Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fresh Take: 15 New Ways With Western Style

In When Harry Met Sally, a couple’s apartment furnishing debate comes to a head over what Billy Crystal’s character deems “a stupid wagon-wheel, Roy Rogers, garage-sale coffee table.” Unfortunately, Western style is often stereotyped as having an overabundance of wagon-wheel, Roy Rogers, garage-sale coffee tables; logs; animal trophies; and Native American accessories. This misconception gives Western style an undeserved bad rap. Designers today are interpreting Western decor traditions with thoughtful mixes of modern and rustic, and cozy and chic. It’s time to shift our perception of Western style and incorporate it in new ways.

1. Add unexpected pops of color. One would expect twiggy rustic furniture on this charming Montana cabin’s porch, but cheerful red is a pleasing surprise.

2. Use quilt patterns in new ways. A traditional quilt pattern takes on a new use as a wall tile pattern in this bathroom. Designer Suzan Fellman recommends choosing a grouting color that matches the colored tiles, as she did with the grout between the red tiles here.

3. Update the trophies. This buck silhouette emits playfully positive chi in this bedroom. Look closely and you’ll spy another contemporary approach to wildlife art: a colorful bear portrait in the bathroom.

More New Ways With Western Style


Fresh Take: 15 New Ways With Western Style

Please Touch: Texture Makes Rooms Spring to Life

The 15 Most Popular Kitchen Storage Ideas

As the home of appliances, cookware and every specialty gadget under the sun, the kitchen is and always will be a perplexing place to organize. The never-ending accessories and endless food cans, boxes and bags easily fill up every nook and cranny, especially in a not-so-big kitchen.

Houzz users have been finding and creating innovative organization techniques to help solve their kitchen dilemmas, from storing pots and pans to organizing a messy walk-in pantry. The favorite solutions below, pulled from our list of most popular photos on Houzz, have been added to tens (and in some cases hundreds) of thousands of users’ ideabooks. See if one of them will inspire an idea for your own kitchen.

1. Custom pantry. More than any other storage solution, Houzzers dream of a perfectly organized walk-in pantry. More than 410,000 users have saved this photo to their ideabooks, thanks to its pullout baskets, pocket doors and abundant shelf space.

“People love pantries because they house everything all in one place,” says storage designerMarie Newton, who designed this pantry. “You can see it all, so you don’t end up buying something you already have.”

2. Corner drawer. Ingenious corner drawers are a creative solution for awkward corners, which is why 250,000 Houzzers saved this photo. The drawers run diagonally into the corner, which makes them deeper than most and therefore lets them pack a bigger storage punch.

3. Utensil drawer. This clever utensil built-in keeps serveware and silverware conveniently in check. Added to more than 230,000 ideabooks, this image is one of the most popular on Houzz. If you want the look but can’t afford custom, take the DIY route by placing stainless steel pots in a deep, empty drawer.

See more Kitchen Storage Ideas

The 15 Most Popular Kitchen Storage Ideas

Guest Picks: Standout Side Tables

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Simple Pleasures: Stocking Up for Winter

There is a certain squirrel-like pleasure in stocking up for cold weather — and potential power outages — from the regular essentials, like flashlights and warm socks, to the fun essentials, like bottles of wine and new board games. Knowing you have all you could possibly want tucked tidily away is a wonderful way to kick off a season of coziness.

Firewood. If you have a woodstove or fireplace, stocking up on good, dry wood is essential before winter really kicks in.

Although wood does look inviting all stacked up, it’s probably best to store the bulk of it outdoors to prevent little critters from entering your home. A covered porch can be a good transitional space for keeping a wood pile, and a neat stack of wood is a cozy thing to look at as you enter the home on blustery days.

Muck boots and barn coats. Sure, we all have our nice boots and coats for going out, but it’s so handy to have a selection of sturdy muck boots and waxed coats to toss on when you need to take care of a quick outdoor chore.

And there is something so charmingly British countryside about their being all lined up by the back door.

Cozy bedding and toasty throws. Fresh, new bedding is an instant pick-me-up for lagging spirits in winter. Think layers of warm coziness — flannel sheets, wool blankets and thick duvets. And having an assortment of luxuriously soft throws is a must. On cold days there’s nothing better than toting one around from room to room (along with a mug of hot tea, of course) to warm your shoulders or toes.

Simple Pleasures: Stocking Up for Winter

Simple Pleasures: Stocking Up for Winter

How to Gently Bring a Victorian Home Into the 21st Century

Victorian houses, grand or humble, typically are solidly built and simply configured. Inside, the 19th-century homes were originally built with interesting features, such as sash windows, ceiling medallions, cast iron fireplaces, molding and tall baseboards. But these details have not always been appreciated. In decades past they often were ripped out and replaced with cheap modern materials in a bid to bring the homes up-to-date.

Today, though, a more considered approach is the norm. We want to preserve or reinstate original features to bring character to our homes without compromising on contemporary style and functionality. Often this means marrying hallways, living rooms and bedrooms bursting with authentic character with a highly efficient kitchen and bathroom. But there are other ways of celebrating a Victorian home’s ancestry without living in a museum piece. Here’s how.

Say yes to sash windows. Victorian homes were originally typically fitted with simple sash windows. If you have original ones, repairing and waterproofing them can help them live a long and beautiful life. Also consider upgrading sashes with double glazing; numerous companies can fit double-paned units into existing frames. Alternatively, there are companies that can manufacture authentic replacements.

Preserve original floorboards. Homeowners are as obsessed with original boards today as they were a few decades ago, when it became fashionable to rip up carpeting and show off the wood beneath. Even battered and worn boards can be repaired and patched, so seek renovation advice before giving up on your Victorian originals.

Celebrate a ceiling medallion. Original features such as ceiling roses are great assets, but you can bring them gloriously up-to-date. Why not juxtapose a contemporary light fitting with a traditional plasterwork medallion? In this living space, the lattice design of the shades throws interesting shadows onto the ceiling, drawing the eye up, so you can’t fail to spot the original features.


Tips on How to Gently Bring a Victorian Home Into the 21st Century

How to Gently Bring a Victorian Home Into the 21st Century

Victorian Details Make Their Way in Modern Life

On a walk through any town in Britain and many in the U.S. and elsewhere, you could encounter homes from the Georgian, Tudor and Edwardian eras, to name just three. It can often be difficult to distinguish one period from another. Victorian architecture makes up a large proportion of those buildings. Here’s how to distinguish Victorian homes from the rest, and the design elements that make up their distinctive style today.

Architecture at a Glance
What: Victorian architecture — buildings constructed during the reign of Queen Victoria
When: 1837 to 1901
Main type: Terraced housing, generally built to accommodate workers moving to cities to work in factories

The Victorian era is the period in which Queen Victoria ruled Britain, from 1837 to 1901. Following the industrial revolution, which began around 1760 and lasted until about 1840, production methods and manufacturing processes had changed greatly. The beginning of the railways meant that building materials that would previously only have been available to those in the local area were now available countrywide.

People flocked to the towns looking for work. “The explosion of the property market happened in the Victorian era, so they were forced to mass produce homes to accommodate all of the workers,” says Hugo Tugman of Architect Your Home.

Victorian Home Characteristics

A small, hidden kitchen. 
Kitchens were considered to be the territory of servants for the wealthy, and would certainly not have been on display to the public in smaller homes. Beyond the main house was what is called a rear projection, or outrigger, which housed the kitchen, the pantry and, historically, an outside toilet.

“The only rooms to be presented to the public were the formal reception rooms. That’s probably one of the biggest differences between an original Victorian property built in the 19th century and one now: things like cooking were certainly not something on show to friends and guests,” says Martyn Clarke of Martyn Clarke Architecture. The rear projections were often more than 20 feet long, and can be extended sideways today to create around 430 square feet of space.

No garage. Cars were invented toward the end of the Victorian era, so Victorian homes did not have garages, hence the multitude of properties today with only street parking. People traveled by foot, steam train, horse, horse-drawn bus and, in the case of the wealthy, horse and cart.

Continue this… Victorian Details Make Their Way in Modern Life

Victorian Details Make Their Way in Modern Life

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