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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    We launched the Remodelista Markets four years ago on a whim; borrowing a venue in Mill Valley from friends and inviting our favorite local vendors to set up shop for a day. It was our idea of the best sort of holiday party—a nice way to connect with the many lovely makers and designers whose work we feature and an opportunity to meet and mingle with our readers.

    We've held 11 markets to date, and this holiday season we're thrilled to be bringing our one-day shopping event—emphasizing well-made, one-of-a-kind goods for the home—to London, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. We hope you can join us on one side of the pond or the other; for more details, visit Remodelista Markets.

    Above: Photograph of Tiina Laakkonen's house, which is featured in Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home, by Matthew Williams (also see Tiina the Store). Note that we will be selling and signing our book at all the markets.


    We will be at The New Craftsmen in Mayfair (34 North Row, Mayfair, London, W1K 6DG), on Saturday, November 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. We'll be featuring an array of local Brit designers and creatives, with an emphasis on the hand-made and goods for the home—mixed with a healthy smattering of lifestyle products too. 

    Los Angeles

    Post London, we return to the West Coast to kick off the holiday season with our Los Angeles Remodelista Market at Big Daddy’s Antiques (3334 La Cienega Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90016) on Saturday, December 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fans of Gardenista, please note that we'll have a dedicated Gardenista section in our SF and LA markets, with Terrain as our cohost.

    San Francisco

    The following week, with Gardenista, we return to our home turf with the San Francisco Remodelista Market at Heath Ceramics (2900 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110) on Saturday, December 13. 

    To help you keep track of our events, we've created a Remodelista Markets page, featuring a list of our London participants and updates on our SF and LA lineup. You can check out market hours, see photos from our previous markets, follow our Instagram feed, and link to our new Pinterest page highlighting the goods on offer.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    Under the watchful eye of architect Karel Verstraeten, a family of four transformed a formerly abandoned construction-site trailer, acquired for 15€ (about $25 US), to a versatile dwelling. The trailer, which we spotted via Dezeen, has an ingenious design. Thanks to wooden runners constructed to hold planks at various heights on the interior walls, the trailer can be configured as an office, bedroom, or hang out. 

    Photography via Karel Verstraeten.

    Construction trailer Ghent Karel Verstraeten ; Gardenista

    Above: Light pours in from a round (1 meter in diameter) window, making the trailer the perfect writer's retreat. We can imagine ourselves cloistered inside, chipping away at our novel. 

    Construction trailer Ghent Karel Verstraeten ; Gardenista

    Above: The floor-to-ceiling plywood paneling produces a cocooning effect and the rounded corners share the same design language as the fisheye window.  

    Construction trailer Ghent Karel Verstraeten ; Gardenista

    Above: Wooden runners lining the walls serve as built-in brackets to create a bench, desk, or even platform bed, as seen in this configuration.

    Construction trailer Ghent Karel Verstraeten ; Gardenista  

    Above: The exterior is covered in vertical oak panels, blending harmoniously with the surrounding farm. 

    Construction trailer Ghent Karel Verstraeten ; Gardenista

    Above: The site plan. 

    Thinking about building your own postage-stamp-sized outhouse? Get inspired by this Garage-Turned-Cottage on a Budget and 240-Square-Foot Garden Shed. And, check out more of our favorite architect-designed landscapes from Ulf Nordfjell, Lykke + Nielsen, and artist Hidemi Mishida.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    October…strawberries? That would have surprised me, too, before I grew them myself on a tiny terrace in New York City.

    Read on for step-by-step instructions to make a strawberry shrub cocktail called the Ingrid Bergman:

    Photography by Marie Viljoen for Gardenista.

    Alpine strawberries Harlem kitchen garden ; Gardenista  

    Several years ago I bought two strawberry plants at GRDN, a pretty garden shop in Brooklyn. The cultivar name was Fern, and, said the label, these were "everbearing" strawberries. That sounded good. Standard strawberries will bear fruit in early summer only. But as a gardener with space issues, I ask a lot from a single plant. More is more.

    66 Square Feet small terrace garden Brooklyn Marie Viljoen ; Gardenista

    Above: I had never grown strawberries before and it sounded hard. Talk of mounding, and rows, and straw, and runners, and renovating…? All I had was some small pots, a lot of sun, a small terrace and the desire to grow my own. Turns out that’s all you need to enjoy fresh berries till hard frost.

    Alpine strawberries Marie Viljoen ; Gardenista

    Above: My plants were challenged from the start. Because of space constraints, I housed them in terra cotta pots no more than 8 inches in diameter. I put them in full sun on my terrace edge, and a month later I was eating the first ripe fruit. Soon, the plants made new flowers, and about four weeks later, more strawberries. And so it went, till the pots froze and snow fell. And they returned in the spring, with no extra protection. They weren’t kidding about the everbearing. 

    Handful of strawberries Marie Viljoen ; Gardenista

    Above: Soon I was picking handfuls. And in high summer the plants sent out runners—long, tender feelers with a tuft of leaves at the tip, searching for new land to occupy. Wherever they touched down they set down roots. I dug them up and potted these offspring in even smaller 6-inch pots. 

    Alpine strawberries Marie Viljoen ; Gardenista

    Above: Within a year I had a small strawberry farm, blooming into November. Eventually the reproduction by runners got so out of hand that I was sending the extras to friends, by mail. The parent plants do get tired after a few years, but by then their offspring have risen to the challenge. Life lesson?

    Alpine strawberries Marie Viljoen ; Gardenista

    Above: Then we moved from a sunny top floor in Brooklyn to a shadier parlor-level Harlem. Uh-oh. I had a larger terrace, now, but with just four hours of direct sun, Fern languished. I sent the sulking survivors to sunnier gardens. But the surprise performer was the other strawberry I had been growing all this time, an Alpine cultivar called Ruegen.

    Alpine strawberries Marie Viljoen ; Gardenista

    Above: Its pretty little flowers and fruit grow on arching stems, and the plants self seed freely, if you allow a few ripe fruit to fall. It is easy to acquire a collection after a year. And you can smell a ripe berry feet away.  Shaped like scarlet teardrops, their flavor is intense. 

    Strawberries and yogurt Marie Viljoen ; Gardenista

    Above: Just a couple of Alpine strawberries in some creamy yogurt with slick of maple syrup, or infused in a shrub to sip at sunset gives full strawberry satisfaction. Or, if you are like my French husband, you like them best with a splash of red wine. 

    Alpine strawberries Marie Viljoen ; Gardenista

    Above: To grow strawberries in pots, you’ll need three things. One, give them as much sun as possible. In horticultural terms, “full sun” means six hours of direct sunlight. This is ideal, though my Brooklyn strawberries lucked out and soaked up eight-plus hours.

    The Alpine strawberries, above—natives of woodlands—can handle less sun but will never thrive in full shade.

    Two: super-drainage. Water that runs in must be able to run out. Wet feet mean a wet crown, and a wet crown means slow, rotting death.

    Three: Food, please. I used a weekly seaweed solution when watering and a monthly application of organic granules, starting in April, right through October.

    Alpine strawberries cocktail Ingrid Bergman Marie Viljoen ; Gardenista

    Above: Strawberry Shrub aka The Ingrid Berman

    Here is a shrub I devised that makes me very happy. If you’re a hard core fermenter, you’ll make your own vinegar from scratch, but a good red wine vinegar infused with strawberries is quicker by several months and works very well.

    My friend Jennifer Hess christened the drink an Ingrid Bergman. 

    Strawberry Shrub


    For the vinegar:

    • 1 cup good red wine vinegar
    • ½ cup ripe strawberries

    Mash the berries in a bowl, cover with the vinegar, and leave overnight. Strain, and bottle the vinegar. It lasts indefinitely in the refrigerator (the leftover berries are good stirred into a red wine pan glaze for duck breasts).

    For the Ingrid Bergman:

    • 1 ounce strawberry vinegar
    • 1 ounce St. Germain
    • 3 ounces gin

    Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake like mad for 15 seconds. Pour the vivid pink drink into a coupe, or 5-ounce glass. 

    N.B.: Read more about Marie’s edible gardening adventures on her blog, 66 Square Feet (Plus), and in her book, 66 Square Feet—A Delicious Life (Abrams: 2013).

    See more of Marie's new Harlem garden in Garden Visit: 66 Square Feet (Plus). And for more of her tips for growing big in tiny spaces, see 10 Secrets to Growing an Urban Balcony Garden.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    The other day Michelle emailed me a photo of a house with an unusual color palette. The dark gray painted-brick facade was accented by both black and white painted trim. "It looks like it's wearing a tuxedo," she said. "And yet fantastic. Why?"

    As an interior designer, I'm happy to answer color questions—hers and yours. Are you wondering what color to paint your front door, or why the trim on your house looks dingy, or if your fence would look better stained dark? If so, let me know in the comments section below (a photo would be great). Your paint dilemma could be chosen as the topic of our next Curb Appeal post.

    Now, back to Michelle's question about the dark gray house. A house dressed in a tuxedo (actually I think it looks more like a morning coat) shouldn't look good. Too many colors and too much contrast usually add up to chaos. But this particular house has great curb appeal. Read on to find out why—and for the paint colors you need to recreate the look.

    Photography by Clementine Quittner for Gardenista, except where noted.

    Curb Appeal Black Gray House White Trim Paint ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Oscar V.

    Belgium-based builders and designers Paul Vanrunxt and Kurt Geens of Oscar V are responsible for this Flemish facade near Keerbergen. With its steeply pitched roof, large windows, and symmetrical facade, this is a house that could have great curb appeal painted any number of colors. 

    But this color scheme looks especially good. One reason is all the greenery that frames the house. Green shrubs—and an absence of other colors in the plantings—create a nice foil for the intensity of this moody, dark paint palette.

      Curb Appeal Black Gray House White Trim Paint ; Gardenista

    Above: The paint colors that will recreate the look are, from top to bottom, Iron Mountain, Mascarpone, and Black Beauty. All are Benjamin Moore colors.

    While I was searching for the right paint colors to recreate the look, I realized that the gray paint color has very strong brown undertones. Iron Mountain is a warm gray (rather than a cool one) and ties the color to the natural landscape surrounding the house.

    The gray was the trickiest of the three colors to choose. The warmth of the gray is really important; it needs to have an earthiness to it.

    Curb Appeal Black Gray House White Trim Paint ; Gardenista

    Above: Above: But the real key to making this palette work is the white. You need it for contrast.

    Curb Appeal Black Gray House White Trim Paint ; Gardenista

    Above: Without the white? This would be a very sad color combination. For this palette to work, the black color must never touch the gray.

    symmetry ; Gardenista ; planters ; containers

    Above: Photograph via Oscar V.

    The divided pane windows have a lot of trim pieces to paint. A wide, flat piece of trim surrounds the windows and doors, enabling the white to function like a  picture frame.

    Curb Appeal Black Gray House White Trim Paint ; Gardenista

    Above: Do you want to recreate this look on your own house? Here's a checklist.

    Make sure:

    • A medium-sized trim uniformly surrounds the windows and doors, enabling the white to function like a picture frame.
    • The windows themselves have enough paintable surface for the black to show.
    • Your roof's color belongs to the gray, black, or white families. (You do not want to introduce yet another contrasting color.)
    • Your facade has symmetrical elements you can emphasize. Symmetry will unify the look; asymmetry could make the contrasting colors look like chunky blocks.

    Thinking of painting your kitchen cabinets a dark color? See the palette Stephanie chose for Kitchen Rehab: Michelle's Mill Valley Remodel.

    Looking for the perfect Gray, Black, or White exterior paint color? Our favorites are in our Paints & Palettes archives.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    In honor of this week's theme—Belgian Masters—Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore interviews Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen, her "absolute favorite designer," for Remodelista. 

    The site is awash in moody colors and quiet spaces, including Robert de Niro's Tribeca penthouse by Belgian designer Axel Vervoordt, a bold-faced name in the antiques and interiors world. If you, like us, love the look of cozy minimalism, Julie uncovers 10 design ideas from the Belgian greats, Alexa completes a $15 DIY lamp project, and Megan shows us how to bring the soft elegance of Belgian linen to every room in your home. 

    Julianne Moore ; Gardenista ; Vincent Van Duysen ; Belgian Design

    Above: A pared-down bathroom at Antwerp's Graanmarkt 13 apartment designed by Vincent Van Duysen. For more, see Vincent Van Duysen Answers 20 Questions from Guest Blogger Julianne Moore, revealing the three objects he must have.

    diy ; remodelisa ; gardenista ; spray paint ; lamp ; budget

    Above: Alexa gives a clip-on light a moody makeover via high-gloss spray paint in this $15 Hardware Store DIY.

    Axel Veervoodt ; Gardenista ; Robert De Niro ; Tribeca penthouse ; wabi-sabi

    Above: In Robert De Niro's Tribeca Penthouse, Axel Vervoordt created a calming sanctuary based on the principles of wabi-sabi. Featured throughout, original vases by Japanese artisan Shiro Tsujimura. Photograph by David Prince via Vanity Fair.

    Gardenista ; Remodelista ; trending ; Belgian linen ; bed

    Above: The finest flax, from which linen is produced, comes from the Flanders region of Belgium. Megan sources Five to Buy in Object Lessons, including bedding available from Rough Linen. Read Editors' Picks: 10 Favorite Luxury Bed Linens for testimonials about Rough Linen.

    Gardenista ; Remodelista ; curtains ; Belgian design ; Design Ideas ; Axel Vervoordt

    Above: Julie admires how the curtains in Vincent Van Duysen's living room pool romantically on the floor; she identifies this and nine other Hallmarks of Belgian Design ripe for the picking.

    For more, see Remodelista's week of coverage of the Belgian Masters.

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    Here's a look at what we're loving lately:

    Bar Tartine Cauliflower Salad by 101 Cookbooks | Gardenista

    • Above: We know what's for lunch this weekend: Cauliflower salad with Greek yogurt dressing. Photograph by Heidi Swanson. 
    • One solution for the winter blues? Bring in more houseplants

    Remembering Jurgen Lehl | Gardenista

    • Above: We're remembering the work of Japan-based German artist Jurgen Lehl this weekend. 
    • The first signs of autumn illustrated in stunning photographs

    Modern Barn House by Specht Harpman via Arch Daily | Gardenista

    • Above: After being renovated, you could never tell that this modern barn house in Connecticut was nearly destroyed in a fire. Photograph courtesy of Specht Harpman. 
    • Join The Chalkboard for a tour of four Maui farms and ogle at 68 photographs. 

    Laure Joliet's Office Makeover on Front and Main, West Elm | Gardenista

    • Above: One of our favorite photographers, Laure Joliet, teamed up with West Elm on an office makeover (hint: houseplants are involved). 
    • No-fail planting tips for fall. 

    Microgreens Veggie Growing Kit at Provisions | Gardenista

    Above: On our wish list: an adorable kit for growing microgreens on the kitchen window. 

    For more from this week on Gardenista, take a look at Belgian Masters. Don't miss Remodelista's week of design and decor from Belgium, too. 

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    Not one to take herself too seriously, Terri's laid-back attitude shows through in her New Hampshire garden. She has a greenhouse wall covered in vintage sprinkler heads, a garden shed that doubles as a napping spot, and playful plantings.

    Terri is an artist who teaches a woodworking class at Squam Art Workshops, an art retreat in New Hampshire where I also teach and take classes. Terri's introduction to woodworking class convenes at her home studio. The first time I saw her property, I knew I wanted to come back.

    Many outbuildings dot the property, including: a woodworking studio, a garden shed, and a sleeping shed.  Attached to the house is a greenhouse, and on the other side of the greenhouse door is a large art/sewing studio.  Terri's creativity is evident in every room, and throughout her garden. 

    On a recent weekend trip through the area, I visited Terri's garden again and found vintage and thrift finds decorating the grounds. Each flower-lined path led to a discovery:

    Photography by Christine Chitnis for Gardenista.

    Outbuilding Christine Chitnis Gardenista

    Above: A glimpse through the flowers to a gardening shed that contains a hanging bed for afternoon naps.

    Porch Christine Chitnis Gardenista

    Above: New Hampshire has great antique shops, but Terri isn't afraid to get her hands dirty, and has found many gems at the town dump, including scrap wood to use in various woodworking projects.  On the front porch, and old tin tub makes the perfect table for holding a good book and a glass of iced tea.

    Succulents Christine Chitnis Gardenista

    Above: Succulents dot the garden, which is unusual given the climate. However, Terri pulls them into the greenhouse when the weather turns cold.

    Succulent in greenhouse Christine Chitnis Gardenista

    Above: Succulents in the greenhouse.

    Birdhouses Christine Chitnis Gardenista

    Above: Brightly colored birdhouses are mounted on the exterior of the main house, creating visual interest as visitors walk from the driveway to the backyard gardens.

    Sleeping shed Christine Chitnis Gardenista

    Above: Gauzy curtains, lending shade to the sleeping shed, billow in the breeze.

    Path Christine Chitnis Gardenista

    Above: Walkways weave through the gardens, connecting the various outbuildings and beds.  Stone work, as well as tree trunk rounds, form the path.

    Greenhouse Christine Chitnis Gardenista

    Above: Vintage sprinkler heads brighten a greenhouse wall.

    For more of Christine's garden visits, see At Home in Rhode Island with Painter Georgia Marsh and Boston's Best-Kept Secret: Eva's Organic Garden.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    A mudroom need not be grand. It doesn't even have to be a room. This week, we find simple ways to define a hard-working space devoted to the ritual of coming in (without tracking in dirt).

    Join us as we tackle the chaos of wet rain boots, squishy coats, and all of fall's accoutrements, with elegant and easy solutions. (Plus, we'll take you on a road trip to take in New Hampshire's autumn splendor.)

      Gardenista ; The DIY Mudroom

    Above: A sneak peek of Erin's DIY boot box on wheels (coming next week). Photograph by Erin Boyle.


    mudroom ; Gardenista ; farmhouse

    Above: Cheryl discovers a fantastic mudroom that opens to views of an elegantly weathered barn in this week's Architect Visit

    DIY ; mudroom ; Gardenista ; doormat

    Above: Erin, on a mission to keep her floors squeaky clean, goes on a DIY Projects frenzy, showing us how to make this rope doormat.


    Gardenista ; Ireland  

    Above: Artist and author Erica Van Horn invites Jane for a walk in the Irish countyside in this week's Garden Visit

    Leather ; planter ; Gardenista

     Above: Do your containers need some Garden Style? We found these strap planters to dress up any boring pot.


    West Village ; Gardenista ; staircase ; before and after

    Above: In restoring the backyard of her West Village townhouse, the owner managed to keep the elements she liked (such as this handsome staircase) while getting rid of the things that didn't work. Barbara gets the details in this week's Before and After

    coat rack ; Gardenista ; high low

    Above: Michelle brings order to our pile of coats, with a modern coat rack in this week's High/Low Design


    Gardenista ; tour ; whiskey ; Caledonia

    Above: It's always 5 o'clock somewhere, thinks Justine, as she takes us on a tour of Caledonia Spirits, a small-batch distillery and honey house on the border of Quebec and Vermont, in this week's Shopper's Diary.

    diy ; jute ; bench ; mudroom ; entryway ; Gardenista

    Above: Have a generic bench? Just add jute, and voilà, rustic elegance in your mudroom. Michelle finds a reason to get out the power tools for another DIY.



    dog ; mudroom ; Gardenista ; architect

    Above: The ultimate doghouse (it's built for people too), this cabin with a private courtyard is our Outbuilding of the Week.

    New Hampshire ; road trip ; Gardenista

    Above: Get in the car already; Christine Chitnis goes road-tripping across New Hampshire's countryside and takes in the dazzling fall foliage in this week's Destinations. She'll be sharing her whole Garden Travel itinerary. 

    Photo via Discover New England.

    Wondering what the Remodelista editors are up to this week? They're in a DIY mode too; see what they're up to The DIY Bath.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    After purchasing a verdant lot in Virginia, the owners' first instinct was to restore the site’s existing barn and move in, but architect Donald Lococo had another plan.

    After persuading his clients to leave the building as is, Lococo went on to design a new modern farmhouse in a similar agrarian aesthetic. The site was selected to preserve the grove of mature trees, and Lococo was able to frame the postcard-perfect scene of the nearly century-old barn.

    Photography via Donald Lococo Architects.

    farmhouse ; Gardenista

    Above: Architect Donald Lococo selected the site for the new house to preserve the trees and the historic barn. 

    mudroom ; Gardenista ; farmhouse ; potting room ; entryway

    Above: The interior/exterior exchange between the historic structure and the new farmhouse is made prominent by one of the most beautiful mudrooms we’ve spied. Located in the back entry, the space is anchored by a reclaimed bench. It was repurposed to function both as a potting table and sink counter. A wood plank, discovered during construction, serves as an overhead shelf for additional storage.  

    Gardenista ; wood floors ; farmhouse ;

    Above: Double doors and gleaming wood floors frame a view of the weathered barn.

    kitchen ; green ; Gardenista ; farmhouse

    Above: An unexpected, yet serene shade of pistachio green on the cabinets contrasts with slate floors and reclaimed timber beams.

      dining room ; plates ; farmhouse ; Gardenista

    Above: A farmhouse isn't complete without a cabinet display of antique china.

    For more mudrooms, see Storage: Entryway and Mudroom Roundup on Remodelista. And see our Storage archive for our favorite Shelving, Doormats, and Coat Hooks.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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  • 10/06/14--09:00: DIY: Woven Rope Doormat
  • Let me begin by saying that weaving your own doormat is a thing to do if you have a lot of spare time and a keen desire to flex your DIY muscles, to say nothing of your forearms. 

    The supplies necessary are few—just some rope and a pair of gloves to protect hands. But making my own doormat did require a certain amount of stamina and a willing partner in crime.

    Read on for a materials list and step-by-step instructions:

    Photography by Erin Boyle for Gardenista.

    DIY: Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle | Gardenista

    Above: My finished rope doormat. In an effort to ease you through the process, I've given step-by-step instructions below using a clothesline to create an ocean plait knot in miniature. I strongly encourage you to make a miniature version before wrestling with the 1/2 inch diameter rope shown here. Get the hang of the tying process first, before trying to pull 100 feet of rope through a knot. It's a much friendlier approach to the project.

    DIY: Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle | Gardenista


    • 100 feet 1/2" Manila Rope ($0.26 per foot at Knot and Rope Supply)
    • Electrical tape
    • Garden gloves
    • Hot glue gun (optional)


    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: You'll begin by tying a simple knot at one end of the rope. I made a tail of about 4 feet to be safe. (When you work with the full-size rope, wrap the two ends of the rope with electrical tape to keep them from fraying.)

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: Loosen the knot until you see a kind of pretzel shape. 

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: Loosen each side of the pretzel in order to form two oblong bights—the fancy knot-tying lingo to mean the curved section of rope. The size of these bights will be roughly the size of your finished mat. When you begin to use the full-sized rope, make each bight about 2.5 feet long.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: Twist each bight as shown.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: Stack the two loops one on top of the other by bringing the bottom loop upward, and drawing the top loop down to cross over the bottom, as shown.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: Secure the knot by drawing the short end of the rope up through the knot as shown. The short end of the rope will stay in this upper right-hand position from here on.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: Position the long length of rope in the upper left-hand corner.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: Draw the length of rope back through the knot, repeating the over/under pattern shown above.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: When making your model mat, use the palm of your hand to hold the rope in place as you pull the rope though the knot. When you make your full-sized version, I strongly encourage luring a partner into the project so that one of you can hold the knot in place, and the other can pull the length of rope through. (I tried this first as a solo endeavor and wound up with a wonky mat that had to be unknotted. If you think knotting 100 feet of rope is arduous, believe me when I say that you will not want to unknot it.)

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: The next loop completes the pattern. Loop your length of rope back around and weave it through again, along the original x to make the final right-hand loop, seen in process above.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: At this stage, you have your complete pattern and all that's left to do is continue to weave along these original lines, following the same over/under pattern of the original knot. If you'd like to see every stage of the knot, head to the ever-helpful Animated Knots for a full animation.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: As you weave, remember to continuously adjust your knot so that it remains straight and symmetrical. This is especially important on the full-size version.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: Keep your rope as flat as possible throughout; rope that criss-crosses where it shouldn't will cause problems down the line.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: The knot after being wrapped three times.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: The completed knot. To finish off the mat, tuck in the ends and get out a hot glue gun to secure them in place. If you decide to use nylon rope, you can achieve the same effect by melting the ends of the rope to the underside of the mat.

    DIY: Woven Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle

    Above: After I finished weaving with the full-sized rope, I gently tucked in any rows that had popped up, so each layer of the knot lay as flat as possible.

    DIY: Rope Doormat by Erin Boyle | Gardenista

    Above: If when you're all finished, you politely point guests to your neighbors' mat for actual foot-wiping, you'll be forgiven. That's certainly what I'll be doing.

    (K)not up to the challenge? See 10 Easy Pieces: Durable Doormats. Want to create an instant mudroom in your entryway? See 10 Easy Pieces: Sturdy Mudroom Hooks.

    More Stories from Gardenista

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  • 10/06/14--11:30: Field Guide: Smoke Bush
  • Smoke Bush (Cotinus): "Stands Out in a Crowd"

    The color of the leaves, the contrast with other plants, the light shining through: for many this is the point of Smoke Bush. For others, it's all about the flowers that look like puffs of smoke at the tips of this singular bush.

    Field Guide: Smoke Bush. Gardenista

    Above: The flowers are insignificant, but their effect is of a general fluff around the darkness of Cotinus coggyria. After flowering, the flower skeletons linger. The smoke bush works hard at every stage as a foil for other colors: it flatters everything.

    Field Guide: Smoke Bush. Gardenista

    Above: Cotinus is very good value in summer's green. C. 'Velvet Cloak' turns from red to purple to crushed berry, and always a hint of green in its own foliage.

    The way to keep the leaves looking their biggest, fullest, and most intensely colored, is by coppicing them in spring (cutting them right back to the base). The drawback? No smoke.

    Cheat Sheet

    • A round, dark bush at the back of the border, cotinus is a wonderful dark backdrop.
    • Grow a contrasting viticella clematis through it, from blue c. 'Perle d'Azur' to white c. 'Alba Luxurians'. (Choose a late variety that can be pruned at the same time as its host.)
    • Place a smoke bush somewhere between you and the light source. Sun shining throught the leaves will light up the garden.

    Keep It Alive

    • Poor soil will keep a smoke bush on its toes: the bush will be more compact and the color more intense.
    • Smoke bush will sulk if it does not have enough light and space.
    • Hardy to zone 5.

    Gardenista | Smokebush Arrangement By Sophia Moreno-Bunge

    Above: Cotinus is friend to the florist, as both sides of the leaf can be put to good use. The underside, as Sophia Moreno-Bunge notes, is "opalescent" against the purple.

    (For more of the above floral arrangement, see DIY Floral Arrangement: Smoke Bush and Queen Anne's Lace.)

    Cotinus field guide. Gardenista

    Above: The American Smoke Tree is paler and more whimsical in appearance; it has a Dr. Seuss look. This specimen was photographed at full strength in June (near Boston). Photograph via Trepelu.

    New Eco Landscapes, Bed-Stuy backyard, Brooklyn; smoketree; Gardenista

    Above: Cotinus coggyria 'Grace' is not so dark and velvety: purple-red leaves color to orange-red in autumn. Cotinus coggyria 'Royal Purple' is perhaps the most popular variety and holds an RHS AGM. In other words: an Award of Garden Merit has been given by the Royal Horticultural Society because of its all-round garden worthiness. Photograph by Douglas Lyle Thompson.

    Wondering how to use smoke bush in the garden? See Garden Designer Visit: A Low Maintenance Brooklyn Backyard by Eco Landscapes. For another of our favorite garden shrubs, see Field Guide: Hornbeam.

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    Wandering the stalls at London’s Small Publishers Fair late last fall, I came across the work of writer and illustrator Erica Van Horn and her partner, poet Simon Cutts. Together they run Coracle Press from their small farm in southern Ireland. As I perused the Coracle table, I was instantly drawn to the way Van Horn’s minimalist line drawings convey so much emotion. 

    Her recently published book, Living Locally (£12 via Uniformbooks), is a compendium of five years of journal entries detailing her life in Ireland. Van Horn’s ability to turn a phrase makes reading the diary a delight. Keen observations and insights render the most quotidian of activities riveting. Racing through her entries, I took note of how her many walks with Em, her beloved dog, helped connect her to her community and surroundings (and I made plans to be more aware during my own outings with the dog).

    I'm an American who recently moved to London, experiencing anxiety about finding my way as an expat. So when I learned that Van Horn is also an American expat (now an Irish citizen), I needed the story to continue. Thankfully, she invited us to Ireland to see her garden:

    Photography by Rincy Koshy for Gardenista, except where noted.

    Erica Van Horn Book Barn | Gardenista

    Above: Van Horn and Cutts make their home on what was once a small farm in South Tipperary. Pictured above is the property’s Book Barn. While the building once held animals and hay, now it is filled with the necessary tools for the two artists to pursue a life devoted to all things paper. The space holds a large work table as well as shelving and cupboards to store the requisite supplies.

    An outdoor seating area looks over the foothills of Ireland’s Comeragh Mountains. The Book Barn’s stone steps lead to a mezzanine level where more paper is stored, and on occasion, the space serves as a guest bedroom. 

    Erica Van Horn Printing Shed | Gardenista

    Above: The white printing shed holds drawers of metal type, as well as a small Adana printing press. (A large wild fuschia, lovingly transplanted by Van Horn and Cutts, adds a bit of red to the verdant surroundings.) 

    Erica Van Horn Lean-to | Gardenista

    Above: A utilitarian corner of the property includes a lean-to for firewood, a potting bench, clothesline, and of course, the view.

    Erica Van Horn Simon Cutts Wall Poetry | Gardenista

    Above: A bit of Cutts’ poetry stenciled on to the main house’s wall. 

    Erica Van Horn Rusty Objects | Gardenista

    Above: Hanging rusted objects serve as inspiration for many of Van Horn’s drawings.

    Erica Van Horn's Dog Em | Gardenista

    Above L: An homage to the couple’s beloved dog Em, a sheepdog mix who died in late August (Van Horn and Cutts are missing her terribly). Above R: A photo of Em, courtesy of Van Horn. Stories from Van Horn and Em’s walks were a central part of Living Locally.

    Erica Van Horn Ireland Wildflowers | Gardenista

    Above: An abundance of late-summer wildflowers nearly obscures the view of the printing shed.

    Erica van Horn Garden Ireland ; Gardenista

    Above: Even when it’s raining (a frequent occurrence in Ireland), the view from the Book Barn reminds you of nature.

    Erica Van Horn Lavender | Gardenista

    Above: Lavender grows in abundance. 

    Want to see more from Ireland? Take a hike up Galway's Diamond Hill, or for outdoor room inspiration, check out the 2013 Considered Design Award Winner For Best Outdoor Room.  

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    Let me describe my mudroom to you: it's a wall, it's 48 inches long, and the front door to my apartment swings right into it.

    The truth is, my 700-square-foot apartment didn't come with a mudroom, but that's not stopping me (and others like Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess) from putting together an ad hoc space to fling winter coats and boots. I found the ultimate inspiration in Larson's mudroom, and here's what you need to recreate it. 

    Steal This Look: A DIY Mudroom by A Beautiful Mess

    Above: Photograph via A Beautiful Mess.

    Larson's mudroom is located in a convenient spot: right inside by her back porch. She set out to "create an organized wall that could hold different things through the changing seasons."

    Wooden Crates for a DIY Mudroom

    Above: The base of Larson's mudroom starts with large wooden crates. You can more than likely find them at a local flea market or wine shop, but we like this set of made-to-order crates; $135 from Looney Bin Trading Co. on Etsy. 

    Wood Board for DIY Mudroom | Gardenista

    Above: Two wood boards are hung as a space for jackets and photos; $7.98 from Home Depot. 

    Flat Back Double Hook Steal this Look Mudroom | Gardenista

    Above: A row of black flat-back hooks are installed for hanging scarves and coats; $1.98 from Liberty Hardware. 

    Binder Clips for Hanging Photos | Gardenista

    Above: Hammer a few nails into the second wood board and hang photographs or memos with binder clips; $7 for 60 clips at Poppin. 

    Small Wire Basket Storage for a DIY Mudroom | Gardenista

    Above: A small wire basket becomes a receptacle for gardening tools and other odds and ends; $16.99 at The Container Store. 

    Mason Jar Storage for a DIY Mudroom | Gardenista

    Above: Perfect storage: jars are a no-brainer. I love that Larson uses them here to store a pair of gardening gloves and some spare clothespins; Pint-Sized Jars are $1.15 from ULine.

    Clothespin for DIY Mudroom | Gardenista

    Above: If your mudroom leads to the outdoors, it could be a good place to store extra clothespins for drying clothes outdoors. A pack of 36 Wooden Clothespins is $18 from Anything Goes Here on Etsy. Take a look at 5 Favorites: Classic Made-in-the-USA Wooden Clothespins on Remodelista. Photograph by Colleen Doyle. 

    Autumn Linen Scarf | Gardenista

    Above: I plan to hang my Linen Blend Scarf ($29 at Nordstrom) on a mudroom hook to be at the ready for fall nights in San Francisco. 

    Hunter Rain Boots, Mudroom | Gardenista

    Above: A pair of Hunter Rain Boots in Green; $158 from Zappos. 

    hardy blue fern | gardenista

    Above: The final touch? A houseplant of your liking. I'm going with a Blue Fern; $3.99 at Josh's Frogs. Photograph by Erin Boyle from A Fern of a Different Color: Hardy Blue Fern.

    For more looks to steal, have a peek at dozens and dozens of posts in our archive (such as Alexa's Steal This Look: Minimalist DIY Entryway on Remodelista). 

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    In some families, people hang up their coats when they come indoors instead of flinging them onto the furniture (or floor). I've heard rumors of this behavior.

    But things are a little different at my house. The first evidence that winter is coming is a trail of discarded backpacks, scarves, sweaters, and boots. It starts at the front door and ends in front of the refrigerator, broken up by the occasional jacket draped across a chair. 

    Me (to family): Have you heard of this revolutionary new invention called a "closet?"

    Family (to me): <blank looks>

    After a hundred years or so of making no progress fighting the coat war, I finally realized what the problem is. The amount of effort it takes to open a closet door, reach for a hanger, drape a coat across the hanger, replace the hanger on the rod, and close the closet door is too much effort. For some people. (To be fair, I got tired just typing all those steps.)

    This year, I'll be ready: with pegs and hooks to hang coats. I've rounded up ten options that would lovely in nearly any hallway, entry, or mudroom. And if I install them right inside the door, on the wall that leads to the kitchen? Perhaps the chairs can go sleeveless.

    Shaker hooks coat rack mudroom ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Christine Chang Hanway.

    See how nicely Christine's family hangs up their stuff? Christine bought a Shaker peg rail (above) from Peg and Rail, which offers a shelf and various finish options. She got a White Shelf Peg Rack because the shelf allows her to display art without having to commit to hanging it. It's available in lengths ranging from 18 inches (with three pegs) to 58 inches (with 10 pegs) at prices from $63 to $180.

    For more ways Christine uses shaker pegs, see Remodeling 101: Shaker Pegs Saved My Life.

    shaker peg coat hooks mudroom ; Gardenista

    Above: If you prefer an unpainted wood, an Oak Peg Rail with six hooks has a slim profile. It measures 92 centimeters long and 7 centimeters high (approximately 36 inches long and nearly 3 inches high); $159 NZD (approximately $196 US).

    Mudroom valet pegs wall hooks ; Gardenista

    Above: Cincinnati-based designer John Dixon created a 20-inch-long Intersect Valet Shelf made of oiled ash wood and brass with three pegs to hang keys or bags; available with the shelf on either the right or left. It connects to the wall with two screws and is $148 from Dixon Branded.

    Brass wood Dixon mudroom wall hook peg ; Gardenista

    Above: If you don't have room for a shelf, Dixon designed a version with a single peg; the Intersect Hook is $29 from Dixon Branded.

    Hampson Woods mudroom hanging rack ; Gardenista

    Above: East London designers Jonty Hampson and Sascha Gravenstein will only use timber if they know its history. Each Hampson Woods Hanging Rack is handmade of English oak with four pegs of London plane wood. Each peg has a hole for a clothes hanger; £95. (A smaller 2-Peg Hanging Rack is £65.)

      mudroom wooden beech pegs ; Gardenista

    Above: Made of untreated beech and with a steel pin that can be hammered into the wall, a set of five Beechwood Hooks will hang at an angle. They are as useful in the garden shed as the mudroom; 12.80€ from Manufactum.

    Commune Design wall ball hooks wood mudroom ; Gardenista

    Above: From LA-based Commune Design, a pair of raw birch round Ball Hooks is $30.


    Coatrack dots coat hooks mudrooms ; Gardenista

    Above: Coatrack Dots are a favorite of Julie, who says, "Coatrack Dots by Tveit & Tornøe for Nordic design studio Muuto are meant to be part wall sculpture, part storage." Smooth, round edges treat coats gently. A set of five Coatrack Dots comes with one large, one medium, and three small hooks; available in three finishes including solid ash and solid oak (shown); $149 from Design Within Reach.

      Coat Dot Hooks Mudroom ; Gardenista

    Above: With a rougher finish, Dot Coat Hooks made in India from reclaimed sen wood have splits, cracks and knots; a set of three is $12.95 from CB2.

    wood doughnut mudroom hooks by Michael Marriott ; Gardenista

    Above: UK-based designer Michael Marriott's solid beech round MMM Doughnuts hooks can also be used as handles. They come in a set of three and are from £19.95 All Lovely Things.

    Looking for metal hooks? See 10 Easy Pieces: Sturdy Mudroom Hooks. Designing a mudroom? We have more ideas; see our week of DIY Mudroom posts.

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    There is always the risk of over-accessorizing, but not when the accessory in question is this handsome. Currently on our radar: Mimot Studio’s Strap Planters, woven leather baskets that give your containers handles. The LA-based design studio cites artist Donald Judd's minimalist designs as inspiration for the Strap Collection, which also includes baskets ($192), a key ring ($16.50), and tote ($317).

    Indoor plants ; planter ; leather ; straps ; Gardenista

    Above: Baskets come in three sizes, to fit standard 10-, 12-, and 14-inch pots, and are priced $165, $200, and $220, respectively. 

    Gardenista ; planter ; leather  

    Above: Shiny copper-plated rivets fasten leather straps and handles—in style.

      leather ; basket ; Gardenista

    Above: A basket in an ideal size for storing magazines is also part of Mimot's Strap Collection. On Remodelista, Izabella praised it as a Basket Too Pretty to Hide.

    For more planters to covet, have a look at The World’s Most Stylish Orchid Pot according to Erin and Julie's High/Low Glamorous Belgian Planters. And, to care for your terra cotta investments, Meredith’s Gardening 101: How to Prevent Cracks in Terra Cotta, is a must read.

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    When Alison Cayne moved into her townhouse in New York City’s West Village in 2012, she was happy with all the outdoor space she was getting. She loved the broad terrace on the second floor, just outside the master bedroom, and a similar terrace on the fourth floor. And the backyard seemed just great, with its raised platform at the back that "looked like a little stage.”

    But Cayne soon realized the backyard had its drawbacks. The raised area took up a lot of space, making it difficult to entertain big groups—something Cayne, the founder of Haven's Kitchen, a cooking school, café, and event space in Chelsea, does often.

    What's more, her younger son (now 9) found that the slate flagstones underfoot played havoc with his basketball game. A freshly completed overhaul has solved both those problems:

    Photography by Douglas Lyle Thompson, except where noted.

    West Village backyard overview; Gardenista

    Above: The backyard's new look. Two days after the job was done, in early October, Cayne had a dinner for 45 in support of the FEED Foundation. The basketball hoop is easily wheeled out of the way for parties; otherwise, it sees a lot of use. That court on the right? Read on.


      West Village townhouse backyard, Before; Gardenista

    Above: Photographs by Ali Cayne.

    Two seasonal views of the backyard before renovation. The space was fine for Cayne and her five kids, but not suited to larger gatherings—or basketball. 

    Plans for West Village townhouse backyard; Before; Gardenista

    Above: (from left) Contemplating brick choices; the plan drawn up by Twin Stone Restoration, a Brooklyn-based contractor. Photograph by Ali Cayne.


    West Village backyard, second-floor view; Gardenista

    Above: The completed backyard, as seen from the second-floor terrace. The job took only a month; removing excess soil and debris from the back proved to be the biggest challenge.

    Brick in a herringbone pattern provides a smoother surface for basketball. The clay court at right is for playing boules, a French game that Cayne loves. "I usually call it ‘boccie’ because that sounds less pretentious,” she says jokingly, "and more people know the name." There is a difference: The Italian game of boccie is similar to bowling, whereas boules (also called petanque) resembles horseshoes, but is played with heavy metal balls.


    Above: The back stairs lead down from the townhouse's open kitchen. The ground floor houses a ping-pong table and a pet rabbit, who's allowed to wander the yard when supervised.

    West Village backyard, couch; Gardenista

    Above: A reading corner at the rear. The couches are covered in neutral-colored outdoor fabric; Cayne tosses throws over them when guests are coming.

    West Village backyard, dining table; Gardenista

    Above: In warm weather, Cayne and the kids eat outside whenever they can. The lightweight picnic table and benches are easily moved to wherever they're needed for a meal.

    West Village backyard, dining table; Gardenista

    Above: Flowers on the table came from the backyard's planters. The yard's old fencing was left in place; a new section will soon weather to match it.

      West Village backyard, fountain; Gardenista

    Above: This wall-mounted stone fountain (and the ivy) came with the house. Even without water, Cayne likes it just as it is.


    Above: An embroidered Indian fabric lends color to a couch. The backyard fire pit is frequently pressed into use for roasting after-dinner s'mores with the kids.

    West Village backyard, wharf light; Gardenista

    Above: Wharf lights along the walls illuminate evening get-togethers.


    Above: An accomplished griller who has always enjoyed cooking, Cayne fixes family meals on the Weber almost every night. 

      West Village backyard, Echinacea; Gardenista

    Above: A tiny visitor explores a coneflower blossom. Mismatched pots and planters in the backyard also hold black-eyed Susans, mountain laurel, eastern red cedar, and mixed perennial herbs.

    West Village backyard, stairs; Gardenista

    Above: The yellow terra cotta urn at the top of the stairs was a gift from a friend's parents, owners of the garden design center Eye of the Day, in Carpinteria, CA.


    Above: No perfectionist, Cayne revels in the backyard's “hodge-podgey” look, saying, “I didn’t want it to look prissy.” The peeling paint on the brick wall looks much as it did when the family moved in.

    West Village second-floor terrace; sauna; Gardenista

    Above: On the second-floor terrace outside the master bedroom, potted herbs, shrubs, and flowers flank an outdoor barrel sauna that came in a DIY kit from Northern Lights, a Belgian company with a branch in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (And yes, that is a massive construction project the next block over, on the site of the former St. Vincent's hospital. The source of much dust and noise, it's projected to be done by 2015. Still, good thing Cayne's no perfectionist.)


    Above: The terrace off the fourth floor, where Cayne's two sons have bedrooms, has a stunning view of the landmark Jefferson Market Library, with its Gothic clock tower. (The building, originally a courthouse, was completed in 1877.) "Vegetables really love growing here," she says, noting that the terrace seems to have its own micro-climate. 

    West Village townhouse, upper terrace; Gardenista

    Above: The sturdy, self-irrigating planters were constructed and installed by Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farming business. Cayne and her older son made cold frames out of the windows shown here, and used them to start the seeds she ordered from Seeds of Change. The planter in the middle is dedicated to strawberry plants, the one at left is mostly basil and cherry tomatoes. "The kids are proud of the fact that we grow our own food up here," she says. "My girls and I love to graze in the lettuce and arugula patch."

    West Village townhouse, upper terrace; Gardenista

    Above: A protected bed holds kale, parsley, peppers, and fennel. The bamboo trellis for the sunflowers was made with stalks salvaged from the backyard, where bamboo once ran rampant. And if you climb a ladder to see what's on top of the building, you'll find a roof planted with sedum. 

    For more garden renovations in New York City, see A Lush NYC Backyard by Robin Key and A Low Maintenance Brooklyn Backyard by New Eco Landscapes

    Loving the Before and Afters? Find more posts here.

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    At what point do two adults realize they need to stop dreaming of the perfect shoe rack (and stop tripping over strewn shoes)?

    After searching for months, my boyfriend, Roman, and I knew exactly what we wanted: a minimal design, preferably made from wood, that would accommodate both of our shoe collections. And it had to fit neatly into the only place our 700-square-foot apartment would allow: along a 48-inch wall in our entryway. The only problem? The perfect shoe rack didn't exist.

    Can you tell where this story is going? Enter the DIY shoe rack.

    After perusing Pinterest for ideas, I found one photo with a shoe rack that fit the bill (surprise, surprise, it was pinned from Remodelista). I loved that the shoe box was on casters, and looked simple to construct. That said, it turned out to be a project that's much easier with two people (and four hands). Plus, you should be comfortable using power tools and possess an air of craftsmanship. You'll also need at least two and a half hours from start to finish—but one hour is drying time.

    Read on for a materials list and step-by-step instructions for the perfect entryway shoe rack:

    Photography by Dalilah Arja, except where noted. 

    DIY Entryway | Gardenista

    Above: The inspiration for this project came from a photo I found in 10 Favorites: Entryway Storage Roundup on Remodelista. We set out to create a similar narrow box on wheels to fit in the tight space between our front door and storage closet. 

    DIY Shoe Rack CAD Model by Roman Lapaev | Gardenista

    Above: We made a rendering of our shoe rack so we could visualize the outcome before we got started. CAD model by Roman Lapaev.


    • Four pieces of wood: two 4-foot planks for the bottom and top, and two 10-inch planks for each side
    • Wood glue
    • Four casters with breaks
    • A drill (plus drill bits)
    • Four 2-inch screws 
    • 16 3/4-inch screws 
    • Two clamps (but having four is even better)

    N.B.: Your dimensions may differ depending on the desired size of the shoe rack and the thickness of the wood. 


    Step One: Sand the edges of each piece of wood to get a smooth-to-the-touch surface.

    DIY Mudroom Shoe Rack | Gardenista

    Step Two: Lightly apply wood glue to the edge of one of the base planks. You should start with the board you intend to use for the bottom of the shoe rack. We used wood glue in addition to screws to ensure stability.

    Clamping sides for a DIY shoe rack | Gardenista

    Step Three: Using clamps, secure a short plank to the base board with one clamp holding it in place vertically and one clamp holding it in place horizontally. In this position, let the glue set for 30 minutes. We used a smaller wood block to act as a clamping point. (If you have a workbench, secure the clamps and the slabs of wood to the workbench instead.)

    Mark the drill point, DIY shoe rack | Gardenista

    Step Four: While the wood glue is drying, mark the drill point with a pencil or chalk. You want to drill into the center of the plank, so if your piece of wood is 1-inch thick, mark a drill point at 1/2 inch. Our wood is 3/4-inch thick, so we made a mark at 3/8 inch. 

    Drilling a hole, DIY shoe rack | Gardenista

    Step Five: After the wood glue is dry, drill a hole for the screw. 

    DIY Mudroom Shoe Rack | Gardenista

    Step Six: Drill the screw into the hole to secure the base board to the side board. 

    In progress: DIY shoe rack | Gardenista

    Step Seven: Repeat steps one through six on each of the eight corners. 

    Installing casters, DIY shoe rack | Gardenista

    Step Eight: After the wood box is fully assembled, flip it over and place the casters with 3/4-inch clearance on each side (use 1-inch clearance if your wood is 1-inch thick and so on). The idea here is to drill only into the bottom board, not the side boards. Drill a hole for the screw, then drill in the screw. Repeat this for each caster. 

    DIY Mudroom Shoe Rack, Small Space | Gardenista

    Above: The finished product. 

    Bowl for catching keys, DIY mudroom, DIY shoe rack | Gardenista

    Above: We're using the top of the shoe rack to store keys and bags. 

    DIY Mudroom Shoe Rack with Casters, Small Space | Gardenista

    Above: My favorite part? The gray casters, brakes included.

    For more entryway projects, see DIY: Woven Rope Doormat and Steal this Look: DIY Entryway with Hairpin Leg Bench on Remodelista. 

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    Gravel doesn't sound like a glamorous hardscaping material. It's cheap, ubiquitous, and really, well, gravelly.

    But take a closer look, and you'll realize that the seemingly mundane material is a superhero. It's a maintenance-free ground cover. It allows water to drain back into the soil. And it acts as a natural French drain (because properly laid gravel doesn't puddle water). Not to mention, it has an elegant formalism when landscaped along the perimeter of a house.

    Here are ten gardens with gravel to envy (with ideas you can steal for your own garden): 

    Hardscaping with Gravel | Gardenista

    Above: Narrow gravel drains run through this Australian garden. Photograph by Jason Busch, via Greige

    Hardscaping with Gravel | Gardenista

    Above: The eco-friendly South African home of architect Gillian Holl uses fresh rainwater to fill a koi pond and swimming pool; excess water can drain through surrounding gravel. Photograph by Elske Kritzinger via Visi

    Hardscaping with Gravel | Gardenista

    Above: Gravel drainage around the reinforced concrete home of architect Philip Scroback in São Paulo, Brazil. Read more in Design Sleuth: Pavers and Gravel. Photograph by Evelyn Muller

    Hardscaping with Gravel | Gardenista

    Above: A gravel drain lies beneath the sloping metal roof of a project by Austin-based Alterstudio Architecture (a member of the Remodelista + Gardenista Architect/Designer Directory). The project was a finalist for Best Office Space in the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards.

    Hardscaping with Gravel | Gardenista

    Above: On all sides, gravel perimeter drains catch water from the gabled metal roof of a Virginia countryside house by D.C.-based Robert Gurney Architect. Photograph by Maxwell Mackenzie.

    Hardscaping with Gravel | Gardenista

    Above: Gravel surrounds garden pavilions in a Bangkok condominium landscape by Trop Landscapes + Open Space. Photograph via Land8

    Hardscaping with Gravel | Gardenista

    Above: No tidy perimeter required: Gravel surrounds a home in South Africa from the European Light + Design Center portfolio of Delta Light.

    Hardscaping with Gravel | Gardenista

    Above: Also by Alterstudio Architecture, an Austin home sports gravel drainage along all exterior walls. Read more about the project in Steal This Look: A Silvery Blue Palette in Austin, TX.

    Hardscaping with Gravel | Gardenista

    Above: Gravel winds through the garden of this ultra-modern Bahrain house by Moriq, a design studio based in Hyderabad, India. Photograph via HomeDSGN.

    Hardscaping with Gravel | Gardenista

    Above: This house by Feldman Architecture, a member of the Remodelista + Gardenista Architect/Designer Directory, is sited on a steep slope in an oak forest in California. The structure was designed with environmental sensitivity in mind, and surrounding gravel allows water to drain back into the soil.

    For more landscape roundups, see 10 Perfect Party Spaces in the City;Intimate Gardens for Two, and Gardenista Roundup: For Love of Boxwood

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    As we've been organizing mudrooms and training family members to hang up jackets this week, our thoughts naturally turn to stylish coat stands.

    Two we covet at opposite ends of the price spectrum are classic freestanding wood coat trees—with tree branches on which to hang jackets:

    Artek wooden coat stand rack ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Time of the Aquarius

    Artek's classic wood clothes tree, designed by Anna Maija Jaatinen in 1964. It has a metal tripod base and longer pegs at the top of the tree to make it easier to hang bags and small items below.

    Ikea PS 2014 coat stand rack ; Gardenista

    Above: An inch taller, Ikea's birch stand has slightly different proportions and design features. With a white fiberboard base, the PS 2014 Hat And Coat Stand is designed by Ebba Strandmark and measures nearly 71 inches tall. It has a clear lacquer finish; $34.99. 

    Artek clothes tree 160 ; Gardenista

    Above: The original Clothes Tree is available in several colors (including natural lacquered birch) from Hive Modern; $1,405.

    Outfitting a mudroom? We've been working on that all week:

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    The summer months have slid away and with them the ability to ignore spotty pathway lighting. Getting around the garden, and even to the front door, can be challenging when days get shorter and darkness sets in before dinner.

    This is the season to enhance safety, convenience, and curb appeal with effective path and walkway illumination. Here's what you need to know to create a well-lit path to (and around) your home. 

    N.B.: This is the second in our series of landscape lighting primers; scroll to the end for links to our posts on uplighting and sources for landscape lighting. 

    Delta Light Flip Path Lights, Gardenista

    Above: Placing lights on alternating sides of a path creates a sense of balance and visual interest. Photograph via Delta Light.  

    What defines a pathway light?

    Pathway lights do what they advertise: offer illumination to guide you along an outdoor path or walkway.

    Delta Light Aula Garden LIghts, Gardenista

    Above: Generally speaking, lights that are best for this job shine a gentle glow downward toward your feet, providing direction without distracting glare. 

    Gunn Landscape Architecture Rye Pathway LIghts, Gardenista

    Above: Bollard lights lead to the entry, while also illuminating the garden, of a Rye, New York project by Gunn Landscape Architecture, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Design Directory

    What are the benefits of pathway lights?

    In addition to leading the way in the dark, pathway lights offer other benefits, including:

    • Home security.
    • Protection of path border plants from heavy-footed walkers. 
    • Marking path boundaries.
    • Highlighting low level prized garden plants.
    • Added curb appeal.
    • Ambient lighting for garden entertaining.

    Delta Light Monostep Lighting, Gardenista

    Above: Strategically placed pathway lights lead up outdoor stairs. Photograph via Delta Light.

    What are the different styles of pathway lights?

    There are several varieties of fixtures effective for lining and lighting walkways. The most common types put to work on pathways are garden lights, downlights, bollard lights, and flush lights.

    Garden Lights

    Pedersen Associates Kentfield Path Lights, Gardenista

    Above: Traditional garden lights in a Marin County entry by Pedersen Associates Landscape Architecture.

    Topped with a canopy that reflects light down onto adjacent paths and garden beds, garden lights typically stand between 18 and 24 inches tall. 


    Volt Adjustable Landscape Light, Gardenista

    Above: Directionally focused downlights affixed to a pole (such as the low-voltage LED Volt Innovator Top Dog Pathway Light; $54.97 at Volt), wall, or adjacent tree offer effective pathway lighting. The spot design provides a targeted light source with little side glare. The farther away from a path, the larger the area of illumination. 

    Bollard Lights

    Bollard LIght with Top, Gardenista

    Above: A bollard garden light from Belgian lighting company Nyche.

    Bollard (or pillar) lights have a 360-degree light spread and can illuminate garden beds and walkways simultaneously. Because they are a brighter light source, they are often placed at the start or end of a path as a focal point and to draw walkers in the right direction. Be careful of glare. Consider low-wattage bulbs or bollards with a solid top, to prevent the light from shining upwards. 

    Flush Lights

    Coen + Partners Fulsh Path Lights, Gardenista  

    Above: Flush lights set in a path integrate soft but practical lighting in an urban Chicago garden by Coen + Partners, members of the Remodelista Architect/Design Directory.

    Installed in the surface of a path, flush lights softly illuminate up and outwards, without the intensity of a spot light. 

    Any tips for pathway lighting placement and selection?

    • Space fixtures from 10 to 15 feet apart to create pools of light to guide from one point to the next, rather than a constant stream of light. 
    • Stagger lights on both sides of a path to create a sense of balance and avoid the runway look.
    • Consider setting lights slightly back from a walkway. They will light the way, and also highlight adjacent plantings rather than your pathway material. 
    • Pay attention to the height of the lights to scale with the surrounding terrain. If they are set in foliage, lights need to be slightly taller than plantings.
    • Be careful not to overlight. Use low wattage bulbs for subtlety (it is easy to overdo it). 
    • Select fixtures that direct light toward the feet, not the eyes. 

    Botanica Design Pathway Lights Courtyard, Gardenista

    Above: Garden pathway lights with canopies in a courtyard by Botanica Design in Vancouver, BC,  provide an ample glow for walking, highlighting the garden, and lighting the seating area. 

    Q Bic Outdoor Path Light, Gardenista

    Above: The Belgian-made Q-Bic Outdoor Path Light is attached to a small stainless steel and wood pillar and swivels so it can be adjusted to meet the lighting needs of the terrain; $555 at Lightology.

    Shades of Green Landscape Architecture Hillside Garden Pathway LIghts, Gardenista  

    Above: Sinuous garden path lights tucked in with grasses and perennials alongside concrete entry stairs of a hillside garden by Shades of Green Landscape Architecture. Photograph by Lauren Hall Knight. 

    How do I power my pathway lights?

    Unless they are solar-powered, outdoor lights need to be connected to an electric power source. That can be achieved by plugging into an outdoor power socket, hard wiring to a full 120V electric source, or installing a low-voltage transformer. From a safety, cost, and easy installation, low voltage is the way to go. Low-voltage transformers change the electric current from 120V to 12V, ideal for outdoor garden use because of the wet conditions. Electricity and water are typically a bad combination.

    Using regular electrical power requires the wiring to be buried at least 18 inches deep or to be encased in a conduit, while low-voltage systems can plug into an outdoor socket. Then the wires can be easily buried under soil or gravel. We recommend consulting with an electrician or outdoor lighting professional for guidance or installation.

    Keith Wagner Landscape Architect Pathway LIghting, Gardenista

    Above: As much of an architectural detail as a source of illumination, modern path lights mingle with grasses in a garden on Shelburne Farms in Vermont by Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture

    Where can I buy outdoor pathway lighting? 

    Oluce Outdoor Path Light, Gardenista

    Above: Designed with a natural feel but with a conscious manmade geometry and technology, the Oluce Ela 308 Outdoor Path Lamp is $750 at Surrounding Modern Lighting and Interiors.

    See our earlier features:

    Read our Landscape Uplighting Primer. And, for more views of gardens after the sun has gone down, see Let Twilight Linger.

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