Thursday, April 24, 2014

Salvage Style: A DIY Upholstery Project Makes a Grand Entrance

Just Passing Through: How to Make Passageways an Experience

A Quirky Ontario Cabin Gets a Lighter Touch

Eccentricity is what gives a space personality, while its history gives it a soul. Although the rooms in this Tiny Beaches, Ontario, log cabin were dark and a bit peculiar when interior decorator Enza Ricco took on their makeover, she treated the home’s spirit and eccentricities with reverence. “My client really appreciated that I loved the house for all of its personality,” she says. Here’s a look at how Ricco lightened up the space, keeping the rustic spirit alive while adding crisp, more contemporary touches and function.

The kitchen is in an addition built in 1986. “The work was done by a local gentleman who added lots of interesting quirks that presented some challenges,” Ricco says.

For instance, a structural post holding up a balcony in the middle of the kitchen is a big appliance door-blocker and dictated some of the layout. However, Ricco and the homeowner didn’t demolish this and certain other elements, as they are such a part of the home’s personality.

The homeowner already owned the table and chairs, and they’re a great fit for the eat-in space.

The other side of the reclaimed-beam structural post has an attached ladder leading to a trapdoor in the small balcony. The balcony is not used for much, but it’s one of the home’s beloved idiosyncrasies. Also beloved are the original remodeler’s initials carved into another section of the beam.

“Lighting was challenge No. 1,” says Ricco. “All she had were some track lights along the ceiling, and it was very dark in here.” To remedy the situation, Ricco added two Hundi Lanterns, task lighting and sconces.

The owner plans to live here for the rest of her life, so she wanted something soft underfoot. Ricco chose a cork floor in a warm, gray-brown hue.

The black Caesarstone countertops have flecks of brown, and the hardware is oil-rubbed bronze. White cabinets offer a crisp contrast.

Continue… A Quirky Ontario Cabin Gets a Lighter Touch

A Quirky Ontario Cabin Gets a Lighter Touch

How to Keep Your Upholstery Looking Good

Copper, the Dynamic Topper

Brass has slowly climbed its way to the top of the design heap over the past few years. But closely on its heels is its cousin, copper. Like burnished brass, copper gives off a glow that can enliven almost any space with its warmth and earthiness.

With undertones of rose, orange or red, copper can play nicely with more energetic color palettes, something that brass struggles to do. Copper can easily transition from indoor to outdoor applications, thanks to tiles, siding and pipes. It also develops a beautiful patina as it ages, making it a material that seems to be living with you. You definitely can’t say that about brass.

Copper and stainless steel — why not? A trick to having them live in harmony is to have the same finish style for both.

Exposed copper piping against black tile and wallpaper creates a beautiful focal point in this steampunk-inspired powder room. Also used for the fixtures and sink, copper is a great warming element in the room.

When considering an application of materials on an external wall, you need to think about three things: how the material will react with the wall itself, where the material will be attached and how it will be adhered to the surface of the wall.

This perforated copper sheeting is a clever approach to adding visual interest, texture and dimension, and the designer considered all three of the above issues. The perforation allows for evaporation, which means there will be fewer issues with mold and mildew. In addition, the perforations make the sheeting weight lighter, reducing the chance that the copper will be too heavy for the wall studs to support the weight.

More about Copper, the Dynamic Topper

Copper, the Dynamic Topper

Create Garden Mystery With a Zigzag Path

Kitchen of the Week: Victorian Style the Nonconformist Way

There’s a uniquely creative spirit about so many of the projects I cover in Portland, Oregon, that I’ve often wondered what they are putting in the water in that city. “It’s the clients around here,” says Anne De Wolf, a principal at Arciform, a design-build firm. “They are creative, they’re fantastic, and they are nonconformists.”

In the case of this remodel of a young family’s Victorian home, which included an addition, the clients did not want their kitchen to look like everyone else’s. The new design keeps some 19th-century character without being too literal. Where the new construction meets the original house, the Victorian and newer elements merge in harmony.

The family wanted room for hanging out and doing activities, while not being hemmed in by a lot of cabinetry. To get it, they consigned most of their storage needs to a large pantry.

The kitchen is cleverly tucked along the back wall, while a large island made of dark stained reclaimed alder provides a nice, clear workspace. The island is open on one side and conceals a microwave drawer on the other. The countertop is schist.

The backsplash is a handmade Moroccan ceramic tile with a slick glaze. Covering the entire wall, it defines the kitchen work area. “They have a wonderful uneven texture,” says De Wolf of the tiles. The vent hood was repurposed from the owners’ old kitchen; one of the clients hung the “Joy” sign that anchors it. Displayed on a wall, wooden cutting boards make handsome accessories.

The new addition starts to the left of the refrigerator. The posts were a structural necessity, but De Wolf made them an asset, using them to define bays for the expansive pantry. The open shelves were inspired by ones seen in an old-fashioned small-town grocery store; they create a divider between the kitchen and the pantry. Clerestories maintain an open and light feeling.

A large piece of steel on the right ties in to the metal brackets and braces used throughout the remodeling project. The plate serves as a magnetic board for schedules and invitations, and the family can write on it.

The clients wanted to bring more of the Victorian era’s Gothic style into the new kitchen, so De Wolf installed this custom window, made by Versatile Wood Products. The smaller stained glass window is an antique that also nods to the Victorian era. In contrast, the stainless steel sink adds a modern touch.

Tip: When using an eclectic material palette, De Wolf recommends using each material more than once. “This keeps it from looking like a hodgepodge,” she explains. For instance, the stainless steel on the countertop is echoed in the nickel on the pendant lights, which looks similar. The backsplash has a bluish tint to it, which is picked up in the trim and a bit in the schist countertop. These moves seem minor, but they tie the room together.

More about the Kitchen of the Week: Victorian Style the Nonconformist Way

Kitchen of the Week: Victorian Style the Nonconformist Way

6 Reasons to Hire a Home Design Professional

Who hasn’t heard that regular trips to the dentist can prevent the spread of tooth decay? Even though sitting in that chair isn’t the most enjoyable way to spend time, most of us know that a dentist has the knowledge and expertise to check all aspects of our oral health. Similarly, residential designers (architects, interior designers and others) bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to make sure all aspects of remodeling and custom home projects go as smoothly as possible.

Talk with almost anyone who’s ever tried to do a construction project without pro help, and you’ll likely hear one statement over and over again: “I wished I had hired a designer.” Even in smaller projects, like a one-room remodel, once you open up those walls, situations arise for which only an experienced professional can apply his or her creative problem solving to save time and money.

Here’s why it’s worth it to hire a designer.

1. You’ll save time. You may not know how structural choices can impact the installation of the mechanical system. Or about options for new materials or technologies that might be cheaper, better or more appropriate than what you are familiar with. Figuring those things out takes time, and lots of it. A skilled professional will have this information at the ready for you.

Plus, with advances in technology, new building envelope techniques are coming on the market with increasing frequency, and new, tougher energy-efficiency requirements are transforming how walls are constructed and bringing an end to many traditional building practices. So it’s more crucial than ever to have someone on your team who understands how your building assembly meets current building code requirements.

These codes are typically complex texts that are difficult for those outside the building industry to understand. When designers submit drawings to the building authority, a plans examiner reviews them and issues a revision notice to address any variances from the current codes and construction standards.

A well-informed designer with up-to-date knowledge of building science can get building projects through with the minimum number of revisions. Since each revision takes time to be completed, having fewer revisions will allow you to get your permit faster. Low-quality or incomplete documents can delay your construction. Hiring a designer will help ensure that your project meets relevant codes so it can progress smoothly through your municipality’s process.

This could save you many sleepless nights and potentially weeks on your project trying to determine what is needed to satisfy the code requirements.

2. You’ll get their expertise and understanding of the overall construction process. The basic function of a designer is interpreting your needs and coming up with a professional plan for any building project. Although you may hire him or her only for this task, the designer will also provide a wide variety of other resources to make sure the whole building process goes off without a hitch.

Depending on your needs and budget, a designer can guide you through the relevant building application process, research planning legislation, assist in the hiring of surveyors and general contractors, recommend subcontractors and manage the construction phase of a project on your behalf to ensure that building plans are accurately followed.

Trying to do this yourself would mean hours and hours of research and potential delays.

There are many types of designers working in the home building industry. Some are licensed professionals; others are builders who have expanded their services into design as well as construction of custom homes and home renovations.

Design-builders and unlicensed designers make up a large contingent of the individuals working in the procurement of custom homes and renovations. They tend to be cost effective and can be the right fit for your project, so long as you find a reputable person to work with.

Architects are generally more expensive to hire but bring to a project a broader set of skills

and talent that can result in both an exceptional project and an exceptional experience. This

results from the additional work an architect puts into coordinating everyone involved in your project, as well as the unique skills and knowledge related to current technology, materials and construction processes.

That said, not every project requires an architect, and not every design-builder can deliver on your vision. The rule of thumb is that the more unique and challenging the project is, the better suited an architect is for it.

Continue reading 6 Reasons to Hire a Home Design Professional

6 Reasons to Hire a Home Design Professional

10 Things Architects Want You to Know About What They Do

Ws spoke with two Best of Houzz architects, Nils Finne of Finne Architects and Matthew Coates of Coates Design, to get the inside scoop on what architects do, where they find inspiration and what you should know before you hire one for your project. Here are 10 of their insights.

What do architects do? Architects plan and design buildings and coordinate construction. Most U.S. states require licensed architects to have specialized education and experience and to pass a rigorous exam.

1. We want you to be an active participant in the design process. While it’s true that the actual work of design is the architect’s responsibility, it is your responsibility to be upfront about your budget and expectations and to give candid feedback. Finne, who has worked for many years with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Seattle on a program called “How to Select and Work with an Architect,” dedicates a section of his seminar to what architects and clients should expect from one another. In the workshop materials, he says the ideal client is “honest, open, flexible, realistic and decisive.” Being open to your architect’s ideas and making decisions in a timely fashion will help your project run much more smoothly.

2. We can oversee your project from beginning to end. If you have a major home project to tackle, whether it’s a large-scale renovation or building your dream home from scratch, you may be wondering where to begin. Well, wonder no more — the first call to make should be to an architect. These pros have the skills and training needed to keep your project running smoothly, and they can coordinate the work of your entire design and construction team.

“Architects can have a role in all aspects of the project, from site selection and feasibility studies through construction observation and project closeout procedures,” says Coates. “Homeowners can negotiate the level and scope of services they are looking for with their specific project. At a minimum the architect is usually responsible for design, documentation and permitting.”

3. Our work takes us everywhere. “We have about 50 percent of our work out of town,” says Finne, whose office is in Seattle, “so every month I take several trips to visit jobsites and meet with clients and contractors.” So if you’ve been limiting your search to pros in your immediate area, you may be able to widen that circle. See pros whose work you admire on Houzz? Don’t be afraid to contact them and ask if they take jobs in your area.

Continue reading 10 Things Architects Want You to Know About What They Do

10 Things Architects Want You to Know About What They Do

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Garden Color: Lighten and Brighten With Yellow

During the flower-power days of the 1960s, Donovan sang about “being mad about saffron” in his hit song Mellow Yellow. Are we still mad about yellow in our gardens, and can it be mellow? Nature commonly uses yellow, with spring flowers like daffodils, forsythia and primroses, but can we use this bright color without its taking over?

Yellow is the perfect color to bring warmth into a garden, especially in colder climates where gardeners embrace solar rays. A glowing feature wall in this garden brings light and warmth into the space. The yellow used is almost a primrose yellow, which shines without overpowering the garden scheme.

With much of this garden composed of neutral colors, like brown and taupe, the two squares of bright yellow bring it to life. Beware: Yellow can lead the eye through the garden, but too much will overpower it.

When choosing a color for a feature wall, it’s useful to remember that color changes enormously in different light conditions. In the morning sun, a yellow wall will look completely different than it does in evening shade; it will also alter through the year as the angle of the sun rises and falls, changing the quality of the light.

There could be no better choice of color than the fresh yellow used for the parasol on this poolside terrace. The clear blue of the pool intensifies the yellow coloring, as the meeting of complementary colors strengthens both.

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Garden Color: Lighten and Brighten With Yellow

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