8 Tile Types For The Kitchen Backsplash

The backsplash could be regarded as the most significant part the design of your kitchen. No matter what material you choose, it’s a focal point. Tile tends to be the most popular option — for its flexibility in budget, style and program. Whether your backsplash extends up into the base of the upper cabinets, then reaches all the way up into the ceiling or falls somewhere in between, with one of those inspiring and intriguing tiles can increase your kitchen’s distinctive look.

Exquisite Kitchen Layout

Laser-cut tile. These tiles have been intricately cut using lasers to generate intricate designs which are pieced together like a mystery, as shown here.

Beware of the price tag on those tiles, as most of them are made from precious materials like quartz and marble, or handmade stone- or silver-backed glass.

Bella Spazio/ Celine Modern Art

Mirror tile. Tiny mirrored tiles assembled into a single design create a mirrored backsplash with feel. Something similar to this is perfect for that area in your kitchen that requires an extra-special touch — like a buffet area, serving channel or butler’s pantry.

Blue Sky Building Company

Diagonal tile. Give ordinary tile a twist by putting it on the diagonal. Remember that a diagonal design means you’ll want to purchase about 10 percent more tiles to finish your backsplash. Diagonal tile layouts also have a tendency to be more labor intensive — more cuts are required on top and the base — hence the installer can up the price a little.

Buckminster Green LLC

Large-pattern tile. Big, bold designs are in vogue right now — try putting one on your kitchen walls. Many businesses create patterns that may be customized to repeat like wallpaper.

Using a large-patterned tile, so it is very important to lay out your wall space thoughtfully, so that your design ends up seeming even throughout the setup.

Fiorella Design

Subway tile. Among the most beloved tile designs so far is the classic and classic subway tile so named because this kind of tile is frequently utilized in subway stations worldwide.

Tile all the way into the ceiling to give this classic tile a brand new and more modern look.

Croma Design Inc

Herringbone tile. Add loads of feel into your own kitchen with tile in a herringbone design. Many tiles in the herringbone pattern can be purchased on a net backing (generally a 12- by 12-inch backing material on the bottom of the tile that retains several pieces together), which means you won’t need to put out each and every individual piece.

Shirley Parks Style

Specialty-shaped tile. Do not restrict yourself to a square. Many manufactures take pride in supplying colours and unique shapes. You should have no trouble locating a producer near you to get the color and shape you want.

The oval shape in this kitchen has a great retro feel.

Dayna Katlin Interiors

Custom mosaic tile. When you have the funds for this, consider going with a design that is all your own. The design here was created with mosaic tiles, expertly trimmed piece by piece to make a gorgeous custom design.

Some designs can be purchased directly from a tile maker, and others can be installed and designed by an artist that specializes in custom mosaic tile design. Everything depends for.

More: Watch the guides to kitchen counters, backsplashes and more kitchen remodeling ideas.

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Washed Out to Knockout — Watch a Smart Living Room Makeover

When er Lana Carlene became fed up with her property, which she called a “large, dull, beige box,” she chose to do something about its lack of personality — one area at a time. She began her coup from the living area, in which an expansive fireplace screamed for attention. In less than two weeks of construction time, she had the black granite from around the fireplace stripped, organic rock installed all the way to the ceiling along with a clever new storage system packaged in. Here’s how she did it.

Project in a
What’s Living room makeover
Location: Maple Valley, Washington
Duration: Approximately two weeks of preparation; 12 days of in-house construction
Budget: $12,000

Installation done by Powell Custom Homes & Renovations

Before Photo

BEFORE: Carlene had transferred from a significantly smaller condominium to the 2,000-square-foot house. Her numerous small furniture pieces were creating the spacious living room feel cramped, and they felt out of balance.

AFTER: A clever storage method and ceiling-reaching stonework now surround the fireplace.

Mounting the TV over the fireplace would have put the display too high for comfortable viewing from the sectional, so Carlene had it hung at eye level to a side and the components put in a cabinet underneath. Cables running via a Smurf tube in the wall connect the components to the display. And she made sure to leave enough room for a larger TV in the future.

Before Photo

BEFORE: The small TV stand was crammed into a corner and packaged with amusement gear, furthering the mess issue. Carlene knew the spacious wall could be used for storage. “I wanted something more unified,” she said. “The thought of not needing another entertainment unit and shelving for storage has been attractive.”

She place various paint swatches on the wall until she found the right color.

Carlene spent hours looking at photos of living rooms with fireplaces, eventually settling on a mix system that would span the entire wall. After she found the right storage layout and wall color, the area was emptied and prepared for installation and painting.

In the beginning she tried a mild blue, Behr’s Cloudy Day. She had the black granite onto the fireplace surround replaced with natural rock to add texture and also to utilize the existing mantel. “The existing mantel is a really fine, chunky Craftsman appearance, so I wanted to just enhance that feel,” she says.

She had the rock extended to the ceiling for height and texture.

AFTER: Symmetrical shelves make the most of this extensive wall space and accommodate artwork. Carlene changed the wall color to a warm gray (Benjamin Moore’s Cinder) for a more dramatic backdrop for her artwork and accessories.

Stone: Cronin, Desert Gold

Once the TV components were put up, Carlene eliminated the center doors onto this cabinet and set in perforated metal panels for additional ventilation.

What was cluttered and plump is now inviting and warm. Merely ask Carlene’s puppy, Ricky.

Prove us : Would you have before and after photos of a project to discuss? Upload them in the Comments or in the Discussions section, and your project may be contained in a featured ideabook!

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The Hidden Factors Driving Your Home's Style

For most people, houses embody a style that’s draped over the home’s exterior and applied to its interior. Many people are comfortable picking a style like an entrée off a restaurant menu, but they’re often not too familiar with what generated these fashions in the first place: homeowner needs and values, the builder’s vision and experience, the neighborhood and available materials.

There is another powerful influence that often goes unseen. Since the 1950s basic house prototypes and every other home constructed in or around most urban facilities have been defined and limited by a growing amount of construction regulations. The top designs adopt those regulating regulations — and the needs of homeowners and the organic context — to create houses that surprise and comfort.

Burr & McCallum Architects

There are principles that every new constructed house has to follow. These regulations shape and specify several essential elements you may think came out of a designer’s creativity.

Rules and beauty aren’t enemies, nevertheless. Talented designers can make constraints disappear, requirements can express themselves with beautiful details, and idiosyncracies of homeowners may get artful features anyone can appreciate. For example, this home’s unique sliding barn doors are a feature layout component. They also separate adult places from children’s, and the ample opening could accommodate a wheelchair.

Studio of Glenn Williams Architect

If you are thinking of creating a home you love by rebuilding it, adding on to it or even building it from the bottom up, then you will need a building permit, and in an increasing number of areas, getting that license has an increasing amount of strings attached to it. Truth be told, the most artful houses still need to follow the most artless of all inspirations: codes, commissions and costs.

This home has been conceived as a brand new single-family dwelling; the intention was to convert it into a duplex with a minimum of physical intervention. Following a lengthy approval process, the duplex conversion has been finished, which allowed the homeowner family to live there in addition to accommodate a brother.

MQ Architecture & Design, LLC

Every home has to follow rules; it’s just that a few of them do it superbly. Before you even put pen to napkin, construction codes, zoning laws, septic technology requirements, national regulations for construction on the coast, energy rules, wetlands regulations as well as sustainability variables are also designing your home, whether you know it or not.

This house is situated in a nature conservancy. It’s sustainably designed and LEED Gold certified, and has won local and national awards.

Duo Dickinson, architect

Before generation, village districts, historic districts and architectural review boards have boldly gone where no regulatory body has ever gone before: into aesthetics. These external revisionists look on your shoulder as you imagine how you need to live and frequently provide a perspective that’s not yours. So if your home is on or near water in a historical neighborhood or an urban centre by way of example, these fresh labyrinths of design review and acceptance have been set up to protect that water whether you think your home represents a threat to it or not.

In intense cases, these regulations can be budget busting. My office is the design architect for the house exhibited here, in California; it had 13 consultant firms (geotech, archeological, hydrological and on and on), two years of applications and hearings, and over $600,000 in gentle costs to receive a construction permit for a layout that had no variances. The site is set half a mile inland from the coast with no wetlands, no historical district without a architectural review board approval required.

Architect, duo Dickinson

Beyond addressing codes and rules and bureaucratic review, every single home layout has requirements that have nothing to do with fashion. Construction cost, the particulars of the way you cook, the way you use your bathroom, if you’re able to handle measures, or if your children or parents can go back to the nest most fix a home’s bones before the art part invents your design.

Here the shape of the cantilevered deck follows the coastal setback line, that’s the limiting line for building.

Additionally a great tree, a radically beautiful or ugly opinion, or just street noise can challenge every “Home Sweet Home” dream you had before you discovered the specific place on the planet for you and your family.

“Design” isn’t the background glued over these inartful sources. Whether you renew, add on or build new, the plan of where you live first finds inspiration in every aspect of what your home must be.

More: Have It Your Way — What Makes Architecture Successful

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Send from the Design Cats

The dog folks have had. It’s your turn. We wish to see your best photo of your cats at home, in your garden and in your workspace. We all know that cats help you decorate. Show us the way they also make you laugh and help you enjoy the comforts of home.

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

We all love our cats and are constantly looking for ways to please them. It is not too difficult. No store-bought toy is better than the usual milk cap, a wad of paper or hanging outside in the sun with you.

Zakrzewski + Hyde Architects

Every cat is as individual as a work of art. About , the more of these we find in fascinating rooms, the better.

Photo from Heather Davis

So grab your camera and get a shot of Mister Tibbs until he can see exactly what you are doing and rub his nose onto the lens. Twosomes welcome, too.

Already have a photo that shows your cat at his or her handsomest, silliest along with finest? Please upload it.

We will be featuring 50 of the best photographs and stories in an upcoming roundup of cats in layout.

Photo from Alli Michelle

We certainly have to see photographs of this cat helping out around your workplace …

Photo from rcbennett

… and helping you start that painting.

Photo from Michelle Renee

Photo from Elena Calabrese Design & Decor

Your turn: Upload a large, clear, well-lit photo and tell us something about your cat and how he or she helps you around the home, studio and yard. You might be visiting your furry friend on the homepage soon.

More: 50 puppies in layout

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Sell Your House Fast: 21 Coffee Tips

If you are planning to put your home on the market this summer, it goes without saying that you are hoping to sell your home as fast as possible and receive your asking price. Set the stage for success with these 21 tips for styling and updating your home, and find results — fast.

Case Design/Remodeling, Inc..

1. Boost curb appeal. That is something you constantly hear, and with great reason. Many people considering touring your home will do a quick drive-by first, frequently deciding on the spot if it’s worth a look inside. Make sure your home is prepared to lure in onlookers with the following hints:
Power wash siding and walkwaysHang easy-to-read house numbersPlant blooming flowers and fresh greeneryMow lawn, and reseed or add new sod like neededWash front windowsRepaint or stain the porch ground as necessary

Whitten Architects

2. Welcome visitors. Even in the event that you have just a tiny stoop, make it say “welcome home” with a clean doormat, potted plants in bloom and — if you’ve room — one or two bits of neat porch furniture. Maintain your porch lights on in the evenings, in case prospective buyers drive by. Illuminating the front walk with solar lights is a great additional touch, particularly in the event that you’ll be showing the house during the day.

Suzie Parkinson SÜZA DESIGN

3. Get your home sparkling clean. From bright floors and gleaming windows to wash counters and scrubbed grout, each surface should glow. Here is the easiest (well, maybe not easiest, but surely the cheapest) way to assist your home put its very best foot forward. You might want to hire pros to do a few of the really hard stuff, particularly in the event that you’ve got a massive house. Do not worry — this measure is key!

4. Clear all clutter away. If you’re serious about staging your home, all clutter must go, end of story. It is not simple, and it might even require utilizing offsite storage (or a nice relative’s garage) temporarily, but it’s worth the trouble. Clean and clean surfaces, floors, cupboards and closets equal more room in the eyes of possible buyers, therefore purge anything unsightly or unnecessary.

But it’s my own style! Guess what? It might not be the style of those trying to get a home in your neighborhood. So even if you’ve got an awesome vintage-chic look happening, rein it for the sake of appealing to the largest people. It is possible to bring your individual style back to play on your brand new home.

Kate Jackson Design

5. Strike a balance between lived-in and wash. Yes, I know I just said to eliminate all your clutter (and you deserve a big pat on the back if you did it), but it’s time to re bring back a few components that will really make your home attractive. Think vases of cut flowers, a basket of new farmer’s market produce on the kitchen counter or a bowl of lemons together with the sink.

Kate Jackson Design

6. Style your dining room table. The dining room is often a blind spot in decorating the home. Between dinners, a large dining table can appear bare and uninviting, so styling this up with visitors in mind could raise the appeal. An oversize arrangement can look overly stiff and formal, so attempt to lining up a string of smaller vessels down the middle of the table instead.

Nicole helene layouts

7. Just take a fantastic look in your floors. At the bare minimum, give all floors a thorough cleaning (and steam clean carpeting), but consider having wood floors refinished if they’re in poor shape. If you do not need to invest in refinishing floors, the tactical placement of area rugs can go quite a distance.

Ellen Grasso & Sons, LLC

8. Rearrange your furniture. In the living room, symmetrical arrangements usually do the job nicely. Pull off your furniture the walls and utilize pairs (of sofas, chairs, lamps) to create an inviting conversation area.

Kate Jackson Design

9. Choose sophisticated neutral colors. Now is not the time to experiment with that “pleasure”-appearing lime green. But that doesn’t mean that you have to go all white, either. Rich midtone neutrals like mocha and “greige” create a sophisticated backdrop that makes everything seem more pulled together.

Talianko Design Group, LLC

10. Create a gender-neutral master bedroom. Appeal to everyone with a clean, tailored master bedroom, free of personal items and clutter. You can not go wrong with crisp, clean linens, tasteful art and also a blanket folded at the foot of the mattress.

11. Open these cupboards! Open-house visitors will peek inside your own cabinets. Closet space can be a make-it-or-break-it selling point for buyers, so show yours off to their full advantage by giving surplus stuff the heave-ho. Again, this is actually important, therefore even in the event that you have to keep a few boxes everywhere, it’s worth it. Aim to have 20 to 30 percent open area in each cupboard to give the impression of spaciousness.

Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

12. Clean toys up. Obviously there will be families with kids looking at your home, but just because they have kids too doesn’t mean visiting toys strewn everywhere will sell them on the place. When people are house hunting, they’re imagining a fresh beginning. Show them in this home, it’s possible to have a beautifully organized kids’ room, and they might be swayed.

Rethink Design Studio

13. Use “additional” rooms sensibly. When you’ve been using a spare bedroom as a dumping ground for odd pieces of furniture and boxes of junk, it’s time to clean up your own act. Each room should have a clearly defined goal, so think about what prospective buyers might like to see here. An office? A guest room? Another kids’ room? Whether you buy inexpensive furnishings, rent them, or borrow some from friends, making a real room from a junk room will have a major payoff.

Webber + Studio, Architects

14. Try a pedestal sink to maximize space. When you’ve got a small bathroom but a huge cabinet-style sink, consider swapping it out for a easy pedestal version. Your bathroom will look instantly bigger.

15. Use just perfect personal accents. Particularly in the bathroom, it’s important that anything left out for people to see is pristine. In case you’ve got a stunning fluffy white bathrobe, dangling it on a decorative hook on the door can be an attractive accent –but if your robe is more of the nubby blue floral selection, you might want to hide it away. Look at each detail with a visitor’s eye bars of soap should be clean and clean, towels spotless, the garbage constantly emptied (you get the idea).

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

16. Entice people to explore the whole home. By putting something that draws the eye at the top of the stairs, in hallways or in corners, you are able to pique curiosity and retain prospective buyers interested during a whole home excursion. A bit of art, a painted accent wall, a window seat, a vase of flowers, a dangling light or even a small, colorful rug can work to draw the attention.


17. Show ways to use awkward areas. If you’ve any room beneath the stairs, or a corner or alcove anyplace in your home, try to find a exceptional way to show off it. By preparing a small work station, a home control center with a bulletin board, or built-in shelving, your awkward spot becomes another selling point.


18. Beware pet odors. Truly, this is sometimes a big one! In case you have pets, get all rugs steam cleaned and be extra cautious about vacuuming and washing surfaces. Also be sure to keep any extra-loved pet toys and doggie bones hidden when excursions are scheduled.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

19. Create a lifestyle people are searching for. Generally speaking, you want to perform up what your neighborhood or area is known for. Have a home in a quiet, grassy suburb? Lay a hammock in your backyard and a bench swing on your porch could be the perfect touch.

Celia James

20. Stage the outdoors too. Even if your condo has just a teensy postage stamp–size balcony, play this up with a cute café table and chairs, a cheerful tablecloth and even just a tiny tray of dishes or a vase of blossoms. If people look at this scene, they won’t be thinking “small,” they’ll be thinking, “What a charming spot to have breakfast!”

Colors Of Green Landscape Architecture

21. Think. Make sure that your garden is in beautiful shape in the summer, and that any additional features you’ve got, like a pool or a fire pit, are cleaned and ready to go. Take advantage of the cozy vibe of the year in fall and winter, by building a fire in the fireplace and simmering hot apple cider on the stove.

Photo styling: Say It With Flowers

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Guest Picks: Creative Ideas for Organizing Kids' Rooms

Children’s toys, books and equipment can pile up quickly and soon take over a distance. There is not any better time than now to organize your kid’s room and play areas, and add a style in the procedure. To inspire one to take step one, here are a few great products and suggestions for helping you home those toys, books and art supplies that children adore. — Cristin from Simplified Bee


Bins or pails such as these are a terrific way to organize small collections, such as Legos. Numbering or labeling them also will help keep tabs on exactly what goes where.

Fox Storage Bin – $39.99

Oversize bins are terrific for keeping bigger toys, trucks and stuffed animals.

Intelligent Tomato

Kalon Studios Changing Trunk – $520

Finding furniture that will double duty will save money and space. I’m enjoying this changing table and toy box combo!

Rosenberry Rooms

Circus Storage Boxes – $104.95

These stackable circus-themed storage containers are too adorable to pass up. Whether housing toys, books or craft materials, they would be darling in a nursery or playroom.

Serena & Lily

Campaign Storage Bench – $375

Benches similar to this may also do double duty. Excellent for a reading nook, window seat or storage at the foot of the bed, the seat offers cubbies for toys, clothing or books.

Rosenberry Rooms

Giraffe Book Case by P’kolino – $149.99

A novel collection is a fantastic way to encourage young ones to read, but getting them organized may take some time and thought. For a small collection, this darling giraffe bookcase is a superb option.


Animal Index by +D – $69

These darling creature silhouettes keep books in sequence while adding a touch of whimsy.

Lucy McLintic

My favorite is to arrange children’ books is by color. This makes quite a design statement.

The Land of Nod

After Awhile Crocodile Organizer – $30

Hung on a wall or back of a doorway, this organizer with pockets is a great way to save space and corral books.

Serena & Lily

Rolling Storage Crates – $88

A rolling crate is terrific for holding toys and books that might want to move from room to room easily.

More: Produce your own rolling storage cage

Drawing, painting and coloring — children love art jobs, and parents don’t like the mess. Keep artwork projects arranged by designating an area or desk. The turquoise peg board adds a pop of color and allows for supplies to be wrapped neatly. (Click on photo to see merchandise tags.)

Deluxe Art Center – $361.59

In addition, I love this streamlined, all-around artwork centre desk that accommodates two budding musicians.


Pottery Barn Kids

Lazy Susan – $39

If space won’t allow to get an art desk, even a lazy susan that may be moved around easily is a great alternative for housing art supplies.

Rosenberry Rooms

Parsons Cork Board with Custom Accents – $530

Bulletin boards are great for displaying and organizing awards, invites and reminders, and they are ideal for kids’ spaces.

Christie Thomas

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves maximize storage in tiny spaces and is a great starting point for organizing toys, books, and odds and ends. Custom built-in bookcases such as this one may add great architectural details to the room too.

Pottery Barn Kids

Cameron 5 Cubby and 3 Open Base Set – $1,199

A cubby system in this way can be more affordable than going custom and may be arranged based on your storage requirements.


Expedit Bookcase | IKEA – $129

If you’re eager to take the time to assemble it, Ikea includes clean-lined bookcases that are great for keeping kids’ toys and equipment. The price can not be beat!


P’kolino Chalkboard Storage Bench – $69

Multi-functional things not only are cost effective, but also help control clutter. This rolling storage seat can serve as a desk and a vanity.

Rosenberry Rooms

Barrette Holder in Baby Lola – $42

For those who have little girls, you understand how hair bows, bows and barrettes can get out of control. A hanging barrette holder similar to this one is a great choice and may add a decorative touch to the room.


View From Here Hook – $20

Decorative hooks are great for getting coats, sweaters and dress-up costumes from the ground. I particularly adore the group of wild monster hooks currently available at Anthropologie.


Rectangle Vinyl Chalkboard Labels by Bradens Grace – $8

Labeling storage bins, jars and other compartments helps kids learn how to sort things and keep organized. A tag manufacturer is practical, but I really like the look of those reusable chalkboard tags.

Next: Stylish Toy Storage Options

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Is My Landlord Obligated to Supply Appliances?

Most men and women look for basic amenities when they hunt for a home, and a refrigerator to preserve a stove on which to cook it truly is usually toward the top of residents’ list of demands. While it could be difficult for a landlord to lease a unit which does not have appliances, it is not prohibited. But if you lease a unit with operating utilities and they break, it is your landlord’s duty to fix or replace them, not yours.

Fundamental Habitability

State landlord-tenant laws determine the minimum requirements a rental property must fulfill to be considered legally habitable. Most states do not include working appliances in these list of requirements. In California, a rental property must be weatherproof, have natural lighting in every room, have adequate receptacles for garbage and flooring and stairways in good repair. Californian leases must also have working electricity, heat and a plumbing system which supplies and sanitarily disposes of hot and cold water.

Implied Maintenance

Even though the legal definitions of habitability do not require your landlord to include appliances in your unit, even whether it is provided when you sign the lease and move in, it is usually the obligation of the landlord to keep them. Unless your lease specifically places maintenance duties as the duty of the renter, your landlord is bound to keep all parts of your unit, even appliances which are not required to be contained in a lease property. California law allows landlords to ignore repairs to items damaged by tenants, their guests or their pets, so implied maintenance only covers routine breakdowns and regular tear and wear.

Appliances Left By Previous Tenants

Sometimes landlords do not provide appliances in their leases, and choose to legally rent them out with no comforts and, after buying an appliance, a former tenant abandons it whenever they move out. In these instances, landlords provide notice in your rental that appliances are not provided. In this instance, it’s your duty to keep or replace a broken appliance. But when you move away, your state law may permit you to move the appliances together with you as your property because they aren’t a part of this lease property.

Having Repairs Produced

If an appliance which was provided as part of the property breaks down, you must inform your landlord, preferably in writing and in person, of this repair. Your landlord has a “reasonable amount” of time to attend to this repair under California law. If the landlord does not make repairs in a timely manner — the court usually gives the landlord a 30-day window on many repairs — tenants might choose to make the repair themselves together with the “repair and deduct” process. After providing written notification, then it is possible to hire a repairman to fix the appliance at a sensible rate, paying the bill yourself. When it comes time to pay rent, deduct the cost of the repair from your lease. Even though it is not a legal requirement, the California Department of Consumer Affairs recommends including a letter with your lease notifying your landlord of this deduction as well as providing proof of the expense, like a copy of the bill.

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Local Colour: Souvenir Birdhouses Flock to Southern Homes

If you’ve ever traveled anywhere within a few hundred kilometers of Chattanooga, Tennessee, you’ve been bombarded with enchanting barn roofs and billboards telling you to “See Rock City.” What is Rock City? It is an wonderful appeal on Lookout Mountain where it’s claimed you can view seven countries: Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama. There are stunning rock formations, 140-foot falls, a suspension bridge and the Enchanted Trail. The painted barns are part of the charm of the country landscape and help create a long, boring drive down I-75 much more interesting.

Throughout those seven countries and more, many people have picked up a charming souvenir — the See Rock City birdhouse — and put it somewhere with pride. They’re more prevalent in the South than bottle trees. Here are a few I found across my Atlanta neighborhood this weekend.

This birdhouse was suspended with pride in this lovely urban garden in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward.

A few blocks away from the Studioplex (a former cotton warehouse), another birdhouse fits right in at a photographer’s art-filled contemporary attic.

In a bungalow bed-and-breakfast in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, a See Rock City birdhouse sets the tone for a fun and relaxing stay.

One of my neighbors has this great fence with posts that are topped off with an eclectic assortment of birdhouses. Obviously, a See Rock City one is included!

Following my brother and his family visited Rock City, I told him he would better have brought me a birdhouse. I had never mentioned wanting him earlier, but sure enough, my sister and my sister-in-law know me there it was, all put together for me on my birthday.

I have not found the perfect place for it yet, so I have been moving it around and checking out what my neighbors do with them.

Tell us : What kind of items add regional or local color to your hometown?

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2 Washington Studios Give Artists Somewhere to Produce

Artists need time to think, daydream and let new ideas to create — Henry Thoreau’s greatest work was done in isolation at Walden Pond, and Vincent van Gogh painted many of his masterpieces while still glancing at the lavender fields of Provence. But finding that period can be hard.

Cyndy Hayward purchased a 14-acre plot of land in Oysterville, Washington, with the intent of turning it into an artists-in-residence colony to assist artists find their creative spark. Understanding it’s going to take time and money to complete her eyesight, she has begun slowly, first creating a little structure containing two studios next to her house. Architect Geoffrey Prentiss worked closely with her, creating a stunning, durable and high-functioning location as the beginning of her dream.

Studio at a Glance
Who works here: Artists at the Willapa Bay AiR program
Location: Oysterville, Washington
Size: 280 square feet
Cost: $75,000

Photographer: Michael Datoli

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

The 280-square-foot structure consists of two independent studio spaces with a carport, bicycle storage and a little bathroom in between. The artists remain in nearby cottages at night and work in the studio throughout the day.

Hayward chose durable materials that would fit into her budget and still look great. “Since the building was to house spaces which would be splattered with paint and materials, I knew I needed it to be simple and relatively cheap,” she says. “But style and design were crucial. I like to believe all structures are works of art”

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

The two studios are extremely close to the main property. The main home’s corrugated metal roof fits the roofing and running-seam siding around the studio.

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

When ceramics artist Sandy Bradley completed her residency, Hayward asked her to design these habit hand-painted concrete tiles to the studio sunny patio.

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

Garage doors on both sides of the studio could be opened completely for light and air. The wide opening also allows artists to bring large items in and out.

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

Prentiss installed polycarbonate sheet siding (Polygal) within the studio’s vulnerable framing. The translucent walls have been an inexpensive solution to the demand for good all-natural light. Windows would’ve added to the budget substantially; Hayward also knew they would occupy a lot of wall space which would be used for working and displaying art, and that the view may actually be a distraction.

Each studio has its own door which leads out to the terrace, so performers can take gaze and breaks upon the meadow.

The Polygal wall panels also helped to cut back on the cost of drywall and insulation. The studio is not a fulltime residence, therefore this compromise in substances functioned. But it will get cold in the winter, therefore Hayward equipped each studio with electric heaters, in addition to exhaust fans, electricity outlets, sinks with paint traps and art-grade fluorescent light.

More: Strategies for getting the most creative area you crave

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Basement of the Week: Family Friendly and A Man Cave Goes Chic

This formerly dark basement was kind of a guy cave, heavy on the cave. While the husband still wanted it to serve as his lair, he also wanted it to be a family-friendly spot he could enjoy with his wife, 12-year-old daughter, friends and extended family. “My clients wanted a room that was cool, modern and full of light, where they can hang out, watch movies, play games and entertain,” says interior decorator Arlene Lord. The basement also comprised their guest area, which needed to be more inviting for guests and brought up to code for security. Following is a glance at how Lord used light colors, light and reflective surfaces to brighten this up walk-out basement.

Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A family of 3
Location: Portland, Oregon
Size: Around 1,700 square feet

Before Photo

The basement was a location where the family’s left wing furniture stagnated. “You will find five distinct stripes on the walls, and the space was dark, funky and had an unusual layout,” Lord says.

AFTER: The biggest room in the basement has three windows and a doorway to a terrace outside. Lord made the most of the pure lighting with light paint colors, and supplemented the daylight using a chandelier, recessed lighting and a mixture of table and floor lamps.

Lord made a custom sectional couch and comfortable leather wingback chair for film watching and relaxing. She commissioned photographer Steve Eltinge for its massive piece over the couch; it shows that a flock of birds flying over nearby Cannon Beach.

Sofa fabric: Kravet; side table, floor lamp: Arteriors

A visit to Pratt & Larson to pick out tile for the fireplace surround was rather fortuitous. “We wanted something fluid and organic here; I was pricing tile that turned out to be way too expensive and ran across this gorgeous slab of Calacatta marble,” Lord says. The shop had made a decision to quit carrying rock slabs and’d slashed the costs; Lord picked up this gorgeous slab for a once-in-a lifetime bargain price.

The husband is a techie and played a massive role in designing the wall of press built-ins, alongside the audiovisual pro, the cabinetmaker as well as Lord. Digital components are wired into a vented cabinet under the TV. The four drawers on the left are for bulky toys and games, while the upper drawers shop DVDs and CDs.

Side tables, table lamp: Arteriors; seat: custom made by Lord Designs; carpets: habit; window treatment fabric: Kravet

Lord Design

One piece of leftover furniture that the family has owned for years is that this lovely dining room table, which now serves as a game and puzzle table. The girl has dubbed the custom-designed banquette “The Arlene” after Lord. She likes to sit and watch movies while doing different things.

The Asian art on the walls and the statue are a nod to the 12-year-old’s proficiency in Mandarin, which she’s learned through a college immersion program.

Banquette fabric: Loose Leaf, Candace Olsen for Kravet; chandelier: Kravet; ancestral Asian art: Antiques and Oddities

Before Photo

Walls initially closed off a little room (about 7 by 12 ft) into the right of this staircase. Nobody wanted to invest time in here.

AFTER: Lord knocked down the wall and used the space for a fabulous wet bar. Because this area is nowhere near the pure light, she utilized artificial lighting, metallic reflective flooring tiles, Calacatta marble, white cabinets and a large mirror to maintain the light shifting around.

Painting: Stars Antiques, pub stools: West Elm, bar cart, table lighting: Arteriors; tile: via Pratt & Larson, stopped

She also scored this remnant piece of creamy Calacatta marble for another bargain at Pratt & Larson.

Along with the microwave and sink, you will find built-in refrigerator closets.

Before Photo

The clients have family on the East Coast and desired a guest room for cross-country visitors. In the previous guest room, “a giant, wonky closet [left] hardly left enough room to walk around the bed,” Lord says.

AFTER: Two built-in wardrobes on both sides of the headboard take the place of this closet. Drawers beneath the platform bed provide plenty of storage for linens. Now there’s also enough room to walk around the bed.

As it turned out, the prior guest area was also prohibited as a result of egress issues. Lord added a step concealed as a shelf beneath the window to bring it up to code, then additional floating shelves to help camouflage it.

Without room for nightstands, Lord made the bed to have a shelf behind the top of the headboard for reading lamps, publications and glasses. “I made a heavily tufted headboard to balance out the sleekness of this room,” Lord says.

Throw pillows: West Elm

The clients picked up this series highlighting Portland’s bridges at the Portland Saturday Market.

Before Photo

The husband is in a group, and this is his music room, which was quite dark and disheveled before the redesign. It also serves as an overflow guest room.

AFTER: “I upholstered the mattress to the daybed to give it more of a couch appearance,” Lord says. She also lightened the walls up and additional new window treatments, new carpeting and a brand new desk.

The wooden piece onto the side table is some sort of instrument — anyone want to hazard a guess about what kind or where it is from?

Before Photo

“The bathroom walls had a hideous texture. Smoothing the partitions made the largest impact in here,” Lord says.

Lord Design

AFTER: The metallic tile from the hallway and wet bar room stretch into the restroom, and newly smoothed white walls bounce the light around. The art over the commode also pays homage to Portland’s bridges.

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