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New Small-House book tidbits: Translucent panels

Translucent plastic sheets (rather than polycarbonate panels) wrap this hoop houseTranslucent polycarbonate panels, like those you might find in a greenhouse, make an appearance in a few of the houses and retreats featured in my upcoming small-houses book. 

It's an affordable material and often easy to work with since some incarnations can be cut with a knife. But mostly, it admits dreamy, diffuse light and partially obscures views to provide a hint of privacy and a touch of mystery.

The opportunity to juxtapose translucency and transparency, as in the greenhouse photo above, allows for a focused framed view within a filtered daylight surround. When back lit, it softly extends hazy views. When front lit, it subtly masks views and piques curiosity. It's a popular choice for interior applications and on outbuildings. Plus, it's available in a variety of colors to cast a warm or cool glow. I'm considering translucent panels for our garage doors.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Friday, October 17, 2014 at 5:16PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off

New Small-House book tidbits: Metal roofing as siding

Corrugated metal, often used as roofing, serves as siding here.In my upcoming small-houses book, a few of the houses cleverly adapt materials for different uses. Metal roofing, for instance, on a house might appear as siding on an outbuilding, or vice versa. In both appliations, the metal is highly durable. Its use in different locations can help tie different buidlings or different elements of one building together. Since there's a huge range of metal products that are adaptable to both installation types, there's plenty of room to get creative, all while potentially unifying a collection of buildings or a collection of building elements. A multipurpose material can be a good fit for a house chock-full of multipurpose solutions.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 11:47AM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in , | Comments Off

New Small-House book tidbits: Planted roofs

Drought-tolerant sedums are a popular choice for planted roofs.My new book for The Taunton Press, tentatively titled The New Small House, is well underway. We've been busy selecting houses to feature, scheduling photo shoots, and beginning to create the content that someday (hopefully) you will find on a shelf in a store near you. As the book takes shape, I aim to share here some tidbits of what I'm learning along the way. 

A few of the houses in the book feature planted roofs, which provide insulation and an effective away to mitigate storm-water run-off, all while beautifully complementing the landscape and the air we breathe. A New-England homeowner I interviewed mentioned that Motherplants was her source for planted-roof inspiration. One visit to the website, and you'll see why. I have to admit I pondered if someone like myself, who doesn't have a planted roof, might order a planted pre-grown mat to place in her garden/yard as a starter-garden of sorts. (Keep in mind, I'm a bit of an idjit gardener.) The planted mats are simply that lovely. Give it a look, and consider where you might incorporate a planted roof. I've already proposed one to a client for her backyard retreat...

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 4:59PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in , | Comments Off

Design snapshot: Flower bed

Here's another clever object-turned-planter à la the planted bench that I posted not long ago. What's especially brilliant about this intervention is that the bed frame isn't actually planted. It's merely placed such that the plantings appear to emerge from the frame and spill over like generous bed clothes. Our expectations of what a bed is and how its frame might be planted enable the gardener's slight of hand.

Plus, it's fun to see a well-realized pun flourish.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 8:41AM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in , | Comments Off

Summer 2014 garden tours

I've been lamenting how I haven't had time this spring to post my usual list of recommended upcoming New England garden tours. Then, today, much to my delight, I discovered that WBUR's The ARTery did much of the work for me. Follow The ARTery link to plan your garden tour outings for the 2014 season. I'll be headed to the Newport Secret Garden Tour on Saturday and hope to see you there.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 2:57PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off
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