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Home & Garden


How to renovate a home on a budget

Sat, 11 Nov 2017 12:00:00 UT

To renovate a fixer-upper on a budget, a couple rolled up their sleeves and hit the Internet. Here's what they learned.

10 Inventive Kitchen Backsplashes

Sun, 29 Oct 2017 11:00:00 UT

One of the ways to make a big impression in the kitchen is by choosing a creative backsplash.

11 Ways to Decorate with Outdoor String Lights

Sat, 7 Oct 2017 11:00:00 UT

Create a fun outdoor space, with a timeless look.

High-end Silicon Valley home has striking views

Mon, 2 Oct 2017 20:10:54 UT

Architect Robert Swatt adores hillsides. The principal at Swatt/Miers Architects looks at each incline and downslope as an opportunity to marry nature and design. His latest project in the Los Altos hills is an example of Silicon Valley grandeur on full display. Here, high-tech amenities and luxurious finishes abound within a gracious floor plan totaling around 10,000 square feet. It’s a prime example of Swatt designing a space that blur the lines between indoors and out. “Each building is knitted to a site in a way that almost seems inevitable, to create exciting spatial experiences,” Swatt said.

Relaxing oasis in the hills of Marin County is perfect for entertaining

Mon, 2 Oct 2017 20:00:26 UT

Wander the hills of Marin County to discover a four-bedroom oasis on a cul-de-sac in San Anselmo. Located at 1 Freda Lane, this hillside residence enjoys abundant natural light, a shimmering pool, a cabana and views of Mount Tamalpais. For a couple of years, it’s been Gabriella Ascione’s refuge. Now the San Franciscan is moving on and putting the luxury retreat on the market. Saying goodbye is never easy, and Ascione will miss the early evenings most of all. “It’s simply magical right before sunset when you have the cool breeze and you’re overlooking the trails and San Anselmo hills,” she said.

Luxurious cabin in mountains of Lake Tahoe features reclaimed timber

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 17:18:05 UT

Sometimes starting over is the best option. That’s why architect Todd Gordon Mather called for a total teardown and rebuild of 3960 Belleview Ave. in Homewood, rather than try and renovate the ramshackle cottage near the western shore of Lake Tahoe. “At some point you have to say ‘scrape it’ because it will cost more to try and fix it than to do it all over again correctly,” said Mather, principal of TGM Architect in Tahoe City. “In this case, it was better for the clients to pull the plug and cut losses, and go brand-new and get what they really wanted.” Originally built in the 1930s, the structure had fallen on hard times when a Napa couple bought the home in 2006.

Make a memorable pathway with paving stones and plants

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:24:12 UT

Using paving stones as an alternate walkway or to add attractive hardscaping to a garden is now commonplace in many a garden. In many cases, that raises the issue of what to plant between those pavers, and here is where the elements of beauty and practicality intersect. There are many ground covers to choose from; fortunately, there are ways to narrow down those choices. A good plant for paving stones should do three things: It should stay very low and not grow quickly. A plant much taller than the paving stones is going to obscure them and/or just look odd.

7-bedroom Tudor showcases ‘warmth, stunning craftsmanship and character’

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 19:04:55 UT

The landmark estate sits along Orinda Country Club, and Roaring ‘20s grandeur is on full display inside the charming Tudor. “It has been extensively updated and showcases incredible warmth, stunning craftsmanship and character,” said Dana Green of Pacific Union Real Estate, who is listing 27 La Noria for $4.75 million. The grounds afford panoramic vistas of the surrounding region, a verdant oasis of tree-studded hills. Solid-core doors and hand-hewn open-beam ceilings represent some of the fine Douglas fir finishes found throughout the home. Dual seating areas offer the oversize living room plenty of space for gathering and entertaining. A mini brick backsplash rests behind the range, and the kitchen hosts a built-in spice rank, dual dishwashers and a pair of sinks. Custom cabinetry accents the eat-in kitchen as the adjoining media area includes a built-in desk. Leaded glass also appears in the master suite, this time in a French door opening to a private deck. Upgraded last year, the bathroom offers dual vanities, a soaking tub and a stall shower with rainfall head. Built in 1928, this seven-bedroom with more than 5,000 square feet of living space sits atop a 0.8-acre estate. Connecticut Bluestone patios surround the listing that includes a detached pool house with a similar design and material palette.

Contemporary living at Potrero's ‘jewel on the hill’

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 23:33:46 UT

[...] a corner home in Potrero Hill became a signature party house for decorator to the stars. The interior is a lasting legacy of designer Larry Masnada, the prominent ’80s artisan who fashioned pads for Mel Brooks, Frank Sinatra, and Diane Sawyer. Believed to be the first home built in the neighborhood, the corner residence owes its existence to diary owner Charles Dow. There’s leather on the stainless steel vanities and a circular shower. The kitchen’s glossy aesthetic draws comparisons to sleek European kitchens. The flowing design of the public rooms ushers guests toward the pool patio in this warmer section of San Francisco. The main level a floor above includes a pair of bedrooms opposite the living and dining rooms. Drawings for transforming the attic into a full upper level offer a glimpse into further development potential. The garage level — with its full bathroom, bedroom and own entrance — stands out as an turnkey income stream. The design shows an abundance of thought into daily living as a bathroom with sliding glass doors off the patio invites a shower before coming inside from the pool. A pair of sinks complement this sleek space and pairs with the handleless cabinetry and the cooktop’s stainless steel backsplash. The far end of the eat-in kitchen features a breakfast area with a built-in office nook. A gourmet kitchen features a built-in cooktop, dual ovens and sunroom windows.

Pro tips for decorating a bungalow house

Tue, 30 May 2017 23:00:08 UT

San Francisco summers might be grey and gloomy, but all you need to channel those sunny California vibes is the right decor.

7 smart ideas for a low-water yard

Sat, 6 May 2017 11:04:00 UT

Keep your garden looking great, while making smart choices for your house — and the environment.

The Santa Cruz garden that launched a movement

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 19:00:00 UT

The Alan Chadwick Garden at UC Santa Cruz received a splendid gift for its 50th birthday this year — more than 5 feet of seasonal rainfall, courtesy of Mother Nature. The result has been an epic spring bloom, just as the university kicks off a yearlong celebration of the historic garden, the Agroecology training program it inspired, and the worldwide organic movement it helped to birth. Creating a pioneering training program in organic agriculture was not part of the university’s plan when Chancellor Dean McHenry approved a garden project in 1967. Faculty proposed building a UCSC Student Garden, a place that would bring students together for healthful social activity. “Dean McHenry was a farm boy himself, and he loved the idea of a garden,” said Paul Lee, a professor of philosophy at the time, and one of the garden’s earliest advocates. A former Shakespearean actor, Chadwick was a lanky, sun-leathered figure crowned with a towering blond pompadour. From its beginning the 3-acre garden was a radical rebuke to the Green Revolution, rejecting not only pesticides and herbicides, but the entire worldview that reduced nature to a tool of progress. Chadwick introduced students — and North America — to the French Intensive method, a rigorous revival of traditional European kitchen gardening. The French Intensive method enriched the soil with compost and cover crops, fluffed the earth with double digging, and encouraged a mad diversity of crops, pollinators and beneficial insects. Everything was meticulously hand-dug, planted and weeded, and woe betide the careless student who compressed the soil by stepping into a raised planting bed. Chadwick taught by example, demonstrating how to spread compost, transplant seedlings, prune a tree — then allowing students to follow suit. In 1971, at Chadwick’s request, the university allowed the garden program to expand to the Farm, a separate 30-acre plot across campus. Chadwick left UCSC in 1972, moving on to found other influential organic gardens, most famously the Green Gulch Farm at the Zen Center in Marin County, where he is now buried. More than 1,500 apprentices from the Chadwick Garden, UCSC’s Farm and Agroecology programs have since fanned out across the globe, working to bend the trajectory of the world’s food systems toward sustainability. To this day, visitors can spy inspirational poetry hand-lettered on whitewashed stakes, including a poem by Gary Snyder: Just past UC Santa Cruz’s main entrance at Bay and High Streets is a kiosk where you can buy a parking permit (no permit required on weekends or after 5 p.m.). Walk on the gravel road that parallels the paved bike path, enter farm at the wooden entrance gate. Do not walk on the paved path, which carries high-speed downhill bike traffic. Learn about the education, research and outreach work taking place through the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems. In recognition of the garden’s 50th anniversary, Outstanding in the Field will hold an amazing alfresco dinner at the UCSC Farm’s Ocean View field, overlooking Monterey Bay. First 50 Celebration: Three days of events combining speakers, workshops, tours, and music, with local food and mingling with stalwarts of the sustainable agriculture community.

Designer Profile: Unique lights, fabrics will make a bold statement this spring

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 22:11:12 UT

Designer Suzanne Tucker, co-founder of San Francisco’s Tucker & Marks Design, recently launched new designs and finishes to her outdoor furniture line. The weatherproof finishes are dyed to mimic the random color schemes inherent to real wicker. A sofa, coffee table, dining table and ottoman are among the Riviera’s furniture selections. In addition to operating a design firm and launching her own product lines, Tucker also lectures on incorporating antiques, textiles, decorative arts and various finishes within a home. Pablo, maker of some of most sought-after modern light fixtures in San Francisco and beyond, offers a solution in the form of an LED lantern with surround sound speakers and Bluetooth connectivity. The UMA Sound Lantern debuted last year and already earned a myriad of awards including Azure Magazine People’s Choice Award, the 2016 Good Design Award Australia and the 2017 German Design Award. Venezuelan-born industrial engineer Pablo Pardo founded his namesake firm in 1993, and the brand continues to turn heads and win acclaim for its innovative designs that marry artistry and functionality. The Solis Drum Pendant features laser-cut polyester fabric joined by aluminum rings, allowing the shade to hang under tension. An LED dome diffuser spans the diameter of the top ring, radiating light down and sideways to cast shimmering warm patterns wherever it’s placed.

Getaway: Floor-to-ceiling luxury awaits in 36th floor penthouse above Las Vegas Strip

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 18:43:48 UT

[...] meticulous planning earned Veer Towers gold certification from Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. A split-level floor plan separates the bedroom suites, affording considerable privacy in the contemporary building. Towers in the middle of a desert do not receive much protection from the sun, so designers focused their efforts on absorbing and deflecting light. Yellow screens peppered across the building’s eastern, southern and western facades combat the sun while providing the towers with a dramatic checkerboard aesthetic. The permeable layer helps cool the buildings by allowing heat to escape, while natural light provides most of the illumination necessary. No ‘theming’ but architecture based on urban responsibility, functional efficiency, simple and elegant form, technical refinement and environmental responsibility. World-class dining and entertainment await on all sides and the unit’s floor-to-ceiling windows frame 270-degree views. Gaggenau appliances outfit the chef’s kitchen as sandstone flooring spans the residence. Each bedroom within the split-level floor plan includes an en suite spa bathroom and the penthouse includes a powder room as well.

Luxury NoPa penthouse boasts expansive terrace

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 18:27:55 UT

“The NoPa achieves a new level of modern sophistication and urban luxury in one of San Francisco’s most coveted neighborhoods,” said Bernie Katzmann of Vanguard Properties, who is co-listing the penthouse at 1811 Turk St. with fellow Vanguard agent Mike Shaw. Dolomite counters and slab backsplashes soften the stainless steel appliances. The robust stone provides visual punch against the sleek, shiny white cabinetry. A 20-inch-deep soaking tub is in the penthouse’s other bathroom, ensuring that guests experience luxurious amenities as well. The listing includes parking and bicycle storage, as well as solar panels and in-unit laundry. Cat-6 wiring supports the security system and audiovisual components, while a gas fire pit calls for company on cold nights — especially when music wafting from the deck’s speakers sets the mood. Natural light provides much of the home’s illumination, though designer fixtures teeming with LEDs await their opportunity to shine. Wide tiles lining the terrace underscore the abundance of private outdoor space. The bustling community of boutiques, commuters, tech workers and plenty of dining spots surrounds the Divisadero Corridor. Features: A wraparound deck awaits on three sides of this two-bedroom penthouse crowning a chic and sunny seven-unit development in NoPa. Located in the Divisadero Corridor near Alamo Square Park’s Painted Ladies, public transportation, boutique shops and plenty of dining spots. The penthouse’s 38-foot-wide deck offers landmark vistas beside built-in planter boxes and a gas fire pit.