Sustainable lawn strategies

Start this winter to meet your mission of having a sustainable yard this spring. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is holding a “Planning & Implementing a Sustainable Yard: An Introduction” class from 9:30 a.m. to noon Jan. 28. Topics include water flow on your property, soil testing and siting and designing your lawn, hardscape, rain gardens, trees and more.

Cost is $41 for members; $55 for nonmembers and includes arboretum admission. Register at (click on “Gardening & Horticulture Classes”) or call 612-301-1210.

Call for remodeled urban homes

Are you proud of your revamped kitchen or mudroom addition? Nominate your home for the 30th Minneapolis & St. Paul Home Tour to be held April 29-30. Homeowners open their doors to share ideas, tips and resources from their remodeling experiences. Visitors are particularly interested in seeing examples of period-accurate restoration and expansions sensitive to the home’s original character. Being on the tour gives homeowners feedback as well as the incentive to finish those last few projects. Homeowners can nominate themselves, and contractors, architects and other professionals may also submit projects they’ve done.

To apply online, go to and click on the red “Submit a home” button. You can also request an application by contacting coordinator Margo Ashmore at 612-867-4874 or Final deadline is Feb. 15.

Have a news item? To be considered for Indoors & Out, send your home improvement, remodeling, interior design and gardening events and other news to


5 tips for designing the perfect bath

The era of the trophy kitchen being the most important room of the house may be fading. For Barbara Sallick, co-founder of Waterworks, bathrooms reflect more personal style than the rooms where we roast our turkeys.

Her new book, “The Perfect Bath,” celebrates the best bathrooms she’s encountered since the 1978 founding of the bath and kitchen company where she now serves as senior vice president of design.

“Kitchens are all about the community, family and friends,” Sallick said. “The bathroom is a little more indulgent, especially the master bath. It’s all about you and relaxation and your favorite things and a place of privacy.”

The book features bath design planning tips and interviews with top designers and architects, as well as advice on materials, surfaces, color and decoration. The perfect bath, for Sallick, is timeless and classic. We asked her for five tips for anyone considering a bathroom construction project or a little freshening up:

1. Shop carefully. Research the style that is most appropriate for you or your family and house. Then align yourself with a knowledgeable sales associate. They can help you navigate endless choices, define priorities, manage the budget, select appropriate materials and assure on-time deliveries.

2. Install proper lighting. Lighting is often not high enough on the priority list of essentials. The result is a bath where there is not enough light, annoying shadows and a lack of decorative sconces. Plan for too much incandescent light, and install a dimmer. There is so much new technology in the market, it is important to do your homework on the type of lighting appropriate for the size of your space. Take advantage of natural light; it helps soften and warm the space.

3. Consider storage options. Nothing will derail your new bathroom more quickly than not planning for your “stuff” — extra towels, toilet paper, bath amenities, makeup, shaving tools and toothbrushes all need their own place. Early in the planning stage, lay out the bathroom with a closet or vanity to conveniently accommodate the rituals of daily life and keep the space neat.

4. Invest in the installation. Vet the contractor before signing a contract by asking for references and requesting a visit to completed projects. A great contractor can make the difference in how a bathroom looks, no matter the cost of the materials. A good contractor will measure carefully so there are no unsightly cuts in either the stone or tile, help select grout, make sure the placement of the shower valve is convenient, test every part of the installation with a level to ensure everything is straight, and clean up the daily installation mess.

5. Make it your own. Bath accessories make the difference between a space that reflects your own taste and one that looks like it walked right out of a showroom. Personalize the space by shopping for vintage pieces, adding art, buying beautiful towels, selecting the right color paint, finding a great rug, placing an orchid in a decorative container, displaying special items on a tray, and adding a beautiful mirror and fabulous sconces.

JURA KONCIUS, Washington Post