Without proper lighting, even the most stylish space isn't truly complete. Every room needs a combination of general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting to set a mood and provide sufficient illumination. Table and floor lamps, which typically fall under the task lighting category, are especially important because they play both a functional and decorative role in your home. Size, shape and style all need to be taken into account when selecting lamps to suit both your lighting needs and taste in home decor.
In the bedroom of a beach house on the Indian Ocean, designer Nelly Reffret took a creative approach to the project’s extremely tight budget. She says: “I searched for bargains and only selected items that I knew would work perfectly in the space. The headboard is a discontinued Ikea style, which I painted in a sandy color. I found the suitcases on the curb during trash collection (you know that saying about someone's trash being someone's treasure...).” When combining a variety of furniture styles, she advises allowing size and scale to guide your choices. “Before starting to decide on a look, it's important to check what will fit in the space: width and depth matter. Scale is another important factor. Too many large pieces and the room will look cluttered; too many small pieces, and there will be no sense of cohesion, no sense of ‘grounding’. Having one item of large scale next to smaller items can create an interesting focal point to the room, just like the headboard does in this bedroom.”
Place houseplants to provide a leafy contrast to the hard lines of windows and furniture. Peace lily is a natural for filling a corner, especially if you select the one known as Sensation. This beauty grows to 6 feet tall and easily commands attention in a large room. It holds its own beside a large window, where it receives the high light necessary to promote steady bloom. Tuck it into a simple dark container to let glossy leaves and stately flowers steal the spotlight.
As you select plants to serve as focal points in your décor, consider how large the plant grows and also how quickly it achieves that size. Plants like sentry palm and Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) can double their size in a few years, given the right conditions. Chinese money plant, on the other hand, maintains a tidy size, growing slowly to 8 to 12 inches tall. With thick, succulent-like leaves, the plant doesn’t demand much water and thrives in low light. Unusual, round leaves make this plant a conversation piece.
The first step to creating a snooze-worthy bed is finding the right pillow for your favorite sleep position. Katrina Crowell of Cuddledown (https://www.cuddledown.com/) suggests selecting a medium or overfilled pillow if you're a back sleeper since it will offer proper support for your head and neck. If you sleep on your stomach, look for a pillow that is extra-soft to allow your head to sink to a comfortable level. Side sleeper? Choose either a soft-filled pillow for softer support or medium/overfill, if you need extra support around
For pruning branches over ¾ inches thick, you’re going to need a pair of loppers. These cutting tools come in handy for pruning shrubs, trees, roses, tall perennials with woody stems and even full-size sunflowers. If you’re investing in loppers, select bypass cutting blades (not anvil), and multiply your cutting strength up to three times with Fiskars PowerGear brand. The gears in this cutting design let you cut through branches far beyond your natural strength. Look for loppers with extendable handles to increase your reach. Loppers will handle most cutting jobs, but at some point you may need to expand your tool base to include a pruning saw and, for out-of-reach limbs, a pole saw.
You don’t always need a large plant to make a statement. Unusual leaf shapes and textures draw the eye, too, and can make up for size in smaller homes or rooms. One way to create more impact with houseplants is to group several smaller plants that combine well. This trio features plants with variegated leaves: Dracaena ‘Lemon Surprise,’ polka dot plant (Hypoestes) and gold crest false aralia (Plerandra elegantissima ‘Gold Crest’). When combining plants, choose ones that need similar growing conditions. These plants thrive with medium to high light. If you love bright colors, select cachepots for plants that inject a pop of color.
Displaying oysters doesn’t have to be boring. Although I love a great metal basket and burlap, for a modern take on an oyster roast, feel free to add a touch of whimsy. Pick colors and products that compliment oysters. You can use a silver china plate from a yard sale or spray a little metallic paint on a white plate from a discount store; these are perfect ways to display your oysters. For variety, select an assortment of oysters, with information about them on note cards placed next to them. You can create these note cards by applying a fun print or a picture taken with your phone to card stock.
As you select plants for your landscape, take time to place plants where they’ll thrive. Be sure to give them the right amount of sunlight, the proper soil and enough elbow room to reach their mature size. There’s nothing worse than planting a shrub you have to prune constantly to make it fit your space. If a plant catches your eye, like this Black Lace elderberry (Sambucus nigra, grows 6-8 feet tall and wide), do some quick research to learn if there’s another similar plant that might fit your spot better. Black Beauty elderberry grows even bigger (8-12 feet tall and wide), while Laced Up elderberry is the choice for small spaces, growing 6-10 feet tall and only 3-4 feet wide.
A leaf rake comes in handy for moving leaves, pine cones, fallen fruit and other tree-related items. Look for an ergonomic design that makes the task an easy extension of natural body movements. Choose a wide head with springy tines to make quick work of cleaning large areas. For raking leaves from around shrubs, select a rake with a small head and shorter handle. Use a lawn rake with thin tines to gather grass clippings or clean up the lawn after winter. A bow rake is handy for soil prep in vegetable gardens and new beds, as well as raking gravel areas. A small hand rake earns its keep if you have planting beds beneath trees. Its widely spaced tines let you remove leaves without damaging plants.
"Our playground" is how Hapeville's Porsche Experience Center coach Chris Ivester describes the incredible 1.6 mile closed track experience at Porsche's North American headquarters in the shadow of Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. "We love our noisy neighbors because nobody complains" says Ivester of the low-flying planes coming in for a landing on Hartsfield's flight path which tend to drown out even the sound of turbo engines and peeling tires. One of only two such tracks in the United States (the other one is in Los Angeles and there are tracks in Germany, France and Great Britain), this thrill-ride for grown-ups allows drivers 21 and over to test out a variety of driving experiences and obstacles on a safe, enclosed track where a coach is always in the passenger seat to offer guidance and driving tips. The majority of Porsche Experience Center drives come to have an incredible day driving, but some new Porsche owners also visit for practical tips and training on how to enjoy their new baby. "This is a bucket list" items says Ivester, with birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions celebrated with the gift of an extreme driving experience. Each closed track is different in topography so Porsche lovers come from all over the country and world to try out Atlanta's unique circuit. The experience is custom, from the car selected to the course chosen. Some of the possible 6 driving modules include the Launch Pad, where G-forces kick in as you test a car's pick-up power by flooring the gas for the kind of drag-racing thrill not recommended on normal roads. The Kick Plate is where you can experience the skidding-out thrills of black ice where a combination of polished epoxy and water jets (oh, and sudden pop-up fences to make things even more challenging) gives the sensation of losing control so you can practice regaining it. The one-mile Handling Circuit mimics the feel of driving a twisting country road, only you are solo on this one, able to test our tight turns and experience the fun of owning the road. For car freaks and even novices, this is a one-of-a-kind experience.