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New This Week: 8 Clever Kitchen Island Ideas

1. Walnut Counter Seating

Designer: Amy Klosterman of AB Design Elements
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Size: 214½ square feet (20 square meters); 13 by 16½ feet

Homeowners’ request. “The clients wanted a contemporary, artful kitchen that was lighter in palette than the previous mahogany wood kitchen, and one that tied in with the existing natural woods of this home, which was originally designed by Taliesin-trained architect Bing Hu,” says designer Amy Klosterman, whose clients found her through Houzz more than six years ago when she designed their previous home.

Kitchen island detail.
A walnut counter mounted on metal flat brackets suspends from a waterfall edge countertop. “This is a perfect place for the two homeowners to enjoy morning coffee and to watch the TV on the opposite wall that is integrated into the cabinetry,” Klosterman says.

Other special features. Taupe-stained rift-cut oak cabinets with slatted refrigerator panels. “They add just the right amount of texture and graphic interest to that wall of cabinetry,” Klosterman says. The induction cooktop is flush-mounted to blend seamlessly with the leathered White Macaubas quartzite countertops.

2. Open Shelves With Beadboard

Designers: Christi Petty and Cindy Aplanalp of Chairma Design Group
Location: The Woodlands, Texas
Size: 375 square feet (35 square meters)

Homeowner’s request. “A lover of the sea, Chris-Craft boats and the English countryside, he asked for an English seaside feel with bespoke cabinets, earthy textures and an abundance of millwork,” says designer Christi Petty, whose client found her through Houzz.

Kitchen island detail. Open display shelving backed with beadboard. “The end of the island faces a small breakfast sitting area and it gave us a great little spot to include a peek of the beadboard that was also used on the interior of all the cabinetry,” Petty says. “It’s also an area for the homeowner to display treasures.”

Other special features. Handmade, hand-cut zellige tile backsplash. “We left the tile ungrouted to show off the uniqueness of its edges and to enrich the texture,” Petty says. The cabinets and tongue-and-groove ceiling were painted Snowbound by Sherwin-Williams. Raw pecky cypress ceiling beams add warmth and texture. The cabinet hardware is antique brass cup pulls and knobs.

Designer tip. “Much thought was given to incorporating traditional English cabinetry styles and the interior of the cabinetry,” Petty says. “Beadboard was added to the interior so that they are even more special when opened. The incorporation of ventilation holes is practical for pantry cabinets and also a sweet nod to our homeowner’s inspiration.”

Pendant lights: Sedona in oxidized brass, Capital Lighting Fixture Co.

3. Dropped-Down Dining for Two

Homeowners’ request. A new-build home inspired by local winery architecture.

Kitchen island detail.
The 14-foot-long, quartz-topped, light blue island features a drop-down dining area for two people.

Other special features. Wide-plank white French oak flooring with radiant heat. Mint green range. Open oak shelves and oak mantel above the range.

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4. Walnut Prep Extension

Interior designer and architect: Daniel Contelmo Architects
Interior consultant: Liz Dahmen of Make Space New York
Location: Millbrook, New York
Size: 272 square feet (25 square meters); 16 by 17 feet

Homeowners’ request. For this new-build house on a horse farm, the owners wanted an open kitchen with a big island and traditional farmhouse elements. “The kitchen also needed to feel elegant since it would be open to all the other spaces of the main floor,” interior designer and architect Daniel Contelmo says.

Kitchen island detail. Walnut prep area. “Our clients were hoping to retire soon after building the house, and one of their goals was to spend more time baking and cooking,” Contelmo says. “Visually, we wanted to incorporate the butcher block into the island to break up the long span. Functionally, it provides a separated area for prep work that does not interfere with the cooking and eating area. The doors on both sides open up to a large area for storage of cooking and baking tools. The doors on the end are tilt-out drawers with metal grates set into the doors. These are for storage of food such as potatoes and onions.”

Other special features. White oak island base. Shiplap ceiling between beams. Leaded glass transom windows between rooms. Doweled and glass upper cabinets. Large glass pendants. Eight-inch white oak flooring.

Designer tip. “The kitchen is long and rectangular,” Contelmo says. “The island was designed with a recess in the countertop so the stools could be tucked in away from the aisle, keeping all pathways clear for movement.”

5. Undercounter Microwave

Designer: Kathleen Donohue of Neil Kelly Design/Build
Location: Bend, Oregon
Size: 260 square feet (24 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. These empty nesters wanted to renovate to create their forever home, with a more open kitchen that’s entertainment-friendly.

Kitchen island detail. Undercounter microwave. “They are the best design innovation since the downdraft range changed the way we designed kitchens,” designer Kathleen Donohue says. “The microwave can now be tucked away below the counter and does not have to hang from a wall cabinet or be part of a built-in stacked oven set. In this layout, the end of the island is close to the refrigerator and pantry, so a quick breakfast, lunch or snack can be prepared without interrupting the main cooking work zone. It’s also handy for serving folks seated at the island.”

Other special features. Knotty alder cabinets. Sage green island base with walnut butcher block countertop. Concrete-look quartz perimeter countertops. Grey Foussana limestone backsplash tile with a decorative porcelain pattern tile feature above the range. Apron-front sink.

6. Drink Fridge

Designer: Mary Jean Cipro of Thomas Sattler Homes and Kaimee Martelli of Enchanted Kitchens (cabinets)
Location: Greenwood Village, Colorado
Size: 380 square feet (35 square meters); 19 by 20 feet

Homeowners’ request. A functional, practical and efficient kitchen for family gathering.

Kitchen island detail. A small fridge stores drinks to give kids and guests easy access without getting in the way of the main kitchen work area.

Other special features. Textured melamine wood-look cabinets and matte black cabinets. “Matte black fingerprints easily, so it’s best to use this in high-up areas or spaces that don’t get as much use,” designer Mary Jean Cipro says.

Designer tip. “An angled island with seating on both sides is better for conversation,” Cipro notes.

7. End Cabinets

Designer: Gina Moffitt of Kiyohara Moffitt
Location: Los Angeles
Size: 313 square feet (29 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. A new-build house for a couple in their 60s. The owners wanted a kosher kitchen, but since they’re vegetarians they didn’t require duplication of the main sink or ovens.

Kitchen island detail.
“The owner did not see the kitchen as a gathering place, but more of a working kitchen for one cook,” designer Gina Moffitt says. “Hence, the island was not to have seating.” Instead it features tons of storage. One end cabinet holds baking sheets. The end cabinet opposite the window holds vases.

Other special features. Quartz countertops mimic the look of Taj Mahal quartzite. The backsplash consists of 4-by-8-inch matte white elongated hexagonal tiles. The cabinet finish matches Coastal Fog by Benjamin Moore.

Designer tip. “We put in an indirect lighting soffit around the room to add subtle lighting and interest,” Moffitt says.

8. Curved Open Storage

Homeowner’s request. Open up a closed-off kitchen to a nearby dining room and update its look to better reflect the midcentury era of the home.

Kitchen island detail. Architect Robert Jamieson designed a walnut island with curves on the end to ease movement between the walnut-clad storage wall and the cooking area. Open shelves on both ends offer storage and display space.

Other special features.
Slate floor tile. Powder blue range, hood and dishwasher. “The owner was interested in making the kitchen fun and was not afraid of using color,” Jamieson says. “And it added a modern feel that fit the period of the home. He also has a lot of wild birds on his wooded site and tasked us to incorporate the birds into the design. We created a custom mosaic tile backsplash with a stylized cardinal and blue jay, both frequent visitors to his land.”

Designer tip. “Although we do have some upper cabinets in this project on one side, we are big fans of having a wall of tall cabinets for pantry storage, combined with other tall appliances like the refrigerator or wall ovens. This allows for more view to the outside than if upper cabinets existed.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “Trying to incorporate the birds into the project was definitely a challenge,” Jamieson says. “The homeowner originally came to us with some more traditional hand-painted tiles that had birds on them that we did not feel fit the character of the home and kitchen design. It was also a challenge sourcing the tile to fit the design of the birds. We ended up sourcing the 3-inch triangular gray field tiles from Fireclay Tile, and the tiles for the birds were ordered as 4-by-4-inch rectangular tiles from Artaic that were field-cut to size.”

An island can do a lot for your kitchen. It can provide extra storage, countertop surface and seating. It can be the location of your main sink or cooktop. And it can help direct traffic flow too. To see a small sample of what’s possible, check out these eight island design ideas recently uploaded to Houzz.

This content was originally published here.

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New This Week: 6 Refreshing Bathrooms With Shower-Tub Combos

Houzz Editorial Staff. Home design journalist writing about cool spaces, innovative trends, breaking news, industry analysis and humor.

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A shower-tub combination is a common space-saving design feature for a bathroom. It’s so common that some people mistakenly think of it as dated and boring. But the following designs show fresh ways to update a shower-tub combo for enduring style.

1. Contemporary Cool

Designer:
Jamie Roddy of EdenLA Interiors
Location: Los Angeles
Size: 72 square feet (6.7 square meters)

Homeowners’ request.
“These homeowners are simple beach people who wanted an updated and contemporary feel that was unique without being too fussy,” designer Jamie Roddy says.

Shower-tub details. Tub-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall field tile. Frameless glass divider. “The dimensional tile was kept neutral so the bathroom could seem as expansive as possible,” Roddy says.

Other bathroom features. Custom white oak vanity with cabinet doors that mimic the look of apothecary-style drawer fronts. Quartz countertop and backsplash. Mirror-mounted sconces in polished nickel. Turkish bath towels.

Designer tip. “We often opt for towel hooks over towel bars as they’re easier to dry towels and prevent the space from looking disheveled with towels hanging unevenly,” Roddy says.

“Uh-oh” moment. “The clients were unsure about the size of the mirror-embedded wall sconces, but we encouraged them to trust in the process,” Roddy says. “When it was all finished, they were very glad they trusted us.”

Wall paint: Atrium White, Benjamin Moore

2. Midcentury Mood

Designer:
Carmit Oron Interior Design
Location: San Mateo, California
Size: 45 square feet (4.2 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. “My clients asked me to create a guest and kids’ bathroom that’s fun and welcoming,” designer Carmit Oron says. “My clients, like me, love to mix textures, and since their aesthetics leaned toward midcentury vibes, I chose to go with a black-and-white color scheme and added walnut and brass for warm touches.”

Shower-tub details. Frameless glass enclosure. Penny tile tub apron that matches the floor tile. Vertically stacked tile to accentuate the height of the room. Long, recessed shower niche. “When designing a kids’ shower-tub combo, I usually recommend my clients use an adjustable shower handheld on a bar,” Oron says. “This way they can use it when they shower their toddlers, and when big kids are taking a shower, they can adjust the shower handheld on the bar to determine the best height.”

Other bathroom features. Blowfish wallpaper. Walnut vanity.

Designer tip. “I think the wallpaper makes a lot of difference and again steals the show,” Oron says. “When using wallpaper near a shower or a wet area, make sure to use a wallpaper that is suitable for humid areas.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “Originally we planned to use a different wallpaper for this room,” Oron says. “We checked a sample on the wall before we started the remodel and really liked it. But once the tiles were in place and we saw how it all tied together, we realized the scale of the wallpaper competed with the penny tiles on the floor. It created a busy look. So we decided to change the wallpaper for the existing one, which I love.

“The scale of the blowfish works perfectly with the penny tiles and the scale of the room. Sometimes, even when you check the sample, you can make a mistake. The important thing is to know how to pivot the situation and fix it instead of installing something you are not entirely sure about just because you already bought it.”

3. Black-and-White Boldness

Designer: Erin Hanrahan Doak of Hello Kitchen
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 50 square feet (4.7 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. “The homeowner purchased this home in a prime location of downtown Austin and wanted something neutral but fun,” designer Erin Hanrahan Doak says. “Modern finishes and clean lines were requested.”

Shower-tub details. White handmade subway tile installed in a vertical pattern. Matte black fixtures. Custom shower curtain made at a local upholstery shop. “The cast-iron tub was existing and we decided to work with it,” Hanrahan Doak says.

Other bathroom features.
Graphic black-and-white geometric floor tile. “It brought a lot of personality into the space,” Hanrahan Doak says. Other features include black details and a quartz-topped vanity.

Designer tip. “Bathrooms are oftentimes a place that is forgotten about when it comes to decor,” Hanrahan Doak says. “It’s important in particular for your guest bathroom to finish the space out with a bit of personality. The customized open shelves were a great help to provide just enough of a surface area to gather a few cute items to personalize the room.”

4. Vintage Vibes

Designers:
Themis Haralabides and Dimitra Papageorgiou of reBuild Workshop
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Size: 58 square feet (5.4 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. An open, bright space with a neutral color scheme. “They favored a predominately white background throughout, with a farmhouse feel,” designer Themis Haralabides says.

Shower-tub details. White glazed ceramic tile, with a black accent tile running along the tub apron and around the room.

Other bathroom features. Wall-mounted cast-iron utility sink. “It’s the centerpiece of the bathroom,” Haralabides says. “Besides being very functional, it manages to add tons of character to the space while fitting with the classic aesthetic. Its black apron works with the duo-tone scheme and gives it a lot of presence.”

One-by-one-inch mosaic marble floor tile features a decorative inset.

Designer tip. “We believe in utilizing classic color palettes that will stand the test of time, and there’s nothing better than black and white,” Haralabides says.

“Uh-oh” moment. “The service sink weighs almost 150 pounds,” Haralabides says. “So we soon realized mounting it on the brick wall needed some attention.”

Project photography: Winnie Au

5. Lake House Lightness

Designer:
Mindy Gayer of Mindy Gayer Design
Location: Lake Arrowhead, California
Size: 90 square feet (8.4 square meters)

Homeowners’ request.
“This lake house guest bathroom was going to be used by both kids and adults, so we and our clients wanted to make sure it could be enjoyed by both,” designer Mindy Gayer says.

Shower-tub details. Vertically stacked subway tile helps visually expand the height. A striped shower curtain coordinates with gray-and-white checkerboard floor tile.

Other bathroom features. Custom oak vanity with open storage.

Designer tip. “We love the subtle pattern mixing with the checkerboard floor and striped shower curtain,” Gayer says. “It adds a designer feel that can easily be replicated in your own space.”

6. Blended Blues

Designer:
Stephanie Lindsey and Jessica Nelson of Etch Design Group
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 90 square feet (8.4 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. Replace a sunken jetted tub with a standard shower-tub combo setup and incorporate blue elements in the bathroom.

Shower-tub details. Blue fish-scale feature wall tile. Glossy white rectangular tile in a stacked pattern on the side walls.

Other bathroom features. Patterned floor tile with blue accents.

Designer tip. “When choosing patterned tile, order four samples of each tile so you can see the pattern together,” designer Stephanie Lindsey says. “Most decorative tiles have multiple pattern options depending on how you lay the tiles out, so play around with the options. When selecting a bold pattern for a client, we typically show installation images from the manufacturer. If it’s a bold pattern, look at inspiration images online of how others have installed the tile you are considering, then see what emotions those install images evoke.

“If it scares you, that’s OK. You don’t have to have something bold and dramatic. There are countless patterned tiles that are subtle in color, specifically muted colors. And if bold patterns scare you, stay away from high-contrast designs, meaning black on white or something similar. Look for patterns that have colors similar in tone.”

This content was originally published here.

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Young house love- Exterior – Traditional – Exterior – Richmond – by Young House Love | Houzz

Young house love- Exterior – Traditional – Exterior – Richmond – by Young House Love | Houzz

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Houzz Tour: 1970s Style Influences an Illinois Lakefront Home

Photos by Michael Alan Kaskel

House at a Glance
Who lives here: Lorie and John Fitzgibbon, their two teenagers and their two dogs
Location: Glenview, Illinois
Size: 4,800 square feet (446 square meters); four bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms
Designers: Rebekah Zaveloff of KitchenLab Interiors (interior design) andGTH Architects (architecture)

“My clients really lucked out. Their full-time home in the Chicago suburbs doubles as a lake house. And there’s a clubhouse with all sorts of amenities,” Zaveloff says.

The designer and Fitzgibbon go way back, having grown up together in the 1970s and early 1980s, a period that influenced their styles in similar ways. “I was basically raised by a bunch of teenage girls in my neighborhood, including Lorie, who was my babysitter,” Zaveloff says. “We both studied art in college and we share a similar love for late-1970s-early 1980s boho-meets-earthy-meets-glam looks.”

Another part of their shared background is that they both had stylish mothers whom they credit for their early interest in anything related to style, art and design. Fitzgibbon’s mother had been an art dealer, so she had a lot of amazing artwork for Zaveloff to help her place. In addition, both women love treasure hunting for vintage pieces. “We both love quirky style — when everyone else is going right, we both go left. And we didn’t want the house to feel like a brand-spanking-new build,” Zaveloff says. Using vintage pieces added patina and personality to the home.

“The house is basically a ranch with a walk-out basement,” Zaveloff says. “Lorie wanted a gunmetal color on the trim. It reads almost black inside, but outside it can look more blue-gray in the daylight.”

The designer had collaborated with GTH Architects many times and recommended them to her friends. “They came up with a great plan, I barely changed a thing,” she says.

Paint colors: Olympic Mountains (walls) and Deep Space (trim), both Benjamin Moore

The home’s exterior is a mix of stucco, stone and wood. Zaveloff took her clients to the stoneyard to pick just the right stone, and consulted on the colors, roof materials and stucco color. Adirondack chairs and funky planters make the front porch welcoming.
The couple already owned the carved console and artwork by Oscar Murillo that Zaveloff placed in the hallway. The flooring is a porcelain tile with a faux shagreen finish. “It balanced in a subtle modern sensibility,” Zaveloff says. “We used vintage rugs throughout the house because we didn’t want it to feel like a new build. They add so much character.”

Paint colors: Seapearl (walls) and White Dove (trim), both Benjamin Moore; floor tile: Artistic Tile

A pair of large Italian chandeliers suits the scale of the high vaulted ceiling above the dining and living areas. Wood beams add warmth, as do the engineered character-grade white oak floors. Character grade means the wood has more knots.

Zaveloff designed a custom banquette to fit the dining alcove. Then she placed artwork by Alex Katz and flanked it with two funky sconces that recall the 1970s. Also nodding to the era is a vintage Ethan Allen burled wood dining table with a brass pedestal. “It’s hard to find great pedestal tables and I always need them for banquettes,” Zaveloff says. “This one was a horrible color and Lorie was very nervous about it, but I promised her I could have the awful orange-brown stain stripped and she trusted me. It turned out to be perfect.” Chairs on brass bases lend a sexy ’70s glam look. Their mauve color is one the designer repeated throughout the home.

Wall color: Dove Wing, Benjamin Moore

“We were going to have our cabinetmaker custom-build cabinets here, but we were running out of time,” Zaveloff says. Instead she sourced a faceted wood console from a retail store and had the cabinetmaker replace the base. “It was so lucky, it was a perfect fit for the nook the architects designed,” she says. She also had the cabinetmaker add matching floating shelves. “Lorie started to collect the astrological figures when we started the project,” she says. “She gave me a Taurus — they are so cool.”
The large vintage coffee table was the first thing the women chose for the house. “It’s in the style of Karl Springer and it’s huge — 60 inches square. It is goat skin covered in high-gloss lacquer that had this great yellow patina,” Zaveloff says. “That coloring really jump-started the whole color palette — ambers, yellows, mauves, pinks and purples.”

Low-slung furniture lends a chic hotel lobby vibe and keeps the views to the lake open. The whole family refers to the leather lounge chairs as “the hot dog chairs.” The couple already had the leather sofa, but it was quite worn out. Zaveloff had it reupholstered and added a second sofa.

Silk chenille ikat pillows add bohemian patterns to the space. “The pillows in this room are so rich, exotic and very ’70s with the oranges and golds. They were a very big influence on the palette and also brought in these great purple-mauvey colors,” Zaveloff says.

The couple also had the carved African side table. The vintage rug adds amber and cream tones. “It had just the right subtle amount of the pinks and mauves in it to go with this room,” Zaveloff says. “I didn’t want a bold rug because I knew that would keep the living and dining areas from flowing together.”

To the left of a wide opening to the kitchen, Miró artwork hangs over a vintage console table. Zaveloff had the back kitchen wall tiled in a hand-painted terra-cotta tile from Tabarka Studio that has a brass inlay. “I had my eye on that tile from day one — it really set the tone of earthy, natural, imperfect and gorgeous glam,” she says. “And it was the perfect tile to connect the rooms.”

She designed a work triangle on the right, flanking the large range alcove with a fridge and freezer. “It’s so amazing what you can do with panel fronts these days — they don’t look like a fridge and freezer at all,” Zaveloff says. The range backsplash is porcelain that looks like marble.

Kitchen walls and hood color: Olympic Mountains, Benjamin Moore

Zaveloff found a beautiful vintage display cabinet for the kitchen that adds lots of character. She also knew she wanted to design a furniture-like island to add unique style. The counter stools are similar to the caned Cesca chairs both she and Fitzgibbon remember from their childhoods. She tied the various light fixtures together with their common oil-rubbed bronze and brass finishes.

A dining nook enjoys the water views. Zaveloff sourced vintage rattan chairs from McGuire and used Schumacher fabrics on their seats and on the banquette.

A walk-in pantry leads to a garage entry, landing zone and powder room. “We wanted to choose a tile that would work well with the kitchen but also be trend-proof,” Zaveloff says. This is a commercial-grade porcelain tile that has an updated ’70s look. The cabinetry matches the kitchen cabinets for a cohesive look.

This is the landing zone area off the garage entry. One of the homeowners’ two dogs, Henry, watches the goings-on. A chest and mirror on the right provide a place to drop items and do a last-minute appearance check.

Paint colors: Olympic Mountains (walls) and Deep Space (door), both Benjamin Moore

Portraits of the beloved dogs hang next to a built-in armoire. Grilles on the cabinet doors add a special touch.

The master bedroom is on the main level. Zaveloff reupholstered the homeowners’ existing headboard in a gray Schumacher fabric. The burled maple nightstand and whimsical brass lamp are vintage. “These lamps are so glam, they are crazy,” Zaveloff says.

Here are the family’s two dogs, Henry and Teddy. They fit right in with ’70s earthy glam, don’t they?

In the en suite bathroom, Zaveloff grounded the space in a marble floor tile with a porcelain inlay. “The trellis-like pattern is very ’70s,” she says. The octagonal brass mirrors and chandelier are vintage.

Zaveloff gave the custom white oak cabinets a furniture-like look by placing them atop feet and adding campaign-chest-style hardware.

Wall color: Seapearl, Benjamin Moore

Zaveloff found the aluminum staircase railings online and had them powder-coated in a brass color. Then she matched the handrail to the gunmetal paint used throughout the house. “We wanted the railing to make a statement without shouting, ‘Look at me!’ ” she says.

The lower level contains the kids’ bedrooms and bathrooms, a TV lounge, a wine room, a laundry room and a lake kitchen.

Wall color: Dove Wing, Benjamin Moore

“It’s more casual and colorful on the lower level,” Zaveloff says. This is the lake kitchen, so-called for its easy walk-out access to the lake. The backsplash tile was born from a favorite sample from Ann Sacks that the designer had held on to for 15 years. They custom made the tiles to match her old sample.

With so many expansive windows looking out at the lake, there wasn’t a lot of wall space for large pieces of art. “Lorie knew she wanted to hang this Stanley Casselman painting somewhere in the house, but there was nowhere else it would fit but here,” Zaveloff says.

“This vintage tabletop was in bad shape, but Lorie had the great idea to wrap it in raffia and have it lacquered like you’d see in the ’70s,” she says. The designer had gotten to know these funky tulip chairs at a friend’s house and knew how comfortable they were. So she knew they’d be just right for her friends. “Also, this table is lower than usual — 27 inches high — which is very ’70s,” she says.

In this teenager’s bedroom, a hanging chair adds a playful element. It’s hard to make out, but there’s a hammock that overlooks the lake on the other side of the window.

Wall color: Silver Cloud, Benjamin Moore

Colorful Mexican otomi pillows and a funky lamp from Jonathan Adler add more fun touches to the room. The bed is vintage and Fitzgibbon whitewashed it herself.

As their two children neared college age, this couple decided to make a change. They bought a lakeside home in the Chicago suburb of Glenview that they planned to renovate, and called up their longtime pal, interior designer Rebekah Zaveloff, to design the remodel for them. But after discovering extensive mold problems in the home, Zaveloff unexpectedly found herself designing her first new build. She worked with a frequent collaborator, GTH Architects, who created plans for the home. Working closely with homeowner Lorie Fitzgibbon, who shares her love of 1970s earthy and glam looks, Zaveloff designed the kitchens and bathrooms, chose all the finishes, fixtures, furnishings, lighting and casework and consulted on the exterior materials.

This content was originally published here.

Categories
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Houzz Tour: 1970s Style Influences a Lakefront Home

Photos by Michael Alan Kaskel

House at a Glance
Who lives here: Lorie and John Fitzgibbon, their two teenagers and their two dogs
Location: Glenview, Illinois
Size: 4,800 square feet (446 square meters); four bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms
Designers: Rebekah Zaveloff of KitchenLab Interiors (interior design) andGTH Architects (architecture)

“My clients really lucked out. Their full-time home in the Chicago suburbs doubles as a lake house. And there’s a clubhouse with all sorts of amenities,” Zaveloff says.

The designer and Fitzgibbon go way back, having grown up together in the 1970s and early 1980s, a period that influenced their styles in similar ways. “I was basically raised by a bunch of teenage girls in my neighborhood, including Lorie, who was my babysitter,” Zaveloff says. “We both studied art in college and we share a similar love for late-1970s-early 1980s boho-meets-earthy-meets-glam looks.”

Another part of their shared background is that they both had stylish mothers whom they credit for their early interest in anything related to style, art and design. Fitzgibbon’s mother had been an art dealer, so she had a lot of amazing artwork for Zaveloff to help her place. In addition, both women love treasure hunting for vintage pieces. “We both love quirky style — when everyone else is going right, we both go left. And we didn’t want the house to feel like a brand-spanking-new build,” Zaveloff says. Using vintage pieces added patina and personality to the home.

“The house is basically a ranch with a walk-out basement,” Zaveloff says. “Lorie wanted a gunmetal color on the trim. It reads almost black inside, but outside it can look more blue-gray in the daylight.”

The designer had collaborated with GTH Architects many times and recommended them to her friends. “They came up with a great plan, I barely changed a thing,” she says.

Paint colors: Olympic Mountains (walls) and Deep Space (trim), both Benjamin Moore

The home’s exterior is a mix of stucco, stone and wood. Zaveloff took her clients to the stoneyard to pick just the right stone, and consulted on the colors, roof materials and stucco color. Adirondack chairs and funky planters make the front porch welcoming.
The couple already owned the carved console and artwork by Oscar Murillo that Zaveloff placed in the hallway. The flooring is a porcelain tile with a faux shagreen finish. “It balanced in a subtle modern sensibility,” Zaveloff says. “We used vintage rugs throughout the house because we didn’t want it to feel like a new build. They add so much character.”

Paint colors: Seapearl (walls) and White Dove (trim), both Benjamin Moore; floor tile: Artistic Tile

A pair of large Italian chandeliers suits the scale of the high vaulted ceiling above the dining and living areas. Wood beams add warmth, as do the engineered character-grade white oak floors. Character grade means the wood has more knots.

Zaveloff designed a custom banquette to fit the dining alcove. Then she placed artwork by Alex Katz and flanked it with two funky sconces that recall the 1970s. Also nodding to the era is a vintage Ethan Allen burled wood dining table with a brass pedestal. “It’s hard to find great pedestal tables and I always need them for banquettes,” Zaveloff says. “This one was a horrible color and Lorie was very nervous about it, but I promised her I could have the awful orange-brown stain stripped and she trusted me. It turned out to be perfect.” Chairs on brass bases lend a sexy ’70s glam look. Their mauve color is one the designer repeated throughout the home.

Wall color: Dove Wing, Benjamin Moore

“We were going to have our cabinetmaker custom-build cabinets here, but we were running out of time,” Zaveloff says. Instead she sourced a faceted wood console from a retail store and had the cabinetmaker replace the base. “It was so lucky, it was a perfect fit for the nook the architects designed,” she says. She also had the cabinetmaker add matching floating shelves. “Lorie started to collect the astrological figures when we started the project,” she says. “She gave me a Taurus — they are so cool.”
The large vintage coffee table was the first thing the women chose for the house. “It’s in the style of Karl Springer and it’s huge — 60 inches square. It is goat skin covered in high-gloss lacquer that had this great yellow patina,” Zaveloff says. “That coloring really jump-started the whole color palette — ambers, yellows, mauves, pinks and purples.”

Low-slung furniture lends a chic hotel lobby vibe and keeps the views to the lake open. The whole family refers to the leather lounge chairs as “the hot dog chairs.” The couple already had the leather sofa, but it was quite worn out. Zaveloff had it reupholstered and added a second sofa.

Silk chenille ikat pillows add bohemian patterns to the space. “The pillows in this room are so rich, exotic and very ’70s with the oranges and golds. They were a very big influence on the palette and also brought in these great purple-mauvey colors,” Zaveloff says.

The couple also had the carved African side table. The vintage rug adds amber and cream tones. “It had just the right subtle amount of the pinks and mauves in it to go with this room,” Zaveloff says. “I didn’t want a bold rug because I knew that would keep the living and dining areas from flowing together.”

To the left of a wide opening to the kitchen, Miró artwork hangs over a vintage console table. Zaveloff had the back kitchen wall tiled in a hand-painted terra-cotta tile from Tabarka Studio that has a brass inlay. “I had my eye on that tile from day one — it really set the tone of earthy, natural, imperfect and gorgeous glam,” she says. “And it was the perfect tile to connect the rooms.”

She designed a work triangle on the right, flanking the large range alcove with a fridge and freezer. “It’s so amazing what you can do with panel fronts these days — they don’t look like a fridge and freezer at all,” Zaveloff says. The range backsplash is porcelain that looks like marble.

Kitchen walls and hood color: Olympic Mountains, Benjamin Moore

Zaveloff found a beautiful vintage display cabinet for the kitchen that adds lots of character. She also knew she wanted to design a furniture-like island to add unique style. The counter stools are similar to the caned Cesca chairs both she and Fitzgibbon remember from their childhoods. She tied the various light fixtures together with their common oil-rubbed bronze and brass finishes.

A dining nook enjoys the water views. Zaveloff sourced vintage rattan chairs from McGuire and used Schumacher fabrics on their seats and on the banquette.

A walk-in pantry leads to a garage entry, landing zone and powder room. “We wanted to choose a tile that would work well with the kitchen but also be trend-proof,” Zaveloff says. This is a commercial-grade porcelain tile that has an updated ’70s look. The cabinetry matches the kitchen cabinets for a cohesive look.

This is the landing zone area off the garage entry. One of the homeowners’ two dogs, Henry, watches the goings-on. A chest and mirror on the right provide a place to drop items and do a last-minute appearance check.

Paint colors: Olympic Mountains (walls) and Deep Space (door), both Benjamin Moore

Portraits of the beloved dogs hang next to a built-in armoire. Grilles on the cabinet doors add a special touch.

The master bedroom is on the main level. Zaveloff reupholstered the homeowners’ existing headboard in a gray Schumacher fabric. The burled maple nightstand and whimsical brass lamp are vintage. “These lamps are so glam, they are crazy,” Zaveloff says.

Here are the family’s two dogs, Henry and Teddy. They fit right in with ’70s earthy glam, don’t they?

In the en suite bathroom, Zaveloff grounded the space in a marble floor tile with a porcelain inlay. “The trellis-like pattern is very ’70s,” she says. The octagonal brass mirrors and chandelier are vintage.

Zaveloff gave the custom white oak cabinets a furniture-like look by placing them atop feet and adding campaign-chest-style hardware.

Wall color: Seapearl, Benjamin Moore

Zaveloff found the aluminum staircase railings online and had them powder-coated in a brass color. Then she matched the handrail to the gunmetal paint used throughout the house. “We wanted the railing to make a statement without shouting, ‘Look at me!’ ” she says.

The lower level contains the kids’ bedrooms and bathrooms, a TV lounge, a wine room, a laundry room and a lake kitchen.

Wall color: Dove Wing, Benjamin Moore

“It’s more casual and colorful on the lower level,” Zaveloff says. This is the lake kitchen, so-called for its easy walk-out access to the lake. The backsplash tile was born from a favorite sample from Ann Sacks that the designer had held on to for 15 years. They custom made the tiles to match her old sample.

With so many expansive windows looking out at the lake, there wasn’t a lot of wall space for large pieces of art. “Lorie knew she wanted to hang this Stanley Casselman painting somewhere in the house, but there was nowhere else it would fit but here,” Zaveloff says.

“This vintage tabletop was in bad shape, but Lorie had the great idea to wrap it in raffia and have it lacquered like you’d see in the ’70s,” she says. The designer had gotten to know these funky tulip chairs at a friend’s house and knew how comfortable they were. So she knew they’d be just right for her friends. “Also, this table is lower than usual — 27 inches high — which is very ’70s,” she says.

In this teenager’s bedroom, a hanging chair adds a playful element. It’s hard to make out, but there’s a hammock that overlooks the lake on the other side of the window.

Wall color: Silver Cloud, Benjamin Moore

Colorful Mexican otomi pillows and a funky lamp from Jonathan Adler add more fun touches to the room. The bed is vintage and Fitzgibbon whitewashed it herself.

As their two children neared college age, this couple decided to make a change. They bought a lakeside home in the Chicago suburb of Glenview that they planned to renovate, and called up their longtime pal, interior designer Rebekah Zaveloff, to design the remodel for them. But after discovering extensive mold problems in the home, Zaveloff unexpectedly found herself designing her first new build. She worked with a frequent collaborator, GTH Architects, who created plans for the home. Working closely with homeowner Lorie Fitzgibbon, who shares her love of 1970s earthy and glam looks, Zaveloff designed the kitchens and bathrooms, chose finishes, fixtures, furnishings, lighting and casework, and consulted on the exterior materials.

This content was originally published here.

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Simple Pleasures: Plan a Rejuvenating Retreat at Home

1. Decide On a Focus

Are you craving a spiritual retreat? Time to work on your craft, write, do yoga or meditate? Make a short list of the things you want to incorporate into your retreat so you can start planning.

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2. Get Your Household Onboard

If you live with others, and especially if you have children, going on a retreat at home can be a challenge. Try to plan the retreat for a time when your family or housemates will be away, particularly during the day. At the very least, try to get everyone to agree to respect what you are doing. This includes not speaking to you too much if you decide to maintain silence (see No. 8) during your retreat. If you have children, it can be worthwhile to do a shorter (even a one-day) retreat when you know the kids will be out of the house.

3. Set an Intention

An intention is different from a goal. A goal might be, “I will meditate two hours each day,” whereas an intention could be, “I will be mindful and appreciate each moment.”

To set an intention for your retreat, answer these two questions:

  • What do you hope to gain from your retreat?
  • What do you hope your experience will be?

Setting intentions before your retreat can help keep you focused on the experience you want to have.

4. Shop for Groceries and Plan Meals

Retreats you travel to, no matter what the focus, tend to offer fresh, healthful food — so try to offer yourself the same. Get the main work out of the way before your retreat begins, so you can focus on the good stuff.

5. Gather Other Materials

Depending on what sort of activities you will be focusing on, you may want to pick up books, instructional videos, craft supplies, notebooks and pens, a yoga mat or meditation cushions.

Any proper retreat has a schedule mapped out in advance, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same. Decide what time you would like to rise, eat, work on your project, read, have downtime and go to sleep each day. Of course, the beauty of having an at-home retreat is that you are free to leave your schedule as open or as structured as you like.

7. Prepare Your Space

There’s no need to go overboard cleaning and scrubbing, but beginning your retreat in a neat, clean home will help set a positive tone. Plan to spend a few hours getting rid of clutter and cleaning up before you begin your retreat.

Pay special attention to clearing away clutter and electronic devices in the bedroom so you can sleep restfully. And elsewhere in the house, put away anything that reminds you of work or things you may be feeling stressed about.

8. Try Silence

Consider going without speaking during some or all of your retreat — you may be surprised how refreshing it can feel to get a break from constant chatter.

Of course, the more people in your household, the more difficult it will be. Perhaps someone else would like to participate in silence with you, or you can enjoy a silent break during the times you have the house to yourself. And, of course, talk if you really need to!

9. Unplug

If there is one thing that seems to be a given at a retreat, it’s that you disconnect your devices. No going online and no checking your phone or tablet. If you are used to being on your devices frequently, it can be a hard habit to break, but it’s worth trying!

10. Consider Your Media Consumption

In addition to what you might be used to seeing online, consider taking a break from the magazines, newspapers and books you usually read. Be intentional about the material you choose to read or watch during your retreat. If you want to read a book or watch a film, pick one that meshes with the intention you set for the retreat.

When you hear the word “retreat,” what comes to mind — writing in a cabin by a lonesome lake, engaging in spiritual study or practicing yoga on the beach? How about doing a retreat in your own home? It may at first seem like an improbable idea (although that yoga-on-the-beach thing sounds pretty good), but there are some surprising positives to crafting your own retreat at home. For one thing, it’s free. For another, you can decide exactly the sort of activities you want to focus on, including things that may not be combined in most retreats (novel writing and cupcake baking, anyone?). Check out these 10 steps to designing your own retreat in the comfort of your home.

This content was originally published here.

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7 Organizing Tasks to Help You Get the Most Out of Summer

1. Get Ready for Overnight Guests

During the pandemic, hosting out-of-town guests probably wasn’t on the agenda. Now, since vaccinations have made travel safer, family or friends may have scheduled a visit.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a guest room, it may have been repurposed as a home office, classroom or exercise studio. Using a room for more than one purpose is a fine option, especially if you don’t have houseguests frequently. However, you may need to devote some time to sprucing up the space for your next visitor, especially if it was used for other activities. I recommend removing anything that doesn’t belong in a guest room, such as school and office supplies or exercise equipment.

For some people, the guest room may have become a dumping ground for extra home supplies. Amid the uncertainty of the past year, many of my clients bought an overabundance of paper products, nonperishable food, over-the-counter medicine, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. Consider finding another home for these items and attempt to use up your stash before buying more.

I suggest taking an inventory of your guest linens a few weeks before guests arrive. If bedding and towels are overly worn, consider replacing them if your budget allows. Some animal shelters accept donations of used linens. Wash the sheets, put them on the beds and set aside clean guest towels. Vacuum and dust the room.

Also take a look at the toiletries you may have saved for guests. Some of my clients keep hotel-size shampoo and bath products in quantities so large it would take years to use them. If this is true for you, consider donating excess items to a homeless shelter.

2. Clean Up School Supplies

Whether your children participated in distance learning or went to school in person, encourage them to clean up their school supplies.

If they used a backpack, clear it out and put it away for fall. Recycle old schoolwork, saving just a few special projects. If you’re sentimental, consider photographing the rest of the items and then recycling. Get rid of broken crayons, dried-out pens and other unusable supplies.

If kids were able to play sports in your area, don’t forget to address sports bags and equipment. Wash uniforms and clean off cleats and gear. Fill your child’s bag with clean uniforms and supplies for the next season. No one likes opening a sports bag to find a mildewed towel or stinky shoes.

3. Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space

Consider tidying up your outdoor space now so you can be ready to entertain on a whim this summer. Sweep your patio or deck and thoroughly clean your barbecue. Dispose of broken planters, garden tools and hoses. Remove any spiderwebs and dust from outdoor furniture.

If your budget allows, consider shopping for new outdoor furniture. Even the addition of a colorful umbrella and new outdoor cushions can make a space more inviting.A small patio table and chairs can become your summer morning coffee spot — this can be an ideal way to feel like you’re on a mini vacation.

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4. Take Inventory of Party Decor and Supplies

Most of us haven’t been to large gatherings or parties in over a year. If you’re feeling ready, perhaps it’s time to host a few festivities of your own this summer. Think about reviewing your party supplies so you can see what you need.

To get started, remove all party items from their storage locations around your home and take inventory of your stash. Unpack each box and place everything on a large, flat surface, such as a dining room table. (Be sure to first protect the table with a blanket or towels.) Then separate your party items by category. For example, place candles in one group and paper products in another. Toss anything that’s stained or broken.

Consider removing any stray items such as a few leftover napkins from your daughter’s princess party or several paper plates from your sister’s baby shower. Store these items with your everyday plates and napkins so they can be used. Think about donating any tabletop decor, candleholders or other party decorations that you don’t plan to use again.

Once you’ve decided which party supplies to keep, create a container for each event. For example, Halloween party things can be stored together in one bin. Generic party items, such as tablecloths, serving platters and candleholders, can be stored together in a generic party box. Label the outside of the container and store it in the garage or basement, away from your everyday things.

5. Review Your Suitcases and Carry-On Bags

If you’re planning to travel this summer, consider taking inventory of your suitcases and carry-on bags. I recommend pulling everything out of storage and reviewing your supply.

Test zippers and closures and inspect bags for rips or broken parts. Consider tossing any bags that are damaged. Wipe off the exterior and interior of the remaining bags with a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap. If possible, place suitcases outside to dry and air out. Before putting them away, towel off the bags to make sure they’re completely dry.

Often clients own more suitcases than they can actually use — it isn’t unusual to purchase new bags and fail to get rid of the ones being replaced. Think about donating excess luggage that’s in good shape.

6. Prepare a Grab-and-Go Bag

Consider prepping a beach or pool bag filled with sunscreen, towels, goggles, hats, water bottles and toys. Keep the bag in a handy place so you can quickly be on your way to enjoy the sun and water.

7. Dust Off Your Outdoor Toys

If you’ll be hosting parties for the first time in a while, now is the perfect opportunity to pull out some of the outdoor activities that have been collecting dust for the past year.

Cornhole, bocce and other lawn games can be great ways to liven up a gathering. However, there may be some backyard games and toys sitting in cold storage that your children have outgrown or simply didn’t enjoy. Consider taking stock of your stash and determine which have a place at your next event and which you should part with.

Even if you don’t get to all the items on this list, try to get out and enjoy a less restrictive summer. We all need to catch up with friends and family and enjoy the socializing we missed last year.

For many of us, social engagements were sparse over the past year. With vaccines now readily available, guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing have been relaxed. Many of us are cautiously optimistic that this summer will resemble a more typical year. We may be eager to travel, entertain and enjoy outdoor activities again. The following decluttering and organizing tips can help get you started.

This content was originally published here.

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Going on Vacation? How to Ensure Your Garden Survives

One Week Before You Leave

Weed beds. Weeds compete with garden plants for water and nutrients. And in warm summer weather, weeds seem to multiply when you turn your back. About a week before you depart, set aside time for pulling weeds in high-priority areas, such as edible and perennial flower beds.

Spread mulch. A thick layer of mulch can really help tide a garden over between infrequent waterings when you’re away. Mulch helps reduce water loss by evaporation, and can help suffocate weeds and keep shallow roots insulated from the baking sun in hot months.

Spread 2 to 3 inches of mulch on beds and in pots to completely cover the soil, keeping the mulch away from the crown of the plant (where the stalk meets the soil).

Check irrigation. If you already have your garden set up on an automatic irrigation system, double-check the scheduled time for and frequency of watering against the weather that’s predicted for when you’re gone. Generally speaking, most beds need water one or two times a week in summer, and containers require more frequent water. If rain is predicted, you may be able to dial back your watering schedule. Especially if the climate is dry, make sure your system is set to provide adequate water.

If your sprinklers run in the middle of the night (great for cutting evaporation loss), it can be worth turning them on once during the day before you leave to check that the valves are pointed on your beds rather than on hardscape or the street. Adjust as needed. You can also use this time to scout locations where you could potentially move potted plants not on automatic irrigation so that they’ll benefit from the spray.

Hook up a soaker hose. Sure, it’s better to set up soaker hoses or drip irrigation before planting time, but that doesn’t preclude you from doing it now. Many garden centers and home improvement stores sell soaker hose and drip irrigation kits, or you can work directly with an irrigation specialist. Consider adding a simple irrigation timer to your hose bib and soaker hose so that you can control how much water your beds will receive when you’re gone.

Pre-stake fast-growing veggies and flowers. If you leave a summer edible or cut-flower garden during a growth spurt, you can come home to a jungle. Take extra care now to pre-stake plants that will need it later, including tomatoes, beans, dahlias and cosmos. Don’t overlook plants that were staked at the beginning of the growing season but may outgrow their trellising.
Ask a friend for help. Having a neighbor or friend water while you’re away can take the risk out of leaving a garden unattended for a week or more. Before you leave, walk the helper around your garden, pointing out which plants should be hand-watered and sharing your garden’s other specific needs.

It can be helpful to leave a watering schedule and anything needed for the job, such as hoses and watering cans, in plain sight. If you have an edible garden, encourage your garden helper to harvest and enjoy any bounty while you’re gone.

One Day Before You Leave

Cluster containers. If you have many small containers scattered across a yard, consider consolidating them into a few groups to make watering more efficient for a neighbor and to prevent a stray pot from being overlooked. Consider moving containers out of direct sun to cut down on how much water they’ll need. Place a watering can filled with water nearby to make it easier for your helper.

Move pots to a place where they’ll get sprinkler water. If you don’t have someone tending to your garden while you’re gone, see if you can move containers to somewhere in the garden where they’ll receive water from your automatic irrigation system. Bare spots in beds are a good bet; avoid resting potted plants directly on the lawn.

Make self-watering jugs. Another strategy for keeping container plants alive while you’re away if someone won’t be helping is to make slow-release, self-watering jugs. Take an empty plastic milk jug, 1-liter water bottle or even sturdy plastic bag and poke tiny holes in the bottom so that water barely drips out (with larger holes, the water will run out too quickly). Position one or two jugs or bags on the soil next to the potted plant. After you water the garden well, fill them up with water; ideally, water will slowly drop into the soil. Topping up plant saucers with water can also slow a container’s drying out.

Other self-watering strategies, such as planting in ollas (unglazed terra-cotta vessels) buried in the soil or placing plants in a self-watering container, generally have to be implemented at the time of planting. If you travel frequently, you might consider these for next time you plant.

Protect tender plants at risk of burning. Plants can get sunburned, and are more susceptible if they are dehydrated. If you have any at-risk container plants in your garden, move them to partially shaded areas. For tender plants in the ground, consider tacking up a temporary shade structure using bamboo stakes and shade cloth.

Harvest. Pick everything that’s ripe or near ripe before you leave, to prevent food waste and to keep your garden producing when you’re gone. If you can’t take the produce with you, gift it to neighbors or donate it to a shelter. For zucchini and other summer squashes, harvest any baby-size ones — they’ll be delicious eaten at this size and otherwise would be giant baseball bats by the time you return. Tomatoes can be picked when they just show color, and will continue to ripen off the vine. Cut some flowers for a bouquet to take with you on a car trip or as a thank-you to a neighbor who’s helping to look after the garden. Pinch back herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro and mint that are showing signs of flowering.

This content was originally published here.

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How to Enjoy Your Garden More This Summer

1. Switch up Your Morning Routine

Even if you have only five minutes, bring your cup of coffee and slice of toast outside to enjoy in the backyard. Perhaps you want to take this time to practice mindfulness, or you may just want to sit back, relax and watch the birds flit among the garden beds. If you’re off to work, you may notice that you feel more calm and centered by starting your day in nature.

2. Plant a Fruit, Veggie or Herb You’ve Never Grown Before

Whether you plant ‘Green Globe’ artichokes, heirloom tomatoes, purple beans, alpine strawberries or hot peppers, try growing something new this season. Most likely, you’ll be surprised, even delighted, by how it grows and tastes — and inspired to use the new produce in summer meals.

Kitchen garden already maxed out on space? Pot up a few containers with unusual herbs such as Thai basil, shiso, lemongrass, Vietnamese coriander, chocolate mint, chervil or lemon verbena and have them inspire your recipes.

3. Celebrate in the Backyard

With a few easy, inexpensive updates, your garden can feel like a new festive spot. Try putting up lights, hanging a paper garland or traditional bunting, bringing out some colorful throw pillows, or investing in a movable fire pit.

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4. Grow Garnishes for Your Favorite Summer Drinks

Instead of buying those short-lived supermarket bunches of herbs, plant a few of your go-to varieties for cocktail garnishes. Start with basil, mint, cilantro or all three, and get creative with others, such as lavender, violets or lemongrass.

If you have room in your garden and a Mediterranean climate, consider adding one or two fruit trees with standout cocktail possibilities, such as Meyer lemon, kumquat, pomegranate and lime.

5. Install an Outdoor Shower

Making that dream of a rinse under the sky a reality can be easier than it looks. If you have a water hookup close by — the outdoor wall of an indoor bathroom is a great bet — all it takes to install an outdoor shower is mounting basic plumbing and shower fixtures, and creating a path away from the home for water drainage. Perhaps this is the summer you make it happen.

6. Refresh Window Boxes

These pint-size gardens are a great way to add color to your home without bothering with larger garden tools. Plant the boxes with long-blooming summer annuals and perennials, such as sun-loving lavender, geranium, lobelia and trailing bacopa. For partly shaded window boxes, consider begonia, impatiens and golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’).

7. Jazz up Your Planting Beds

Plants with interesting foliage often need less tending than those planted primarily for their flowers — you’ll be able to skip deadheading, at least. To make a primarily foliage-based bed just as stunning as one with flowers, choose foliage plants with high color and texture contrast, and plant them close together.

For example, this bed in Alameda, California, relies on the contrast of the strappy, dark purple leaves of New Zealand flax (Phormium sp.) with lime-colored grass and upright, architectural agave (Agave sp.) for both color and textural interest.

Conversely, go for all flowers and plant a bed with a single type of an exuberant summer bloomer for a swath of color. It will be a bit more work to maintain than a bed of mixed foliage, but it will look like a celebration of summer. Sunflowers — easy to grow and as cheery as they come — are always a good bet.

8. String up a Hammock

Summer evenings are for lounging, and what’s better than swinging from a hammock? Hang one between two trees in your backyard, between the beams of a sturdy pergola or from the rails of an interior courtyard. Don’t have the perfect spot for hanging? Invest in a hammock that comes with its own frame — you’ll have the benefit of being able to choose the most inviting spot in the backyard to place it.

9. Give Birds and Bees a Water Source

If you live in a dry-summer climate, the months between rains can be tough for native birds, insects and other wildlife, particularly in areas where development has taken away their natural water sources.

Try setting up a simple fountain, or just fill an empty pot saucer with water, and see what stops by for a drink. Remember to keep the water feature consistently filled and clean, as these small creatures learn to depend on it as a water source.

10. Roll Out an Outdoor Rug

Make your deck or patio that much more inviting by laying down an outdoor rug for the season. Most outdoor rugs are made of durable nylon, polyester or polypropylene (often from recycled sources), and many are treated to resist fading from exposure to sun. Those made of bamboo, jute and other natural fibers are less weather-resistant and best used on a covered patio.

Tell us: How are you planning to make the most of your outdoor space this summer?

With long sunshine-filled days, warm nights, and plenty to pick, taste and enjoy, summer is the season to savor what your garden has to offer. Here are 10 ideas to make the most of these months, including ways to spend more time outdoors and easy garden updates with immediate rewards.

This content was originally published here.

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Houzz Call: How Did Your Dad Shape Your Idea of Home?

When I was a kid, my dad was always in the yard. He spent almost every weekend mowing, weeding, edging, pulling, cutting and trimming. This was in a suburb of Houston hot, humid and swarming with insects. The St. Augustine grass lawn was like a battlefield. My dad versus fire ants, mosquitoes, chiggers, and copperhead and cottonmouth snakes. At any given time, he wielded a chainsaw, a mower, a blower, an edger, a Weed Eater, a branch trimmer or a rusty machete, just like the one in the Friday the 13th movies. And I loved it.

Mom kept the house running day to day — cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, shopping, packing lunches, shuffling my siblings and me to school and various sports. The exterior and yard were my dad’s domain, and that was where my mother shooed us to on the weekends so she could have some peace while she got the house in order and watched her soap operas.

Over time my dad taught me to use his various — and dangerous — tools, slowly passing some of the lawn duties down to my brother and me. But not all of them. He enjoyed working in the yard too much to relinquish all the responsibilities.

One summer in my early teens, I tried starting a neighborhood lawn-mowing business to earn money and impress my father the way my brother had successfully done the previous summer. I wasn’t very good at it, though. And my dad often had to accompany me to make sure the job was done right and the customer was satisfied. But he never complained. I think he was just happy to be working in a yard, in the sunshine, gritty soil up to his elbows, a machine in his hands, a welcome departure from his office job as an accountant.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was getting a crash course from my dad and mom on what it takes to care for a home. It’s one of the most joyful things in life, but also one that requires constant patience, maintenance, upkeep, time and money. Even after you go through the long process of buying or building a home, and hiring pros to perform renovations or additions, there’s always going to be something that needs your love and attention. And that hard work can be an immense source of pleasure.

I don’t have a yard, but I do have a balcony where I spend a lot of Saturdays with my kids planting and repotting plants and trimming dead branches, hands deep in potting soil, away from the computer. And we spend most Sundays cooking, cleaning and doing laundry, those precious skills I learned from my mother.
Sometimes I wonder if these moments are burning an image of me into my kids’ memories, similar to the one I have of my father toiling away to get the yard in shape. Or maybe their conception of me will be completely different.

It’s a pointless exercise, of course. They’ll remember what they remember. But I take a lot of comfort in just being able to have them around to observe, ask their infinite questions and get their hands dirty, just like I was able to do with my dad. No doubt they are absorbing some knowledge about the importance, privilege and joy of maintaining a home.

Today, my dad is in his early 70s. He has a landscaper who comes by once a week to do the regular yard maintenance. And that’s good. He certainly earned it. But he’s always working on little projects — painting rooms, washing windows. I recently shared the Houzz photo shown here of a potting station with my mother, who excitedly showed it to my father. Now he is determined to create something similar for her in the backyard of their Southern California home.

My dad wants me to drive down this summer to help with some of the work. The kids too. That way they can be a part of the action. Who knows, maybe it’s the kind of “dad work” they’ll be thinking about, and emulating, decades from now.

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