Summer Home & Garden guide, 2017


The Lillie Newspapers Summer Home & Garden guide, 2017
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The Stories

Small-space gardens: easy tips for homegrown flavors

The new growing season is upon us. You don’t have to be an experienced gardener to enjoy the many benefits of the season, nor do you need large swaths of land and sprawling acreage to grow your favorite greens. In fact, beautiful outdoor spaces — rich with colorful blooms and hearty edibles — can be created in nearly any space, including patios and balconies.
Small-space gardening is all about getting creative and having fun. So whether you’re attempting to create an eye-catching outdoor oasis or produce delicious food for cooking, the most effective way to learn is by simply digging in.

Ready, set, prep

As with most new endeavors, preparation is key. First, determine how much space you’ll be allocating and whether or not the area has access to adequate sunlight. According to Batt, a successful garden should receive at least eight hours of sunlight per day. It’s also important to make sure your planters are equipped with a sufficient drainage system. A hole at the bottom of your containers will help prevent oversaturation while still allowing water to permeate the soil. It will also ensure adequate airflow reaches the roots.

Commit to cultivating

Now that you’ve decided on an area, it’s important to remember that a garden — regardless of its size — requires time, attention and effort. It isn’t just planting then vacating. With that in mind, try to be realistic about how much time you’re willing to put forth. Batt suggests reserving an hour over the weekend for things like weeding and watering.

When it comes to plant hydration, it’s better to water deeply and thoroughly on a seldom basis than water too little on a regular basis. That being said, plants in containers tend to dry out more quickly than plants in the ground and will often require more water, especially during warmer months. A good rule of thumb is to soak plants until you notice water coming through the drainage holes. But remember plants absorb water through their roots and lose water through their leaves, so when watering try to avoid the foliage.

Start simple

It’s almost time to plant those first few seeds, but you’re not entirely sure what to grow. Consider starting with simple, cool-season crops like cabbage, carrots and radishes. Often, newer gardeners attempt to grow popular products like peppers, but what they don’t know is that in order to thrive, those need to be started indoors.

Another great option for beginners is herbs, which are inexpensive, require nothing larger than a six to eight-inch container, and only take three to four weeks to yield results.

Time to eat

It’s vital to know what you’ve planted and how long it should stay in the ground. Carrots, for instance, will harvest in about 65 to 70 days and will show signs of wilting when they’re ready to be eaten.

Try to make a trip out to the garden every day to see what has ripened or is starting to flower. Trim back herbs, such as chives and basil, as soon as they start to flower. This will help plants continue to put energy into growth and production.

Checking on your garden daily also allows you to intervene at the first sign of trouble.

When it comes to small-space gardening, a little goes a long way. To give you an idea, a 10-foot by 12-foot garden has the capacity to feed a family of three for the entire summer simply by rotating the crops. (BPT)


They survived and so can you: Homeowner shares his renovation story

by: Hannah Burlingame, Staff writer

Home renovations can be time consuming, messy and sometimes a headache. That’s just the truth. But, most of the time the downsides of the renovation process are more than worth it when you finally have the finished product. 

When it comes to remodeling, some people do the work themselves, while others hire contractors and companies to do the work. 

A DIYers story

Steve Danger and his wife Joyce bought their New Brighton home roughly 25 years ago. When they moved in, they say the house was a typical early 1960’s home.

“With plywood cabinets in the kitchen and mirror squares on the bathroom wall and a planter with plastic flowers sticking out of the inside the front door, it was just horrendous,” Steve says.

The reason the couple even considered the house was because it’s on a lake. When they first looked at the house, Steve remembers going outside and looking at the lake. Pretty soon his wife came out and asked what he thought about the place. His response: “I don’t like it.” Joyce followed up with, “What don’t you like about it?”

“I said everything. She said it didn’t have to stay that way. Then it was the possibilities that started to materialize in our minds,” Steve recalls.

From the moment they bought the house, it has been one continual project. They knew it was going to be that way. Steve has done about 99 percent of the renovations himself, with help from outside contractors on only a few occasions.

One of the biggest projects was adding on 2,000 square feet to the back of the house. In order to accomplish this they had to knock out the existing back wall, and install a triple laminated beam for load support.

With the ‘60s design, the rooms were narrow and closed off from each other. With renovations, the Dangers opened up doorways and made the main living area one large room.

Other projects have included bathrooms, basement, bedrooms and outdoor amenities. 

They say a fun project was building a beach house by the lake. With a fireplace inside and insulation, the hangout space can be utilized in more than just the winter months. Also, this was one project that didn’t involve having to live in the same space where the remodeling was taking place.

Steve is a former cabinetmaker and has custom built many of the cabinets in the home including, the bathroom vanities, cabinets in the bar, office, other built-ins and the fireplace mantles. 

The couple designed and renovated their small, dark kitchen about two years ago. Steve designed and made the cabinets. During the renovation, they lightened everything in the kitchen. Gone were the old oak cabinets that dated the space, and in their place where the white cabinets Steve custom built. They figured if they decide to sell the house in say five years, the kitchen would be ready to go.

Make it your own

A unique feature in the kitchen is the cupola over the island, something Steve designed. A cupola is a small dome adorning a roof or ceiling. The Dangers describe themselves as “big on outdoor light,” so the cupola allows for more “wonderful light” to be let in. Inside the cupola is a vintage horizontal fan that Steve designed.  

Both Danger and his wife are dreamers.

“We like to visualize how things can be. A famous quote of Walt Disney’s is ‘If you can dream it, you can do it,’ and so we like to be able to visualize something and then accomplish it,” he says.

Part of his job as a designer and consultant is working hand-in-hand with homeowners during their projects. 

With his job, Danger tries to suggest things people can do themselves.

“I like when people do a lot of their own work. They take pride in it, and when the project is finished they can say ‘I did part of this,’” he says. 

Living through the renovation is a mess and you will have to change the way you live for a little while. 

To help make things go a little smoother, plan out each stage and get things lined up ahead of time. If one part of the project, such as the electrical, falls behind, it can throw off the rest of the schedule.

“If you go into a project without looking at the possibilities of all these things down the line, you will find all of a sudden you have an issue that you didn’t plan on,” he says.


Renovations for the ages

Not every renovation project is intended to make the space look shiny and new. A design that celebrates decades (or even centuries) past can carry the same big impact for a dramatically updated look.

Antique upgrades celebrate the old-timey charm that modern design often ignores. An added benefit to an antique motif: the opportunity to display family heirlooms and treasures from previous generations that blend seamlessly into your home.

In most houses, the kitchen and bathrooms are where modern conveniences are most obvious. The appliances and fixtures in these rooms offer convenience and function few homeowners are willing to sacrifice for the sake of aesthetics. Fortunately, these tips show how you can capture old-world ambiance while enjoying the comforts of modern living.

Back-to-basics bathroom

Indoor plumbing is arguably the greatest asset of the modern home, but there’s no need to sacrifice contemporary function when you take a step back in time with your bathroom decor. A claw foot tub makes for a stunning focal point, and a stylish pedestal sink adds character a modern vanity simply can’t deliver. 

The one downside, limited storage space, can be easily remedied. A distressed cupboard or cabinet fitted with an antique window pane door is a simple DIY solution, or rely on stacked wooden crates (sanded and finished, of course) for a whimsical tower to fill with towels and other necessities.

In a small space like a bathroom, it can be difficult to evoke just the right impression with fixtures and furnishings alone. That’s where accessories can play a transformative role. Rely on historic photographs, vintage mirrors and antique curios such as old buckets and chairs to let your creativity run wild. A bucket makes a perfect toilet paper holder and the rungs of a forgotten old chair are ideal for an old-fashioned towel rack.

Old-meets-new kitchen 

For a kitchen stylized to honor the past, there’s nothing more distracting than modern appliances. Fully capturing the warmth and charm of a country, century or Victorian kitchen requires complementing antique-style appliances. With careful attention to vintage design, appliances can complete the traditional feel of a “vintage” kitchen, rather than detract from it, as would modern-style black, white or stainless steel.  (Family Features)

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