Budget Decorator: 16 Fab Spring Updates for Really Small Green

With the sun shining, flowers blooming and gardens bounding to life, it is natural to crave a little spring update around the house. These doable paint jobs, miniature pick-me-ups and new ways of working with everything you have will update your home for spring — and will not break the bank.

Polsky Perlstein Architects

1. Paint stair risers a rainbow of hues. You will not have the ability to help grinning when you climb the stairs daily if they’re painted in this joyous selection of colors. For the best result, select colors which are all similar in tone: pastels, clear midtone colors or rich and deep.

A Good Chick to Understand

2. Brighten up with yellow, glass or Lucite. Sunshine yellow and clear materials that let the light through help insides glow. Try including a lemon-yellow lamp or stool, or a table in glass or clear Lucite — just one new item can truly wake up your home.

Kristie Barnett

3. Give your balusters the ombré therapy. Paint in many gradient shades of one colour will immediately transform those little posts holding up the handrail on your staircase into the focal point of this room.

Tara Bussema – Neat Organization and Design

4. Use a garden urn inside. Insert a breath of fresh air to your bedroom with a green plant tucked into a petite concrete urn — it is less expected than a normal flowerpot and hints in the garden outdoors.

The Hunted Interior

5. Borrow dishes to show jewelry. Style your dresser by placing a few pretty bowls or dishes of jewelry atop a stack of favorite books.

Kristie Barnett

6. Paint your dining seats — and do not be afraid to mix it up. Break up that boring, matched dining set by painting the seats in many different colors that work together. Try out pale aqua and cream, as revealed here, or a mixture of pastels or brights to get a more adventurous appearance.

Take it further: Paint your ceiling, too, just like the developer of this space did.


7. Cover. While it would be impractical to cover the whole wall of books, a single shelf can be enriched by covering the books in beautiful paper. If you want to show what’s indoors, add file labels to the spines and neatly write the names.

Lucy Interior Design

8. Set a bird on it. Nothing says spring like little critters, so go ahead and scoop up the next bird ornament, sculpture or art print which grabs your eye.

Corynne Pless

9. Try out a major tray on the table. Create an inviting tableaux by mixing up an oversize tray with a mixture of dinnertime essentials (napkins, plates, a crock of utensils), fresh flowers, candles and also something purely fun — such as the cow sculpture shown here.

Laura Collins Design

10. Decorate with flowers and fruit. A bowl of lemons is so cheerful (and economical!) , and spring flowers like tulips and daffodils are less expensive and more readily available while they’re in season. Scoop up a lot of lemons and all those flowers are available the next time you go to the marketplace.

Hide & Sleep Interior Design

11. Repaint kids’ furniture. If the notion of painting furniture sounds daunting, consider starting with a little piece — state, one from your kid’s room. On a dresser this petite, you might even have the guts to experiment with a cool effect, such as the colour gradient shown here.


Marmara Knob – $12

12. Replace knobs on cabinets and drawers. This takes all of five minutes and can make your furniture feel completely new. I love the wide range of knobs in Anthropologie, and also the sale bins often hold a number of the greatest treasures.

Tip: If you are shopping in shop, make sure you bring along one of your old knobs to match the size and positioning of holes.

Hide & Sleep Interior Design

13. Create DIY tape artwork. This fun, simple project would be ideal for a kid’s room. Collect an range of washi or other paper craft tapes, and get started ripping and taping away. Stick with simple shapes, such as letters for the best effect, and the homes shown here.

Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies

White Porcelain Urn Flower Vase – $8.99

14. Scoop up a new vase or 2. One great find, such as these ceramic urn vases, may do wonders to spruce up your space. They’re less than $10 apiece!

Kropat Interior Design

15. Hang colorful kitchen towels. Changing the colors and patterns of your own tea towels every season is a quick and effortless method to update the kitchen.

Leverone Design, Inc..

16. Place bud vases in unexpected areas. Get the most from a single bouquet by cutting out a few stems short and putting them in bud vases across the house. Try out one by every sink, on bedside tables, on your desk and on a bookcase, tucked in one of the books.

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Embellishing Tips for Cost-Effective Custom Curtains

One of the most expensive elements of a well-designed home can be custom curtains. Throw in the fabric, liner, sticks, rings and paths, and before you know it, you’ve spent thousands of dollars. In this economy that’s a difficult market. But one easy way to get the look of fabulous customized curtains for a fabulous price is to simply embellish. Make your own custom look with the addition of trim or perhaps sewing two curtains together to produce stripes or banding. This is an example when a small white lie will not hurt a soul.

Adding orange-red trim to Cameron cotton panels from Pottery Barn gave these curtains a brand-new look. I often use those panels due to the fact that they have a sturdy weight but price just $25 each.

Spray painting the existing curtain rod and having black rings upgraded the customized look even more.

Design Manifest

Designer Naomi Stein used a particularly budget-friendly suggestion when she designed these curtains for her cottage …

Design Manifest

… Cheap Greek primary trim — trendy yet classic — on Ikea curtains added an instant wow factor to Stein’s master bedroom.

The curtains help soften the edges of the bay window and add lightness to the bamboo blinds.

Studio Schicketanz

Another trick to think about curtains from floor to ceiling. They’ll add instant height to a cramped space by drawing the eye upward. Most retailers have noticed a requirement for longer curtains and stock in lengths from 84 inches so long as 124 inches which you can hem to fit.

Can not sew to save your life? Utilize Stitch Witchery to hem the edges nobody could ever know the difference.

Caitlin Wilson Design

I am pretty certain these window treatments are custom, but you can still make this look on a budget. Make your own pelmet box or valance by having wood trim to size at the regional lumber store. Attach foam padding and a few inexpensive fabric using a staple gun. Use fabric glue or Stitch Witchery to attach trim to the edges. Add matching trim on the drape panels and voilàan amazing statement window therapy for a portion of the cost.

Peregrine Design Build

These curtains were cut to length to fit an awkward area. They also include a favorite trick — sewing multiple fabrics together to make a custom drape. Get this look by purchasing inexpensive curtain panels fabric to sew and cut into one curtain.

Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

These panels include two methods: contrasting banding and trim. You can attain it by matching two of your favorite contrasting colors in two affordable curtain panels. Cut the darker-colored panel to a size which will add just enough play (30 to 40 inches is that my normal selection, based on the elevation of the panels), and sew the edges together. Use the extra fabric to add trim to the top of the panel, as shown here.

Tracery Interiors

For a wider trim like on these white and black panels, you will need to use fabric, because the width is greater than standard store-bought trim. Cut the fabric to the desired width, then sew along the edges.

Banding on top of the panel can make an equally bold statement. Additionally you could use decorative trim or beading to connect the two colors.

Studio William Hefner

Sleek and simple, this banding is on the top half of the curtain panel. The sheer color in addition adds a tasteful and airy touch.


These custom appearances don’t have to be a ton of work! Shortcuts such as Stich Witchery can really save time. I’ve experienced an unending love affair with Stitch Witchery for years. It is like cheating — great for nonsewers. Use it once and you will never grow tired of it.

Perhaps you have customized off-the-shelf curtains? We’d really like to find out everything you did.

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On Trend: Max Work With Chairs and Sleepers

I am beginning to consider moving to another house after this year, and I am already feeling both invigorated and overwhelmed by all the possible design options and furniture upgrades — the choices sense endless! Slowly I am realizing that doubling up here and there might simplify things a little.

All these pieces of furniture solve space-planning problems by doubling up in your purpose. Whether you are seeking to save space in the bedroom, locate more storage choices or decorate your own living room components, these designs might help.

Contact Mobilia, 608 Design, Flying Beds, Bruehl, Valcucine, Resource Furniture, and Bean2Bed via their sites for distribution and dealer information. Order straight from French-based Singulier’s website.

mobilia-collection. com

Ludus Sofa and Shelf

Combine two items into one using this couch’s built-in bookcases. It simplifies the problem of showing the dull back of your sofa.


Tru Chair

What a fantastic location for some extra storage — the only issue is, you would need to find someone from the comfortable chair to get it.


Vertical Bunk Bed

Upgrade your Murphy bed using this new strategy — these beds will make any city flat doubly kid friendly.


Moule Sofa

Bend it, fold it, rearrange it. This seats option will not , ever give you, thanks to each of the possibilities.


Canapé Eastpak Club Sofa 01

Have a small living area and want something funky but useful? This sofa provides you a great deal of storage choices for all those things you use every day.


Valcucine Living System

These larger systems by Valcucine provide a cohesive one-stop remedy to open-plan spaces. With storage units, walls, display units, bookshelves and benches, they’re designed to create a flexible combination that is customized for your area.



Even though it is not a too plush option, this chair still provides you double the function: Pick out your books even though you’re currently sitting, using the exact same piece of furniture.


Beanbag Beds

Perfect for families, these beanbags unzip to feature a twin-, full- or queen-size mattress. Now there’s the ideal way to use that spare bedroom!

More: 2-in-1 Furnishings for Small-Space Living

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Butter Up Your Kitchen With Julia Child's Wisdom

My colleague Laura Gaskill recently showed us a magical makeover of Julia Child’s youth kitchen. It made me think of all of Child’s wonderful bons mots, and how we can apply them not only to food and life however to our kitchens. Below are some favorite Julia Child quotes to live, decorate and cook by. Bon appétit!

Yvonne McFadden LLC

“You do not have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.”

Think about fresh design ingredients when you’re overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of tiles to choose from, or when you’ve gone appliance crazy and priced yourself right into a blown budget. Easy, honest materials like raw wood, tongue and groove paneling and a rectangular drum colour make this one of the most attractive kitchens I have seen.

See the rest of this Home


Julia Child Quote Wall Decal – $29.99

Tucker & Marks

“With enough butter anything is great.”

As my butter-yellow kitchen has always cheered me up, I will attest that this is accurate.

Arcanum Architecture

“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”

If butter isn’t your favorite, and you’re not feeling sharp white either, consider cream. It’s a mild neutral which can warm up a kitchen.

ROMABIO / Interior & Exterior Mineral Based Paints

“I think every girl should have a blowtorch.”

Whether you’re finishing off this crème brûlée or finishing off your kitchen design, an industrial component like these propane tanks refashioned as pendant lights adds a dollop of the unforeseen.

Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design

“Fat gives things taste.”

Extra-thick countertops stand up to all the other large elements in kitchen. They’re a great way to add taste to a minimalist kitchen.

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Actual-Size Architecture

“Everything in moderation … including moderation.”

Do you love having all the things you adore close at hand? Go for it. There is no rule that says you have to be somewhat minimalist. Establish your kitchen for a place where you can get your work done and have of the things you like around you.

See the rest of this kitchen

Candlelight Homes

“Being tall is an advantage, especially in business. People will always remember you. And if you’re in a crowd, are always going to have a clean air to breathe.”

Adding cabinets above your upper cabinets is a great way to take advantage of an often wasted space — which gap between upper cabinets and the ceiling. I mean, yuck, have you ever washed up there? It’s disgusting! Way up high, glass-front cabinets provide you an opportunity to display beloved items, while strong fronts offer storage room for lesser-used products. Because the majority of us are briefer compared to Julia Child was, add a measure stool someplace near.

Splendid Willow

“She was my first cat, and I thought she had been marvelous.”

OK I admit I just threw this one in here because I love cats and I really like this photograph.

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Mark Ashby Design

“In department stores, a lot of kitchen equipment is bought indiscriminately by people who just come in for men’s panties.”

Be skeptical about the pots, pans, small appliances as well as other kitchen gear you buy. Do your research, examine things out at a friend’s home, ask salespeople questions. Strategy these buys just like you’d approach a marriage registry. Your meals and your kitchen are worthwhile. If you have to go pick up some men’s underwear after you’re done, that is OK too.

Siemasko + Verbridge

“A cookbook is only as great as its weakest recipe.”

When you discover a great cookbook, hang onto it for life and keep it close. A lot of new kitchen islands have designated cookbook space. You could come across a fantastic spot over the fridge or designate a cupboard shelf for cookbooks as well. For you techies, have a look at Why Your Kitchen Wants Its Own iPad.

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Black Fine Woodworking

“Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or construct a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure from the kitchen because cooking is at least as creative and ingenious a task as drawing wood carving, or music.”

Make time and room to teach your children how to cook. Start with cookies and placing the table (flower arranging is just another enjoyable action), then make sure they understand the basics by the time that they go off to school. It’s a wonderful way to spend some time together.

Dana Nichols

“Just talk very loudly and quickly, and state your position with absolute certainty, as the French do, and you’re going to have a fantastic time!”

Add a swath of chalkboard paint somewhere in the kitchen for inspirational quotations, doodles, menus, grocery shopping lists and messages.


“Food, like the people who consume it, can be stimulated by wine or spirits. And, being with humans, it can likewise be spoiled.”

Whether you’re someone who sticks your entire snout in the wineglass, swirls, sniffs and spits, or someone who just enjoys a glass of “Two Buck Chuck” after work, the kitchen is a superb spot for storing and displaying wine. Clearly, the wine is an extreme example, but small wine refrigerators are quickly becoming a staple appliance in kitchen design nowadays.

“Recall, ‘No one’s more significant than individuals’! To put it differently, friendship is the most important thing — not career or housework, or one’s fatigue — and it has to be tended and nurtured.”

We have looked at some gorgeous kitchens today, but do not worry if a kitchen does not look ready for its close-up. Do not put off having this party as your cooking skills are not up to Julia Child’s degree. After all, she declared that “cooking well does not mean cooking fancy.” Call everyone up and invite them over anyhow; what matters most to them is showing them that you care.

How to Love Your Kitchen More Right Now

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California Gardener's March Checklist

March will not be the same around my backyard this season. After somewhere between 10 and 20 decades, our Ceanothus ‘Ray Hartman’ went out in blaze of glory that was blue. Every spring you could count on a few weeks of a bulk of the smartest, deepest blue, as big as two or even three SUVs. Native bees and birds came out of nowhere to feast on it. Ceanothus grow fast and don’t live long — mine was a centenarian in ceanothus years. I think of it as one of these gardening trade-offs: rapid and beautiful versus steady and slow.

March is a superb time to plant and admire ceanothus or other California natives — or just about anything else, for that matter. Cool spring weather receives off plants to a gentle beginning. With warm weather not far off, you can start planting for summer — even adding tomatoes in climates that heat up early. After a recent visit to Hawaii, I am currently dreaming of summer and thinking about island inspirations to make a vibrant, relaxing outdoor space, as you’ll see below.

A native flower factory. I am expecting big things from my replacement Ceanothus ‘Ray Hartman’. Of the numerous California native species and cultivated varieties of ceanothus (commonly called California lilac), ‘Ray Hartman’ is one of the fastest to reach decent size — a shrub more than 10 ft tall or perhaps trained into a small tree. Flowers, as blue as could be, pay the plant each spring. Use ‘Ray Hartman’ in a dry section of your backyard, as an imposing tall shrub, or make a compact privacy screen with several of them (spaced 6 to 8 ft apart).

Botanical name: Ceanothus ‘Ray Hartman’
USDA zones: 9 to 11
Water requirement: Lighting; no more irrigation necessary for older plants
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 10 to 20 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide
Growing tips: Make sure the soil is well drained. Water new plants regularly for the first growing season, then taper off; older plants usally require no additional irrigation. Train it to a little tree by pruning the lower branches off the main trunk — beginning with a youthful nursery plant. Do not expect a very long life.

Everything looks better. Ahead of the world-class hotels and golf classes, much of the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii consisted of moonscape lava areas and no surface water you think that your backyard has bad land! Imported topsoil, an abundant underground water supply and tropical plants from all over the globe have generated lush tropical gardens and amazing displays of flowers and foliage — all the more dramatic when put off by the black and dark brown backdrop of the remaining lava fields and the stonework used in the landscaping.

Lots of the same crops are easy to grow in California, though they always appear to seem more vibrant about the islands. These include such basic crops as oleander, plumbago and bird-of-paradise. Plumeria, the favorite lei flower revealed here, could be grown in the mainland — in case you’re an experimentally minded, painstaking gardener (not me).

Bougainvillea and hibiscus, revealed farther below, are best bets for this Hawaii atmosphere on your summer months. Remember as you choose pots, walls and backgrounds for them how great they look with shameful.

A deck with a view. You don’t require a see-all-the-way-to-Japan vista to get an opinion deck to generate sense on your backyard. This remarkably simple deck, with room for a few chairs and a little dining table, is about a beach in Hawaii, but it would work nearly anywhere like a retreat or getaway in a backyard corner with or without a view. It’s just a square, two-level platform built of 2-by-6s and 2-by-8s.

Secret Gardens

Hawaii in a pot. About the Big Island, you see bougainvillea, orginally from South America, everywhere — climbing by trees, like a hedge or ground cover, as a scraggly survivor fluttering purple flashes in a lava field. In California bougainvillea is easy to grow, generally as a vine, but it is sensitive to hard frosts. A great spot is in a container, where you can provide lots of sun and winter refuge (under an eave might be enough).

Plant bougainvillea in a kettle at the moment and you may have a gaudy display by midsummer. It’s ideal to select one of the compact kinds for example, as ‘Singapore Pink’, ‘Temple Fire’ or ‘Purple Queen’. When planting, take special care to not split the root ball crops are sensitive about it.

Botanical name: Bougainvillea, many varieties
USDA zones: 9 to 11
Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature dimensions: Vining kinds can reach 30 feet; streamlined kinds, 2 to 6 ft tall
Growing tips: Vines need help to climb; tie branches to a trellis or wall. Prune in spring after the frost. Keep plants peeled by cutting back stringy stems during growing season. For best bloom, keep container soil on the other side.

Another Hawaiian icon in a pot. Originally from tropical Asia, hibiscus is irresistible in Hawaii. In California’s milder climates, it makes a fine medium-size evergreen shrub. It’s also a perfect summer container plant. Start today with nursery plants in marijuana or already flowering and you should have blooms from spring through autumn.
Botanical name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
USDA zones: 10 to 11
Water requirement: Moderate or more; don’t let the soil dry out
Light condition: Total sun
Mature size: 8 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 8 ft wide in California gardens
Growing tips: Good options for baskets include ‘Erin Rachel’ along with members of this Breeze series or Luau series, generally reaching 2-3 feet.

Quick privacy screen? Back in California my daughter-in-law asked me to get ideas to get a fast privacy screen for her front yard and answered her own question. She enjoys redwoods. Yes, they are fast, easy to develop, evocative (they smell like the forest) and story making (tell children that redwoods are the world’s tallest trees).

She said, “We don’t plan to reside here long. What happens when the trees get full size?” That is really a matter for The Ethicist in the New York Times Sunday magazine. But I say, proceed with redwoods if suited for your region. For a screen, plant the trees 8 feet apart. Make certain they will not impinge on the neighbors’ perspectives, steal moisture from their lawns or interfere with their landscapes.

You’ll need an irrigation system to keep the soil moist year-round. Expect 3 to 5 feet of growth each year in the beginning, then a slower rate. The trees displayed here, approximately 15 years old, are approximately 35 feet tall. Underneath them a row of English laurel provides additional screening.

Botanical name: Sequoia sempervirens
USDA zones: 8 to 9
Water requirement: Moderate or more
Light requirement: Full sun (light shade is OK)
Mature size: 70 feet tall or more and up to 30 feet wide
Growing tips: Start with 15-gallon or bigger nursery plants if you’re in a huge hurry. Dig a massive planting hole, at least 6 inches wider and deeper than the root ball, and include lots of soil amendments.

Missouri Botanical Garden

If you’re able to grow just 1 herb. Common blossom, also called garden sage, is easy to grow, continues for several years and can supply you with the new leaves you’ll need for chicken, poultry, veal and pasta dishes. Squeeze a blossom plant to a flower border or a vegetable garden, or try one or two little plants in a pot. It’s possible to grow it as an annual, like basil, or allow it to continue through winter for several decades. Cutting new leaves as necessary is the best approach to keep the plant bushy and compact.

Botanical name: Salvia officinalis
USDA zones: 5 to 8
Water requirement: Light
Light condition: Total sun, or partial shade in warm climates
Mature size: 1 foot to 3 feet tall and 12 to 18 inches wide
Growing tips: Control dimensions and enourage bushiness with regular pinching back of hints during the growing season. Do not try to cut the plant back to the ground; it might not return.

Created for California. Today you can choose from countless sage relatives, including heaps of native Salvias and plenty of fresh varieties, annuals and perennials, in yellow, white, red, deepest blue and purple. My favorite, Mexican bush sage, was around a very long time — you see it frequently in California mission gardens. It’s easy to grow, needs little water or care, and seems to bloom every day of the year (really, more like from Presidents Day to Thanksgiving).Grow Mexican blossom to get a blast of purple in boundaries, in a row as a loose type of low hedge, within an herb garden, at the edge of a vegetable garden or even in additional casual, dryish places. It’s kind of sprawly rather than a plant for proper situations.

Botanical name: Salvia leucantha
USDA zones: 7 to 9
Water requirement: Lighting
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 6 ft wide
Growing tips: To control dimensions and shape, cut back stalks nearly to the ground in spring.

What Else to Do in March on Your California Garden

This is a Excellent time to get out in the backyard. There is much to plant — from a grand finale of cool-season blossoms and vegetables (such as escarole, revealed) to an early show from summertime heat lovers.

Prepare to plant. Prepare flower and vegetable beds by incorporating at least 2 or 3 inches of organic matter, together with a complete fertilizer, and dig all of it into a thickness of 10 inches or so. For big shrubs and trees, take the time to dig out a substantial planting hole — at least several inches wider and thicker than the plant’s root ball. Do advance work to make sure that the soil is moist enough. For hard, dryish soil that is tough to work, start by digging as deep as you can and fill the hole with water, let it soak in and then refill it repeat this over a few days till you can push your spade to the desired thickness.

Last chance for cool-season performers. In cooler coastal climates, there’s still time to place in winter-spring performers: annual flowers such as pansies, Iceland poppies, stock and violas; and vegetables such as lettuce (quick-maturing varieties), spinach and other cool-season crops.

End bare-root planting. Early in the month, you can still plant bare-root roses, fruit trees, berries and such.

Start planting warm-weather flowers as well as veggies. In inland climates where the weather warms up early, particularly in Southern California, plant marigolds, petunias, lobelia and other warm-weather annuals. Additionally place out or sow seeds of beans, squash and other summer crops; you can plant tomatoes in the event the danger of frost has passed. Closer to the shore or the San Francisco Bay, wait till warmer weather in April for most heat lovers.

Start drought-resistant perennials. While the weather remains relatively cool, it is a good time to place out penstemon, artemisia, catmint (nepeta), sage, coreopsis and other perennials that require little water; they could set themselves before warm weather.

Feeding time. Scatter, sprinkle or spray on all-purpose food for shrubs, trees and ground covers — ideally before the major surge of spring growth. Feed roses following pruning. Feed camellias after bloom.

Watch for insects. Aphids are fond of succulent new growth. Start with methods such as washing them off with a blast of water from the hose. As a next step, proceed on to organically sprays.

More regional backyard guides

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Great Design Plant: Saucer Magnolia

A specimen tree that’s distinctive and appealing, and provides yearlong interest, makes sense in a garden; it’s helpful, hardworking and will perform year after season. Saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) performs especially in one season — perhaps even in only one month — than during the remainder of the calendar year, by far. But quantify most trees’ yearlong display against saucer magnolia’s short-lived early spring spectacle, and I would say this one, famously created by agronomist Étienne Soulange-Bodin, wins over a year of reliable foliage.

While its simplistic and delicate appearance may imply a finicky and high-maintenance mood, many find these trees to be surprisingly unfussy and simple to develop with proper attention and care.

The New York Botanical Garden

Botanical name: Magnolia x soulangeana
Common names: Saucer magnolia, Japanese magnolia, tulip magnolia
USDA zones: 4 to 9 (find your zone)
Water requirement: Moderate (keep the soil evenly moist)
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade (prefers morning sun)
Mature size: 25 to 30 feet tall; similar spread
Benefits and tolerances: Blooms attract bees, birds and butterflies; simple magnolia to grow; tolerates clay soil
Seasonal attention: Historical, prolific blossoms on branches
When to plant: Plant it in spring during active growth. (It may also be planted in autumn before the frost.)

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

The New York Botanical Garden

Distinguishing attributes. Saucer magnolia heralds the spring among the year’s earliest bloomers. Flowers appear earlier in warmer climates, and later where winter persists. Five to 10-inch waxy blossoms blur bare branches before the tree leafs out, highlighting its dispersing, architectural form — one of the tree’s most elegant qualities.

Search for fuzzy 1-inch buds as signs of flowers to come. White, fragrant blossoms blush pink and purple as they emerge and open for their namesake saucer shape. Most cultivars have been developed in a vast variety of colours and sizes. When the blossoms fall, waxy petals temporarily transform the floor into a soft pink blanket.

The tree leafs out after blooming, making glossy, bright 4- to 6-inch ovate leaves. By late spring the spectacle of saucer magnolia has passed, but it doesn’t imply its worth is lost. Foliage persists nicely through summer, turning yellow and brown in fall before dropping.

While we’re all wild about its flowers, the form of saucer magnolia itself creates a gorgeous garden focal point. Appreciate its dispersing, low branching structure and smooth gray bark till its flowers return.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

The best way to utilize it. Saucer magnolia is your ultimate early-spring accent tree, but remember it’s a yearlong garden feature. Plant it in a secure area where you are able to enjoy its blossoms in foliage, spring through summer and architectural branching structure.

Cluster numerous trees, but don’t forget the most size of this tree and its origins, and consider its mature size when you are planting it. Saucer magnolia reaches towering heights for a patio tree but can also be low branching.

Here, mature magnolias lineup Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.


Bring a few flowering magnolia branchlets inside.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

Planting notes. There’s a motive saucer magnolia can be used so broadly — it’s one of the most tolerant and easy-to-grow magnolias. But that in no way means it’s a low-maintenance or no-maintenance tree. Magnolia trees are investments, of both time and money.

Saucer magnolias are not tough to develop, but they require the time to establish. Be sure to take extra care and listen to small details when they’re young.

Plant in spring once the tree is actively growing. Fall will also do the job, but plant four to six weeks until the ground freezes. Select a site which will protect the tree from harsh winter winds or heat that might cause it to bloom too early in spring. Also be sure it has enough space to grow (look out and upward). Magnolias don’t like to be transplanted, which means you want to acquire the spot right the first time. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball, but do not dig deeper than the root ball. Magnolias have fleshy surface origins, so you don’t wish to pay those overly much.Be sure the root ball is well watered to earn root damage less probable. (The roots will soon be supple and less brittle.) Split the surrounding soil so that it doesn’t serve as an origin barrier.Place the main ball in the floor, maintaing an even space round it.Backfill with rich, organic material; water in dirt and well. Maintain moist soil. Mulch around to protect the soil from frost.Saucer magnolia grows moderately to slowly, so don’t expect to see flowers the first year. Be patient and nurturing. In midsummer, after it finishes flowering, gently clear out broken and crossing branches. There aren’t any significant pests associated with this particular tree.

More: How to Help Your Trees Weather a Storm

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12 Stylish Solutions for Ugly Cat Furniture

user bridget1312 has asked a question which plagues all cat owners: “Does anybody know how to make a cat tree in the living area not this eyesore? I like my kitty and wish to purchase her a new cat tree, but all of them are so ugly and ruin the fantastic appearance … Any suggestions?”

It is correct, Bridget — when I think of cat trees, I believe of gloomy beige wall-to-wall carpet wrapped around poles and stapled into place. Cat lovers are discovering or producing trees with much more style and imagination, though; a few are even turning to their own architects and builders to think of a few very fun custom options. Listed below are a dozen readymade options in a assortment of styles, including Zen chic, nautical, contemporary as well as Eartha Kitt.


The Refined Feline Kitty Ball Bed, Bamboo – $169.99

This stylish cat perch combines the lines of an Eero Aarnio Bubble Chair with today’s popular renewable resource, bamboo.


Sophia Wall Mounted Cat Tree – $155.99

A cat perch should not take up space on the ground. Wall-mounted cat shelves may give kitty perching fun and precisely the climbing. This one has an extra shelf to the books, plants and collectibles.


Square Cat Habitat by Buddha – $99

Sometimes kitty just wants her own spot for leaping, perching and napping without all of the bells and whistles of condo rooms, swinging ropes and all of the rest. Without uglying up your space this simple shelf meets all of her wants.


Sebastian Modern Cat Tree – $289.95

This cat tree is completely Miesian; form follows function with clean contemporary lines. There are separate areas for kitty scratching, resting, hiding and exercising.


Elegant Feline Little Lotus Tower Cat Tree – $377.99

This curved perch is a location where Mr. Cat can get his Zen on, along with the blank lines and not-shaggy carpet won’t offend his guardian’s design sensibilities.


Tall Modern Cat Condo – $249.95

I think this cat condo would look smashing with some Barcelona chairs paired with some Eileen Gray side tables.


Tropical Flower Cat Tree – $300

Get in a playroom condition of mind when picking a cat tree. While I would not need this tropical blossom in my living space, it could really add some interesting style to a kids’ playroom or bedroom.


Deluxe Lighthouse Cat Tower – $944.10

There are plenty of themed cat condos on the market. This lighthouse version does not have a cat-condo look and adds some pleasure.


Safari Cat Gym – $144

I have named this one the Eartha Kitt Cat Tree. Glam faux animal print is a great deal better looking than shaggy wall-to-wall beige carpeting.


Metropolitan Pet Bed by LazyBonezz, Ebony – $399.99

Check out this cat bunk mattress if you’d like your cat furniture to resemble people furniture.


Juliette Wall Shelf, Yellow – EUR 299

Where somebody had the idea of using it for a few kitty staircase-climbing fun I came on Modern Cat.


Elegant Feline Cat Clouds Cat Shelf, Titanium – $129.99

This titanium wall-mounted set of cat shelves is slick and sturdy. You can buy several and make a cat climbing wall.

Inform us Have you made your own cat condo, staircase, shelf or other perch? In that case, please post images. A number of those best-looking cat furniture I found on the web came from smart DIYers who created their own answers to this design dilemma.

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Kitchen of the Week: All-American Style Brightens a Craftsman

Regardless of the devastation, this Portland, Oregon, household felt blessed after a fire struck the kitchen of their 1920s Craftsman home. The harm was terrible, but no one was hurt. Looking on the bright side they saw the opportunity to redesign their kitchen to the space they had always wanted.

Portland architect Michael Howells opened the kitchen up to add more light and storage. “We spend a lot of time indoors here in rainy Portland, as well as the dark wood interiors shared to old Craftsman houses can be gloomy,” he states. New white cabinetry and materials all manufactured in America provide a contemporary look that nonetheless feels at home in the 1920s home.

Howells Architecture + Design

The family needed a contemporary farm-style kitchen painted cupboards, subway tile and full-height custom made cabinetry were top on their list. Shelving at the back of this peninsula, generously sized cabinets and full-extension drawers provide the kitchen plenty of storage area.

Before Photo

Howells Architecture + Design

BEFORE: Thankfully, no member of this household was home when the fire broke out. From the time the family arrived on the scene, the flame was extinguished, and inspectors had begun to take account of this harm.

Howells Architecture + Design

AFTER: The kitchen’s original layout worked well, or so the family kept it — with a few tweaks. The peninsula at the close of the counter creates a small breakfast area, and the window at the corner changed the light.

Howells Architecture + Design, LLC

New white cabinetry immediately lightened the area’s visual weight. Rather than closing this off tiled wall at the peninsula with cabinetry, Howells left open, allowing light from the skillet to stream through.

Before Photo

Howells Architecture + Design

BEFORE: The inspectors thought that the fire caused a spark or electricity surge after an outage — possibly from a faulty toaster oven. Although the fire was mostly in the kitchen, intense smoke damage considerably influenced the rest of the home. Most of the home had to be gutted and remodeled, and nearly everything — including the silverware — had to be professionally cleaned.

Howells Architecture + Design

AFTER: Howells, who likes to use local goods, stuck using American materials to maintain the house’s quintessential Craftsman design. Black honed granite countertops look classic, and the backsplash tile is made by Heath Ceramics in Sausalito, California. Howells also custom made the cabinetry to mention traditional panel doors.

Howells Architecture + Design

A warm lotion wall color keeps a consistent tone through all the public rooms, but Howells used the backsplash to add interest. “I love to shoot backsplashes as an opportunity to do something fun and expressive,” he states. Simple open shelving around the sink is sensible for often-used decor and items, and still looks amazing.

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Windsor Chairs Join the Mod Squad

What is more conventional than a Windsor chair? Not much … except when the seat gets a makeover which gives it a fresh, new attitude. Contemporary interpretations of the centuries-old icon retain the distinctive spindles, splayed legs and graceful lines of their cousins — but that’s where the similarities end. New profiles, hot paint colours and modern materials carry Windsor design right up to the present.

Each version of the Windsor chair in these spaces stays true to the soul of the first, but all are uniquely suited to their surroundings. What do you believe about these updates? Tell us in the Comments section.


This stripped-down space reflects a contemporary take on rustic lodge style. The wood-burning stove and Windsor-inspired chairs infuse the space with a hint of countryside soul, while the neutral palette and minimalist surfaces communicate urban cool.

Terrat Elms Interior Design

With sharp, smooth planes and light paint, these chairs have a Scandinavian sensibility. They’d look perfect in a midcentury modern interior, refreshing in a candy cottage and ultrasleek in a conventional setting.

Jeanette Lunde

With exaggerated tapering along with a coat of quite pink paint, a set of Windsors adds a light touch to an eclectic collection of artwork and artwork.

Neiman Taber Architects

Paint does wonders to teach these chairs tricks. Dressing every person in a different pastel hue gave them a joyous and accumulated air and offset their conventional form.

KKC Fine Homes

These barrel-back Windsor chairs have to be extra comfy — I imagine the curved profile feels like a gentle hug.

Windsor Chair – $625

Extra-long legs, sexy bright colours and a minimum of spindles put a contemporary twist with this new-generation Windsor layout.

Modern Windsor Accent Chair – $399

This low-slung version, which is just right for an Asian-inspired space, takes a casual approach.

Hand-Painted Windsor Chair – GBP 225

Together, they’re like the most adorable paint deck you can imagine. Mix and match colours or pick a single unexpected shade to jolt a staid dining room.


Dip Chair – GBP 395

It has two trends in one. This long-legged beauty combines an updated form using a dip-dye paint therapy.

More: On Trend: 10 Ways to Dip Dye

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Permit Spontaneity Loose for Abundance in the Landscape

In gardens that are abundant, as in most plants, gardens, ornamentation and architecture are used as private expressions of someone’s design philosophy. To make the sense of spontaneity, your gestures are often as easy as putting a ceramic pot among a color garden’s lender of ferns or even including a very small figure perched on a mossy stump. Or perhaps spontaneity might come from the intentional bend at a pathway so you can not see where it contributes to.

Spontaneity in the backyard is accomplished when the unseen suddenly becomes visible, when finding the inconsistent brings delight to the viewer. A light hand tends plantings in accord with the idea. Eschewing the artificial, the keeper of the garden encourages plants to follow their normal habits. Vines cover inanimate structures; camaraderie flourishes between branches which weave together, their stems mingling. As a result, there’s an overall sense that character has expressed its beauty and artistry — together with exuberance.

Stout Design-Build

Designing for spontaneity is like a careful person’s trying to “lighten up.” It can not be forced, but it can be accomplished, little by little. This lush walkway has a perfect balance between the practical(the generously sized stepping stone make it easy to traverse this walkway) and the beautiful(the ground covers elevate the path to a beautiful experience) — and the two elements are essential to its achievement.

When plants are slightly askew, not rigidly manicured, their informality is attractive, as is the situation, using soft clumps of lamb’s ears forming the bounds of their trail. Tiny ground covers occupy the crevices and cracks and knit together the surfaces with striking results.

Gardens by Gabriel, Inc..

A joyous celebration of plants — using their unique traits, forms, customs and blooms — adds up to a backyard using a charismatic and engaging attitude. Colors can battle for astonishingly successful pairings, like pink and orange or gold and purple. This backyard challenges conventions. It’s a single composition created by the pairing of native and exotic plants.

Carex, Stipa and Pennisetum — carefree ornamental grasses — intermingle with Gaura and kangaroo paw in what some may call “controlled chaos.” I call it irresistible.

Elemental Design Group

Deliberate design elements combine happily with accidental ones at a spontaneous backyard. The backyard owner gives equal standing to both the ordinary and the infrequent: edibles, for example, are tucked among precious ornamentals; glistening finishes appear in contrast to rustic substances; lavish plantings occupy humble boats.

A spontanteous backyard gives the impression its owners jumped away from chores or tasks for an impromptu picnic midway through.

That I love this garden for some of these characteristics. Low-maintenance gravel has numerous pluses, including the fact that annuals and perennials are invited to self-sow in it. The billowy plantings here are companionable using the bungalow’s natural shingle exterior. The look is uncontrived and simple. This is a spot that you want to see (and maybe move into).

SchappacherWhite Architecture D.P.C.

A spontaneous backyard is not always weathered or casual in style. The modern architecture revealed here, with clean lines and an unembellished white facade, receives a jolt of spontaneity in the lush border growing in front of the windows. Two plants — a black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia sp) and an ornamental fountain grass — are massed together to make a dreamy, textured tapestry.

When we return to spontaneity in our gardens, we start to see with new eyes and listen to other sensory cues which resonate with our spirits. The act of gardening and the pursuit of beauty are interdependent. After the garden is seasoned with a dash of spontaneity and playfulness, the outcome is an unforgettable destination like this one.

Michael Lee Architects

When plants appear in surprising places, you have achieved the idea of spontaneity. Lifeless areas in and around our homes cry out for lush touches. To some, it may be incongruous to line an interior hallway with a boundary of Sansevieria plants, but these graphic plants from the tropics go a long way to heat the stark architecture using a playful wink. If you do not have a backyard outside, make one indoors.

Donna Lynn – Landscape Designer

Infuse your backyard using a lively, free-spirited attitude. I love this “doorway” that connects a garden to its adjoining orchard. Visitors are enticed by the idea of exploration — to discover what is hidden just beyond this periwinkle-blue backyard door. The journey promises a touch of intrigue, a memorable experience from beginning to end. Use imagination to change the predictable to the poetic. When a backyard displays a spontaneous disposition, whether intentionally or by happenstance, when artistic liberty is encouraged and design principles are broken, we’re drawn to the attractive results.

Gardener’s Supply Company

Everlasting Alliums – $36.95

When design elements coexist with upbeat plantings or riotous blooms, their effect is indelible. Frivolous accents in the backyard are sure to induce the viewer to stop and notice their existence. An unconventional placement of found objects never fails to surprise, especially if it reflects the designer’s personal collections and interests (or favorite colour palette).

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

The desire to discover the concealed secret or the unexpected treasure is really the allure for most garden lovers. Here, tucked beneath a prolific bougainvillea, a mosaic-framed mirror is tilted against the dark fence. It functions both as living art, representing the greenery elsewhere in the backyard, and as a faux window to the outside dining room. The intrigue makes this endearing space even more spontaneously beautiful.

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