Category: Eclectic Homes

13 Ways to Keep the Peace With Roommates

Sharing space with roommates can be challenging in the best of times — and that isn’t mentioning the other times. You know, the instances your roomie requires your food without requesting (or replacing it), leaves a huge mess for others (you) to clean up, or attracts a significant other home to stay for weeks (or months).

With a new school year here, and a lot of individuals moving into new flats with fresh roommates and good goals, let’s get a couple things straight about roommate etiquette — and save a great deal of headaches down the road.

Better: Pass this along to your roommates, so that you can all start off on exactly the same page.

Sealy Design Inc..

Be social. You certainly don’t need to do everything together or become the very best of friends — but hiding out in your room constantly and decreasing every time that your roommates invite you to do some thing sends a negative message.

Component of what could make living with roommates pleasure is hanging out together. Likewise, do not form a clique and exclude a different roommate from actions. If a roommate situation isn’t working outside, address it directly.

Corynne Pless

Chat decorating area. That means that you need to all get equal wall space (if you need it) to hang art in common areas, and you should work together to decide on furniture arrangements and accessories. To each his or her own in bedrooms, however shared space actually should be shared.

When you move in, it can be a fun bonding experience to undertake a household project together. Reach the local flea market together, paint a bit of furniture, or collaborate on a artwork wall.

A Gallery Wall for Every Personality

Maggie Stephens Interiors

Keep common areas clean. Maintain your own personal items from taking up permanent residence in common areas. The living room shouldn’t be a dumping ground for heaps of unfolded laundry, teetering stacks of magazines, or crusty cereal dishes!

Whenever you are finished with something, put it back. Just because your roommate seems to always leave her things laying around doesn’t mean that you should, also. Especially in households with a couple of roommates, messiness is a slippery slope. Set a good example, and it’s more likely your roommates will follow suit.

Betty’s Room, LLC

Look after your own pets. If you’ve got a pet, do not expect your roommates to help care for this. Even if they had been excited to have a furry friend in the house, it isn’t their obligation to perform the dirty work.

If you would like to request your roommates to take care of your furry friend when you are away on a trip, inquire first (do not assume they’ll do it) And offer to pay them or treat them the next time you go out. If it’s your roommate who has the pet, it is fair to expect them to take care of daily pet duties — and offer a pet fur-removing brush for your couch.

Madison Modern Home

Do your own dishes. This has become the most common roommate complaint of all time — do not allow it to be around you! Do your own dishes immediately after meals, and if your roommate cooked dinner for the two of you, get in there and wash up after. When handling roommates who do not wash their dishes, try speaking with them straight first, aiming for a tone that is firm but not angry.

In an extreme instance of dish-neglect, try removing a few of the dishes out of the cupboards entirely (if you will find tons) — fewer dishes means the pile of dirties can never get too poor. Let your roommate know how serious it is for you, and begin keeping separate dishes. Their dirties can go in a dishpan out of sight under the sink until they are ready to deal with them, and your clean ones could be stored wherever you like (even on your room if necessary).

Sarah Phipps Design

Decide how to take care of groceries and stick with it. A roomie who eats your food without inquiring is up there with the person who renders the dirty dishes piled up in the sink. Let’s hope you never need to live with somebody who does both.

The best method to avoid conflict around food is to agree early on how you will handle groceries, and stick with it. Here are three common ways to take care of the food situation, along with pros and cons:
Discuss everything. For some, sharing meals and splitting costs evenly works out with no hassle. Conflicts can arise if one of you has friends over a great deal and feeds stated friends from the (allegedly) equally shared meals stash. Should you go this route, make clear that the food is for roommates only. Independent sides of the refrigerator. Shop separately, and keep your mind off your pet’s meals. This can be a wise option if you have a tendency to buy very different sorts of meals (i.e., 1 roommate is vegetarian, yet another loves meat). Share staples, split the remainder. This compromise sounds good, but can be a little tricky in training. Make sure that you agree on what’s on your list of staples, and trade off paying for them.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Share bathroom cleaning (and other onerous tasks). Nobody wants to clean out the bathroom or take out the garbage, but it has to be done — and when one ends up doing the dirtiest jobs all of the time, tempers can flare.

Set up a chore chart someplace easily viewed with housemates, and use it to rotate tasks. Common courtesy dictates that every person should pull her or his own hair in the drain after showers, and replace the soap or TP if you apply the last of it.

Corynne Pless

Don’t monopolize the TV and stereo. With notebooks and iPads, sharing the TV is not as much of a problem as it once was, but it is still not fair to hog the huge screen. Each roommate should have the chance to watch favorite shows and get an equal chance to DJ the sound system. And no judgments — everyone is permitted to watch (or listen to) total junk from time to time!

Lauren Gries

Create a landing zone to take care of mail. Especially among the first-apartment set, keeping track of bills can be problematic — and it only takes one missed payment to wreak havoc on your credit score.

Make things easier on yourselves by setting up one spot where email always lands as soon as you walk into the door.

Make a spot for a charging station for devices, and you won’t lose them.

Taylor Jacobson Interior Design

Be respectful of your roommate’s schedule. If you understand your roommate must get up early, be polite and keep noise down at night.

Always speak with your roommates about celebrations in advance, and bypass it if a roommate asks you throw the party another weekend.

Corynne Pless

Respect personal space and possessions. Do not go into a housemate’s room when they are not home, and do not use or borrow whatever theirs without asking. Should you share a bedroom, do not sit or put stuff on your roommate’s bed. And should you borrow some thing (with permission) and it gets stained or damaged, it is your responsibility to have it cleaned, repaired or replaced immediately!

If your roommate was taking your things without asking, have a conversation with her about it as soon as possible. She might have only assumed it was OK with you, so be clear about how and what you are prepared (or not willing) to share. And be honest: If you frequently borrow your roomie’s shoes, do not get your feathers in a ruffle if she dominates your sweater.

Sealy Design Inc..

Keep up with your laundry. Big, stinky piles of dirty laundry can win you no more lovers, even when the piles are comprised to your room. Keep that laundry moving, or make regular trips to the laundromat if you don’t have access to a washer drier.

For roommates who neglect laundry, step one is getting them to keep it contained for their own space. Offering to go along on a shopping trip for additional hampers could be enough to get the message across.

Corynne Pless

Practice the golden rule. See to your roommates as you would like to get treated. When something is bothering you, then tell them in a clear but polite way instead of letting bad feelings fester. And remember that small, fine gestures — such as bringing home flowers to your dining room table or a bag of biscuits to share — could go a very long way to exude calmness.

Tell us Share your best (or worst) roommate tales in the Remarks!

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Know Your House: What Makes a Floor Structure

Once the foundation, or substructure, of a home is set up, the next step is to create the superstructure: floors, walls and roof. Among all of the available building materials, wood is the most commonly utilized in North America, so that is where we’ll start.

Why Wood?

Wood is a top building material for several reasons. One is heritage: Historically, North America was inhabited, and old-growth forests were abundant throughout the united states. Wood is also easily processed into posts, beams, floor joists, roof rafters and other elements of a house’s construction. Furthermore, while a skilled carpenter can work wonders with wood, it’s possible for a beginner to build a small house of wood.

The great innovation in wood framing came about from the early 19th century with the industrialization of North America. Harvesting trees became more efficient, as did processing the trees into dimensional lumber that could be used for framing. Sawmills big and small sprouted up wherever there was a woods and a way to transport the felled trees, such as a waterway.

Together with the mass production of framing timber was the development of mass-produced nails. No longer hand forged onsite or nearby, nails became common and inexpensive. Between the mass production of dimensional lumber and nails, the wood-frame construction became ubiquitous, and the legendary magician with a hammer in hand, tool belt filled with nails and possibly one in his mouth, became the symbol of American home building.

Here are the basics of how carpenters build the first stage of a home’s aboveground construction: the floor.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Elements of a Wood-Framed Floor

Start degree, true and square. After the concrete foundation is complete and has cured (dried and hardened nicely), a builder can start the floor construction. This starts with applying a sill sealer to the peak of the foundation. The sill sealer is a thin, compressible material that gives an air barrier between the wood frame and the concrete foundation.

The sill sealer helps create an energy-efficient building by closing the gaps between both rough and uneven concrete foundation and a wood sill plate — typically a 2-by-6 pressure treated to resist bugs, moisture and damage caused by the elements.

It is important that the sill plate be treated this way, as its proximity to the ground makes it particularly vulnerable to rust. In fact, in most older houses the sill plate has rotted away, causing the actual exterior walls to settle in order that cracks show up from the interior finishes. The sill plate could be replaced, but that is not a cheap operation.

The sill plate is tied down to the foundation with anchor bolts. These bolts become inserted into the concrete foundation wall and have threaded ends. Once the sill plate is put and leveled, nuts have been screwed to the anchor bolts, and all is locked down.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Floor joists and open programs. Once the sill plate is down, you are able to install the floor joists. These are ordinarily 2-by-6, 2-by-8, 2-by-10 or 2-by-12 pieces of timber. The dimensions used will depend on the span (how far between supports) that the joist should travel. A commonly used size is 2-by-10, which may span about 15 feet.

An alternate to “2-by” (dimensional lumber) floor joists is truss joists. These are particularly helpful for spans of 18 feet or more.

Always check with the local building department prior to doing any dwelling construction, as the code changes by area. By way of example, some building departments require that homes built with long span joists have a fire suppression system installed. That’s something that you’ll absolutely need to understand prior to budgeting your project.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

A platform built to last. Next a plywood subfloor is laid atop the joists.

Usually 3/4 inch thick and in sheets that measure 4 by 8 feet, a plywood subfloor should be glued and screwed to the underlying joists. This can not be stressed too much, as there are many squeaky floors and tiled floors that develop cracks brought on by a subfloor that was not securely fastened to the joists. In fact, the squeaky floors that exist in older houses are the consequence of subfloors generated from 1-inch boards that have come loose in the joists, making them squeak when stress is put on.

Now’s plywood subfloor material includes a tongue and groove arrangement. The constant membrane shaped by installing the tongue of a single sheet into the groove of the adjacent sheet assists from the overall structural performance and wearability of these subfloors.

A well-installed subfloor will make a big difference over the long run, as the actual floor finish — be it wood, tile or something else — will develop fewer flaws.

More in Know Your Own House: What Makes Up a Home’s Foundation

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The Ability of Plywood All Around the Home

Before we begin talking about plywood, it can help to know what plywood substituted. Though wood has been with us forever, contemporary plywood has existed for less than 200 decades, and its omnipresence is quite recent. Now we deck the roof, sheath the walls and build cabinets. It was not long ago, however, that all of these tasks were performed by linking individual boards side by side into a larger piece of timber, or simply by nailing them alongside one another. Though the nostalgia for salvaged timber has revived interest in these types of boards and techniques, there are many benefits to using plywood instead.

Ashley Anthony Studio

Types of Plywood

There are many different kinds of plywood, but this ideabook focuses on the forms at your regional home center, and that you may use for DIY projects around the home.

Plywood is used for virtually everything now. For example, in this photo there’s likely plywood below the hardwood flooring (likely a tongue and groove subfloor plywood), and probably plywood below the exterior wall siding. The furniture piece pictured is made from solid wood planks, attached side by side where the boards are bigger. But most cabinets nowadays could be made from smooth hardwood plywood.

Buckminster Green LLC


If you think about plywood, you likely think about a sheet of CDX. CDX plywood includes a “C” side, a “D” side and an “X” side. “X” signifies the glue could be subjected to the elements for a little while until it falls apart. Plywood is made by gluing many thin layers of timber (veneers) together. The wood grain of each layer runs perpendicular to the past, which lessens the wood’s tendency to divide.

You’ll find four different levels of plywood: A, B,C and D. Remembering the gap between the grades is simple — it is just like school. When it has earned an A grade, it is free from imperfections. A D grade does not mean it is useless — it is fine to face in the home or cover with shingles.

Plywood can work for all kinds of tasks, and the grade makes a big difference. CDX plywood is good for demanding structure, but you wouldn’t wish to construct a cabinet with it. A nice piece of birch plywood with an A-grade face could work fine to sheath your shed, but it is expensive, and you would be paying for caliber that you do not need, because the sheet will probably be covered with siding.

Buckminster Green LLC

Structural Benefits

You can see three different sheet goods utilized in the construction of these new houses in Philadelphia. The yellow sheets are exterior gypsum, used to make a fire-resistant barrier between houses. The bays’ faces are sheathed in oriented strand board, or OSB (more about this later). CDX plywood is anywhere except to the faces of the bays. Return a hundred decades and the facade of the building might have been sheathed in 1-by-8 planks, or whatever width the lumberyard had that day.

Here’s a thought experiment: Take four parts of lumber and nail them in a square. Now push the square from 1 side. Will it stay square? No, it will change to a rhombus. Now cover this square with individual boards. Will this keep the square square? It is not much of the advancement. If you nail the planks diagonally this helps, but it is nothing like putting one sheet of wood within the whole square — it wouldn’t budge. In a nutshell, explains the structural benefit of being able to use a single piece of plywood.

Buckminster Green LLC

If you’ve ever pushed a screw to a plank without predrilling a pit first, you know that inserting a wedge into wood makes it split across the grain. All plywood accomplishes this, because the timber grain of each layer is different compared to past.

But what if, instead of gluing together massive sheets of wood at right angles, you glued together tiny pieces of timber at all different angles? You would get a similar effect whilst using small wood pieces which could otherwise become waste. The consequence of this process is either OSB plywood, or oriented strand board. OSB is less expensive than CDX, and under the right conditions performs well.

Buckminster Green LLC

I have seen CDX plywood and OSB get rained on if delays happen and roofs and siding are not installed. The CDX buckles in areas but usually holds up. The OSB turns to mush substantially faster. Once the glues begin to break down, you’re left with little pieces of timber.

The merchandise shown here is the Zip System from Huber; it has a weather-resistant barrier applied to OSB. Green is for the walls; brownish is for the roof. This saves you the step of stapling a barrier up such as Tyvek after installing the plywood. Once the seams are taped, you have a continuous air barrier. Compare it to the previous boards nailed up with a lot of openings for air to blow through, and you can see how the current building techniques can save you energy.

Buckminster Green LLC


recently focus has turned into the glues in plywood, and what fumes the item is off-gassing to our houses when used indoors. To decrease harmful VOCs, search for plywood with glues which have no added urea-formaldehyde.

The plywood used in the construction of the cabinets in this image goes one step farther. The doors, shelves and cabinet boxes are all made from bamboo plywood. Bamboo is a grass that grows quickly, also it is a sustainable substitute for timber from trees. Sustainability is all in the details, however, so do your homework to be sure the life-cycle costs of the product are really less than the product which you are replacing.

In addition, there are plywoods made from sorghum and wheat germ. The look of these alternate plywood products is part of the allure.

Nic Darling


Plywood is overly helpful to end up just cladding buildings and becoming covered up from other building materials. It has many uses indoors, also. This plywood is used to make a exceptional railing for the stairs. If you take into consideration the labor saved by employing large, strong, straight sheets of timber in building products, plywood is an economical solution to many issues. You are limited only by your imagination.

Hint: Make Certain to use the Ideal thickness. Plywood that is 3/4 inch is quite rigid and good for walking on shelving etc.. If you are applying a layer of plywood over another surface and you simply need a smooth surface — say that a luan plywood underlayment for flooring — 1/4 inch will do just fine.

Sylvia Elizondo Interior Design

OK, so now you’re heading into the shop to purchase plywood for your next job. Here are a few suggestions:
When it is for beneath your floor or roof, it should be tongue and groove plywood, where the boards associate along with puzzle pieces for firmness at the seams. I told you to purchase 3/4 inch but you might show up to the lumber yard and see 23/32 inch. Bring a tape measure or calculator and get the closest to the dimensions you want. Contractors talk about 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch, but you’ll also see 7/16 inch, 15/32 inch and all types of different fractions.

If you are building something such as garage shelving that does not have to be ideal, but should be somewhat free of imperfections, get a 3/4-inch B or C plywood.

If you are planning to create cabinets or an interior project where the surface of the plywood will be seen, I suggest having a wood plywood, such as a birch plywood which has a smooth A-grade face. Hardwood plywood may be stained in addition to painted, and will end in a nice finished product.There are many beautiful forests which may be applied as the surface veneer into a plywood made primarily from less expensive woods. Let your imagination go crazy and make a statement. The Mesopotamians initially created plywood by gluing wood together if there was not enough about. In modern times we do not have to waste wood either, and plywood brings with it enough other benefits to make it a win-win situation.

Next: See what you can do with drywall

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Basement of the Week: By Dumping Earth to Family Zone in Minnesota

After years of this single father being on his own, his basement turned into a dumping ground for unloved furniture and old toys. However, if he and his kids started making plans for his fiancée to maneuver in, it was time to revamp the space to accommodate movie nights, board games and other family activities.

The fashion-forward couple was looking for something more than the typical contemporary basement. Despite having a small space to work with, the family stuck by their desire for a big sectional that everybody could cozy up on together and watch TV or warm by the fireplace. This basically dictated the layout and forced designers Ammar Steven Alshash and Bethany Gale to get creative with smartly chosen furniture, contrasting textures and scales, and layout tricks which made the space feel bigger. He topped the basement with new, classy decor that’s subtle industrial touches to get a contemporary yet comfortable feel.

Basement at a Glance
Location: Edina, Minnesota (suburb of Minneapolis)
Size: 400 square feet
Budget: Around$10,000 for furniture and $10,000 for finishes (carpet, tile etc.)

Dwelling Designs

AFTER: A large sectional sofa was the family’s number-one, nonnegotiable request. “They wanted to cozy up on a sectional, which needed to fit everyone and permit them the choice to choose TV or the fireplace without even shifting,” Alshash says.

Sectional: habit, Della Robbia; carpeting: Specific Carpets; floor lamps: Global Views; end tables: Arteriors; cloths during: Osborne & Little, Romo and Garret Leather

Before Photo

The customers wanted to eliminate any sign of the basement as it was. “They were tired of their basement being a dumping ground, and they were hoping to utilize the space to bring everybody together,” says Alshash.

Before Photo

The area wasn’t a good use of space.

Dwelling Designs

AFTER: Alshash used the stairs as an chance to put in a strong textural contrast via this metallic wall covering, which looks like galvanized aluminum.

“The background just lays out that industrial vibe, in a sense creating a small fantasy for a contemporary way of life, without overwhelming the distance,” he says.

Seat: habit, Dwelling Designs; wall covering: Romo

Dwelling Designs

“The couple discovered an art piece from CB2 and stated they wanted something like it, but on steroids,” Alshash says. He tracked down the artist of this CB2 piece, Jordan Carlyle, and commissioned him to put this edgy work for the space.

“My group and I always attempted to fool the eye with various overscale pieces which were blended in height,” Alshash says. “The sectional and floor lamps, by way of instance, have big footprints but sit low, which makes the space seem bigger than it is.”

Before Photo

BEFORE: The fireplace didn’t have much presence in the old basement.

Dwelling Designs

AFTER: It got a big facelift with a brand new ceramic tile surround and tall sculptures which give it a bigger, more contemporary presence. Its scale stands up to that of the TV display that is adjacent.

Dwelling Designs

A poured concrete countertop furthers what Alshash dubs “a subconscious industrial atmosphere.” The long horizontal line it generates also helps deceive the eye into believing the distance is bigger.

Bar stools: Calligaris; sconces: Jonathan Adler

Before Photo

BEFORE: This small area off the primary space was the ideal size to get a banquette.

Dwelling Designs

AFTER: For an extra gathering option, the customers wanted the family friendliness of a booth at T.G.I. Friday’s but with a more complicated style. This area serves as a good spot for board games.

Fitting in everything the customers desired and producing the stripes and scales work was quite rewarding for Alshash. “At the end I was in love with the layout and how it all came together. I am a better designer today after working with these customers,” he says.

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10 Fabulously Fanciful Bathrooms

I had so much fun looking at living rooms which broke the mould, I decided to do it again — now with way-outside-the-box baths.

While a few of us are prepared to go a little crazy with a shower curtain or colorful towels, those homeowners simply went crazy. And the results are extremely imaginative and different and enjoyable.

They are not for everybody, however they do show a great deal of courage and creativity, two qualities which never go out of fashion.

Covering a powder room floor to ceiling in dramatic red wallpaper is bold enough for many people. But when you add a backlit alabaster dressing table and chandelier sconces, you’ve created an altar.

Menter Byrne Architects

This bathroom inside this gym pavilion is so enjoyable, but it also has a beautiful, light-filled simplicity which makes it beautiful. It would be so much easier to get my kids into the tub whenever they could swing in.

I love the over-the-top gilded appearance in this area. Playing with style and scale can create unexpected and lovely outcomes.

Pepe Calderin Design- Modern Interior Design

This dark, metallic bathroom with its lit wall of figurines and clean lines is high-drama glamour. So Miami, don’t you think?

Sam Allen Custom Home Design

If King Henry VIII ever pinpointed, he did it in a room similar to this. Spare, fit for a king and grand.

erwin hawawinata / Hawawinata N Associates

All this marble, gilt and drapery is much more Napolean’s design.

Locati Architects

Luxury meets Wild West in a bathroom that combines natural substances, like rough-cut stone, with antlers and some very wonderful hardware.

Peace Design

More flair. Raw steel countertops and old license plates. It is like the sweetest, most tasteful truck stop toilet.

Stern McCafferty

A tub in an industrial white bathroom. Calming and hilarious all at once.

Watch more of this house and learn about this tub

DKOR Interiors Inc.- Interior Designers Miami, FL

This stunningly magnificent agate wall is really a large-scale waterproof panel created by Alex Turco. This bathroom demonstrates that slick, contemporary rooms can be produced with natural substances.

More: Dream Tubs for Bath Lovers

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A Luxurious Home Embraces the Landscape

Lauri and Mike Hamer originally hired Lori Smyth to get a pool installation, but what began as a little project soon evolved into a complete house remodel. “This massive fireplace obstructed a lot of the view — it needed to go,” Smyth says. “If they had kept it, they would have had this stunning pool that nobody could appreciate from inside, not to mention that there wouldn’t have been a fantastic way to get to the pool in the house. A lightbulb had gone off in them as well; they understood that the outside needed to be pulled into the house and that the problem was bigger than the pool installation.”

Despite a wildfire that threatened an entire derailment of this redesign, the Hamers, Smyth and her team forged on. “What is fantastic is that we did not have to modify the footprint of the house,” says Smyth.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Mike and Lauri Hamer and their kids, Zach and Chloe
Location: Santa Barbara foothills, California
Size: 3,500 square feet
That’s intriguing: Lauri’s dad, Fred Glenwinkel, constructed this home; it has been in her family for 3 years.

Lori Smyth Design

The landscape layout leads the eye out of the pool to the house, with stairs resulting in the house. Chloe, Zach and friends spend a lot of time in the garden and in the pool, which makes this place an entertainment hub.

Smyth and her team replaced the fireplace wall using floor-to-ceiling sliding glass walls, opening up the interiors to the outdoor living spaces and panoramic views.

Landscape Design: Lane Goodkind; Landscape Contruction: Stonetree Landscape

Lori Smyth Design

A wraparound deck and one of 2 outdoor living rooms give views of the foothills and the Pacific.

“The original house had this little deck, with just a little door, that was hanging off the mountain,” says Smyth. “The soil around it was a big weed area on a mountain. This remodel makes the property’s design more present and reflective of their family living in the house now.”

Lori Smyth Design

Split-level steps lead to a formal dining room, in which glass windows and nonobscuring balcony railing materials let in plenty of light.

Sectionals: Ferla

Lori Smyth Design

The glossy contemporary kitchen works hard to get a family who entertains frequently. A walnut island foundation and hardwood flooring warm up the area, which also has a sleek white lacquer bartop and a stainless island countertop.

“Mike and Lauri adore contemporary design, but they did not need a house that felt cold and aloof,” Smyth says. “We worked hard to evoke the family’s warmth and openness in the property’s design.”

Island and bar high layout: Lori Smyth Design and Bomo Design; bar stools: Soluzioni; backsplash: Walker Zanger (discontinued)

Lori Smyth Design

Smyth and her team ripped out the stairs from a enclosed wall and also redid it entirely with glass panels that expose the structure. A picture of Chloe in three parts fills part of a wall.

Lori Smyth Design

“Being in the house is almost like a hot tub experience,” Smyth says. You feel relaxed, and you only wish to be there since it’s so cozy and there’s not a lot of knickknacks lying about. Rooms just flow into one another and although you’re indoors, you always feel attached to the perspectives along with the living spaces outside.”

Bookcase: Lori Smyth Design (concept) and Bomo Design (drawings and implementation); sofa: B&B Italia; chair: Vioski

Lori Smyth Design

Zach’s room communicates his imagination and musical inclinations without feeling overly kitschy: An electrical keyboard leans from a Bob Marley poster, along with an electrical guitar and a yellowish lounger are within arm’s distance of one another.

Lori Smyth Design

The customers realized the kids got older, they were spending less time in the home, so they turned what was a two-car garage into a game room.

Before the redesign, Smyth says that Lauri lamented over how the kids spent an increasing number of time away in the house. “She wanted a house that the kids needed to bring their friends to. And the kids love staying home and having their friends over.”

Lori Smyth Design

Lori Smyth Design

The outdoor cement and kitchen fire pit region extend the living spaces to the surrounding topography — fitting for a family with origins in the region. You feel like you’re on vacation the moment you arrive.

“So some of the houses in Santa Barbara have been upgraded,” Smyth says. “It is referred to as the mecca for Spanish colonial architecture and homes, so there aren’t many houses that look and feel this open and present”

Architect: John Beauchamp; Contractor: Bomo Design; Landscape Design: Lane Goodkind; Landscape Contruction: Stonetree Landscape

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Guest Picks: Curvy Coffee Tables

I’ve been on a hunt this month for the ideal coffee table to complete my living space — and what a quest it was turned out to be! The range of innovative and creative designs out there’s quite overpowering. Luckily, I had a couple of criteria to help narrow the options: it had to be curvy, organic in feel, neutral in colour, kid-friendly and reduced. So here, for the other coffee-table seekers on the market, are the outcome of my hunt. — Lucy from Four Walls And A Roof

Carved Wood Coffee Table – $349

This table has been my beginning point. I adored the Moroccan vibe; it’d be great with a few floor cushions for extra chairs. But I quickly realized that adding still another wood species in to my area would be an error.

Lucy McLintic

This is the family room. The java table needs to tie together the sectional sofa and the Cherner chair, but without taking up too much space. Plus, it has to compete with my beloved (but instead loudly) zigzag rug.

Z Gallerie

Zanzibar Coffee Table – $599

This table also has an ethnic feel to it, resembling Indonesian carved wood. I love the metal information, and the drawers will be so sensible. Nonetheless, it is somewhat dark and heavy for my space.


Meteor Coffee Table

I had been attracted to the concept of a burl wood table. It will not get a lot more organic than that. The highly polished follicles are so very perceptible. But I could envision beverages being pumped over on this beauty.

Woodland Creek Furniture

Driftwood Coffee Table

Here is another option for burled wood. It’s a rougher finish, but the glass top is much better for balancing food and beverages. Regrettably, glass isn’t an option when you have two small boys that love to climb.

MidCentury Modern Finds

Vintage Mid-Century Burl Wood Slab Coffee Table – $600

Another wood option is a table with a live edge. One day I would love a huge dining table similar to this, but a coffee table would be a fantastic beginning.


Stone Slice Table

A number of the businesses which make wood tables also provide petrified stone tables. These are magnificent, but maybe they’re better suited to a more formal living room.


Bright round marble top coffee table – $349

This table is beautifully simple, and the marble fits with my neutral scheme. But, again, stone is cold to the touch, and marble could stain, so it is best saved for a grown-up space.


Oly Studio Pico Cocktail Table – $1,725

A casing shirt has the clean appearance of marble but at a more stain-resistant finish. The curvy legs in this table are distinctive, and the design would fit in a variety of spaces.

Blu Dot

Pi Coffee Table – $599

This table includes a powder-coated steel shirt which has a much warmer appearance than and doesn’t stain like marble. Together with the timber, it’s a natural feel which will fit nicely in my area.

Blu Dot

Lily Pad Coffee Table – $399

Then I hit on the idea of multiple tiny tables instead of a single table. This Lily Pad Coffee Table achieves that effect but is just one piece of furniture. I enjoy the combination of white paint and timber.


Designer contemporary Adelphi Coffee Table – $614.91

A pair of tables works nicely also. These have a creamy leather coating, that’s the utmost in glamor, but maybe it isn’t as practical as my family needs.


Lucent Nesting Tables – $349

Or, I could select three nesting tables which operate together. The shot of turquoise would be great in my room, but the general effect might be too busy for my liking.

Design Within Reach

Noguchi Table | Design Within Reach – $1,399

The Noguchi Table is a classic, and it emulates the exact same irregular shape as the previous example. I adore this bit, but glass is a no-go.

All Design Awards

Cute Cut Cocktail Table

These tiny tables from Roche Bobois are also irregularly shaped, like smooth pebbles found on the beach. The metallic colors would include some vibrancy to the space. But, unfortunately, anything that’s tagged “price on request” is likely not a fantastic idea for a family space.

Ruby LivingDesign

Bruno Cocktail Table – $2,050

By today, however, I had been sold on the idea of a metallic end. This circular table has a beautiful burnished bronze finish that will do the job nicely.


Curtis Table, Silver Leaf – $468

DwellStudio makes it right again with this innovative silver-leaf hourglass table. It also works as an end table if you stand it upright. I love the flexibility of the piece, but it is somewhat too rectangular for our needs.


Catalan Iron Table – $1,375

A circular option is this iron table which resembles a huge java bean! I would snap up this in a heartbeat, but it is somewhat beyond the budget.

Zinc Door

Arteriors Malcolm Coffee Table – $886

A similar option is this drum-shaped table in a dark silver iron with brass details. It is the ideal size and shape and really is a true contender.


River Stone Cocktail Table, Silver – $949

But I wanted a bit more vibrancy in the room, which has dark walls and a lot of black finishes. This table includes a more silver finish. Apart from how it may seem like a meteorite has crashed in my living room, this one pretty much has what I’ve been searching for.


Thimble Metal Coffee Table – $995

This hammered silver table could be the best solution. A bit more tasteful and classic compared to the previous option, it’s a metallic end but a beautiful, organic shape and texture. Plus, there are no corners for small heads to bump into. Maybe, just maybe, this table will probably be coming to a living room near me shortly.

What’s your pick for Lucy’s living room? Let us know in the comments below.

Next: 8 Ways to Reimagine the Coffee Table

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10 Tiny Kitchens Whose Usefulness You Won't Believe

From unfolding flats to smart remodels to creative rentals, these 10 miniature kitchens demonstrate that their owners and designers have not just learned to take care of small spaces — they’ve embraced them. With options including cutting boards for extra counter space, affordable alternatives to background and advanced storage, these tiny kitchens can’t help but inspire.

Kelly and Abramson Architecture

1. Pocket-Size Vintage-Style Kitchen
Homeowner: Robert and Ronna Kelly of Piedmont, California

Robert Kelly’s vintage-style kitchen is only about 145 square feet, but he does not need considerably more room — even with kids and pets round. Kelly’s home was built in the 1920s, also preserving the original design was a big priority. Each appliance and finish was chosen to complement the home as a whole. The gorgeous classic stove was given to him by a friend.

Kelly and Abramson Architecture

The toughest portion of Kelly’s renovation was planning the kitchen in connection to the remainder of the home. The traffic stream needed to be arranged with emphasis on a single side of the distance, leaving more room for cabinets and counters on the other. Transferring the interior stairs, the exterior stairs and also the windows helped attain this but presented some complications.

See more of Kelly’s kitchen

Justrich Design

2. Clean, Modern and Efficient Kitchen
Homeowner: Steve Justrich of San Francisco

Designer Steve Justrich’s renovated 1912 kitchen was carefully designed to make the most of its 90 square feet. Justrich relied on easy tricks — putting the refrigerator flush into the wall in an old doorway and buying small European appliances to save space. Open shelving instead of upper cabinetry along with a turquoise Venetian plaster ceiling create the illusion of more room.

Justrich Design

A very small dishwasher is Justrich needs to get a day’s worth of dishes. A built-in cutting board along with a strainer to your sink enlarge counter and prep area. Colorful artwork and Heath pottery include cheer into the simply designed area.

See more of Justrich’s kitchen

Apt 2B Baking Co..

3. A Tiny, Makeshift Bakery
Homeowner: Yossy Arefi-Afshar of New York City

Yossy Arefi-Afshar likes to bake, and Won’t allow her miniature New York kitchen prevent her. Although she has learned some hard lessons about planning along the way (“I will never forget the time I got overly rough with my menu and ended up doing dishes in the tub the next day,” she says), she has learned to function with what she has got.

Apt 2B Baking Co..

When Arefi-Afshar is operating on a big baking job, she simply clears everything off the counters and moves into another portion of the apartment. For some excess surface area, she will pull out a drawer or two and put a sheet pan or cutting board on top.

See the remainder of Arefi-Afshar’s kitchen

Churreria Photography

4. Space-Saving Spanish Kitchen
Homeowner: Christian Schallert of Barcelona, Spain

This cleverly designed 260-square-foot Barcelona apartment works in different manners — each appliance and piece of furniture tucks into a concealed panel. Panels made of Viroc and timber pop open with an easy push, revealing refrigerators, seating plus a bed.

Churreria Photography

The kitchen panels are on precisely the exact same side of the home. A fridge, an electric stovetop, a sink, a freezer, a microwave and a dishwasher fit into this one wall. After foods, everything simply gets tucked right into its hidden panel.

See more of Schallert’s home

nat the fat rat

5. Eclectic and Personal New York Kitchen
Homeowner: Natalie Holbrook of Manhattan, New York

Natalie Holbrook’s new flat was an upgrade in size and style from her previous miniature, prewar home. While the kitchen was a step upward, it was small and lacked some special style. When she first moved in, Holbrook desired to pay this wall in background, but the possibly messy installation and expensive price tag dissuaded her.

nat the fat rat

Instead, she developed an impromptu, fashionable and affordable collage made of Polaroids, Instagram prints along with other photographs. Adding the cassette, the whole thing cost less than $35.

See more of Holbrook’s home

Big Girls Small Kitchen

6. A Food Blogger’s Brooklyn Lease
Homeowner: Cara Eisenpress of Brooklyn, New York

A leasing kitchen isn’t just limited in size, it’s restricted in style also. Food blogger Cara Eisenpress uses cute art and her prettiest canning experiments to add color and attention to her miniature Brooklyn kitchen.

Big Girls Small Kitchen

A huge portion of maintaining a small kitchen clean is prioritizing possessions. Not everything could fit in her kitchen initially, so the most used items were kept available. On the other side of the kitchen, a wall-mounted wine rack and tall bookshelves benefit from wall space for storage. A small setup chairs four individuals for a casual meal.

See the rest of Eisenpress’ kitchen

Michael K Chen Architecture

7. Luxe Appliances in a Small Space
Homeowner: A Manhattanite who likes to cook

The proprietor of this 400-square-foot New York City apartment loves to cook and understood that his lack of square footage didn’t need to be an inhibitor. Collectively, the client and designers Michael Chen and Kari Anderson came up with a unique “unfolding” notion — a built-in cabinet which carries a cabinet, a desk and a bed, also divides flat into zones.

Michael K Chen Architecture

This unfolding cabinet solved the issue in the great area, but the dilapidated kitchen had some problems. The designers found that a small Viking range to install at the end of the narrow kitchen area. 2 undercounter units replaced a full-size fridge , and walnut and stainless steel open shelving provided functional and attractive storage.

See more of this unfolding apartment

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

8. Ecofriendly Bare Essentials
Homeowner: Jay Shafer of North Carolina

This movable 7- by 16-foot home is combined with an equally miniature residence next door for a total of 620 square feet of living area. Jay Shafer, founder of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, calls this home (along with his wife and young son). This energy efficient and ecofriendly housing solution relies on the fundamentals, including a bare-bones kitchen. The front door of the home opens into its small kitchen and dining area. A sink, a prep surface, a portable electric range and a small fridge serve the household’s basic needs. A shelf above the sink holds the majority of the dishes and other kitchen essentials.

See more of Shafer’s home

Gut Gut

9. Classy and Custom European Kitchen
Homeowner:Lukas Kordik of Bratislava, Slovakia

This space-saving personalized kitchen is full of smart storage options. The vivid blue kitchen cabinetry provides plenty of color while taking up minimal room. An electrical stove top, a toaster set flush into the cabinetry and incorporated drawer handles keep things easy. Possessing the principal kitchen unit in a single block saves space and keeps open.

Gut Gut

Designer and homeowner Lukas Kordik created an impressive unit of floor-to-ceiling shelving to hold essentials and decorative products.

See more of Kordik’s home

10. Cheerful San Francisco Lease
Homeowner: Kimberly Hasselbrink of San Francisco

Food photographer Kimberly Hasselbrink loves her San Francisco apartment, but her kitchen is seriously lacking in space and natural lighting. She has not gotten the go-ahead to make any modifications on it, so for now she has dressed up her distance with thrift shop accessories and one-of-a-kind artwork.

Hasselbrink keeps the room neat and clean by using hidden storage. She does not like to keep out anything unless it’s useful and appealing, rather adding color and visual interest via easy-to-change decoration, like these prints from Jon Holcomb and Wendy MacNaughton.

See more of Hasselbrink’s kitchen

Do you have a small kitchen? Show us in the Comments section below!

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Vacation Cottage Defies a Stormy Coast

Remodeling a fantasy holiday home near a flood zone does not seem like a recipe for comfort. However, for homeowners Bob and Kate Horgan, this rock structure off the coast of Maine was precisely what they were looking for. Set on the edge of miniature Hunting Island, off the southern tip of Southport, this former rock searching retreat can be found inside a 100-year flooding zone and only a couple feet over the high-water line.

Flooding in a storm surge is a real threat here, therefore the Horgans had to think of a very special design and construction to meet the code requirements for your redesign. The couple hired Knickerbocker Group to do this while keeping up the cottage’s charm and making room for occasional visits in their seven grown children.

at a Glance
Who lives here: A holiday home for Bob and Kate Horgan
Location: Hunting Island, Maine
Size: Main house: 1,570 square feet; 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Bunkhouse: 270 square feet; 1 bedroom, 1 bath

The cottage’s outside walls are made from stone found on the staircase. Originally, this structure was a simple searching escape with no electricity. It had only a couple little rooms and rustic pipes, and was filled with ocean debris from demanding storms.

The construction was sensitive to the cottage’s surroundings, so waste had to be kept to a minimum, and several changes were made to the house’s exterior. The majority of the renovations were developed to maintain the house inside the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) flooding code. Vents had to have the ability to handle flood waters by equalizing water pressure all around the structure, wood had to be rotproof and all electrical services had to be set up a minimum of three feet off the ground.

At the time of construction, FEMA demanded that if a structure was enhanced by greater than 50 percent of its worth, it had to be transferred out of the flood plain. However, this residence is mostly made from rock, and moving it would have been an impossible feat.

Rather, architect Rick Nelson and his group at Knickerbocker got inventive. “We decided it would be best to be as meticulous as possible about costs, which helped focus our efforts on maintaining the rugged charm of the structure,” he says.

Basketball-size rocks and piles of sand have been known to wash into structures within this area. To battle this, Nelson and his group constructed mahogany and ballistic storm panels that will be securely attached to all the front doors and windows during storms and in the off-season.

Ship inset: Wooden Screen Door Co.; stained glass: Kim Villard

Obviously, the prospect of flood made choosing furniture difficult as well. Simple pieces with restricted upholstery proved to be the best bet. To remain within the budget, the cement floors were stained rather than covered with tile, timbers were left unfinished and the present stone walls were simply cleaned.

An iron pole round the living room roof was set up to secure the roof to the walls through rough weather. “A structural requirement became an chance for a modern decorative element,” says Nelson.

Paintings: Kim Villard; cushions: On Board Fabrics

FEMA demands made the design and practicality of these main downstairs living spaces especially complex, forcing Knickerbocker Group to acquire creative with materials and installation.

The kitchen, only visible through this doorway, had its own set of limitations. Installing permanent lower cabinetry was not a choice, since it might be completely destroyed in a flood. Rather, cabinets were custom made and put on casters so they could be readily eliminated. This also meant the cabinetry was believed furniture and may be taken out of their funding for FEMA accounting.

How to install the sink was a head scratcher, but ultimately Nelson permanently attached the sink counter into a wall with mounts and constructed the cupboard below to slide out and in on casters.

Knickerbocker Group

Rough-sawn cedar was used to sheath walls and stairways for a rustic appearance that met the rotproof requirements.

The driftwood railing on the staircase is original to the home. It was stored and reused to maintain the house’s original rustic appeal.

Natural rock shower tile keeps the major bathroom’s appearance in line with the rest of the home. A stencil on the stained concrete flooring adds a subtle decorative element.

Fixtures: Rohl; stenciled floor pattern: Jill Valliere Design

The clients wanted larger, more personal bedrooms — a major change from the home where they raised their seven children. These chambers were kept simple and mild, with antique furniture that reflects the house’s roots. White linen bedding appears clean and crisp against the rough stone walls.

Bed: Maine Cottage; shade: Creative Canvas

Few modifications were made to the surrounding property, since harsh weather could potentially destroy any landscaping. Nelson and his group did make some improvements into the rock formations around the house, though, producing rock terracing, stairs and a bonfire pit with boulder chairs.

For additional guest housing, Knickerbocker built a little bunkhouse on the only sliver of their house that may host a new construction. Storm panels sit out, prepared to undertake the demanding weather.

The board and batten walls within this bunkhouse bedroom make it feel more comfy than the stone-clad bedrooms in the primary house. Kate Horgan is an interior designer and frequently collects shore temples to decorate the house. Here, a beautiful branch found on the beach hangs from your bunkhouse ceiling.

Watch more inspiring homes by the water

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Guest Groups: Charm and Whimsy

In the dark days of winter, when Mercury has fallen and the sky is dull, who wouldn’t need a peek of whimsy heating up the house? A conservative by nature, even that I locate myself magnetically drawn to bright and joyful colors, playful patterns and ethereal qualities. Never underestimate the power of an unexpected pop of color or even a pretty print. It might be just what the doctor ordered to elevate your mood and give your space a breath of fresh air.

These selections exemplify a whimsical, playful style that never takes itself too seriously. They are sure to brighten even the bleakest doldrums of winter, long after the holiday cheer has subsided. — Kelly in The Kitchen Designer


Alessi | Inka Press Filter Coffee Maker/Infuser – $115

My brother bought me this French press coffee maker during his journeys to Scandinavia almost a decade ago, and it remains among my most-used and cherished kitchen things. Just how much more personality can you ask for out of a coffee maker?


Kirie 01 Clock – $84

How fragile and pretty is this clock? Reminiscent of frilly lace or intricate latticework, this timepiece just sings and possesses an undeniably feminine aura.

Scandinavian Made

Zipper Vase – $190

This playful vase boasts such intricate detail and dramatic design. Handcrafted in Denmark and completed in a creamy jade glaze, it is truly a one-of-a-kind piece that will elevate a simple blossom to a stunning statement piece.


Have a Dip Terrarium – $125

Terrariums are a current darling among home decor enthusiasts, and who wouldn’t need a splash of green brightening their interior? Twig steps up the whimsy by adding an abrupt miniature figurine to their already lush flora environs.

Modern Pillowcases And Shams – AUD 49

Everybody knows that neon is sexy at this time. Pair it with polka dots and a smoky grey background, and this gorgeous shade of yellow will surely spark the power. I am especially a fan of this random pattern of these dots, which elevates the already whimsical print from fun to fabulous.

MoMA Store

Nesting Tables – $2,100

A set of nesting tables is super functional and efficient as is, yet this offering also packs a potent punch of colour and cheer. Keep them together, or spread them throughout your house for a bright burst of joy in each area.

Have You Met Miss Jones

Nest Pillar Lamp with Swallow – AUD 115

Ever a fan of this aviary set, I am in love with this little lamp with a bird perched atop. The chalky white end keeps it compact, while the rich texture adds fashion and depth.


Nouvelle Old Fashioned Teaspoon, Steel Blue – $36

I really like this set of spoons at a matte royal blue end to turn the temperature up on afternoon tea. The contemporary colour plays well together with the traditional shape for an intriguing complementary contrast which feels so fresh.

Happy Tape

Quirky Bright Pack – $36

What can’t you freshen up with washi tape? Ubiquitous for good reason, these sticky little rolls of joy add a bunch of fun and fashion to almost anything. Rip off a few bits to garnish up family photographs with panache; line a plain vase or glass with alternating rows of colour; or insert it to wrapped presents or envelopes for a small pleasure when opened.

Design Public

DwellStudio Peacock Citrine Bedding – $90

I am not positive if it’s the glowing blue peacocks, the joyful yellow background, or the lush rain forest feel of this bedding which simply makes me grin. At first glance, it is perhaps a little daring, but it is sure to grow on you and also find a means in your heart. There is no denying its effervescent charm and character.


Lacework Wool Rug by Amy Butler – $876

I am a huge fan of anything by Amy Butler, and these rugs inside her signature patterns aren’t any exception. I’d really like to have this contemporary pairing of lavender and chartreuse with all the big, bold graphics underfoot.

Candle Delirium

Rouge Candle – $75

This candle does double duty, also it seems fine to boot. Burn the lovely scent to excite your senses and add a sense of calm to your home. When your 40 hours of olfactory bliss are upward, feast your eyes on the lovely vessel as a permanent object of decor.

Alora Ambiance

Alora Ambiance Reed Diffuser – $90

I have had some of these diffusers, and I find them hanging round my house long after the lusciously scented oil has evaporated. The simple layout of this bottle combined with all the brightly hued, picture cloth tag make this a helpful piece which you’re going to be reticent to a part after it is finished.


Felt Balls Earthy Mix by Handbehg Felts – $19.75

To get a quick and effortless dose of whimsy, catch a few richly colored felt balls and then chain them up as a decorative garland. It will, without a doubt, put a grin in your face with each passing.

Scandinavian Made

Dangling Light Candles, Red – $155

Few things rival the ambiance-enhancing power of candlelight. Pack an excess punch with this unbelievable hand-crafted hanging tea light holder. Group a couple in a corner, or hang a simple, dramatic fixture to get an immediate mood enhancer.


Daydream Wallpaper, Blue – $125

I am loving all the gorgeous wallpaper designs of late, and this whimsical blue variety with birds soaring and fluffy clouds has captured my heart. I would really like to put this in a foyer or bedroom to get immediate drama and personality.

Ferm Living Shop

Lunch Plate – $29

Ferm Living is among my favourite brands because of its simple Scandinavian designs and apparently effortless fashion. The harlequin routine and unexpected colour pairing make this among the most interesting dishes I have seen. Pick up the whole set or just a few bits, and watch that grilled cheese morph into a five-star .

Design Public

Artecnica Midsummer Light, White – $100

This pendant lighting reminds me of falling snow or lily-white flowers finely floating in the sky. Bring some love into a living area or bedroom, and illuminate your soul.

Design Public

Turning Leaves Mobile, Black and Red – $65

I have bought a few Flensted mobiles for my daughter, but I have always coveted them for myself. So delicately made, they float through the air with the slightest breeze, including endless movement and elegance to the space where they occupy.

House & Hold

notNeutral Tetra 4 Cabinet – $3,150

I love this sideboard with all the sudden blocks of colour and burst of green which are paired beautifully with the blonde wood. Not your normal furniture, this line has a sense of humor and dramatic personality that will add character to any space.

Serena & Lily

Curvee Shelf Table, White – $395

I am so in love with this gorgeous side table from Serena & Lily. With sensual fluidity and graceful lines, this table softens up a space and provides a delicate, dramatic touch.

Next: Not Your Usual Accessories

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