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Style El Dorado County Foothills

Home Design

Get Off the Floor

04/30/2009 ● By Super Admin

There’s nothing new about using tile for a flooring surface. For years, homeowners have enjoyed tile’s durability in handling foot traffic. But more and more designers are receiving requests from homeowners to get creative with their tile designs: on backsplashes, fireplaces, even walls.Kara Grannes, interior designer with Interiors by Decorating Den and BrushStrokes, Inc. in Folsom has seen this increase in alternative uses for tile over the past eight years as a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. “Especially living in California,” she says,  “there are wonderful influences of Spanish, Italian and Moroccan styles,” toward which homeowners gravitate – styles that lend themselves to tile work on surfaces other than floors. Popular Projects“Many homeowners are using ceramic tile and natural stone in areas of their home where they want to make a statement,” says Michael Bennett, owner of Bennett Tile Company in Roseville, and member of both the Placer County and Sacramento Builders Associations. He says that he’s tiled baths to give the aesthetic of a Roman spa, and even tiled the walls in his own laundry room. “I will never have to paint that room again because of scuff marks from coming in and out of the garage,” he says. Decorative kitchen backsplashes and tiled wall mosaics have also gained popularity over the last few years.  But homeowners aren’t just sticking to tiling indoors. Outdoor projects like backyard kitchens counters, fireplaces, and even exterior walls allow people to show off their design taste. “Use of unique color combinations, sizes, and textures can create a design that fits a homeowner’s personality and lifestyle,” says Joe Pestoni, a 20-year licensed tile installer and owner/CEO of Elegant Tile in El Dorado.Why Tile?In this economy, it is important that home improvement projects be cost effective and long lasting. As Pestoni points out, unlike other design mediums, “repairs and replacements [of tile] are easy. If there is a crack in the countertop, no problem! Just replace the cracked tile(s) rather than the entire countertop.”  Besides easy maintenance, ceramic tile can be considered a “green” product. The products used to make ceramic tile and the products used to install it do not emit VOCs or harmful vapors in the environment, which pleases earth-conscious consumers. “Installed properly, ceramic tile lasts a lifetime, which keep future replacement costs down and landfills clear,” says Bennett.Plus, the variety of aesthetics is endless. “There are tiles made to look like wood, without the maintenance of wood. There are ceramic tiles made to look like natural stone. This can keep the cost down, [and] the ‘wow factor’ in,” Grannes says.

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Indoor Herb Gardens

03/31/2009 ● By Super Admin

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. These savories might call to mind that old song by Simon and Garfunkle, but have you ever considered growing these herbs yourself? This year, many of us are looking for ways to shave the dollars off our grocery bill. By growing your own herbs, you can do just that, without having to sacrifice freshness, quality or taste. An indoor herb garden is just the project for spring. Getting StartedVery few things are needed once you decide to grow an indoor herb garden – just pots, seeds or plants, a little soil, and a sunny window. Don’t feel like you have to stay with the traditional terra cotta, either. If you plan to keep your garden in the kitchen, choosing fashionable planters to complement your décor can add to the fun. Home and garden stores like Wild Plum in Grass Valley offer an assortment of containers to suit your tastes. Proper Conditions for CultivationEven though growing herbs inside is fairly simple, there are a few conditions that need to be in place to cultivate your harvest. According to Renee Towan, horticulture manager at Smith and Hawken in Roseville, “Most herbs need a lot of light – at least five to eight hours of sun, per day.” She recommends putting the pots in front of a south or southwest facing window, which allows the most light into the house. If your garden is not receiving enough light, you’ll find long stems and fading leaves on your plants, as well as leaves that fall off unexpectedly. However, even if your home doesn’t receive enough natural light, Towan says, “You can supplement it with a grow light.” Grow lights differ from standard light bulbs in that they shine the full spectrum of light required for plants to grow. They are sometimes sold already attached to pots; or, buy them separately and set them up directly above the garden.While the plants will need plenty of light, it is important to keep them away from places where they’ll experience temperature extremes, such as too close to the stove or directly beneath a heater vent. Also, be sure not to over water, which will rot the roots of the plants. It is advisable to let the soil dry out a bit between waterings. Towan also adds, “If you have the room, a six-inch pot would give the plant optimal room to grow.” In no time you’ll be ready to harvest your herbs and season your favorite dishes to tantalize the taste buds of your guests. For more about maintaining Indoor Herb Gardens, be sure to pick up this month's copy of FoothillStyle. Click on the "Get Your Copy" link on the bottom of this page for some of our newsstand locations. Or, to order a copy of this issue, please email  info@sierrastyle.com, or call 916-988-9888.

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