A Breath of Fresh Air: Indoor Terrarium Gardening How-To


Pottery Barn Terrarium

Look in any home and lifestyle magazine these days and you’ll find that indoor gardening is one of the latest fads of interior design and a cheap and easy way to achieve attractive living art. Not only do live plants add life to any room, but there’s actual proof that plants can improve a person’s health and well being by filtering out pollution and adding an extra oxygen boost for its human companions. Terrarium gardening is low maintenance and can fit any home’s style by simply choosing the perfect container to fit your decor. No green thumb needed, just follow these simple instructions and get a head start on your own chic indoor oasis. 


Live Moss Terrarium from Etsy

Materials Needed

-Container (Such as: aquariums, bell jars, cloches, compotes, goldfish bowls, lantern cloches, tureens, vases, wardian cases)

-Activated charcoal pieces

-Potting soil

-Pebbles or gravel

-Terrarium plants (Such as: African Violets, Aluminum Plant, Aquamarine, Baby’s Tears, Begonias, Bromeliads, Button Fern, Cacti, Carnivorous Plants, Copper Pinwheel, Creeping Fig, Golden Clubmoss, Jade Plant, Maidenhair Fern, Minimus Aureus, Mosaic Plant, Never Plant, Sempervivium, Spreading Club Moss, Starfish Plant, Strawberry Begonia, Strawberry Geranium, Succulents, Tillandsia Stricta, Variegated spider fern)

-Sheet moss


Succlents Assortment


1. Clean the glass container with soapy water and rinse completely to remove any bacteria that is present on the vessel.

2. For proper drainage, mix the pebbles or gravel and a handful of activated charcoal pieces and place about 1-2 inches of the mixture as the bottom layer at the base of your selected container.

3. Mix remaining charcoal with soil with your hand. Fill the container 1/4 – 1/3 full with the soil/charcoal mixture and gently pack the soil at every 2-inches to avoid air pockets.

4. Place your desired plants on top of the soil to ensure proper spacing, allowing enough room between the plants for additional soil. Use your hand to pack soil in and around the plants, covering the roots.

5. Place the moss on top of the soil and in between plants.

6. Water the terrarium and place in a well-lit area that is not directly in the sunlight.

For open container terrariums, water the plants occasionally, such as every week or two. Containers that are airtight, make sure to air it out occasionally to let in some clean, fresh air. Over time, trim any growth that spills over the top of the container. 

img72o West Elm Greenhouse Terrarium Collection

The Kitchen’s Rise to Stardom.

Nowadays when you think of the kitchen in any home, it’s almost certainly the star of the show. It’s where families gather at holidays and any day of the week. It’s where homework gets done and where families do their most discussing of the day’s activities.  From souffles and standing rib roasts to Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese and corn dogs, today’s kitchen sets the scene for life’s shining moments and its ordinary days, too. That’s why it’s hard to imagine a time when the kitchen was something to hide away in the back corner of the home.  A room that was mainly used for food storage and quick preparation, the kitchen had much to be desired with its minimal spacing, dysfunctional design and primitive technology.


It wasn’t until the late 19th century when iron stoves and systems for gas, electric and water became readily accessible to the greater population that poised the kitchen for the beginning of its evolution. 

SHORPY_FL16746773Thanks in large part to Philadelphia Inventor and Production Management expert, Frederick Taylor, for beginning to view the kitchen as a challenge in efficiency, movement and spacing. The stove, counter and refrigerator were identified as key production areas that could benefit from science and theories to maximize efficiency and lessen frustration.  And thus began the movement of the kitchen from the back to the heart of the home.

The gourmet kitchens at Poplar Run in Silver Spring, Maryland would make Mr. Taylor, as well as your great grandmother twice removed, very happy. Simply put, these kitchens are large. With the same attention and thought to how spaces live, Miller & Smith dedicated more square footage to the areas where people want it most, improving everyday living. 

1371216986FirstFloorThese all-new single-family home designs feature an incredible open concept floorplan. Comfortable, casual living areas replace traditional, formal spaces with an open Great Room, Kitchen and Keeping Room layout that create a sense of spaciousness in the new Brindley model. 


The new Edgewick model at Poplar Run by Miller & Smith.

It merges the family entertainment area with a truly gourmet kitchen that has our signature, oversized kitchen island with increased room for seating and food preparation. Storage also is a priority in this kitchen with an enormous walk-in kitchen pantry and plenty of shelves.


The new Edgewick model at Poplar Run by Miller & Smith.

Come see the latest and greatest in kitchen design in our all new Edgewick Model at Poplar Run.

An Easy Weeknight Harvest Feast



At The Orchard at New Market, our kitchens inspire great meals. With giant center islands and prep sinks that send sous chefs swooning, double ovens that your mother would have given her right arm for at every Thanksgiving and plenty of counter space and room to move make cooking, shall we say, enjoyable. With the recent cold snap and a bounty of fall vegetables and fruits at the ready, we are sharing this easy fall feast that will leave you feeling cozy and satisfied, and still leave you plenty of time to curl up in front of your fireplace with a good book. 



Butternut Squash Soup


  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled russet potato (about 12 ounces) 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups sliced leek (about 2 medium)
  • 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 12 ounces baguette, cut into 16 slices
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash, potato, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add leek; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Place half of potato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Stir in half-and-half. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil bread slices 2 minutes or until golden. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with about 1 teaspoon chives. Serve 2 bread slices with each serving. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.



Autumn Salad with Red Wine Vinagrette


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of dried basil
  • Pinch of ground red pepper
  • 5 cups mixed salad greens 
  • 4 cups torn romaine lettuce 
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed Asian pear (about 1 large) 
  • 2 cups chopped Granny Smith apple (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled goat cheese


  1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Combine salad greens, romaine lettuce, Asian pear, apple, and red onion in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette, and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.



The Orchard at New Market Apple Crisp


  • 8 cups peeled and thinly sliced tart apples (such as Granny Smith)
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch pan.
  2. Place the sliced apples in the pan and sprinkle with the cinnamon, salt and water.
  3. Cut together the flour, sugars and butter until the mixture looks like fine crumbs and sprinkle over the apples.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Fall Back & Fall For These New Lighting Trends

The good news is for most people, this Sunday marks either an extra hour to enjoy the evening’s festivities or an extra hour the next morning to laze around and get your body’s internal alarm clock used to the changes that Daylight Savings brings. The bad news, of course, is more and more darkness. However, why not celebrate this season and outfit your house with the latest in home lighting trends.

To start, take the lead from our interior designers at Miller & Smith’s Grapevine Ridge at Clarksburg Town Center and check out these Moroccan inspired antique gold hanging pendants. They add a tasteful mix and match of styles and create the ultimate conversation starter.

Screen shot 2013-08-02 at 9.36.36 AM



 Another recent trend in lighting design is combining traditional glam elements like crystal and glass with the simplicity of modern design to establish eye-catching connections. As seen here in our dining rooms at Poplar Run in Silver Spring and Maple Lawn in Fulton, Maryland, a combination of glass and silver establishes eye-catching juxtaposition and creates an interesting focal point in both rooms. 




 You can create this type of visual interest in your own home with this antique crystal chandelier.


The three-legged tripod floor lamp in this One Loudoun family room adds high style and anchors the room with the perfect reading accompaniment. This design adds a sharp, crisp element to any room, whether you choose black, a natural wood tone or a metal finish.