Tuesday, March 27, 2012

All You Need to Know about Facebook Timeline

ECPR friends and fans, by now you are aware of the big changes coming to Facebook brand pages. The new Timeline design has many business owners scratching their heads, wondering how the new design will affect their company business page. Our team has been researching the Timeline and all there is to know about it. Below, you will find three educational and informative articles from social media experts we admire, who have helped shed light on the changes.
Which article did you find most interesting and helpful? Also, we would love to learn your thoughts on the new Facebook Timeline design. Like or dislike?

* To read the articles listed above, click on each individual title.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Three Must-have Books

Retailers, designers, and garden writers, if you are looking for books that cover a number of trendy topics – such as water gardening, orchids and herbs – look no further. These new books from our friends at Better Homes & Gardens and Meredith Books with the Meredith Corporation are some of the most informative we have reviewed.

Better Homes & Gardens Water Gardening

There’s a reason that “rainforest” is one of the settings on sleep-assisting sound machines. The sound of moving water in its natural habitat has a relaxing, soothing effect. But you don’t have to travel to Brazil to experience this beauty firsthand. Better Homes & Gardens Water Gardening is a comprehensive, expert guide to how to start, maintain and enjoy a water garden. Whether you have acres to plan, or a small rooftop green space, this book offers step-by-step instructions, design ideas and product and material recommendations.

Although owning a water garden may seem like a landscaping project for homeowners with large green spaces, the Better Homes & Gardens staff proves that a water garden can truly be achieved in any amount of outdoor space. This book’s valuable advice can be tailored to every gardener’s individual resources. Each chapter features aerial-view design maps that are extremely helpful for deciding which water source and plant orientation would be best for use.

Only interested in a simple pond project? Better Homes & Gardens Water Gardening is perfect for all levels of project planning. From water lilies to winter protection and pond-stocking to plumbing, each chapter covers the joys and challenges of creating a water garden.

For the landscape architect, or the backyard planning enthusiast, this book is a smart resource to have on hand. With more than 325 beautiful color photographs, this guide isn’t short on inspiration and motivating themes. We give it a 5-star rating.

Better Homes & Gardens Orchid Gardening

It’s ironic that vanilla extract is derived from an orchid, because there’s nothing vanilla about this complex, ornamental flower favorite. Better Homes & Gardens recognized that the growing environment, varieties and maintenance of orchids was so multifarious, they could write a whole book on the subject. And, wow, we are glad they did! This guidebook begins with a fascinating chapter about the history of orchids, including its ancient uses for fertility, Darwin’s obsession with evolutionary roots and some common misconceptions about the popular plant. The book’s expansive tutorial about the biology of the plant is essential for providing a hospitable home environment, and Better Homes & Gardens explains all of this thoroughly, yet clearly enough a novice can digest it with ease.

Orchids require a lot of attention to detail, especially when potting for the first time or re-potting, and this guide gives advice that can’t be found from a simple Google search. Better Homes & Gardens interviewed orchid experts for the book, and these growers’ tips and tricks will supply insight for healthy and beautiful orchids.

For designers, florists, or those who use orchids in arrangements, the book’s Special Displays chapter features creative and fresh ideas to display or gift an orchid. The galleries toward the back caught our eye. They provide sharp, glossy photos of an expansive variety of orchids. Whether you’re garden writer, garden center retailer or other plant lover, Better Homes & Gardens Orchid Gardening is a great reference book for instruction and enjoyment.

Better Homes & Gardens Herb Gardening

A good cook never lacks friends. But, to be a good cook, fresh herbs are a must. What better way to keep them on-hand than to have an herb garden? Better Homes & Gardens Herb Gardening encourages homeowners to consider replacing typical backyard gardening plants with herbs; not only are they dually purposed, but many herbs are long-lasting perennials. This unique book also features a helpful section on how to bring an herb garden indoors, a great option for homeowners with little green space. Growing plants indoors can be a temperamental and challenging process, but this guide features several ideas and tips to keep the process headache-free.

And what about the colder months, when it’s near-impossible to have fresh herbs for cooking? This book has a freezing guide to use your herbs year round. Because the Better Homes & Gardens staff is also rife with cooking and kitchen connoisseurs, they couldn’t produce an herb book without including a few recipes: Lemon-Thyme Ice Cream, Fresh Mint, Onion and Apple Chutney, to name just two.

The back of the book features some D.I.Y. project ideas that the homeopathic homeowner will absolutely like. This gardening book is ideal for any homeowner or chef. Often the freshest ingredients produce the best cuisine, and Better Homes & Gardens Herb Gardening is the perfect preface to any cookbook.

Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., these and other books from the experts at Better Homes & Gardens can be found where great books are sold. You can also click the above title links to find these books on Amazon.com.

* To enlarge the images, select each individual photo.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Outside Looking In

Our client, Historical Concepts, recently published a book entitled Coming Home: The Southern Vernacular House. The book features a selection of homes the firm’s partners designed throughout the years. Each home included in the gorgeous book has a background story, allowing those who read the book to become fully engrossed in the project and to imagine what it would be like to walk through the front door with a feeling of warmth.

Historical Concepts’ knowledgeable experience in designing Southern vernacular homes comes with great enthusiasm and passion for architecture. A prime example of this is Among the Oaks, located in Spring Island, South Carolina. This spectacular home is nestled among four large oak trees, which Historical Concepts used as inspiration. Making this home’s architecture even more interesting, Among the Oaks combines Southern vernacular style with Caribbean flair.

The client envisioned a relaxed, informal house with a wide open floor plan. In the great room, a West Indian-inspired ceiling of exposed beams and purlins married with columns, pilasters, and a tall entablature gives the room a tropical feel. The understated elegance of the room complements the room’s natural wood and brick floors. In addition, the interior design, by Miriam Jordan Interiors, features furniture and accessories which enhance the overall warmth of the home. One notable feature is the gorgeous French doors which open up to an outdoor living space, creating an open-air extension of the great room. Also, the beautifully designed kitchen resembles that of a traditional Southern-style home. With simple, classic light fixtures and white on white cabinets and counter-tops, the functional space is ideal for entertaining guests. As an added bonus, a cozy Carolina room extends from the kitchen.
The combination of Southern vernacular and Caribbean architecture makes Among the Oaks a dream home. Historical Concepts’ vision of designing a home that resembles something that an eighteenth-century British planter might have built after settling in South Carolina following a sojourn in the West Indies is ingenious. To view more design projects by Historical Concepts, visit the company’s website at www.historicalconcepts.com to order your copy of Coming Home: The Southern Vernacular House.

*To enlarge the images, select each individual photo.