6 Ways to Bring the Richness of Leather Home

Leather has been used for clothing, protection, rugs and furniture since ancient times, and for good reasons: It is easily available, flexible and durable. But leather has come a long way because the cave ages, thanks to modern science. Today both organic and faux leather can be dyed any color, stamped with layouts and treated to be stain resistant. And in the modern design-oriented planet, leather has some genuinely unique uses. Let’s explore some contemporary and traditional ways this older material is being used now.

Walls. This creative application generally ends up being fairly pricey, since one conceal prices approximately $200 (about the lower end of the price scale), and also the typical mask is roughly 50 to 52 square feet.

Cravotta Interiors

Flooring. Leather floor tiles could be glued to a plywood floor with contact cement. Although these one-of-a-kind software are magnificent, they can be tricky to take care of. Leather floors need to be vacuumed with a soft bristle brush and mopped monthly with distilled water. You also have to clean up spills quickly so they do not stain.

Brownhouse Design, Los Altos, CA

Upholstery. Leather couches have come to be a classic furniture staple. While they look magnificent and wear well, leather is cool to the touch in winter and clings to skin in hot weather (think of leather automobile seats and bare legs), meaning it is not the most comfy upholstery option for extreme environments. Stains, including pencil ink, can be hard to remove, too.

Janell Beals – House of Naked

You’ll want to maintain leather a minimum of two feet by a heat source to prevent it from drying out, and keep it from direct sunlight to prevent fading. And don’t use caustic household cleaners to clean leather. Instead, use a mild, nonacidic soap blended with water and use with an up-and-down or side-to-side motion (not in a circle). Clean an area larger than the place, rinse with a damp cloth and allow it to dry for 24 hours.

There is not any guarantee that a place can be removed from leather. When in doubt, call a professional before using any substances.

Environmental Design Services

Tabletop. When leather is chosen for a tabletop or other oft-used surface, it needs to be protected and maintained to reduce stains, stains and scratches. Dust it frequently with a soft, damp cloth.

To condition the leather, use professional leather goods to ensure a good outcome. Products such as mink oil can darken the leather, so it’s always a good idea to check any product on a small area. Stain protection could be added during the tanning process; look for leather with Scotchguard or another protective coating. Or you could apply surface protection against oil, water and dirt stains later.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

Faux leather. Like leather, faux leather could be stamped to create a thorough pattern that adds style and interest. Although artificial leather is less expensive than actual leather, it does not last as long or wear also.

Frequently, to save on cost, faux leather is applied on either side and rear of a chair or couch while genuine leather is used on the front. The leather is dyed to match the actual deal.

Cecilie Starin Design Inc..

Woven. When stitched, leather is strong, durable and lasting. But, woven leather will stretch with time and use.

When it becomes scratched and scuffed, woven or unwoven leather could be polished, like you’d polish a pair of sneakers, to restore and restore the look.

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Energy and Color Aplenty in a Live-Work Lease

Designer Caitlin Wilson lives in and works out of a rental home in a classic building in Philadelphia, and she desired her furniture to represent a timeless look but with a twist. Details like lavish English wrapped arms, tufts and female silhouettes root the distance into a traditional style, but bold colour and pattern options showcase a modern eclectic soul. “My design has evolved from modern to eclectic to a kind of new traditional, and I believe my home reflects this development,” Wilson says.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Caitlin Wilson, husband Brigham and kids Olivia and Penn
Location: Center City, Philadelphia
Size: 1,400 square feet

Caitlin Wilson Design

The foyer of the designer sings a note in Key Largo Green. Wilson bought the mirror out of Joss & Main and hand painted the ampersand canvas. Art from her parents’ collection, digital prints and family photos make up the gallery wall.

Caitlin Wilson Design

A Pindler & Pindler Winston sofa brings you in with its pink colour, a color trim and repeated throughout the room in the accessories. Wilson custom made her curtains to frame her perspectives of Rittenhouse Square and Center City. She wrapped in a brass bamboo coffee table along with a pair of Chinese brass lamps; a Thom Filicia rug ties the room together.

Caitlin Wilson Design

Ikea bookshelves flank one of Wilson’s prized possessions: a camel-colored tufted leather settee with rolled arms, a lavish hand-me-down out of her parents.

Caitlin Wilson Design

A happy arrangement of roses in bloom picks up on the pink colour seen throughout the space, including the final colour layer to the room.

Caitlin Wilson Design

“We moved to Philly to a student budget, so I scored our huge dining table and seats from Craigslist. I reupholstered the seats and wingbacks in my signature fabric, Navy Fleur Chinoise,” Wilson says. Her parents lent their artwork into Wilson and her husband to remind the few of the prior home in California.

Caitlin Wilson Design

Wilson’s home office is a study in pattern and colour. “It is so enjoyable to work here. The room is filled with vibrant fabrics out of my fabric line, so there is this obviously bright and cheerful surroundings,” she states.

Background by Nina Campbell produces a unique backdrop and ties together all the colours in the space. The Roman shades are Wilson’s Jade Byblos fabric. She found the desk on Craigslist, along with the Greek key closets are still an Ikea hack. The Chinese brass lamp originated out of a marketplace in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai.

Caitlin Wilson Design

The designer says that the best thing about working in the home is that she can run her business and raise her family under a single roof.

Caitlin Wilson Design

An Asian-inspired tangerine mirror over a Chinese gold and black silk-screened shoe cabinet echoes the home’s eclectic international style. “Thanks to our travels, our home has a collection of quirky pieces in the Middle East and Asia, which obviously have influenced my fabric patterns,” Wilson says.

Caitlin Wilson Design

Wire baskets shop and organize Wilson’s fabrics without obscuring them entirely out of plain view.

Her office is the hardest working space in the home. With a fulltime helper and also a design intern, it is almost always inhabited by a relative or an employee.

Caitlin Wilson Design

“Benjamin Moore’s Gentle Butterfly is perfect for any little girl’s room,” states Wilson. She had these Roman shades custom made, and she commissioned a java table to make a pint-size desk for her daughter that’s painted in Valspar’s Hint of Mint.

Rug: Rugs USA; pouf: Dubai marketplace

Caitlin Wilson Design

A Laurence Amelie tutu painting out of Bonpoint hangs above daughter Olivia’s art table, from Pottery Barn Kids. “It had been the first piece of artwork we ever purchased,” she states.

Caitlin Wilson Design

In the kitchen Wilson spiced up a wall for Olivia and swapped out the old linoleum for Armstrong Crescendo Marble Gray vinyl tile. “It looks so much like marble and feels great underfoot,” she states. “And the very best thing about it is that you peel off the back and stick it.”

Caitlin Wilson Design

She painted the rear wall with chalkboard paint and wrapped eyeglasses and bulldog clips for displaying artwork. “I DIY’d the leopard seats using a Sharpie on solid cream Ikea seats,” she states.

Caitlin Wilson Design

Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray provides Wilson’s master bedroom with a neutral, subdued backdrop. She made the headboard to showcase her Fleur Chinoise cloth in a berry pattern. Cleft pillows in Coral Fretwork fabric and Berry signature pillow shams out of Wilson’s Garnet Hill collection produce a lavish hotel look. However, accurate to Wilson’s design savvy and what she calls “school funding” roots, the glammed-up nightstands are Ikea hacks, painted grey and with new gold oil knobs.

“A happy family lives in this vibrant and vibrant home,” she states, “and you can see and sense it in most of the small and big things, in most of the larger rooms and quiet corners.”

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How to Settle on a Shower Bench

A consumer at the process of building a walk-in cupboard asks, “Is there some guidance out there regarding placement of shower benches?” The solution is not as straightforward as you may think.

The shower’s footprint and the way the bench will be used often supply the ideal response. If you’ve got a dual shower, you may want your bench to chair two. If you’ve got a tiny shower, occasionally a removable or floating bench works best. Wheelchair transports and ease of cleanup are things to think about, too.

Avon’s Woodshop

If you are intending to move a wooden bench around, be sure it’s small and light.

Most showers have sloped flooring in several directions. This can cause a freestanding bench to rock when you are sitting. Plan for your new bathtub to have a one-way slope, or locate a bench with flexible legs so it’s possible to eliminate the rocking chair. You might also purchase a three-legged bench or have one created, since these won’t rock.

Tip: locating a bench the perfect size for your shower can be challenging. If working with a cabinet maker on a bathroom vanity, consider asking him or her to include a customized teak bench on your order.

Moss Building and Design | Moss Home Services

When designing your bench, you need to have a strong opinion on if you desire the bench to move around or stay stationary.

This built-in bench is one of my favorite designs and makes for easy cleaning. Because it extends out of the shower, there is no gap between the bench and the glass. Those tiny gaps can be a pain to clean.

Tip: For much less cleanup, think about a solid surface material, like granite or composite stone, for your bench.

Vinyl & style

You are going to want your bench to be near your own shower controllers — it makes rinsing shaving and off considerably easier.

To fulfill most industry guidelines, shower benches should measure 17 to 19 inches off the finished shower flooring. Occupational therapists may provide me a dimension customized for a customer’s body.

Narofsky Architecture + ways2design

Most steam showers call for a bench for relaxation. When space is tight, a folding shower chair can work wonders.

These folding seats require strong blocking supporting the wall. Make sure the framers of the project align wall studs with placement of the bench.

BiglarKinyan Design Planning Inc..

In a smaller shower, you may think about the bench as a portion of the tub deck. Bear in mind that benches need to empty — just like a bathtub floor — so be certain that the slab of stone does not move in as one piece. The piece inside the shower must tilt toward the floor.

Just a little corner chair might offer additional leg room.

Zack|de Vito Architecture + Construction

Marble looks beautiful in showers, but it’s too soft to use by itself in a shower bench’s construction. The exact same is true of wood. These benches want the support of a metal bracket or custom metal tubing.

Webber + Studio, Architects

This great looking shower includes both a fixed bench before the window along with a movable bench just outside the shower. If you would like to open the shower up floor area, consider a drifting bench like this.

Christa Young – TY Design

Have fun with the bench! This is by far my favorite bench to date. I’ve yet to locate a customer who will let me build this, but I am still searching!

BY DESIGN Builders

Any bench can be made safer. Grab bars, free space and bench positions are laid out in ADA planning manuals. These spaces require planning from the beginning so that interior walls do not get in the way of transferring from a wheelchair into the bench.

Any bathtub built larger than 36 by 36 inches must have numerous grab bars.

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A Georgia Pool House Swims in Features

The list of prerequisites for this particular pool house included an exercise space, a kitchen, room for relaxing and tons of amusement to the busy Georgia family who uses it. Designer Beth Weltlich, architect Cynthia Karegeannes and contractor Clark Harris set their heads together to make a beautiful and effective multipurpose retreat. A modern interior, durable materials and luxurious additions — including a putting green and an outdoor kitchen flipped this 1,244-square-foot space into a fantasy backyard haven.

Innovative Construction Inc..

The pool home’s cedar facade and windows have been oriented to set the chandelier in view from the main home’s kitchen window.

Pool: Custom Pools of Atlanta

Innovative Construction Inc..

Installing the magnificent cedar beams and ceiling was a major undertaking, and among contractor Clark Harris’ favorite areas of the undertaking.

Innovative Construction Inc..

The chic and timeless pieces in this pool house mix materials, designs and price ranges.

Chandelier: Solaria Lighting; couches: Pottery Barn; cushioned seats: Wesley Hall; animal-print benches: Lee Industries; unwanted tables, accessories: Scott’s Antique Market; wall paint: Creamy, Sherwin-Williams; ceiling paint: Moderne White, Sherwin-Williams

Innovative Construction Inc..

Designer Beth Weltlich selected rugs, fabrics and other materials for their design as well as their capacity to resist wear and tear.

Fireplace surround: M&F Granite and Marble

Innovative Construction Inc..

Pendant lights: Solaria Lighting, Customized finish

Innovative Construction Inc..

A galley kitchen made sense for a space where the customers want to have snacks and beverages at hand but nobody will have to cook a five-course meal.

Sinks, taps, appliances: Ferguson; countertops: quartz, M&F Granite and Marble

Innovative Construction Inc..

For continuity, the kitchen and the bathroom share the same backsplash. Durable granite countertops make sense for a space that sees a lot of use. Harris chose windows with seeded glass for private places that still needed extra lighting.

Backsplash: Traditions in Tile

Innovative Construction Inc..

An exercise area upstairs, complete with a sloped indoor putting green, provides relatives members and friends another place to perform.

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How to Install a Tile Backsplash

Small details make huge differences, and also a tile backsplash is just one of these small information. A backsplash not only looks great, but it also protects your walls. With some simple tiling skills and a small practice, transforming your kitchen might be one weekend job away.

Skill level: Medium to advanced. You need to be comfortable with basic power tools, like drills and saws. Also, be certain you have a good understanding of the numbers on your own tape measure. The majority of the work simply requires patience and a steady hand, so take your time.
Period: 2 to 3 days
Price: $10 to $25 per square foot
General tip: If you have not set tile before, practice placing a few rows of tiles on a scrap of plywood until you can achieve consistent grout lines and levels.
Security hints: Always wear gloves when cutting tiles and gloves when handling cut tile. Use caution with all power equipment.

More: When to consider hiring a pro

Jared Erwin

Materials and Tools

To work out the total amount of tile you’ll need, measure the square footage of your backsplash, and then add 10 to 20 percent to this total — that will account for waste out of trimming or breakage.

Adhesives: For most programs, the best adhesive is going to probably be thinset, which bonds to plaster, drywall and any other porous surface. Thinset is a cement-based adhesive that penetrates the walls as well as the porous rear of the tile. It works nicely with porcelainceramic and glass tile. If you’ve chosen glass tile, use a white adhesive.

Tile spacers: Tile spacers, which will keep tiles directly and even on the walls, come in all sizes and shapes. These spacers are available with the tile on your local hardware shop. Keep it easy when picking out a spacer to use — if you’ve chosen a sheet of little tile, ensure your spacers fit the design of your sheet.

Notched trowel: A trowel is used to apply the adhesive to the surface being tiled. It can be located from the tile or flooring section of your local hardware shop. It is usually a good idea to have a small-margin trowel and a larger notched trowel.

Grout: select a color that complements your tile (it is usually better to prevent an specific color match) and one which is going to be easy to keep clean — stay far from bright white, if you don’t only love scrubbing. I recommend using a premixed grout which has a loofah blended in. Topical sealers will work, but premixed grout saves you a measure. You are going to require a grout sponge and a grout float or trowel too.

Jared Erwin

When picking out tile, look for something easy, small and neutral. Little tiles often arrive in sheets, which makes them simpler to set up, and may be cut with tile snips, which are much more DIY friendly compared to the usual big wet saw.

Most tiles can be cut using a scoring process. This is time consuming, and results will vary based on the tile substance. Using a scoring knife out of a tile supply shop and a right edge, just score your cut three to four times and then apply pressure to the outside edges of the tile to break the tile at the score.

If you go with larger tiles that needs to be trimmed using a wet saw, consider hiring an expert to cut them .

Jared Erwin

When you’ve got all your materials and tools, follow these directions.

1. Decide on a pattern. If you’ve chosen tile sheets, then your pattern is place for you. If you would like to decide on subway tile, place your tile in a brick pattern. Use tile spacers to keep your pattern symmetrical.

2. Find a starting point. In many kitchens the center of this sink is a good place to start. You wish to begin in the center and work out your way — that gives you better symmetry when you create it to the ends.

This was the starting point we employed with this specific backsplash. From here we worked our way around the kitchen.

Jared Erwin

3. Do prep work. It is a good idea to apply a bead of silicone caulk to the seam between your wall and your countertop. This acts as a backup line of protection if water were to ever get from the tile. It isn’t a do-or-die measure, however.

Hereyou can see that the bottom border of this tile has been coated with a white silicone caulk after the tile has been grouted to keep water from getting behind the cabinets and resulting in harm.

Next, turn off the circuit breaker and be certain none of those sockets or switches are live. Then remove any electrical wall plates. Unscrew the switches and sockets and pull them out of the boxes. Don’t disconnect the wires! You just want enough room to be able to work your tile around the box.

Jared Erwin

4. Apply the adhesive. Make sure you can view your center-line starting mark; employ adhesive from that point. Assess the working time around the container, but it is usually OK to spread enough to employ a few tiles (or sheets) on your first row. This first row will sit on your countertop.

5. Install the tile. Starting from your center line, press the tile up against the wall securely. This creates suction that will hold your tile in place until the adhesive has fully cured.

As you work your way around the kitchen, be certain that you plan ahead for any cuts you have to make. It is a good idea to use a pencil and a speed square (a right-angle tool which helps to give you a straight line) to indicate your cuts prior to making them. Do your very best to cover the cut edge and constantly leave the mill edge exposed.

As soon as you’ve installed the tile, go back and remove any adhesive that’s pushed up into your grout lines — you don’t want this showing when you grout your tile.

Within this picture, tile spacers are being used to use the tile in a brick pattern. Notice the adhesive, the tape measure and also the speed square — make use of these during installation!

Jared Erwin

6. Grout and clean. Following your tile was installed for 16 to 24 hours (or whatever the adhesive container specifies), you can go back and start grouting. Remove all of the spacers and clean off any dried adhesive on the surface of the tile.

Work the grout in at an angle. Within this picture, grout is being implemented with a standard-margin grout trowel. Apply it using all the trowel angled toward the wall, then moving in a diagonal design. Clean off the excess grout with a sponge and also work a 3- to 5-foot place at a time. As soon as you’ve finished grouting, run a clear bead of silicone along the base border of the tile.

Permit all this dry for 24 hours until you go back and replace your electrical sockets, switches and covers. If you are using a penetrating sealer, be certain that you inspect the container to the time frame for applying.

Jared Erwin

Notice here how the brick pattern continues through the corner; the lines stay the same. Take your time, follow these simple steps, and ask questions when you buy your supplies.

A tile backsplash creates a huge difference in the look and feel of any kitchen. And once you’ve completed this job on your kitchen, go take a look at your bathroom vanity. The options are infinite.

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Front and Center Color: When to Paint Your Door Purple

Purple is a colour to function into a home’s interior. Dramatic and darkened, it may veer toward garish if blended with a lot of other vibrant colors or fussy materials. Large expanses of pastel purples may come across as too sweet and girly, although also much deep purple tends to make a room feel gloomy, dark and cavelike. But purple could be fantastic about the exterior that is oft-overlooked. The entrance for your residence should be attention getting — why don’t you this via a gorgeous purple color in your front door? It won’t seem too active in this small dose, and with abundant natural light it won’t feel too heavy or gloomy.

Check out these eight examples of gorgeous purple doors, along with proposed palettes that have siding and trim or accent colors.

Feldman Architecture, Inc..

1. Bluish-Purple Door With a Light Gray Exterior

If the outside of your house has a mild neutral hue, the best way to look after your door would be to go with a contrasting deep, dark color.

This bluish purple reads as a neutral, which makes this palette feel calm, cool and controlled — ideal if you like purple but want to go with a comparatively neutral exterior palette.

Notice: If your door gets hit with a great deal of day sun, a dark color will absorb heat and may fade more quickly than a lighter hue.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example Colour: Get an identical appearance with (clockwise from top left, all from Pittsburgh Paints): King’s Robe 246-6, Dill 310-5 and Fisherman’s Net 512-4.

Custom Design/Build, Inc..

2. Red-Purple Door Having a Medium Gray Exterior

If your house has a moderate gray exterior, very similar to this one here, you can dress your door in almost any colour you would like. This saturated purple with a bit of red in it’s an excellent choice, especially in concert with all the wood-clad overhang ceiling, which reads as a hot orange-red. This odd palette pops up this modern house and leaves the entrance inviting and welcoming.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example Colour: Get an identical appearance with (clockwise from top left, all from Pratt & Lambert): Tulip Purple 30-14, Orange Bead 6-16 and Kid Glove 26-28.

Kathleen Shaeffer Design, Exterior Spaces

3. Purple Door Having an Olive Green and Taupe Exterior

This door sports a beautiful cool bluish purple that helps it stand out from the olive-green and light taupe siding. I like how the landscaping picks up the home’s exterior colors and also the warm-hued pavers offer you a fresh, welcoming route to the front door.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example Colour: Get an identical appearance with (clockwise from top left, all from Sherwin-Willams): Luxe Blue SW6537, Black Swan SW6279 and Destiny SW6274.

Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl)

4. Dark Purple Door Having a Green-Gray Exterior

This is a Really trendy and striking palette. The purple has quite a bit of inky blue inside it, which makes it seem almost navy or dark, and the siding colour is just one of these intricate hues that sometimes reads as gray, sometimes blue, sometimes green. The white trim gives each element a fresh, crisp edge.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example Colour: Get an identical appearance with (clockwise from top left, all from Kelly-Moore): Evening Magic KM3104-5, Drizzle KM3785-1 and Raw Steel KM3836-2.

Christine Kelly / Crafted Architecture

5. Purple and Plum Having a Beige Exterior

I love this delightful exterior palette. It shows how colour could be used to accentuate architectural components on a house in a fun way. (It helps to live in a neighborhood that’s amenable to whimsical exterior palettes.)

You can easily do a variation on this palette with your beloved vibrant hue. If you maintain the most important exterior color neutral, simply select two hues that are close each other on the colour wheel (for instance, lime green and lemon yellow, or turquoise and navy blue). This will offer you a colorful palette with just enough restraint.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example Colour: Get an identical appearance with (clockwise from top left, all from Benjamin Moore): Old Claret 2083-30, Mauve Bauhaus 1407 and Barbados Sand 1094.

Tuthill structure

6. Vibrant Purple Door With Other Bold Hues and White

Here is another fun palette that is not for everybody. Since the major house color is a mild off-white, the small square chunks of vivid colour look refreshing, bold and contemporary — reminiscent of an abstract expressionist painting.

I really like these colors and how they’re used, but what is great about employing bold colour as a decorative element is how comparatively easy and affordable it’s to decorate with a different pair of bold hues or neutrals for an entirely different appearance.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example Colour: Get an identical appearance with (clockwise from top left, all from Mythic Paint): Blue Bomber 015-5, Spanish Saffron 095-5, Arapaho Valley 079-6 and Morning Song OW-5-3.


7. Lavender Door With Corrugated Metal Siding

If you prefer a purple shade that is more on the lavender side, then pair it with a bold yellow hue to make the lavender actually stick out. Purple and yellow are complementary colors — reverse each other on the colour wheel — so they supply the maximum contrast to each other when used in combination. In small amounts against a neutral backdrop, in this instance light gray corrugated metal siding, the two colors look good.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example Colour: Get a similar appearance with (clockwise from top left, all from Sherwin-Willams): Indulgent SW6969 and Sunrise SW6668, with corrugated metal siding.

Rossington Architecture

8. Purple Door With a Light Taupe Exterior

My way of picking an interesting exterior paint palette would be to pick two neutrals and one fearless hue. Generally you want to paint the biggest portion of your house — the siding — among the neutrals. Then use the bold hue for doors, trim or accents.

The 2nd impartial should coordinate with the key impartial, but you would like it to be distinct enough that it reads as a very different colour; otherwise it may look like you’re trying to match colors and made a mistake. Use this 2nd impartial as a trim or an accent colour.

Here the timber siding functions as the key neutral and reads as a mild tan-taupe colour. The olive oil also reads as a neutral, and they both function as a nice supportive ground for the pieces of deep purple on the door and window frame.

Jennifer Ott Design

Example Colour: Get an identical appearance with (clockwise from top left, all from Valspar): Twinkle Night 4004-8C, Willow Wind 6004-3B and Vanilla Steam 2006-10C.

Tell usCan you paint your door purple?

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Great Design Plant: Arbutus'Marina'

My daughter planted Arbutus ‘Marina’ within her Mediterranean-style courtyard, since it reminds her of madrone trees in summer camp. Every time I see her tree, I believe of dividing a seventh-grade woman’s initials on a madrone back while on a Boy Scout camping trip in another time and place. Madrone (or madrona) trees, native to the Pacific Coast from Southern California to British Columbia, possess a wild beauty that appeals to the sentimental, romantic side of a number people, at least.

Arbutus‘Marina’ is a evergreen hybrid of unknown origin, closely related to the native madrone. They share the household good looks: twisted, glossy reddish trunks with peeling bark, perky small blossoms, even fairly fruit. But unlike the famously temperamental native madrone, which appears to expire at the thought of either garden-style watering or in the sight of a terrace,’Marina’ fits well into garden situations as well as conditions.

San Marcos Growers

Botanical name: Arbutus ‘Marina’
USDA zones: 7 to 9 (find your zone)
Water requirement: Lighting
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature dimensions: 25 feet tall and wide, but can grow to 50 ft
Special consideration: Drainage has to be very good, or else root diseases may develop.

Distinguishing attributes. Dainty clusters of pink blossoms dangle among leathery green leaves, mostly in spring and autumn. Even tiny branches display the bark and glossy reddish new bark.

Eye-catching fruit that seems spring to fall looks like that of the closely associated strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo). It’s edible if you’re a fan of mealy, tasteless fruit. Why bother?

The best way to use it. Make’Marina’ a stunning centerpiece of your terrace, although it can make a mild mess with falling leaves, blossoms, bark and fruit. It’s more in the home in a wilder, dry part of a garden. Ensure it is a focal point rising up out of a planting of blended California natives like manzanita, rhamnus and ceanothus. Keep lawns and frequent watering away. (Notice that in this picture, the yard isn’t permitted near the back.) Pruning away the lower branches has coached this tree to develop a rounded top.

Boxleaf Design, Inc..

Multitrunk’Marina’, with lesser branches left in position, has found a happy (dryish) home here with succulents and gravel mulch.

Growing hints. Before planting, ensure the soil drainage is pretty good to excellent. Incorporate ground bark or other organic matter in the planting hole.

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Mixed-Use Oregon Home Serves and Charms

Dayna McErlean’s seven-year remodeling project changed a debilitated Portland, Oregon, building to a lively multiuse project. Drawing on her childhood and inspired by her hands on, inventive family, McErlean made four lively spaces — the Yakuza Lounge (a food enthusiast’s Japanese bar), a upstairs living room, a stunning backyard and deck space, and a cabin for rent. Working with a carefully selected team of building consultants, McErlean also integrated a green roof and a water reclamation system. Now, almost a decade later, her converted home in town’s Alberta Arts District, is at the core of a thriving community.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Dayna McErlean and son Bishop
Location: Portland, Oregon
Size: 1,200-square-foot inside and 1,500-square-foot outside deck; two bedrooms, 1 bath
That’s intriguing: McErlean lives over a restaurant she owns, and lifts out a cabin at the gardens below.

Louise Lakier

The Yakuza Lounge occupies the whole first floor of the contemporary multiuse building. Upstairs is McErlean’s and Bishop’s house, which can be obtained by a metal side terrace. The building is located in Galvalum, along with the street scene is welcoming to pedestrians, with inviting boutique storefronts, trees, bike parking and potted plants.

McErlean worked with a team of consultants — such as an engineer, a contractor, an excavator and a sculptor — to make her dream house. Implementing them individually allowed her the freedom to provide her own suppliers and investigate alternate building strategies.

Metallic gate: made by David Hurley, fabricated by Rob Roy, Recychedelic

Louise Lakier

The kitchen island is set on wheels. The countertops are black granite, along with the kitchen cabinets are made of Plyboo which McErlean scored at a reduction as a result of minor defects. The corner post was salvaged in the first building, and the cupboard pulls are custom. The stove backsplash and surround are steel panels fabricated and set up by David Bertman. McErlean’s clay mug and teapot collection is set from the steel board.

Casters: John W. Negus

Louise Lakier

Louise Lakier: What or who inspires your own personality?
Dayna McErlean: My late mother and father and also the way they led their lives. I grew up at a huge 15,000-square-feet open house built by my father and brothers. I watched them build the nine-bedroom, nine-bathroom house from the age of 3 and remember running around on long, steep boards of wood until the stairs were built. My father built it so all his seven children can each have their own bed and toilet. My mother decorated the whole home herself and that I remember she used fabric as background.

A 30-foot bridge split the boys’ rooms in the girls’ rooms, along with my parents’ room situated at the head of the bridge like a toll house. My father moved to Staten Island from Brooklyn in the early ’60s when they building the bridge, therefore I always wondered if the Verrazano Narrows Bridge inspired the bridge in our property. It was just an amazing, magical place to grow up, and that I believe my parents would be pleased to see what I have created today.

Living furniture: Era Classic

Louise Lakier

The curved metal walls attract you in on top of the entry stairs. A coat closet is supporting the chalkboard-painted plywood panels. The cove lighting system at the back part of the house was conceived by Andee Hess of Osmose Design and installed by “Sandy” Alexander Mills along the ceiling truss joists to make a beautiful amber glow.

LL: What was your biggest splurge?
DM: The carpets. I have a passion of fibers and weaving, and also to me the carpets were a huge functional indulgence of art which would create comfort that surrounds both of us.

Louise Lakier

Works Architecture made the shelving and custom built desk in the living room, and Rob Roy of Recychedelic made and installed it. The lamp is out of Mexico and belonged to McErlean’s parents.

The furniture is also an eclectic mixture of contemporary pieces and family heirlooms from her childhood home in Staten Island. She recently splurged on reupholstering the couch.

LL: Inform me about the art onto the fireplace.
DM: The publish onto the fireplace is a lifetime drawing/collagraph publish that I created when I was studying at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland in 1991. The printing plate is made of cardboard, coated with flooring tile glue and drawn into with a chopstick as it was drying. I covered it with matte medium to seal it up it, then handed it through the press.

Louise Lakier

LL: What is your decorating philosophy?
DM: Clean lines, soft tones and beautiful textures. Warm indirect lighting in addition to plenty of natural plants and light.

LL: Is there a story behind the bedspread you created for Bishop?
DM: My childhood friend Alex Bush had these duvet covers in her homemade by her “big grandma” in Hungary when we were growing up. The duvets had a big opening at the center to match the comforter in, and that I remembered them fondly. I looked around but couldn’t find them so I asked Sara at Whipstitch to custom make you. She made all my draperies.

Light fixtures: Frank Gehry, from Era Classic

Louise Lakier

In the master bath, a freestanding bathtub sits on a custom made base constructed from glulam beams and metal.

The shoji panels were a collaborative project. McErlean sourced the paper from neighborhood lamp manufacturer Lam Quang, along with the metalwork was custom made by Kenneth Wright of Rocketworks Design. The French doors open wide for indoor-outdoor dressing table.

LL: Do you have a favourite designer?
I have two — R.M. Schindler and Shigeru Ban. I love Schindler’s inventiveness of lifestyle and space — his furniture, bed baskets, fireplaces, sliding panel doors which open up whole rooms to backyard living rooms. His tilt-up concrete construction and the simplicity of design, scale of chambers and notion of studio living where married couples live communally but have their own creative living area is brilliant!

I have a fantastic love for fibers and paper, therefore Ban’s work fascinates me. The vast openness and resourcefulness of the temporary housing he creates out of his paper tubs is amazing.

Louise Lakier

The flat lateral support ribs of the curved metal wall serve a double purpose as shelving. Containers, artwork and jewelry are saved and hang out of the wall on magnets.

LL: What can’t you live without?
DM: My bathtub. My favourite thing to do in the home is dance with Bishop and take bathrooms.

Louise Lakier

McErlean’s closet was what is now Bishop’s room. When Bishop was born, she built her closet to her bedroom. She lined the walls of the bedroom with built-ins, additional closet rods and shelving, and covered the walls with fairly damask fabric curtains. The chandeliers were salvaged from a nearby pub. “It feels like I’m sleeping in a boat’s berth,” she says.

LL: What would you call your own style?
DM: My style is “it-is-ness” — it’s the finessing of space. I get really inspired by what is there and how it can be improved. I’m affected by the project at hand, space and what resources I have to work with. It is what I make it.

I consider my house my sculpture, and I have pushed and pulled it into its current form and will keep doing so. So long as I own it, it will always be a work in progress.

Louise Lakier

The deck railing is custom made out of frosted glass panels closed out of shower doors.

Louise Lakier

The outside decks provide an additional 1,500 square feet of space. McErlean made outdoor play areas for Bishop by covering segments with turf grass.

Louise Lakier

Granite implanted in stainless steel containers provides privacy from the street. The containers are from Coastal Farm.

Louise Lakier

A synopsis of the cabin along with also the gardens from the top deck.

LL: Do you have any nicknames for the building/garden compound, like “The Bishop Building”?
DM: I always called it “The Lynch” through evolution. I’ve noticed that the staff calls it “The Kuz,” and it is sort of stuck.

Louise Lakier

Outdoor seating in the backyard on a bed of oyster shells. The slanted roof over is a green roof.

LL: What advice would you offer to other homeowners?
DM: Construct your dreams and don’t listen to the naysayers. People thought I was mad. They couldn’t see my vision until it was eventually implemented, and then they were inspired. But till then they said things like, “I don’t envy you” and “Why are you building this here on the 72 bus line the moment it goes on the California coastline?”

Louise Lakier

Ann Baker has been the the original landscape architect, also Anne Cullerton provides ongoing maintenance and layout.

LL: What do you want to do with your house next?
DM: Build cantilevered plant holders off the structural steel columns in the living room. David Bertman is designing them and they will stretch out, sort of like trees.

LL: What are you currently working on today?
DM: A small commissary kitchen for hire named Dash. It is about 12 blocks away on Northeast 42nd.

Louise Lakier

McErlean received two separate grants in the city of Portland to construct her green roof and water reclamation system. The rain reclamation tank resides beneath the bamboo forest at the conclusion of the entrance walkway and holds up to 2,500 gallons of water. Overflow runs into a giant trench drain along the bottom of the restaurant chairs, concealed with river stone. The toilets, hose bibs and sprinkler system all function with graywater.

Louise Lakier

The outside bathing area includes an outside shower, a spa and a chilly soaking bathtub. Both tubs are produced with embedded river stone which provides a pure foot massage and mixes well into the backyard.

Louise Lakier

The Kuza Garden Cabin blends beautifully into its surroundings with an ivy-covered exterior. Available for short distance remains, the cabin was initially a drop. The walls, roof, concrete flooring and carriage doors are first to the 1920s construction.

Louise Lakier

McErlean along with her son Bishop up onto a roof. What started as a remodeling project in 1999 has contributed to the community with its vibrant restaurants and restaurant, where McErlean hosts a myriad of events, like children’ happy hours and neighborhood dinners benefiting homeless youths at de:ear.

LL: What was your proudest homeowner second?
DM: The day that I brought my newborn son Bishop Valentine, home from the hospital and walked around our property. Talking to him and showing him around, I realized I’d built this house for both of us just like my father had done for me and all my siblings. It was a magical moment when I could see my dream had come true. I wish my parents could have been there to talk about it with me.

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A Country-Style Loft Comes Alive With DIY

Salvaged materials, handmade furniture and attractively renovated antiques decorate this enchanting Canadian residence, the top floor of a historic building that Gillian Mitchell and Paul LeClair have spent the previous two years converting. Their retail store, The Pine Sampler, occupies the lower amount.

An idyllic backyard garden and walnut furniture constructed and designed by local Mennonites and LeClair himself add unparalleled warmth into this couple’s home. With a layout mantra that ordered repurposing, reusing, restoring and reinventing old items, the pair has produced a special space that highlights their artistic abilities.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Gillian Mitchell and Paul LeClair, along with their Westie, Maude
Location: Hensall, Ontario, Canada
Size: 1,400 square feet; 1 bedroom, 1 bath
That’s intriguing: The couple’s peaceful, lush backyard was a parking lot.

LeClair constructed and put in the sliding barn door to separate the bathroom from the bedroom. He also created this charming headboard working with an outdated architectural summit and a pair of columns. Mitchell dressed the bed with an range of French-style linens.

LeClair is very pleased with the stone wall that they made from the bedroom addition. The couple along with a buddy installed plywood onto the wall and adhered stones (horizontal on the back) into the plywood.

Stone: Rustic Rubble, Tri-County Brick

A cozy reading nook in the corner of the bedroom shows Mennonite children’s clothes and signs together with the titles of cows from Mitchell’s youth farm.

The antique pine armoire was built into a wall in their former 1867 heritage home.

French doors to the left of the bed bring about morning light and a fresh breeze. A blue finish brightens an antique desk from the bed.

A gas fireplace at the foot of the bed has space on either side for narrow built-in storage. The decorative piece over the mantel is an antique wooden apple dryer.


The French doors open to a romantic balcony with bistro chairs overlooking the backyard.

The entrance to the loft is visible to the right of the blue armoire. A timber post-and-beam structure separates the kitchen from the dining room. Mitchell’s son, Alex Oke, of Okewood Timberworks in Brussels, constructed the post-and-beam unit without nails or screws using just mortise and tenon joinery methods.

To the left of the blue armoire, a salvaged door with a transom and its own first hardware leads to the toilet. Mitchell attached a hemp curtain secured with classic clothespins into the interior.

An inside window which was originally on an outside wall — attracts light plus a cross breeze into this upper landing. Mitchell shows a stacked collection of classic suitcases and old pilasters here.

Mitchell and LeClair desired to create spaces in this area for lounging, cooking and eating without putting up walls. The timber frame post and beam dividers define each part of the wonderful room. “Our proudest homeowner instant arrived when the beams were up. We absolutely loved the effect,” Mitchell says.

On the far right, a fireplace is nestled between the two first windows overlooking the road. The blue-gray dining cupboard is another one of LeClair’s first bits. Leaning from the corner is a classic apple orchard ladder that comes in handy when lightbulbs need to be changed.

The homeowners made a welcoming entrance area by putting an old arched window mirror over a table. Old books cradled by corbels in addition to a bust formed by LeClair’s mother sit. Mitchell’s son built the wooden seat for a teenager.


The couple enjoys drawing and painting together. Mitchell draws her own ideas, and LeClair puts them in proper perspective. The few bought a pair of incredible antique doors, with no notion of how they’d use them. They just waited for inspiration, and then LeClair completed this watercolor painting of their strategy.

LeClair installed the antique doors on this kitchen pantry cupboard. The doors retain their original paint, old screens and just a bell. The cupboard is flanked with a new fridge from Elmira Stoveworks along with an old but functional electric stove. The antique doors open to reveal a carefully curated screen of classic dishes and serving pieces.

The island was constructed from old home doors. LeClair added a glistening walnut top and a stainless sink. A pair of industrial-style stools from Pine Sampler complete the image.

On the left of the dining space, Mitchell produced a vignette with a rustic settee adorned with pillows in classic fabrics. Old architectural pieces and wooden signs hang wall art, and also a brand new lampshade was softened with Rit dye. (Click photo to see complete view.)

As soon as they removed the plaster, the couple chose to keep the lath on this wall because they liked the colour and feel. Mitchell’s brother found the old blanket box, now employed as a coffee table, in a Toronto ravine. “It’s my favorite bit, and it got me hooked on antiques,” she says.

A wing seat with ticking and linen cushions sits comfortably in front of the old cupboard, painted by Mitchell. Both of the homeowners have mastered powerful methods for applying gentle, distressed finishes to wooden bits.


Above the new tub of the bathroom, Mitchell adorned a shelf supported by antique corbels using items that were collected.


Beadboard partitions are utilized to separate the bathroom into zones to get a tub, a shower, a commode and a sink. Here, an antique hanger creatively holds the hand towel.


LeClair was reluctant to talk about his drawings for the design of the fantastic room and the backyard. But it’s apparent that the few turned these two sketches to fact.


This previous parking lot was converted into a restful retreat. The timber frame post-and-beam construction by Okewood Timberworks is repeated in the garden’s pergola. The homeowners put the stone border donated by a friend, installed the pebble route and planted the trees, shrubbery and flowers.

The bedroom balcony overlooks the now-completed backyard. LeClaire and Mitchell are patiently waiting for the timber on the accession to weather and soften to gray.


This historic Odd Fellows Hall has put this couple’s thriving business for the previous eight years. More recently, it has provided a chance for LeClair and Mitchell to create a workshop, a backyard and a house.


LeClair and Mitchell using their Westie, Maude. The couple’s next project is to design and decorate a holiday escape with period furniture to get a friend.

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Kitchen of the Week: Midcentury Style, Chalkboard and Light

This kitchen at Seattle’s Blue Ridge area was in dire need of a makeover, and the owners needed to maintain the feel of the midcentury home while adding storage, new appliances and a fresh appearance.

Geoff Piper, direct designer Stephanie Ingram along with the staff at Fivedot Design Build opened up the 100-square-foot kitchen into the adjacent rooms for a combined cooking, entertaining and living space. Ecofriendly cabinetry, salvaged chalkboard countertops and stainless steel appliances have been set up for a classic and practical appearance that blends with the remainder of the home’s layout.


Three walls of windows open up the kitchen into natural light. Piper replaced the house’s first single-pane windows to assist the kitchen maintain a more constant temperature in Seattle’s cold winters.

At first, the window walls presented some challenges into the electrical function. The house’s midcentury roof structure meant there wasn’t any obvious means to run wiring to the ceiling, along with the windows prevented using the walls. “We had to do some very creative wiring and then use some exposed conduit to find the lights and switches at which we needed them,” says Piper.

Countertop and pub top: ReStore; pub stools: Modernica Case Study Dowel Barstool


Using substances that are kind to the environment, and the household’s wellbeing, was important to Piper. The black countertop consists of repurposed school chalkboards from a local salvage source store. After being cut to size and their edges, they have been finished with mineral oil for an easy-to-clean surface.

Ecofriendly cabinetry made out of plywood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and formaldehyde-free glue is topped with a gorgeous walnut veneer. Piper had the cabinets completed with a UV-cured substance that eliminates most of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Vibrant turquoise and orange accents inside a few of the shelving include a playful touch without becoming overpowering.

Read more about ecofriendly kitchen cabinets

Cabinetry, shelving: Kerf Design; refrigerator: KitchenAid


BEFORE: Outdated cabinetry took up visual space from the kitchen but did not provide enough storage to the household. Piper and his staff carefully planned the new space around the household storage and space needs.

“We spent quite a little time thinking about where each small thing goes, but ended up deciding that it had been better to look for a great, basic kitchen with storage that could be flexible,” says Piper. “Too many special storage options would have led to a small disjointed layout” Instead, the group chosen for large drawers that may be divided as needed.


AFTER: Among the team’s major problems was figuring out the height location for the cabinetry within the counter. It needed to be reduced enough to be accessible, but if too low would obstruct the view into the kitchen. In the end, they put little-used and display items within this cabinet and left up it to fully open up the space.

Dishwasher: Bosch; array: Bluestar 36-inch; hood: Vent-A-Hood; dining table: proprietor

Photos courtesy of Kerf Design

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