Green Living for Summer

10 Green Living Tips to Get Ready for Summer

With summer almost here, many of us are feeling the pressure to get our homes ready for this season. There always seems to be a million things to do. However, this year, consider the following green living tips when you’re gearing up for summer. By living green, we can all do our part to keep the planet healthy and give our children more to look forward to.

Getting ready for summer provides us a number of opportunities for doing so too. Best of all, none of these tips for living green need to provide you with lackluster results. You’ll still be just as ready for summer as ever, but you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you did right by the earth too.

 

Get the Whole Family Involved

First, know that none of these green living tips should be taken on by you and you alone. Sometimes all the work for getting the house ready falls to just one family member. But these green living tips are best shared with everyone. For one thing, it’s only fair that everyone do their part. But an equally important lesson to teach your children is about the importance of the environment and what we can do to keep it healthy. So get everyone involved if for no other reason than because it will teach your children a better way to live.

 

Go Green with Your Garden

You might be thinking that your garden is already as green as it gets, but that might not necessarily be the case. When you begin planting and working on it this year, be sure you choose options for fertilizer, pest control, etc. that will respect the environment you’re growing from. Many name brand options may get the job done on the face of things, but actually end up hurting the environment in the long run.

Other green living tips have to do with what you plant and what you harvest. Consider planting vegetables in your garden that you can actually eat in the home. This is a great way to ensure your whole family gets the healthy servings of vegetables they need. It also makes sure you are eating the healthiest kind (as opposed to those grown on industrial farms). Lastly, you’re doing the environment a huge favor with these types of green living tips because countless gallons of gasoline aren’t being burnt to bring them to your dinner table.

 

Build a Rain Reservoir

You’ll need to check with your local authorities to make sure they’re okay with this one, but you building a rain reservoir is one of these green living tips that seems so obvious when you think about it.

Consider how much water you use to keep your lawn healthy. Probably a lot, right? Not only does that water need to come from the environment, but you also need to pay a substantial amount for it. But why do that when mother nature will give you what you need.

Collect the rain that falls onto your roof and you’ll have water on hand the next time you want to wash your car or need to water the grass because of a drought. Not only will you save the environment, but your money too!

 

Use Newspaper to Clean Your Windows

This one may sound like one of our craziest green living tips, but give it a try. Newspapers nowadays don’t run because of the anti-smear ink they use. This makes newspapers become the perfect way to get your glass windows flawless without spending extra cash. Then recycle these newspapers and you’ve cleaned your home and helped the environment.

 

Fresh Lemons Are Great for a Fresh Smell

Everyone has company over in the summer, but after months of keeping the windows closed, you might be worried about the smell. So, first, air out the place. Then, mix about half a lemon’s worth of juice in a spray bottle and get to work.

Reuse Your Sponges

No matter what kind of cleaning you plan on doing to get ready for summer, chances are they’ll involve sponges. But most people tend to buy new ones once theirs appear to be saturated with bacteria. Instead, soak yours in cold, salt water for a couple hours. This will kill off these germs and save you money at the same time.

 

Choose Vinegar for Your Floors

After months of tracking in snow and then the mud of spring, it’s time to tackle those floors. Instead of expensive cleaning options that are all kinds of bad for the environment, though, make a half-and-half mixture of white vinegar and water. This cheap solution will make anything but porous stone floors spotless.

 

Now for the Carpets

Your carpets will need love too for the same reason. You can easily deodorize them with baking soda. Sprinkle it on top, wait a night and then vacuum it up. You’ll notice the difference immediately.

 

Kill Off Mold the Green Way

Over the course of the winter and spring, chances are your house had plenty of opportunities to allow mold to build up. Mold loves the moisture that becomes available throughout the year and the stale air of the winter can be perfect for it. While mold is certainly unattractive, the truth is that it can actually affect your family’s health too if they breathe it in. So take care of mold easily with borax and vinegar. Mix together a half cup of each with a fourth a cup of warm water. Then pour the result into a spray bottle and apply it to any moldy surface you find.

 

Recycle for Cleaning Materials

One of our green living tips already covered how to get second life from sponges. But you probably use all kinds of extra cleaning materials too. Instead of buying costly paper towels that will just wind up in the garbage, take the time to go through your family’s clothing, find shirts, socks and other items you no longer wear and turn them into cleaning rags.

 

Green Living Tips for Every Pocket

See? We told you these green living tips could be both good for the environment and your pocketbook. Plus, they’ll all produce the finished product you want: a house ready for summer.

 

Article written by Maja Tisma, published by Daily Proof

May30

Spring Gardening 101

Garden Projects for Early Spring
A few early preparations for the spring gardening season
will bring benefits all year long.

The urge to garden in early spring is primal. Re-connecting with the earth is affirming, renewing, promising. Waking up the garden to a new growing season is about more than soil and seedlings…this rite of spring is a tonic to the gardener as well.

 

~ Early Spring Garden & Yard Tasks

clear drainage ditches
Leaves and debris gather in drainage areas over the winter. Now is the time to ensure that the spring rains will have adequate runoff. Spring seedlings do best in soil which drains well. Because vegetative growth is at a low point in early spring, this is the easiest time of year for clearing drainage ditches. And be sure to put the cleared material, usually dead leaves and small branches, into the compost. Spring compost piles are commonly short on carbon-rich materials, and every addition helps.

repair any bowed sides to raised beds. fix trellises and fencing.
Soggy winter soil puts a strain on raised beds; sometimes a stake will rot and give way. Any bowed or leaning sides should be fixed now. Dig back the soil behind the bowed side and drive in new stakes on the inside of the sideboards with a slight inward lean. Push sideboards up to stakes and fasten well with screws or nails. If you are interested in purchasing a raised bed, we have a comprehensive selection of Raised Garden Beds available in our online store.

Trellises and fencing are also easiest to repair in early spring, with less growth to work around and fewer roots to disturb. Setting new fenceposts, however, is best done after the spring rains have had a chance to drain through the ground. If the water table is too high, post holes will fill with water as you try to dig.

weed young spring weeds. mulch bare spots in beds.
Any weeds which appear in your garden beds will be easiest to pull now, as the roots are shallow. Covering bare spots with mulch or ground cover will minimize the emergence of new weeds. Adding mulch to a depth of 3 to 4 inches is usually sufficient. Black plastic sheeting can also be used to cover the beds before planting as a way to suppress emerging weeds. And if you flip the sheeting over once a week you may likely find slugs which have been hiding in the bed. This is a simple way to reduce the slug population in garden beds.

When adding mulch to garden beds or around the base of fruit trees, keep the mulch a few inches away from tree trunks and the crowns and stems of plants. This will help reduce rot on the stems of young plants and will protect the bark of young fruit trees.

when it’s dry enough, ‘top dress’ beds.
Top dress garden beds with compost or well-seasoned manure in preparation for planting. Resist the urge to dig the bed; established beds have a complex soil ecosystem which is best left undisturbed. Nutrients added from the top will work their way down into the soil.

In early spring you may find that your compost pile is wet and does not apprea to be actively composting the materias you’ve been adding through the winter months. If this is the case, read our article How to fix a soggy compost pile.

early spring is the time for lime.
Soils with a pH below 6.2 will benefit from the addition of lime. Dolomite is the finest grind, and is recommended. With ground limestone it will take twice as long for plants to derive any benefit from it. Ideally, lime should be added several weeks before planting. Hydrate lime, or “quick lime”, is not recommended, as it can change the soil pH so rapidly that plants may be damaged. Cover newly limed beds with plastic during heavy spring rains to prevent runoff. Soil pH can be determined by using a soil pH test kit.

prepare your lawn for spring.
Rake the lawn to remove dead growth and winter debris. This helps bring light and air to the soil level, encouraging the grass to grow. Re-seed bare patches of lawn. Rake bare spots firmly with a metal rake before seeding. Sprinkle grass seed into a bucket of soil and spread evenly over the bare spot. Keep well-watered until seeds germinate and the new grass establishes. Pre-emergent herbices such as corn gluten may be applied now.

thin dead foliage of ornamental grasses and ferns. pull vegetable plant skeletons.
Once new growth begins. it becomes difficult to thin ornamentals without damaging the plant. New growth will quickly replace the culled foliage. And if you didn’t get around to this last fall, pull the old tomato, squash and other plant skeletons to clear the bed for planting. Plant skeletons can be added to the compost if you are sure they do not harbor any plant disease.

~ Vegetables and Flowers

plant early spring vegetables when soil is workable.
Soil is ready for gardening once it is free of ice crystals and crumbles easily. Soil that is too wet is easily compacted, reducing beneficial soil aeration. Common early spring crops are peas, spinach, lettuces and leeks. For a prolonged harvest, plant several varieties, each with a different maturation date. Follow these crops with broccoli, cabbage, radishes, kale, turnips, new potatoes and onions. Mulch early bulbs if you live in areas where freezing temperatures hang on.

protect seedlings from hard frosts.
Early spring plantings are vulnerable to hard frost which can set in overnight. If you expect a hard frost, cover seedlings overnight with anything you have on hand – an overturned bucket or cardboard box (with a rock on top) or large flower pot, a portable garden cloche, or a cold frame. If your garden has the space, and your budget allows, a starter greenhouse is ideal for starting seedlings early in the season and protecting them from inconsistent early spring weather.

be one step ahead of the cabbage moth.
Once the frosts are gone, the cabbage moth may appear. It lays eggs against the lower stems of brassica seedlings – cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprout, kale, cauliflower. Once the eggs hatch, the seedlings lose vigor and often die. Be prepared to protect these crops from root maggots by covering plantings with row covers or applying small pieces of barrier paper around the seedling stem base. Maggots are more of a problem in cool, wet soils.

plant out daffodils, lilies, crocus, hyacinth and any other bulbs,
Early spring is the time to set out bulbs which were forced in pots or bowls in the house. Some may bloom next spring, others may take two or three years to rebuild enough food reserve to support flowering.

divide perennials. clear and mulch perennial beds.
For easier handling try to time the division so emerging shoots are only 2 to 4 inches tall. Prepare new beds for perennial flowers by spreading a 6-inch deep layer of organic matter (i.e. peat moss, compost, rotted manure) and work in deeply. Plants growing in deep, rich soil are less likely to suffer from summer drought. Existing perennial beds can be cleared of old plant debris and mulched to prevent weed growth. Mulch should be applied around, but not over the sprouting root mass of each plant.

Stakes can also be put in the ground now for sprouting perennials such as asparagrus, which may need support for it’s tall ferns later in the season in gardens exposed to wind. Be sure to set the stakes well clear of the root mass so as not to disturb emerging shoots.

~ Shrubs and Trees

prune out dead or damaged branches
Prune unwanted branches of trees and shrubs after new growth has begun. Cut back any remaining dead perennial foliage from last season. Prune roses just before they start to bud out. Spring blooming trees and shrubs, however, should not be pruned in late winter; their flower buds are ready to open as temperatures warm. Azaleas, forsythia, weigela, dogwood, and other spring shrubs can be pruned.

prune fruit trees.
Fruit tree pruning is best done in late winter or early spring. Prune well before buds begin to break into bloom or the tree may be stressed resulting in a reduced crop. Pick up and remove the pruned clippings, especially if you intend to cut the grass under the tree during summer.

remove stakes or relax wires installed on trees planted last fall.
Allowing a little swaying of tree stems results in sturdy yet resilient plants. Thin out some branches of trees which have a history of leaf spot diseases. Pruning will improve air circulation and penetration of sunlight, which in turn can reduce the incidence of disease. Remove tree guards or burlap wraps from the trunks of young trees or shrubs. This prevents moisture buildup beneath the wrap, which can encourage rot and promote entry of diseases.

transplant any existing shrubs you want to move before they begin to leaf out.
Soil conditions in early spring are favorable to transplants because the soil is more consistently moist, which helps new rooting to expand from the transplant zone and reach out for more nutrients. To transplant, use a spade to find the edges of the main root mass, then dig down and under to loosen the root ball. Dig the new hole several inches wider all around, and add soil amendments such as compost or organic fertilizer. Once the transplant is set in place, filling in around the sides with lightly compacted soil will promote lateral root growth.

apply horticultural oil sprays to pear and apple trees.
Apply oil spray to pears just as the buds begin to swell and then again 10 days later to control pear psylla and pear leaf blister mite. Make a single application of oil on apple trees when a half-inch of green tissue is visible in developing buds.

also apply oil to ornamental trees and shrubs
Apply dormant oil to trees and shrubs which have a history of aphid, scale or spider mite infestations. Destroying these pests safely with spring applications of horticultural oil will reduce your need for pesticides later in the growing season.

inspect your pole pruner before using
Before setting foot on the orchard ladder take a few minutes to inspect the head of the pruner and the cord. If there is a failure of any parts while you are pruning, it could send you for a tumble. Read our article Pre-Season Pole Pruner Checklist.

 

Article written & published by Eartheasy, Solutions for Sustainable Living

May09

Home Preparation

Preparing your Home For Sale

Obviously, there are many different types of buyers in the Fort Worth area. Some are looking for a “fix up” project which they can put their own touch to, while others simply wish to walk in, unpack and instantly feel at home without having to redecorate. The best way to appeal to both categories is by having a clean, fresh space for viewers to walk into – so clear your counter tops, remove excess personal belongings such as family photographs or the kid’s toys and mow the lawn. Tara-Nicholle Nelson of Reader’s Digest also recommends that you “consider having a termite inspection in advance of listing your home, and get as many of the repairs done as you can – it’s a major selling point to be able to advertise a very low or non-existent pest repair bill.” Finally, putting out fresh flowers and spritzing air freshener before an open house event can work wonders, and give potential buyers an all-round sensory kick when exploring your home.

 

Article written by Emma Crosby, Published by Moore Real Estate

Apr06

Snap Judgments

Don’t Make Snap Judgments

In a similar vein, be sure not to make snap judgments on a place based purely on circumstantial evidence. There’s a reason why winter is ‘the slowest and dreariest…season of all’ when it comes to selling homes – people just aren’t attracted to houses with slushy lawns, dripping from the leaves and often viewed in darkness. This may be a huge mistake, however. If you visit a house and it strikes you as unprepossessing, take a look at the conditions outside. If it’s raining, or otherwise miserable, it is likely that this has altered your perspective of the place. Weather profoundly affects our moods – meteorological mood swings are even thought to be able to influence the results of elections – so be careful not to judge a place on the weather when you visit. If it’s rainy, dark, or generally horrible outside – give the place another chance, and come back to see it again when the weather is better. This advice holds true for good weather, as well – treat houses viewed in sunny conditions with a healthy dose of realism. The warmth and cheery blue skies will make a house look 100% more attractive than it may actually be. Try to visit it at different times of day and in different weather conditions, so that you can get a more realistic feel for the place.

 

Article written by Emma Crosby, Published by Moore Real Estate

Mar28

Zoning Laws

Learn the Zoning Laws

It’s always a good idea to check out local zoning laws before buying a property anywhere. This is particularly pertinent if you plan to remodel, run a home business, or go in for some extensive landscaping. Some homes come with CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) attached, which may impose conditions upon how you keep your home, or restrict what you are allowed to do to it. If you want to run a business, and the area you’re living in has been zoned as residential, you could run into some sticky planning problems. Remodeling and landscaping – even something as simple as cutting down a tree or building a sandpit for your kids – can be subject to zoning laws and require a lot of red tape to sort out. So have a clear idea of what you are looking for in a place, and the kind of things you are likely to want to do to or with it when you have it. Then, talk to your realtors regarding your plans – they will be able to inform you of any relevant zoning information, and suggest an alternative neighborhood if the one you’re looking at doesn’t fit your requirements.

 

Article written by Emma Crosby, Published by Moore Real Estate

Mar17

The American Dream

With the American housing market recovering, many people are once more ready to undertake the American Dream of owning the perfect house. The good people at Moore Real Estate can help you to do that – with a wide range of beautiful, luxury properties on their books in the much sought after Fort Worth area. However, once you’ve arranged to view a few properties, it’s a good idea to bear a few things in mind in order to choose the home which is best for you!

 

Article written by Emma Crosby, Published by Moore Real Estate

Mar10

Home Insurance?

Work Out What Insurance You Will Need

Mortgage providers often require that the buyer purchase home insurance, in order to protect their investment. Given that this is usually a compulsory purchase, you should make sure that you’re getting the very best deal. One should look into home insurance policies fairly comprehensively, as US home insurance policies vary much more widely than those found in other nations. In Europe home insurers (due to a combination of homogenized industry and government regulations) tend to offer lump packages to all customers, comprising much the same things. Subsidence insurance, for example, is included as standard in the UK even in areas at extremely low risk of subsidence. This means that home insurance policies in the UK are often higher than need be, leading canny consumers to turn to websites like Money.co.uk in search of home insurance reduction tips like ‘Lessen the risk to your home’ and  ‘Back up your policy with savings’ . On the other hand, this over-insurance does mean that the people of Europe are pretty much covered for every eventuality – as the British were relieved to find during the nation’s recent floods. Insurance purchasers in the USA, by contrast, may be happily able to avail themselves of cheap insurance premiums – but when it comes to the crunch and a claim needs to be made, they can discover to their dismay that they are not covered for the situation they are in. Less scrupulous insurers can be extremely clever about hiding their lack of adequate coverage for high-risk eventualities, so trouble claiming back insurance after a home disaster is more of an issue in the USA than in many other nations. Be sure, therefore, to look very carefully into the policies available, insure with a reputable company, and ask people who know the property of the district – like Moore’s Real Estate – what you will need covered in a home insurance policy.

 

Article written by Emma Crosby, Published by Moore Real Estate

Mar04

Focus…

Focus on the Whole Property – Not Just One Aspect

Most people have a good idea of their dream home within their heads. When looking for a new home, this dream has the potential to come true, and plenty of people start applying their dreams to real properties enthusiastically during viewings. However, it is important to keep a sense of reality. Make sure to look at the property as a whole – too often, people focus on one aspect of their dream (be that a large yard, an original fireplace, bow windows or whatever else has captured your imagination). This means that properties which would otherwise have been perfect are dismissed because they lacked that one feature, or vice versa – completely unsuitable homes are purchased purely on the value of one aspect. Remember that you will be living in all of this home, not just one small part of it, so be sure to view them as complete properties. Go around with the mindset of one who may be living there and using that space and those facilities, rather than purely being out to spot your dream-fulfilling criteria.

 

Article written by Emma Crosby, Published by Moore Real Estate

Feb25

Time to Sell?

Smart sellers spend a whole lot of time and energy strategizing about how to sell their homes for top dollar. They factor in buyer demand, the competition, the job market, the mortgage market and their agent’s track record. And that doesn’t even account for all the time spent understand recent home sales in the area as an indicator of how local buyers will react to this listing.

Many a smart seller will also try to time their listing just right, too. And most often this looks like waiting until they feel buyers are sufficiently ready, willing, and able to pay a good price for the property. One timing consideration that sometimes gets short shrift is this: the calendar.

There’s a season for everything, as you might have heard. And recent Trulia data revealed some powerful geographically-specific seasonal trends in search activity for homes, adding proof to what agents have long known – the calendar portends various shifts in buyer activity, which sellers need to note. If you’re gearing up to list your home for sale, you should definitely take advantage of this interactive tool we’ve created to help you understand how these shifts play out in your area, and connect with your agent to discuss whether and how you might want to factor that into your home sale action plan.

But there are also a number of calendar-based factors you should just be thoughtful about as you put your plan for selling together. Here are a handful of calendars that should be – and stay – on every home seller’s radar screen:

1. The Academic Calendar. Families with school-aged children often find it less disruptive to house hunt in the late Spring/early Summer with the aim of moving in before school starts. Of course, we all know what they say about the best laid plans, so by no means should you let this stop you from listing your home at another time of year. Just know that demand for homes with convenient proximity to strong schools can uptick during the summer school break and around other times of year when kids are not in school.

2. The Tax Calendar. I cannot count the number of relatively unmotivated, looky-loo type buyers I’ve worked with over the years who got sudden, intense motivation from a massive, looming tax bill. For instance, many new professionals will seek to close escrow on homes between the time they graduate and the end of that same year, in an effort to deduct their closing costs and mortgage interest from their newly large incomes and avoid a big tax bill the following April. Similarly, just after tax time in April, a flood of newly motivated buyers come into the market, advised by their CPAs that the mortgage interest deduction is their best bet for not having to write as big a check to the IRS next year.

Fortunately for sellers, more buyers and more motivation means more demand and – all other things being equal – can translate into a faster sale at a higher price than at other times of the year.

3. The Weather Calendar. Many sellers who live in cold-weather climates are aware that wintry weather conditions can dramatically cut down on the numbers of buyers who are out viewing properties. This is why buyer searches for homes on Trulia peak earliest, in January, in warm-weather states like Hawaii and Florida – and not until after the Spring thaws in the Midwest, the South, the northeast and most of the West.

But what’s not as obvious is that the combination of what’s happening on the weather calendar and the specific features of your home can interact to impact your home’s prospects for sale – and its ultimate sale price. Behavioral economics researchers have found that homes with swimming pools sell for more in the summertime than they do in the winter. “When it is sweltering outside, a swimming pool just looks attractive. There’s an emotional connection because it reminds us of fun times we have in the summer,” said Jaren Pope, one of the study’s authors and an assistant professor of economics at Brigham Young University.

So, if you’re selling a home with ski slope access in the summer, you might want to paint the picture of a cozy, fun-filled winter by staging the place with ski gear and other items that help prospective buyers visualize how much fun they’ll have when winter comes. And vice versa -if you’re selling a pool house in the winter, consider making sure it is steamy and heated, if it has those features. Stage it with lounges, towels, lights – anything that showcases the pool to offset cold-weather buyer’s psychological tendency to discount the appeal of a pool in the winter.

4. The Holiday Calendar. During the holidays, many buyers simply prefer to spend their downtime celebrating with family and friends vs. house hunting, especially in locales where the winters are wet or cold. Our listing search databacks this up: nationwide, December is the slowest month of the year for home searches, and November is the second-slowest.

Does this mean the holidays are a bad time to have your house on the market? Not necessarily: some homes just show beautifully when all lit up and tastefully dressed up for the holidays. And the truth is that there is a hardy contingent of buyers motivated to close by year’s end for tax purposes, every year in every market. While buyers might be fewer in number, those who will brave rain, sleet and snow and forego holiday parties to house hunt can be some of the most motivated buyers of all.

5. The Gregorian Calendar (the regular old January through December calendar, that is). A survey just released by Fidelity Investments revealed that 54% of Americans said they typically consider setting New Year’s Resolutions related to their personal finances. This year, 26 percent of respondents said they are in a better financial situation today than last year (only 19 percent said so in 2012) and 28 percent say they are less in debt (vs. 25 percent in 2012).

 

Home buying tends to be a popular resolution among those with money on their minds at this time of year – and also among people looking forward to career promotions, developing their love and family relationships or relocating to a new home town. Make sure your home is well-represented on sites like Trulia at the beginning of the year (i.e., now!), when these life and financial change visionaries start searching the web for their next nest.

 

 

This article was written by Tara-Nicholle Nelson, published by Trulia Tips

Jan29

12 Fresh Decorating Ideas

12 Fresh Ideas for the New Year

New Year, New Look.

 

Update your house with these

unique decorating ideas in 2014.

 

wallpaper closet

PHOTO: VICTORIA PEARSON

Wallpaper Your Closet Doors

The fastest way to make over sliding closet doors is to wallpaper them. Designer Melissa Warner turned her Hollywood apartment‘s bedroom into her office and used wallpaper as an instant splash of color and pattern. Wallpaper is Osborne & Little’s Hothouse in Arizona.

 

 

PHOTO: KELLY STUART

Contrast Trim Colors

Trim a pendant in contrasting colors for a fun, subtle, and surprising touch, like in Sara Story’s Gramercy Park apartment.

 

 

PHOTO: MAURA MCEVOY 

Cover Your Walls

Instead of wallpaper or paint, cover your walls with an interesting and eye-catching detail. In a New York apartment designed by Phoebe and James Howard, Plastic flowers, made by artist Carson Fox, cascade down a wall covered in a Casamance fabric. “Carson brings boxes of flowers and creates it on the spot,” she explains. Chest of drawers by Century Furniture. Gabrielle chairs by Hickory Chair. Sabine mirror from Made Goods. Lamp from Mrs. Howard.

 

 


PHOTO: FRANCESCO LAGNESE

Add Pattern to Your Dresser

Tom Scheerer’s love of the old-fashioned — and the fresh way he reinterprets it — is nowhere more evident than in the bedroom of a Brooklyn apartment. A grandmother’s dresser was painted white and decoupaged with cut-out leaves from a color Xerox of the chair fabric (a discontinued pattern). “It suggests the improvisational charm of pieces my own grandmother and her peers decorated for their summer houses,” Scheerer says.

 

 


PHOTO:  KARYN R. MILLET

Mix and Match Chairs

Your chairs don’t have to match. In the breakfast room of her Hollywood Hills house, Tobi Tobin arranged a trio of vintage chairs, all from different periods. She used simple bamboo shades from Target, painted the walls Farrow & Ball’s Lamp Room Gray, “and — voilà — a modern farmhouse!” she says.

 

 


PHOTO: VICTORIA PEARSON

Write on Your Walls

Yes, it’s okay to write on your walls. And if you change your mind, just paint over it. When they couldn’t find artwork for the master bedroom in a Malibu house, designers Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe came up with a temporary fix that became permanent: Sean Daly spray-painted “love” above the Nickey Kehoe bed.

 

 


PHOTO: JONNY VALIANT

Use Books to Decorate

Books can be used as decor, too. Designer Jamie Drake filled niches with books, turning the spines of all but a few toward the wall: “It’s more provocative that way.”

 

 

PHOTO: SIMON WATSON 

Paint Your Closet

Your closet doesn’t have to be a dull, white shade – paint it your favorite color. Instead of the usual chrome rods and white backdrop, designer Jeannette Whitson gave her Nashville closet a more luxurious look by painting it Benjamin Moore’s Blue Dusk and hanging her clothes on unlacquered brass rods.

 

 


PHOTO: THOMAS LOOF

Give Your Ceiling a Dramatic Color

When decorating, don’t forget to look up. In a Nashville house designed by Markham Roberts, the ceiling painted in Benjamin Moore Aura in Black Knight makes for a handsome porch that’s used year-round thanks to a fireplace and fans. The teak sofa and armchairs by Restoration Hardware are covered in Kravet Navy canvas and Quadrille’s Island ikat custom-printed on Sunbrella fabric. Palecek wingback chairs. Paul Ferrante pendant.

 

 


PHOTO: VICTORIA PEARSON

Use a Runner Instead of a Doormat

Even the smallest things could use an update, like your doormat. In a Malibu house designed by Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe, a runner made from vintage saris leads to the entry, on a grassy knoll in the Santa Monica Mountains.

 

 


PHOTO: SIMON WATSON 

Line Your Shelves

Your shelves could use a makeover, too. In William Christie’s French countryside estate, local earthenware is displayed in an armoire with shelves lined in delicate lace. The vessels on top are from the famed potter’s village La Chapelle des Pots.

 

 

PHOTO: KELLY STUART

Mix Up Mantel Art

Rather than one large piece of artwork above the fireplace, Sara Story hangs three smaller pieces in her Gramercy Park apartment.

 

 

 

Article published by HouseBeautiful.com and written by Sarah Yang

Jan04