Annie Thornton


Location
San Francisco, CA  
About me:
Houzz Editorial Staff 
My favorite style:
Thoughtful design 
My next house project:
Turning my neglected porch into an outdoor dining room and herb garden 
Annie Thornton likes a comment on an ideabook

Meet the Mighty Saguaro of the Desert Landscape

You’ve seen its form in films, on souvenirs and much more. Now get to know this iconic cactus of the Sonoran Desert Full Story
     Comment   1 hour ago
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madeleinejs
Fascinating, especially for a reader in Europe.
19 hours ago     
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Great Design Plant: Purple Needle Grass, California’s State Grass

The long-lived, drought-tolerant Stipa pulchra is as admired for its benefits as for its good looks Full Story
   Comment   2 hours ago
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PRO
June Scott Design
Thank you for drawing attention to this overlooked CA native grass. It would be a great substitute for the invasive Stipa (Nassella) tenuissima that has become widely planted in So. California in the past few years.
6 hours ago     
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4 hours ago
Annie Thornton likes a comment on an ideabook

Want a More Colorful, Natural Garden? Try a Perennial Meadow

Spend less time tending and more time taking in the sights by improving on Victorian and prairie garden designs Full Story
     Comment   last Thursday
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PRO
Brian Maloney Design Associates
This is a great discussion! Weeds are a blessing and a curse. Barbara is smart to point out that weeds, especially annual seeds, can be a real pest. When I build gardens for clients I have to keep them weed free and I can't be putting down cardboard or shredded newspaper. As a result I will assume a crew of gardeners (usually the mowing crew) will clean the garden once every two weeks. Any sign of an extremely aggressive weed is met with full force and eradicated ASAP. On the east coast you will be weeding from around April until early August with a final cleanup in October. Since the crews keep up with the weeding it takes very little time using shuttle hoes and hand picking near the base of plants. This assumes the soil is perfect.

Soil is the foundation so get it right. Add a lot of crushed lava rock to clay soils (widely available on the west coast to fix that adobe clay!). Never add sand!! Compost all soils with a good organic compost made from garden refuse (available at most town compost sites). No need to add manure. Hire someone to fix the soil if it is too big a task for you to handle alone. Add new compost or a fertilizer (manure or slow-release) every three years or as needed. Keep the soil loose.

With proper plant spacing a perennial meadow will need 2-4 years to fill in. At this point weeds are usually not a problem. However, constant inspection for aggressive weeds is a must to prevent unwanted intruders.

If you are gardening as a homeowner, build your garden in sections. Only take on as much as you can handle and begin nearest the house so you can enjoy your work up close. The last photograph above shows an entryway. This is a good place to start. Then tackle the patio. If you don't have a patio, build one. You'll want a place to sit in the garden! They can be tiny or grand but they all give you some structure to work from. Structure is important for this style because perennial beds can look like weeds if they don't feel like they are somehow connected to the architecture.

Once you have a bed established, you now have your own nursery to divide from. One plant becomes 10 or so plants in 2-3 years. Time to build a new bed. This is a good way to expand because it keeps your palette limited (less is more). In time you can add accents and specimens.

Finally, weeds can be friends too. In temperate climates ferns abound and can be used in sun or shade depending on the variety. Some can be aggressive so beware. Other weeds I encourage at times include: Lobelia syphilitica, Zizias (golden alexanders), Asters, Verbascums (not native), and some wild sedges and grasses to name a few.

Building a garden is a project and hard work. But, since when is hard work a bad thing? As long as we aren't overwhelmed, this should be fun. Take time planning. Visit public gardens. Read. Walk on trails and take note of what plants you see. Learn plants by family. Learn the mints, from rosemary to Phlomis tuberosa. Learn the asters, from ox-eye daisy to downey goldenrod (yes, golden rod is an aster). Have fun!
last Thursday at 8:44AM     
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Does Your Landscape Need a Little ‘Cosmic Latte’?

Beige — the color of the universe — can be both building block and backdrop in a contemporary garden Full Story
     Comment   last Tuesday
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Liza Hausman
I have a serious neutral addiction so this all speaks to me
September 13, 2014 at 2:09PM     
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Annie Thornton published an ideabook

Houzz Tour: An Eclectic Ranch Revival in Washington, D.C.

Well-considered renovations, clever art and treasures from family make their mark on an architect’s never-ending work in progress Full Story
     Comment   September 14, 2014
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redryder60
The need for an architect has never been proven more eloquently than this homeowner and his amazing skill. Wow.

My husband and I may embark on a HUGE renovation of an abused home that started life as a 1900's barn. Thank goodness we already have an architect with vision. I hope our transformation is as gorgeous, practical and appealing as this one!
Yesterday at 10:50AM   
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sparkeygreen
Gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous. This is the way mid century modern needs to be done.
Yesterday at 3:52PM   
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Great Design Plant: Southern Live Oak Offers an Unbeatable Canopy

Keep it dense or prune it for more light. No matter how you grow Quercus virginiana, it’s a majestic addition to its native landscape Full Story
     Comment   September 11, 2014
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slomester
Happened to be reading this -- and compelled to share... Here's our live oak, photographed moments ago. (We are near Beaufort, SC.)
September 11, 2014 at 4:03PM     
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Annie Thornton commented on an ideabook

My Houzz: A Modern-Day Homestead Brings a Family Together

Their 5-acre Washington property, with sports court, swings, pizza oven and gardens, is a labor of love and communal playspace Full Story
     Comment   September 11, 2014
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Annie Thornton
Beautiful!
September 11, 2014 at 11:14AM     
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Lindsay Liepold
Thank you so much! It looks wonderful, you have definitely inspired me for my new front walk.
last Friday at 3:36AM     
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28868
Lucky children growing up in an environment where the future is seen through the window of shared as well as individual inspiration and creativity. Once the view is there you go for it and create the dream in
increments that are attainable. Congratulations and best wishes to this family now and for the future.
last Friday at 1:30PM     
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Annie Thornton commented on an ideabook

My Houzz: Flashes of Industrial Style in a Modern-Rustic Dream Home

In this picture-perfect getaway, you can sleep under the stars without leaving your bed — and heated brick floors keep toes warm Full Story
     Comment   September 8, 2014
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shruthi1971
Amazing
May 25, 2014 at 10:24AM   
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Annie Thornton
This house is stunning. Love every piece — from the adirondack chairs used as living room chairs to the collected nests scattered throughout the house.
September 8, 2014 at 4:07PM     
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marlso
Black stain or almost black slate color stain can be stunning provided the contrasting trim can carry it and has a statement to make. To me, you need gorgeous landscaping and nice detailing in the trim work--like well proportioned divided lights that will really pop with the dark house for example. With a dark house you are staging the details of your house front and center which is the idea.
Yesterday at 10:38AM   
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lizthefrizz
This look could be really intriguing and mysterious on some houses, but I live in Houston and an all black interior would mean attracting a huge amount of sun and heat. With out summer norm being "feels like 120 degrees," all black would be murderous!
Yesterday at 12:51PM   
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My Houzz: Eccentricities Fill a London Flat

Lego bricks, chalkboard paint, Barbie dolls. The decor in this creative home is as playful as it is personal Full Story
     Comment   September 7, 2014
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michele1975
This is the third time I've looked at this story. They say 1st impressions are the most important, but this flat dispels that theory.

1st look: YIKES! Naked Barbies on the wall. Dead animals. EW! What a weirdo!

Second look: Oh, I missed that the first time. Rats! I let the grandsons take the Legos home. Still, this place is kind of warped.

Third look: How refreshing & fun to surround yourself with stuff you like and don't care what anybody thinks. If it makes you happy to come home, that's what matters.

The well stocked bar doesn't hurt! OK, I noticed that on my 4th look. Enjoy!
September 6, 2014 at 7:12PM     
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Got a Hot, Humid Landscape? Add Tropical Flair With Air Plants

Turn tree trunks and walls into lush canvases with plants adapted to the canopies of the rain forest Full Story
     Comment   September 7, 2014
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schokoladenosterhase
My dog Schoko played a trick on us a while back. He stood in front of a staghorn I am trying to establish as a ball but presently only has two clumps on it. It gave him antlers! (Thinking of using it a a Xmas card.) I have posted it elsewhere on Houzz before. You will have to enlarge the photos to get the full effect...
;)
September 7, 2014 at 2:38PM     
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Annie Thornton is following LifeEdited Inc.
September 5, 2014
Annie Thornton likes a comment on an ideabook

6 Overlooked Asters for Tough Spots

Whether your garden has baking sun or dry dense shade, boggy soil or sandy gravel, there's an aster for that Full Story
     Comment   September 5, 2014
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samanthaja
Thanks for including an aster from the PNW!
September 5, 2014 at 8:15AM     
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Annie Thornton commented on an ideabook

Houzz Products: Save a Taste of Summer

Can't bear to part with the flavors of summer peaches, berries and tomatoes? Then jam on it! Full Story
     Comment   September 4, 2014
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Annie Thornton
The jam in the top photo looks delicious — especially in a beautiful copper pot. Thanks for these picks.
September 4, 2014 at 12:01PM     
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debbiea56
Love the mason jar pendant light!
September 8, 2014 at 6:48AM   
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mrsqnbee
No REAL canning jars?
September 8, 2014 at 10:15AM   
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Annie Thornton published an ideabook

Inside Houzz: Refaced Cabinets Transform a Kitchen

No walls came down. No windows were added. But this once-dark kitchen looks completely different, thanks to bright new surfaces Full Story
     Comment   August 31, 2014
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karavosk
Great transformation. I always like a white kitchen, but in this case it is a huge improvement. The previous kitchen was stylish, but DARK. With the amount of time most people spend in a kitchen wouldn't you want it to be a bright, comfortable space?
September 15, 2014 at 3:57PM   
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Marion Reeves
The front room photos show the two plum chairs with their backs to the view. However, the two plum chairs are on either side of the fireplace with an ottoman in between. There are two leather recliners in those spots. What they didn't photograph was the opposite wall to the two plum chairs is a 12 foot long bank of built ins with closed doors down below and open shelving above housing the 70 inch tv. For the accommodating 14 for dinner there is a two person bench that is in the dining room and the other 4 matching chairs are stored elsewhere.
September 15, 2014 at 4:44PM   
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PRO
River Valley Cabinet Works
@haleydaniels-He sounds like a dude for which that lawn tractor company(Snapper or Toro) made an ad showing the kid dreaming of playing on the diamond and the dad dreaming of mowing the diamond.

Some of the biggies have already been mentioned:
Plunge the toilet(bonus-ability to pull and reset toilet after child flushes plastic donut and it gets caught in the trapway ;-)
Remove tub and sink traps to get the hair rats out
Change a light bulb
Reset a breaker or replace a fuse
Vacuum up water in basement if sump overflows or fails
Light a hot water heater
Shut off power/gas/water
Mow the lawn/weed flower beds
Clean out downspouts
Trim smaller trees
Shovel snow(for those of us who have winter)
August 28, 2014 at 7:28PM     
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alwayslookin
Looking back, I certainly didn't learn how to fix anything from my parents! I married a man who wasn't good at it either. I blame too much HGTV and not enough common sense for any skills I might now possess. I agree every suggestion contributed, however, I could have saved myself even more money, by knowing what NOT to do myself. Never stand on the toilet to kill a spider or change a lightbulb. The GFI's are on a separate breaker, so when you shut off the power to the kitchen lights, they aren't off. Not all GFIs have a reset button. Just because you don't see a reset doesn't mean it isn't a GFI outlet. Know where your whole house plumbing shut off is. Give up one specialty coffee and buy the $7.00 water shut off wrench for the street valve just in case. Don't ever put your face over the hole if you have to use it. Those valves are under a lot of pressure.
August 28, 2014 at 9:29PM     
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Great Design Plant: Snowberry Pleases Year-Round

Bright spring foliage, pretty summer flowers, white berries in winter ... Symphoricarpos albus is a sight to behold in every season Full Story
     Comment   August 26, 2014
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PRO
Pamela Bateman Garden Design
Kate~ Thanks for the great article. Symphoricarpos grows naturally along our seasonal creek on our farm in Northern California, Yolo County, elevation 350'. Snowberry is said to to be a good honey plant that produces a white honey. Here is a picture of snowberry planted along a stream in an ecological restoration area.
Also the name is from the Greek word Symphyos - growing together and the word carpos meaning - fruit. So the botanical name means fruit growing together!
August 26, 2014 at 7:46AM     
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Annie Thornton published an ideabook

Get a Grip on Climbing Walls

This fantasy home feature can be surprisingly within reach. Here's what it takes to get some climbing heaven at home Full Story
     Comment   August 25, 2014
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Whitney Lester
Climbing walls
September 2, 2014 at 6:51PM   
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briettamcdonnell
Irvin
JMHHHJJMJNMJLK
September 11, 2014 at 2:41AM   
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