02 Jul / 2016
Mention the word wallpaper, and homeowners conjure up the vision of their grandmother’s flocked velvet prints and old-fashioned busy designs and remember the miserable task of having to scrape it off years later. However, today’s wallpaper is back and better than ever and new technologies are making them easier apply and adhere better. If you’re planning on redecorating your home and not sure what to do with the walls, consider wallpaper as an option instead of or in addition to paint. With all of the new styles, graphic patterns, and gorgeous prints to choose from, one can transform an ordinary room into one with serious style.
Are you “brave” enough to try wallpaper in your home?
- If you’re not ready to commit to wallpapering an entire room, a popular way to incorporate wallpaper is to create an accent wall that infuses style and interest in your space. And in some cases, a single sheet of wallpaper can be used as an art element. In this Austin, Texas Midcentury-style home, take a look at how a bold geometric wallpaper as an accent wall transformed a formal dining room into a casual TV room.
- Affordable? Prices today run from as little as $15 to as high as $600 per roll, dependent on the paper’s material, designer, and uniqueness.
- Skill required? Although putting up wallpaper takes far more patience than skill. It definitely requires equal measures of artistic and engineering talent to assure it is assuring it is hung straight and edges are aligned. For novice wallpaper hangers, having an easy-to-match pattern will certainly reduce the complexity. If it is still more than you want to do yourself, visit Wallcovering Installers Association to find an experienced wallpaper hanger.
- As with most other elements of remodeling, the key to a flawless outcome is good preparation. Like form fitting clothes, wallpaper reveals every bump and flaw underneath, so good wall preparation is essential.
Coldwell Banker Concierge summarizes 5 Great Reasons Why New Wallpaper Beats Paint
- More Options
- Conceals Blemishes
- Easy to Change
- Adds an Accent
See the full article here.
Wall Paper Revival … What’s available these days?
When it comes to wallpaper styles, your options are limitless. From contemporary to traditional, a myriad of textures, metallic and animal prints, there is something for every taste. As a start, instead of wading through a mountain of wallpaper books, start by viewing manufacturer’s websites for an overview of the types of material, styles, scales and prices. Some allow you to order free or low-cost samples online. Log on and check out: abnormalsanonymous.com, kremelife.com, clarencehouse.com, brewsterwallcovering.com, seabrookwallcoverings.com, rlhome.polo.com, and waverly.com. A few more are listed in our Resource Section below.
At Anthropologie, you will find a wide range of “papers with personality.” From this simple yet elegant Golden Trellis Wallpaper ($118 Roll 27’L, 27”W Covers 60 Sq. Feet) to this Great Meadow Mural ($548 Roll 9.75L 12.25 W Covers 119.5 Sq. Ft.) there are many artists and price point from which to choose.
For Kids or Kitchens- Chalkboard Wallpaper
Imagine letting your kids write on their walls! These Chalkboard wallpaper panels from Chasing Paper are decorative decal tiles that are simple to hang and easy to remove. These fully functional chalkboard tiles let you write, draw and erase right on them. They’re also handy in the kitchen for grocery lists- just snap a photo with your phone and you’re good to go.
Other Wall Décor
Searching for something chic, functional and eco-friendly? Take a peek at these modern textured wallpapers from Inhabit Living. These 3D wall panels are lightweight and when placed together create an automatic repeat pattern to create a textured wall of any size.
Wall Flats, sold by the box, contain 10 tiles that cover 22.5 sq. ft. and run approximately $62.They can also be painted! For a quick demonstration watch their DIY 3D Wall Panel How to Install Video.
Yes! Even Target Online has a fun collection for the budget conscious.
Schumacher is one of the premier sources for luxury wallcoverings, fabric, and trim for custom residential projects.
02 Jun / 2016
Want to take your kitchen from great to spectacular? Consider adding a walk-in pantry. While adding a pantry may feel as if you are taking up valuable cabinet space, if it is carefully tailored to your household’s storage needs, it can add functionality and increase organization. Corner pantries are perfect for small kitchens with unused corner space. Stocking a pantry with staples can save time, money and stress in the kitchen. Tap the pantry for unexpected meals and reduce trips to the supermarket. Stocking it with frugal finds can also lower grocery costs.
It is recommended that you choose the style of shelving early in the design process so that shelf heights and depths for oversize goods can be incorporated into the design. The first step in the process is to make a list of the items you currently store so that your pantry can be customized to allow for oversize items and bulk storage. For example, if you need space for super-sized bags of dog food, incorporating movable bins or low drawers in the shelving designs assure everything has a place and can be accessed easily. If you buy bulk quantities of baking supplies and grains you might incorporate a shelf where you can both store and measure smaller quantities as needed.
Light and Air
Plan appropriate lighting for your pantry, just as you would any other room. Additionally, keep in mind that installation of electrical outlets is much easier in the building phase than after the fact. Having outlets in the pantry allows for of installing specialized appliances, a portable wine cooler or even for charging mini-vacs etc. If possible, planning for passive ventilation will help keep the air fresh and minimize odors.
While we tend to keep this simple, the majority of the shelving that we have installed are uniform in size and are stationary. However, some might suggest that you resist the urge to use deep shelves to maximize space as it tends to promote contents being stacked and items not being used. This diagram from Everything Pantry suggests using shelves of mixed depths for maximum efficiency and adjustable shelving for flexibility.
Depending on the location of your pantry, there are a variety of style options for pantry doors. If your pantry is located in a hallway or away from the kitchen, a pocket door may be an ideal, as it eliminates the space required for a swinging door and it can be left open without blocking traffic. A popular option of late, is the barn style door with a sliding track. These can be found in a variety of styles from contemporary to industrial. If your pantry is part of a smaller kitchen, a traditional panel door can be used to blend in with the rest of the cabinetry or painted an accent color which can add personality to the room. Other options that add flair and interest are doors with frosted or patterned glass panels doors with a window pane frame and clear glass panels and doors painted with chalkboard paint for grocery lists and creative drawings.
Amanda Hesser’s Best Tips for a Clean, Organized Pantry
From the perspective of a chef, Amada Hesser, an American food writer, editor, cookbook author, and entrepreneur, “Your pantry shouldn’t be a storage unit – it should be a toolkit. It’s not where you put things to keep them off your counter. It’s where you have all of your best culinary weapons at the ready to help you in the kitchen” How you design your pantry and arrange your tools should be focused on making your cooking more efficient and inspiring.”
Amanda Hesser is notably the co-founder and CEO of Food52, previously the food editor of the New York Times Magazine and winner of a James Beard award. In her March blog she offers a few tips, rules and designs from the Food52Shop.
- The ideal pantry has adjustable shelves. Add the shelves as you stock your pantry, not the other way around. This way you maximize your space.
- Buy lots of tins, containers, jars, and a set of wet-erase markers.
- Arrange by frequency of use.
- On each shelf, apply a similar level-to-us-system.
- Try to avoid stacking where possible.
- Keep dwindling supplies towards the front.
The full article can be found here.
Resources for Pantry Organization
- Stick on many smooth surfaces K
- Removable adhesive leaves no residue
- Erasable surface for labeling with chalk
- Stick to many kitchen containers
- Freezer and microwave oven safe
- Remove cleanly after one dishwasher cycle
17 May / 2016
Designer: John & Lynn Hammerschmidt/Photo by Charlie Gibson
Even if you don’t have room for an office, a small dedicated space in your kitchen can serve as your family’s “Command Center.” It can serve as a writing desk, high-tech hub, homework zone and first aid station. It creates the ultimate multi-tasking space! Pay bills, sort mail, schedule appointments, and shop online all while your dinner in simmering. Here are a few options if you are considering incorporating an office area into your kitchen:
Stand-Up Station Designer: David Raymond/Photo: Laura Moss
For folks on the run, a stand-up message center, armoire-like may be the answer. No space required for sitting and the extra bookshelves makes good use of space. With a corkboard backsplash and open bookshelves recessed on all three sides, provides immediate access to binders, calendars, and everything one might need to get out door in the morning.
The Convertible Photo: Shenandoah Cabinetry
Requiring a little more space, is this desk situated at the end of a long countertop. Close to the action but out of the working triangle, the beauty of this layout is that it can also be used as a buffet, or to prep food or roll out a pie crust, by just stowing the office supplies in the drawers. The counter top is high enough to function as a standard kitchen counter, or a counter-height stool can be used for seated tasks.
Mighty Movable Desk
To add an office area to an existing kitchen, a mobile desk is a good way to experiment. It can also transform into an impromptu bar or buffet for entertaining!
Looking for more kitchen office ideas? Homedit Interior Design & Architecture’s article, 20 Clever Ideas To Design A Functional Office In Your Kitchen, will convince you that an empty wall, small table, and a comfortable chair are all you need to incorporate an office into your kitchen.
* To coordinate the style, you can use the same table legs used at the nearby island.
* Designers generally recommend a desk height of 28 to 30 inches and a knee-hole depth of 25 inches.
* A desk “backsplash” made of custom corkboard, chalkboard or dry-erase board keep communication organized. Visit Pinterest for unique bulletin boards creations.
Kitchen Office Organization
Specializing in storage and organization solutions
The Container Store features elfa storage and organization systems which function beautifully in the kitchen!
From Meredith@unOriginalMom Creating a Command Center that Works for Your Family
01 Mar / 2016
Talk about an explosion for the senses… With over 1.5 million square feet of exhibit space to cover and over 500 vendor displays, Suzette attended the Kitchen and Bath Industry show to compare new products, get answers straight from the manufacturers, and hear about advances in technology and sustainability in the kitchen and bath industry.
Below you will find just a few of the products our designer wants to share with you.
The Gridscape from Coastal Shower Doors is a multifunctional door that is on the forefront of bathroom trends. This sleek window pane configuration can be ordered as a stand-alone panel, room divider or as a bypass shower door.
All Gridscape divided-light shower doors are available with a choice of three glass types: clear, satin, and smoke grey. The clear glass option combined with the black anodized finish is perfect for those wanting an industrial-modern factory windowpane look; alternatively, the satin frosted glass provides the feel of a Japanese shoji door, and the smoke grey glass contrasted with a chrome metal finish is ideal for those seeking sleek and modern vibe. One key to the success of the design is the versatility. It can be intermixed with an endless number of tastes and styles ranging from industrial modern/steampunk to rustic shabby chic.
Grand View Entries
www.gventries.com Grand View Entries products are unique. GVE is the first patio door manufacturer in the USA to offer both, “custom-sized” shades between the glass and blinds between the glass as a viable option to traditional patio door blinds or shade systems.
Here is a quick summary of the benefits of one of GVE premier products, Café Shades Between the Glass
- A better view! GVE Café Shades are engineered to “raise”from the “bottom-up” and not “lowered” from the “top-down” as most all blinds between the glass systems are designed. GVE Café Shades when lowered will not obstruct view, and allow you to fully take advantage.
- Control. Whether it’s your office, your classroom, your business, you should have control of your domain. With GVE, you control the amount of light, vista, privacy and security to each room.
- Ambiance. GVE Café Shades provide for a softer, warmer, more elegant “feel”. GVE patented Café Shades are made of a pleated fabric and are not your typical aluminum louvers.
- Affordability. When compared to average quality window/door coverings, your cost will be lower.
- >Better Functionality for all types of door systems. Are you thinking about opening up that wall and putting in a large accordion type folding or bi-folding door system? Perhaps a multi-slide pocket door? A new set of French Doors? These multi-panel door systems are large and typically are designed to go floor to ceiling. But what to do about door coverings? GVE has the solution.
- Safety. it is a well known fact that child safety and cords from blind systems has been at the fore-front of consumer safety for years. There is no need to take chances. GVE Café Shades between the glass system is a child-proof system, in the sense that there is no danger of entanglement. If you are a pet lover, the same can be said about protecting your fury friend.
- The Health of your family So lets see, the shades are “in between the glass”? YES! That means they never need cleaning. No dust. No Allergens.
GVE also offers Blinds Between the Glass as well. These have the same benefits as the Café Blinds but they tilt, raise & lower blind operators provide you the maximum ability completely control your light, your view and you privacy by allowing “Tilting” of the louvers while the blinds are in full or partially suspended position.
While KBIS was full of such functional items as hardware, cabinets and sinks, there were also some grownup toys.
Warning: if you are trying to “disconnect” skip this section!
“Mirror, Mirror on the wall…”
Now your mirror can actually talk back to you! Take a look-see at MirrorVue – A mirror with a built-in TV. MirrorVue is a fully waterproof LED TV. Made to order in almost every size and shape with a large selection of beautiful frames to match any décor. Can you image the TV completely vanishes when the TV is turned off. No need to have bulky TV’s hanging and taking up space.
An extraordinary showpiece from Miele
The DA 7000 D Aura island Rangehood combines sleek, stylish elliptical design suspended by four virtually invisible wires, with the ultimate in recirculation technology, ideal for kitchens where ducting is challenging.
offers innovative products, a relentless commitment to quality and a broad range of exquisite surface coverings at an affordable price. At Pera Tile, they “believe in spaces with a soul and a story”. With over 600 SKU’s in their product line, from classical to ultra-modern, it will be pretty easy to find a Pera Tile product that will tell your story. Click here to view Pera Tile Inspiration Gallery. The local rep for this product is Tile Fantastic www.tilefantastic.com 2910 S. Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA.
is now the European leader in reconstituted decorative stones. MODULO offers a comprehensive range of manufactured stone veneer products and accessories for historical and modern walls, in line with the main decorative trends. MODULO offers a wide range of products that are easy to use and suits all budgets. The result is sure to add value to your home.
With consumers wanting easier and faster solutions, Modulo’s Easy Fix is the answer: a stone veneer that can be installed without grout or glue.
Check out Modulo’s online catalog and you will be amazed at the indoor and outdoor applications available.
Design Milk’s Best of KBIS 2016
Design Milk rounds up editor favorites from the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) 2016: includes Wilsonart (antimicrobial & durable laminate surfaces), Bosch (new small space appliances), Brizo( gorgeous new bath hardware) Wellborn Cabinet (cabinetry that is adjustable!) and Ann Sacks tile(serious eye candy.
Modenus BlogTour KBIS 2016
(KBIS on Pinterest)
If you’re looking to see the most cutting edge design techniques from Design & Construction Week in a real-world application, our friends at @IBSVegas have the ticket: The New American Home® is back for 2016! You can tour the 33rd home in the TNAH series, a 5,050 sq. ft. design wonder.
2016 KBIS Bath Trends
Go behind the scenes with The Editor at Large TV as they spoke with experts at this year’s show about how durable, innovative new technologies and products are emerging for bath design. Check out the footage here:
2016 KBIS Kitchen Trends
Walking through this year’s show, certain trends for the future of kitchen design in 2016 were clear. The Editor at Large TV spoke to some of our industry’s leading designers to find out how kitchen design will shape how we live going forward. Watch here:
01 Feb / 2016
The term “Aging in place” refers to the preference of most adults that they remain in their home of choice as long as possible. In fact, 90 percent of adults over the age of 65 report that they would prefer to stay in their current residence as they age. Many considerations regarding aging in place, such as health and wellness, general assistance, and transportation are outside the realm of remodeling. This article focuses on home improvements and remodeling that facilitate the ability to stay in one’s home and provide resources.
As we age, our bodies and capabilities change. Examples of changes you might experience are:
- Reduced vision and hearing
- Decreased muscle strength or endurance
- Reduced mental processing capabilities
- Increased risk of falls due to balance
- Increased risk of illness
- Decreased mobility
Some or all of these changes happen to most everyone. Knowing that this is the case and choosing to have a plan to allow you to stay in your home means you will have a greater chance to control your quality of life and independence. Planning also presents you with an opportunity to lessen the burden on your family by outlining how and where your needs are met as well as, lessening the need for emergency assistance from community resources.
When we’re vibrant and independent, we rarely give consideration to aging-in-place concerns. However, it’s best to make changes in advance rather than when there is a crisis. Many of these ideas could benefit everyone, not just the elderly, but they become increasingly important, as we age. Here are three areas to consider as a starting point for aging in place changes to your home: Decluttering, Accessibility and Safety.
The first step in facilitating aging in place improvements in your home is decluttering. Decluttering will allow you to assess how much space you really need if you are considering downsizing to a smaller home or retirement community.
AARP’s HomeFit Guide offers advice on how to prepare a home for aging in place and reminds us that decluttering and organizing your belongings while you are young enough to tackle the job allows you to:
- Access what you want easily.
- Enjoy memories stored in mementos, photos, letters, videos and other treasures.
- Reorganize possessions for safe reach.
- Maneuver more easily through the home in case you become disabled.
Once you have tackled decluttering your home, look for ways to organize your items to make them accessible. To make things easy to reach, you’ll want storage that’s not too high and not too close to the floor. If you’re able to remodel your kitchen, the AARP suggests that you hang your upper cabinets 12 to 15 inches above the countertop instead of the normal 18 inches and place your lower cabinets six inches above the floor.
You could also install Pull Down Shelving in existing upper cabinets. For lower cabinets, adding rollout shelves (or replacing the cabinets with drawers) can make things much more accessible. Anne-Marie Brunet at Next Avenue provides numerous examples of how lower cabinets can be replaced or redesigned.
When it comes to the clothes closets, storage solutions that get the shoes off the floor are generally a good idea since bending becomes harder with age. Pull-down closet rods can make clothes easier to reach in closets where the rods are fairly high. Most people will be satisfied with far simpler solutions, but it’s still interesting to see the innovative storage products that are available to keep things within easy reach.
Safety and Lighting
There are many risks for injury to older adults in the household that impact their ability to successfully age in place. Among the greatest threats is falling. According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injuries leading to death among older adults. Common features in an everyday household, such as a lack of support in the shower or bathroom, inadequate railings on the stairs, loose throw rugs, and obstructed pathways, and poor lighting are all possible dangers to an older person.
Additional railings, grab bars, a hand-held shower head, walk-in bathtubs, curb-less showers with seats, nonskid flooring, removal of throw rugs and clutter, and increased lighting with accessible 3-way switches are all improvements that will create a safer environment.
Seniors need two to three times as much light to see as well as younger people. Low lighting may contribute to slips, trips and falls by lowering visibility of hazards such as unexpected steps or sudden changes in floor surfaces. Ways to increase light in the home include:
- Consider toe-kick lighting in the bathroom or kitchen to provide visual cuing and an additional reference point for judging distance or depth when entering a space or approaching objects.
- Add a skylights or solar tubes in dim hallways or dark rooms.
- For nightlights, SnapPower makes an outlet cover with a built- in night light.
For more lighting recommendations, check out Lamps Plus 25 Lighting Tips for Seniors.
Decluttering and Organizing
StorageMotion Inc. is a company that is dedicated to creating all types of products that improve closet and home design and dramatically increase the amount of useable space. Their products are automatic and power-assisted so that anyone can use them.
Whether you have thirty seconds, one minute, five minutes, or fifteen minutes, this organizing daily devotional offers tips, checklists, weekend projects, quizzes, and encouragement that will help you find the time, motivation, and permission to let go of sentimental clutter, set up storage solutions, and establish routines that make sense for your life.
National Association of Home Builders
We are fortunate to have several quality senior programs in the Bay Area, including Avenidas Village.
Avenidas supports seniors in various aspects of senior living. Last year, as an approved contractor, Hammerschmidt Construction was invited to participate at their vendor fair. It was at this fair that we found a comprehensive check-list of Home Safety Recommendations for Aging-in-Place, complements of Nancy Goldcamp from Coldwell Banker.
Did you know that seniors and the homebound residing on the Peninsula and in the South Bay may request free assistance with household tasks through REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP)?
2016 RSVP week will be in May. (Look for more info in the Los Altos Town Crier next month)
RSVP 2015 sample BROCHURE
Senior Helpers is an in-home care-giving franchise that recently moved to Los Altos. They offer personal care and companion services.
01 Jan / 2016
For the first time, Pantone the world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems for the selection and communication of color across industries, has chosen a pair of baby-hued pastels as the Color of the Year — Rose Quartz (a kind of mineral pink) and Serenity (a light blue).
The team at Pantone see this as “A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude. Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.”
We need all the help we can get. It’s a good thing that Leatrice Eiseman is looking out for all of us. Who is Ms. Eiseman? For the last 30 years, she has been the Executive Director at the Pantone Color Institute. Lee is widely quoted and is recognized by Fortune Magazine and the Wall Street Journal as one of the most influential people in the world of color.
“We wanted compassion, which today a lot of people are looking for,” Ms. Eiseman says. Pantone’s news release describes the colors as “inducing feelings of stability, constancy, comfort and relaxation,” and argues that they “create balance in a chaotic world.”
Rose Quartz and Serenity Color Pairings
Whether in soft or hard surface materials, the pairing of Rose Quartz and Serenity brings calm and relaxation. Appealing in all finishes, matte, metallic, and glossy, the engaging combo joins easily with other mid-tones including greens and purples, rich browns, and all shades of yellow and pink. Add in silver or hot brights for more splash and sparkle. View Pantone’s website to learn more.
Below are 10 home furnishings to match Patone’s latest selections. Do they invoke a sense of tranquility and inner peace?
- Ambit Pendant Lamp by TAF Architects for Muuto
- Aalto Vase by Alvar Aalto from Iittala
- Denim Cushion from BoConcept
- Askew Vase from CB2
- Nairutya – Citron Pillow from Eskayel
- SMEG Toaster
- Ruché Chair by Inga Sempé for Ligne Roset
- Tallow Candle by Ontwerpduo
- Pivot No 1 Shelf from Hay
- Hai Chair Razzle Dazzle by Luca Nichetto for Hem
Leatrice Eiseman is the author of several books. Below are 2 of her 9 books on color.
KitchenAid’s stand mixer in Guava Glaze.
Check out this Diebenkorn piece that incorporates flashes of both colors. At ART.com you will find how to accent with these colors and to find art that incorporates both shades.
01 Dec / 2015
Next time you’re in a spectacular space, maybe visiting a stylish friend’s home or a beautifully designed restaurant, take a moment to notice the lighting. Chances are the furnishings, color palette, or artwork will grab your attention before the lighting. But, without a well–planned and well-executed lighting scheme, none of those design features would shine.
Particularly in the kitchen, as we have moved towards redesigning the kitchen and dining area into one great room, there is a bigger area and more objects to highlight. A well-lit kitchen begins with under cabinet lighting. With relative ease and a modest monetary investment, under cabinet lighting can have an amazing impact on a room’s style and functionality:
- It provides task lighting on the countertop for food prep and reading recipes.
- As accent lighting, it illuminates and showcases countertops and backsplashes. Used in display cabinets, it showcases art and sculpture.
- It is an ideal source of ambient lighting –the perfect night light for late night snackers.
Photos: Curtesy of www.yaleappliance.com
Under Cabinet Light Comparison
|Halogen||CFL (Florescent)||LED (Light-emitting diode)|
|Average Price: $1.50||Average Price: $3.00||Average price: $20.00 +|
|Lifespan: 2,250–3,500 hrs.||Lifespan: 8,000 hrs.||Lifespan: 25,000-50,000 hrs.|
|Energy Used: 30 - 75 watts per hour||Energy Used: 13 - 15 watts per hour||Energy used: 8 watts per hour|
|Pros: Inexpensive; produces crisp, white light.||Pros: Uses less power and last longer than incandescent||Pros: Energy efficient long life, low heat output.|
|Cons: Produce significant amounts of heat; can be dangerous in some applications.||Cons: Contain mercury; takes time to fully brighten.|
Most CFL bulbs sold today are non-dimmable
|Cons: Higher up-front cost; not all LED lamps are dimmable.|
While fluorescent and halogen lighting are still being used, LED strip lights and LED tape or ribbon lights are leading in popularity because of their versatility and ease of installation. LED strip lights have a transformer built into a metal casing with covered glass. It is simple to change out an existing incandescent or fluorescent light, because the connections are the same. And, since they have a glass cover, they are easy to clean. LED tape lights come as an adhesive strip that can be shaped and even cut-to-size to tuck neatly beneath your cabinets.
Look for damp location-rated designs for an added measure of safety in the kitchen or dimmable and multi-color designs to add an ambient touch to any room. Long-lasting and using as little as 24 watts, these energy-efficient designs offer an inexpensive way to brighten your space. For a full report and to get the low-down on high efficiency LED lighting view Houzz’s article Focus on High Efficiency LED Lighting.
06 Nov / 2015
When it comes to selecting tile for your home remodel, the abundance of options is daunting. While the material, shape, and size of the tile may be an issue of functionality, the color and texture of the tile can set the tone of a room. An unexpected source, The Wall Street Journal, recently offered an exciting and informative overview of emerging tile trends. As they profess, “No home renovator wants to get stuck with a lousy tile decision, but that doesn’t mean the only choice is basic, boring beige.” See The Complete A-Z Guide to Tiles: 26 Ways to Go Beyond Beige for an alphabetical survey of the new tile landscape, from Arabesque to Zellige.
Not only does the article give provide information on the full range of materials available to homeowners today – many of the new ones driven by technology innovations such as digital printing – it offers ideas from design experts on ways to mix the various A-Z elements. For example:
1. Combine complex patterns with plainer patterns
2. Offset textural effects with smooth tiles
3. Consider playing with scale
4. Besides pure aesthetics, consider a theme and how pairings can be a narrative.
For additional help on choosing the right tile for your home, consider the following factors and see the associated online guides:
Ceramic and Porcelain
Both ceramic and porcelain can be rated for wear using the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) scale, which classifies tile surfaces from 1 to 5. A PEI 1 rating is for “No foot traffic, for wall use only”, while a PEI of 5+ can handle “heavy traffic and is most resistant to abrasion”.
Natural stone is not man-made and therefore does not follow the PEI scale. The natural stones used most often in tile are marble, limestone, travertine, slate, and granite.
There are both subtle and significant differences between the types of stone as to appearance, water absorption to durability. For more information on choosing ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tile, see National Kitchen and Bath Association, Homeowners Tips for Choosing the Right Tile
Especially important in choosing floor tile, the Coefficient of Friction (COF) is a measure of traction and tile slipperiness. See Interiors and Sources to learn more.
Color, Texture, and Style
The color and texture of the tile helps set the tone of a room. Before deciding on a tile color, take note of existing colors in the room, the mood you want for the room and the amount of foot traffic the area receives. Today’s digital technology, has transformed the process of creating tile with new and intriguing possibilities. For example porcelain look-alike tile is sized to resemble individual floor planks and ceramic and porcelain “marble” tiles look almost exactly like real marble but they do not crack and scratch as easily.
See Daltile Tile Trends to read about their Four Top Tile Trends for 2015: Glass mosaic tiles in updated colors and shapes, a softer color palette, with lots of gray, softer textures, and subway tiles in updated shapes and colors.
Here is an example of the subway tile trend in this recently-completed Palo Alto kitchen remodel. The homeowner selected Heath Ceramic’s Stretched Hexagon tile for their backsplash. It’s a handmade tile that feels like classic subway tile but with a twist. See the Heath Ceramics website for a complete selection of their offerings.
01 Oct / 2015
A Man Cave can be defined as a room, space, corner, or area of a dwelling that is specifically reserved for a male person to be in a solitary condition, away from the rest of the household in order to work, play, and involve himself in certain hobbies and activities without interruption. This area is usually decorated by the male, without interference from any female influence. Technically, any space a man can go to be alone can be defined as a Man Cave. It can be an office, basement, garage, or shed out back. It is a room free from other themes or style of the home. A Man Cave is where a man goes for sanctuary.
It’s all in the Accessories
While the location can be almost anywhere, there are classic amenities found in many Man Caves including a pool table, bar, refrigerator, dart board, TV, sound system, a pinball machine, and very comfortable furniture. Often the wall décor emphasizes the man’s interests – sports, cars, movies, etc. Dependent on the man’s interests, they can also include a writing desk, a painting easel, a collection of sports memorabilia, or a garage wall filled with tools.
Comfort & Quality
The lounge chair is a man room necessity. While an old La-Z-Boy might immediately come to mind, take quality into consideration and buy things that are crafted with care. Invest in a good leather chair that is water & spill resistant and eternally stylish. A great chair is more than just a fabric bag stuffed with as much cotton as possible and a built-in cup holder. All good furniture has been designed with both form and function in mind. Here are 3 classic chairs with timeless appeal
The Barcelona Chair
by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe which was designed for the World Exposition in 1929 and still continues to be an iconic masculine piece.
The LC2 and LC3 Armchairs
http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/105174/list/modern-icons-corbusiers-lc2-and-lc3-armchairs designed by French designer LeCourbusier
As far as lounge chairs are concerned, many consider the classic Eames Lounge Chair, http://www.hermanmiller.com/products/seating/lounge-seating/eames-lounge-chair-and-ottoman.html made by Herman Miller, to be one of the most comfortable chairs of all time. When you sit in it, it literally conforms to your body.
As far as lounge chairs are concerned, many consider the classic Eames Lounge Chair, made by Herman Miller, to be one of the most comfortable chairs of all time. When you sit in it, it literally conforms to your body.
Eames® Lounge and Ottoman
Audio — Visual
The right viewing portal is absolutely essential to every Man Cave. Equally important is a kick-ass sound system — not just good speakers — but a complete surround sound system. This will enhance your movie, music, or sports experience to the fullest. To create an in-home audiophile experience we offer two resources who are both NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) members who have worked with many of our clients to create integrated home theaters or high performance audio systems.
The key to designing the ultimate Man Cave is to create a personal retreat to surround oneself with things that are meaningful. It is the perfect space for that lifelong collection of (fill in the blank) that your spouse doesn’t understand. The cave provides the perfect space to organize and display the collection and keep them safe. See for example, this modern Man Cave by Benedict August where a G.I. Joe Collection is creatively displayed and childhood toys are the focal point of the room.
Find a wide selection of sports memorabilia from local and national MLB, NFL, NHL teams at Man Cave Memorabilia. www.mancavememorabilia.com Shop locally (Foster City) or online.
Looking for the one-of-a-kind antique for your man room? Big Daddy Antiques Inc. is a retailer of one-of-a-kind antiques and reproductions from European, Asian, and North American markets.
Take a look inside the “Man Rooms” of 14 famous men from history on The Art of Manliness website.
Famous Man Caves
In reading about the lives of history’s great men, one thing the author noticed was that many of them had a place they could go to be alone with their thoughts. Some of these men had a study where they would retreat to think, read, and write. Others had a garage or workshop where they would tinker and experiment. But what all these rooms had in common was their sheer manliness. They were man spaces, places a man could call his own. Within these rooms ideas were formulated that would change the world and books were written that became classics. Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Edison are some of the featured
A Manly Superstore, Man Cave a Home sells everything necessary to build the ultimate Man Cave, whether it’s a pool table, a bar, beer neon signs, Harley-Davidson bar stools, a stand up arcade game…you name it, they have it or can get it.
Click on the team logos to find their 2015/2016 Season Schedules
01 Sep / 2015
The French have a special je ne sais quoi when it comes to fashion and style. Simply put—they know how to dress. It seems that the French not only know how to dress themselves, but they also know how to dress their home interiors.
French interiors seem elegantly “thrown together” because their homes have an understated elegance that is welcoming and invites one to sit and stay awhile—it’s equivalent to how French woman toss on a scarf on the way out the door, effortlessly adding that last piece de resistance to their outfit.
Elegant and effortless seems like an ideal combination. Let’s take a few tips from French interiors and see what they can teach us about decorating our own homes.
Interior designer, Renate Hering-Shepherd from Dream Home Decorating shares with us her 7 Essential Elements of French Decorating.
Rule #1 Under-decorate
Rule #2 Be Bold!
Rule #3 Mix Old & New
Rule #4 Mix Raw & Refined
Rule #5 Mix Country & Court
Rule #6 Look Up!
Rule #7 A Bit of Gold Never Hurt Anyone
For more details, the full article can be found at
The article also provides room by room French Interior Design examples, tips on how to “Frenchify” your home and how to find furniture and accessories. It also is a great resource for French Interior Design books and magazines.
Take a peak at Luciane at HomeBunch as she offers several design ideas and inspirations on her website. These two beautiful pieces were showcased along with photos of Paris that makes you feel as if you were there.
If you are truly interested in an authentic representation of French décor, a visit to Enchante Boutique Hotel in downtown Los Altos is a must. This French chateau style hotel is adorned in Paris chic, with authentic details througout the hotel. The owner provides and experience and ambiance of a fine European hotel without the need for your passports.