Month: August 2019

5 Questions to Ask for the Best Room Lighting

Before you upgrade furniture, replace floors or remodel a living area, consider whether your lighting functions. Lighting is a telltale sign of layout quality and one of the most economical methods to upgrade your house without busting your budget. It sets a mood and helps define a fashion. Without it, important architectural details, artwork and focal points fall level and unnoticed. When done right, lighting functions as a closely tuned orchestra, developing a pitch-perfect makeup of light, layers, flow and direction.

If your lighting choreography consists of a single flip of the change, then maybe it is time to light your head.

“Every five to ten years, the lighting trends change,” states Melissa Kilgore, a lighting specialist at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. “Shifting out a few select pieces in the house to reflect what is current will help upgrade the look of your living space.”

Lighting positioning, fixtures and functions will be the three main ingredients to think of when giving your living space a light makeover. Therefore, if you’re wondering whether it is time for an upgrade, ask yourself these questions.

Restoration Hardware

1. Am I Lighting Unusual Places?

As you evaluate the standing of your lighting style, remember that lighting also functions as art that helps define your personality, set the mood and perform practical tasks. Think of adding light in unexpected places, such as a chandelier at the master bathroom. And consider using light in unconventional ways — such as using hanging pendant lights as reading lamps.

Affiniti Architects

Bright thought for sudden lighting: Search for opportunities to install light fixtures in alcoves, tray ceilings and wall sockets to trace interesting lines. Notice the concealed lights at the ceiling alcove over the cylindrical fireplace mantel here.

Mal Corboy Design

Painting with light is one other way to add surprise. Here coloured LED lighting with toe kick lighting underneath the island and cupboards generates striking appeal.

Craig Denis

In this dining room, the coloured LED lights at the tray ceiling and alongside the rock wall include dimension and visual appeal. Notice how the light calls attention to the texture of the rock wall. Rope or strip lighting achieves this effect.

Craig Denis

“Think of lighting as the jewellery of a house, and also the more unexpected locations that you can place paint or lighting light, the further tradition the residence will seem,” says Kilgore.

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Another example: Emphasize the shape of a cabinet having an undercabinet and in-cabinet lighting. “I think that indirect lighting beneath and over the cabinets must be mandatory in contemporary lighting design,” Kilgore says.

She suggests using tape lighting to achieve a subtle illuminated line of sight. “Xenon lighting is an affordable alternative for indirect lighting and prices less than LED lighting,” she states.

Arnold Schulman Design Group

2. Does My Lighting Have Layers?

A perfectly lit room has three basic layers: overhead lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. This bedroom pulls all those together — the chandelier for overhead, bedside reading lamps as task lighting, and accent lighting over the headboard and artwork.

Cornerstone Architects

Bright thought for layered lighting: Consider the decorative and functional purpose of every light source. By way of example, in this entryway the wall sconces are a decorative touch, table lamps serve as task lighting and a chandelier offers complete light.

Arnold Schulman Design Group

This kitchen features a number of layers of light: The recessed cans provide overhead illumination, the pendant lighting over the island light the workspace and undercabinet area, and above-cabinet accent lighting provides the space a burst of educated fashion.

Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes

3. Can My Lights Dim?

Great lighting should multitask and establish the mood. A dimmer is a cheap ($20 to $25) and essential tool that puts you in control of the quality and quantity of light. You are able to put in a dimming system either as a whole-house lighting control or by adding a wall socket dimmer in every room and lamps with dimmer switches.

“Think of lighting such as a radio. You don’t wish just one volume. Lighting should have the chance to be task lighting and ambient lighting. Dimmers give the light multitasking capabilities,” says Kilgore.

The American Lighting Association (ALA) estimates a dimmer switch conserves $30 annually in utility expenses. Before installing a dimmer, be sure to have bulbs that are darker.

Arnold Schulman Design Group

Bright thought for dimmed lighting: to create the most of your lighting, put in the highest-wattage lightbulb potential, then dim down it to accommodate the mood and lighting needs. Look at putting dimmers on both the overhead lighting and lamp lighting.

“As another bonus, dimming your lights 50 percent can save approximately 40% in power and increase the life of your bulb,” says Kilgore.

Gordana Car Interior Design Studio

4. Can My Fixtures Reflect Present Designs?

One of the fastest methods to upgrade the look of a living space would be to swap ornamental lighting fittings for more up-to-date fashions. The ceiling fan as a light fixture is now a little passé.

Intelligent ideas for current lighting fashions: Consider replacing your ceiling fans with eye catching chandeliers. Keep the overhead light at 150 to 300 g for optimal illumination.

Laura Martin Bovard

Mix and match your own lighting fittings. They don’t have to be from the exact same lighting family or layout. Notice how in this room the celebrity motif overhead — a look that’s trending today — the night table lamps and candle wall sconces combine styles.

alene workman interior design, inc

Crystal remains a favorite alternative for lighting fittings and is used across the style spectrum. Within this contemporary bathroom, the crystal chandelier includes a contemporary presentation, drawing attention to the underlit wave ceiling.

Arnold Schulman Design Group

Lighting choices can also take cues from transitional style, characterized by clean lines and lighter finishes. “People have been studying dark, heavy scrolls for so long that they are wanting something fresh and light,” Kilgore says.

CSN Lighting

Troy Lighting F1285SG Sausalito Five Light Pendant – $558

A sexy look in light fittings now is blended alloy, dulled gold, and foiled silver , as seen here. The end is a favorite with the transitional style since it has an antique yet contemporary look.


Currey & Co.. Bamboo Floor Lamp, Gold Leaf – $598.40

Lighting inspired by the 1970s is making a strong comeback also. This bronze metal floor lamp with a bamboo-recalling layout captures the look.

DKOR Interiors Inc.- Interior Designers Miami, FL

5. Is My Lighting Focused?

Lighting design is all about the tactical positioning of light and matching the ideal light source to its intended purpose. Indirect lighting brings attention, adds layers and texture the sight point.

Bright thought for concentrated light: Pick focal points you want to emphasize, then direct a light source . “Wall sconces are great accent lighting fittings to highlight artwork and bring light to a space at eye level,” says Kilgore. Wall sconces generally cost $50 to $100.

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

If you want the room to mimic daylight, the ALA recommends using a bulb ranked 4,000 Kelvin or higher. (The Kelvin, or K, evaluation describes how visually warm or cool that a light is.) The higher the K rating, the more cooler or bluer the light appears.

The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is the next important number. A higher CRI is best. By way of example, 100 CRI mimics natural light and is ideal for highlighting skin tones and clothes. CFLs and LEDs normally have ratings from the 80s and are usually less flattering light sources.

More about how your lighting affects interior Colours

Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes

A chandelier in the dining room should hang 30 to 36 inches above the dining table. The diameter of the chandelier should be at least one half of the width of the table.

Designing Edge

Recessed can lighting and track lights are ideal for low-voltage direct illumination. They generally charge $50 to $100 each light.

Turn Collaborative

Translucent glass shades on pendant fixtures will decrease warmth in kitchen. Hanging overhead lighting fittings for example pendants should sit 30 to 36 inches over the island work surface.

For flattering kitchen lighting, bulbs using a color output of 2,700 K to get a sightly reddish cast are recommended.

Dream House Studios

Utilize high-K halogens to get a bluer light in task-intensive regions such as places for doing crafts or homework, or paying invoices.

Ernesto Santalla PLLC

The ALA recommends track lighting for eye-intensive tasks as well. The lights could be independently adjusted to pinpoint light for tasks.

Tell us: Have you updated your lighting recently? Please tell us what you learned.

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How to Plan the Layout of Your Kitchen

U, I, C, G or L — figuring out what design to use for the own kitchen is almost like learning how to speak a new language. Luckily, ‘s kitchen design guides can help you discover the right translation for your own kitchen remodel, or perhaps help you learn how to create your present design work just a little bit better.

Check out these seven guides to see which design might suit your home and how you prefer to cook.

Steven Miller Design Studio, Inc..

L-Shaped Kitchens

Among today’s more popular kitchen designs, the L shape with a central island is fantastic for today’s multipurpose kitchens. Although this design works best with lots of space, its variations makes it an easy fit for virtually any style.

Read the manual: Suggestions for L-Shaped KItchens

Jason Arnold Interiors

I-Shaped Kitchens

So easy that it is often forgotten, the only galley kitchen (also known as the I-shaped kitchen) is a great solution for small spaces. For open lofts and small flats, this design is frequently the only available alternative. Other folks love this single-wall setup for its affordability and simplicity.

Read the manual: Single-Wall Kitchens Catch the ‘I’

Moroso Construction

U-Shaped Kitchens

Best for busy cooks, the kitchen keeps everything in easy reach. Also called the C-shaped kitchen, this design involves a peninsula. Many times these kitchens also have the refrigerator on a wall outside the U, maintaining it within the work triangle but from any potential counter space.

Read the manual: Suggestions for U-Shaped Kitchens

Contemporary home architects

Galley Kitchens

Most galley kitchens adhere to a very simple and efficient pattern — the sink, prep and stove stand in a single line, together with the prep area equidistant from cleaning and cooking spaces. But, now’s galley can be more flexible for contemporary lifestyles. Including a kitchen table, taking out walls and incorporating seating can make this style work for today’s houses.

Read the manual: A Vote for the Good Old Galley

Soorikian Architecture

Island or Peninsula?

Although some desire an island off the bat, even sometimes a peninsula is a better option — and occasionally you want both. Learn what setup makes the most sense for the kitchen.

Read the manual: Island or even a Peninsula?


Appliance Design

The kitchen work triangle is frequently touted as the supreme design consideration for kitchen designs. But while it is important to reference the work triangle in a kitchen remodel, it isn’t the solution to each design problem. Rather, focus on what works best for you and making certain the path between your work centers — cooking, prep and cleaning — is immediate.

Read the manual: Determining the Right Appliance Layout For The Kitchen

Marlene Wangenheim AKBD, CAPS, Allied Member ASID

Universal Design Kitchen Layouts

The guiding principle of international design is simple — a space ought to be comfortable and easy to use for everybody, regardless of age or ability. This is particularly true in a high-traffic area such as the kitchen. Taking easy things such as counter height and door dimensions and types into consideration may make a dramatic difference in who will be able to access and use your kitchen.

Read the manual: Best Space Planning for Universal Design in the Kitchen

More: ‘s Kitchen

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8 Neutral Rooms That Sneak In Color Interest

Among the biggest misconceptions that people have about neutral color schemes is they’re dull, which — in case you do them right — could not be farther from the reality. However, if weaving in texture, comparison, patina and pattern aren’t enough to satisfy your desire for visual interest, a wee bit of color can do the trick.

However, you don’t want to go overboard; that is why you selected a neutral colour in the first place. Check out these eight tips for slipping in a few more colorful hues without upsetting the balance.

Elizabeth Dinkel

You have to look for a moment to find the color in this bedroom, and then you will wonder how you missed it. A fairly china blue print, edged in red, on the window treatments and bed skirt pairs with restrained reddish details in the bedding. Keeping the cloth wallpapers predominantly white preserves the room’s neutral overtones, but those tiny touches of color add a vibrancy that is sensed as much as noticed.


The colours are a bit more obvious in this traditional space — bright novels, hunting artwork, china and an Oriental rug — but not enough to detract from the tone-on-tone sensibility. French vanilla–hued walls, natural flooring and ecru linens preside over the peppier notes and maintain their dominance.

Murphy & Co.. Layout

This living area has been a massive hit , and for good reason. Everything about it feels comfortable and familiar, yet fresh and clean. And these neutrals — vibrant woods contrasted with pale creams and beiges — simply glow together. Still, I really don’t think the space would be as engaging without the apricot throw pillows, which bridge the neutrals and create an irresistible warmth.

J. Hirsch Interior Design, LLC

How many times have you heard it said that the best way to keep a neutral space from atmosphere flat is to coating textures? It is accurate, and this dwelling area demonstrates the idea to beautiful effect, from coarse rope and spooled detailing about the furniture into matte wire and nubby yarn accents. Soft chamois-yellow draperies warm the palette without calling attention to themselves.

Penguin Random House

Art can be among the simplest, most natural ways to vary the colour of a space. This gallery wall works particularly well because of the limited variety — only a couple of colorful pieces anchor the grouping, which otherwise reflects the black, black and brown colors of the room.

Linn Gresham Haute Decor

This space proves you could slip a little color into a neutral plot without disrupting the result. Gentle Wedgwood blue and vibrant orange on the chest bring to life an otherwise toned-down colour. It can be complicated to mix cool and warm colors in a neutral space, but it functions: Orange and blue create natural partners, and they pick up the yellow and grey undertones in the remaining part of the decor.

Applique Artistry

Here is another stroke of orange and barely-there blue. Tiers of rustic and refined woods and pale geometric prints diversify the beautifully nuanced neutrals, which are peppered with darker notes to give additional depth.

Annette English

Even without the comfy fire, this dining space would radiate welcome. The secret? The rough-hewn dining table, with reddish undertones that warm up the brown-on-brown scheme. An abundance of natural light flowing in and bouncing off the mirror amplifies the color variants and makes them feel alive.

More: guides to using neutral colours

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Tips for Window Shades Installation

Natural light from the sun is important no doubt, but there are times when the light is just too much. However, you don’t want to close off the blinds because you still need some of it. This is why you must install window shades. Cellular window shades readily available in the market at the moment will give you greater control over the amount of light entering your home.

Installing the shades is easy and even if you are not a window cleaning, the simple tips below will help you.

Mark Bracket Positions

Not all windows are the same. They come in different sizes and designs. Before you start the installation of shades, you must measure the size of your window first. This will help you buy the right shades for the specific type of windows you have at home.

Mark the Screw-Hole Locations

You will need to attach the shades somewhere and this is where the screw holes come in. It’s important to make the holes before placing the shades. Some homeowners often make the mistake of fixing the shades and trying to screw them in place. This is just too much work. Make the screw holes first, place the shades, and then screw.

Attach Mounting Brackets

Each window shade you buy will come with mounting brackets. The brackets are like the foundation that will hold the shades into place. Once the screw holes are made, mount the brackets. Just hold the brackets carefully until they are aligned with the screw holes made on the head jamb. Use two or three pan head screws to fasten the brackets and move to the next step.

Clip the Shade into the Brackets

Before you clip the window shades into the brackets, make sure that the brackets are level. You don’t need to be an experienced window installation to know whether the brackets are level or not. If the brackets are not aligned, fix them before clipping the shades. You will notice at the bottom of the bracing brackets a few small screws called brace screws. Loosen the screws a bit. Attach the shades and tighten the screws.

Test the Shades

Once the window shades are in place it’s time to test them. Move the shades back and forth to see whether there are any issues. The shades should move with ease. Don’t move the shades too vigorously though. If there’s something wrong, moving the shades with a lot of force might damage them. Sometimes the shade may also look shorter than normal. Don’t worry about this. Give it a few days for the fabric to relax and soon enough it will cover the entire window. If you have a lot of windows at home, installing the shades might take a whole day. However, three or four windows will take a few hours.

Installing window shades allows you to control the amount of natural light that enters your home. The shades can also help you increase privacy. The simple window repair DIY guide above will help you make the required installation.

Colour and Sets for Crafty San Francisco Parents

Finding an affordable apartment in San Francisco these days is stressful enough, let alone with a baby on the way. That’s what San Francisco couple Matthew and Sandy Lynn Davis, who together run the diverse arts and crafts company Treatzone, were facing as they scoured the city in search of a house. However, as luck would have it, only one month ahead of his son’s due date, they found a gorgeous Victorian-style flat in the Mission District with just the ideal amount of space. “It is gigantic by San Francisco standards; it’d storage space and a garage,” Sandy says. After they added their colorful artwork and diverse collections, it was the ideal place to start their new family. “It really begun to feel like home when we brought Dylan house from the hospital,” she states.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Matthew and Sandy Lynn Davis, 1-year-old son Dylan and cat Bella
Location: Mission District of San Francisco
Size: 1,500 square feet; 1 bedroom, studio-office

Shannon Malone

The parents’ decorating philosophy is both practical and lively. “Our style is fun, but we try to avoid sacrificing substance for fashion,” Sandy says. “We like things to work equally like they look.”

To pay up an unpleasant-looking fireplace, the couple strategically hung a piece of artwork. “We attempted to figure out ways to pay for the opening which wouldn’t entail covering up the great tilework, and strangely enough that painting seems to function in there,” Sandy says.

The assortment of cat-related items on the mantel initially began with the two figurines on the right. “I have noticed that a few of these resemble our cat, Bella,” she states. Matthew painted the blue painting which is based on a friend’s toy .

Shannon Malone

Both Matthew and Sandy are avid fans, and the living area features a number of their favourite prints by creative friends mixed in with some original artwork. “The living area is one of our family’s favorite places to spend some time, with its abundance of sun and a great deal of room to interact and playwith,” says Sandy. “Dylan likes to stand by the window and watch the cars go by.”

Couch: CB2; ottoman: Missoni Pentagonal Pouf, Goal; coffee table: property sale

Shannon Malone

This lively corner of the living area is devoted to Dylan.

Rug: Goal; armchair: Tullsta, Ikea

Shannon Malone

The living area flows to the couple’s newly completed studio-office through a pocket door, first to the flat.

Shannon Malone

Expedit bookshelves are utilized to corral the couple’s extensive collections across the home, such as their vinyl record set in the workplace.

Both work together in your home on different creative projects and operate their Etsy shop and Treatzone together with the flexibility to watch Dylan play nearby.

Shannon Malone

These 1930s and’40s classic silhouettes hanging in the hall are just another among those couple’s collections, sourced from eBay and flea markets through recent years.

Shannon Malone

They recently splurged on a new dining table and chairs. Behind, the other Expedit shelf arranges keeps books organized.

Dining table: Dylan, CB2; chairs: Baxton Studio

Shannon Malone

“Our main design dilemma has probably been our increasingly mobile son,” says Sandy. “It feels like we are constantly making adjustments to keep him safe and be sure that he has some distances which are only for him” Place between some initial millwork is a cozy reading nook for Dylan.

“We’ve been trying to incorporate his items together with ours,” says Sandy. “We’ve found that Dylan is not as inclined to get into things which are off limits — such as Mom and Dad’s books — he has a lot of his own items at his own level near”

Shannon Malone

The couple babyproofed the table by putting protective corners onto it.

Rug: Ikea

Shannon Malone

When they moved in, the kitchen had dark blue walls, which made an area which already obtained minimal all-natural light darker. They painted the walls a soft yellow to brighten everything up.

Paint: Haystack Yellow, Benjamin Moore

Shannon Malone

In the hallway,the couple creatively hung photographs of Dylan in their classic Eames rocker, shot every month since arrival. He recently celebrated his birthday.

“We’re probably most motivated by famous performers Ray and Charles Eames,” Sandy says. “How their work permeated every part of their lives, along with the playful and thoughtful aspect they attracted to everything they touched. I think Charles Eames previously said,’Take your enjoyment seriously.'”

Shannon Malone

The couple shares the apartment’s only bedroom with Dylan. It is located directly off the kitchen, and large windows let in plenty of sun.

The artwork over the mattress is an original photograph by Sandy. The couple had it blown up and printed on canvas in Photoworks in San Francisco.

Shannon Malone

The homeowners gave Dylan’s corner a lively character with decals from Target. The flat walls came painted a soft purple, and also the couple maintained.

Shannon Malone

Sandy obtained this bedroom batter from a buddy. The mirror is among her favourite recent thrift store finds; it’s from the local Salvation Army.

Shannon Malone

Along with a mix of handmade pieces purchased from eBay and Etsy.

“Always” letters: Goal;”It is OK” wood carving: Curiosity Shoppe (now closed); ceramic keys: Rare Apparatus; blue box: Ikea; nightlights: Bed Bath & Beyond

Shannon Malone

The couple scored this classic Eames rocker on eBay. Dylan already has his very own collections started on the wall shelves.

The couple’s next big project is to set Dylan upward in his own room. “We’re not yet sure if we’ll convert the studio-office to his bedroom or if we’ll move into that room and make the current bedroom all his,” says Sandy. “Either way, we’ll have lots of rearranging to do.”

Dresser, shelving unit: Malm and Expedit, Ikea

See more photographs from this flat | Show us your creative rental

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7 Enticing, Little-Known Annuals of the Plant World

My grandpa, agile with his hands longer for framing barns than nice cabinetry, built one of the most memorable presents of my entire early childhood: a postage stamp-size greenhouse. Heated using a set of hanging red lamps, dangling beside the farm truck and also the garage, my greenhouse further enflamed my plant addiction. The majority of my plants consisted of select annuals the regional growers wouldn’t grow. Over the years — and eventually in a much-upgraded greenhouse — I had the opportunity to test a medley of famous seasonal beauties. Of all of them, here are seven that became favorites.

CYAN Horticulture

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’
(Same manly title)

It would be a stretch to claim that Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ is anything elusive and rare. I think, however, that it’s underutilized. Introduced about 10 years ago by giants of the horticultural industry, this deceptively discreet tender plant is not much to check at on nursery shelves. Laced one of showier annuals, though, it enlivens any and all compositions, such as baby’s breath one of cut roses. A little bit of religion is all anglers need to ensure its achievement.

USDA zones: Tender
Water requirement: Well-drained to damp dirt
moderate requirement: Full sun to dappled shade
Mature size: 1 foot tall and broad
Seasonal attention: Summer to collapse
When to plant: Spring

CYAN Horticulture

Partridge Pea
(Cassia fasciculata)

Really infrequent is the charming sun-loving legume named Partridge Pea (Cassia fasciculata). Better known to farmers and recovery biologists, it nonetheless does a fantastic job in borders and beds, as exhibited here at the Montreal Botanical Garden. I also have seen it used on a shore to good effect. Approximately 3 feet high, it blooms.

USDA zones: N/A
Water requirement: Well-drained to dry dirt
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature dimensions: 3 1/4 feet tall and 2 1/2 feet broad
Seasonal attention: Summer to collapse
When to plant: Spring

CYAN Horticulture

Flowering Tobacco
(Nicotiana spp and cvs)

Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana spp and cvs) was a staple of spring annual sales for decades. Unfortunately, contemporary breeders have turned these aromatic and tasteful heirlooms into short and graceless cookie cutter solutions. Thankfully, some speciality seed homes and growers still offer the greater ones. N. langdorfii, N. mutabilis, N. sylvestris and the like are excellent options.

USDA zones: N/A
Water requirement: Well-drained to damp dirt
Light requirement: Full sun to dappled shade
Mature dimensions: Varies
Seasonal attention: Summer to collapse
When to plant: Spring

CYAN Horticulture

Globe Amaranth
(Gomphrena haageana ‘Strawberry Fields’)

A similar problem affects most globe amaranths: They’re so dense and short they’re hopeless to weave into any makeup. Not too much with Gomphrena haageana ‘Strawberry Fields’, a taller, more relaxed globe amaranth that sports an infinite series of bright red inflorescences. In full sunlight and a well-drained location, it poses no difficulty in any way.

USDA zones: N/A
Water requirement: Well-drained dirt
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature dimensions: 1 2/3 feet tall and 1 foot wide
Seasonal attention: Summer to collapse
When to plant: Spring

CYAN Horticulture

Red-Leaf Hibiscus
(Hibiscus acetosella ‘Red Shield’)

As misleading as it’s impactful, red-leaf hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella ‘Red Shield’) has exchanged the typical dinner-plate-size flowers for saturated burgundy foliage. It is a vigorous grower; the small cutting purchased in the spring will rapidly become a stately shrub. I find it particularly helpful for filling those gaps left by juvenile perennials and shrubs.

USDA zones: Tender
Water requirement: Moist soil
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 3 1/4 feet tall and broad
Seasonal attention: Spring to collapse
When to plant: Spring

CYAN Horticulture

Gentian Sage
(Salvia patens)

Authentic blue is a much-sought-after colour in the backyard, and very few other plants can match sages on this wedge of the chromatic circle. Of the dozens of species available, the marginally tender Salvia patens always wins my heart. The rivalry between the sky-blue ‘Cambridge Blue’ and the dark blue ‘Oxford Blue’ is depended solely by personal preference (I favor the latter).

USDA zones: 8 to 10 (find your zone)
Water requirement: Well-drained to damp dirt
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature dimensions: 1 2/3 feet tall and 1 1/3 feet broad
Seasonal attention: Summer to collapse
When to plant: Spring to summer

CYAN Horticulture

Silver Sage
(Salvia argentea)

Another sage, eons from the preceding one, is famed for its large white woolly leaves. As a biennial, it first hugs the ground and, even if left to overwinter, then skyrockets into a candelabra of average white flowers. Personally, I replace it every year. This kind of alien-looking plant convinced makes for a refreshing antidote to the oh-so-common stiff marigold and tacky petunia.

USDA zones: 4 to 8
Water requirement: Well-drained to dry dirt
moderate requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 1 foot tall and 2 1/2 feet broad
Seasonal attention: Spring to collapse
When to plant: Spring to summer

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Cooking With Color: When to Use Black in the Kitchen

Black is a timeless hue in fashion — there’s the little black dress as well as the debonair black tuxedo, and I’m certain I’m not the only person out there having way more pairs of black shoes in my closet than there are times of this week. Yet when it comes to decorating our homes, most of us tend to shy away from using black more than a mere accent color. Yes, black can suck a good deal of light from a room, which makes it appear bloated and dreary, but when used successfully it can be crisp, striking and refined.

Have a look at eight stunning kitchens which feature this darkest of colors, along with suggestions on how best to work with black in the kitchen.

Urrutia Design

Black absorbs rather then reflects light, so if you are using a large amount of the hue in a place, attempt to counter it with loads of light — preferably of the natural selection. The large white ceiling, skylights and wall of sliding glass doors in this kitchen greater than balance the black out.

Jordan Iverson Signature Homes

But you don’t have to have walls of windows or skylights galore to create black work in your kitchen. You can find different ways to balance it. For example, this gorgeous kitchen includes closets which have a black-washed look which makes them thick and monolithic than closets painted solid black. And since the black is paired with plenty of light neutrals and reflective materials, this kitchen feels open and light.

The Last Inch

I’m a big fan of adaptive reuse, of taking an old commercial or public-use building — in this case a one time Carnegie library in California — and converting it into a living room. I like seeing something classic or classic get tweaked with modern elements in a way that still respects the original.

Here, the big modern black pendants over the island contrast nicely with the classic exposed-brick walls. So simple, and yet the effect is dramatic and refined. The restrained yet rich colour palette of blacks, blacks and brick red is also quite profitable.

Watch more of this kitchen

Laurence Cafritz Builders

If you favor a black and white kitchen, I recommend adding another bold color or accents of warm neutral colors, taupes or beiges to keep it from appearing dull and cold. The wood floor in this kitchen warms things up nicely.

High-Contrast Kitchens for Every Style

Dirk Denison Architects

Use black to call attention to your kitchen’s intriguing architectural details, fixtures or finishes. Against a light background, these elements will stand out, whereas everything white will seep into the background.

William Roy Designer Kitchens

Consider the sheen of the dark surfaces in your kitchen, too. Matte black absorbs light and tends to look flat and dark. Glossy surfaces will reflect light into the space — however, you can definitely see the texture of the surface, so make certain it’s something you would like highlighted. This kitchen has a wonderful mix of shiny and textured surfaces, along with the crisp black actually defines the distance.

Notice how light affects color

Design Line Construction, Inc..

As it’s a neutral, black works with any other colour that you need to present. All these lemon-yellow counter stools add this black kitchen and a twist.

A.S.D. Interiors – Shirry Dolgin, Owner

Black brings a whole lot of drama into a kitchen, so it requires very little ornamentation. You truly can not go wrong with high quality finish workmanship and materials together with a restrained palette thick on black.

Jennifer Ott Design

Most paint manufacturers carry a true black hue, but be sure to check out the many shades of black accessible which have subtle colour differences. Some appear cooler, with hints of green, blue or purple; a few are warmer — of a brownish black. These subtle differences will be noticeable in abundant daylight. As with any paint colour, it’s a good idea to check a couple of different blacks in the actual room you want to utilize it into to see how the colour looks in the space and changes throughout the day and night.

4 enticing black colors to attempt (left to right):

1. Dark Kettle Black 4011-2, from Valspar
2. Caviar SW6990, from Sherwin-Williams
3. Black Berry 2119-20, from Benjamin Moore.
4. Cracked Pepper UL260-1, from Behr

Tell us Should black stay in the fashion world, or are you ready to get cooking with it?

More: Are You Ready for a Dark and Sophisticated Kitchen?

Guides: Working black into your design

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Kitchen of the Week: New Surfaces Cover Each of the Style Bases

Although small by some standards, this 85-square-foot kitchen seems pretty spacious for a New York City apartment. It was a Formica-covered wreck when the owners bought the House, in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. The couple, who have a 1-year-old daughter, worked with Elizabeth Maletz to bring in a tidy, midcentury-inspired style. Light and dark custom cabinetry, Calacatta marble countertops and a modern backsplash design combine to make a fresh look.

Maletz Design

The prior kitchen hadn’t been remodeled since the 1980s. While the layout worked well, the Formica surfaces and worn linoleum floor sensed obsolete to the owners. Maletz maintained the simple setup but stripped the surfaces. New walnut lower cabinetry contrasts with holly on the upper cabinets and the custom fridge.

Cabinetry, shelving: South Slope Woodworks; countertops: Calacatta marble

Maletz Design

While it doesn’t work for everybody, the spacious shelving within this kitchen made sense for your household. The bits saved here create a gorgeous screen in a simple palette. A pantry in the far end “retains all the visual chaos from sight,” says Maletz.

Backsplash: Milk glass tile, Waterworks; range/oven: Wolf; faucet: Rohl Fireclay; faucet: Waterworks

Maletz Design

The owners discovered the painted timber sconce and pendant lighting themselves, and Maletz effortlessly incorporated them into the new layout. Both bits shed indirect light on the upper cabinetry. Task lighting under the upper cabinets illuminates the countertop.

Calacatta marble countertops, white walls and the milk glass tile backsplash help counter the timber.

Pendant: Nelson Saucer Lamp; dining table: Tulip Table; chairs: Wegner Wishbone

Maletz Design

Maletz replaced the linoleum with walnut parquet floors, carefully matching it with the existing flooring throughout the rest of the home. The Saarinen table, George Nelson pendant and Wegner chairs stay accurate to the owners’ love of naturally finished wood and midcentury furniture.

Refrigerator: Sub-Zero 700 TCI; folded sconce and comforter: LZF

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Stripe It Rich With a Strié Finish

Using its streaky texture and barely there colour variations, strié (a term from the French, pronounced stree-AY) is a semi classic layout technique. Although it originated as a means to evoke the appearance of thick, brushed-on paint tinged by decades of use, it’s expanded to include silk and other materials, tile and wood finishes, background and much more. It has become a favorite for its controlled yet rich visual appeal and its unfailing elegance.

All these spaces showcase strié in its various forms.

Mendelson Group

A strié wall treatment complements the undulating pattern from the art that graces this entryway. Between the two, the distance needs no additional embellishment to captivate guests.

Alan Kosa Interiors

Although strié can create a timeworn effect on pale tones like cream and gray, it also can proceed in the opposite direction on more optimistic hues. This hand-painted red background gets a hint of modern flourish using a tone-on-tone strié treatment.

Rivertown Homes by Design

A different way to get the strié appearance: Brush a sheer coat of paint or stain over timber. The unevenness of the colour and the inherent grain combine for an appealing faded appearance, just right for a shore house, cabin or rustic cabin.

LUX Design

Strié doesn’t have to be understated — a high-contrast version can yield a dramatic focal point, like with this slick kitchen island.

Shelburne Development

Tile using a strié appearance, somewhere between stone and wood in look, elevates this quietly neutral tub. The pattern provides the controlled palette a sense of power and motion.

Gina Fitzsimmons ASID

Strié can be a terrific way to tone down a hue that otherwise might be too bright for your room. A gray topcoat mutes this teal cupboard finish and gives a lovely weathered effect.

Cecilie Starin Design Inc..

Blue strié velvet on a pair of fauteuils sustains the formality of this living space, which is awash in detail and pattern. A good velvet would have appeared too plain, particularly combined with the ornate pattern on the seat backs.

Cecilie Starin Design Inc..

Following is a closer look at the velvet upholstery on the fauteuils. It’s basically two colors of blue, but the combed effect gives the impression of much greater color variation.

Are you a fan? Tell us why in the Comments!

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Fun and Eloquent in Manhattan

Carrie Hammer’s bright-colored apartment is an energy-filled house in one of Manhattan’s coolest neighborhoods, the West Village. It’s an perfect location for a young creative professional such as Hammer, founder and CEO of her own style line tailored for professional women. From an intricate aluminum painted ceiling and gloomy partitions to eclectic furnishings and artwork, Hammer’s flat mirrors her love of style and her artistic aesthetic.

in a Glance

Who lives here: Carrie Hammer and two housemates
Location: New York City
Size: Around 900 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 1 bath

Chris A Dorsey Photography

“I love what I do today, and I really like that my flat is filled with life and color,” Hammer says. She’s had housemates over the years, but the decorating is a reflection of her personal style.

Her favorite piece in the flat is the chandelier. “I’ve always wanted one,” she states. “It had been my life dream. I had a decal chandelier within my room in L.A.. Now I’ve got a real one, so that’s really exciting.”

Chandelier, carpet:; coffee table: Ikea; sofa: Door Store (now closed); pillows: Target

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Hammer formerly worked in ad sales. She’d go to work and think, “What we wear is so boring; it’s all just variations of black and white with no colour” Wanting to come home to an energizing haven, she adorned her space with vibrant colours.

Length: Ung Drill, Ikea; mirror: Empire Gallery and Framing; paint: Benjamin Moore

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Hanging on almost every wall in Hammer’s flat are framed fashion posters she picked up during Fashion Week in 2009. “This random subway guy was handing out these images. I took a few and thought, ‘One day I want to do so.'”

She put away the posters, then brought them out once she quit the sales job and began her fashion line, as a reminder of her want to do something more creative. “I framed them, and today I get to see them daily,” she states.

Frames: Westside Frame Shop; candleholders: Ikea; mantel clock: Linens n Things

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Her mother, artist Jean Wellshad a hand in the decor. “My mother is an artist, so I’ve grown up around art my entire life,” Hammer says. “She does oversize art, such as mosaics and things. She really did the silver wings over my TV.”

Hammer painted the iconic power.

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Hammer shares her apartment with 2 housemates. “I predict my area the bachelor flat,” she states. “It’s funny: If anyone goes out, it’s to have married!”

The dining table is a gift in the old housemate, and the mannequin is from the city’s Garment District.

Frames: Ikea

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Mannequins do dual duty as dressmaking forms and layout elements throughout the primary living spaces.

Chris A Dorsey Photography

These screen mannequins, including one covered in a toile pattern, have found a house in an unlikely area: the kitchen.

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Also in her colorful kitchen are oversize fork and spoon stickers inspired by neighborhood restaurant Great on Greenwich. Hammer commissioned the art from Etsy vendor Household Words.

“I mailed them the colour I wanted and they snapped it and delivered to me,” she explains. Great has these huge framed forks, spoons and knives I just love, so once I was decorating I pulled those out of my toolbox.”

Table, chairs:

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Hammer applied vinyl art by Etsy vendor Household Words to customize a straightforward Ikea Malm dresser in the bedroom.

Bedding: Bed Bath & Beyond

Chris A Dorsey Photography

The New York weather also inspires Hammer. She claims her native California, “There is no punctuation of seasons. Everyone should experience changing coasts.”

A bright purple quilt adds life into the space even on the coldest winter day.

Mirror: HomeGoods

Chris A Dorsey Photography

The painted over-sized playing card holds particular significance for Hammer, whose great-grandfather was an artist and a prisoner of war in World War I.

“In his camp the prisoners would make little trinkets and trade them with one another to get cigarettes, additional food or blankets. My great-grandfather took to painting the backs of playing cards to trade,” she states. “The general saw a deck of cards he made and moved him into a room from the camp along with different musicians, [who would] get delivered in to town to do things such as paint murals on churches”

Following five years Hammer’s great-grandfather was given a visa to go home. “I think all the time that had it was for a deck of playing cards, I literally wouldn’t be here now,” says Hammer.

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