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.

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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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A Ecofriendly Family Home Gets in Line

“You won’t find a single arc or curve inside this home or landscape,” says residential designer Leigha Heydt. Heydt teamed up to build this home that was sustainable-minded . Quite quickly, the straight-lined home belonged to some young family of New York City transplants. In addition to some layout that is design, Heydt cautioned resource-saving attributes — such as bamboo floors, energy-efficient windows and skylights, water-saving plumbing fixtures and landscaping — and blurred the lines between indoors and out. The home is GreenPoint rated and in walking distance of a grocery store and other businesses. The few and the house can age together, also, thanks to an available downstairs bedroom and full bathroom.

at a Glance
Who lives here: A household with two boys
Location: Mill Valley, California
Size: 2,300 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
That’s interesting: This home is called Green Lines, because of the strict use of lines inside and outside, as well as renewable and resource-saving capabilities.
Builder: Jake Glavis, Pacific Ridge Construction

Heydt Designs

Strong horizontal lines from the railings, overhangs and wooden siding help unite the outside assemblage of materials.

The developer initially wanted a timber facade, but Heydt incorporated as much stucco as she could (on the first floor and on the faces of the home), because this stucco is more durable and fireproof than wood siding. She set the timber, a western red cedar, in which it’d make the visual impact. She used the exact same red cedar to the garage door but stained it darkish gray.

Before Photo

BEFORE: This is the first home, which has been torn down to the studs so that the floor plan may be opened up and healthier, contemporary insulation, paint and other materials could be utilized. Heydt preserved the exterior footprint of their present house and added another floor.

Heydt Designs

She borrowed a idea from the home. Recessing the front door produced a protective front porch plus a grander sense of entrance. It covered by an upper balcony, and is tucked between living area bays and the garage. The guardrail frames will be the exact same western red cedar utilized on the siding, and the metal railings are powder-coated tube steel, just inset to the posts by a CNC saw.

Care to detail generated continuity and a careful balance of materials. By way of example, Heydt had the planters and soffit screen fabricated in matching powder-coated steel. And she’d the concrete stained to match the color of the metal railings.

Heydt Designs

“Permeable landscape materials are an essential aspect of green building,” states Heydt. The driveway layout allows rainwater to sink in the soil, where it can be employed from the landscape plantings.

The gray pads are colored and stained concrete, the golden pebbles are Mexican pebbles (also referred to as buff), and the grasses are a native species, Juncus inflexus ‘Blue Mohawk’.

Heydt Designs

Geometry is at drama in the foundation to the roof. “The relationship between the materials and the geometric types creates its own balance,” Heydt states. “The horizontal lines of the timber siding play from the vertical lines from the downspout and railing, while the grid of the soffit display ties it all together.”

Heydt Designs

“Because the home is a compact dimensions and the layout is quite contemporary, we wanted an open great-room layout for the reduced floor,” Heydt states. “The front of the home has very few windows, because the developer wanted the house to feel quite private from the street. But once inside, there’s a completely different feeling — it is extremely open and bright, because the back of the home is almost entirely glass.”

Extensive back windows and the open plan make the most of the house’s southern exposure. “Maximizing the natural light isn’t just a green building measure, but also just makes a great deal of practical sense,” Heydt states. “The owners tell me that they almost never have to turn on any lights throughout the day, and the house uses very little energy for heating or cooling.”

Heydt Designs

Here’s one of those homeowners, Cindy, coming to the family room from the deck, which crosses the back of the home. “The deck makes the home feel a lot bigger,” states Heydt. “Because the weather is quite good year-round out here, the deck is used much as an extension of the home.”

Modern furnishings continue the straight lines, with only a few curves thrown in from a traditional Eames Lounge Chair.

Bench (underneath the TV): George Nelson for Herman Miller; couch: Klein, Room & Board

Heydt Designs

The lower windows were acid etched and screened with a wall of bamboo out to allow it natural light while maintaining privacy. “The traces of the bamboo leaves can be seen swaying in the front of the windows,” Heydt states.

Taking the limestone fireplace surround from ground to ceiling produced a bold modern spin on a chimney.

Fireplace surround: Fossil Green limestone; woven leather chair: DPortable La Espada; Baths: aluminum-clad Marvin timber; java tables: Bee Market

Heydt Designs

“While the parents prepare meals, the children do their homework or watch TV from the adjacent family room space. The layout allows for the family to remain engaged with one another while utilizing those common spaces,” Heydt states. “When the family entertains, guests leak in and outside of their house through the patio doors as though there were no separation between the interior and outside.”

Bar stools: Radius, Room & Board; cupboards: Nexus Black, Ikea; counters: Calacatta Oro marble

“I made the landscape to become integrated with the home,” states Heydt. “From the interior of the home, you find the color green through every window.”

A row of mature camellias inspired the placement of the window at the kitchen. “When they’re in blossom, the backsplash view is spectacular, and if they are not, it is a serene introduction of greenery to the kitchen,” Heydt states. She sized the backsplash to fit the space just between the cabinets and the counter tops. The reflection off the translucent glass upper cabinets gives the illusion of a continued outdoor view.

Heydt Designs

Homeowner Peter in front of the brand new dining area. “Considering that the floor plan was so open, I wanted to create a little intimacy for the dining area and define its space as separate from the foyer and living area, which are very close,” Heydt states. “One of the columns contains a structural pole to get the floor framing above. The portico effect of the design incorporates the pillar and achieves the design goal at the exact same moment.”

Living chairs: Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller

Heydt Designs

“Because the front of the home has very few windows for privacy reasons, we brought natural lighting into the house through the use of many skylights on the upper floor,” Heydt states. “Skylights line the stairwell and hallway ceilings as well as the two bathrooms. The skylights are extremely energy efficient because of the type of glass that they contain. They allow in light but keep cold and heat out.”

The inside staircase railing is the exact same powder-coated steel at the exact same color as the outside railing.

Heydt Designs

This cupboard and shelf wall at the master bedroom homes a TV, fireplace and computer area. The doorways to the right lead to a balcony overlooking the backyard.

Heydt Designs

This back balcony spans the period of the home and is accessed from the master bedroom and another bedroom. “The balconies also serve a safety point; the glass doors serve as egress accesses, which are somewhat more appealing compared to egress windows and let in more light,” Heydt states.

She chose this Pebble Tec flooring, an epoxy-set aggregate with small gray Mexican pebbles, because it looks like a loose-gravel garden route.

Heydt Designs

Heydt (shown here) surrounded the master bath tub in the exact same porcelain tile she utilized on the ground: Grey Ground, by GranitiFiandre. It is made from recycled materials.

Heydt Designs

A floating vanity at the children’s bathroom permits the floor to stretch from wall to wall, which makes the space feel bigger.

Flooring: Grey Ground porcelain tile, GranitiFiandre; cupboard: Rifra, Fonte Collection

Plan Surveys reveal the house’s layout. This is the first floor, including the deck.

Here’s the floor.

Heydt loves seeing the household enjoy her design. “I am thrilled they have the home, because they really understand and appreciate the aesthetic,” she states. “It was so much fun for me to see them move in and begin using the home in ways I had previously only imagined.”

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10 Contractor Scam Warning Signs

Natural disasters bring out the very best and the worst in people. Sad to say, the disorderly environment they produce is a prime setting for illegitimate builders, sometimes called “storm chasers” or “fly by night” contractors. “That is a vulnerable time for homeowners,” says Rick Lopes, chief of public affairs at the California Contractors State License Board. “Be very careful about giving somebody else too much electricity.”

After something really traumatic, it seems sensible that a homeowner would want things to return to normal as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, it’s important to take the time to find the appropriate person to perform the job correctly. Do additional research if something doesn’t feel appropriate. Be mindful, and you’re going to prevent scams and the builders who get jobs only when people are desperate.

Below are some key warning signs to search for.

Before Photo

Federal Emergency Management Agency

1. Lack of licensing. Request proof or look online at your state licensing board’s site to be certain a possible contractor has a permit to work on your region if a permit is necessary. (Find out about your state’s contractor licensing requirements here.) Lopes warns that builders coming door to door might not be from a local, based business, and many state licenses don’t allow builders to run in another state.

Of course, there is always a danger even with someone who’s licensed. “Just because someone has a permit and insurance doesn’t necessarily mean they will do the very best job,” says George “Geep” Moore, remodeler chairman at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “But it does mean they are a legitimate contractor and they are doing the right thing.”

2. Unbelievably low bids. Before hiring someone to fix up your home, you’re going to want to get no less than 3 bids on your job. “Have your choices in mind before you get your quotes,” says New Jersey contractor Lucy K.H. Kalian. The more details you can provide a contractor, the more likely it is that you are going to get a precise estimate. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests using the very same specifications, materials and labor for each bid.

“If you buy a bid that is a lot less than others, there is usually a reason for this,” says Lopes. “The cheapest deal is seldom the best deal.” The contractor might be cutting corners, might not have insurance, might use bad substances or might pay employees under the table. Regardless, you do not want to get involved.

3. Requiring a massive deposit. Each state has different regulations regarding the amount a contractor can request an up-front deposit — it ranges from less than 10% to around 30 percent. Check your country’s law regarding contractor deposits before agreeing to pay an especially large amount up front.

4. No permanent place of business.
Not every contractor who might come knocking on your door is going to have scam — a few might have the abilities to repair your home, but they might not know how to deal with all the complications that come with a natural catastrophe and water damange. Be extra cautious and make certain that anybody who helps you following a natural catastrophe is qualified and state licensed. The NAHB advises that any contractor you work with should have a physical office (not only a P.O. box), a mailing address, a legitimate telephone number and an email address. This can help you find out if they are licensed and will ensure that you can contact them constantly.

Before Photo

Federal Emergency Management Agency

5. No contract. The judgment is unanimous — prevent anyone who says a contract is not necessary, particularly after a natural catastrophe. Make sure your contract summarizes specific work performed, materials used, a cost breakdown and a payment schedule. While a few smaller subcontractors might not work with contracts on a regular basis, the likelihood of a person getting taken advantage of in a crisis situation is high, so don’t take the risk. There are a lot of general contractors that specialize in smaller jobs, too.

6. No insurance. Every general contractor that you work with should have two kinds of insurance. General liability insurance guarantees that your property will be protected in case any damage happens during the job. Employee’s compensation insurance protects a general contractor’s employees in case they are injured on your property. Lopes advises requesting a possible contractor’s insurance policy number, then calling the insurance company to ensure the contractor has each single worker covered.

7. Inadequate references.
Get at least three references for each possible contractor and really check them. Ask about the standard of the job, how the job has stood up over time and also what it was like to work together with the person. “The second you see an inconsistency, you know [they are] a flake,” claims contractor Bill Reid of RemodelWest. Your insurance carrier can provide recommendations, but do not trust someone who shows up on your door stating they were shipped by your own insurance until you obtain confirmation from your claims adjuster. Do your research through external sources as well — local professional associations and the BBB can offer great insight.

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Federal Emergency Management Agency

8. Special deals. Avoid anyone who offers you “special” pricing, particularly if you sign on the dotted line right then and there. You do not want to rush into an agreement until you know precisely what you’re getting yourself into.

9. Cash payments required beforehand.
“Your cash is your very best leverage,” says Lopes. Protect yourself and limit the sum of money that goes into a job prior to completion. The BBB suggests never paying money — notably beforehand. Moore indicates that you carefully record how you hand out your cash and get a receipt for each payment.

10. Mechanic’s liens. Legally, an unpaid contractor, subcontractor or provider can record a mechanic’s lien against your property, which can finally force the sale of the property in lieu of compensation. “it is a means for professionals to guarantee they get paid,” says Reid. Make sure you’ve got a listing of all the subcontractors, laborers and materials suppliers that your primary contractor will be using, and request proof that everyone was paid before releasing your final payment — otherwise you could be held responsible. Homeowners can wind up paying for equipment twice otherwise — both to a subcontractor and to a provider who ended up not being compensated by said subcontractor. “You can also compose a two-party check,” says Reid. “it is a small pain, however, your contractor will need to visit the provider so as to cash it.”

More: What to Look for in a Contractor’s Deal

Resource Guide: Recovering from Sandy

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Candy Adds a Sweet Design Touch

Who among us can resist the appeal of lemon drops, pinwheel suckers, chocolate kisses and other sweet somethings? Candy isn’t just a treat for the tongue; it’s a feast for the eyes as well. And though you may assume it’s appropriate only for kiddos’ rooms, there are approaches to give it a grown-up demeanor. Have a look at these sugary spaces for inspiration.

Laura Bendik Interiors

Sweet-tooth accents and a palette of advanced brights give this playroom/media space lots of child appeal. A cheery plot works especially well for a space which has little to no natural lighting.

Laura Bendik Interiors

Here is another view of the exact same room. Actual lollipops ordered as decorative beams, and oversize toy balls in apothecary jars, execute the theme.

Isolina Mallon Interiors

Subtle sucker-print wallpaper feels youthful but not juvenile. It can transition to the tween years without missing a beat.

Branca, Inc..

There’s the restrained approach to candy-theme decor, like this peppermint-stripe bedding …

… and then there’s full-on sugar shock. This sweets-studded nursery takes its inspiration from some giant mural of the classic Candyland board game on one wall.

Look closer: Jars of sweets on the dresser pick up the rainbow colours in the mural, a smart and affordable accent (at least before the baby is old enough for them to become choking hazards). The mirror reveals a candy cane ceiling therapy.

Tracy Murdock Allied ASID

This distance takes precisely the exact same tactic in an entirely different direction: Jars of green and yellow candies on the coffee table enhance the palette and add a lighthearted touch.


Unzipped Glass Zipper Bag – $16.25

I love this cheeky spin on the traditional candy jar: a zipper-lock bag left in glass.


Candy Child Art by Simply Bunch – $56

Sweet treats elegance a darling quartet of prints for a young child’s room.


French Red Ticking Pillows

These ticking pillows remind me of peppermint drops. They’d look just right in a French-inspired cottage.

Bridal Elements

Love Letter Ceramic Dishes – $5.95

You can hang these letter dishes on the wall, or you might fill them with candies and arrange them on your own coffee table. Which one sounds like more fun?

“Candy Twenty Five Cents” Framed Print – $432.37

This print has a hipster vibe which will blend well with an industrial-style space.

Pink Fabric With Candy by Robert Kaufman – $8.38

Would not this dainty fabric make a cute throw pillow or Roman shade for a nursery?


Candy Cane Mug – $14

Sipping tea or coffee from a candy-striped mug couldn’t help but begin your day on a bright note.

Jonathan Adler

Gumball Jar – $48

Need a stylish vessel for storing your favorite treats? This one would fit the bill. It would be cute for bathroom sundries too.


820-Thread-Count Lollipop Total Duvet Cover Set – $186

Sweet! A lollipop-print duvet cover and shams lend a little levity to a modern space.


Puffball Pouf – $198

This ottoman appears to be covered in tiny gumballs. What kid (or kid at heart) can resist?


Nostalgic Candy Coasters – $15

If you are nostalgic for old-school candies, these coasters are the next greatest thing.

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15 Ways to Cozy Up a Kitchen With Granite Design

“Worn,” “distressed,” “rough hewn” — these are not the first words that come to mind when we think of kitchens now. While crisp white cabinets, polished nickel hardware and beautiful marble countertops are on trend nowadays, a rustic kitchen may always supply the relaxation of a piping hot bowl of macaroni and cheese on a chilly night. More words that explain the look are “well worn,” “patinated,” “antiqued,” “homey” and “reclaimed.” See if you want to try out any of these ideas to cozy up your kitchen.

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Light a flame. The priciest comfy element in a kitchen is a toasty hearth. While including a full fireplace is a big intervention, today’s woodstoves and fireboxes don’t require a significant renovation.

Learn about clean-burning woodstoves

Teton Heritage Builders

Shop beyond the typical appliance options. Standard black, white and stainless steel appliances may remove from the rustic look. Appliances today come in a range of colors and cabinet-front options that will not detract from the cozy atmosphere.

The Workshops of David T. Smith

Look to classic precedents for inspiration. A combination of cabinets that are distressed, curly maple counters, a worn farmhouse dining table, a metallic candle chandelier and a soapstone sink make me believe Ma Ingalls will come around the corner along with her famous sourdough bread.

Highline Partners

Choose elements that show their age. Rough-hewn wood beams and a slate flooring give this kitchen a rustic look from top to bottom. In between, cabinetmakers repurposed the green cabinets via an antique hutch.

Watch the rest of this Home

Peter Vitale Photography

Pay attention to design. A brick arch, stone wall, wood ceiling and recessed range plus exposed rafters pull together to give this kitchen a European country-house look. Details help also; the bull’s head sculpture is from a classic French butcher’s shop.

Slifer Designs

Pair wood finishes with warm colors. This rich reddish island helps tie together the Oriental runners, wood countertops, ceiling coffers and cabinets. Copper pendants add shine and patina.

Birdseye Design

You (almost) cannot have too much wood. You’ll be able to utilize wood from floor to cabinets to ceiling, just make sure you break it up a bit with countertops and a backsplash of a different material. Notice how the space between the upper cabinets and the ceiling adds contrast and definition.

Bruce Kading Interior Design

Add vintage-style touches. A reclaimed sink, an enamel cooker and old-fashioned cabinet latches give this kitchen a lot of its classic charm.

Witt Construction

Consider a rustic wall treatment. This kitchen walls have been painted to give the illusion of texture and age.

Michelle Fries, BeDe Design, LLC

Consider reclaimed wood for your countertops. A couple of coats of polyurethane will keep wood countertops protected from spills and rotting. If you’re renovating an older home, look in the attic for beautiful old floorboards to utilize for countertops.

Watch more tips for wood countertops in the kitchen

Use barn lighting. Gooseneck pendants and barn sconces add a rural sense. This kitchen also has a copper sink, another traditional rustic touch.

Legacy DCS

If you’re afraid a rustic kitchen will probably be too dark, forgo upper cabinets for windows to allow in the light.

Andrea Bartholick Pace Interior Design

Add a cozy spot for collecting and eating foods. Dining from the kitchen is just one of the coziest items that you can do, no matter what your kitchen’s style. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little dining table, a large island or an integrated breakfast nook.

Decor Island

Mico Single Lever Kitchen Faucet With Side Spray – $570

Explore different finishes. This faucet has a mahogany bronze finish; check out options like classic brass, unlacquered brass, architectural bronze, antique copper and shiny brass.

chas architects

Bring in fabrics. You can go for upholstered counter stools or kitchen seats, chair cushions, rugs and tablecloths.

Marcelle Guilbeau, Interior Designer

A rustic kitchen doesn’t need to be dark. You can combine your light-colored-kitchen fantasies with rustic components like reclaimed wood on the staircase or countertops, exposed ceiling beams and a hardwood flooring. This kitchen has a transitional look that brings from the best of the two styles.

More: 20 of the Coziest Kitchens About

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