Category: Eclectic Homes

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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Guest Groups: Seeing Red

It is the time of year when the red and green accents come out, but I believe that you can use red in your home year-round. Here are some of my favorite ways to add a shot of red (large or little ) to every room in your home. — Maggie from Maggie Stephens Interiors

One Sydney Road

Wine Label Print – $20

Just tellin’ it how it is. I’d love this at the kitchen or as part of a gallery wall.

Layla Grayce

One of a Kind Vintage Dining Chair Louis XVI Warm Cream – $2,200

Vintage French-style dining seats look beautiful in a traditional space, or they can provide a smart comparison to a mid-century contemporary tulip table.

Pottery Barn

Game Accent Side Table – $299

This is not only a sweet little accent desk, but also a pull-out backgammon and chess board. I’d really like to get this for fun.

Jayson Home

Zondra Chair – $895

This chic pillow-top slipper seat in brick red would look fantastic next to a classic side table in rustic timber.

Layla Grayce

Clairebella Monogram Cutting Board, Houndstooth – $38

Even your counter tops could be decked out in fashion. Bring some preppy to your homework work with all the always-elegant houndstooth and monogram.

Jayson Home

Vintage Oushak Rug – $1,195

This is a fail-proof vintage Turkish carpet. Done and performed.

Pottery Barn

Macallan Plaid Duvet Cover & Sham – $99

This is the perfect bedding for a cabin, or pair it with equestrian details for a look to last through all seasons.


Tribal Beaded Necklaces – $39

I really like when jewelry is incorporated to design, like hanging in a gallery wall arrangement or strung around a lamp.

Pottery Barn

Tess Floral Tapered Drum Lamp Shade – $59

A pair of wooden lamps would show these off pretty shades and bring a timeworn appearance to the room.

Layla Grayce

Thomas Paul Blossom Persimmon Tufted Wool Pile Rug – $312

This high-contrast rug would liven up any room. I vote to the entrance or the den.

High Street Market

Chevron Knit Throw Blanket, Persimmon – $195

This toss is for draping over the arm of the couch and snuggling on cold nights.

Lamps Plus

Tree of Life Hand-Painted Japanese Room Divider Screen – $449.91

Add some serious glamour using a Japanese screen. Use it to soften a corner or to make a private area at a studio.

Pottery Barn Kids

Carolina Collectors Table – $159

The playroom can have some red. Children can show off their collections (rocks, pens, etc.) and develop a spot to create. I wish I had had this when I was little!

West Elm

Collapsible Sawhorse Table – No Longer Available

I’d like this utilized as a desk at a minimum, white attic space. Plus, it is collapsible, which means you could put it away for celebrations.


Updated Louis Chair, Red – $329

I state every room needs some red and something contemporary. There’s nothing like this seat, killing two birds with one stone.

Lamps Plus

Hand-Painted Red Finish Solid Birch Wine Cabinet – $499.91

This could be magical in a little nook in the dining room. Mix drinks on top and use the drawers for cocktail lounges and corkscrews.

Pottery Barn

Daniella Chest – $599

The pretty lines of the chest look even better in this holly berry tone. It could be fantastic from the entrance, guest room, or even the living room — anywhere that could use a little hidden storage.

West Elm

Mia Table Lamp, Paprika – $129

This lamp has a magical, squat little shape and a very simple shade. Tuck it into the bookshelves at a bedroom.

The Container Store

X-Small Lacquered Rectangular Box, Red – $8.99

This lipstick-red lacquer box would be on my own desk stashed with stamps, pens and a chocolate, or 2.


Tailor Sofa – $1,699

For the ultimate shot of red, go with a couch. This one’s nail-head trim and rolled arms set it apart.

Next: Welcome Winter with a Little Plaid

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Mortgage Modification Apps with Freddie Mac

Many US homeowners have been fighting to keep their homes in the face of dire economic conditions and potential foreclosure. Luckily, struggling homeowners can take advantage of mortgage loan adjustment programs. These federally supported mortgage adjustment programs are available through many government-sponsored entities (GSEs), such as Freddie Mac. Two types of mortgage loan adjustment are provided by Freddie Mac: its traditional adjustment program and the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

Standard Mortgage Modification

Only homeowners who have mortgages owned by Freddie Mac are eligible for its modification programs. The mortgage giant’s conventional mortgage adjustment program might make sense if you are already behind in your payments or going to drop behind. Standard mortgage adjustment through Freddie Mac involves a written agreement between you and mortgage servicer which changes one or more terms of your loan. A better option for many homeowners with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages, even though, may be the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP.


Available through Dec. 31, 2013, HAMP allows homeowners who have Freddie-owned mortgages to modify their mortgages to lower interest rates. To qualify for HAMP mortgage adjustment you must have taken out your mortgage loan prior to Jan.1, 2009. Also, only mortgages on primary residences qualify to your HAMP program. Furthermore, homeowners must not be eligible for the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HAMP additionally demands that you have a documented financial hardship to qualify for mortgage adjustment.

Other HAMP Requirements

Freddie Mac-approved HAMP loan adjustment is intended for homeowners jammed by endothelial mortgages. To apply for Freddie-specific mortgage adjustment, homeowners must be spending over 31 percent of the pre-tax income in their mortgage payments. Mortgage payment costs can consist of principal, interest, taxes, insurance and homeowner or condo association dues. Homeowners approved by Freddie for HAMP engagement spend some time at a trial period which requires on-time mortgage payments prior to their loans are permanently modified.

Other Alternatives

If you can’t qualify for Freddie Mac’s traditional or HAMP mortgage adjustment programs, other alternatives are available. As an example, homeowners who have Freddie-owned mortgages might be eligible for the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program. HAFA features brief sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure programs from Freddie Mac which can allow you to escape your mortgage. Though you can’t keep your home when you choose HAFA, you might qualify for $3,000 in transfer money in addition to counseling services.

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The Honor Roll is Made by homeschool Spaces

Each of the homeschool spaces below earns an A-plus for challenging work. Not only are they soothing, beautiful and clutter-free, but they also provide intellectual stimulation — not a simple task for even the very experienced designer or DIY-er. Here’s a look at four houses that do not just aid their owners teach their kids, but help to teach us also.

Julie Ranee Photography

1. Industrial Farmhouse in Ohio

This family’s homeschool is located in a loft above the kitchen. Homeowner and photographer Julie Ranee purchased the hammock on a trip to Ecuador 22 years ago. “I’ve been carting the hammock around for so long and now I’ve finally put it to good use. The kids love using a relaxing and new reading nook,” states Ranee.

Julie Ranee Photography

A farmer’s table and four blue chairs from Target compose the major gathering room for Ranee’s three kids.

Hint: if you’re able to, carve out a dedicated space for homeschooling. The physical and visual separation between the learning region and the remainder of the house helps kids mentally prepare for a day’s work if they enter the school distance.

Julie Ranee Photography

Ranee, an enthusiastic DIY-er, salvaged an old wooden electric spool left from her house’s construction. She uses it as a shelf for textbooks and other reading material.

Julie Ranee Photography

This old barn torso, bought for $10 in an auction, is a homeschooler’s dream. Ranee spray painted the drawers metallic silver and black; every drawer is large enough to store documents and papers.

Julie Ranee Photography

Hint: Sprinkle inspiring and inviting messages throughout your school region to lift the kids’ spirits.

Amy Renea

2. Conventional house in Pennsylvania

Interior designer Darlene Weir is about flexible seating options. Though her boys use a conventional chair and desk set up for writing assignments, they perform virtually all of their reading, researching and memorizing together on a beanbag, preferring to break away from the heirloom table handed down from Weir’s husband’s family.

Says Weir,”My boys love drawing and doing math on the floor. Flexibility is a perk of homeschooling, so why not work on the floor once in a while?”

Hint: If you opt for a conventional chalkboard, try to find one that is antique — the chalk won’t squeak as you write.

Amy Renea

Homeschooling calls for several tiny things: glue sticks, tape, crayons, pipe cleaners and more. Weir finds storage and storage clutter-control comfort in baskets. “Baskets leave things readily accessible, but they conceal the distinct miniature parts from perspective,” she states.

Weir additionally uses the workbox system, where all her kids has his own workbox that has his individual assignments for the day. Each child returns all things to the box when finished. “The machine keeps the daily newspapers manageable,” says Weir.

Hint: Although it’s great to have a designated homeschool area like this, Weir likes to break up the monotony of daily education by changing to a different place in the house occasionally. “Sometimes we’do school’ from the kitchen because it divides the speed; the new setting reinvigorates us,” says Weir.

Natasha Barrault Design

3. ‘Gentle Modern’ Home School in Malibu

Interior designer Natasha Barrault and architect-designer Hervé Daridan made this family house with education in your mind.

“We utilized the present rooms of the house and enabled each space to change to the demands of the school. In essence, the chambers could actually shape-shift [into ] a homeschool in the morning and then return to being a normal living room or dining room for the remainder of the moment,” states Barrault.

This picture shows a part of the living space, used as the language arts room when school is in session.

Hint: Don’t underestimate the ability of slipcovers and furniture protections. Barrault added specially designed and elegantly shielded decor and furnishings so that every piece can survive the wear and tear of school days.

Natasha Barrault Design

Barrault and Daridan custom made fabric-covered boxes with metal frames to fit from the bookcases. Each box is full of letters, numbers, toys and other educational products.

Natasha Barrault Design

“The customer did not need to sacrifice the beauty of every room. I think we proved that practicality and prioritizing kid-related activities in the house aren’t detrimental to good home layout,” states Barrault.

Hint: Homeschools don’t necessarily need to be full of dispensable furniture. Beautiful, elegant interiors can serve these requirements; you just need to find the most flexible, flexible pieces.

Amy’s Affordable Interiors

4. Homeschool Remodel in Florida

Interior designer Amy Steenson’s homeschool works really difficult for her loved ones. The efficient space does triple duty as a school, a home office and a guest room for friends and loved ones.

Hint: Maximize your distance by aligning furniture from the walls, freeing up the center of the space for reading and creative group activities.

Amy’s Affordable Interiors

Steenson enjoys versatile storage options, such as table legs with storage room and wall-hung shelves and cups. “Locate storage boxes that can fit under desks, sofas and tables, and elastic furniture options like end tables that twice as filing cabinets,” she states.

Hint: Source furniture from other Areas of the house. A futon, sleeper or daybed sofa may be a good addition to a homeschool. “This sofa is a place where my kids and I will read together during the school day, but also doubles as a full-size bed we could use for seeing guests,” states Steenson.

ers, do you own a homeschool? Tell us about your style challenges and reveal images from the Remarks section below.

Children’ Study Spaces Make High Marks
Get Your House Back-to-School Ready

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