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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    Back in 1996, San Francisco architect Olle Lundberg responded to a classified ad about a property in Cazadero, CA (population: 354). Little did he and his wife, Mary Breuer, realize they were embarking on a project that would consume countless hours and mountains of scavenged materials. Nor could they have dreamed that they would still be at it so many years later. As Lundberg cheerfully confirms, "It will never be done."

    The site is 16 pristine acres in Sonoma County, two hours north of San Francisco and surrounded by redwoods. The land in the vicinity lacks water and will never be developed. "We couldn't really afford it," Lundberg says, "but we fell in love with it and bought it anyway."  An uncompleted cabin provided a starting point for the house that Lundberg designed and built with his own hands, occasionally helped by friends and employees. Since his company, Lundberg Design, was thriving in the city, he only had weekends to work on the cabin. He and Breuer slept in a tent in the living room until the roof was finished. 

    Photography courtesy of Lundberg Design except where noted. 

    Olle Lundberg cabin Sonoma ; Gardenista

     Above: The cabin may be small—less than 1,000 square feet plus a 1,500-square-foot deck—but it has become the site of countless unexpected refinements. Photograph by J.D. Peterson.


    Above: One reason the work has progressed slowly is that Lundberg insists on the perfect materials—often industrial discards found in unlikely places. The swimming pool, for example, is a former livestock watering tank made of virgin-growth redwood which Lundberg says could be 80 years old. It was a major undertaking to dismantle the tank and truck it in sections from a client's ranch to the cabin. Photograph by Alan Owings.


    Above: The pool is 25 feet in diameter and 14 feet deep, not ideal for laps but great for diving. It's beloved by Lundberg's dogs, especially his black Lab. Photograph by Angkana Kurutach.


     Above: The industrial steel sash windows in the cabin were salvaged from various remodeling jobs. Photograph by J.D. Peterson.

    Lundberg cabin Sonoma ; Gardenista

    Above: Interior walls are covered in thin strips of Montana white pine; the exterior siding is reclaimed redwood. The firewood holder was custom-designed for the cabin.

    Olle Lundberg cabin kitchen Sonoma ; Gardenista

    Above: Lundberg and Breuer entertain a lot; the open-plan kitchen puts everything in easy reach.

      Olle Lundberg cabin Sonoma pizza oven ; Gardenista

    Above: There's also an outdoor kitchen, with a cement pizza oven, a tandoor, and a cooking hearth.

      Lundberg cabin garden ; Gardenista

    Above: One of the first things Lundberg installed was a garden, figuring that Breuer could grow tomatoes while he was busy building. At first a simple vegetable patch, it has since expanded to 5,000 square feet. Besides flower beds, there's an orchard where Breuer grows figs, apples, apricots, olives, lemons, grapefruit, and the weirdly shaped Buddha's Hand, a citrus fruit that Lundberg candies and uses to garnish desserts and cocktails. Photograph by J.D. Peterson.


    Above: Lundberg also built a combination greenhouse and office nearby for Breuer. A sliding door between the two spaces makes it easy for her to tend her heirloom tomato seedlings and lettuce plants while working. Photograph by Olle Lundberg.


    Above: To make the design of the greenhouse harmonize with that of the cabin, Lundberg built a shed-style roof—but reworked it with standing seam glass. Photograph by Olle Lundberg.

    Lundberg cabin office channel glass ; Gardenista

    Above: The result is a jewel-like glass box in the midst of the forest. Photograph by Olle Lundberg.

    Olle Lundberg cabin pool sonoma ; Gardenista

    Above: Using the cabin as a laboratory for new techniques, Lundberg installed a biological filter for the pool. The technology, developed in Europe, involves creating an artificial wetland with plants to clean the pool, thus eliminating the need for chemicals. Photograph by Alan Owings.


    Above: It's easy to imagine that Lundberg would revel in being able to design whatever he wants, free of clients' desires and demands. He doesn't see it that way, though. Architecture is always a collaboration, he says, and in this case it's one between him and his wife. Fortunately, their tastes are similar. Photograph by Mark Seelan.

    Olle Lundberg cabin Sonoma deck ; Gardenista

    Above: What's different about this project, he says, is that it gives him the "Zen experience" of building it himself. There's also the luxury of time. The next project will be a guest house, "but we're not in any rush." 

    To see cabins designed by members of the Remodelista Architect and Designer Directory, check out 10 Summer Cabins and The Ultimate Creekside Cabin, one of our favorites in northern California.  

    It's not too late to enter your garden in Gardenista's 2014 Considered Design Awards! Just get your submission in by midnight tonight. Find the entry form here.

    2014 Considered Design Awards; Gardenista

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  • 07/07/14--11:30: Field Guide: Cosmos
  • Cosmos, Cosmos bipinnatus: "Mexican Aster"

    With their perfectly ordered petals arranged around golden centers, cosmos flowers look a bit like planets radiating around the sun. It's easy to see why Spanish priests, who grew these flowers in their mission gardens, named them after the Greek word kosmos, meaning order, ornament, and world

    Field Guide: Cosmos ; Gardenista

    Above: For more, see images of Cosmos in our Gardenista Gallery.

    Cosmos have familiar daisy-like centers, but beyond that they’re anything but ordinary. While some do have traditional petals, others have petals that are frilled, tubular, double, and ruffled. Once the plants get going, they'll bloom their heads off from summer until frost, so they're perfect cutting flowers. Depending on variety, the plants can reach heights of 8 feet and diameters of 2½ feet (though many popular varieties top out at 4 feet). 

    Cosmos Sonata White container plant ; Gardenista

    Above: Cosmos 'Sonata White' makes an excellent container plant. Photograph via Sarah Raven.

    They’re gorgeous in mixed borders, to fill empty spots, and in veggie gardens where they’ll attract bees to help pollinate your edibles.

    Cheat Sheet

    • Cosmos comes in shades of white, red, pink, violet, peach, orange, and yellow
    • It's a versatile annual that will fill late summer holes in flower borders
    • Lacy foliage makes it a good companion to dahlias, nasturtiums, and low-growing ornamental grasses
    • Will remain unwilted in a hot, sunny border if you keep it watered

    Keep It Alive

    • An annual that self-sows freely, cosmos also attracts pollinators
    • Deadhead it regularly to keep it blooming, but leave a few spent flowers to allow it to self-sow
    • Suitable for all US growing zones

    White cosmos wildflower annual ; Gardenista

    Above: Because cosmos grows so easily from seed, it's a popular component of many guerrilla gardeners' Seed Bomb Mixes. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.

    Sow seeds indoors, four to six weeks before your last frost date in spring, or directly in a sunny garden spot after danger of frost has passed. Since the plants can be top-heavy when they start to bloom, it's best to grow them in groups—a little closer together than the often-recommended 2 feet apart—so they can support each other. While they want regular water early on, they'll survive on much less as they mature. Deadhead flowers to help keep blooms coming, but leave a few spent blooms so that the plants can self-sow.

    Cosmos growing wild ; Gardenista

    Above: These natives of Mexico get along just fine with very little care. They’re easy to grow from seed, actually prefer poor soil, and need nothing more than regular deadheading to keep looking good. 

    Read More:

    For more easy-to-grow cutting flowers, see our Wildflowers and Wedding Flowers archives. Want to grow your own? See 10 Tips for Growing Cutting Flowers from Barberry Hill Farm.

    It's not too late to enter your garden in Gardenista's 2014 Considered Design Awards! Just get your submission in by midnight tonight. Find the entry form here.

    2014 Considered Design Awards; Gardenista  

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    Entries to our second annual Considered Design Awards are due by midnight Pacific time tonight, Monday July 7. 

    Here's what's required: Just upload as many as six photos of your project, with captions, and complete a simple entry form. Enter here.

    So far, these professional categories have the fewest submissions:

    • Best Professional Landscape
    • Best Garden Shed or Outbuilding (Open to Professionals)
    • Best Edible Garden (Open to All)

    Our lightest amateur categories are:

    • Best Edible Garden (Open to All)
    • Best Overall Garden (Amateur)

    See below for the full list of categories for both Gardenista and Remodelista. And please share this graphic on your social networks to help spread the word. 

    We can't wait to see your projects!


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    I think I probably would have bought my house in Mill Valley, CA, even if Linda didn't live next door. Or if she hadn't been the sort of gardener who turns a dusty rectangle of dirt into a mossy enchanted hobbit land. But both things helped.

    Before I owned the house, I kept going over to nervously inspect its 1920s wiring and all that dry rot—was buying it a big mistake?—and there was Linda in her sun hat, watering her roses. One day she put down the hose and offered a comment as she surveyed my overgrown front yard: "I can tell that someone who loved gardening used to live in your house." 

    That's pretty much all I need to know about a house to love it. Soon after, my husband and I started cutting back the vines and, like archaeologists on a dig, discovered the skeleton of an old garden underneath: rambling paths and bluebells. 

    The trick, Linda says, is to find the garden your house is meant to have. When she bought her place in 2008, "it was a brand-new spec house," she remembers. "The builder had made a path of wood chips and stuck some plants in gallon pots into the hardpan." 

    You would not know this now. Linda's garden has dappled sunlight from an old oak tree and her Japanese maples. There are ferns and hellebores and geraniums and roses: just enough flowers in bloom to tempt little girls to pick posies. "If you want to take photos of the garden," she warned me the other day, "you'd better get here before my granddaughters. They love nothing more than to make floral arrangements for fairies and other special beings."

    We rushed over:

    Photography by Tom Kubik for Gardenista.

    Woodland garden gate Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: I rarely walk past Linda's place without peeking over the fence. The first thing she did after moving in was to replace a flimsy gate with a heavy old wood one, and swap out the wood-chip path for flagstones. "I love stones," she says, and by that she means individually, for their personalities and quirks.

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: Among her favorite stones are large boulders covered with lichen and moss, which she bought from American Soil & Stone in San Francisco's East Bay and placed around the garden.

    She mulches with fir bark from Berkeley Horticultural Nursery. "You can use it as compost, or as a planting medium, too," she says.

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: The walk from the front gate to the stoop is only about 30 feet, but on the way you go past so much—a hydrangea grove, lemon trees, fragrant roses, Japanese maples, columbine, wisteria, herbs—that it can take days to get there if you stop to smell everything.

    Woodland garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: On the front stoop: potted plants, including daisies and nasturtiums, take advantage of a sunny spot.

    Columbine water sprinkler irrigation Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: The sprinklers come on in the late afternoon, to the columbine's delight.

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: A panel of rickety old fence (salvaged from the original fence that separated my yard from Linda's) has a second life as a trellis for sweet peas and other climbers.

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: A path beneath an oak tree on the side of the house leads to Linda's fern garden. On the right: a rose that has no business blooming in such a shady spot.

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: And yet it perseveres. The fragrant 'Pat Austin' rose can be trained as either a shrub or a climber. Linda is letting hers decide which it wants to be.

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: On a hot sunny day (like this one), Linda's garden feels 10 degrees cooler. 

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: In back of the house, on a narrow deck outside the kitchen, Linda runs a "plant hospital" for anything that's ailing. If a garden plant looks droopy, she'll pot it and put it on a shelf where she can fuss over it until it feels better.

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: When Linda moved here the view from the kitchen was bleak, nothing but a tall fence a few feet from the window. "I was quite depressed by it," she says. "The kitchen was all black granite and stainless steel, very masculine."

    Looking out at the fence, she got an idea: "What might help is some boards from the hardware store so I can put plants on them."

    The result was a few simple shelves made of redwood planks supported by cement blocks. The setup has grown over the years, and now the view from the kitchen window is a crazy quilt of color. Last year Linda installed drip irrigation so she no longer has to hand-water every pot.

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: Poppies and succulents.

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: A window box is mounted outside Linda's kitchen window.

    Woodland shade garden Mill Valley Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: Linda's front door is guarded by a begonia in bloom. Until those granddaughters arrive.

    I spend a lot of time snooping around my neighbors' Mill Valley gardens. For more of my favorites, see A Modern CA Garden Inspired by the Classics and Rehab Diaries: Rescuing a 100-Year-Old Garden.

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    Creative director Sarah Samuel, who blogs at Smitten Studio, recently revamped the patio at her house in LA. We're smitten by its modern bohemian vibe. If you like it too, here's how you can recreate the look:

    Smitten Studio Built-In Patio Lounge | Gardenista

    Above: Sarah and her husband made the built-in benches, using leftover scraps from their home renovation for the frames and covering them with stained redwood.  

    Patio Lounge Built by Smitten Studio | Gardenista

    Above: Then they added the furnishings, a comfortable mix of retail and vintage finds. 

    Benjamin Moore Gravel Gray paint; Gardenista

    Above: Before they started to build the seating, Sarah applied a dark gray paint to the cinderblock walls surrounding the patio. Benjamin Moore's Gravel Gray, a similar shade, is one of our favorite choices for exterior paint. See more of our color picks at Shades of Gray: Architects Pick the 10 Best Exterior Gray Paints

    Red Enamel Vintage Fireplace | Gardenista

    Above: To cut the chill in off-season evenings, Sarah found a Red Enamel 1960s Freestanding Fireplace; $950 at Surfing Cowboys, which still has similar models available.

    West Elm Outdoor Dhurrie | Gardenista

    Above: Sarah covered the rough cement floor and tied the space together with a Tierra Outdoor Dhurrie. Made entirely of recycled plastic bottles, it's on sale for $599.99 at West Elm for the 9-by-12-foot size. For more about it (and a few rules of thumb for choosing a rug), see Help Me Choose an Outdoor Rug.

    Bench Pillow | Gardenista  

    Above: Rectangular Outdoor Bench Cushions are $60 at Home Decorators Collection, a good source for cushions in whatever size and shape you need.

    Rectangle Kilim Pillow on Etsy | Gardenista

    Above: Sarah found most of her colorful handwoven Kilim Pillows ($50-$100) at the Pillows Store on Etsy. 

    White Wire Chair | Gardenista

    Above: The white wire chairs that Sarah bought from HD Buttercup are sold out, but you'll find a similar set of Whitworth Outdoor Dining Chairs on Amazon at $427.83 for two. 

    Tulip Table with Walnut Top | Gardenista

    Above: A Tulip Table (modeled after the Eero Saarinen original) is $270 when ordered through Home Click.

    Round Wooden Slab Table Rotsen Furniture | Gardenista

    Above: To create another seating area, Sarah added a wood-slab coffee table and surrounded it with floor pillows. The Victoria Round Wood Slab Coffee Table can be made to order at Rotsen Furniture; contact them for details.

    Large Brass Bowl | Gardenista

    Above: For serving food, the Pinch Large Bowl (about 10 inches in diameter, and made of electroplated stainless steel) is $14.95 at CB2. 

    Banana Fiber Pillow from Ikea | Gardenista

    Above: The Alseda Banana-Fiber Stool can be stacked to create additional seating; $29.99 each at Ikea. 

    Sarah Samuel isn't just designing patios. Last week, we wrote about our favorite item in her creative line of modern "picnic-ware" that looks vintage; see Trend Alert: The New Classic Picnic Basket.

    We source the ingredients for another modern outdoor space at Steal This Look: A Silvery Blue Palette in Austin, TX. For indoor spaces, see Remodelista's archive of Steal This Look posts.  

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    One rule of thumb when buying outdoor furnishings: Metal looks good against a backdrop of green plants, but wood looks good anywhere. Enter our old friend teak. Here are five weather-resistant teak classics for the patio (we've sourced both investment pieces and budget-friendly versions):

    teak folding stool DWR ; Gardenista

    Above: In 1985, Dansk tableware designer Jens Quistgaard created a Teak Folding Stool using untreated wood that develops a silvery patina over time. It measures 17.4 inches tall; $299 from Design Within Reach. 

      folding teak stools ; Gardenista

    Above: High and low: At left is the Jens Quistgaard Teak Folding Stool; $299 from Design Within Reach. A Rekal X-Stool (R) is slightly shorter at 17 inches high; it weighs 10 pounds and folds to a depth of 2 inches for storage; currently on sale for $50 from Bhome Bandon.

    Teak dining table Barlow Tyrie ; Gardenista

    Above: The iconic Parsons Table—which has square legs of the same thickness as its tabletop, however big or small the table—was the serendipitous outcome of an exchange between French modernist designer Jean-Michel Frank and his students at the Parsons Paris School of Design in the 1930s. Or so the story goes: After Frank challenged his class to create a simple design that would look good in any finish or color, a janitor constructed a prototype to display at a student exhibition. 

    Now a ubiquitous design, the Parsons Table's proportions make it an easy companion to nearly any other furniture style. Inspired by the original, a Barlow Tyrie Apex Teak Table with a slatted top measures 82 3/4 inches long by a generous 46 3/4 inches wide and is 29 1/4 inches high; $4,299 from All Modern.

    Hampton teak outdoor dining table from Teak Warehouse; Gardenista

    Above: A heavy-duty Hampton Teak Outdoor Dining Table measures 78 inches long by 39 inches wide and 29 inches high; on sale for $1,395 from Teak Warehouse.

    High Low Teak planter boxes ; Gardenista

    Above: As Janet put it in a recent 10 Easy Pieces, a major virtue of square wooden planters is that they're "free of fuss or filigree." Here are high-low versions of two 28-inch-square planters: (L) a Studio Planter With Commercial Grade Liner and interlocking corners ($1,090 from Country Casual) and a Teak Tree Planter Box with tongue-and-groove joinery ($447.52 from Teak Planter). 

    Teak Steamer Deck Chair ; Gardenista

    Above: From Danish furniture-maker Skagerak, a reclining teak Steamer Deck Chair measures 64.2 inches long by 22.8 inches wide by 39.4 inches high; it's $799 from Horne.

    Amazon teak steamer chair ; Gardenista

    Above: A Teak Classic Steamer Chair by D-Art Collection with brass hardware also reclines; it measures 59 inches long by 24 inches wide by 37 inches high; $332.39 from Amazon.

      teak adirondack chairs ; Gardenista

    Above: What makes the classic Adirondack chair the perfect spot for a nap? It's the gently sloped back, the wide armrests, and the low-slung seat; all conspire to make you very sleepy. A Barlow Tyrie Adirondack Chair (L) has a fan-shaped back and a generously proportioned seat that's 38 inches deep; available for $989. A Salter Adirondack Chair (R) is 36 inches deep; $485 for a DIY kit from Arthur Lauer.

    For the history of the Adirondack chair, see Object Lessons: The Adirondack Chair on Remodelista and Shop all our Outdoor Furniture picks for end-of-season sales.

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    Every summer we went to the lake—four kids under the age of eight piled in the backseat, bickering about whose turn it was to sit by the window and threatening each other with Indian rope burns for the entire six-hour drive as my father grimly piloted the Buick. When we made that final turn and saw the cottage framed by tall pines, my mother always said, "Well, thank Christ" fervently (explosively, really) in a way I thought was overkill. Until I had children.

    When my girls were small—three kids under the age of nine—we went every year to the Adirondacks, where we stayed at a rich man's 19th-century hunting camp that had been turned into a lovably scruffy resort called The Hedges. It was the sort of place where cabins had names (ours was "The Coop") and there were rocking chairs on the porch at the lodge, jigsaw puzzles and cold soda in the office, and tetherball on the lawn. The family that had owned the place since 1972 served two meals a day at long tables in the dining room—and you could order $5 sack lunches to take on canoe trips. Thank Christ.

    The Hedges on Blue Mountain Lake; window reflection; Gardenista

    Above: I think now that going to the lake each year may have saved my sanity, and that of my mother, during those endless, exhausting years when the children were small and it seemed unlikely the adults would ever again go to a movie or read a book. Everything was different at the lake—time was infinite and lazy, and we barely saw the children except at meals or when they needed an adult to quell an Indian rope burn attack. Image via Trip Advisor.

    The Hedges on Blue Mountain Lake; ring toss game; Gardenista

    Above: The highlight of the week was the ring toss contest, for which our friends' son Gabe practiced for hours every evening. The year Gabe was eight, or maybe nine, he would have won, except for a persnickety older gentleman we nicknamed the Silk Assassin. Every year—all the guests at the Hedges seemed to return faithfully, by the way—the Silk Assassin would smoothly knock off all comers. Image via Trip Advisor.

    The Hedges on Blue Mountain Lake; dock and lake view; Gardenista

    Above: In those years, the food at The Hedges was very bad—the menu was a marvel of parsimonious high-WASP frugality, featuring such entrees as pressed turkey and canned corn niblets. But the old hunting lodges were faithfully preserved and maintained in a style the Palm Beach Post once described as "rustically elegant lakeside resort." Then, about 10 years ago, The Hedges changed owners. The last time we were there, the food was far better and the decor had veered toward dried-flower centerpieces.

    Above: When it rained—two or three days a week, on average, every August—we all piled into cars and headed to Long Lake, to watch for seaplanes and to shop at Hoss's, which is hands-down the best variety store in America. We bought wool blankets and watercolor paint sets and bird guides and maple candy and balsa-wood airplane kits and tiny flashlights and trucker hats. Image by Anna Liisa, via Flickr.

    Above: Canoes for rent from Blue Mountain Lake Boat Livery. Image via Suzanne Kelleher, via Flickr.

    Above: At night, while the kids played horseshoes or flashlight tag, the rest of us settled back into the same chairs where we'd spent the afternoon reading Trollope or Turow, to watch the night fall over the lake, the lake, the constant lake. Image via Trip Advisor.


    View Larger Map

    Above: The Hedges is on Hedges Road (intersects with Route 28) in Blue Mountain Lake, NY. For more information, see The Hedges

    Craving the rustic cabin life? Find more Gardenista posts at Cottage & Cabins.

    This is an update of a post originally published July 30, 2012.

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    Technically a teepee is shaped like a cone, but we're willing to expand the definition to include any peaked pyramid shape, whether it has a square floor or a round one. Here are 10 we'd love to camp out in this summer (even if it's only in the backyard).

    Minam River Lodge Teepee Erin Boyle | Gardenista

     Above: Guests at the Minam River Lodge in northeast Oregon's Eagle Cap Wilderness can stay in a traditional teepee, which even has a fire inside for chilly nights.

      Canvas Teepee Tent ; Gardenista

    Above: Suitable for camping or backyard sleepovers, Handmade Canvas Range Tent made of 100% cotton comes with a zippered flap, oak stakes, and steel-fitted Douglas fir poles. The base measures 7 by 9 feet (the height is adjustable); it is $619 from Kaufmann Mercantile.

    Pyramid miner's tent | Gardenista

    Above: A Pyramid Tent comes in four colors (white, tan, suntan, and gray) and has a skeleton of reinforcement webbing to prevent sagging. The tents are made in canvas in two sizes, with prices starting at $430 (the optional teepee-style oval door, shown here, is $75; a screen window is an additional $135). For more information, see Tentsmiths.

      Paintable children's canvas backyard teepee | Gardenista

    Above: A six-paneled Paintable Great Plains Tent is designed for backyard play. It comes in three sizes, ranging from a 6-foot teepee (which is 4 feet tall inside) to a 12-foot teepee (with an interior height of 9 feet). Prices range from $194.90 to $519.90 from Rosenberry Rooms.

    House Inhabit Etsy Shop Teepee | Gardenista

    Above: House Inhabit on Etsy sells Fold Away Teepees that range in height from 5 to 6 feet; $150 for the 6-foot size.

    Beckel canvas miner's tent | Gardenista

    Above: Stable in high winds because it has no vertical sides, a canvas Miner Tent comes in two sizes and can be customized with windows and a stove-pipe hole; prices start at $290 from Beckel Canvas Products. Photograph via Made Collection.

    Teepee tent with red trim | Gardenista

    Above: Designed for sleepovers, a Red Trim Teepee is 60 inches square and 85 inches high (blue and gray trim are also available). Recommended for indoor use, it's not weatherproof (but we might sneak it outdoors for one night in nice weather). Made of cotton canvas with an aluminum frame; $249 from Pottery Barn Kids.

    8 Foot Canvas Teepee from Etsy | Remodelista

    Above: The Giant 8-Foot Canvas Teepee with bamboo poles is $195 from PlayHaven on Etsy.

    Canvas Tipi | Gardenista

    Above: Custom-made symmetrical Canvas Tipis have triple-stitched covers for durability. Available in diameters ranging from 10 to 30 feet; for prices and more information see Porcupine Canvas.

    Range tent camping teepee | Gardenista

    Above: With sewn-in vinyl floors, pyramidal Range Tents keep belongings (and campers) dry. The Army duck canvas tents come in three standard sizes; have screened windows and doors, A-frame pole sets and five stakes; and are built to withstand the weather: They're waterproof and mildew- and fire-resistant. Prices start at $749 for an 8-by-8-foot tent. For more information, see Cowboy Camp.

    Spending a night or more in the woods? Prepare by reading all our posts on Camping (we have a few things to say on the subjects of Classic Oil Lanterns and How to Stay Alive in the Woods). And on Remodelista, check out Camping Gets Glamorous: Shelter Co. in California.

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    Summertime shouldn't be synonymous with the pungent smell of mothballs, but for anyone lucky enough to have a summer house, it too often is. People use mothballs to protect woolen clothes and blankets in winter storage from being eaten by moths, and the mothball odor tends to linger in cottages, suitcases, and other places that are only used part of the year.

    Here's how mothballs work: Solid chemicals—usually napthalene or paradichlorobenzene—are formed into marble-sized balls. The chemicals slowly become gas when exposed to air. That toxic gas kills wool-eating moths—and makes everything in the vicinity stink to high heavens.

    The National Pesticide Information Center tells us not to use mothballs outdoors because they can contaminate soil, plants, and water; harm wildlife; and pollute the air. If mothballs aren't safe for Mother Nature, I'm guessing they're not safe for me. 

    The good news is that herbs can keep moths away from your woolens just as effectively. With this simple DIY, you can swap your mothballs for sachets that are not only sweet-smelling but pleasant to look at, too.

    Photographs by Erin Boyle.

    Keep Clothes Moths Away with An Herbal Mothball Alternative | Gardenista

    Above: To begin the project, I bought some small muslin spice bags (I found mine at my grocery store's spice section). If you have old handkerchiefs around and you're handy with a sewing machine, you can sew your own sachets. If you don't sew, you can just create little bundles and tie the ends together. I made seven bags this time around; a packet of 25 Mini Cotton Muslin Drawstring Bags is available from Celestial Gifts for $4.75.

    Keep Clothes Moths Away with An Herbal Mothball Alternative | Gardenista

    Above: Next, I gathered dried herbs known for their ability to ward off clothes moths: lavender, spearmint, thyme, rosemary, cloves, and cinnamon. Mountain Rose Herbs is a terrific online resource for bulk herbs, or you can buy smaller quantities at your local natural-foods store. Other herbs known for repelling insects include tansy, ginger, and citronella. 

    Keep Clothes Moths Away with An Herbal Mothball Alternative | Gardenista

    Above: Red cedar is an old standby when it comes to warding off moths—which is why entire closets are sometimes lined with the wood. If you're not ready for a closet renovation, cedar shavings will do the trick. A five-cup bag of Organic Red Cedar Shavings is $4.99 from Stress Tamer Spa.

    Keep Clothes Moths Away with An Herbal Mothball Alternative | Gardenista

    Above: I put the cedar shavings into my spice bags before adding the herbs.

    Keep Clothes Moths Away with An Herbal Mothball Alternative | Gardenista

    Above: I blended the herbs in equal proportions (to make my seven bags, I used about 4 tablespoons of each herb) and then spooned the mixture into the bags.

    Keep Clothes Moths Away with An Herbal Mothball Alternative | Gardenista

    Above: As I worked, I kept tapping each bag on the table to let the herbs settle down around the cedar shavings.

    Keep Clothes Moths Away with An Herbal Mothball Alternative | Gardenista

    Above: To finish, I slid a stick of cinnamon into each bag.

    Keep Clothes Moths Away with An Herbal Mothball Alternative | Gardenista

    Above: Then I tied each bag closed and gave the outside a squeeze to crush the cedar and release the herbs' essential oils.

    Keep Clothes Moths Away with An Herbal Mothball Alternative | Gardenista

    Above: The bags should last a season or more, especially if you keep squeezing them occasionally to release the essential oils. I leave a sachet in each of my clothing drawers year-round, just to be safe.

    If you really want to go all DIY with this, you can grow (and dry) your own herbs. Get started with this DIY: Instant Indoor Herb Garden. Are mosquitos, not moths, getting to you? See DIY: Bug Repellent Balm

    This is an update of a post originally published July 16, 2013.

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    For many of us, summer vacation means the gift of sleep. Sure, we like to go swimming, scarf down a few lobster rolls or hot dogs, and read a book (or four). But being allowed to lie down for a well-deserved nap in the middle of the day? Nothing better. Here are some rustic bunkhouses and sleeping porches that are begging you to get horizontal: 

    Screened sleeping porch by Quentin Bacon; Gardenista

    Above: Wherever this screened-in sleeping porch is, there's a lake beside it, and we want to be there. Now. This could be the ultimate porch swing. Photograph by Quentin Bacon. See more in 5 Favorites: Screened Sleeping Porches.

    New cabin at Minam River Lodge, Oregon; Erin Boyle; Gardenista

    Above: River rock and knotty pine decorate a cabin at remote Minam River Lodge, in eastern Oregon's Eagle Cap Wilderness. Most guests hike or ride horseback for eight miles to reach the lodge, so you're likely to nap in peace, unless a small plane touches down. 

    Sleeping cabin; Tim Prentice; Gardenista

    Above: Let the sun shine in: This wide-open sleeping shed in the woods, designed by Tim Prentice, even has a translucent fiberglass roof. Photograph via Even Cleveland.

    Ski bunk beds; Gardenista

    Above: A triple-tiered bunk bed maximizes space in a minuscule beach cabin designed by Crosson Clarke Carnachan for New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula. For more, see A Portable Beach Cabin, Sled Included

    Basecamp Hotel; Lake Tahoe; Gardenista

    Above: A modern take on rustic style, this bunkhouse room at the Basecamp Hotel, in South Lake Tahoe, sleeps six (in two single beds above two queens)—a sleepaway-camp option for a group of friends. Read more about the hotel at A High-style Base Camp in Tahoe. Photograph by Eva Kolenko.

    Screened sleeping porch; Gardenista

    Above: Vermont architect Robert Swinburne says he designed his screened-in Fern House as "a space for summer naps and overnight guests." Exactly.

    Amanda Pays Corbin Bernsen bunkhouse; LA; Gardenista

    Above: LA actors (and serial remodelers) Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen converted an old workshop into a bunkhouse for their sons, whitewashing the walls and pouring a new concrete floor. The ladder leads to a hangout space, complete with drum kit. Read the whole post on Remodelista at Backyard Bunkhouse, Hollywood Royal Family Edition.

    Scott Newkirk screened sleeping porch; Gardenista

    Above: Fashion stylist and interior designer Scott Newkirk built this sleeping porch for the guest cottage at his country escape in the Catskills. To create a similar look, consult Steal This Look: Summer Sleeping Porch. Photograph by Dean Kaufman.

    We feel drowsy already. Is the fan turned on? Wake us when it's cocktail hour . . . 

    For more bunkhouse-style sleeping, see 5 Screened Sleeping Porches and 10 Space-Saving Ski Cabin Bunks, both on Remodelista. 

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    New Zealanders call them "baches"; small, simple wood vacation houses for no-frills holidays by the sea.

    One definition of a bach is "something you built yourself, on land you don't own, out of materials you borrowed or stole." Auckland architects Crosson Clarke Carnachan take the bach concept a step further, adding portability to the equation by anchoring the structure on two heavy wooden sleds. Located in a coastal erosion zone on the Coromandel Peninsula, where houses must be mobile, "the house is a response to the ever-changing landscape that lines the beachfront," the architects say. To see more of the firm's work, go to Crosson Clarke Carnachan.

    Portable beach cabin New Zealand bach; Gardenista

    Above: The cabin is clad in macrocarpa wood and blends into the landscape. According to the architects, "The hut comes to life when the enormous shutter on the northeast side winches open to form an awning."

    Above: When the owners are away, the cabin can be closed off completely to protect against the elements. 

    Portable beach cabin New Zealand bach; Gardenista

    Above: The shutters on the side windows are opened to let in light and air.

    Portable beach cabin New Zealand bach; Gardenista

    Above: The industrial-strength winch used to crank open the shutter on the facade.

    Portable beach cabin New Zealand bach; Gardenista

    Above: Glass doors swing open to reveal the interior, which is simple and compact.

    Portable beach cabin New Zealand bach; Gardenista

    Above: The family's three children sleep in a triple-tiered bunk room.

    Above: A ladder leads to a mezzanine bedroom.

    Portable beach cabin New Zealand bach shower; Gardenista

    Above: Throughout the cabin, the architects used industrial fittings and fixtures.

    Portable beach cabin New Zealand bach; Gardenista

    Above: The tiny sink is tucked into a corner bath.

    Portable beach cabin New Zealand bach; Gardenista

    Above: The roof terrace catches rainwater to fill the storage tanks.

    For another favorite New Zealand bach, see Outbuilding of the Week: A Shipping Container Transformed into the Ultimate Holiday House.

    Updated from a Remodelista post originally published August 27, 2012.

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    Outdoor shutters that actually work (as opposed to the faux variety) score high in both form and function. Traditionally used to insulate and ventilate a house, shutters also are useful when designing a sustainable building. And they look great. No wonder exterior wooden shutters are making a comeback: 

    Rustic French Green Board and Batten Shutter, Gardenista  

    Above: A rustic wooden shutter on a cottage in France. Photograph via Ikea Family Live.

    What is the history of exterior shutters?

    It's said that shutters date to ancient Greece, when marble was the material of choice. Over centuries, wood shutters became the preferred window covering to repel animals, insects, noise, light, and weather. After glass was developed, shutters continued to be used to protect the expensive glass and provide privacy. Early shutters were typically flat panels or connected boards (board and batten). Louvered shutters, which provide both ventilation and privacy, arrived in the mid-1700s, and adjustable louvers were developed in the mid-1800s.

    Shutters, common on houses from the outset of American history, lost favor in the late 1800s during Victorian times, when heavy interior drapes became de rigueur. Shutters made a comeback with the revival of classical architecture, but the development of new building technologies (storm windows, screens, and HVAC systems) and the popularity of post-war building materials (aluminum and plastics) relegated them to a mostly decorative role in the 20th century. But as green-building efforts gain momentum, these old-style architectural features are getting more attention.

    French Country Home Old Green Shutters, Gardenista

    Above: An old country house in France. "Most homes would have solid panel shutters on the first floor for privacy and security," says The Old House Guy, "and louvered shutters on the second floor to allow the breeze to enter during the warm months." Photograph by Leslie Thomson via Flickr. 

    How can exterior shutters help my house?

    Shutters add an architectural design element and also perform several useful functions: 

    • Offer ventilation in warm months, allowing breezes in while providing privacy
    • Provide insulation in cold months
    • Act as a sunshade, keeping interior cool
    • Provide privacy
    • Protect windows from storm damage
    • Prolong life of windows by protecting wood frames
    • Protect interior furnishings and floors from sun damage

    Red Panel Shutters, Gardensita

    Above: Photograph via Vixen Hill Cedar Products.

    What are the different styles of shutters?

    Hardscaping 101 Exterior Shutter Styles ; Gardenista

    Above: Images via Architectural Depot.

    Shutters traditionally fall into four styles:

    • Panel: Traditional panel shutters offer the most privacy, protection, and insulation. A basic frame around a wood panel, they can be flat, recessed, raised, or other variations.
    • Louvered: Designed to allow for ventilation and variability in privacy and light. These are a good choice for warm climates, as they allow ventilation even when closed to provide shade. Louvers can be either fixed or movable.
    • Board and Batten: Vertical boards are joined by horizontal boards called battens (usually two; sometimes with a third diagonal board). Traditionally used on barns, the design works with many architectural styles. 
    • Bermuda. A single shutter covers the entire window, mounted at the top on hinges and with telescoping push rods at the bottom for opening. These can act as sun shades (an alternative to awnings) and as sturdy window protectors during storms.

    Variations on these include arched tops (to match arched windows), cutouts in panel or board-and-batten shutters, and louvered and paneled styles combined in one. 

    Board and Batten Double Shutters, Gardenista  

    Above: Double board-and-batten shutters on a house in New Orleans provide light through the top while still offering privacy on the bottom. Photograph via Nest Egg.

    Red Bermuda Style Shutters, Gardenista  

    Above: Bermuda shutters are a good solution if you lack the space beside your windows to hang traditional shutters. Photograph via Gulf Coast Shutter

    How do you mount exterior shutters?

    First, make sure you have the correct size for your windows. Shutters fit inside the window opening, and each shutter's width is half the width of the opening. Paint or stain them before hanging. Then attach them to the window trim, or casing, with hinges so they pivot into the window opening and rest flush with the casing when closed. To hold the shutters in place when open, attach a piece of hardware—with the unusual names of "shutter dog" or "rat tail"—to the house. You'll also need a latch to hold them closed. See How to Hang Exterior Shutters at This Old House.

    Traditional Exterior Shutter Hardware, Gardenista

    Above: A collection of Traditional Exterior Shutter Hardware, clockwise from top right: two pintels, strap hinge, slide bolt, rat tail, shutter dog (S-shape), and slide bolt, available at Hooks and Lattice.

    What is the difference between plastic and wood shutters?

    Shutters come in a range of materials, including wood, composite wood, PVC, and aluminum. Vinyl is only appropriate for decorative faux shutters. Wood is the best choice if you want shutters that are functional, architecturally accurate, and aesthetically pleasing. We recommend a quality wood like cedar, which is naturally rot- and insect-resistant. Yes, composite or aluminum may last forever, but with care (that is, periodic refinishing) wood shutters can last just as long (and look a thousand times better). Even unfinished cedar is relatively maintenance-free, turning a nice silver over time.

    Wooden Shutters Les Bois Flottois Hotel, Gardenista

    Above: Simple board-and-batten shutters create a clean look for windows at the Les Bois Flottois Hotel, on France's Ile de Re. Louvered blinds have been installed inside the room.

    Can shutters work with modern home design?

    Shutters are often associated with federal, Georgian, colonial, and cottage-style homes, but they're suitable for many architectural styles. Unadorned flat-panel or board-and-batten shutters can be paired with windows of modern houses. Custom-built shutters are another option.

    H Arquitectes Modern House with Shutters, Gardenista

    Above: Simple wood shutters (shown open at night) are used at the H Arquitectes House 205 in Vacarisses, Spain, winner of the Spanish Architecture Council's award for sustainable design.

    H Arquitectes Modern House with Shutters, Gardenista

    Above: On a hot day, the shutters at the H Arquitectes House 205 are closed to keep the interior cool. 

    Becker Architekten Modern Wood Shutters via Arch Daily, Gardenista  

    Above: Hinged and slatted shutters were designed to filter light on a project in Germany by Becker Architekten. Photograph via Arch Daily.

    Can I use shutters to screen a porch?

    Absolutely. Hang shutters around a porch or a deck to provide more shade and privacy than screening, while still encouraging a breeze. And, unlike screens, you can open them when you want to take in the full surroundings. They're less effective at keeping out insects, of course, so don't go this route if you need mosquito protection. 

    Wood Shutters on Deck, Gardenista  

    Above: Shutters surround a deck, offering unlimited views when open and privacy with a breeze when closed. Photograph via 30A.

    Any tips for using shutters for decorative purposes only?

    Architects may balk at this, but non-functional shutters can be an effective exterior detail if they're used wisely. How do you ensure decorative shutters are architecturally correct? Simply put, they should look as if they could do their job.

    • Decorative shutters should be able to cover a window opening completely if they were closed. Avoid decorative shutters that are too small for the windows they flank.
    • Use real, operable shutter hardware. This will ensure proper placement—often, decorative shutters are mounted too far from the window casing. You can even find faux tilt-rods for louvered shutters. 
    • Never mount decorative shutters flat against a house. First, this makes it obvious they're not functional. Second, it looks bad. Third, it can damage siding, as water and debris will collect between the shutter and the house. Authentic shutters are mounted to the window casing, with ample space between the shutter and siding.
    • If using louvered decorative shutters, mount them with the louvers slanted downwards, to deflect rain and provide shade when the louvers are closed.  

    Green Traditional Raised Panel Shutter, Gardenista

    Above: Shutters correctly mounted to the window casing provide natural air flow between the shutter and the wall (not to mention visual dimension). Photograph via Vixen Hill Cedar Products.

    How much do shutters cost?

    Shutter prices vary substantially depending on size, style, and finish. Fixed-louver shutters are the most affordable, as low as $140 per pair for quality unfinished wood. But don't forget to factor in the finishing, hardware, and installation. Properly finished and installed, high-quality shutters will last for many years. 

    Exterior Wood Shutters Recap


    • Sustainable way to insulate your house in hot and cool times of the year
    • Protect windows from storms
    • Add architectural depth to house exterior
    • Provide privacy while offering ventilation


    • Depending on how many you need, shutters can be an expensive addition
    • Might not match the aesthetics of your house
    • Non-functional shutters can detract from the appearance of a house and damage siding

    Searching for shutter finishes? Look no further than Meredith's 10 Paint Picks for the Perfect Green Shutters. And, at Remodelista, visit A Louvered Beach House on the Arabian Sea, where shutters reign. 

    If you're working on your house exterior, see all of our Hardscaping 101 features.  

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    During a recent shopping foray in Europe, the good people at Best Made, the purveyor of quality tools, stumbled on a cache of vintage canvas buckets. Commissioned in the 1950s by the French Army and acquired by a dealer in rare military artifacts, the vintage buckets are the perfect size to tote garden tools:

    Collapsing linen tool bucket ; Gardenista

    Above: The French Army Collapsing Linen Bucket is classic in design and perfectly executed in a heavy linen woven tightly enough to hold water. It's $37.40 from Best Made. 

    Linen French Army bucket; Gardenista

    Above: Also perfect for camping, the 11-inch-high bucket collapses into a flat pancake. It holds 1.8 gallons, plenty of water to douse a campfire.

    Collapsing linen tool bucket ; Gardenista

    Above: The bucket is reinforced with twine on the bottom, to hold extra weight.  

    Note that since these pieces are vintage, they may show signs of age. 

    See more French buckets at 5 Favorites: French Flower Buckets. For more great canvas items, go to 10 Easy Pieces: Etsy's Best Canvas Carry-Alls

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    Are you the kind of person who defines summer by the feel of sand between your toes? In Portugal, an hour south of Lisbon on the Sado River estuary, there's an unusual inn where you can put your feet in the sand whether you're on the beach or in the living room. 

    Casas Na Areia is a compound of four cottages. They were originally intended as a weekend getaway for owners Joao and Andreia Rodrigues, but they evolved into a small hotel. The designer, Lisbon architect Manuel Aires Mateus, was strongly influenced by the simple lines of the area's traditional buildings. He chose his construction materials accordingly—until it came to the interior of one cottage, where he did something surprising and unconventional. He made the floor out of sand. 

    Photographs by Nelson Garrido.


    Above: The main cottage holds the inn's common space, with a living room and dining area. The signature sand floor is soft on the feet and can even be heated in cool weather; it reinforces this place's strong connection with nature.


    Above: The cottages seem to float on the sand. Two of the four are made of wood and reeds, the other two of white concrete.


    Above: Guests can ride horses on the beach and enjoy some of the best bird-watching in Portugal; storks and flamingos are frequently sighted. Close by, the Sado River estuary is home to a colony of dolphins. There are also Roman ruins to visit.


    Above: The swimming pool, flanked by a deck. Instead of formal gardens, wildflowers and grasses sprawl naturally over the dunes. The place seems timeless.


    Above: The simple, stylish furnishings are in keeping with the minimalist architecture. The "Bigfoot" table, from e15, comfortably accommodates eight sandy-footed people.


    Above: The exterior of the wood-and-reed cottage that holds the inn's living room, dining room, and kitchen.


    Above: The inn sleeps eight in four double bedrooms, each with its own private bath. No worries about tracking sand into bed: The floors in the bedroom cottages are made of concrete. 


     Above: All four cottages have roofs thatched with grasses harvested from the banks of the Sado River. 


    Above: Antonio Pinela, a local craftsman, built the cottages in 2010. Every six years the thatched roofs will have to be renewed.


    Above: Casas Na Areia is the perfect vacation compound for a family or group of friends. There's plenty of privacy, but everyone can be close to each other and to the outdoors.


    Above: If you go, tell your traveling companions they can leave their slippers at home. They'll want to be barefoot to enjoy the sensuous feeling of walking in sand indoors.

    Read about a more conventional beach hotel in Remodelista's Just Open: A Hidden Beach Hotel in Oaxaca and see another take on a tiny beach cabin in Gardenista's Rustic Living on the Beach in Uruguay.

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    It was on a Kenyan safari that the owners of Cresto Ranch in Cresto, a tiny town in southwestern Colorado, figured out a new use for their historic property: they'd pitch African-style canvas tents in an alpine clearing and introduce full-frills resort camping to the Rockies.

    A year later, the original 19th-century log farmhouse had been turned into a base lodge and dining room. And eight canvas tents were fitted with cast-iron gas stoves, writing desks, teak lounge chairs, en-suite bathrooms, and, most notably, king-size beds made up with glam-rustic linens (all thanks to designer Christina Rossi).

    Days at the newly renamed Dunton River Camp are spent horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, doing yoga and Pilates—and recovering in the spa tent. As Vogue put it, "The only survival skill one needs is the ability to book a massage."

    Above: Each tent has a view of either 14,000-foot Wilson Peak or the rushing Dolores River. The tents rest on 16-by-40-foot wooden platforms and consist of a steel framework hung with heavy cotton duck that's water-repellent and mildew-resistant. Inspired by four-star African safari accommodations, they were custom-designed by Reliable Tent & Tipi of Billings, Montana. The resort is open in the summer only; at the end of the season, the canvas is removed from the frames and stored in the tents' weatherproof bathrooms. 

    Above: Each tent sleeps two, in a king-size bed or two twins. Laura Aviva of L'Aviva Home masterminded the linens: She cloaked the beds in white cotton duck that echoes the tent fabric and fits crisply over the sheets and blankets. The slipcovers work well in the rugged setting and provide a clean backdrop for L'Aviva Home's frazadas, vibrant traditional blankets handwoven in Bolivia. Frazadas were also repurposed as pillows backed with Belgian linen. And yes, the tents have electricity and running water—hot and cold.

     Above: The frazada throws, reimagined versions of age-old Andean designs, are made of alpaca, a miracle fiber that's hypoallergenic and as soft and luxurious as the best cashmere.

    Above: The platforms extend 10 feet beyond the tent to form a deck. The teak steamer chairs were sourced from Golden Teak.

    Above: The bathrooms are shed-like structures within each tent. They're built from Zipsystem's weatherproof roofing and wall sheathing and are clad in corrugated tin, with beadboard ceilings and slate floors. Each has twin vanities (with towel warmers) and a 6-foot-long, extra-deep tub that doubles as a shower.

    Above: Dunton River Camp's owners, businessman Christoph Henkel of Canyon Equity and old master art dealer Katrin Bellinger, are German and love biergarten-style outdoor dining. The pine-and-steel biergarten tables and benches on the lodge's deck are made by Roost and available from Scarlett Alley.

    Above: The dining tables are surrounded by foldable canvas-and-wood safari chairs imported from Kenya. The tin ceiling panels were purchased from an antiques dealer in Pennsylvania for $5 a sheet—a bargain until it was discovered that they came with lead paint and had to be stripped and repainted.

    Above: Dunton River Camp's sister resort, the equally luxe Dunton Hot Springs, is just four miles downriver. Set in a restored 1885 mining town in a spectacular mountain valley, it's open year-round. Elevation: just under 9,000 feet. 

    Above: Dunton Hot Springs resort consists of 12 handhewn log cabins, no two alike. 

    Above: The cabin named "Forge" has Mexican antiques and a low, arched doorway that leads to an expansive bathroom.

    Above: Dunton was built around hot springs and still has its original bathhouse, now fully restored and offering indoor and outdoor soaks. The resort is so picturesque that Ralph Lauren and the Sundance Catalog recently staged holiday shoots on the premises. And the food and wine (from Dunton's own vineyard down valley) are first-rate, too: Bon Appetit magazine ranks it the country's No. 4 getaway for food lovers. All of this, of course, comes at a cost: The rates at these all-inclusive properties are comparable to those at a luxury hotel. For full details on both, see Dunton Hot Springs.

    For more on tenting made easy, read about a pop-up luxury camping service at Glamorous: Shelter Co. in California, on Remodelista. And for more lodging off the beaten path, this time in Oregon, see Earn Your Wilderness Stripes at the Minam River Lodge

    This is an update of a Remodelista post originally published July 11, 2013.

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    What's your vacation fantasy: ocean breeze or mountain air? Cottage or compound? Historic or modern? This week, the Remodelista editors visited some of the best summer rentals we've ever seen. (Want to go in on a share in a Berlin houseboat with us?)

    Selsey beach house rental in West Sussex; Gardenista

    Above: This will be the most useful post you'll read all summer: Editors' Picks: 15 Favorite Vacation Rental Resources. Shown here is the Selsey Beach House in West Sussex, England (Julie's an admirer). 

    Berlin houseboat rental; Gardenista

    Above: Here's "our" Modern Houseboat in Berlin. Is that Izabella floating in an inner tube in the distance?

    Hostess gifts; compost bin; Gardenista

    Above: Too cheap to rent? You're in houseguest territory. You'll need clever Summer Hostess Gifts, and yes, you're looking at an elegant, walnut-clad countertop compost bin.

      Floating Farmhouse rental; upstate New York; Gardenista

    Above: After the houseboat, let's head to A Floating Farmhouse in Upstate New York. It sits at the edge of a waterfall in the Catskills...

      Glass sphere fly repellent; Gardenista

    Above: Back to the hostess gift suggestions: a Magic Fly Repeller. Fill with water and suspend near food. Then watch the magic. 

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    In a few weeks, half the Gardenista team will be on vacation overseas. And the other half? We're traveling vicariously. Take a look at the destinations on our radar: 

      Microgreens via Freunde von Freunden ; Gardenista


    Marrakesh beautiful garden via Telegraph UK; Gardenista

      Wellington Botanic Garden via TripAdvisor ; Gardenista

    • Above: If you're  stopping over in New Zealand, the Wellington Botanic Garden has something for you. Photograph courtesy of Trip Advisor. 
    • St. Petersburg's Summer Garden is a paragon among classical gardens, marble sculptures and fountains included.  

    Bamboo Grove via Garden of Zen ; Gardenista

    Country Gardens via Lonny ; Gardenista

    For more from this week on Gardenista, check out our Summer Bunkhouse issue. And don't miss Remodelista's week of Summer Rentals

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    A few years ago, a county parks department in Washington state sponsored a contest that sounded like something Amy Poehler would dream up on Parks and Rec: Transform a surplus cargo container into a permanent campground cabin. And make it cozy.

    The winner, Seattle's HyBrid Architecture, already had a Cargotecture line of repurposed shipping containers—one of them had been installed on the Sunset Magazine campus in Northern California as the 2011 Sunset Idea House. HyBrid's award-winning cabin for Kings County's Toit-MacDonald Park campground was designed to sleep four and has a kitchenette. And it's portable, so it can be moved to different locations in the county's 26,000 acres of parkland.

    Above: This Cargotecture cabin is used as a guesthouse on a rural property near Seattle. Says HyBrid's principal and co-founder Joel Egan, "These containers are fun, emotional, curious, and durable." Image via HyBrid Architecture

    Above: A former cargo container on its way to becoming a cabin: The windows have been cut, the door installed, and the exterior cleaned. Next the interior will be framed and windows installed. Image by Kings County Parks, via Flickr.

    Above: HyBrid Architecture collaborated with Sunset Magazine to install the Nomade C192—a 192-square-foot container home. Image via Sunset.

    Above: The doors on the Sunset Idea House open onto a deck, and let air and light flow through. Image via Sunset.

    Above: The C192 has a small kitchen, a living space, and built-in beds. Joel Egan describes it as "a rough shell on the outside, comfortable space on the inside." Photograph via Sunset.

    Read about how they're repurposing shipping containers in New Zealand in Outbuilding of the Week: A Shipping Container Transformed Into the Ultimate Holiday House. There's even a Shipping Container Greenhouse. And 10 more examples are in 10 Houses Made from Shipping Containers.

    Updated from a post originally published August 3, 2012.

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    You're probably thinking What's Bastille Day mean to me? Think of it as France's July 4th: It's the French national holiday, and it takes place on July 14th. But enough history—we're just using it as a reason to celebrate all things French this week. Here's a taste of what we have in store: 

    Table of Contents: Bastille Day ; Gardenista


      Deborah Nevins garden; hedges; East Hampton; Gardenista

    Above: In this week's Designer Visit, we stop by the East Coast weekend home of Deborah Nevis, known for her celebrity clientele. Clearly, Nevins favors hedges in her work. "Flowers are never the starting point,” she says. Photograph by Deborah Nevins.


      Pas de Blenacs; cheese maker; France; Gardenista

    Above: In Shopper's Diary, we sample the wares of Jean-Paul Cohen, who makes goat cheese on his farm in France's Charente-Maritime region. (We even get to meet the goats. And their babies.) Photograph by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista.  


      DIY Bouquet garni; herbs; Gardenista

    Above: We still have food on our minds (how French is that?). This week's DIY shows How to Make a Bouquet Garni, which Erin likens to "a savory tea bag" full of herbs. Photograph by Erin Boyle.


      David Coleman, gabion wall, Hardscaping 101; Gardenista

    Above: In Hardscaping 101, Janet unearths everything we need to know about Gabion Walls. Though the name might be unfamiliar, you've surely seen these structures: wire mesh cages filled with rocks (or other materials) to form a fence or retaining wall. They were used on the Nile some 7,000 years ago (back then, the frame was wicker), but isn't there something fresh and new about them today?


    Kollaboratoriet Pavilion; Skien River; Norway; Gardenista

    This week's Outbuilding of the Week is a striking wood pavilion with a viewing platform over the Skien River, about two hours southwest of Oslo, Norway. The building's name, Gjennomsikten, means "see-through" because of its transparent appearance. Photograph by Feileacán McCormick.

    And over on Remodelista, they're also celebrating Bastille Day, with posts on French colonel chairs, French doors, and a houseboat in Paris. Pop the champagne! 

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    Every gardener has a signature, and Deborah Nevins's is the monumental hedge. Her NYC-based landscape design firm Deborah Nevins & Associates deploys walls of uniform greenery to organize and define space in projects as diverse as a Hudson Valley estate surrounding a Neoclassical mansion; a 40-acre park for a Renzo Piano-designed cultural foundation in Athens, Greece; the courtyard of a new Tribeca loft building; and her own East Coast weekend house near the water. 

    At home, Nevins has hedges within hedges: layers of towering hornbeam, privet and yew, punctuated throughout with five types of rounded boxwood. She invited us to visit the other day:

    Photography by Deborah Nevins except where noted.

    Deborah Nevins hedges and paths ; Gardenista

     Above: Behind the house, a bluestone walkway passes under an allée of sycamores. 

    Nevins, a member of the Remodelista + Gardenista Architect/Designer Directory, grew up in New York City and New Haven. One of her earliest memories is collecting wildflowers with her mother in a New England field. Her career in landscape design began when she was studying architectural history at Columbia University in the 1980s (“They didn’t think landscape history was academically serious enough”). Someone asked her to help with a garden in Connecticut—and it happened to have been laid out by landscape-design luminary Russell Page.

      Deborah Nevins house hedges garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Nevins's two-acre property was neglected and overgrown when she bought it in 1998; she built the cedar-shingled, Shaker-plain house two years later. “There are some beautiful trees on the property," she says, "but I didn’t discover them until I started clearing the land.” Photograph by Cara Greenberg.

    Deborah Nevins house bench tree ; Gardenista

    Above: A grand old white oak dominates the front yard. 

    Around the perimeter of the property, she left in place tall cedars, junipers, American beech, and red and white oaks. Within this ring of native woodland are three well-defined, hedge-rimmed garden rooms: one in front of the house, centered on a majestic white oak, and two in back. “I knew the spaces from the very start,” Nevins says.

      Deborah Nevins garden hornbeam hedge ; Gardenista

    Above: Nevins calls this space behind the house her “hornbeam room.” It has little in it but lawn, a Luytens bench, and two cherished Meyer lemon trees in pots.

    Deborah Nevins garden hornbeam hedge ; Gardenista

    Above: Beyond the hedges, a peek into the perennial flower garden. 

    The impressive wedge-shaped hornbeams were planted at 4 feet and grew to twice that height in just a few years. Nevins clips them heavily in February or March and again, lightly, in June.

      Deborah Nevins garden perennial beds; Gardenista

    Above: The perennial flower garden spills over in summer with such cottage-garden stalwarts as tall orange Turks cap lilies and white hollyhocks. But flowers are not the main attraction. “They’re never the starting point,” Nevins says. “You start by thinking about space and vistas and how a property should be organized. Flowers can come later.” Photograph by Danny Nevins.

    Deborah Nevins hedges garden ; Gardenista

    Above: The manicured hedges make for a tidy and soothing environment, imparting a sense that all is under control—within the deer fence, that is. About 20 percent of Nevins’s property is protected against marauding deer.

    Daborah Nevins garden native grasses ; Gardenista

    Above: Beyond the fence, a mown path leads through native trees, tall grasses, and clumps of fragrant bayberry. The contrast with the rough native planting reminds you how close you are to the beach. “That’s what I tried to do,” Nevins says. “Use the formal to contrast with the natural, which is all around me and which I didn’t touch.” 

    See more of Nevins's work in our Architect/Design Directory on Remodelista. And if you're lusting for a hornbeam hedge (who wouldn't be at this point?), see Hornbeam: A Hedge for All Seasons.

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