Home & Garden

Matt Swinney grew Austin’s fashion scene one Fashion X at a time

Matt Swinney grew Austin’s fashion scene one Fashion X at a time

Only in Austin could this story be true. A local boy grew up playing baseball, got a degree in marketing, survived the tech bubble burst in Silicon Valley, then came home to run a real estate magazine. He launched an Austin lifestyle magazine, which led to creating a week celebrating Austin’s restaurants, a modern home tour and an Austin fashion week. He would spotlight a growing fashion scene...
Don’t let names of these plants fool you: Peace lily and century plant

Don’t let names of these plants fool you: Peace lily and century plant

The century plant seems prone to exaggeration. First of all: the name. The American century plant — the common name of the Agave americana, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden website — is somewhat of a misnomer. It is “so called because it supposedly blooms once every 100 years, then dies. This is not exactly true. It doesn’t quite take 100 years; it’s more like...
Plant Swiss chard and its family of vitamin-heavy vegetables

Plant Swiss chard and its family of vitamin-heavy vegetables

The goosefoot, or Chenopodiaceae family, includes diverse and nutritious species. Here in Central Texas, we have an edible wild variety of the Goosefoot family called lamb’s quarter (Chenopodium album) which frequently pops up uninvited, but is actually a tasty, spade-shaped leaf richer in vitamins A and C than spinach. This family also includes epazote, a pungent herb used for culinary and...
Perfume made the old-fashioned way at Krista Lacey’s Roux Saint James

Perfume made the old-fashioned way at Krista Lacey’s Roux Saint James

Scent always has been important to Krista Lacey. The 42-year-old owner of Austin-based Roux Saint James perfumery began playing with scent out of necessity. She’s allergic to a lot of the commercially made perfumes and beauty products. She remembers breaking out in hives as a young girl. “I became so sensitive,” she says. Then, in New Orleans, where her family has been for generations...
Grow your own protein with vegetables, beans and nuts

Grow your own protein with vegetables, beans and nuts

More and more often we hear that the path to good health takes us through the garden gate to fresh, local food. But what about protein? We know we need it. Protein is an essential building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood, but most of us don’t have pigs, cows or even chickens in the backyard. So, what is a gardener to do? It might come as a surprise that protein doesn&rsquo...
A colorful story: Welcome to Leslie’s house

A colorful story: Welcome to Leslie’s house

The minute you meet Leslie, your heart is happy. She is one of those people who radiates sunshine. So when I found out Anne, one of our designers, was going to be working with Leslie to help her bring all that light and love to her interior design, I couldn’t wait to see what this talented team would come up with. Like Leslie, the story of her house is very interesting. It is located in a wonderful...
Bring a pop of color and refresh your fall garden with these plants

Bring a pop of color and refresh your fall garden with these plants

It’s hot. Really hot. Baked, cracking soil filled with crispy plants doesn’t make anyone want to garden. Even die-hard gardeners escape into the air conditioning this time of year. When the heat breaks (and it will eventually), perk up your garden for the slow journey into fall with refreshing seasonal color. New fall-flowering plants allow us to look ahead to the respite that awaits....
Choose natural fixture colors to match your environment

Choose natural fixture colors to match your environment

Q: Dear Ed, my husband and I are lucky to retire in a small house in a seaside community. We plan to remodel the kitchen and wanted to ask about kitchen decorating choices to blend in with our surroundings. Can you please give us some ocean-inspired kitchen ideas? — Dottie, Rhode Island A: It’s a good practice to include a little of your outdoor environment with your indoor projects. This...
5 ways to enhance your home’s curb appeal

5 ways to enhance your home’s curb appeal

Everyone wants the prettiest home on the block, which is why curb appeal never gets old. It’s that bump of pride you feel every time you pull into the driveway or stroll up the front walk. Curb appeal also adds value to your home, since it will bring in buyers when the time comes to sell. And a lot of projects are DIY-friendly, meaning homeowners with the right mix of time, tools and talent...
Bee Colorful flower mix reminds us why triadic harmony is so stunning

Bee Colorful flower mix reminds us why triadic harmony is so stunning

Bee Colorful flower mix is so vibrant in color it’s as if a color artist was involved in its design. Which always seems to be the case when gardeners use triadic harmony; it simply looks harmonious. Bee Colorful is a new mix from Suntory of Japan. This mix, no doubt, will attract those pollinating visitors but also will garner wows from your friends and neighbors who’ll want to visit more...
Try these 7 tips for affordable artwork

Try these 7 tips for affordable artwork

Artwork doesn’t have to be expensive to look expensive. Designers use a number of tricks to create interesting and original artwork without breaking the bank. Here are seven tips for adding artwork to your decor on a budget. 1. Mix and match. Whether using frames and prints of different shapes and sizes or placing two mismatched pieces of art side by side, mixing it up can create interest. 2...
When to do it yourself, when to hire someone

When to do it yourself, when to hire someone

Seasonal chores: DIY or outsource? How you decide what tasks to take on and what to delegate depends on several factors — cost and time involved, safety concerns and personal preference. After all, one person’s chore is another person’s relaxation. Liza Hausman, vice president of industry solutions for Houzz, said that if you’re on the fence about whether to tackle a chore...
How to protect yourself against common home improvement scams

How to protect yourself against common home improvement scams

Home improvement, repair and renovation projects represent significant investments. And with that kind of money at stake and decisions often made under pressure, home repairs make an inviting target for scam artists who plan to take the money and run. Protect yourself from fraud by looking out for these common schemes: “Hey, I was doing a job in the neighborhood and I have some extra materials...
This home has all the right angles

This home has all the right angles

KING COUNTY, Wash. — This is a story with lots of angles. It begins and ends, as so many stories do, at home. And in this extra-special case: Even the home has lots of angles. THE COMMUNITY ANGLE John and Cathy live in a close, connected neighborhood near Woodinville. There’s a gate to get in, but otherwise, not one single suggestion of “suburbia”: not in the relaxed weekend...
Think you want a tiny home? Follow our tips before Tiny House Jamboree

Think you want a tiny home? Follow our tips before Tiny House Jamboree

Think you can live tiny? Think you can shrink your 2,500-square-foot house and live in about 250 square feet? Before you launch into downsizing your worldly possessions and buying a tiny house, check out what it feels like inside one. Austin is home to the national Tiny House Jamboree on Aug. 23-26, and the show is open to the public that Saturday and Sunday. More than 50 tiny homes will be there...
Know the 6 D’s of container gardening before you get planting this fall

Know the 6 D’s of container gardening before you get planting this fall

To be successful at container gardening requires more than just a pot and a plant. Perhaps that’s why more than 80 people attended a recent class intended to teach the basic information and help these gardeners’ efforts to thrive. The “6 D’s of Container Gardening Success,” led by Kirk Walden, highlighted how to have better plant-growing results, with the information...
Ideas to inspire your dream bathroom

Ideas to inspire your dream bathroom

Bathroom remodels have consistently high returns on investment year after year. Whether you’re setting your home up for a higher resale value or you simply want to make your mornings brighter, these remodeling ideas are sure to enhance both. VANITIES: FROM CENTRAL TO FOCAL The vanity can anchor your bathroom’s design because it is central to both your routine and the physical space. Updating...
How to harness the power of pastels

How to harness the power of pastels

Pastels are one of the hottest trends in home decor right now. Typically associated with spring and summer, pastel colors are some of the hottest new colors for fall. Why? Pastels are gender-neutral and blend well with other colors while creating a sense of soothing and calm in a subtle way. PASTEL PINK Pastel pink is one of the more popular pastel colors. Pink is a great foundation color and can...
Summer bedrooms at Mary Lou’s cottage

Summer bedrooms at Mary Lou’s cottage

I’m amazed any of our neighbors are still speaking to us. We’ve tried their patience sorely with our painfully slow renovation of the little cottage next door. But now, the eyesore of the neighborhood is close to becoming the sweet little cottage I envisioned. Christened Mary Lou’s Cottage in honor of my mom, who lived there at the end of her life, this snug little spot has already...
Rustic timberframe home assembled by ‘dream team’

Rustic timberframe home assembled by ‘dream team’

“Extensive timberframe expertise” was not exactly a prerequisite when Daucey and Pat embarked on building their dream home in the elevated woods near North Bend, Wash. Turns out they assembled just the right dream team, anyway — and just the right dream home. “We had a couple acting as their own general contractor (with no previous experience), an architect [Larry Johnson,...
Need help with smart-home setup? At-home tech support may be answer

Need help with smart-home setup? At-home tech support may be answer

The great thing about shopping online is you don’t have to worry about a pushy salesperson trying to upsell you on something. The downside of shopping online for electronic items is you might need someone to help you figure out how to use your gadget and have it sync up with your other Wi-Fi-connected products. Companies are realizing there’s a need for home tech support as electronic...
Paw Paw trees lure Zebras and Dark Kites

Paw Paw trees lure Zebras and Dark Kites

Callaway Gardens is famous for a lot of things in the world of nature and certainly, the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center is among the best in the country. It’s the place to give you a glimpse into the butterflies of Central America and the Tropics. Outside the Center, however, is where I like to hang out where you see what can happen at your home. In other words, build and they will come. After...
Living ‘Imperfect Courage’ with Noonday Collection’s Jessica Honegger

Living ‘Imperfect Courage’ with Noonday Collection’s Jessica Honegger

“You, yourself, are your own biggest obstacle. You, yourself, are your own biggest gift.” Jessica Honegger had to get out of her own way, get over self-doubts and embrace her gifts of entrepreneurship and creativity when she created Noonday Collection seven years ago. She turned the direct-sale model used by companies such as Tupperware and Avon into a business that empowers and connects...
With travel-inspired rooms, staycation has never looked better

With travel-inspired rooms, staycation has never looked better

DALLAS — Maybe it’s your budget that’s keeping you from skipping town — or perhaps your boss is to blame. Even without an out-of-town adventure or hotel overnight on the calendar, travel-inspired interiors you can get away from the daily doldrums. Introducing elements from your favorite destinations into your home can help make every day feel a bit more like vacation &mdash...
Market is a treasure hunt on steroids

Market is a treasure hunt on steroids

When some girlfriends get together, they go to lunch. My friend Rebecca and I go to market. Twice a year, we hop on a plane bound for the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market. Jazzed up on caffeine and adrenaline, we run at a dizzying pace, hunting for treasures we think customers will love. Rebecca and I are kindred spirits. Like me, she is a retail brat who has been going to market...
Outdoor add-ons can up your backyard fun

Outdoor add-ons can up your backyard fun

Whether you have a sprawling backyard, patio or just a small balcony, outdoor space is a premium. So why not make the most of it? When it comes to outdoor enjoyment, here are some general tips to keep in mind. BACKYARDS Backyards should not be overly cluttered. If you have sizeable land, why not allow room to enjoy it? In many instances, one of the best uses of an open and spacious backyard is to...
5 ways to maximize your garage space

5 ways to maximize your garage space

When you first bought your home, you had a vision for creating a perfectly organized garage. Over the years, that dream has dwindled — buried beneath a pile of clutter that has transformed your garage into a mystifying and unmanageable mess. Here are five ways you can recover that long-lost space and create the clutter-free car cove you’ve always wanted. 1. Add cabinets to clean up clutter...
How to add more natural light to your home

How to add more natural light to your home

When natural light has the freedom to flow through your home, it not only gives new life to the neglected nooks, corners and crannies throughout your interior space — it provides an all new window into your home’s hidden potential. Adding a little daylight can go a long way toward brightening dark rooms, revitalizing your home’s interior and even recharging your mood. Here are a...

Composite panels becoming popular for alternative shower stalls

Q: Dear Ed, we are remodeling our bathroom to include a walk-in shower. We want to design a custom shower, but do not want to use tile. Do you have any suggestions on how we can build our shower stall using alternative materials? — Mary and Tommy, Florida A: Let’s start from the bottom up. If you’re not going to use tile, usually you need to first choose a premade shower base. Shower...
Vermillionaire cuphea a must have plant for blooms, birds, butterflies

Vermillionaire cuphea a must have plant for blooms, birds, butterflies

Three years ago I wrote an article on cupheas and merely gave casual mention to a variety called Vermillionaire which we had been growing for a year. Now after growing three more years including seven at my home on a rocky red clay hillside in west Georgia, I can say this is a must-have plant. When I say must have you may be thinking that is a pretty strong recommendation. Now in late July, my plants...
Turn your garden into a certified wildlife habitat

Turn your garden into a certified wildlife habitat

Being “certifiable” isn’t always a good thing, but having a garden certified as a wildlife habitat is. Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation works across the country to promote conservation of the natural world. Austin is the home of the South Central Regional Center of NWF, an area that includes 12 states and two territories. In 2009, Austin became a Community Wildlife...
How to clean your outdoor furniture

How to clean your outdoor furniture

You’ve put the finishing touches on your outdoor living area and you’re enjoying Sunday barbecues and evenings relaxing by the fire pit. But are you thinking about the maintenance of your outdoor furniture? Regularly cleaning your outdoor furniture will ensure that it lasts throughout the seasons. And cleaning it right will ensure that you’ll get to enjoy it for many years to come...
This ultra-modern home is like ‘living in a work of art’

This ultra-modern home is like ‘living in a work of art’

Living in her sculptural home, designed by acclaimed Twin Cities architect Charles Stinson, is like “living in a work of art,” according to Victoria Miller. The home’s geometric silhouette is characteristically Stinson with its creative juxtaposition of vertical and horizontal forms. The 5,800-square-foot home, built in 2011, is perched on a bluff overlooking the St. Croix River...

6 solutions for your tough home issues

Ludwig Van Beethoven once declared that “Love, and love alone, is capable of giving thee a happier life.” Come again? Call us shallow, but we are fairly certain that skim-coating your walls can actually give thee a happier life. Or crown molding: Crown molding makes us pretty happy. If you can have those things and love, well, that’s real happiness. A home renovation project, after...
The do’s and don’ts of decorating with gray

The do’s and don’ts of decorating with gray

The color gray is often considered to be drab and gloomy, but the reality is, gray is one of the most versatile colors in home decor. Why? It’s a foundation color that can easily be paired with other colors and can be used for foundation pieces such as sofas, beds and chairs. Use gray to help ground a space, as well as for accents. Looking for ways to use gray in your home? Here are some Design...
Kong Junior, a monster coleus of living color for the garden

Kong Junior, a monster coleus of living color for the garden

It has five years ago most of us first saw Kong Junior coleuses in trials across the country. We liked what we saw but knew we had to get our hands on it to see what it could really become. Now we can all say it is truly a winner and worth of all those accolades. This is a coleus you can truly design around. Five years ago, I was partial to the Kong Junior Lime Vein which is a dark magenta with lime...
Taking aim at scarlet lily beetles; troubleshooting bloomless dogwood

Taking aim at scarlet lily beetles; troubleshooting bloomless dogwood

Q: I’ve been doing battle with scarlet lily beetles, tapping the adults into hot soapy water. I noticed a few blobs on the leaves and assumed they were either bird droppings or mulch that clung after being thrown onto the bed. I happened to scrape off some, and there was a larva underneath. They are the culprits! I got a chopstick and scraped them off into a zipper bag. Sometimes, I just remove...
5 pro tips: How to have a fabulous garden and save money

5 pro tips: How to have a fabulous garden and save money

It’s easy to drop serious cash in a garden supply shop, falling in love with an exotic yucca plant or picking up a bunch of bargain tools. But when the that sun-loving yucca dies in your shady, wet-soil backyard, or that plastic-handled spade breaks the first time you use it, you’ve wasted money, and you’re frustrated. To help you avoid wasting money, garden experts shared common...
Add some silver and gray to your garden for soothing look

Add some silver and gray to your garden for soothing look

A garden infused with color envelops our senses, creating a mood, an ambiance that determines how we feel about the garden and also how we feel in the garden. When summer’s scorching temperatures arrive, I long for something soothing in the landscape. I want to look out into the garden and rest my eyes on cool and serene plants that provide a sense of delicacy and contrast to the hot, bold colors...
Sun Parasol mandevillas celebrate 15 years of tropical flower color

Sun Parasol mandevillas celebrate 15 years of tropical flower color

Fifteen years ago, the Sun Parasol mandevilla made its debut in the country and those of us who were present knew this tropical climber was here to stay. What we didn’t know was that this series giving a tropical magic to the garden would one day feature 21 varieties. We could not have imagined a red and white striped selection, like Stars and Stripes, a soft orange like the Sun Parasol Apricot...
Urban farmers forced off land find new ground to grow

Urban farmers forced off land find new ground to grow

CHICAGO — The wind-whipped rooftop of a converted warehouse in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor might be the last place you’d expect to find fertile farmland, unless you’re Jen Rosenthal, founder and owner of Planted Chicago. “I got my start in farming on the rooftop at Uncommon Ground, the restaurant up in Edgewater,” said Rosenthal. It was the first certified organic...
Modern remodel creates dramatically geometric family home

Modern remodel creates dramatically geometric family home

BELLEVUE, Wash. — On the crest of one of Bellevue’s highest hills, a mesmerizingly modern form rises above treetops, horizontal lines stretching sideways from an exposed double-height stairway of diagonals and zigzags. Floating, glowing, beckoning, there and in the covered entry court: more than a dozen unexpected, suspended spheres. When enticing orbs invite you in, you really should...
Tips for tackling the grossest parts of your home

Tips for tackling the grossest parts of your home

Many of us spend our weekends chasing dirt and grime in our homes — vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing and washing. And no matter what we do, we’re suspicious that we didn’t and will never get it all. The truth is: We’re right. Here’s a look at some of the grossest parts of your home and what you can do to address them. FLOOR Are you a fan of the five-second rule? Turns out...
Designers offer do’s and dont’s for functional kitchens

Designers offer do’s and dont’s for functional kitchens

Your renovation agenda? Enacting a little reform in the kitchen. Our roster of designers has the sage advice to keep you on track. Julia Buckingham: Founder, Buckingham Interiors + Design, Chicago Do take advantage of the latest technology in electrical systems, audiovisual, and mechanicals. Newer systems save time, money, and increase the renovation’s return on investment. The latest trends...
The best colors for fun, festive rooms

The best colors for fun, festive rooms

Whether for a children’s room, family room or a space you’re looking to incorporate bold, vivid looks, a fun and festive color scheme can be a welcomed pick-me-up. Full, bright colors can make a statement and work well blended with neutral colors such as taupe, brown, black and gray. Don’t know where to start? The best springboard is to find an inspiration piece and build a color...
Trip to Iceland renews desire to fill home with beauty

Trip to Iceland renews desire to fill home with beauty

To tell the truth, I wasn’t super excited when Dan told me where he wanted us to travel on our next vacation: Iceland. Dan is the adventurer in our family, always game to zip off to a brand-new place and explore. Any country with the word “ice” in its name made me dubious. To entice me to go, Dan invited my brother Tim, and his wife, Deanna, to join us. With those two along, fun...
A.D. Stenger home reimagined for modern family in West Lake Hills

A.D. Stenger home reimagined for modern family in West Lake Hills

Tom and Amy Brown found a charming West Lake Hills house in 2015 for the next chapter in their family’s life, but the 1961-built home needed an update. The last homeowner had lived there since 1982 and had made some changes, such as adding a wheelchair lift, enclosing a carport and adding carpet in the driveway. “It was very dated,” says Paul Streeter, owner of Camelot Custom Homes...
Hurricane season is also standby generator season

Hurricane season is also standby generator season

Q: Ed: Aside from plumbing issues, I enjoy your bonus columns about installing standby generators. I lost my electrical power for days earlier this year due to heavy snowstorms. Now that hurricane weather is here I want to have my own generator installed. Can you please repeat your famous five steps for standby generator installations? — Kevin, Rhode Island A: I get a request for my standby...
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