Seventeen-year-old Nancy Ondra had high hopes for her first garden: This is going to be easy, fast and inexpensive.

Growing up in Burley, Idaho, on a small farm with a large garden, Camille Wells discovered the healing powers of working in dirt. Especially during her high school days, she grew accustomed to having a garden sanctuary - a place to go to take her mind off everything else.

This is the house that architect Paul Thiry built, in 1929.

The challenge: Nikki and Andrew Dypwick bought their 1950s rambler in Edina because the bedrooms and living spaces were all on one level. But the outdated, closed-off rooms prevented the Dypwicks from mingling with guests and from keeping an eye on their kids doing homework. "We love to entertain, but it was hard being part of the party when you were in the kitchen," Nikki said. "The walls needed to come down."

When it comes to growing our own food, the natural starting point for most of us is a vegetable garden. Yet by stopping there (which many of us tend to do) we are missing out on a lot. Growing fruit is just as important as growing vegetables because it gives us control over what is in our food and where it comes from. But homegrown fruit also provides incredible flavors and a larger selection of varieties than what is typically found in the grocery store. And by growing fruit organically, we are reducing the demand for conventionally grown fruit ... and that supports the environment.

Message boards are all the rage with the busy lives we lead, so make yours pretty with ribbons that accent your decor and colors that make you happy.

Dear Helaine and Joe:

Q: Dear Ed, I have the "bathroom blues" and I want to upgrade my bathroom with a brand new shower head. Since this project is relatively simple for a plumbing project, I may want to explore my shower head options. What are some good, better, best, types of shower heads that can be installed without turning this project into a big deal? Barry, New Jersey

Q: The home I just purchased has a new roof with a ridge vent and gable vents. The inspection reports suggest we either add overhang vents and seal the gables or seal the ridge vent and use the gable vents. I'm confused. Can you explain why this needs to be done?

Dear Angie: What happens if I pour grease down the kitchen sink?

"Hell strips" are what they call narrow planting spaces adjacent to a driveway, street or sidewalk. This is the plant graveyard, where less than resilient species give up the ghost by midsummer. Why are these sun-drenched planters so tough to cultivate? It's because adjacent paving becomes a thermal mass that collects and reflects that heat back on plants both night and day.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a crystal ball to tell us what awaits us in trends and innovation for the future in interior design? Well, some experts have given us hints of what is to come.

It's time to crawl out of that cozy cocoon of your winter bed and hit the "reset" button, lightening your bed up for spring. Rita, who is a wiz at creating to-die-for bedding at my store, Nell Hill's Briarcliff in Kansas City, Mo., has these three suggestions for getting your bed ready for spring and summer snoozing:

Pink is taking another shot at selling a home she owns in Sherman Oaks, this time priced at $3.499 million.

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