Category: Eclectic Homes

Renting an Apartment That May Have Immediate

Renting an Apartment That May Have Immediate

Renting an apartment includes certain advantages, like not having to pay real estate taxes and departing maintenance issues to your neighbors. Drawbacks include possibly discovering hazards like lead paint covering various surfaces. Lead-based paint was banned in 1978, but older residences may include lead paint if it was applied before this year. Landlords have a duty to their renters to tackle the existence of lead paint in rental units.

Lead Paint Disclosure

If your rental house was constructed before 1978, there is a risk that lead-based paint was used in it. Since 1996, property sellers and landlords have been required to disclose all known information about lead paint in their properties. Typically, landlords of rental residences built before 1978 must provide prospective tenants EPA-approved tokens on addressing lead-based paint issues. Should you suspect or find the existence of lead paint on your apartment, notify your neighbor as soon as possible.

Paint Testing Requirements

California does not require landlords to analyze for the existence of lead paint in their rental units. Landlords also are not obligated to remove lead paint in a property once it is found. But landlords must make available to current and future tenants any test results on lead-based paint they’ve obtained due to their properties. Lastly, if your rental agreement stated your apartment was lead-paint-free and it isn’t, it is possible to take legal actions to remedy any damages.

Lead Paint Presence

Intact lead-based paint isn’t hazardous unless it is ingested as paint chips or breathed in as dust. Lead paint is the most dangerous to children because they tend to put things in their mouths. Also, children can more easily absorb direct into their bloodstream, which is harmful to their developing systems. Should you suspect your flat might have lead paint, ask your neighbor to test for its existence and to take any necessary steps to deal with problem.

Taking Corrective Measures

Tenants can employ professionals to analyze paint they suspect to be lead-based and then notify the landlord of the results. If your landlord will not remove or encapsulate any lead paint which was found, discuss your legal options with local renters’ rights groups, as well your town’s building code enforcement officer. California enables tenants to withhold rent when serious repair or habitability issues are not adjusted with their landlords. Document the issues so that you have proof if you decide to move out and break your rental.

Lead Paint Precautions

Signs and symptoms of lead poisoning include hearing issues, headaches, muscle pain and difficulty remembering things. If you suspect there is lead-based paint on your flat, have the blood of everybody living in the flat checked for lead poisoning. Apartments with lead-based paint should be vacuumed using a HEPA vacuum, and all surfaces must be washed using warm water and an all-purpose cleaning solution. Lead-based paint that is still intact could be encapsulated. If the paint currently has begun to peel and chip, certified lead-abatement professionals must be called to remove all traces of the paint.

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Energy-Saving Ideas From 3 Cheap Green-Built Homes

Energy-Saving Ideas From 3 Cheap Green-Built Homes

A 2012 publication named In the Ground Up: Sophisticated Green Homes, edited by Peggy Tully, files a 2008 design competition of the exact same name. Contest entrants were asked to envision affordable, green single-family houses for the Near Westside area of Syracuse, New York.

Seven finalists were chosen from the greater than 50 entries obtained, and also three of the finalists’ designs were realized. This ideabook concentrates on these three houses, which are 1,100 square feet and $150,000 each, and the lessons they offer about green residential buildings.

Princeton Architectural Press

The competition targeted at the Near Westside area of Syracuse for more reasons than proximity to Syracuse University. As Mark Robbins, dean of the university’s College of Architecture describes it, the”From the Ground Up competition seeks to provide another version for disinvested urban residential neighborhoods located throughout the United States through the introduction of affordable green houses.” Yet, as could be seen, as Michael Sorkin picks up on in his article in the book, the winning houses are highly individual forms that have a scale similar to existing houses in the area but stand out strongly from them.

Princeton Architectural Press

The R-House

Architecture Research Office and Della Valle Bernheimer
Enforcement engineer: Transsolar
Who lives here: Maggie Maurer, a single mother of 3
That’s intriguing: The home is built to stringent Passive House standards.

Princeton Architectural Press

The R-House (shown beside the orange TED House, arriving next) takes its name from”R-value,” a component of thermal resistance which measures the thickness of the material divided by its thermal conductivity.

This is an apt moniker, considering the way the architects made the house to meet Germany’s Passivhaus (Passive House) fundamentals: It’s airtight, superinsulated exteriors with minimal thermal bridging, highly insulated windows and heat-recovery ventilators.

Princeton Architectural Press

Following Passive House fundamentals, the architects made the consequent exterior envelope 16 inches thick, using a worth of R-70. From inside to outside, there is 2-by-6 wood framing (2-by-12 framing at the roof) using blown-in fiberglass insulation (drywall is mounted on the inside face of the studs, plywood on the outside side), then EPS (polyurethane ) insulation and eventually corrugated metal siding mounted on furring strips.

Uniquely, rather than using wood studs, the walls and roof are framed with truss joists (TJI members) that are normally used as beams. Triple-glazed windows with argon filling would be the last ingredient in developing a superinsulated exterior.

Princeton Architectural Press

Windows are minimized, such that joints between window and wall assemblies are reduced. The windows are also located to take advantage of sunlight (south west is up on the ground plan, for reference, so the street elevation faces north), bringing as much light as you can into the double-height space that contains nearly half the house.

The architects boast that”a single mechanical unit… quietly circulates air throughout the house,” thereby reducing”electrical consumption by roughly 70 percent in comparison with the standard Syracuse home.”

Princeton Architectural Press

A blower door test was conducted to determine the levels of air infiltration at the outside. In the test a fan is attached to the front doorway to differentiate between indoor and outdoor pressure, and an assessor walks round the building using a smoke adhere to see where any gaps happen. (It is good to see such low-tech testing at one time of highly technological green building.)

The group then made repairs toward gaining Passive House certification — thus far just 52 projects in the U.S. are certified, and just two in New York state.

Princeton Architectural Press

The two-bedroom, two-bath house was purchased by Maggie Maurer (displayed here) and her boyfriend Peter Waack. Maurer, a mom of three, is really a Building Performance Institute–accredited building adviser, meaning she is residing in one of the greatest examples of exactly what she devotes her working hours .

Princeton Architectural Press

The TED House

Onion Flats
Energy consulting: MaGrann Associates
Who lives here: Steven Morris and Sara O’Mahoney, a young couple who owns a bicycle shop in the city
That’s intriguing: Onion Flats won the competition, then entirely redesigned the house after taking a Passive House certification training Program.

Princeton Architectural Press

Like the R-House next doorway, the TED House is designed per Passive House standards, but that did not occur until later Onion Flats won the competition, right before the project was moving in for permits, in fact.

As the architects put it,”Following our Passive House trainingwe had been embarrassed by such a wimpy shell” of R-19 in the walls and R-30 in the roof. They changed from batt insulation and R-1 windows to closed-cell spray foam, densely packed cellulose, a zip-panel air barrier, 4-inch EPS insulation, a metal panel rain screen and R-10 windows.

Princeton Architectural Press

The house did superbly in the blower door test, far better than the LEED Platinum residence they recently finished within their hometown. While the cost for the shell went up over their competition entry, it led to reduced mechanical needs. Or, as they describe it,”TED has the equivalent of a fur jacket, rather than a windbreaker, standing between it and the unpleasant Syracuse winter” This keeps the cold out but also keeps the heat in, requiring hardly any heat to be produced.

The floor plans illustrate 1 way that Onion Flats sees the house being added to — a bedroom off the stair could reverse the two-bedroom, two-bath into a three-bedroom residence.

Princeton Architectural Press

As the photograph above attests, the house is striking for the dramatic three-story space that extends from the kitchen to the loft below the solar chimney which covers the house. Warm atmosphere and humidity are exhausted on peak of the house, taking care of the inner’s cooling needs in the summer.

Princeton Architectural Press

Steven Morris and Sara O’Mahoney, who own a bicycle shop in the city, bought the house with the support of Home HeadQuarters, a home provider that gave them down payment assistance and tax incentives. They say their house is”cheaper than our apartment was — and it is a million times simpler.” Notice the trays over the kitchen doors, in which the couple is developing some food via the help of the glass transom.

Princeton Architectural Press


Coookfox Architects
Environmental consultant: Terrapin Bright Green
Who lives here: John and Kathy Miranda, a semiretired couple
That’s intriguing: The Residence is pictured as a mixed-use version for integrating work into urban and suburban houses.

Princeton Architectural Press

While lots of modern and modern residential buildings is criticized for not looking homelike, the architects of the Live/Work/Home made the conscious decision to design a house that could be mistaken for a commercial building. In their decision to incorporate work into the home program, they expect , as they say,”entice new residents and utilizes, helping to repopulate the urban neighborhood.”

The retractable front screen shown here can preserve privacy and filter sunlight, but it might also serve as a way of signaling once the work part is available for business.

Princeton Architectural Press

Rather than blending parcels, as done on similar projects, the architects worked with one lot, meaning the consequent single-story plan is a linear one. They found inspiration in vernacular longhouses, specifically the Haudenosaunee one in the Syracuse area. An outside corridor goes from the front porch (previous photograph ) to the rear porch. Hinged panels, perforated in tree-like patterns such as front facade, can be opened and closed to let in light and preserve privacy.

The plan is explained by the architects as a loft, such that the main open space could be opened up entirely or, as is shown here, partitioned with casework for bedrooms.

Princeton Architectural Press

Keeping with the $150,000 budget, the house is completed simply. A wall confronted in oriented strand board divides the loft space in the service regions — kitchen, storage, bathroom, laundry. Added all-natural light enters the house through solar tubes. Their orientation across the ceiling echoes the perforated panels of the outside.

The outside walls supporting the walls are made from structurally insulated panels which combine with the insulated glass and reflective roof to make an efficient envelope, even if not as tight or superinsulated as another two houses.

Princeton Architectural Press

The flexible zone at the rear of the loft is accommodated by sliding panels which also replicate the outside retina display. Notice the paths on the ground and the ceiling which allow for as much area to be open or closed as the owners desire.

Princeton Architectural Press

John and Kathy Miranda, shown here, are semiretired. They purchased the Live/Work/Home after living in an apartment in downtown Syracuse and love its design.

Princeton Architectural Press

In addition to the three houses discussed here, the handsome publication — a part of the New City Books series — gifts another four finalists, and it comprises essays by Mark Robbins and Michael Sorkin, said previously, and by architectural historian Susan Henderson.

What’s valuable about the book is the way it goes from the competition in 2008 to the current occupancy of the houses; it does not restrict itself to one facet of the process. This big-picture demonstration goes together with the large idea of realizing houses from a design competition whose timing coincided with the housing crisis and the doubt it generated.

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From the Experts: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

From the Experts: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

The right cabinet color can transform your kitchen or bathroom’s appearance. And because replacing cabinetry can be costly, a new paint colour could be the best bet for your financial plan. However, before you start in on this seemingly simple DIY, maintain an integral thing in your mind. “The main issue is that with most woodwork — but kitchen cabinets — is that it’s finished with a shiny product designed to be wipeable, and the exact same land prevents paint from sticking with it,” says painter Alex Davidson.

Though it’s not quite as straightforward as painting your dining room, with the right prep, painting cabinets may be an affordable and lasting design solution. See what four painting professionals say about how to paint kitchen cabinets.


Should you paint your own cabinetry? Before making any choices, figure out what the existing finish is in your own cabinet. If you’re not sure, look at taking a door or drawer to your community paint supplier — he or she can help you with everything you want to receive your cabinet ready for painting.

Depending on the degree of job, you might want to check into hiring an expert. “Think carefully before painting your chimney,” says Davidson. “It may be a DIY, but it needs a lot of care and care.”

“Constantly think about the cost of potentially refacing your cabinets or replacing them entirely, and how that coordinates with your brief- and long-term aims,” says Wade Thompson of ThomsonHoliday Painting.

Julie Smith

The best way to paint your kitchen cabinets.

1. Remove the hardware and hinges and clean the surfaces thoroughly. Bob Miano of DeGeorge Custom Cabinetry advocates having a clean, soft rag or T-shirt and mineral spirits or TSP (trisodium phosphate). Don’t just wipe down them — offer them a good scrub to remove old oils, waxes and dirt. This is a step that is important. “Paint is a really pliable substance, but the one thing it refuses to comply is a dirty, oily surface,” says Philip Storey of Redhill Painting.

2. Lightly sand the painting surfaces to start the finish surfaces. If there are any dents or grooves at the cabinetry, then you might want to fill them in with a good wood filler first. After sanding, use a clean cloth to remove any dust.

3. Prime the cupboards with a stain-blocking primer designed for glossy surfaces.

4. Finish the cupboards with at least 2 coats of the paint you’ve chosen. Let the paint dry thoroughly and gently sand between coats.

5. After everything has dried thoroughly, put your cabinets back together. “Be sure to keep everything organized,” says Thompson. “Have a method for remembering the positioning of your cabinet doors.”

Debra Toney

Choosing the best paint for cupboards. If you’re not working with a specialist, start looking for paint in a local, reputable paint supply shop, where the team can help you decide on the right product for your cabinets. Pick a paint which could stand up to repeated washing machine and can be nonblocking, therefore it will not stick to itself if the cabinet doors have been closed.

Also, know that dark colors tend to reveal imperfections in the paint and cabinetry much more than light colours do — and, contrary to popular belief, they usually highlight dirt more, too.

Having difficulty choosing a colour? Check out these kitchen cabinetry palettes.

Rachel Reider Interiors

Four experts’ beloved paints for kitchen cabinets.

Alex Davidson: Kelly Moore DuraPoxy paint line, or Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select line in a semigloss.

Wade Thompson: Benjamin Moore Advance — a new latex product which contrasts with the look of oil paint at the way it levels and performs.

Philip Storey: Fine Paints of Europe. Their durable paint items are available in both oil- and water-based paints, and so are fantastic for cupboards.

Bob Miano: Use the premium grade when using paint from leading paint manufacturers, since they are generally thicker and have more protection. Prevent flat finishes, since they’re much harder to clean.

Things to watch out for. Painting cabinetry might seem like a quick and easy kitchen solution, bit it’s a major job. Ensure to have the time, skills and patience for the job. Odds are, you are going to be looking at this cabinetry daily — so be sure you have the ability to make it look great.

If you’re feeling unsure, look into hiring an expert painter. While it may be more costly, these pros can probably get the job done in much less time and with a result of higher quality. “Always get a few opinions,” says Thomspon. “No matter your choice, talking to several companies are going to be a learning experience.” Many professionals will use spray applications to get the smoothest finish, which may make a massive difference.

Painting cabinetry may be a lot of work — but if you hire a pro or do the painting yourself, the results are worth it.

“Above all, have fun with the job,” says Miano. “Rememberthat it’s only paint.”

More: 3 Dark Kitchens, 6 Suggested Paint Palettes

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Get Ready for Winter That the Chilled-Out Way

Get Ready for Winter That the Chilled-Out Way

Brrrr. Even down here in Atlanta, our temperatures are falling into the 40s at night. Although it’s only October, it’s time to make sure we’re prepared for winter. Do you understand where your shovel is?

Here’s a listing of what you should do in order to get ready for colder temperatures, ice, snow and muddy boots. Accomplish these tasks every day and you should be ready in plenty of time.

John Maniscalco Architecture

Take snow-preparedness inventory. Many people are used to plenty of snow and ice; others in warmer climates are to get amazed by a freak storm or two every winter. Be prepared either way. Ensure that your snow shovel is in good form and that you have rock salt or sand to spread around when things get icy. Southerners, the regional hardware store will be sold from those things when you want them — trust me.

Mark Hickman Homes

Maintain snow substances handy. Speaking of shovels, find a fantastic area to stow your snow shovels that is available poststorm. Add some hooks into your garage or mudroom, or at least find a fantastic place on a covered porch for simple access. Locate a sterile place inside for stashing the rock salt.


Scraper Doormat – $16.95

Get out the tough welcome mat. Welcome your friends in but ditch the snow. Replace this summery float-rope welcome mat for one that doubles as a boot scraper — it’s important to keep that sand and snow from getting into the home in the first location.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Add a milder mat inside the mudroom door to get a second swipe at these shoes and boots. Give a place where everyone can sit and eliminate footwear and skip over to a sterile floor in their stockinged feet. This unbelievable mudroom even provides a woodstove for heating up snowy boots.

It’s The Small Things…

Make room for chilly, wet coatings. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have a heating cabinet, you will need a place to hang damp coats at the open air.

Do the closet switcheroo. Pull out those sweaters, corduroys and outerwear from wherever you stashed them all summer. To make the most of prime real estate at the coat closet, pull out summer sports equipment, flip-flops, beach bags etc. and store them for winter. Swap in your winter coats, hats, mittens, boots and scarves.

Visbeen Architects

Prepare your doors and windows. Check for drafts in your doors and windows. If you have storm windows, it’s time to start using them. Weather-strip any doors or windows that have leaks.

Bed Bath & Beyond

Stay Place Draft Stopper – $14.99

Place on the draft stopper. Slides in the bottom of the doorway, a draft stopper is very effective in preventing drafts. This one is modern, but don’t hesitate to use a snake or Mrs. Claus doing a break.


Frost King Water Heater Insulation Blanket – $21.57

Wrap your water heater. Enhance your water heater’s energy efficiency with an insulation blanket.

Urban Outfitters

Kaleidoscope Patchwork Quilt – $149

Add warmth to your bedding. If you’re in a cold climate, you’re going to want to save on energy bills by incorporating some layers into your bed so you’re going to have the ability to keep the thermostat lowered overnight. Replace cotton duvets for down duvets, put in a blanket and bring out the cozy quilts.

Likewise, keep throws and vases across the places where you like to sit and read or watch television.

Before Photo

Soorikian Architecture

Have your furnace serviced. Your service provider also needs to clear out spiderwebs, change the filters and assess all of your ductwork attentively — I had a massive hole in my insulated ductwork and have flashbacks about dollar bills flying from it. It’s also advisable to change your filters regularly. (Check the filter’s tag to find out the frequency; less costly filters will need to be changed monthly, whereas more costly filters last longer.)


The Nest Learning Thermostat

Get the best per-therm speed on gasoline. If you have gas heating, you should lock at a rate per therm today, as rates will only go up from here. Stuck in a contract? I find these contracts are not ironclad. They key is to collect enticing offers from the gas provider’s competitors, then call your gas supplier to see if it can perform for you.

Outdoor Furniture Plus

Enormous Crescent Firewood Rack

Get ready for some fires. This implies dividing that timber or ordering a cord, and figuring out where to pile it (under cover is preferable, to help keep it dry).

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, provide the chimney sweep a telephone. Check on your fireplace tools to be certain that they’re in good shape, get out the fireplace screen and stock up on fire starters. You may even do some furniture rearranging to make sure you’re maximizing your fireplace pleasure.


Mallory 999CT 36-Inch Ultra Maxx Snow Brush – $13.99

Prep your vehicle. At minimum you want a ice scraper and a snow brush. I love the combination kinds, similar to this model. Notice to Southerners: You want to brush off the whole car, including the trunk, hood and roof; I understand this isn’t necessarily common knowledge.

If you reside someplace with extreme weather, it’s time to dig out those snow tires. You should also keep an emergency kit in the car, complete with bottled water, energy bars, blankets and a flashlight. Make sure you have your phone charged and with you when you’re traveling through the winter. A bag of sand at the trunk will be convenient if you get stuck.

If you can afford the luxury of getting your driveway plowed, phone your snowplow individual and make sure that you’re good to go for this storm.

Whitten Architects

This ought to be a fantastic beginning in your winter preparedness. Please help add to the listing by sharing another winter prep tips in the Opinions section.

Get Ready for Winter’s Beautiful Ways

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Fantasy Workshop at a Rural Sonoma Barn

Fantasy Workshop at a Rural Sonoma Barn

Designing his dream man cave wasn’t just about fun for John Hopen — it was about fulfilling a childhood fantasy. Having recently begun his own woodworking company, Hopen eventually had the means to produce the workshop he’d been imagining because he was a child fiddling with scrap timber.

With the assistance of Maben and Robert Rainwater out of Mission Hills Development, Hopen finalized the plans for his 4,000-square-foot workshop, garage, audio studio and office area. “John put on his tool belt and worked alongside us,” says Robert. “His enthusiasm about the job and being there with us was quite rewarding.”

The California Redwood Association

Hopen worked with Maben and Robert to select materials and a layout that would mimic his house and other structures across his Northern California property. Exterior redwood siding, grown and harvested sustainably, pays tribute to the surrounding forest. The interior of the structure was based on pure purpose ” [Hopen] gave us a napkin sketch of what he was thinking about, and out of that I went to work on the layout,” says Robert.

One of the project’s biggest challenges arrived before the first nail was struck: The team had to wait quite some time for the floor to become dry enough to begin building.

The California Redwood Association

Even though the workshop is principally about function, Maben and Robert did not need to skimp on personality. Angled roof overhangs to the main doors and big barn doors to the woodshop add a distinctive part to the barnlike frame. The traditional X layout on the woodshop doors takes to the garage doors on the other side of the building. Copper fixtures, window flashing, gutters and downspouts add a warm Arts and Crafts vibe.

Practicality was Hopen’s main priority, therefore the central portion of the shop was kept apparent from wall to wall. To add a architectural detail, three enormous trusses were constructed onsite to encourage the 28-foot span of the roof. Eight skylights work with the studio’s lighting system to illuminate the workspace.

Hopen uses this room to add hand-rubbed finishes along with other final touches to his carefully written pieces. A compressed air system through the entire structure forces pneumatic tools and a system that clears the atmosphere of sawdust.

A large wood storage room keeps supplies handy and secure from the outdoor elements.

Approximately eight years back, Hopen decided that he wished to pursue woodworking complete time, and started as an apprentice with a local artisan. Once he decided to set out on his own, developing a functional marathon immediately changed from a dream to a requirement.

“The layout and outfitting of the shop offers me a compact and effective workspace,” states Hopen. “If my business is to succeed, then I must have a really nice and functional workspace so as to facilitate my creativity.”

Obviously, no man cave is complete without a place to store present and fantasy vehicles. Three garage doors lead into three parking areas with plenty of wiggle room.

Hopen designed and painted the logos in his garage himself, with one slot because of his Harley and two slots for dream vehicles that he hopes to fill in soon.

The California Redwood Association

Smaller side doors lead to a music room, a wood storage room, a finishing room and a workplace.

The music room and workplace have yet to be finished, but Hopen still utilizes this space to play his guitars on his own and with friends. “I designed my ultimate man cave based on what my passions are,” he states.

Hopen has loved woodworking because he was five. His grandfather taught him how to use basic tools on straightforward pieces of wood. “I have been doing it one way or another my whole lifetime,” he states.

Exterior photos: The California Redwood Association

Can you have a dream workshop? Prove it to us at the Comments below!

Fantastic backyard workshops and innovative spaces

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Upgrade Your Outside Privacy

Upgrade Your Outside Privacy

With summer in full swing, so it’s natural to wish to spend more time outdoors. If you live on sprawling acreage without someone else in sight, then worrying about maintaining your privacy probably is not high on your priority list. For the rest of us, thinking up creative and aesthetically pleasing ways to keep our festivities from the view of neighbors could be hard. Fences and walls may create privacy, sure, but have a tendency to block views and light, and may be prohibitively costly. For a pretty way to keep your light, your privacy and your holiday fund, provide lattice a try.

Westover Landscape Design, Inc..

Fences and walls are great for creating privacy, but if they are tall enough to keep passersby from peeping in, they could block the light as well. The tallest lattice fences allow lots of light to flow through.


Among the great things about lattice is that it offers the perfect place for growing climbing plants, such as exquisite jasmine or roses. The plant adds character and charm while raising privacy.

Westover Landscape Design, Inc..

Lattice is a great option for separating your lawn or patio from your neighbors. It’s more spacious than a wall or fence but still offers lots of privacy.

Susan Cohan, APLD

Lattices can be stained or painted for further visual interest. A deep, earthy tone like this blends well with the surroundings and retains the lattice from standing outside.

Slater Associates Landscape Architects

A lighter, brighter colour like white may coordinate with the house and make more of an obvious”fencing” look for the lawn.

Derviss Design

Teak lattice is a great low-maintenance option having a natural wood look. Simply leaving it alone allows it to weather gray, while oiling every three months ensures that the original honey brown colour stays fresh.

Restyled Home

When a neighbor’s porch is a bit too close for comfort, using lattice may add privacy without creating your porch feel as if it’s indoors. A tighter weave means more security.

C. Marie Designs, Inc

A more spacious lattice weave is a fantastic method to make a feeling of separation without completely blocking your line of sight. This barely there fence permits for a cool breeze and a crystal clear view too.

Privacy Screening Made Pretty

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The Way to Make Your House Feel More Like You

The Way to Make Your House Feel More Like You

Too many men and women want their home to look like somebody else’s. Shouldn’t your home reflect who you are and what you really love? Well, of course it should! If you’re not sure how to express yourself through your decor, below are a few suggestions to give you the confidence you have to do precisely that.

Story & Space – Color Guidance and Interior Design

Your Color

Do not be shy — announce your favorite color by painting the walls a vibrant hue. Bedrooms and powder rooms are a few of the greatest places to go daring with colour.

The Decorologist, Kristie Barnett

Forget about what others may think and use your favorite colours in your home. Surrounding yourself with a color will make you a happy camper. Maybe it won’t appeal to everyone, but who cares? They do not live there — you’re doing.

Philpotts Interiors

Your Art

Artwork is very private, so express yourself at the artwork you buy for your home. If you’re an artist yourself, that’s even better. Make your home your own by displaying what you create.

simple thoughts

Hang a set of your children’s artwork on a single wall. You do not have to have them professionally matted and framed; just use paint a lot of frames which are exactly the same colour. You can tack a couple of pictures with thumbtacks up.

Kerrie L. Kelly

Your Background

Display purposeful heirlooms on your bookcases or on tabletops. Incorporate a few important pieces that record your background into your bookcase, but make sure you use more novels than accessories. A lot of accessories makes for a cluttered and unfocused look.

Kati Curtis Design

Group and display your collections within an unexpected space, in this way assembly of plates and trays at a homeowner’s toilet. So what if you’re the only person you know with plates dangling in the loo?

Placing all of your collection in one place makes more of an effect than spreading pieces all over the room. This screen of blue fish platters certainly draws attention.

The Decorologist, Kristie Barnett

Your Accessories

Do not hide the things you want and use on a daily basis. Displaying your jewelry or other accessories expresses who you are and what you enjoy. Utilize a dress form to display your jewelry or scarf collection.

Kerrie L. Kelly

Display items in your home that remind you of the areas you’ve been and the memories you’ve made. Do you like the seaside? Artfully display your beach finds in glass cloches, jars and vases.

Graham Dunn Photo

Incorporate recreation and your hobbies . Park or hang a bike on your living area, or hang a pair of ice skates or even shoeshoes on the wall.

Watch more on integrating sports into your decor

Inform us : how can you express yourself in the manner that you decorate your home?

Your Decor: The Joy of Calculated Risks

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'Pirate House' Lures

'Pirate House' Lures

Builder Steve Kuhl sat with his 6-year-old nephew Zack and advised him, “We could do anything we want to your room. You can take a spaceship, a battleship, a castle, a racecar, a pirate boat … ” Swashbuckling Zack stopped him right there, offered on the pirate boat.

Kuhl was building for the majority of his lifetime, and involving his abilities and creativity, he knew he could make anything happen. His creativity flowed out of a (fake) jail cell, across a bridge, over to a boat’s hull, up a crow’s nest, down a secret passage into the cupboard and lasted throughout the house all the way down to a spiral slide into the basement.

Have a chair and prepare for a fun ride through a house filled with fun, joy and whimsy.

in a Glance
Location: Medina, Minnesota
Size: Approximately 6,800 square feet; 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms
Who lives here: In the time it had been created, a household including two young children. The dad is Steve Kuhl’s brother. The house has since been marketed (more on this later).

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Since you approach Zack’s room, a peek around the corner lets you know this is no ordinary bedroom; the very first thing you encounter is a rock jail “for locking up bad guys, and possibly small sisters,” says Kuhl.

From the jail, a bridge extends across the room to a pirate’s ship. The hull hangs out of a loft area that was fresh before Kuhl and Zack decided to transform it. The bridge can manage the weight of four adults.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

I had been convinced Kuhl must have employed some sort of Pirates of Penzance set-designing genius, however he designed and constructed the entire thing himself. “I’ve never dropped my inner child … I only really got to that location and said, ‘Let’s just have fun’ once I dreamt up this,” he says. “I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said a few people die at 25 and are not buried until 75. I will never let this happen; I am still a child at heart”

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl constructed the boat’s hull much like you would on a classic seaworthy boat, with ribs, in this case made from laminated plywood. “This was a fantastic excuse to use the CNC (computer numerical control) for something apart from cupboards,” says Kuhl. To put it differently, you feed a computer the measurements you desire and it cuts the boards for you. The hull material is ⅜-inch Masonite, which can be high density and flexible.

The square openings beneath the primary deck open to a small storage area.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl Design Build LLC

The next challenge was the way to coat the hull. “We wanted something that would look like old-world planking that may stand up to kids’ fingernails,” Kuhl says. “We worked like mad scientists in the shop, combining epoxy and varnish chemical with brownish colorant to discover the perfect mix. After we applied it we combed it to give it a rough texture.”

A crow’s nest tops the boat. A mural of sea and skies completes the seafaring vibe.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl is about to escape from beneath the wheelhouse.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

“This gap provides a fast escape to the cupboard beneath the boat for emergency apparel changes,” Kuhl says.

“We worked together with the local building department to make certain all safety concerns were addressed. For instance, the walls of this pirate boat are standard rail-height high”

Approximate budget for a pirate room such as this: $40,000

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Downstairs in the mudroom, the first three wooden doors provide storage area, but if you start the fourth door, you get quite a surprise. “It is three lockers plus a ‘whoa!'” Describes Kuhl.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl Design Build LLC

The hole that looks like some sort of really weird front-loading washing machine in the previous picture is in fact an alternate approach to make it to the basement.

Kuhl calls for the slide “severe tubular craziness.”

Kuhl Design Build LLC

The twisted journey ends in the climbing cave, and this is part of a greater “sports court”

Approximate slide budget: $2,500 to $5,000 for the components

Kuhl Design Build LLC

“I’ve been climbing my entire life; I am a fighter,” says Kuhl. He designed himself with the aid of 3-D modeling.

Approximate rising wall budget: $15,000

Watch more scaling walls

Kuhl Design Build LLC

The floor underneath the climbing wall has been covered with a custom crash mat that is 26 inches thick. On the right is the golf simulator.

At this point, I am sure a few of you are freaking out at the notion of resale value. Kuhl’s philosophy is, “If you plan on being at a house for some time, build yourself. These children have so many joyful memories from this house that will endure the remainder of their lives” Additionally, he told me that the whimsy of this house ruled seven 10 “vanilla” buyers, but the remainder said, “I’ve never noticed that before. I must get this!” They got into a bidding war, along with his brother got more than his asking price.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

“I am not into golf, but this got me into it,” says Kuhl. You push a true golf ball right onto the display (do not worry, it simply drops), and a military-grade software program figures out the twist, angle and speed, projecting its trajectory on the monitor. “You are able to watch the Masters Tournament on TV whilst playing the Masters class about the simulator,” says Kuhl.

Approximate budget for the golf simulator: The program was about $18,000 as it was purchased; Kuhl is not certain how much it costs today.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Ultimately, there is another enjoyable surprise for the adults; this bookcase off the primary entry swings open into a secret stairs that serves as the only entry to a key library upstairs.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Here’s the key library.

“Designing and constructing this house filled me with creativity and joy,” says Kuhl. “What is cool is attempting to bring that exact same creative spirit to a regular kitchen renovation, whether it’s through sudden features like concealed storage or pop-up TVs that make it enjoyable.” I can not think of a better attitude for a designer or a builder to get.

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Sweet Georgia Summer Beach Home

Sweet Georgia Summer Beach Home

This sweet southern shore house, set on Tybee Island in Georgia, was not necessarily the cheery home that it currently is. When designers Joel and Erika Snayd of Rethink Design Studio initially visited, it was a 1,100-square-foot cinderblock structure. “We were scared to death when we saw the home,” says Erika. “Everything was cold and cement, like a bunker.”

The home is owned by three sisters; his grandfather built it in the 1940s. Since he’d built it personally, the sisters were reluctant to do a complete rebuild and originally just wanted to add a new bedroom and bathroom. But the Snayds and their staff could convince them to begin all over. By getting creative with substances and utilizing family mementos, Rethink Design Studio was able to create a cozy and comfortable summer home for the family on a budget.

in a Glance
Who lives here: 3 sisters and their families during the summer
Location: Tybee Island, Georgia
Size: 2,400 square feet
That’s intriguing: To preserve a palm tree which the grandfather had initially planted on the house, the tree had been eliminated and then replanted following building.

20 Spectacular Beach Houses | Browse shore house photos

Rethink Design Studio

The original cinderblock structure consisted of tiny bedrooms and no open spaces. The Snayds wanted to provide the home a more modern sense but also bring in elements that would highlight its history and make it timeless. Clapboard siding along with a light shade palette gave the new home a new look.

Rethink Design Studio

The design group was inspired by traditional beachfront architecture from the 1940s. “We wanted to take that home and elevate it to a level at a new build that it was meant to be,” Joel says.

Initially, the site had no landscaping at all. The group transformed the barren lot into a lush lawn, maintaining a palm tree the sisters’ grandfather had initially planted in the yard. A side lot was turned into a yard with a fieldstone paver patio.

Rethink Design Studio

The group had to maximize the footprint of the home nearly to the edge of the small site to gain more square footage. Since there was not a ton of room for landscaping, they added in a large screened front porch — a must in mosquito-laden Georgia.

Outdoor furniture: vintage, reupholstered with Sunbrella and Trina Turk to get Schumacher cloth

Rethink Design Studio

The structure takes advantage of natural lighting. The ceilings were lifted to 10 feet on the first floor along with 14 feet on the next — a switch that made a difference in the house’s feel.

The budget for both the interior and the exterior design was limited, so the team had to get creative when it came to style. Luckily, the homeowners gave them nearly free rein. Their one specific demand was that the walls have been coated in white boards. The walls at the open living room, dining room and kitchen are produced from horizontal 1-inch-by-10-inch buttocks joint paneling.

Rug: GDC Home; sofa: Hickory Chair; pillows: Thomas Paul for Duralee, Schumacher

Rethink Design Studio

Function and ambiance were the priorities. An open kitchen, living and dining room made the most sense for this holiday home. Even though this isn’t a full-time residence, the group had to look for large quantities of individuals, since multiple households remain here at once.

Open shelving in the kitchen keeps it bright and casual, while slate tile flooring are both durable and stylish. The kitchen cabinets were done at a simple Shaker style and painted to match the granite countertops. The Cooper and white milk glass ceiling fittings in the kitchen have been salvaged from an old saloon. The light above the dining room table is from Circa Lighting; Joel had the trim and hood painted powder blue to give it a vintage look.

Table: Hickory Chair; chairs: Crate and Barrel

Rethink Design Studio

The loft area upstairs is completely open, which not just creates a communal space but also saved money on framing. “This residence is not about partitions and constraints; it’s about becoming communal and together as a family,” says Joel. Rather than walls, curtains from Pottery Barn were dangled from iron curtain rods with rope. The floor material in the attic is painted porch-grade hardwood, which also cut down to price.

Rethink Design Studio

Even though the sisters were originally hesitant about the attic area, it’s now an integral part of their holiday home. “When you have a custom home, it evolves and continues to evolve. It is organic by nature,” says Joel.

Rethink Design Studio

Flea markets and garage sales were scoured for cheap but quality pieces, and simple furniture from big-box shops filled in the blanks. “At a shore home, you can get away with much more,” says Joel. Twin beds allow for more sleeping area — this upstairs area can sleep four to six. The yellow headboards are now outdoor floor cushions using handles which can be taken down and used for additional seating when needed.

Bedding: Amy Butler; baskets: World Market; carpeting: West Elm kilim; nightstand: refurbished classic

Rethink Design Studio

Cane furniture at the loft’s living room creates a cozy sitting area in which the family often spends mornings. Some of the accessories and furniture came from the sisters’ elderly mother, who passed away during the project; they add a personal element the sisters love.

Rug: GDC Home; java table, cane chairs and console: refurbished classic

Rethink Design Studio

A vintage desk set obtained a makeover using bold yellow paint and glass drawer pulls, making the ideal dressing table for the upstairs bathroom. Timeless subway tile and simple sconces keep the space lighting, bright and functional.

Knobs: Pinch of the Past; seat cushion: Sunbrella; sconces: Circa Lighting

Rethink Design Studio

Each of the bedrooms are paneled with batten strips at a traditional coastal fashion. Joel applied walnut strips right to the sheetrock as an inexpensive way to find the look the sisters wanted. Simple dressers were emphasized with sea-green hardware, a simple and affordable touch which feels high end.

Bedding: vintage and West Elm; side table and mattress frame: classic

Rethink Design Studio

Because a lot of the residence is about family, Joel and Erika wished to pay tribute to its origins. Sentimental touches are visible all throughout the home — quilts the sisters’ mother made are folded carefully in closets, family art is framed on the walls, and also photos of their sisters when they were blown up and hung in the dining room.

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Balancing Hers and His Style

Balancing Hers and His Style

It is a classic design dilemma — a few is prepared to make a house a home, only to discover their styles couldn’t be more distinct. When this Beverly Hills family of three was prepared to construct their dream home, they recruited architect and interior designer Tim Barber to create a cozy but spacious home that will balance her love for contemporary and also his love of traditional. “She is a really devout modernist, and he’s a really devout traditionalist,” Barber says. “So the inside layout was all about mixing the two.”

The couple already had a house on this lot in Benedict Canyon, close to downtown Beverly Hills. Although they originally wanted to remodel, they soon realized what they wanted required them to begin over. Barber demolished the first structure and functioned from the bottom up, designing a bright and open home that embraces the outside — and the couple’s reverse styles.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

Despite their differences in style, the couple agreed they needed a home that sensed open, clean, bright and comfortable. Barber frequently played more traditional fabrics with simple and contemporary furniture lines to integrate the husband and wife’s style sensibilities. However there were chambers that played toward a single aesthetic — such as the spouse’s study here. While the colour palette and feel ties this room to the remainder of the home, it’s decidedly more contemporary than the primary living spaces.

Wall colour: Benjamin Moore Chelsea Grey
Rug: Flokati from Aga John
Sofa: Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

“In the marriage of design and interiors in the home, the design is restrained while the insides let loose a little,” Barber says. The family needed an East Coast vibe outside, so Barber designed a shingled exterior and put in a slate roof. The slate roof is made of marginally smaller pieces than normal, reducing its weight. This stone roofing is fairly typical in Los Angeles because it will work well with temperature extremes.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

“You need to make the most of the outside when you reside in Southern California,” Barber says. “I love to encourage people to go outside.” To create a substantial garden space, Barber pulled the house closer to the road. This allows for a closed front for privacy and room in front for a pool, patio and spacious yard.

Like most Southern California hillsides, this specific area is part of a fire pit, therefore wood homes aren’t permitted. Barber used man-made shingles for fire protection on the exterior, but worked together with the spacing and robes of every piece to make it look as natural as possible. The chimneys are made of a lightweight manmade stone product to take additional weight from the roof.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

Emphasizing the organic light in this home was among Barber’s most significant priorities. At the end of every hallway, a wood window in the ceiling lets sunshine into the entry hall and foyer. Barber also put windows in any place that made sense, and designed every single window to be taller and higher. “I was looking for any way I could sneak light in,” he says.

Pendant: Custom designed by TimBarber Ltd

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

The living room is the ideal representation of their homeowners’ drastically different styles. Each piece is a delicate balance of shape and colours that reflect numerous appearances. The customers wanted something which could make a statement, so that he developed this elegant seat design as a means to divide two parts of the living room. “Ultimately when a house has a certain personality, you become inspired to produce things,” he says.

Chair: A.Rudin in Laura Ashley Hemp
Arm chairs and coffee table: habit Tim Barber Ltd
Rug: layout by Tim Barber Ltd, made by Stark Carpet
Drapes: habit, cloth from Kravet; trim by Samuel & Sons Greek Key; components from Orion in Brushed Nickel

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

A sitting area in the foyer invites the family members and guests to sit and revel in the backyard view. The blue Tufenkian rug complements the teal-toned doors, and a lavish custom made loveseat was embellished with cushions that highlight the colours in the rug and the wall art.

Rug: Tufenkian Implied Damask Midnight; loveseat: Custom Tim Barber Ltd; table: Antique from Novecento in Los Angeles

The husband likes to cook, so he wanted Barber to pull out all of the stops in the kitchen’s layout. “They let me play virtually every trick I’ve learned when it comes to kitchens,” Barber says. He installed a deep fryer beside the induction stovetop, pull-out shelving, spice and can racks, divided drawers and an extra-large refrigerator.

Countertops: Absolute black granite on island, Carrara Marble on countertops
Cabinetry: Lotus Woodworking, Canoga Park, Calif..
Backsplash: American Slate, Cloud Green & China Grey
Pendants: Antique, Blend Interiors
Barstool: Design Within Reach, Kyoto Counter Stools

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

A breakfast nook off the kitchen is the perfect casual eat-in space for your household. A custom-designed table and cushions lend a personal touch to the cheery, sun-drenched place.

Chairs: Hickory Chair
Pillows: habit, made from Raoul Fabrics and Peter Dunham Textiles
Lighting fixture: customer’s existing fixture

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

The simple furniture within this space speaks to both a traditional and contemporary decorative, but the vivid colors definitely produce the dining room feel much more contemporary. Customized leather chairs lend a touch of luxury, but the pendants have been bought at Restoration Hardware. “There are not a great deal of valuable pieces. We customized a great deal of furniture, however it’s mixed right in with store-bought pieces also,” Barber says.

Chairs: habit Tim Barber Ltd in Duralee Leather; de endants: Restoration Hardware; table: customer’s present, classic; wall colour: Benjamin Moore Quincy Tan

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

The son’s playful but sophisticated suite is Barber’s beloved part of the home. Blue-toned map background includes a fun but timeless quality, and dark blue and brown fabrics complete the colour scheme. Rather than a typical workplace setup, Barber chose the son’s multitasking personality into account and created three individual workspaces for him. This way, he can work on multiple projects at once and divide desk space up based on action.

Wallpaper: Hinson Blue/White Map; desk chairs: CB2; window treatments: habit by Valley Drapery, LA

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

The high ceilings and beautiful windows in the boy’s toilet allow it to be another of Barber’s beloved rooms. Natural light reflects from honed Carrara marble counter tops, while simple steel sconces keep the room lit up in the night.

Floors: Hex Carrara Mosaic by Walker Zanger, Mini Brick Marble tile by Walker Zanger in Flat Iron Grey
Countertops: Satin Honed Carrara Marble
Sconces: Restoration Hardware

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

Soft grays and browns tie the calming guest bedroom to the rest of the house’s decor, while clean furniture lines and much more traditional fabrics represent Barber’s approach to the couple of distinct styles. Hotel-style bedding retains the room looking clean and fresh, even though a blend of textures in the accents warms up it and gives it a contemporary flair.

Bed frame: habit Tim Barber Ltd
Mirrors: Carvers Guild
Nightstand: Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams
Interior colour: Benjamin Moore Grey Owl

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

The master bathroom is a place of pure serenity. Soft white marble countertops and floors contrasts with the dark dressing table. Custom mirrors were set up with added storage and stainless steel pendants and sconces add a touch of glamour.

Shower: Custom Mosaic using Walker Zanger Carrara, Flat Iron and Thassos
Countertops: Honed Carrara Marble

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

A pub, lounge and media room were united into a multidimensional entertaining space. The pub is the perfect place to serve after-dinner drinks, and the pool table and press room supply entertainment for adults and kids.

The cellar of the house carries a pantry and a garage, with an elevator leading to the additional floors — a fantastic way to make carrying bundles in and outside of the car somewhat simpler.

Barstools: Hancock & Moore, fabric Pindler & Pindler
Pendant: Urban Electric, Carlyn Fixture

Photography by Karyn Millet

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