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The mud room at the home of Suna Turgay and Ben Woods in Florence.

A mudroom is more than a place to store stuff

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A great mudroom has its own heat source, gets natural light, is easy to clean and is well organized. With those four fundamentals it’s hard to go wrong and easy to find ways to let creativity flourish. Mike Buehler and Anne Vaillant of Southampton did theirs as part of a more extensive renovation in 2014. The mudroom is not only a highly functional space but it also is the way visitors are greeted and introduced to their household. It bespeaks order and charm in its functionality. “The single best thing that we did was to put in a very large storage area, including closed cabinetry, …

VIDEO: Snowboarding on a flat field, thanks to a breeze

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Gazette reporter Stephanie McFeeters caught up with Max Mascelloni Saturday at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was zipping around a field atop a snowboard, powered by the wind. The 31-year-old Amherst resident says the sport is popular in Europe. …

Fossils tell the tale

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Accompanying the new mural depicting the history of plant life at the Smith College Botanic Garden is an exhibit of plant fossils on loan from the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College. “Fossils are the basis for all our knowledge about the evolution of plants,” said the botanic garden’s director, Michael Marcotrigiano. “The fossils complement the mural by giving the viewer …

The flora story: Unique mural at Smith’s Botanic Garden depicts 4 billion years of plant history

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A new mural at Smith College that depicts billions of years of plant history, might well be the first of its kind, anywhere on Earth. Museums of natural history have long answered the perennial challenge of explaining what …

Get Growing: It’s a good time to sharpen the gardening tools

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sharpen up those tools! Throughout the winter, garden magazines and websites remind us to sharpen our garden pruners so they’ll be ready to make swift, tidy cuts again come spring. Somehow I never get around to that mysterious …

Stock up on the right tools to beat back Old Man Winter

Friday, January 15, 2016

Rock salt mixed with sand is the first thing that comes to mind for many people when the task is melting the ice beneath their feet. This is a perfectly acceptable solution for a limited number of applications, …

Walden west: John Irving Clapp of Northampton recreates Thoreau’s iconic cabin in his backyard

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Henry David Thoreau was a thoughtful, curious citizen, but “my greatest skill in life,” he wrote, “has been to want but little.” That’s from Walden; or, Life in the Woods, his 1854 memoir about simple living in the …

Get Growing: A calender is a good gardening tool

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A big problem with garden planning is timing. In a few weeks, believe it or not, you might be admiring your neighbor’s bright little snowdrops peeking hopefully out of the frosty earth. You will resolve to plant your …

Boost your chances of a healthy garden with strategic planting

Friday, January 15, 2016

You put a seed in the ground, water it and watch it sprout, and eventually it becomes a plant, indicating it’s alive only because it grows, and it’s about as passive as a living, growing thing can be. …

Spacious Dutch colonial revival suits family’s tastes, needs

Friday, January 15, 2016

PITTSBURGH — Kasey Kennedy and her husband, Jack, grew up in Pittsburgh, so a love for the city’s turn-of-the-century vernacular architecture is as much a part of their DNA as rooting for the Steelers. For them, living in …

Expert shares tips for cultivating succulents

Friday, January 15, 2016

Take a look around Bill Hendricks’ collection of 4,000 succulents, and it’s easy to understand the recent craze for these high-style, easy-care plants. One with rosette shapes are taking center stage in container designs and bridal bouquets. More …

NYC eyes adding ‘micro’ apartments to housing picture

Friday, January 15, 2016

NEW YORK — The apartments in a new Manhattan building boast little balconies, tall ceilings, dishwashers and storage space. All in 360 square feet or less. It’s micro-living in the nation’s biggest city, and New Yorkers could be …

Plant for posterity: Replace giant tree with giant-to-be

Friday, January 15, 2016

Nothing like some strong winter winds to remind one of mortality — tree mortality. No tree lives forever. Nothing does. But we humans sometimes don’t appreciate trees’ mortality, especially trees that are already large when we first meet …