Look for details like these when designing or shopping for your forever home
Bonus: Lever door handles. Lever handles are easier to use than knobs, so if the house already has these installed, it’s a plus. If not, this is a fairly inexpensive change to make, so it doesn’t need to be a deal-breaker.
2. Nonslip, comfort flooring. Wood, linoleum, cork or even rubber flooring (which is shown here) are good choices for hardworking rooms. These materials are easier on the joints (and safer for falls) than harder materials such as stone, tile and concrete.
4. Drawers and pullouts. Being able to pull out shelves to reach exactly what you need is a huge help, so look for a kitchen with plenty of drawers and pullouts. This is something you can add to a kitchen in the future, but since the cost of kitchen renovations adds up quickly, finding a home with a well-designed kitchen already in place is a huge plus.
Bonus: Easy-grab cabinet pulls. Wide, easy-to-grab cabinet and drawer pulls are something else to be on the lookout for. This style is easier to grasp than small knobs and pulls. However, if the kitchen is otherwise accessible and well-designed, swapping out knobs for handles is a pretty simple change to make.
7. No-threshold shower. A curbless shower (without a rim or step to get over) is easier and safer to use. Grab bars can always be added later, but if the basic design is accessible, you won’t have to do a major redesign down the road.
Thinking of selling your home in the near future? Consider these simple yet elegant options for dividing a space that increase its functionality while scoring design points.
A front door with pizzazz has always had a starring role in a home’s curb appeal. But lately, the doors inside a home are getting a closer look for their ability to add style and address design challenges. Strategically placed doors can offer privacy in open floor plan environments or increase the usability of cramped spaces.
Real estate pros Helen and Malte Strauss in Orlando, Fla., who also manage a staging blog, have used barn doors hung on sliding tracks above door frames and pocket doors, which tuck inside a wall, in several remodel and staging projects. “We use barn doors all the time in master bathrooms where there is a vanity area that is separate from the tub and commode area,” says Strauss, also a home stager. In some older homes, vanities are located in the master bedroom rather than in the bathroom, a style that quickly can date a home. “Now we just close those off with a barn door, and buyers love that solution.”
She also recently used two barn doors hanging from each side of an open door frame to solve an open floor plan’s privacy issue. The homeowners had built an addition off the living area that could be used as a guest bedroom, but they never installed a door to separate the bedroom from the main area. Strauss added the double barn doors so the space could be used as a guest bedroom or opened to expand the living area when not in use by a visitor. “It truly makes the room and provides an architectural interest to an otherwise bland wall,” she says.
But don’t be thrown off by the word “barn.” Your listing doesn’t have to be country chic to benefit from this space saver. The concept works in many styles, from walnut barn doors for traditional homes to galvanized metal doors for urban lofts, says Lynn MacMillan, with Gem Home Staging & Designs in St. Catharines, Ontario. Pocket doors vary widely too, from all glass to all wood and from designs that stretch to the ceiling to those that are only waist-high. Sliding doors can attach to a kitchen island and can be used to close off areas to pets or children when needed.
“I prefer using sliding doors in all my projects,” says designer and architect Lilian Weinreich in New York. Sliding glazed doors, she says, help create enlarged, obstruction-free bathrooms and walk-in dressing areas.
Homeowners needn’t break the bank on these door styles. Costs vary, but barn doors start around $400 (with do-it-yourself installation). A pocket door can run about $550 (including installation and labor), depending on your local market.
But designers also point out the need for caution. “You don’t want overkill with this trend. A barn door is a statement piece. It’s artwork. You wouldn’t use it in every room,” says MacMillan. But in moderation, barn and double-pocket doors “instantly elevate a home’s style in a way that will make others take notice.”
Melissa Dittman Tracey – REALTOR magazine, Jan 2017
As your friends return from summer vacations, they may be thinking of upgrades they’d like to make to their homes. These days the goal often is to decrease maintenance costs, lower utility bills, and appeal to a wide segment of future buyers. Here are nine cutting-edge developments—some of which are just now being introduced into U.S. markets—that piqued our interest, along with reasons why they’re a wise investment.
Why they’re a smart choice: Though a bit more expensive than concrete, pavers are often a smarter choice in the long term. If they crack, they can easily be removed and reinstalled after the soil or gravel is leveled, while concrete has to be jack-hammered out, says Sacramento, Calif.–based landscape designer Michael Glassman. But now home owners are able to choose permeable pavers, which offer an even smarter hardscape choice for yards. Unlike impervious pavers, these allow the ground to absorb water directly, rather than sending it into streets or down sewers where it’s wasted. Also, their porous surface functions as a filter to remove some pollutants from rainwater.
Example: The “Eco” line from EP Henry comes in a number of shapes, sizes, textures, and colors and can pave driveways, walkways, pool decks, and retaining walls. Many local governments and municipalities offer storm water management tax credits for upgrades like these, and some permeable pavers can help homes qualify for LEED certification.
Green Roof Tiles
Why they’re a smart choice: Asphalt shingles may be a budget-friendly roofing option—they cost far less than metal, slate, or clay tiles—but many asphalt choices don’t provide a good barrier against noise or extreme temperature, nor can they withstand hurricane-strength winds very well. Green roof tiles offer a cost-effective, environmentally friendly option, as they’re manufactured from recycled content. They stand up to strong winds thanks to the way their exposed sections are fastened to the roof. Their corrugated design also allows cool air to pass through and ventilate an attic.
Example: Ondura’s Onduvilla line is made from 50 percent post-consumer reused materials that are lightweight — aiding both transporting and installing — and comes in varied landscape-inspired colors (including red, green, sienna brown, terracotta, gray, and black). The tiles can be added over an existing asphalt shingle layer, which eliminates the cost and labor to remove the original layer.
Why they’re a smart choice: Did you know that traditional log-burning fireplaces not only fail to warm a room, they actually suck out heat? That’s why the search continues to find alternatives that offer the look of a crackling flame, are easy to install, and don’t require a gas line or electrical outlet. One option is an assembled, insulated, and ventless design that uses cartridges filled with an alcohol gel that home owners light with a long butane lighter, the same way they’d light a candle.
Example: The HealthCabinet’s model uses disposable cartridges that come unscented or in vanilla, pine, or cinnamon fragrances. Many of its models have a modern hipness and can sit directly on the floor, atop a low console, or in a wall. Some models also can be used outdoors. Prices may seem steep at $4,900 to $12,000, but they require no design time, chimney work, or gas line, so the expense is all on the front end.
Modular, Portable Shelving
Why it’s a smart choice: As more and more newer homes lack built-in shelves, many home owners aren’t sure how to store their books and collections after they move in. But shelving systems are expensive and hard to remove when it’s time to sell. Even bookshelves and other freestanding furniture pieces don’t offer flexibility if home owners wish to expand their collections.
Example: Designers Jack Godrey Wood and Tom Ballhatchet developed BUILD shelving modules to offer expansion options. Manufactured by German-based Movisi from plastic foam that’s recyclable, hypoallergenic, and water- and shock-resistant, the modules can be arranged in numerous configurations on floors or walls. The system comes in black or white and can be used with or without a back.
Tankless Water Heater
Why it’s a smart choice: A traditional water heater keeps its tank hot all day, increasing utility bills. Tankless designs that attach to a plumbing system work on demand, heating water only when needed and paring energy consumption.
Example: Rinnai says its Continuum model is 50 to 70 percent more efficient than most traditional heaters. One version allows home owners to preset shower temperature and times and automatically fill tubs. While this type of tank is more expensive to purchase and install, it offers a good payback, especially for those who own vacation homes and don’t want to heat water when away. The key is to pick a model with a flow rate that matches the home’s number of fixtures and average water usage. Using gas rather than electricity makes sense too, avoiding problems when there’s a power outage.
Master Smart Control System
Why it’s a smart choice: Most home systems operate independently, which requires using a control panel for each item that affects comfort in a home. That’s inefficient both in terms of energy use and consumer effort, which is why there’s a whole host of companies working to get these independent water and HVAC systems talking to each other and reporting back to home owners.
Example: Rheem.s EcoNet technology uses a home’s Wi-Fi connection to link its air conditioning, heating, and water management products so that a home owner can control them through a single app or wall-mounted panel. The system can send alerts if anything’s wrong, such as a water leak. If the home owner has set up contact information, the system will even send these alerts directly to their contractor. However, this setup works best with new construction, major remodeling, and intensive retrofits.
Recycled Building “Brick”
Why it’s a smart choice: Too often, building materials get discarded when structures are demolished or remodeled. Salvaged materials are considered a very chic building and decorating look now, but they don’t always offer the right shape, color, or thermal properties for every project. Yet, many can still offer a second life if reconfigured properly.
Example: StoneCycling — a company founded in the Netherlands in 2013 by Tom van Soest and Ward Massa — grinds and blends broken brick and other waste materials and processes them into durable multicolored shapes and sizes for aesthetically appealing interior and exterior applications. The new products can withstand high winds and are flame-retardant. The company is currently working with interior architects in several U.S. cities and Massa says they expect multiple projects that incorporate them to be finished next year.
Why it’s a smart choice: When you think about solar energy, chances are you picture a panel or set of photovoltaic cells placed on a roof. But about 15 years ago, a Swiss architect developed and patented a wall system that provides passive solar heat gain for new homes and buildings. The system, known as the Solar-Activated Facade, incorporates angled wood louvers that absorb different amounts of solar heat depending on the season, back-vented glazing that either traps warm air or releases it depending upon energy needs, and insulated panels that cut construction time.
Example: Architect and energy expert Eric Nelson of Nelson Architech GmbH and Boston-area architect Stephen Moore of BlankSlate Design hope to begin manufacturing the SAF system in the United States in the coming year. It’s already being used effectively in Switzerland and other countries around the world.
Ready to rethink a formal dining room? Here are some great ideas for turning your home’s least-used room into a fun multitasking area.
Setting aside an entire room for formal dining is a luxury when space in most houses is at a premium. Take into account families sitting down to eat together less often — adults working different hours, kids coming and going for sports, people having different diets or food likes — and a preference for casually sitting around the kitchen island or garden table, and a formal dining room could often be put to better use. Here are some great ideas for what could otherwise be wasted space.
If you can hardly move because of toys cluttering the living room floor, coloring books and crayons all over the kitchen counter, and bits of games in random places underfoot, create a dedicated playroom in your unused dining room. Dining rooms tend to be close to the kitchen, so kids would still be within earshot, but their mess would not be spread all over the house. Create clear storage places and cleanup rules (tidy up before bedtime), and sanity will be restored.
Turning boxed games into a decorating feature might encourage family table time, rather than individual screen time. And secure storage keeps boxes in one piece — meaning no more losing that last valuable tiny hotel in Monopoly.
As kids get older and homework projects run on for several days (or weeks), a homework station with all the tools, reference books and stationery they need in one spot means projects can be started straight away (no last-minute hunts for glue sticks) and works in progress can be safely left out between sessions.
If you don’t have a basement, rumpus room or big garage, turn the dining room into a game room. Convert the table into a pingpong court with a fold-out piece of plywood, or buy a stand-alone billiards table.
In a tinier dining space, add a folding table for cards or board games. You can use it for drinks or desserts for that annual big dinner party too.
In many grand old houses in days of yore, the library and dining room were doubled up. If you long to have tidy book piles, fill your walls with shelves and create the library of your dreams.
If you don’t have walls for bookshelves, take a leaf from lobbies in luxury lodges and style the dining table with beautiful coffee table books and the latest glossy magazines. Pull up some chairs and encourage quiet reading time.
One of the joys of working from home is having an inspirational office that doesn’t look boring or corporate. Mix and match vintage and sleek, use a nice lamp instead of a work light, and add pretty accessories and a smart rug. This works well if the dining room is near the front door, so clients don’t have to troop through the rest of the house.
Keep papers and supplies in stylish bins and boxes. Use a sideboard to hide unattractive paperwork for an easy switch to dining mode.
If you plan to sometimes use the dining room for, you know, dinner, look for covered storage boxes that look grown-up. Make the most of all the wall space with high shelves. (Tuck a folding ladder in a nearby cabinet for safe access.)
There are no rules that say a work desk has to be square. The classic Eames chair seen here was designed for dining and office use. The pedestal Tulip table comes in several sizes and with different tops to create a classy office.
Indoor plants are taking over design photos, so let them take over your unused dining room. A gorgeous array of vases, pots and cuttings you are nurturing makes an enticing modern version of the grand old orangeries.
Tip: Make sure your tabletop is sealed to prevent water damage to precious wood or lacquer. Or use a tray or padded waterproof cloth to catch spills.
A second or third sitting room is a bonus retreat in a busy household. Even better if it is TV-free and has a fireplace, a view or fine art. Leave the chaos to the main living room and retreat to a quiet corner here.
Catherine Smith – Houzz.com May 25, 2016
Can't decide on a specific color or stain for your kitchen cabinets? You don't have to choose just one!
There are as many ways to add color to your kitchen as there are hues to choose from, but cabinets will always be prime real estate for a zap of personality. While many homeowners settle on just one shade, choosing multiple cabinet colors can give your space a designer edge. (It’s also a godsend if you’re indecisive.) If you’re searching for ways to blend two or more color tones into your kitchen design, check out these seven ideas that offer a blueprint for mixing and matching cabinet colors.
1. Turn your island into an accent piece. It’s a classic way to incorporate a second color into your cabinet design, no matter what the style of your kitchen is. It can spice up clean, contemporary designs without adding unnecessary detail, or it can add another layer of color to complement wall paint and decor in traditional designs. The options are especially endless when you go with white or off-white for your main cabinets.
Village Interior Design LLC
That said, white kitchens aren’t for everyone. If you prefer deep wood tones, you can still use your island as an accent piece without white cabinets. This traditional Texas kitchen creates a down-to-earth country feel by coupling alder wood cabinets with an olive green island finish.
Mark English Architects, AIA
2. Use three complementary colors instead of two. If you’re not satisfied with just two hues for your kitchen cabinet design, keep flipping through the color swatches to find a third color. Not only do three shades give your kitchen more of a designer feel, they also evenly distribute color throughout the space.
White is a good starting point because it pairs well with other neutrals as well as bold primary colors, Mark English Architects chose to balance this modern kitchen’s white cabinets with both tall black cabinets and a smack of high-gloss orange cabinets.
Not every three-toned cabinet design needs a primary color, so feel free to stick with neutral tones, especially in industrial and rustic designs. This San Francisco kitchen stays true to its farmhouse roots with a rural color palette that includes white, brown and dark gray.
3. Accentuate a single cabinet piece. The island doesn’t always have to be the showpiece of the kitchen. It certainly isn’t the only cabinetry that can flaunt a splash of color. Wooden hoods, glass wall cabinets or even sink and range base cabinets are hot spots for a dab of baby blue or rustic red. It’s an unconventional way to design colorful accent pieces that aren’t overly fussy.
Baker Freeman Design Office Architects
4. Choose a different color for your uppers and lowers. Designating one color tone for your upper cabinets and another for your lowers is a way to inject color into your kitchen and maintain an organized design. Choose a darker color for your lower cabinets to ground the design, then experiment with lighter shades like whites and grays on the upper. This prevents the design from feeling too top-heavy.
Kyle Hunt & Partners, Inc.
5. Add a stain or glaze to one of your cabinet colors. While an antique finish or charcoal glaze can add extra oomph to your accent color, it can also soften your main cabinet color. This rustic kitchen’s antique white cabinets allow the dark island stain to command its fair share of attention in a space full of visual intrigue.
6. Play with texture. Mix different colors with different textures, as this transitional kitchen does. It combines a midnight blue painted finish on its upper cabinets with a grainy wood veneer on its lower cabinets. Exploring textures like wood and metal along with color can give you a kitchen design that breaks the mold.
Ande Bunbury Architects
7. Break the rules. Yes, it’s OK to toss the rules of design aside (for a moment, at least) and let your creativity run wild. Design with daring color combinations, or opt for singularity instead of contrast. Put color in places it shouldn’t be, such as single drawers or cabinet doors. This eclectic kitchen does just that, integrating seven color tones into a unique puzzle-piece design.
Brian O'Tuama Architects
Not many designers would think to incorporate three color tones from the same family in their cabinet design, but Brian O'Tuama Architects did in this contemporary kitchen. The spectrum effect is truly one-of-a-kind, and that type of creativity can help personalize your own kitchen space and make it yours.
Sam Ferris – Houzz.com October 6, 2015
Follow these quick and easy steps before calling in the pros.
Whether you’re designing your own kitchen cabinets or counting on a professional to get the job done, it’s beneficial to take your own measurements. Having them on hand when you enter the cabinet shop lets you or your designer start crunching numbers quickly. But measuring for cabinets isn’t necessarily an intuitive venture. You have to know center points of major appliances, dimensions of windows and the height of your ceiling. After you grab your tape measure and a notebook, follow these four steps to make sure the numbers add up.
Step 1: Sketch It Out
It doesn’t have to be pretty. In fact, it probably won’t be unless you’re an artist of sorts. But your numbers won’t mean anything unless you know what areas of your kitchen they’re referring to. Before you start anything, draw a rough blueprint of your kitchen and label all appliances, windows and doorways accordingly. When you’re measuring, write down the corresponding numbers in a clear and concise manner so that you understand them when you look back at your measurements later.
CMM Construction, Inc.
Step 2: Measure the Length of Your Walls
This is an intuitive step, no doubt. You must know the space you’re working with. You can start with any wall in your kitchen. Always measure the length of your island. Round to the nearest one-sixteenth of an inch.
Jaffa Group Design Build
Whether you measure the entire length of your walls or just the span of your cabinets will depend on what you’re planning to change. If you’re simply replacing your cabinets, you don’t need to measure the length of entire walls. Simply jot down your current cabinet measurements.
However, if you’re adding cabinet space or reconfiguring your layout, you need to know the length of every wall in your kitchen. Otherwise, you won’t know how to reposition your appliances or whether you can expand your cabinetry.
Barbra Bright Design
Step 3: Find the center point of your sink, stove and windows
Unless you’re planning to shake up your kitchen’s layout, your sink, stove and windows are staying put. As a result, you have to build your design around these items. Knowing the center point of your sink, stove and any windows allows you to correctly position the cabinets that surround them.
Begin with your sink. To find the center point, start at the end of the nearest wall and measure toward your sink. Stop once you reach the middle part of the appliance or window. Round to the nearest one-sixteenth of an inch.
Karr Bick Kitchen & Bath
The next stop is your stove. It can be costly to relocate an electrical or gas cooking line, so knowing where your cooktop will be and planning accordingly is paramount. Repeat the previous step.
Cason Graye Homes
If your sink or stove is located on an island, you don’t have to begin measuring at the end of the nearest wall. Skip the extra work and start at the end of the island. Just make sure you or your contractor knows where your island is going when it’s time to install your cabinets.
Lake County Builders
Finally, don’t forget to record the center point of your windows. Measure the width and height, too. This ensures correct placement of any cabinets that are above or adjacent to your windows. It’s also important to include trims. This prevents major headaches down the road when you can’t fit an upper cabinet because it hits the trim of your window.
Kitchen & Bath Decor
Step 4: Measure the height of your ceiling
The height of your ceiling will clue you in to the ideal height for your upper cabinets. Here’s why:
- The standard height of lower cabinets is 34½ inches.
- The standard thickness of countertops is 1½ inches.
- The standard backsplash height is 18 inches.
When you subtract these common measurements from the height of your ceiling, you’ll know which upper cabinet height will fit in the remaining space.
It’s ultimately up to you to figure out which height works best. Most upper cabinets span 30, 36 or 39 inches high, but you can buy or make upper cabinets that are 42 inches or taller. You don’t have to take your cabinetry all the way up to your ceiling; it’s perfectly acceptable to leave empty space at the top. Some homeowners don’t like taller upper cabinets because they’re harder to access.
Of course, there are exceptions to these standards. Backsplashes aren’t always 18 inches high, for example. Sometimes they’re taller. Take note of any possible exceptions in your own kitchen and factor them into your measurements.
Schwarz Lewis Design Group, Inc.
If your kitchen ceiling is taller than 9 feet, you may consider double-stacking your upper cabinets. Buy two sizes that fit within the allotted space between the top of your backsplash and your ceiling.
Elizabeth Lawson Design
Bonus tip: Be precise. Every fraction matters. This is true whether you’re an expert or an amateur, but it matters even more when you’re new to the kitchen cabinet process. An incorrect measurement can throw off the entire design and cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to correct the mistake. Avoid rounding to the nearest quarter-inch. Take exact measurements to prevent problems during installation.
Sam Ferris – Houzz.com May 19, 2016
Inventive options and durability make tile a good choice for your floors. Here’s how to get it installed.
When it comes to deciding on tile for flooring, the choices can be overwhelming. And figuring out how to get it installed is just as important as picking a type. The good news is that tile is durable and versatile, and there are plenty of experts out there to lend a helping hand.
Project: Working with a tile specialist to get a tile floor installed.
Why: Using tile for flooring instead of carpet or hardwood allows for inventive design options, thanks to the variety of tile choices on the market. And more than ever, tile is being used for floors in rooms besides bathrooms and kitchens, where it’s a popular choice because of its durability and moisture repellency.
Polished porcelain or natural stone tile can add elegance to a living room. Hexagonal mosaic tile is a bathroom floor classic. And of-the-moment faux wood porcelain tile is showing up in living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens. The living room above features a Pennsylvania bluestone in a flagstone pattern.
Farmhouse porcelain tile – Anatolia Tile & Stone:
Traditions in Tile
Whom to hire: Tile installation is a specialized skill, so make sure the installer is qualified. This isn’t a job for the handyman. Bart Bettiga, executive director of the National Tile Contractors Association, says, “It’s a good idea to make sure the contractor uses certified installers, is a member of the NTCA or at a minimum can demonstrate through referrals that they have a proven track record of success.”
If you’re not already working with a contractor or design-build specialist on a home renovation or new construction, you can visit a tile showroom on your own to get acquainted with the multitude of tile available for flooring. Many showrooms have designers and installers or can recommend someone.
Once you’ve chosen a tile specialist, Bettiga recommends asking for a detailed scope of the work to be performed and how long it will take.
Terra Bella Marble hexagonal tile – Westside Tile and Stone:
Mathew Weiner, of Westside Tile and Stone in Los Angeles, says his company will take homeowners through the pros and cons of the tile options and how they differ by look, maintenance and price. They’ll talk about the use and amount of traffic of the room to be tiled, and the reality of natural stone tile, such as marble, which he calls “a living, breathing element” that needs to be sealed yearly and cared for with nonacidic, neutral cleaners.
Lemon Grass Interior Architecture
Cost: The average price range for quality ceramic tile is $1 to $5 per square foot, Bettiga says. Lauren King, of Normandy Remodeling in Hinsdale, Illinois, says the size and shape of the tile, as well as the material, influence the cost. For a 12-by-12-inch tile, she says, porcelain costs about $5 to $12, natural stone $8 to $15 and ceramic $2 to $7.
Tile installation is generally priced per square foot. For example, the cost of installing tile in a 100-square-foot kitchen with no subfloor prep work is about $3,200, says Rafael Anaya, a tile contractor who often works with designer building Lab in the San Francisco Bay Area. For a labor-intensive job using intricate mosaics, some installers will charge by the hour. Making sure that a floor is level is important and can take extra time, meaning higher cost. Sometimes prepping the floor to get a job ready for installation will take almost as long as the tile installation itself, Weiner says.
Slate tile – Home Depot:
Carnes Home Builders
How long will the job take?Bettiga says a typical kitchen takes a two-person crew three to four days to complete. The work includes preparing the substrate (the floor’s base layer), setting the tile and grouting the tile (filling the joints or gaps between tiles with grout).
Florida Tile's Cliffside collection of porcelain floor and wall tile in Light Grotto – Carnes Home Builders:
First steps: When working with any professional, it’s important to go over everything that will be done during the course of the job before the work actually begins. “It is an excellent idea to ask the tile contractor for detailed scope of work to be performed and reasonable timelines to get this done,” Bettiga says. “This includes any demolition, preparation of the floor substrate and actual installation. The tile contractor should be asked to provide details related to products being used, such as membranes, movement joints, type of grout, etc.”
In some cases, the subfloor is inadequate for holding tile and must be repaired or replaced before work begins. A smooth, unbuckled surface is necessary for the tile to sit flat. “Subfloors should be examined in the bid process and discussed with the builder-remodeler or homeowner,” Bettiga says. “The homeowner should make sure the proposed subfloor meets tile industry standards included in the TCNA Handbook for ceramic tile installation.” The handbook can be ordered through NTCA.
A level floor is especially important for large-format tile, such as that shown above in a house in Pittsburgh, where 12-by-24-inch tiles with a one-third offset were used “to give the home a modern feel,” says Elliot Fabri Jr., of EcoCraft Homes in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.
Badajoz cement tile – Granada Tile's Echo collection:
Jessica Helgerson Interior Design
During the project: Before tiling begins, door entries are covered with plastic to keep dust out of the rest of the house. The existing flooring is then removed and the subfloor is assessed to determine whether it’s suitable to receive tile. Sometimes tile is laid atop existing tile if height isn’t an issue, Bettiga says. If the subfloor needs to be removed, that’s usually done by a tile contractor or, during a remodel, the remodeling contractor. In some cases, such as bathrooms, a waterproof membrane is laid atop the subfloor before tiling. Next, adhesive mortar is troweled over the floor, and the tile is placed into the fresh mortar. Grout is mixed and applied into the tile joints (spaces between tiles). A sealant is sometimes applied to the grout to prevent staining.
Max Black Nature porcelain tile – Porcelanosa:
What to know about choosing tile: In general, porcelain tile is denser and more impervious to moisture than ceramic tile, so it’s more suitable for floors. The Porcelain Enamel Institute rates tile on a scale of 1 to 5 to indicate how it will stand up to foot traffic — from Class 1 tile, which should be used only on walls and not anywhere there’s foot traffic, to Class 5 tiles, which are suitable for heavy-traffic areas.
Many tiles are glazed, or coated with a liquid glass that’s baked onto the surface of the clay. The National Kitchen & Bath Association says glazed porcelain tiles are much harder and more resistant to wear and damage than ceramic tiles. Glazed tiles are also more stain-resistant, and they allow for a variety of colors and designs. Some porcelain tiles are also full-body, which means the color runs through the tile, rather than simply baked onto the surface.
Normandy Remodeling’s King says full-body porcelain is the best type of tile for flooring and outperforms natural stone. “It can be as expensive or more expensive than natural stone, but improved technology has helped porcelain resemble the real deal so closely. The result: There is less reason to use real stone, which requires a bit of care and maintenance,” King says.
Vallelunga & Co's Tabula Cenere porcelain tile:
Traditions in Tile
A popular tile today is full-body porcelain tile that looks like wood. Weiner says many of Westside’s customers are opting for faux-wood porcelain tile, which he says is an easy-to-maintain product that, unlike wood, never needs refinishing. “Porcelain wood-looking tile will never stain, scratch, change color, and is impervious to water.” Keep in mind that wood-like tile looks best installed in long pieces, King says, adding that the floor must be perfectly level, so the tile can be properly laid to avoid breakage during and after installation.
building Lab, inc.
Tile size is also something to think about. Bigger is often better, King says, because there are fewer grout lines. Bettiga points out that larger tile and fewer grout joints generally make an area appear larger. A floor with 12-by-24-inch tile is shown above.
Brazilian black slate tile – Chesapeake Tile & Marble:
place architecture design
Arabeseco large terra-cotta tile – Tabarka Studio:
Design Really Matters
Using floor tile in patterns also makes for an interesting design element. “If the tile is the only decorative element in a room, mosaic tile can be a beautiful option,” King says, but because it’s made with natural stone, avoid using it in a high-traffic area. Make sure the tile is “dry laid out,” so you can see the look and feel of the pattern before it’s installed, Bettiga says.
CTM terracotta tile in basketweave pattern – San Diego Marble and Tile
H O M E + atelier Michael Ranson
Though it can give a room a rich feel, there are considerations when using natural stone tiles for flooring. Stones like travertine, limestone, slate, granite, quartz, onyx and marble all perform differently when exposed to moisture. They often need protective sealers, which wear off over time and need to be reapplied, Bettiga says.
Arabescato Carrara marble with a China black marble inlay, custom cut – Tarkus Tile:
Tarkus Tile, Inc.
Marble requires yearly maintenance since it’s prone to staining and etching if not treated or taken care of, Weiner says. If you like the look of marble but not the high maintenance, there are many porcelain tiles that mimic its look while being maintenance-friendly, he says. How is the look of marble attained in a porcelain tile? “Ink-jet technology developed out of Italy scans real natural stone and digitally prints it on top of porcelain,” Weiner says.
By: Julie Sheer – Houzz.com, January 15, 2016
Embrace these favorite pro tricks for quick style:
Every interior designer has go-to tricks. Today I’d like to share my top cheats that I use time and again for quick results. These foolproof ideas can solve many of your design dilemmas in an afternoon.
Taylor Jacobson Interior Design
1. The corner plant. Some design teachers will tell you putting a plant in an empty corner is a huge no-no, suggesting that an empty corner means the room wasn’t correctly arranged or planned out in the first place. But I often find that plants get forgotten when it comes to designing rooms. So I say, if you ever have a free space for a lively green plant, don’t be afraid to jump on the opportunity to include one.
The trick to ensuring that your corner plant looks like an intentional design feature and not simply a cheat is to go for something large and leafy enough to hold its own against your other furnishings.
Sisalla Interior Design
For best results, choose a simple but chunky container (like a block clay pot or textural woven basket) and an easy-maintenance plant that’s at least 3 to 4 feet tall, such as a fiddle-leaf fig, so that the plant visually fills the floor space and wall space.
2. Stacks of books. Besides being great brain candy, having attractive books on hand gives you the tools to correct endless little decor dilemmas.
Is a vase or sculpture looking too small and wimpy? Sit it on a book or two, and suddenly it’s a precious object on a pedestal. One bedside lamp shorter than the other? Use a few books to add height where needed and achieve a perfect symmetry.
Toronto Interior Design Group / Yanic Simard
Wherever you have an empty shelf, or a ho-hum display that could use a little accessorizing, simply pull out a great oversize book or two, and you’ve got endless options for decorating like a true stylista.
Tip: For a more neutral display, take the jackets off books with overly busy covers and display just the plain covers.
Dalia Canora Design, LLC
3. Clear furnishings for contemporary style. Is a space with beautifully classic trappings feeling a little too traditional? One solution is to bring in a few clear elements, either in modern materials like Lucite or in chunky shapes. The clean silhouettes add a sense of “now,” but the transparency lets them blend into their surroundings so the space doesn’t end up feeling wildly eclectic.
Wellborn & Wright
Try clear plastic seats, Lucite art shelves, oversize pendant shades or lamp bases, or simple glass vases holding a single type of flower (or nothing at all).
Tip: Mix glass and clear plastics to bridge the low-tech and high-tech materials. And it never hurts to add a little wood for a perfect complement.
Toronto Interior Design Group / Yanic Simard
4. Signature color. Why do interior designers like me have a personal signature paint color? The logic is simple: Colors always look a little different between the paint chip and on the wall, so when you’ve found a great one that you love in real life, there’s no reason not to use it again and again.
I used one of my go-to off-whites (Benjamin Moore's Classic Gray) in the space in this photo and the next, and the results are totally different moods, but both beautiful.
Toronto Interior Design Group / Yanic Simard
Besides guaranteeing a great result every time, using a signature color also connects different spaces for a sense of consistency throughout your home. Contrary to what TV may teach you, every room in the home doesn’t need to have its own theme. If you’ve seen a color you like in your own space (or someone else’s), go ahead and repeat it, adding your own spin each time through the other furnishings.
Tip: Repeat the same flooring where possible so you know that the walls and floor will always coordinate the same way. This will make it easy to move furnishings between rooms to make your look flexible and fail-safe.
Dyer Grimes Architecture
5. Off-center art. Is that favorite framed keepsake a little too small for the wall? Not when it’s off-center on purpose. Anyone can hang a perfectly sized piece centered over a sofa or bed, but if you have a must-display piece that doesn’t happen to be the right dimensions, try hanging it off to one side and a little low for a quirky asymmetrical look that feels artistic.
Glen Gissler Design
The same strategy works on a shelf or mantel, or over a table. Just remember: “low and off to one side,” and let that otherwise wimpy piece become a stroke of decorating genius.
Tip: Make sure that every piece you display is meaningful and effective, rather than taking up space with filler pieces you don’t love just to create a trendy gallery.
E & A Interiors
6. Hidden technology. Designers love to hide televisions and computers in cabinets and credenzas, especially in more traditional settings, which can seem silly to the person who just bought a slick new flat-screen and wants to show it off.
Keep this mind: In the modern era, technology changes so quickly that today’s shiny new must-have is tomorrow’s dated model. What doesn’t change is the beauty of the other classic pieces in a room.
For a modern approach, turn your media wall (whether it’s just a TV or oodles of gadgets) into a display area, tucking away tech boxes in cabinets or on open shelves among artworks, candles and heirlooms. This lets the area serve as an attractive focal point whether or not the TV is on.
Tip: Use a wireless TV transmitter to send signals from your cable boxes (tucked away in a cabinet near the cable outlet) to your TV to avoid a mess of cables.
NORTHBOURNE architecture & design
7. Throw blankets. A gorgeous throw blanket is the decor equivalent of the garnish on an exquisite meal, giving a room a sense of life, casual elegance and a dash of color or texture. I’m an avowed fan of classic white linens, but a throw blanket spread quickly over the foot of the bed in the morning lends an inviting air that you’ll appreciate when you come back at night.
Don’t get too fussy with a throw blanket. After all, it’s called a “throw” for a reason. When everything else in the space carries clean lines, a casually tossed throw provides some needed softness.
Tip: Invest in a high-quality, natural-fiber blanket with rich color and an enticing hand-feel, and you’ll be able to use it in different rooms for years of style.
8. Black-and-white patterns. Whether you have a busy space filled with drama or a muted palette that needs more life, black-and-white prints and patterns are a virtually foolproof addition. They always feel fashionable, they hold their own without screaming for attention, and they’re so neutral that they won’t fight with even the wildest color palettes.
Camilla Molders Design
Any sofa or bedspread can be elevated with a few black-and-white pillows. Add in some monochrome artwork, and you get a sophisticated look every time.
Tip: A simple 1- to 2-inch black-and-white stripe is the most classic of all, perfect for mixing with other patterns and solids in your choice of accent hues.
9. Collecting over time. The last designer cheat for the day is to not rush the design of your space, but rather allow the finishing touches to be collected over time. Often clients want an entire space to be designed and completed ASAP, but if designers take a little extra time with a decision, it’s not just because we’re taking a long lunch. To really know how pieces will work together, you sometimes just have to see them in the space and even live with them for a while.
Taking your time also avoids creating a look that’s too “matchy.” Collecting as you live your life lets you introduce pieces that aren’t so perfect but have just the right character and personality.
Crowell & Co. Interiors
Tip: Know when to edit your collection as well. If you keep some storage dedicated to tucking away accents and accessories, you’ll be able to develop your collection without having to show every favored piece all at once (or part with any of them forever).
If you haven’t used something in a year, let it go. It’s the No. 1 secret to having a happy, beautiful home.
By Yanic Simard – Houzz.com May 16, 2016
Hart Design and Construction
A tidy, organized home doesn’t have to be lacking in personality. Here’s how to keep on top of clutter while retaining that personal touch!
Many people like the idea of living in a calm and clutter-free home but don’t want to go down the all-white, minimalist route. Here are some great storage ideas that will help you stay tidy while retaining those all-important personal touches that make your place feel more like a home and less like a show house:
1. Go up the walls. In any home, a great rule to adopt is “declutter first, storage second.” This mantra is essential in a small room, and if you can’t find space for everything, you may need to be even more ruthless with what you choose to keep.
To maximize a small room, create vertical storage up to the ceiling. Here, the open shelves keep the room neat and provide space to display personal items, such as family photos and ornaments.
Keeping all flat surfaces, like this coffee table, clear allows a room to breathe — and provides a handy space for your cup of coffee.
Terracotta Design Build
2. Make good use of your hallway. Entrance hallways attract clutter like a magnet — unless you provide suitable storage. Make the most of a narrow hallway by creating a little alcove with lots of hanging space, shoe storage, a phone charging point and even a custom umbrella nook. If you have little ones, make sure some of the hooks are within reach so they can hang up their own things.
This hallway has a cozy, lived-in feel, but every item is neatly in its place.
Neat Method San Diego
3. Tame kitchen clutter. Kitchens are easily cluttered, ending up with dirty dishes, sticky recipe books and out-of-date food hiding at the back of cabinets. Invest in some beautiful storage jars into which you can decant dried goods. Not only do they look lovely, they keep food tidy, are easy to clean and let you see when items are running out. It’s also a great way to encourage your children to get involved in cooking, as they can see all the available ingredients.
Square containers are more space-efficient than round ones — and be sure to measure your shelves and drawers before buying them.
4. Choose what you love. This kitchen is organized, but it’s certainly not minimalist. Reclaimed and repurposed materials create a unique design that’s full of personality.
When it comes to maintaining a clutter-free home, remember the old saying: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” If you have somewhere to store all your possessions, all you need to do to keep order is simply put things back in their place.
In this kitchen, a combination of offbeat shelves and wall-mounted open storage — along with vintage storage tins, a box for condiments and a weathered cutlery tray — provide a home for everything, but also lots of personality. For a space that’s even more streamlined yet still filled with character, attach more storage to the walls to free up work surfaces.
5. Weave in secret storage. Hidden storage is one of the best tools for maintaining a clutter-free home. This ottoman brings color and coziness to the room, but it also has a hinged lid, making it perfect for stashing away games and blankets.
Ottomans also can be used as a coffee table or as extra seating, so they’re the ultimate in flexible furniture. Plus, the need to get inside the ottoman regularly is a great incentive to keep the top clear.
Design Box London
6. Organize your bedroom. Smart alcove shelving with drawers below ensures this bedroom is sleek and free of clutter, but it still has a cozy, welcoming feel thanks to its coordinating cushions, comfy throws and patterned rug.
When tidying up your bedroom, think about what you use there and where. If you love curling up to read at night, store your books neatly near the bed for an organized feel, rather than leaving them halfway across the room.
Make time every morning or evening to put things away, whether it’s putting clothes back in the wardrobe or in the laundry basket. Just a few minutes each day will help you keep clutter under control.
7. Put pretty pieces on display. Storing items in cabinets is the best way to keep them free of dust, but if you love to see your things on display, glass-fronted cabinets are the way to go — and can be a feature in themselves.
Glass-fronted cabinets can be used in any room, whether you want to show off your best tableware in the kitchen, favorite clothing or shoes in a bedroom, or colorful craft items in a spare room. And having glass doors on bookshelves is a great way to reduce dusting chores.
My Bespoke Room Ltd
8. Get your kids in the game. Always stumbling over toys or picking up after your children? Provide storage they can easily reach and define a play area with a vibrant rug, then get everyone to participate in a five-minute “tidy-up time” before meals.
Toys don’t have to be hidden away completely — cubbyholes containing colorful boxes are great for storing things, and adding photo labels will make it easy for children to find what they’re looking for.
Try to make it as easy to put things away as it is to get them out for the best chance of success.
WINBERG Interior + Architectural Design
9. Love your workspace. Improve your home office and it could help your productivity. If you like to have your projects around you, make space for your books and tools. The book display shelves in this office are a great way of keeping research close at hand but neatly out of the way.
Love the space you work in by providing a home for everything but keeping your most-used items within arm’s reach so as not to disrupt your workflow.
Life on a Wall
10. Cherish your memories. Do you have a lot of old photos and prints lying around? Hang as many as you can on your walls. Sort through piles of old family photos, print out the new ones, grab your children’s artwork and get hanging.
For a more cohesive look, choose your pictures and buy the same style frames in different sizes to hold them. Command strips are a quick way to hang photos, and they make it easy to reposition pictures if you change your mind or you rent your home.
By: Hannah Young – Houzz.com May 9, 2016
It’s more than just a patio door — it’s an architectural design element. Here’s help for finding the right one for your home and lifestyle:
The large glass patio door hasn't been around for very long. It took modern manufacturing techniques to make it affordable. But what was once the province of the wealthy and aristocratic is now available in a wide variety of styles for every home.
From sliding to hinged, folding to telescoping, it's likely that there's a patio door that will fit your home's aesthetic as well as your budget. So let's look at some of the patio doors available and what you should know about each.
Siemasko + Verbridge
The classic, in-swing French door is often an elegant and stately architectural element that connects the inside to the outside. Because it is a hinged, swinging door, it will take up floor space — it doesn't just sit within the plane of the wall. Incorporating doors like these will have an impact on furniture placement and how the room functions.
Also, these doors have limited width. Each door panel can't be overly large as the hardware would get quite large, or the operation of the door would suffer. These doors are typically no wider than about 6 feet.
Schmartz and Architecture
The out-swing French door is a variant on the hinged patio door. While these doors won't have an effect on the interior furniture placement, they do have a downside.
First, the screening would be on the inside. That means these doors are more suited to locations where screening isn't necessary, such as areas where bugs aren't a problem, or where the door leads to a screened porch.
Second, these doors should have hardware that prevents them from slamming shut in wind gusts. In fact, a strong enough gust of wind can do some serious damage to the door and door frame if the door hasn't been designed and installed to accommodate that.
Another item to think about when considering a hinged door, whether in-swing or out-swing, is the threshold. This part of the door frame provides a weather-tight seal along the floor and can project up an inch or more above the floor, preventing a smooth transition from inside to outside. If this "bump" bothers you, talk to your architect about how it can be eliminated.
Cost: The cost of these doors varies widely. It's ultimately a function of materials, glass type, finishing, hardware, muntin type, etc. While you should expect to pay a minimum of about $1,000, a high-quality aluminum-clad French door with multi-point locking system and simulated divided lights can easily cost several thousand dollars.
Sliding Glass Doors
The sliding glass door has got to be the most ubiquitous patio door. Made up of two framed glass panels that slide past each other, this door can be seen on contemporary, traditional and every style in between. Having said that, it really fits a contemporary aesthetic as the sliding operation and staggered planes are typically not quite right for traditional styles.
An advantage of these doors is that the opening can be quite wide. While the standard door will be 5 or 6 feet wide, doors that are 8 or 10 feet wide are available.
An important design consideration when selecting a sliding glass door is the frame size. The actual frame dimensions will vary considerably depending on the frame material. While metal frames, like aluminum, can be quite thin, vinyl frames will likely be thick.
Cost. A sliding glass door will typically cost considerably less than a comparable French door. It has to do with operation and mechanisms. Simply put, the sliding glass door is easier to engineer and build and has fewer moving parts. So a sliding glass door can be had for as little as $500.
John Maniscalco Architecture
Variations on the Slider
A variant of the sliding glass door is what some manufacturers term the French slider. In many ways this door incorporates the advantages of a sliding glass door with the look of a French door.
Unlike the two-panel configuration of the typical sliding glass door, the French slider has four panels. The two outer panels are fixed in place; the two inner panels operate. When closed, the two operable panels butt into each other, resting in the same plane,creating the look of a hinged door.
Another advantage to these doors is that the opening can be even wider than a regular sliding glass door. At widths of 10, 12 and 16 feet, these doors can create a wall of glass while also allowing for a lot of natural ventilation.
Whether it's the standard sliding glass door or the French slider, an important design consideration is the track system. As in the hinged doors, these tracks can project up an inch or more and are typically 5 to 6 inches wide. The large track is something you'll want to deal with by setting it down lower or specifying a lower profile system as some manufacturers can provide.
Another type of sliding glass door is the telescoping patio door. This door consists of several — three or more — panels that slide past each other. The great advantage of a telescoping door is the ability to get a really wide opening that can eliminate the barrier between indoors and out.
As with the sliding glass doors, telescoping doors are sympathetic with a contemporary aesthetic but not so much with a traditional design. It's just a function of the large, unobstructed glass panels and staggered configuration that yields a modern look.
Two especially nice features of this style: You can have the door open just a little and have it open at either side, as there isn't a fixed panel like the one in the standard two-panel sliding glass door.
Keep in mind the track can be really wide. A four-panel door will have four separate parallel tracks that can encroach into the home a bit — especially when a screen system is added. With the glass panels and the screen panels, a four-panel door can have a track system 18 inches wide. If this is a concern, look at using a variation of this door that you'll see next.
Griffin Enright Architects
A lift/slide door can have a single track that each panel uses until the panels reach the sides, where multiple tracks will start. For the most part, the track is inconspicuous, while the panels neatly fold up and disappear into an adjacent wall. It's a truly wondrous way to have the largest opening possible.
Cost. Expect to pay a few thousands to several thousand dollars depending on size, materials, configuration, etc. While this type of door is more costly than a standard two-panel sliding glass door, the ability to get a really large wall of glass may be worth it. Plan on budgeting into five figures.
Folding Glass Doors
The folding glass door is another nice way of creating a large opening that allows the distinction between inside and outside to disappear. The advantage that the folding glass door has over, say, the telescoping door is that it allows for a big opening from corner to corner when there isn't an opportunity to create pockets in the wall for the panels to slide into.
Folding glass doors can be set up so that one of the panels is hinged, acting like a standard door. This way, when you want to go in or out, you don't have to open the entire door.
Cost: Folding glass doors can be pricey, especially the better ones that are easily operated. You should budget about $1,000 to $1,500 per lineal foot. So a 20-foot-wide opening would cost about $20,000 to $30,000.
Charles Debbas Architecture
The pivot door works like a hinged door in that it swings in, out — or both. But unlike a hinged door, a pivot door is supported on pivots and pivot boxes. This allows the weight of the door to rest in from the edge, putting the stress closer to the center. This means that a really large opening with a single panel can be achieved.
Because of the door's operation and configuration, it isn't really suitable for an environment where any screening is needed (unless, of course, it leads to a screened porch).
Cost: Like the other large glass patio doors such as the lift/slide and the folding door, the pivot door is going to be more costly than a standard French or sliding glass door. But consider that these doors can add much to the intrinsic value of your home.
Bud Dietrich, AIA – Houzz.com June 29, 2014