Home & Garden

Good landscaping can bump up curb appeal, home price

If you are not at home to water pots of colorful annuals, there are a number of welcoming green succulents that will survive long periods between watering in decorative containers.

    A nicely designed landscape with ample shade trees can boost the sale price of a home as much as $12,000 higher than identical homes on similarly sized lots that have poor landscaping, the American Association of Nurserymen reports. If you already have nice shade trees in place… Read more »

In landscape as in life, journey can be more important than destination

A garden path can combine different materials for visual interest. (Jacqueline Soule)

Destination is defined as “a set point for the end of a journey.” But we are also reminded that, “Whereever you go, there you are,” suggesting that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. One place where both of these sayings can be equally true is in… Read more »

Homegrown art projects can personalize your decor

This photo collage was inspired by the word ‘Echad’ in the Shema prayer. (Jenni Steinberg Pagano)

First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Buying “Real Art” is a great thing. Supporting artists whose work you love is an important part of creating a home that satisfies your soul. I encourage you to buy other people’s creations. But sometimes that isn’t the best solution. Perhaps… Read more »

Tucson home design trends for 2014: industrial is in, but shabby chic still works

Vintage brass pieces look fresh again. Left, 1980s brass vase by J. Johnston. Right, mid-century candlestick by Ben Seibel (Jenni Steinberg Pagano)

As the last calendar page falls away, and the urge to make New Year’s resolutions emerges full force, it’s nice to move forward with a clean slate. Away go the holiday decorations and extra calorie-laden snacks and home go the relatives. Suddenly, the house is emptier and we may… Read more »

Israeli opening a window onto energy conservation

Prof. Evyatar Erell with a prototype of the Seasons window.

“We spend most of our lives in a controlled environment,” says Evyatar Erell, associate professor of desert architecture and urban planning at Ben-Gurion University’s Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research. “We live and work under conditions that are different from those outside. When it’s hot, we turn on our… Read more »

Themes and variations: Thrift store finds can make eye-catching displays

(Jenni Steinberg Pagano)

Want an interesting home that doesn’t look like you called a catalog company and ordered one of everything? Shop thrift stores! You can find very high-end items for low-end prices. You can make your house look like you’ve been all over the world or have inherited the collections of… Read more »

Series at JCC to focus on strategies for desert living

Watershed Management Group will hold three seminars in its “Simple Solutions for Sustainable Living” series next month at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. On Thursday, Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m., Tory Syracuse will present “Responsible Home Ownership in the Desert,” focusing on strategies such as rainwater and greywater harvesting… Read more »

From clogs to birdbaths, gifts for gardening enthusiasts

(StatePoint)—Shopping for gardeners this holiday season? Here are a few ideas that will put a smile on the face of those green-thumbed family members and friends: Make a statement Upgrade a hobby wardrobe with gear that’s not only stylish, but functional too. If your gardener is still watering, hedging,… Read more »

Emergency planning is vital — even in sunny Tucson

September is National Preparedness Month. It’s a great time to plan for an emergency or disaster. It is a myth that “nothing ever happens in Tucson!” We are fortunate to live where few natural disasters occur. Earthquakes are very rare, hurricanes don’t come our way and a tsunami just… Read more »

Local woman’s doll collection fills home and heart

Arlene Barth with a few of the thousands of dolls in her collection (Renee Claire)

Walk around Arlene Barth’s eastside Tucson home and you will find over 2,300 pairs of eyes looking your way. Barth, RN, MSN and captain (retired) from the U.S. Public Health Service began collecting dolls in 1996. They are present in every room of her home; organized on tables, spilling… Read more »

Hidden treasures: Thrift store finds truly measure up

When confronted with a large collection of similar items you should: a) Shove it all in a trash can when no one is looking; b) Drop them off at a neighbor’s front door like a zucchini bumper crop; c) Make something cool. We here at 1st Rate 2nd Hand… Read more »

Fossilized pollen unlocks secrets of ancient royal garden in Israel

Tel Aviv — Researchers have long been fascinated by the secrets of Ramat Rahel, located on a hilltop above modern-day Jerusalem. The site of the only known palace dating back to the kingdom of Biblical Judah, digs have also revealed a luxurious ancient garden. Since excavators discovered the garden… Read more »

Investing in home’s exterior can save money later

(StatePoint) — Owning a home is a 365-day-a-year commitment: a mortgage to pay, a yard to maintain and bills to juggle. But experts say that evaluating key exterior elements of your home at least once annually can prevent some bills from skyrocketing. “The key to saving money and keeping… Read more »

Gilding turns thrift store finds into treasures

Use a brush to rub the applied metal into the surface and remove bits of unadhered leaf.

December is the time to sparkle, and your thrift store finds can shine too. Gilding is a surprisingly easy way to get a luxurious look from the most inexpensive items. Traditionally, we’ve seen silver or gold leaf decorating ornate picture frames, applied to the domes of public buildings or… Read more »

Libraries now ‘lend’ seeds to local gardeners

Allowing cilantro to flower results in coriander seeds to use as a spice or for planting. (Deborah Mayaan)

As my friends and I say the motzi (blessing over bread), I have a new appreciation for the effort our ancestors put into growing wheat, thanks to the Pima County Public Library, which now “lends” seeds at several branches. People may choose from a wide variety of seeds, grow… Read more »

Lamp revamp: a thrift-to-new how-to

...becomes a funky-chic chalkboard lamp

 Jenni Steinberg Pagano’s fifth grade teacher once declared that she’d be “forever known for her ability to make something out of nothing.” The manager of the 1st Rate 2nd Hand Thrift Store for the past year, Pagano has been making good on that early promise, bringing her UCLA design… Read more »

Pima County Cooperative Extension to hold free gardening classes

The University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension will offer free master gardener presentations this year at Wilmot-Murphy Library on Wednesdays at 1 p.m and Oro Valley Library on Fridays at 1 p.m. Topics and dates (Oro Valley in parentheses) include the following: Oct. 3 (5): Preparing your vegetable… Read more »

Tips to maintain the beauty of your home’s stone surfaces

After blotting spills on granite countertops, dry with a soft cloth

(StatePoint) — Natural stone is one of the hottest trends in home decor. According to a 2012 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, three-quarters of homeowners who intend to remodel their kitchens in the next two years would like to install granite countertops. “Granite and marble countertops and floors add… Read more »

Arbor Day Foundation tree booklet available

For a $3 donation, the Arbor Day Foundation is offering a booklet, “Conservation Trees,” designed to help people plant and care for trees. “Conservation Trees” features illustrations, color photos and simple descriptions. “This is an ideal resource for tree planters throughout the country,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and… Read more »