Budget-friendly arboretum

It’s the last week to take advantage of free admission at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. Too cold to walk or ski the grounds? The indoor 20-foot Orchid Tree, composed of more than 500 plants, offers a taste of the tropics. Head over to the Snyder Building’s Meyer-Deats Conservatory to view more orchids, as well as bromeliads and cacti.

If you want your own orchid to take home, the Arboretum Gift Store has a selection of live orchids and orchid-growing supplies for sale.

The arboretum’s blossoms, birds and landscapes have been captured on film by members of the Arboretum Photographers Society, who are presenting their annual show through April 4 in the Oswald Visitor Center. If you’d like one of these works to grace your home, they’re for sale in the arboretum store. Free gate admission is through Jan. 31. Call 952-443-1400 or go to www.arboretum.umn.edu.


Dream cabin

If you could build your own cabin, what kind of kitchen, wall colors and relaxing spaces would you want? The DIY multimedia interactive series “Blog Cabin” allows TV viewers and Internet users to vote on every design feature in the renovation of a lakeside 1920s Craftsman-style bungalow in Winter Haven, Fla. When DIY experts are finished working their magic, you can enter the “Blog Cabin” sweepstakes to win the transformed retreat. Vote up to 10 times a day on key design and construction elements through March 31 at www.diynetwork.com/blog-cabin.



Back to the blues

All indications point to indigo, cobalt and rich peacock hues popping up in shelter magazines and home furnishing retailers in 2014.

“Like a great blazer, dark blue makes its appearance on the popularity poll every 40 years. But like a blazer, it never comes back exactly the same,” said Gale Steves, author of “Right-Sizing Your Home: How to Make Your House Fit Your Lifestyle.”

Richer, more complex and saturated shades of this all-time classic were coloring frames, upholstery and case goods once again at the Fall Furniture Market in High Point, N.C.

“From Ming Dynasty porcelain to Dutch delftware, cobalt blue has been fired into decor for centuries,” said Holly Blalock, owner of upholstery manufacturer CR Laine.

This time around, the darker end of the spectrum is being featured.

“Watch for brilliant blue to brighten home design, particularly when paired with saturated orange tones and tailored white accents,” Blalock said.