Month: January 2019

Fantastic Houseplant: Holiday-Blooming Cactus

Simply because this plant loves the spotlight around the holidays, don’t forget to enjoy it year-round — its striking form and foliage are tough to find in any other plant. You might be wondering why I am writing about Thanksgiving cactus. The solution is: as what most people think of as Christmas cactus, and also exactly what most nurseries promote as Christmas cactus, is really Thanksgiving cactus. True Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) is quite difficult to discover, so the more easily accessible Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) was dubbed Christmas cactus.

Now our semantics are cleared up, here’s what you need to understand about this omnipresent holiday plant.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Botanical name: Schlumbergera truncata
Common title: Thanksgiving cactus
Water requirement: Typical
Light requirement: Vibrant light until early autumn
Mature size: 12 to 18 inches tall; cascades over the edge of a pot
Benefits and tolerances: Normally pest and disease free
Seasonal attention: Profuse blooms from late autumn through January

J. Peterson Garden Design

Planting notes. Here is where this holiday-flowering cactus becomes tricky. There’s a secret to obtaining these crops to rebloom every year, and I share this trick with one consideration: I know lots of folks, myself included, who do nothing special to their Thanksgiving cactus and are still treated to annual flowering.

That said, traditional guidance for these crops is to give them bright, indirect light (on a covered terrace or through a glowing window) until September or October. At that point, it’s suggested to decrease the light to about 10 hours a day for 20 to 25 days.

Put a box or bag carefully over the plant from 6 to 8 pm or place it into a darkened garage throughout those hours. This imitates the short day cycle that’s necessary for all these crops to set buds for vacation flowering.

Once the buds begin to set, improve watering and bring out the container to a brightly lit place for holiday display, but not allow the plant sit in soggy soil.

Rikki Snyder

Distinguishing traits. Thanksgiving cactus and Christmas cactus are both flat-leaf cacti native to the tropical forests of Brazil, but they’re different in subtle ways. Thanksgiving cactus has pointed or claw-like stem endings, while some of the Christmas cactus are rounded.

Thanksgiving cactus also begins to bloom earlier, putting buds out in mid to late autumn with blossoms in white, fuchsia, pink, red and salmon. Most plants bloom profusely from about one month before Christmas until later in January or even into February.

J. Peterson Garden Design

The best way to utilize it. Plant this vacation bloomer in containers of festive colors (green, red, silver) and show it with different houseplants or other seasonal blossoms, like poinsettias or cyclamens.

If you reside in a really mild place (zones 9 to 11), you may have the ability to depart this plant outside on your patio throughout the season. The rest of the zones should aim to exhibit this plant indoors during the colder months.

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Curio Cabinet

A curio is a special or rare little object, sometimes artwork, typically intriguing, having a special significance to the collector. A curio cabinet is a piece of furniture with glass doors which shows these curious things, often grouped for the similarities.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Curio cabinets are built to both display and protect the objects within. Glass doors permit the viewer to see the seashells inside this wooden cabinet without handling them, along with the shells are protected from insects and dust.

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

The objects in a curio cabinet are often related in theme, building a selection which has a purpose, nostalgic significance or personal significance.

Sarah Greenman

Curio cabinets were most popular from the 18th century; they occasionally have glass shelves and mirrored backs to boost the view.

Tracy Murdock Allied ASID

These cabinets home an assortment of liquor bottles. Groups of objects can be visually interesting however trivial the object itself is.

Schwartz and Architecture

Open shelving onto a backlit glass wall produces a contemporary variant of the curio cabinet. All these fossils and other oddities in specimen jars possess the very qualities which make curios so appealing: they’re bizarre, rare or striking.

Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry

A curio collection does not have to be behind glass. These antique kitchen tools are artfully shown in the wooden shelves of this built-in hutch; a red theme visually ties them together.

Erotas Building Corporation

These custom wall displays of duck decoys take the idea of a curio cabinet to a grand scale.

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When 2 Chandeliers Are Better Than 1

If you have a long farmhouse dining table, a narrow room or a large expanse of space, you know how tough it is to locate a chandelier that’s appropriate in scale without overwhelming its setting. My suggestion: Just take another tack and try a pair of fixtures rather than a single one. Not only do they provide ample light, but they also produce a pleasing synergistic impact. Check out the double-take lighting in these spaces.

Tom Stringer Design Partners

Extendable dining tables are fantastic for gala dinner parties and big family feasts, but just one chandelier tends to get lost above them. Hang a pair to disperse the mild and the style.

Dillard Pierce Design Associates

The double chandeliers in this dining area function to make the space feel cozy.

Don Ziebell

Twin chandeliers also can be a good way to bridge the difference between two separate faces of the exact same room.

Echelon Custom Homes

Within this Granite kitchen, the double chandeliers over the dining table mirror the two pendants over the island.

Dreamy Whites

Chandeliers don’t need to match. Try a pair of classic models with similar scale and lines for an eclectic look.

More manners with chandeliers

Hendel Homes

The mirror in the end of the room expands the impact of the lighting fixtures, making them seem to stretch on and off.

John David Edison Interior Design Inc..

Love not, there’s no denying that these over-the-top black stripes crown a daring room with sculptural dash and pull the high ceiling.

Inspired Interiors

One long fixture might have looked too bulky in this particular kitchen. Instead, two separate ones hang side by side to break up the space.

Guide: Ways to Acquire the Pendant Light Right

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Great Design Plant: Chinese Lantern

Celebrate the delicate, pendulous blossoms that hang against Chinese lantern’s foliage, and you’re going to wonder if this shrub was adorned with handmade paper decorations. Commonly viewed as a potted houseplant, Abutilon hybrids are making the transition outside. And while they hold their leaves yearlong, the seasonal floral screen is without doubt worth loving outdoors. What better way to decorate the patio for summer and spring?


Botanical name: Abutilon x hybridum (name given to hybrid type)
Common names: Chinese lantern, flowering maple, Chinese bellflower
USDA zones: 9 to 11; many can tolerate temperatures down to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (find your zone)
Water necessity: moderate to regular water, particularly in summertime
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: Up to 8 to 10 feet tall and broad
Gains: Attracts hummingbirds and bees
Seasonal interest: Flowers spring and summertime
When to plant: Plant softwood cuttings after the threat of frost has passed in spring.
Caution: The leaves are poisonous if ingested.

Revealed: Abutilon x hybridum ‘Vesuvius Red’

Missouri Botanical Garden

Revealed: Abutilon x hybridum ‘Bella Red’


Distinguishing traits. Soft, bright green leaves, very similar to those of a maple, cover the tree yearlong.

Delicate, papery lanterns hang against the foliage, in hues from yellow and white to pink and crimson. Most species bloom spring through the summer, though some flower almost nonstop.

Loose and pendulous in shape, Chinese lantern rapidly increases to its mature size — hybrids are available from dwarf to normal heights.

Revealed: Abutilon x hybridum ‘Albus’

Missouri Botanical Garden


The best way to utilize it. Chinese lantern is commonly grown as a houseplant, making it the nickname “parlor maple,” but I prefer seeing it outside, weather permitting.

In temperate climates plant it in which your garden receives morning sun and dappled afternoon shade, and permit the plant to arch and disperse within a casual screen.

If chilly winters prohibit your retaining Chinese lantern outside year-round, grow it like a potted plant instead, bringing it inside until the frost. Some gardeners even develop Chinese lantern as a yearly.

Revealed: Abutilon x hybridum ‘Cascade Dawn’

The Garden Route Company

Planting notes. In cooler, coastal climates, Chinese lantern can tolerate more sun and less summertime water. In hotter areas offer morning sun and dappled afternoon shade — keep it sheltered from extreme sunlight. Plant it into well-drained soil and be sure to mulch, particularly in warmer climates.

While the plant reaches maturity quickly, it has the tendency to get leggy; legginess can be controlled with pruning in early spring, prior to blooming. Pruning maintains a rounded form and retains the size more compact. It is also possible to pinch plants to encourage fullness.

Chinese lantern prefers monthly fertilizing once new growth begins, but it might create leaves rather than flowers if too much is used; it has the tendency to shed leaves if not fed enough. Control scale and whitefly.

Revealed: Abutilon x hybridum ‘Patricia’

Photo by Stan Shebs

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What Frank Lloyd Wright's Own House Tells Us

In 1888 the young Frank Lloyd Wright borrowed $5,000 from his manager, Louis Sullivan, to buy a lot and construct a house for his family at Oak Park, Illinois. As many architects after did, Wright used his house as a laboratory to explore architectural ideas. He enlarged the house in 1895 with a new playroom and kitchen to accommodate his growing family. The second expansion was the inclusion of this studio in 1898. It was there that Wright and his collaborators made some of the most important buildings of the 20th century. And it was there that the adult Prairie School came into its own.

However, Wright abandoned this house for the last time in 1909 in the zenith of his career. With customer Edwin Cheney’s spouse, Mamah, he fled to Europe, abandoning his wife, Catherine, and their kids. Following Wright’s passing, the house and studio had been cut up into flats to offer an income for Catherine and the kids. By the 1960s the property fell into disrepair, eventually being ceded to the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust from the mid-1970s.

Having spent many years restoring the property to its 1909 state, the trust currently conducts tours of their property. A visit to this home and studio is essential for anybody interested in Wright, structure or even the Prairie School.

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

The quality of the exterior of the home is the large and simple gable that floats over the floor. In many ways, Wright’s design for his house resembles a child’s drawing of a house: a very simple geometry with a couple windows and a door.

While Wright would almost assuredly have said the layout had no antecedents, it’s clear that he heard from the shingle-style architects. The similarities between Wright’s house and the Isaac Bell House at Newport, Rhode Island, is spectacular. Open floor plans, large expanses of glass, easy shapes and also a stress on the horizontal are all features of house designs now. In a sense, these were America’s first contemporary homes.

Watch this house decorated for the holidays

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

The original first floor consisted of a living area, a dining area and a kitchen. In the center of this plan is a inglenook with a fireplace and built-in seating. This central mass of fireplace and chimney would become a trademark of Wright’s designs. Here, in the very center of the house, we find the warmth of a fire to bring the family together.

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Wright and Catherine raised many kids in their Oak Park house. The second-floor playroom, added in 1895, is the where the kids learned to play musical instruments and were invited to put on plays for family and friends.

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

And it’s the playroom that speaks to Wright’s love of family. Sure he had a completely dysfunctional family. However, the homes he designed, starting with his very own, are nothing if not celebrations of family.

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

The original kitchen was converted to a formal dining area at the mid-1890s. In this area, Wright played with establishing a space within a space. The large, rectangular and decorative lighting fixture defines the area’s centre while the high-back seats form a enclosure of sorts.

Wright’s utilization of built-in furniture is apparent too. By the overall space area to all the particulars, for example, furniture and colors, Wright desired to restrain the surroundings. Leaving nothing to chance, he chose to construct in sideboards, storage, seating etc., rather than having furniture added objects to a space (unless, of course, he made the furniture).

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Wright built the last addition to this house from the late 1890s. It had been used as his office and studio for the last ten years he lived in Oak Park.

In the center of this photo is the entrance to what Wright called the studio. To the left of this entrance is the two-story studio, as well as the right of this is the presentation room. The gable roof of the house can be seen behind. While this addition is clearly different from the original house — that was, after all, in which a customer would enter and be greeted, so the terminology of “house” had to give way to the terminology of “company” — it shares the same detailing and materials, binding the two together.

A number of the 20th century’s most important buildings were drawn in this studio. From the Robie House to the Larkin Administration Building and so much more, the buildings dreamed of here changed architecture forever.

More: Taliesin Celebrates 100 Decades

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A Rock 'n' Roll Dad's Pad Understands a Tune-up

Single daddy Dave Hepler spent the ’90s as a drummer in the rock band Inch, but after performing the Lollapalooza tour and having a song featured in a Ben Stiller movie, he’s traded in his drumsticks for a briefcase to practice law in Portland, Oregon.

Today the proud owner of a midcentury ranch, Hepler has made small renovations and improvements to update his house. Corrugated steel siding, a fresh design and a spacious backyard turned this easy space into a contemporary home that’s perfectly suited to children, rock stars and attorneys alike.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Dave Hepler, daughters Lela and Sydney, along with cat Red
Location: Portland, Oregon
Size: 2,400 square feet; 3 bedrooms, two baths
That’s intriguing: Dave grows his own hops for home beer brewing.

John Prindle

The ranch house exterior shines with corrugated steel panels. Still, the house blends into the landscape, which Hepler is steering toward a native planting plot. He added tall native grasses; the English ivy and blackberry are about to be eliminated.

John Prindle

Hepler eliminated the home’s authentic teal columns and rebuilt the entry with the corrugated steel complete and open windows. “People either love [the steel] or despise it,” he says. “I’ve gotten a lot of strong responses. People don’t really know what to make of it”

John Prindle

A retro-cool Natuzzi leather couch, burl redwood coffee table along with shag rug offset huge windows in the understated living area. Repainted dark ceiling beams contrast a white ceiling. Cedar wall paneling creates spaces for recessed lighting.

John Prindle

The house was built in 1946 by an architect who lived there for over 30 years. Thin glass initially filled the home’s big, wood-framed windows. Hepler had thicker panes installed, as well as aluminum frames along with an elegant sliding curtain. This piece of glass alone weighs 700 pounds!

John Prindle

Hepler discovered this amusement center in a thrift shop in San Diego. The reel-to-reel setup as well as the LP turntable take priority on contemporary electronics, as well as the Gibson SG guitar shows that Hepler hasn’t fully abandoned stone ‘n’ roll. He is teaching among his brothers to perform.

John Prindle

A classic dining room table expands to double in size for easy fun.

Like panes in a fish tank, the pieces of the home’s authentic L-shape corner window join invisibly.

Dining room seats: Urban Chair, Ikea

John Prindle

A closer view of the “fish tank” window.

Pendant lamp: Ikea

John Prindle

The kitchen’s stainless steel countertop and electrical range came with the house. Hepler added a dual-fuel using two electric ovens and a gas stove between Basco Applicances.

He also updated the flooring with environmentally friendly and affordable cork.

Flooring: Lumber Liquidators

John Prindle

Deep skylights illuminate a long hallway leading to the garage. “I love negative space and have no plans to hang on anything in the hall,” says Hepler. “I love it’s simply a bright, clean passageway.”

John Prindle

The home office has a lot of those novels you’d expect to find in a writer’s area, including works by Poe, Hawthorne and Tolstoy. “While I majored in literature, I just write legal records,” Hepler says.

You’ll discover musical instruments in virtually every room. An acoustic guitar hangs on the accent wall and an African doumbek drum sits on the bottom shelf of the bookcase.

John Prindle

Hepler constructed this small freestanding, soundproof drum space in a corner of this 1,000-square-foot garage. He along with his daughter painted the cheerful stripes. He eventually wants to set up a small recording studio.

John Prindle

The backyard is private and spacious. One side boundaries a quiet park, and on the flip side, the nearest neighboring house hides behind thick trees and shrubs. The patio and the barbecue area provide lots of space for outside entertaining.

Table: Cost Plus World Market

John Prindle

A natural gas line in the new slate outside entertaining area feeds the stainless steel grill. An electrical smoker and a charcoal grill pit provide Hepler all the barbecue options he could ever need.

Electric smoker: CookShack

John Prindle

The steel siding on the front part of the house flows to sections of the rear exterior too.

The firewood is by a hazardous tree that Hepler needed to cut down last year. It’s just about completed curing and will be employed to warm the house this winter.

John Prindle

Portland is known for its artisan beer and coffee, and Hepler enjoys both. These strands of hops grow from the ground all the way to the roof. He has some brewing gear in the garage but plans to use this year’s jumps harvest at Portland’s U-Brew and Pub. “They have much better equipment than I do, enabling me to roll up with a bag of hops and a couple of friends for a societal brewing session on their premises.”

Hepler also has a tiny coffee-roasting company called Bean Boy, plus he roasts nearly daily for friends, family as well as himself.

Do you have a creative, music-friendly house? Share it with us!

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