Browse Category: Eclectic Homes

HUD Laws on Living Communities

Senior living communities target people over 55 years old, and specialize in providing housing adapted to the requirements of older people. The communities are also referred to as active-adult communities or age-restricted communities. They offer independent living, but might also offer facilities for assisted living. Some senior living communities offer single-family houses that seniors can purchase, while others are flat communities with rental units. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) modulates senior communities to ensure their compliance with the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA).

Age Qualifications

At least 80 percent of those units in a senior living community, whether for purchase or for rent, must have one occupant who is 55 years old or older. In order to maintain the designation of a senior living community, HUD requires management to conduct an audit of its residents every two decades, and then submit the age of each individual living in the community to HUD. This survey requires that each occupant must show identification such as a drivers license, military ID, state-issued ID, immigration card, passport or birth certificate. The community must maintain a copy of the questionnaire submitted to HUD.


Apart from recording the ages of the community’s residents, the direction of an active adult community must market the units specifically into the senior community. Twenty per cent of the housing units can be inhabited by residents younger than 55, however, HUD wants to make sure that the community directs its promotion and marketing to the senior community and not to younger households. In smaller communities, advertising to senior citiens might not be a problem, but a few senior develpments are massive, with thousands of units. HUD regulations guarantee that a developer doesn’t target the younger market in its marketing materials. When there’s proof that the marketing has been targeted to younger households, the community may reduce its designation as a senior community.

Community Design

HOPA demands that senior communities be separate from other housing units in a large development. If the 55-plus community is a rental community, all the apartments have to be in a building that’s separate from unrestricted rentals inside the community. In for-sale home communities, the most active adult housing needs to be contiguous. By way of example, if a builder wants to make a senior living community inside an existing planned community, she must make sure that the senior units are different and separate from houses being sold to the mainstream industry. This can be accomplised by fencing the parcel or utilizing streets and roads as a boundary.

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Which Mortgage Is Ideal for Me?

Based on RealtyTrac, 1.65 million housing units in the United States obtained a foreclosure filing–a default option, bank or auction repossession notice–in the first half of 2010. California led the nation in the number of foreclosure filings with 340,740. Regardless of the grim statistics, people are still buying homes. If you’re one of these, mortgage options abound, albeit with tighter restrictions than prior to the home crash.

Loan Apps

Three main mortgage programs exist in the United States–conventional, VA and FHA loans. Conventional loans are tagged as conforming should they fall under price limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and non-conforming or unsecured loans should they transcend these area-specific numbers. According to, conventional loans work best if you’ve got excellent credit and enough cash for a deposit of more than 5%. VA and FHA loans are government applications. Both are financed through participating creditors, but guaranteed by the federal government. If you default on the loan, the government repays your creditor. To qualify for a VA loan, which is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you have to establish U.S. military veteran or active duty status. VA loan holders usually fund 100 percent of the home’s purchase price. The Federal Housing Administration backs FHA loan, which require a 3.5 percent deposit as of July 2010, and have significantly more lenient credit requirements than conventional products.

Kinds of Loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your interest rate stays the same throughout the life span of this loan. Sheyna Steiner of notes that 30-year fixed-rate loans are very popular because they provide the lowest monthly payment. But 10-, 15- and 20-year loans are available. Interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) alter yearly. Some ARMs, known as hybrids, combine the qualities of fixed-rate and flexible loans. Beneath an interest-only loan, you pay interest but not the main balance for the first few years of the loan. This gives you a rock-bottom monthly payment until the interest-only term expires.

Mortgage Insurance

Typically, if you’ve got less than 20 percent for a down payment, your lender requires mortgage insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The insurance is a guarantee for the loan in the event of default. VA loans do not require mortgage insurance, but a personal mortgage insurance premium is built into all FHA loans. You may also confront an up-front insurance charge up to 3% on an FHA mortgage, according to Bankrate.


Credit requirements for all loans finally are up to the creditor, even if you have qualified for a government program, such as FHA. The home crisis motivated lots of lenders to tighten their standards. On a conventional loan, you may qualify using a credit score as low as 620, according to the Bankrate report, however if your score is less than 740, expect your creditor to tack on a plethora of fees. An FHA loan may be more suitable if you’ve got spotty charge; for example, traditionally FHA creditors accept applicants using debt-to-income ratios which exceed the accepted standard of 25 percent. You may qualify for an FHA loan even if debt takes up around 40 percent of your pay.

Pro Insight

Jeff Brown, a personal finance blogger on PBS'”Nightly Business Report” website, claims that a fixed-rate mortgage is easily the best deal. Though the 15-year option lowers the interest you will pay on the loan, it requires significantly greater monthly payments. Each $1,000 Located on a 15-year loan at 4.77 percent translates to $779 per month versus $562 on a 30-year loan. As far as ARMs are concerned, Brown says they look great when interest rates are reduced, but moving into a fixed-rate loan with a high speed at the outset may pay off in the future if and when rates climb.

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Who Is Eligible for an FHA Loan?

FHA loans are loans originated by private mortgage lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration against default by the borrower. The loans benefit the creditors and the borrowers because the lender is assuming no danger and the borrower receives lower rates of interest. The cost of the house, the borrower's credit score, and earnings are variables in FHA loan eligibility.

Price Ceilings

The FHA loan program started in 1934 to help make home ownership accessible to more Americans. Since its inception, the FHA has had ceilings on the amount of the loan it would insure. In recent decades, the agency took into account regional differences in home costs and set the ceilings for single-family and attached houses on a market-by-market foundation. Since this shift, more people have been able to get FHA insured loans, broadening the capability of people to own houses. The cost ceiling in the Bay area is $729,750 for a single-family house. The FHA must individually accept connected projects before buyers can access the FHA loan program. All remote houses and single-family homes are qualified for the FHA program.

Credit History and Down Payment

All lenders look at credit history and often use this as the benchmark for lending money to house buyers. However, with an FHA loan, buyers have more latitude with their credit ratings. Obviously, the FHA will not guarantee a loan when a borrower has a gloomy credit rating, but the agency will insure loans for people whose credit scores are below 580 by requiring a deposit of 10 percent or higher. Home buyers with credit ratings over that need to put down only 3.5 percent on the house, less than the 5% or greater that conventional loans require. A number of those FHA's programs even have down payment assistance for first-time buyers.

First-Time Buyer Programs

Even though the federal government removed down payment assistance programs out of sellers, it’s still possible to use monetary contributions from family members that will offer a specific amount of money for a deposit. The definition of a first-time buyer is one who hasn’t owned a house for three decades. Grant program requirements vary from state to state.

Approved Attached Housing

Home buyers looking for an attached house will probably be restricted to choosing from properties that are approved. The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that 80 percent of those units inside a condominium project be owner occupied. The developers or owners of these buildings need to apply for acceptance before FHA will insure loans for components in the project.

Refinancing with FHA Loans

Present-day homeowners may use the FHA to refinance their houses as long as the loan worth doesn’t exceed the FHA caps for their kind of land. Since the rates of interest on an FHA loan are usually lower than market prices, people who’d love to refinance their houses can do so with FHA loans only if they reside in the house. The FHA will not refinance a house not occupied by the homeowner.

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How to Read a Property Survey Map

Learning to read a property survey map isn’t only for surveyors. Land survey maps are used to quantify everything from the boundaries of states to the real size of your neighbor's plot. Taking into consideration the value and importance we place on land and its ownership, there are advantages to understanding the fundamentals of how it is measured and represented on a map. The Public Land Survey System (PLSS) has its origins in the ancient surveys carried out in the 1700s in North America. The PLSS system is based on a main meridian (an imaginary north-south line) and a baseline (an imaginary east-west line) from which other survey lines have been projected, creating a grid system of squares. To begin with, a square of 24 miles by 24 miles is split into 16 squares of 6 miles on each side, also known as townships. Townships are finally broken up into 1-mile squares, which would be the smallest formal subdivision of the PLSS system. Of course, map users can split and quantify areas smaller than this working from the PLSS system.

Assess what sort of property survey map you’re taking a look at. There are lots of kinds that change based on the purpose for which they have been attracted. There are inconsistencies among the forms, so be certain you’re working with the ideal kind of map. As an example, using a transport map (large maps that can cover an entire state) is of little use if you’re trying to assess the magnitude of a town. Instead, use a border survey map, which establishes the sizes and boundaries of property lines in a place, and provides considerably more detail.

Look at the scale of the property survey map. It's usually found at one of the corners. Scale is the ratio of distances on a map to the corresponding values in the world, according to By way of example, a map using a scale of 1:10,000 (1-to-10,000) informs you that each inch (centimeter or meter) on the map corresponds to 10,000 inches (centimeters or meters) at the location in the world. You can quantify any section of the map using a ruler and understand what it signifies on the floor.

Look at the map#039;s legend, which is a listing of the symbols used on the map and what they mean. Not all maps carry a legend, however, it is possible to find lists of property survey symbols at several official institutions such as the Bureau of Land Management. Symbols can represent rivers and lakes or bridges and phone lines. Boundaries for counties and states are reflected on the map with various kinds of lines.

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November Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

As the weather changes and daylight hours in November, home activities naturally center around the inside — preparing for the big Thanksgiving meal, welcoming guests and battening down the hatches for the winter. As you count your blessings this Thanksgiving, consider lending a helping hand to people in need by putting charitable giving on your to-do list.

Tackle these 13 home maintenance chores this month to keep your house secure, beautiful and working nicely for you.

Thompson Custom Homes

Deep wash the kitchen. With Thanksgiving coming up later this month, now is a great time to give your kitchen a comprehensive cleaning prior to the mad cooking rush starts. Run your oven’s self-cleaning cycle, pull your refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum the coils in the back, and get on a stepladder to wash your range hood and cabinet tops.

Donate into a food bank. While cleansing your pantry, set aside unexpired foods you know you won’t use to bring to the community food bank. And when you’re doing your Thanksgiving shopping, consider picking up a bagful of extra holiday dinner supplies to contribute as well — that time of year can be especially difficult for families in need.

Inspire Your Space

Check entertaining supplies and restock as needed. If you are hosting for Thanksgiving or another big fete this season, consider your menu beforehand and check to make certain that you have all the cooking gear, cookware and table-setting supplies you will need. It’s far better to know now if you don’t have a turkey baster or enough baking sheets.


Add entryway storage. If clutter is becoming out of hands, beef up your mudroom and entryway with bins and baskets big enough to handle the piles of scarves, mittens and outerwear which will definitely collect near the door.

Use a humidifier if necessary. Together with the warmth going and the windows closed, the air indoors can get dry at the time of year. Dry air can lead to everything from static power to more regular or worsened colds — including a humidifier is a simple way to help prevent these.

Baran Studio Architecture

Replace flooring protectors. Chairs scraping your floors? Assess their toes: If they don’t already have sensed floor-protecting pads or when the pads are coming off, pick up a new set. Felt shield pads come in either stick-on or nail-in versions — the stick-on variety is simpler to employ; just make sure that you wash the bottoms of chair toes thoroughly to be certain the pads stick.

How to make your own great glides for sofas and chairs

CM Glover

Scrub and Clean woodwork. Maintain hardwood floors looking their best by cleaning them and then applying a wood-floor polish. In case you have wooden banisters, moldings or trim, polish them annually to bring out their glow.

Thompson Custom Homes

Prepare guest rooms. Get ready for holiday guests beforehand, and you can avoid that last-minute frantic prep. Spending a night in your guest area is a great way to try it out and also be sure that you have everything available a guest may want. Create a note to get niggling tasks (take duvets into the cleaners, buy extra towels) done sooner rather than later.

The way to become a great host for overnight guests

Martha O’Hara Interiors

Assess the sump pump. If you have a sump pump in your basement to aid in the event of flood, today (prior to winter storms) is a fantastic time to be certain it’s in working order.

Close vents in unused rooms. Conserve energy by closing up heating vents in rooms that you seldom use, like the guest room or basement. Just remember to reopen the vents in case you do have a guest.

Lands End Development – Designers & Builders

Inspect paths, stairs and railings. If you discover any loose or wobbly railings, or cracked paths, fix them before winter sets in. Ice, snow and irregular footing are a dangerous mix.

Have trees trimmed. Late autumn, when branches are more observable, is a fantastic time to have large trees pruned. Trimming branches can prevent breakage in winter storms afterwards.

Do a last leaf removal. Once the leaves have fallen, do a last clearing of rain gutters and downspouts. Also be sure to clear off heaps of leaves which have accumulated on the roof and in drainage areas throughout your property — otherwise they may lead to water to pool, which can cause damage.

Inform us : What is on your house care listing this November?

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Tidewater Homes

Tidewater homes have been gracing the coast of the American Southeast because the 1800s. Designed for wet, hot spaces and for owners that like to entertain, they’re famous for having at least a expansive porch, sheltered with a broad hip roof. Wood building, broad eaves and waterfront many are also common features. Today many new-construction tidewater homes are built on supports or pilings with top-level main living spaces to assist weather coastal flood. But no matter if a tidewater house was built, it’s certain to welcome sweet-tea intake on its broad front porch.

Alix Bragg Interior Design

Tidewater homes are especially widespread in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, such as this Charleston beauty.

Soorikian Architecture

The roof of a tidewater house can be hipped. A hip roof on a rectangular plan has four faces which all slope down at precisely the exact same pitch.

Allison Ramsey Architects

Tidewater-style homes always have an expansive porch, which often surrounds the entire home and is protected by a broad pitched roof.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

Always built from timber, tidewater homes bring the beauty of the outdoors in.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

Situated on a bluff in Charleston, this tidewater house is intended for wet, warm ponds.

JacksonBuilt Custom Homes

Originally designed for the harshness of a Southern coastal existence, tidewater homes are usually raised on affirms or pilings, intended to protect them from coastal flood.

Cowan Incorporated

Many tidewater homes have two tales with porches on both levels. The home’s roof extends over the porches without disturbance.

Artistic Design and Construction, Inc

Tidewater homes often have the primary living areas on the topmost floor, meaning these often-used spaces have additional protection from potential coastal water damage.

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Travel Guide: San Francisco for Design Lovers

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Mark Twain may or may not have said this, but the statement often rings true from the City by the Bay. Although it’s mostly bright here, temperamental weather fluctuations may leave you shivering and sweat over the hour. However, as long as you are prepared, San Francisco will treat you nicely.

Whenever it’s a little city — just 7 miles by 7 miles — San Francisco is dense. Its population of over 815,000 means roughly 17,000 people per square mile normally. The bright side is that almost every block overflows with technology, architecture, great food and background.

You’ll want at least three days to get a true San Francisco experience. And pack your walking shoes — the town may be modest, but the steep hills could be brutal. Do not let this prevent you from climbing, however. Whether you’re walking down the curves of Lombard Street or up the slope into Fort Mason, or walking to the top of Twin Peaks, all of your hard work will be rewarded with all epic views of the Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Here is how to experience San Francisco design like a local, from a local.

Ferry Building

Location: 1 Sausalito, San Francisco Ferry Building (Embarcadero)

San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building was initially the primary transportation center for Anybody coming to town from the East Bay or Marin. Nowadays it hosts a bustling marketplace that is open seven days a week. Avoid the packed Saturday farmer’s market and select a weekday instead. Cowgirl Creamery, Blue Bottle Coffee, Hog Island Oysters, Boulette’s Larder and Boccalone Salumeria are a Couple of favorite food booths. Pottery at Heath Ceramics’ vibrant collection is a must-see, too.

More information: Ferry Building

Fort Mason
Location: Marina Boulevard (Marina)

Fort Mason was once a U.S. Army place and the principal port for the Pacific campaign of World War II. Now the complex of military buildings has been remodeled (the first red tiled roofs and white stucco exteriors were preserved) to sponsor concerts, exhibits, festivals along with a wonderful farmer’s market on Sundays.

Explore the park over Fort Mason to get a stellar view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Or rent a bicycle in the primary parking lot and ride along the trail through Crissy Field all the way to the bridge.

More information: Fort Mason Center

Conservatory of Flowers
Location: 100 John F. Kennedy Dr. (Golden Gate Park)
Cost: Adults, $7; ages 12 to 17, seniors and students, $5; ages 5 to 11, $2

Found off one of the primary paths in Golden Gate Park, the Conservatory of Flowers is an unexpected architectural surprise amid the eucalyptus and palm trees. It’s a cherished example of Victorian design, and all its permanent galleries highlights a different tropical plant market. If it’s bright, snag a Popsicle from an external vendor and unwind near the flower beds.

More information: Conservatory of Flowers

Bay Bridge Light Show
Location: Bay Bridge (Embarcadero)

Acclaimed New York LED lighting artist Leo Vilareal lately designed this twinkling light display on the Bay Bridge, which joins San Francisco and Oakland. Vilareal also established the famous light display on the Eiffel Tower at Paris.

The light series commemorates the bridge 75th anniversary and runs each night from dusk until 2 a.m.. The best viewing spot is on the Embarcadero.

More information: The Bay Lights

San Francisco Parklets

as a portion of San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program, a few road space has been transformed into unique seating areas outside restaurants and cafés. These are affectionately called parklets. A few favorites:

Four Barrel Coffee Parklet

Location: 375 Valencia St. (Mission)

On hot days this parklet bustles with iced-coffee-drinking hipsters whose vibrant “fixie” (fixed-gear) bikes overflood the built-in bicycle rack.

More information: Four Barrel Coffee

Rapha Parklet
Location: 2198 Filbert St. (Marina/Cow Hollow)

Grab an espresso at Rapha or a burger from Roam on neighboring Union Street and kick back to do some serious Marina people viewing. Cleverly built out of a deconstructed Rapha Citroën H-Van, this parklet is open to anyone who happens to walk by.

More information: Rapha

Delfina Parklet
Location: 2406 California St. (Lower Pacific Heights)

Located outside the amazing Delfina Pizzeria at Pacific Heights, this parklet takes a more contemporary approach. A hardy concrete type and low-maintenance plants encircle built-in chairs and individual chairs, all over a few feet of incredibly tasty pizza.

More information: Pizzeria Delfina Pacific Heights


De Young Fine Art Museum
Location: 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. (Golden Gate Park)
Cost: Adults, $10; seniors, $7; youth and students, $50; kids 12 and under, free

Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and San Francisco architects Fong & Chan designed the de Young’s new building, which opened in 2005. The architects designed the striking perforated copper facade, which has already obtained a gorgeous patina, to mimic light filtering through a shrub canopy.

If you’re fortunate enough to attend a day without fog, be sure to explore the museum’s public sculpture gardens and scale to the observation tower.

More information: de Young Fine Arts Museum

California Academy of Sciences
Location: 55 Music Concourse Dr. (Golden Gate Park)
Cost: Adults, $29.95; seniors and students, $24.95; kids, $19.95; ages 3 and under, free

Round the Music Concourse in the de Young, the California Academy of Sciences offers interactive exhibits for all ages. The massive LEED construction houses a planetarium, an aquarium (having an albino alligator), a natural history museum, a 3-D theater along with a four-story rainforest. A 2 1/2-acre living roof tops off it.

More information: California Academy of Sciences

Contemporary Jewish Museum
Location: 736 Mission St. (Downtown/SoMa)
Cost: Adults: $12; seniors: $10; students: $10; 18 and under: free

Avoid the overhyped Union Square and venture further downtown instead, to the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, the museum houses artifacts and art focusing on Jewish history and culture in a new structure.

It was once a historic power substation, and Libeskind joined the first building with new, bold contemporary spaces, such as a blue steel cube-like addition.

More information: Contemporary Jewish Museum

Xanadu Gallery
Location: 140 Maiden Lane (Union Square)

A Trip to the Xanadu Gallery is Essential for anyone who loves architecture. It’s the town’s only Frank Lloyd Wright building, and in addition, it houses a gallery of antiquities and art from Asia, Oceania and Latin America. Located in a quiet place on Maiden Lane — a fun alley of restaurants and stores off Union Square — it is a great way to acquire an up-close and personal look at Wright’s work.

More information: Xanadu Gallery


Tartine Bakery
Location: 600 Guerrero St. (Mission)

There’s a fantastic reason this little bakery has gained this kind of esteem — it has offerings are completely delicious. Elizabeth Prueitt along with her husband, Chad Roberston, have turned making bread into an art. Get there early — you’ll avoid a significant line and may liquefy a morning bun along with a place at one of the communal tables.

More information: Tartine Bakery

Proxy (Two-Block Project at Shipping Containers)
Location: 432 Octavia St. (Hayes Valley)

Using old shipping containers, San Francisco architecture firm Envelope A + D designed this temporary setup in the Hayes Valley area. As of this writing, the containers hold six stores, such as four excellent locally based food and drink stops: Ritual Coffee Roasters, Smitten Ice Cream, Avedano’s Meats and Biergarten (shown here).

More information: Proxy

Pizzeria Delfina
Location: 3611 18th St. (Mission)

Although the Pacific Heights place has the parklet, I favor the Mission place of Pizzeria Delfina for its trendy layout. Old-school hexagon tile floors and chalkboard menus comparison with yellowish Eames chairs along with also a funky wall mural — a nod to the restaurant’s old-meets-new approach to food. Hit up neighboring Bi-Rite Creamery following to get a spoonful of honey-lavender ice cream.

More information: Pizzeria Delfina, Bi-Rite Creamery

Bi-Rite Market
Locations: 3639 18th St. and 550 Divisadero St. (Mission)

If you’re in the mood for picnicking at Dolores Park, there is no better place for meals compared to Bi-Rite Market. The fresh fruits and vegetables, prepared foods and made-to-order sandwiches are a few of the best in town.

More information: Bi-Rite Market

The Mill
Location: 736 Divisadero (NoPa)

A joint venture between Josey Baker Bread and Four Barrel Coffee, the Mill is a warm and modern coffee store that is great for refueling after a visit to neighboring Alamo Square.

A Four Barrel latte with almond milk is my own personal favorite; it pairs perfectly with a massive hunk of cinnamon-sugar toast from Josey Baker Bread.

More information: The Mill

SoMa StrEAT Food Park
Location: 428 11th St. (SoMa)

For cheap eats it is hard to beat San Francisco’s food truck spectacle. However, it’s also sort of a pain trying to find out where the top ones are parked. SoMa StrEAT Food Park has helped solve the problem by hosting some of the city’s most popular sellers on a regular basis. Check the schedule to find out who’ll be there, then park yourself on a few of the numerous outdoor tables to get some yummy, affordable grub. Curry Up Today and Roli Roti are favorites. Try your hands at the Joey the Cat Skeeball trailer, too.

More information: SoMa StrEAT Food Park

Location: 620 Jones St. (Downtown/Tenderloin)

The contemporary rooftop deck at Jones, a downtown pub and cafe, is a surprising contrast to the more conventional neighbors. Massive movable planters, lots of patio heaters and a stunning design by Nottoscale combine at a swanky setup that is easily accessible from most downtown hotels.

More information: Jones

Must-Visit Shops


Location: 2300 Fillmore St. (Lower Pacific Heights)

The section of Fillmore between Bush and Jackson streets is a great place for researching, snacking and shopping. Grab a coffee at Jane or a sandwich at Bun Mee and visit Nest, a unique, adorable place that instantly feels like home. It’s ideal for finding gifts for friends, and there is an awesome collection of accessories and bedding. Check out the dish, silverware and glass collections, too; lots of things are hand painted and absolutely gorgeous.

More information: Nest

Location: 541 Valencia St. (Mission)

Next door to its clothing store, Therapy’s furniture shop is full of fantastic finds. While the small knickknacks are fun to poke, I love the furniture collection. The majority of the pieces are very reasonably priced and can be customized in various fabrics and colours.

More information: Therapy

Public Bikes
Location: 599 Valencia St. (Mission)

Rob Forbes, founder of Design Within Reach, started this San Francisco bike company to create simple, everyday bikes. Beautiful and simple to ride, these European-inspired bikes come in a lot of colors and size combinations. Even when you’re not in the market for a bicycle, it is well worth checking out the shop.

More information: Public Bikes

Location: 1400 Green St. (Russian Hill)

Tucked into a corner place off Polk Street in Russian Hill, FL!PP (Stylish Living in Petite Places) is a hidden jewel on the north side of town. Even though the furniture selection is impeccable, check out the Fuchsia Garden in the back. Bonsai, succulents and garden decor come to life in this magical area.

More information: FL!PP

Perish Trust
Location: 728 Divisadero St. (NoPa)

Exploring the Perish Trust is an experience everyone should experience. Hosting a curated selection of antiques, art and tchotchkes, the shop feels like an conservative library that has been untouched for decades.

More information: The Perish Trust

Flora Grubb
Location: 1634 Jerrold Ave. (Bayview)

Landscape designer Flora Grubb (yep, that is her real name) has created an oasis dedicated to selling plants and garden materials to urban dwellers. Meandering through the shop’s gardens and unique installations is a wonderful way to spend a hot afternoon.

More information: Flora Grubb


Phoenix Hotel

Location: 601 Eddy St. (Tenderloin)
Cost: $139 to $169 per night

For over 20 decades, the Phoenix has been called San Francisco’s stone Rolex roll resort — and for good reason. Visiting musicians and bands often crash at this swanky place.

A funky mix of retro and contemporary design defines the resort. It’s situated in San Francisco’s gritty Tenderloin place, so in the event that you have kids, it may not be for you. But if you’re searching for experience, the resort’s fantastic design should not be missed. Even in the event that you don’t end up staying here, it is well worth making a pit stop to have a drink at the hotel bar, Chambers Eat + Drink.

More information: Phoenix Hotel

Westin St. Francis
Location: 335 Powell St. (Union Square)
Cost: See website for rates

The first St. Francis resort opened in 1904, just two years before the town’s Great Earthquake and Fire destroyed much of the city and most of the resort. The interior was fully remodeled, along with the Westin opened again in late 1907. Now most of the resort keeps its original glamour. Taking a ride in the glass elevator and making a stop at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room on the 21st floor will give you a taste of classic, old-school San Francisco.

More information: Westin St. Francis

Clift Hotel
Location: 495 Geary (Downtown)
Cost: $249 to $669 per night

As soon as you pull up to the front entrance, it is clear the Clift is not an average resort. It was designed by Philippe Starck, and the lobby is outfitted with an incredible collection of iconic and authentic furniture, as well as a 35-foot bronze chimney and fireplace sculpture by Gerard Garouste. The downstairs pub, the Redwood Room, is comfy and lavish, with a distinctive interior of redwood paneling believed to have come from a single tree.

More information: Clift Hotel

What design-friendly destinations are in your own do-list this past year?

Seattle home layout: Browse Seattle-area design photos

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7 Tips to Get With a New Minimalist Mentality

Years ago, when my kids were small and our home was awash in toys, laundry and newspapers — to mention the top 3 classes of things I discovered overwhelming — from time to time, when I was feeling exhausted and entirely beleaguered, I’d envision our house burning down. I truly wanted to lose only the laundry room, the playroom, a closet or two and several cabinets, but I understood with fire you can’t be so choosy, and that I discovered the idea of a wiped slate intoxicating.

Obviously I was imagining the best house fire, where all the mess was (poof!) Gone and the insurance provider immediately handed us a big, fat check to begin over soberly and responsibly, without Legos and stuffed animals.

This daydreaming came to an abrupt stop after we remodeled our kitchen. We shot it down to the studs and put in new cabinets, counters, appliances and flooring. Next, the first time that I imagined my laundry area swallowed by flames, I assessed myself. The laundry was just down the hallway from my fresh and beautiful kitchen, which I did not wish to lose; I would have to have arranged the old-fashioned manner.

Tamar Schechner/Nest Pretty Things Inc

The epiphany

That’s what I’d been trying to do for years. I’d spent so much energy and time into setting my house in order, however that I could only ever get into a certain point before it dropped back into mayhem. But then the response came in a holiday that prompted an epiphany, which changed everything.

Our family had rented a small cottage on Lake Michigan. I kept the place as neat as the snare trap, and it was so simple. Wondering why I realized our life at the cottage was limited to meals, books and clothes. And that was that. I determined this was the way I wanted to live all the time. Regardless of what, I was going to get us down to meals, books and clothes. I was finally going to live William Morris’ maxim, “Have nothing in your house you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

With the help of an organized friend, I started a spree of decluttering and reorganizing, the likes of that our home had never seen. Over the course of several weeks, I went room by room, sorting, throwing away and donating before I’d gone through nearly everything.

And then, in one of life’s little ironies, in the wee hours of June 27, 2010, an arsonist randomly put our house on fire. My husband and I and our three kids were all at home in bed and escaped with the clothes on our backs. I did catch my notebook, because it was right at hand. I didn’t even stop to wear shoes or fetch my handbag, and that I was so thankful to have saved our digital pictures and all my writings.

sarah & bendrix

Our home has been about 2,500 square feet and filled with cherished things, but what I have wept over (my children’s art and writing), what I have longed for (images and videos), exactly what my mind has returned to again and again (more than 30 years of papers and letters) could fit into a little closet with room to spare.

It’s a peculiar experience to have sorted through all my possessions, to have gotten down to exactly what I believed I couldn’t live without, only to get rid of everything and find I managed to live without it all.

I would not wish a house fire on a rat and at the conclusion of the day, it has been strangely freeing. It’s so clear to me that for many, many years, I exchanged peace of mind to items I didn’t truly want and absolutely didn’t need.

How can you define how much is too much?

Bottom line: It’s subjective. If you’ve read the post Clutter vs. Keepers, by Laura Gaskill, or Beautiful Clutter? , by Samantha Schoech, you understand that tastes and comfort needs vary. It actually comes down to what’s too much for you.

Some questions to ask:
Can you really feel overwhelmed?Is organizing and decorate your home a frequent topic, a constant worry?Are you always cleaning, but your home isn’t actually tidy?If you answered yes to any of those aforementioned, you can almost certainly benefit from eliminating some things. Just reading that may bring some anxiety, but if you feel overwhelmed, it is a indication that engaging and starting to consider what you might get rid of would be worth it. And there is going to be stress either manner; you is short term however, another could last forever.

Andrea Schumacher Interiors

7 strategies for going minimalist:

1. Begin with the end in mind. Think about how you would like your home to be. Read through the ideabooks you’ve already created and look for topics. Just after you are clear what you are shooting for in case you start to purge.

2. Prepare yourself to feel worse before you feel better. I am sorry, but it is correct, as my afterward 3-year-old explained, when she told me she always loved me but didn’t always enjoy me. When you get rid of things, you’ll focus on what you paid or that you really, really adore an product. You might feel shame about the money you’ve wasted, but holding onto things you do not want or desire is not the answer.

3. Forgive yourself. Once the feelings of pity surface, have a little time to say, “I forgive myself” and then keep going. These feelings will dissipate as you build momentum.

4. Get Assist. Have you got a friend who likes to arrange? Organize a barter. My friend Jane owns a bed-and-breakfast, and that I exchanged helping her there in exchange for her assistance with my purge. My husband, Paul, took over on hauling things away.

5. Give or throw items away. One stall of my own garage was for Goodwill, and another was trash. I have sold a good deal on Craigslist, but when I was doing my hardcore decluttering, I wanted to get rid of things as promptly as possible. In a way it was religious: I have gotten so many bargains over time on Craigslist and at thrift stores, it was a means to resow something I’d reaped.

6. Break it down. Strategy to give yourself weeks, months to experience your home. I recommend going room by room; this keeps the mess contained along with the project more manageable. Have a day or two to perform a room and then take off some time. Once you declutter a space, you can see if you are in a position to keep it should you need to get rid of more.

7. Ask yourself what you would catch in a fire. In an actual fire, you ought to think of saving only people and creatures, but asking this yourself in the abstract can be a helpful exercise in pointing you into what actually matters. Bonus tip: Do not talk glibly about this to folks who’ve actually endured a fire, or you might be throttled.

The 3 stages of decluttering, simplified:
Sort things into “keep” “provide” and “trash” piles.Put away what you keep.Haul the rest away.Like lots of things in life, “easy” does not necessarily mean “simple,” but breaking the process down into these classes can help you keep focused.

Several weeks after we moved to our new house, the fire alarms went off , again in the wee hours. My notebook was next to my bed, but that I walked past it to gather my kids along with the dog and head directly to your door while Paul investigated. He immediately realized it was a false alarm. Only after did I notice I went directly into evacuation mode and didn’t think of a thing.

Next: 4 Obstacles to Decluttering and How to Beat Them

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10 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe While You're Traveling

Even if your trip prep record is a mile, taking the time to go through a few additional actions to ensure your property is well cared for can bring a lot of peace of mind. Installing a house security system might be the very first thing you think of, but there are plenty of smaller measures you can take that are equally (or even more) effective in deterring theft.

Here are 10 things you can do to ensure your house is safe and sound, and also you are able to enjoy your trip without worry.

Peter A. Sellar – Architectural Photographer

1. Tell neighbors you’ll be away. Even when you rarely talk with your neighbors, then it’s very important to provide them a heads-up when you are leaving town for a week or even longer. If you have a fantastic relationship with a neighbor, think about leaving a copy of your key in case of emergency — or at least your contact information as you’re away and the phone number of someone locally who has a key.

Consider twice, however, before sharing particular details about your trip on social media or via a site. I know plenty of people do, and nothing comes of it, but file this under “Better safe than sorry.”

Susan Teare

2. Use light timers and motion detectors. Giving the impression that your house is occupied is one of the surest ways to discourage theft. Pick up a basic light timer at the hardware store and program your inside lights to flick on for several hours every evening — you can also place the TV to turn on too.

If you don’t have motion-sensitive lights outside (front, side and back), consider installing them until you leave. If you already have them, then make sure the bulbs work until you proceed.

3. Employ a pet sitter or house sitter. Better than creating the appearance of someone staying in the home is someone really remaining in the home. Hiring a pet sitter to stop by once or twice each day is a intelligent choice. Not only will your pet be happier at home than at a kennel, however, your home will be looked after too — most pet sitters will gladly bring in the mail and water several crops.

No pets? Consider doing a swap with a friend or relative in the area — he or she watches your home this moment, and you return the favor later on. Or hire a professional house sitter.

Arrowsmith Forge

4. Lock up. It sounds almost too simple to mention. But really, it’s all too easy to neglect to latch all of those less frequently used doors and windows in the rush to grab a plane. Compose a big note and stick it close to your car keys as a reminder to perform a comprehensive lockup before leaving.

Resolution: 4 Architecture

5. Secure sliding glass. Sliding glass doors and windows require particular care to be really secure. Luckily the fix is an easy one; just cut a wooden pole or thick dowel to fit in the groove of these tracks once the door is closed, and put it in until you leave. This will not stop someone from shattering the glass, but it will make your house a less desirable goal.

Debora carl landscape layout

6. Maintain the look of routines. If you’ll be away for more than a week, see if one of your neighbors can deliver your garbage and recycling bins outside to you and back within the following moment.

Additionally, do not let mail pile up on the porch; have the postal service hold your mail for up to 30 days instead. You can fill out the form online here, and that means you don’t even need to step foot at the post office in this hectic time. Likewise for newspapers — contact your newspaper carrier to suspend service when you are gone.

TreHus Architects+Interior Designers+Builders

7. Keep shrubs and trees trimmed for visibility. Make it more difficult for a person to break in unnoticed by keeping trees and hedges trimmed back. Ideally, all doors and windows should be visible, with little room for a individual to duck down and hide.

Susan Teare, Professional Photographer

8. Keep this snow or lawn service coming. Not just is it a relief to come home to a shoveled route and tidy lawn, but keeping up a normal amount of maintenance will help give your home a lived-in look as you are gone.

Taste Design Inc

9. Move valuables away from windows. You may choose to leave a few colors open, since it can look rather odd to see a home all closed up if that is not your norm. But, do be mindful of what is visible from those open colors when someone is peering in from the exterior. Laptops, flat-screen TVs and other expensive gear within reach of a window create an easy mark for a smash-and-grab-type burglar.

RTA Studio Residential Architects

10. Ask a person to check in every now and then. If you don’t have a home sitter (or especially conscientious neighbors), ask someone you know to at least drive by every now and again to ensure everything is OK. Give this friend a secret so he or she can throw any packages or flyers from the porch within the doorway. Remember, even if you have the postal service hold your email, you might still receive packages from other carriers.

And if you reside in a cold area, it’s a good idea to have a friend come by to flush toilets and operate the taps every now and again to check for and prevent freezing pipes.

More: How to use technology to Receive stolen valuables back

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Trifid Foot

Just like a three-toed paw, a trifid ft has animal-like toes, or lobes, and is found at the base of many standard furniture pieces. “Tri” means”three,” hence the trifid foot has three split or clefted areas. Feet on furniture turned into a favorite 18th-century style attribute.

Tobi Fairley Interior Design

Furniture from the Queen Anne or Chippendale style generally has trifid feet or some variation of it.

Susan Corry Design

A trifid foot is also called a drake foot, since it is much like the foot of a man duck.

D.schmunk interior design services

The claw foot foot of Victorian baths are variations of trifid feet. Claw and ball, Dutch and bun feet are other variations.

Farinelli Construction, Inc..

Cabriole legs have been curving legs atop trifid feet.

Susan Corry Design

The arms of this upholstered seat have a trifid detail.

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