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Archives for June 9, 2013

Euclid Pond & Garden tours set – News

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Some incredible stops along this year’s Spokane in Bloom tour

The Spokane in Bloom garden tour, which starts Saturday, will feature Bruce and Ann Dentler’s railroad-themed perennial garden on Five Mile Prairie.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

If you go

Spokane in Bloom Garden Tour

When: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ticket info: Tickets can be purchased for $10 at any of the gardens on the day of the tour or at these Spokane nurseries:

Blue Moon Garden Nursery, 1732 S. Inland Empire Way

Gerry’s Trees, 2220 W. Strong Road

Gibson’s Nursery, 1401 S. Pines Road

Green Thumb Nursery, 16816 E. Sprague Ave.

Judy’s Enchanted Garden, 2628 W. Northwest Blvd.

Mel’s Nursery, 8800 N. Division St.

Northwest Seed Pet, 7302 N. Division St. and 2422 E. Sprague Ave.

Ritter’s Florist Nursery, 10120 N. Division St.

Tower Perennial Gardens, 4010 E. Jamieson Road

More info:

We are now embarking upon the season when generous gardeners open their beautiful gardens to the public. The Spokane in Bloom garden tour on Saturday is first up, showcasing six wonderful gardens on the North Side and four bonus stops along the way.

Those visiting Ann and Bruce Dentler’s garden will have a hard time deciding which part is their favorite. Located at 7711 N. Panorama Drive, they’ve done an excellent job laying out it out on their double lot.

While they’ve lived there since 1976, the garden really began taking shape in 1997 when they hired a landscape architect to design the paths, sprinkler system and raised beds.

“Growing vegetables in Spokane can be challenging but raised beds work well because they are warmer and drain better,” Bruce Dentler said.

In addition to the vegetable garden, there is a pond with a waterfall, a caboose playhouse for their grandchildren, more than 150 containers planted with colorful annuals, a swale filled with drought-tolerant plants and a three-tiered garden railroad.

“I really wanted a railroad to add interest and whimsy,” Bruce Dentler said. “The garden was my primary focus but the railroad is an accent.”

Pathways lead to many garden rooms planted with irises, hostas, daylilies, roses, peonies and flowering shrubs. Trellises are covered with clematis vines. A lattice-covered pergola provides a shady spot to sit and enjoy the garden.

A physician who cares for people in nursing homes, Dentler has found gardening to be therapeutic.

“I have a job that’s stressful and emotional and clean,” he said. “I like having a hobby that is a salve for relaxing and getting my hands dirty.”

Ann Dentler has particularly enjoyed watching her grandchildren in the garden. “They are learning about gardening, they take an interest in planting and knowing the plant names and types of birds. It’s fun seeing it through the eyes of a child,” she said.

They both hope visitors will get some ideas from their garden. “It can be intimidating for people to see a garden like this, but it didn’t start out this way,” Bruce Dentler said. “We’ve learned a lot from other gardens, reading books, going to garden shows and just trying new things.”

The following gardens are also a part of the tour:

Julie and Bill Nesbitt, 3002 W. Trinity Ave. – Visitors will enjoy exploring this certified wildlife habitat with its shade garden filled with hostas, ferns and hydrangeas, and a rock garden planted with mosses, irises and succulents. Large deck planters are brimming with perennials, as are six raised beds.

Kelly and Penny Achten, 3104 W. Trinity Ave. – This garden is graced by a water feature, sunflowers, garden art, perennial beds and a vegetable garden.

Mary Ann and Ken Corman, 7602 N. Audubon – The Cormans have designed their 10-year-old garden as an imaginative play space for their grandchildren and a haven for wild birds. Enjoy the water features, the many paths and colorful annuals that brighten the garden.

Joyce and Doug Rosenoff, 3001 W. Mark Court – In 2000, the Rosenoffs transformed their garden by excavating and leveling the area, and moving 500-pound boulders. Visitors will get to see the results, which include a delightful flower garden.

Liz and Curt Nelson, 3503 W. Horizon Ave. – With a panoramic view of Spokane as the centerpiece of this garden, the owners designed a scaled-down English garden that is low-maintenance and environmentally friendly. A deck garden for growing vegetables and many roses, peonies and hydrangeas are just a sampling of the features here.

Bonus attractions on the tour:

• New Horizons Church Garden of Eatin’ community garden, 3122 W. Lincoln Road.

• Five Mile Prairie Schoolhouse, 8621 N. Five Mile Road.

• Gerry’s Trees and Landscaping, 2220 W. Strong Road. Enter to win a $100 gift certificate.

• Judy’s Enchanted Garden, 2628 W. Northwest Blvd. Enter to win a $100 gift certificate.

In addition to music, art and garden-related vendors at each of the stops, a lunch will be available for purchase at the Corman garden. Proceeds from this tour will go toward community service programs.

Susan Mulvihill can be reached via email at

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From the ground up: Plant a windbreak – the right way

Iowa is well known for its wind. Electric utilities are even building wind farms to capture it for electricity. But what if you want to block the wind from your yard, garden or field? Linn County Master Gardener Lori Klopfenstein gives you some tips to make it last.

Q: How do I plant a windbreak?

A: Are you interested in establishing, fortifying or repairing a wind break on your property? To ensure its greatest potential for long term hardiness, here are some facts.

First, the size of your property and the primary purpose of the wind break are critical variables. Many of us, especially in cities, refer to row-form tree and shrub plantings as wind breaks when what we really mean is privacy screen. This is fine because even a single, dense row of arborvitae provides some degree of protection from wind and snow drift in town. Protecting buildings and tender landscapes in rural areas, however, is a more significant undertaking.

ISU guidelines for farmstead windbreaks are now being revised, but according to Jesse Randall, ISU Extension forester, best practice is to plant at least five consecutive rows of single species trees or shrubs (rather than mixing varieties within a single row). Your innermost row should be 50 feet from any building, and he recommends a moderately sized conifer such as white cedar. The next row should be a larger conifer, such as spruce, pine, fir or larch. When selecting conifers, keep in mind a few simple facts: the bluer the needles on a spruce, the more susceptible it is to disease; larch is also deciduous and will lose needles in the fall; Scotch pine is particularly susceptible to pine wilt; and five-needled pines seem to have the fewest diseases.

Row three should be a hardwood (deciduous) tree. There are innumerable options here, but the best are maple, oak, linden, elm, honey locust or Kentucky coffee tree. If you have the rare Eastern Iowa property not deer-ridden, consider shagbark hickory. It’s a beautiful, straight, fast grower that also provides food for humans and wildlife. No more susceptible to deer damage than other hardwoods, it’s just difficult to find nursery stock bigger than a 36-inch twig because it puts down such a dramatic tap root.

The outermost two rows should be shrubs. Shrubs provide the most immediate gratification because they tend to grow faster and exhibit mature behaviors (such as fruiting and flowering) in a few years. Lilacs are a dependable and popular choice. You may also want to consider a fruiting shrub, like highbush cranberry, wild plum, or aronia bush, which produces a berry considered the newest super fruit (also called acai).

Tree rows should be 25 feet apart, shrub rows 15 feet. If planting a row of shrubs next to one of conifers, also leave 25 feet.

These guidelines may be adjusted according to the size of your property by using a formula outlined in ISU publication Pm-1716 (available at Are you one of the aforementioned urban dwellers who lost mature arborvitae in the middle of a like row due to the drought? Your best option for repair is to contact a professional landscaping service who may be able to remove and replace it without jeopardizing the surrounding trees. Get more than one opinion, however, because even with professional assistance, this may not be possible.


The Linn County Master Gardener Garden Walk will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Explore five diverse Linn County Master Gardener gardens that will inspire you with ideas you can apply to your own garden or landscape or simply provide you the opportunity to tour beautiful private gardens.

Gardens will include ornamental grasses, conifers, vegetables, perennials, containers, raised beds, prairie, water features and more.

Admission is $5 per adult or $10 per family.

Start at any of the gardens on the walk:

McWherter Garden, 1610 Timberland Dr. NW, Cedar Rapids. The McWherter shade/woodland garden is an artistic presentation of plants that include more than 1,000 varieties of hostas along with perennials and tropicals.

Granger House Museum Garden, 970 10th St., Marion. The Granger House Museum gardens consist of three beds featuring a mixture of vegetables, perennials and annuals commonly planted by 19th century households.

Stewart Farm Garden, 298 Martelle Rd., Martelle. The Stewart’s farm garden began as an English cottage garden, reflecting the six years they lived in Britain. The surrounding acres now include a shade garden for bird watching, a floral cutting garden, a 3/4-acre restored Iowa prairie, a vegetable garden that includes four raised beds, and areas for production of fruits and vegetables preserved for year-round family use.

Dvorak Garden, 206 Candlestick Dr., Mount Vernon. The Dvorak gardens include an eclectic mix of old and new, perennials and annuals, sun and shade, many of which have been selected to attract birds and butterflies. There also are a traditional vegetable garden, herbs, grapes and berries.

McKinstry Garden, 408 B Ave. NE, Mount Vernon. A lovingly tended garden will welcome you at the McKinstry home. Peace and tranquillity prevail as you follow pathways through the garden rooms created in the perimeter of a city lot. The garden incorporates an interesting assortment of perennials, shrubs and trees. Color and texture balance the garden’s beauty throughout the seasons.


Questions on gardening, land use or local foods? Contact Michelle Kenyon Brown, community ag programs manager at Linn County Extension,

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Land Rehab

A PLACE FOR FUN: Visitors cross a footbridge in the Fujian Garden on June 2 (WANG XIANG)

Please click here for more photos

A sprawling megapark complex featuring myriad gardening exhibits, artificial wetlands, advanced landscaping and diverse architectural works is set to breathe new life into a forgotten corner of the Chinese capital.

Hosted by China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and Beijing Municipal Government, the Ninth China (Beijing) International Garden Exposition covers a total area of 513 hectares and consists of 128 themed gardens as well as many integrated architectural and landscaping elements.

The coastal city of Dalian in Liaoning Province hosted the inaugural event in 1997. This year’s expo began on May 18.

The fittingly named Beijing Garden Expo Park was built specifically for the event and chosen for its location along the Yongding River on the undeveloped southwestern outskirts of the capital.

The park has already received 500,000 visitors as of June 3. Qiang Jian, expo organizer and Deputy Director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry, expects that number to grow to 10 million before the expo concludes on November 18.

Rebirth of barren land

Fengtai District, a relatively undeveloped area outside the urban core, was chosen as the site for the Garden Expo Park due to a strategic urban development plan set forth by the Beijing Municipal Government in 2009, says Ji Yan, the district mayor.

He says Beijing is an international city, but its development is not balanced. The southern region of Beijing has lagged behind the rest of the capital for a long time.

The capital has been taking measures to develop its southern region since 2010, which has transformed the area from being heavily reliant on low-end industries such as cement factories and coal mines, into a bustling commercial center and home to innovative technology companies.

The establishment of the expo is part of these efforts. The Beijing Garden Expo might become a new mode of investment in the capital.

In 2010, the southern region of Beijing received a huge investment of 290 billion yuan ($47.3 billion) as part of a three-year urban development project. The garden expo is regarded as the centerpiece of the development plan, says Ji.

Previously, the local government did not place environmental protection high on its agenda of urbanization and industrialization. Ji believes the time is right to rectify unsustainable development patterns.

In 1997, authorities classified the Yongding River as unsuitable for use as a drinking water source. Excessive use of fertilizers and industrial waste rendered it barely useful for irrigation purposes, although factory closures and agricultural management improved water quality slightly in the 2000s.

Moreover, a 140-hectare landfill on the west bank of the river rendered the area unattractive as a residential neighborhood.

The three-year development plan transformed the area formerly occupied by the landfill with a picturesque Splendid Valley. Landscapers sealed the area to prevent seepage of waste materials and planted vegetation.

Ji emphasized the importance of new opportunities to boost continued development of southwestern Beijing.

Even transportation to the expo park has been improved. A new subway line connected the park and the Yongding River area to the city’s main subway loop on May 5, and 24.2 km of new roads have been built, according to Gu Xiaoyuan, publicity director of the expo.

Yue Shulan, 43, a former resident of Changxindian Town, witnessed the transformation of her dilapidated village into a massive expo park complex.

“The road near my home was narrow and bumpy. In only a year, it has been turned into an eight-lane highway,” Yue said excitedly. She and fellow villagers were relocated to new homes during the construction process.

Wang Fenghua, the spokesperson of Changxindian Town, said, “Over the past three years, all 5,300 villagers have moved to new apartments allocated by the local government as part of compensation for land acquisition by the expo.”

Integrating the construction of the expo with renovation of undeveloped areas represents a great stride in improving the livelihood of local people.

Besides, the garden expo is built to be a permanent themed park, which will become a new pillar for local tourism and create more job opportunities for local residents.

Yue now works as a park custodian and earns a monthly salary of 2,000 yuan ($326). She expressed satisfaction with her new job. “I once worked downtown as a nanny and maid. Though I earned more before, I had to spend almost two hours on the commute from my home to downtown at that time. Now my workplace in the garden expo is a very convenient 10-minute walk from home.”

Like Yue, more than 100 people in her village have been employed by the expo as security staff and gardeners.

In addition to offering job opportunities, the local government helps relocated residents to earn revenue from the land they gave up as shareholders of commercial developments.

A garden of gardens

As a country with many people and little arable land, China’s gardens traditionally incorporate aspects of architecture and landscaping in a holistic manner, representing the wisdom of living in harmony with the environment and the dialectic balance between artifice and wilderness.

Five main gardens correspond to five representative cultural regions of China: Beijing, Chongqing, Fujian, Jiangsu and Guangdong.

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Volunteer ranks important in parks, city hall, public safety

Rob Zaagman arrives to work at Windmill Island Gardens usually about 6:30 a.m. He tends to put in a 40-hour work week. He has yet to receive a dime for it.

Del Schrotenboer works at the park also, as do Barbara De Moore and Joan Voss. All are volunteers, expecting nothing in return. By definition a volunteer is someone who offers to freely take part in an enterprise or task. In the city of Holland, there seems to be no shortage of them.

To hear Zaagman speak about Windmill Island Gardens could bring tears to one’s eyes. He arrives early enough to watch the sunrise vanquish the shadows. He sees the park as another Garden of Eden, a place God has given him and others to enjoy.

“A beautiful piece of God’s creation,” Zaagman said.

Zaagman didn’t wait until after retirement to volunteer. He worked second shift at Haworth so he spent his mornings during his career the way he does now, working on landscaping at the gardens. Windmill Island is piece of the puzzle that is Holland, he said. Downtown, Kollen Park, the beauty at Hope College, they’re all a part of what makes Holland beautiful to locals and tourists.

And his volunteering, Zaagman said, “Gives me the opportunity to enhance the beauty.”

Schrotenboer said he stays on volunteering at the park because of piece of his heart is there. His company, Dell Construction, helped rebuild Windmill DeZwaan in 1964.

“I help fix things here and there,” Schrotenboer said. “I like to keep my touch on the park.”

“The park wouldn’t look as good without their help,” said Manager Ad Van Den Akker. “They’re doing us a fantastic favor.”

Zaagman “dives into” landscaping and is passionate about it, Van Den Akker said. “Windmill Island benefits from that.”


Can’t turn down help

Volunteers are used regularly by the parks department. They’ve done major projects at Van Raalte Farm and the DeGraaf Nature Center. Many an Eagle Scout has earned that rank doing a large project for the parks. Most recently an orienteering project was done at the farm.

In February, as the Holland City Council was getting its first look at the 2013 fiscal year budget, City Manager Ryan Cotton told the group the city has yet to turn down a volunteer. His first year in Holland, Cotton thought Zaagman was an employee.

Cotton said volunteers help out at city hall as well. A lot of paper work and mailing go through the clerks office and people will volunteer their time to help with those tasks, he said.

The clerks office is one that lost staffing through the recession and is now doing the same work with half the staff.

Cotton sees the work of interns at city hall as volunteering. The students are not paid for the work they do for the city. As an intern they are to learn as much as they work, he said.


Public safety

Many of Holland’s reserve officers volunteer much their time at the department, Holland Department of Public Safety Chief Matt Messer said. The department uses roughly 45 to 50 reserve officers who supplement the 57 full-time sworn officers employed by the city.

The reserve officers typically have other jobs and work as needed by the department. They are paid when working a special event such as Tulip Time, Groove Walk or as traffic detail for events. But their training time is volunteered as is any time spent riding with full-time officers, Messer said.

The department’s Victim Services is 100 percent volunteer though, and the 14 to 16 people who make up the group have no idea when they could be called out. They can’t plan when or where they’ll give their time.

When an accident, a fire or any other call handled by public safety requires some extra compassion, the two-member team on call is dispatched to the scene, Victim Services member Yvette Mendoza said. They are called out an average of 25 times per year, Messer said.

“This group is phenomenal,” he said. “(They) are vital when we are dealing with any type of call that involves a loss of life or property.”

The team was started in 1997. Mendoza has been with it since the beginning. Having lost two children about 25 years ago, she has the ability to empathize with loss.

“They’re in such shock,” she said. “People don’t even know who to ask for.”

The team on call is paged by Central Dispatch, which answers 911 calls, and is usually on the scene within 10 to 15 minutes.

They help the victim with whatever they need, whether it’s a ride to the hospital, notifying family or picking up a prescription.

“Whatever it is that needs doing,” Mendoza said, adding the team is just a group of everyday people, with normal jobs. “They just want to lend a hand.”

Messer sees both the reserve officers and Victim Services as a large part of the department’s community policing philosophy.

“They provide enormous support and help to our full-time staff,” he said.

— Follow this reporter on Facebook and on Twitter, @SentinelNetty.


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2nd annual Riverfest offered river rides and home gardening tips


Nearly everyone who discovers an oil leak under their car will try to get the problem rectified as quickly as possible.

But what happens if the oil is left on the driveway or in the parking lot? Phillip Boran can tell you.

“The smaller things we don’t think about affects our lives,” said Boran, a Youngstown State University chemistry major. “Hopefully kids can see this as a good opportunity for what they can do to prevent more pollution.”

Boran was referring to a three-dimensional model depicting hypothetical farmland, urban and rural settings onto which he applied food coloring and sprayed water to show how motor oil and other products can mix with runoff water. The result?: Pollutants deposited in lakes, streams and rivers.

Boran’s demonstration was part of Saturday’s Friends of the Mahoning River’s second annual Mahoning Riverfest gathering at the BO Station Banquet Hall, 530 Mahoning Ave., downtown.

The four-hour event was to showcase the Mahoning River and promote more environmentally friendly and green practices, organizers said. Its main sponsor was Vallourec Star (formerly VM Star).

Many people who don’t remember the vibrant steel mills that once lined the Mahoning River received visual reminders, thanks to Nancy Brundage, the Audubon Society of the Mahoning Valley’s vice president.

Brundage found collages of photographs showing the river during the 19th and 20th centuries. Several taken in the 1950s and 1960s show a network of smokestacks and mills paralleling the river.

She also had on hand tips for attracting bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators to people’s gardens.

Another part of the festivities was a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the restoration a few weeks ago of a ramp and 52-foot dock, which will be used for kayaks and canoes on the Mahoning River.

To read more on the event and see photos, see Sunday’s Vindicator or

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Tips for drying hydrangeas

Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2013 12:00 am

Tips for drying hydrangeas

Tips for drying hydrangeas

Volunteers Bay Seale and Darlene Hinman have dried thousands of

flowers over the years for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s botanical

arrangements and holiday decorations. They offer these tips for preserving the mophead hydrangea.

• Cut unblemished flowerheads in the morning (after dew has dried) when bracts are in full flower but slightly before peak bloom, leaving a 1-inch stem.

• Pour a 1-inch layer of silica gel (available at craft stores) into a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

• Insert stems into the silica, keeping blooms upright, and slowly sprinkle additional silica on the flowerheads. Gently shake the container occasionally to distribute silica to all flower parts. Repeat until completely covered.

• Close the lid tightly and leave for one week, away from sunlight and humidity.

• Remove flowers by slowly pouring off the silica until blossoms are uncovered.

Hydrangea botanicals can last one or two years when properly dried and stored. Additional tips, including air drying, are posted at

© 2013 Richmond Times Dispatch. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Sunday, June 9, 2013 12:00 am.

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African kitchen gardens

Learn about and create a garden that is becoming popular across the globe.

African Kitchen Gardens, or Keyhole Gardens, have become very popular in the world of gardening.  This garden design originated in Africa and was located near the cooking area, therefore giving it the name African Kitchen Garden.

The original design was an attempt from humanitarian charities to help families in impoverished countries with poor soil, hot weather and little access to water create a more sustainable gardening system. Gardening can empower families to grow their own vegetables and take control of their personal nutritional needs.   Many organizations taught school children how to construct the gardens from recycled materials, as well as grow nutritious vegetables for their families. Michigan State University Extension will be going through these simple steps to create your own African Kitchen Garden.

The basic design is a circle that is six feet in diameter, raised to about waist height, with a compost basket in the center of the circle and a pie shaped, notch-like cut away.

The outside wall of the garden can be constructed from any type of material that will hold the soil in, such as rocks, bricks, bamboo, boards or just about anything that you like.

The compost basket can be made from woven wire, sticks or other materials. Generally the basket is approximately 1 to 1 1/2 feet in diameter and extends above the center of the bed; it will be used to hold the composting materials in the center of the garden. The basket holds kitchen waste and, when watered, will carry nutrients from the waste to the rest of the garden.  The original garden plan in Africa would be for the basket to use gray water from other household chores such as washing food cooking utensils.

In recent years this design has become popular throughout the world. It is attractive because it can be intensely planted to maximize the amount of vegetables in a small area. Mulching is used to conserve water, but this type of planting technique does not need added fertilizers and can be adapted to meet the needs of the gardener.

There are many websites devoted to African Kitchen or Keyhole garden design.  Send A Cow is a great resource because it shows a young girl building a Keyhole garden in Uganda.    Keep in mind these garden designs and principles would make a great addition to your garden right here in Michigan.

Search the web for other great design options to begin your very own Keyhole garden.

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At Home : A favorite designer tells all

If I could download any designer’s brain into mine, I would tap the head of award-winner Betty Lou Phillips. I would like to mainline her design sense, her eye, her sensibility, her shopping acumen, heck, I’d even like her wardrobe.

But you and I just got the next best thing.

Phillips, also the author of the most sumptuous design books you could ever lust over –just check out “French Impressions,” “Inspirations from France Italy” and “The French Connection” – has her approach in a how-she-does-it design guide: “Interiors by Design,” just out from Gibbs Smith Publishers.

Her 13th book is the first one in which the Dallas designer takes readers behind the soie curtains of her gorgeous spaces and explains how she pulls it off.

In the 114-page, binder-style book, Phillips channels hundreds of tips and design principles. She puts her finger on the elusive magic that great spaces have.

Tab dividers separate photo-filled sections that focus on design secrets of color, fabric, furniture, lighting, window treatments, rugs, art and more. The three-ring binder feature lets users add pages for their own project plans.

When Phillips sent me her book, she included a note explaining that she wrote it because of the changing industry. One in which, thanks to the Internet, far more “fledgling decorators” are creating “striking settings on their own.”

Although some “design aficionados will still leave the task to the professionals,” she wrote, “the Web has been a game changer.”

So she offers some rules of the road, so we fledglings have more to go on than unschooled intuition.

As I read through each section of “Interiors by Design,” I found good foundational pointers (don’t start unless you have a plan), along with many maxims that were complete news to me and some worthy of repeating. Here’s a sampling:

New (to me) notions

• Patterned sofas distract from the people sitting on them.

• Don’t push your chairs up to the table. Unless you want a furniture showroom look, pull chairs back about 12 inches. (When I read this, I immediately jumped up and pulled my dining-table chairs out. She was right, of course.)

• Skip the extra-long sofa. Seldom do more than two people sit on a sofa at once, so opt for one that is 84 inches, not 96.

• Curtains should brush the floor, or “break” with an inch and a half to spare. Puddles are passé. But curtains should never stop short of the floor.

Tips that bear repeating

Pick paint last: Because you have boundless paint colors to chose from, focus on the basics first: fabric, furniture, floor colorings. Then pick paint.

Fabrics should meld, not match: The same shade of blue applied everywhere is going to such extremes that the room will end up looking forced. “And a contrived look is taboo in design circles,” she says.

Seek harmony, not conformity: “Dismiss any thoughts of buying a bedroom ‘suite’ or a so-called dining room ‘set,’ ” she says. And rather than matching five-piece place settings, mix compatible patterns.

Don’t cheap out on case goods: Buy beds, dressers, sofas, tables and chairs to last. Save up and pay more for well-crafted pieces made of durable kiln-dried, hardwood frames (oak, elm, hickory, ash or maple) and eight-way, hand-tied construction on sofas and chairs. “Nowadays a throwaway mindset is passé,” Phillips writes, “though repurposing existing furniture is not.”

Make a space interesting and approachable: Passementerie – French for trim and tassels – rouses interest and can make a space more approachable by softening sharp edges. “Without looking as if it’s trying, fringe adds a custom flourish to drapery, and mitigates hard edges on throw pillows while camouflaging seams and zippers, which are hardly chic.”

Details, details: “For some, beauty is rich colors, a savvy mix of fabrics and mellow old wood. … For others, it is the luxury of perceived comfort, interesting collections and easy elegance. But for those who find these are not quite enough, it is the subtle details. … To be sure, attention to minutiae has the potential of making the ordinary extraordinary.” And the same can be said for Phillips.


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