Sponsored: One of a Kind: Old World interior vibe meets chill-out exterior space in Walnut Knolls

A grand Mediterranean-style two-story home is richly layered with exceptional finishes and superb craftsmanship on the inside and fabulous outdoor entertaining and relaxation space beautifully designed on the half-acre lot.

Built in 2006 by local builder Paul Enea, this home sits on a sprawling corner lot at 2252 Blackwood Drive in Walnut Creek’s Walnut Knolls neighborhood and features about 4,049 square feet of living space.

A private front courtyard and loggia overlooking a decorative fountain and gardens presents a warm welcome even before you enter the front door.

Newly designed, the backyard is landscaped to perfection, and features an inviting resort-style venue complete with outdoor living room pavilion with a trio of ceiling fans and complete kitchen with cement counter and bar seating, barbecue, sink, refrigerator, built-in ice chest and mounted flat screen TV. A paver patio and lots of room for poolside lounging surround a solar-heated, Pebble Tec pool and elevated spa. An additional covered terrace offers an ideal dining venue equipped with heat lamps for the cooler nights. This space enjoys a view of the sprawling lawn, pool, and a gentle slope artfully landscaped with queen palms and foliage including tree roses.

The interior features a classic Old World ambience with hand-scraped walnut floors, semi smooth plaster wall, high ceilings, and large casement windows and French doors.

There are five bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms including a main-level guest room with en suite bathroom, and front-facing courtyard views. Each bathroom is adorned with marble finishes and decorative tile.

Also on the main level is a dedicated executive office with crown molding, a wall of custom built-in cabinetry, and sliding glass door access to a quiet terrace and the backyard. A nearby powder room is adorned with Venetian plaster walls, crown molding and marble finishes.

A formal living room features a limestone fireplace surround, plush carpeting and …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Oroville Dam: Locals enjoy first in-person look at spillway since crisis

OROVILLE — Fran Obrigewitsch pulled up the most recent photo on her iPhone of the Oroville Dam spillway, taken just two days before it started to collapse last year.

Her first chance to catch another glimpse was Monday, as the state Department of Water Resources reopened the stretch of Oro Dam Boulevard East that offers views of the spillway to the general public for the first time since the crisis began.

“It’s good to see it, definitely good to see it, compared to what we saw on the TV (in February 2017),” Obrigewitsch said.

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Standing in a gravel pullout, she said she was surprised by how much equipment was up there and that the bulk of the spillway was still under construction. Crews are working on the middle and upper chute in this final phase.

The department aims to have all concrete slabs on the main spillway placed by Nov. 1 and lead contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.’s contract will end in January 2019.

“Hopefully they’ll be done soon so we can get back our life again, basically,” Obrigewitsch said. “With this being closed, and then Riverbend Park being closed, it’s hard to find any place to go around here.”

Oroville resident Coleen Willesen, holding her teacup poodle named Felix, said that prior to last February’s events, they used to walk across the top of the dam all the time.

“The evacuation was very scary,” Willesen said. “We ended up in Durham at a friend’s house. It took us an hour to get from Oroville to Durham.”

Usually, that drive would take about 20 minutes.

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$1 billion coming to Bay Area …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Will rising temperatures and volatile storms make indoor theme parks the wave of the future?

What keeps you from visiting a theme park? Is it the cost? Blockout dates on an annual pass? Crowds?

For many Americans, as well as theme park fans around the world, a top reason keeping them away from the parks is the weather. Rain or extreme heat can make visiting parks miserable. People might save and splurge to visit a crowded Disneyland, but they won’t do it on a day when the temperatures soar over 100 or the forecast calls for a soaking.

That’s why whenever theme park chains such as Six Flags or Cedar Fair need to explain slower-than-expected financial performance, they cite inclement weather more than any other reason. That’s also why Southern California and Central Florida are home to the nation’s 12 most-attended theme parks. It’s all about the weather.

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But even the typically mild climate in Southern California and Central Florida has turned toward the extreme this summer, with record-breaking temperatures in the West and even nastier-than-usual storms in the East. So is there a better solution for theme parks that want to keep their visitors comfortable?

How about an indoor theme park?

Trouble is, no one has built an indoor park at the level of quality and on the scale of a Disney or Universal theme park. That is, until now.

Warner Bros. World in Abu Dhabi opened recently, featuring six themed lands devoted to popular Warner Bros. animated franchises, from Batman and Superman to Looney Tunes. Designed by Southern California’s Thinkwell Group, the park never feels like a carnival in a box. Each elaborately decorated land convinces you that you’ve stepped inside an animated world, from Superman’s Metropolis to the Roadrunner’s Dynamite Junction …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


Photos and tips: Outdoor add-ons can up your summer fun

By Cathy Hobbs

Whether you have a sprawling backyard, patio or just a small balcony, outdoor space is a premium. So why not make the most of it? When it comes to outdoor enjoyment, here are some general tips to keep in mind.


Backyards should not be overly cluttered. If you have sizeable land, why not allow room to enjoy it? In many instances, one of the best uses of an open and spacious backyard is to create different areas, such as a opportunity for gardening, children’s play or outdoor cooking. The key is to not overbuild and still allow space for games and relaxation.


Patios or decks are often perfect spaces for outdoor dining and entertainment. A great use may be an outdoor kitchen or barbecue area. When setting up an outdoor eating or dining space, one rule of thumb is to allow enough room for both your family and if possible, two to four additional guests.

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Balconies and terraces

Just because you have a small outdoor space or live in an urban environment doesn’t mean you can’t get the most of your outdoor space. One of the best and most efficient ways to achieve this is to divide your outdoor space into clear and distinct zones, like an entertaining zone, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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