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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Basement of the Week: Amenities and Character Produce a Comfy Lounge

A creative couple wished to finish their walk-out basement using their own personal stamp and use it every single day. They desired an industrial vibe and plenty of room to enjoy the distance using their three college-age sons and their friends.

The finished basement features a bar, a sitting room, billiards, darts, a film room, a bathroom with a shower and a workout room. “I am friends with these clients, and I have been able to enjoy the basement since we completed it,” says the architect, Daniel Martin. “No one wishes to go to anyone else’s house!”

Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple with 3 college-age sons
Location: Atlanta
Size: Around 1,250 square feet

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

The homeowners wanted the industrial appearance of stained concrete floors. And with a pool out back, concrete proved to be a sensible option, also.

A hallway leads to a movie room on the left along with a workout room on the right side.

Wall paint: Quietude, Sherwin-Williams

Daniel M Martin

From the film room, a large sofa offers enough room for the entire family to watch TV together. A rustic bricklayer’s coffee table and metal cabinets add industrial design.

Martin transferred ductwork into the border of the room and emulated the appearance on the opposite side for symmetry. The bottom ceiling height is about 7 feet, 4 inches; the greatest will be 10 feet. The ample cellar ceiling peaks were part of their 1990s house plans that are original.

Buzz, the Georgia Tech mascot, is a personal touch. One of the owners is a professor and bought one of those decorated mascots in an auction.

Daniel M Martin

“My clients are very inventive, and they like to do projects,” Martin says. They made the artwork on the wall with the school colours of all of the schools in which immediate family members have earned levels. The blank rectangle is holding a place for one of the sons while he picks a grad school.

The room also has a large window into the exercise room, which makes both spaces feel larger.

Daniel M Martin

The couple exercises each morning before work, and a bathroom with a shower lets them rinse down, also.

The dartboard (left) is in the end of the hallway between the film room and the exercise room.

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

Another window at the exercise room looks out to the bar area and beyond to the view outdoors. Again, Martin made a more cohesive ceiling by falling a soffit around the entire room to match the ductwork.

The floor in here is the original concrete slab, polished and coated with polyethylene.

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

“Working with a couple who had strong opinions about their likes and dislikes made things so much more interesting,” Martin says. “You can see their personalities and their taste throughout the space.”

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

Case in point: “Your husband is an engineer, but he is a real blue-collar man at heart,” Martin says. Originally from Philadelphia, he desired the bar area to have a corner-bar type of texture, thus the neon Pabst Blue Ribbon sign and reclaimed wood facing.

Daniel M Martin

Martin discovered the heart pine countertop from a reclaimed wood dealer; it’s from an old mill. The husband discovered much of the accent timber by a Dumpster. While out searching for furniture, he spied lost scrap timber supporting the store. He combined that with painted beam edges and other reclaimed boards to make the facing round the bar.

The bar contains a beverage cooler, a sink, an ice maker and a microwave drawer. The door on the right leads to the bathroom.

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

Across the room by the bar, the husband constructed a complete accent wall from the reclaimed boards; it warms up the space and adds to the industrial vibe. Track lighting highlights the wall socket.

Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC

Martin opened as much of the basement as possible into the windows, and only to the left of the border of this shot is really a sliding glass door. Swivel chairs make a comfy sitting area, and built in shelves hold books and board games. The couple’s collection of record albums is another touch.

“What’s great about celebrations in this space is that individuals can collect in smaller groups throughout the basement but still be collectively” Martin says. In a new Super Bowl party he attended, die-hard lovers watched in the film room while other teams gathered in the bar, played pool and chatted in the cushioned seats.

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Turn a Wooden Pallet Into Unique Photo Frames

What’s it about shipping pallets that’s so endearing? For me it’s the rustic, obsolete grade of the timber, together with the mystery of what kinds of merchandise the pallet may have supported. Once left out from the components, the wood pallets can take to a gorgeous distressed look. So rather than abandon a discarded pallet found at my church to be hauled away, I got permission to carry it embarked on a different father-daughter DIY job. This time we made three frames in various sizes to show family photos.

Julie Ranee Photography

Dressing up a wall mounted vignette are three pastoral frames made out of timber from a reclaimed pallet to match photographs in the following sizes: 8 inches by 10 inches, 8 by 12 inches and 12 by 12 inches.

Time: 1 hour
Ability level: Moderate
Materials cost: $5 plus timber pallet or other reclaimed timber. (Our pallet was free. Make sure you ask permission before choosing pallets you find behind a business; some might not really be discarded.)

Julie Ranee Photography

How to Generate the Rustic Wood Picture Frames

HammerNail pullersMeasuring tapeMiter saw (not revealed here)RouterDrillClampSafety gogglesGlovesMaterials
Shipping palletCorner braces (1 1/2 inches by 3/8 inch)Triangular picture hangers (not revealed here)Wire (not revealed here)Duct tape

Julie Ranee Photography

That is exactly what our pallet looked like. The timber on the bottom was not usable; we used the planks pictured on this side to produce the frames.

1. Wearing safety goggles and gloves, use nail pullers and a hammer to disassemble the pallet. Sort the planks based on width. Use planks.

Julie Ranee Photography

2. Miter the conclusion of the first board by cutting a 45-degree angle.

Tip: We used a miter saw (shown here), but you can use a circular saw rather. Our pallet was made from hardwood, so some sort of power saw was required.

Julie Ranee Photography

3. Utilizing the measuring tape along the inside border of the mitered board, measure 1/2 inch less than the image width and mark with a pencil. As an example, here we measured 7 1/2 inches for the 8-inch side of the 8-by-10 frame.

Julie Ranee Photography

4. Putting the saw blade onto the mark you just made, miter (cut in a 45-degree angle) the other end of your very first board. If you’re using a miter saw, rrotate the blade to reduce another corner, and that means you are going to make the 2nd 45-degree cut from the opposite direction of their first.

Julie Ranee Photography

That is exactly what your board should look like with both ends mitered at 45 degrees. The inside length is 7 1/2 inches.

Julie Ranee Photography

5. Utilize the board you just completed to mark the cuts onto another board.

To get a square framework, you may repeat this step four times, because most of the sides are the same length. To get a rectangular frame, return to step 2 to finish the other two sides of this framework, taking into account that the period of the sides (mark 1/2 inch less than the dimensions of this photograph you intend to exhibit).

Julie Ranee Photography

6. Clamp the board into the edge of a workbench to prepare for routing, which will create the ledge where the picture will rest.

Julie Ranee Photography

7. Route each board. We used a 1/2-inch router bit and corrected the router so that it was 1/4 inch and 1/4 inch deep. Route half of this board.

Julie Ranee Photography

8. Reclamp the board to finish the other half.

Tip: Test the router onto a piece of scrap board. Before making any alterations, unplug the router. Ensure you route on the inside border and back side of the framework.

We cut the planks and then routed, but a better option may be to track the entire board first and then make the cuts.

Julie Ranee Photography

9. Construct the frames. Drill very shallow pilot holes with a 3/32-inch bit. Utilize corner braces to attach the sides together. We had to buy shorter (3/8-inch) screws instead of using the 1/2-inch screws that came with the braces.

Julie Ranee Photography

10. Attach the picture-hanging hardware. We used wire and triangular hangers.

Julie Ranee Photography

11. Insert the image. I will be honest: We attempted to use standard picture metal clips inserted in the framework to hold the image, but this timber was too hard! Instead, we used a couple of strips of duct tape onto the back of the photograph and frame.

Tip: once I get my pictures published, I have them mounted onto styrene foam planks to make them extra sturdy and have them printed with a matte finish.

Your turn: We would love to see what you’ve made with reclaimed wood. Please show us under!

More: 14 Power Tools for Your Home Shop

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Trim Color Tips: Get Your White Trim Right

With the many decisions one must make during renovation or construction, the small ones can be the roughest. Take selecting a trim color; it is a relatively small detail, but I’ve seen many homeowners worry about making the decision wait till the very last minute, with a paint builder breathing down their neck to get a choice. Not fun.

If you’re fortunate enough to possess high-quality wood trim that’s in good shape, and you enjoy the appearance of it unpainted, consider yourself blessed. For those who need to or need to paint your trim white, here are a couple options which may spark an idea for your own project.

Ingrained Wood Studios

If you enjoy contrast. Use color to set off amazing door and window casings. With all the walls painted a deep, dark color and with a crisp white for the trim, the stunning details in the space here really pop.

Jennifer Ott Design

For a minimalist appearance. If you’re stuck with builder-grade wood trim or prefer a minimalist look, paint the trim the exact same color as the surrounding wall. Use a semigloss sheen onto the wood so that it’s stronger and easier to clean.

Sellentin True Design Build

With natural wood. In case you’ve got nice wood components, keep them but place off them with white painted wood trim. If the baseboard trim and door casings here were natural wood, not one of the components would really stand out, particularly against the wood floor and the cosmetic joists over the door. Add white painted trim to the mix, however, and each one the high-quality wood detailing stands outside.

LJL Design llc

With cool colors. A foolproof way to pick a trim color is to take a cue in the color palette in the room. If you’re painting your walls a cool shade (greens, blues, purples or grays), then find a white which reads as cooler. The simplest way to do this is to place swatches of different white paints alongside another and see how they play off one another. Some colors will look more hot or beige-like; others will read as a very light gray with hints of green, blue or purple.

Jennifer Ott Design

Stylish white trim colors. Each of these paint colors reads as plain white or even a minor off-white individually. But when they are placed alongside another, you can really see the hints of different colors they feature.

Based on the color calibration of your screen, what you see here color-wise is not necessarily what it is you will get. Always refer to the actual paint swatches when picking colors and sample any colors you like to be certain they work on your own space.

From left to right:
1. Site White SW7070, Sherwin-Williams
2. Full Moon 780E-2, Behr
3. Mineral Ash 7006-19, Valspar
4. Horizon OC-53, Benjamin Moore

Birdseye Design

With warm colors. In case your palette is on the warmer side (shades of red, brown, orange or yellow), pick a white which has a hint of warmth. This could be a white with orange or yellow mixed in.

Jennifer Ott Design

Warm white trim colors. See the notice about your monitor’s color calibration above.

From left to right:
1. Creamy SW7012, Sherwin-Williams
2. Popped Corn W-B-200, Behr
3. Snow Cap 7003-8, Valspar
4. Acadia White OC-38, Benjamin Moore

Martha O’Hara Interiors

Mix things up with neutrals. Those who like to branch out and are convinced in their own color selections can blend up their warm and cool colors. This beautiful dining area includes a neutral wall shade with a cool ceiling shade and a hot white trim shade. The effect is calming since the colors are very muted and soft.

Inform us : What is your go-to white trim paint?

More: Interior Trim: 8 Must-Know Elements

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Cooking With Color: When to Utilize Yellow in the Kitchen

Are you a sunny optimist? Or do you just wish you can channel that vibe? Connected with joy, exuberance and elegance, yellow is an excellent color choice for the kitchen. Since yellow reflects a lot of visible light compared with other colors, it is ideal to restrict brighter shades of this attention-getting hue to small doses and materials that you truly need to stand out.

Listed below are my top yellow paint picks along with eight eye-catching yellow kitchens to inspire one.

Jennifer Ott Design

8 yummy yellows for the kitchen (clockwise from top left):

1. Sparkling Wine 15-3, by Pratt & Lambert
2. Pineapple Delight 211-3, by Pittsburgh Paints
3. Lemon Basil 097-3, by Mythic Paint
4. Daffodil Yellow 380-B4, by Behr
5. Decisive Yellow SW6902, by Sherwin-Williams
6. Laguna Yellow 291, by Benjamin Moore
7. Top Banana 3008-1C, by Valspar
8. Golden Treasure KM3437-2, by Kelly-Moore

Luciano Group

This cosy kitchen includes a warm and inviting shade of yellow on the walls. Combined with the warm wood and brick tones along with the white cabinetry, it is a pleasant kitchen palette.

Watch more of this kitchen

Oakwood Projects Ltd..

Yellow looks modern in this contemporary stunner. The bold yellow cabinetry is balanced well by the mild hardwood flooring and darker wood-clad exposed ceiling. The stainless steel appliances add a cool sheen to the mixture.

Kaia Calhoun

A bold yellow accent wall in the kitchen is a great way to create a vibrant focal point in an otherwise mild and neutral kitchen. I enjoy the way the floor tile picks up the yellow, gray, white and black palette here. It is a cheery and modern kitchen color scheme.

Adrienne DeRosa

This charming kitchen features a nice mixture of mellow and bold yellows. The small bits of red and blue add drama without going overboard on color.

T.A.S Construction

For people who favor softer yellows, take inspiration from this lovely kitchen and use a pale citrusy yellow on your cabinetry or kitchen walls. This seems like a happy area for preparing a meal on even the dreariest of days.

Louie Leu Architect, Inc..

The great thing about yellow is that it can go superlight without becoming a sugary pastel. This creamy yellow wall color contains just enough brown inside to keep it sophisticated. This is a gorgeous kitchen with a soothing, natural palette.

Rich Mathers Construction, Inc..

I can not decide what I love most about this kitchen — these gorgeous mellow yellow backplash tiles from Heath Ceramics, the bold orange pendants that provide a great little punch of color or the beautifully manicured counter stools by the Cherner Chair Company. Sometimes too much bold shade can divert from the fine stuff used at a space. Here’s a good example of using just the right amount of color and letting the beautiful stuff get the attention they deserve.

Beckwith Interiors

This yellow resin countertop convinced makes a bold statement and draws your attention directly to the cool, linear sink. The rest of the colors used are light or neutral, allowing the countertop, sink and onyx backsplash behind the stove to really stand out.

Inform us Does a yellow kitchen make you happy? How have you used the color in your property?

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Cooking With Color: The Way to Use White in the Kitchen

As much as I am drawn to boldly colorful kitchens, I also have a soft spot for the contrary: the white kitchen. But you can’t just specify white for all the materials, finishes and fixtures and take it a day. Comparable to a slim-fitting white gown or a set of white jeans that are skinny, white is not the most forgiving colour — if something is white, we tend to notice little details about it, like the grade of the texture or material. This is because white reflects light — unlike darker hues, which tend to absorb light. So while I’d use bold, vivid colour to distract the eye from lower-quality or less-interesting materials, I would use white to accentuate higher-quality or superbly produced materials, letting them take centre stage.

Also keep in mind that a lot of white on your kitchen can feel cold, sterile and unwelcoming. You will see that most of the kitchens below, while predominantly white, also often add natural wood in some way — typically in the form of flooring or furniture, which adds warmth, charm and character. White makes the perfect backdrop for dashes of colour. Or, for a relaxing and tranquil space, add other mild neutrals, such as colors of beige, tan and gray.

Permit these 11 exquisite white kitchens, together with some of my favorite white paints, inspire you.

Wm. F. Holland/Architect

This beautiful kitchen in colors of white, gray and wood tones is a lovely example of the way to work with white at a kitchen. There is quite a little glossy stainless steel, but it’s balanced out nicely by the farm table — using its rich patina — and the wood floors.

Matthew Bolt Graphic Design

The exposed wood pole and beams along with the intriguing pendants across the peninsula add character and charm to this modern white kitchen.

Melissa Lenox Design

I love this wood floor, but it needed to compete with wood-toned cabinetry, it could start to look busy. It is a clean white kitchen having just the right amount of charming bits: the island pendants, the glass-front upper cabinet doors and the lightly textured backsplash tile.

My ideal kitchen would have a link to the outdoors and abundant natural light trickling in through walls of windows. But for a lot of reasons, this situation is often not possible. The best way to fake it’s to go with a monochromatic white palette and also good artificial lighting. This kitchen seems to acquire natural light in an adjoining wall or space, but even though it didn’t, it would nevertheless feel light and bright and open due to the abundant use of white and light-reflecting stainless steel.


Here is another space lacking windows on the main kitchen partitions, but because of the white walls, cabinets and countertops it feels airy and open.

Loop Design

For people who want to exhibit colorful artwork or collectibles in their kitchen — such as these turquoise dishes — a white kitchen offers the perfect backdrop. Think of it like a gallery space, in which the objets d’art are on screen and get your entire attention.

Sabal Homes

I love the stools and pendants within this kitchen. The white walls and cabinets act as a blank canvas, allowing the intriguing furnishings and fixtures to really stick out.

House of Bohn

White is also a fantastic color choice at a kitchen if you’re fortunate enough to have a tantalizing view out your windows. With opinions like these, you do not want your attention diverted by extreme colours or occupied patterns and textures on the interior. Additionally, white works well to rip black out; we tend to prefer darker colours set lower to the floor, with lighter hues going up the wall and on the ceiling.

Alex Maguire Photography

This kitchen illustrates how white works well as a supportive colour to high-quality materials and craftsmanship details. Colorful walls and cabinetry will distract from each one of the gorgeous marble.

McKinney Photography

White also works to open up a kitchen, which makes it seem bigger and more spacious than it actually is.

Abbey Construction Company, Inc..

And if you’re blessed with a large, expansive kitchen, you can use white to tie together other areas of the house which are open to it to get a seamless feel.

Jennifer Ott Design

Most paint companies possess a “pure white” or “ultrawhite” paint, which will give you a very crisp and clean look from the kitchen. But you can also go with a color of white which has a tiny bit of yellow, brown or gray, which will warm up or cool down the white and also include a little life to it.

Notice: The gaps from the paint swatch appearances will vary depending upon your screen, but this can give you a beginning point in the paint shop. As always, make sure you paint a large test area and examine it through the day and week, using artificial and natural lighting, prior to making a final decision.

White paint chooses to get the kitchen (from left to right):

1. Marshmallow SW7001, by Sherwin-Williams
2. Swiss Coffee OC-45, by Benjamin Moore
3. Sauterne OW-6-1, by Mythic Paint
4. Bistro White 7006-4, by Valspar

Tell us Are you a lover of white kitchens? Or do you prefer cooking with more color?

More: Read thousands of white kitchens by style

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Overhauled Interiors at a Tiny Fisherman's Cottage

Even though it’s a part of Irish history, this 280-square-foot cabin was rotting away in Ireland’s coastal town of Bray. Constructed in the 1880s as a crude fisherman’s cabin, it was decaying and uninhabited because a poor remodel in the 1960s. The client, who grew up in Bray, pictured bringing the cabin into life as a little vacation home.

Colm Doyle and DMVF Architects helped her turn this very small space into something livable and bright. Behind its traditional cabin exterior, a new, modern interior revolves around an innovative plywood cube that divides the space by action, creating a slick and open feel.

at a Glance
Who lives here: This is another home for a Dublin girl to keep in while visiting with her mother.
Location: Bray, Ireland
Size: 280 square feet

DMVF Architects

The client wanted to maintain the cottage look of the exterior. Owing to its history, this home is listed as a protected structure, which intended Doyle couldn’t knock it down and needed to operate inside its tiny footprint. But since the house was remodeled in the 1960s, the interior could be changed dramatically.

The cabin doesn’t have any front or back garden, and originally had only one tiny toilet that needed to be accessed from the outdoors.

DMVF Architects

Traditional forms fall away indoors, as you can see in those pictures of the redesign, taken before the home has been decorated and furnished.

The first layout had divided the house with a galley kitchen down the middle — right in the entrance — with all the bedroom on one side and a little living area on the opposite. The strange layout made the 280 square feet feel even smaller. The client wanted to make the most of the light and space in the home.

DMVF Architects

Doyle and his staff removed the home’s first low ceiling and added a plywood cube, each side with its own purpose. The kitchen takes one side, access into the shower area is around the corner, a sleeping loft sits on the very top, and also this side holds storage and a little utility area. “It became evident very quickly during the design procedure that every last inch of space needed a specific purpose and dedicated usage,” says Doyle.

Before Photo

BEFORE: Water seeping in through a leaky roof caused damage throughout the home. Unoccupied for the past ten years, the house had no functioning gas or electric system. The kitchen has been terribly outdated — an awkward mix of styles and tastes from various eras.

DMVF Architects

AFTER: The back side of the cube now holds the kitchen and extra storage. The railing above opens into the bedroom near the peak of the cube, which faces back windows and skylights. Nothing exists from the previous kitchen sleek cabinetry, durable countertops and modern appliances now make up a simple space which works perfectly for another home.

DMVF Architects

Because the cabin was left unoccupied and in a terrible state for such a long time, it was difficult for the client to envision the way the interior could eventually become livable. While she wanted it to be comfortable and full of light, she didn’t have any preferences stylewise, so Doyle and his group were basically left with a blank slate.

Before Photo

BEFORE: The initial living area was obsolete and suffering from severe water damage. Wallpaper peeled from the walls, and old linoleum covered the floors.

DMVF Architects

AFTER: though the cube occupies about half the floor area in the house, it allots far more living space than the initial divided layout did. “This endeavor was about working from the minimum upward,” says Doyle. “We looked at the minimum dimensions of each one of the elements or purposes, and allocated space to them then.”

DMVF Architects

Stairs built into the plywood cube lead until the sleeping stage.

The home’s small size produced work challenging for the building group, especially with no outdoor backyard to retreat to. Doyle had to make certain only a couple people were in the home at precisely the exact same time, so construction could be safe and productive.

DMVF Architects

A surprisingly spacious loft takes advantage of the cottage’s sloped ceilings. Large skylights allow in afternoon and evening light but keep the space from getting too bright in the daytime. Closet and storage area built in the wall removes the requirement for a dresser or wardrobe.

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Summer Plants: How to Grow Peppers

You can fill your backyard with peppers and it wouldn’t be boring. With sweet peppers and hot peppers; white, orange, yellow, red, green, brown and purple peppers; big peppers and tiny peppers; and round, ruffled, bell-shaped and peppers that are long, there’s enough variety to satisfy any pepper enthusiast.

Peppers are usually split into two broad classes: sweet peppers and hot peppers. The best-known sweet peppers are bell peppers, however there are plenty of others on the market, a lot of which are amazingly flavorful. Sexy peppers live up to their name. They get their essential hotness in the capsaicin they contain, along with the hotness can vary from slightly above mild to cool. Some hot peppers resemble sweet peppers, so be sure to check exactly what you’re planting.

All peppers need the exact same growing conditions, although hot peppers take a little more time to mature and like it a little warmer.

Note: While peppers love warm weather, nighttime temperatures consistently above 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) can result in a bad harvest.

Barbara Pintozzi

When to plant: Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before planting into peat or fresh pots; set out seedlings at least one week following the last freeze date and when soil temperature has reached at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).

Days to maturity: 60 to 120 after transplanting

moderate requirement: Full sun

Water necessity: Frequent

Sweet peppers: Ace, Apple, Baby Belle, Bell Boy, California Wonder, Giant Marconi, Golden Bell, Gypsy, Jingle Bells, big sweet cherry, Lilac Belle, mini chocolate bell, mini red bell, mini yellow bell, Pepperoncini, Purple Beauty, Red Heart, Red Ruffled, Sweet Banana, Sweet Chocolate, sweet pimiento, Tequila, Valencia, Yolo Wonder Hot peppers: Anaheim, ancho (poblano), cayenne, habanero, Hungarian Hot Wax varieties, jalapeño, Mariachi, Mirasol, Mulato, NuMex Pinata, NuMex Suave Red, Padron, Pasilla, serrano, Tabasco, Thai Dragon, Thai Hot, Trinidad Perfume

Andrea Meyers

Planting and maintenance: select a website with abundant, well-draining soil in sunlight that is sheltered from end — warmer conditions mean hotter peppers. Wait until both soil temperatures and outdoor temperatures have grown. Sweet peppers like temperatures at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius) during the daytime, whereas hot peppers like it even warmer, up to 85 (29) degrees.

Dig approximately 1 to 2 1 1/2 feet deep and add compost or another rich organic matter into the planting site. Place plants 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart, settling them in only slightly thicker than they had been planted in their developing pots; space rows 2 to 3 feet apart. Taller peppers might require staking or caging; if you think you’ll want support, it is best to put it in place at this moment. If cutworms are an issue in your region, add collars around the young seedlings.

When growing space is limited, plant berries with little fruits in containers. Select a pot that is at least 18 to 20 inches in diameter and feed gently throughout the growing season.

Whether in the garden or in pots, keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy throughout the growing season. Do not despair if elevated temperatures trigger a loss of petroleum production; regular care, such as watering, will help ensure that production will increase when the weather cools down. When the soil is reliably warm, mulch to retain moisture and prevent weeds.

Feed plants with a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer since they set blossoms, but don’t overfeed. A fertilizer designed for tomatoes is a good option. Many experts suggest spraying the leaves and blossoms with a diluted solution of magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salts, at this opportunity to increase production.

Though peppers are usually sturdy, armyworms, aphids, some beetles, caterpillars, corn borers, mites and whiteflies may cause occasional issues. If viruses are an issue in your region, start looking for varieties which are resistant and rotate plantings.

Harvest: Cut fruit in the plant with scissors or pruning shears. Harvest sweet peppers once they’ve reached full size or allow them to continue to color; they’re sweeter the more time they ripen. Pimientos are an exception; don’t harvest until they are reddish.

Harvest hot peppers once they reach full size. You can select them while they’re still green or wait until they turn red or yellow for a more complex flavor. As a precaution, wear gloves when harvesting and keep both hands and gloves away from the face, especially your eyes.

Best advice: After picking or utilizing hot peppers, wash your hands thoroughly, then rub them with vegetable oil, then wash them again.

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How to Get Ready for and Live With a Power Outage

You likely know the ominous feeling: As a storm or storm sweeps throughout your community, you’re huddled safe in your home or in a nearby refuge … and with no warning, the lights wither and perish. You’ve lost power, and experience says it could be some time before you receive it back. What do you do today?

If you’re one of the lucky people with a generator, the moving won’t be so bad, and you can live in relative comfort until the power’s back on. But generators could be costly, beyond the reach of many people. When a storm is coming and you could be facing days or weeks with no power, these measures can help you make it through.

Westborough Design Center, Inc..

Strategy early. When a big storm is bearing down, there’ll be a run on water, propane, mobile figurines and other essentials at local stores. Keep as a number of these items as possible on standby so you don’t get caught in the beat or, even worse, confront a deficit.

Stock the pantry. Have available nonperishable products that offer loads of protein and other nutrients and may be eaten cold: peanut butter, whole-grain crackers, energy bars, beef jerky, canned and dried fruit and so on. Make sure you’ve got litter, food and other supplies available for pets too.

Do not forget to maintain a manual can opener nearby. And stockpile lots of bottled water or water in jugs for drinking.

Make or buy extra ice. If you know there is a storm headed your way, load up on bagged ice in the supermarket or fill zip-top plastic bags with water and freeze them to create cold packs. Utilize them in the fridge, the freezer and simmer to maintain milk, milk and other perishables at a safe temperature as long as possible.

Get meds filled. If you’re running low on medication and the power is out at your local pharmacy, you could be in a bind. Get your next wash and keep it handy.


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Get your grill ready. If you can not use your cooker, you will want to have an alternative way to cook. For gas grills, have extra propane tanks on hand; when the grill is connected to a natural gas line which may be affected by the storm, then it’s worth buying or planting a charcoal version. Lay in a supply of charcoal, in watertight containers to keep it dry when needed.

Remember to grill outside only; do not hesitate to bring the grill inside, no matter how cold or wet the weather is. At a pinch you can channel your scout days and fashion a makeshift oven. Utilize the oven outside, away from any flammable surfaces, and extinguish the coals promptly after cooking.

Know where your lanterns and flashlights are. It’s a good idea to keep at least one or 2 in an easy-to-reach place on every floor of the house. Consider flashlights which are powered by winding or another nonbattery method.

Charge your phone and other electronics ahead of time. Then use them as sparingly as possible; power them down or off when you do not need them. If you have car chargers, you can top off the charge occasionally when required. And while we’re discussing automobiles, fill your gas tank before the storm hits.

More ways to Remain charged and connected when the power goes out

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O2-Cool Battery-Operated Fan, Black – $29.99

Get laundry completed. Your washer and dryer will not function while the power is out. Wash as many loads as possible prior to the storm so you will not run out of clean clothing while the power crews do their thing.

If necessary, have a portable heating or cooling supply. In hot climates or in the middle of summer, you might not have air conditioning; in winter, you could be without heating for some time. Buy a few cheap battery-operated fans (and lots of extra batteries) and/or propane heaters. If you’ve got a wood-burning fireplace, make sure there’s lots of firewood to fulfill it.

With propane heaters, security is key — they’re not designed for small or poorly ventilated spaces. Use them on your largest room and do not run them; use them just to keep the room warm enough to avoid compromising your health. Stay bundled up in sweaters, hats, gloves, extra blankets and socks.

Additionally, know when to run and cut. If you’re not able to keep the house warm or cool enough for many family members to remain safe, go to a nearby resort or refuge, or go to a buddy or family member’s house in an area not affected by the storm.

Jones Design Build

Conserve water. Fun fact: A typical family of four goes through nearly 300 gallons of water a day, much of it hot. A gas water heater may work even when the power’s out. An one clearly won’t. Use hot water sparingly to allow it to last as long as possible, but with no heating source, it is going to start to cool quite shortly. If you have to, you also can heat water onto the grill or over the fire.

With water that is well, you’ll lose pressure in the event the pump change will not work. If you do not possess a supplemental storage tank built into your own system or a portable generator which powers the pump, then fill big tubs or your bathtub with water which it is possible to dive into for flushing toilets or sponging off. Never drink water during or after a power outage until you’re certain it’s not contaminated.

When you’ve got a generator, offer to help. Do everything you can to make life easier for other people in your area. Let neighbors bill telephones or take a warm shower, or prepare hot food to send to older residents or families with young kids. Should you have Internet access, you may even use the power of social networking to spread the word about individuals locally who may be in need of immediate assistance.

How to Pick the Ideal Generator

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Pretty Up Pumpkins With Paint

To mention that my husband doesn’t enjoy carving pumpkins is a understatement. We’ve got a 7-year-old, so Halloween is a big deal in our house, and every year we bring home a carload of bulbous orange beauties from the pumpkin patch. As my son and I gladly pick the best ones to become jack-o’-lanterns, I can see the look of dread in my husband’s eyes. Last year he just mutinied, giving me the knife reappearing only after he detected the odor of pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven.

Needless to say, I’m now the designated pumpkin carver in the house by default. However, I will mix it up somewhat and try painting a few of them, which can be neater, less tedious and a whole lot more child friendly than hacking at them with a chef’s knife. Onboard with the idea? Follow my lead and check out these pretty painted pumpkins for inspiration.

Rikki Snyder

Metallic paint autumnal orange lends gentle shine to these tiny pumpkins. This is a good way to highlight their beautiful curves and ridges while staying true to their natural colour.

Hint: Pick the most straightforward, firmest possible pumpkins for painting — dips, soft spots and knobby growths will make it trickier to get an even coating.


A mini pumpkin in gold gowns up a drop place setting and echoes the brass candlesticks.


A ruddy bronze hue and playful polka dots give these pumpkins the appearance of upside-down toadstools.

Hint: Gently wipe pumpkins using a moist cloth or sponge to remove dust and dirt (you might need to wash them under a faucet or hose should they have caked-on sand). Towel dry or air dry them entirely.

Rikki Snyder

Do not be afraid to use unexpected colors. Light blue is not a color you usually think about for Halloween, but it makes such a perfect partner for orange that I wonder why we don’t see more about it.

Pick a colour that blends with the scheme of the space to create a sleek effect. Within this darkened area, white painted pumpkins seem strikingly sculptural against the pristine backdrop.

Hint: Before you paint, apply a coating of multipurpose sealer, which helps to preserve the pumpkin and assists the paint to adhere. Permit the sealer to dry thoroughly.

Rikki Snyder

In a similar way, these ghostly pumpkins comparison with spare black branches to get a stripped-down group that’ll delight minimalists.

Seaside Interiors

Keep it easy by painting a little design onto each pumpkin rather than covering the whole thing. Letters on this trio spell out a spooky message and perform up the black and white palette.

Hint: Spray paint works best if you are painting the pumpkin a single colour. If your layout is much more complicated, brush acrylic paint for better control.

Silver pumpkins shine in this trendy display, but that’s not the only notion here. Consider embellishing a painted or unpainted pumpkin using nailheads — used here as a monogram — or hammering it with metal studs. Happy Halloween!

Hint: Keep pumpkins in a cool spot away from strong sunlight to preserve them as long as you can. Depending upon your climate and whether you display them indoors or outdoors, they’ll last at least two or three weeks, and sometimes more.

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