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The New Skin for My Beats

I’ve never been one to simply be happy with the way my devices look out of the box. When I got my first video game console as a kid, I drew on it with markers and put stickers on it to make it look cooler. My parents were mad at me for doing this, but eventually they got over it. I bougth special cases to make my phone stand out from my friends who use simple black cases. I even bought a Maschine Studio custom skin for when I’m in the studio making beats and songs.

The look of my machine is just as important to the funcitonality of the machine. When the look is right and the machine does everything well, it creates an atmosphere that I feel boosts my creativity.

Tips To Move To A New Home Stress Free

Is it stressful to buy home with bad credit? Or building a new home is more stressful? According to every new home buyers, moving is a standout amongst the most stressful things to do. However, moving can be fun, in the event that you know how to keep the stress nowhere to be found. Here are a couple of helpful tips which will help you keep the stress at the base while moving.

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Dates in the schedule are closer than they show up

You don’t control time. None of us does. Recall that it and find a sense of contentment once you understand that there are things which can’t be arranged. You will be compelled to speed things up and change your arrangements finally. On the off chance that you need to verify that everything is situated, have a go at arranging no less than eight weeks ahead of time (ten to twelve future stunningly better) to evade superfluous stress.

Record it all

Like when you were more youthful – make a rundown! On that rundown, record every last thing that should be done, regardless of how unimportant it appears. Thereafter, arrange in such way that you do various undertakings on the rundown inside of one week. That way, you will give yourself both time and space to complete the process of everything. In the event that you have somebody to help you, companions or family – superb! Less stress for you, more diversion for everybody!

Say farewell to all the garbage

This is a standout amongst the most imperative things which you ought to do and I accept that it isn’t possible on the double. Discarding all the garbage can help you feel free, both physically and rationally. Discard all that you don’t need in every room of the house, and permit yourself to discard significantly more stuff once you begin pressing. You’ll need to strangle yourself once you begin unloading and discover bundle of things you needn’t bother with.

All active deck

You may not be agreeable when you have to approach individuals for help, yet recollect that there are things in this world which we’re just not intended to face alone. Moving is only one of them. Your companions have presumably moved at any rate once and they will get it. Also, in case you’re moving to an entire new city it will be a decent opportunity to hang out some all the more before you go. Your companions will comprehend and will help you experience it all. Simply attempt to stay smooth and counsel your rundowns.

Kitchen Remodeling Designs

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Ideas for Tile Flooring in a Dining Room

Look at several ideas for tile flooring in a dining room.
Formal dining rooms or dining rooms right off kitchens can look as simple or elegant as you choose. Dining rooms are a place where friends and family often gather, and natural wear and tear happens over the years. Select durable tile for your floor that can also blend the style and theme of surrounding rooms in your home. Today’s choices in tile flooring are vast, and many types are environmentally friendly. Texture, style, patterns and color all make an impact in your home while also providing longevity.

Marble Tile Floor

  • A common choice for dining room flooring is marble tiles. Marble tile floors give rooms an expensive and elegant style. Use polished, rectangular, large Italian marble tiles for the floors. Choose a cream color marble that has a beige and cream base with dark beige veins. Place marble tiles as close as possible to achieve a seamless flooring appearance. The rich looking marble tiles match most styles. Try matching a white wood dining table for a natural simple look. Use a carved dark mahogany dining table and furniture for a more tradition look.

Country Tile Floor

  • Country tile floor designs fit well into casual kitchen and dining room combinations. Install large, ceramic tiles in squares that are white and yellow for a country style. Use cream and white dining furniture with yellow decorative accents in the kitchen and dining area. For example, place white cabinets, appliances and countertops with yellow trim to keep the style as country, bright and simple as possible.

Southwest Tile Floor

  • Invoke a rustic or desert atmosphere into your dining room with a southwestern style floor. Place large, square, terracotta color tiles over your dining floor. Alternate terracotta and dark tiles with light tiles to created a checkerboard pattern in your room. You can purchase terracotta tiles with southwestern designs stamped into the tiles, such as suns and cactus. Use simple and earthy tile floors for a darker rustic style. Install flagstone tiles with streaks of brown, gray and rust to create a rustic southwest feel to your dining room. Add rustic wood dinning furniture and terracotta pottery to the room to complete the look.

Modern Tile Floor

  • Combine sharp lines and unusual color combinations to create a modern tile floor design in your dining room. Use octagonal, small ceramic tiles in jade, lavender or lilac and gray for the floor. Install tiny black square ceramic tiles in the center of the dining room. Use black, white or gray furniture to decorate your dining room. Make a bold statement by installing concrete tiles made from recycled materials in your dining room. Another unusual tile material that adds a modern feel to your dining room is blue macauba granite from Brazil. Add silver and gray accents to enhance the modern and sleek feel of your room.

How To Maintain The Cleanliness Of Your Bedroom?

Bedroom is important for everybody as they are they are the place for you to take a good rest. A clean and organized bedroom always makes you feels comfort and cozy. As such what are the important steps or tips of maintaining the cleanliness of your bedroom? Below are some tips that might help for achieving this purpose.

Keep As Lesser Bedroom Furniture As Possible
Please don’t load your bedroom with tones of bedroom furniture, it will make you’re your bedroom looks crowded and cramp. To main the cleanliness of your bedroom, you must first take out the bedroom furniture which you think is not useful anymore. For example like if you already have a large white wardrobe, then it is redundant if you insert another big clothing closet. You should always bear in mind that lesser furniture piece in your bedroom will make your bedroom looks brighter. Plus it is much easier for you to clean your bedroom.

Be Organized
Make sure you keep your bedroom item like towels and clothes followed category and storage. Don’t load all your pants and skirts on your bed and later you will also use it as your towel. Be organize and responsible of arranging these items. For example like divide the category of your clothes and costumes and place them inside different compartments into your wardrobe. There are lots of benefits if you are disciplined yourself in this way. Firstly you will get your bedroom clean and organize; and secondly you will not get nervous when you are urgently looking for a dress or shirt. You know where you place them.

Clean You Bedroom Once in A Week
Cleaning is the crucial process of getting your bedroom looks new and refreshing. As far as concern, the cleaning should day at least half a day to make sure all spaces are covered. Beside you are advised to clean your bedroom at least once a week. You can clean the bigger bedroom furniture item with soft cloth and warm water only. However for floor cleaning, you need to use proper floor cleaner. You need to bear in mind that different floors are suitable for different types of floor cleaner. As such don’t missed uses the wrong type of floor cleaner as it will spoil your floor.

How to Update a Traditional Dining Room

Modern dining rooms feature clean lines and contemporary materials such as glass and plastic.
Because dining rooms are usually a separate room, far away from the high-traffic common living areas, they are often overlooked when it comes to decorating. Most people just place Grandma’s antique table — or a reproduction of it — in the middle of the room, add some vases and candles to the buffet sideboard, and close the door until it’s time to have a dinner party. A dining room doesn’t have to be boring and traditional, though. With some easy updates your dining room can be a modern space that reflects your personality — and might actually inspire you to entertain more often.

Instructions

  1. Strip the room down to the bones. Modern dining rooms do not generally have traditional details like chair rails or wainscoting.
  2. Replace outdated light fixtures. Instead of the elaborate chandelier, choose a hanging light fixture with clean lines and a more modern feel. Try a row of hanging pendant lights over the table instead of a single fixture.
    Replace outdated chandeliers with modern light fixtures.
  3. Strip the wallpaper and paint the walls. Choose a warm red or chocolate brown paint for a sophisticated look, or add a pop of color by painting an accent wall a brighter shade, such as bright blue or lime green. A bold pattern, such as stripes or a harlequin design, painted on the wall also makes a bold statement in a modern dining room.
  4. Remove outdated flooring or rugs. Many traditional dining rooms have an Oriental-style rug; trade that out for one with a bold pattern or made from natural fibers, such as seagrass or jute.
    Natural fiber rugs add texture to a modern dining room.
  5. Purchase new furniture. Modern furniture is simple, with clean lines and minimal detailing. Choose a glass- or marble-topped table for a fresh look. If you can’t afford all new furniture, cover your ornate chairs with tailored chair covers, or add a coat of white or brightly hued paint to wood furniture to freshen up the look.
    Modern tables have clean lines and minimal detailing.
  6. Take down the formal drapes, and replace them with simple, clean window treatments. Hang a simple valance or cornice board, or hang sheers or a Roman shade to dress the window. Avoid anything with multiple layers and tassels — the key is simplicity.
  7. Use minimal accessories, and keep them simple. Instead of a large, ornate flower arrangement in the center of the table, display clear glass vases filled with fruit or colorful stones.
    Display fruit in simple containers for a pop of color.
  8. Hang artwork on the walls. Skip the traditional pastoral scenes in favor of more modern, graphic pieces. Display a collection of black and white photographs in simple frames; lean them along a picture rail if you don’t want to hang them. Create your own art with inexpensive stretched canvases from the hobby store. Paint the canvas all one color, or design your own graphic piece with painter’s tape and acrylic paint.
  9. Replace ornate table linens with simple, graphic place mats and table runners. Look for place mats made from unexpected materials, such as wood, beads or leather. Purchase contemporary tableware in untraditional shapes, such as square plates and bowls, which are sold at most retailers, featuring bold colors and patterns.
    Choose unusual shape and colors for modern tableware.

How to find office cleaning contracts?

 

Every successful business person knows that keeping the office and business premises perfectly clean and presentable is part of the formula for running a successful business and gaining new clients and keeping existing ones.

Everybody is impressed by a clean and nice office, so businesses tend to hire professional cleaning companies to provide the cleaning services for them.

Here is some advice for cleaning companies offering office cleaning Bolton or in another area, on how to get more office cleaning contracts.

First of all, you should spend money, time and effort in creating an attractive, believable and persuasive company website, and possibly social network profiles for your cleaning company. Since most of the marketing is done via Internet searches these days, it is a good idea to invest in some search engine optimization (SEO) marketing services for your website to give it a better ranking in Google and other searches, as well as in improving the graphic design and making it mobile friendly, ensure the company has good reviews and ratings in user rating apps, etc.

Of course, apart from the internet marketing, you should make sure you invest in good quality printed promotional materials, such as business cards, fliers, brochures, rate sheets and others.

Then go ahead and spend some time and effort in creating a database of your potential corporate customers in Bolton and the area. Use an Excel table or software for entering the company name, address, contact information, contact names as well as notes in regard to contact history.

Choose businesses which are of the size and rank suitable for the level and capacity of the cleaning services you offer. You can get all business and contact information in the Internet.

After you are done, start contacting all the companies and ask them about their satisfaction with their current professional cleaning services, and offer to give them a free and non-obligatory quote for your professional office cleaning services. You may need to schedule an onsite visit to view the premises and be able to give them a more precise price quote for the services, depending on the number of visits, the preferred time for cleaning, the size of the premises, the type of cleaning required, etc. After you prepare a detailed quote, try to hand it to the person responsible for hiring the office cleaning service personally. Personal contact will ensure you are remembered better by the potential customer.

Write down everything from the contact you have made in your database, and make sure you follow up on the quote. If the customer informs you that they have chosen another variant, there is no shame in asking politely for the reasons. Make sure you get as much feedback as possible, so that you can work on your price or conditions if necessary.

Of course, if the company has chosen your offer, you should get to work immediately with preparing and signing the contract for your office cleaning services Bolton, and start work.

Of course, you should ask for written recommendations from all your existing customers, as well as for referrals. After all, the word-of-mouth recommendation is possibly the most persuasive one.

Learn how you can get fast and effective service with a Toronto plumber

A Toronto plumber is the person to call when your drainage system is malfunctioning. When you are in such a crisis, you want only those who are qualified to assess the trouble and fix it in your home. You have no time for incompetents and time-wasters. Only the most able person should be put on the job.

You can find many toronto plumbers who are able to help you with your problem. However, you should ensure the one you’re working with has the knowledge, skill, and experience to get it done right. Living without a working plumbing system for even a day can throw your life into serious upheaval. It is probably not something that you think about often, but you simply cannot get on with your plumbing system. Everything from the shower you run in the morning to the dishwasher you run at night depends on a working drainage system. Without it, your life cannot be pursued in an orderly and efficient manner.

Plumbers are, in a sense, a line of defense against falling into complete barbarism. If your plumbing system stops working, you will not be able to bathe, clean, cook, or launder. All of the simple things in life you take for granted will no longer be available to you. That is why keeping the contact information of a reliable plumber near you is of such extraordinary importance. You may need such a person to come out quickly and fix your problem.

A plumbing expert can come out to your home as soon as you call. Once there, he can make an exact assessment of where the problem lies, give you an estimate of what it will take to resolve it, and help you schedule a time that he or one of his colleagues can come out and do the work. Such efficient service is what you should expect from the plumber who comes out on the initial service call, and you should also expect your subsequent experiences to be just as tidy.

When choosing the plumber you want to work with, you should be diligent and discriminating. You want to work with a firm that is honest and transparent. You want, in other words, to work with people you can trust. The plumber who comes out to do the work may be in your house for long periods of time. To get used to such a stranger so quickly will require a special effort on your part. He should do his part in making it easier for the feeling to come to you.

Fortunately, it is not that hard to find such plumbing firms. The best place to begin your search is the worldwide web. Using the web will enable you to bring the websites of the various plumbing firms to your computer screen. There, from the comfort and convenience of your own home, you will be able to see for yourself what each one can provide. You will also be able to discern the quality and value that each one offers.

Get the help you need with your plumbing difficulties. toronto plumbers can give you the assistance you need in a very difficult time. Get the details on our website.

Do it yourself home steam carpet cleaning – do’s and dont’s

If you are in the area, it is always recommended to use professional carpet cleaning in Middleton to deep clean your carpets and rugs at least once a year. Yet, some people want to do their own steam cleaning at home in the meantime.

These tips for steam cleaning carpets without professional help will help you achieve better end results and possibly make the cleaning process faster and more efficient.

First of all, you must thoroughly hoover the carpets in all directions before steam cleaning them. Remove or move as much furniture as possible in order to get a bigger coverage with your hoover and to be able to remove as much dirt and dust as possible.

Home carpet steamers do not suck in the dirt, they are carpet shampooing instruments, and so make sure you follow these steps to get the best results.

You can buy a steam cleaner or rent one, but what actually washes the carpets is the cleaning solution used with the water in the steam cleaner.

If you have visible stains on the carpet, it is a good idea to proceed and remove them before the steam cleaning, because otherwise, the stain will actually come back after the carpet dries up from the water extraction cleaning. So, make sure you remove the stains with stain removal solutions or with natural cleaning products.

After you are done, try removing as much furniture as possible before using the steam cleaner, and if it isn’t possible cover the feet and bottom parts of the furniture with aluminium foil to prevent the water to be absorbed in them.

Then you can proceed with the cleaning. If you are planning on using a washing detergent, it is always advisable to test it first on a hidden spot on the carpet.

You can then go on and mix the solution with the water in the machine but always follow the instructions of the producer. After you shampoo your entire carpet, you can wash it out with a second go-through of the carpet but this time using a 1:1 water and white vinegar mix.

While performing steam cleaning make sure you get as much of the used water out of the carpet when cleaning, because wet carpets can become the cause for the growth of mildew, mould and a very foul smell.

This is the reason why carpet steam cleaning, especially non-professional, should be done in the warmer months of the year, so that the drying process can be faster and more effective.

Overall, deep cleaning your carpets is the only way to ensure that all of the dirt, residue, harmful residue, germs and all horrible stuff jammed into your carpets is removed. You should perform such a deep cleaning at least once in every 12 or 18 months, or more often if you have allergies or other health conditions such as asthma. Remember to ask your cleaning company whether they offer upholstery and mattress cleaning as well.

Deep cleaning your carpet, mattresses, upholstery will not only ensure you get fresher and healthy air in your home, but will also improve the way your carpet and furniture looks and increase their durability.

The bacteria which can live comfortably in your bedroom calls for some serious mattress cleaning

In the majority of houses, the most expensive items include the carpeting and the mattresses. Unfortunately, these are the places where most of the dirt, dust, germs, allergens, dust mites and a bunch of other horrible stuff is lurking. Fortunately, there are good and reliable carpet cleaners as well as companies for upholstery cleaning in Tameside, which can ensure that your carpets, furniture and beds are thoroughly and efficiently cleaned.

Recent studies performed by the NYU Langone Medical Centre found that a square inch of an average carpet has about 200,000 bacteria, as compared to the 500 bacteria found in the same area of your toilet.

Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that more mattresses in homes are being invaded antibiotic-resistant bacteria and viruses, which no doubt can be dangerous for your health and wellbeing.

Some of these nasty bacteria and germs include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus which often attacks mattresses and carpets, especially if you or your children train or work out actively. These bacteria are resistant to penicillin. This can lead to the development of MRSA which leads to horrible rashes and fever and can become chronic and untreatable over time.

  • Campylobacter – bacteria which can appear in the winter days and can lead to a very serious disease called campylobacteriosis, with symptoms like bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, cramping, and fever.

  • Norovirus — it causes symptoms which look like food poisoning. These bacteria can live in your mattress or carpet for up to six weeks.

  • Micrococcus a bacteria which can cause serious skin infections, lead to septic shock or meningitis which are all potentially deadly conditions

  • Different types of fungi and mould can invade your mattresses or carpets, especially when left damp. These are strong allergens and can cause serious allergic reactions, breathing problems and irritation, and even death.

  • Enterococci —the bacteria naturally resides your intestines but certain types may cause some serious infections some of which untreatable.

  • Other bacteria — hundreds of other types of bacteria can invade out carpets and mattress and cause harm to us and to our children.

These are the scary facts, but there is a solution to limiting this danger by regular cleaning and hoovering your carpets and mattresses. Also, use washable mats for the carpets and washable mattress pads and cleaning them regularly.

It is recommended to bathe or shower before bed to reduce the chance of infecting your mattress and also shower in the morning to remove any bacteria you may have gotten during the night.

It is recommended that you purchase a new mattress every ten years too.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to call a professional cleaning company which offers deep mattress cleaning on a regular basis, especially if you are allergic or have other health problems.

How to Use Upholstered Furniture to Update Your Home’s Style

 

There’s no need to spend a lot of money in order to transform a drab nook or living area. If you own an upholstered chair, for example, one that comes with a refreshing take on the old-meets-new style, then position that strategically to instantly enliven a plain-looking corner of your home.

A little bit of imagination plus loads of inspiration spurred by stunning interior design visuals scoured from Pinterest or from websites like Gormans.com, where upholstered furniture worth investing for are continuously on offer, are all you need to update your home’s style. Here are expert tips for using upholstered furniture to bring character, sophistication, and comfort to your home.

Ethnic Patterns and Prints

Say goodbye to boring beige and classic neutrals. Culturally aware choices are infinitely far more satisfying. They can even serve as interesting conversation pieces. A smart move toward incorporating upholstered furniture with bold ethnic patterns and prints is to start with a few pieces at a time, most especially if you have a small space. Too many prints and bright colors in small spaces can be jarring to the eye. A wing-back chair re-upholstered with a fabric that have Moroccan or tribal patterns, for instance, can serve as a focal point and add drama to an otherwise plain room of mostly earth-toned furniture pieces. Don’t restrict yourself to sofas and chairs, because there are other types of upholstered furniture you can use to play around with striking ethic patterns. Think of headboards and ottomans that double as coffee tables.

Textured Styles

The wide range of upholstery fabric options gives you the chance to have fun and experiment with textures. You can decorate with upholstered furniture that use corduroy or ribbed fabrics. Even when sporting mute tones, richly textured upholstered pieces exude an air of luxury. If you own an upholstered easy chair with gorgeous textural details, then consider arranging it with modern furniture made of metal, glass, or Lucite. The latter effect can be sterile and can do with a touch of warmth from a downright homey piece of vintage-looking upholstered chair done up with a textural fabric.

Synthetic Fabrics

Upholstered pieces that are meant to go on the seating area of your patio can be brought indoors, and they can be as eye-catching as those made of natural upholstery fabrics like leather. Long-wearing dyed acrylic textiles can easily mimic the look and feel of tweed and toile. They are also resistant to fading and liquids. So, when you decorate with upholstered furniture, welcome those that are upholstered with engineered materials. Utah State University has a guide for choosing upholstered furniture.

Scale and Relative Sizes

When deciding the placement of upholstered furniture, always consider the size of the room where you are planning to put it. An overstuffed upholstered sofa can seem overwhelming in a small living room. But there are ways to deal with small spaces and still enjoy the comfort of and tastefully decorate with upholstered pieces of furniture. Is the floor darker compared to the walls and your large sofa? The contrast of dark floor against light-colored furnishings and walls can make a room look spacious. Also, choose an upholstered seating with legs, because the visible legs can add a spacious feel to an otherwise cozy room.

 

Five Common Plumbing Problems and How to Fix Them

We all come across a number of plumbing issues when we’re going through our normal day. Because of that, there are a lot of people who are always trying how to fix the most common problems. Let’s take a look at five of the most common issues in plumbing and how you can deal with them.

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  1. Clogged drains. There are a lot of people who end up with clogged drains. A number of people have different solutions for this; everything from baking soda and vinegar to just using a plunger like you would if you were unclogging the toilet. You may also have to clean out the trap that is located under your sink in order to get everything out.
  2. Leaks in a tap or faucet. Your tap or faucet may be leaking. It may be something as simple as the main part of the faucet needs to be replaced, or it could be a problem with the hot and cold parts of it. Look around to see where the leak is and replace if necessary.
  3. Clogged toilets. The plunger is the obvious answer, but if it seems to be something where it’s not filling as it needs to be, it could actually be a bit worse. You may need to replace some pipes in order to get the best results for what you’re doing as well. On top of that, the ball or flusher may be broken, so check and replace that as necessary as well.
  4. Water heaters not working correctly. Your pilot light may be off; you may just need to relight it so that it comes back on. There may also be pipes or other things that you can’t get working correctly, of which you’ll have to fix as well. In the worse cases, you may have to figure out if the tank is being odd.
  5. Water won’t turn off. Uhoh, this is the worst issue that you can deal with. If the water won’t turn off, go to the main turn off in your system in order to ensure that you’re going to be able to get things to do what you want them to. Then, look to see what has broken and make the appropriate replacements. You may have to call someone in if you can’t see where things are supposed to be going or need to be fixed or replaced.

If you are ever in a plumbing situation that you can’t get out of, then you can trust Benjamin Franklin Plumbing to take care of it for you. Contact us today to learn more about the issues at hand and to make sure that you’re going to be able to achieve your goals when it comes to getting your plumbing working the way that it should. We will get someone to you as soon as we can in order to ensure that you have the best service for your needs.

Ideas for Painting a Dining Room Table & Chairs

Create a modern dining room table from an old garage sale find.
A dining room table and chair set that appears scratched or worn is actually a valuable garage sale find. By refinishing the surface and updating the furniture, an old dining room set can turn into a grand dining room set. Before selling your current dining room furniture, consider refinishing the surface and adding a modern feel to it to refresh the room without the cost of purchasing a new set.

Refinishing

  • Refinishing is the process of washing, stripping and sanding furniture to apply a new paint finish. Dining room tables and chairs can take on a new stain in a darker or lighter tone than the previous stain or be repainted with a flat paint finish for a new look. For example, try changing a cherry-stained dining room set to a dramatic black or bright white to add a more modern look to a dining room.

Fabric Accents

  • Solid-wood dining room chairs can be awkward and uncomfortable to sit on. Adding padding to the seating will make them more comfortable, and will also add a new look to the furniture. Purchase premade padded seats from craft stores and stretch colored fabrics over the chair seat to hold the padding in place. Secure the fabric on the underside of the chair seat using fabric glue or a staple gun.

Opposite Colors

  • A dining room table does not have to be the same color as its chairs. Dining room sets with opposing colors add drama and depth to a room. Try pairing bright white dining room chairs with a deep black dining room table. Vinyl-covered purple or blue chairs can also pair well with black or white tables. Mix and match different colored chairs within a set, such as a red, blue, green and yellow chair with a wood-colored table to add a colorful mix to a dining room.

Faux Finishes

  • Faux finishes add depth and warmth to a room’s walls, but can also be applied to a dining room table. Popular styles for dining room sets include antiqued looks that have a base color that cracks through the surface of a top coat. For example, a deep bronze color can show in the cracks of an antique white finish. Purchase a faux finish kit made specifically for furniture, not wall surfaces, from a local home-improvement store.

Lighthouse Themed Decor

If you love the romanticism of a lighthouse, you might want to use a lighthouse theme to decorate part of your home. With many lighthouse-themed items available, you can turn a bedroom, den, or bathroom into your own shoreline. Of course, pictures are always handy but you can find even more unique items such as jewelry boxes and miniature models.

Using several different types of lighthouse items, you will create a full experience rather than just a single focal point on a picture. Using a three-dimensional lighthouse plaque can had depth and texture to an otherwise bland wall. Even the coloring of the items can be useful. Instead of choosing the traditional red and white, you choose a color that blends in with colors of your choice.

You can add even more creativity by including items related to lighthouses. If you are decorating a bathroom, the soap dish could be in the shape of a rowboat. Lotion dispensers can also reflect theme as well as toothbrush holders and other items. Instead of a traditional picture, you can mount a piece of stained glass decorated with the lighthouse theme as if it were a picture.

Other rooms can also incorporate the theme. The bedroom can make use of bedding with the lighthouse and shoreline theme. A beautiful clock with a picture or a sculpture can accent the wall. Many shoreline items such as shells, boats, and nets could also serve as accents in the bedroom. One shelf I have seen is enclosed in the shape or a rowboat standing on end. With this cute shelf, you can set lighthouse shaped candles and other trinkets out to help carry the theme. A fishing net would fit the theme as it is draped above the bed.

If you want to share your passion over lighthouses with your guests, the living room can display unique lighthouse decor. You can place items that you have collected on the occasional tables in the room. A large sofa painting could balance the room with a beautiful shoreline scene. You don’t have to limit yourself to the traditional decorations, either. A lighthouse-shaped floor lamp would be a great addition. You could even find an old wooden pilot’s wheel and place glass in the center to create a unique coffee table.

Your lighthouse decor does not have to stay inside. Of course, the paintings won’t hold up, but you can add lighthouse yard decorations to your flower garden or walkway. Birdhouses and fountains in the shape of lighthouses will bring your theme outside for all to see. You could create a potted plant garden in an old rowboat or recreate a rocky shoreline with a rock garden. Whichever form of lighthouse decor you choose, you can find many items to help you share your love of lighthouses with others.

Modern Living Room Decorations

Living Room Wall Decorations

The living room usually serves as the central meeting area in the home. This is where your family gathers at the end of a long day and where you entertain guests when they come to visit. The decor of this room should reflect your personal style and tastes, as well as how you want your friends and family to perceive your home. A modern living room should be welcoming and functional, while emphasizing space and color. Modern decor is a great way to give your home a sophisticated feel.

Color

  • Modern decor emphasizes bold splashes of color set against a neutral background. The walls and floors should be white, off-white or gray. You can then continue this neutral theme with white or black furniture. Add color in the form of bright throw pillows, rugs, art and accessories. If you need a little more color in your room, consider a brightly colored couch with black and white throw pillows instead. To get the same effect with colored walls, your furniture and accents should all remain black or white, which can offer fewer options for accessories.

Furniture

  • The hallmark of modern decor and design is sleek, functional furniture with strong, smooth lines. When it comes to seating, however, you should keep comfort in mind as well. Try to avoid sacrificing a comfortable couch for an ultra-modern design. Glass coffee tables and end tables work well with a modern decor. Black or white furniture is better than a wood finish with this style. Rather than hiding your electronics in a cabinet, feel free to leave your big screen TV and other gadgets on display, as long as the cords are well concealed and nothing looks cluttered.

Lighting

  • One of the most important aspects of modern decor is proper lighting. Avoid such quaint features as flickering candlelight and lanterns. Track lighting is ideal for a modern look. This will allow quick and easy adjustment when you want to highlight various aspects of the room. Use several layers of lighting so that you have an ideal setting for any occasion, from movie night to cocktail parties and everything in between. Lighted display cases are another excellent way to make sure that every aspect of the room is properly lit.

Art

  • No modern living room would be complete without a few excellent pieces of modern art. The specific selection should be left entirely to your own taste. Select a piece that you truly enjoy, and that will enhance the overall decor of your living room. Once you have your pieces selected, be sure that they receive proper presentation. Don’t place your artwork in dimly lit areas of the room. Make sure that each piece is well lit, and doesn’t suffer from glare. Depending on the size of the room, you may be able to incorporate two or more large pieces, however, it is important not to clutter the room. Allow each work enough space to be properly appreciated in its own right.

Accessories

  • In any living room, the small touches are what defines the family that lives there. In a modern living room, it is important that the space doesn’t look cluttered. Allow plenty of open table space, and arrange shelves neatly and precisely. With that in mind, there’s no reason that modern decor can’t display your personal interests. Frame family photos in sleek black or white frames, and even consider some artsy black and white photos. To emphasize technology a little more, use digital photo frames. If you have a lot of straight lines in your furniture, use rounded accessories and rugs to soften the space. If you have rounded furniture and tables, incorporate some straighter lines in the artwork and accessories to keep a sense of balance in the room.

How Remodeling Can Bring Value to Your Home

There are several ways you can increase the value of your home, but perhaps the most effective way to do so is to remodel it. You should consider home remodeling in Phoenix to update the appearance of your home. You will also enjoy the benefits if you are thinking about selling as a remodel that is done well will attract an array of buyers.

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Before you consider a remodel, it is important to select a remodel and home-building expert that has experience in the field; doing so will take the stress off of your shoulders as they walk you through the process. Some builders will offer their customers a satisfaction guarantee on their work and warranty it as well. These are important things to remember when looking for a builder, so don’t forget to ask a lot of questions.

A good builder will be there for you throughout the entire remodel process. The following are steps you can expect throughout the journey.

On-Site Consultation

Whether you know exactly what you are looking for in your remodel or would like some expert insight, participating in an initial meeting will help get everything in order.

Your consultation will begin as an assessment which will allow for you and your builder to get on the same page. You can express your needs and desires for your remodel and what you are hoping to get out of the process. At this time you will let your builder know your budget to let them know what you are working with and how they can get the most for each dollar you have to spend.

The Process

As you and your builder begin to map out your design plan, you will be able to see how the process will proceed. You will be given a timeline for your remodel and given expectations for each step that will occur. Throughout the process, you can make changes, but it is important to note that in doing so your timeline may be adjusted accordingly and you may experience a later date than you had originally anticipated.

During the design and building process, you will select colors, finishes, and additions that you would like. If you are looking to update your home to create a place of comfort for you and your family, make sure to choose things that you all will enjoy to create a home atmosphere that is pleasing to everyone.

If you are remodeling to sell, selecting options that are less specific to one taste will help to make your home appealing to a wider range of potential buyers and make it more marketable in general.

The Final Product

The process you will go through with your builder will ultimately lead you to a finished product that you can enjoy and be proud of. Whether you are adding on to your home, finishing a basement, or simply making updates throughout to bring the home up to date with current trends, you will enjoy your remodel more when you work closely with your builder to make sure that everything is coming along as you had imagined.

If you are looking for an alternative to moving, especially if you love your home and location, you should consider the option for home remodeling in Phoenix as a great way to bring value to your home for your own personal use or for a potential sale in the future. And remember, when selecting a builder for your remodel, select one that has proven success in the field and can provide you with a satisfaction guarantee to assure that you love your newly improved home.

Bathrooms: Pattersons’ moody palette

An intimate space.

Careful lighting and a darker palette create moody intimacy in this bathroom by Pattersons. Davor Popadich explains how they achieved the intimate quality without sacrificing function and utility.

Hackett Street bathroom by Pattersons. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

HOME What made you choose a dark material palette for this bathroom area? Davor Popadich, Pattersons We wanted the space to feel intimate. Bathing being such a personal and intimate activity we wanted to scale the space down by using darker tiles and soft, filtered light. HOME How did you manage lighting in the space, both natural and artificial? Davor Popadich We love natural daylight and in this case we wanted to filter it as much as possible to create a more intimate feel. For night-time bathing, we have specified dimmable uplights behind the bath to soften the light and minimise glare while in the bath. Artificial lighting is functional, aesthetically matches other lighting elements in the house and is fully dimmable. HOME What do you think makes an ideal bathroom?Davor Popadich It’s a balance between intimacy and utility. Bathrooms are on one hand very intimate spaces yet on the other require a great deal of utility and practicality to function well.Design details Tapware Boffi from Elemento. Bath Boffi from Elemento. Vanity Boffi from Elemento.Lighting Viabizzuno lighting from ECC. Tiles ‘Rak’ floor and wall tiles from Heritage Tiles. Mirrorcustom-designed by Pattersons.

Whole house on show

Objects from the Whole House Reuse project go on display (+VIDEO).

In September 2013, volunteers and a professional salvage crew painstakingly dismantled a Christchurch house at 19 Admirals Way that had been red-stickered for demolition. Each piece, removed by hand, was cleaned up and catalogued in order to represent the vast quantity of materials that comprise a home. Then came the design stage, in which artists and makers were invited to transform the materials into new objects.

This collection of objects will form an exhibition to run at Canterbury Museum. Visitors to the exhibit will see the work of master carver Brian Flintoff, as well as fine jewellery, furniture and toys, and many more works by some of the country’s finest designers and craftspeople. In August, around 200 art and objects will then be auctioned for charity.

“By taking one whole house and fully deconstructing it we could show firstly the huge scale of the materials and the volume of reusable material that was just inside one fairly standard house. And if we did that, we could then also engage a whole lot of thinking around those materials and what they were and their provenance and get creative minds thinking about those materials as valuable resources.” – Juliet Arnott, project founder and director of Rekindle, which facilitated the project.

From June 5– August 23, a final exhibition of the Whole House Reuse Project will be on display at the Canterbury Museum.

Whole House Reuse exhibition. Photograph by Guy Frederick.

Whole House Reuse exhibition. Photograph by Guy Frederick.

Whole House Reuse exhibition. Photograph by Guy Frederick.

Whole House Reuse exhibition. Photograph by Guy Frederick.

Whole House Reuse exhibition. Photograph by Guy Frederick.

Whole House Reuse exhibition. Photograph by Guy Frederick.

Whole House Reuse exhibition. Photograph by Guy Frederick.

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Bathrooms: from a timber-lined escape to cave-like drama

Sublime sanctuaries.

There is simply no excuse for a basic bathroom. These five from Patterson Associates, Assembly Architects, Herbst and Wendy Shacklock run the gamut from intimate, dark spaces to light and bright renovations – inspiration for every style and budget.

Bathrooms by Patterson Associates.

1. Shelter from the norm – Seascape House, Banks Peninsula, Patterson Associates

HOME Your first diagrams for this house consisted of “a bed and a fire and a cave to fit them in”. How does the bathroom fit with that program?
Davor Popadich We wanted the bed and bath to look directly onto the rocky ocean outcrop, sheltered in the cave.

HOME The rest of the house has sweeping views, yet this room is hunkered against the rock wall – how did you include the view?
Davor Popadich A narrow glass opening leads onto the spa terrace and provides the view and light to the bathroom. The bath itself, basin and WC behind are positioned in such a way to allow for an outlook.

HOME This house is all about the experience – it’s a retreat rather than a home and it’s about enjoying nature, the sea and its raging storms. How does the bathroom manifest that?
Davor Popadich It builds upon this experience while providing a greater degree of privacy and intimacy. The cave-like environment adds to the feeling of shelter, yet the light and view allow connection with the outdoors.

HOME You’ve long worked with stacked stone walls. What is it about them that appeals?
Davor Popadich We strive to make our buildings connected to their local environment and economy by using as many locally sourced products and craftspeople as possible. The stone requires a lot of effort to be laid but its beauty, richness of texture and the stonemason’s pride are well worth the effort.

Design details

Bath Boffi.
Tapware Boffi spout.
Rock wall Built by Brayden Sullivan with stone from the property’s quarry.
Floors Local bluestone tiles and concrete.
Artwork The piece above the bath is ‘Solstice Lei I’ by Emily Sidell.

2. View to thrill – Scrubby Bay Farmhouse, Banks Peninsula, Patterson Associates

HOME The property is a contemporary interpretation of a classic New Zealand farmhouse. How did that affect your design of the bathroom?
Davor Popadich We wanted the experience to be authentic and genuine. The gable form extends into the bathroom as well as the macrocarpa timber lining and flooring.

HOME It’s not huge and the fittings aren’t showy. How did you make the space feel special?
Davor Popadich Ample natural light and the home’s volume and materiality add to the overall experience, as well as the ability to open the sliding door for the view and fresh air. Big timber shutters allow for privacy and intimacy when needed.

HOME How different is it designing bathrooms in a house that is intended only for occasional occupancy?
Davor Popadich No different. Bathrooms can and should be beautiful and practical regardless of frequency of use, size, budget and location.

Design details

Bath, tapware and mirror All by Boffi.
Cabinetry Macrocarpa crafted by Alsop Joinery.
Flooring Oak and local bluestone tiles.

Photographs by Simon Devitt.

3. Enduring edge – Wright Family House, Arrowtown, Assembly Architects

HOME This might be the family bathroom but it’s still special. How did you achieve that?
Louise Wright It is a simple, spacious and practical room. Most things play a dual function – the bath is also the shower, the shower curtain shields the toilet, the bathroom is also the laundry. The shape and form of the bath is interesting – we like the geometry of the circle in the room – and the monochromatic materials are really textured, but simple. The floor and bath are all tiled in the same material, a rumbled Carrara marble.

HOME Showers over baths are notorious for getting water everywhere. Is this one better?
Louise Wright The curtain falls from the ceiling to the base of the shower, which is much larger than a regular bath. With the curtain wrapped around it creates a lovely space – the light is softly diffused and it is private, quite a contrast to a tile and glass shower. Not a drop of water gets out. On the other hand, when it is used as a bath with six kids in there…

HOME The connection to the outdoors is a nice touch – how does this work in practice?
Louise Wright The family bathroom is also the laundry and a sort of back door and mud room. The doors open out to the reserve and to our side yard – the clothesline, the compost. The glazed doors are partially obscured for privacy, but we can still see out to the mountains and sky. The view is to the peaks in the west and the sunset.

Design details

Bath Converted concrete drain raiser.
Tiles floor and bath in rumbled Carrara marble from Penguin Ceramics, bath top in honed Carrara marble from Che Stile.
Showerhead Progetto ‘Flow’ rainhead from Edward Gibbon Plumbing Plus.
Lighting ‘Metro’ LED ceiling light and ‘Plan’ LED recessed wall lights from Lighting Plus.
Wall cladding and paint Shadowclad groove in ‘Quarter Merino’ Spacecote by Resene.
Curtain rail Custom MacTrac Pro powdercoated curtain track Shower curtain by Catherine David Design.

4. A step in time – Heke Street House, Auckland, Herbst Architects

HOME The bathroom is the only room you’ve changed – why did you pick this one?
Lance Herbst The Butynol roof over the bathroom wore out and developed a slow leak. To repair it we had to remove the entire ceiling, parts of the wall lining and parts of the floor, so we took the opportunity to renovate the room.

HOME How much did you incorporate Mitchell & Stout’s original design?
Lance Herbst We didn’t change that much. The bath and stainless steel shower base are original and unchanged and the position of the vanity, toilet and bidet are also the same. The language of materials was isolated to the bathroom itself and didn’t appear anywhere else in the house – brightly coloured vinyl on the floor and brightly coloured melamine to the vanity, bath surround and medicine cabinet as well as bright blue wall tiles in the shower. So we decided to bring the bathroom into line with the rest of the house – vanity and wall-hung cupboards made of tawa veneer, the floor in cork, which is very similar in appearance to the particleboard flooring found in the rest of the house. We then introduced a white mosaic on the walls and bath surround, which is in keeping with the white painted walls and ceiling of the original bathroom.

Design details

Tiles Bisazza glass mosaics in white.
Tapware Cox by Paini.
Cabinetry Tawa vanity and veneer boards by Johannes Erren Cabinetmakers with a Corian top.
Mirror Custom made with silvering sandblasted off the back where the strip lights are fixed.
Lighting Concealed strip lighting under the vanity.
Flooring The original particleboard was deteriorating and has been replaced with ply overlaid with cork.
Stool ‘Butterfly’ stool by Sori Yanagi for Vitra.

Wendy Shacklock bathroom. Photograph by Samuel Hartnett.

5. Sense of drama – Te Kohanga House, Waiheke Island, Wendy Shacklock

HOME Te Kohanga is a house that offers both an amazing view and a sense of containment because of its exposed position. How did you incorporate these elements into the bathroom?
Wendy Shacklock Both bathrooms in the house are 4.5 metres long, with one end (the shower) all glass looking out to the view, and sliding door access to the outside – it’s great if you’ve had a swim at the bottom of the cliff. The rooms offer both containment and connection. They have been finished to enhance the unique experience of the house as a whole – they have the same folded cedar ceiling, for instance. The floor and walls are in honed stone tiles – they subtly pick up tones from the site but have a very sophisticated, luxurious finish.

HOME There is a moodiness, almost a darkness here – how did you balance practical concerns with that sense of drama?
Wendy Shacklock The lighting can be moody or it can be functional – I really dislike brightly lit bathrooms when I’m getting ready for bed. The daylight is very good and the mirrors angle to allow light to your face.

Design details

Bath Villeroy & Boch.
Tapware Vola Sink and toilet Duravit.
Tiles Floor and walls in honed stoned from European Ceramics; white mosaics surround the bath.
Lighting All from Inlite Ceiling cedar.
Cabinetry American Oak and Trendstone.

Art Deco Bedroom Styles

Art Deco is still one of the most sought after design schemes especially for bedrooms. The simplistic glamour and sleekness of art deco design makes it perfect for a striking bedroom scheme. Art Deco was characterised by it’s bold yet simple and deliberate shapes, attractive ‘patterns’ and neutral luxurious colour palette.

The Art Deco period was one of sophistication and glamour with a quiet air of extravagance and money. Glamorous with an eclectic mix of textures and designs summed up this sumptuously design forward look. The Art Deco bedroom was one that made a feature out of the bedroom no longer leaving it just for sleeping but rather a room for spending time, relaxing and luxuriating in. Moving the bedroom on from a place for your bed and to sleep in left room for the introduction of a wider range of pieces of bedroom furniture. For instance the bedroom was no longer just for a bed but there were armchairs, chaise lounges, writing desks, feature lamps, rugs and screens.

A portrayal of wealth and affluence was significant of bedroom furniture design from the Art Deco period which originated in Europe in the early part of the 20th century particularly taking precedence after the Great War and symbolising the 1920s and 1930s.

The Art Deco movement in bedroom furniture showcased the varieties of wood that could be utilised and the different look that each type gave to the overall feel of the room. Some of the most popular choices were Violet Wood, richly vibrant in colour originating from Brazil and also known as Kingwood. Ebony and Mahogany because of there striking colours and their connotative indications of affluence and expense were also popular choices for bedroom furniture in an Art Deco room.

Wood played a huge part in the Art Deco movement being shaped and formed into exquisite patterns and shapes, often combined with other pieces of furniture in a mixture of textiles such as in an armchair with a wood inlay. Another trend was the massively popular parquet flooring of the 20s and 30s which was a geometric pattern of wood giving a much sought after wood effect which is still a popular choice of flooring today.

The Art Deco bedroom colour scheme was one of two facets from the luxurious, natural colour palette of cream, monochrome, dove and gunmetal grey to strong geometric patterns and striking sunbursts. Often the richer colours were used as accents in an Art Deco bedroom with the fabric of a dressing table stool, or cushions on an armchair or bed linen being a slightly bolder more striking colour choice than the walls or larger pieces of furniture which were often wood anyway.

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Five reasons to listen to Julie Eizenberg

Inspiring LA architecture master visits New Zealand.

We’re bringing a big name in architecture to New Zealand in March, and you’ve got to come and hear her talk! Los Angeles-based architect Julie Eizenberg is the international member of our three-person Home of the Year 2015 jury and she’s going to be speaking in Auckland and in Christchurch. Here are five reasons to come along and be inspired:

The outdoor screening area of the Sobieski House in Los Angeles, designed by Koning Eizenberg Architects.

Inside the Sobieski House by Koning Eizenberg Architects.

1. She designs fantastic homes.

We love the Sobieski House in LA, designed as a series of pavilions for a family of four. It uses thrifty materials to create spaces that allow the way the family uses them to evolve over time. There’s also plenty of room for their art collection. Also, who wouldn’t want to live in the light, airy and just plain beautiful Hancock Lofts?

Inside the Hancock Lofts in Los Angeles by Koning Eizenberg Architects.

2. She has an Antipodean sensibility. 

Originally from Australia, Eizenberg moved to Los Angeles in 1979 and established Koning Eizenberg Architecture with fellow Australian Hank Koning, who is also her husband. The firm has gone on to win more than 90 awards and a reputation for rule-breaking, eco-friendly design in everything from private residences to libraries, hotels, museums and medium-density affordable and social housing. Says Eizenberg: “There’s something about coming from New Zealand or Australia that means you look at things with a fresh eye.”

The Sobieski House is made up of four casually-but-carefully arranged pavilions.

3. She’s mastered the loose-limbed Los Angeles style. (And she’ll explain what she thinks that is). 

Eizenberg may be Australian, but she’s come to be regarded as quintessentially LA in her design approach. Her firm’s “taste for combining frugality and verve in the same project, and for juxtaposing serious architectural ideas with informality and references to Pop Art, flows directly out of a singularly LA tradition,” wrote Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, in an article on the firm. In 2012, Eizenberg won the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Gold Medal in recognition of lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

Koning Eizenberg took charge of the redesign of Los Angeles' Standard Hotel.

4. She doesn’t just plan buildings, but thinks about the way cities are put together. 

She is a frequent advisor to the US Mayor’s Institute on City Design, lectures around the world, and comes to us fresh from a stint as a super-juror at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore.

The Belmar Apartments, an affordable housing development by Koning Eizenberg Architects.

5. She’s a pro at designing social and affordable housing. Architecture is accessible!

The theme of her talk is ‘Opportunity Hides in Plain Sight’. Some of her most-praised designs have involved the development of affordable homes, all with a strong eco-friendly emphasis.

Koning Eizenberg Architects redeveloped Los Angeles' 28th Street YMCA, a heritage building, and added a wing of affordable apartments.

Eizenberg hasn’t visited New Zealand since she was a kid, so we’re looking forward to showing her the work our architects have been creating. She’ll give lectures in Auckland (on March 2 at the Fisher & Paykel Auditorium at the University of Auckland) and Christchurch (March 4 at lecture theatre DL at CPIT). Tickets are $20 ($15 for subscribers and students) and you can buy them here. We look forward to seeing you there! (Architects get 10 CPD points for attending).

Julie Eizenberg of Los Angeles' Koning Eizenberg Architects.

Our thanks, as always, to our Home of the Year sponsors, Altherm Window Systems, for making Julie Eizenberg’s visit possible.

Bathrooms: a perfectly partitioned ensuite

One to three.

Rare in New York apartments, this home has a large ensuite bathroom that feels both spacious and private. Here, New York artist Anthony Goicolea tells why this bathroom designed by Janet Cross is so successful.

New York City bathroom

HOME A big bathroom was part of your brief for the house. Why so?
Anthony Goicolea I love the bathroom. It’s the only room in the house where you can shut the door and people respect your privacy. I feel I can unwind and relax in the tub or shower – it’s very calming. In New York a large bathroom is a luxury.

HOME Which design elements enhance this feeling of calm?
Anthony Goicolea It’s where I start my day, so I wanted the bathroom to be airy and light. The shower is an open walk-in shower with a large skylight overhead. It feels great to shower with the morning light streaming in.

HOME What are the features that have been most successful?
Anthony Goicolea I love the open flow. Nothing is closed off, but there’s still a sense of privacy. The showers are on the other side of the wall from the sinks, so they feel separate, even though they’re not. The toilet is separated by a partition so that you don’t see it if you’re soaking in the tub, showering or using the sink.

I’ve always wanted a bathroom large enough to put a daybed in – that’s why I created a retractable wall that opens up into the master bedroom. I didn’t have quite enough space in which to comfortably place a daybed, so opening up the bathroom to the bedroom was the next best thing. After a long hot bath, it’s nice to lay down for a few minutes and cool off.

Design details

Flooring Quarter-sawn oak hardwood with a marine-grade varnish.
Bath Victoria & Albert.
Basin Ikea.
Tapware Ikea.
Strip lighting Restoration Hardware.
Artwork (above towel rail) Timothy Wilson.

Richard Naish’s first family home

 The 2015 HOTY winner also designed this 2011 finalist (+VIDEO).

Richard Naish of RTA Studio won the Home of the Year award in 2015 for the design of the house he built for himself and his family in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn. In fact, this wasn’t his first stab at designing such a home. The first home he designed for his family, just across Grey Lynn Park, was a finalist in our 2011 Home of the Year award. Here’s our story and video of the Naish-Hotere family’s first home from our Home of the Year 2011 coverage.

It is safe to assume that a large portion of New Zealanders have lived in a bungalow. It is less safe to assume that they enjoyed it. For awhile, these mass-produced bungalows had certain romanticism even though most people found them to be damp and cold.

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Richard Naish and his wife Andrea Hotere had lived in plenty of these houses but hadn’t necessarily had their fill: when they purchased property in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn, where this new home now stands, they were prepared to keep the old bungalow that originally occupied it. “The initial plan was to gut the old bungalow and make it a large living area, then add a kids’ wing,” says Richard (the couple have three children, Jack, Alice, and Holly). Then they not only realized that the bungalow’s low ceiling height wouldn’t suit a large open-plan living space, but that it would cost only a bit more money to take full advantage of their double-size site by wrapping an all-new home around a generous courtyard. Confirmation they had made the right call came in the months that followed as Richard, co-founder of the Auckland architecture practice RTA Studio, stayed up nights in the bungalow’s study completing the working drawings for their new home. The house was so cold that winter that he wore his puffer jacket every night as he worked.

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In these circumstances, you might expect a new home to be designed against the old bungalow’s inhospitability, but this is not the case. Sure, the new house Richard designed is warm and spatially generous in ways that most bungalows are not, but it is also a home that respectfully acknowledges its ancestry while confidently forging its own path. “I’m interested in demonstrating that you can create something that’s seriously modern and forward-looking that’s also contextual and sympathetic and right,” Richard says.

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He already has a reputation for doing just this. RTA Studio is admired by contractors like Raleigh Roofing for designing buildings that manage to be modern and sensitive to the scale of their neighborhoods. It is a difficult tightrope to walk – something about the idea of fitting in suggests inoffensive blandness, something to which Richard does not aspire. “I’m always trying to make a subtle reference to context because if it’s overplayed it looks obvious and clumsy,” he says.

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When it came to designing his own family home, one of his first steps was to treat Andrea as a client. She wrote “a fairly trusting brief,” she remembers. “I wanted something that felt tranquil and peaceful, with spaces for us all to be together and also to do our own things. And I wanted walls to hang paintings on rather than entirely windows.”

Richard’s design spreads the main wing of the house thinly along the edge of the site in the same relatively close proximity to the footpath as its neighbors, a gesture that, with a low fence made of recycled posts, maintains the rhythm and intimacy of the street. Yet there is no mistaking that this is a contemporary home: the roof pitch and its weatherboard cladding appear to be attempting to emulate the neighbors, but the long form and square windows look more like a child’s drawing of a house than the real thing. Screens made from laser-cut panels featuring an abstraction of a pattern borrowed from the fretwork of a nearby villa add unexpected decoration and a sense of intrigue about what might be going on inside.

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Indeed, the house is hiding secrets from the street, including a flat-roofed volume further back on the site containing bedrooms for Jack, Alice and Holly that is connected to the main part of the home by a living area and TV room that also opens onto the courtyard. Just off the main living area is a new take on the outdoor room, a space with a fireplace that is open to the courtyard and veiled from the street by one of the aforementioned perforated panels, whose patterns cast beautiful shadows on the wall in the afternoon light. (Richard has travelled extensively in the Middle East, where he was fascinated by the contrast of busy city streets and cool, tranquil courtyards).

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This game of revealing and concealing continues in the kitchen, which has an island bench in the open but most of its working space hidden behind a timber-clad wall. Richard confesses to being a messy cook, and appreciates the luxury of not having stacks of dishes visible from the dining table after the couple’s regular dinner parties. Upstairs is what Andrea calls a “luscious, grown-up retreat”: the couple’s bedroom and an adjacent mezzanine lounge separated from the living room downstairs, but not so much so that it feels isolated. Instead of a bungalow’s linear rooms-off-hall arrangement, this is a house of layers and complexity, a place designed for a family to grow into, somewhere to hold their collective memories without ever feeling cramped.

How to Decorate a Dining Room With Black Furniture

White walls and a modern chandelier enhance contemporary style.
Black dining room furniture can accommodate almost any decorating style and palette. Choose decor to enhance the room’s existing architectural features and the mood you wish to convey. From loud and contemporary to quietly traditional, your personal preference determines the decorating path for your dining room with black furniture.

Walls and Ceiling

  • Buttery yellow walls help to mellow the mood in a dining room furnished with black furniture, while pristine white walls intensify the stark contrast against coal-colored pieces. Bring a playful color punch to your room by applying apple green paint to the walls for a delicious complement to black furniture. Gray-toned walls deliver a calming neutral ambiance when paired with black pieces, whereas salmon-colored walls offer a warm, earthy feel. A white ceiling with crown molding sets off any wall color and adds outstanding color contrast against black furniture.

Windows and Lighting

  • Give your dining room showy panache when you hang floor-length luxurious draperies in a silky gold-colored fabric over bare windows. The black furniture and gold-toned draperies create the posh atmosphere found in a five-star restaurant. Or, install energy-efficient white cellular shades for a no-nonsense window dressing that brightens a dining area furnished with dark-colored furniture. A chandelier can steer a dining room toward a specific decorating style. For example, hang a rustic wrought-iron chandelier over a black dining table to enhance Tuscan decor. Alternatively, suspend a magnificent chandelier with sparkling prisms above the table for a posh, elegant look. The glistening crystals and rich black table make a well-dressed pair.

Furniture

  • Break up a black dining set by intermingling a few colorful dining chairs. Exchange half of the existing dining chairs for upholstered replacements in a different style. Choose bright red chairs to boost the visual energy of a subdued black table, or add a calming atmosphere with sage green upholstery. Go wild over leopard prints to add an exotic flair to black dining chairs. You can stencil small motifs and designs on other black furniture, such as sideboards, china cabinets or serving carts, to create eye-catching pieces. Use a paint for your stencils that stands out against the black furniture: gold paint adds elegance; silver paint suits modern decor; and off-white paint complements cottage appeal.

Decorative Accents

  • Define your decorating style in a dining room furnished with black furniture by incorporating the right decorative accents. For example, hang an oversized colorful abstract painting on a bare wall to emphasize contemporary style. Place a gray area rug dotted with a geometric pattern under your dining table and center a trio of streamlined silver candlesticks in varying heights atop the table. Accentuate traditional design with vases of fresh flowers, crystal candlesticks and bowls, linen tablecloths and ornate picture frames encasing soothing prints. The traditional accessories make a sophisticated design statement against black dining room furniture.

Inspiring Kitchen Remodeling Ideas with Low Prices

Changing the furniture and decoration of your kitchen may consume a large amount of money. However, there are several ways to reduce the amount of money you can pay for remodeling your whole kitchen or just certain parts of it. Let’s discuss some of these solutions.

If you have good quality furniture pieces in your kitchen, you can keep them and purchase only the most needed furniture pieces. The old furniture can be painted the same color of the new furniture pieces and you can change the doors with the hinges to give the place a unified and simple look. If it is necessary to change all of your kitchen furniture, you can visit the secondhand stores and choose the best and most durable furniture pieces that will be certainly with low price. You can read the advertisements in your local newspapers to purchase the used furniture pieces directly from its owners.

You can change only the damaged furniture pieces and begin a DIY project to customize the new cabinet shelves according to your needs and budget. Such a project will need a few more time and effort, but you can ask about the technical hinders that may face you at any specialized website. You can purchase the doors that will match your kitchen style.

If you need just to remodel the look of your kitchen, you can purchase a sparkling natural stone countertop and incorporate a few glass surfaces into your kitchen to add a touch of modern look to the place. The elegant decorative ceiling lights at the center of your kitchen will draw the eye upward and let you set different moods in the place. The reflective backsplash with under cabinet lighting fixtures will totally change the look of your old kitchen.

Inspiring Kitchen Remodeling Ideas with Low Prices

Little Known Benefits of Replacing the Carpet in Your Home

If you are living with old and dated flooring, then now is the time to consider investing in new carpet in your Tempe, AZ, area home. In addition to making things look better, you will also enjoy the following little known benefits of new flooring:

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  • Better for allergies: This is important for everyone who suffers from allergies of any kind. Whether it is an animal, a certain kind of food, or items found outside that get your nose running and your eyes puffing, you will likely find traces of these irritants in the fibers of your carpets and rugs. When you replace the older flooring in your home, you will be removing this buildup of allergens and releasing your body from the strains of living around them on a daily basis.
  • Fewer germs: In addition to allergens, the fibers of your carpeting also hold onto a lot of other negative things. Germs get nice and cozy in your flooring, making the old adage about bugs being snug in rugs far more true than you would like it to be. Replacing your carpet will help to cut down on the amount of germs you and your family are exposed to every day.
  • More endurance: If it has been a while since you have installed your current flooring, then there are a lot of good advances in these materials that you are not enjoying. Much of the new material being used to make carpeting products are far more endurable than they used to be. The new designs and textures are easier to clean and harder to damage, making the new flooring an excellent investment for a home with children, pets, or high traffic.
  • Acoustic benefits: Noise is something that can make a large space feel small and frustrating. Acoustics that are right for you and your family can be found by adding the right texture of carpeting in the right places. This is something that many companies are well aware of. Talk to them about your needs in this area, and they can help you choose the right products and the right placement to reduce the needless noise in your home.
  • Unfaded colors: No matter how careful you are, exposure to feet and sun will fade the colors in your carpeting. The only way to repair such damage is to replace the carpet. If you are noticing some faded areas in your flooring, then the only real fix for this is to get new carpeting.
  • Better smell: Fabrics like to hang onto smells, and despite the claims of certain cleaning products on the market, it is not easy to remove smells from your carpeting. This is especially frustrating if you are trying to potty train a pet, have a loved one who smokes, or have recently moved into a house that has unknown and unpleasant smells. Replacing the carpets can lead to a much better feel and smell in your home.

In the end, purchasing new carpet for your Tempe, AZ, area home is something that can improve your life in some pretty significant ways. If you are like most people, then you have never equated new flooring with improved health or better sound control in your home. While new flooring can greatly enhance the physical appeal of your home, there are many other important benefits of this kind of home improvement project.

Sam Smith’s picks for the architecture film festival

More highlights from the nationwide fest.

No, we don’t mean that Sam Smith, but our Sam Smith: our senior designer and stylist, who’s picked her favourite films from the Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival 2015 programme. The festival starts at Rialto Cinemas in Auckland (May 7-20) before moving to Wellington’s Embassy Theatre (May 28-June 10), Dunedin’s Rialto Cinemas (June 11-21) and Christchurch’s Academy Gold (June 25-July 08). Download the full programme from the link, and make your bookings soon! Here are Sam’s five favourites from the fest:

Ian Athfield with his sons, Zac and Jesse, on the roof of their Wellington home. Photograph courtesy of Tony Athfield.

1. Architect of Dreams
Ian Athfield designed so many iconic and extraordinary buildings in New Zealand, and this 2008 documentary is an unmissable chance to celebrate his work and his stamp on New Zealand’s visual history. His voice and vision for alternative but appropriate cultural and social designs has intrigued even the most uncreative New Zealanders and has left a legacy for years to come.

Mies van der Rohe's Haus Tugendhat in the Czech Republic is the subject of a new documentary.

2. Haus Tugendhat
The story of this iconic modernist house and its inhabitants promises to be an interesting and exciting journey set in the Czech Republic. I have a soft spot for early modernist work, particularly that of Miles van der Rohe, so it will be a treat to follow a house’s history that epitomises the movement’s values of social utopia and pure functionalism. The home was designed for Mies’ affluent and open-minded clients, the Tugendhats, and the film documents the role the house played in a time of turbulence, injustice and optimism through its inhabitants and users.

3. Gray Matters
As a woman who defined and influenced the modernist movement in the early 20th Century through furniture and architectural design and competed with the most successful men of that era, I’m looking forward to this showcase of the life of a designer who never received the attention she was due in her ground-breaking career.

A building by Brazilian modernist Sergio Bernardes.

4. Bernardes
This promises to be an exciting look into the fascinating and entertaining life of Brazilian modernist architect Sergio Bernardes, known for his playboy and elite lifestyle, but also his thousands of elegant buildings designed throughout his career. I’m looking forward to finding out how his radical and controversial social ideas eventually led to his fall from grace. This film by his grandson documents his prolific life and investigates his eventual anonymity.

5. Slums: Cities of Tomorrow
As a sixth of the world’s population live in a slum or some sort of informal dwelling, the documentary will take us on a visual journey through the communities that are built and developed over a series of different continents, cities and cultures. This form of public housing is purely designed and built by its inhabitants with limited resources, taking inspiration from their cultures and landscapes surrounding them, while fighting the various governments that constantly try to eradicate the slums. I think it’ll be an interesting look into the lives and communities that are built in these dwellings. Also, it’s pertinent given that the common problem of housing shortages is set to continue to grow, even in our own backyard.

Improve Your Bedroom D?cor With Distressed Furniture

A great way of getting a rustic, vintage look in your home is by using distressed furniture .There are lots of distressed pieces you can find on the market for every room in your home.You have the option of getting one or two pieces for a touch of age, or to model your entire room with distressed items for your interior decoration theme.
Distressed bedroom furniture is perfect for a Victorian theme. Apart from distressed beds, there are also dressers, armoires, chests of drawers and bedside cabinets for your bedroom as well. Now the question is: H.ow do I get these distressed bedroom items?
Types of Distressed Pieces of Bedroom Furniture
First of all, you should know which types of distressed items for your bedroom are in the market. The key types are artificially distressed pieces and naturally distressed pieces.These two have different qualities and prices which need to be considered before you buy any distressed piece.
Naturally distressed pieces are those which get the vintage or rustic look due to genuine aging processes. Due to this quality, most of the naturally distressed pieces will most probably be antiques and hence more expensive.If this is what you prefer, make sure you verify the history of the piece before you make your purchase.
Artificially distressed pieces, however, are more affordable and you still get the same rustic look in your bedroom.You will still need to take caution so that you do not get a man-made distressed item at the price of antiques. In order to avoid this, you should shop for distressed furniture from the right places.
Where to Purchase Distressed Bedroom Items
Start from the Internet to find either type of distressed furnishings.You will encounter the words “shabby chic” when looking for distressed items, which basically refers to artificially distressed items painted white or cream.Painted distressed pieces do add a very classic French look to your bedroom, so do consider them when doing your shopping.
After your initial Internet search, you should go to your local furniture store to buy your distressed pieces. At the store you have the chance to examine the distressed bedroom items for yourself, and if you prefer, you can order for your own unique pieces to be made for you. When shopping, you should look at the actual size of the furniture to fit in your bedroom, the details in the painting, and other accessories to match your choice of distressed bed. If you are buying your distressed pieces from an antiques store, consider these factors very carefully.
Once you buy your distressed bedroom furniture, you now need to know how to arrange them in your bedroom and what kind of bedding go well with the pieces. The distressed bed is often the main focus in the bedroom, with the rest of the distressed pieces surrounding it.
You can then use pastel-colored bedding if you have the shabby chic distressed furniture, or go with rich colors like red, deep brown and dark green for brown or black rustic furniture.Remember that there is always room for creativity with distressed furniture, so use these pointers to redecorate your bedroom with the perfect classic pieces.

How to Create a Comfortable Entertainment Space in Your Home

No one who’s ever been a fan of home theatres – or theatres in general – can argue with the idea that one’d be better off without it if the cinema can’t even offer cinema-quality seating. From eclectic apartment arrangements to a luxurious and rather dramatic home theater imitating Parisian opera interiors, your home theater will be a special retreat, given it’s been planned for comfort too.

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While the packages offered at quality stores such as Home Cinema Center are quite convenient for a newbie, everyone ideally should have an idea of what the seating comfort with respect to their home theater seating should be.

Material

Having the seat’s material as per the design scheme set up in the surrounding environment is important, but the comfort level it provides, particularly for long periods, is even more so. High-quality leather makes for a solid investment, but then there are different cuts and grades allowing for different texture and feel, not to say the aging process of your theatre seating that the material is available in.

Full grain, top grain, and bonded leather are some terms you may come across when shopping for your theatre seating. To put it simply, the full grain hide has all the natural markings (leather’s never perfect) to show it’s a genuine piece and not affected much by processed, whereas the top grain is the outermost section that is strong and durable. Bonded leather, which is the latest addition, is more than 80% synthetic leather, and therefore, despite the grain look, lacks the same quality or the ability to get better with age as real leather.

Other alternatives include faux-leather and fabric upholstery.

Ergonomics and Amenities

This depends more or less on how you want to configure the space, that is, whether you are inclined towards the traditional or whether you prefer the trends for an updated and modern home theater seating.

For the former, you may get the classic flip-up actual cinema seats. For the latter (available more easily from the plethora of both brick-and-mortar shops or via e-commerce sites such as Home Cinema Center), you may opt for anything from plush rows of seats to single chairs.

More often than not, these come with built-in cooled and lighted cup holders, buttkickers, large storage compartments, and drop-down backs for a makeshift side table, often even featuring electronic adjustability, heat, and massage at the touch of a button! Any guesses why your child or the guests you had invited over don’t want to leave their seats? Stretch, slouch, eat, and enjoy – with the flexible designs, the seating is not only space-efficient and handsome, but also comfortable.

To plan the entertainment space in your home well, check the dimensions to see whether they allow for aisles of free movement too. Also, by getting a variety of entertainment seating options in terms of softness and firmness for everything from theater seats to recliners and love seats or couches, movable or mounted, you ensure everyone’ll have a seat comfortable for them.

Bedroom Furniture For The Modern-day Bachelor

Decorating a bachelor’s bedroom can be a challenging task as it demands showing off the true personality, lifestyle and personal taste of the bachelor occupying the bachelor’s pad or apartment. Choosing the right furniture from a wide collection of beds, bedroom bed frames, mirrors and dressers, nightstands, couch and many more, is critical to achieve the mannish detail that fits the lifestyle and design taste of the bachelor. And depending on what design statement the bachelor wants to exude in his bedroom, design may vary from contemporary, rustic, minimalist or traditional. In the same manner, the furniture that goes inside the bachelor’s bedroom will depend on the bedroom design.

A bachelor’s pad or apartment should exude a statement of masculinity and this can be achieved by choosing the right bedroom furniture from the bed, dresser and nightstand. Color plays a big role in keeping the masculine effect of the bedroom. Hues of blue, brown, black and white are the usual colors used for bachelor’s bedroom. And all furniture in the bedroom should complement the room’s color motif. An important piece of furniture is the bachelor’s bed – it should be of the right size, comfortable mattress and one that will provide a restful sleep. The usual bed size picked by bachelors for their bedroom is a king-sized bed, as long as the pad’s or apartment’s space will still allow a good flow of movement within the room. In terms of masculinity, wood beds seem to be the favorite and appropriate for their pad.

Another important bedroom furniture that most young men need to have in their bachelor’s pad or apartment, is the wardrobe closet or armoires to supplement the built-in closet space in the room. Men invest a great deal of their time and money in keeping their good appearance through their wardrobe. Hence, they should have enough space to put in their suits, trousers and jeans including storage space for foldable clothes. While these may seem not important to some men, for those who are meticulous with their clothes, an organized storage of clothes in wardrobe closets and storage drawers is very important.

The bachelor’s bedroom can also have nightstands as a convenient place to put their knick-knacks like alarm clock, keys, glasses, phones, loose change and other gadgets. There are many modern designs that will suit the character of the bachelor. Folding tray table or accent console table with drawers are some of the more modern forms of nightstands. And while nightstands may not be a necessary bedroom furniture in a bachelor’s pad, they can be a beautiful addition to the room.

A bachelor’s pad should have the right furniture and complementing decorative and accent pieces to complete the desired design statement and character. Where curtains can be replaced with neutral blinds, art décor pieces like a sculpture or an artwork highlighting the living room or bedroom may replace jars and other feminine accents usually seen in many homes. Most importantly, it should offer comfort and homey ambiance that will make men come home every night seeking its serene and quiet solitude.

Bathrooms: Classic meets contemporary

Black and white.

The client brief for this Wellington cottage was to create a “workable bathroom” in the confined space. To overcome this challenge, William Giesen of Atelierworkshop explains how they introduced natural light to open up the room. Giesen also tells how they decided on their colour palette and his views about good bathroom design.

South side cottage bathroom

HOME What was your brief for this space?
William Giesen, Atelierworkshop To add a proper-sized bathroom to the cottage, as well as a separate toilet. The site was tight and the house was confined by a retainin­g wall to the south, so we provided a sense of space with the use of skylights and a high window onto the garden at foliage height. These decisions brought sunlight and a small view into this south corner of the house.

South side cottage bathroom

HOME How did you choose the colour palette and materials?
William Giesen We knew our client would like something clean and graphic, though not too dark. To make the most of the sunlight and to counteract the southern aspect, we needed some white. The cottage required something with an old accent while also having a contemporary sensibility. Black and white classic hexagonal mosaic tiles met these requirements.

HOME What do you think makes a good bathroom?
William Giesen Sunlight, views to the outside, privacy, natural ventilation and ease of circulation – the same rules that apply to the rest of the house.

This barn-red Home of the Year finalist charms all who visit

Red box. Green soul.

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

A homage to playfulness, this red cube on a Titirangi hillside is like a sculpture made with oversized Lego bricks. Its presence amid the greenery is surprising, yet the contrast somehow speaks of place – and almost everyone who visits is won over by its cheerful form and hue.

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Slender, sky-seeking manuka and kanuka populate the section which, beyond the shared drive, drops into a valley. Keeping light-footed on the land was a priority. “We wanted to remove as little bush as possible,” explains architect Ken Crosson of Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects. So the house was placed on poles at the flattish top of the site. “The builders worked with a 1.5-metre margin around the structure.”

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Owners Blair and Janis Marler Harkness asked for a modest dwelling, a place to embrace their values of living with just enough – although Janis was still set on squeezing quite a few possessions into the small place. Janis is an artist who works from home while Blair, a journalist, broadcaster and communications advisor, trains and cycles into the city to work. To make the design cost-effective, the architects used a palette of affordable materials, coaxing from them a much richer experience.

Thank the design deities that CCCA’s original idea of a black box was dispensed with. Rescue came cloaked in a red coat, a corrugated-iron cladding, which effectively dodged the drab. Convincing the owners to take this colourful road less travelled was easy; convincing the council was a different matter. Crosson: “We argued that ‘barn red’ was part of the district plan on Waiheke Island, so why not here?”

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

To ensure interest within a restricted material palette on the straight-sided form, the house was made “dynamic in its skin”, an effect achieved by twisting the rippled sheets to create a pattern of vertical and horizontal lines. Crosson sketched the random design by hand for this patchwork of steel. “I had a sense of where we needed to get to. It was intuitive, a gut instinct,” he says.

Entry is via a timber boardwalk which extends to a small cantilevered platform – a compact space for coffee and contemplation. Inside, plenty of function was required within the 6 x 7-metre template over three floors. At the base are two bedrooms, one with built-in bunks for visiting grandkids. The only bathroom has a low-set louvre window – a vantage point for taking in the ground-level perspective of trees as they emerge from the earth. The laundry tucks into a cupboard alongside Janis’ studio, where a Perspex slider on the east-facing wall allows natural light into the small room.

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Up a set of narrow stairs, the second storey is devoted to open-plan living, dining and general mayhem. The third level is a roof deck which hovers at tree-top height. All up, there are 90 square metres of interior action in the tight architectural programme.

What steel is to the outside of the home, pine is to the interior. Akin to a shipping crate, the ceiling, floor and walls are all lined in ply. This humble material fits with the homeowners’ philosophy of leaving any pretension on the mat laid out in front of the re-purposed, black-lacquered front door. This is a house brimming with art and personality. “I am a maximalist,” laughs Janis. “I can spoil any space you let me into.”

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

At the top of the stairwell, she has tacked the tongue-in-cheek New Year’s resolutions of her 18-year-old granddaughter and her friend. Scrawled on a paper towel, these shun the usual aspirations: “try liver” is one, “stop growing” another.

Within the main zone, the cross-section view takes in a tapestry of trunks. The challenge was to get enough light onto this level and, along with a band of black-steel windows, skylights on the northern edge draw sun into its heart. Janis is a fresh-air fiend; in summer she likes to hear the birds and so the double-glazed windows are open. Manuka blossoms drift in on the breeze.

Assorted memorabilia from the original Marler factory, the women’s fashion shoe manufacturer that is part of Janis’ family heritage, is jammed in amid an all-encompassing display of art. “Living here is not for the faint-hearted,” she says. There is method and order of a kind. The ironing board is a sore point – the only laundry item that is reluctantly allowed a presence on this level.

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

Rimu storage drawers that once housed cobblers’ tools are re-purposed on the kitchen cabinetry and a built-in TV unit. Some of the strips of timber were angled in a wedge to become handles on the door fronts. Green glass bottles march like troops along the kitchen window sill and are filled with pantry staples. “Dad sailed across the Tasman on Logan racing boats and used these for storage stacked on top of each other in the bilge,” says Janis.

On the western face of the home, Crosson designed a pop-out space with floor-to-ceiling glazing that breaks the regularity of the façade and is clad externally in plain solid steel.

The southern elevation, where the stairwell projects, has a glazed roof that follows the angle of the stair but continues way above the roof line. It’s a jaunty glass enclosure, an aesthetic curiosity that is vented to act as a heating-cooling chimney. The roof deck, under all-day sun, overlooks the leafy canopy – an eyrie for humans. In summer the grandchildren pitch a tent on its wooden surface: fledglings in the nest. To anchor it, they tie the guy ropes to “great big water bottles” Janis explains.

Photograph by Simon Devitt.

After many years of apartment living on the city fringe, the owners are thrilled to be reacquainted with the bush and bird life. They camped inside their home before it was finished, cooking on the wood-burner, listening to the dawn chorus from bed and laughing at the everyday spectacle of a whirling cat as it tried to catch cicadas. This connection with nature they describe as “priceless”. Red box. Green soul.

Step inside our new issue

Editor Jeremy Hansen talks up our interiors special.

Our new cover was photographed at an Auckland home by Julian Guthrie, and features a chair by Rossanna Puglietti for Giorgetti from ECC, a rug from Siggada Kilims, a brass tray by Tom Dixon and ceramic accessories from Everyday Needs. The 'Dama' side-table is by CR&S Poliform from Studio Italia. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

It’s that time again, people: our new issue hits newsstands Monday June 1 – which has the added bonus of being a public holiday, giving you hours more time to browse our pages on what is hopefully a relaxing day off for all of you. Here’s editor Jeremy Hansen to talk you through the highlights of the issue.

The Hobson Bay House by Julian Guthrie features in our new issue. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

Inside the Hobson Bay House by Julian Guthrie. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds. Production by Amelia Holmes.

Our new issue celebrates great interiors, but it’s not at all about prescribing rules for creating a successful space. In fact, the lineup of homes in our new issue is incredibly diverse, moving from the large and rather splendid home on our cover by Julian Guthrie (above) to a petite, irresistible Shepherd’s Cottage on Canterbury’s Annandale Farm, recently restored by the architecture firm Pattersons (below). (The cottage is also available for holiday rentals at annandale.com).

The Annandale Shepherd's Cottage on Banks Peninsula, recently restored by architect Andrew Patterson. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

The point of all this is that we don’t want to dictate how an interior should look, but show you the good things that can result when you work with what a building is telling you. That might sound a bit woo-woo, but hopefully you then see the TriBeCa loft (below) of New Zealander Grant Biggar, recently renovated to a design by New York-based New Zealand architect David Howell, and you’ll know what we mean. The building’s saying something like, I’m in downtown Manhattan and I’m feeling glamorous – and David’s design is responding perfectly to that, don’t you think?

Inside a TriBeCa loft designed by David Howell. Photograph by Emily Andrews.

More variety, as we move from the urban bustle of Manhattan a far less densely populated part of the world: the mountainous surrounds of Lake Wanaka, where Richard Naish (the designer of our 2015 Home of the Year) has designed a home of recycled native timbers and stone inspired by the landscape around it (below). The interior is a mix of sustainably harvested beech (the ceiling), local schist and recycled totara (the walls), and we think it’s beautiful.

The Emerald Bluffs House by Richard Naish. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

Inside the Emerald Bluffs house by Richard Naish. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

So we’re showing you that great interiors can be created in spaces large and small. In this issue, we also introduce you to New Zealand graphic designer Nik Clifford and his partner, Jenny Miles. They’ve moved frequently in the past few years, from London to New Zealand and now to New York. We visit their rented Brooklyn apartment (below) to test their claim that it’s possible to create a memorable interior with little more than a couple of suitcases of possessions. Turns out, they’re right.

Nik Clifford and Jenny Miles in their Brooklyn apartment. Photograph by Emily Andrews.

We’ve also got a special 24-page section focusing on kitchen and bathroom design, with advice from the designers of each of these spaces about their process. Bathrooms like this one (below), by Julian Guthrie make us love the idea of taking a long weekend soak with our favourite magazine (we’d take HOME, but all of us have read it at least five times before it goes to press and remain terrified of finding any errors once it arrives in the office, so we might have to choose a substitute).

The ensuite bathroom in the Hobson Bay House by Julian Guthrie. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

And kitchens like this beauty by David Howell (below) make us feel like slow-cooking something delicious. We also like the way he’s created a social area around the island, cleverly demarcated by the large orange-lined lightshade by Francesco Rota above. We hope you find the kitchens in our special sections, and the rest of our new issue, similarly inspirational.

A kitchen by New York-based New Zealand architect David Howell, in our new issue. Photograph by Emily Andrews.

5 Simple Ways To Decorate Your Dorm Room

It’s your first time away from home. College may be a little scary to you. You get your own space to share with a bunch of other people making it feel like a 24-7 sleepover. But wait. You like sports and your roomie likes movies. How in the world will you decorate your room?

Posters

Enter the poster. Posters have been around for hundreds of years. They provide color, themes and cover wall space to perfection. If the poster you choose is especially important to you get it framed so that it lasts longer.

Something Special From Home

So posters are the first way to decorate. Second, did you have something really special in your room at home, say a trophy or ribbon you had won? Just having that in your room will help give you the security and confidence you need to succeed while you are away at college.

Stereo

Third…How about your stereo? Bringing your own stereo to college along with your CD collection can make you one of the popular kids on campus. After dinner and before studying blast those tunes down the hall and get everyone dancing away their energy and having fun. Then everyone can settle in for an evening at the books.

Stuffed Toys

Fourth…Did you have a special stuffed animal or stuffed toy on your bed at home? This is more for the girls than the guys obviously but if it was a stuffed animal that your best friend or little brother had given you it will have a unique place in your heart so give it a special spot in your dorm room.

Hats

Fifth…Hats! For the guys, a collection of baseball hats will tell everyone about you and your favorite teams. Some hats may have pins you collected as you went from event to event. Imagine having a Yankees cap with pins of each of their World Series Championships. You would certainly stand out in a crowd of baseball fans. Maybe you were on a trip and picked up a new cap. That could start a conversation with a new friend. And with baseball caps you can buy an inexpensive hanger to put on the back of your closet door, keeping them in one place and readily accessible.

Decorating your dorm space at college is extremely important. It will make you feel at home (as best you can) and it will be a quiet and familiar place you can return to at the end of a busy school day. Think about what you want to take away with you and make decorating the first thing you do when you arrive. Get that dorm room looking and feeling like your home for the school year.

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DIY Plans for Building a Dining Table

Use good-quality wood to build your dining table.

A dining table is the focal point of any dining room. Its size dominates the area, and its style dictates the style of the rest of the room. It is not only a place to eat but a place to serve food and even a place to decorate. The dining table truly sets the tone for a meal.Building your own dining table is not difficult, but it takes time and effort–and good-quality wood.

Size

  • Dining tables can be built to complement any furniture style, but your primary consideration should be its proportions. Start with the table itself. Ask yourself if the thickness of the top is appropriate for its size. You certainly don’t want a tabletop that looks more like a piece of paper or a mere chunk of wood. Make sure the thickness of the top and the legs, plus the width of the apron, are all proportionate to each other. Thick tops should not sit on delicate legs, nor should thin tops be dwarfed by massive aprons.

    These proportions should then be viewed as a unit. Be certain the tabletop’s size is proportionate to its height. One reason dining tables are usually large affairs is that a small table may appear too tall. But you must also take care when building a wider one, because you don’t want a large table that looks fragile.

    Finally, consider how the table fills its space in the room. It should not be too small compared with the room’s other furnishings, yet you must allow enough room for diners to move around the table, even when others are seated.

Legs and Apron

  • The legs of a dining table can be straight, tapered or turned. However, it is traditional to leave the top of the leg square so it can be more easily joined to the apron pieces.

    While the legs of farm tables can be attached in many acceptable ways, formal dining tables must incorporate a certain level of sophistication in their construction. This generally means mortise-and-tenon joints. A tenon is a “tongue” of wood that is sculpted from the apron piece and fits into a mortise, which is a slot cut in the corresponding leg. This allows the apron to appear almost molded to the leg. In addition, mortise-and-tenon joints are very strong.

    Some craftsmen add a block to each corner of the apron-and-leg assembly, to add further strength and stability. The cut ends of the corner blocks are beveled at a 45-degree angle, then bolted to the leg and screwed to both apron pieces. If you do not wish to attempt this sometimes-tricky bracing method, ready-made metal brackets are available to simplify the job.

Tops

  • Dining table tops are generally made from glued-up lumber that’s been planed and sanded smooth. Furniture-grade plywood is another possibility, but the edges cannot be left exposed. If plywood is used, the edges must be banded. Edging tape can be employed, but it runs the risk of being knocked loose if someone bumps against it.

    A better solution is to use lumber that matches the plywood veneer. Depending on the size of the table, lumber “strips” of perhaps 3 or 4 inches in width can be glued to the long edges of the table. then similar pieces can be glued along the narrower edges, covering both the plywood and the lumber edges. The grain on this piece usually runs “across the grain,” which gives the end a finished look while adding some detail and interest to an otherwise plain top.

Finishes

  • There is no standard finishing method for dining tables, other than choosing something elegant. Paint may work for a farm table, but not for a dining table. Choose an appropriate stain and, if appropriate to the room’s other furnishings, multiple levels of a clear-coat finish to make the table more durable and easier to clean.

Holiday homes to (temporarily) call your own

A roundup of top summer rentals.

You want to get away for the weekend. But your long-held dream of a holiday home of your own has yet to materialise. The good news is, there’s no need to complain about the fact that you don’t have your own bach, because it’s also possible to hire one for the holidays. This roundup features a few of our favourites from around the country that we know are available for rent – of course we can’t guarantee they’re all still available for peak-time summer bookings, but there’s also nothing like a late-summer break, don’t you think?

Great Barrier Island - Fearon. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

Oruawharo Cottage, Great Barrier Island

This two-bedroom hideaway on Great Barrier Island was designed by Tim Hay and Jeff Fearon of Fearon Hay, with interior architect Penny Hay working on the interiors. It’s cosy, simple and has a sensational view of Medlands Beach and the hills beyond. After the short flight (or longer ferry ride) to Great Barrier from Auckland, you really will feel a million miles from everything while staying here.

Book Oruawharo Cottage here.

First Light house. Photograph by Paul McCredie.

First Light House, Waimarama, Hawke’s Bay

Originally designed by students from the School of Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington for the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC, the First Light House has since made a triumphant return home, being sold to a couple who have relocated it to a magnificent site above Hawke’s Bay’s Waimarama Beach. So if you’re feeling like a fabulously eco-friendly escape (the home generates all its own electricity, and returns surplus to the grid), we highly recommend you book it right away.

Book First Light House here.

David Berridge, Otama. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

Otama House, Coromandel
This dream bach in the Coromandel was designed by New York–based architect David Berridge as somewhere to come back to when he visits New Zealand. The rest of the year, this beautiful house with ocean vistas and afternoon sun is available for holiday rentals.
Book the Otama House here.

Millar Road cottages

Millar Road cottages, Hawkes Bay
There are two cottages at Hawkes Bay’s Millar Road (near Havelock North), both designed in 2002 by Nick Bevin of Wellington’s Bevin + Slessor to evoke memories of New Zealand river and lakeside baches of the 1950s and 1960s with their relaxed layouts and simple forms. Inside is a great range of New Zealand furnishings and art, and it’s just a short trip from the cottages to vineyards including Craggy Range, Black Barn and Clearview Estate. There’s also a swimming pool on site.
Book Millar Road cottages here.

Lake Waikaremoana cabins

Lake Waikaremoana cabins, Urewera National Park
The Department of Conservation calls these charmingly modest cabins “chalets”, but let’s not quibble about the details. Designed in 1978 by one of the country’s most revered architects, the late John Scott, the corrugated-iron cabins have compact open-plan interiors and are just a minute’s walk from the shore of the beautiful lake and the many walking tracks of the Urewera National Park. Just up the road is the (currently mothballed) Aniwaniwa Visitor & Information Centre, also designed by Scott.
Book Lake Waikaremoana cabins here.

The Cellar Master's Cottage

The Cellar Master’s Cottage, Hawke’s Bay
Surrounded by vines and only a limestone-paved path away from Craggy Range’s Giants Winery, The Cellar Master’s Cottage, designed by John Blair, is a wine-lover’s oasis tucked under Te Mata Peak. The set-up of the two-bedroom cottage suggests that cooking is an option, but we might also suggest savouring the local vintages at the vineyard’s Terroir restaurant, just a short stumble away.
Book The Cellar Master’s Cottage here.

Bay of Many Coves

Bay of Many Coves, Marlborough Sounds
The Bay of Many Coves is technically a resort, but one made up of a number of small, jewel-like baches designed by Marshall Cook of Cook, Sargisson, Tarrant & Pirie. The result is a village of self-contained dwellings congregated unobtrusively on a hillside overlooking Queen Charlotte Sound. Each unit has its own kitchen, but you might be more tempted by the restaurant beside the jetty or one of the resort’s two cafés.
Book Bay of Many Coves here.

Ahu Ahu Villas

Ahu Ahu Villas, New Plymouth
Designed by Taranaki’s favourite architects, Boon Bhaskar Goldsmith, using hardwood wharf piles, century-old French clay tiles, lattice windows and other recycled items, the Ahu Ahu Villas are actually much less ramshackle than they sound. In fact, these strong and charming buildings are the perfect fit for a magnificent location on a cliff looking back towards Oakura Beach. There’s no better spot from which to enjoy the wild west coast.
Book Ahu Ahu Villas here.

The Gray Bach

The Gray Bach, Ngawi, Cape Palliser
The best way to face the southerlies that pummel Ngawi, the small fishing village near Cape Palliser (an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Wellington), is in a building made of concrete, which is precisely what Studio Pacific Architects’ Evzen Novak created with this very modern take on the seaside cottage. The furniture inside doesn’t quite match the promise of the exterior, but the one-bedroom bach has a log fire, a generous kitchen, and huge windows to watch the sea through, rain or shine.
Book The Gray Bach here.

We will update this list as new houses become available for bookings, so check back next time you’re planning an escape from the city.

How to Design a Kitchen and Dining Room

Design a kitchen and dining room for practical flow and timeless style.
One of the most profitable home projects is redesigning the kitchen and dining room as complementary rooms. Although modern “open floor plan” kitchen and dining rooms may not suit your style or budget, there are design alternatives to making separate rooms work together in a functional and visually pleasing manner.

Do Your Homework

  • Take accurate measurements of your kitchen and dining room and transfer these measurements on paper, to scale, to create an accurate floor plan. Purchase several sheets of vellum paper at a local office supply store. Lay a sheet of vellum over your floor plan and tape or tack the two sheets together so they can’t shift. You’ll be able to see your floor plan lines through the vellum.

    Use the vellum paper to experiment with different design concepts. Experiment with removing non load-bearing walls to achieve a more open floor plan look. Play with relocating large fixtures like the sink or stove. Make small scale-models of items like tables and chairs and move these models around on various test designs.

Kitchen Designs

  • Follow the basic “rules” of kitchen design—but not too strictly. All “rules” for home design are becoming more liberal, but there are a few principles that still make sense on a practical level. For example, the best kitchens employ a “magic triangle” in terms of location of the sink, the stove, and the refrigerator. All three of these elements should be located so a cook can take the fewest number of steps between each feature during meal preparation.

    Plan for the special space needs of refrigerators. You need at least 24 inches of clearance for a “passing lane” when the refrigerator door is opened. If your current refrigerator door blocks the pathway when opened, and you can’t relocate the refrigerator to another part of the room, one solution is to switch to a space-saving side-by-side model.

    Find space, if possible, for an always-useful kitchen island, even a small one. The general rule is that you need a minimum of 30 inches of aisle clearance between the island and any sidewalls or counters to avoid crowding the space. Test trial island sizes by taping the island out on your kitchen floor and walking around it.

Kitchen and Dining Room Locations

  • Locate a dining room next to a major entrance to the kitchen to reduce the need to carry hot foods too far from stove to table. Counter/bar pass-throughs from the kitchen to the dining room can be ideal. They can also serve as a handy buffet space. At the same time, design your kitchen with a good view, either through a window to the outdoors and/or into a family room. The cook should be able to interact with other people while preparing a meal. Tearing out non load-bearing walls, entirely or only partially, can achieve this feature.

    Think of practical solutions for screening off the kitchen from the dining room during meals: no one wants to look at a messy kitchen during the dinner hour. This can be difficult in open floor plan designs. Consider leaving or placing one wall between the dining room and the kitchen for this screening purpose.

The Decorating Stage

  • Take your final design plan and notes to a kitchen and home design center for help with choosing floor finishes, cabinets, and countertops. Your initial “homework” will make the process go much smoother, and you’ll have more control over the final product—and expense.

    Choose floors, cabinets, counters, and tile work that will wear well and are timeless in styles and colors. Overly dramatic styles, textures, and color schemes can fall out of favor quickly and become tiresome. Avoid wallpapers and borders: They become dated fast and are difficult to change.

    Coordinate your kitchen and dining room with a common theme. The decor doesn’t have to be “matchy-matchy.” Just take a color, a texture, a material, a design style, or an artwork motif from the kitchen and use it in the dining room to connect the two rooms visually in a subtle manner.

How to Decorate a Dining Room Table

Decorate a Dining Room Table
A blank dining room table, no matter how beautiful the rest of your room is, makes the room look bare and unfinished. The table is the focal point of the room, the place for family gatherings and breaking bread with friends. For a complete look, it should be adorned to make it look welcoming and inviting.

Instructions

  1. Take a look at your table surface and assess the kind of condition it is in. If it’s already attractive, you may wish to cover as little of it as possible and just dress it up. If it is shoddy, scratched or discolored, you can save it by painting it or putting a beautiful table cloth on it.
  2. If using a table cloth, choose one in a solid color to act as a clean canvass for the rest of the table decor. If you are using slip covers or cushions on your dining room chairs, consider getting fabrics or colors that match the table cloth.
  3. Match the types of fabrics you choose to the style of the room. For instance, if your room is contemporary and formal, consider luxurious fabrics like damask or toile. If you have a country rustic, casual dining room, cotton or linen would suffice.
  4. Add a table runner or mat in the center to the table cloth. If you are not using a table cloth because your table is too beautiful to cover, just use the table runner or a mat for the center, just to dress it up a bit.
  5. Put place mats in front of each chair. Get place mats in colors that coordinate with your chair cushions or room color scheme. This is a good place to add interest with a pattern or texture.
  6. Place a centerpiece in the center of your table. If you plan to remove the centerpiece at meal time, try to use one with some height and it will make your table look grander and balance out the scale in the room. If you are planning on leaving the centerpiece there during meal times, go for a shorter one so that your seated guests can see each other over it.
  7. If your table is very long, and your centerpiece is narrow, use smaller accents on either side of the centerpiece. You may use candles, or small statuary, bowls or vases–the choice is yours. This will help the length from appearing severe and allow the eye to flow more easily over it.

Combine new and old furniture for a unique dining room look



The trend for vintage homeware shows no signs of dying down any time soon, but what if an entire house full of secondhand furniture just isn’t your thing? The current fashion is very much about combining different styles from various periods of design history to create a contemporary mismatched look. Combining a brand new dining table, for example, with a selection of vintage or antique chairs means your decor is unique, eye-catching and reflects your own personal taste far better than a matching dining set.

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Image Credit

If you are stuck for ideas, House Beautiful magazine offers some great inspiration, with styles to suit every taste and budget.

Designer touches

As House to Home points out, classic styles such as the Eames chair have never gone out of fashion and add a contemporary designer look to any dining room.

Mixing old and new is a wonderful way to add individuality and your own personal style to your dining room decor. If your budget doesn’t stretch to designer seating, companies such as Pash-living produce reproduction designer furniture without the hefty price tag.

Mixing old and new

Most of us have hand-me-downs from family members or items we have kept since we moved into our first home. Combining old, much-loved items with new pieces adds heart and soul to your dining room. Don’t worry if chairs are slightly different heights or different colours or styles, as this is what this look is all about. Mismatched place settings or different designs of crockery are also very much on-trend, with many fashionable eateries employing this tactic to create an inviting and homely feel. If you like the idea of combining new and old but don’t want to go too far, invest in some new matching place settings and complementary tableware to really tie the whole dining table together.

If you have an old faithful solid oak dining table you have loved for years, but want to give it a new lease of life, sand it down, re-stain it, and accessorise it with an eclectic range of reproduction designer furniture dining chairs to bring it into the 21st century.

The old-and-new-trend is great news for anyone who wants to express their individuality through their decor, while also being mindful of the value attached to much-loved furniture and furnishings.

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Bathrooms: a vineyard view from Cloudy Bay’s guest quarters

Bathing by the bay.

This Marlborough bathroom makes the most of the view from Cloudy Bay vineyard’s guest quarters; it also takes care to emphasise the landscape, which, in addition to being beautifully serene, is intrinsic to the vineyard’s brand and wine label. The colour palette and textures used in each of the four guest suites reflects a unique element of the surroundings: Cloud, Mountain, River and Cape.

Cloudy Bay: Paul Rolfe. Photograph by Paul McCredie

HOME You had a clear aim to connec­t the building as a whole with the vineyard outside. How did you achieve this in the bathrooms?
Paul Rolfe, Paul Rolfe Architects The building has been designed to funnel in the view of the landscape as much as possible, as the view is very closely linked to Cloudy Bay vineyard’s brand and wine label. We wanted to continue this connection to the landscape and view in the bathrooms by having a full-height window.

HOME How did you choose the materials?
Paul Rolfe For each of the four guest suites we looked at using elements of the view – Cloud, Mountain, River and Cape – to inform the colours and textures we used. The ensuite featuring here is part of the Cloud Suite, so soft, off-white porcelain tiles and a matching textured feature-wall tile were used.

HOME What do you think makes a good bathroom?
Paul Rolfe A good bathroom should be comfortable when you’re naked. Lots of natural light and the play of light on surfaces and with water can make a bathroom a very satisfying and relaxing place to be.

Design details

Plumbing Michael Jones Plumbing.
Wall and floor tiles ‘HER 121’ super white matt 600 x 300 from Heritage Tiles.
Textured wall tiles ‘HER 132’ diamond 600 x 300 from Heritage Tiles.
Bath ‘Rosetta’ from Ibath.
Basin ‘Dial’ from Robertson.
Tapware ‘Minimalist’ from Methven.
Toilet ‘Dial’ from Robertson.
Lighting ‘Lorient’ from Lighthouse.

How to Mix a Dining Table & Chairs

How to Make a Dresser Into a Buffet
Whether you have an heirloom dining table, four Louis XIV chairs you found at a flea market or just want to create a conversation piece from your ecclectic dining room, there are ways to group mismatched pieces to create an attractive dining set. With a few guidelines and a little creativity, you can put together a dining table and chairs that will be the highlight of your home.

Instructions

  1. Measure the table and chairs. The chairs must comfortably slide under the table and have enough clearance for a seated guest’s legs. Check the width as well as the height, particularly for tables with corner legs that the chairs must fit between.
  2. Match one element to your décor. If you have a modern home and an ornate Georgian dining table, choose cloth or leather covered contemporary chairs to tie the designs together. Dress up a shaker table with solid wood Queen Anne chairs to suit your formal décor.
  3. Unify the set by color. Buy a variety of chairs or a different style table, all in cherry wood. Try a sleek black lacquer modern table with mismatched wooden chairs that have all been painted white or bright red for a fun modern look. Pair a formal table with cherry and oak inlays with a mix of cherry and oak chairs.
  4. Choose the same or similar eras. Wood tones are hard to match, particularly if you have an old table and are buying new chairs. Pair a walnut Victorian table with mahogany Victorian chairs, and the matching styles will unify the set. Eras that overlap, like Georgian and Queen Anne, will also produce compatible pieces.
  5. Balance the mismatched elements. Place the two leather armchairs at the head and foot of the table and the wood chairs along the sides. If you have two low-backed chairs and six high-backed, place the low chairs across from each other at the center of the table. Not balancing mismatched items can give the room a feeling of chaos.
  6. Buy pieces of the same scale. A heavy wood table requires heavy wood chairs. A large, ornate heirloom table will look silly with thin modern metal chairs but can work with tall, straight arts and crafts chairs for a more contemporary feel.
  7. Match the upholstery. Choose chairs of varying styles, but cover the seats in matching fabric to unify the set. Select complementary drapery to further unify the space.

How to Decorate Your Dining Room Wall

Hang art to create a conversation piece.

Don’t leave your dining room walls blank. You have many options to create a warm, comforting dining room that will be the envy of all. Just a few simple, well placed items will complete an otherwise boring room.

Step 1:Determine your color scheme and whether you want to paint or wall paper your dining room walls. You may want to paint three walls one color and use a complimentary color on the fourth wall to create a focal point. Paint or cover your walls accordingly.

Use interesting colors or walllpaper.
Step 2:Adding wood trim to a dining room will give the room a more elegant, yet intimate feel. Try adding crown molding around the very top of the wall, picture frame paneling in a contrasting color, or even just a simple chair rail around the room. Numerous do-it-yourself websites offer tips on installing molding and chair rails.

Picture frame paneling in a dining room
Step 3:A large mirror enhances any wall but is especially nice in a dining room. These rooms are typically small and a mirror will open the space up and if hung properly, can reflect the light from a hanging chandelier. Add a lighting sconce on either side of the mirror to bring in more diffused lighting.

Gold gilt mirror
Step 4:Large pieces of artwork are good ways to fill a large empty wall. In the dining room, choose wisely for a subject matter that is soothing and relaxing to ease the appetite and create a conversation piece. One large piece will complete a wall well; it is not necessary to clutter the walls with an entire collage.

Framed art work
Step 5:Another option for covering a basic wall is the use of a wall hanging or tapestry. Tapestries have been used for centuries to decorate large, massive cathedral and castle walls. They are sold today in a range of sizes, colors, fabrics, textures and colors. Some have hardware included and some do not, so be sure to inquire when purchasing.

Add a beautiful tapestry for elegance and texture.

People’s Choice award winner: Cheshire Architects’ Eyrie

Small footprint, big impact.

For the past month, we asked you to revisit two decades worth of Home of the Year winners andvote for your favourite – no easy task. Each house has its fans, but there was a clear winner with 32 per cent of the votes: Cheshire Architects’ Eyrie, twin cabins on the Kaipara Harbour. You told us they were “great little spaces” and, naturally, we agree.

ECC-CSYS-floor_lampWith a collective footprint of just 28 square metres these tiny cabins won you over, just as they won over the jury in 2014 to take out the top spot of Home of the Year. Read more about these austere, beautiful and intriguing buildings here.

Congratulations to Nat and the Cheshire Architects team on another win for this fantastic design. And congratulations to Geordie Shaw who won the CSYS Tall floor lamp (pictured at left) by Jake Dyson from ECC for voting in the People’s Choice award.

Nat Cheshire: Home of the Year winner 2014

Inside the black cabin, the daybed is by Donald Judd and the twig mobile by Eleanor Cooper. The sleeping loft is on the mezzanine floor above this space. Photograph by Darryl Ward.

The cabins are not camouflaged within the landscape, but stand proud in it. Photograph by Darryl Ward.

One of Nat Cheshire's drawings of the cabins.

How To Select The Best Plywood Furniture

Plywood is structurally stronger than natural wood and is ideal for making furniture. Whether you are making bedroom furniture or living room furniture, plywood makes strong and stable furniture that is inexpensive to build and easy to modify. If you are looking for a cheap bedroom set, your perception might be that there is plywood in it.

Plywood comes in different grades and there is an association that sets standards for grading hardwood veneer. The grading is based on how free the piece is from defects, which is important when you are creating beautiful home furnishings. Selecting furniture sets that are made with plywood should also be more cost effective because the labor involved is less. Many hours can be saved by using plywood over solid wood.

If you are selecting new dining room furniture or new bedroom furniture set, chances are the chair backs, drawer bottoms and door panels will be made from plywood. The number of layers in plywood is always an odd number and the grain pattern faces in alternate directions. This is what makes plywood so strong and durable for building furniture sets. The more layers the stronger the plywood. It is very good for holding screws and attaching various types of hardware. Because plywood is available with many veneers, it can be matched to solid wood to create beautiful tops from dining table tops to case pieces in bedroom furniture sets. When shopping at an online furniture store, it will be hard to tell if a piece contains plywood, unless it is specifically stated in the description. Plywood won’t split and is very strong unlike solid wood.

In most furniture, interior plywood is used. If it is going to need to be water resistant, marine plywood is good for kitchens. It is a very high quality waterproof plywood.

Plywood is more expensive than particle board. The perception of the public is that solid wood furniture is better and you would find plywood in cheap furniture, but it actually is the best man made wood board available and is not a cheap product at all.

Inside three Home of the Year-winning studios

Dreaming up unforgettable homes.

Take a look inside the studios where Home of the Year winning houses are first dreamed up. Cheshire Architects, whose twin cabins on the Kaipara Harbour won Home of the Year in 2014 and the People’s Choice award this year; Fearon Hay, whose holiday home won Home of the Year in 2000, and Stevens Lawson, a studio with four Home of the Year wins to its name.

Cheshire Architects studio

Fearon Hay studio

Fearon Hay studio

Stevens Lawson Architects studio

I Want A Hydropool Hot Tub

Last year we decided to move from Ottawa to Oakville where my husband’s parents live. We loved living in Ottawa but with twin girls who are 2 years old, it would be nice to have family nearby to help out. I had been a stay at home mom, but wanted to go back to work, which I have now, thanks to my husband’s family taking care of the twins.
My husband loves it here in Oakville but the one thing he misses is the hot tub we had on our patio. As for me I hated it, it was noisy, the up keep was getting to be too much as well as the cost of running it. He has been talking about getting one for our deck which is large enough, but I have been somewhat hesitate.
After all I have had my fill of hottubs with the one we had back in our old residence. All I hear from my husband is Hydropool, we need to buy a Hydropool. He finally convinced me to check out their site to learn more about their hot tubs and their company.
I was impressed with what I read. They have been around for about 45 years. They are recognized worldwide as the leaders in hot tubs/spas and their products are sold in over 60 countries. A Hydropool hot tub is built to last for a long time. Their guarantee is one of the industry’s best along with their reputation being unsurpassed.
After dinner with the girls in bed, my husband and I talked about the Hydropool. I told him I would think about it, after all it is an investment. He agreed but said it is an investment for the well being of our family. Just think of the health benefits he said to me.
A few weeks passed and my husband convinced me to go to one of their showrooms to see the hot tubs in person.  We went to the Oakville showroom and I have to admit it was more than I expected.  I could not believe how beautiful and well made these hot tubs were.
The salesperson took us around and answered all our questions especially the ones I had. On our drive back home I told my husband, yes it’s ok to buy a Hydropool hot tub, well he was a happy camper. What put my mind at ease was the fact that the model we chose was self cleaning, energy efficient and it was easy to maintain, all the things are old hot tub wasn’t.
It has been 6 weeks now since we have the Hydropool and I am enjoying it. My husband is in love with it and we take the girls in for a little bit. I have to say that my husband was right, ughh!.  In Oakville hot tubs are very popular, but our hot tub is the best, it’s a Hydropool.

Bathrooms: Rich, tiled luxury and an eclectic space

5 bathrooms worth spending time in.

Here are five bathrooms that shun clinical clichés in favour of rich materials, and spaces worth luxuriating in. Each is suffused with natural light, including Fearon Hay’s semi-subterranean bathroom at Omaha Beach.

A bathroom by Jack McKinney. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

1. Floor space – Coastal bathroom, Ponsonby, Auckland, McKinney Windeatt

HOME What was your brief and what made you want to foster the strong connection with the outdoors?
Jack McKinney, McKinney Windeatt Architects The clients asked for a “spectacular” bathroom and we interpreted this as a request for a bathing experience that had an additional dimension. This led to incorporating the garden into the room and treating the articulation of the space in a sculptural way.

HOME The position of the bath makes you wonder why most bathrooms tend to push all the functional elements to the edges of a room. Did placing the bath in the centre make the design any more difficult?
Jack McKinney Not more difficult, but you do need plenty of space to do this. We had to carefully consider the proportions and geometry of the bath: it needed to feel generous in the space but remain ergonomic. The inside dimensions of baths are actually quite tight, so the edge detail became a way of visually enlarging it while not creating a swimming pool instead of a bath.

A bathroom by Jack McKinney. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

A bathroom by Jack McKinney. Photograph by Simon Devitt.

HOME How did you choose the materials?
Jack McKinney There is an extremely limited material palette with the walls, with the cantilevered slab of the basins and the sunken bath all formed in the same stone. There are only two colours in the space, white and stone. This parity makes the space tranquil and seamless, and enhances the sculptural qualities of the architecture. The antiqued character of the stone feels enduring. The same materials are present in the garden, strongly linking the two areas.

Design details

Tiles Antiqued French limestone tiles from Designsource.
Basins Carved from blocks of antiqued French limestone.
Tapware Dornbracht from Metrix.

A bathroom by Jeff Fearon and Tim Hay. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

2. Inside story – Coastal bathroom, Omaha Beach, Fearon Hay Architects

HOME What were the main constraints in this bathroom space, and how did you respond to them?
Tim Hay, Fearon Hay Architects The opportunity of a semi-subterranean space meant access was provided through an excavated courtyard. This allowed for a light and open space while still maintaining a sense of privacy.
Jeff Fearon, Fearon Hay Architects The idea was a utilitarian space, adjacent to the garage and laundry, with functionality that would deal with people coming to and from the beach.

HOME How did you want the bathroom to feel?
Jeff Fearon The bathroom was intended to feel open, despite being below ground level. A sense of ease of use was also important for the space to work within its context.

HOME How did you go about choosing the material palette?
Tim Hay The colour and material palette was a continuation of our design scheme for the rest of the house, and was chosen for its sense of subtle richness, such as the plasterwork and finishings.

HOME The bathroom looks remarkably uncomplicated – but is there a lot of work behind that apparent simplicity?
Jeff Fearon It aims to appear simple and clean but with a high level of utility. With indoor and outdoor showers it can be easily accessed to and from the beach, for washing the dog and so on. The racks [out of shot] provide a means of storage for beach activities, heightening the functionality of this space while still maintaining a sense of simplicity.

Design details

Tapware from Boffi Studio Elemento.
Flooring The shower flooring is travertine, and elsewhere it is honed concrete slab.
Vanity Custom-made terrazzo.
Toilet Duravit ‘Stark 2’ by Philippe Stark for Duravit from Metrix.
Glass doors ‘W20 Milan Suite’ electro-polished stainless steel and ‘Satinlite’ toughened glass.
Walls ‘Cement Grey’ Stolit MP from STO.

A bathroom by Guy Tarrant. Photograph by Patrick Reynolds.

3. Classic calm – Ensuite bathroom, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, Guy Tarrant Architect

HOME Where in the house is this bathroom, and what were the spatial constraints on its design?
Guy Tarrant It’s an ensuite bathroom adjoining the upstairs master bedroom, with a sloping roof but with views to the water. Space constraints and a sloping ceiling meant it was important to maximise the sense of space.

HOME How did you choose the material palette, and what made you choose the same tiles for the walls and floor?
Guy Tarrant The materials are an extension of the palette established in other parts of the house. Because it is a small space, a restrained palette of materials was selected to create a sense of calm. The marble tiles lend a restrained, classic luxury.

HOME You’ve created a wall-mounted vanity unit. What led you to this decision?
Guy Tarrant The floating vanity is an elegant solution and also helps to enhance the sense of space.

HOME What made you choose a basin mounted on the bench instead of a single unit?
Guy Tarrant The round basin is a contrast to the orthogonal nature of the house and has a purity and simplicity that I like.

Design details

Tiles Marble tiles from Artedomus.
Tapware ‘Cox’ wall-mounted mixer by Paini from Metrix.
Basin David Chipperfield for Ideal Standard from Robertson Industries.
Mirror Custom-made by Anytime Glass.
Benchtop Honed granite from Italian Stone.
Timber American oak vanity cabinetry fabricated by Form Design.
Heated towel rail from Metrix.

A bathroom in a home by Stevens Lawson. Photograph by Mark Smith.

4. Free and easy – Te Henga bathroom, Te Henga, Auckland, Stevens Lawson

HOME While many bathrooms are hidden away for privacy reasons, this one has a wonderfully direct relationship with the site. What made you decide to design it this way?
Nicholas Stevens, Stevens Lawson There are no neighbours and the horses don’t seem to mind, and there are always the timber Venetian blinds (so as to not scare the horses). Most importantly, the sublime luxury of lying in a bath with French doors open to the ocean was too good to pass up.

HOME Most bathrooms are full of built-in cabinetry, but in this one you’ve allowed space for free-standing furniture, as well as a mirror and an artwork more like you’d find in a living area. What are the benefits of this approach?
Nicholas Stevens An eclectic bathroom is less clinical, has more personality and allows the owner more self-expression. It feels like a place to spend more time, not just pass through.

HOME What are the key elements a good bathroom should have?
Nicholas Stevens I think a bathroom should be sensual and serene with beautiful fittings, materials and textures and, of course, exquisite light.

Bathrooms: a Sydney bathroom with personality

Bucking the colour trend.

A careful insertion of colour enlivens this Sydney bathroom by Pohio Adams Architects. The design also takes full advantage of the natural light offered, complemented by concealed and featured electric lighting.

Photograph by Sharrin Rees.

HOME All-white bathrooms seem to be a common default mode, so how did you break out of it?
Chris Adams, Pohio Adams Architects Decisions driving the house design were about reflecting the clients’ personalities and an exploration of materials and how they would weather, so the home’s roof is raw zinc, the vanity solid oak, the tapware and hardware raw brass. We chose the tiles because they are hand-made, subtly inconsistent in colour and texture and could be ordered in a great range of custom colours. We could achieve a consistency of material through the house, but create a very different character for each bathroom through varying colours and patterns.

HOME This bathroom is an amazingly light space. What design moves did you make to ensure this? And how did you plan the placement of electric lighting?
Chris Adams There is a certain luxury to being bathed in bright natural light, and the elevation and orientation of this bathroom allowed us to fully exploit this possibility. Natural light is complemented by concealed LED lighting in the alcove, cast-glass, zinc, and brass pendants with old ‘squirrel cage’ lamps, and indirect concealed fluorescent uplights. Concealed lighting provides just the right light level to negotiate the bathroom in the middle of the night, while incandescent pendants provide a flattering side lighting, avoiding the ugly shadowing effects of downlights. Fluorescents provide the functional infill lighting when required. The colour temperature of the lights is carefully coordinated to provide consistency of feel and a flattering softness that complements the material palette.

HOME What makes a good bathroom?
Chris Adams The right balance of functionality and luxury. The feel of the materials and the sense of calmness they evoke.

Design details

Shower head Hansgrohe ‘Raindance’ shower set in fine brass finish with Vola mixer in raw brass finish.
Tapware Raw brass by Vola.
Cabinetry Custom-designed cabinetry featuring solid oak, Corian sinks and marble inlays by Pohio Adams Architects.
Tiles Designed by Popham Design, hand-made in Morocco and purchased from OnSite.
Pendant light Well Glass pendant light from Dunlin.
Toilet Duravit ‘Stark 3’ wall-hung pan with Vola push buttons in raw brass finish (both available from Metrix in New Zealand).