THE RENTED HOUSE - DESIGN NOTE VISUALS
by Anita Sands Hernandez (frugal lifestyle and poverty-remedy researcher)

RENT an old SHACK. Plant enough TREES, BUSHES AND PLANTS it'll look ritzy as can be!

Who needs to buy a house for 300k and end up paying 600k because of interest, insurance and fees? Is it that important to make something invisible called a credit rating soar? What IS a credit rating? Can you sit in one, watching the MOON rise with a real lime margarita? I don't think so. But a rented house is something you CAN enjoy until the end of days, doing so frugally! That means no monthly race to make a huge rent in some job you hate, or working 60 hrs a week! Also, you can have the gym work of gardening and painting and 'spiffing the shack up' in low cost ways that your landlord will love.

First, find a geezer of a landlord who only has an old shack to rent. I dunno about your city but in  mine --if house was built before 1978 --that City Code won't let him raise the rent more than 4 1/2 % per year or l0% if you take in a roomie. But most geezers think low rent is HIGH and are too grateful for your money and graceful in old world manners to EVER raise it --as was the case with my landlord DICK D.. 16 yrs paying the same rent! And he'd come in once a year and do the pruning as I was watering the place into an Indonesian JUNGLE.

Let's hope that your new SENIOR landlord also said the magic words, "you pay for water, you can garden however you like." And "you can fix any decor stuff and maybe even take the cost off the rent". WAY TO GO SLUMLORD!. YELLOW BRICK ROAD! Or better, "We fix it together and I will apply to City's SECTION 8 for you to get a huge rent subsidy." My house had so much wrong with it, Landlord Dick D. wouldn't do that. So he gave me low rent. 4 bdrms, 1 1/2 baths for 995$ a month, HUGE garden on 3 sides of house.

ONE CAN rent an apartment but in my town, a 1 bdrm is 1500$ Nobody can save money with that kind of stiff rent. So it is seriously TIME TO HEROICALLY STEP UP TO THE PLATE for the sake of family's youngsters & get the last dribs and drabs out of trickle down in the GREAT SOCIETY before the inevitable blank space ahead and it is NOT MINIMUM WAGE. It's not subsidized education. It's not EBT stamps to eat with. IT's NOT apartments at 3 x the normal price rent due to REO OWNED RENTALS. No, it means a few years in a budget rental which means GET your name on a SECTION 8 list now I looked up this one for my son and his wife/ 5 children, "Dear Son, THIS IS THE AGENCY that gives out these SECTION 8 apts. 3 bdrms for 800$ --U HAVE 2 get on list. Beautiful 3 bdrm apartments 800$.  http://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-authority/California/Housing-Authority-of-The-County-of-San-Bernardino/CA019/     SECTION 8 has to be googled whatever city you're in. REGULAR RENTALS at this time are 1500$ for a ONE BDRM APT! same across the entire greater LA area, even 50 miles away, in SANTA ANA or remote places!"

NOW if you're smart, you get your new landlord to TURN HIMSELF IN TO SECTION 8. Many hate that as STATE mandates better windows, heat, sinks. CITY will help you pay for all fixes,  as YOU ARE POOR. And then he can qualify for SECTION 8. Besides, you and your ADULT MALES immediately begin to make a steady effort to fix these things that are really wrong/ ugly or disturbing about your newly rented  "house". Grotty shower tiles? No lighting fixtures? Cracked walls? If the paint is awful and drywall or plaster is messed up, even if you have peeling paint you can always do the faux antique Roman Villa finish described in
POMPEII PAINTERS.

Take every UGLY EMPTY CORNER and turn it into EXPOSED SHELVING AND STORAGE as your artistic CRAP --when STACKED --looks gorgeous! Use square baskets for ungainly items. Thrifts are full of them!

If the landlord  ever dares to say, "why did you turn that wall-to-wall niche in your bedroom into a RECESSED BUILT IN STORAGE area, with L.E.D. strip COVE LIGHTING? Answer him: 'it's a design choice UPGRADE of SERIOUS AESTHETIC VALUE that you'd have HAD to pay a decorator BEAUCOUP BUCKS to achieve. And tell him how even for your SKILLED WORKERS, it was a full work day to TEAR DOWN THE OLD medieval bench, who sits in a wall anyway? That MIDDLE AREA was cleaned up, you installed  built ins, which you'd micky moused out of 'found lumber old fences so it was free to you, and then you DESIGNED it and OVERSAW the work done by a skilled designer (really it was that Mexican  from HOME DEPOT's PARKING LOT). Quelle ingenuity!

Or if he dares to question those KITCHEN CUPBOARDS you demolished tearing off doors, leaving just exposed shelves in two colors, magenta orange insides, white outsides....tell him it was done by a costly contractor and guess what, ----the whole job is worth thousands but you're only taking the cost of sandpaper, nails, glue and shiny laquer paint (or maple stain) off your rent. So "Mr. SENOR LANDLORD, it was virtually free. " Oh yes, and ask him to cover the 80$ a day for the worker. Not just nails sandpaper and glue and paint!

And go on: "The worker then went on to tear off ten layers of holey linoleum and sand the pine floors, then Varnish them. And sand and varnish the living room floors. We did NOT use  water based floor varnish which might lift the grain of the wood. No we used real epoxy so the entire floor got like a pine skating rink. Yes sir! Things were done right. It is so beautiful when finished that your house doubles in value". Then lean in and very kindly say, " Your son and daughter would laugh at you and call you names if you left this house the way you had it but if they came and saw THIS --it looks as good as the house next door.. This is the worst slum house you ever owned (at this moment in time). I am going to spiff it up for bottom dollar. So sir, could you pay half the rental on that sander? It's in your name so you can take it off your taxes." And give him the receipt.

To inspire you, see the king of sleek, black walnut floors who was the late great Michael Taylor, San Francisco Decorator & Designer

See http://www.michaeltaylordesigns.com/media_ad96.html

The landlord's choice of Water stain on naked wood or water based varnishes will both raise the grain of wood floors, (i.e. make little fibers stand up). He should have done it right from the gitgo, VARATHENE or URATHENE after SANDING. They lay down hard and brilliant. NOW the FLOOR IS weird, that is what Dick did. He ruined the floor of his own damn house. Well, the FIX IS THIS: a rented belt sander would lay that fiber back down or really, take it off as saw dust. But with 8 animals in the house, three humans, a.) dirty clean up, b.) day to dry, c.) get wrecked again fast with claws on floor..... ??????If you want to add color to your wood floor or just change the color you would choose staining. There are many ways to stain wood but I am only going to address two in this article.
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Now while you're sanding floors, painting, all dogs go to the POOCH PORCH outdoors and put old quilts down there for them. They eat/ sleep in back. They live in back yard as dogs are meant to do, and when floors are dry, rugs are down, unlock the doggie door and give them insies and outsides.

FLOOR VARNISHING INFO that I FOUND ONLINE: This info is mainly pointed toward staining before finishing with Pure Tung Oil but will work for other finishes as well. The most common stain people reach for are products like Minwax oil base stain and other over the counter oil stains. The problems with these types of stains are two fold. They usually contain alkyd resin as the binder and pigments. (A binder is what holds all the ingredients together; alkyd resin is a type of varnish.) Alkyd resin seals the wood like a thinned down finish allowing less and less stain to be absorbed with successive coats. It also stops finishes from penetrating and binding well with the wood. The pigments are the sludge that is on the bottom of the can that when mixed into the stain makes it muddy. Pigments are solid particles that do not dissolve. When applied in any thickness they act like paint obscuring the grain of the wood. These stains are not all bad; they just need to be used in their proper place. Minwax also now has a water base stain. According to their web site it is not to be used for floors.

Your objective when finishing wood is not to mask the natural beauty of the wood but also to add some color to enhance that beauty or to make it blend into the surroundings. Now what stains to choose? Aniline dye stains! Aniline is derived from coal tar. Donít let that make you shy away from these types of stains. Anilines are very effective and light fast (fade resistance). Stains from things such as berries, tea, and coffee tend not to be as light fast.

There are basically three types of solvents which anilines are dissolved. Water, alcohol and oils. Anilines are available in hundreds of colors and can be inter-mixed to make custom shades. They come in dry crystal form and are then mixed with solvent to the dilution you desire. You can make a real dark stain concentration or make a light one by thinning. You can also build colors on top on one another. For example, if something is too red, you can add some green to make it browner.

The two easiest to work with in a large application such as a floor would be water and oil soluble.

Water Staining

Water will raise the grain of wood (make little fibers stand up). Before
water staining a floor I recommend wetting the floor with water first
allowing the grain to raise then sanding with the grain when dry. You may
need to do this twice. Once the grain has been raised and sanded it will
not keep coming up. You would then mix up the water soluble aniline dye
concentration and stain the floor.

Stain boards lengthwise one end to the other from one side of the room to the other. Only stop at a seam between the boards. You may get a lap mark  if you allow the stain to dry in the middle of a board. You can use a brush,  roller, sponge or sponge mop for application. (Wrap sponge mop with nylon stocking to stop it from breaking up). Once you have the color you want proceed to finishing. Donít worry if the grain is still raised in a couple of spots. You can go cut those rough areas off with sandpaper after the first or second coat of finish.

Oil Stains

Oil stains are soluble in oil base solvents such as mineral spirits (paint thinner) turpentine, naphtha and also our Citrus Solvent. Mix the oil soluble aniline dye crystals to the proper dilution with solvent. Once you have the color you like proceed to staining the floor working the boards lengthwise with the grain from one side of the room to another. You can use a brush roller, sponge or sponge mop. With oil solvents the room must be properly ventilated. Usually a box fan blowing out a window will draw enough air out. The advantage of the oil soluble stains is that they do not raise the grain. Also Citrus Solvent and mineral spirits tend to dry slower providing more time to work the stain. When dry proceed with finishing.

Mixing Stain and Pure Tung Oil

You can also mix oil soluble aniline dye crystals with the Pure Tung Oil. First mix the crystals to a very concentrated solution of solvent (mineral spirits, Citrus Solvent) and crystals. Be sure all the crystals are dissolved into the solvent. When they are dissolved add to the Pure Tung Oil. This will make the oil tinted. You will not be able to get the finish as dark as if you stained the wood itself but this can add some color if you just want a little color. Raspberry/ Purple/ Berry? Or Viridian emerald? Thalo Turquoise?  SUNSET GOLDS?

Alcohol Stains

Anilines dissolved in alcohol are just too fast drying for large
applications such as floors. There can also be lapping problems because of the speed at which the solvent evaporates.

The above methods will provide a clear transparent finish for your floor.
The results you see will be dramatic if you have only used over the counter stains in the past.

Anilines are available from: http://www.woodworker.com

ALTERNATIVES: You could carpet the entire place but with animals in the house? PROBABLY some kind of soft, TERRA COTTA TILE-look LINOLEUM in the entire house would be better. JUNK RAIDERS television show gives hints on how to find NEARLY FREE supply houses. ION TV. My digital converter box gets it. They find these FREEBIE OUTLETS where contractors leave their unused everything, granite, flooring, paint.

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GARDEN FIX: Do you have a fence out in back there? A WOOD FENCE? VERDIS GRIS is the new "IN" color for old wood. It mimics old bronze.

I'm not that old, actually, but VERDIGRIS stain
makes me LOOK OLD. Bronze AGES this color.

Imagine that verdigris color on a fence. It's so pretty, you only VINE cover it partially or use IVY but you are lucky if THERE IS a wood fence on any of the  walls of the garden and If it's lovely, funky, splintery wood, we'll look for all the green 'oops paints' and turquoise and blue and mix with gray and get verdigris paint, kind of a green shade, the color COPPER GETS when it's old? An exterior flat mixed to that shade.

If you have the truly ugly, transparant wire or cyclone fences, COVER THEM with something gloriously invasive like HONEYSUCKLE. Cut the flowering tips daily, bring into house for bouquets. And you will never call THIS VINE invasive!

Grows 3 feet a year, tolerates drought.
 

LOVE those fences.  Pretty ones get IVY, slow growing, UGLY ones get fast growing mayapple, with its tiny magenta flowers, a ground cover that LAUGHS OFF HEAT! and that fence will be covered in ONE YEAR FLAT.

CREEPERS work

Parthenocissus-tricuspidata. Try asking FOR THAT!
 

ONLINE I FOUND THIS FENCE PAINTING info:  "I have a cedar fence that has been stained twice, first gray to match our old siding, and then white. Both times with Olympic latex exterior stain, I believe. Well, I decided to paint the fence white because the white stain wouldn't cover the gray. (The previous white stain coat was on for about a year and had probably actually gotten two coats plus touchups to try to help cover the gray.) So I used exterior white latex paint this time. All seemed well and I was very pleased until I taped off around the hardware to repaint the latches and hinges. When I pulled the tape off a considerable amount of paint and stain came off taking areas down to bare wood. I'm guessing I should have power washed before painting and then priming?
Should I just go ahead and prime the areas now exposed or am I wasting my time and should power wash the entire fence and prime and repaint? The question really is did applying the paint cause the problem? Was the initial stain coat not properly applied? Was this to be expected?

Answer. The areas exposed could be re-primed and painted if thatís what you think will work best. Use the correct primer for raw wood if that is what you have showing. Go with whatís best for the fence, not to create less work for yourself. There are no shortcuts.  For painting a wood fence, these are the basic steps. Wash or power wash, let dry. Bleach if there is mold or mildew. Sand with 100 grit paper if there are rough areas and scrape off any loose paint. If you want to paint the fence with exterior latex, prime raw wood with a primer like Zinsserís alkyd primer. Donít use latex primer. Then I recommend a latex exterior paint over that primer, 2 coats of top-quality paint like Dunn-Edwards, Sherwin Wms, Dulux,

So are we in agreement? You get a basic, dark green verdigris coat of paint on that fence. Then mix up a second color, lighter. Take some white/ gray and lighten the GREEN paint as if you were making MOLD COLOR/ Then lightly brush surface with this lighter color. Doesn't have to hit more than the bumpy parts. You can add more white for a final light kiss or caress of paler color. And some speckles of white/gray shot with a flipped brush. All that imitates genuine verdigris that forms on wrought iron furniture. or brass or bronze.

But do remember for all furniture in the  yard, use that verdigris color. It's a great color for outdoor things.

http://www.bestbuypoolsupply.com/media/566767.jpg

It's a soft garden-y look. Now, the one thing I can't recall (as I said before,) is what kind of fences border the garden. If you have WOODEN FENCES at far ends of yard you can add vines, bushes, trees against them. I can contribute these, having a plethora! Honeysuckle, ivy of all kinds.

Seek 'found' objects at garage sales, stuff that you can put out doors, and paint with verdigris layers of green, bronze, gray. ALL THESE Country or Renaissance type sculpture, stone OBJECTS or glass balls, etc, are tossed in the beds, nestled in the ivy, or set up on pedestals. Give magic to the garden. The color repeats in the fence and maybe the SHUTTERS on your white house.

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GARAGE FOR THE HOME OFFICE: Do you have a garage? In a separate, solid looking stucco building? It deserves a faux paint job on the entire Ext bldg, (Me and Landlord's Mexican I did a four bdrm house in a day and a half, exterior, it's not hard.) A garage office needs a meandering Path of its own from back door of house across what is now just scruffy ground, but not on the driveway around back to the Garage BACK entrance and it should have a little greens bed with some oriental plants, bamboo, hedges, maybe. Shield part of it, just part, by building a fence like this one:
http://www.myjapanesegarden.com/images/bamboo%2015.jpg

We could find a bamboo pole supplier and FENCING supplier here in town....Could you? Japanese nurseries always know who has 'em.
http://www.myjapanesegarden.com/bamboo_fence.htm

THE GARAGE BUILDING is actually quite BEAUTIFUL. So rev it up a few notches. PAINT IT TERRA COTTA faux TUSCANY LOOK & create  PATHS AND BEDS next to it. Some screening, graceful trees. You have the garden's most beautiful FEATURE sitting in that garage there. Paint it a lovely terra cotta color http://www.wallswithanattitude.com/samplespage.html
http://www.wallswithanattitude.com/Italianplasters.html
where he has his WALL finishes and then look at his other pages. He has a lot of pages. One where he does fireplaces to make them look like marble so go over his website

FOR THE EXTERIOR OF HOUSE/ GARAGE, Use a textured, gritty paint. That's normal exterior paint but with a lot of sand in it ---IT COMES THAT WAY if you want to pay or hey, get some textured gravel and sand and aquarium sand & throw it into  reg exterior terra cotta paint. ONE COAT. THEN for second coat, turn brush sideways and hold it lightly so it flips over the surface & with side of brush swipe it with lighter terracoatta mixed wi white and pink. Just hit the high spots, this whole page is faux work. See WALLS I HAVE KNOWN.

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THE EXTERIOR OF HOUSE - It may be a dingy little house, or ugly. With some houses,  we'd wish it had NO style but most have HORRID STYLE however there's a fix for a mismatched, bastard exterior.  Just buy a few boxes of cedar siding shingles and cover entire front of house. Of course if you CEDAR-SIDE the house you can't have a MEXICAN TILE roof on the GARAGE! Unless people forget the front view of house, the house style by the time they walk into garden and see JAP bamboo fence and MEX TILED ROOF.  PACIFIC FUSION. Yeah, that's what they call it! PANGEA. The lost CONTINENT OF MU!
http://www.oldhouseweb.com/stories/Detailed/12737.shtml

If you currently have some dark color , brown, black, forest green, (all ugly) on front of house, If you want a LIGHT painted front to house, if you OWN THE HOUSE,  take paint remover to the WOOD immediately, scrape the ugly paint off, stain the wood a natural color. That might take a MEXICAN WORKER a day of work!) OR, as I mentioned, just as easy and much faster, cover both areas with CEDAR SHAKE SHINGLES so your house is a.) foresty and b.) all one terra cotta or verdigris green gray color up to roof.

The cedar shingle siding treatment is gorgeous.

http://www.mosbybuildingarts.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/03%20mosby%20cedar%20siding.jpg

Show your landlord these photos --ask him if he has nailed these suckers down before, it's done bottom first, work your way up each layer covers layer before it. I see it all the time on "This Old Home" tv show
 

http://topoftheharbour.com/pics/forsale_front.jpg IS FRONT OF HOUSE

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THE GARDEN -  That 150 foot ancient tall  TREE tilting across the garden pointed at the house!! Do you want to leave the tree there?? If it fell over, it would smash the house to bits. If you vote to take your chances, then you cannot garden at its foot as that amendment stuff seriously softens up the ground! TREE Roots lose their hold. WATERING big tree roots cause them to rot, die, and whangie at midnight there's an OAK in bed with you. That tree's foundations would slide thru fine potting soil like your fingers thru shampooed hair! So leave that iron cement soil pack around it and just TENT the area. A tent will hide that treebark elevator shaft that goes up so far it looks like a NASA ROCKET pointed at the moon. THE TIP  cannot even be seen which is uncomfortable for the HUMAN AND RIGHTLY SO!!!!!!Snaps necks to try to look at it!

From about 15 feet high ring the tree in wrapped WIRE, holding leaves or petals of white canvas. And swoop down the canvas in panels, doesn't have to be a sealed tent, just the feeling of one ---- of shelter, ya know? to an EAVE at about 7 feet high, use poles..... and chinese lanterns

Use a few treated, redwood poles, make the eaves secure with a few diagonals, build a frame, even if three sided, open front....Staple gun cotton duck or canvas, very wide, like 70 inches over the frame....Hang a few strings of XMAS LIGHTS AND chinese LANTERNS underneath there ----et voila, summer dinners outside, the kids and their friends. MUSIC speakers in the rafters.

CHINESE lanterns. I HAVE SEVERAL DOZEN FOR YOU. Then, YOU NEED a landscaped pathway, from the the back door of bedroom, kitchen or house to the tent, landscaped on both sides with soft grasses, moonlight (light colored) plants, bushes and trees. WHEN IT POURS RAIN let it fall on the tent. Stuff dries in a half day in CALIF we live in a desert anyway. POLE FOOTING is a wad of concrete. Dry? Set pots around it with vines. Like  BLUE MORNINGLORIES --THERE IS A SUBTERRENEAN method of sinking a POLE for a TENT or lanai. HOLE FULL OF CONCRETE, stick a round, treated wood beam in pointing straight up. 
 

Do a nursery area, tables and flats. LATH if sun is hot there. (Shade cloth) If you have a big garden, you can do one hidden area as a nursery but the main part as meandering paths and raised beds in at least six distinct areas. Like being in a natural WOODS. with winding natural seeming (tho man made ) paths, so that walking creates new views every few steps. As bushes/ trees grow, you can't see beyond your elbow.  You'll have beds of perennials and annuals on all sides. FENCES that shut out your neighbors. Bamboo reed fencing over near garage, or do you have LOW fences? Hate those. Fences should be high enough so that you can't see the neighbors' buildings? HONEYSUCKLE grows fast, so BUILD UP THE HEIGHT of fence, even if it does NOT MATCH, creating really high fences and cover them with this fragrant, bouquet producing vine.

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The needed GARDEN fixes reduce to: TENT the BIG DEAD TREE IN MIDDLE OF YARD in BACK, if you have one. Way cheaper than cutting it down. A big tree is about 500$ to 600$ to eradicate these days.

Find a bamboo pole supplier here in town or check HOME DEPOT for bamboo fencing.
http://www.myjapanesegarden.com/bamboo_fence.htm

THE INTERIOR OF HOUSE THE FIX -  Build WINDOWS on BACK OF HOUSE  so that you can see the garden, catch the light. LOCAL RECYCLING SHOP has French Doors, paned windows. Torn out of homes. Some nephew or son remodels homes or is a handyman -- take him there, have him pick out  FRENCH DOORS, (glass panes,) Big windows. CUT a BACK door to the garden on the back wall or side wall of  your bdrm. Build steps out of plastered tiled concrete blocks. You can buy a used French door, w. glass in one of those many recycled architectural remnant places.

IF you chose to punch a door on SIDE WALL of your bedroom, then you SEE THRU its glass and right there is a FOUNTAIN HUNG ON THAT NEIGHBOR's FENCE - in other words, a fabulous VIEW.....building a fence like this one: http://www.myjapanesegarden.com/images/bamboo%2015.jpg

NEXT INSTALL A louvered double door between dining room and kitchen to keep animals in back of house. PURE WHITE against almond paint. Sparkling. Pristine. Tidy looking. DOUBLE latch so you can lock dogs in kitchen or lock from the other side.

Build an inset POOCH PORCH on the back of house which can be gussied up with hanging flowers. Drill holes to hang plants. Use  REAL TERRA COTTA TILE on the floor of that outdoor, back porch thingie. I'd estimate fifty tiles, only a buck a tile. I did terra cotta tile to my front porch, twenty tiles. THEN you want to make that a cozy POOCH PORCH with some TROPICAL house plants in big pots, a rattan sofa for the dogs there, better dog pillows, you have a sewing machine?

A gorgeous PAIR OF SOFAS a little wider than this on the SIT SIDE for the pooches, with striped denim  or vibrating colors on their dog mattresses, but nothing on the GROUND that has a very GRUNGY FEEL TO IT! maybe on old throwaway sofas or basketry sofas or even
a  SOFA made of throwaway wood!  The one above WAS an old table.
Paint base dark so that it seems to float Many fine hard wood table are at thrift shops ready to be turned into benches or shelves.

These are all inexpensive fixes if your Mexican or handyman does them. The shingles are a day's work. Check shingle makers, check Home Depot shingle price (wall siding shingle shakes), phony cedar as it's not your house, so don't bother with real cedar. Lookalike.

DO NOT FORGET to PUT IN A PAIR OF FRENCH DOORS on your bedroom's back wall to lead to the Garden, maybe on the SIDE of the bedroom to lead to the fountain. Get them at a USED ARCHITECTURAL REMNANTS RECYCLING YARD -- many in LA, SUN VALLEY LONG BEACH, PASADENA, PACOIMA. Not sure if your town has them yet. Great biz if your area does NOT. Let contractors know you exist!

http://www.pasadenaarchitecturalsalvage.com/pages/store.php?i=20

AND ON BACK OF HOUSE near POOCH PORCH, some shutters and plants

SEE PLANT HANGER and other garden accessories article

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GARDEN LANDSCAPING PLAN: you pull branches off that big tree, from way up on top & use them to line paths and make a decorative but natural, rustic edging,


ALL BRANCHES off PINE TREE get saved

Your GARDEN SPACE is fairly HUGE so you will need other edgings. I like rustic best, logs. I like dry stack concrete.
http://neglectfulgardener.blogspot.com/2010/03/landscaping-with-used-concrete.html
It is absolutely gorgeous and is FREE found in alleys, vacant lots and construction sites everywhere. You hear jack hammers, get the station wagon and RUN!

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Instead of a tent, you may want to do simpler shade sails.
http://www.practicalhomeandgarden.com might have some.

The item you want to see is also called garden canopies. Google dealers near you. Or make your own! Look how easy, those DOLLAR POLES set in coffee can full of cement, set in the ground and a staple gun or some nails on top. OR use the ROPE system in above picture. RAIN THERE? Then  THE PARABOLIC

Watch pegging anything to an ancient tree. Any pull can tug off a branch. Rainstorm hit my area and all kinds of trees dropped branches on the roof, many just fell into the house. Got any huge trees on the properpty?

Maybe if the KILLER tree is happy ---it won't go roots up killing you and your family but believe me...if you soften soil with fertilizer, water, to make flower beds at its base, that sucker will fall over in wind even EASIER than a Virgin into Johnny Depp's arms.

Tell LANDLORD:  This TREE REMOVAL will increase the value of your house, give it class. Right now, it's a disaster waiting to happen. Get some estimates.  NOTE: DO NOT HAVE YOUR COSTLY S.U.V. CAR IN DRIVEWAY when you get the estimate. Get those big SUV's down the street, then have the TEENAGER park his scuzzy old car there when the TRADE PERSON COMES to give estimate.
 

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http://www.backyardcity.com/Garden-Arbors-Trellis-Designs.htm

Little road to the entrance to garage, gravel or bark on it, edged in verdant borders, some flowers, a bamboo wall......you have a lot of space in that garden, you could do another little road to the far back right, meandering road with an arbor. Put it right at that fence.

You could leave that fence, grow honeysuckle on it. My yards are
both edged by cyclone fencing but the honeysuckle, mayapple, ivy
covered them. no telling it's cheap fence and i think that the fence you have could be the same. We can uproot about 20 of my honeysuckles. I have thousands, so it's not  a problem.

BOSTON IVY ON FENCE

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/85/Boston_ivy_fence.jpg/800px-Boston_ivy_fence.jpg

REGULAR IVY on fence

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/2206207/2/istockphoto_2206207_old_ivy_covered_fence.jpg

ENGLISH IVY on fence

COVER FRONT OF HOUSE itself WITH IVY and that over pruned dying CYPRESS strand of trees against neighbor's fence? What is it, twelve trees cut off at their waists? Let's turn it into a quasi FENCE, PROVIDE SUPPORT like cheap wire fencing, plain chicken wire, then put IVY up and down driveway in pots and train it up over the fencing and up the old trees. Or put fencing between the trees, paint tree trunks and fencing verdigris.

HERE there will be no expense if you are in Los Angeles
I can give you cuttings, l00, 200 of ENGLISH IVY.

There are MANY VARIETIES OF IVY, all made in the shade to cover basically ugly, old homes and make them graceful.  Take cuttings all around your neighborhood. Dozens to a flat. Semi shade for first month until they 'take'.

UNDERSTAND that it does not take work, you can WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE: CLICK ON THIS PAGE. WONDERFUL SITE!

http://neglectfulgardener.blogspot.com/2010/03/landscaping-with-used-concrete.html is a smart site, and has DRY STACKED broken concrete as edging, which is very pretty. You find it in alleys all the time, too. Keep a tarp in back of station wagon or van, along with your WORK GLOVES.

If you have to buy garden plants,  find a pal with a resale number.  Hit the WHOLESALE NURSERY. That's a last resort of course. So much good free rock around!

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THE HOME'S INTERIOR :  Great fireplace in living room. Perfect. You could faux marble it. Google IMAGES and FAUX MARBLE. Instructions to do it.

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LIVING ROOM FURNITURE : You have to ditch the gigamongus leather sofa, it dwarfs the whole room, and it's ugly as a beached whale. Put it outside in garage office where BIG FURNITURE is welcome and SMALL FURNITURE looks silly as it 30 x 50 feet. Search for small furniture pieces at all thrift stores. With wood, Paint verdigris or another sumptuous and beautiful 'neutral' color or leave natural wood if you can. Get a few classic BASKETRY CHAIRS for the FIREPLACE area, coffee table on top of area rug.

Get small sofas for WINDOW END OF ROOM. Three sofas in a U SHAPED GROUPING maybe, clear gauzey curtains with view of front yard. Get a few French provincial chairs to flresh out the living room. Procure at a Salvation Army or Thrift store.  They're cheap as they're all varnished, look terrible. But here's the fix for them. TEAR OFF ALL UPHOLSTERY.. REMOVE ALL the varnish or PAINT, get down to naked wood, you could sand blast it, for a grainy look, then pickle it. There was a famous London designer who used a lot of French Provincial furniture, Syrie Maugham, wife of Somerset, the writer, she shortened fruitwood furniture a little, pickled it, white finish. "CUT IT DOWN AND PAINT IT WHITE " were her words.

Very French country look  Similar to SHABBY CHIC, W. Hollywood residing English decorator gal Had a super TV show for a while.. Fit in well with terra cotta tile in living room or black walnut floors and area rugs. Upholster in ginghamy squares of Manta or Cambaya.  These are wider plaid stripes in pastels You can get CAMBAYA and MANTA (handwoven upholstery fabric,) have a pal in MEXICO CITY? They can be your middle man. My late chum LILA was born into the Mexico City Jewish textile world and showed me thse upholstery fabrics, how you could order up the scotch plaid in colors you desired by the 25 yard bolt. I'd say use taffy or bubblegum colors, hotter than Pastels but not bold.

This FABRIC I HAVE LISTED ON THE "HOT IMPORTS" WEBSITE is CAMBAYA OR MEXICAN HAND WOVEN COTTON. They also call it MANTA.  I also adore the French small, tight plaid or gingham fabrics, but France very costly and the stuff is too 'busy'. The real manta or cambaya is more relaxed.. Cambaya is more ROUSSEAUesque. FRENCH GINGHAM is country feel.

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/3633599/2/istockphoto_3633599_high_resolution_blue_and_white_gingham_fabric.jpg

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BEDROOM. If you have a large bed, add gauze curtains. paint the room strong colors. Give neutral gauze curtains to all windows. I didn't have a curtain bar/pole so I hung  gauze (Walmart, ) on a sapling tree, a dead, dried one, it made an interesting curtain rod and just a few nails will hold it up. Gauze gets thumb tacked on. Swoops of it. EBAY sells curtains for 7$ from CHINA. Huge swaths.

Attention needs placing on any horrid black, grimy closets with old fashioned doors. You can't stare off your bed into or AT that closet. SO UTILIZE the RECESSED NATURE of it, by PULLING OFF DOORS. Use a curtain on a curtain rod, with sliding rings. Or HOLLOW entire space OUT removing doorway so it's a BIGGER SPACE FACING you, then DO BUILT INs. After shelving is in, DECIDE: Expose or curtain for easy access. This needs a real SCREWED ONTO WALL curtain rod with easy move-to-the-side curtains as you go in there all the time.  Rings move easily and are good looking. Walmart. Pole supported in middle means 5 to 8 rings on each side.

CENTER part should have bureau or built in with flat screen TV ON TOP, well supported, Drawers below, MAIN THING is  on TOP, a space for a new big screen TV.  HOW: Cut right thru middle of closet leaving just  the sides. Keep those as clothing shelvse/ storage. Floor to ceiling behind the doors. KEEP ONES YOU HAVE or Mexican Worker can build new. Electric saw, sander at Sears. BUT CENTER THE TV.

SLICE or CUT out a new middle with a special SKILL SAW, they call it, right down and thru the middle part of current closet in your bdrm & turn it into well designed SET OF BUILTINS Again, a BUREAU with TV on top. BUREAU below TV can have some grill front doors. No need to hide TV. the grilled doors below open and you have shelves in there for clothing/sweaters. Dad and Son or maybe a Latino Maestro from el Barrio  builds it, Landlord pays you all costs. REMIND HIM. it ups the value of his house and you were like a free contractor. This area has to have ingenious solution for your shoes and duds storage. You want to store most of your clothes in there, though one bureau can exist elsewhere in the room for flat stuff/ blouses, sweaters. See built ins at http://www.ahmannarchitects.com/images/Built-ins1_a.jpg

THEN, along side the BED, two vintage, bright ceramic reading LAMPS with shades that don't let watts into your eyeballs. Table they're on should be low enough for shade to shield eyes, and wide enough for pill bottles, TV remote, cell phone. Not costly. Paint up two thrift store night tables. Not even req'd they match.

LUXE BEDROOM may need French DOORS on side wall of bedroom as an alt exit from the back of house. If it faces the alleee, narrow corridor on side of most homes, set dozens of pots around a hanging wall fountain outside.

Fiberglass or resin, on EBAY or AMAZON, sent directly from CHINA, looks like stone, looks Renaissance, fifty bucks. Hang on wall opposite French door, so you  exit house to a leafy garden and fountain, like a mystical 'forest glen.'

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The SON's Bdrm and getting it Perfect! If the Bed is too big for the room it makes the whole place look LOW RENT, so throw the DOUBLE MATTRESS into Garage Office as a sofa. Give a teen a TWIN BED ONLY, or FUTON SOFA. All a kid needs is a WALL TV, cable hookup MANY BOOK SHELVES and you go to family thrift weekly and get more......l9c a paperback on Sherman Way --and he's good to go.

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OFFICE  INTERIOR. GARAGE floors are toxic! I suggest linoleum to cover the floors, some area carpets from thrift stores. SECOND CHOICE. PAINT THE CEMENT floor with TOUGH PAINT after power washing, use TERRA COTTA color. FREECYCLE ORG has giveaway BOOKSHELVES daily. Craigs list also. LINE the empty walls of all rooms with them. Clean WINDOWS, so that SUN pours in. Screen with bamboo. PUT A WALL TO WALL SHELF OVER THEM. ART WORKS/ BOOKS. No books, then MAKE YOUR OWN PAINTINGS. Staple gun allows you to stretch any thrift store firm, nubby, natural fabric on stretcher bars which are at art supply store.
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FRONT GARDEN -  ivy and roses on a fence, couldn't find image but I think it could easily be done -- cheap pickets. Salvage yard has them.
Brush on some color, a subtle natural color
Paint your picket fence, as long as it's not
                    bright

Buy bare root climber roses. THEY LEAP into action! Eventually the ivy, honeysuckle, roses (if climbers,) cover the rickety pickets so they don't get seen much. The right climbers will cover CYCLONE or CHICKEN WIRE. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v356/tpitts26/MVC-041S-1.jpg

http://www.reliablefenceboston.com/nss-folder/pictures/1Image105.jpg

You can do A fence midway acros front GARDEN and then create country wildflower and grasses beds OUTSIDE the picket fence. Note how front of house is circled by picket but the outer area is a wild garden.

WHY DO THEY CALL them PICKETS? And why are pickets still around? Cause no matter how rickety ---the things really class up the joint with country flavor.

http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i313/debsebayphotos/SAMPLE%20LOGOS/altjal-silent-fence.gif

Spin a fence across half the yard, cozies it up, do big gardening thing
outside the fence, sun hardy, low water plants. XERISCAPING
with a few frou frou flowers stuck there so it doesn't look like a desert

See a xeriscaping yard w. DROUGHT tolerant plants
http://www.daviddarling.info/images/xeriscaping.jpg

If you don't live in ARIZONA, maybe not for you.

but still just a few low water requirement plants would be good.
See: low water needing plants
http://www.surfcitywaterscapes.com/Waterscapes-Xeriscaping.html

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LESSONS:
Small Living Room Design Tips To Fool The Eye (found online)

If you have a small living room, chances are you also have small furniture
and fixtures to match. But this doesn't have to be your final resort if you
do have a small living room. Designing a small living room may be a
challenge, but it is quite fulfilling when you see the finished product of
a small living room design that fits your small space and lifestyle. 

1. Use lighter shades of green, blue and yellow for your walls. These
lighter colors or pastels help open up the room and give it a more airy
feel. If you want a cozier feel to your living room, use darker shades of
red, blue and brown.

2. To help further open up the room, use mirrors and glass table tops.
Mirrors reflect light and give the illusion of a larger room. Make sure
that the mirror reflects a view or an ornamental item to enhance the room.
Best reflection of all is a candleabra or small, curiosity lamp with glowing orb.

2A.Use glass table tops to give your small living room an open feel, rather
than using hard wood tables that further shrink and clutter the room. But
do not do this if children or drunks inhabit this space.

3. Avoid using heavily printed upholstery for your seating and sofa. Use
light, monochromatic colors that match.

4. Use light gauzy and filmy fabrics for your window treatments. These
fabrics let natural light pass through and adds more personality to your
living room. Do not overdo and avoid using heavily printed fabrics in a
small living room design. Just today I took a dried bark sapling, lay it
across two nails above a 7 foot stretch of windows. Then thumbtacked
10$ worth of Walmart Voile curtain, a synthetic nylony white gauze , tacking
in swoops, half moon droopy arcs, held by each tack, falling to the top of a 
bureau. Wow, that room is 'instant celestial', light coming in, but from front path,
 you can no longer see into that bedroom from the outdoors!

5. If you want to accessorize your small living room, choose the items that
will compliment your furniture and fixture. And make sure these items are
also functional to help you keep the room spacey and clutter-free.

6. Choose the right-sized fixtures and accessories. Do not over-decorate
your small living room; instead, look for items that will help make the
room look bigger. Choose reflective items such as a good-sized glass-top
coffee table, a wall mirror and a few functional items that add style and
class to your small living room design.

To learn more living room design tips and ideas, visit
http://www.livingroomdesign101.com

signed, ANITA SANDS HERNANDEZ
from the 1964 BAZAAR FOLKLORICO IMPORTS --SUNSET STRIP West Hollywood, (California R.I.P)

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