Defining a House Style: What Is a Ranch Home?

Until recently, the ranch home was the most popular home style in America. However, have you ever stopped to wonder what made this style capture our hearts for decades?

It’s time to take a closer look at exactly what goes into a ranch home. Read on to learn more about its history, the distinct types and some distinguishing characteristics. Chances are good that by the end of this post, you’ll fall in love with ranch homes all over again.

ranch home

Traditionally, ranch home design blends into a California landscape. Image: Zias Building Design & Documentation

History of ranch homes

The inspiration for ranch-style homes as we know them today can be traced back to North American Spanish Colonial architecture. Like ranches, these homes often featured single-story options that were best for battling the Southwestern heat. Rooflines were low with wide eaves. These homes were often U-shaped rather than straight across, but it’s easy to see the similarities.

By the 1920s, true ranchers — though they were then known as “ramblers” — came into existence. The style experienced its true boom in popularity after World War II, where its ease of construction and customizability made it a favorite among the many returning soldiers who were looking to settle down with their families.

By the 1950s, ranch mania had hit full swing. This style of home accounted for nine out every 10 new homes in America, and each region had put its own spin on the look. It wasn’t until the 1970s, when tastes veered more toward two-story living again, that production truly slowed down.


Some ranch subtypes have multiple levels. Image: Croteau Contracting

Types of ranch homes

California ranch

Originally designed by architect Cliff May for his own personal use, this style of home was meant to be sprawling and to blend in with the California landscape. It borrows influence from the Arts and Crafts movement, as well as Spanish Colonial architecture. These homes stand out for their L- or U-shape with a courtyard in the middle.

Suburban ranch

This is the version of the ranch that was made popular in the post-World War II boom. These homes are essentially smaller, simplified versions of the California originals. They’re often built on concrete slabs and feature tract material. However, they still share the open concept floorplan and connection with the outdoors with their predecessors.

Split-level ranch

Though these houses look like a traditional suburban ranch from the street, they actually feature three levels of living. In these homes, the front door leads into the main living area, dining room and kitchen. Then, on one side of the home, there is a half-staircase leading up to the bedrooms and another half-staircase leading down to additional living space.

Raised ranch

Sometimes called split-entry houses, these homes got their name from the fact that, when you walk in the door, you have a choice between walking up or downstairs. In these homes, utilitarian spaces like garages and rec rooms are often directly beneath the kitchen, bedrooms and main living area.

Storybook ranch

Also known as Cinderella ranches, these homes distinguish themselves: Unlike the simple exteriors common in ranch homes, these are full of charm. Exposed rafters, diamond-shaped window panes and ornamental trim are common features.


Ranch homes are always low-lying. Image: South Pointe Construction

Defining features of a ranch home


  • Long, low-pitch roofline
  • A mix of materials on the exterior (most commonly stucco, wood, brick or stone)
  • Cross-gabled, side-gabled or hip roof
  • Deep, overhanging eaves
  • Large windows
  • Sliding glass doors
  • Attached garages
  • Back patio


  • Single-story living
  • Open concept living area, dining room and kitchen
  • Separated bedrooms (usually three)
  • Full basement
  • Simple adornments and architectural details

With simple trappings and lots of opportunities for customization, it’s no surprise that ranch homes are still popular today. Does this style attract you, too?

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12 Dreamy Velvet Sofas You’ll Love

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Velvet sofas have found their way back into our living rooms. Once thought of as formal, velvet sofas and chairs had a renaissance in the 1960s when global decor was hot and earth tones ruled. 

Your velvet sofa can be a statement piece that you decorate around, rather than a predictable staple in your living room. This is your chance to lose the beige couch and dated accent pillows.  The new velvet sofas are often rich with jewel tones like royal blue and emerald green, but pastel colors are popping up in our living rooms, too. Here are some of our favorite velvet sofas in luscious colors: 

Velvet Sofas in Jewel Tones

A velvet sofa in a jewel tone doesn’t have to be formal (unless you want it to be). The styling and shape of your sofa is the determining factor in how it will fit with your decorating style. Clean lines in any fabric are perfect for mid-century modernor contemporary style, while soft sofas that sink in when you sit are a natural choice for boho or global-chic rooms. More traditional styles like the classic Chesterfield sofa can work in a variety of decorating styles, not just formal spaces.

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navy blue velvet sofa

Gertrudes Chesterfield velvet sofa in Navy, by Willa Arlo Interiors, is a focal point for a simple living room. The sofa’s silver nailheads highlight bright metallic accessories. Image:Wayfair

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purple velvet sofa

The Harcourt Chesterfield Sofa in purple is a bold color choice for your living room. Image:All Modern

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green velvet sofa

On-trend brass legs give the Avec emerald green sofa contemporary flair. Image:CB2

Pretty Pastel Velvet Sofas

We can’t hide our love for today’s pastel colors in decorating. The pastel trend is still going strong and is showing signs of joining ageless neutrals in our homes. It’s okay to treat your pink or pale blue sofa as a neutral, adding saturated accent colors to complete your palette. The popularity of brushed gold and copper lighting and fixtures makes them a stylish match for these softly-colored fabrics.

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Aqua velvet sofa

The Gilmore Chesterfield Sofa in turquoise blue is an easy addition to your living room and works in any decorating style,  from beach-inspired to modern farmhouse. Image:Wayfair

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pink velvet sofa

It’s easy to fall in love with the Kendall velvet sofa in blush pink. (We have.) Image:World Market

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blush pink velvet sofa

The Leonelle slub velvet sofa in Rosewood has a comfortable vintage style. Image:Anthropologie

Velvet Sofas in Rich Neutrals

Do you love the idea of velvet, but think it may be too fancy for your living room? Look for a neutral sofa that fits into your color palette. While neutrals are a simple way to provide a backdrop for your favorite accent colors, you’ll want to order or bring home several fabric swatches to make sure you find the right one. Neutral colors can be warm or cool, so they’re not completely interchangeable in any color palette.

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neutral beige velvet sofa

Let the Derrill velvet sofa in Sky Neutral be your decorating canvas with colorful accessories and accent furniture. Image:Birch Lane

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Gray velvet sofa

The Bea Chesterfield velvet sofa in grey is a new twist on a classic. Pair with pastel accents for a totally updated style. Image:All Modern

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green velvet sofa

Featuring contemporary lines with mid-century modern features, the Roddy velvet sofa in Royale Apple velvet is a versatile sofa choice. Image:Joybird

Vibrant Velvet Sofas

A richly-colored velvet sofa is definitely a statement piece in your home. Your vibrant velvet sofa will be the main accent color in your palette, so you’ll want to add neutral accessories (including black and white). We love the look of bold artwork that picks up the color of a statement-piece sofa for a curated look.

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Pink velvet sofa

The Kittrell Chesterfield velvet sofa in vibrant pink is a stunning accent for a white and gray living room. Image:Wayfair

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gold velvet sofa

Get comfortable mid-century modern style with the Matrix Yarrow Gold sofa. Image:Article

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rust velvet sofa

The clean lines of the Club velvet sofa in Rust are just right for a contemporary room. Image:CB2



Getting Ready for College? You’ll Love Kirkland’s Trendy Take on Dorm Room Design

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Every college student knows that a cool dorm room is a must-have. With that in mind, Kirkland’s decided to do some digging into the top trends for the coming school year. What it found is not surprising: If you want to stay on-trend, metals, indoor plants and chic storage options are the name of the game. Though it doesn’t have a formal dorm room collection, Kirkland’s inventory backs up its research.

We’re not surprised to see these styles top the list. Mixed metals and succulents have been some of the most popular design elements of the last few years. That said, what sets many of these pieces apart is that they feel age-appropriate. They’re cool and grown up, yet still fun and playful enough to feel right at home in a college dorm.

With options ranging from full-on furniture to smaller décor pieces, there’s something to fit just about every style in order to make your dorm room feel like you. Plus, with individual pieces ranging from $7.99 to $59.99, there’s also something to fit a variety of budgets.

Don’t believe us? See for yourself.

Check out the hottest trends in dorm room decorating:

Mega metallics

Indoor plants

Chic storage options

All items can be purchased on the Kirkland’s online store or at one of its many national locations.

What’s your favorite dorm room trend? Are you a fan of metals, plants, storage or all of the above? Let us know your vote in the comments. Photography by Kirkland’s.

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Here Are the 10 Most Affordable Cities for Renters In 2018

Zillow has released a report of the most affordable cities for renters. They looked at the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. to zero in on the 10 most affordable cities for 2018.

This isn’t a simple list of where you can pay the least amount of rent. Researchers also considered work, income opportunities and population, which add to the quality of life. To make the grade, monthly rent in these cities had to be no more than 30 percent of the average income for the market.

Is your city one of the most affordable cities for renters?

1. Philadelphia, PA

Household Income Spent on Rent: 21.9%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,083

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most affordable cities for renters

A 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,064 square foot home for rent in Philadelphia for $1,150 per month.

The city of brotherly love welcomes renters with open arms. The universities attract a large student population, making Philly a fairly young place to live. In fact, US News says, “Philly is a great spot for dating, as a little more than half of the population is single.”

2. St. Louis, MO

Household Income Spent on Rent: 22.2%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,150

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most affordable cities for renter

You can rent a large, 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1,165 square foot loft with views at the Vanguard for $1,139 per month.

St. Louis is a family-friendly city. Its central location attracts tech startups, aircraft manufacturers and global financial investment companies. The charming, historic neighborhoods feature Victorian homes, farmhouses, two-story colonials and traditional ranch houses.

3. Oklahoma City, OK

Household Income Spent on Rent: 22.8%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,100

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most affordable cities for renter

A lovely 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,245 square foot apartment for rent for $1,000 per month.

You’ll feel way out west in Oklahoma City. You’ll find cowboys and horse shows are the norm here. It’s slowly becoming more cosmopolitan with a new restaurant and nightlife scene but Oklahoma City is still home to the world’s largest cattle market.

4. Raleigh, NC

Household Income Spent on Rent: 22.9%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,441

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most affordable cities for renter

This 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,600 square foot home in Raleigh has a fenced yard and is close to the Beltline. It’s for rent for $1,375 per month.

Along with being one of the most affordable cities for renters, Raleigh is also great for job-seekers. A strong job market in research, healthcare, tech and education placed Raleigh in Glassdoor’s list of top 5 cities for jobs.

5. Birmingham, AL

Household Income Spent on Rent: 23.1%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,054

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most affordable cities for renter

Modern living featuring 2 bedrooms and 2 baths in 1,213 square feet at The Crowne for $1,015 per month. The complex includes a swimming pool and a gym.

Living in Birmingham revolves around sports and the outdoors. The city is home to the Southwestern Athletic Conference. And if you’re not a sports fan, there are lovely hiking trails in Red Mountain Park.

6. Kansas City, MO

Household Income Spent on Rent: 24.0%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,278

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most affordable cities for renter

Kinsley Forest Luxury Apartments offers apartments for rent. This one is $1,299 per month and includes 2 bedrooms and 2 baths in 1,010 square feet. The property features resort living including a large swimming pool area, outdoor barbecues, a club house and gym.

Spread out over two states and two rivers, Kansas City has a lively music scene. Jazz legend Charlie Parker was from Kansas City. As more millennials move to this city for its affordable housing and expanding job market, the area is quickly growing as a creative community with plenty of coffee shops, bars and galleries.

7. Indianapolis, IN

Household Income Spent on Rent: 24.4%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,204

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Resort living is possible at the Island Club Apartments in Indianapolis. A 1,055 square foot, 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath is $1,055 per month.

There’s always something to do in Indianapolis. One of the world’s largest children’s museums is here, as well as miles of recreational walking and running trails. The Circle City has plenty to offer in the form of entertainment. And for sports fans, Indy is the racing capital of the world and has plenty of professional and college sports teams to cheer on.

8. Cincinnati, OH

Household Income Spent on Rent: 24.5%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,282

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A poolside clubhouse at Stetson Square is one of the many high-end amenities available. A 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,067 square foot apartment rents for $1,320 per month.

Cincinnati attracts families due to the city’s fame for having excellent Montessori, public and private schools. Several Fortune 500 companies recruit national and international talent to make Cincinnati their home.

9. Charlotte, NC

Household Income Spent on Rent: 24.7%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,301

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Stone Ridge apartments are spacious, bright and packed with many amenities including a fitness center, a large outdoor pool area and a fireplace in many of the apartments. 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartments start at $1,180 for a minimum of 1,000 square feet.

With a median annual salary of $49,600 and a vibrant nightlife, Charlotte isn’t just one of the most affordable cities for renters; it also ranks #22 in the best places to live according to US News. The charming city is still old-fashioned and full of southern charm, yet the bars and restaurants offer the cosmopolitan vibe you’d expect in larger cities.

10. Detroit, MI

Household Income Spent on Rent: 24.8%
Zillow’s Average Monthly Rent Payment: $1,209

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You can rent a large, 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 3,400 square foot house like this one on Zillow for $1,350 per month in Detroit.

Detroit suffered from a mass exodus of people after economic troubles but it appears to be making a comeback. Whole Foods opened a store in Detroit’s midtown in 2013. The M-1 Rail, which is a new streetcar that runs down the city’s main thoroughfare from the suburbs, connects both worlds. Small businesses and new restaurants are popping up, making Detroit attractive to renters.

Do you live in one of the most affordable cities for renters, or do you think that Zillow missed your town? We’d love to hear which city you’d add to the list.



4 Design Tips From ‘Queer Eye’ Star Bobby Berk

bobby berk design tips

“Queer Eye” star Bobby Berk is captivating the design world – and Netflix bingers. Image: Builder

The “Queer Eye” reboot has taken the world by storm. Whether it’s women fawning over Antoni Porowski or social media living for the next sassy statement from Jonathan Van Ness, the internet is abuzz with news about the Fab Five. Meanwhile, the show’s resident design expert, Bobby Berk, is quietly transforming entire homes in just a few days’ time.

Clearly, Berk is no stranger to the way good design can rejuvenate a space – and the person living in it. If you want to bring some of that transformation into your own home or apartment, check out these four design tips from Bobby Berk.

bobby berk - wall

Give any room a fresh feel with textured walls. Image: Bobby Berk Home

Wake up your walls

It’s tempting to adopt a set-it-and-forget-it mentality with our walls. You paint them, hang a piece of art and you’re done – right? Sure, you could be; but Berk reminds us that one of the best ways to freshen up a room is to turn to our walls, as he told Design Milk and PopSugar. He recommends using a notable piece of accent art or – if you’re ready to go all-in – a textured accent wall. Accent walls are nothing new. Instead of turning to your paint bucket, though, think about adding some structure to the wall’s surface. Wood or faux brick are great options.

bobby berk - lighting

A warmly lit room feels welcoming. Image: Bobby Berk Home

Consider temperature

If you really care about interior design, you’ve thought about every facet of every room. The paint hues are carefully selected, the textiles are thoughtfully layered, the furniture is set just so. But there’s one small yet crucial area we often overlook, Berk told Co.Design. “People don’t realize that lighting can change the whole look of a place and the feel,” he says. He doesn’t mean finding chic light fixtures, either. Berk says the amount of light and its warmth or coolness play a significant role in a room. Too much cool lighting makes a room feel sterile, and not enough light makes it feel small, as he reminded Sunset. He recommends choosing warmer-hued bulbs and checking that your lighting matches from room to room.

bobby berk - storage

Add enough storage to keep your space clear. Image: Bobby Berk Home

Find more storage

How does Bobby Berk completely transform large spaces in just a week? A key tool is storage. By finding a place for everything, you instantly make a room feel put-together. When talking about how helping Bobby Camp (Season 1, Episode 5) organize his home helped him organize his life, Berk told Metropolis, “When people are happy in their space, it really spills out to the rest of their lives.”

By creating enough storage to keep things in order, you improve your happiness and your room’s flow. Berk gave PopSugar some great tips on increasing storage: mount cabinets, create storage under bench seating or other multipurpose furniture and don’t forget about the space under your bed.

bobby berk - tempaper

Dress up your space without commitment using removable wallpaper. Image: Tempaper by Bobby Berk

Try temporary wallpaper

Berk, ever the accent wall advocate, knows that taking a big design leap can feel scary. On his blog, he points out that temporary wallpapers are an ideal way to dip your toe into a bold pattern or bright print without fully committing. He even has a line of them with Tempaper. We’ve rounded up some removable wallpaper ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Follow in Berk’s footsteps by exploring deeper hues and statement prints.

He also points out that temporary wallpaper isn’t just for walls. You can use it in the backs of cabinets and bookcases for a fun splash. Feeling overwhelmed by the print you just put up? He’s got a tip for that, too. Add some matted art to create white space that can balance the wall.

Whether you’ve never seen an episode of the showor you’re a diehard Fab Five fan, these design tips can help you transform your space. Do you have a favorite Bobby Berk design from “Queer Eye”?

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Lofts That Inspire: From Industrial Spaces to Urban Homes

Lofts have come a long way since they were first used as makeshift living spaces decades ago. Today, they have become inspiring living spaces for those who want a more urban home. Lofts began when factories and industrial buildings were erected in the late 19th century for the purpose of mass-producing goods and wares in a time period that was not known for health and safety compliance. These spaces were built for their convenient proximity to other commercial buildings and transportation hubs.

Fast forward to the 1960s. Lofts were extremely cold or hot (not properly ventilated) open concept spaces with huge windows, exposed industrial fittings and an abundance of light that made them excellent work spaces for artists. These dusty and drafty places were often at the top of a very steep flight, or two, of wooden, dimly-lit stairs and were located on some typically non-residential street. However, they slowly evolved into more permanent living spaces when artists decided to camp out and live and work in these spaces that could accommodate large works of art.

Lofted spaces make the most of the room they have. Image: Coupdeville

Many of these occupants were illegal squatters, though they made these spaces habitable with ingenuity and style. Before long, large cities such as New York, London and Toronto passed laws to make it legal — if one was a certified artist — to live and work in these spaces. Galleries soon came to discover new artists, followed by cafes and restaurants. Landlords eventually realized that all this creativity was increasing property values. Today, most loft spaces have been fully renovated and are completely habitable. In large urban areas, loft spaces can sell for millions of dollars.

New York State of Mind

New York City is home to blocks and blocks of loft buildings and spaces. One of the best known is the “Little Singer” building at 561 Broadway, one of New York City’s finest architectural masterpieces.

lofts - singer

A loft in the Little Singer Building with a dynamic view of New York City. Image:

It was erected in 1903 and designed by Ernest Flagg, who later completed the 47-story Singer Tower office tower at 149 Broadway at Liberty Street in the Financial District. At the time of its completion, it was the world’s tallest building. It was demolished in 1967 to make way for the U.S. Steel Building. Flagg’s original, 12-story building would then become known as the “Little Singer” building.

Built to house the corporate offices and factory space for the Singer Manufacturing Company, it was converted in 1979. After conversion, it became a cooperative with a mix of residential and commercial uses including 20 offices and 15 live/work units for artists. It now has 22 cooperative apartments with remarkable views and outdoor spaces.

Six on a Wave

Toronto, also known as the “Six” for its area code 416, has many residential lofts. Gone are the days of late night rock ‘n’ roll parties in warehouse spaces with paper thin walls that doubled as musician’s apartments. Today, the commerce and business capital of Canada has some of the most expensive real estate in the world. That includes many loft spaces that have been updated and renovated. One of the best-known lofts in Toronto is The Tip Top Tailors Building, now known as the Tip Top Lofts. A former 1920s industrial building converted to condominium lofts, this landmark building is located on 637 Lake Shore Boulevard West. It’s just west of Bathurst Street, near the waterfront. It was the former headquarters of Tip Top Tailors Ltd., a Canadian menswear retailer.

lofts - tip top

Tip Top Lofts in Toronto, Canada is one of the country’s most recognizable loft buildings. Image: Natasha McColl.

Designed by Bishop and Miller architects using Art Deco design, the building was completed in 1929 and housed the manufacturing, warehousing, retail and office operations of Tip Top Tailors Ltd. Tip Top Tailors eventually became a part of clothing conglomerate Dylex Limited.

In 1972, the building was designated as a heritage structure by the City of Toronto. In spring 2002, Dylex sold the property to Context Development, which converted it into condominium lofts. The conversion was designed by the architects at Alliance of Toronto. The conversion included the addition of six stories on the roof. The neon ‘Tip Top Tailors’ rooftop sign was retained and given a slant. Today, it is one of the most recognizable buildings in the capital city.

The Big Easy

Big open spaces in the Big Easy aren’t very easy to come by. In a city with a limited amount of warehouse space that fits the loft criteria, finding a unique loft space can be challenging. However, there are some excellent choices in the Warehouse District of the city. At 747 Magazine (aptly named for its address), you’ll find multi-level homes with private elevators, interior staircases and wrap-around balconies overlooking the city.

Lofts at 747 Magazine come with an unobstructed view of downtown New Orleans. Image: Meaghan Clark.

Owner John Shoup has both a workspace and private residence at 747 Magazine. He has been in the building for over 20 years. Initially used as a secondary home in the city, the entrepreneur and business owner is transitioning to this urban setting full-time. Shoup enjoys the practicality of living in the city center, while still enjoying a residence that remains very private. His view of the downtown skyline from three different angles is enviable and is something he fully appreciates.

Just three blocks away, one of Shoup’s employees, David Mahoney, also lives in a downtown loft with a great view of the city. St Joe’s Lofts is a building geared toward providing affordable living space for artists and musicians, something Mahoney appreciates. The lobby and hallways of this building is full of unique paintings, drawings and sculptures created by residents and available for purchase at any time. Mahoney enjoys living among other artists and says the creative environment helps to foster closer relationships and a neighborly attitude.

Loft living doesn’t mean you have to give up outdoor space. Image: Meaghan Clark.

Loft living benefits

Convenient access to shops, services and entertainment is one of the major benefits of loft living. Many loft residents also enjoy access to public transportation and the ability to cycle and walk. Those who take up residence in a loft gain the ability to make a unique living space that isn’t typical and that can be personalized. In short, lofts give those with vision and creativity an opportunity to create a home that inspires.

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Scrap Wood Outdoor Bench Seat | DIY garden bench plans

Add a little extra seating with this simple outdoor bench made from scrap 2x4s and deck boards. I built it in one night using nothing but leftover lumber from my DIY floating deck build.

Since I whipped this thing together as one of my hair-brained ideas at 9PM (please tell me I’m not the only one who does that???), I didn’t take a single picture while I built. So there aren’t any assembly photos. I DO, however, have some awesome gifs K helped me whip up to let you see it in action.

Leg assembly:

Then bring it all together:

And when you see those gifs, you might already know what that means: there are printable build plans, too! Click below to download them. Woodworking plans are available for FREE to all of my email subscribers (and same goes for my cross stitch patterns). So it’s really simple: if you already subscribe, you can just enter your name & email address for access on the library page (it should pass you right through; I just tested it again today to make sure it works). If not, you can sign up and have access to these plans and all the other free plans I publish.

How to build this outdoor bench seat / garden bench from scrap wood:

What you’ll need:

Here’s how to build it:

1. Cut deck boards to length – 25 1/2″ each. These will serve as the bench seat.

2. Cut 2×4 boards to length. These will serve as the tops and middle sections of each leg, respectively.

  • 8 boards – 13 1/4″ long
  • 4 boards – 11 1/2″ long

3. Use 2 of the 11 1/2″ boards to form the top and bottom of one leg. Sandwich 2 of the 13 1/4″ boards in between these two to form a box. Screw the 4 pieces together using exterior screws (I like GRX for this because it’s self-tapping and sinks into the wood, so no pre-drilling and it won’t stick out when people sit down).

4. Insert 2 more of the 13 1/4″ boards in the middle of the box-leg structure you created in step 3, spacing them equally. Screw together. I used another scrap 2×4 as a temporary spacer to wedge in between each board as I screwed them in.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to make the second bench leg.

6. Fasten the two deck boards on top, keeping each board flush with the end of each leg. This will create a small gap in the middle of the seat between boards.

7. Finish however you like (stain or exterior paint).


Short & sweet posts aren’t exactly my M.O., but what can I say? I like storytelling. However, I had JUST enough energy to save these pieces from the burn pile, and I’m glad I did. This scrap wood bench has already come in handy on the new deck, so it’s kind of nice to have a quick and easy idea ready to share. I’m hoping to build a couple more as a set once the pub shed is finished and I have more scraps. Not too bad for about twenty minutes!

Don’t forget to pin it!

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Scrap Wood Outdoor Bench Seat | DIY garden bench plans


Puff Pastry Pinwheels – Italian Style

Puff Pastry Pinwheels are a mouthwatering appetizer, yet they’re so easy to make. Just a few simple ingredients come together quickly for a treat that’s sure to impress your friends and family.

puff pastry pinwheels are perfect for your next partyWhat’s up everybody? Pam and Sara from Biscuits and Burlap here stopping by again with a yummy recipe for Puff Pastry Pinwheels – Italian Style. Have you noticed that everything we’ve brought to the Ugly Duckling House has been either a cocktail or an appetizer? That’s because we love a party, and so does Sarah! Slap a drink in one hand and a munchie in the other and we are happy campers!

But, the truth is, we’re also known to make a meal off appetizers (and cocktails) on any given night. It doesn’t have to be a true party. It can be a party for two. Apps and a drink just seem to make any evening feel special.

Other recipes brought to you by Biscuits and Burlap

In case you missed it you can catch up by visiting our previous posts:

  • Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Dip

Puff Pastry Pinwheels with Prosciutto

Puff pastry is one of those products that is so versatile. There are literally dozens of delicious treats you can make with them including desserts, side dishes, entrees and appetizers like these. If you do a search you can find lots of roll-up or pinwheel recipes, but we’ve come up with something unique with the addition of prosciutto.

And then there’s the added fun challenge of pronouncing it: Puff Pastry Pinwheels with Prosciutto. Try saying that three times really fast. To top it off, there’s also Parmesan cheese. While it may not exactly roll off your tongue, these little treats are promised to make your tongue (and the rest of you) happy.

Puff Pastry Pinwheels are easy – just follow these tips

  • Use your puff pastry as soon as it thaws, or straight out of the fridge. It’s much easier to work with when it’s cold
  • Use Mozarella cheese that’s finely grated. It will make them roll up more tightly.
  • Put the whole roll in the freezer for 20 minutes before you slice.
  • Cut with a serrated knife and use a sawing motion
  • Bake on parchment paper. This stuff is like heaven on a cardboard roll.

The ingredients are few and simple: besides the puff pastry, you just need pesto (another “P” word), thinly sliced prosciutto, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. That’s it!


Puff Pastry Pinwheels – Italian Style

An easy, but elegant appetizer. You can easily use two sheets of puff pastry and double the other ingredients to make enough for a crowd.

  • Author:Sara and Pam Brand – Biscsuits and Burlap


  • 1 sheet puff pastry (found in the freezer section)
  • 2 Tablespoons pesto
  • About 5 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 3/4 cup finely grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. roll puff pastry on lightly floured surface to an approximate 10″ x 12″ rectangle
  2. Spread pastry with pesto, staying about 1/2″ away from one of the long edges
  3. Lay a single layer of prosciutto over the whole thing
  4. Top with mozzarella and then Parmesan cheeses, and then pat everything down with your hands.
  5. Starting with long edge (the one with pesto all the way to the edge) roll up, keeping the roll as tight as possible.
  6. Pinch the edges to seal.
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for about 20 minutes.
  8. Unwrap, trim uneven ends and then slice into 18-20 slices, using a serrated knife.
  9. Bake on parchment paper lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

puff pastry pinwheels are perfect for your next party

Pop over to Biscuits and Burlap for a visit anytime

We would love to have you. Here are a few of our recipes that we think you’ll like, but there are plenty of others to browse around and check out!

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Puff Pastry Pinwheels with Prosciutto, Pesto, and Cheese


Patterned Tile: What the Portuguese Can Teach Us About Style

patterned tile

Look to the Portuguese for patterned tile that transforms a room. Image: CTI Kitchens

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During any renovation or new build, the designer – or design-minded property owner – is tasked with balancing functionality and style. Choices present themselves at every turn. Will you prioritize form or function? Blending your vision with the realities of a space is a major undertaking. If you’re in the thick of this process and feel overwhelmed, we’ve got good news. Patterned tile can deliver both high impact and high function. Your days of deliberating are over!

The patterned tile revival in the US leans into Mediterranean culture. If you’re looking for inspiration to turn a simple stretch of tile into a permanent art piece, go straight to the source. Portugal has been famous for its patterned tile – called azulejo – for centuries. That’s right, centuries. Did you know that Lisbon is older than Rome, Paris or London? Rich with history and endowed with natural beauty, this historical city uses stunning patterned tile to enchant its visitors at every turn. Bring the romance of Europe’s coastline and the significance of centuries-old design into your home for a style slam dunk. Here are a few examples of rooms that use patterned tile to make a splash em estilo português.

Patterned tile in the kitchen

Every kitchen needs a backsplash. Excessive use of subway tile and shiplap may have you poring over style guides and design magazines for a fresher option. Tile with interesting shapes and patterns delivers exactly that.

Maintain an airy feel in the kitchen while adding visual interest. Image: Kat Nelson Designs

Like we said, designing a room requires a careful balance of form and function. You want to choose pieces that are visually interesting. You also want the space to feel livable and comfortable. Too much design can overwhelm a room. Painted tiles grab the eye even as they invite it to take in the full space.

patterned tile - minimal kitchen

Minimal kitchens are trending. Adding tile can keep them from feeling too spartan. Image: The Stephen Neall Group

Do you love the clean, minimal lines of modern kitchens? If you want to give your kitchen a streamlined look but are worried it will feel austere, add a playful element through tile.

patterned tile - kitchen backsplash

Blend timeless and trendy with a patterned tile backsplash. Image: Savvy Interiors

Choosing a backsplash often feels daunting. There are so many options available. How do you choose one you’ll love long-term that still has a wow factor? Painted tile marries a classic, timeless look with a style that will elicit rave reviews from your guests.

If you want more help picking the perfect kitchen tile, we have six tips for you.

Patterned tile in the bathroom

Looking to make a big mark in a small space? Look no further.

patterned tile - bathroom floor

A patterned floor can help you take a compact bathroom from blah to beautiful. Image: Designs by Human

Unless you’re one of the lucky few with a spacious master bath, you’re probably working with some square footage constraints in your bathroom. Laying interesting tile for your floor allows you to add a design element that doesn’t take up any room.

patterned tile - bathroom wall

Tile doesn’t have to stop at the floor. Image: Joinery Group

Continue your pattern up the wall for a look that’s simultaneously clean and engaging. Tile walls are ideal for the high-humidity bathroom environment. Plus, they’re stylish enough that you don’t need to do much else to make your bathroom look finished.

patterned tile - bathroom shelf

Even a small amount of tile can make a big impact. Image: Ardesia Design

If you like the Portuguese tile trend but aren’t fully ready to commit, look for smaller spaces in which to incorporate it. The small insets in the photo above get a makeover with painted tile and provide just enough pop.

You can find more bathroom tile inspiration here.

Patterned tile outdoors

Life al fresco is synonymous with Mediterranean living. You don’t have to limit your use of patterned tile to the indoors. Use it in your outdoor spaces to give them a summery feel.

patterned tile - patio

A patterned patio invites you for shared meals and long twilight chats. Image: Studio Hus

Fun, colorful tile makes any patio feel party-ready. Pay homage to warm Portuguese evenings sipping porto and listening to Fado music with a patterned patio you won’t want to leave.

patterned tile - steps

Give your home’s entry a Mediterranean makeover. Image: Rollins Andrew Interiors

If you’ve been hunting for a way to amp up your curb appeal, patterned tile is perfect. Nestle some underneath the steps leading up to your home for a stylish way to greet your guests before they even reach your front door.

With so many ways to incorporate Portuguese patterned tile in and out of your home, you’re sure to find one that gives you that perfect blend of style and function. Did any of the images above inspire you?

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Floor Your Guests With These 2018 Rug Trends

2018 rug trends

These 2018 rug trends can help you pick the perfect addition to your floor. Image: Allison Lind Interiors

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Perhaps it was the Dude who said it best: A rug can really tie a room together. Laying down a single piece of fabric has the potential to completely transform a space. Rugs can take a room from cavernous to cozy, from disconnected to designed. Every decorator knows just how important a rug can be. Think of it as a huge piece of art.

That being said, it’s also something you’re going to walk on – and have to look at – every day. You want a rug that is visually interesting but won’t overwhelm a room. Picking the perfect rug can be quite the challenge. Fortunately, this year’s most popular rugs can serve as inspiration and guidance. Here are some 2018 rug trends that will help you choose a rug to suit your space and floor your guests.

2018 rug trends - tassels

Liven up your rug’s edges – and your space – with tassels. Image: Blissful Abode Interiors

1. Tassels and tufts

Tassels are everywhere, from party banners to key rings. The tassel has made its comeback and it’s here to stay. The only problem with the tassel trend is that it toes a very fine line between playful and childish. That is, until it comes to rugs. Because rugs have a long history of being tasseled, some additional texture on the edging of a rug looks decidedly in style. That gives you the freedom to explore differently textured tassels, interesting lengths, tufts and more.

In short, playing with tassels and tufts allows us to color outside the lines  – or even blur those lines altogether. If you’re looking to add some fun to your living spaces, this should be your favorite of the 2018 rug trends. A rug with an interesting edge will deliver.

2018 rug trends - multi-textured

Multi-textured rugs add interest to the room and to your feet. Image: Jay Jeffers

2. Multi-texture

2018 is all about texture. We’re bringing chunky blankets, rich fabric wall hangings and live edge furniture into our spaces. We want to give our eyes and hands something to latch onto, and texture delivers. Why not expand that to your feet? A multi-textured rug doesn’t just add intriguing design to your space, it also makes it more interesting to walk around.

A multi-textured rug can also come to the rescue when you’re torn between a plush rug and one that looks more refined. The different lengths of pile give the rug a sculptured look, so you don’t have to choose between something soft and something sleek.

2018 rug trends - geometric bohemian

Geometric shapes guide bohemian vibes for a trendy rug. Image: Kim Pearson

3. Geometric bohemian

Geometric bohemian is one of the biggest 2018 rug trends. Boho isn’t new to the rug scene by any means. But when it comes to flooring, the loose, flowy feel of bohemian decor needs to be reigned in. Geometric patterns provide the perfect opportunity to lean into the boho feel without putting down an overly complicated visual. This isn’t new, either. Kilim rugs embody this trend, and they date back to the fifth century.

Even if you don’t traditionally choose bohemian decor for your home, you shouldn’t overlook this trend. The geo-boho mashup lends any room an air of softness and invitation. It works well in a nursery, where you want everything to feel warm and gentle, but it’s also perfect in a guest room, where you want people to feel relaxed and comfortable. It even blends beautifully into office spaces.

4. Responsibly sourced

Part decor trend, part social movement, people have started thinking about where their rugs are coming from and the impact they’re having on the environment. West Elm even rolled out a line of Fair Trade rugs because it wanted to take the guesswork out of the ethical rug buying process.

Thinking about the supply chain that brought your rug to your home is multi-faceted. Beyond ensuring that every person involved in the creation of the rug was justly compensated, there are also environmental factors to consider. This eco-friendly rug buying guide can help. You’ll feel that much prouder when you find the perfect rug because you’ll know it was responsibly sourced.

In short, we want to help you find the perfect rug for your space. Armed with these 2018 rug trends, you’re ready to head out and start exploring options. Happy hunting!

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