Silver Lake apartment garden brings COVID-19 relief

When Jamie Renee Williams wanted to learn more about soil and permaculture, she volunteered at several urban farms throughout Los Angeles: Cottonwood Urban Farm in Panorama City, Huarache Farms in Sierra Madre and Farm L.A., located in Elysian Valley. When she wanted to implement what she was learning in the community, she began working with a community-led compost pick-up service to expand its reach. And when the coronavirus outbreak forced her to shelter in place, she transformed a tiny stretch of dirt next to her apartment into an edible garden.

“I thought for many years that it would be amazing to work on restoring it in some way,” Williams, 37, said of the garden in Silver Lake that she planted in March. “I had been reading books on permaculture such as “The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming,” and when I started going to a bunch of different farms they were all doing something different. I was afraid of growing food. I have killed plenty of plants. But the pandemic and quarantine pushed me to do it. I figured I have all this time and nothing to lose.”

Before the pandemic, Williams juggled UX design work, volunteering and helping broaden the Compostable pickup service. But with more free time on her hands — and like so many who have struggled with isolation while sheltering in place — the garden offered her an opportunity to navigate her way through the pandemic.

“I felt like I had a partner through this pandemic,” she said. “It’s been really rewarding. I have learned that plants, like people, need to be together in a community.”

For Williams, who will be offering a guided virtual tour of the garden on Thursday as part of this week’s annual LA Design Festival, the garden is “reclaimed space for everyone.”

“Jamie embodies that special something that makes L.A. so interesting,” said festival director Haily Zaki. “She’s a creative multi-hyphenate doing her own unique thing, her way, that kind of cannot be defined in any sort of cut and dry way, kind of like L.A.”

We spoke with Williams about the value of gardening and composting and issues of food waste. She also touches on how gardening, and being outdoors, has helped her to better understand the world in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in May.

 Jamie Williams searches for bush beans in her tiny  garden next to her apartment complex.

Jamie Renee Williams searches for bush beans in the tiny garden next to her apartment complex.

(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

You do a lot of different things. How would you describe yourself?

To be completely honest, I have an aversion to labels. I am curious. I follow things that energize me. I like to try and learn new things. That’s my guiding philosophy. It has brought so many interesting things into my perspective. It’s probably because my childhood was very unusual.

How so?

I was born in the United States but my father was in the military so we traveled a lot. I lived in Japan from the ages of

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Tips For Decorating a New Apartment

Kate also said color can make a huge impact on a space, as long as it’s introduced thoughtfully. If you’re not sure where to begin, choose one key color to use throughout the room. For instance, Kate recommended Aviel opt for something like a vibrant mustard yellow. You’ll see pops of it everywhere in Kate’s design, from the throw pillows, to the wall art, to the patterned rug. Since Aviel shares her apartment with her dog Chicken, Kate recommended a rug with a somewhat busy print — any stains from muddy paw prints or accidental spills will be easy to camouflage.

The common thread in all of Kate’s decor advice? Keep it cohesive. Sticking to one color palette, decor style, and overall vision will help your home come together. Whether you’re moving into a studio loft or multistory house, that advice will certainly serve you well.

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Kitchen fire damages El Cajon apartment units, 20 residents displaced

EL CAJON, Calif. (CNS) – An unattended kitchen stove was blamed for an apartment fire in El Cajon Tuesday evening that caused damage to six apartments and displaced at least 20 residents.

Deputies responded to the 400 block of East Bradley Avenue, near Magnolia Avenue, about 7:25 p.m. and found a second story apartment fully engulfed in flames, according to Sgt. Patrick Fox of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The fire immediately threatened at least 10 apartments, all of which were evacuated, and an additional 10 apartments directly south of where the fire occurred were evacuated as a precaution, Fox said.

Firefighters from the San Miguel, Santee and El Cajon fire departments were able to extinguish the flames and deputies learned no one was inside the apartment when the fire started, he said.

The occupants of the apartment where the fire began were interviewed by authorities and it was determined the kitchen stove was left on and unattended, sparking the fire, Fox said.

No injuries were reported, but one apartment was damaged by fire, one unit sustained water damage and four others sustained water and smoke damage, Fox said.

Residents of the 10 apartments south of where the fire started were allowed to return home, but about 20 residents from the other 10 apartments remained evacuated due to the power in those units being turned off. San Diego Gas & Electric crews were working to restore power, Fox said.

The Red Cross set up a temporary staging area for affected residents in the Kelly’s Pub parking lot, 719 E. Bradley Ave.

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The Kitchen in This Basement Apartment Is Basically a Greenhouse

<div class="caption"> Rosie intended to install austere slate-gray cabinetry, but she was taken with the Ruskin Blossom hue when she visited Pluck’s studio. “If you’re able to take it away from its current cultural associations, it’s just a nice color,” she explains. “It looks really lovely against the greenery.” </div>

Rosie intended to install austere slate-gray cabinetry, but she was taken with the Ruskin Blossom hue when she visited Pluck’s studio. “If you’re able to take it away from its current cultural associations, it’s just a nice color,” she explains. “It looks really lovely against the greenery.”

Though television producer Rosie Rockel was a first-time homeowner when she renovated her South London apartment, she was able to approach the project with some useful background experience. Rosie’s entertainment industry job has her working on the show Grand Designs, a British home improvement series that highlights impressive, elaborate architecture. Perhaps that’s why she was so confident in her ability to design the kitchen remodel on her own. “I had a very clear picture of exactly what I wanted it to look like,” Rosie says.

The main aims were to bring light into this room of her flat, which is situated in the semisubterranean basement of a massive Victorian mansion, and connect it with the private garden. To achieve this, Rosie submitted multiple rounds of inventive blueprints to the local planning authority, but strict conservation laws only permitted her to construct a standard, conservatory-like extension with a glass roof. Though this building style was not her first choice, it actually allowed her to accomplish both her goals. Sunshine flows in amply, illuminating the once-dingy area and offering an ideal environment to grow Rosie’s bevy of potted plants. The indoor and outdoor foliage live together harmoniously, fusing the spaces to create a lush, verdant haven in the middle of a buzzing neighborhood.

<div class="caption"> The cramped old kitchen. </div>

The cramped old kitchen.

Location: Though the address is technically on the bustling Brixton Road, the house is set back as a refuge from the action. “When you come off the street, which is really busy and hectic and polluted, and there’s this very quiet, high-walled, green garden out the back, it really does feel like a little oasis,” Rosie says.

The before: Prior to the renovation, the kitchen and living room were combined in a cramped, gloomy box. With just a single barred window, the area was so dark that Rosie needed to keep all the lights on during the day. The finishes were also rather cheap.

The inspiration: “The building itself is Victorian, but because it’s a basement flat, there are no original features—no cornicing, no historical fireplaces. If I had had those things, I probably would’ve gone for a more classical look, but I thought it would be quite nice to go for something that had echoes of modernism. I wanted it to have a slight midcentury feel, but also be quite contemporary.”

Square footage: 4 square meters (approximately 43 square feet)

Budget: £70,000 (approximately $89,700)

<div class="caption"> A smattering of artwork hangs above Rosie’s dining table. She isn’t embarrassed to confess that the California image is just the picture that came in the IKEA frame. </div>

A smattering of artwork hangs above Rosie’s dining table. She isn’t embarrassed to confess that the California image is just the picture that came in the IKEA frame.

Main ingredients

Cabinetry: Pluck Custom Birch Plywood Cabinets with Ruskin Blossom Laminate and London Plane Veneer Fronts and Pill-Shaped Recessed

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Kitchen of the Week: Former barrister chambers becomes apartment with award-winning black kitchen

This black kitchen, designed by Nicola Manning of Auckland, won the Outstanding Renovation Kitchen award in this year's NKBA national awards.

MARK SCOWEN

This black kitchen, designed by Nicola Manning of Auckland, won the Outstanding Renovation Kitchen award in this year’s NKBA national awards.

It’s hard to believe this kitchen is in an apartment that was previously a commercial office space.

Kitchen designer Nicola Manning of Nicola Manning Design says the space was the client’s inner-city barrister chambers for 20 years: “As he was approaching retirement, he and his wife decided to convert the ‘office space’ into an apartment that would have a New York loft feel.”

The kitchen Manning designed has just won the Outstanding Kitchen Renovation award in the national NKBA awards, with the judges calling it “an inspired transformation”.

Kitchen designer Nicola Manning.

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Kitchen designer Nicola Manning.

Manning says the client’s brief was to transform the staff lunchroom and storage space into the kitchen, which was to be the heart of the new apartment. “It needed to have a slight industrial edge.”

Not surprisingly, there were several challenges with the conversion, including the fact that the kitchen space is triangular with tight corners. And services to the floors above ran through the main “back wall” of the kitchen, which limited the depth of the cabinetry that could be placed there.

To gain more space, a wall was removed to open up the kitchen to the central hallway through the apartment.

“The steel window joinery throughout the apartment was an inspiration for the predominantly black colour palette,” Manning says. “This contrasts beautifully with the light oak herringbone floors.

The triangular island is the central feature of the kitchen, echoing the shape of the space. “I created vertical steel fins at each end to complete the triangular lines without making the ends too solid, and to provide texture,” Manning says.

A deep steel clashing around the benchtop helps to anchor the island in the open space, and defines the boundary of the kitchen.

Removing the wall between the former office kitchen and main hallway has opened up the space to create a gathering space for the family.

MARK SCOWEN

Removing the wall between the former office kitchen and main hallway has opened up the space to create a gathering space for the family.

The island features an industrial Dekton Trillion benchtop that adds texture and warmth. Rounding off the corners of the island for safety reasons also helps to soften the look.

The sink and Miele cooktop are positioned on the main benchtop that runs beneath the window. “The benchtop is a bead-blasted stainless steel with a shark nose edge that creates a floating effect and provides a strong contrast with the solid steel-clashed island.

Manning chose textured tiles with a “butterflied treatment” for the wall above the main bench.

To achieve the required tall storage to house the ovens, fridge and pantry, a compromise had to be made with the position of the fridge.

Manning says the only position that worked for the fridge was at the right-hand end of the tall wall area. However, the central area of this ‘back wall’ was very shallow due to the services housed behind.

To utilise this space the designer created large shallow cupboards and used a sliding door

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Kitchen fire burns apartment building on Syracuse’s North Side

Syracuse, N.Y. — Residents of a North Side apartment building escaped injury after a fire this afternoon in a first-floor apartment.



a group of people on a boat in the water: Firefighters on the scene of a fire at 100 Pond Street on Syracuse's North Side. Sept. 29, 2020.


© Jacob Pucci | [email protected]/Jacob Pucci/syracuse.com/TNS
Firefighters on the scene of a fire at 100 Pond Street on Syracuse’s North Side. Sept. 29, 2020.

Firefighters were called to 100 Pond Street around 12:32 p.m. after a passerby saw smoke coming from the building.

When firefighters arrived, they found an active fire in the kitchen of a downstairs apartment—one of five units in the building, Syracuse Deputy Fire Chief Bob Cussen said.

Four children were in the apartment at the time, but all made it outside safely.

Around 15 people lived in the building, Cussen said. No injuries were reported.

The fire was largely contained to the one apartment, Cussen said, but the first and second floors both sustained smoke damage. Cussen said he believes the building had working smoke detectors at the time of the fire.

It took firefighters around 15 minutes to extinguish the flames.

The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Contact Jacob Pucci at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @JacobPucci.

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What Is a Condo? Condo vs. Apartment vs. House, Explained

What is a condo?

What is a condo? Short for “condominium,” a condo is a private residence within a larger building or complex.

The first condo in the United States was built in Salt Lake City in 1960, according to Matthew Gordon Lasner, author of “High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century.” Since then, this residence style has truly taken off. Currently, there are approximately 17 million privately owned condominiums in the U.S.

Condos might look like a lot of other types of real estate you may have heard of—like apartments, co-ops, or townhouses—but condos have their own distinct features, rules, pros, and cons. Here’s what condos are all about, and how they’re different from other structures in which you can live.

How condos work

Since a condo is part of a larger residential structure (although “detached condominiums” also exist), condo residents typically share certain common areas and amenities with their neighbors.

So what does this mean for a condo owner? It means you and your neighbors might park in a common parking lot or garage. You might use the same rec room or roof deck, or bump into one another at the condo complex’s swimming pool or gym.

Furthermore, these shared areas and amenities are enjoyed by all condo members without the need to maintain them on their own. Instead, condo owners pay dues to a board (typically made up of elected condominium owners) who then handle the hiring of landscapers, pool cleaners, and other professionals for anything that must be maintained or fixed, from faulty elevators to gopher infestations in common areas.

How much are condo fees, and what do they cover?

Average condo fees range from around $100 to $700 per month, although these fees can go much higher based on what amenities they cover. If the condo complex has high-end shared features such as a swimming pool, gym, and spa, condo fees can be several thousand per month.

what is a condo
Some condo complexes come with swimming pools.

typhoonski / Getty Images

Generally, condo fees pay for the maintenance of any amenities outside your personal living space that you share with your neighbors.

“Condo fees are your percentage share of the costs to run the building as a whole,” explains Janice Pynn, president of Simerra Property Management.

And in case you think your condo fees are too high, know this: No one pockets a cent of your checks or is getting rich off condo dues.

“They are not a profit source for building management; in fact, each building is registered as a nonprofit corporation,” Pynn points out. In other words, these fees go solely toward enhancing the value of your real estate, which is a good thing!

Here are the services and amenities you can expect your condo fees to cover:

  • Interior maintenance: Condo owners share the cost of maintaining common building areas like parking structures, storage rooms, laundry rooms, game rooms, fitness centers, saunas, and hallways, as well as mechanical systems like heating, cooling, electric,
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And then There’s this Apartment with a Tub in the Kitchen

Photo: Streeteasy

The standard pre-war tenement layout included a bathtub in the kitchen. It made sense, as this was the central location of plumbing.

The phenomenon began with the advent of plumbing in city tenements between 1901 and 1905. With bathhouses no longer necessary to wash up, the kitchen became central. The tub here made sense given the location of pipes and sheer space, as well as proximity to stove for hot water. Plus, it doubled as a sink; or wooden boards for dining table.

In some ways, these architectural relics reach a certain novelty status. Some call the shower-in-the-kitchen listing a unicorn of city real estate. Any time one is listed for rent, news stories surely follow. Like this one.

For instance, there was a studio apartment for rent at 164 Mott Street with the kitchen tub. It lasted a few weeks on the market at the bargain price of $1,800 per month, before being rented for $1,599, according to Streeteasy.

And then there is this particular apartment at 27 Orchard Street, which even goes so far as masking the kitchen shower in an elegant chamber. So your naughty bits are obscured when there is company in the kitchen.

What are you willing to pay for one of these relics?

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All the apartment decor we’re eyeing during Urban Outfitters’ 40 percent off sale

Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the products and deals we love. If you love them too and decide to purchase through the links below, we may receive a commission. Pricing and availability are subject to change. 

Nothing is more soothing than walking through the Urban Outfitters home decor section. But if you’re not ready to get back to in-person shopping just yet, you can find all the same atheistically pleasing picks online — and on sale.

Right now, Urban Outfitters has hundreds of decor items on sale for up to 40 percent off.

While the retailer can lean a bit on the pricier side, now is one of the best times to score discounted home upgrades. We’re talking everything home-related — think furniture pieces, gorgeous bedding sets, lighting options, kitchen and bar accessories and more.

We know how important it is to make your space feel like it’s truly home, especially if it’s a new dorm room or first apartment. Urban Outfitters is one of those stores that has super unique finds, allowing you to design your room with an eclectic and stylish twist that still lets your individual self shine, which we’re all about.

With everyone spending more hours indoors than ever, it’s time to #treatyourself to some small upgrades that will do wonders for your space. Even if it’s just swapping out an old comforter for a new one, it can make all the difference for the feel of your room.

Because browsing the retailer’s 500+ discounted items can be a bit overwhelming, we’ve rounded up the best items worth shopping now before the deals end.

Shop: Tufted Dot Queen Duvet Cover, $84 (Orig. $99)

Shop: Donahue Trio Planter, $59.99 (Orig. $89)

Shop: Amped Fleece Fringe Trim Throw Blanket, $39 (Orig. $59)

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One dead, two wounded in Far Rockaway garden apartment parking lot shooting

A 20-year-old man is dead, two other people are wounded after gunfire erupted in a parking lot of a Far Rockaway Queens garden apartment complex, police officials said.

Police were received a 911 call of people shot at 2 p.m. at 29-43B Far Rockaway Blvd. Police from the 101st Precinct arrived to find two of the three people wounded at the scene, including a 2o-year-old man hit in the abdomen and torso. EMS rushed him to St. John’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A 19-year-old man was taken to Jamaica with a gunshot wound to the left leg. A 20-year-old woman was found nearby, suffering a wound to her left ankle and leg. She was also taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Police fanned out through the parking lot, filled with late-model cars and an old Ford pick-up truck that appears to have been sitting for a long time. On the fences and walls surrounding the property were graffiti tags with gang insignia, some residents say.

Detectives were questioning several residents, including family members of the people who were shot at the scene. Spent shells were sitting on the ground marked by orange cones, one on a vehicle, on the steps of the two-story garden apartment residence and in the weeds surrounding the parking lot.

Three people were shot in a parking lot of a Far Rockaway garden apartment complex this afternoon, leaving one man hanging on to life. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

The area had been quiet for some time, residents say, one man identified as Justin, said he has lived in a neighboring private home development and had not heard anything going on.

“I just don’t know why they have to shoot each other, it makes no sense,” he sighed. “What is going on in this city? Why must people keep shooting? I just don’t know what can be done.”

Another woman describing herself as a concerned resident said, “it’s been quiet over here – mostly families just trying to make a living. I don’t understand what could be happening here. It’s usually very quiet and nobody bothers each other.”

Anyone with information in regard to this shooting is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit tips online at nypdcrimestoppers.com, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

Detectives question witnesses after 1 person was killed, 2 others wounded in Far Rockaway. (Photo by Todd Maisel)
Gang tags surround the garden apartment complex. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

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