A new paneled bed features padded linen upholstery in ivory and exposed alder wood feet. “I wanted something that gave them a good backrest for reading or watching TV,” McGregor says. “I also chose it because it’s low-profile, with clean lines but still soft.”
An easy-to-clean 9-by-13-foot polyurethane area rug anchors the room, sitting atop a new hardwood floor. “It also helps accent the length of the room,” McGregor says. “It’s economical and perfect if you have kids and pets.”
The walls of the bedroom are painted a very light gray (Drift of Mist by Sherwin-Williams) that provides just enough contrast for the white trim while keeping the space bright. A sliding barn door leads to the couple’s en suite master bathroom, which includes a closet for clothes.
Patio of the Week
Who uses it: A retired couple
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Size: 204 square feet (19 square meters)
Designer: Jordan Iverson Signature Homes
The site presented some big challenges for planning the home and outdoor space. Not only is the property located on a significantly sloped hillside, but Iverson also had to plan construction around a protected zone of native trees and their root systems. These challenges drove a smart design — he carved out a fantastic spot for a patio in a back corner of the yard that looks out on spectacular mature oaks and firs. And a city park is just a few yards up the hill.
The structural concrete retaining walls that hold back the hillside could have looked cold, but thanks to a thoughtful design, they make the covered patio feel cozy, private and protected. The outdoor room includes a substantial outdoor fireplace, long wall-mounted planters and warm cedar wood decking. It serves as a favorite space for grilling, relaxing and enjoying the wines and coffees their new home state is known for.
Before designing the patio, Iverson had the couple fill out a lifestyle survey and create a Houzz ideabook with photos of spaces they liked. “Houzz inspiration ideabooks are actually a requirement when we meet with clients,” he says. “I’ve found that when someone says they like modern, you don’t really know what they mean by that without seeing a photo of what they consider modern.”
If you don’t have walls or trees in just the right spot to hang your string lights, you’ll need to put a little extra effort into making supports for your patio lights.
Along a wood fence. If you have a wood fence that isn’t high enough for the lights, attach 10-foot-long wooden posts with cup hooks on the top to bump up the height of the lights. Space the wooden posts along the fence posts, or roughly 8 feet apart. Secure the wooden posts to the fence posts by side-nailing (nailing at an angle), or use a drill to secure them with screws into the fence.
On a deck or concrete patio. If you don’t have any natural supports available in a yard, a common solution is to put posts, each with a hook on the top, into sturdy planters filled with gravel or buckets filled with concrete and a PVC pipe (large enough to fit the post) slot in the center. Position planters or buckets around the perimeter of a patio and string lights between the posts.
The drawback of this method is that you need to deal with heavy planters or buckets filled with concrete. If the lights are strung over a larger patio, they will have a substantial pull on the supports, which can cause buckets to tip over.
If you’d like more tension in the string light cords, use a thicker wooden post (2-by-2 or larger), or use half-inch electrical metal tubing plus a tube clamp at the top for attaching a hook.
Designer tip. “One of our most out-of-the-box elements was the light box,” Poulliot says. “Previously this was a recessed ceiling fan surrounded by curved acrylic. Since it was raised and above the island, it felt like it needed to make a statement of its own. We needed the functionality of lighting over the island and liked the look of old-world beams. However, in the original renderings it just looked out of place adding the beam frame with pendants. We had used American Tin Ceilings panels on another job, and being able to have antiqued patina panels was a great option. They were also effective at reflecting light that was added to the top side of the beams. Adding the Talavera tiles was a wish-list [option] for our client and tied it all together perfectly.”
“Uh-oh” moment. “Our light box was for sure that moment,” Poulliot says. “I originally designed it with a nine-pattern grid, but the beams just looked small. The four-pattern worked out better, but that affected the light spacing. With LED uplighting in the beams, we had to figure out a solution. We also had to work with the pattern in our tin ceiling. At one point, we had two people standing on the island with blue tape and paper plates on strings to make sure it would all work as designed.”
Replacing the wall between the dining room and the kitchen with a peninsula was the most impactful change. This allows the kitchen to enjoy light from adjacent rooms, makes the family feel more connected, creates a buffet serving space for the dining room and provides a breakfast bar that is out of the cook’s way.
Back to that morning chaos — the old kitchen was most dysfunctional at breakfast time. “They were always in a hurry and in each other’s way in here,” Spinosi says. They needed her help to figure out how they could be microwaving, toasting, making a smoothie or coffee and cleaning up after themselves without bumping into one another. This tipped her off: Instead of a work triangle, they needed a zoned layout.
The peninsula provides an eat-in area and prep space. The area to the right is the cooking and small appliance zone. The hutch-like cabinet in the center of the back wall is where they grab china; it makes for a pretty view from the dining room. To the left of that is the beverage and food station, which includes the refrigerator, coffee station, microwave and wine fridge. There’s also a wide path from the dining room to the beverage zone — this keeps traffic away from the prep, cooking and cleanup stations.
Karin pendant lights: Hudson Valley Lighting
Native to eastern North America, from Vermont to Florida and west to Minnesota and New Mexico
Spotted beebalm is a resilient, low-maintenance and long-blooming perennial that attracts important pollinators, including bees and wasps, as well as other beneficial insects. Colorful bracts extend the length of time the plant appears to be in bloom.
While spotted beebalm is considered to be a short-lived plant, lasting only about three years, it is a vigorous reseeder. It’s also deer-resistant.
Where it will grow: Hardy to minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 37.2 degrees Celsius (zones 3 to 8)
Water requirement: Moderate
Light requirement: Full sun to partial sun
Mature size: 1 foot to 3 feet tall and wide
When to plant: Sow seeds in fall or early spring; plant bare-root plants or nursery containers in spring.