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    On a recent three-day trip to Greater Williamsburg, Virginia—Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown—my husband, two kids, and I hit the ground running. Heeding the advice of discerning locals, we explored unexpected corners of this diverse region. Along the way, we found a thriving cultural scene, sophisticated restaurants, and a natural landscape that in itself is reason to visit. Here are the finds from our ramble:

    Written and photographed by Justine Hand

    College of William & Mary 

    Muscarelle Museum of Art College of William and Mary, Remodelista

    Above: We started our visit at the small but wonderfully varied Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary. Rotating exhibits feature everything from American naturalism to kabuki theater woodcuts. One of my favorites was "21st Century Diplomacy," a photography show (on view through September) devoted to capturing "the subtleties of diplomacy."

    William and Mary Greenhouse | Modern Williamsburg Virginia | Remodelista

    Above: The Millington Greenhouse at the College of William & Mary is a treat for those who appreciate exotic specimens. The college also has a notable wildflower garden.

    Yorktown Schooner Ride

    Yorktown Schooner | Modern Williamsburg Virginia | Remodelista

    Above: On the second day, we sailed out of Yorktown aboard the Schooner Alliance, a 105-foot gaff-rigged schooner. It and its sister ship, Serenity, provide unexpected and interactive ways to experience the region. 

    Yorktown Schooner | Modern Williamsburg Virginia | Remodelista

    Above: As we took in the Chesapeake Bay, we got a unique vantage of modern-day Greater Williamsburg. Our kids got to help hoist the sails, and Captain Greg Lohse and his crew regaled us with witty tales.

    For more active outdoor adventures, Eco Discovery Park in Williamsburg rents kayaks for exploring the Powhatan Creek. Bike rentals for peddling the shoreline path are also available—watch for egrets, ospreys, and herons fishing along the banks, and, if you're lucky, you may even spy a bald eagle.

    Williamsburg Shopping

    Colonial Williamsburg Nursery | Modern Williamsburg Virginia | Remodelista

    Above: I discovered that Greater Williamsburg is a gardener's mecca. The Gardens and Nursery at Colonial Williamsburg sell the ingredients for cultivating 18th-century-style flower beds (I have my eye on those pots). And at both Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown's 1780's farm, you can take hands-on horticultural lectures. 

    Prentis Shop Colonial Williamsburg, Remodelista

    Above: Shopping in Greater Williamsburg is not your usual touristy fare. At Colonial Williamsburg, I was pleasantly surprised to find blown glassware, Shaker-style woven baskets, and wrought-iron hooks, all made using historic techniques but timeless looking. Aromatic bayberry and beeswax candles, shown above, are among the goods at Prentis Shop at Colonial Williamsburg. After making bayberry candles myself last fall, I was delighted to discover a less labor-intensive source.

    Williamsburg Restaurants 

    Lunch at Mad About Chocolate | Modern Williamsburg Virginia | Remodelista

    Above: For lunch one day we had to try James Beard award-winning chef Marcel Desaulniers' Williamsburg cafe, Mad About Chocolate. I highly recommend the nutty chicken salad with micro greens and Billy Bread, and everything he does with chocolate.

    Opus No. 9 Williamsburg, VA, Remodelista

    Above: The food and decor at Opus No. 9 Steakhouse are firmly rooted in the 21st century. Surrounded by floor-to-ceiling wine bottles, I sipped a California Cabernet and was served one of the best steaks I've ever had. 

    We also loved our evening of revelry at the historic Chownings Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg. On our list for next time: sampling a local brew and Virginia ham sandwich at The Cheese Shop, and dinner at A Chef's Kitchen, which has a theater-style dining room—guests watch as celebrity chef John Gonzales makes a multi-course meal. 

    Greater Williamsburg Scenery

    Modern Williamsburg Virginia | Greenspring Interpretive Trail | Remodelista

    Above: We spent a morning taking a refreshing walk on the Greenspring Interpretive Trail in Williamsburg. This 3.5 mile loop winds through woods, along the corn rows of the Mainland Farm, over boardwalks and wetlands, and by a beaver pond. Along the way, displays describe the local eco-system and farming practices.

    Colonial Parkway Virginia, Remodelista

    Above: The drive between Greater Williamsburg sites, we discovered, is often as engaging as the places themselves. Connecting Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, the Colonial Parkway is a picturesque highway, and, along the way, we frequently wanted to stop and explore. Wedged between the James and York Rivers, the natural scenery of the region ranges from verdant forests to coastal views, rivers, and rolling farms. Shown here, lovely wild alliums grow along the Colonial Parkway.

    Farm and Fields | Modern Williamsburg Virginia | Remodelista

    Above: Wanting a bit of history, we drove 45 minutes from Williamsburg through woods and fields to Shirley Plantation (see below). Shown here, a contemporary farm spotted on the drive.

    Historic Sites

    Shirley Plantation, Charles City County, Va, Remodelista

    Above: Located on the banks of the James River, Shirley Plantation is a well-preserved Georgian estate that remains family-owned-and-operated—the 11th generation of the Carter-Hill family lives in the mansion. Unlike many plantations in the South that were looted during the Civil War, Shirley retains its original portraits and furnishings—an act of kindness towards wounded Union soldiers encamped on its Confederate lawn earned it special protection from the Union government. 

    Jamestown Behind the Scenes costumes, Remodelista

    Above: Behind the scenes at Jamestown: the costume storage room houses spare attire for the historic interpreters, including shirts, shoes, doublets, bodices, and "bum rolls" (the pillow-like things on the shelf that ladies wore to make their skirts fuller).

    While we were there, I signed on for a colonial dress-themed private tour. Led by museum programs assistant Lea Ann Bryant and historical clothing manager Chris Daley, From Leather to Linen took me all over the settlement and behind-the-scenes to the costume shop to experience the fashion of the colonists, the natives, and the early African settlers. We got to help prepare the soft hides for native dress and learn how the experts on staff create the historic costumes using period materials. 

    Colonial Williamsburg | Modern Williamsburg Virginia | Remodelista

    Above: Unbeknownst to most, you can spend the night at Colonial Williamsburg in one of 25 restored guest houses. For three days, we had our own little cottage with its own plantings, lawn, and white picket fence. Though not fancy, our accommodations were cozy and authentic. And staying on-site gave us the opportunity to experience Colonial Williamsburg at its most charming and tranquil—when the houses and gardens are bathed in the cool light of the early morning, and after supper when fireflies dance in the pastures. 

    Below: Greater Williamsburg is 50 minutes south of Richmond International Airport.

    map Historic Triangle, VA

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    Hop Box founder Ben Smith has this to say about about beer: "For the vast majority of people, drinking beer occupies a place on the podium of life’s most pleasurable pursuits."

    To that end, the London-based Smith has converted a horse trailer into a traveling pub that dispenses craft beers to festival goers and urban quaffers. "For too long, we’ve stood idly by, supping our way through our favorite brews produced by others and served by others," says Smith. "We’re now ready to make our own contribution." To track his trailer's location, go to The Hop Box.

    N.B.: This is our Block Party issue, and every day this week we'll be spotlighting an inspired food or drinks business on wheels.

    The Hop Box Craft Brewery in the UK | Remodelista

    Above: The Hop Box has six craft brews on offer.

    The Hop Box Craft Brewery in the UK | Remodelista

    Above: Open for service.

    The Hop Box Craft Brewery in the UK | Remodelista

    Above: Ready to roll.

    In London, we also recommend the The Good & Proper Tea Truck (in a Vintage Citroen Van) and The Travelling Gin Company.

    Looking for summer drinks ideas? Go to Gardenista for a Fourth of July Raspberry Sparkler and other Straight-From-the-Garden Cocktails.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 27, 2012.

    Remodelista Considered Design Awards 2014

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    If you're looking to reduce your utility bills and your carbon footprint, solar power could be the way to go. The big question: will the savings in your energy bills eventually outweigh the investment of installing solar panels? Read on to find out.

    Rafe Churchill, The New Farmhouse, Solar Panels on Standing Seam Metal Roof | Remodelista

    Above: Solar panels on a new farmhouse in Connecticut by Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory member Rafe Churchill

    What are solar panels and how do they work?

    Solar panels are designed to convert energy from the sun into electricity via the use of photovoltaic technology: when the sun’s rays hit the panels, semiconductors turn the energy into electrons of direct current (DC) electricity. 

    The DC power is then fed into an inverter, which transforms the direct current power into alternating current (AC), enabling it to become a source of electrical power that feeds into the electrical panel of your house. 

    What happens after the power feeds into the electrical panel?

    A bi-directional meter measures the power your solar system produces. Excess energy flows into the grid, where it is managed on a comprehensive scale. Meanwhile, your utilities meter moves backwards as your energy consumption reverses, resulting in a credit on your utilities bill. 

    Feldman Architecture, Solar roof panels on house in Telegraph Hill, San Francisco | Remodelista

    Above: On Telegraph Hill, in San Francisco, a flat-roofed building by Feldman Architecture has solar panels mounted at an angle to catch the sun's light. The optimum angle  to mount a solar panel varies throughout the year depending on the seasons and geographical location. In an ideal world, solar panels would track the location of the sun minute by minute to optimize their harnessing capacity, but this is expensive and energy consuming. Instead, the panels remain stationery at an angle that is calculated to achieve optimum overall performance within the constraints. 

    Why go solar?

    The most compelling reason is the positive impact solar power has on the environment. The majority of our electricity is generated by oil and coal—which, in turn, causes air pollution and adds to the greenhouse gas buildup in our environment. And as the global supply of fossil fuels wanes, the cost of energy derived from these sources mounts. Sunshine, meanwhile, is a plentiful—and free—resource; the expense lies in the initial investment cost of installing panels.

    Go Home Passive House, solar roof panels| Remodelista  

    Above: In a LEED Platinum-certified house in Maine, Go Logic mounted solar panels to the standing seam metal roof. Image by Trent Bell via Go Logic.

    How much sunshine is needed?

    As one might suspect, a photovoltaic system creates the most energy in a sunny setting. Even so, living in Southern California is not a prerequisite (solar panels make use of all daylight hours, and in some climes they're able to convert more energy than in others). The way to determine if you have enough sunshine is by comparing your annual electricity use to the annual amount of sun you have in your area (the solar irradiance in your area can be calculated here). If your electrical energy needs are high and you don’t live in a sunny climate, there may be times that a solar energy system comes up short. When that's the case, power is simply pulled from the utilities grid through your meter. 

    IT House by Taalman Koch, Solar Panel on roof | Remodelista

    Above: On the roof of Taalman Koch's prefabricated IT House in California, solar photovoltaic panels extend elegantly from the structural framing system of the house. The solar panels also serve a double duty by providing shade. Image via IT House

    How much does a solar energy system cost?

    The cost of a photovoltaic system is an up-front investment; the exact amount depends on how much electricity you use and what percentage of that you would like your solar energy system to supply. The more electricity you require, the larger the system required (see chart below for a ballpark figure). 

    Government-funded solar incentive programs vary from country to country and even from state to state. Some solar-incentive programs pay you back over time based on the energy you generate. Other solar incentives are one-time payments of rebates or credits. To find out the incentives in your area, consult Wholesale Solar's Solar Incentives by State.

    Infographic on how much does solar cost?, Off the Grid | Remodelista

    Above: The average cost of installing a solar system varies across the US, and some of the differential is due to local, regional, and state incentives. Estimates by One Block off the Grid, an online broker that serves as a destination for homeowners who want to explore solar options.

    How much can I expect to save on utility bills?

    The answer depends on what you currently pay for electricity and how much credit your utility company will give you for the amount of power you don’t use. This estimate can be determined by approximating how much power your solar system will provide compared to your current usage. 

    Infographic on How much a solar system saves per month | Remodelista

    Above: Estimates show that solar energy systems create monthly savings across the board. The amount varies depending on your location. Estimates by One Block off the Grid

    Infographic on how much a solar system will save over 20 years | Remodelista

    Above: The average savings from use of a solar system over 20 years is estimated at $20,000 (but varies depending on locale). Estimates by One Block off the Grid

    Are solar panels ever good looking?

    Don't like the bulky look of solar panels? The next generation of solar products, Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), show great promise: photovoltaic cells are being incorporated into shingles, windows, siding, and other building materials, enabling structures in the future to have seamless solar solutions. 

    Solar Panels mounted on shingled roof

    Above: Solar panels mounted on a shingled roof can be bulky. Image via West Coast Exteriors.

    Building integrated photovoltaic panels on metal roofing | Remodelista

    Above:  The photovoltaic panels in this building have been integrated into the standing-seam metal roof. Image via Fabral

    Tegolasolare Ceramic Solar Roof Tiles, Remodelista  

    Above: European company Area Franceram has created a ceramic roof tile, the Tegolasolare, with an integrated photovoltaic solar panel. Image via Area Franceram.

    Solar panels recap:

    Pros

    • Good for the environment
    • Reduced utility costs
    • Lessens our dependence on fossil fuels

    Cons

    • Relatively high initial cost
    • The amount of savings is not straightforward
    • Not traditionally aesthetically pleasing

    Had firsthand experience with solar paneling? In the comments section, fill us in on your finds.

    Learn about the ideal roofing companion to solar panels In Hardscaping 101: Standing Seam Metal Roofs. Installing floors? Explore another cost-effective and energy-efficient design in 5 Things to Know About Radiant Floor Heating. For more remodeling advice, browse our Remodeling 101 series.  

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    "We're not California and we aren't France, and we're OK with that." Union Wine Co.'s straight-shooting owner, Ryan Harms, worked for high-end Oregon wineries before founding his own "industrial château" in Portland in 2005: "I decided I wasn't going to accept that wine made in Oregon had to be expensive. Union is about creating something that I can share with friends and family and make accessible without sacrificing quality."

    Having finessed his product to his liking, Harms is now out to make his Oregon craft wines as approachable as beer. Toward that end, he's been playing with Union's presentation and packaging.

    Union Wine Co. wine tasting truck | Remodelista

    Above: A 1972 restored Citroën H Van debuted last year as Union's roving wine tasting truck with a wooden counter. 

    Union Wine Co. wine tasting truck | Remodelista

    Above: The truck is available to rent for parties, weddings, and other events. Starting in mid-July, it will be stationed at the corner of 33rd and Division Street in Portland, OR, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons and evenings all summer.

    Union Wine Co. wine tasting truck | Remodelista

    Above: The truck is now offering tastings of Union's latest product: Underwood Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir in cans. "It’s hard to keep your pinky up when you’re drinking wine from a 375 ml. can," says Harms. Underwood Pinot in a Can is $24 for a four-pack.

    Union Wine Co. wine tasting truck | Remodelista

    Above: Union's winery is in Tualatin, OR, outside of Portland. For more details, go to Union Wine Co.

    N.B.: This week is our Block Party issue, and every day we'll be spotlighting an inspired food or drinks business on wheels. Have a look at our other Food Truck picks.

    Looking for summer drinks ideas? Go to Gardenista for a Fourth of July Raspberry Sparkler and other Straight-From-the-Garden Cocktails.  Need some wine glasses? Have a look at 10 Easy Pieces: Everyday Wine Glasses.

    Remodelista Considered Design Awards 2014

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    Montgomery, Alabama-based architects McAlpine Tankersley added a nautical note to a beach house bunkroom via a pair of rope ladders.

    Rope Ladder Bunkroom | Remodelista

    Above: For something similar, Treehouse Supplies offers made-to-measure Rope Ladders ($18.65 per foot), and US Rope Cable makes Rope Ladders for $39.54 per foot.

    For a tutorial on making your own, go to the Art of Manliness.

     Looking for more nautical inspiration? Browse our recent Life Aquatic issue, and see our 10 Favorites posts on Simple Rope Stair Rails and Rope Decor. See Gardenista for Outdoor Nautical Lighting.

    Remodelista Considered Design Awards 2014

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    We have a long history with Ancient Industries, one of our favorite online haunts for housewares. Owner Megan Wilson specializes in hard-to-find British and European goods of "humble purpose, elegant form." For many months we'd been admiring her selections—enamelware porridge pots, Ian Mankin striped dishtowels, and knobbed wooden doorstops (and the "potted histories" she writes about them)—when we decided to track her down. That was back in 2011, just as were beginning to work on the Remodelista book; we liked her so much we invited her to write the Remodelista 100, a chapter devoted to our favorite everyday things. 

    She now contributes our weekly Tuesday Object Lessons column, and, in addition to working as the design director of Vintage and Anchor Books (did we mention that she's also a star graphic designer?), she's just opened a brick-and-mortar rendition of Ancient Industries. It's located above the post office in the idyllic old Connecticut village of West Cornwall, where Megan and her husband, painter Duncan Hannah, have a country place (featured in  Remodelista book). Now debuting, the shop is open on Saturdays only, from 10 am to 12:30 pm, hours (by town ordinance) that coincide with the town farmer's market across the street. Here's a first look:

    Photographs by Megan Wilson.

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: The shop's enamelware sign was custom-made by Riess of Austria (upstairs, Riess's enamelware pots are on display). The light is the Original Warehouse Gooseneck Light from Barn Light Electric. 

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: Ancient Industries' wares range from Tea Cosies hand knit in Devon, $45, to classic Stoke-on-Trent creamware Hunslet Jugs, $45, and Mochaware Mugs, $32. The Dandelion Cushion Covers, $50, are from British textile collaborative St. Jude's.

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: Trestle tables (sourced from Ikea and customized) are used for display. Sheila Maid hanging laundry dryers, $135—one of Ancient Industries' bestsellers—are draped with Cote Bastide French Linen Tea Towels, $28, and Turkish hammam towels (not yet available online). Megan made the window shades from Merchant & Mills' oil cloth and hardware store parts. "The building is about a century old, so it seemed fitting to give it a World War I look," she says.

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: Shaker pegs, custom-made for the shop by Megan's cabinetmaker neighbor, Ian Ingersoll, wrap around the walls of one of the shop's three rooms. The Yellow Omelette Pan, $50, and Indigo Frying Pan, $65, are enamelware by Riess. (Contemplating your own Shaker pegs? Read Christine's report, How Shaker Pegs Saved My Summer Sanity.)

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: From Sweden, Iris Handwerk Black and White Dustpan Brushes, $32, are paired with German-made Child-Size Dustpans and Brushes, $22 (which work well for sweeping crumbs off tables).

    Ancient Industries store West Cornwall CT | Remodelista

    Above: Megan swears by Ian Mankin striped cotton yardage and tablecloths for curtains, pillows, and chair upholstery. The Empire Tablecloth, 79 inches by 51 inches, is $65.

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: Avarcas sandals, $35 (kid's sizes, $25) hail from the Spanish island of Menorca, where Megan spent childhood summers. "They were originally worn by farmers in the field but are now worn by elegant ladies by the pool," she writes. The schooner painting is by Duncan Hannah.

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: The black Sewing Kit by Merchant & Mills comes packaged in a canvas tailor's roll; $65.

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: Made of galvanized steel, the two-gallon Haws Watering Can, $100, is "all about balance and ease of pouring," notes Megan. It's a Remodelista 100 selection. The green Haws one-gallon Long Reach Watering Can is a design that dates to 1886, $145.

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: Balls of Nutscene Twine from Scotland, $8, are lined up on beachwood Twine Stands, $30 (with "thistle-shaped tops that conceal a cutter, so no trudging about the garden looking for scissors"). For the surprising story behind the jute, read Megan's Potted History No. 6. The red-tipped tools are Burgon and Ball carbon steel Sheep Shears, $55, useful for trimming hedges and edging lawns.

    Ancient Industries store West Cornwall CT | Remodelista

    Above: Made in Morocco, Esparto Grass Baskets, $60, are sized for carrying laundry and firewood.

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: In the stairwell, farmer's market purchases are stowed on newly built shelves that make use of scrap wood and the old building's exposed vertical beams.

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: The packing room/office has a Canvas Hamper from Steele Canvas (another design spotlighted in the Remodelista 100, and a nod to the working post office downstairs). The triangular shelf is Ancient Industries' wall-mounted Beech Plate Rack, available in three sizes, $145 to $165. The clock is the Schoolhouse Electric Wall Clock.

    Ancient Industries in West Cornwall CT | Remodellsta

    Above: Megan's pinboard and desk accessories; note the candlestick phone.

    The Ancient Industries shop is at 408 Sharon Goshen Turnpike, West Cornwall, Connecticut.

    Tour Megan and Duncan's Cornwall house (which looks much like the shop) in the first chapter of the Remodelista book. Watch for her Object Lessons posts every Tuesday, and read UK horticultural reports by her twin sister, Kendra, on Gardenista.

    Remodelista Considered Design Awards 2014   

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    The Fourth of July has us thinking about flags; here are some sourcing ideas.

    Vintage American Flag in the Hallway of a Barn | Remodelista

    Above: A large old American flag hangs in the hallway of a white painted barn. Photograph from Rachel Halvorson Designs. A range of Vintage American Flags can be sourced online via Rare Flags.

    Anin American Flag from Best Made Co. | Remodelista

    Above: Best Made carries an American flag by its downtown New York neighbor Annin flagmakers, a Fulton Street company founded in 1847. Annin's flags are the classics: they were at Abraham Lincoln's inauguration and funeral, and planted on the North Pole in 1909, the South Pole in 1930, Mount Everest in 1963, and on the moon during the 1969 Apollo mission. Best Made's Annin American Flag is made in New Jersey of 100 percent cotton and is available in three sizes; the smallest, 2-feet-by-3-feet size, is $34. Annin Flags are also available at Flag Store USA.

    48 Embroidered Star American Flag from Jeff Bridgman Antiques | Remodelista

    Above: A 48-Embroidered Star Flag dating from 1945 to '50, from Jeff R. Bridgman, a antiques dealer specializing in flags. This example is sold, but Bridgman has a range of others.

    Vintage Flag from Room & Board | Remodelista

    Above: Room & Board sells vintage American Flags from the 1950s and 1960s mounted in solid wood shadow-box frames that measure 55 inches by 35 inches. The flags come with a certificate of authenticity; $999.

    Looking for more red, white, and blue? See inspirational images of Red Palettes in our Gallery of Rooms and Spaces. On Gardenista, see A Last-Minute Party for the Fourth of July, patriotic garden torches included.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 24, 2012 as part of our Scandi Summerhouse issue.

    Remodelista Considered Design Awards 2014

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    Happy holiday weekend. Here are some straight-from-the-garden ideas and inspirations, including how to grow pink drinks.

    Eva's Garden Dartmouth | Remodelista

    Above: Our favorite Garden Visit of late: a tour of Eva Sommaripa's Dartmouth, Massachusetts, organic farm where she grows uncommon herbs, greens, and edible "weeds" that are coveted by Boston-area chefs.

    Eva's garden peonies | Gardenista

    Above: Peonies from Eva's garden—Boston's Best-Kept Secret.

    \ raspberry sparkler | Gardenista

    Above: Back by popular demand: Gardenista's Raspberry Sparkler recipe, our favorite Fourth of July cocktail. Another way to concoct a pink drink? Just add Michelle's Rose Petal Ice CubesPhotograph by Olivia Rae James for Gardenista.

    Field Guide: Hydrangeas | Gardenista

    Above: White, blue, pink, or purple, how do you like your hydrangeas? In this week's Field Guide, learn what makes the Victorian favorite thrive—and how to shift colors to suit your fancy. Photograph by Justine Hand.

    Gang and the wool glass house | Gardenista

    Above: Imagine if this were your office. Floral designer Manuela Sosa works—and entertains—in a tiny glass greenhouse in the hills above Barcelona. In Outbuilding of the Week, watch her get it ready for a "Welcome Summer" dinner partyPhotograph by Silva Conde via Freunde von Freunden

    Picnic basket from A Sunny Afternoon | Gardenista

    Above: A New Classic: the gingham-lined woven wooden picnic basket with leather handles from A Sunny Afternoon, LA creative director and blogger Sarah Sherman Samuel's product line. Sarah has a way with kitchens, too—see Ikea Upgrade: The Semihandmade Kitchen Remodel.

    Warning: You only have till Monday to submit a project to the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards. Let us see what you've got!

    Remodelista Considered Design Awards 2014

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    The whole summer awaits. Here's what's on our radar:

    Refiney 29 small space SF | Remodelista

    • Above: Refinery29's SF editor, Angela Tafoya, makes small-space living look effortless. Photograph by Maria Del Rio for Refinery29. 
    • Like to know where your goods are made? These 17 home brands are all made in America. 
    • Leave shopping stress at the Ikea entrance with seven tips on the best way to navigate the retail giant. 

    McAlpine Tankersley Architecture Shack Porch | Remodelista

    Commune Frangrance Diffuser | Remodelista

    • Above: LA design firm Commune teamed up with L'Oeil du Vert to develop a custom Commune Scent ("a fully botanical room fragrance of blossoming California flora, burnt Japanese wood, and a rough touch of Viennese leather"). The Commune Scent Diffuser, which transforms the oil into a cool vapor, is available in vintage Douglas fir or vintage redwood with either bronze or copper accents and frames.

    Celelann Handwoven Turkish towels | Remodelista

    Mociun shop in Brooklyn, NY | Remodelista

    • Above: Dalilah checked out Mociun, a Williamsburg shop that sells hand-printed clothes and goods for the home, on her trip to NYC last weekend. Photograph by Dalilah Arja.  
    • Take a tour of Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid's former San Francisco abode. The Pacific Heights Victorian is on the market for the first time since 1995; asking price: $8.9 million. 

    Kenya Hara Designing Design book | Remodelista

    • Above: We're admiring the sparse look of Kenya Hara's book, Designing Designin which he talks about teaching design and art directing for Muji. 
    • Alert: Monday is the last day to enter the Remodelista Considered Design Awards. Show us what you've got—you stand a chance to win a limited edition Jieldé lamp and a profile post on Remodelista. 

    Remodelista Considered Design Awards enter by July 7, 2014

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    On Monday night at 11:59 pm, we'll be closing the entries to the 2014 Considered Design Awards. Don't miss your chance—share your rooms with us!

    Our contest is open to both professional designers and amateur enthusiasts, and submitting is easy: just snap some photos of your space and complete our simple entry form: Enter here

    Ten Remodelista winners will have their spaces profiled on our site (and seen by Remodelista and Gardenista's 1.2 million monthly unique readers).

    Insider Tip: We have the fewest entries so far—so the competition is lightest—in the Best Office Space category, for both the professional and amateur categories. 

    Remodelista Awards Categories

    Open to Professionals

    • Best Kitchen Space
    • Best Living/Dining Space
    • Best Bedroom Space
    • Best Office Space
    • Best Bath Space

    Open to Amateurs

    • Best Kitchen Space
    • Best Living/Dining Space
    • Best Bedroom Space
    • Best Office Space
    • Best Bath Space 

    A few important links: 

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    Ocean breeze or mountain air? Cottage or compound? Historic or modern? This week, we're packing our bags and heading out to to explore notable rental houses—and ways to settle into summer—the world over.  

    Summer Rentals Issue Image | Remodelista

    Above: Discovery: this historic Harbour Island cottage, recently featured in our post Island Life: At Home with Tom Scheerer, is available for rent. Go to Salt Box on VRBO for details. Photograph by Francesco Lagnese

    Monday

    La Pedevilla Dining Area | Remodelista

    Above: World-class architecture for rent: In today's House Call, Julie shows us around a mountain house in Italy that's at the top of our vacation wish list.

    Tuesday

    Hedgehouse bedrolls | Remodelista

    Above: Looking for a way to cushion a hammock or camp mattress? In Tuesday's Fabrics & Linens post, Sarah presents striped bedrolls made for summer lounging.

    Wednesday

    Floating Farmhouse in Upstate New York | Remodelista

    Above: This reimagined 1820 farmhouse in Upstate New York fuses country primitive with urban industrial architecture—and, yes, it's for rent. It's Wednesday's Architecture & Interiors spotlight.

    Thursday

    DIY Leather Strap Magazine holder by My Dubio I Remodelista

    Above: We love easy DIY Projects, especially ones that make clever use of leather. Stay tuned for these DIY magazine racks (and also have a look at Alexa's DIY Leather Knife Rack).

    Friday

    Long Made Co. scissor wall lamp | Remodelista

    Above: In need of summer-house lighting? Consider these industrial accordion wall lamps that are Friday's Lighting find. And for other options, browse the hundreds of Lighting ideas in our Gallery of Rooms and Spaces.

    Saturday 

    Rafe Churchill The New Farmhouse CT |  Remodelista

    Above: Saturday's Architect Is In features Rafe Churchill's net-zero-energy design and construction of a farmhouse in Connecticut. Churchill will be on standby over the weekend to supply details and answer questions. 

    Have a look at Gardenista—this week is their Summer Bunkhouse issue.

    Behind in your Remodelista reading? Peruse all of our Back Issues, and see what we're up to on Pinterest.

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    Located in the Dolomite mountain village of Mareo, in South Tyrol, Italy, La Pedevilla was inspired by the traditional farmhouses (known as viles) of the region. Designed by brothers Alexander and Armin Pedevilla, of Pedevilla Architectsthe house is an energy-efficient oasis with its own water source, geothermal heating, solar panels, and PV (photovoltaic) power plant. 

    Photographs by Gustav Willeit via Yatzer.

    Pedevilla Architecture Alpine Retreat | Remodelista

    Above: The architects used locally sourced timber (solid Swiss stone pine and larch) and Dolomite stone in the construction of La Pedevilla.

    La Pedevilla Dining Area | Remodelista

    Above: The interiors feature a chiaroscuro effect; a mix of dark stained-wood surfaces and pale pine floors.

    Pedevilla Architects Vacation Rental | Remodelista

    Above: Classic Tyrolean chairs add a traditional note to the otherwise spare living/dining area.

    Pedevilla Architects Italy | Remodelista

    Above: Expansive windows overlook the drama-filled landscape.

    Pedevilla Casa Alpina Living Room | Remodelista

    Above: The architects kept the palette simple and serene.

    Pedevilla Living Room | Remodelista  

    Above: A slatted overlook on the second floor doubles as storage for books.

    Pedevilla Architecture Alpine Rental Staircase | Remodelista

    Above: A rope railing leads to the second floor. (Interested in your own nautical railing? See more, plus a DIY tutorial, at 10 Favorites: Simple Rope Stair Rails.)

    Pedevilla Architecture Alpine Rental Living Room | Remodelista

    Above: The second-floor study is lit by natural light that filters through the slatted interior window.

    Pedevilla Villa Sitting Room | Remodelista

    Above: A sitting area adjoins a bedroom.

    Pedevilla Architecture Alpine Rental Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: Bedrooms feature floors, doors, and furniture made of hand-planed Swiss stone pine.

    Pedevilla Architecture Alpine Rental Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: A mix of modern and traditional in the bedrooms (the Philippe Starck-designed Miss K Table Lamp is $355 from Design Within Reach).

    Pedevilla Architecture Alpine Rental Bath | Remodelista

    Above: The bathrooms are streamlined and austere.

    La Pedevilla Bathroom Sink | Remodelista

    Above: Just a few necessities.

    La Pedevilla Shower | Remodelista

    Above: A simple ledge in the shower serves as storage for bathing essentials.

    La Pedilla Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: A mix of modern and vintage furniture animates an attic bedroom.

    Pedevilla Architecture Alpine Rental Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: Light filters through a slatted window in the room

    Pedevilla Architecture Alpine Rental Attic | Remodelista

    Above: The attic offers its own a glimpse of the Dolomites.

    La Pedevilla Town VIew | Remodelista

    Above: A view of the tiny village of Mareo. Go to La Pedevilla for booking information.

    Looking to make your own house more energy efficient? Read Christine's recent Remodeling 101 post: A Solar Paneling Primer.

    Tour another standout mountain retreat (also for rent) in A Ski Cabin by a World-Renowned Swiss Architect.

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    Summer renters have gotten pickier (I speak from experience; we've been renting out our Wellfleet house for a decade now). It's no longer enough to swab the bath and call it a day. What I've learned: store your breakables; if it can be broken (ceramic soap dishes, fragile glassware, glass soap dispensers), it will be broken. Pick a simple palette (navy and white, for instance) and invest in accessories that are stylish, durable, and will mask the fact that your rental bath is less than perfect.

    Sheila Narusawa Bath | Remodelista

    Above: Architect Sheila Narusawa renovated Harbor Cottage in Maine for Fiona and Tony Cooper; it's available for rent via Home Away (see more photos at Design Skool).

    West Elm Enamel Soap Dish | Remodelista

    Above: The indestructible iron enameled Soap Dish is $14 from West Elm.

    Fog Linen Striped Tray | Remodelista

    Above: Poly-resin coated Linen Trays from Fog Linen start at $18 and are good for corralling essentials.

      High Road House Bath | Remodelista

    Above: A row of Shaker pegs provide ample space for beach towel hanging; for sourcing ideas, see How Shaker Pegs Saved My Summer Sanity.

    Schoolhouse Electric Trash Bin | Remodelista

    Above: The Steel Waste Basket from Schoolhouse Electric is $42 and comes in gray, almond, and black.

    Waterworks Tissue Box Cover | Remodelista

    Above: Disguise unattractive tissue boxes with the Linen Tissue Cover from Waterworks; $30.

    Shaving Mirror Rejuvenation Hardware | Remodelista

    Above: Inspired by an old hotel design, the wall-mounted Linfield Articulating Scissor Mirror is available in four finishes; $185 from Rejuvenation.

    Striped Bath Rug Serena & Lily | Remodelista

    Above: The 100-percent cotton Broad Stripe Dhurrie from Serena & Lily is available in two sizes; $58 for the 24-by-36-inch size, and $98 for the 30-by-50-inch size. Does your rental bath have unattractive flooring? Order the larger size.

    More ideas? Peruse the Bathrooms in our Photo Gallery and our Steal This Look posts. Find out the Ideal Plants for Bathrooms on Gardenista.

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    A totable bedroll packed in a ticking striped shoulder bag. Perfect for summer lolling.

    LA designer Beata Henrichs-Lieb of Hedgehouse has created a handmade bedroll that can be slung into a hammock for cushier repose, over a camp bed for deeper sleep, and of course, rolled out for the last-minute sleepover.

    Hedgehouse Striped Throw Beds | Remodelista

    Above: The colorfully striped bedrolls are filled with a mix of feather, down, and fiber and comes with a removable 100 percent linen cover.

    Hedgehouse Striped Throw Beds | Remodelista

    Above: Each full bedroll measures 30 by 70 inches with a removable cover measuring 30 to 75 inches (it's meant to be a roomy fit).

    Hedgehouse Striped Throw Beds | Remodelista

    Above: The Cortina Lavender Throw Bed is $375.

    Hedgehouse Metallic Throw Beds | Remodelista

    Above: The throw beds are also available in metallic linen blends, from top to bottom: Corchavel Ivory with Silver Metallic, Mt. Tremblant Chocolate with Silver Metallic, and the Mt. Elbrus Oatmeal with Gold Metallic.

    Hedgehouse Striped Throw Beds | Remodelista

    Above: The Sur La Mer Rouge Wide Stripe Throw Bed is $375.

    Have a look at our Bedding posts for more finds, including 12 Summery Mosquito Nets and Aegean-Inspired Linens. Also check out the ultimate beanbag chair, the Embroidered Olli Lounger.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on August 28, 2012 as part of our issue The Last Gasp of Summer.

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    Once July comes along, it seems as though everyone you know is running off to a fantastic rental that they lucked upon via a friend of a friend. You want in. But with all the online clutter, it's hard to zero in on that rustic Cape Cod beach shack or chic Parisian pied à terre of your dreams. 

    Here at Remodelista we've done our share of vacation renting (from shoestring to full-on luxury). We look for places with local character that are thoughtfully pulled together inside and out. It's a combination that's elusive but not impossible to come by, if you know where to look (and if you're careful to scrutinize the photos and details before signing on). Here are the rental sites that we turn to most often:

    Urlaubsarchitektur House Rental in Mon, Denmark | Remodelista

    Above: Sarah's favorite source for Northern European finds is Urlaubsarchitektur. "This German company does a great job sourcing what they describe as 'architecturally outstanding houses,'" she says. The business was founded by German architect Jan Hamer, who decided he wanted his vacation rentals to be as well designed as his own home. Urlaubsarchitektur lists 297 properties, most tending toward the modern. If you're looking for somewhere to rent this summer, here's a list of houses that are still available. Photograph of an Urlaubsarchitektur house on the Danish Island of Mon from our post Vacation Like an Architect.

    Luxury Nantucket Rental | Remodelista

    Above: Julie recently discovered luxury vacation rental site Homeaway, featuring higher-end offerings such as Parliament House, a restored historic Nantucket retreat.

    Selsey Beach House in West Sussex through Unique Home Stays | Remodelista

    Above: Julie also likes Unique Home Stays, a UK rental site that caters to travelers with specific interests, such as surfing retreats, eco rentals, and dog- and kid-friendly getaways. Photograph of the Selsey Beach House in West Sussex.

    Airbnb Commune West Hollywood Apartment | Remodelista

    Above: Meredith and Alexa have both rented through Airbnb on many occasions, and all were great experiences. Alexa stayed in a small flat in the 15th arrondissement in Paris and recently in a two-bedroom apartment in Condesa in Mexico City; both were humble living spaces, clean, and just minimal enough. Meredith has booked Airbnb houses in Tahoe and Sonoma, and is about to stay in Airbnb places across Italy this summer, plus a house at Sea Ranch for the Labor Day weekend. "What I love is that Airbnb rentals are the antidote to sterile hotel rooms," she says. Photograph of a West Hollywood apartment designed by an architect at Commune and available through Airbnb, via Design Tripper.

    Haven in Paris Rentals, Eiffel Tower Loft | Remodelista

    Above: Another option is Haven in Paris, which lists luxury villas and apartments—and has expanded its reach to include London, Provence, and Tuscany. Photograph of the Eiffel Tower Loft in the 15th arrondissement.

    Dar Beida Vacation Rental in Morocco | Remodelista

    Above: A resource for exotic locations, Spaces 42 offers rentals across Asia, Africa, Australia, and more. A favorite of Justine's is Dar Beida in Essaouira, Morocco (see the full interiors at Midcentury Modern Meets Medina).

    Berlin Modern Houseboat | Remodelista

    Above: Izabella recently came across this Modern Houseboat in Berlin for rent through The Modern House site, and she's been perusing their offerings ever since. The site is all about architect-designed vacation rentals at affordable prices—everything from the aforementioned houseboat to St. Columbia's converted church in Scotland.

    Boutique Homes Vacation Rentals, Sea View, Sicily, Italy | Remodelista

    Above: Francesca has had both good and bad experiences with rental sites, and she cautions against agencies that list a banner property as a lead generator for other options—"sorry that's booked but we can offer you this property"—that are far less desirable. Two recent finds she recommends are Boutique Homes, with offerings like the Sea View Villa in Sicily, Italy designed by Maria Cannizzo (shown above), and Welcome Beyond.

    The Music Room Rental from The Landmark Trust UK | Remodelista

    Above: While working as an editor at Travel + Leisure, Margot discovered the astonishing collection of historic rentals offered by the UK's Landmark Trust. "The Landmark Trust leases restored properties not just in Great Britain but in Italy and France. And there's a similar, smaller organization, the Landmark Trust USA, that rents Rudyard Kipling's family house in Vermont," she says. Also worth looking into: the UK's National Trust, "an organization offering holiday cottages in restored old buildings throughout the UK with names like Woolley Lodge. Hitch: the exteriors tend to look more charming than the interiors." Photograph of the Music Room in Lancaster, an 18th century garden pavilion from the Landmark Trust.

    Carriage House in New York City from One Fine Stay | Remodelista

    Above: Our group is of divided opinion about One Fine Stay (some of us have had good experiences, others not so great). That said, the site offers a wide range of luxury vacation stays across London, Paris, New York, and Los Angeles. Photograph of the Carriage House III rental in New York's Harlem.

    The Wouwermanstraadt Residence in Amsterdam | Remodelista

    Above: For those traveling as a family, Janet recommends Kid & Coe, a vacation site that "focuses on family-friendly rentals—those that also translate into liveable. And their options aren't limited to travelers with children," she says. Photograph of the Wouwermanstraat Residence in Amsterdam.

    Domus Civita Rental in Italy | Remodelista

    Above: Specializing in the rustic, boutique agency Luci Di Casa offers five large villas across Tuscany as well as two villas in Mexico. Photograph of the Domus Civita property in Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio, Italy.

    Casp Nov Apartment Barcelona | Remodelista

    Above: Last year Michelle had great luck with El Sol Villas, a company focused on villas and vacation houses in Italy and Spain. She stayed in an apartment in Barcelona called Casp 74. "It was well priced, in a fantastic location, super clean, and the kitchen was outfitted with almost new appliances. Plus, there were great city views and a concierge office on the main floor where you could ask questions like: 'What's the best subway to take to get to the train station?' "

    Destination BCN in Barcelona, Spain | Remodelista

    Above: Destination BCN is a collection of 15 apartments owned, designed, and rented out by Miklos Beyer and Anme Nijstad, a design-minded couple. Margot, who rented the company's Figi apartment, says, "In addition to being great looking—simple, modern, and impeccably clean—their places are detailed with art books, movies, Barcelona's underground cultural magazines, and annotated lists of neighborhood places worth knowing about. And did I mention that they have great little kitchens, plus washing machines and dryers?" Photograph from our post Live (of at Least Lodge) Like a Catalonian

    JVA + Mole Architects Dune House | Remodelista

    Above: Christine is a fan of Living Architecture, a company that describes itself as "a social enterprise dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of world-class modern architecture" (Alain de Botton is the creative director). Photograph of the Dune House in Suffolk designed and built by JVA + Mole Architects.

    N.B.: All this week we'll be featuring design-worthy vacation houses in our Summer Rentals issue.

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    We recently featured one of our favorite finds of the summer so far: a houseboat in Rockaway Beach, New York, that belongs to eight young creatives who pooled their resources and pulled off a low-key urban weekend escape. Two of the houseboaters, Sophia Cosmadopoulos and Honora Dunham, were put in charge of furnishing the living space. By haunting Craig's List and thrift stores, they created a next-to-no-cost hangout that's all about summer ease. Here's how to get the look:

      Fredericks & Mae and friends houseboat | Remodelista

     Above: Life on board revolves around the living room and kitchen. Almost everything in it was given to the group—often by house guests—or sourced inexpensively. But the space works so well because Sophia and Honora came up with a plan: "We wanted to keep things coherent, so we went for orange, white, wood, and glass," says Sophia. Photograph by Douglas Lyle Thompson for Remodelista.

    Frederick & Mae and friends houseboat | Remodelista  

     Above: Sophia (who works at a non-profit art studio for people with developmental disabilities) and Honora (a housewares buyer and social media manager for Eli Zabar) painted the bar themselves using masking tape and watered-down gray house paint—"we didn't even bother to measure." The hammock came from a friend who had no use for it in his apartment. As for the rug and ottoman: "I spent a lot of time searching for rattan on Craig's List," says Honora. For a full tour of the houseboat, go to Rehab Diary: The Ultimate Houseboat in NYCPhotograph by Douglas Lyle Thompson for Remodelista.

    Furnishings

    Pottery Barn jute rug | Remodelista

    Above: A Round Jute Rug is available in 6- and 8-foot sizes; on sale for $126 and $211 (marked down from $149 and $249) at Pottery Barn.

    Cotton Mayan hammock from Novica | Remodelista

    Above: The cotton rope Natural Comfort Mayan Hammock is $89.99 (marked down from $153.95) at Novica.

    Studio One Jute Garden Chair from Lost and Found LA | Remodelista

    Above: The Studio One Jute Garden Chair is $295 at Lost & Found in LA. For more ideas, see 5 Favorites: Rope Chairs.

    Ikea Alseda stool Remodelista

    Above: Alseda, a banana fiber stool from Ikea, can be stacked to create a side table like the one on the boat; $29.99.

    Cane canoe seat from Chesapeake Light Craft | Remodelista

    Above: Made for a canoeing and camping, the Folding Cane Seat is $89.99 from Chesapeake Light Craft. Oak Orchard Canoe Kayak Experts sell a similar design for $109.95.

    Monticello Counter Stool from Timeless Wrought Iron | Remodelista

    Above: Honora found the houseboat's vintage stools on Craig's List—and trekked to New Jersey to retrieve them. For a similar wrought-iron design, consider the 25-inch-high Monticello Counter Stool from Timeless Wrought Iron; $241. 

    Accessories 

    Fredericks & Mae travel backgammon set | Remodelista

    Above: Houseboaters Gabe Cohen and Jolie Signorile own the design company Fredericks & Mae, which makes this magnetic birch Travel Backgammon Set; $160. 

    Vintage Pyrex mixing bowls from Atomic House Market | Remodelista

    Above: The kitchen is accessorized with orange Pyrex mixing bowls that Sophia and Honora have been gathering one by one from thrift stores. This Vintage Pyrex Flameglow Mixing Bowl Set is $144.40 from Etsy seller Atomic House Market. Burnt orange and other classic shades of Pyrex are widely available on Etsy and eBay.

    West Elm Essential White Dinnerware | Remodelista

    Above: West Elm's Essential White Dinnerware Set is on sale for $7.99 (marked down from $16) for four 9.25-inch salad plates.

      Japanese enamelware tea and coffee pot | Remodelista

    Above: The enamelware Fuji Red Tea and Coffee Pot from Zingerman's is made in Japan and holds 20 ounces; $65.

    Whale cutting board from Lawson Fenning | Remodelista

    Above: This Whale Cutting Board by Sir/Madam makes a good wall decoration; $96 from Lawson-Fenning. (For a look at the Sir/Madam line, go to Perfected Tableware from the Past.)

    Peruse our Steal This Look posts for more summer rooms to recreate, including The Perfect Screened Porch and A Watery Blue Bath. On Gardenista, learn how to recreate a Mod LA Patio with Twinkly Lights.

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    As Independence Day festivities wind down and summer socializing gears up, it's time to brush up on visitor etiquette. Want to guarantee a return invite to your friends' summer houses?  We’ve rounded up our 10 favorite gifts that would thrill any house-proud host or hostess.

    Summer Hostess Gifts, Eric Vandermolen Ceramic Tea Cups | Remodelista

    Above: Sarah recommends ceramics from Eric Vandermolen, a Remodelista Market vendor. "For a longer stay I would consider the teapot and for a short stay, the tea cups are a lovely choice," she says. Teapot, $250; Tea Cups, $35 each from Nicky Kehoe.

    Hostess Gifts, Studio Piano Nobile, Tea Towel | Remodelista

    Above: Alexa proffers hand-printed linen tea towels with hot-pink trim by Piano Nobile, a Remodelista Market vendor; the Ledger Print is $30. 

    Summer Hostess Gift, House Plan, Senecio Mandraliscae | Remodelista

    Above: An easy-to-care-for-houseplant repotted in a planter of your choice marks friendship and the passage of time as it continues to grow over the years. Recently, I was the happy recipient of the drought-resistant Senecio Mandraliscae from Isabelle Palmer, aka The Balcony Gardener (she's also one of our guest judges for the Gardenista Considered Design Awards). For a wide array of planters, see 10 Easy Pieces: Little Black Planters, 5 Favorites: Petal Colored Planters, and Concrete Planters from Tasi Masi

    Hostess Gifts, Quitokeeto Chef's Knife | Remodelista

    Above: Margot's guest policy is to bring a good-quality knife so that she can help with cooking detail. On the luxury end: the Coltellerie Berti Chef's Knife is $296 from Quitokeeto. For more options, see 10 Easy Pieces: Editors' Favorite Chef Knives.

    Concentric Soap Dish Food 52 | Remodelista

    Above: Izabella likes the Concentric Soap Dish because its both attractive and practical—inner rings keep the soap elevated and dry; $36 from Provisions.

    Summer Hostess Gift, Compost Bin | Remodelista

    Above: Francesca is a fan of the Noaway Countertop Compost Bin made of walnut and nice looking enough to sit in full view; $129 from Provisions.

    Mud Australia Salt Bowl | Remodelista

    Above: Julie likes to bring a Salt Bowl by Mud Australia ($16 from Max and Moritz), along with a jar of Wellfleet Sea Salt ($8 for three ounces).

    Summer Hostess Gift, Wood Citrus Squeezer | Remodelista

    Above: Jane presents her hosts with a Wood Citrus Squeezer accompanied by the promise of fresh OJ in the morning, in the hopes that she'll be rewarded with fresh mojitos in the evening; $20 from Alessi.

    AIX Rose Hostess Gift | Remodelista

    Above: Michelle arrives armed with a magnum (or more) of AIX Rosé 2013 Coteaux d'Aix en Provence; $32.95 per bottle or $197.70 per case.

    Summer Hostess Gifts, Waxed Canvas Market Bag | Remodelista

    Above: Justine brings her hosts/hostesses a Waxed Canvas Market Bag for farmer's market excursions. Based on their brown-paper brethren, these are reusable; $60. See 10 Easy Pieces: French Market Totes for more market carriers.

    The Perfect Picnic Basket is a great gift for the outdoorsy host; also see 10 Easy Pieces: Canvas Storage Containers for practical gift ideas. And you could always show up with The World's Most Adorable House Plant as seen on Gardenista.

    Need lots of inspired gifts? Have a look at all of our Gift Guides

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    Chris and Oliver Laugsch, the design-minded brothers behind boutique rental agency Welcome Beyond, are the masterminds of Berlin's most aquatic accommodation. Located on Lake Rummelsburg, a small inlet in the Spree River in the artsy eastern part of Berlin, the 645-square-foot Modern Houseboat features a wall of glass doors overlooking the city, sleeping accommodations for two adults and two kids, a chic streamlined kitchen, and a pair of bicycles for exploring the area.

    Modern Berlin Houseboat | Remodelista

    Above: The houseboat is fronted by a wall of glass doors.

    Modern Houseboat Berlin Deck | Remodelista

    Above: The interior opens onto a wooden deck (good for watching the swans swim by). The dock is next to a nature preserve.

    Modern Houseboat in Berlin Kitchen | Remodelista

    Above: The kitchen is anchored by a concrete island.

    Berlin Modern Houseboat Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: A wood-burning stove heats the space in the cooler months.

    Berlin Modern Houseboat Living Room | Remodelista

    Above: The custom-made wooden seating in the living room can also accommodate extra guests.

    Berlin Modern Houseboat Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: Maritime-themed reading material.

    Berlin Modern Houseboat Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: The bedroom overlooks the river.

    Berlin Modern Houseboat Bath | Remodelista

    Above: A streamlined bath.

    Berlin Modern Houseboat Windows | Remodelista

    Above: Wrap-around windows provide unobstructed views of the city. The center of Berlin is about 15 minutes away by public transport.

    Modern Houseboat Berlin Dock | Remodelista

    Above: The houseboat is moored off a narrow dock.

    Bela Ciao Bicycle Modern Houseboat Berlin | Remodelista

    Above: A pair of Bella Ciao bicycles are available for getting around the city. The boat rents for €250 a night, minimum stay three nights. For more details, go to Welcome Beyond or The Modern House.

    We're exploring standout summer rentals all this week. For more ideas, go to Editors' Picks: 15 Favorite Vacation Rental Resources.

    Interested in life on the water? Have a look at the Ultimate Seattle Houseboat, An NYC Houseboatand Gardenista's DIY Cobalt Blue Planters (Houseboat Optional).

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    The canvas tote bag is America's answer to the multi-purpose French market basket, but instead of tightly woven palm fronds we use a distinctly American vegetation: cotton. Made of canvas typically so thick that it stands up by itself, this classic is more like a box with handles. Along its sides, it proudly exposes its selvedge, and at the base, excess fabric is neatly folded like a well-wrapped present. The handles, often in a contrasting color, are attached with white stitching and wrapped around the body like a fat ribbon. 

    The most famous of all canvas totes is made by L. L. Bean of Maine, and was introduced in 1944 as a sturdy carryall for lugging blocks of ice from the pond to the icehouse to the icebox. The style was later modified (at the advent of the refrigerator, no doubt) and marketed as the Boat and Tote, a suitably jaunty name that caught on with landlubbers and yachtsmen alike. Steele Canvas of Boston, in the bag and hamper business since 1921, initially made their totes for carrying coal. They say there was a logic to using undyed canvas for carrying something so dark and dusty: the thicker canvas (no. 6 duck) doesn't take dye as well as the thinner (no. 8 duck), and it was imperative that these bags stay open while being filled. The classics remain as useful as ever for land and water; here are our favorites:

    Five to Buy

    LL Bean Canvas Tote | Remodelista

    Above: The customizable L. L. Bean Open-Top Boat and Tote Bag is available in a wide range of colors and sizes (customized monogramming is available as well); prices start at $24.95 for the smallest, and go up to $39.95 for the extra large.

    Steele Canvas Coal Bag | Remodelista

    Above: The simple Steele Canvas Bag is $59 from Guideboat Co. in Mill Valley, CA. The canvas tote bag is finally arriving on European shores: The Steele Canvas Coal Bag is now available at A Platform in the UK for £60.

    Lands End Navy Tote | Remodelista

    Above: The Medium Colored Open Top Canvas Tote Bag is $32.50 from Lands' End.

    Parrott Canvas Tradesman Tote | Remodelista

    Above: From North Carolina company Parrott Canvas, the Medium Tradesman Tote is $65 and the Large Tradesman Tote is $75; both are made from heavy-duty 22 oz. cotton duck with Martexin waxed canvas trim and copper rivets.

    ACL Dandux Bag | Remodelista

    Above: The Dandux Coal Bag is made in Maryland by C. R. Daniels and is oddly difficult to find in the US; you can, however, buy one via Japanese company Rakuten for $70. For something similar, consider the Bon Heavy Duty Canvas Tote from Bon of Pennsylvania; $70.72 via Amazon. Photo via A Continuous Lean.

    If, like us, you love canvas, see 10 Easy Pieces: Canvas Storage Containers and 5 Quick Fixes: Canvas Drop Cloths as Instant Decor. And on Gardenista, have a look at 10 Easy Pieces: Canvas Weekend Bags.

    Object Lessons columnist Megan Wilson is the owner of Ancient Industries and curator of the Remodelista 100 presented in the Remodelista book. Watch for her column every Tuesday, and have a look at her past lessons on the Butterfly Chair,  Eames Lounge, and Nautical Hammock. We featured her new shop last week in our post Purveyor of the Practical and the Timeless.

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    Is there anything more versatile than the clip-on light? We all use them in our houses at Remodelista (Julie has the Tolomeo clip light in her kitchen, Sarah likes the Hector from BTC, and Alexa is dreaming of the Cornet clip light from Paris-based Tse Tse). Here are our 10 favorites, ranging from industrial hardware-store versions to more refined takes.

    Looking for office lighting? See Modern Task Lights in our Shop section and 10 Easy Pieces: Adjustable Task Lamps (Under $200).

    Tse & Tse Cornet Clip Lamp in Glazed Ceramic | Remodelista

    Above: By Paris-based Tse & Tse, the Cornet Clip Lamp has a glazed porcelain shade; $235 at Horne.

    Original BTC Hector Small Dome Clip Lamp | Remodelista

    Above: BTC Original Hector Small Dome Clip-On Light with translucent bone china shade and cotton braided cord; $195 at Horne. Read about the history of the BTC Original (hint: chicken coops are involved) in the Remodelista book.

    Tolomeo Clip Spot Light | Remodelista

    Above: Artemide's modern classic, the Tolomeo Clip Spot Light in anodized matte aluminum; $185 at Y Lighting.

    Lumina Naomi Pinza Clip Lamp | Remodelista

    Above: From Italy, the Lumina Naomi Pinza 328 Clip-On Light is finished in aluminum; $228 at Search Lighting.

    Retro Metal Clip On Lamp | Remodelista

    Above: Rockett St. George's Retro Metal Clip-On Light has a wood base; £79.

    PB Teen Hi-Light Clip Light, Remodelista

    Above: Reminiscent of the beloved Jielde Lamp, the Hi-Light Clip Light is available in four colors as well as brushed nickel; $39 at PB Teen.

    Black Gooseneck Clip Lamp, Remodelista

    Above: Black Gooseneck Headboard Clip Lamp (also in white or chrome); $29.99 at Lamps Plus.

    Ikea Fas Clamp Spotlight | Remodelista

    Above: Instead of a flashlight under the covers, my kids use the Fas Clamp Spotlight for bedtime reading; $9.99 at Ikea.

    Fluker's Clamp Lamp, Remodelista

    Above: Fluker's Clamp Lamp; $9.97 at Petco.

    Designers Edge Clamp Lights, Remodelista

    Above: For a loft space that we turned into my husband's office, we clipped HDX Clamp Lamps to the ceiling rafters; $8.47 at Home Depot.

    On the hunt for more lights? See all 737 Pendant Lights in our Shop section, and consult Remodeling 101: How To Choose an Overhead Light Fixture

    Outdoor lighting? Gardenista has lots of ideas.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 14, 2010.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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