Sourcebook: Coastal Style

Sourcebook: Coastal Style

Light blue walls, stripes, sandy ft on a slipcovered sofa and woven details all call to mind the gorgeous airiness of a tiny bungalow on the beach. Whether your view is seaside or cityscape, you can get the coastal look by shopping for the basic touches that specify the style. You do not even have to buy new furniture ; it’s simple to incorporate nautical and beachy accessories and textiles to make your house feel holiday ready.

Connected: So Your Design Is: Coastal

Mahoney Architects & Interiors

When developing a coastal-style residence, there are a few important pieces you’ll want to consider. Natural textures are an essential component that you can add through furniture made from rattan, sea grass or wicker. Driftwood pieces can be somewhat cliché, but natural unstained forests or chippy painted timber can make the identical casual texture. And for upholstered pieces, white slipcovers that may be washed, bleached and dried in sunlight make an instant beach-house feel that may resist sandy feet and towels.

RGN Construction

Stripes are a classic way to bring a beachfront touch. Broad white and navy stripes have a nautical shadow, while thinner red and white stripes feel a bit more rustic, like in a French coastal village. Insert stripes upholstery, like here, or in pillows or a rug. You may even paint stripes on your walls for a cheap but high impact look.

Here are some top coastal accessories and where to find them.

Restoration Hardware

Dakota Rope Drapery Tiebacks, Natural – $65

Rope detail is a great way to put in a coastal or cursory look. These curtain tiebacks could be a very simple detail to add to breezy drapes. Other means to incorporate rope might be as cushion edging or arranged artfully in a hurricane vase. You might even use heavy rope (look in a boating shop) in place of a stair rail)

• Restoration Hardware has rope accessories and other nautical accents.
• Other rope accessories at Ballard Designs.


Arteriors Strasbourg Shell Chandelier – $1,797.60

Shell accessories are a clear means to bring into a beachy look, but you will find methods to be subtle with them. This chandelier is a nonobvious announcement piece, for instance. You might also get shell items that won’t break the bank : Shell- or capiz-framed mirrors and picture frames, bowls, lamps and even sculptures could be beautiful at a coastal-style house.

• Find this one at Candelabra
• Get a giant clam shell (and other shell attachments) at Z Gallerie.
• Or, visit the beach and collect shells and sand dollars to exhibit.

Design Darling

Coral Candelabra – $62

Coral is another common component (a chunk of coral atop a stack of books or tucked into a bookshelf, for example), but it is wonderful when imagined in a new manner, like this candelabra. I also enjoy using the theme in textiles, like a throw blanket or a rug, to get the look in an unexpected manner.


• This candelabra is from Design Darling.
• Browse coral accessories at the Products section

Pottery Barn

Sea Grass Stool, Honey – $129

I adore this sea grass stool for a natural touch. Sea grass accessories abound in coastal decoration, as do buoys and driftwood signs.

• This stool and other all-natural textures are part of Pottery Barn’s seasonal assortment.
• True to its title, you can discover a good deal of natural pieces at Wicker Paradise.
• When shopping vintage, be sure to check for unraveling or fraying wicker, that can be difficult to fix.

Layla Grayce

Regina Andrew Lighting Aqua Glass Ripple Lamp – $198

Pretty lamps, accessories and other delicate pieces can evoke a beachfront touch when they’re in colors of oceanic blue — especially if they’re textured just like an under-the-sea monster, as this lamp is.

• Find this one at Layla Grayce
• Browse blue accessories

Ballard Designs

Baldwin Sofa Slipcover

Slipcovers are crucial at a beachy residence, so sand doesn’t take up permanent residence on the sofa.

• Ballard Designs has lots of easy and classic slipcovers.
• A modern take on the slipcover at Serena and Lily.
• For a large selection of slipcovers, attempt Comfort Works.

Dash & Albert Rug Company

Staffordshire Stripe Woven Cotton Rug – $30

If sand and surf are actual design dilemmas for you, you’ll want an indoor-outdoor rug for a look that lasts.

• Rugs from Dash & Albert will continue to keep your floors looking pristine.
• Lots of colorful outdoor carpets from World Market.
• Go to your jute look with one from Crate and Barrel.

Amazon Coastal Style: Home Decorating Ideas Inspired by Seaside Living (978 – $29.95

More inspiration on coastal style:
Sarah’s Sydney Beach Cottage
Cool and Coastal Newport Beach Home
Update That Beachy Style

Tell us : Is your style coastal? Share a picture of your design options below.

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3 Design Styles, 1 Minnesota Tudor

3 Design Styles, 1 Minnesota Tudor

Defining a personal style may be the toughest aspect of home design. Style evolves and changes over time, and often it’s difficult to figure out what it really was at the first location. Some designers have a knack for expressing a customer’s personality perfectly. For many others, the evolution of a customer’s design help make the home a house.

Lucy Penfield of Lucy Interior Design worked on this Tudor at Edina, at a suburb of Minneapolis, for 12 Decades. Over that time, the customer’s style changed radically. Though the West Coast wife enjoys art and color, the East Coast husband has a more traditional design, and also their 12-year-old daughter loves lively designs. Penfield made a more customary principal floor incorporating neutrals and rich colors, and then created a vibrant modern weathered teen sofa downstairs, successfully mixing all of the customers’ styles into one amazing house.

at a Glance
Who lives here: A young couple and their 12-year-old daughter
Location: Edina, Minnesota
Size: 5,000 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
That is intriguing: Penfield had the floor of the cellar dug down by a foot to increase the height of this space.

Lucy Interior Design

The vibrant and contemporary downstairs lounge was designed as a location for the customer’s daughter to hang out and have sleepovers, also for the family to enjoy occasional movie nights. This addition was designed after the main floor was already set up, and the customer decided to go mad with color. The palette of blue, tangerine, lime green and fucshia was motivated by a watercolor of her daughter.

The customer loved the idea of this resting window chair, therefore Penfield enlarged the window and added remote-operated window shades.

Window seat paint: Whales Green, Benjamin Moore; ottomans: from Morocco; sectional: custom, A. Rudin, Romo cloth ; side tables:House Eclectic

Lucy Interior Design

The cellar had just southern- and western-facing windows, therefore natural lighting was restricted. Penfield made every color stand out and improved each little bit of light by painting all of the walls and trim from Benjamin Moore’s Super White.

Paint color on built-in: Dark Steak, Benjamin Moore

Lucy Interior Design

A little kitchen and bar area was set up for late-night snacks and entertaining. A pint-size fridge holds all of the necessities, and a stainless steel countertop and backsplash make for easy cleanup.

Lucy Interior Design

The first cellar was a dingy and dark area with unfinished concrete flooring and a 7-foot-high ceiling. Windows were set up at every available angle to increase the light and the perspective.

The white walls and cabinetry at the sofa area are punctuated with cheerful accessories and trim in vibrant hues. The white shades allow lots of light inside, while their contrasting trim provides definition.

Lucy Interior Design

The gloomy Moroccan bathroom downstairs is one of Penfield’s favorite spaces in the home; it had been motivated by a recent visit to Marrakech. “The hunt-and-gather process for furniture is my favorite,” she states. “I really like to pull from journeys — thus the Moroccan-inspired tile wall. I had just returned from a two-week culinary experience in Morocco, along with the colbalt blue was everywhere”

Accent wall: Waterworks; vanity: custom, painted Super White, Benjamin Moore; flooring tile: Waterworks concrete, Blue Note; wall sconces: habit

Lucy Interior Design

The cheerful laundry area was the first room to be redesigned, and it moved all other rooms on the basement flat. New countertops and cabinetry, colorful built-ins and a painted concrete floor changed this area. A cute set of drapes hides drying laundry when guests come over. “She loves doing laundry now,” states Penfield of the customer. “Who wouldn’t?”

Paint color on built-in shelves: Raspberry Pudding, Benjamin Moore and Cocktail Hour, Hirshfield’s

Lucy Interior Design

Upstairs, the house has a very different vibe. The major living spaces fall closer in line with the house’s traditional Tudor construction. Limestone countertops, a copper hood and dark wood cabinetry give a much more sophisticated style to the upstairs kitchen. The antique maps on the walls have been chosen to commemorate significant locations from the customers’ lives — schools, grandparents’ houses and hometowns are all represented. “We wanted to weave a story,” states Penfield. “I love the way that it reveals a cross-country history”

Backsplash: Waterworks marble mosaic; hood: custom copper; chandelier: iron, Dennis + Leen; countertops: Cambria limestone

Lucy Interior Design

The decor evolved to reflect the couple’s different styles and backgrounds. “I think as a newly married couple, we are safer — perhaps pleasing each other and endangering,” states Penfield. “I think the East Coast conservative side spoke louder in earlier years.”

Hand-crafted accessories, high quality textiles and also a more subtle palette fall in line with the house’s traditional architecture. The house’s first smaller windows did not let enough light into the main living spaces, therefore Penfield assisted design an addition on the south side, which accommodates the family space and wraparound windows.

Area Shade: custom hand-knotted wool, Nepal; ottomans: custom with raffia and jute fringe, Samuel + Sons; coffee table: Woodland paint and glaze

Lucy Interior Design

The household is active and loves to entertain, therefore Penfield used practical materials, all-weather fabrics and durable finishes for all the major living spaces. Halfway through the home’s renovation, the family decided to get two cats, therefore Penfield integrated cat-friendly fabrics into the area as well.

Table and chairs: McGuire; walls: textured plaster, Otto Painting Design; couch: A. Rudin, Clarence House cloth

Lucy Interior Design

Since it took over a decade to finish this house’s design, the appearance in each room evolved over time. A brand new love for color was finally extracted, and Penfield integrated subtle punches into more neutral configurations. Red fabrics in the living area and kitchen add visual interest, while the chocolate and turquoise toile bedspread balances manly and feminine influences. “I really like the balance of yin and yang, that can be shown in color and layout,” Penfield states.

Bedding: China Seas Pagoda toile; bed framework: custom; table lamps: Hwang Bishop; seat: classic

Lucy Interior Design

The master bath includes a balance of old and new, sticking with traditional fixtures and patterns but enjoying with more contemporary color palettes. “Adopt the architecture, but don’t let it choke you,” states Penfield. “We’re always respectful of this architecture but then had some pleasure to let our character shine.”

Roman shade: Conrad Shades, Clarence House cloth ; side table: Waterworks wicker drum; flooring: limestone planks

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Decorate With Intention: Define Your Style

Decorate With Intention: Define Your Style

Having the ability to specify your decorating design in one simple phrase may be a highly effective tool, helping you make decisions that bring your house closer to your eyesight. Your style words may also help make sure that purchases signify the look you love and suit your lifestyle.

So, how can you define your personality? It appears there are so many answers to that question as there are decorators on the planet, but one thing is sure: Your personality statement should work for you. A skillful interior designer may work with you to pinpoint your personality, but if you’re attempting this in your it can be tough to know where to start.

Get warmed up. I invite you to start by thinking about your style in wider terms than decorating alone. In the clothing you wear into the books you read and the activities you enjoy, style encompasses your entire life. What sort of music do you listen to? Which movies, novels and artists inspire you? Where would you love to travel? Your answers to these questions can help point the way toward your style.

Don Ziebell

Start with a single word or phrase. This should be rather easy, so don’t overthink it. What sort of houses are you most drawn to if you turn through the pages of a magazine? Let us say you’re drawn to rooms with exposed beams, cozy chairs and faded colors. Try to come up with a word or phrase which explains this appearance, without worrying about “official” definitions. For instance, you might dub the appearance “rustic,” “Old World” or “Euro country property.”

Supon Phornirunlit / Nude Decor

Search for comparison. Have your very first term or phrase? Great. The next step is to seek out a little bit of counterbalance. The majority of us aren’t entirely one notice in regards to design, so think about adding a second style word which you also love. Maybe you love rustic design but also crave a little bit of modern zing. Consider alternatives for your next phrase or word that talk for you, such as “fresh,” “current,” “hip,” “mod,” or “happy chic.”

Julie Holloway

Put it all together. Blend both style words together for a tailor-made mix. All rustic wood and drab linen may be somewhat too heavy to your own taste, and all modern too yummy, but put them together along with a natural equilibrium ensues.

Case in point: Floral background, a simple wooden plank and a natural fiber rug lay a rustic foundation, though a set of shapely lamps along with a ruffled mirror keep things feeling fresh and current.

Emily McCall

Balance style cravings with actual life. When something has felt “off” about your style words up to now, think about them in terms of your comfort level with formality. Let us say you’re drawn to pictures of luxurious formal dining rooms, but find in reality you’re more comfortable in spaces where you do not have to worry about messing up the fancy upholstery every single time you eat.

Rather than attempting to induce the entire appearance on yourself as it doesn’t sync with your lifestyle, try adopting a couple of key components and replacing the rest with more low-key options. For instance, you could hang a stunning vintage crystal chandelier and display sculptures and art you love, but use a straightforward worn wood table and easy-to-care-for modern chairs.

Atmosphere Interior Design Inc..

Still stumped? Try out these strategies.

Look on your wardrobe. Our clothing style frequently runs parallel to our decorating design.

Walk through your house collecting favorite things, from decoration to clothing — whatever that speaks to your style. Look over the heap that results and see if any style words leap out at you.

Describe your favourite flower. Now apply those words into your decorating design.

Take a poll of a couple of close friends, asking them to describe your style.

Design Manifest

Tweak and scatter till you hit the ideal note. Defining your personality is a procedure — one which can be very enjoyable. Even the poshest decorators’ style evolves over time, which means you can certainly cut yourself some slack.

Discuss exactly what inspires you. If you like, create an ideabook to record your design progress and place a hyperlink to it in the Remarks section below. We would really like to see it.

Read style guides:
Arts and Crafts | Coastal | Contemporary | Cottage | Eclectic | French Country
Hollywood Regency | Industrial | Midcentury Modern | Rustic | Conventional | Transitional

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Renovation Detail: The Built-In Dog Bed

Renovation Detail: The Built-In Dog Bed

I am a dog person. I can’t see myself ever living without a four-legged buddy. I am also a home individual. I care very much about what my house looks like, how it’s presented and when it’s -worthy. Frequently I am discouraged by the appearance of the big old boxer’s cedar-filled dog bed. It doesn’t scream well-designed home or bring people (just dogs). And to tell the truth, until I accumulated this ideabook it’d never occurred to me that I could make an attractive nook for Tyson and his bed, but I’ve been inspired.

Designers, architects and pet owners throughout our country are creating built-in markets for their dogs and their own beds. Frequently located in the mudroom or kitchen, these areas are out of the way of people and adapting for pups.

RLH Studio

A puppy bed built for 2! Because it’s integrated into the cabinetry design, the pups may safely sleep out of harm’s way, not bother diners eating at the nearby table.

Nestled underneath a counter, the bed area uses wasted space and feels just like a den for puppies. I am rather glad to have found that this space-saving solution before we revived our kitchen mudroom. Get ready, Tyson, you’ve got one built-in bed coming right up!

LDa Architecture & Interiors

Situated in a Tudor house’s mudroom closet, this built in dog cage includes decorative screening for ventilation.

Visbeen Architects

Fido has this corner under a counter all to himself. The laundry room is the perfect dog-friendly location because of its tiled floors.

Lifeseven Photography

With a puppy space under the kitchen counter, you’ll no more trip over the pooch while whipping up dinner.

Stonebreaker Builders & Remodelers

This bichon frise snoozes in style with a doghouse that sits beneath a seat built into the laundry area’s darkened cabinetry.


Tucked away under the stairs, this Georgia pup’s fort uses everything could be unused space.

The Woodshop of Avon

Bubba can snooze in fashion here (lower; click on photo to view whole view). Inspired by rich wooden cabinetry and slate flooring, this Minnesota pup is growing up from the lap of luxury.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

This dog nook is tucked away from the world’s cutest laundry room and is styled with decorative braces. It blends beautifully with a Dutch door, a farmhouse sink plus a geometric backsplash.

Jeanne Finnerty Interior Design

I am in love with this historical blue hutch. Featuring modern amenities such as a charging station, a cloth pinboard plus an integrated puppy bed (click the photo to see the corner of this opening in the lower left), it’s a modern spin on a traditional piece.

Inform us have you got a distinctive built-in for the pets? Please post a photograph below.

Read doghouses from the Products segment

A Romp Through Pet-Friendly Materials

The Dog Days of Interior Design?

Doghouses Worth a Wag

50 Design-Loving Dogs

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Corner Windows Bend Imagination

Corner Windows Bend Imagination

Approximately one year ago I started contributing ideabooks to get . My first one concentrated on corner windows, including some houses with corners that almost disappeared through the use of mitered panes of glass, with no mullion in the place where they match. This ideabook looks at corner windows, but without limiting them. These examples may be mitered but more often than not a mullion retains the corner.

Most of the examples are presented from the outside and then the interior. With almost any window, what happens on the inside is more important than what is going on outside. Corner windows are similar to that to a larger degree, given they’re special assemblies that are a bit more difficult to build than standard punched openings. But as you’ll see, the benefits are worth it.

KUBE architecture

This house extension by KUBE Architecture resembles a white block that is punctuated by openings that are anything but traditional. Openings are of various sizes and in asymmetrical locations, like the effect of inside to outside is much important that the resulting elevations. From this angle a corner window jobs in the top floor.

KUBE architecture

Seen from the inside, the same corner window serves a small office area, providing the occupant a great panorama of the surrounding trees. An extremely great diversion really.

KUBE architecture

Taking another perspective of the house from KUBE, yet another corner window is visible, this time recessed instead of projecting.

KUBE architecture

A peek inside reveals the corner window to be in a bedroom. The window appears to bridge the long and low opening above the bed together with the tall one on a perpendicular wall. It’s clear the corner window will help bring in more sun to the room.

Klopf Architecture

At first glance the corner window in this Eichler House addition and redesign does not seem particularly special.

Klopf Architecture

But seeing out the corner in the interior reveals how special it actually is. The household has found a kids’s table, letting children to look from the window as they draw or read. This photograph illustrates the full potential of windows isn’t realized until some mechanism (furniture, built-in and these) for using it is additional.

Neiman Taber Architects

This house has a vertical corner window near the front. I am intrigued by its relationship to another windows, particularly the low and long one right next to it.

Neiman Taber Architects

Both of these openings are in the kitchen, sitting above the countertop and framing views in the foreground bar area. To me the low window is “eyes on the road” — urban activist Jane Jacobs’ phrase — making the tall corner window “eyes on the trees”

Randall Mars Architects

As in the prior example, the horizontal corner window within this perpendicular wood-clad volume makes you wonder, “What’s going on behind the opening?” Let’s take a look.

Randall Mars Architects

Again we have a kitchen. The window threads its way from the sink into the stove between the counter and the top shelves. Note the small operable window from the sink, an chance to let a snap in while washing pots and pans.

Charles Rose Architects Inc..

The Chilmark House from Charles Rose Architects includes a number of corners wrapped with windows. In the foreground the living room is observable, while beyond is another window overlooking the porch.

Charles Rose Architects Inc..

That second window is in a kitchen. Notice the intricate interplay between the windows (narrow and corner one on the left) along with the casework. Shelves pass and cantilever in front of the openings, setting the items on screen. (The cantilever actually needs a secondary arrangement, a small rod hung from the ceiling)

Charles Rose Architects Inc..

Another place from the Chilmark House reveals how the corner-window motif extends to even interior corners. This inset, restricted by some wood louvers, is home to a potted plant, so making very good use of a small and otherwise inaccessible area.

Klopf Architecture

This project may be called “dueling corner windows,” awarded these two almost equal openings facing each other across a patio.

Klopf Architecture

The interior of one of these (the one on the right in the prior photograph) reveals the clerestory windows throughout the rest of the room. The latter bring in plenty of light, but it is the corner window that allows for views of individuals outside and vice versa.

Randall Mars Architects

Talk about an interesting corner window. This one resembles an alien thing grafted onto portion of a traditional-looking house. Note how the window can be used to display some artwork.

Randall Mars Architects

From inside the artwork is also observable, now against a backdrop of trees. The window appears to be strategically placed to make the most of corridors and the view throughout the house.

John Senhauser Architects

This last example unfortunately does not have an interior view to accompany it, so it is up to your imagination. Like the previous house this corner window appears grafted onto another house. The stair resulting in the roof reveals the projecting window may be serving a couple of functions, as an appearance and as access to the more special realm above.

Micro Additions: If You Need Only a Bit More Space

Skinny Windows: Exclamation Points of Light

Ribbon Windows: Openness, Privacy and Cool, Modern Design

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Solution for Hard Water Stains

Solution for Hard Water Stains

Have you got tough hard water stains that no cleaner will eliminate? Our powder room vanity had large stains, in spite of the fact that I washed often. Nothing appeared to remove the buildup before a friend suggested I try vinegar, a natural soap. It worked like a charm — and at the fraction of the expense of a cleaning product.

Susan Duane

Gather your supplies:
• Spray bottle
• White vinegar
• Soft fabric

Fill a clean spray bottle with vinegar. (make certain to label the bottle with a permanent marker so that you’ll know exactly what you put inside for later use.) I used mine at full strength, but you can mix two parts water and one part vinegar for additional cleaning jobs.

Susan Duane

Spray the hard water stains generously with vinegar and let it sit for five to ten minutes, depending on how stubborn your stain is. Before you spray the stain, be sure to test a small area of your counter or tile to be certain that the vinegar will not leave marks. It is friendly for most surfaces, with the exclusion of marble. I tried this in my kitchen counter too, and it worked beautifully.

I left the vinegar onto this stain for about ten minutes total, after doing a test for five minutes.

Susan Duane

Wipe the vinegar off with your fabric and rinse with water — your stain should be eliminated!

If you don’t have white vinegar in the pantry, buy a bottle instantly. This useful liquid is all natural and functions as a stain remover, fabric softener and window cleaner.

Inform us What is your very best tip for spring cleaning?

How to Care for Your Countertops
Spring Clean Your Kitchen
How to Keep Your House’s Beautiful Glass Sparkling Clean

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Fiber Cement Siding Takes a Front Seat

Fiber Cement Siding Takes a Front Seat

Fiber cement contains a mix of cellulose fiber material, Portland cement, silica, sand, water and other additives, based on Victoria Ballard Bell’s helpful book Materials for Design. Panels made with it can also be known as Hardie board, after the title of the number-one manufacturer. Fiber cement altered the asbestos cement sheeting of board.

This background hasn’t ceased Hardie board along with other manufacturers’ fiber cement products from becoming a widely used siding for houses. Over just a heavy-duty replacement for vinyl or wood siding (fiber cement panels are termite and rot resistant and virtually maintenance free), this material can have its own aesthetic, thanks to larger panel sizes and the a variety of color treatments which could be utilized. These examples show some of these layout variants possible with asphalt cement panels.

Stuart Sampley Architect

This photo of this popular Moontower Residence in Austin, Texas, exemplifies the flexibility of fiber cement relative to siding. One volume is covered with flat siding, while another is board and batten; both are restricted by the same corrugated metal roof and treated with a similar color palette.

Nic Darling

The 100K House — a pilot project in Philadelphia for entry urban houses — is a very simple box which garners attention from the vertical random vertical striping of two colors of fiber cement panels. Notice how the windows will be the same width as the panels, thus getting part of the total pattern — or lack thereof.

This house indicates a jump in scale concerning panel dimensions, but also how fiber cement can be used along with other substances. It acts as a framework on this facade, wrapping around volumes covered with substances of a finer scale and different color. I enjoy how the door is tucked at the gap between the panels and the white volume.

Boehm Architecture

While the substances in the preceding example were comparable in color and tone, this endeavor is all about comparison. Fiber cement panels and wood planks have been articulated in a way that the prior read such as two-dimensional bits layered over the latter.

Resolution: 4 Architecture

Fiber cement panels in this prefab house cover a little volume, while bamboo siding can be used for the larger bar. The slate-blue color is transported into the distance between the windows on the second floor.

Resolution: 4 Architecture

A closeup of this slate volume indicates the exposed fasteners that ring the perimeter of each fiber cement panel.

Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects

Two dimensions and colors of fiber cement panels insure this guest house. Dark floats above mild. That is an inversion of what we would anticipate, but one which is “righted” by the magnitude of the siding along with the panels, little preceding large.

DeForest Architects

More variation in fiber cement panels: vertical board and batten in the foreground (notice how the front door fits), and larger rectangular panels at the trunk.

Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

And now for something different. This last example uses a flat board and batten configuration. The orange color fits with a palette which includes red mullions and also a smaller yellow-green volume.

9 Best Siding Materials
Metal Works Wonders With Home Exteriors

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Fantastic Design Plant: Texas Mountain Laurel

Fantastic Design Plant: Texas Mountain Laurel

When it’s the purple blooms of the plant, the fact that it needs just monthly mowing or its different grape Kool-Aid smell, there is a lot to love about Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora). While you may not call Texas Hill Country home, adding a few Lone Star style to your landscape can be as simple as planting a tree.

Read landscape designs | More amazing design plants

Bryan – oz4caster

Botanical name: Sophora secundiflora
Common names: Texas mountain laurel, mescal bean, mountain laurel, mescal bean sophora, frijolillo, frijolito
USDA zones: 8 to 10
Water requirement: Infrequent
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 15 feet tall and wide
Tolerances: Drought, wind, deer and frost

Caution: Seeds are poisonous if ingested

Distinguishing attributes. A desert indigenous, Texas mountain laurel owns survival traits essential to thrive in an arid climate while exuding features of plants out of a great deal more temperate regions. Obviously dispersing and shrubby, it may also be trained as a multistemmed vertical tree.

Dark green compound leaves insure its branches year-round, but its early spring blooms make Texas mountain laurel shine. Reminiscent of wisteria flowers, drooping clusters of violet-blue buds abound in midwinter. The flowers are described as smelling like grape Kool-Aid or other artificial grape products. A relatively brief bloom time contributes to summertime seed pods. If possible, eliminate the seed pods until they open in order to prevent the poisonous seeds from falling.

Photo by Stan Shebs via Wikimedia Commons

Rod Anderson

How to use it. Texas mountain laurel is a great choice for a patio or little space because of its human scale and vertical form. If you would rather make it untrained, Texas mountain laurel will spread nicely to form a landscape screen year-round.

Pam Bycraft

Planting notes. Texas mountain laurel thrives in heat, owing to its native climate, however is hardy to temperatures reaching 10 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Plant in well-drained soil and give it profound monthly waterings during especially warm months. Texas mountain laurel is relatively slow growing, causing it to be a pricier specimen tree. If you train it like a tree, then narrow it throughout the growing period to reduce wind damage.

More amazing design trees:
Bald Cypress | Chinese Witch Hazel | Japanese Maple | Manzanita | Persian Ironwood
Smoke Tree | Tree Aloe

Great design flowers:
Catmint | Golden Creeping Jenny | Pacific Coast Iris | Plumbago
Red Kangaroo Paw | Sally Holmes Rose | Slipper Plant | Snake Flower

Great design grasses:
Black Mondo Grass | Cape Rush | Feather Reed Grass | New Zealand Wind Grass

Great design crops:
Blue Chalk Sticks | Hens-and-Chicks | Redtwig Dogwood | Toyon

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Window Boxes Captivate on the Curb

Window Boxes Captivate on the Curb

Have you ever walked with a house that looked a little flat, a little bare? Something was missing, but you could not really put your finger on it? Try imagining that home with one simple little addition — a window . Picture a tiny box filled with overflowing with pink blossoms or bright yellow pansies. Can you see it? It kind of completes the picture, does not it?

Like the best pearl necklace or strands of gold, window boxes set the finishing touches on the”necks” of plain-Jane windows. Take a second look in your house. Could it benefit from a couple of well-placed window boxes?

Let us catch some thoughts from well-boxed windows in an assortment of shapes, sizes, colors and materials.

If your window is low and long, you have got to balance it with a shallow but lengthy window box. Be certain the box expands a few inches out from the base of the window to create a pleasing line. There is nothing worse than a top-heavy window on a dinky window box.

An exception to the principle? These window boxes are the exact same length as the window sill, but they look well balanced, thanks to its walls. The combo of shutters, window and box create a fully dressed look which makes this”plain” white house difficult to overlook.

O’Sullivan Architects, Inc

You may think window boxes are much too difficult to look after when placed on a second story. Pick drought-resistant annuals which will bloom all summer long. The care needed will be minimal, however, the visual impact will be strong.

TEA2 Architects

This house has a gorgeous backyard, but if you are anything like me, your eyes bypassed that backyard and headed straight to this open window box around the second story. Literally dripping with foliage, the window box gives an air of wealth to this home.

Even the smallest windows may benefit from a tiny flower love. This little potting shed gets all charmed out together with the accession of a sweet little window box.

Working with a little apartment with one little window? You are not left out of the window box party. Try planting a box for the inside of the window, as Jen Jafarzadeh L’Italienhas performed here. A classic soda box full of annuals or blossoms is the perfect indoor pick-me-up for bland windows.


Vintage whites and khakis receive a boost from vivid green and blue in this indoor window box.

Troy Rhone Garden Design

When planting a window box, look at planting vining or trailing plants. Softening the edges of the box and the right lines of your house, these plants work double duty. They are also able to work as a bridge between the house and backyard. Notice these plants seem to be reaching toward the garden beds, making a fully integrated look between the two.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

Informal and abundant, these draping plants are more than sufficient to completely alter the look of this window. The window box itself is all but undetectable, together with the plants taking centre stage.

If your house is a little more buttoned up, attempt miniature topiary to add to the formal style of your facade.

Care to go a little fancier? Try on this arrangement by Troy Rhone Garden Design for fashion.

Orfield Remodeling, Inc

Whether your window box is inside or out, trailing or straight, formal or flowing, it may modify the look of your space. For the price of a wonderful dinner out, a very simple window box can transform the look of your home all season.

See how to make a simple wood window box

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