Lighthearted Brightness to Get a British Victorian

Nine outdated, self-contained rooms for rent once made up the floor plan of this 1918 Victorian in North London. However, Monique and Trevor Alexander watched beyond the mustard-colored rugs, crimson painted brick and a boarded-up staircase and altered the area by stripping off the drab elements to show its stunning original features. After a year of patient renovations, including a rear extension with skylights and a kitchen that is fresh, the outcome is a magical scoop of modern atop stunning conventional structure.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Monique and Trevor Alexander, with their 2 young daughters
Location: Muswell Hill, London
Size: 320 square meters (3,444 square feet); 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, home office

Holly Marder

The Alexanders extended the rear of the house to make this casual dining room beneath skylights. “The skylight makes such a difference once the times get so grey and dark throughout wintermonths,” says Monique. “It makes me feel as though I’m not in London.”

Glass patio doors open to the backyard, where the few expects to soon redesign the backyard with a new fish pond and barbecue area.

Holly Marder

This Knoll dining room table and chairs were the beginning point for the layout style and colour palette at the kitchen.

Holly Marder

Although the kitchen comes off as a well-thought-out implementation of sleek style, the design process was much more off the cuff. Having a newborn baby in tow, Monique selected the floor, fixtures, fittings and finishes in only one week. “Fortunately, I know what I like,” she states.

Holly Marder

The area, which combines stone tiling, walnut cupboards, granite worktops and white MDF composite cabinets, has become the household’s action hub. “We live from the kitchen,” says Monique. “Occasionally from the time Trevor comes home before the time we go to bed, we’ve just been at the kitchen! We do art in here with the kids; we eat, cook, socialize — everything.”

Holly Marder

Because the kitchen is such a massive part of their lives, the couple’s 25,000-pound ($37,897) budget because of it went toward state-of-the-art appliances and a high quality decorative. “I had a very clear image of what I desired: black, with marble to match the one-off Italian table we had,” Monique, shown here, states.

Function was significant, also. “I do a lot of cooking, baking and fun, so I invested a lot of time exploring range ovens. I just had to have a fantastic range. That was my one major splurge,” she states. Her handmade one is out of France, by Lacanche.

Holly Marder

The casual dining area serves as a playroom for the couple’s two young girls.

Holly Marder

A formal dining room is right off the kitchen. Aubergine-hued upholstered seats sit alongside a bespoke wooden table in The Real Wood Company. “We chose how mottled we wanted the timber to be,” says Monique.

Holly Marder

During the renovations the few tried to respect the home’s original details. “We wanted it to seem like an old Victorian house, so we retained the traditional-style features,” Monique says. They upgraded the space with modern furnishings, including an elegant, custom-designed Rocco Borghese tiered chandelier. Borghese is a Italian chandelier specialist in Crouch End who, notably, furnished the lighting for celeb chef Jamie Oliver’s London restaurant.

Much like many older homes, structural challenges did arise, despite a building report that told a different story when the Alexanders became the home’s fourth owners at 2008. “It was just when we pulled off the rotten dressing table that we saw that the house had extensive underpinning. The dry rot from the living room required a lot of time to get treated,” Monique says.

Holly Marder

An easy leather Natuzzi sectional wraps the distance beneath three framed butterfly art prints at the living room, which Monique says she uses chiefly for entertaining and playdates with other moms and kids. She strives to maintain the room, like the majority of the house, without any clutter. “It stresses me out having things lying around,” she states.

Holly Marder

Because the stairs was boarded up when the couple bought the house, they had no idea what they would find.

Holly Marder

“We knocked down the dressing table to show the most beautiful timbers,” she states.

Wall sconces: Rocco Borghese

Holly Marder

Checkerboard flooring tiling provides a picture element to the otherwise stark entryway.

Chandelier: Rocco Borghese

Holly Marder

Traditional furnishings and a warm colour palette create a soothing master suite, and it is still a work in progress, Monique states.

Holly Marder

The master bath features stone tiling and walnut cabinetry, much like the kitchen. The spa tub was just another major splurge. “I wash every night,” says Monique. “It is my way of regrouping, centering myself following a hectic day.”

Holly Marder

A second-floor guest bedroom has pistachio mattress linens and lotion furnishings.

Holly Marder

The guest bathroom soothes with a walnut vanity, slim-line basin and cream tiling.

Holly Marder

The couple’s oldest daughter loves a sorbet-hued room, with high ceilings, a first flame surround and a fun playhouse.

Holly Marder

Her Cinderella carriage mattress was a recent present from her daddy. Lilac walls and pale pink tones during make for a calm retreat for reading books and enjoying.

Holly Marder

The couple’s youngest daughter also enjoys first Victorian details, including an elaborate fireplace surround and high ceilings.

Holly Marder

The gentle lilac walls blend swimmingly with Pip Studio floral wallpaper.

Crib: Mamas and Papas

Holly Marder

An upholstered charcoal-colored feeding chair sits beneath expansive windows with Venetian blinds. The room features stunning views of Muswell Hill’s town church.

Holly Marder

Monique, found here with her two brothers, couldn’t be more happy about the renovation. “I feel really blessed to live in this beautiful house,” she states.

See more photos of this home

Holly Marder

The outside of the house was originally painted red. The couple had to carefully remove the paint to show the first brickwork, then enlist a specialist to refill the grout.

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Ample French Country Style Belies a Budget at Dallas

Kathryn Janes likes to hunt for fantastic antique paintings for her property, and she has a very rigorous system which keeps her decorating habit on funding. Every year she makes a pilgrimage to the Round Top Antiques Fair in Smithville, Texas. Prior to her trip, she lists. Subsequently she combs her home to what she calls purge things which she is able to sell. Janes consigns things, hosts garage sales and sells things on Craigslist to build her funding — ranging anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1,000 — to the upcoming trip to Round Top. She states, “Once I have my money in place, its hard-stop budget, and that I really don’t move over.”

in a Glance
Who lives here: Matt and Kathryn Janes, daughters Emma (11) and Ainsley (8), dogs Harper and Thatcher, and Sprinkles the bass
Location: Lake Highlands area of Dallas
Size: 2,750 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

Sarah Greenman

The ice-blue and terra-cotta master suite is a tasteful collection of plush pillows, silk textiles and vintage accents. Janes replaced a ceiling fan with an antique chandelier within the bed.

Paint: Sea Salt, Sherwin-Williams

Sarah Greenman

“I desired the master bedroom to feel calm, light, soft, relaxing and pretty,” says Janes. Her husband, Matt, adore finishing their afternoon in this room and consider it their retreat. The master bed has been a present from Matt’s parents.

Bedding: Tuesday Morning and household hand-me-downs

Sarah Greenman

“My favorite place in the home is sitting on the sofa at the foot of my bed in front of the fireplace,” says Janes. “I love to place my feet up with a good book or see Downton Abbey over and over again.”

Sarah Greenman

A classic French dining table, once part of a larger piece, sits next to French doors leading to a sheltered courtyard and terrace area. “When we were house hunting, I fell in love with the home because it had a great deal of French doors,” says Janes.

Sarah Greenman

A sheltered courtyard, very similar to those Janes grew up with in Southern California, is the perfect location for outdoor grilling and dining. Climbing a hot water fountain and a potbellied clay fire pit help make a relaxed vibe.

Sarah Greenman

“A home is a reflection of who you are, where you’ve been and what you enjoy,” Janes says. Traveling along with her parents to Europe as a child and studying overseas in her school years cemented her love of the European cottage aesthetic. Plush furniture, French linens, comfy nooks and pastoral paintings fill the living room.

Paint: Napery, Sherwin-Williams; couch: Weirs Furniture; pillows: Wisteria

Sarah Greenman

No matter where somebody is sitting in the living space, there’s always a surface for a beverage or book. Instead of traditional side tables, Janes uses many different vintage boxes, stools and benches she found in the Round Top Antiques Fair. She says everybody should experience Round Top at least once.

Sarah Greenman

An antique secretary desk, which Janes found at Lots of Furniture in Dallas, sits in the corner of the living room close to a painted brick hearth. French doors bring in hot natural light and pleasant cross breezes in summer.

Sarah Greenman

To promote a French country feel, Janes reupholstered this antique bench with a classic French grain sack embroidered with her initials, by the Antique Linen Store on Etsy.

Sarah Greenman

Janes grew upon the California shore and decorates her home home with shells, coral and driftwood for a reminder of her hometown.

Landscapes and classic paintings hang from the living room on a pub wall. Many of the paintings are from City View Antiques in Dallas.

Sarah Greenman

Buttery walls painted in Napery by Sherwin-Williams throw a glow on the classic dining table and chairs. Blue silk curtains billow in the floor, and country-style shutters are affixed to the walls close to the kitchen’s entry.

Chairs: Round Top and Uncommon Market

Sarah Greenman

The Janeses upgraded their galley kitchen with granite countertops, a rock tile backsplash and ivory painted walls and cabinets. Among the latest steals is the rolling kitchen cart Janes scored for $5 at a yard sale.

The couple’s next project would be to convert the electrical range to gasoline.

Sarah Greenman

Matt trusts Janes to make most of the design decisions. She states, “My husband has only ever made one petition, which I’d honor — to come home by Round Top with fresh kitchen table chairs which would never break or get wobbly. And these will not, because they’re pure metal.”

Table: Lots of Furniture; chairs: Round Top

Sarah Greenman

This Welsh hutch belonged to Janes’ mother and used to be in Janes’ youth home. “After we moved to Dallas, we left our long family behind. I tempered my homesickness with family heirlooms,” she states. “I paid more to have them shipped than they were worth, but that I don’t care.”

Sarah Greenman

The most important room in the home is a living area connecting garage and the kitchen. “We must have an area for everybody to land their stuff somewhere,” says Janes. “The kids’ backpacks, school paperwork, my purse, husband’s wallet, keys and a homework station are here.”

Sarah Greenman

She describes the room as fundamental control. “I really like order and using coordinating systems to keep everyone on course,” she states. An industrial worktable, found on Craigslist, takes centre stage. Homework, art projects, bill paying and much more all occur here. There’s also a computer station tucked beneath the stairs with built-in storage into the right.

Sarah Greenman

Sarah Greenman

Daughter Ainsley’s bedroom is a sweet mixture of paisley textiles, bright furniture and country accents. A little desk painted in a bright orange lacquer doubles as a table. A classic hutch on the opposite wall homes books, boxes, art and other unique paintings.

Paint: Napery, Sherwin-Williams; Chair: Juliette Tufted Headboard, Goal; bedding: Goal

Sarah Greenman

Janes lately helped kid Emma transition her youth bedroom with fresh preteen-appropriate colors — a cheery mixture of pink, orange and green. She painted the bookcase, upgraded the bedding and added some glowing storage choices.

Bookcase: City View Antiques

Sarah Greenman

The desk in the corner of the room was passed down from two previous generations. Emma’s grandmother received it as a present for her 13th birthday, and her mother enjoyed the desk in her youth bedroom as well.

Paint: Sea Salt, Sherwin-Williams; desk seat: Ikea; pink storage blocks, dangling bull bust: Home Goods

Sarah Greenman

The two Ainsley and Emma concur that the upstairs living room is their favourite place in the home. This multiuse room has four distinct areas: a guest bed, an entertainment area, a home office space and a children’s library.

Bed: Restoration Hardware; couch: Ektorp, Ikea

Sarah Greenman

The hutch and children’s table are equally family heirlooms which Janes shipped from her childhood home. “That room is perfect now that the girls are older,” she states. “The girls really like to hang out here, play games and host their own friends for slumber parties.”

Sarah Greenman

After the family moved to Dallas from the Los Angeles area eight decades back, they were hoping to find a traditional-style home that was close to downtown. After seeing a parade of modern houses, they were delighted to land in Lake Highlands, which boasts big ranch-style houses.

“We painted the home exterior to update its ’70s multicolored brown brick,” Janes says. “Painting the brick in gray made it feel much more like our home.” The Janeses also added landscaping and paved the front walkway with flagstone.

Sarah Greenman

Emma takes a twist on the tree swing. “I really like our neighborhood, because it’s such a tight community,” says Janes. “Occasionally most of us meet and hang out in the front lawn, bring wine and sandwiches, and socialize with our local friends.”

See more photos of the house | Show us your creative household home

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Kitchen of the Week: Uncovering History in an Colonial

Vintage materials and a simple fashion help pay tribute to the kitchen all-American roots. Once an orchard worker’s home, this 200-year-old house in Melrose, Massachusetts, has gone through several renovations. Those renovations covered or altered many of the home’s historical features — such as the original brick oven and fireplace in the kitchen. Designer Eric Luciano chose to begin, tearing down the drywall surrounding the toaster to reshape this kitchen into a more viable space that also matches the home’s history.

Kitchen in a Glance
Who lives here: A couple in their 60s
Location: Melrose, Massachusetts
Size: 250 square feet
Cost: $45,000

Luciano Group

After ripping out a dilapidated porch above the kitchen, Luciano was able to raise the low ceiling by about 8 inches. Bright black walnut, warm yellow walls and contrasting white woodwork draw the eyes away from the low ceiling height.

Pendant: Restoration Hardware; wall paint: Butter Pecan, California Paints; dishwasher: Frigidaire

Luciano Group

Granite or marble counters felt too chilly for this blossom kitchen, so Luciano purchased large parts of American black walnut in pieces and cut them onsite for custom counters.

Countertops: Craft Art

See how to work with wood countertops

Luciano Group

The original brick chimney and oven was covered up by drywall during a previous renovation. Luciano had no idea just how much of a presence they would become until his group took down all the surrounding walls, but he adopted the prominent brick in his design. He abandoned the part above the original oven open for timber storage.

Luciano Group

Luciano altered the kitchen’s original galley layout to an L shape, expanding into an old laundry room. The new layout not only generates more working space, but also allows for greater entertaining — if guests are finished, the kitchen mess can be hidden on the marble worktop, imperceptible from kitchen’s entry and the adjacent dining room.

Cabinetry: Starmark; hardware: Restoration Hardware; fridge: Maytag

Luciano Group

All-white appliances blend in the cabinet layout. “Stainless steel would just be too slick for the home,” says Luciano. “As a designer you need to maintain the integrity of the home.” The scope was part of the previous kitchen, and the customers plan to eventually replace it using an abysmal version.

Two-by-4 Carrara marble tiles tie in with the baking counter around the corner of the L-shaped kitchen. Luciano chosen for a backsplash onto just 1 wall to avoid visual clutter.

Luciano Group

Rather than extending the black walnut countertops, Luciano chosen for marble on this particular breakfast and baking place. “It may stain, but it has a café feel and also is a great worktop for baking,” he states.

The customers love to bake, and this working space’s location makes it simple to keep messes from sight.

Sink: Domsjo, Ikea

Luciano Group

Initially the client needed a piece of furniture for this particular desk place, but Luciano suggested this custom made solution to make more counter area and stick with the kitchen clean and simple lines. A counter and drawer legs underneath allude into some piece of furniture without creating an awkward gap between the counter and desk.

The customers also use this region as a location for food when it is ready to bring into the dining table. “Cabinets could have been put here rather than a desk,” says Luciano. “But I needed to add a feature to this kitchen.”

Stool: Era Counter Stool

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How to Pick the Right Floor for Your Garden Room

Every area needs a ground, and outside garden rooms are no exception. Paths, decks, patios, overlooks, and garbage can storage hoses, lawns, ground cover plantings … they’re all floors. If it’s possible to walk it, store something on it or roll up on it, I call it a flooring.

The easiest, cheapest floor material is that the dirt that comes with a home. Unfortunately, the issue with an all-dirt garden flooring isalso, well, it is dirty, even entirely muddy when wet. It does have one redeeming trait: It is dirt cheap. Nonetheless, it’s highly possible you’ll have to select something other than dirt for the majority of your garden. The way to decide, given all of the choices? As with any design decision I make, I look for practicality, beauty and sustainability.

Creative Garden Spaces

As the saying goes, form follows function. First consider how the surface will be utilized and what’s the most appropriate material to support that use.

Loose stuff for much more casual spaces. I considerloose materials like crushed stone, gravel and shale (also bark mulch) when I want an informal garden pathway or lounging area. They usually cost less and require less labor than other materials, and you do not have to become a master builder to make them seem good. But because these materials could be movable after placement, you’ll have to do some care to keep them from drifting away.

Hard materials for more formal places. On the flip side, hard materials such as flagstone, brick, tile, concrete and timber give themselves to more “civilized” applications like patios, decks and entryways. These generally withstand a lot of visitors and can easily be cleaned using a broom, a washing machine down (rather not in water-scarce ponds) or an electric blower, if that is your instrument of choice.

Visual allure. But we seek more than usefulness. The first thing we notice in a garden is its visual appeal and sense of design — not how readily ketchup stains could be vanquished. Take cues in the materials and finishes of your residence in addition to influences in the natural surroundings.

Environmental Effect. Consider where the materials originated, if they come from recycled resources and if they are permeable. If you do not understand, ask.

Price. For almost all of us, cost is the elephant in the room. The best advice I can offer here is to not be penny wise and pound foolish. I have found time and again that a bit more cost (sometimes a lot) on the front end guarantees that you’ve selected the best flooring for the job, the one least likely to come back and bite you later.

environmental concept

7 Materials for Outdoor Floors — and How to Use Them

Stone. Stone is enduring and elemental, taking many forms. Where a thoughtful style is the most suitable, irregular slabs of flagstone edged with yummy ground covers seem right in your home. In formal dining terraces, geometric contours mortared to a slab are a sensible solution, assuring the stones remain in place and supply a level surface.

In regards to selecting the right stone for your project, consider not just the colour, but also its surface texture. Too eloquent and it could pose a slip hazard; too irregular and you’ll have a hard time leveling a desk (or walking in 6-inch stiletto heels — not a issue for me).

Stability and security are paramount concerns, so be sure to place the stepping stones on a well-compacted foundation with some of their mass underground to keep them from tilting and moving around. Check that pathway stones are large enough and ergonomically spaced so you can land them on without needing to finely dance from you to the next.

The colour of the rock must harmonize with the outside of your home, other garden hardscaping and organic elements. You’ll get a wide selection, from nearly black to gray to white, and browns including rusty oxide-infused colors.

Billy Goodnick Garden Design

Brick. Brick is just another durable flooring material that can express the air of a classic garden. If the visible foundation of your house is brick, utilize the same brick as a walkway boundary to permeate the house and the garden into a coherent composition. Or you can unleash your artsy, bohemian style by creating arbitrary patterns and infusing the layout with random sprinklings of different materials, like stone or ornamental tiles.

If you are the one responsible for rolling out the garbage cans in the side lawn to the curb each Thursday evening, you’ll be happy you passed on a pea gravel route and went with a continuous ribbon of mortared brick.

The colour palette for brick requires additional design choices; colors incorporate a selection of black through gray, brown, red and some yellowish tints. Although individual bricks are somewhat rectangular, you will find infinite layouts to experiment with, including traditional running bond, herringbone, basket weave, radial spokes, soft curves and whimsical layouts that look like somebody wrapped down too many beers.

THINK Architecture – John Shirley

In formal situations brick is put to a daybed of sand or mortared on a solid slab of concrete. This approach ensures that the brick will not subside or change, a important detail under chairs and tables. For paths the standard approach is to place the outer borders of brick in a solid concrete base, pave the inner coating with brick put on well-compacted mason’s sand then brush more sand into the joints to lock them into position.

For shady, moist places where moss can cause slip-and-fall mishaps, be cautious about picking materials, like brick, that could withstand a strong blast from a hose or deep scrubbing using a coarse broom.

Caution: Where the earth freezes, loosely put brick could heave, which makes the trail uneven and potentially dangerous. And steer clear of mature trees with surface origins.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

Tile. Tile, like brick, supplies a broad palette of styles, ranging from crisp, contemporary styles to old-world Mediterranean. Because tile is lean and not able to bear much weight on its own, it is always mortared to a solid foundation. Be careful to avoid slick surfaces, since they may get dangerously slippery when wet.


Concrete. Square foot for square foot, concrete is also a smart long-term investment. It starts off in a semiliquid state, meaning it could assume any form. If plain old pavement gray is not your design, concrete could be stained and textured to look like rock, seeded with pebbles, pocked with rock salt or stained with intense pigments to make bold layouts. One problem with traditional concrete, though, is it is impermeable; it sheds water instead of allowing it to percolate into the soil where it could do some good.

Evergreen Consulting / 4EGC

Decking. A builder friend of mine calls wood decks “dry rot in slow motion.” He is pretty spot-on. Conventional wood decks, regardless of how much waterproofing you apply annually, will eventually succumb to nature’s forces (or termites).

But if you’ve got a sloping house, require a level surface for outside entertaining and want to avoid the cost and disruption of constructing retaining walls, decking is the way to go. Since you’re not likely to add on to the deck after it is constructed, now is the time to decide how it’ll be utilized and make space for all of the furnishings you desire.

jamesthomas Interiors

To avoid the effects of weathering and decay, consider building with fabricated plastic lumber made from recycled bottles, plastic bags and wood scraps. It comes from regular lumber sizes, connects with screws and doesn’t rot, which makes it perfect for rooftop getaways.

Frank & Grossman Landscape Contractors, Inc..

Loose materials. Even though they may seem to be a non invasive cop-out, loose materials like gravel, crushed stone, compacted shale and decomposed granite can be an inexpensive yet elegant option, especially when edged with a richer material, like brick or stone. Benefits include permeability, low cost and ease of installation.

However, these materials are more likely to be displaced, especially if water passes over them. And gritty, sandy materials are the very last things you want to monitor onto your hardwood entryway. One of my favorite design remedies for updating crushed rock paths uses enriched thresholds and intersections of rock.

Plants. As well as inert materials, there is all of the living things. Once again, your choice ought to be directed by the intended use: Active recreation, by way of instance, involves the equally mowed surface of a tended yard.

Another consideration is the way “at home” a yard is in your climate. Where rainfall is dependable and plentiful, you should not be too concerned about using potable water for irrigation. And there are plenty of natural approaches to lawn care, so you can steer clear of the old-school arsenal of chemical sprays and remedies that could be harmful to beneficial insects, wildlife and groundwater. But in arid climates, more and more people are moving lawnless to help conserve water in addition to lower their reliance on fossil fuels for both mowing and edging.

CYAN Horticulture

Meadows, using their tussled, just-got-out-of-bed look, are perfect for creating a rustic sense — and can bring in a diversity of beneficial insects and other cool things for kids to discover. You are able to walk through them or mow intimate, sinuous paths to research. If you do not have to ramble through the space, any combination of ankle-high perennials and ground covers can offer color and a open expanse that will take the eye across the garden.

More: How to Decide on a Mulch — and Why Your Soil Wants It

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City View: Chicago's Contemporary Design Will Blow You Away

Chicago has a wealth of iconic buildings — there are Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, Eero Saarinen’s Law School at The University of Chicago, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 860-880 Lake Shore Drive and Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, to name a few. However, many modern Chicago designers are quick to point out that the Windy City often gets ignored as being too conventional for an urban region with more than 2.7 million people. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I reached out to eight design pros in Chicago to find out more about this city’s unique design style. “Chicago might be Midwestern in place, but its design has global influence, like all cities full of immigrants and influences from other areas. Like every big city, every neighborhood has its own flavor and feel, and also the people who live there imbue it with additional personality and style,” designer and contributor Rebekah Zaveloff states. “There seems to be some disagreement about whether Chicago has 100, 183 or 237 areas, so that you can imagine that Chicago has more than a couple styles: tasteful and tailored Gold Coast apartments, converted loft living in the West and South Loops, vintage modern mixing in Wicker Park/Bucktown, merely to mention a couple.”

Really, as a world class city whose inhabitants travel frequently across the globe, bringing back diverse ideas and fashions, Chicago is at the forefront of forward-thinking design. What’s more, breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the striking urban skyline heavily influence its insides. And Chicago’s high-rises enjoy way more square footage than their similar New York counterparts; this has assisted the third most populous city in the nation explode with its distinctive brand of style that unifies traditional, modern and contemporary looks.

More City Views

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1 benefit Chicago has over a number of the other major cities at the U.S. is much more square footage normally. “We’re lucky in Chicago that the majority of the rooms at our clients’ houses are decently sized when compared to other cities like New York,” states Tom Riker of James Thomas Design. “We now have the luxury of specifying pieces that are on a grander scale than many residences in other cities.”

Ltd, Lisa Wolfe Design

The spacious houses have lacked invention, also. “The long, narrow lots that differentiate typical Chicago residences present certain proportion and layout difficulties,” says interior designer Lisa Wolfe. “Our ordinary three-flat condos and single-family houses are usually just 20 to 30 feet wide and can feel like one long hallway. We find ourselves producing many custom pieces to accommodate this, most often dining banquettes.”

The designs also encourage opening up the floor plans. “Kitchens and living areas tend to be open to one another, and families practically live in such busy, streamlined locations,” Wolfe explains. “Squeezing multiple functions into a tiny space while keeping that main walkway throughout the house requires some severe editing and smart design.”

Ltd, Lisa Wolfe Design

“Chicagoans do not equate square footage with luxury,” Wolfe continues. “They have learned to appreciate practical, bright and gorgeous design over a McMansion feeling of scale. We’ve been ditching the established notions of formal rooms such as blended, multifunctional zones. Living and dining rooms are often one shared space, delineated by cleverly placed furniture.”

Ltd, Lisa Wolfe Design

“Due to space limitations in Chicago, we find ways to creatively repurpose spaces for optimum impact,” Wolfe says. “For instance, at a one-bedroom condo, we knocked down a wall to make a functional and decorative bookcase. This opened the boxy room layout and created a welcoming hallway between the entry and living room.”

A good deal of the residential space in Chicago is many stories above street level. “A enormous misconception about Chicago design is that designing at a high-rise is tough,” says Emily Mackie of Inspired Interiors. “I actually think planning a remodel at a high-rise is extremely straightforward and ordered. There are more rules and reqirements, but they help direct your overall design for the distance.”

Mia Rao Design

Interior designer Mia Rao agrees. “The urban view is identifying. We often design high tech spaces with urban and high-rise views, which can be typical in other major cities. Nonetheless, in Chicago, there’s often focus paid to Lake Michigan,” she states. “Many high tech condos have some sort of lake view, and individuals play the water concerning color scheme and design.”

The lake perspectives inspired the condo design seen here. “We worked with grays and cool peacock-green tones, which can be both colours that are often present in the color of the lake depending on the weather and daylight,” Rao says. “Along with all the lakefront, many high tech houses focus on another distinctive natural element to Chicago: Lincoln Park. We like playing these topics and bringing the outside in with our interior designs.”

Powell/Kleinschmidt, Inc..

This is a brand new take that honors the past in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s iconic International style apartment buildings at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, which enjoy sweeping views of Lake Michigan. The designers employed iconic Miesian furniture. A well-placed Barcelona sofa keeps the opinion open whilst emphasizing low-slung horizontal lines.

Michael Abrams Limited

“While the Midwest in general is much more conservative than either coast, the design community in Chicago is as talented if not more than our seaboard counterparts.” says interior designer Michael Abrams. “While we are not a city known for the of-the-moment appearance, we are a city of designers with enormous talent that has continually produced a number of the best interiors throughout the nation.”

Abrams cites this penthouse duplex flat as a fantastic example of Chicago’s “clean, urban, transitional design,” as he puts it.

jamesthomas Interiors

Riker concurs. “We believe that there’s a misconception that design in Chicago is timid or conservative as compared to L.A. or New York. We discover that in our clinic, this isn’t all accurate,” he states. “Many of our clients travel internationally for both pleasure and work, and are therefore open to new ideas and concepts. Among our most popular requests is that our clients want their houses to be unique and not cookie cutter. They’re willing to experiment to push the envelope concerning design.”

Mia Rao Design

This is one of Rao’s bedroom interpretations of Chicago’s slick urban style.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Many designers also notice Chicagoans’ willingness to incorporate and define their city’s emerging trends. “While lots of the houses in Chicago lean toward the traditional, I see an increasing number of clients eager to take risks with mixing modern furnishings in conventional houses,” Zaveloff states. “People are more receptive to having fun with mixing eras and styles rather than being rigid. I also have more clients willing to utilize vintage pieces and, more importantly, willing to watch for the time necessary to find the perfect piece.”

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

“A little bit of bling, tempered with a bit of industrial edginess on a conventional base, is also something Chicagoans appear to be more receptive to those days,” Zaveloff states. “Many of my clients aren’t searching for secure and transitional; they’re searching for something that expresses who they are or who they want to be.”

Inspired Interiors

A new trend in kitchen design in Chicago is refrigerator-freezer columns, based on Mackie. In this kitchen a separate fridge and freezer anchor the cabinet wall. “Separating the ordinary, enormous refrigerator into two parts makes symmetry and balance much more achievable from the interior space program,” she states. “There is not any longer a massive whopping refrigerator visually disrupting your lovely new kitchen design.”

jamesthomas Interiors

“We’re definitely seeing brass — notably antique brass — coming back strong,” Riker says. “We’re using it for everything from light fixtures to door and cabinet hardware. It’s very classic and timeless. Polished brass is somewhat harsh and feels a little ’80s, but we love the appearance and feel of aged, antique brass.”

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Zaveloff is discovering the exact same popularity in the material. “A willingness to mixing metal finishes and other substances in kitchens is on the upswing. I don’t become wide eyes and nervous twitches anymore when I propose antique brass lighting fixtures over an island when the hardware is nickel, appliances are stainless steel and the bar stools are chrome,” she states.

Watch more about how to mix metal finishes at the kitchen

Jennifer Harris Interiors

“When designing a Chicago house, I discover that many people prefer to mix up things, using modern bits along with crude bits,” says interior designer Jennifer Harris. “Antiques get a fair play also, whether they have sentimental value or are merely a bit that a client simply fell in love with.”

Harris often freshens up antiques with a coating of semigloss paint or by reupholstering them at a wild, funky or cultural fabric.

Jennifer Harris Interiors

And Chicagoans are going bold too. Harris has discovered a fearless, anything-goes attitude toward interior color palettes. “I’ve seen bright colors, neutral colours and even pastels utilized as color schemes in Chicago houses. It’s all in how it’s put together that makes a gratifying statement,” she states.

Ltd, Lisa Wolfe Design

Meanwhile, the Wolfe is hearing a lot of requests for cocktail bars. “More and more clients want a pub in their public living spaces — for both function and form. They’re a fun architectural attribute to perform up, and they often set the tone of a room, be it funky or tasteful,” she states. “In a Chicago three-flat, our client wanted to flip their plain, utilitarian living room into a daybed sofa for entertaining in addition to everyday living. We turned two underused closets with cheap, ugly doors to the focal points of this room: a glamorous pub and also a decorative bookcase that rolls away to expose the electrical panel.”

Inspired Interiors

Trends aren’t confined to just living spaces, either. Mackie points to the growing demand for boat baths in bathrooms. “Who needs ugly tile tiling around a whirlpool bathtub when you can have a gorgeous compact vessel bathtub with air tub and chromatherapy features? This tendency saves space while appearing supersexy,” she states.

Learn about coloured bathroom lighting

Ltd, Lisa Wolfe Design

Finally, rooftops and outside spaces are a trend that won’t ever die in Chicago. “We get more than our fair share of winter, so come springtime outside spaces are Chicago’s most coveted property, and if you’ve got a opinion of our world class skyline, even better,” Wolfe says. “Chicago rooftop culture is city living at its very best. From our roofs we all watch our baseball, cook our dishes in outside kitchens and watch the sunset over cocktails.”

Next: More City Views

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Color Palette Extravaganza Help for Your Paint Picks

Whether you are starting with a blank slate or trying to refresh an current layout, colour can make all the difference in your home’s design. But where to begin? Figuring out exactly what you enjoy — and what seems right — in each room involves a whole lot greater than simply staring at your blank walls.

We have compiled some of the best colour palette ideabook links, organized by room, for you moving. Get motivated by the room shots and find out the paint names of your favorite colors.

Fiorella Design

Bedroom. Your bedroom colour should reflect exactly what you want your escape to feel like. Produce a soothing haven from cool tones, add energy with hot colors or keep it crisp, classic and clean with neutrals.

Bedroom colour guides
Warm bedroom colour palettesCool bedroom colour palettesNeutral bedroom colour palettes

Drew Maran Construction

Bathroom. Since they are often smaller and out of sight of main living spaces, bathrooms and powder rooms can be great places for experimentation with colour. Go beyond plain white and attempt one of these bold colour palettes.

Bathroom color guides
Bold bathroom colour palettes
Bold powder room colour palettes

Dijeau Poage Construction

Kitchen. The hub of the house deserves special color treatment. Change the look and feel of your own kitchen with a couple quick color changes on your walls, cabinetry or accessories.

Kitchen colour guidesGreat kitchen colour palettesKitchen cupboard color palettesColor touches for impartial kitchens

Ana Williamson Architect

Exterior. Exterior colour is a tricky thing. This part of your house makes an immediate impact (and requires the most time to paint), so you don’t want to mess it up. Take a hint from ers who’ve fought with their outside colors and from our color experts’ professional guidance.

Exterior colour guides
• 7 outside house color palettes
• Tips for choosing your exterior house color

Niki Papadopoulos

Living area. Allow your living room feel and look as lively as the men and women who use it. Take a look at these hot and cool living room palettes, and decide on the one which works best with your general home decoration.

Living room colour guides
Warm living space colour palettesCool living room colour palettes

Flea Market Sunday

Children’ rooms. It’s always enjoyable to go a little crazy with colour in kids’ rooms, but nobody would like to have to redecorate whenever a kid is tired of the latest scheme. Be playful but choose something classic, too.

Children’ room colour guides
Unexpected colour schemes for boys’ roomsSubdued purple and pink palettesRoom ideas for adolescents More: Browse the library of colour guides

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Sneak Peek: 10 Visionary Designs Which Could Be Coming Your Way

This year marks Koelnmesse’s along with the German Design Council’s 10th [D³] Contest, among the world’s most renowned competitions showcasing up-and-coming designers and their innovative products. Of over 600 products submitted to the contest, just 21 prototypes were chosen to be presented by their designers in imm Cologne, among the biggest furniture, lighting and interior design trade shows on the planet. Three of those advanced products won the prestigious Interior Innovation Award, and several others are going to be taken into production by well-known producers. Meet a handful of the talented young designers in the fair, for this year’s first-place winner.

Holly Marder

L´Étagère en Bois, by Lucien Gumy, first-place winner

With a background in design, designer Lucien Gumy states, “I always try to locate not just simplicity in design, but also a new way of thinking.” Gumy designed this interlocking solid wood shelving unit so that it could be constructed without nails, bolts or screws. The prototype was created for its designer’s degree project at Switzerland’s University of Art and Design, Lausanne.

Holly Marder

“I played with horizontal and vertical assembly methods before I achieved a method which needs no screws or glue, and may be dismantled,” states Gumy. “I took this process and repeated it at all the intersections.” The dimensions of this unit can be adjusted by mixing elements of various lengths.

tina-schmid. De

Tilt, by Tina Schmid, second-place winner

Tina Schmid’s model is about visual illusion, as the easy picture becomes a three-dimensional thing. What resembles a cube is multipurpose and can be folded out to be a clothing rack. The item consists of a good system of rods with jointed nodes which may be rotated as needed. Schmid is a recent graduate of the industrial design program at the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt, Germany.

CMYK Lamp, by Dennis Parren, third-place winner

Dennis Parren’s colorful lamp investigates the mysteries of color and light. The lamp consists of LED lights which cast an array of lines and shadows in cyan, magenta and yellow onto its own environment.

Holly Marder

Dear Disaster, by Jenny Ekdahl

Jenny Ekdahl’s Dear Disaster cabinet is motivated by the conflicting love-hate connection that humans often possess with Mother Nature and its own sometimes frightening yet wonderful occasions.

“My greatest source of inspiration has always been contradicting relations between technology and nature,” states Ekdahl, who graduated with a master’s degree in fine arts in the School of Industrial Design in Sweden’s Lund University. “I’m fascinated with their transformations — natural behaviours changing into mechanical purposes or fantasies transforming in fact,” she states.

The cabinet design represents earth and water, contrasting elements emblematic of nature.

Holly Marder

Ekdahl desired to translate natural attributes through routine and structure into a piece of furniture which rolls people on an emotional level. Small, curved wooden chips throughout the surface of the cabinet could be transferred, making a soothing and intriguing wave of movement.

“My interpretations of natural disasters are used as a metaphor to describe the significance of psychological and poetic experiences in design for now and for the long run,” states Ekdahl.

Holly Marder

Beames Chair, by Eric Chang and Johnny Hu

Taiwanese design duo Eric Chang and Johnny Hu are the masterminds behind the innovative Beams Chair. Inspired by the H-beam structure of San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the pair crafted this lightweight structure using two kinds of wood (plywood and multiplex) to ensure a stable layout. Weighing just 3 kilograms, it’s a trendy, modern seating option.

Holly Marder

Chang and Hu have known each other for ten decades and both graduated in the Weissensee School of Art in Berlin this summer. Together they plan to develop their E & J Design Studio at Berlin.

Holly Marder

Pilu, by Leoni Werle

This contemporary desk and floor lamp is by Leoni Werle, a graduate of the University of Applied Sciences at Aachen, Germany. This model consists of a solid walnut base with an aluminum shade. The sturdy design of the foundation and the use of a one-directional hinge allow a seesaw-like, smooth movement between two places.

Holly Marder

The starting point for your Pilu was Werle’s own search for the great adjustable desk lamp. “I discovered that the designs I’d seen looked rather unattractive, with visible joints and wires,” she states. “I needed to produce a lamp which was adjustable, but a sensible and attractive lamp that will provide an indirect light source.”

Holly Marder

Fanions, by Linn Kandel, Dimitri Bahler and Ismael Studer

Produced by layout trio BKS, this striking assortment of 3 rugs is fuss free and plays with the optical illusion of the conventional rug fringe. They are made from pure wool felt, a comfy and durable material that lends itself nicely to their graphic aesthetic.

Holly Marder

BKS comprises three separate industrial and product designers: Dimitri Bähler (revealed), Linn Kandel and Ismaël Studer. The trio graduated from ECAL, the University of Art and Design at Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2010. As a collective design firm, they operate in Neuchâtel, Switzerland; Stockholm, Sweden; and Paris.

Holly Marder

Invader, by Maria Bruun

Danish designer Maria Bruun, a graduate of the Danish School of Design, created this long-legged storage unit with a clean and easy decorative. The storage modules vary in size and function to enable the user to personalize the storage and display.

The idea for Invader developed from Bruun’s interest in different methods bring about the sense of home. “I understood that ‘home’ is made up of the things which people possess: their images, books and souvenirs,” Bruun states. “I discovered that through these collected items, people tell stories of the past, their present and their dreams for the future.”

The modular system consists of elastic elements of maple and steel. “People’s needs are continually changing, so the device was designed to be flexible enough to grow with the person, with stackable elements that fit into one another and may be added upon as needed,” says Bruun.

Holly Marder

Shingle Shelves, by Hanna Krüger

Inspired by the shingles of a roof, Hanna Krüger’s wooden device consists of shelves with raw leather shingle-shaped sliding doors. By opening one, you close another. “I needed to design a shelf with sliding doors which can layer above each other like the shingles of a roof,” states Krüger. ” [I desired it] to have closed and open spaces in precisely the same moment.” The doors are made of leather that will darken with exposure to light over time; the remaining part of the structure is constructed from primitive walnut.

The young designer trained as a cabinetmaker and studied product design at the Kunsthochschule Kassel in Germany.

Holly Marder

The Royal Family, by Ellen Heilmann

Ellen Heilmann’s layout is a selection of three American nutwood stools, each topped with a cushion upholstered in emerald-green cotton. Together they form a modular system; every part may be used separately as seating or as a table. The set has a uniform decorative, while every piece has its own individuality, similar to a household.

Heilmann is graduated in the product design program in Germany’s Offenbach Academy of Art and Design.

Can you attend IMM Cologne this year? Please discuss your photos under.

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New Classics: LZF's Nut Suspension Light

There is an overhead lighting which puts my mind in a twist. Its intertwined shape makes me gaze in its infinity-like loops and try to figure out how it’s constructed. (In fact, I believe Emily Thorne of Revenge would really dig it.) In addition to being fascinating in form, the Nut Suspension Lamp from LZF is a stunner that contrasts between ubercontemporary, minimalist, midcentury contemporary, transitional and conventional styles, thanks to the combination of its modern form and also the ambient glow supplied by its handmade wood veneer. Industrial designer Miguel Herranz designed the lighting in 1998, and 15 decades after it has proved it has staying power. If you check out the way it functions in most of the rooms below, you’ll see why.

Steve Zagorski, Architect

The lamp floats like a cloud, however its natural wood veneer provides a strong presence. At 16 1/2 inches in diameter and approximately 8 inches, it’s a fantastic match over a kitchen table or island.


Nut Suspension Light from LZF | YLighting – $460

The amalgamated design makes you think of the symbol for infinity; its loops make you stop and stare at it a fantastic long time. Seriously, I may have to try out some origami and re-create it with a long strip of paper afterwards.

Portico Design Group

This light plays off the wood finishes used in the kitchen and also the curves of the Cherner Chairs.

The light was not on my radar until I admired it in my cousin’s coastal cabin, where she has mixed antiques and contemporary pieces against crisp white walls. The light’s design allows it to wed modern and traditional styles.

See the rest of this home

Wyant Architecture

The lighting is an important part of the balance between straight lines and irregular ones within this modern home.

Wyant Architecture

It’s also an important part of the opinion from outside in the exact same residence, centered between the huge window panes.

Venegas and Company

White Nut Suspension Lights group up with glass pendants to navigate the space between the countertops as well as the high slanted ceiling here. The light is available in a range of colors.

Maletz Design

Herranz also designed the Orbit Sconce, shown on the walls of this kitchen. As seen here, several designers on have paired wood-veneer LZF pendants with George Nelson’s pendant lights. Together they produce an intriguing midcentury modern and modern conversation.

Genesis Architecture, LLC.

Speaking of that, the lighting is apt in a home with midcentury modern style; it forges strong relationships with wood beams and paneling.

Michael K. Walker & Associates Inc..

The light’s flexibility means that you can utilize it in almost any room of the home. In this scenario its shape, materials and ambient glow add warmth and character to a dreamy closet. (After watching all Downton Abbey over the holidays, I wonder whether a closet like this includes a modern-day Mr. Bates–like valet.)

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Smart Phones Hold the Keys to Front Doors

The smart phone is now the mother of electronic apparatus for one very simple reason: You always have it with you. And that’s why a phone is a great spot to put all the stuff linked to your doorway. By way of example, you may virtualize the primary, the peephole, the doorbell along with other elements of the doorway, and put everything in your phone to be used from anywhere over the web.

There are significant advantages for doing so (besides laziness). By way of example, you may send a key via email to unlock your door. You are able to hear knocks on the door or even the ringing of the doorbell even if you’re not at home. And you’ll be able to see who’s there even if you are not.

Three brand new goods take electronic doorway stuff to the next level. All of them are crowd-funded jobs still in evolution. But if everything goes according to plan, you will be able to buy all them, and at a manageable cost, by summertime 2013.

UniKey Keyless Entry System

A few phone-based door products allow you to use your phone much as you would a key. You wander up to the door, pull out your phone rather than your own key, then unlock the door with your phone.

One offering within this category is the UniKey, that uses Bluetooth wireless technology to unlock the doorway. You just touch the UniKey deadbolt, and it unlocks in case your phone is within a couple of feet of this lock. (Anyone may lock the door with no phone.)

But the UniKey system also does yet another neat trick. From the UniKey program, it is possible to send an electronic copy of this “main” — for example, if you want to allow a friend in your home while you’re away, it is possible to send the key over the world wide web, then the friend can use it to unlock your door. You might also undo keys using the program and send secrets that work only during specific hours of the day.

Pricing has not been announced for its UniKey, but the firm says it’ll be less than $199.

Agipy Lockitron Keyless Entry System – $149

A company named Agipy is working on a very convenient smart phone lock named Lockitron. Rather than being a replacement deadbolt, the Lockitron fits over your existing deadbolt and turns it phyiscally when you send the command from your phone. The box runs on AA batteries, along with the smart phone app will tell you if they need replacing. You could also turn the lock hand.

Lockitron connects through your house’s Wi-Fi community, which means you may unlock the door from anywhere in the world over the net. And also the Lockitron does a couple more neat tricks. It may sense you approaching by discovering the Bluetooth signal from the phone as you approach the door, and may unlock the door automatically. Additionally, it has a knock sensor; if someone knocks on the door, you receive a message. It is also possible to grant access to other people by sending them consent over email.

Lockitron was actually rejected by the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, so the developers did their very own crowd-funding hard work and increased a small fortune. They expect deliveries of this product by summertime 2013.

Edison Junior DoorBot Smart Doorbell – $169

The other crowd-sourced phone-controlled door endeavor is named DoorBot.

The DoorBot, made by a company named Edison Junior, installs alongside a doorway with screws. It’s a doorbell and a camera, and runs on AA batteries that last a year, according to the company. The camera is infrared capable, so you can even see who’s in the door at night.

The way it works is that if people ring the doorbell, your phone alerts you and you’ll be able to see who’s there, even if you’re not at home. And you may speak to them through your mobile phone.

Perhaps best of all, the DoorBot is designed to utilize the Lockitron, so not just are you able to see and speak with whoever owns at your door, but it is possible to allow the person in, too.

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Built-In Buffets Steak Up Dining Room Style

Built-in furniture was a part of residential architecture for centuries, but it wasn’t until the Arts and Crafts movement which built-ins reached their full potential. The dining room buffet in particular has emerged as one of my favorite built-in bits. Whether it comes with a china cupboard, behaves as more of a sideboard, is recessed into the wall or jobs into the space, it allows a small dining area to live big.

Considering that the Arts and Crafts movement, built-in dining buffets are modified and styled to work beautifully in many distinct kinds of homes. From classic sideboards in stained wood to modern buffets in a mixture of finishes, dining room built-ins are home runs in terms of storage, style and elegance.

HartmanBaldwin Design/Build

In Arts and Crafts homes, you’re likely to discover an open dining area with an integrated buffet. In certain, the buffet even features a pass-through into the kitchen, as efficiency proved to be a top priority in the Arts and Crafts movement.

Union Studio, Architecture & Community Design

Stained wood built-ins work well in tones which go with the other wooden characteristics inside the room, including flooring. Notice that in this dining room even the dining table and chairs match the buffet.

Warmington & North

The flush toe kick incorporated with the present baseboard helps make this dining sideboard appear as if it has always been there.

Economy Interiors

In this historical residence in San Francisco, leaded glass windows would be this built-in buffet’s crowning glory.

Arch Studio, Inc..

The mirror above this built-in buffet leaves the dining room appear as if it features a pass-through, although actually it’s just a space-gaining illusion.

JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction

A soapstone counter and drifting shelves bring about the modern take on the built-in dining buffet.

Dona Rosene Interiors

A bright white built-in buffet/china cupboard pops against walls painted Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue.

Tim Andersen Architect

Tim Andersen restored this Seattle Craftsman dining room by removing the drywall ceiling to expose the original box beams. In addition, he added painted MDF wainscoting with battens, constructed into the height of the present windows to populate the magnificent built-in buffet.

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