Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Houzz: New York Chic and Laid-Back Hawaiian Style on Maui

Houzz Tour: A Brave Addition Breaks New Ground

A desire for family togetherness drove the design of this award-winning addition, which has transformed a traditional Edwardian house into a relaxing home for the owners that contrasts old and new with finesse. “They liked the Edwardian house but wanted the additions to feel distinctly modern and spacious, but not open plan,” says Dig Design architect Lindsay Douglas. “Introspective spaces of the existing home were to transform into light-filled spaces at the rear.”

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their young daughter and son
Location: Brighton, Melbourne
Size: 2,400 square feet (223 square meters); 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms

BEFORE: This is the back of the house prior to the renovation.

AFTER: What a difference! The back deck not only extends the living area and provides shade; it transforms this family home into a cutting-edge abode that’s earned its designers numerous awards.

Houzz Tour: A Brave Addition Breaks New Ground

Houzz Tour: A Brave Addition Breaks New Ground

Dream Spaces: A Secret Garden of Your Own

Houzz Tour: Thoroughly Modern and Family Friendly

Interior designer Ann Lowengart describes the home she created for a stylish couple and their two young children as “hip and edgy but family style.” Glossy finishes and high-impact details mix with family-friendly materials and loungeworthy furniture in a home that emphasizes glamour but doesn’t lose sight of functionality. This is a home for a family who wasn’t afraid to make bold choices and have a little fun.

When she met the homeowners, Lowengart was immediately taken by their casual but refined personal style and how their newly purchased house in Marin County, California, didn’t reflect that at all. She wanted the home to embody the sense of style of the owners, so she removed the dated trappings of the 1990s house and put its large rooms, tall ceilings, natural light and well-executed floor plan to good use. “It was the perfect blank slate,” Lowengart says.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple with 2 young children
Location: Tiburon, California
Designer: Ann Lowengart
Size: 3,700 square feet (about 344 square meters); 4 bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms

Lowengart prepped her canvas by painting many of the interior walls Decorators White in an eggshell finish and painting the floors high-gloss black. “Every time you use a flat paint, it sucks the light,” she says. These finishes keep light moving. In the dining room Lowengart used a high-gloss paint in a gray called Deep Space.

The dining room doubles as a library. “We didn’t want it to be just a dining room,” says Lowengart, reinforcing the idea that often rooms serve more than one purpose. The gray walls emphasize the couple’s colorful collection of books, and the niche backed with Glow Wallpaper from Flavor Paper stands out as a bold move. Whether they’re dining or reading, the sturdy dining table and acrylic chairs invite the family members to take a seat.

Lowengart replaced an existing half wall that split up the living room and dining room with a brass balustrade, opening the dining room up to more light and introducing more glamour.

The living room sits just below the dining room. Lowengart had the custom couch on the right filled with a softer material so the homeowners could lie down on it and relax while watching TV on the opposite wall. A second sofa gives friends and family a spot for gathering and lounging in front of the two-way marble-surround fireplace.

Like the dining room, the living space has a sophisticated edginess but still feels casual and comfortable. Lowengart kept the color palette subdued, primarily using neutral pieces to fill the room. Dark sofas pick up the home’s charcoal theme and anchor the room, while accessories from Alexander McQueen and Alexandra Von Furstenburg add playful color and pattern. A crystal chandelier by Christopher Boots hangs above the room like a glittering tree topper.

Designer tip: “Pick one bold piece for the room,” Lowengart says. She set the tone for this room with the dramatic light fixture and built everything around that. She kept the rest of the bigger furnishings subtle, but punched up the edginess with accessories. “That’s where you can really play,” she says.

See this Thoroughly Modern and Family Friendly Home on Houzz.

Houzz Tour: Thoroughly Modern and Family Friendly

Room of the Day: Multipurpose Design Brings a Room to Life

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

11 Pretty Sweet Decorating Ideas Using Pastels

Pastels often get a bad rap for being too sugary sweet, frivolous or girly. But don’t be too quick to fall into this mind-set and immediately pass over pastel shades when choosing which hues to incorporate into your home. The secret to making soft, chalky colors work is to balance them with cool whites, moody black, gray and other neutral tones. Introducing clean, contemporary lines and modern design elements as well as raw, sleek or edgy materials will also cut through the cuteness and ensure that your design looks fresh, grown-up and chic, rather than childish or overly feminine.

Whether you’re a longtime lover of pastels or a newfound fan of the versatile pale palette, the spaces below will provide plenty of design inspiration and show how soft, muted shades can be woven into your home’s decorating scheme with great success.

1. Take it outside. Love the idea of adding a splash of color to the exterior of your home, but not a fan of bright, bold hues? Pastel shades, such as the muted yellow-green on the exterior walls of this striking home, are a great alternative, as they offer subtle color and style without being overwhelming.

Take note of how the two sections of gray-toned cladding on either side of the front door help offset the cheerful yellow-green panels and give the exterior scheme a modern edge. The material palette of concrete, steel and timber also offers contrast and adds to the dwelling’s cool, contemporary look.

Tip: If you want to decorate your home (either indoors or out) with a pastel hue, but cheerful colors — such as sunny yellow, fresh mint and powder pink — aren’t your thing, opt for shades with smoky, slightly dirty undertones, such as pale mustard, moss green or dusty rose, instead.

2. Strive for a cool, contemporary look. Sure, some pastel tones, including frosty pink and lilac, do look cutesy and sweet on their own, but introduce them in a sleek, ultramodern space (like the showstopping living room here) and the colors instantly take on a cool, grown-up and seriously chic vibe.

Here powder-pink curtains and a lilac geometric sofa add a dash of subtle yet statement-making color to this stark monochromatic scheme — I love how the graphic design of the sofa makes the pinky-purple hue take on an edgier appearance, despite its dreamy color.

Thanks to their soft, chalky tone and smooth texture, the rosy accents also help balance the sharp lines, exaggerated angles and glossy surfaces used heavily throughout the room,resulting in a space that oozes modern sophistication, layered with a hint of refined, ladylike style.

3. Create drama with a single pastel accent. An unexpected burst of bright color in an otherwise neutral or monochromatic space never fails to make a dramatic statement … and the same goes when you add a single pop of a pastel shade to a similar scheme, even though pale tones are generally less bold and vibrant.

This contemporary cooking zone shows this idea in action. Here the soft sea-green-tinged concrete island commands all the attention, thanks to its striking sorbet color, which pops against the room’s moody palette and instantly brightens up the space. Its angular design makes the freestanding piece a standout too.

Tip: Not quite ready to commit to using a pastel hue on a permanent fixture in your kitchen or another area in your home? Rather than choosing a pastel color for the island, another permanent structure (such as cabinetry) or a big-ticket item (such as furniture), introduce a single splash of color in the form of smaller or removable items or design features, such as a pendant light, artwork, a rug, curtains or a painted feature wall, that will be easy to replace or alter once your love affair with your pastel of choice is over.

More Pretty Sweet Decorating Ideas Using Pastels

11 Pretty Sweet Decorating Ideas Using Pastels

A 1970s Avion Camper Gets a New Groove

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