Welcome Mat: Green-friendly Ann Arbor farmhouse hosts virtual home tour for Earth Day

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News
Situated on 15 acres, Burh Becc, a farmhouse in Ann Arbor, meets some of the most rigorous environmental standards for buildings in the world.

Environmentally-friendly Ann Arbor farmhouse opens up for virtual Earth Day tour

Burh Becc is one of the most energy efficient houses not just in Michigan but the world. The Ann Arbor farmhouse, situated on 15 acres and featured in 2018 in Homestyle, has photovoltaic panels, geothermal heating and meets some of the most rigorous environmental building standards. Now, just in time for Earth Day, owners Tom and Marti Burbeck are opening the doors of their unique home, Burh Becc (the name comes an Old English phrase "dwelling by a creek) for a virtual home tour on April 25. Organized by architect Michael Klement and his firm, Architectural Resource, the Burh Becc Earth Day Celebration Tour will go behind the scenes of inspiration and design of this house. The house was finished in 2016 and spans more than 3,000 square feet. Attendees will get a chance to ask questions virtually. The tour, which runs from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., is free. To register, click here.

Tree decay, in advanced stages, can cause cavities where wood is missing.

Check your trees for problems

With so many of us at home these days, now may be the time to check out the trees you have in your yard for potential issues which could be come bigger problems if not addressed. Sean Barlette is an arborist and district manager for The Davey Tree Expert Company in northwest Detroit. He said there are several kinds of tree defects that can cause tree failure so keep an eye out for these possible issues:

  1. Decay/dead wood: In advanced stages, soft wood or cavities where wood is missing can create hazardous conditions. Dead trees and large, dead branches can fall any time.
  2. Cracks: Deep splits in the bark extend into the wood of the tree and can appear as broken, cracked and split branches.
  3. Weak branch unions: Two or more branches grow too closely together, with bark growing between them. This bark does not hold the branches together.
  4. Pests: The emergence of pest infestations and holes in the bark indicate an issue. 
  5. Heavy canopies: Excessively thick branches and foliage catch more wind during stormy weather. This increases the risk of branch breakage and uprooting. 
  6. Cankers: Caused by fungi, cankers occur on the stems or branches of trees (bark is sunken or missing). Stems or branches may be prone to breaking off near cankers.
  7.  Roots: Without a strong root system, trees are more likely to be uprooted or blown over in stormy weather. Look for exposed roots or lack of soil near trees’ roots. 
  8.  Poor tree architecture: Characterized by excessive leaning of the tree, or branches growing out of proportion with the rest of the tree crown. Odd growth patterns may indicate general weakness or structural imbalance.
Drew and Jonathan Scott have a new wallpaper collection, Scott Living, with A-Street Prints.

'Property Brothers' new wallpaper collection is chic and modern

Drew and Jonathan Scott are on a roll this year. The beloved "Property Brothers" design duo debuted their own magazine this year, a furniture collection and now they have a new wallpaper line with A-Street Prints. The new line features a range of styles including lush botanicals and regal geometrics. "Wallpaper is a great way to incorporate color, pattern, and texture to your home, and our brand new Scott Living wallpaper collection is perfect for recreating the timeless looks of the past with fresh, modern appeal," said the Scott brothers on their website, thescottbrothers.com. The line is available online at A-Street Prints and also through Sherwin-Williams. 

Rachel Nisch, owner of Graye's Greenhouse in Plymouth, posted a list of the tomato varieties the greenhouse is growing this year so customers can plan for their own gardens.

Nurseries, greenhouses get creative

Nurseries and garden centers may still be closed at this point -- much to the chagrin of gardeners -- but some local business owners are getting creative with how they reach their customers. Graye's Greenhouse in Plymouth posted a list of tomato varieties it plans to grow this summer so customers can start planning for their own gardens. Varieties include Better Boy, Celebrity, Juliet and Rapunzel. Owner Rachel Nisch said customers should stay tuned for more details about how the tomato plants will be delivered. Go  to grayesgreenhouse.com or visit the greenhouse's Facebook page.

Cloth & Kind, an Ann Arbor-based interior design firm, is offering free 30-minute virtual design consultations.

Local interior design firm offers free consultations

Cloth & Kind has clients all over the country along with offices in both Ann Arbor and Athens, Georgia so owners and principal designers Krista Nye Nicholas and Tami Ramsay are used to doing things afar. Now, with COVID-19 forcing many business owners to change how they do business, Cloth & Kind is going virtual and also offering free 30-minute design consultations. They're available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 1:30 p.m. on a first-come-first-served basis. They'll help with everything from setting up a home office to giving you tips on paint colors. For information, go to https://shop.clothandkind.com/collections/design-consultations.