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Homework: City of Asylum offers home tours, wine tastings

| Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, 8:55 p.m.
The Jazz House is one of the City of Asylum homes on the North Side.
cityofasylum.org
The Jazz House is one of the City of Asylum homes on the North Side.
'House Poem' is one of the City of Asylum homes on the North Side.
City of Asylum
'House Poem' is one of the City of Asylum homes on the North Side.

City of Asylum, which rehabilitates houses on Pittsburgh's North Side for use by writers-in-residence, will host a tour and wine tasting at four of these homes from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 21.

Each of the four houses on Sampsonia Way has a public artwork that incorporates a literary text on its facade. City of Asylum calls this process “house-publishing.”

At each home, a resident writer of City of Asylum or a host will discuss the history of the house and offer samples of a different Beaujolais Nouveau wine.

The evening will conclude at the home of City of Asylum/Pittsburgh co-founders Diane Samuels and Henry Reese, where the executive director of the International Cities of Asylum, Helge Lunde, will be.

Tickets are $25.

Details: cityofasylum.org

Rent a designer

Have goals to improve the look and feel of your living space? Home projects you talk about constantly but have yet to act upon?

Turning goals into reality might require calling in the pros. Savvy startup Homepolish makes enlisting interior-design help easier than ever. The company enables you to book a designer online for decently priced, by-the-hour services. It's basically the GrubHub of home (or office) decorating.

How it works: Whether you're planning an ambitious renovation or simple space refresh, you'll meet with a Homepolish designer for an initial one-hour consultation in your home or via video chat ($50 for a junior designer, $80 for a senior designer). If you decide to move ahead with the project, you'll buy time by the hour ($100 per hour for a junior; $130 per hour for a senior) to bring the plans to life, whether that's choosing paint colors, sourcing artwork for the walls or rehabbing entire rooms.

So far, the designers are in a dozen major cities (the closest are New York and Philadelphia), but the program is still expanding.

Where's Doug?

• Doug Oster, the Tribune-Review's Home and Garden editor, will be at the Drew Mathieson Center at noon Nov. 21 for a free, hourlong, how-to presentation on poinsettia care during the center's annual open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He'll also be signing books and answering garden questions. The center is at 1600 Metropolitan St., North Side. Details: 412-231-7200 or drewmathiesoncenter.com

• Oster will be joined by fellow Trib columnist and radio partner Jessica Walliser on Nov. 22 at three Giant Eagle Market District stores for their monthly free gardening and cooking demonstration. They will present “Winter Houseplant Care” and cook celery root cutlets and tuscan kale with raisins. The pair will be giving away daffodil bulbs, gift certificates and more at the Bethel Park Giant Eagle Market District at 9:30 a.m., Waterworks at noon and Pine at 2:30 p.m.

— Staff and wire reports

Send Homework items to Features in care of Sue Jones, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; fax 412-320-7966; or email sjones@tribweb.com.

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