Pocket Doors and Sliding Walls for a More Flexible Space

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 8.11.26 AMLarge sliding doors allow you to divide open areas or close off rooms when you want to block sound, hide a mess or create privacy

Growing up in a century-old Craftsman home, I took it for granted that we had beautiful solid wood pocket doors. More like sliding walls, they divided the living room from the dining room, and my parents (or my older siblings) would slide them shut when having a party so I could sleep (or sneak out of bed to listen on the other side of the wall). And it’s not only old Craftsman and Victorian homes that have sliding doors — traditional Japanese homes also use a form of sliding room dividers known as shoji. Not many new builds include this useful feature, but if you are renovating or starting from scratch, why not give pocket doors and sliding walls a look?

Remodeling to Increase Your Home’s Value

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8 Little Remodeling Touches That Make a Big Difference

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 8.44.33 AMMake your life easier while making your home nicer, with these design details you’ll really appreciate

When we did our remodel, our contractor suggested a thousand things I had never really thought about. They weren’t necessarily design considerations; they were more quality-of-life considerations — just little things you didn’t know you were missing until you had them.

Here are eight little touches I didn’t know I couldn’t live without until I lived with them. What are yours?

10 Reasons to Love Big, Comfy Sectionals

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 3.01.08 PMWith their soft lines, visual heft and casual versatility, modular sofas are a great choice for many rooms

They’re big, comfy and totally napworthy. If something’s been holding you back from indulging in the pure comfort of a sectional, here are 10 reasons to just go for it. Whether your space is large or small, family friendly or slick and modern, see if there is a sectional that will work with your style and space.

It’s Black and White and Fall All Over in a Holiday-Happy Home

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 7.29.34 AMGet inspired for budget-friendly fall decorating by a resourceful stylist’s thrifty but sophisticated adornments

Sarah Macklem’s children have different ideas about Halloween decorating than their mother has.

“The kids love severed body parts and all that stuff,” says Macklem with a good-natured shudder. A home stylist based in suburban Detroit, she forgoes disembodied limbs for a seasonal decorating style that looks elegantly understated, but is sourced largely from thrift stores and discount retailers.

To keep things sophisticated, Macklem builds upon her home’s black and white palette, overlaying touches of autumnal color in things like dishes and towels, while rendering familiar objects in unfamiliar ways. (White ceramic pumpkins, anyone?) Her seasonal handiwork goes up around Labor Day and culminates in a neighborhood Halloween party at her house.

“Decorating is my life,” says Macklem, “and I take advantage of every opportunity I have to do it.”

How Brick Fits Into Today’s Gardens

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 7.26.59 AMNatural brick is often considered a traditional building material. Here’s how people are using it in contemporary gardens too

Leaning against a brick garden wall warmed by the autumn sun, I pondered whether this ancient building material has a place in contemporary garden design. Is it a relic of traditional gardens? Brick has been a favorite material for gardens for centuries, from Roman courtyards and Tudor knot garden paths to the walls surrounding Victorian vegetable gardens. Winston Churchill, the British wartime prime minister, found brick laying to be a form of relaxation and built an extensive wall at his Chartwell garden.

Brick, which has been with us in one form or another since humans first started building, is most often formed from kneaded clay, molded into its familiar shape and then fired at a high temperature. Today, with garden designers embracing other construction materials, is there a place for brick in the garden? I think there is, and I’m sure that when you’ve had a look at some examples of great contemporary garden design using brick, you’ll agree.

7 Quick and Easy Indoor Halloween Decorating Ideas

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 12.41.42 PMMake a pumpkin family portrait — no carving! — and other simple but eye-catching fall tabletop and mantel arrangements

Even with just a few days till October 31, it’s not too late to decorate. Pumpkins from the grocery store, leaves from the backyard and a few things around the house can transform a table or mantel into Halloween central.

Eco-Friendly Ranch House: Hupomone Ranch

hupomone-ranch-tgh-architectsThis beautiful eco-friendly ranch was developed by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects. Located on 160-acres in California’s Chileno Valley, the Hupomone Ranch is owned by a young family with three children that had the dream of building a barn house that would reflect their commitment to sustainable farming. The main house spreads over 2.498 square feet and the interior has a close connection with the outdoors, the stunning light-filled open living area and huge slide away windows open directly to the garden, inviting a healthy, happy and conscious family life.

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Water Heater Woes: Repair or Replace?

Water heater 101: you should replace your water heater if the heater is leaking, the unit is more than 8 years old, and a newer model could save energy costs. 

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