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Archives for November 21, 2015

Memphis Habitat gets $1 million grant for Jimmy Carter work project

A Tennessee agency is providing a $1 million matching grant to help Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis take full advantage of President Jimmy Carter’s participation in a week of home-building and repair in Uptown Memphis.

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency will match the first $1 million in donations for next summer’s Habitat project, according to the Commercial Appeal ( Typically, Memphis Habitat for Humanity receives less than $500,000 a year from the agency and competes for grants with other nonprofits.

“As far as our grant funds are concerned, I’m pretty sure this is a first of its kind and likely to be one of a kind,” said Ralph Perrey, executive director of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

The Jimmy Rosalynn Carter Work Project will take place Aug. 21-27 and will improve the living conditions for nearly 100 families by building 21 homes and undertaking 33 beautification projects, including minor repairs, painting and landscaping. Crews will also take on 45 “Aging in Place” projects to improve accessibility and mobility for low-income seniors.

The budget for the project is $4.8 million. The group still has $3.8 million to raise, said Memphis Habitat president Dwayne Spencer. Memphis Habitat is seeking partnerships to help fund the work and support the families who will move into the houses.

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Beach Haven looks to its history for improvements

BEACH HAVEN – The parties celebrating the borough’s history be over for now, but a Beach Haven renascence is just beginning.

And township officials, a new Master Plan Committee, Beach Haven Future, the Beach Haven Historic Preservation Commission and other civic groups are all on the same page.

Mayor Nancy Davis said a new Beach Haven Borough Hall will be built in a design to compliment the historic atmosphere of the borough’s official historic district.

She said the demolition bid went out and demolition is almost done. Bids for pilings will go out very soon and after that the construction bids

“We are hoping to have all the wires surrounding the building put underground,” she said, and there will be brick sidewalks and decorative street lamps. The sidewalk along Engleside Ave will pulled out farther into the street so we can include landscaping.”

“We are excited about the new building, she said, “and we hope it will encourage businesses to improve their store fronts to enhance the historical character of the town.”

The mayor added that the interior of the building will be beautiful as well with a high ceiling in the court/meeting room and a skylight that brings natural light into the center of the building.

”We will have the perfect place to hang our beautiful, historical quilt which was presented to the Borough by the dedicated women of Beach Haven in the Centennial year of 1976.”

Once a builder has been chosen, work will begin.

“We hope to be able to move into it by November of 2016,” she said.

“We have tweaked the design a bit from the architect’s rendering (shown above),” she said, especially the front entrance.” She added a new cedar shake facade will also change the look of the current police building.

The borough will be seeking grants to help pay for some of the improvements.

A time capsule will be created for the building’s cornerstone and the borough will be collecting items for that. At Friday’s anniversary party, Det. Jim Markowski of the Beach Haven Police, presented a check to the mayor on behalf of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association to help pay for the creation of the time capsule.

Meanwhile, the Historic Preservation Commission has a list of ideas for new projects/improvements in the historic district.

”There is so much going on,” said Jeanette Lloyd, head of the commission. “It will take a lot of time and money But it is all positive.”

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More food trucks, ‘bistro lights’ could create downtown Lafayette ambiance

If you go

What: Lafayette Old Town streetscape workshop

When: 6 p.m. Dec. 10

Where: 1290 S. Public Road, Lafayette

Cost: Free

More info:

A designated food truck parking lot and strings of “bistro lights” arching across Public Road are a few of the new amenities that could create more ambiance in downtown Lafayette.

Colorful awnings on businesses also could be installed, as could new bike racks, planters and landscaping, said Sally Martin, chairwoman of the Lafayette Urban Renewal Authority.

“Organizing food trucks on a Saturday, for example … we’re not able to do that now, but in the future we hope to do that,” Martin said.

Martin and other members of the group plan to discuss “creative, diverse and eclectic” ideas to add to the downtown streetscape plan at a public workshop on Dec. 10.

About $35,800 has been set aside in the 2016 budget for the new streetscape project. Separately, $9,000 of the budget is earmarked for parking improvements on East Simpson Street.

Martin wants to create a three-year plan to provide continuity to the streetscape, which generally includes all public space in the Old Town urban renewal area. She also wants to get local arts groups involved.

The Old Town urban renewal area generally runs on both sides of Public Road from Baseline Road on the north to a spot just south of Spaulding Street, and on East Simpson Street from Public Road to Michigan Avenue. The region also is along the south side of Baseline Road generally from U.S. 287 to a little past Public Road.

New art installations and other spruce-ups to Public Road have been common in recent years, because of the urban renewal authority’s guidance, said Jenn Ooten, the group’s executive director. The group recently bought the sculpture “Buck Gordon Flash Rodgers Time Machine Rocket Ship” to put up at Kimbark and Public Road, for example.

A “downtown vision plan” completed in 2011 has guided the group’s decisions in recent years, Ooten said. The group has purchased things such as benches, bike racks and flower pots since it was formed in 1999 by Lafayette City Council.

“This is the next step. What are the other things we can do in terms of streetscape?” Ooten asked, rhetorically. “The urban renewal area looks a ton different since the adoption of the urban renewal authority.”

Private retailers, such as East Simpson Coffee Company and Eats and Sweets, also have helped beautify the street, said Rachel Hanson, president of the nonprofit ARTS!Lafayette group.

The Lafayette Urban Renewal Authority’s annual budget comes from a portion of collected sales and property tax revenues from the area that otherwise would go to general city coffers, Martin said.

In addition, private investors have spent about $3.2 million on new buildings and remodels in the urban renewal authority area in 2015, according to figures posted by the group. The authority also invested about $41,000 in streetscape improvements this year, including new signs and parking upgrades.

Beth Potter: 303-473-1422,

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Country home and lush landscaping recreates Wine Country living in San Rafael

  • A wood-burning stove set inside a brick fireplace accents the light-filled living room. Photo: Matt McCourtney / McCourtney Pho



A property that looks as if it were uprooted from Wine Country is up for grabs in San Rafael. The roughly 2-acre landscape on West Seaview Avenue offers scenic outlooks and manicured gardens revolving around a remodeled mid-century ranch home.

“It’s a unique property for Marin that’s very much like a boutique resort,” said Thomas Henthorne of Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty.

The four-bedroom residence enjoys a plethora of outdoor spaces, views of Mount Tamalpais and period charm balanced by modern accents. A remodel beginning in 2012 updated the four-bedroom listing priced at $2.495 million. Covered porches, wooden decks, a pool and a chipping/putting area showcase the home’s potential for indoor and outdoor livability.

A long brick driveway winds beyond the gated entry and past swaying sprigs of lavender to reveal a timeless design dating back to 1950. Overhanging eaves shade a wraparound deck facing the front yard’s level lawn and wooden deck.

Many rooms — like the living room with wood stove and oversize windows — access the deck. Beadboard wall paneling, built-ins occupying entire walls, etched glass embellishments and a vaulted, beamed ceiling keep the home true to its architectural heritage.

The updated kitchen harmonizes classic with contemporary. Its chessboard floor superbly represents the postwar motif, while stainless steel appliances and a wine chiller speak to tastes of 21st century consumers. Butcher block counters provide a colorful contrast to the kitchen’s white, black and silver hues and complement hardwood flooring found in the public rooms.

There is no wasted space in the 3,006-square-feet interior. An alcove with windows on three sides forms the breakfast nook, while every other kitchen wall offers shelves, cupboards or drawers.

The spacious dining room comfortably seats eight to 12 people with enough room for a buffet table. An adjacent study beyond the dining room provides a space to unwind with a book or a friendly conversation.

Wine lovers will gravitate toward a wine room at the back of the home capable of storing 1,000 bottles.

Outside, a synthetic putting green and chipping area provides an area to hone the short game or place some friendly wagers. The practice area backs up to a detached game room or office — also with chessboard flooring.

Both the upper and lower levels offer master suites with exterior access and updated bathrooms. The deck off the top-floor suite includes a staircase descending to the yard.

Acreage means nothing if it’s not to put to use, but that’s not a problem on West Seaview Avenue. A hobby vineyard cascades down the hillside and overlooked by decks. One such deck, made of a combination of stone and wood, features an irregularly shaped pool and space to lounge in the shade.

Visit for more details.

Listing agent: Thomas Henthorne, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty, (415) 487-5584, thomas.


Address: 35 W. Seaview Ave., San Rafael.

Price: $2.495 million.

Features: Four-bedroom mid-century ranch home on more than 2 acres in San Rafael’s esteemed Country Club neighborhood offers two master suites, a light-filled living room, wraparound porch, chipping green, detached game room, pool and hobby vineyard.

Open home: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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Tour seven Eastmoreland houses: Duniway Holiday Home Tour Dec. 4 (photos)

Drinking eggnog, caroling and visiting other families’ homes are some of the hallmarks of the holiday season. Who doesn’t want to see how other people decorate?

The 37th Annual Duniway Holiday Home Tour Boutique on Friday, Dec. 4 is your chance to see inside seven private residences decked out with Christmas trees, ornaments and other festive decor.

The Southeast Portland houses range in age and styles, from historic to modern, and several have newly updated kitchens, master bedrooms and landscaping.

Ticket holders ($25, can take a trolley to visit an Arts and Crafts house, an artist’s home studio and an attic converted into a grandkid’s retreat.

The self-paced tour, held in two sessions from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 6 p.m.-9 p.m., supports art and technology programs, classroom grants, library books, cultural arts and other academic enrichments for Duniway students.

The tour begins at Duniway Elementary School, 7700 SE Reed College Place. Attendees can pick up their tour booklet at the Holiday Boutique in the Duniway gym. The boutique, from 10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m., is free and open to everyone.

Here are highlights of the seven houses on the Duniway Holiday Home Tour:

1912 Craftsman bungalow: This house, with a broad front porch, was built for one of the backers of the Eastmoreland Golf Course during the first period of Eastmoreland’s development. Original features include heart and circle cutouts in the dining room and stairwell as well as custom built-ins, box-beam ceilings, crown molding and millwork. The garage has been converted into a workout room and pool house for the saltwater pool. The patio has a gas fireplace.

1923 Colonial Revival: Thomas Gaddis, author of “Birdman of Alcatraz,” bought this house in the 1960s with money he earned by selling rights for the book to be made into the film starring Burt Lancaster. The current owners added columns and a porch to enhance the entryway and they removed interior walls to open spaces. They also added a mudroom, bedroom and two bathrooms downstairs, and combined two upstairs rooms to create a master suite. The owner’s letterpress studio in the garage is open during the tour.

1924 Arts and Crafts-style house: The long axis of this cross-gabled structure shelters the living room on the main floor and the remodeled family room upstairs. The shorter gable, which is more steeply pitched, houses the upstairs bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and the main floor study. The living room has gardens on three sides with boxwoods, rhododendrons and hydrangeas shaded by Douglas Fir and maple trees.

1926 Arts and Crafts: Layered landscaping sets the scene for this house with a brick porch and walls, and a steep hip roof. Recent renovations improved the street approach and driveway, and enhanced outdoor living spaces in the front and back yards. A second story was added in 1990 by the longtime owners and in 2000, they remodeled kitchen. The bathrooms and basement have also been updated. Art installed in the house includes pieces by the owner, Angela Dworkin, as well as Japanese prints and crystal.

1927 English Cottage: This house has undergone a complete remodel including earthquake retrofitting, solar panel installation and interior updating by contractor Hammer and Hand. A master bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet were added and many original features were restored, including Clay Craft tiles on the fireplace, a leaded-glass window and a bathtub. The attic was converted into a bedroom with skylights and the basement, with coffered oak ceilings, has a vintage dollhouse on display. There is a fountain and octagonal raised vegetable beds in the English garden.

1938 Colonial Revival and English Tudor-style house: The owners recently updated the kitchen with Caesarstone countertops, cabinet lighting and appliances but kept the original lead windows. The kitchen nook was extended to create more space and a pass-through window was installed to serve people in the outdoor living space. French doors were added to the dining room and outside, there is a casual dining area, seating and a bar.

Dutch Mediterranean: The house was designed by architect Bruce McKay, who is famous for his Eastmoreland creations during the late 1920s and early 1930s. The main floor has large rooms, a huge fireplace and a split Dutch entry door carved with a scene influenced by the oil painting, “In the Orphanage in Katwijk,” by David Adolph Constant Artz (1837-1890) of two young girls learning ro needlepoint.

The house underwent a complete renovation from 2013-2015, and the roofline was changed to allow for 9-foot ceilings, increase the usable space on the upper floor and add skylights. Updated safety features include a rebuilt chimney, along with seismic and system upgrades.

The gourmet kitchen, with custom mahogany cabinets, is situated off the dining room and has floor-to-ceiling folding doors that connect to a covered lanai. The basement is now a family room with a glass sliding door to draw in daylight. It aslo has a drop-down TV screen, new seating and home gym. Rhododendrons and azaleas in the yard were planted by a past owner who was instrumental in founding the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.

— Homes Gardens of the Northwest staff

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Chicago Snow Coming and Forgot To Winterize Your Garden? No Worries

It’s healthier for the overall ecosystem when perennials are allowed to remain standing over the winter, providing food for birds and insects.
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LINCOLN SQUARE — If the meteorologists are remotely correct in their forecasts, white stuff is headed Chicago’s way this weekend.

So let’s talk about the green, or likely brown, stuff that’s still in your garden.

Didn’t get around to prepping your landscaping for winter weather? Congrats. You don’t need to.

In the past, gardeners were taught to cut back perennials to within an inch or two of the ground as temperatures approached the freezing mark.

Don’t bother, said Scott Stewart, director and head horticulturalist at the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park.

“If you’ve got a garden, leave it up,” Stewart said. “Be lazy.”

It’s healthier for the overall ecosystem when perennials are allowed to remain standing over the winter, according to Stewart.

Winter landscape, covered in snow and ice, has a beauty all its own.
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“Those plants still have seeds,” he said. “And there are still birds and insects to eat off of the plants.”

The best time to cut plants back is in the early spring, as they prepare to awaken.

As for the practice of piling leaves on top of landscaping beds to protect plants, Stewart said it’s not worth the effort.

“It does nothing from a compost or mulch perspective,” he said.

Aside from environmental benefits, Stewart said there’s much to appreciate about winter gardens simply on a superficial level.

“There’s an aesthetic beauty to winter and gardens covered in snow and ice,” he said.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here:


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Master Gardener: Tips on how to prevent damage by deer

REDDING, California – Q. What can I do to prevent deer damage? Can you give me a list of deer-resistant plants?

A. Deer eat a wide variety of plants — trees, shrubs, flowering plants, vines, vegetables, fruits, nuts and others — so they’re hard to discourage. Since they’re legally classified as game animals, you can’t trap or poison them. Shooting them, which is legal with a California Fish and Game Department permit, is not an option for most folks, especially city dwellers.

Fences, at least 8 feet tall, and barriers, such as dense hedges, which keep deer from seeing through or over, are by far the most effective in controlling them. But if fencing or hedging aren’t practical or affordable, you can try deterrents and frighteners, though deer may adapt to these quickly.

As to deer-resistant plants, probably the best place to find a list is in the “Sunset Western Garden Book,” recommended by the University of California, or at the California Native Plant Society’s website at

That said, if deer are hungry enough, and our ongoing drought may well have reduced their native browse enough to make them so, they’ll eat whatever they can find.

Do you have a gardening question for University of California/Shasta College Master Gardeners? E-mail it to or call 242-2219. Like their Facebook page here.

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5 tips for urban gardening


Lindsey Swett of the South End’s urban gardening mainstay, Niche, at 619 Tremont St., offers some advice on those who wish to introduce a new member of horticulture into their household.

1 Snag an easy charmer: Swett recommends a plant from the dracena family for a low-maintenance, high-fashion option. “You can get a good variety, like a tiny version that’s 4 inches to one that is 6 or 7 feet grown. They’re the easiest plants to take care of. They’re bright-light and low-light tolerant and good air purifiers.”


2 It’s bummer season for all of us: “It’s a really tough time of the year for house plants,” explained Swett. “Some might go dormant and some might be stressed and that can lead to leaf drop, especially in January and February with heaters blowing, low light, and drafty windows.

3 Put your plant on a diet: Swett recommends cutting back on the water and fertilizer during the winter months. “You should really stop fertilizing mid-late fall to spring time,” she said. “And generally watering can be decreased in the winter because plants won’t be actively growing.” Be wary of heaters that can dry plants out faster, though. Misting your tropical plants is an additional way to help them through dry winter months.

4 Don’t be prudent with pruning: “A piece of advice I got when I was starting in horticulture is that cutting back plants, when done right, is more helpful than harmful,” explained Swett. “If a plant is really gangly and out of control, it can be cut back so it’s not trying to support that massive growth during the low-light season.” Be sure not to remove more than one-third of the foliage.

5 Gift with an upgrade: If you’re planning to repot your green gift before handing it off, Swett recommends buying a pot at least 2 inches bigger than the one you purchased it in. More for a vigorous plant, like a monstera, less for a slower grower like a cactus.

Rachel Raczka

Rachel Raczka can be reached at

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Homebase gives students chance to study with designer Adam Frost

They were selected from 5,000 applicants for the 12-month programme to develop their gardening skills and knowledge, in addition to working alongside award-winning garden designer Adam Frost.

Now in its third year, the academy was set up with help from Frost and he will teach the students garden planning and design during practical sessions..

They will also work with top garden suppliers to develop detailed product knowledge covering planting and landscaping and learn practical horticultural skills to earn them an RHS Level 1 Award qualification.

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With more than 100 garden designs to suit every plot, taste and pocket, The Ultimate Garden Designer has sold nearly a quarter of a million copies worldwide … and is sure to contain your ideal garden.

In this fully revised edition of Tim Newbury’s classic, expert advice shows you exactly where to put your patio and plant your perennials. With a comprehensive plant directory, a vast selection of garden features, and more than 600 beautiful color photographs, plans and drawings, this book is the complete guide to the world of garden design. It’s the next best thing to hiring a professional.

Garden Planning, Clearance Sale

Author: Tim Newbury


Format: PBK

Weight: 1.89

Item Number: 6207

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