How to Rent Your Downstairs Apartment

It’s becoming more common to observe that a garage or first floor of a home turned into an apartment for lease income. These types of flats are often called in-law units, named after a location for your own mother-in-law to stay when visiting. Usually an in-law unit is a studio or one bedroom that has its own entry, a simple kitchen and small living room. Renting your in-law unit can allow you to pay your mortgage and stay on top of your monthly expenses. Renting these types of units is much like renting any different sort of housing.

Learn the legalities of having an in-law unit on your city or community. Laws regarding these types of apartment change by city, especially concerning issues like rent control. In-law units, guest houses and so on may signify that you’re turning your property into a multifamily construction; Assess the city codes to ensure your region is zoned appropriately by consulting with a layout contractor or contacting your local city’s Building and Inspection Department.

Repair any damages in the unit. Renting any type of apartment comes with a legal obligation, such as in-law or guest spaces. Carpeting has to be set up properly to prevent someone from tripping over a loose corner, the ideal amount of smoke sensors should be included, loose staircase or planks need to be fixed and anything such as mould or peeling paint ought to be addressed immediately.

Check with your insurance coverage to find out if it covers a separate unit or renters. Though the downstairs unit may be technically in precisely the same building as your residence, the insurance carrier may see it as a separate entity and require extra coverage.

Verify that your home will be able to manage the additional plumbing and electricity requirements. It’s quite different to have out of town guests stay in the unit once in awhile than to have a renter living there full time. Plumbing backups can be expensive and electricity overloads may be dangerous, even causing fire. Have a certified plumber and electrician, respectively, do a comprehensive inspection.

Cost the unit in accordance with market value. Research what additional in-law and guest units go for in your area. These units tend to be slightly less than conventional studio or one bedroom apartments since they are usually on the ground and often toward the back of the main home. In-law units also tend to be compact in accordance with smaller than normal kitchen and bathrooms.

Choose tenants with caution. Though you’re renting out the unit yourself, you will still be a real estate manager. The tenant will need to be answerable, which means minimal damages and paying the rent on time. Have all potential tenants fill out a rental program with employment information and references. The candidates must also provide you with a credit report. Pick the tenant who will be able to pay for the rent, based on his income, and one who is held in high regard from previous landlords.

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How Many Kitchen Recessed Lights Do I Need?

When calculating the amount of recessed lighting fixtures you require, you need to take into consideration the square footage to be illuminated and the angle of the light pattern projected by each fixture, which depends on the type of bulbs you are using. The height of the ceiling is a third variable, but you can often compensate for a higher ceiling using slick bulbs, not adding more of them.

Bulb Identification

Recessed lighting bulbs are usually identified by one of four sets of letters followed by two numbers. The letters describe the form of the bulb, and options include PAR — parabolic aluminized reflector; BR — bulged reflector; MR — multifaceted reflector and R — reflector. The numbers indicate the bulb diameter in eights of an inch. As an example, the amount 30 means that the arc diameter is 30/8, or 3 3/4 inches in diameter. The most frequent bulbs are PAR and BR lights; PAR bulbs are far concentrated and will be the better option for fixtures.

Use an Online Calculator

Besides a measurement of the flooring area, you also need to understand the angle of the projected light in the fittings you intend on using. This angle is usually given on the packaging, but, otherwise, use a default angle of 55 degrees for BR-type bulbs. Plug these numbers into an internet calculator, like the one available at, which saves you the trouble of creating the detailed mathematical calculations yourself. The calculator requires the type of room you intend to light into consideration, which is difficult to do yourself.

A Sample Calculation

To perform the calculation, you have to assess the width and length of the kitchen and then convert the numbers to ins. If your kitchen is 25 feet long by 20 feet wide, that’s 300 ins by 240 inches. You’ll also have to assess the height of the ceiling in feet. In case your 20-by-25-foot kitchen includes 9-foot ceilings, then you will need 18 to 20 BR-type lights. A 10-by-10-foot kitchen, on the other hand, would require only four bulbs.

Placement Pointers

Although PAR-type bulbs are best used outside, they are sometimes recommended for ceilings greater than 16 feet. Even though they have a tighter beam, you don’t need more of them because they’re brighter. Once you understand the number of bulbs you require, you can decide on a pattern that best illuminates the space. The layout doesn’t have to be rotating — a concentric circular or triangular arrangement frequently works better than the usual rectangular pattern.

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How Soon to Plant After Tilling?

Tilling turns and mixes the soil to aerate it, improve drainage and also make it simpler to plant in. Tilling can also free buried weed seeds and also disrupt the delicate balance of microorganisms that keep the nutrients in the soil. When to till your garden is located in part on the number of months you grow vegetables. You’ll need to wait at least a few weeks prior to planting, but waiting a few months is better. A comprehensive tilling once a year typically is enough to keep your lawn soil healthy, so select the time that works best for the gardening program.

Why Fall or Winter Are Best

Benefits from many fertilizers, dirt correctors or compost aren’t immediate. It often takes weeks or even months for the nutrients to break down, spread through the dirt and become available for plants to absorb. If you garden mostly in the spring and summertime, tilling in autumn gives these nutrients that the time they need before spring plantings start demanding food. If you keep growing cool-weather crops in autumn, wait till you crop them before tilling in the beach. In the case of compost or manure used as additives to produce soil less dense, this allows time for the dirt and additive to mix fully. Also, tilling turns grass seeds nearer to the surface, frequently allowing the exposure to the winter elements kill them so they won’t sprout in spring. Tilling in the autumn or winter means you can plant vegetables earlier in the spring without the requirement to await spring tilling delays.

Spring Touch-Ups

Tilling thoroughly in the autumn or winter means your lawn needs only a mild tilling to prepare for a new round of plants since the weather starts to warm in spring. This helps combat any compaction that happened once you harvest your summertime or late-fall crops. If you until the ground nicely in the autumn or early winter, the spring demands a shallow, fast pass with the rototiller immediately prior to planting. Utilize a lawn rake to smooth the ground slightly to keep your rows even prior to planting.

Tilling in Spring

Tilling in spring may delay your planting marginally, but it’s still possible to have a wholesome garden if you don’t take a lot of break in growing vegetables. Till the soil once it reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit, using a quick-release fertilizer as opposed to a slow-release one if you would like to fertilize while tilling. Wait two to three weeks after tilling before planting seeds or seedlings. This gives helpful microorganisms disrupted from the tilling period to reestablish and begin developing nutrients in the soil. Tilling in spring exposes weed seeds, like tilling in the autumn or winter, but in lieu of heat them away, it warms them up and helps prepare them for germination. This could mean much more weeds than when you until later in the year.

Tilling Tips

Whether you complete a thorough tilling in the autumn, spring or winter, work additives about 6 to 8 inches into the ground. Watering the area for approximately an hour per day for two to three days before you until makes it easier to get the job done. The soil should be damp enough to hold its shape when squeezed into a ball, but not soggy. Place the tiller to a medium depth first, like 3 to 4 inches, then until the lawn in parallel rows. Establish the tines to dig deeper , down to 6 to 8 inches, then make passes perpendicular to the original rows. The ensures you work the additives evenly and deep into the dirt, and that it is loose heavy enough for all vegetables, including root vegetables, which are often some of the first vegetables to plant in the spring. At Mediterranean-style climates, where it is possible to garden the majority of the year, pick the time when you plan to take a break at least fourteen days long between removing spent plants and planting new ones, often in early January.

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DIY Vintage Kitchen Decor

The small things make the biggest difference in a customized vintage kitchen. An authentic vintage kitchen, over time, would inherit accents, accessories and fixes which were distinctive and one-of-a-kind. Make your very own clever decor items — which each have an individual postage — using cast-offs, recycled cookware and unexpected juxtapositions to function functional as well as ornamental purposes.

New “Old” Knobs

“Theme” the knobs on your kitchen cabinets using a simple decoupage trick that looks like a customized accent. Remove the old cabinet hardware and buy some bare wood cabinet knobs. Paint the knobs to coincide with a walk-in cabinet or built-in cabinets. Print pictures to match on the flatter front of the knobs, or cut designs out of novels or gift-wrap paper — fleur-di-lis, stars, shells, cameo ovals of old-fashioned botanicals, or a different design that picks up on your kitchen theme. Spray the newspaper decals with matte clear fixative to prevent color bleed or tearing when you affix them to your knobs. Then decoupage the layouts to the knobs and spray a few coats of the clear sealer over the full knob so it will be simple to wipe clean once it’s attached to the closet.

Spinning Platters and Record Time

Disguise a cheap plastic Lazy Susan with old vinyl. Paint a 33 rpm album with clear polyurethane to protect it. If it dries, use industrial adhesive to ensure the record to this Lazy Susan base. Park it on the countertop to hold spices or on the breakfast bar for condiments. Attach the battery-operated workings of a clock to the rear of a vinyl album, with the fingers on the record face connected through the spindle hole. Hang your rock-around-the-clock timepiece over the sink.

Primitive Pendant

A vintage grain sieve, using its around wood frame and screen surface, becomes a new pendant lamp for a rustic kitchen nearly as quickly as you’re able to change a light bulb. Simply salvage the working guts of a trash-ready pendant — the wire and lighting socket — and screw the lamp wire through a length of hardened chain sprayed with clear fixative to stabilize the rust. Spray the sieve screen with clear lacquer too, as it’s either hardened or soon will be. Cut a crosshatch hole in the center of the screen using a wire cutter, and thrust the lamp wire through so the lighting fixture is on the interior of the sieve. Connect the lamp wire to the ground wiring and hook the chain to the joist or brace, then replace the ceiling medallion or pendant canopy, and screw in a vintage-style light bulb.

Wash-Up Board

A vintage cutting board along with an old teacup would be the ingredients for a handy soap and towel station beside the sink. Leave the stains and scratches on the old board as-is, and give it a couple of coats of matte polyurethane to prevent mold and make it simple to wipe down. Or whitewash the board, then use a small crackle glaze to trend some of this paint, and sand the edges to simulate wear. Cut the cup in half using a tile saw and paste it to the cutting board using industrial glue. Beneath the tea cup, then screw a painted ceramic or curved wood cabinet knob in the very board. Hang the cutting board to a wall, set a bar of soap in the teacup, and curtain a kitchen towel over the knob.

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Antique Sewing Machines: Tailor Made for Nostalgic Decor

My maternal grandmother, Nana, would have been 100 years old this season if she had been still with us. She was a master carpeting sewer before the late 1960s. A few years after retiring from the trade, she began having grandchildren, and her lifelong sewing skills were transferred into an yearly tradition of making us kids some of our most memorable Halloween costumes.

Around the time that my brother was born, Nana decided to replace her newfangled Sears sewing machine using a simpler model, similar to those old carpeting sewing machines she understood so well. She discovered the 1928 model you see at a secondhand shop in San Francisco for $15. She felt that cost was a ripoff for what was then only an old machine.

Today this 85-year-old classic is among my most prized possessions. My mom gave it to me when I showed interest in making Halloween costumes for my own children about 10 years back. While my sewing abilities are underwhelming, my passion for giving my kids what Nana gave me fueled me to persevere. I resorted to attaching neighbors who have any kind of sewing skills inside my dining room to help me finish a catchy princess collar or a confusing pair of genie pants.

Today my kids have moved on to more complex (read: store-bought) costumes. I am OK with this, since I do not have the hours to dedicate to this yearly action. But that precious Singer nevertheless has a prominent role in my dining room, today as a meaningful decorative piece on the credenza.

Sarah Greenman

Waxing nostalgic. There is something about an old sewing machine which stops many people in our tracks to ogle its beauty and to question exactly what it created in somebody else’s hands decades ago. Employing an antique sewing machine and its parts to decorate the home creates a dichotomy using the high tech, fast lifestyle we lead now.

Let’s see how other ers are utilizing classic sewing machines and their accompaniments to decorate. Perhaps you, too, will be motivated enough to pull out that old sewing machine which was bequeathed to you long ago. Halloween or not, an antique like this requires no specific season to be valued.

Colleen Brett

The residents of the home chose to showcase an old Singer on its original table in the entryway. This original impression sets the stage for other vintage treasures guests are very likely to find in the house.

Frank Shirley Architects

This sunroom has an antique sewing table minus the machine. The colours nicely offset the whites that are resounding.

Jennie Hunt

A Singer treadle (the part of the sewing machine run by the foot to produce a rotary motion) has been topped with a slab of rock to make a helpful garden feature.

Restyled Home

Another idea would be to use the treadle for a foundation to get a terrace table.

Sarah Greenman

This homeowner did something similar by placing a piece of scrap marble beneath a Singer treadle near a banquette.

Southern Traditions Window Fashions

Sewing machine tables could be upcycled into bedside tables. A wooden headboard in a similar tone with black metallic details creates visual continuity in this furniture arrangement.

Rikki Snyder

Smaller racks can result in excellent writing desks or makeup tables.

It’s possible to leave the racks in their normal state or provide them a coating of paint which is most suitable for their new home.

On the lookout for a new bar console? One of these smaller sewing machine stands makes a fine low-profile setup.

Lands End Development – Designers & Builders

The bathroom may appear to be an unlikely place to find an old sewing machine, but this homeowner makes it appear so right as a one-of-a-kind vanity.

Sharon Charboneau, RESA Guru, Interior Stylist

Or do something crazy and use a table the way it’s intended. It is paired with a contemporary machine here in order to emphasize the different eras.

Jeanette Lunde

Do not forget about the other tools which have classic sewing machines, including the beautiful boxes which maintain the thread, bobbins, needles and other accoutrements.

Sarah Greenman

When emptied of the original contents, these accordion-style expandable boxes can be a trove for TV remotes, tablets or whatever you need alongside a bed, desk or sofa.

Dianne Sheridan Designs

Where to find classic sewing machines and accompanying parts. Craigslist and eBay are all great places to start, because of the numerous areas they cover. On a local level, hit up antiques dealers and flea market vendors, who are constantly getting finds from home.

Heather Merenda

Do not forget about your local sewing repair shop. Shopkeepers may have old machines which were never picked up, or they could be conduits to other people interested in offloading what they’ve found in Grandma’s attic.

Your turn: How have you used a sewing machine or its parts to decorate?

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Championing the Solar House

Based on author and teacher Anthony Denzer, a solar house — one which deliberately utilizes the energy of sunlight for heating spaces — is often considered as a product of the 1970s: “An eccentrically shaped structure using oversized sloped glass walls and also diagonal bamboo siding … an earth berm … a Volkswagen van neighboring”

He admits that this picture is not completely untrue, since many architects tackled house designs in that period that could minimize the use of fossil fuels, ravaged by the petroleum and financial disasters. But it’s an incomplete image.

Denzer’s The Solar House (Rizzoli, 2013) corrects this oversight by forecasting the growth of solar houses in the 1930s to today. It is a narrow subject, but the book is a fun, accessible read. Denzer has created a story of those architects and architects who devoted much of their lives to searching for houses that could utilize less energy, as social and political currents ebbed and flowed with and contrary to them.

A general story of solar houses could be painted because the contradictory attitudes of two fields: the architects’ aesthetic and fascination with passive heating versus the engineers’ technological and busy (mechanistic) focus. This is a place which Denzer spends some time and it is an especially important one, considering that we have not reached a reconciliation that might enable more widespread appreciation of solar houses. This isn’t to say that the story is about a duel of 2 groups. But it is indicative of broader strands in American society — especially concerns of how things seem and how things perform.

Denzer starts the novel with Fred Keck, called the first solar architect. Keck worked with his brother William at the firm Keck + Keck, designing a number of residences in and around Chicago. Many focused on the development of the solar house as a special type. The characteristics they share are linear east-west plans using big, south-facing windows and roof overhangs to block the high sunlight.

Howard Sloan commissioned Fred to design a prototype solar house from the North Shore Chicago suburb of Glenview in 1940. Sloan opened the house to the public, charging a dime entrance to more than 5,000 visitors in four months. He hoped that the cozy interior on cold winter days would persuade people of the virtues of solar houses.

Keck would keep working for Sloan, integrating new materials and technology (triple-pane glazing to decrease heat loss from inside to outside during the nighttime, radiant heating etc.) at a 24-house subdivision they called Solar Park. Keck had developed operable and insulated louvers which were often beneath the south-facing glass; these assemblies permitted for ventilation throughout the day while helping keep the interior temperature during the nighttime when closed.

Pictured is the Duncan House in another Chicago suburb, Flossmoor. It included the very same components (linear plan, south-facing windows, roof overhangs) but also exterior “wing walls” using adjustable vertical louvers for cutting back on the late-afternoon sun in the months when overheating of the interior occurred.

The Keck brothers were not really known for its solar houses they developed from the 1940s (they had been omitted from Sigfried Giedion’s influential Space, Time and Architecture although he toured their houses). Instead it was a few houses Fred Keck made for the 1933 Century of Progress fair in Chicago, both glass houses rather than solar. The House of Tomorrow (photograph) and Crystal House both featured all-glass outside walls with blinds and drapes, respectively, for shading.

The houses were extremely popular, but their intent and appeal were formal rather than practical; they pointed to an alternative future through the use of glass. However, Keck did recognize the benefits of solar heating, which led him to develop houses within the next decade using much more selective glazing. With so much single-pane glass, the House of Tomorrow would overheat during the day and lose heat during the night, something which didn’t dissuade Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson from producing ineffective glass houses almost 20 years after.

The solar houses that pepper Denzer’s book consequently resemble the 1970s stereotype, rather than glass houses, but they’re the 1970s typology in the making. There is a Frank Lloyd Wright “hemicycle” house, a similar but inverted curved house by the Keck brothers, amid work by less-known architects that created houses inside academic institutions or for companies which would benefit from the implementation of solar houses. In the latter vein, Libby-Owens-Ford commissioned notable architects to design solar houses for each of the 48 states at the time; at the end just a publication of these designs was produced, not the actual houses, but the initial hopes were high.

Architect Henry Wright’s renovation of this Ramirez House at Pennsylvania (photograph) employs the same principles as the Kecks’ pioneering work. However, its wood floor didn’t allow for the sun’s energy to be saved and released later, as happens in concrete flooring. From talks of the house came an emphasis on thermal mass as an significant part solar houses.

Many schools worked on developing solar house designs, especially MIT using its own numbered series of house designs starting in 1939. As can be viewed here, Solar House I, developed by engineer Hoyt Hottel, concentrated on technology over architecture.

The south-facing roof was covered in flat-plate collectors, or heat traps, which Denzer defines as “a shallow vessel, comprising three glass places split by airspace, a black-painted copper plate backed by copper tubes of water, and 51/2 inches of mineral wool insulation” The sun would heat the plates and so the water, knowingly heating the distances through mechanical way.

Maria Telkes an engineer at MIT who developed an alternative scheme to Hottel’s, worked with architect Eleanor Raymond to a house using a similar reliance on technology but one whose kind and aesthetics would likewise benefit the layout. The Dover Sun House positioned Telkes’ collectors (created with phase-change salt containers) above south-facing windows, so the residents could have views and the sun’s heat will be saved to heat the interior via bins above the ceiling.

A testament to the popularity of this Dover Sun House, in addition to the desire for houses that could use less energy at the postwar years, can be seen at a cover story of Popular Science at 1949. Unfortunately the system lasted just two years, because of the sedimentation of the solid and liquid sodium and the corrosive effects of the component on the bins.

The attempts on the part of engineers and architects growing solar houses in the years before and after World War II culminated from the 1955 World Symposium on Applied Solar Energy and the 1957 Solar Energy exhibition at Greece. So many solar houses were built after 1955 that, as Denzer states, “documentation could be impossible,” but it wasn’t enough to stave off the low cost of electricity and the growth of air conditioning in these years.

Nevertheless, Denzer presents some novel projects from such years, such as engineer Masanosuke Yanagimachi’s Solar House II in Tokyo. The interior resembles that of a traditional Japanese house, with tatami mats and translucent panels, but in addition, it has radiant ceiling panels functioned by rooftop heat traps, as in Hottel’s MIT design.

Yanagimachi’s Solar House II is among many projects documented in the publication with architectural drawings. This building section illustrates how the systems are tied together, in the rooftop heat sink and radiant ceiling panels to the innovative heating tank in the cellar.

The latter was used for both heating and cooling; in the case of heating, the heat pump created ice during the night which was used the next day to cool the water pumped through the house. The idea of off-peak ice storage has become increasingly common in green buildings, even in skyscrapers.

Denzer calls for the late 1970s a “Solar Renaissance,” suitable given that Jimmy Carter mounted solar hot-water panels atop the White House in 1979 (to be removed by Ronald Reagan seven years later). Among those jobs from this time period is Saskatchewan Conservation House, that resembles early solar houses in form but departs from them in important ways: It’s smaller and fewer windows, it doesn’t rely on most of the engineered technologies in the prior decades, and it is superinsulated. The latter feature is its most lasting, influencing the current Passivhaus fundamentals and Canada’s R-2000 app.

The basic idea of the superinsulated and supertight house is that the heat inside the interiors (some of it coming from solar gain) is not lost to the exterior. Fresh air is brought in by an air-to-air heat exchanger, as is the case from the Conservation House. The house performed so well — attaining what could be referred to as net-zero status — which the solar collectors mounted above the second-floor windows could have been omitted, as they were not needed for space heating.

Denzer finishes the book with a few snapshots of solar houses today. These fall to the superinsulated camp of houses created to Passivhaus fundamentals, like this 1991 house in Germany by Wolfgang Feist and others; and the biennial Solar Decathlon contests, where student teams design and build houses that vie to be the roughest at a number of measured manners. The latter more closely resemble the pioneering work of this Kecks, however, the work from the competitions also attempts to synthesize architectural and engineering considerations, arising through multidisciplinary teams and incorporated layout.

The Solar House

It is apparent from Denzer’s publication that there is more to solar houses than previously known or imagined. However, it’s also obvious that there is still lots of work that should be performed to synthesize the aesthetic and the technological, and also to persuade the people that solar houses are viable and desirable.

Increasing energy prices may create solar houses more desirable in the last few years and decades to come, so it’s time for architects and engineers to work together on producing solutions that tap into these Denzer so eloquently presents.

More: Back to the Future of the Home

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Portrait of a Terribly Good Neighbor

Years ago my friend Billy called me, distressed. It was summertime, and he had been feeling overwhelmed trying to take care of his lawn and gardens. Billy had been a homeowner for only a year and had been looking forward to planting heirloom tomatoes, herbs and cherry trees in the large plot the prior owner had tucked behind the doorway, but flowers? He didn’t know where to start.

I’m his only friend who gardens, and he wondered if I’d come over and help him out. I was happy to help.

Billy had purchased his house by an older woman called Ronnie, who died a few months after she moved. What amuses the pleading telephone call was a remark from his next-door neighbor, Diane, who said, “Ronnie will be rolling in her grave if she could see what you’ve done for her garden, Billy.” This has been spoken in the robust baritone most women can attain only after at least 50 decades of smoking. Believe Patty or Selma from The Simpsons.

Amy Renea

Billy and I laughed about that later, however, he’s a good guy and wanted to become a great neighbor. The yard didn’t look terrible, however Ronnie, with the help of her daughter at the next decades, had kept up everything so meticulously, anything less than ideal was a mess by comparison. I gave the gardens a good weeding and redug the borders so everything was neat and clean. Billy stayed on top of mulching and mowing the yards, and kept everything in fairly good shape for many seasons.

He gave gardening a shot, planting some shrubs and trees, and also for a couple summers he put in enormous vegetable gardens with over 30 varieties of berries. But he found it hard to maintain. He travels a lot, sometimes for weeks on end. The flower gardens he dismissed entirely. We talked about my coming again to form through the plants he wanted to eliminate and those that he wanted to maintain. I was prepared, but he had been gone so much, and I had been busy with three kids, not to mention preserving my own yards and gardens. A few summers passed my coming over to help him out.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

The gardens were already looking scruffy when one of those two towering pines at the back of Billy’s house was hit by lightning. The best 20 feet fell over but not entirely off. Billy owns a portable sawmill and believed milling the boards but not got around to it, so almost half of the shrub dangled there with a mess of branches beneath it for a couple years.

In the meantime Diane, his neighbor, had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Billy took over meals and often checked in. Even though Diane kept up her spirits up, the prognosis was grim. One afternoon, when she and Billy were outdoors, she pointed into the pines and said, “I am afraid I’m going to expire and that tree will still be there.”

Billy was preparing for the weeks-long excursion he takes every summer for work. It had been the worst time for him to take care of a large project, but he called a tree support to decrease the top of the tree along with a friend to help him haul away the brush. He then begged me to come over straight away to handle the gardens again.

It was a steaming-hot moment. I knew he had been about to leave on his big trip. Additionally, I knew the beds had been failed all summertime, at least, and it was already August. I thought that he may as well wait a couple more weeks before the weather cooled and do a large drop cleanup. I was happy to lend a hand, but what was the rush?

He clarified about Diane. He didn’t know if she would continue to be alive in a different month, and he wanted to do anything he could to help her. As ridiculous as it seemed, getting his lawn cleaned up was likely her dying wish.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

The following morning my daughter Eden and I must do the job. I introduced a tarp and weeded ruthlessly, pulling many of those plants I knew Billy didn’t like. It was a hot afternoon and the dirt was hard, so it was lots of work. Eden was only 5 years old, but she worked like a champ, hauling debris away and laying mulch. Billy mowed and trimmed some of the shrubs that were overgrown. It was not long until what was shaping up and looking great.

Diane detected and came out to observe, dragging her oxygen tank and smoking a cigarette. Billy tried to introduce us, but she cut him off — she recalled me from the last time. She came over to where I had been in my knees weeding and shook her head.

“Alison, don’t bother,” she said. “You’re going to do all this work, make it looking so great, and Billy’s only going to destroy everything.” She took a long haul and shot him a look of disdain.

I smiled. “I know what it’s like to make a mess of things, also Billy’s been there for me many times over time. I am happy to help.”

“You’re a great friend.” The clear implication: better than Billy deserved.

She stuck around to watch while we ended up, and it was apparent she had been delighted with the outcome.

Diane expired a few weeks later. In the funeral her husband advised Billy how much she loved hanging out in the yard while she was able to leave her bed. She commented several times how glad she had been Billy had gotten everything cleaned up.

You may be asking yourself, did he keep up the garden? No, he didn’t. Diane was right; he ruined everything. A case could be made which Billy is a terrible neighbor, however I believe there’s an equally convincing argument to be made that he’s one of the very best.

Next: Billy’s strategy to housekeeping

More: The Unsung Power of a Good Neighbor

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The Way to Decide on a Kitchen Backsplash That Wows

A kitchen’s backsplash functions similar to jewelry. Simple or snazzy, it may bring a whole look together; the ideal backsplash helps your kitchen reach its potential. Our comprehensive guides, rounded here, will be able to help you discover the backsplash material and colour that fit along with your kitchen’s look, your cleaning style and budget.

DHV Architects

Find Your Inspiration

The Kitchen of the Week series is excellent fodder for remodeling and renovation inspiration. Learn about the back-painted glass revealed here and nine popular backsplashes from amazing kitchens on .

More: 10 Gorgeous Backsplash Alternatives to Subway Tile

Buckminster Green LLC

Choose Your Material

Tile. The good news: You have finally settled on a tile backsplash. The good thing: The selection procedure has just started. Cement, subway, mosaic, patterned or cut? This guide will give you the advantages and disadvantages for each, along with styling tips.

More: 8 Best Tile Types for Your Kitchen Backsplash

Forum Phi Architecture | Interiors | Planning

Mirror. Additional visual space, many different styles and a relatively affordable cost make mirror a great backsplash choice. See how this brassy backsplash material can work in almost any kitchen layout.

More: 8 Mirror Types for an Excellent Kitchen Backsplash

Andre Rothblatt Architecture

Recycled tile. Whether salvaged or containing recycled material, recycled tile may add a unique element to a kitchen that is easy on your conscience.

More: Ecofriendly Kitchen: Recycled Tile for Backsplashes

Crisp Architects

Window. Planning on making some structural changes to your kitchen? Consider a different kind of backsplash: a fresh window. A beautiful view, more mild and refreshing air could improve your kitchen’s style and performance.

More: Place Your Kitchen in a Fantastic Light Using a Window Backsplash

Goforth Gill Architects

Tin. Require an old-fashioned approach to your backsplash and use easy tin tiles. This time-tested material is durable, beautiful and reasonably priced.

More: Tin’s a Win for Kitchen Backsplashes

InHouse Design Studio

Unique materials. Perhaps you feel like your traditional kitchen requires a distinct touch. Or perhaps you’re just ready to embrace the odd. In any event, these unique backsplash materials can enable you to get the statement-making look you want.

More: 8 Statement-Making Kitchen Backsplashes Beyond Basic Tile

Home Systems , Wendi Zampino

Installation Considerations

Half backsplash. If you’ve got your heart set on a marble backsplash however can’t afford the counter-to-ceiling program you envisioned, don’t give up your dream just yet. Cut your backsplash in half or more! — to reduce cost without sacrificing efficacy.

More: Attempt a Gourmet Kitchen Backsplash for Budget-Friendly Style

Jared Erwin

DIY. Think you’re ready to set in your own backsplash? When you have experience placing tile and need something easy in your kitchen, then have a look at this manual. A DIY backsplash installation might help you to save some serious cash.

More: How to Install a Tile Backsplash | manuals to kitchen backsplashes

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Bathed in Color

There is a reason so many baths in high-end restaurants have reddish walls — it is a flattering colour for all skin tones. The proprietor might be expecting that looking good in the bathroom mirror means you are going to feel good about frequenting the institution. But red can be a tricky colour to pull off in a small space that gets little mild, as is true in many residential baths. Warm colors are to advance, so a red toilet will feel smaller and more shut in than the usual neutral- or cooler-hued space. But additionally, it will have a warm, comfy and calming feel. For people who favor contemporary minimalist distances, an injection of bold red is a good method to protect against a space from feeling cold and sterile.

Listed below are a handful of my beloved vibrant red paint colors and a selection of ravishing and inspiring red baths.

Jennifer Ott Design

You’ve got some options in regards to red. There is obviously true red, but you can also select a cooler red — one that has a blue in it, veering toward burgundy or fuchsia. You can also veer toward warmer reds with a peppy orange-red.

Be ready to apply several coats of paint to find complete coverage. Consider using a tinted primer to begin with to maximize coverage.

Crimson paint selections for baths (clockwise from top left):
1. Cherries Jubilee SW6862, Sherwin-Williams
2. Blazer 212, Farrow & Ball
3. Oh Red 1009-1, Valspar
4. Rum Runner 232-7, Pittsburgh Paints
5. California Poppy S-G-160, Behr
6. Painter’s Red KM3688-5, Kelly-Moore Paints
7. Portia 123-6, Mythic Paint
8. Burnt Peanut Red 2081-10, Benjamin Moore

Michael Tauber Architecture

The magnificent glass mosaic tiles really dress this up particular bathroom. The tiled wall seems to be lit from within, as a result of its smart recessed lighting at the back of the medicine cabinet. If you’d like a dash of red in your toilet but still want the room to feel full of light and open, be sure you have loads of good lighting.

SCE Construction Management Inc..

Reddish-orange walls look crisp and modern when paired with colors of white, gray and black.

Mix crimson orange with timber and oil-rubbed-bronze finishes and accents for a warm, comfy vibe.

AAA Architecture

I am a big fan of tile always search for options to it for clients who do not like the look of grout lines nor the maintenance needed to keep them clean and pristine. This bold red bathroom is clad in a commercial-grade epoxy paint, for watertight surfaces that are simple to clean.

Oceanside Glasstile

I love this elegant bathroom’s bright red glass tiled walls and ceiling. Consider your grout colour when selecting tile to get a space. I often try to match the grout colour to the tile to lessen the appearance of grout lines. This is a smart grout colour selection — the wall sconces will get lost against of a grid of white grout lines.

Roman Leonidov

If you’re a lover of red but do not wish to totally cover your toilet in it, add a couple red accents instead. This is a cheap and low-commitment approach to inject bold colour into your home.

I have fallen hard for vintage claw-foot bathtubs in fun hues. This enchanting red toile wall covering is another fantastic way to bring colour into the space.

Ward-Young Architecture & Planning – Truckee, CA

This dazzling bathroom features a stunning accent wall of red and orange mosaic tiles. I like the contrast of the warm wall color and timber bathroom cabinet against the cool stainless steel sink and toilet accessories.

Tell us Are you hot for red? How have you utilized it in your toilet?

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Watch Pritzker Prize

The Hyatt Foundation has Given the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize to Toyo Ito, 71, of Japan. Ito has created some of the most outstanding buildings of the past few decades, and because the tsunami in 2011 he has been overtly concerned with diplomatic efforts within his own country. He’s the sixth architect from Japan to acquire what’s considered the maximum honor in structure; the previous ones are Kenzo Tange (1987), Fumihiko Maki (1993), Tadao Ando (1995) along with the duo Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (2010).

Ito was practicing since the 1970s, but his big portfolio of completed buildings belies any formal consequences or linear evolution in his architecture. “When one construction is completed,” he states, “I become aware of my own inadequacy, and it turns into power to challenge the next project. Probably this process must keep repeating itself in the future. Therefore, I won’t ever fix my architectural design and never be happy with my works.”

A formal ceremony will be held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Wednesday, May 29, JFK’s birthday.

Though Ito’s structure is officially diverse, it’s possible to see three phases (so far) in his work. Early on he designed within an abstract, minimalist fashion, but he moved on into an architecture of lightness and scientific saying. This is the time for which he’s best known, but in the past decade or so he has embraced bold structural systems that hybridize surface and structure. Not merely are his layouts more complicated than ever, however they are also some of his largest commissions. His responses to the tsunami only might herald a new direction for him personally, as ideas of home increase to the fore.

Ito’s first significant construction, and a symbol of his ancient minimalist stage, is the White U home in Tokyo (completed 1976, demolished 1997). Stan Allen, at a publication based on a Toyo Ito lecture at Princeton, called it “arguably the most radical home of the twentieth century,” and it’s easy to see how the home breaks from the traditional fabric of its environment. It turns a clean face to the road and introverts its gaze into the courtyard; the incline of the roof reinforces this emphasis.

The home is similar to a very long corridor that goes round the courtyard, instead of any articulation of chambers. Ito really known as the interior a “universal tubular area,” as if it torques the modernist plan of Mies to create an open space and a continuous sense of expectation as one goes through the home.

Yet even as the White U home is a real horseshoe, the interior displays a particular lightness — it doesn’t feel heavy as the structure of fellow countryman and Pritzker winner Tadao Ando. Buildings like the multipurpose Dome in Odate (1997) convey a similar lightness whilst also being assembled from lighter materials.

The interior of the dome actually communicates its emphasis on lightness, not just in the way the curved trusses support a translucent skin, but at how the construction is indeed open on the floor. It’s as if the dome is raised lightly over the ground to offer access to the interior.

The culmination of Ito’s second stage is that the Sendai Mediatheque, a library, completed in 2001. The massive building is that the builder’s exploration of the connection between architecture and technology, appropriate given the schedule of the library to the 21st century. Additionally, it is a segue to his later works with bold structural systems.

Quite a few tubular columns are bundled together to serve as structure, vertical systems and vertical circulation for the various floors. The consequent forest-like spaces are Ito’s method of viewing how structures can work from the digital age. It is also a highly resilient construction, one that went inland during the March 11, 2011, earthquake that struck the coast of Japan, as you can see in this movie.

Both of these towers exemplify the gaps between Ito’s second and third phases. On the right is his Tower of Winds (1986) at Yokohama, a cylinder rung by lights whose routines are generated by ecological factors (traffic, noise, end). The Tod’s Omotesando Building (2004) on the left could be composed of stacked floors, but the exterior wall is a treelike form that is also the building’s structure. A epidermis of technological expression gives way into a skin of technological structure.

To get a temporary pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery in London (2002), Ito worked together with engineer Cecil Balmond. The simple rectangular space was created stunning by complicated cuts generated from algorithms. In this endeavor the distinction between structure and skin-enclosure is starting to disappear. (The Tod’s construction follows two decades later.)

But he was not content to continue with all the intricate diagonals of the Tod’s construction and the Serpentine Gallery. Meiso no Mori Municipal Funeral Hall (2006) is a undulating roofscape sheltering spaces enclosed with glass walls.

The columns and some of the interior walls meld together with all the undulating roof, dispensing with a transparent base-middle-top order and any comprehension of traditional structure. Again, surface and structure become one.

The Tama Art University Library (2007) at Tokyo proceeds Ito’s exploration of structure. The two-story building is indicated by large arched openings, even though the stretched, elliptical shape of the openings indicates that something different is occurring.

The arches are actually made from slender concrete walls with metal cores. The walls comprise the exterior but also the interior, thereby structuring the whole construction and defining the various spaces inside.

The intricate spaces that result from Ito’s structural experimentation look like echoes of pure forms, and this could be why they look so gratifying. Keep an eye out for his style of the Taichung Metropolitan Opera House, now under construction in Taiwan; with its complicated curving shells, it might just be the pinnacle of Ito’s third stage.

The awarding of the Pritzker Architecture Prize to Toyo Ito is a surprise to individuals following contemporary structure, and to anybody in Japan. Imabari-shi, Ehime, is already home to the Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture (2011) — and having a committed museum is an honor that very few living architects receive.

What direction Ito’s structure will require is hinted at in the exhibition he curated at the Venice Architecture Biennale this past year. (It received an award for the best pavilion.) It concentrated on the Home for All project he’s been working on together with different architects (including fellow Pritzker winner Kazuyo Sejima) on how to reconstruct following the March 2011 disasters that left 100,000 people homeless.

The first outcome of House for everyone is a simple structure that provides people a place where they can meet and figure out how to reconstruct. “Let us think about our House for All a one-off gesture, but one that, as recovery efforts move, only might cause more permanent constructions,” Ito said in 2011. “We might be encouraging a whole new direction in creative community architecture.”

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