Sisters Cecelia Herbert (13) and Vivian Karges (5

)
transplant lettuce in one of the newly-built raised beds
in the Sudduth Elementary Environmental Discovery
(SEED) Garden. Thanks to the efforts of the Kiwanis
Club of Starkville and a grant from Circle K International,
the volunteers have added more than a dozen beds
improved drainage, updated the sprinkler system and
built a retaining wall this spring. Photo by Luisa Porter

2016

March 27, 2016

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GOING KONDO:

How I decluttered the Marie Kondo way

Beth J. Harpaz | For The Associated Press

R

eading Marie Kondo’s best-selling books about
decluttering is intimidating. I have a complicated
relationship with many of my possessions:
souvenirs from favorite places, gifts from loved ones.
Even if I never use them, how could I part with them?
And how could I face my overflowing cupboards and
scary closets?
But I got over my fears. Ultimately, Kondo’s books, “The
Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “Spark Joy,” are
not so much about throwing things out as they are about
“choosing what we want to keep,” as Kondo puts it.
Here’s what it felt like going Kondo.
THE BATHROOM WAS EASY
Kondo says sentimental things should be left for
last. So I started with the most unsentimental place:
the bathroom. There’s no emotion in tossing expired
medication, used Ace bandages and unclaimed
toothbrushes, or in consolidating half-empty boxes of
Band-Aids.
Those baby steps strengthened my discard muscle.
Next I said goodbye to fragrances and lipsticks I never
use.
In cleaning out, I unearthed a cache of skin creams
and cleansers that I like. I now keep some handy for
daily use, and store others in a beautifully decorated gift
box I’d been reluctant to part with. Keeping and using
the box this way fit several Kondo principles.
First, she says, “Everything you own wants to be of use
to you.”
Second, she says, don’t buy storage containers. Instead,
use things you already own: shoeboxes, stationery boxes,
decorative bowls.
Third, Kondo is no minimalist. “Adorn your home
with the things you love,” she urges. My pretty box now
brightens a shelf.
Folding is also critical. Kondo says every foldable
object has its own “sweet spot ... a folded state that best
suits that item.” I’m still working on folding the bathroom
towels just right, but after studying her techniques, I get
the origami-like art of folding shirts.

SORT BY CATEGORY
Don’t clean shelves and drawers one by one, Kondo
says. Instead, sort by category to “compare items that are
similar in design, making it easier to decide whether you
want to keep them.”
In the kitchen, I surveyed all the bakeware at once,
shedding excess cookie cutters and muffin tins. A
dozen random mugs and two teapots were given away.
I counted a dozen vases and kept four. I was stunned
to find nearly 40 portable water bottles tucked in
cupboards; I kept two.
I also stacked items by shape, as Kondo suggests,
transforming cluttered shelves.

Then I gathered decorative platters and bowls, many
of them gifts that weren’t to my taste, and employed her
ritual: “Take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this
spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”
As I proceeded, I contemplated the gift-givers’
kindness. “You don’t need to feel guilty for parting with
a gift,” Kondo writes. “Just thank it for the joy it gave you
when you first received it.”
Along the way, I found things I love, like a carved

wooden dish I now use to display fruit. I hesitated over
my mom’s ornate, silver-plated sugar-and-creamer, which
I’ll never use. But I cleaned the tarnish off and a friend
pronounced them “shabby chic.” They now decorate a
windowsill.
As Kondo says, “If you have items that you love even
though they seem useless, please give them a turn in
the spotlight.”
TACKLING CLOTHES
I dumped all my clothes on my bed and dove in. Some
didn’t fit, or were stained or damaged. Some were gifts,
or I’d bought them on vacation.
I sent the rejects off with Kondo’s blessing: “Thank you
for giving me joy when I bought you,” or “Thank you for
teaching me what doesn’t suit me.”
“By acknowledging their contribution and letting them
go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things
you own, and your life, in order,” she writes.
Kondo is fine with keeping things you don’t use, as
long as “you can say without a doubt, ‘I really like this!’”
So I kept the flowered confection of a hat I bought in
England, although I’ll never wear it.
She also says nothing is too special for everyday wear.
So now I wear a favorite black velvet top to work.
SCARY PLACES, BEAUTIFUL SPACES
I have a dark, scary closet under the ceiling that I’ve
been throwing stuff into for 20 years. Kondo emboldened
my excavation.
Crumbling 1970s luggage? Out! Subzero military boots
bought secondhand for a winter trip to Alaska? Donated
to the Salvation Army.
My outdoorsy son’s camping equipment stayed, but
Kondo’s folding techniques helped reduce the space
needed for his weatherproof clothing and bedding.
Once again, forgotten treasures emerged: artwork from
Morocco, a carved wooden bowl that belonged to my
late mother-in-law. Both are now on display.
“By the time you finish, you’ll see something you love
everywhere you look,” Kondo writes.
And that’s her real genius: “You are not choosing what
to discard but rather what to keep.” a

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ROOFTOP SPACES: Urban gardening is looking up
Katherine Roth | For the Associated Press

environment, some types of rooftop growing
also help keep buildings cooler in summer
ooking out across an urban or even some
and warmer in winter, proponents say. “Green
suburban skylines, most people see an
roof” growing systems, in which the rooftop
expanse of rooftops.
is protected by waterproofing membrane and
A few enterprising gardeners, however, see
layered with a relatively lightweight soil mix
something different: wasted acreage just waiting
engineered for rooftop use, can add to a flat
to be planted.
roof’s longevity by reducing UV light exposure
Rooftops are an underutilized resource “in
and helping with common problems like
precisely the places where space is everything
stormwater runoff.
and fertile land is most scarce,” says Annie
Not all rooftops are created equal, though,
Novak, author of a new book, “The Rooftop
and the first step is to check your building’s
Growing Guide” (Ten Speed Press). “It makes
specifications and how much weight the roof
you want to roll up your sleeves and get
can handle, along with local laws. There must
growing.”
be safe access to the roof and some sort of wall
Novak is co-founder and head farmer of the
around the top so that no one falls off.
Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, in Brooklyn. Her
“Rooftop growing requires permission,
book is filled with images of rooftop gardens and
practicality and patience,” Novak writes.
farms in cities and suburbs across the country.
Consider building codes, zoning, climate and
“Rooftop growing is nothing new,” Novak
wind (a major challenge in this type of farming).
says. “It’s actually an ancient tradition that has
John Stoddard, whose Higher Ground Farm in
been largely overlooked. Urban people in tight
Boston serves restaurants and farmers markets,
spaces have always made room for rooftop
says rooftop growing is unlike other kinds of
gardens.”
gardening in many ways.
She offers a 5,000-year timeline that includes
“We don’t have rabbits to contend with, but
Scottish sod-roof houses dating to around 3000
we have seagulls here and we have wind, so we
B.C.; Mesopotamian ziggurats featuring rooftop
need to stake our tomatoes accordingly,” he says.
shrubs and trees; the Hanging Gardens of
On the upside, “Bees somehow find their way
Babylon; European rooftop gardens of the 17th
up here. We’re on the ninth floor, but I’ve seen
and 18th century; and recent green-roof projects
dragonflies and plenty of ladybugs.”
in Chicago, Portland, New York and Montreal.
There are three main systems used for rooftop
“It’s important to reconnect with that long
gardening:
container gardens (easiest for novices
This undated photo shows Susan Hilvert, farm intern at The Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in
Brooklyn,
N.Y.,
included
in
the
book,
“The
Rooftop
Growing
Guide,”
by
author
Annie
tradition and realize that you don’t need to
or gardeners on a budget), greenhouse gardens
Novak, published in 2016 by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
reinvent the wheel. You just need to try to
(more common in four-season climates where
improve upon it,” Novak says. “There’s a big community of expert rooftop gardeners
they can be productive even in winter), and green roof growing.
out there, with lots of experience and wisdom to share.”
“Unlike the other two, the green roof has environmental benefits, provides an
She advises beginners to search online for “rooftop,” ‘’garden” and their city’s name
insulating layer to the building, holds storm water and can allow for gardening much
to find like-minded gardeners.
the way it’s done on the ground,” Novak says.
Successful rooftop gardeners, she added, must be energetic and unafraid of standing
Her guide includes sections on soil, seeds, pests, microbiology (“those teeny guys are
out in a crowd.
important”) and even business 101 for when it comes time to sell the rooftop produce.
“You have hard work ahead of you,” she writes in the book’s introduction. “You will
Nicole Baum of Gotham Greens, a hydroponic greenhouse grower with a staff of 120
find yourself climbing multiple flights of stairs, or riding up in an elevator in which you
and a total of 4.5 acres of rooftop greenhouse space in Brooklyn, Queens and Chicago,
are the only person carrying a bag of potting mix, your flats of lettuce next to someone says, “People can easily farm in cities, be it on the windowsill or on a commercial scale
else’s briefcase.”
like us. We bring our produce down on the elevator every morning. It’s way fresher and
In addition to bringing fresh food and jobs to urban centers and helping the
tastier this way, and there’s plenty of potential for more.” a

L

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SPRING CLEANING:

A chance to update decor and try some trends

Kim Cook | For the Associated Press

F

or some people, spring cleaning
entails not much more than a good
shake of the carpets. For others, it’s
an excuse to update room décor.
Here’s a sampling of this season’s new
palettes, patterns and styles:
COLORS
Neither boring nor drab, new neutrals
are about bringing home a sense of calm
and comfort. Some pastels are chalkier,
like sorbet that’s been given a whisk of
cream. Then there are the organic hues
of earth, sky and water.
We see neutrals most often in
minimalist décor, like an unglazed,
branch-shaped pitcher at CB2 the color
of a stormy sea, or Ikea’s trim Mostorp
media unit in a soft, rosy hue. Even
Le Creuset is offering its signature cast
ironware in pale pink and lemon.
Los Angeles designer Joy Cho’s new
collection at Target is filled with fun,
frothy pieces like an acrylic side table
covered in polka dots, animal figurines
in little party hats, and printed throw
pillows and wall art saying, “You’re
okay.” Warm neutrals — peach, blush,
putty, mint and charcoal — contribute to
the airy, feel-good vibe.
West Elm has partnered with Roar
+ Rabbit design studio on a home
collection that includes a sexy,
midcentury-modern swivel chair dressed
in shades called lichen, nickel or dusky
blush velvet.
The energy shifts with several bold
hues that ride the current retro wave.
Turquoise, acid yellow, emerald, pink
and red are showing up, mostly in
accessories and textiles.
Kirstin Hoffman, merchandising
director for online decor retailer Dot
& Bo, says hot pinks are trending:

“Whether they’re incorporated in an
accent chair or a planter, the look
instantly adds energy to a room.”
A range of new baking items and
dish towels at Crate & Barrel come in a
yellow as cheery as a sunny-side-up egg.
And you’ll be seeing lots of lush,
green, tropical motifs for spring and
summer. Beautiful blues — sapphire,
navy and a variety of turquoises, teals
and pale blues — are strong players
on the spring palette. Wisteria has a
settee in a rich jewel tone, while Ikea’s
got new loveseat covers in deep and
delicate blues. Boston Interiors’ Conrad
chair is upholstered in a watercolor-blue
abstract, while Farrow & Ball has added
some lush hues, including Vardo, a teal,
and Inchyra Blue, a dramatic blue-gray.
White — which Benjamin Moore
named color of the year — is also
trending. The timing’s perfect, says
Kimberly Winthrop of Laurel & Wolf:
“Bright white is spring cleaning in its
truest sense. There’ll be a lot of focus
this year on incorporating whites with
natural elements and textures into one’s
space.”
Consider painting an existing piece
of furniture, bringing in side tables or
lighting, or changing window coverings
to white.
ON THE SURFACE
Surfaces are the focus in distressed
rugs, textured throw pillows, and reliefpatterned and pin-tucked textiles and
wall coverings.
Printed, dyed velvets with flora or
fauna-inspired patterns are luxe and
painterly; Kevin O’Brien and Beacon Hill
have collections.
Some furniture designs play with
layers and lines. West Elm has a mirror
named Tree Ring that fuses mirrored
glass with a slice of Vietnamese

hardwood. An Indian pouf at the retailer
is crafted from chunks of jute and cotton
like a 3-D rag rug.
Cork has popped up in lots of new
décor. Accessories in particular lend
themselves to the sustainable material’s
pleasant feel, but it’s in furniture now,
too. Ikea’s new Sinnerlig collection from
London designer Ilse Crawford includes
stools and benches with cork seats, as
well as coffee and dining tables. Cork
lampshades at AllModern and Luxe
Décor throw a warm light. And check
out 1stDibs, Chairish and eBay for
‘70s-era vintage cork table lamps.
Metallics aren’t going away, says
Chicago interior designer Mikel Welch.
But warmer versions are overtaking the
chillier chromes and silvers.
“This spring, we’ll begin to see a
twist added,” he says. “From warm,
rich, metallic upholstery and galvanized
wallpaper to shimmering coffee tables,
luxurious metallic finishes in pewter,
gold and bronze will command
attention.”
Look for brushed copper, soft rosegold accents, and painted metallics on
throw pillows and wall art.

AP Photos 2016

MOD AND MODERN
On the heels of the midcentury
revival, some retailers are banking on
the 1980s Italian postmodernist style
known as Memphis to be the next big
thing. Characterized by bold geometric
designs and often clashing colors, it’s
not for the faint of heart.
Musician Lenny Kravitz has
collaborated with CB2 on a furniture
collection inspired by ‘70s-era New York
club culture and the California music
scene. A white lacquered media cabinet
with brushed steel doors and a round,
walnut-topped, white coffee table with
concealed storage are standout pieces.

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Neon-hued acrylic fits the era’s vibe; Land of Nod has flamingo and
palm-tree nightlights, while Los Angeles designer Alexandra von Furstenberg
displayed a suite of sleek, neon acrylic serveware at the recent NY Now
show.
Crate & Barrel has launched ARTWORKS, a limited-edition collection of
Modernist canvas prints.

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BOHO COMES HOME
Free-spirited, colorful and often pattern-happy, bohemian style is easy
to embrace. Its influences are global: India, Africa, Latin America. But the
eclecticism often comes from a mashup of decorative styles and layered
elements.
At NY Now, New York designer John Robshaw showed a collection of
softly hued woodblock-printed textiles inspired by the gardens, crafts and
clothing seen on his travels in Northern India.
Hudson & Vine stocks a whimsical collection of animals crafted from
reclaimed oil drums. Urban Outfitters has African mudcloth-printed bedding
from Deny Designs; medallion-printed tapestries, rugs and pillow covers; and
a selection of eclectic headboards made from macramé, reclaimed wood,
rattan and iron. Homegoods has some carved and painted African objets
d’art, trays and vases as well as kuba cloth poufs.
One of Hoffman’s favorite trends this spring is a combination of boho and
minimalism. Designs are pared down to core elements — color, pattern
and texture. She suggests getting this eclectic style by using neutrals and
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SUPER KITCHENS:

Stove, sink, fridge . . . wifi countertop?

Melissa Rayworth | For the Associated Press

A

merican kitchens have always served as more than
cooking and eating spaces. Generations of kids have
done homework at kitchen tables. Parents claim
counter space to organize family miscellany, tap out work
emails on laptops or install a television.
But now those work and entertainment uses are part of
kitchen design from the get-go.
The era of the “super kitchen” has arrived.
“Our findings show that homeowners expect kitchen
renovations to go far beyond improving flow, storage or
aesthetics,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at
Houzz.com, in announcing the site’s 2016 Kitchen Trends
Survey. “The ‘super kitchen’ has literally become a living
room, family room and office, with finishes, layouts and
decor that challenge us to define where the kitchen ends
and the rest of the home begins.”
Interior designer Mikel Welch calls the kitchen “the new
epicenter of the house.”
“Everybody’s working from home,” and they often prefer
doing that in an open kitchen rather than a sequestered
home office.
What are the features of a true “super kitchen”?
HIGH-TECH STATIONS
Designer Tiffany Brooks, host of HGTV’s “Most
Embarrassing Rooms in America,” says homeowners want
technology within easy reach, but protected from food and
drink spills. Some add a built-in iPad docking area or laptop
station on a counter, while others choose the less expensive
option of adding a tablet dock mounted under a cabinet,
with an arm that swings out.
People also want power. Pop-up outlets are being
installed directly into countertops, says Sarah Fishburne,
director of trend and design for the Home Depot. Wireless
“charging countertops” are also available, including LG’s
Tech Top and Dupont Corian. And homeowners are adding
extra power outlets throughout the kitchen, and designing
dedicated charging areas with power strips.
The goal, says Fishburne, is to have “many outlets readily
available for anything you might need to plug in, from
computer to glue gun.”
Another tech choice: Dishwashers that run almost silently,
so they won’t distract you while you’re working in the
kitchen. And full-size televisions are being added to the

main cooking area so you can do your
binge-watching in the same place where
you try to avoid binge-eating.
The traditional focus of kitchen planning
— a stove-sink-refrigerator triangle — has
become a square, Welch says, with the
TV added as a core necessity.
Occasionally, new kitchen technology
does involve food: “Warming drawers are
huge,” Brooks says. Because many people
work nontraditional hours, “somebody
is cooking at 2,” she says, “but then
somebody is eating at 5, and somebody is
coming home at 9.”
And some people, Welch says, “want
to essentially bring Starbucks to them.”
Restaurant-quality drink facilities are
being added to home kitchens, including
elaborate built-in tea and coffee stations,
built-in soda systems, faucets with a
sparkling water spigot and temperaturecontrolled wine refrigerators.
MORE SURFACES, MORE SEATING,
MORE STORAGE
“An emerging trend is two islands being
incorporated into a kitchen, if there is
space,” says Fishburne. “This allows for a
prep island and an island to accommodate
other family functions like work or homework while you are
preparing dinner.”
Several of Welch’s design clients have requested oversize
countertops that “allow six to eight people to comfortably
sit with barstools,” he says.
Lounging-friendly seating is a priority, whether or not
guests will be eating. If a kitchen doesn’t have space for a
sectional sofa or other large seating, some homeowners
are knocking down walls to merge the kitchen with other
rooms. Houzz says half of its survey respondents reported
making their kitchens more open to other indoor spaces.
And along with opening up the kitchen to the rest of the
house, many homeowners are decorating the kitchen to
match other rooms.
“The kitchen is becoming a lot prettier,” Brooks says. “It is
what the living room was” years ago.
The kitchen backsplash area can be a creative showcase,

AP Photos 2016

the designers say, using custom-made tiles or even antique
mirrored glass.
Kitchen storage, too, is becoming more stylish and more
organized. Closet-design systems originally conceived for
bedroom closets are now being used to organize kitchen
cabinets and pantries, Brooks says.
And rather than cramming work papers or family files into
a cabinet designed for dishes, designers are building office
and crafts storage into the kitchen. Many kitchens now have
desks or computer workstations, and the days of bringing in
“horrible, chunky rolling cabinets” to store files is over, says
Welch. Non-kitchen items are stored in “built-ins that match
the rest of the kitchen.”
Whether they’re asking for the most flattering lighting
or details like high-end brass cabinet pulls, clients want
everything to be beautiful, Welch says. More than ever, they
want “that visual ‘wow’ factor.” a

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IT’S NOT DELIVERY:

Pizza ovens are hot for the kitchen or backyard

Karen Schwartz | For The Associated Press

P

izza Hut is fine when you feel like
going out. But pizza home is the
newest trend, with pizza ovens
designed for the kitchen or backyard.
This spring, one of the most
recognizable names in home appliances
will go after a piece of that pie when
GE Monogram starts selling a $10,000
electric, residential wall model designed
to fit into the space of a standard 30inch wall oven.

“We saw a considerable market gap
when it came to the available at-home
options for pizza enthusiasts and home
chefs,” said Wayne Davis, commercial
leader at FirstBuild, a subsidiary of GE
Appliances.
GE fired up its oven and cooked
pizza in the middle of the Las Vegas
Convention Center at this year’s recent
Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.
Sure, their professional chef made
it look easy, but like most people, I’d
never used a pizza oven. I didn’t even
know that the tool used to pull pizza in

and out of the oven is called a “peel.”
Wondering what it’s like to use a
pizza oven at home, I gave a propanepowered, outdoor, countertop Napoli
Pizza Oven from Lynx Grills a try.
Like others, the Napoli has a stainless
exterior, a pizza stone, and a stone-like
interior designed to reflect heat like a
brick oven. It requires about 30 minutes
or so to heat to an internal temperature
of 700 degrees or more.
After that, a Neapolitan-style pizza
should cook in a matter of minutes, but

a family tradition for generations.
In addition to the $4,000 countertop
model, the Napoli also comes paired
with a freestanding cart at $6,500 for
the set.
Another company, Kalamazoo
Outdoor Gourmet, has a $6,900
outdoor countertop model called the
Artisan Fire Pizza Oven that can be
packed up for a tail-gate party.
“It comes in three layers. Each layer
can be easily unstacked and moved by
one person,” said company spokesman

and features built-in bins for storing
toppings.
Kalamazoo’s Artisan Fire differs in
both form and function from the Lynx
Napoli, so consumers should do their
homework and investigate the scores of
pizza-oven options available today from
specialty shops and hardware stores.
Will homeowners really spend
thousands of dollars on pizza ovens?
Hard to predict. On any given day, 13
percent of the country’s population age
2 and older eats pizza, according to the

AP Photos 2016

the ovens also can be adjusted to cook
other styles of pizza and calzone.
The Napoli was at the mercy of the
elements, and my experiment was
interrupted by high winds and cool
ambient temperature. Working around
the environmental curveballs and my
own inexperience, I eventually made
some misshapen pies that were certainly
better than frozen, with a nice crunchy
crust. But whether it was the recipe
or the receptacle, they weren’t quite
on par with the ones from my favorite
pizzeria, where pizza-making has been

Bradley Carlson.
“It’s not only about the grill anymore,”
he said. “People are becoming more
sophisticated in terms of what they’re
cooking outdoors.”
Last year, the company unveiled a
version of the Artisan Fire Pizza Oven
that can be built into brick, stone
or concrete for a clean look in an
outdoor kitchen. It costs $8,300, plus
installation.
At the kitchen show, Kalamazoo
debuted an $11,000 “rolling pizza
station” that holds the Artisan Fire oven

U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the
number of people making pizza at home
using store-bought dough accounted for
nearly 10 percent of pizza sales in 2015,
up from 3 percent in 2013, according to
Consumer Reports.
While most of that was likely not baked
in a fancy pizza oven, the good news for
homeowners is that should they tire of
pizza, the manufacturers say the outdoor
ovens can also be used for roasting foods,
baking breads or making fajitas. a

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