. And it’s versatile. Just as a classic “little black dress” always works for every occasion, the classic black wall, floor, trim, fireplace, light fixture, cabinet or accent can work in every room. Those ebony hues that have become more popular in interior design over the Black trim adds warmth and elegance to a fireplace, which serves as a focal point of a living room.

last couple of years are “really picking up steam” now, says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. Black is being used on walls as well as on doors and trim for a dramatic alternative to white and cream. It may sound drastic, but

Not sure black is for you? Try it in a laundry room or

“Black is a fantastic color to

in a powder room first to get

use in your home in many

a feel for decorating with it

consider adding recessed

different ways,” says Robin

in a small space, suggests

lighting “to create a brighter

Baron, president of Robin


overall feel” and integrating

City and president of the New York Metro chapter

LET THERE BE LIGHT Will black make your room

of the American Society of

too dark? “If you’re going

Interior Designers. “It has a

to go with a lot of black you

lot more flexibility than you

need at least that same

might think.”

amount of brightness in the space, whether in wall space


or window space or bright

“Don’t be afraid to take

white ceilings or light floors,”

that leap,” advises Baron,

says Stephanie Pierce, senior

who recalls being a bit reti-

design studio manager at

cent when her son wanted

MasterBrand Cabinets.

black walls in his room a

your space,” she says. To boost your lighting,

LED lighting inside and

Baron Design in New York


integrate a lot of lighting into

the effect can be stunning.

In a kitchen or laundry,

few years ago. But instead

aim for a 50-50 balance.

of turning his room into a

“If you don’t have a lot of

cave, it made a sophisticated

natural light, the best thing


to do is make sure that you

underneath cabinets “and even in the toe kick areas or above the cabinets,” Pierce says.

THE MANY FACETS OF BLACK There are a lot of variations on black that can influence the look and feel of a room, Baron says. If you’re worried about it being boring, don’t be. “It’s very soothing and rich-looking,” Baron says, adding that layering of different blacks in vases, pillows, furniture and other





U P F R O N T | PA I N T

The Softer Side of 2016

Just as the classic “little black dress” works for every occasion, the classic black wall, trim or accent can work in every room.

Sherwin-Williams chose Alabaster as its 2016 Color of the Year, while Pantone selected two shades: Rose Quartz and Serenity. Consider pairing these colors with small touches of black, such as a ceramic panther in ebony, decorative charcoal and jet pillows or a coalcolored chair or rug.

accents can give rooms even more excitement and drama. Pure black without undertones is popular. Sherwin-Williams offers


three “go-to” true blacks: Black Magic, Caviar and Tricorn Black, which Jordan says is “definitely our black-


est black, a really rich, deep perfect black.”

This bathroom design uses various shades of black and textured wallpaper to add impact and personality to the room.

not quite black grays and charcoals, Jordan says.

homeowners found painted

Gray, sales manager for the

Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore is

surfaces showed dust and

Lamps Plus professionals

“a straight-on black” with a

fingerprints and needed

division. For example, he

grayish tone. Other off-

more frequent cleaning.

says, a lampshade’s “pop of

blacks may incorporate blue, green or brown undertones.

FINISHING EFFECTS Satin or gloss paint in black can be gorgeous on

Now more “user-friendly

black gives an angular, bold

and livable” custom-stained

statement” that works as the

and laminate cabinets are

focal point in an industrial

bringing the spotlight back

post-modern loft with brick

to black, Pierce says.

walls. In a room with black-

Black stains applied to

and-white complementary

trim and accents, says

these new multitonal cabinet

colors, however, the same

Jordan, much “like that

finishes allow some of the

lamp becomes part of the

black baby grand piano with

wood grains and tones to


a beautiful finish.” But for

show through, which adds

“Used correctly, black can

walls, choose the flattest

surface depth and contrast

really ground the space and

finish possible glossier

to help hide dust and

create a focal point that also

surfaces reflect light, which


allows brighter elements

amplifies any texture or imperfections in the wall and makes undertone colors

to be integrated around it,”

A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY Designers love black and

says Pierce. “It can convey a classy ... elegance that you

use it like boldface type to

just don’t get with color. I

add emphasis to design

think black is classic. It’s

a few years ago for painted

elements and draw attention

going to be around for a very

furniture and kitchens until

to focal points, says David

long time.”

more noticeable. Glossy black was popular




ROS E QUA RT Z & S E RE NITY Joined together, warm pink Rose Quartz and cool, tranquil blue Serenity “reflect connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,” according to Pantone Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman. — Peggy J. Noonan


Less bold “off-blacks are very, very dark” but (they’re)

A soft, natural and neutral white that pairs with any other color to add “a beautiful kind of warmth,” says Jackie Jordan, the company’s director of color marketing.




U P F R O N T | C O U N T E RT O P S

This 16-foot-long bar counter features Lagos Blue Caesarstone.

GOODBYE, GRANITE Homeowners opt for engineered quartz and other man-made materials over natural stone for countertops

I Caesarstone Statuario Maximus made by Caesarstone. $85 to $100 per square foot; find dealers at caesarstoneus.com



t wasn’t so long ago that when it came to kitchen upgrades, granite countertops were on the must-have list of many homeowners. In addition to stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors, it seemed nothing could topple the natural stone’s reign as the top kitchen finish. Well, times have changed. Granite’s shine has faded as man-made materials such as engineered quartz have found favor with today’s homeowners who are looking for materials that are just as high quality as stone, but have more flexibility in their style. “Younger buyers and young professionals are primarily looking

for a more modern look, which those products provide,” says Daryl Walny, vice president of operations with Nashville-area residential building company Carbine & Associates. In the past few years, as granite’s once-desirable unique veining and sometimes chaotic patterns have become its biggest liability, the manmade materials finding favor are less busy and have a much wider range of colors, making kitchen design much easier to control. And they are especially popular among the new generation of buyers who are well-educated on the latest trends, thanks to a solid upbringing on HGTV, Pinterest and Houzz.com.



“We were doing granite for a good number of years and it’s almost like brass lighting fixtures — eventually it gets old and people get tired of it,” says Walny.


NATURAL VS. MAN-MADE Despite the appeal of using a 100 percent natural material, today’s buyers are choosing engineered materials because they offer more control over the final look of the kitchen than nature’s heavily veined granite typically will allow, says Jerome Farris, an interior designer and buyer with Peddler Interiors in Murfreesboro, Tenn. “Even in one slab you could have a very big inconsistency of gray on one end and then it could be very pink on the other end of the slab,” he says. “At least with the man-made products, you’re getting a very consistent tone of color going throughout.” While some quartz countertops are made of quarried slabs of the natural stone, many engineered quartz materials like Silestone and Caesarstone are made by combining about 90 percent ground natural quartz with polymer resins, leading to a final product with higher durability and a wider range of colors than stone. The finer the quartz is ground, the smoother the final look. “Quartz is more durable than granite, it’s less porous than granite and you’re getting more simple patterns in it,” Farris says. “You still have vein issues and things like that, but overall quartz gives you more of that sleek feel.” Still, natural materials like soapstone (a type of metamorphic rock composed mostly of talc that is durable, stain-resistant and patinas with age) are also having a moment, mainly because their subtle graining and colors still retain the desired natural status.

EASIER TO MAINTAIN Heather Blue Harkovich, owner of Heather Scott Home and Design in Austin, says she hasn’t selected granite for her clients in the past four years. Unfortunately, a top choice — marble — can’t really take the heat of a busy kitchen and can easily scratch and stain. So she steers them to quartz products. Unlike natural stone, engineered quartz is non-porous, making it stainand scratch-resistant and antimicrobial. Its durability withstands wine stains and sharp knives, and it can be cleaned with a dry cloth or by using warm, soapy water.

GROWING AFFORDABILITY Designers and builders also opt for engineered quartz products because as their popularity increases and more manufacturers enter the game, they become more affordable. “It wasn’t really until the later

Silestone Snowy Ibiza made by Silestone. $72 per square foot installed, homedepot.com

Silestone White Arabesque made by Silestone. $72 per square foot installed, homedepot. com

This bathroom countertop gets an updated look with White Zen Silestone.


U P F R O N T | C O U N T E RT O P S

Quartz Cove by Martha Stewart Living, $80 per square foot, homedepot.com

Quartz Midnight by Martha Stewart Living, $80 per square foot, homedepot.com



’90s and early 2000s when we were getting flooded with the amount of stone coming in (from other countries) and prices really started dropping dramatically,” Walny says. And the same thing is happening right now for quartz products. For kitchens with open layouts that put countertops on display, having a highstyle look with little maintenance and high durability is key. “Obviously the kitchen is the heart of the home,” Harkovich says. “If you have a material that you don’t have to worry about, you won’t have to stress when people come over. If they have a quartz product, there’s just no worry.”

WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T One material making an unexpected rise in popularity is pewter, which has a very different finish than stone or quartz. It provides a durable metal surface in a metallic gray that patinas with age. Any scratches become a part of the finish and cleanup is simple.

“I absolutely love that pewter look, especially on an island,” Farris says. Having the center of the kitchen done in pewter and perimeter counters in a different material results in a layered look. “It gives you that really warm, earthy kitchen feel that people love so much,” he says. Walny has experimented with all kinds of countertop materials for clients, some with better results than others. What surprisingly worked? A blue-hued counter made of recycled Skyy Vodka bottles. What didn’t? Concrete. While some people love the look, it is hard to maintain, is incredibly heavy and requires regular sealing, Walny says. “We did a few bartops in concrete about five or six years ago and had problems with cracking, we had some finish issues, some staining issues and things like that,” he says. “We just kind of drifted away from that and haven’t really had a whole lot of demand for it.”


This dining table has a fresh look thanks to Cosmopolitan White Caesarstone.


HIGH STYLE Is something missing from your room’s design? Just look up. BY VALERIE FINHOLM


ou’ve spent months deciding on the colors and finishes for the walls and floors of your home. But what about the ceilings? The highest “wall” in a room is often the most overlooked. Most people just paint them white — and that’s a big mistake, according to experts.



“Painting a ceiling stark white really deadens your design,’’ says Sharon McCormick, an interior designer in Hartford, Conn. “You can have a room painted warm colors, but if you leave the ceiling white, you’re never going to feel the coziness.’’ Whether your ceilings are low, high or vaulted, treating them as an afterthought leaves out an entire dimension that can drastically change the feel of a room. “The ceiling is the icing on the cake, the final touch that says the room is complete,’’ says Beth Haley, a Nashville

interior designer. When it comes to ceilings, Haley encourages her clients to consider the overall desired atmosphere of a room. She always asks them, “How do you want the space to feel?” “What you do with the ceiling can make a space seem larger and energetic or quiet and relaxing,’’ she says. Perhaps the easiest — and least expensive — way to use the ceiling to elevate the look and feel of a room is with carefully chosen paint. To make a small room —


The panels of the vaulted dome ceiling in this kitchen are livened up with Benjamin Moore’s Constellation blue.


or a room with low ceilings — feel larger, paint the ceiling a lighter tint of the wall color, or the same color as the walls, advises Andrea Magno, a color and design expert at the Benjamin Moore paint company. In a small powder room, for example, consider using a darker color than the walls on the ceiling to open up the space. “It’s a myth that a dark color makes a ceiling look like it’s coming down,’’ she says. “It actually makes the ceiling seem even higher, like the night sky.’’ This technique also works in a larger room with a high or vaulted ceiling; use a deeper shade of paint than what’s on the walls. Or consider adding wood beams or molding to divide the space with architectural features to make it feel less cavernous. Creating a pattern with molding is a popular new trend. “This works really well with flat ceilings,” Haley says. “You don’t have to do the whole ceiling. You can just add molding to a portion of it that you want to highlight.’’ Other possibilities, especially in a larger kitchen, include installing coffered or tray ceilings with pendant lights. Lighting in general draws attention to a room’s ceiling. LED lights hidden by cove trim or a soffit give the appearance of natural light in a room and create the illusion of a higher ceiling. Conversely, pendant lights or chandeliers can bring

Painting a tray ceiling, top, in contrasting shades can add visual interest to a room. An elaborate chandelier, bottom, anchored by a large, intricate medallion makes a bold statement in any décor.

a high or vaulted ceiling down to earth. “Lighting goes hand-in-hand with what you want to create,’’ McCormick says. She also suggests adding medallions

around chandeliers to give ceilings a bit of old-fashioned charm no matter the age of the house. Medallions can be painted on with stencils or purchased

at home improvement stores and applied to the ceiling. They come in myriad sizes and designs, in various colors (white, for example, mimics the look of plaster) and finishes that range from metallic to wood-like. “A medallion breaks up a plain ceiling,’’ McCormick says. “You can paint (the medallion) different colors or leave it white to make it stand out.’’ McCormick has also used copper tiles, leather, murals and even wallpaper to add color, sheen, texture and patterns to ceilings. “After the horrendous wallpapers of the 1970s and 1980s, people stopped using wallpaper altogether,’’ she says. “Now our design audience is open to it and it’s coming back big.’’ Wallpaper patterns can be used to mimic a tin ceiling in a kitchen or add a whimsical “pop’’ to a child’s bedroom ceiling. McCormick once used a rich gold wallpaper on the dining room ceiling of an elegant older home. “The wallpaper has a depth to it that you can’t get from paint,’’ she says. The possibilities for adding personality to a ceiling are seemingly endless, but a little bit of effort can make a huge difference between a ho-hum space and a room with pizzazz. By considering the all-important “fifth wall” when designing a room, McCormick says, “you get that all-encompassing feeling you get when a whole room is pulled together.’’


Love Your Home

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HOW SMART IS YOUR HOME? More products boost your home’s IQ and keep you connected BY KATHERINE REYNOLDS LEWIS

robot lawnmower keeps your grass trimmed. The front door unlocks as you come up the walkway. At your voice command, the oven preheats. This scenario may sound like something from The Jetsons, but increasingly, technologies that ease daily home management are a reality. “The main idea for smart homes is that we’re building intelligent living spaces that take care of us instead of the opposite,” says Steve Koenig, senior director of market research for the Consumer Technology Association.



Bluetooth capabilities Energy-efficient

Motion-detecting capabilities

Compatible connection

Video-recording capabilities

Light-adjusting capabilities

Speaker/audio capabilities


Remote locking and unlocking capabilities

Temperaturesensing and adjusting capabilities

Microphone capabilities

Wi-Fi connective capabilities



WHAT IS A SMART HOME? A smart home is part of the so-called “Internet of Things” that innovators have long imagined, a world in which our inanimate objects — appliances, heating and lighting systems, devices and even vehicles — will self-operate and communicate with each other without the need for human intermediaries. This connected universe includes an Amazon.com service that enables some printers to order ink when they run low and the Whirlpool washer/dryer that communicates with the utility company to start your laundry at the most energy-efficient time of day. Many devices have the capacity to learn your

that 50 percent of the North American population is likely to buy one smart device in the next year, with millennials ages 25-34 (79 percent) and their parents (76 percent) the most eager.

MYRIAD USES Homeowners use smart products for purposes that include security, safety, heating and lighting, entertainment and more effective use of appliances. “We’re in a very exciting time for the smart home. The sky is the limit, but it can get very confusing very quickly if you try to bite off too much,” says Lindsey Turrentine, editor-in-chief of CNET.com, a consumer technology

As with any other purchase, thoroughly research smart-home products before you buy. Ask about one-time and ongoing support fees and “first week free” offers for data storage. Read reviews and ask friends for recommendations. Understand whether the product will seamlessly interact with any other smart devices — and whether you need it to. Here are some of the leading products. (See key for icons on page 27.)

This home in Louisville is a state-of-the-art lab where CNET.com tests smart-home products. The four-bedroom, three-and-a-halfbathroom home is stocked with many products the group reviews, including locks, thermostats and lighting.





personal habits and adjust accordingly, such as the Nest motion-detectoroperated thermostat that heats up a room when a person enters. Manufacturers shipped 83 million smart-home devices to U.S. customers in 2015, according to estimates by BI Intelligence, a New York-based research service. BI expects that figure to grow to 193 million devices in 2020. “It’s growing steadily but slowly. We’re still in very much the early stages of the market,” says John Greenough, a BI senior research analyst. A survey by Icontrol Networks, a software and product company that provides solutions for the security and connected home market, found


news and review site. “My advice to people who are just getting started is to choose the single most annoying problem in your house that can be solved with technology, and solve that first.” For instance, Turrentine often walks to her front door with hands full and her keys buried in her purse. The solution: She installed an August Smart lock that clicks open when it senses her smartphone nearby. Another example: the Nest thermostat, which adapts to your heating and cooling preferences works with the self-adjusting Haiku fan that remembers your desired settings to balance the temperature in your house,

u Nest Protect is a hardwired smoke and carbon monoxide detector that integrates with other Nest devices and provides voice alerts when there’s trouble. $99, lowes.com

conserve energy and keep every room at a comfortable temperature.

CONNECTION CHALLENGES The downside to all this innovation: Smart devices don’t always talk to one another. With so many products on the market, you could end up controlling them with 20 different apps, rather than a single hub. “The biggest challenge is getting products to work together,” says Leticia Barr of TechSavvyMama.com, which helps parents navigate technology with reviews and advice. You can solve that problem by sticking to products guaranteed to work within a given platform,

u The Canary

indoor all-in-onehome security device includes an HD 1080p camera, wide-angle lens, night vision and motion detectors and also monitors your home’s air quality and temperature. $199, amazon.com

including home automation, security, entertainment and lighting. Two of the most developed platforms for smart devices are Samsung’s Smart Things and Google’s Nest, says Turrentine. Apple is trying to catch up with its HomeKit line, and Lowe’s offers the Iris solution set for do-ityourselfers. Almost every major cable and telecommunications provider is now offering to install a smart-home network for you. For instance, AT&T wired CNET.com’s smart home — a living laboratory in Louisville where products are tested — with its Digital Life service. Even then, technology isn’t flawless. In early January, a bug in a

u The Roost Wi-Fi-enabled 9-volt battery can be installed in any smoke detector; it triggers smartphone alerts via a free app when the battery is running low. $34.97, homedepot.com



BEFORE YOU BUY You have two choices when looking

u The Piper NV is a selfcontained video security system with a camera, microphone, speaker, motion and temperature detectors. $279, walmart.com

at smart-home products: buying a one-off device that performs a specific function; or purchasing a larger network of products that is installed and supported by a major company. You might buy a single device if you want to test the waters without committing to a large investment for a system or to the possible monthly subscription fees. “It’s still very early days in smart home,” Turrentine notes. “It’s possible that the technology you buy will become obsolete very quickly.” Before buying, make sure you understand which platforms are compatible with the product or

u With an outdoor HD camera tucked inside an LED floodlight, Snap also provides motion detection and two-way voice communications. $149, sengled.com

u The Nest Cam offers remote indoor home monitoring with video, audio and zoom features. $199.99, nest.com

A survey by Icontrol Networks found that 50 percent of the North American population is likely to buy one connected device in the next year, with millennials ages 25-34 the most eager.



product you are purchasing. Investigate whether there is any ongoing service fee in addition to the up-front purchase price. For instance, a security camera that you think is a one-time purchase may turn out to require a monthly fee for accessing video recordings. Ask friends for recommendations, and be sure you buy from a vendor that accepts returns if the product doesn’t work for you. Be realistic about how tech-savvy you are when deciding whether to install something yourself or leaving it to a contractor or service provider. Understand your motivations for getting into smart products. Is it

u The August Smart Lock offers electronic key entry and automatic unlocking as well as remote locking via Wi-Fi. $199, august.com


software update for the Nest learning thermostat left an untold number of homeowners without heat. The company offered a nine-step solution that involved charging the device with a USB connection and restarting it. But the situation highlighted a potential pitfall in relying on technology. “There are new networking standards coming out that are able to connect devices,” says Greenough. “If you want it now, realize the downside is that something better could come along very quickly.”

FOR ESPECIALLY BIG FAMILIES. A. O. Smith Vertex™ water heaters produce more hot water using less energy, with some models operating as high as 96% thermal efficiency. So no matter how large your family is, plenty of hot water will always be right at your fingertips. To get an A. O. Smith water heater installed, visit hotwater.com and use our “Find a local installer” tool.



peace of mind — do you worry about whether you turned off the coffee maker or if the kids and pets are safe at home? Or is it convenience — do you want smart light bulbs that turn on when you enter a room or give a voice command? Greenough likes Amazon.com’s Echo hub, which uses voice recognition with its digital persona named Alexa to control lights or music or even close a garage door. “It has news briefings. You can connect it to your smart home devices, so you can say, ‘Hey, Alexa, turn off my lights,’” he explains. For Barr, the SkyBell — a smart

doorbell with an embedded camera — gives her peace of mind. She gets a notification on her phone whenever someone rings the doorbell, and she can pull up a live video feed and speak to whomever is calling. Once, when her family was visiting Rome, she got a notification that UPS had a package that required a signature. She was able to speak to the UPS delivery man standing at her front door. “I was able to get immediate reassurance it was going to go back to the UPS facility and we had 30 days to pick up,” she recalls. “It doesn’t matter if you’re at the grocery store or on a tropical island.”



7.1 %

4.2% 3.5%


Lighting system Security lock Remote security video Thermostat Smoke or carbon monoxide detector

u The thirdgeneration Nest Learning Thermostat adapts to your heating and cooling preferences and can integrate with other appliances and your utility company to maximize energy efficiency. $249, nest.com

u The Philips Hue starter kit comes with color-changing LED bulbs that can be controlled via your iPhone, as well as programmed to create specified lighting schemes. $199.99, bestbuy.com

Many major U.S. manufacturers are getting interested in smart-home solutions including AT&T, Apple, Samsung, Comcast and Xfinity Home, ADT, Google and Amazon.com.



u The Ecobee smart thermostat senses whether you’re home — or what room you’re in — and adjusts the temperature accordingly. $249, ecobee.com



reimagine YOUR KITCHEN

Kerri Rosenthal and Denise Davies create fun, funky spaces without the gutting BY NANCY DUNHAM




hether your home was built in the time of George Washington or George H.W. Bush, you want the kitchen to shine with contemporary cool styling, technology and functionality. And you can get what you want — if you know where to look for inspiration. “Traditional is exactly what we go against,” says Denise Davies, founder of D2 Interieurs in Weston, Conn. “When I started this business, a lot of people wanted to design their kitchens in very (traditional) ways because we’re in New England. (Creative director Kerri Rosenthal and I) don’t design kitchens that way, and that’s what has brought so many of our clients to us — we can still give them a modern aesthetic while keeping with the style of their home.” That, too, goes for the extreme “gut-andrebuild” method of kitchen remodeling. Davies and Rosenthal — best friends, New York City transplants and proponents of playful, yet sophisticated interior artistry


➜ OLD Designers Kerri Rosenthal, left, and Denise Davies transformed this kitchen from a light but bland space, below, to a fun, modern room with pops of color, personality and updated details, top.




Utilizing their signature “Kitchen Botox” treatment, Davies and Rosenthal revived this kitchen by installing new white cabinets with gold furniture pulls and a 300-pound white marble stove hood that’s adhered to the ceiling.



— are designers who proudly prove that kitchens can be revamped into open, colorful and highly functional living spaces, often without the expense, hassle and waste of more typical makeovers. “So many people buy houses built in the 1990s or even 2000 and find they have great bones but just need some love,” says Davies, who founded the company about five years ago. “We take a look at what in the kitchen still works.” Many times the general layout — flooring, cabinets and other key components — can be retained or rehabbed. Think of stripping and refinishing floors, replacing countertops and backsplashes, painting and/or replacing cabinet doors and hardware and similar refreshes that D2 Interieurs calls “Kitchen Botox.” Of course, “Kitchen Botox” doesn’t always make sense from design, functionality or cost standpoints. Davies and Rosenthal cite a few clients who originally approached them for that concept, only to find that a complete overhaul made more sense. “We just had a client that wanted Kitchen Botox, but we figured that for 10 percent more, they would have a whole new kitchen,” says Davies. “These clients are super modern, and by the time we changed everything needed to reflect that, it made no sense. Plus, you need to consider elements such as flooring. If the flooring needs to be ripped up, that takes with it islands, cabinets and other elements.”



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Another view of the kitchen on page 36 shows some of the high-end appliances, fashionable sink fixtures and the white marble the D2 Interieurs duo employed to update the space.





offered a choice of standard layouts with few variations. Certainly those standard layouts are easier for the designer, which is why clients should fully research designers — look at their past work, talk to past homeowners — before deciding whether to work with them. Davies and Rosenthal do not shy away from bucking tried-and-true industry trends. “One thing our tradespeople are always saying is, ‘We have never done this before,’” Rosenthal says of using stone, art and metal in various configurations to bring about clients’ visions. “And that’s when we laugh and say, ‘Well, let’s do it.’” The duo’s backgrounds, which include business, fine art and interior design, have enough contrast to take projects beyond the routine, as evidenced by their work in locations from modern Tribeca lofts to historic Connecticut estates


That decision is a true positive for clients who want very specific looks, such as a contemporary kitchen in a once-colonial designed kitchen. And homeowners, especially those who are enthusiastic supporters of local artists and craftsmen, are glad to discover that the duo and their team support such providers. “So much of what we use and install is custom and we use local (and American-made) products,” says Rosenthal. “That’s what really makes the homes we design special. There are no shortcuts to success. We are true to who we are and to our clients.” That’s not always easy, of course, which is presumably why most designers stick with the gut-and-rebuild method. It’s not unusual for those who’ve approached designers to find they are

Great stuff. For your home. For less. To find a Habitat ReStore near you, please visit Habitat.org/ReStores When you buy high-quality, gently-used furniture, home furnishings, and building materials at your local Habitat ReStore, you’ll not only save a lot of money and make the world a lit tle greener — you’ll give area families in need a hand up. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.


Homeowners can avoid the common “gut-and-rebuild” strategy used by many designers when it comes to kitchen makeovers by keeping segments of the existing space that work and enhancing them with modern fixtures, interesting wallpaper prints and playful accents like the blue velvetcovered barstools, above.



➜ OLD and beyond. “Your home is your life and the kitchen is perhaps the most important part of that life,” says Davies. “We spend hours with our clients, long before any work is done, asking, ‘How many children do you have?’ ‘Do you have parties?’ ‘Do you drink coffee?’ ‘How important is music in your home?’ ” The questions allow the homeowners to reimagine their lifestyles as well as their kitchens. Many who seek out D2 Interieurs’ services are pleased to discover that leaving New York does not mean Davies and Rosenthal left colorful, modern styles behind. The designers are known for the American touch of craftsmanship and art, high-end technology (including state-of-the-art sound systems) and bold, contemporary use of color in walls, cabinetry and fine art.

The duo’s stylings are so popular beyond their Connecticut home base that they plan to launch a product line that will include custom rugs and wallpaper inspired by Rosenthal’s modern art. Although the two work very much as a creative team, they note that Rosenthal’s strongest contribution involves her knack for imagining unexpected color combinations in a variety of materials. That’s due to her extensive training and experience in fashion and fine art, some of which has been showcased in magazines across the U.S. Her artwork is typically included in D2’s redesigned spaces. Those items are part of the way the duo’s award-winning designs allow rooms to naturally flow into one another. “The trend today is for kitchens to look more like open living spaces, flowing into the family room, the great room and the rest of the house,” says Davies. “Many times, you’ll find that kitchens are predictable and staid. We take stone, wood and other materials and mix them up. Just because it’s a kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t hang art there.” Functionality is, of course, the bedrock of the designs. Davies and Rosenthal mention some of the myriad extras that routinely amp up clients’ day-to-day satisfaction with their kitchens: warming drawers that allow meals to be served hours after preparation, island-mounted microwaves that take little space but provide king-size power, fully integrated coffee bars with special nooks for mugs and supplies, and even unobtrusive kitchen outlets strategically hidden (think within a backsplash) but placed for maximum convenience. “You live in your home for many years and no matter what the lifestyle, the kitchen is always the center of activity,” says Davies. “It’s vital to make it seamless and beautiful.”




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WHAT’S YOUR STYLE? Whether you’re folksy or free-wheeling, sophisticated or simple, you can make your home match your mood BY LISA MARIE HART


hese four evolving aesthetics preserve time-honored techniques, then spin them like a top into a fresh, modernday approach to design. Each trend is livable, lovable and loaded with oomph that will transform your home.



A foyer table is a perfect setting for the display of a lamp, a hall mirror and a collection of vases that fit the art deco aesthetic.





ART DECO With angles and curves, mirrors and mood lighting, this glamorous throwback sets hearts racing



he magnificent opulence of art deco is such an enduring part of the American architectural experience that even if you’re not familiar with the details of the style, you’re guaranteed one thing: You’ll know it when you see it. From the iconic spire of New York City’s Chrysler Building to the Necco wafer-colored buildings of Miami’s South Beach district (and Miami Vice) to the lavish, mouth-watering sets of the 2013 film version of The Great Gatsby, art deco’s bold and stylized look catches the eye and the imagination. First emerging between the two World Wars, the art deco aesthetic combines the geometric, streamlined shapes of the forward-thinking Machine Age with swanky curves and gleaming metallics for an elegant, glamorous look. Art deco was a reaction to the flowing and flowery creations of nature-inspired art nouveau, which was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “In its own time, (art deco) was very modern compared to the dominant

styles that were more ornate,” says Nancy J. Ruddy, founding principal at CetraRuddy, a New York City-based architecture firm. Since founding the award-winning global firm with her husband, John Cetra, in 1987, Ruddy has guided the planning, programming and design for more than 20 million square feet of architectural and interior design work.

A ‘SPLENDIDLY INDULGENT’ STYLE Ruddy says that her clients who surrender to art deco’s allure share an appreciation for subtle beauty, get a thrill from history and love great art in all its forms. “The revival of interest in classic art deco interiors marks a new appreciation for the arts, vintage furnishings and patterns of the era, which are ‘splendidly self-indulgent,’ to quote (author and leading authority on art deco and art nouveau styling) Alastair Duncan,” Ruddy says. “Many people love the shapes and ornament that offer a crisp and angular feel. It’s very modern without being overly severe.” Art deco lends itself to urban apartments and condos as well as older

houses, especially those with gracefully arched doorways and subway tile floors. Even if your home is missing those details, you can indulge in an art deco redo of a powder room, library/ office, dining room or bedroom.

LEAVE GATSBY FOR THE SCREEN Such a redesign calls for an infusion of formality and glamour. You can interpret art deco in its traditional splendor, or just use it as a final flourish in a contemporary space. Balance masculine angles with feminine glitz; use a moody, neutral palette. (And don’t forget the bar cart; the deco age coincided with the secret excesses of the Prohibition era. Remember Gatsby’s parties, after all.) But be careful: An art deco home shouldn’t feel like an elaborate Hollywood production. In its most approachable form, the style should envelop you and your guests with subtlety and graciousness. “Do not make a stage set that looks like a period room or a 1920’s movie palace,” Ruddy says. “That can become overwhelming and something one would tire of over time.”


COLORS Silver and gold; glossy jet black; blush pink; dusty green; tobacco; midnight blue

MATERIALS Crystal, chrome, bronze or mirrors; shagreen; rich woods with subtle grain, including rosewood, larch and ebonized mahogany

It stands to reason that this high-end style can be extra spendy, especially if you insist on tracking down period originals. Websites such as Chairish, eBay and Etsy open an affordable window to the past for discriminating purists moved to unite a few real-deal deco gems with fashionable reproductions. “I recommend using selected pieces that will act as complementary ‘jewelry’ to your home’s style,” Ruddy says. Seductive, layered lighting by way of sconces and torchières is a signature technique of this design style. Deco-fabulous hardware can transform a cabinet or door, while a mirrored console adds major impact. As for her own must-have pieces to attain the look, Ruddy cites a hall mirror; wall sconces in a long hallway; darkened bronze table statues by Lalique; coffee-table boxes



The mixture of geometric shapes of the mirror and basin in this bathroom, along with a muted color palette, illustrate the essence of art deco design. The use of lighted wall sconces adds a touch of glamour to the space.

of leather or shagreen hide with bronze trim; desk lamps with black formed metal shades and bronze or nickel arms; and decorative spheres of black or white marble or onyx. “An art deco sideboard can make a room; a beautiful dining room chandelier will add mystery and inspiration,” she says. “And a wonderful vintage or vintage-inspired geometric area rug will set a warm rich foundation for any room.”

Many people love the shapes and ornament that offer a crisp and angular feel. It's very modern without being overly severe." NANCY J. RUDDY, founding principal at CetraRuddy architecture firm

FURNITURE STYLE Angular, symmetrical, geometric forms; lacquered and mirrored items; vintage period pieces

FABRICS Velvet and velour; glazed leather

MOOD Graciously formal and elegant; sophisticated yet warm; grand in an understated way




ART DECO FINDS Leave them breathless with 1930s architectural glam that shimmers and shines GOLD

1. Zeus log holder, $298, dotandbo.com 2. Jiten wall sconce, $840, jossandmain.com 3. Accent table with handle, $250, williams-sonoma.com 4. Romantic Glam velvet pillow, $34.95, pier1.com 5. Fornasetti Losanghe small lidded candle, $175, barneys.com


1. Chloe Lighting Tiffany-style window panel/suncatcher, $161.99, overstock.com 2. Silver Amber chandelier, $1,155, aidangrayhome.com 3. Faux shagreen side table, $895, williams-sonoma.com 4. Bach martini glass, $32.45 for a set of four, wayfair.com 5. Tiffany art deco mini pendant, $272.80, overstock.com



1. Corsican MGM Deco bed, starts at $2,399.99, overstock.com 2. Christa serving cart, $73.95, jossandmain.com 3. Armen Living Barrister chair, $725, deqor.com 4. Fanimation Fitzgerald portable fan, $130.99, overstock.com 5. Chantilly two-light wall mount, $220, maximsuperstore.com — Lisa Marie Hart





The must-have for bohemian dĂŠcor is a neutral base, with unique furniture, light fixtures and decorative items to round out the look.



Bohemian BEAUTY


Adventurous and playful, this relaxed look re-emerges with a softer, more understated side



aid-back homebodies craving distant lands and new experiences will feel right at home with bohemian décor. Of all the design styles, “boho” symbolizes a lifestyle as much as a look. With a relaxed, artistic vibe, interiors run the gamut from wildly exotic to neutral and serene — with a trending aesthetic that veers toward the latter. Many elements are at your fingertips when inviting the whimsical boho spirit into your home. Moroccan wedding blankets, rugs and lanterns remain a hot commodity, as do hammocks, swing chairs and poufs of every shape and size. Potted plants, succulent gardens and botanical prints bring a sense of life and a breath of fresh air, while wall collages show off your best flea-market finds. Prints including tribal, Southwest and ikat all embody boho’s latest incarnation. Whether you opt for a youthful retreat or a refined sanctuary, you’ll find inspiration almost anywhere you look, from hotels, restaurants and coffeehouses to independent boutiques and popular retailers such as West Elm and Anthropologie. Mixing colorful patterned textiles from around the world, vintage and new furniture and select souvenirs will set the tone.

A TRANSPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT In a world of omnipresent technology and 24/7 demands, it’s no wonder the

carefree ambience of boho home is a welcome escape. “Though old in its philosophy of a collected look that doesn’t strive for perfection, boho is clearly a trend today,” says designer Neill Davis, co-owner of Houston-based boutique FOUND. “I go back to the Italian word sprezzatura.” Though most widely used to describe men’s fashion, it is the "rehearsed spontaneity, well-practiced naturalness, studied carelessness and general nonchalance" that perfectly fits the boho style, Davis says. Your own global treasures and found objects that tell a good story can help launch your boho look. The trick is creating an environment that feels genuinely collected, yet smartly curated.

EDIT YOUR FINDS A soulful boho home may sway toward earthy or sophisticated (ideally, it has touches of both). To pull it off, you’ll walk a fine line. A haphazard, anything-goes approach becomes sloppy. Too exacting and you’ll create something resembling a hippie-era hangout. The new must-have for the bohemian aesthetic is a neutral base, says Kirstin Hoffman, director of merchandising and content at Dot & Bo. “In today’s boho look, high-quality materials, unique accents and textural elements never cross into the ultra-bright, over-the-top mismatched style of years past.” A softer, more muted color palette defines a


COLORS Purple, fuchsia, turquoise, indigo; textured neutrals MATERIALS Natural woods with live edges, ornately carved wood, punched and hammered metals, mirrored elements, beading; brass, bronze and antique gilded finishes

relaxed lifestyle that celebrates natural materials — a pillar attribute of boho design. Davis advises relying on your sense of order as you collect pieces, paying attention to finish, color and shape. “All of these details can provide a quiet, common thread that holds the pieces together as a whole,” he says. “The nuances make the look cohesive.”

LET THE LOVE SHINE THROUGH Use everyday objects you already have in a non-traditional way, suggest Sormeh and Paiman Salimpour, the co-founders of Los Angelesand San Francisco-based interior design company Sormeh Lifestyle. Who says an unused photo frame can’t



double as a tray to hold your kitchenware? At first glance, highlighting what you already own seems like an exceptionally affordable idea, which is part of boho’s wide appeal. A few thrift finds, plus feathers, seashells and trinkets from trips abroad do add meaning. But while frugality makes a great starting point, a mix of price points will pay off. In fact, a boho home or room needn’t lose out on an air of luxury. The designers at FOUND have a soft spot for pitted mercury glass mirrors and antique crystal chandeliers (refusing to clean them so their “history” shines through). The good news, Hoffmann says, is this: “You can make

Though old in its philosophy of a collected look that doesn't strive for perfection, boho is clearly a trend today." NEILL DAVIS, co-owner of Houston-based boutique FOUND

just any furniture style look bohemian if you have boho accents.” Her top picks: ethnic patterned textiles, artisanmade objects, air plants, beaded chandeliers and Southwest-inspired pillows.

FABRICS Embroidery, batik, kantha, kilim, shibori, ikat, hand-dyed fabric, coarse linen and velvet; shag rugs, Berber textiles and Moroccan blankets MOOD Free-spirited, experimental, cheerful, spontaneous and open to possibility


An eclectic mix of colors and textures plus an attention-grabbing piece of artwork combine to give this dining area a quintessential bohemian look.

FURNITURE STYLE Eclectic and relaxed with global pieces; comfortable, informal group seating that says “the more the merrier”


BOHO FINDS Layer textured neutrals and natural materials, adding a pop of pattern or color BRASS, BRONZE & GOLD

1. Metallic mementos feather jewelry holder, $49, pbteen.com 2. Punched metal lantern, $59, westelm.com 3. Moravian star pendant, $299, ballarddesigns.com 4. Patina Vie mint twist cocktail glass, $39.99 for a set of eight, wayfair.com 5. Botanical metal table lamp, $159, westelm.com


1. On the Fringe hammock, $57, dotandbo.com 2. Leather sling butterfly chair, $199, pbteen.com 3. Moroccan leather pouf ottoman, $150, dwellstudio.com 4. Nola beaded outdoor chandelier, $4,295, frontgate.com 5. Naisenya wooden tables, $799 for a set of two, dotandbo.com



1. Blue slanted tie-dye pillow, $31, dotandbo.com 2. Selena pouf, $120.95, jossandmain.com 3. Serena chair, $1,349, frontgate.com 4. Geode bookends, $79 for a set of two, potterybarn.com 5. Mosaic waves mirror, $229, pier1.com — Lisa Marie Hart



The farmhouse style uses vintage elements, such as the light fixtures in this window seating area, for a welcoming vibe.






h farmhouse finesse

The all-American family home stays trendy with modern touches



hose who’ve had the privilege of staying on a farm for any length of time know that few places feel as sincere and welcoming. Instantly familiar and comforting, a farmhouse is the kind of home that makes it hard to leave, a place that balances a day’s work with rest, festivity and time for family. Transferring this homespun style into your own abode is less obvious than it sounds, however. The secret to its staying power has been the way it evolves. While consistently simple, rustic and never fussy, the farmhouse look keeps up with the times. Personalize the trend with your own spin. As inspiration, Dot & Bo, an online curated shopping service, recently released a Scandinavian Farmhouse collection, weaving midcentury’s clean lines and Scandinavia’s tempered minimalism with light and breezy elements to create pieces such as ash wood furniture and a glass milk bottle light fixture.

A HOME WITH HEART “Farmhouse design focuses on

kitchen living,” says designer Sacha Nizami, noting that the kitchen and dining areas serve as the heart of the home. Based in Miami and Toronto, Nizami has given clients a little piece of country in the city. Michael Davis, founder of Michael Davis Architects + Interiors in New York City, recently created “a farmhouse in the sky” for one client’s high-rise loft in Manhattan by incorporating recognizable elements. “Responsibility to the environment is fashionable,” says Davis, who added 100-year-old barn siding throughout. “A new aesthetic has arisen from a new appreciation of the beauty of the craftsmanship, recycled materials and buildings of the past.” In northern California, designer Laurie Furber of Elsie Green House & Home believes farmhouse’s casual charm remains relevant because it spans the cleanest white interior and the most rustic barn and always appeals to those who envision a comfortable yet stylish house. “It’s especially desirable for 2016 and beyond as we seek to design and decorate houses that are meant to be lived in and enjoyed,” she says. When pulled off with restraint and

an eye for authenticity, the farmhouse style’s versatility appeals to both young, first-time home buyers and empty nesters furnishing a vacation home, says Furber.

CHOOSE A FEW FAVORITE PIECES This trend’s barn-size challenge? It can quickly turn cutesy, taking it from just enough to “just stop!” One tchotchke too many can threaten the goal of a fresh and current translation of the traditionally sparse countryside farmhouse. “Too much vintage or country pine can start to look dingy, and too many literal farm references can become too themed,” Furber notes. “Use both strategically for maximum impact.” Keep the look modern by giving a nod to the style instead of taking an overt, in-your-face approach, says Kirstin Hoffman, director of merchandising and content at Dot & Bo. “Select a few key farmhouse furnishings, but don’t go overboard,” she suggests. “Pick and choose staples that you want to highlight, but keep other accents modern and minimal.” If you fall in love with galvanized metal pendant


lights, for example, pair them with a minimalist dining table.

COLORS White and/or cream, wood tones; black, red, green, yellow or navy accent colors




MATERIALS Reclaimed wood, rustic pine, copper, weathered metal, wrought iron, leather; vintage finds and authentic rustic elements that embrace their rust and patina

Light colors, rustic wood floors and hints of modern accents, above, create a relaxing space. Below, distressed wood walls frame an office and guest bedroom with a customized window bay sofa that converts into a bed.

FURNITURE STYLE Comfortable and welcoming; classic turned legs, roll-arm sofas, club chairs

FABRICS White denim, vintage mattress ticking, linen

MOOD Bright and clean; crisp yet casual; fresh yet slightly nostalgic or European


Furber explains how to capture the kitchen-centric design from scratch. “A large vintage farm table is a classic farmhouse staple. Surround it with simple, slipcovered chairs or vintage schoolhouse chairs so it feels more appropriate for today’s farmhouse-style home than pine ladder back chairs.” Hoffman adds that dining chairs with a mod, midcentury silhouette deliver an elevated country-chic look. Stark white walls complement your farm table and other rustic wood furniture. “A pretty, white slipcovered sofa is a good backdrop for a collection of pillows made from vintage textiles,” Furber says. “And there’s nothing lovelier than a vintage, dark wood bed with crisp, white bedding.” Davis says the key is to be inventive and celebrate the imperfections of salvaged materials. He always uses them functionally rather than for pure decoration. An old scale might hold fruit on the counter or soaps in the bathroom, for instance. Beyond the quintessential family-style table and a farmhouse sink (copper, stainless steel or white fireclay can work equally well), Furber favors a leather club chair and white denim sofa. Finish with updated versions of farmhouse lighting, incorporating a little black or other accent color into the palette to keep it original and sharp.


FARMHOUSE FINDS Soft white is a fresh balance for well-loved woods and weathered metal M E TA L

1. Jessie metal flower pots, $42.50 for a set of three, deqor.com 2. Nocturne pendant light, $186, dotandbo.com 3. Farmhouse iron and burlap oval baskets, $34.99 for a set of two, overstock.com 4. Metallic twist stool, $119, dotandbo.com 5. Farmhouse wall clock, $29.99, wayfair.com


1. Carson wall sconce, $199, rejuvenation.com 2. Jolene three-tier basket, $34.95, pier1.com 3. Harwich storage trunk, $499, birchlane.com 4. Farmhouse vase with metal handles, $69.95, pier1.com 5. Gardener’s Delight bar cart, $249, dotandbo.com



1. Aberdeen utility organizer with handle, $128.99, overstock.com 2. Marlow nailhead bar stool, $289, ballarddesigns.com 3. Clausen barnwood bed, starts at $1,695, shop.beekman1802.com 4. Dharma Lea farm table, $1,998, shop.beekman1802.com 5. Hunter coffee table, $270.95, jossandmain.com — Lisa Marie Hart



The L.A.-based Brown Design Group creates a warm, polished look in this living room with a mix of neutral colors and bold accents.




Transitional TASTE

Old and new come together in a style that bridges classic, traditional, midcentury and modern



huge compliment to a transitional design scheme would be if someone walks in and can’t nail it down to a style — but they love the way it feels.” These words from Ryan Brown, founder of Los Angeles-based Brown Design Group, sum up a look that has exploded on the scene. Brown describes the style this way: a mix of contemporary and traditional that is warm yet polished, speaking directly to the more informal way we live now and the open layouts that go with it. A transitional look pulls time-tested elements from eras and genres, blending and overlapping two or more distinct styles until there is no longer a clear distinction between them, creating a new style of its own. Toss classic décor and an emerging trend or two in a KitchenAid mixer for interior design and out comes this irresistible hybrid. Chances are, transitional is the style you admire most on Pinterest and HGTV and in magazines — if only you could put your finger on how it’s done. This style needn’t be elusive. Take a light-handed approach that’s as eclectic or as traditional as your personal taste dictates.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE “Transitional design is the magical space that allows homeowners to

expand their traditional tastes with new trends,” says Nikki Klugh, CEO of the Nikki Klugh Design Group in Chula Vista, Calif. “The combinations are endless. You can mix a bit of industrial, Zen, French country or modern and still have a home that looks comfortable and cozy without feeling too trendy.” A classic base keeps it timeless while unexpected accents follow your whims and life’s shifting seasons. “It can evolve as kids get older, new pieces or mementos are acquired or new colors inspire you,” Brown says. “The simple act of changing things around will keep it current.” He says his clients appreciate the flexibility to use an antique with patina in the same space as contemporary furniture and a piece of modern art: “The wonderful juxtaposition of old and new creates an adaptable living space where they can relax and unwind.” Michael Violante and Paul Rochford, founders of Violante & Rochford Interiors in Santa Fe, find the style appeals to fashionable personalities who are comfortable walking the line between two styles. They believe this blended style will stand the test of time precisely because it embraces change.

KEEP WHAT STILL WORKS Even die-hard traditionalists are coming around to the transitional way of thinking. Renovations are the time to


SEEK BALANCE AND HARMONY Before the transitional fun can begin, Mahoney suggests, create a “less is more” environment: “Eliminate excess clutter (decorative books, garden stools, side tables, etc.) so you can highlight minimal artwork and accents, creating an open and refreshing space.” The biggest challenge tends to be juxtaposing two styles so they work together and provide a place for the eye to



COLORS A tailored mix of neutrals, or pops of color against a neutral background

MATERIALS Natural materials including stone, marble and wood; mediumtone leather; grasscloth wallpaper; geometric tiles; metal finishes

Designers at Violante & Rochford Interiors in Santa Fe combined traditional elements with colorful, contemporary pieces to give this dining room a richly layered look that's also warm and inviting.

rest. Too much of any one style means you haven’t mixed it up enough, Violante says. “Too much matching goes against the soul of this style.” If it’s tough to know where to start, select some inspirational images to lead you. Brown encourages vintage shopping, where you can pick up storied pieces that add warmth if you don’t have family heirlooms. He loves placing a Danish modern side table next to an old antique leather club chair for a dash of surprise.

The simple act of changing things around will keep (the transitional look) current." RYAN BROWN, founder, Brown Design Group

“We love both modern and classic pieces,” Rochford says. “Just choose something you love and you will be happy to have it for a long time.”

FURNITURE STYLE An eclectic mix of modern and classic in similar shapes; less is more

FABRICS Beautiful, rich and touchable; tufted upholstery; linen and velvet

MOOD Inviting and approachable; elegant yet cozy


tear down walls to open your floor plan and create a more modern, communal flow to your living spaces. In this vein, functionality and comfort are emphasized, never compromised, to meet a specific aesthetic. Less predictable than other styles, transitional décor lets you update fixtures ranging from lighting to faucets and hardware, balancing sleek new choices against a classic, neutral background. If you tend to lean more toward the traditional style, but want to give your home a more contemporary feel, focus on integrating updated classics such as the modern wingback chair, says Meredith Mahoney, founder and design director of online furniture brand Birch Lane. Reupholster that floral ottoman in a woven, beige fabric, then anchor the living area with a neutral rug. “For the bigger anchor pieces, select something classic. Simpler shapes are always best,” Violante says. “Then layer colorful accessories, art and pillows, which can introduce formality or whimsy depending on the mood.”


TRANSITIONAL FINDS Timeless elements are reborn with hand-picked accents of color and shine CLASSIC LINES

1. Trevor loveseat, $1,999, crateandbarrel.com 2. Madera pendant light, $125, pier1.com 3. Sedona fixed pedestal dining table, $1,699, potterybarn.com 4. Elliot leather side chair, $499, potterybarn.com 5. Maison canopy bed, starts at $899, pbteen.com

C O L O R & P AT T E R N

1. Confetti vase, $49.95, crateandbarrel.com 2. Tribeca velvet arm chair, $727, jossandmain.com 3. Indigo Dot wall art, $600, dwellstudio.com 4. Casa Florentina Bombe chest, $1,299, ballarddesigns.com 5. Multidot throw, $149, crateandbarrel.com



1. Alyssa accent table, $249.95, pier1.com 2. Tall Labyrinth vessel vase, $69, birchlane.com 3. Euro starburst fruit basket, $18.99, wayfair.com 4. Sabrina table lamp, $750, williams-sonoma.com 5. Skyler etched glass mirror, $825, overstock.com — Lisa Marie Hart


NATURE-MADE DESIGN Bring the outdoors in and reap health and home beauty benefits BY PAULA ANDRUSS





he beauty of nature has a special appeal that relaxes and refreshes like few other things can. It makes sense, then, that there is a growing movement among home-dwellers to incorporate nature into their design and dĂŠcor so they can enjoy it year-round. Besides being beautiful and interesting, health experts say incorporating natural environments into your home can improve your happiness and wellbeing. No matter what you choose, from living walls and natural materials to hammock beds and expansive windows and doors, the list of innovative and attainable ways to invite the outdoors into a variety of spaces in a home is extensive.

Glass-encased trees inside a West Virginia home reflect a dramatic way to incorporate nature in your design.



REFRESH AND RESTORE In addition to its aesthetic qualities, exposure to nature can benefit our mental health, including decreasing stress and relieving anxiety and depression, researchers say. Avik Basu, lecturer and research area specialist at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, says natural environments have restorative properties that are especially beneficial in today’s information-overloaded world. “Interacting with nature provides mental space for our minds to wander, which is a key to restoring attention and reducing mental fatigue,” Basu



explains. “When we engage with nature — whether by walking in it, tending to it, or simply gazing at it — our attentional system gets to rest and restore itself.”

AN EXTENSION OF NATURE Some homeowners approach that concept literally by building their houses around existing natural elements such as trees and streams (think Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater residence in Pennsylvania). Washington, D.C.-based architect Travis Price recently designed a summer residence for nature lovers in West Virginia that was built around

two existing trees to extend the feel of its wooded setting. “Once you enter the house, you just feel like you’re still walking in the forest,” Price says. “The trees become permanent pieces of art and also shade.” Glass walls surrounding the trees include insulated movable shades, which change the look and light in the home with the seasons. “The walls change with the seasons, so the seasons actually become your décor,” he explains.

THE DOORS TO OUTDOORS Rob Busch, owner of Cincinnati architecture firm Drawing Dept, says


Cincinnati architecture firm Drawing Dept used large interior windows and wood details to bring natural beauty inside, above. The Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater home in Pennsylvania, right, literally blends into the existing landscape.


When we engage with nature ... our attentional system gets to rest and restore itself.” AVIK BASU, University of Michigan lecturer and research area specialist

in addition to glass walls, large, operable windows and doors are an effective way to invite the outdoors in, not only because they flood the inside with natural light, but also because they provide a seamless transition between the two. “The outside is not just leftover space after you design the space,” he says. “It’s the biggest room in the house. It just happens to be outside.” Busch says bringing the outdoors in can be as elaborate as a full wall of folding glass doors, or as easy as replacing an existing door or window with a larger one. “The price has come down so much on the huge doors, and they’re now available through big name-brand companies, so it’s

A wall of windows overlooking a tranquil pool provides homeowners access to outdoor scenery without being exposed to the elements.

easier than ever to make them a focal point of your home,” he says. To provide some impact at a more affordable price, Busch suggests changing the height of your existing windows or doors. Because most doors come in standard 6-foot-8-inch or 6-foot-10-inch heights, the top of the door sets the horizon for the view out of the house at roughly 6 feet, 10 inches, he explains. “If you have a pair of French doors, even though it seems like a small change, making them 8 feet tall instead of 6 feet, 10 inches will make an incredible difference,” he says. Similarly, width-wise, because it’s



GREEN YOUR WALLS Walls can also provide the framework to grow real indoor greenery in the form of living walls, also known as garden walls or vertical gardens. Rachel Dougan, principal of Washington, D.C.-based ViVi Interiors, says residential garden wall systems can be extremely low maintenance and highly sculptural, from an undulating wall of moss to a wave of varying air-grown succulents or a picture-framed grid of herbs. “It’s modern, chic and fresh. And the burst of bright green is stunning in an all-white room,” she says. Dougan says there are several options available, with varying levels of design and price. These features are also a great way to combine form and function by using them to grow herbs for the kitchen (easy-to-grow herb plants include basil, parsley, rosemary and mint). “For beginners, a grid system is very forgiving. You can test out a small garden before expanding to a whole wall,” she says. “You can keep adding on as you feel comfortable with the maintenance. Once the greens have taken off, the results can be quite simple to quite dramatic.”

NATURAL MATERIALS Incorporating natural building materials into your home can also add to an outdoorsy feel. Stone fireplace mantles and walls provide rustic appeal, as do wood beams and accents.



Maria Samuels, marketing and materials specialist at InStyle Modern furniture supplier in Brooklyn, N.Y., also recommends choosing natural flooring over man-made. “Think hardwood, bamboo and cork,” she says. “Natural flooring is warm and natural, and by using it, you’re bringing in the organic elements found outdoors.”

ELEMENTAL DÉCOR For the ultimate outdoors feel, purchase some traditionally “outdoor” furniture, such as a hanging lounge seat or bed. Extra points if they’re made of natural fibers such as rattan or wicker. “Lounge beds are fun in a family or entertainment room and come in unusual shapes such as semi-circle, circle or oval to add some extra flair to your room design,” Samuels says. “And they’re perfect for those family TV binge-watching evenings.” Of course, to bring in a quick, affordable infusion of the outdoors, the easiest options are to add colors and elements found in nature to your décor. Jars of rocks, shells and sand add natural appeal and texture, while colors inspired by nature refresh and restore. “Blues evoke the colors of water and the sky. Shades of green bring the essence of plants and grasses into your home. Neutrals, tans and beiges express earthiness,” Samuels says. “The outdoors provides a palpable and organic appeal for people, so it’s no surprise that we want to bring that beauty inside.” j


typical to see 6-foot-wide French doors or sliding doors, even going up to 8 feet will make a difference. “It can be very impactful in affecting how much of the outdoors you can see,” Busch says.

Large windows, wood beams and a stone fireplace bring natural elements to this bedroom, left. A living wall at a San Diego building, above, is composed of pothos, ferns and red bromeliads.



0SEFS POMJOF PS DBMM VT BU ����� ����� ���� ��� ��� ������� �� ���� �� ��� � ������ ��� ����� � ���� ��� �� � ��� ���� � �� ��� �� ���� � � � � ���� �� ��� �� ������ ��� ��� ���� �� ��� ��� �� � ������ � � ��� ���� � ��� ��� ������� � ��� ��� � �� ��� �� ����� *according to independent mattress review site, sleeplikethedead.com*according (Dec. 2015) to independent mattress review site, sleeplikethedead.com (Dec. 2015)



We welcome you to our new full-service, interactive Regional Visitors Center for a complete listing of preferred interior designers who would love to help you turn your home into a fashion plate for world-class dĂŠcor. Contact us to receive a free furniture shopping packet today!

1634 N. MAIN ST., SUITE 102 HIGH POINT, NC 27262 336.884.5255 WWW.HIGHPOINT.ORG



What you might not know about your local megastore could help you






renovating, you could browse the big stores' vast selection of products for days and never get bored. To assist you with any project, many one-stop superstores also offer a wide range of customer services (often free), including classes, design consultations and custom orders. Here are some of the biggest chains’ programs and perks.



ehind every homeowner’s DIY project, there’s a story about his or her experience with a big-box home improvement retailer. Whether you gutted a kitchen or replaced plumbing fixtures, you likely visited your local store for a tool or a tack. If you are passionate about building, creating, repairing or


Homeowners can design their own Sektion kitchen by Ikea. ask first.


IKEA From measurement to planning to installation, Ikea has built a menu of kitchen-design services that gives DIYers the flexibility to do as much or as little work as they want to bring their dream kitchen to life. “Most people know that Ikea has kitchen cabinets and accessories, but the truth is, we sell it all — appliances, faucets, sinks, lighting, storage, you name it, we’ve got it,” says Ikea U.S. design spokeswoman Janice Simonsen. “People are often surprised that Ikea can help design and build your dream kitchen from start to finish with all of the necessities.” Ikea recently announced Sektion, a new, versatile kitchen system available in U.S. stores. “The new modular kitchen, which replaces the current kitchen system Akurum, enables customers to create truly customizable solutions,

regardless of the size and shape of their kitchen space,” says Simonsen. Shoppers get the chance to act as their own interior designer with the help of the online 3-D Kitchen Planner — enter exact measurements, view the design in 3-D, determine cost and print a plan and product list that can be sent or taken to your Ikea store.

LOWE’S Lowe’s offers installation services for many of its products through independent contractors, including flooring, millwork, kitchens and appliances. On-site specialists are available to assist customers with selecting products and services for their home, inside and out. “Additionally ... our exterior project specialists help customers with projects that benefit from in-home consultations such as roofing, siding, fencing

and windows,” says Gary Gross, Lowe’s vice president of services. “Our interior project specialists provide similar consultations for interior projects such as kitchen and bathroom remodeling.” For the younger DIY set, Lowe’s offers free Build and Grow clinics for children.

SEARS “While most people have probably seen Sears Blue Crew vans driving around their towns, they might be surprised to know that Sears Home Services is the nation’s largest provider of residential services, such as appliance repair and home improvement,” says Chip Smith, chief marketing officer of home services and appliances at Sears. “Our nearly 7,000 technicians are trusted in more than 14 million homes across the country every year.” In addition to appliance

repair and maintenance, Sears Home Services offers home improvement services, including kitchen and bathroom remodeling, roofing, flooring, siding and painting.

THE HOME DEPOT “Something that most people don’t know about The Home Depot is that behind the scenes, we have a team of interior designers who work with our buyers to make sure we’re stocking our shelves with the best, on-trend product we can,” says Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design. The Home Depot also regularly conducts free in-store workshops that can help you hone your DIY skills as well as tackle projects inspired by Pinterest or other sources of homedecorating inspiration. The company also offers free, monthly workshops for kids.

Home Depot associates are on hand to assist customers with questions.


CUSTOMER SERVICE IKEA Ikea Family is a free

loyalty membership program

LOWE’S In addition to the approximately 36,000 items on sale in a typical Lowe’s store, thousands of additional products are available by special order. Gross says special orders (from catalogs and samples in the store) can be placed in any store or online and are typically available seven to 14 days from the order date. Lowe’s also offers a one-year guarantee on trees, shrubs and perennials, and will replace any that don’t survive free of charge when you bring in the plant and the receipt.

SEARS Sears focuses on making the shopping experience



Sears offers in-vehicle pickup to make purchases and returns easier. smoother by offering services that ease purchases and returns. “Buying what you really want should be easy. Nobody enjoys having to return or exchange items, so we have expanded our popular, curbside In-Vehicle Pickup program to include returns and exchanges — making the process more manageable and convenient for Sears shoppers,” says Leena Munjal, senior vice president of customer experience and integrated retail. Sears was among the first retailers to offer shoppers the convenience of ordering items online and picking them up in the store. In-vehicle pickup guarantees items will be delivered to your car within

five minutes or less, or you’ll receive a $5 coupon. Shoppers begin an in-vehicle pickup, return or exchange at sears.com and follow the prompts for “Store Pickup” or “Returns & Exchanges.” Sears sends an email confirmation and the shopper heads to the store, parks in a designated area and uses a Sears phone app to notify the store. The app starts a timer, and a Sears associate will complete the transaction within five minutes, guaranteed.

THE HOME DEPOT In 1995, The Home Depot opened tool rental centers in four Nashville stores as a test, and because it made projects (and life) a whole lot easier. By renting tools you only need a handful


with benefits that include: • Access to a new selection of sale products every month with special members-only prices. • Free coffee or hot tea every time you visit. • If a product purchased using the Ikea Family card goes on sale at a lower price any time within 90 days, Ikea will refund the difference.

of times a year, storage becomes less of an issue, says Tony English, tool rental merchant at The Home Depot. “Tillers are a great example of a rental saver for storage,” he says. “You really only need it once a year in March or April to get your garden ready for spring. If you rent it, it won’t sit in your shed for the other 364 days of the year.” And another big bonus: Renting the tools you don’t use frequently is budgetfriendly, says English. The Home Depot also rents moving trucks through its partnership with Penske, as well as moving equipment such as dollies and hand trucks, and sells supplies including boxes, bubble wrap and tape. Customers can find a calculator at hdmoving.com that helps tally the amount of equipment and supplies, based on the number of rooms, needed for the big move.

To us, beautiful style also means itʻs gorgeously reliable.

Welcome to style that comes with superior performance and a limited lifetime warranty. Bring nature’s lines indoors with the ChatfieldTM Collection. Its soft curves and elegant waves reflect the beauty of water itself. For a new take on industrial chic, the KemptonTM Collection adds bold, antique detail to your décor. And they both deliver exciting looks with beautifully reliable performance. WaterSense® Certified • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Chatfield Dual Control Widespread in Legacy Bronze

Kempton Dual Control Centerset in Brushed Nickel


homedepot.com americanstandard-us.com

Chatfield Models Centerset Widespread Tub and Shower Kit Kempton Centerset

Chrome (CH)* Available in Chatfield only.

Brushed Nickel (BN) Legacy Bronze (LB)

DIGITAL OFFERINGS In addition to its 3-D Kitchen Planner, Ikea offers online tools to help you design that perfect bathroom, office, TV and media storage unit or wardrobe closet for your home.

LOWE'S For a smarter home, Lowe’s offers the Iris home management system, a free, app-based service that allows users to control a wide variety of functions in their home from a smartphone. “Iris is an easy-to-install, DIY smart-home solution, used to manage, monitor and maintain virtually everything in your home from your smartphone,” says Mick Koster, vice president and general manager of Iris Home Systems. ATGStores.com is a Lowe’s company that uses online tools to extend Lowe’s offerings with millions of products, expert tips and ideas for the home, and professional interior design and installation services, says ATGStores.com president Michelle Newbery. “We feature free shipping at any price, personalized customer care and cutting-edge online tools that help take the fear out of buying home furnishings online,” she says.

SEARS Using the Sears app, you can shop, compare features and prices, get e-coupons, track orders and start a layaway on your phone. Through the free Shop Your Way shopping and rewards program, access deals and coupons on a wide variety of merchandise in-store, online and on your phone, and join an online community that includes celebrities such as Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and Nicki Minaj and their brands.

THE HOME DEPOT If you’ve fretted over a paint project because you can’t choose a color, there’s an app for that, says Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design. “The app, Project Color, allows you to try different colors on your walls by simply taking a photo (of the room) and picks up on subtleties like texture, lighting and shadows that matter when choosing a paint,” she says. “We also have a tool on homedepot.com that will estimate how much paint you need to buy."



Mike Catania, co-owner of PromotionCode. org, one of the largest coupon sites since 2008, has worked with many big-name retailers and has money-saving secrets to share. Here are his top five tips for saving money on home purchases:


Most employees of The Home Depot are authorized to give up to a 15 percent discount on damaged or opened items without managerial approval. This allows employees to quickly resolve customer issues or complaints.


Most stores have special clearance markings that indicate products on final sale or pre-final sale. At The Home Depot, a price ending in .03 is final clearance and .06 is pre-final clearance. If the last cent digit in an Office Depot item’s price isn’t a 5, 9 or zero, that indicates final clearance. An online search will yield a lot of these.


A great way to get special coupons is to call customer service and ask for them. These coupons aren’t available in print or on coupon sites, but taking the time to call a chain and ask their national customer service representatives (not the individual stores) for extra offers will usually get you something.


If paint sits past its expiration, its tint may change. Lowe's offers discounts on such paint and you can buy a gallon for $3 to $5. You’ll have to ask for it, though, since this isn't advertised.


Ikea has a quarterly cabinet sale that's short and sells out fast. But for $49 you can sign up for Ikea’s cabinet measurement service, which extends the sale by 30 days. If you place an order for cabinets, you’ll either get 20 percent off or the $49 fee will be refunded.




If our ancestors had outdoor spaces designed this well, indoor living may have never caught on.

Decking: Trex Transcend® Tropicals in Island Mist | © 2016 Trex Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

When it comes to life outdoors, nothing outperforms the world’s #1 decking brand. Only Trex® is engineered to eliminate time-consuming maintenance while providing superior scratch, fade and stain resistance. So when the time comes to build your next deck, make sure it’s Trex®. Visit shop.trex.com to browse all of our color options and to order samples.

Live Simply by Breaking Free MINIMALIST LIVING Unclutter your life and live better. Imagine what you could do if you had no mortgage to pay and very low utility bills. Imagine if you could clean your entire home in less than an hour. THE ART OF SLOWING DOWN If you had to work half as much as you do now to pay for your dwelling how would you spend your time? Would you travel the world? Write a book? Learn to y? Free yourself from the rat race and live the simple life. SUSTAINABLE Use less energy or none at all with solar panels. Living in a tiny home dramatically reduces your consumption and waste.

WE DELIVER ANYWHERE! TimbercraftTinyHomes.com | 21351 Hwy. 431 | Guntersville, AL 35976 | 256-558-8410


Outdoor Living { KITCHENS 76






Give your backyard some TLC by creating new spaces and finding fresh uses for existing ones.


N ATU R A L S E TTI NGS Elevate an outdoor meal with attractive — and practical — tableware. The sturdy handcrafted goods created at Grovemade in Portland, Ore., represent just one example of the wide array of pieces available for fine dining in fresh air. — Elizabeth Neus

E AT IN S T Y L E www.grovemade.com

uD I N N E RWA R E Bowl and small plate, $39 each; large plate, $49


uP LA C E MAT Reversible place mat with wood on one side, $49 each uS A LT C E LLA R Walnut salt cellar also lets you show off your sugars and spices. $29



Many families are opting to create full-scale kitchen spaces that take advantage of the great outdoors and provide an extra place to entertain.



COOK OUT! Create a backyard kitchen that’s inviting, functional and fun




he image of Dad making repeated attempts to light a tiny charcoal grill isn’t as common as it used to be. No, the urge to fire up the grill hasn’t subsided — interest in smoky meats and charred vegetables has never been hotter. Today’s home chefs, however, are cooking from full outdoor kitchens, comparable in quality and functionality to their indoor counterparts.

“My favorite way to cook and eat food is in the outdoors,” says chef Libby Sibley, founder of Nashville’s Music City Mise, which preps and plans meals to make at home. “There is something so vital and authentic about cooking and eating outside that makes you feel alive.” The quest for the perfect alfresco cooking area is one that takes place around the country regardless of climate considerations. In cities such as



An outdoor kitchen, like this one featuring a grill from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, is a perfect place for alfresco entertaining.



in the interior,” says looking for appliSarah Barnard, of Santa ances that are rated for Monica, Calif.-based outdoor use. Sarah Barnard Design. But a stamp on a The goal is to create grill or an outdoor light a cohesive look that fixture isn’t enough — encompasses both your think about how you’ll indoor and outdoor use your kitchen and spaces while taking what kind of weather advantage of the great will beat down on your outdoors. new design. Cooking under the When it comes to stars is romantic, no stone and pavers for LIBBY SIBLEY, question. But there are walls, counters and Music City Mise some decidedly unsexy flooring, you want yet necessary considermaterials that are ations that should go into planning an forgiving. Inside your home, spots from outdoor kitchen. red wine and ketchup are constant Choosing materials and products concerns. Outdoors, you’ll have those that can hold up to the elements is stain-makers in addition to pollen and essential. At its most basic, this means water spots from rain and snow.



Chicago and New York, outdoor kitchens are making the most of fewer weather-appropriate days. In suburban Atlanta, where sunshine is more plentiful, the options are limitless. Antonette Copeland, design center director for Construction Resources Inc. in Alpharetta, Ga., says outdoor kitchens make sense for today’s families. “People are bringing blended families together, people of more than one generation.” If you have small children, instead of going out to watch the big game, you invite folks over, gather around your outdoor TV, feed the crowd without messing up the house and let the kids play in the yard, she says. “Folks come to me looking for a cohesive outdoor cooking experience that parallels what they have


A sealed textured granite countertop may provide enough protection; sealed limestone and slate are other attractive options. While concrete might seem an obvious choice for an outside space, Craig Jenkins-Sutton, co-owner and landscape designer at Chicago-based Topiarius, advises against using it because it’s a porous material that could crack when exposed long term to rain or water sprinklers. Look for less-absorbent natural tiles or synthetic products such as porcelain or limestone, that are designed for the elements. Think about your climate, too. Slate flooring is great for maintaining a natural look outdoors, is often quarried in California and is easy to clean. But if you choose a dark color that absorbs heat and you have kids (or adults) running around barefoot on a hot summer day, slate might not be ideal. After you’ve invested so much into building your dream outdoor kitchen, you don’t want the whole production to go up in flames. When building pergolas and other structures over and around the area, stay away from wood. Opt instead for composite materials that are fire-safe. Be sure to protect the grill from wind and strong gusts that can blow out the flames or create a fire hazard. A plexiglass shield works in some

environments where it won’t be directly exposed to heat and could potentially melt, but if your grill will be generating heat many hours a day, frosted tempered glass may be a better option since it can withstand high temperatures longer. You should also give careful consideration to the grading in your backyard to avoid potential flooding, Barnard says. Even if your appliances are rated for outdoor use, that doesn’t mean they’re intended to withstand flooding, she says. Don’t place your outdoor kitchen in a low-lying area, and if that can’t be helped, consult a professional about regrading the property before utility lines are installed. Your electrical needs will depend on your location and whether any digging will be required to extend power to the area. You want a licensed professional to install the outdoor-rated electrical conduit and covered GFCI outlets that guard against electric shock. Consider placing all the outdoor fixtures on a separate circuit, which makes it easier to reset the system if needed. No matter how often you sweep, leaves and sticks will end up in the area, creating a potential fire hazard. If wet leaves fall on countertops, it can be a challenge to remove resulting stains, regardless of how well you sealed the granite. Container plants are a good choice (if you grow herbs, you’ll always have them handy for cooking), but always place them a safe distance from the kitchen. All of your planning will be worth it when you sit under the stars, family by your side and a chilled beverage in your hand.

Dining Alfresco Once you’ve created the perfect outdoor kitchen space, you’re ready to prepare some fabulous meals. When using an outdoor wood-fired oven, Libby Sibley, of Nashville’s Music City Mise, suggests bringing it up Libby Sibley to 800 degrees Fahrenheit for a chewy, blistered flatbread or pizza. You can also use the oven to “bake fresh homemade sourdough bread, slow cook a pork butt ... roast a perfect chicken in a cast iron pan, roast hearty vegetables ... (or) smoke and roast a whole lobster,” Sibley says. She’s also a fan of that most Southern of traditions — deep-frying a “turducken” (a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey) in an outdoor deep fryer. Chef Danny Grant of Chicago’s Maple & Ash restaurant offers these tips for successful grilling: uBring meats Danny Grant and vegetables to room temperature before putting them on the flame. uYou can use a high flame to get a tasty initial char, but use a lower flame to let food sit on the grill longer without burning. uOnce you take meat off the grill, let it sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving. During that time, it is still hot and still cooking.



Shopping List You can do everything from cooking to entertaining in an outdoor kitchen space with the right equipment. Here are some essentials:

FANS Even in the great outdoors, you may want a fresh breeze, particularly if you’re in a small space. In a covered area, an outdoor ceiling fan, like the Avvo from Monte Carlo Ceiling Fan Co., will do the trick. $499 or $525; find a retailer at montecarlofans.com



Keep drinks cool with Summit Appliance’s CLIMOS151 icemaker, which can make as much as 32 pounds every day. $2,085; find a dealer at summitappliance.com

Daltile’s Industrial Park tile line features StepWise technology, a sealant that makes the tile slip-resistant. Starting at $6.50 per square foot; find a dealer at daltile.com/locate


GRILL The Sub-Zero OG54 54-inch outdoor gas grill by Wolf has six burners and comes with two adjustable rotisseries and halogen lights to illuminate the area. $8,280; find a dealer at subzero-wolf.com/locator



For ale aficionados, Summit Appliance’s SBC678OS outdoor beer dispenser holds a half keg. $1,965; find a dealer at summitappliance.com/ dealer_locator


If wine is your thing, opt for Perlick’s 24-inch Signature Series Sottile Wine Reserve, which tucks neatly under a counter. $3,099; find a dealer at perlick.com

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O U T D O O R | L I V I N G S PA C E S

FAMILY ROOM WITH A VIEW Create a backyard living area that provides peace and pleasure




rom enjoying pizza baked in an outdoor oven to watching a movie projected under the stars, the definition of time spent in the backyard is changing for today’s family. According to a 2015 survey by Houzz, an online home design and advice community, 43 percent of homeowners who have completed, are working on or planning an outdoor project identify family time as a top priority. And thanks to modern advances in outdoor materials, products and appliances, it’s easy to transform your space into a family retreat that will make it seem as if you’re miles away from today’s hurried lifestyle.



PLAN AHEAD Spacious or compact, hugging the exterior walls or tucked at the end of a pathway, a comfortable sitting area such as a patio or deck will be your backyard’s home base. Begin with good planning, advises Carl N. Berg of Berg Landscape Architects in Midway, Utah. Think about “family size and ages, views to

enhance or to block, desired enhancements, how the space will connect to the home and a project budget,” he recommends. Consider how your family will use the space. And remember to think long term; young children who barely sit still today will eventually become teenagers longing for lounge chairs and a place

to entertain friends. “Draw your thoughts out on paper, and consider changes with the seasons, which could impact the scope of the project,” suggests Matt Culligan, president of Rolling Landscapes in Lemont, Ill. For example, a spot that looks perfect in winter may lose its appeal if it offers too much, or too little, protection from the hot summer sun. “(Include) spaces for plantings to help soften the look,” adds Culligan. Keep the end result in proportion to your home and lot; an expansive patio will crowd out a small lot or may feel overwhelming outside a modestly sized home.


FACTOR IN CREATURE COMFORTS If your available seating area is limited, don’t despair. Maintain an open feel with fewer seats and smaller tables. Then consider where you can place supplemental seating such as a cushioned bench, a porch-style swing or even foldaway loungers. Locate seats where you know you’ll be spending lots of your time. “For example, if a family has a toddler with a climbing

structure, complement that space with seating and shade for the parents,” says Berg. Shade is another critical factor when it comes to comfort. A pergola or gazebo will provide reliable relief from the sun’s rays, while shade from an oversized umbrella or vine-covered lattice wall will move through the day. Just because you’re outdoors doesn’t mean you have to forgo climate

Bridgewater dining chair with fade-resistant cushion, $369, crateandbarrel.com control. “For cooling, add fans inside a pergola ... also useful for keeping mosquitos away,” says Matthew Biron, a landscape architect at Hoffman Landscapes in Wilton, Conn.

GO BRIGHT Use lights to define your perimeter, illuminate walkways and stairs or gently mark changes in elevation. Embedded in gardens or shrubbery, lighting can add a mystical glow to the entire yard. “You can install solar lights, available at most stores, yourself,” says Biron. Other quick solutions include bamboo torches, citronella candles and hanging or tabletop lanterns. Change up the illumination to set the mood — strings of lights for a festive flair, torches for a tropical feel or enclosed candles for a quiet dinner. For a more permanent, integrated approach, Biron suggests installing LED lighting. “Controlled by your iPhone, you can turn the lights on and off from virtually anywhere,” he says. For little-used corners, try mounting a motion-detecting light fixture.

Keep Cool

Use portable cooling units or fans to ease the heat on hot days.


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FOCUS ON THE FLOW Once your new retreat is designed, don’t let a rusted railing or wobbly steps lead you to it. Take a fresh look at how you’ll be transitioning from your home to your yard. “A stoop or steps from the house to the backyard can upgrade the whole look, especially for an older house,” says Culligan. Landscape designers also recommend tying everything together using walkways — paths of gravel or pavers can improve safety and minimize mud. Add a timeless element by integrating kid-crafted stepping stones amid the pavers.

ADD FIRE AND WATER A fire pit or fireplace draws all ages, whether for a family marshmallow roast, a supervised gathering for teens or a cozy evening for adults to unwind. Freestanding fire pits can be relatively inexpensive, or you can incorporate a fire feature into the design of your deck, patio or even your outdoor table. For busy families, Culligan recommends gas-powered versions: “You can get a fire going very quickly, and enjoy the time available.” Another compelling outdoor feature is anything that involves water, from the soft trickle of a waterfall to the mesmerizing beauty of a koi pond. Create a focal point with a water sculpture or install plumbing for a garden fountain. If you have pets, a paw-operated drinking fountain will keep Fido or Fluffy happy.

JAZZ IT UP Provided you opt for weatherproof materials, have fun and decorate! Use the home’s exterior walls to hang art or spacecreating mirrors, and incorporate colorful planters, pillows and tablecloths that will make the space even more inviting.



Sound systems are increasingly popular, Biron notes. “You can add integrated speakers into your landscape, controlled by an app on your smartphone.” Don’t stop at music; purchase a projector, then add an outdoor screen — or tack a white sheet along

a wall or fence — and host movie nights your family will talk about all winter. Just add popcorn!

The options for creating unique family spaces are only limited by your imagination. Once the basics are in place, add the extras that suit your family’s personality. Popular accessories may include a hammock for whiling away the afternoon or a bistro table for morning coffee and evening wine. For the younger crowd, “parents still want playsets ... but they’re no longer the old-school, metal slides,” says Biron, who notes that play forts are popular today. You can also design areas that will inspire activity. Churn up a small plot for veggie growing, plant a circle of tall sunflowers where your youngster can have a secret hideaway or make space for traditional lawn games like croquet that offer a novel alternative to electronic entertainment. And don’t forget your four-legged family members. Pets will appreciate shade, easily provided with low-level plantings. For even more creature comfort, add an outdoor dog bed.






REFRESH YOUR DECK Erase the winter doldrums and get ready for spring f you’re gazing out the window at a deck or patio that looks tired and worn, you’re not alone. Whipping winds, moisture and temperature extremes can do a number on even the most pristine outdoor living space. And that’s all the more reason to make plans now to take yours from bleak to beautiful. Here are six ways to wake up your deck in time for fabulous parties, easy conversations and alfresco naps.



The design team at Mariani Landscape in Lake Bluff, Ill., took this patio from drab to fab with fashionable outdoor furniture, colorful foliage and a beautiful fire pit as the centerpiece.




BR E ATH E LI FE I NTO UPH O LS TE RY Whether or not you’ve put furniture cushions in storage for the winter, they’re due for a cleaning. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to clean them, but if they still look worn or stained, that’s your excuse to buy new ones and give your outdoor space a whole new vibe. Shop for cushions with weatherproof fabrics, and really think about color. “Use a lighter color for your upholstered cushions and make that color the common thread in your space,” suggests Warren Sheets, founder of Warren Sheets Design, an interior design firm in San Francisco. This deck space, designed by MorganteWilson Architects in Evanston, Ill., uses light upholstery as a base for darker and more colorful furniture and pillows.




MAK E A C LE A N SW EEP Pull out the pressure washer to clean up dirt and grime that’s accumulated on your deck. “This is a great thing to do in the early spring, as the melted snow is gone and has left behind a layer of grit,” says Carrie Woleben-Meade, director of design at Mariani Landscape, a landscape design firm in Lake Bluff, Ill. Just be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions and monitor the setting on your power washer. “Avoid using your power washer on a super-high setting,” she says. “That can actually damage your flooring, whether it’s stone or wood, which can become splintered if you apply too much pressure.”

If your wood deck needs more help than a simple cleaning can provide (Has the protective coating faded or worn away? Are boards split and decaying? Are you battling mold and mildew?), set aside time this spring to clean it and apply a fresh coat of waterproof stain, and replace boards as needed. If you’re renting and can’t stain your deck — landlord’s orders — there are other things you can do. “Mask imperfections by clustering a trio of potted plants together,” says Kirstin Hoffmann, director of merchandising at Dot & Bo, a curated furniture and home décor shopping site. “The height of the plants will draw the eye upwards and away from the weathered deck, while modern planters will help cover up any large patches of chipping paint.”






CO N S I D E R TH E FIRE PI T Don’t overlook this popular outdoor fixture — clear away leaves and debris to keep this versatile alfresco centerpiece ready for action year-round.

5 BR IGH TE N U P An easy way to open up your outdoor space is to hang mirrors on the perimeter of your deck or patio. “Hang old mirrors you have lying around your house or snag a few at your local thrift store,” Hoffmann says. The right lighting will make your deck brighter, too. In fact, inexpensive strings of lights can transform an outdoor space without much fuss. “With the flick of a switch, they make any backyard inviting and entertainingready,” Hoffmann says. 88


6 GO FAU X Remember that an outdoor space lacks the walls and ceilings that give indoor rooms a feeling of intimacy. “You want to think in terms of creating ‘walls’ through landscape architecture such as a low wall of brick, wood or stone, or such as boxwood hedges that can form walls via foliage,” says Fred Wilson of Morgante-Wilson Architects in Evanston, Ill. “Add overhead elements such as a trellis, sail shade or oversized umbrella — all of these will help define the space by shading and covering it in certain sections.” j

Not everyone has a finished deck for warmweather fun. If your deck or patio is a blank slate, you’ll need to do some prep to transform it into a backyard oasis. First, assess the whole space and decide what your priorities will be for the deck, says Carrie Woleben-Meade, director of design at Mariani Landscape. Think about whether you’ll be using the space for outdoor dining or whether it will be more of a casual space where you plan to hang out by a fire pit, for example. Next, sketch a mock-up of how the space might look, she suggests. “Include any elements you plan to include, whether that’s a hammock, an outdoor table or chaises.” Once that blueprint is in place, it’s time to order your furniture. Again, before you start your shopping, make sure you know exactly how you’re going to use the space. “Are you planning to entertain larger groups or just enjoy the deck as a family?” WolebenMeade asks. “That’ll help you decide what items you need.”


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HOMEGROWN KNOW-HOW Enjoy fresh veggies, herbs from your backyard


hether you’re a foodie who savors ultra-fresh dining, an environmentalist concerned about the carbon footprint of food transport or a healthconscious consumer hungry for top-quality fruits and veggies, putting a priority on locally grown produce can help you make a change for the better. And while farmers markets and farmfriendly supermarkets can be great resources for fresher produce, you can bring the “farm-totable” movement home by establishing a garden in your own backyard. From urban balcony to country estate, there’s always room to grow some of your own food. Your harvest can be as simple as a few items to liven up your lunchtime salad or so expansive that you’re doling out zucchini to the neighbors. Let your space, energy level and taste preferences lead the way!





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WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE You don’t have to tear up your lawn to create a dedicated garden and achieve a route to a homegrown salad. “Foodscaping” — incorporating edible plantings into your existing landscape — can provide a direct connection from seed to table, says Forti. “Start off by adding attractive and nutritious plants into your existing perennial borders, annual beds, ornamental planters and window boxes,” he suggests. “The closer to your kitchen, the more likely you will be to remember (what you planted)



and harvest what you grow.” To add visual interest, go for contrasting heights, colors and textures. For budding gardeners who have little more than a small patio or balcony, compact vegetables and many herbs will thrive in containers. Choose ones that can withstand moisture and provide drainage. Container plantings can be clustered at varying heights in sunny corners, staggered along stairs, or hung from sturdy hooks. Create groupings of family favorites: basil, tomatoes and oregano for pizza, or cilantro and hot peppers to jazz up Southwestern dishes.

Gardening experts suggest adding window boxes to grow herbs that you will routinely use in your kitchen.


Raised-bed gardens — essentially large planting boxes that sit directly on the ground — are popular and lend an organized look to your landscape. The bed frames vary depending on your space and design, but are commonly between 3 feet and 4 feet wide, 5 feet and 8 feet long, and 6 inches to 12 inches high. The frames are filled with soil, organic matter and other planting material that you provide. Raised beds maximize productivity in a small space and keep rich soil in planting areas instead of pathways, says John Forti, director of horticulture at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. “They can also be helpful around old homes or Raised beds urban streets where lead paint or other lend organizatoxins might be present in the soil.” tion and visual interest to backAnd because they’re above ground, the yard gardens. beds require less bending and are more likely to accommodate gardeners who aren’t ready to let mobility issues slow them down. Since they sit directly on the soil, raised beds allow for more variety than a container; depending on their depth, they can accommodate deeply burrowing carrots or 10-foot staked bean plants. (Before you establish a raised bed, consider tilling or “double digging” suitable hard-packed ground underneath to make it easier for some plants to take root.) You can easily build bed frames from a kit, or create a frame to complement your home’s style using wood (such as landscape timbers or railroad ties), brick or masonry. Fill walkways between the beds with mulch or gravel to keep them neat, functional and weed-free.





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GO TRADITIONAL In-ground gardens are always a favorite. Choose your spot by observing the sun’s pattern over several days or weeks. “Some crops, such as leafy vegetables and small herbs, can tolerate some shade, but most plants need full sun,” says Meagan Provencher, senior landscape designer at Wasco Nursery and Garden Center in St. Charles, Ill. For proper drainage, choose a level area. Sketch out your plan, making note of your desired veggies’ space requirements. And don’t limit your planting to a horizontal plane. “Vining fruits such as cucumbers, beans and zucchini can be grown on fence sections or trellises to keep them upright rather than hogging ground space,” adds Provencher.




Make your harvest last year-round You don’t have to limit your homegrown enjoyment to the summer months. uMost vegetables are well suited to canning. “Cucumbers lend themselves to making pickles, as do beets, okra, summer squash and zucchini. Put together some dill flowers and green beans, and you get ‘dilly beans,’” suggests Guy Kilpatric, lead agricultural technician at the University of Maryland’s Terp Farm. uFreezing is another season-extender — diced herbs, berries, peas and

beans are good candidates for the freezer. The defrosted items are often of similar quality to the original, but if you notice a change in texture, use them in casseroles or stews. Experiment to see how different items freeze and what your family prefers. “A favorite of mine is turning just about anything green into pesto to freeze for a quick, fresh-tasting pasta meal anytime,” says Kilpatric. uSome vegetables can be stored, unprocessed, for long periods in a refrigera-

tor or root cellar, Kilpatric notes. Cole crops, such as cabbage, turnips or Brussels sprouts, and root vegetables, including potatoes, beets and carrots, are typically long-lasters. uHerbs, tomatoes and hot peppers take on a new purpose when dried or dehydrated. The drying process can be as simple as hanging a bunch of peppers in a dry, dark corner or as extensive as purchasing a dehydrator and dedicating an afternoon to creating your own sun-dried tomatoes. — Debbie Swanson


Depending on your budget and region, protective structures can stretch both ends of your growing season, providing an early start for seedlings and a shelter for that late-summer crop of cool-weather vegetables. The most permanent structure is a greenhouse, which often includes a climate control mechanism such as a heater or ventilation system. Local building or electrical permits may be required. Other affordable methods, Forti says, include a cold frame — a large, box-shaped planter sporting a flip-top glass or clear plastic lid — or a hoop house, which consists of sturdy plastic stretched over a frame of large hoops or bows. Both are easy DIY projects and draw upon solar power to warm plants.

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LAWNS REIMAGINED Add pizzazz to your landscape with creative and attractive alternatives to grass BY MAISY FERNANDEZ



GE T S TA RTE D For advice and to determine what will grow best in your area, consult with a local landscape designer or contact your local county extension office.

MA K E A HA BITAT Milkweed and colorful asters attract monarch butterflies, while honeybees are drawn to marigolds and perennial favorites — daisies, lilac and echinacea.

PAV E IT Natural stone pavers are the best option for patios and outdoor entertainment areas, as they age well and look better with time.



lush, green lawn may be the pride and joy of many homeowners, but if you’re looking for something different, consider adding interest and appeal to your landscape with alternatives to grass. In general, combining ground cover, uprightgrowing perennials and ornamental grasses will give any yard a balanced and colorful look, says David Salman, founder and chief horticulturist at online garden supplier High Country Gardens. “One benefit is the positive environmental impact, because you’re not mowing and fertilizing,” notes Mike Lizotte, managing partner of American Meadows, an online garden supply retailer. “But it’s also cost-effective and a lot less maintenance.” Yes, you’ll periodically tend to the plants, but you’ll no longer be required to spend your weekends keeping vast expanses of grass green, weed-free and neatly manicured. Incorporating native plants and ornamental grasses such as switchgrass, blue fescue or Japanese forest grass can also provide an all-important habitat for wildlife. The trick to making it all look great is to incorporate plantings with various heights, textures and colors. “Use containers for growing annual plant rotations to get more color,” says landscape designer Craig Jenkins-Sutton of Topiarius in Chicago, noting that large, interesting containers can make a statement on their own. However you choose to transform your yard, take your time. “Replacing an established lawn is not a small project,” Salman says. “Don’t worry about getting the entire lawn replanted and reestablished in one growing season. Unless you’ve got a landscape contractor, that’s not realistic.”

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