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Archives for December 12, 2015

Scott Disick keeping up with NBA star Russell Westbrook

In an off-court pass of sorts, reality television personality Scott Disick has sold a contemporary-style home in the Beverly Crest area to Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook for $4.65 million outside the Multiple Listing Service.

Disick bought the residence, rebuilt and expanded by the Stewart-Gulrajani Design Team, last year for $3.699 million, public records show.

The two-story house, designed for indoor-outdoor entertaining, features glass doors and windows and a saltwater swimming pool. Views take in the cityscape, canyon and Santa Catalina Island.

Within the 4,095 square feet of open-plan space is a living room with a wall fireplace, a dining area, a den and a sleek kitchen with a wide island/breakfast. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet, a rain shower and a soaking tub for a total of five bedrooms and six bathrooms.

Glass doors open off the main level to an outdoor lounge, a sun deck and swimming pool with a spa. Walkways, fountains and formal landscaping complete the third-of-an-acre setting.

Disick, 32, is the longtime partner of TV personality Kourtney Kardashian. Their relationship is often the subject of storylines on the series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” in which they both appear.

Westbrook, 27, has deep ties to Los Angeles, having starred at UCLA and before that at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale. The four-time NBA all-star is in his eighth season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Mayor tidies up his portfolio

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and his wife, Amy Wakeland, have put their Midcentury Modern-style home in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles on the market for $1.65 million.

Designed by Daniel L. Dworsky and since renovated by Scrafano Architects, the 1953 post-and-beam house sits on about half an acre and has views of the city, canyon and surrounding valley.

The open-area floorplan, with polished concrete floors and walls of floor-to-ceiling glass, includes an updated kitchen and breakfast bar, a dining area, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. A two-sided fireplace divides the living room.

Terraced vegetable gardens, an orchard, multiple patios and an outdoor dining area make up the grounds. A two-vehicle carport sits below the house.

Garcetti and Wakeland bought the house in 2000 for $345,000, public records show.

Last year, the couple sold a home in Silver Lake to Anthony Gonzalez of the electronic music band M83 for $1.9 million.

They currently reside in Windsor Square at the Getty House, the official residence for the mayor of L.A.

Jacqueline Tager of Sotheby’s International Realty holds the listing.

Garcetti, 44, took office in the summer of 2013, becoming L.A.’s 42nd mayor. He previously served as president of the Los Angeles City Council from 2006 to 2012.

Actress-athlete duo sell compound

“Scandal” star Kerry Washington and her husband, retired NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha, listed their compound in Hollywood Hills West for sale at $2.695 million and within days they had a buyer on the hook.

A 1926 French Country-inspired main home sits on three-quarters of an acre with chauffeur’s quarters, a guesthouse and a swimming pool.

A living room with a decorative fireplace, an updated kitchen, a gym, five bedrooms, five full bathrooms and a powder room are included in 3,855 square feet of light and bright living space.

An outdoor living room, winding paths and lawn complete the wooded grounds. Views take in the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory.

They bought the property last year from actress Nicole Sullivan for $1.865 million. James Foreman of Sotheby’s International Realty is the listing agent.

Washington, 38, will play Anita Hill in next year’s TV movie “Confirmation.”

Asomugha, 34, was a former Narbonne High School football star. He spent 11 seasons in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.

X Gamer’s house, extreme amenities

Professional skateboarder and X Games medalist Nyjah Huston has flipped his amped-up home in San Juan Capistrano onto the market for $3.48 million.

Open-plan common areas, a resort-like backyard and a billiards room with a wet bar are among highlights of the entertainment-oriented house. The Pueblo-inspired contemporary, built in 1996, also features a chef’s kitchen with red countertops and a wide center island, a game room and a detached casita currently used as a gym.

Five bedrooms and 5.75 bathrooms include a master suite outfitted with a soaking tub, steam shower and French doors. A balcony set off the master suite takes in hilltop and partial ocean views.

Two fireplaces are within more than 6,100 square feet of living space.

Outdoors, grounds of more than three acres include a large deck, an infinity-edge swimming pool and spa and a built-in barbecue with a Kegerator. A covered lounge with heaters, flat-screen televisions and a fireplace sits adjacent to the pool.

Huston, 21, is considered among the top competitive street skaters in the world, winning more than a dozen titles in the Street League Skateboarding series. He has won nine X Games medals, including six gold.

He bought the house two years ago for $2.55 million, records show.

Melissa Davies-Crispi and Max Crispi of HOM Sotheby’s International Realty hold the listing.

Designer digs in Beverly Hills

Lauren Conrad of “The Hills” fame has put her renovated penthouse in the Beverly Hills area on the market at $3.2 million.

The fashion designer and TV personality bought the property in 2012 for $1.35 million and created a vibrant living space featuring light and airy interiors with bright-punch accents. Reclaimed materials and a mix of vintage and modernist pieces contribute to the chic yet relaxed style.

Among the eye-catching details is a breakfast nook, which plays canary yellow booth seats off light hardwood floors and a crisp white farmhouse-style kitchen. In the living room, a custom spiral staircase and 20-foot wall built from reclaimed brick is in keeping with the classic look.

The master suite has a boutique-inspired closet, a spa-like master bath and a separate sitting room set behind sliding barn-style doors.

Offering a more masculine look, a lounge area has a mirrored cocktail bar set off by a black-lacquered ceiling. An office/library, a formal dining room and another bedroom are also within more than 3,200 square feet of space.

On the upper level, French doors open to a garden terrace lined in black-and-white marble tiles and formal landscaping.

Cary Glenn of Main Beach Realty is the listing agent.

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From the Ground Up: An unusual gift for your special gardener

We are in the midst of the gift giving season and have shared some great gift ideas for the gardener in your life. But the Linn County Master Gardeners have a very special gift opportunity for you. For the first time we are offering gift certificates for the Winter Gardening Fair. Just buy the gift certificate, and that special gardener in your life can use it to register for workshops on Jan. 4 when registration opens for the event. Any area gardener enthusiast would be thrilled to spend a day with garden experts sharing ideas and gathering tons of information.

What is the Winter Gardening Fair? It’s one of the largest volunteer events of its kind and it’s taking place right here in Cedar Rapids. It’s an all-day event of workshops and hands-on classes presented by the Linn County Master Gardeners and the Iowa State University Extension Service.

The Winter Gardening Fair will be held on March 5 at Coe College. The day kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with a keynote speech in Sinclair Auditorium. Then attendees can attend four different workshops, which they select from a list on the Linn County Master Gardener website. Registration is easy — just choose your classes then sign up online, or fill out a registration form and mail it in.

There are more than 70 workshops covering a range of topics. There are classes for everyone, from the novice gardener to the seasoned veteran. Community gardens, herbs, vegetables, perennials — you name it, the subject is discussed. Come to the fair for tips about landscaping, how to start seeds at home, gardening safely, quilt gardens, lavender — it’s all there.

There will be hands-on classes teaching you how to create a fabric birdhouse, how to create and maintain Bonsai, how to build a bee house, or how to create a fairy garden. Common garden problems are discussed, as well as new alternatives for ash trees or ideas for creating a butterfly garden.

Cost of the fair includes lunch at the Coe cafeteria. And there’s also the chance to talk to horticultural organizations and societies as well as vendors. Attendees will have plenty of time to chat with others about all those garden topics so near and dear to their hearts.

This is a great gift for the gardener in your life — the gift of an entire day to spend focusing on spring and the upcoming growing season. For complete details about the fair, visit here.

• For gardening questions, call the Linn County Extension Master Gardener Hortline at (319) 447-0647.

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Winter perfect time to make landscape plans

Gardening and landscaping season may be over for the year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start dreaming now about next year’s projects. Use the downtime out of the yard to make a plan.

“Your yard is the biggest room you have. So when you plan your landscape think of it like you are putting on an addition,” recommended Lucy Hershberger, owner of Forever Green in Coralville. “Do you want a place relax in after work, a play area for the kids or the ultimate entertainment room?”

Like with any addition, start by evaluating your needs. Here are some things to consider:

1. What is your budget for one year and over the next 5 or more years? Remember you don’t need to do the whole project in one year. Most landscapes are done over a period of 2 to 5 years. Will your improvements increase the resale value or just your enjoyment?

2. How do you want to use your yard? Do you throw big parties or grill with the family? Are you more suited to a swimming pool, hot tub, large yard to play in or vegetable gardens? Make sure you leave space for future uses as your lifestyle changes.

3. Consider each element and how it fits into your yard. Don’t put a vegetable garden a long haul from the water source. Do you want to be able to see the kids play area from the house or patio? Is the grill a convenient distance from the kitchen, or do you want an outdoor kitchen? Do you need to plan for pets with a kennel or fencing? Do you have a beautiful view to take advantage of or maybe one you want to screen?

4. How much time or money do you want to spend on maintenance like mowing and weeding?

Many people do their own planning when they are starting a do-it-yourself project. But for others, working with a landscape designer or architect to create a concept or detailed plan assures they will have the perfect outdoor living area for their lifestyle.

Forever Green’s trained, certified and experienced staff creates landscapes that suit your needs, reflect your lifestyle and blend with the environment. Visit the garden center for plants, supplies and advice for DIY projects;

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Flower seeds and spring-flowering bulbs to to plant now: This week’s gardening …

This week’s gardening tips: Flower seeds that may be sown in December include alyssum, candytuft, forget-me-not, poppies, snapdragon, calendula, sweet pea, larkspur, cornflower and annual phlox. Transplants of these purchased from area nurseries could also be planted now.

Although they should have been planted by now, you can still plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as leucojum, Ipheion, anemones, narcissus, zephyranthes, ranunculus, ornithogalum, daffodils and Spanish bluebells, and expect good results. But don’t delay.

Tropical container plants moved indoors for the winter generally do not need fertilizer since growth is slow at best. Most problems with these plants are associated with reduced light and dry air. Fertilizing plants struggling with these conditions will not help them. Provide as much light as possible, and locate plants where hot air vents do not blow directly on them.

The LSU AgCenter’s 2016 Get It Growing calendar is available now at and at some local nurseries. Featuring my monthly gardening tips, beautiful photographs by Louisiana gardeners and lots of useful information, it’s a wonderful gift for your gardener friends. The calendar costs $11.95, and proceeds support horticulture scholarships and research.


Love to read about gorgeous gardens? Sign up for the weekly|The Times-Picayune home and garden newsletter, and you’ll get gardening guru Dan Gill’s latest tips as well as stories about gorgeous New Orleans area gardens. It’s easy and free. Just click here. And while you’re at it, head over to the New Orleans Homes and Gardens page on Facebook.

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Ann Wright: Garden tips for December

Our recent rains and cloudy weather has made it easier to stay inside this busy holiday season.

If there is time to get outside in the garden, there are some things to do during late fall and early winter.

Here are some tips from the Nevada County Master Gardeners:

• If not already done in November, spray dormant apricots, almonds, cherries, plums and prunes with fixed copper to control shot-hole fungus and peach leaf curl. (Dormant controls are applied during the fall, winter, and early spring to control over-wintering insects or to prevent disease after deciduous trees have lost their leaves and before new growth develops.) Dormant peaches and nectarines may be sprayed with lime sulfur instead of copper to control peach leaf curl, an airborne fungal disease. Do not apply lime sulfur to apricots. Dormant sprays can be applied again in late winter just before buds swell, especially during heavy, wet winters.

• Renew acid mulch around camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons.

• Continue to clean up leaves and dried fruit and flowers, and in light of potential fire hazards next summer, continue to thin out overgrown wooded areas of the yard.

• The prolonged dry conditions may have caused considerable stress to pines, firs and cedars. Prune infested limbs, remove and dispose of dying trees so that bark — and wood-boring insects do not emerge and attack other nearby trees. To help prevent infestations later in the spring, limb up pines, firs and cedars from mid-October to February. Beetles that infect conifers are dormant during the cold weather. Timing of pruning is important; avoid creating fresh pruning wounds during the flight season of adult beetles (source:

• To prevent frost damage, keep outdoor, potted plants damp. During dry periods, apply supplemental water to landscape plants as needed.

• Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherimma) are very popular this time of year. Keep the plant away from heat sources — they prefer indirect or filtered light and cooler temperatures.

When the soil is dry, put the plant in the sink and run water through the pot allowing it to drain — poinsettias do not like soggy soil. Do not fertilize blooming plants. Avoid picking faded leaves from the stalk; allow the leaves and bracts (small leaf like structure beneath the flower) to fall before discarding them.

• If you plan to purchase a cut Christmas tree and are not planning on putting it in the house right away, the freshness of the tree can be promoted by sawing off the bottom of the trunk an inch or so, and storing the tree in a bucket of water. When you are ready to move the tree in the house, saw off another inch of the trunk, then use a tree stand with large water reservoir — keep the reservoir full.

• If you plan to purchase a “live” potted Christmas tree you may keep the tree in its original nursery container during the first Christmas. Display the tree in the house for no longer than 10 days and water the tree regularly. An easy way to water the tree is to dump two trays of ice cubes onto the soil daily. As the ice melts the water slowly trickles down into the root zone. Use smaller, cool lights to decorate the tree.

• The Western Nevada County Gardening Guide makes a good gift for any local gardener. The Garden Guide may be purchased at local book stores, some nurseries and at the Master Gardener office at the Veterans Memorial Hall, 255 South Auburn St. There is a gardener in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener.

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This 10000-square-foot Weston house won the week in big sales Staff

Boston had a relatively quiet week for extravgant home sales—with only a few sales over a million—after having an expensive run last week. But the area suburbs more than made up for a slow week in the Hub. Check these out.

36 Deer Path Lane, Weston

On December 7, this shinge-style manor home in Weston sold for $4,000,000, which is almost double the town’salready high average home price of $2,300,000. The 10,000-square-foot home has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and two half bathrooms. It was built bordering conservation land in 2007 and has a gourmet kitchen, six fireplaces, and a large backyard with a built in grill and waterfall.

33 Huron Avenue, Cambridge

After a 2015 gut renovation, this 1929 brick colonial Cambridge home sold for $2,250,000 on December 7, which is well above the $872,000 average home price. There are four bedrooms, three full and two half bathrooms, and 3,900 square feet of living space. Walking distance to both Porter and Harvard squares, this home has 16-foot vaulted ceilings, an open-concept downstairs, a fenced-in yard, and a two-car garage.

140 Highland Street, Newton

This Mansard Victorian-style Newton home was built in 1885 and sold on December 7 for $1,555,000, which is only slightly over the $1,184,500 average home price in the Boston suburb. There are seven bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and 4,511 square feet of living space in the home. There is also a sunroom, a library, an eat-in kitchen, and excellent landscaping.

101 Green Street, Canton

This countryside manor in Canton on a two acre estate abutting the Blue Hills Reservation sold on December 4 for $1,695,000, well above the $599,900 average home price in the town. The home has five bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, and 5,706 square feet of living space. The kitchen has vaulted ceilings and a two-tiered island, and the backyard has gardens, inground pool and spa, driving and putting ranges, and a sports court.

Related: Here are some landscaping ideas and inspiration:

Need some inspiration for revamping your outdoor space? James Roche, CEO of, the largest online collection of ready-made house plans, has some innovative ideas for entertaining. From fire pits to covered porches, Roche said his company offers outside plans for homes of all different size and style.

1. Described as “romantic” and “nature-inspired,” house plan #454-14 features a large outdoor porch.

The outdoor living room has a fireplace and is accessible from the home’s major rooms.

The primary goal for the house was to capture water views and have it work well for a small gathering or large extended family. The home has a generous porch, and a series of movable screens “allows the house to be completely opened to the outdoors when the weather is appropriate.”

2. House plan #48-642 has an outdoor kitchen perfect for entertaining and hosting summer barbecues.

In addition to a covered front porch, the home has a covered rear porch and outdoor kitchen grill.

Relax after work on the home’s vaulted porch.

3. House plan #901-120 has a front-covered porch, second master suite, and bunkrooms to accommodate larger families comfortably.

An upper sun deck and entertaining balcony with bar provide sweeping views.

Described as a “neighborhood cottage plan,” this home is focused on outdoor living.

A bunkroom for kids lets guests stay the night.

A gas fire pit can warm guests and scare off bugs, while an outdoor kitchen grill is great for inviting friends over for dinner.

4. House plan #449-13 is a modern home with large, open first-floor entertaining places.

“Modern, hip-hotel designs are increasingly valued by younger homeowners,” Roche said.

The home has a covered rear porch.

“Outdoor living rooms are very popular and becoming more so,” Roche said.

A sliding door lets guests enter the backyard from the living room easily.

5. House plan #888-10 is a two-story farmhouse bungalow with front and rear covered porches.

“There’s nothing like nodding off in a screened sleeping porch after an exciting 4th of July party,” Roche said.

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Liberty Lake will ask voters to fund new community center

Read more about the Town Square Project at – click on “Our Community” and then on “2015 Task Force” – plans and minutes from meetings are available there.

The city of Liberty Lake is one step closer to buildinga new community center – the Town Square Project – next to the newly finished Town Square Park.

The $12 million project hinges on voters’ approval of a bond measure that will be on the August ballot.

Liberty Lake resident Leslie Zilka was on the community task force that selected components for the Town Square Project.

She said the task force visited community centers in Spokane and Cheney to get ideas for the design.

“We got together and talked and brainstormed what we wanted,” Zilka said. “In the summer we all meet at the farmers market, but in the winter we don’t have a common space.”

The task force came up with a 16,000-square-foot community building with classrooms and a flexible meeting space, an outdoor swimming pool with a changing facility and a concession area, as well as a parking lot and landscaping. The library, which is owned by the city, would also be located in the new building.

The city already owns the proposed building site.

Zilka, who has lived in Liberty Lake since 1993 and served on several community boards including the Pavillion Park board, said another community center proposal some years ago was “soundly defeated” because voters felt it was too ambitious and expensive.

“Many more people live here today,” Zilka said, and “this is something we really need.”

Qualified contractors had until Friday at 2 p.m. to indicate their interest in the project.

Liberty Lake is using a process known as “progressive design-build” in an effort to speed up the completion of the project and cut down on costs.

City Administrator Katy Allen said the traditional model for construction of public buildings consists of designing the project, putting it out for public bid and then building it.

“Using the progressive design-build model, you don’t design anything right away, there are no pretty pictures to look at,” Allen said. “You pick a contractor based on its qualifications and then you design and build the project.”

It’s a method often used on the west side of the state, Allen said, but rarely used in the Spokane area. Liberty Lake had to obtain permission to use the process from the Public Review Committee and hired a consulting firm to help with that.

“It can be very complicated if you don’t know what you are doing,” Allen said.

Allen said the city will choose five contractors by Dec. 18. Those five companies then have a month to come up with a proposal within the $12 million budget, before being interviewed by the city in January.

“We hope to get this to the City Council by February 16,” Allen said.

Once it’s approved by the City Council, the task force will begin campaigning for the bond.

Zilka is optimistic about the bond passing this time around.

“The economy is better now than it was,” Zilka said. “I think we can do it.”

If the bond passes in August, construction could begin right away.

“One benefit of using this method is that we can begin grading and putting in utilities before we know what color the Formica is going to be,”Allen said. “It really speeds things up.”

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How to hostess: Tips include hiring a caterer, keeping parties on track

Employing a restaurant or catering company for home entertaining can be a lifesaver, but it can be stressful when hiring a caterer for the first time.

Dallas hostess Janelle Friedman, known for throwing some enjoyable bashes in town, has advice to offer on this and more in a new book, You Are Invited: How to Plan Everything From Intimate Gatherings to Texas-Sized Parties (Reedy Press, $35).

Friedman’s book presents tips and ideas from envisioning the “big picture” of a party down to the last detail of invitations, menus, decorations and entertainment for events large and small.

“It’s about being attentive,” Friedman said. “I want my guests to feel important and taken care of.”

This often includes bringing in caterers to prepare and serve food in her home. We asked Friedman for tips for first-timers working with a caterer:

In selecting a caterer, look first to a restaurant you frequent, a chef who knows you are a regular customer. Relationships are important.

Whatever the budget is, schedule an advance meeting with the catering manager in your home to go over the location, layout and your expectations. Get details in writing in your contract.

Ask that the caterer arrive well in advance of the party start time. For a 7 p.m. party, Friedman requires the caterers to be on site by 4:30.

Plan for an adequate staff-to-guest ratio. For a formal seated dinner, one waiter and one bus person per six guests. For a cocktail party with passed hors d’oeuvres, one staff person per 10 guests might suffice.

Clearly specify your house rules. Examples: Before entering the kitchen, make sure all shoes are clean. (In addition, in Friedman’s home she asks that protective paper cover the floor in the food preparation area.) Do not put anything in the disposal that doesn’t belong there. Make sure all ovens are turned off. Clean all surfaces. Do not pour anything into landscaping or drag anything outside.

Have your regular housekeeper or a willing family member or friend on hand to oversee the use of anything from your kitchen and china cabinet and its safe return before anyone leaves the property.

Require the caterer to remove all trash from the property at the end of the night.

Valerie Jarvie is a Dallas freelance writer.

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