the trend

Live/work units in the works Some sleek new artists' digs will be rising in north Minneapolis this fall. Dubbed Bearden Place, in honor of African-American artist Romare Bearden, the development will include six live/work townhouses in the Willard Homewood neighborhood.

The neighborhood has been hard hit by foreclosures, but an "artists' core" is emerging, said Tom Streitz, director of housing for the city of Minneapolis. The site, on the northwest corner of Plymouth and Sheridan Avenues N., is adjacent to Homewood Studios, an artists' work/gallery space.

"More people are working out of their homes, and live/work space is becoming more accepted," Streitz said. "We want to create new kinds of housing."

The city and the Builders Outreach Foundation, the charitable arm of the Builders Association of the Twin Citties, recently held a contest to solicit designs for the site. The winning design, selected from 47 nationwide submissions, is modern in style, with first-floor spaces that can be used as galleries. The design was the work of MSD/WhatWorx Collaboration (, which includes Ira A. Keer, Sandra Gay, Tim Heitman, Gary Lampman, Robert Fischer, Donovan Hart and Spencer Finseth.

"What stood out in jurors' minds was that it [the winning design] treated the whole site," Streitz said. In addition to the 1,600-square-foot live/work units, which will be priced at $175,000 or below, the design included a shared vegetable garden and a rain garden.

Construction is scheduled to begin in September, and the units will be featured on the Parade of Homes the following March.


Apps can help around the house Smart phones can help anyone who is working on a home. Check out these helpful apps:

• Ben Color Capture from Benjamin Moore, ColorSnap from Sherwin-Williams: The free applications analyze the colors within photos you have snapped or uploaded to your mobile, then display the closest matches in their line. (For iPhone; free.)

• HandyMan Sidekick: Plug in your room's dimensions, including how many windows and doors are in it, and HandyMan will tell you how many gallons of paint or rolls of wallpaper to pick up. (For iPhone; $1.99.)

• Home Sizer: Planning to build an addition? This app lets you map out square footage, as well as construction costs. If you're building a home from scratch, it also breaks down mortgage costs so you can make size adjustments and change the terms of your loan to more closely match your monthly budget. (For iPhone; $2.99.)


Learn to live better with less Thrift is back in style.

The recession has made it cool to clip coupons and cut costs, but some reformed spendthrifts can use a little help. That's what's offered in "Be Thrifty: How to Live Better With Less" (Workman Publishing, $14.99).

The book, edited by Pia Catton and Califia Suntree, is a compilation of money-saving ideas, from necessities such as fixing your toilet to luxuries such as creating a spa at home. It includes tips for saving on food bills, buying clothing, reducing credit-card debt and haggling. Ultimately, the book makes the point that cutting costs doesn't have to turn you into a cheapskate.