Oh Say, Can You Believe These 200 Star-Spangled Stairs?

After quitting her town job and moving into a beach cabin in northwest Michigan to start a new life together with her loved ones, Erin Southwell was in no place to invest additional money. “We had been living on savings and a prayer, literally,” she says of the first year in her new residence. But she wanted her family to live in a gorgeous property. Tackling the stairs was on her record.

Project at a Glance
What: Staircase makeover
Location: Northwest Michigan
Cost: Under $200

With $200 and elbow grease, Southwell changed a 1970s shag-carpeted stairway into a cheery beach-inspired space.

“We’re delighted with how it turned out,” she says. “I just wanted a casual, bright, whitewashed look for a beach cabin for our young family. My husband did not want me to run up a credit card. We call it a win-win.” The stairs lead from the home’s living area into the upstairs bedrooms.

Before Photo

BEFORE: Although the cabin was constructed in 1888, it was remodeled in the 1970s: shag carpeting, wood paneling, the functions.

Before they place a deal on the home, Southwell had uttered a peek at what had been under the carpet — luckily, it was hardwood. But once the carpet was wrapped up, she realized the wood staircase would have to be refinished.

AFTER: With the staircase professionally refinished wasn’t in Southwell’s budget. “I couldn’t stand to live with it the way that it had been, and I knew the only way I was going to have the ability to alter it was to find creative and DIY it,” she says.

After yanking the rug, she spent several hours pulling up the carpet tack strips and principles with pliers. After sanding and cleaning, she implemented three to four coats of white Kilz primer and one coat of white latex porch and flooring paint into the staircase, trim and railing.

How to Paint Your Hardwood Floors

Before Photo

BEFORE: The bannister has been required, but it had a little something special too.

AFTER: Southwell screwed in a classic newel — located online for $10 — into the end place for additional charm.

Of course, the bright yellow stair runner would be the star of this staircase. Southwell desired a bright yellow to tie with the cottage’s other beachy accents; she found this runner at Garnet Hill, installing it using carpet tacks and staples.

Southwell completed the DIY nearly a couple of years ago, and it has held up well — despite the tear and wear of a toddler running around. “You do not have to spend a great deal of money or have mad DIY skills — I truly do not! — to really have a gorgeous home,” she says.

What’s your success story? Show us your before and following below!

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To Feed and Shield: Care for Your Pet From Afar With New Devices

Internet technology should make it simple for all of us to watch our pets while we are at work or from the home for a limited while, and also to be sure they’re being fed and have loads of water. That’s why a product that went on the market about five years back seemed like such a good idea. It was called the iSeePet360.

The item, which was created in Japan, featured a high-capacity container for carrying pet food. Additionally, it had a dish in which the meals could be dispersed either automatically or on your command over the Internet. Best of all it had a built in webcam so you might track your furry friend over the Internet to be certain everything was OK.

Unfortunately, the item was discontinued. For a few years, there were not any products that were anything similar to this, enabling feeding and monitoring via the Web as short-term help caring for pets while you’re at work or away immediately.

Recently, though, a few new products that perform some of this began to come on the market.

Remoca Dog Food Bowl Camera – $691

The only product available now that is even remotely similar to this now-discontinued iSeePet360 is just another Japanese feeder intended for smaller dogs, called the Remoca Dog Food Bowl Camera. The Remoca has two small bowls for meals, plus another bowl for holding water that is automatically dispensed from a standard mounted water jar.

You can control the Remoca’s camera so you can zoom and pan and have a look at the entire space to make sure that your furry friend is OK. If she or he can something cute you can even capture video.

The feeder has a rather low ability; it may dispense only a small amount of water and food and is not acceptable for large pets or long spans of time between refilling. The food is put in two very small bowls that are uncovered when you move the cover using included software controls. The upside is that you can place canned food into the bowls or another sort of treat or pet food, unlike most other feeders, that need standard dry food.

The feeder has another fantastic features. As an instance, you can see in the dark with infrared mode. You can also telephone your pet through a speaker built into the unit. The unit connects to your home network and the Internet through either an Ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi. It includes a PC and Mac application for controlling the camera, and also an app that supports any Android cellphone.

Unfortunately, the Remoca Dog Food Bowl Camera Is Quite expensive: near $700.

Pintofeed – $130

An extremely cool new pet feeder called Pintofeed is currently in development; it may put you in touch with your pet and be certain that your furry friend gets fed on time. The feeder connects to the Web via Wi-Fi, also you also are able to track and control it with your smart mobile and even via social media.

Dry pet food can be dispersed on a program. Or you may tell the unit to provide food anytime you enjoy from a wise phone app. Pintofeed can notify you on Twitter, Facebook or via text message as soon as your pet starts and stops eating, and also when there are any errors or problems with the feeder.

It adheres to the wall for power. If the power goes out, a backup battery retains it going for some time.

Pintofeed is a crowd-funded job on Indiegogo that’s met its fundraising goals. It should cost approximately $130 when it ships later this season.

Dropcam – $149

If you enjoy the concept of Pintofeed but wish it had a camera, you may use a good webcam separately and point it in the feeder, giving you all the capacities of this iSeePet360 — and more. One of the very best new general-purpose webcams, that may be utilized for pet tracking, is called the Dropcam HD.

The Dropcam HD is quite simple to set up, based on the manufacturer and reviewers. You’re supposed to be able to set it up entirely in approximately one minute. It is a high-quality camera with 720p resolution, and it also has a wide-angle lens so you can see most of the space at once, though it cannot be remotely panned or zoomed.

You can set it up to send you either an email or an alert via the app once the camera finds either motion or a loud sound, like when your dog is barking. A separate Dropcam DVR service costing $9.95 a month lets you record video and see it afterwards.

Dropcam HD supports both iOS and Android phones and tablets for both control and monitoring. It’s both a microphone and a camera so you can speak to and hear your furry friend.

PetPace Collar

An interesting new area of consumer technology, called quantified self-movement, empowers people to constantly monitor their own physiological functions, such as things like heart rate, calories burned off, sleep and more.

A brand new firm called PetPace is working on something similar for dogs and cats. Call it the quantified pet. The PetPace Collar includes multiple detectors and includes veterinary software that reads your pet’s vital signs and watches its own behavior.

The collar collects sensor data constantly, and when your pet comes within about 1,000 metres of an included base station, that data is uploaded from there on the Internet. At first the database takes notice of what is normal for your pet. Then later, if any one of these very important signals become abnormal, you’ll be alerted. If something goes wrong, the collar may send you a text message or an email, or notify you by phone.

The manufacturer claims that the collar allows early detection of common diseases and disorders so you can get veterinary attention when required.

Although the final pricing has not been declared, the PetPace collar is supposed to go on sale later this year for $150. The continuing tracking service should cost between $15 and $20 a month.

More: Read the pets webpage!

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No Neutral Ground? Why the Color Camps Are So Opinionated

We ers are extremely opinionated. And it seems like no additional topic brings our views into the surface as far as color. Photos on the two ends of this spectrum — with a lot of neutrals or a great deal of color — always appear to find an instant, powerful response. But why?

At a recent survey on , 44% of ers said they enjoyed neutrals, 15 percent said they enjoyed lots of bold color and 41 percent said that they enjoyed both. As the survey shows, many people do say they enjoy the two neutrals and color, but most people still have strong feelings about the subject.

“Neutrals consistently feel secure to individuals, as indeed they are,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Shade does not act,” adds James Martin, president of Color People. “You can not ever rely on it to do what you want.” The split personality of these two color camps certainly has something to do with colour tastes, but is this a hot-button topic?

Canon & Dean

A Passion for Color

Among the rest of the controversial topics on , why do so one continually rise to the surface? “Shade is so intrinsic to our lives,” states Leslie Harrington, executive director of The Color Association of the United States. “Every waking — and sometimes sleeping — minute, you’re interacting with color.” The fact that the majority of people have an intimate relationship with color makes it an easy topic to have an impression on — especially when the choices (neutrals and bold colors) are polar opposites.

1800Lighting

Color also tends to instantly stick out in today’s designs. Many insides today have a transitional design which could be difficult to peg or may appeal to many distinct tastes. Shade is completely distinct and warrants an impression right off the bat. “You can not always recognize a fashion as readily as you can identify the color,” says interior designer Jeff Culbertson.

4 hot color trends to play with

Ashley Campbell Interior Design

Social Influences

But our view is not completely our own. “We’re kind of taught that understated is tasteful and overstated is not,” states Martin. “I think a great deal of people genuinely like color but have questions about how it’s going to be perceived.”

Mark Woodman, president of the Color Marketing Group, agrees. “What people appear to fear the most is other people’s negative opinions,” he states.

Sheila Rich Interiors

Negative but misinformed experiences with colors — bold or neutral — may have an effect as well. For those who tend to stick to neutrals, including a big pop of color somewhere random probably won’t feel appropriate. “You may believe you just made a shade mistake,” says Harrington. “However, you didn’t. Live with it and add more color.”

Vanni Archive/Architectural Photography

Neutralizing Neutrals

There’s a reason most men and women prefer neutrals inside their houses: They are usually easier to live with. Neutrals “are the perennials of color — not subject to trends as far as brighter colors, classic and dependable,” says Eiseman.

The dependable side of neutrals makes it a safe alternative for big-budget items like couches and much more durable material options — particularly for those who can not make up their heads. Color tends to be a big commitment that wants a great deal of confidence, so neutrals work well for men and women that want to modify their accent colors regularly. “Color is not for everyone,” says interior designer Ellinor Ellefson.

4 New Neutrals for the New Year

Marie Burgos Design

Controversial Colors

“Sometimes people are afraid of color since they can not visualize it,” says interior designer Marlene Wangenheim. Envisioning a bold purple onto your walls could be difficult when your home is all white and gray. So often those who do chose color already have quite a bit of experience with it. Color tends to get better with use and expertise. “The more color you’ve got, the more color you can use with it,” states Martin. “With monochromatic rooms, you will discover there is only a very slim margin for error when selecting a color or even neutrals to go with it. With color, you become free.”

Rikki Snyder

Considering color but feeling anxious? Start small. “Area size occasionally has an effect on committing to a strong color,” says Harrington. “We tend to shy away from large regions of color, even if it’s easy to change or not as expensive to do.” Try using color in a little area which you don’t use that often — like a powder room or even the inside of a cupboard. “This is a jumping-off stage for braver efforts in different rooms,” says Woodman. Or find a color you prefer and tone down its intensity by requesting the local paint shop to add a grey, suggests Wangenheim. This will make it both a color and a neutral.

“Can it be feasible for color to go awry? Certainly,” says Woodman. “I like to believe, however, that there is no wrong color, just color used wrong.”

Next: What to do if you live with a colorphobe | Vote: Color vs. Neutrals

More help from the resource library:
guides to using neutrals
guides to using bold colors

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9 Kitchen Cabinet Accessories for Universal Design

Even in the event that you don’t have the luxury of gutting and remodeling your kitchen, it is possible to nonetheless up its efficiency and accessibility quotient. Retrofitting some or all of your cabinets with these accessories will help those in your house get access to what they need and will help your kitchen stay arranged as a bonus.

CliqStudios Cabinets

Roll-Out Trays Storage | CliqStudios.com

Rollout shelves are a great solution for base cabinets. They come in a huge array of sizes and styles and substances. A base cabinet with a standard door can usually accommodate three shelves, based on what you need to shop. If you have larger items to be stored, you can usually fit just two rollouts.

Rev-A-Shelf

Base Cabinet Swing-Out Pantry System

This cabinet system provides ultimate accessibility and organization to get base cabinets. They come as a dual pantry system, such as this one, or as one cabinet system to get one door base cabinet. Here it is in action.

Hayneedle

Rev-a-Shelf Door Storage Trays, Set of 2 – $25.99

Something as straightforward as door storage fittings may facilitate bending and reaching.

Cornerstone – A Division of Richelieu

Wood Classics Door-Mount Rack With Cutting Board

This traditional door-mounted rack system may hold items aside from just a cutting board. Cookie sheets and dish-drain trays come to head.

Richelieu

Maxi Waste Bin

A simple door garbage bin which swings out toward you when you open the doorway helps include messes.

Rev-A-Shelf

Dual Electric Assist Waste Containers

Both of these waste containersare made for base cabinets, are great for smaller families. 1 container may hold waste, and another can hold recycling. The unit may also be combined with an automated opening system for extra efficiency. This is a great system for those with dexterity or mobility issues.

Richelieu

Swiveling Basket

This swiveling system functions nicely in upper cabinets. It gives accessibility, flexibility and organization by bringing items nearer.

Richelieu

This pullout version also works nicely for upper cabinets.

Rev-A-Shelf

A two-tier pull-down system such as this allows you to access those sometimes hard-to-reach upper cabinets. This version from Rev-A-Shelf features a gas-assisted mechanism which produces lifting and lowering the machine simple. It’s a fantastic idea for shorter people and people in wheelchairs.

LKID

When doors on cabinets aren’t convenient, think about removing them for ultimate accessibility. Organization is the trick to making this appearance work so that it doesn’t look cluttered. But since you’re saving money by not performing a entire kitchen remodel, you can splurge on pretty dishware. An arrangement such as this is pretty, practical and entirely on trend.

8 Suggestions to Immaculate Open Shelving

Resolution: 4 Architecture

Here an island becomes the dishware storage station.

Gut Gut

If you’re tight on space, cabinet doors are much more problematic. This kitchen incorporates one complete wall of shelving for everyday items. Shelving doesn’t have to be much deeper than 12 or 13 inches to accommodate regular items. Without any doors on the cabinetry, the distance feels bigger and would better accomodate a individual with a walker or in a wheelchair.

More: Additional suggestions for accessible cabinet fittings

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Deck Your Containers With Holiday Cheer in an Hour

If you don’t live in a climate that is mild, chances are that your container gardens look somewhat drab during the winter months. Rather than emptying your pots and hoping to get an early spring, then make a holiday arrangement that can add a little bit of cheer through the dreariest of weeks. Employing natural winter branches and greens, you can create a playful splash of green in an otherwise empty container.

Follow this easy guide to creating an arrangement that’ll last through the holidays.

Kim Gamel

Materials:

A container with dirt
Several evergreen boughs of varying heights
A few decorative branches and accents, such as pinecones, feathery grass and berries

Kim Gamel

Pick a container. You are able to use one that held your summer or autumn agreements. Rather than pulling out the plants and dirt, cut the tops of these plants in the soil line, maintaining the dirt and roots intact. These can help to maintain the greens stable. I’m going to maintain the Dorotheanthus (a yearly from summer) that is trailing over the borders here, since it looks good. If it expires with a future frost, I will just trim it away.

Kim Gamel

Add greenery. Several kinds of evergreen branches can make an enduring arrangement; walnut, spruce, hemlock, holly and cedar are all excellent choices. You can use as much as you like for variety and texture. With this arrangement, I’m using a mixture of white pine, with its short and spiky needles, and Port Orford cedar, which has shiny green, feather-like branches.

Kim Gamel

Start with the largest limbs. These are the foundation for the arrangement. Add one branch in the center toward the back of the kettle, sticking it down into the soil to keep it steady. Subsequently add branches on both sides, arching outward. Continue incorporating shorter branches round the perimeter of the kettle. Fill in any empty spaces with crisscrossing branches, continuing to arch them outward.

Kim Gamel

Add height and play with branches. If you happen to have a redtwig dogwood or curly willow in your backyard already, consider yourself blessed. Trim a few inconspicuous branches and you are all set. If not, many nurseries, crafts shops and even grocery stores carry cosmetic branches, either in their natural condition or painted for your vacations.

With this container I’m likely to stick with a couple of dogwood branches. Their reddish color will last through winter. How many you’ll need will be based on the size of your pot. Start with a small odd amount — say, five or three — and add more if desired.

Kim Gamel

Create interest with accents. Juniper berries, winterberry, crabapples and fountain grass can spice up an arrangement. I’m utilizing blue-berried juniper and yellow-tipped incense cedar for a festive winter look that doesn’t read also Christmas-y. Alternatively, the red fruits of winterberry and crabapple would offer a nice merry touch.

For a focal point, I’m using a large sugar pine cone, but a bow or small wrapped present could also add some glitz.

Kim Gamel

Put in a finishing touch. I’m including a few branches tipped with LED lights for illumination at night. These indoor-outdoor lights need an outlet, but you can find battery-operated alternatives online.

And there you have it! With only a couple of components and about a half an hour, you can make a warm, inviting entryway to your guests all winter.

Show us Please discuss your holiday container tips and photos below!

More: Create a Mini Christmas Tree in a Pot

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Splashy Colors Spark a Contemporary Guesthouse

This play- and – guesthouse in Arizona works difficult for the entire family. It’s a space where children run around at full throttle, where their parents frequently amuse and where guests sleeping on weekends. “The entire family needed a space that felt fuss free, fun and totally accessible to people of all ages,” says designer Valerie Borden. However, before she could proceed with the last design, she desired the family to trust her instincts when it came into her color options for the 600-square-foot space.

“Many people feel they’ll soon tire of solid colours or strong colors affect the resale value of a house. According to my experience, this could not be farther from the truth. After seeing how the strong colours made the house feel more inviting in addition to helping it stand out from the rest of the package, my clients embraced the solid colours of the space and could not be happier with our choices,” says Borden.

in a Glance
Who performs here: A couple, their 3 children and sleepover guests
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Size: 600 square feet

Chimera Interior Design

The play- and guesthouse includes bath, kitchenette, dining space, a TV area and loft. Walls, cabinetry and furnishings in white and light gray provide a neutral foundation for bright, colorful splashes and patterns.

“We went with a palette of teal, orange and lime green, which the clients feel really uplifted the distance. You feel this jolt of energy once you input,” says Borden.

Dining table: custom, Chimera Interior Design; chairs: Overstock.com

Chimera Interior Design

Borden maximized the distance by placing the sleeping loft directly over the toilet and closet (marked with the orange window doors). “This is a new structure, so we designed the space to match their needs entirely,” she states.

The loft is 5 feet wide by 24 feet long. Three sleeping mats fill it, together with a shaggy rug, lots of cushions and reading lights. “It was actually the customer who had the idea to produce the loft, in addition to the fire pole,” says Borden.

Interior paint: Cool December, Dunn Edwards; cabinets: Ikea; sectional: client’s own

Chimera Interior Design

A Kaiser Tile backsplash and a light fixture which casts geometric shadows on the ceiling add visual interest into the kitchen. A concrete counter tops and Ikea cabinets stand up to the wear and tear of both kids and guests. The upper cabinet on the left hides a microwave.

Chimera Interior Design

The layout of the bathroom inspired. “We knew we wanted a psychedelic effect for this little space,” says Borden, who spent hours on hours sourcing the perfect treatment for those walls. “We originally discussed a tiled wall, but it would’ve killed our funding. This wallpaper adds so much drama to the distance without crippling our funding.”

Chimera Interior Design

An Ikea dressing table and mirror, and wall sconces found at the clearance aisle of Lamps Plus, play a supportive role into the high drama of the wallpaper while giving the distance a clean, modern feel.

Chimera Interior Design

Semifrosted glass connects the shower into the outdoor place. Orange and white tiles out of Sicis provide this pool shower a beautiful sheen.

Chimera Interior Design

The designer cut down costs and gave the children ownership of the space with them paint the artwork in the markets using the teal, orange and green color palette. “They shot a few classes at a local art studio and voilà — our Pollock-inspired masterpieces came into existence,” says Borden.

Chimera Interior Design

A peacock feather pattern plays up cushions and a rug from International Views. “My customer absolutely loves peacocks and literally jumped for joy when I discovered them,” the designer says.

The orange doors behind the sofa and dining table open into an adjoining garage workshop, in which the clients work on creative projects.

Chimera Interior Design

Borden used diamond plate on the door’s workshop side, making cleanup easier when the clients get cluttered in their creative space.

“We are working on the rest of this Southwest modern house’s redesign. We are transitioning outside the Southwest and leaning more modern,” says Borden.

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Berm

A berm is a mounded or shaped planting feature of a landscape. Berms tend to be curved and are raised from 18 to 24 inches high. They are sometimes placed to add visual interest, to cause proper drainage or to conceal unsightly elements.

Debora carl landscape design

Berms add visual interest and are a handy way to plant species that have similar sunshine and water requirements. There are unlimited design possibilities for a berm.

Jennifer Jamgochian / Multiflora

Berms and island bedrooms are extremely similar, and frequently the terms are used interchangeably. Island beds normally stand alone, nevertheless, whereas a berm can be a more natural part of the landscape. This is a good illustration of an island bed.

LLC, Company & Woodburn Landscape Architecture

Berms can also be described as the strips of lawn with a street, or the flat areas flanking a tube.

Christopher Yates Landscape Architecture

Not all berms have to be flower beds; ornamental grasses planted to a large sloping mound are a modern solution to the berm.

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Look Up to the Attic for a Playful Kids' Bedroom

A kids’ bedroom is a sacred area — it’s among the few areas they could truly call their own, and yet one place they can rely on to get a little solitude in. However, the latter isn’t always a simple thing to achieve, especially in huge households. If your children feel somewhat vulnerable, consider altering your loft space into a distinctive bedroom just for them. A getaway on the floor can make the ideal escape, providing them the space they crave — and making more quiet for you downstairs! Read the professional tips below to initiate the transformation.

Beinfield Architecture PC

Balance brights and whites. You desire the space to feel fresh and lively, not claustrophobic. “Save colour and patterns for the floor or walls, and maintain your ceiling bright and light,” says designer Laura Umansky. “Since the ceiling is often low in attics, leaving them helps to make the space feel bigger.”

Warm with texture. Kids’ rooms could be lively spaces, so have fun exploring with patterns. “Fun patterns and textures can add a lot to a space,” states Umansky. The rainbow-colored rug in this spirited loft bedroom features a polka dot two-tone pattern on the wall.

Laura U, Inc..

Dress your windows. “Do not shy away from incorporating drapery into a dormer simply because your ceilings pitch at either side,” states Umanksy. “Window treatments add both texture and drama to a room.”

Kelly Donovan

Go low. Short furniture pulls double duty in a children’ loft bedroom with balancing the scale of sloped ceilings and producing perfectly sized spaces for smaller children.

Harry Braswell Inc..

Transform sloped ceilings into storage solutions. Do not worry about a sloped ceiling operate with this embarrassing layout to make the most of your child’s storage area. “Pitched ceilings make certain parts of the room uncommon, as you can’t stand up, so use them for storage rather,” states Umansky. This area’s built-in shelving transforms the place under a catchy ceiling into functional space.

Kelly Donovan

Get creative with sloped ceilings. If a built-in or large-scale shelving unit is too big for your room or out of your budget, it is still possible to add additional function simply by hanging a hooks or rack under a sloped ceiling. A small mirror below turns this place into a tiny dressing room.

Soorikian Architecture

Produce a sleeping nook. A sleeping nook can help you take advantage of awkward loft corners. This slanted ceiling feels supercozy, making this exceptional space additional comfortable.

Read more children’ spaces

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5 Glorious Shrubs

Are you discovering your landscape lacking as the dog days of summer give way to fall? With this late-summer twilight zone putting in, are you currently wondering whether there’s anything more which will bloom or bear fruit before it’s all mums and pumpkins? Fear not! Listed below are five uncommon shrubs that wait patiently the last minute to actually do their thing. Shop for them in autumn, while they are in bloom, when autumn rains can help new plants settle in.

You may know it as bluebeard or even blue spirea, but if you are a lover of blue and do not grow Caryopteris x clandonensis (zones 5/6 to 9), you are missing out. Easy to grow in sun or light shade, varieties of this shrub bloom late in a palette of cool blues — a mouthwatering counterpoint to autumn’s warm tones. Chop it down in late winter and it’ll remain a clean 3 feet high.

Find your climate zone

Why is it always see recommendations for bush clover (Lespedeza thunbergii cultivars, zones 4 to 8) in books and magazines, and it’s still so underused?

A true parking lot plant, this one develops anywhere in sun or light shade, and blooms in jewel-tone pinks or whites that are crisp. Like Caryopteris, it could be kept tidy by clipping it to the ground in late winter — unlike this plant, it is going to grow 4 to 5 feet tall in 1 season. It drapes and makes a fantastic cascading accent in bloom on slopes and walls, narrowed down by masses of flowers.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user BotBln

If I had to select a single uncommon plant I recommend many, it would be seven son flower (Heptacodium miconioides, zones 5 to 9). This shrub or small tree is often likened to southern crape myrtle, but frankly I like it.

Assets include: crisp, textural dark green foliage all season which turns to gold in autumn; peeling white bark year-round; and, most important, fragrant white flowers as summer turns to fall, followed closely by red-purple fruits (shown here) which are at least as pretty as the flowers. Seven son flower will grow 15 to 20 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide, but it’s easily pruned to a more compact size.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user VoDeTan2

I make no bones about the fact that I enjoy plants which form colonies, and harlequin glory bower (Clerodendron trichotomum, zones 5/6 to 10) is one of my favorites. This shrub is glorious for several reasons, the most prominent being its deliciously fragrant jasmine-scented white-over-magenta flowers so late in the summer that provide way to gorgeously weird fruit such as bright blue BBs, also framed by a magenta mantle.

Give glory blower room (about 10 feet) to spread out, and you will be rewarded with a 10- to 15-foot-tall colony punctually — briefer in colder zones, where it could die back to the ground in winter. Bonus: its own leaves smell like peanut butter.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Jean-Pol Grandmont

If it’s berries you are after, you’d be hard pressed to do better than beauty berry (Callicarpa species and cultivars, zones 5/6 to 8). This beauty’s shiny, purplish fruit doesn’t come into its own until September, and it hangs around after the leaves have fallen. Give it sun and plant multiples for best fruiting. Beauty berry grows to 6 feet tall and broad, and in zone 5, in which it may die back, it may be pruned hard to approximately 6 inches above the ground in late winter. A bit of late winter pruning is a good idea in all zones, because beauty berry flowers and fruits on new wood.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Sten

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Bring Home Buyers Easily With Great Photography

One of the most effective tools you have when marketing your home for sale is amazing listing photography. No matter how fabulous your house is, it won’t sell if the listing photos don’t do their job. Your photos should be bright, light and welcoming so potential buyers jump ahead and schedule a showing. Below are some simple ways to get the most out of those incredibly important home photos.

Brian Watford Interiors

From the listing, include only photos of your most attractive rooms. Include the description and dimensions of the other chambers in the house, but you’re not doing yourself any favors from adding poor photos or staged rooms. Lure potential customers in with lovely spaces; don’t show them anything that may stop them from scheduling a showing.

Grainda Builders, Inc..

Your photos should concentrate on the architecture of the home rather than the decor. The shot taken of this living area captures both the architecture (the paneled fireplace and the bookcases) and the view from the big windows. The sailboat over the mantel brings buyers’ eyes into the focal point of the room — the fireplace. When I had been gearing this room for property photography, the one thing I would add here could be some cushions in on-trend colours and patterns to make the conversation place more welcoming.

Architects, Webber + Studio

Taking photos from the far corners of chambers and low to the ground gets more flooring to the photograph. The more flooring you see, the bigger the room will appear. Removing all rugs from a distance adds square footage — at least in a buyer’s mind. Unbroken floor area makes any room appear bigger, and square footage is king.

Martha O’Hara Interiors

Take photos at one time of day when you have the best natural lighting in the main rooms of the home, like the living area, the kitchen and the master bedroom. Ensure you open every window covering as well as doors to allow more light in. Don’t use a flash if you don’t have to — it’ll distort colours and appear unpleasant.

Jennifer Bevan Interiors

Although most interior photos in magazines are taken with all the lights off, it is typically best to turn all lights for record photos. Meaning every overhead, kettle lamp and light in the room. Those stains of light draw your attention to every corner of the distance, so a purchaser may linger somewhat more on the photograph.

Abbott Moon

Light a fire in the fireplace to create a sense of closeness and hominess. Notice how light is streaming in from the left side of the room? As I mentioned earlier, be sure to open all the windows and doors to allow in lighting so a comfy room like this will not appear dark. For a record photograph, I would also remove the carpet to make the room appear bigger.

BraytonHughes Design Studios

Think about taking a few unconventional photos rather than just the old shoot-from-the-entry standards. Open the French doors, throw open a window or move the chairs out from the dining table to make a photograph that entices and catches the imagination of a prospective buyer.

Taste Design Inc

It is pretty standard to have a photo from the front door to the entrance, right? But try taking a shot of the entrance from the inside toward the front door and open the door, as in this photo. It is much more interesting and may be a better vantage point.

I would really like to hear your own tips for creating great photos for property listings. How can you take photos when selling your home? What is your opinion on the usage of a fish-eye lens for this kind of photography?

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