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Archives for January 11, 2014

San Benito resaca walk planned



San Benito city officials want their city limits signs to show the city’s population, but not the official U.S. Census count.

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014 10:35 pm

San Benito resaca walk planned

Valley Morning Star

Valley Morning Star

SAN BENITO — Pete Claudio envisions a row of shops and restaurants along a 1,400-foot boardwalk that stretches across the banks of the resaca.

“We want to make it a reality as soon as we can,” said Claudio, president of the San Benito Economic Development Corporation.

The EDC plans to turn the 9.8-acre area across the road from the Heavin Resaca Trail into one of the city’s biggest commercial developments in decades, Claudio said.

“The future has come to San Benito,” Mayor Joe Hernandez said. “We’re ready for growth.”

So far, the EDC has used part of a new $1.2 million federal grant to buy the waterfront property on which officials plan to build a boardwalk and a complex to house the city’s three museums.

Thursday, EDC board members will begin to take steps to plan the project, Claudio said.

“We’re going to bring out ideas and discuss preliminary details,” Claudio said. “But we don’t want to rush it. We want to make it an attractive piece of property.”

Claudio said board members will discuss whether to hire a company to develop the property into a waterfront boardwalk.

“A certain section will have retail and a certain section will have restaurants,” Claudio said.

Claudio said the EDC has about $500,000 to install utility lines and roadways that might tie into Freddy Fender Lane.

Two McAllen-based restaurant chains want to do business there, said Salomon Torres, the EDC’s executive director.

“We have a couple of businesses that submitted letters of interest,” Claudio said.

Claudio said the boardwalk may feature boating.

“It could take passengers up and down the resaca,” Claudio said.

Claudio said the project will bring vibrancy to the resaca.

“Since we are focusing on the resaca we need to incorporate some water features in the development — water features throughout,” Claudio said.

Claudio said the development’s landscaping may feature tropical accents.

“It’s going to be part of the draw,” he said. “We want to incorporate real nice landscaping not only for business owners but for whoever goes to shop. What we will have there will be real attractive. It’s going to be different.”


Friday, January 10, 2014 10:35 pm.

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Residents in Chico, Paradise show progress on saving water – Enterprise

Click photo to enlarge

In 2009, the state passed new rules requiring a reduction in per-capita water use by 20 percent by the year 2020.

So far, local districts have nearly met those goals.

People in Chico have really stepped up, said Mike Pembroke, manager of Chico’s California Water Service.

In years past, each person in Cal Water Service’s area used 280 gallons. Now that number is down to 229, Pembroke said.

That’s still higher than the statewide average of 190 gallons a day.

Customers took advantage of rebates for low-water appliances, and installed free showerheads and faucet adapters. In fact, Pembroke said all of the money for these offers has been used.

Another big water-saving factor in Chico has been switching residential customers to metered water rates — another requirement from the state.

Of the 12,000 water meters to be converted, only 2,500 remain, and they should be done by the end of this year, Pembroke said.

The meters make a difference, and people tend to use less water when they are charged based on use.

The rebate programs for appliances and showerheads are due to be funded again soon, Pembroke said.

To better manage water supply issues, Cal Water also has been building new water storage tanks, including one on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, completed a year ago. Another is planned at 20th Street and Notre Dame Boulevard.

This gives more flexibility for water use during peak times, and the tanks are refilled during times of lower water use.

Residents in the Paradise Irrigation District have also made good progress to meet the state mandate for a 20 percent reduction in water use by 2020. In 2012, per-capita use was 222 gallons, and the goal is 218.

Right now, the cumulative residency within the PID uses about 7,000 acre-feet a year. That’s down from a high of 8,349 in 2004, said PID Manager George Barber. The lowest was in 2010, at 6,115 during a time of heightened drought awareness.

An acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons.

Also, about 30 percent of customers voluntarily agree not to water their landscaping, under a program known as the “A rate.”

While per-capita water use is down, the town is still adding residents. Several ideas are under consideration to add another 3,000 acre-feet of supply, but those won’t help anyone this year.

Del Oro Water Co. has met the 2020 goal, said Tara Campbell, staff accountant and analyst for Del Oro.

A lot of effort has been made to search out leaks, tighten valves, etc. to save water within the system, she said.

Reach Heather Hacking at 896-7758,, or on Twitter @HeatherHacking.

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Latchis hosts gardens workshop

BRATTLEBORO — On Saturday, Jan. 25, four gardening experts, each with international experience, will present their thoughts, pictures and videos at Garden Inspirations, an all-day workshop at The Latchis Theatre.

Only 100 tickets will be sold, with proceeds going toward the ongoing restoration of the main hall of the Latchis Theatre.

The lecturers include: Julie Moir Messervy, a nationally known garden writer, designer and lecturer from Saxtons River; Dan Snow, dry stone waller from Dummerston, known across America for his skills and artistry; Helen O’Donnell from Putney; and Gordon Hayward, also a nationally known garden designer, writer and lecturer from Westminster West. Hayward is also vice-president of the Latchis Arts Board.

Messervy will begin the day at 9 a.m. with her PowerPoint presentation titled “Landscaping Ideas that Work.” Her images will come largely from her own work across the country. Her goal will be to illustrate design principles in her gardens that audience members can apply to their own gardens. In the afternoon, Messervy will also screen her video, “Inspired by Bach: The Music Garden with Yo Yo Ma and Julie Messervy,” the story of the garden she designed with Yo Yo Ma based on the structure and rhythm of a Bach fugue.

Snow will offer a PowerPoint presentation of his work with stone. Examples will range from the practicality of stone retaining walls to the fantastical. Snow will also screen his video “Stone Rising: The Work of Dan Snow” in the afternoon.

O’Donnell, artist as well as a garden designer and who also maintains gardens professionally, will show slides and talk about her two one-month stints as volunteer gardener at Great Dixter, the garden of the late Christopher Lloyd in southeastern England. She will present her inside view of Great Dixter as she worked under head gardener Fergus Garrett in March 2012 and July 2013.

Hayward will present his PowerPoint presentation “Fine Painting as Inspiration for Garden Design.” Hayward first gave this lecture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1994 and has been refining the lecture since at museums and garden clubs across the country. This is a lecture about elements of composition — defining depth, itinerary of the eye, color, line and rhythm, etc. — shared by the painter and the garden designer.

The workshop ends at 4:30 p.m. Throughout the day Messervy, Snow and Hayward will sell and sign their books. Lunch is included in the ticket price.

Tickets for a full day of Garden Inspirations are $125, and may be purchased at the Latchis Hotel, 50 Main St.; by calling Gail Nunziata at Latchis Arts at 802-254-1109, ext. 3; or at

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Trowel & Glove: Marin gardening calendar for the week of Jan. 11, 2014


• A Marin Master Gardeners’ “Essential Winter Rose Pruning” demonstration and talk with Lenore Ruckman is from 8:45 to 10 a.m. Jan. 11, followed by hands-on time in the garden until 1 p.m., at the Falkirk Cultural Center at 1408 Mission Ave. in San Rafael. $5. Call 473-4204 or go to

• A Marin Master Gardeners’ “Essential Winter Rose Pruning” demonstration and talk with Frank and Lydia Treadway is from 11 a.m. to noon Jan. 11 at the Novato Library at 1720 Novato Blvd. Call 473-4204 or go to

• “Rosarians’ Favorite Pruning Tools” and “Chemical Safety in Gardening” are the topics at a Marin Rose Society program at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the San Rafael Corporate Center at 750 Lindaro St. $5. Call 457-6045.

• West Marin Commons offers a weekly harvest exchange at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Livery Stable gardens on the commons in Point Reyes Station. Go to

• The Novato Independent Elders Program seeks volunteers to help Novato seniors with their overgrown yards on Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. Call 899-8296.

• Volunteers are sought to help in Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy nurseries from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at Tennessee Valley, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at Muir Woods or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays or 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the Marin Headlands. Call 561-3077 or go to

• The SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Watershed Network) native plant nursery days are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and weekends. Call 663-8590, ext. 114, or email to register and for directions.

• Marin Master Gardeners and the Marin Municipal Water District offer free residential Bay-Friendly Garden Walks to MMWD customers. The year-round service helps homeowners identify water-saving opportunities and soil conservation techniques for their landscaping. Call 473-4204 to request a visit to your garden.

• Marin Open Garden Project (MOGP) volunteers are available to help Marin residents glean excess fruit from their trees for donations to local organizations serving people in need and to build raised beds to start vegetable gardens through the MicroGardens program. MGOP also offers a garden tool lending library. Go to or email

• The Marin Organic Glean Team seeks volunteers to harvest extras from the fields at various farms for the organic school lunch and gleaning program. Call 663-9667 or go to

Around the Bay

• Cornerstone Gardens is a permanent, gallery-style garden featuring walk-through installations by international landscape designers on nine acres at 23570 Highway 121 in Sonoma. Free. Call 707-933-3010 or go to

• Garden Valley Ranch rose garden is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays at 498 Pepper Road in Petaluma. Self-guided and group tours are available. $2 to $10. Call 707-795-0919 or go to

• The Luther Burbank Home at Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues in Santa Rosa has docent-led tours of the greenhouse and a portion of the gardens every half hour from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. $7. Call 707-524-5445.

• McEvoy Ranch at 5935 Red Hill Road in Petaluma offers tips on planting olive trees and has olive trees for sale by appointment. Call 707-769-4123 or go to

• Wednesdays are volunteer days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center at 15290 Coleman Valley Road in Occidental. Call 707-874-1557, ext. 201, or go to

• Quarryhill Botanical Garden at 12841 Sonoma Highway in Glen Ellen covers 61 acres and showcases a large selection of scientifically documented wild source temperate Asian plants. The garden is open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. $5 to $10. Call 707-996-3166 or go to

The Trowel Glove Calendar appears Saturdays. Send high-resolution jpg photo attachments and details about your event to or mail to Home and Garden Calendar/Lifestyles, Marin Independent Journal, 4000 Civic Center Drive, Suite 301, San Rafael, CA 94903. Items should be sent two weeks in advance. Photos should be a minimum of 1 megabyte and include caption information. Include a daytime phone number on your release.

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Look at landscaping symmetry

“To everything there is a season;” in the garden, each passing season has its own special beauty and its own special purpose.

I hope everyone is doing well in this bitter cold. My car wouldn’t start. My little dog wouldn’t go outside. His poor feet were too cold, so I need to buy dog booties or there will be puddles in the house.

The Master Gardeners have been busy planning our schedule for 2014. All our presentations are open to the public. Most of our meetings are the second Thursday of the month at the West Square Building in Baraboo.

In June we are planning a bus trip to Green Bay Botanical Gardens. Our field trips are always fun; the cost to the public is minimal.

This year we will host another Master Gardener Class starting in mid-August. This class covers all areas of gardening such as vegetables, trees and shrubs, perennials, soils, insects, diseases, wildlife and propagation. The class is once a week for 13 weeks. Registration will start in June.

For those of you who would like to grow vegetables this year but live in an apartment or have limited space, you will have an opportunity to rent a plot at one of our local community gardens. Reedsburg has one on the college campus, Baraboo has a nice one run by the park district and Prairie du Sac has one near the cemetery. Call by the end of February, as they usually fill up fast.

In winter we are outdoors much less than any other season, but in looking at your landscape covered with snow the views from the windows are important. You see the architecture of the yard or the entry way that should still be welcoming in winter. Look for intricate patterns of shadows on snow and bare ground. Take into consideration benches, arbors, paths, trellises and man-made structures. Consider placement of trees, shrubs, gardens, etc. After really looking, with pencil in hand, start to jot down ways to improve your landscape. This is especially important at this time of year because you are not distracted by greenery or flowers.

Remember trees and shrubs are the starting point of the garden as they are the longest-lasting. Consider outlining your perennial beds with flowering shrubs. If your area is small remember to consider size. Many shrubs are only 3 to 4 feet tall and work well. Consider a small crab in your perennial garden; this will add height and color. Consider island beds in the middle of the yard. They add a huge amount of interest, especially if you have a theme such as a rose garden, a lily garden, a succulent garden or whatever you would use to make a statement.

Remember our garden seminar coming up the first Saturday in April. Watch for more details.

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Good fences, good gardens – Tribune

Vegetable gardens and groundhogs do not mix. These vegetarian mammals can turn even the most peaceable gardener into a vigilante, as the groundhogs take a single bite out of each ripe tomato and chomp lettuce and broccoli plants down to the nub.

As agile climbers and proficient diggers, groundhogs are able to scale a fence just as swiftly as they can burrow beneath one; readily foiling any attempt to keep them out of the veggie patch.

Excluding groundhogs from the garden without resorting to bullets or traps does require a bit of finesse, but it’s perfectly doable. If you are looking for a late-winter project to thwart groundhogs during the coming garden season, here’s a fencing solution tested by the Humane Society of America and determined to be the most effective groundhog-resistant option. I know several gardeners who have used it, and they all confirm that it works like a charm.

Start with enough 6-foot-tall PVC-coated welded wire fencing (with 1-inch-by-2-inch or 2-inch-by-4-inch openings), or galvanized PVC-coated hexagonal wire mesh, to surround your garden, plus 3 extra feet to construct the gate base.

Hammer a 4-foot-tall studded metal fence post — also called a T-stake or T-post — every 6 feet around the garden’s perimeter, positioning a pair 3 feet apart to flank the gate opening. Be sure the wing-shaped metal bracket on each post is fully underground and the fence clips are facing the garden’s exterior. Three feet of each fence post should remain aboveground.

Attach one end of the fence to one of the gate posts by pressing it into the post clips or using plastic zipties; allow 18 inches of the fencing to extend out from the bottom and another 18 inches above the top of the posts. Continue securing the wire mesh by moving from post to post.

Bend the excess lower fencing to form an “Lâ€� against the ground (the base of the “Lâ€� should be to the outside of the garden). Use landscape pins to firmly secure this on-ground portion every 1 or 2 feet. This thwarts the groundhog’s excavating endeavors.

Then, bend the surplus top fencing very slightly toward the outside of the garden, essentially creating a sideways “U� with the opening aimed away from the garden. As the groundhog climbs, his weight folds the “U� and he drops to the ground — outside the fence.

To craft the gate, use a wire cutter to remove the bottom 18 inches of the fence and size the gate’s width so it overlaps the opposite post by a few inches. The gate can be held closed by a double-ended snap clip at the top and the bottom. Cut a separate piece of 3-foot-by-3-foot fencing and use landscape pins to secure it flush to the ground under the fence.

Tunneling under or scrambling over this fence is a near impossible mission. Groundhog-plagued gardeners rejoice!

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners� at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden.� Her website is

Send your gardening or landscaping questions to or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

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Gardening Tips: January question and answer

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014 12:00 pm

Gardening Tips: January question and answer

By Matt Stevens

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC


I thought this week would be a good time to round up some of the burning questions gardeners have in early January and answer them for you. Here are a few of the things people have been asking me lately.

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Friday, January 10, 2014 12:00 pm.

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This week’s gardening tips: camellia show, spring bedding plants and flowering …

The Camellia Club of New Orleans will hold its 74th annual show and sale on Saturday at the Theodore Roosevelt Middle School Gymnasium, 3315 Maine Ave., Kenner. The free show opens to the public at 2 p.m.

Exhibitors from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida will display more types of camellias than most gardeners can imagine.

Entry is free, and anyone who grows camellias is invited to enter their blooms from 8 a.m. until judging begins at 11 a.m. The plant sale will include several popular cultivars and many newer ones. Now is a great time to plant camellias in the landscape. Free informational material on topics such as fertilizing, pruning, transplanting and camellia care will be available.

The friendly and knowledgeable club members are always happy to answer questions or attempt to identify a cultivar if you bring in a flower.

More tips:

  • Foxglove, delphinium, columbine and hollyhock are beautiful, spring-blooming, cool-season bedding plants that need to be planted early to put on a great display in spring. Plant them now or by February at the latest for bloom in April through May.
  • Plant any spring-flowering bulbs you have been refrigerating now. You cannot keep the bulbs and plant them next year.

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Gardening Citrus Trees: Top Tips

It becomes a little hard to imagine life without citrus fruits! Not just because citrus fruits are seen as the perfect taste enhancers in our food and drinks, but also because they are excellent sources of Vitamin C.

Being carriers of several different antioxidants, citrus fruits help prevent many health problems, varying from heart diseases and cancer to skin damage from the sun’s rays. So if you are a gardening enthusiast, what are you waiting for, grow your own citrus trees today!

Gardening Citrus Trees: Top Tips

Interestingly enough, citrus trees are popular not only for the goodness they offer but also because they are ornamental yet productive trees! They are also easy to grow yet often gardeners find it difficult to grow citrus trees.

YOU MAY LIKE: Vegetables To Grow In Your Pots

For those who are planning to grow citrus trees in their home gardens, we give you tips on how to grow citrus trees in your garden.

We all have those little compartments in our fridge occupied with lemons all the year round, don’t we? The zesty juice of citrus fruits enlivens our drinks and meals.

With regard to their health benefits and zesty flavor, citrus fruits are considered to be the most versatile fruits and are thus popular world over.

Varieties of Citrus Fruits
Before moving further, let us go back to our basics of science to freshen up our memories about the varieties of citrus fruits. Some of the most commonly known citrus fruits are: lemon, orange, tangelo, grapefruit and lime.

Gardening Citrus Trees: Tips

Planting the tree
Citrus trees and plants need sufficient sunshine, up to five hours a day should do for them. So while planting your citrus tree in your garden, make sure that you choose a bright sunny place for your tree to grow successfully. Spring season is generally preferred to plant citrus trees.

Also, did you know that we do not necessarily need big backyards to grow citrus trees? Usually reaching heights of 3 to 5 ft, dwarf varieties of citrus trees grow well in pots. During winter nights, bring the pots inside as long exposure to extreme cold weather may damage the plant.

Special Care for the Potted Citrus
In order to grow a dwarf citrus in a pot, any sun-brightened place can be good enough for the plant to grow well. However, an important tip to remember is that gardening citrus trees in pots also requires constant care.

For starters, make sure that your pot has enough room for the plant to flourish. Besides sunshine, a quality potting mix and constant watering are essentials for potted citrus plants.

Gardening Citrus Trees in the Orchard
Those who are willing to plant a mini-orchard should make sure that the grass is kept at a sufficient distance from the citrus tree’s trunk in order to protect the tree from collar rot.

Also, while planting, a minimum of two-metre distance should be kept between the citrus plants.

Common Causes of Citrus Tree Death
Frost, poor drainage, over-watering are some of the common causes for sudden death in young trees whereas, in older trees, collar rot is observed as the usual suspect for the death of the trees.

Once fully grown, citrus fruits develop a vibrant colour and are ready to be picked. An average 3 ft tall tree should not bear more than 20 fruits at a time.

We hope you found these gardening tips helpful. Happy gardening!

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Ask a Designer: 2014 decor trends

With a new year come new trends in home design and decorating. Among them: paler walls contrasted with colorful furniture, and plenty of personal expression, design experts say.


Whisper-soft, ultra-pale shades of pink —described by designers as “blush tones” — are back. But the ’80s haven’t returned, says designer Brian Patrick Flynn says, at least not entirely.

“What’s different about blush this time around is what it’s paired with. In 1985, you’d find it paired with mauve and black with tons of shiny brass accents. Flash forward to today and blush is likely to be paired with preppy, masculine tones,” says Flynn, founder of Flynnside Out Productions.

His favorite blush paint is Barely Blush from Glidden, which he contrasts with navy blue: “The deep, rich personality of the navy actually washes out the blush, almost causing it to look white, and the overall effect is fresh and gorgeous.”

Speaking of white walls, Los Angeles-based designer Betsy Burnham sees those coming back in a big way.

“I used to think white walls looked unfinished,” she says. “But I’ve completely come around on this one, because white is the ultimate palette cleanser. It gives every space — even the most traditional — a modern edge, and sets the stage wonderfully for layers of color in upholstery, accessories, area rugs and art.”

But while wall colors are getting softer and paler, the opposite seems to be happening with furniture.

“Strong colors on upholstery are becoming more of the norm,” says Kyle Schuneman, founder of Live Well Designs, who spent a chunk of 2013 designing his first line of furniture, in collaboration with retailer Apt2B.

He opted to create sofas in bright blues and shades of orange because “a bright sofa is no longer just for a creative office waiting room,” he says. “People are bringing them into their homes.”

One bold color to approach carefully this year: red-violet. “Red-violet is the Pantone color of the year for 2014,” Flynn says. “As a designer whose specialty is using color, let me tell you something: Red-violet is about as complex as it gets.”

“My trick for using it right is pairing it with black, white and brass,” he says. “It’s not all that overwhelming, since it’s balanced by the neutrality of the black and white, and made a bit more chic and regal with the brass.”


“For accessories, the trend seems to be getting away from color and going more into rich textures like horn, aged metallics and linens,” Schuneman says. “The absence of color is becoming chic for smaller items.”

One texture Flynn says will have a big moment in 2014: felt.

“Have you looked at Pinterest lately? It’s like every fifth photo you see involves felt! Ever since the handmade movement kicked in back in 2010, felt has been used in unexpected ways and in a modern fashion,” Flynn says. “What makes it such a favorite for designers is how easy it is to work with. It’s amazing for door upholstery due to its stiffness. It makes for awesome craft material, since it’s easy to cut and stitch, and it’s awesome for kids.”

An easy project for even the DIY-challenged: “I modernized the classic kindergarten felt wall in a boy’s room by covering a wall with batting, then literally upholstering it with white and blue felt, then cutting tons of felt into random objects and characters to give the kids something interactive and stylish.”


“The idea of personalization is becoming stronger and stronger,” Schuneman says. “People are wanting their homes to reflect a more unique perspective.”

So rather than assuming that everyone will be buying the same popular items, “stores are doing limited runs on items more often, like art in series or a special brand collaboration for just a season,” he says.

Burnham agrees. Homeowners are increasingly looking to “large-scale wall hangings” and other pieces of art to express themselves, she says, rather than doing it with bold wall color.

“Boy, am I sick of accent walls. I really believe that trend is out! I vote for art every time,” Burnham says. “If you’re looking for something to cover big, blank areas, shop on Etsy for macrame pieces. They add such wonderful texture to your walls, and artists like Sally England have brought them back into vogue.”

She also recommends hunting for vintage posters that speak to you. Find them through online dealers and auction houses, and then frame them in a group.

“While the vintage ones are a bit of an investment,” Burnham says, “they can be a lot more reasonably priced than large-scale paintings and photographs.”

Another way Americans are increasingly customizing their space, according to Flynn: Western-inspired décor.

“For years I’ve seen taxidermy make its way into mainstream design, yet reinvented in new ways. Lately, I’ve been looking to Ralph Lauren-like cabins of the Western United States for inspiration in my own home. I think a lot of cabin-inspired colors such as pea greens, hunter greens and camouflage-inspired prints will become super popular.”

Flynn’s cabin in the north Georgia mountains is currently decorated in pea green and accented with heavy, masculine fabrics, Western hats and antlers.


“Tons of new-construction homes have awkward bonus rooms” that homeowners aren’t sure how to furnish, Flynn says.

One suggestion: “Why not turn that space into an extra sleeping area that can accommodate multiple guests, but in a super-stylish, architectural manner? That’s where the art of built-in bunks comes in,” Flynn says.

“I turned a dated attic into a bunk room and play space for two young brothers by using one wall as floor-to-ceiling, mid-century-style bunks. This isn’t exactly cheap to do, but it’s well worth the investment since it maximizes space and adds an architectural focal point, albeit one that’s functional, to otherwise dead space.”

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