Month: October 2019

Mantel Makeover: By the Grade to Live-Edge Wood of Builder

“Builder’s grade, plain old wood painted at a screaming white shade.” This was inside decorator Cathy Zaeske’s lament seeing her ho-hum mantel. “It screamed ‘wrong’ to me because the day we moved in,” she says. The scale and appearance of the stark white mantel did not stand up to the two-story vaulted ceiling and the flagstone fireplace surround. She tried painting it a honey shade to help it blend in, but in the long run, she just couldn’t live with this. It was time to get a job. Beginning with a crude sketch, in five times complete (two to construct and set up; two to three to sew), Zaeske needed a stunning live-edge mantel that brought harmony to her living space. Here’s how she did it.

Before Photo

The mantel did not relate to anything in the rest of the room, and also that it was a part of the area’s focal point exacerbated the problem. “I was willing to do anything to make the mantel disappear,” Zaeske says.

Instead of making it vanish, Zaeske determined it was a fantastic chance. She had wanted to use live-edge wood in her home for quite a while, and this looked just the chance to achieve that.

She needed a crystal-clear vision in her head, but couldn’t discover any real-life examples of a floating live-edge mantel to demonstrate her carpenter, so she started doodling it.

Your Room From Cathy Zaeske

AFTER: Here’s a glimpse at the final product. The mantel fits the rest of the fireplace surround in scale and look, and gets the appropriate presence in the room, along with also the live-edge wood adds a warm and interesting feel. On to the particulars of how she did it.

Zaeske discovered the wood at Owl Lumber at Des Plaines, Illinois. “They were amazingly patient and helpful as I scrutinized each slab,” she says. “I wanted the color variation, graining and size just perfect.” The slab cost $700.

“The lumberyard thoroughly cut on the slab into three boards of my preferred size, and we hauled the treasure home in my job phone — I suggest minivan,” she says.

Zaeske had a fantastic working relationship with a carpenter (he had worked with her on other endeavors(such as this swinging daybed). “He managed to bring my crude sketch to life,” she says.

Cutting and Cutting the corners required extreme attention to detail, as they needed to line up just right to attain the wraparound appearance.

To get a more smooth appearance, her carpenter used cookies and wood glue to hold the borders in place.

He and his associate then added bottom and top pieces to create a box — which makes the mantel seem to float.

The present mantel did come in handy for something — it provided a good foundation for the new piece. They slid the new box directly over it, after adding some additional support for the weight of their new mantel.

The cassette marks signify where the new frame and the bottom of the art will hang — more on this in a moment.

Hint: Utilize sawdust to fill in the pits on a job like this.

“The pits were tight but only a hair off at a few places,” Zaeske says. “By packaging in a bit of sawdust with his finger, my carpenter made them to stay in place. Then the varnish sealed it beautifully.”

To save some money, Zaeske varnished the new mantel herself. She used six coats of Minwax Wipe-On Polyurethane, lightly sanding between each coat. While happy with the consequences, she admits if she needed to do it, she’d have used tung oil before varnishing, because it would sink and push the graining outward.

Your Favorite Room From Cathy Zaeske

Here you may see how the hard work about the corners paid off.

“We left the very bottom edge rough; it adds another dimension with a third very dark, almost black tone,” Zaeske describes. “I love the various lines, colours and variations of this wood. It’s nature’s way of color blocking.”

The lighter hues at the bottom portion pick up about the honey colours of this flagstone encircle, while the upper part works with all the red wall and present brown tones in the room.

Your Favorite Room From Cathy Zaeske

The mantel has inspired Zaeske to expand her own layout horizons at home. She is enjoying going from a more traditional style into a transitional-eclectic style and blending new and old, rustic and sleek.

Your Favorite Room From Cathy Zaeske

For example, she has been playing with the scale and materials of mantel accessories. While one instinct told her to go for taller candlestick lamps for scale, she is trying out some short chrome lamps with black shades for contrast.

She also nixed placing a TV over the fireplace. “The top of the mantel reaches 70 inches — not only is that too large to comfortably see a wall-mounted TV, but by placing the TV at the corner, it allows us to also take in the pretty view out our big windows,” she says.

Your Favorite Room From Cathy Zaeske

Following the mantel was in place, Zaeske believed her triptych needed a tweak. She had a frame made with 11/2- by 11/2-inch strips, then painted it light gray.

“it’s very special to us, as it is the same tree and view that we consider some time sitting by the fire in our cherished family cottage in Door County, Wisconsin,” she says. “Those minutes are so very valuable that I knew I needed to bring that peaceful feeling home.” The angle and placement of the image give her the same vantage point of this tree that she’s in the next photograph.

“The new frame functions on so many levels — its clean lines help move the space from traditional to transitional; it is airy and light; it supplies pleasing contrast with the walls; it ties in with all the stone of the fireplace; and it literally frames my favorite tree in the world, which makes the focal point additional notable,” she says.

Wall paint: Confederate Red, Benjamin Moore

Browse live-edge mantels

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How It Lasts

Pots and pans certain look gleaming and gorgeous coming out of the box, but after many years of spaghetti dinners, roast chickens and holiday feasts, a well-used toaster arsenal is likely to reveal its age. Make your sauté pans, stockpots and skillets worthy of the hanging pot rack once again with just a little elbow grease and a couple of easy-to-find, mild cleaning goods (including ketchup, of all things) — and learn how keep the glow as soon as you’ve got it back.

Below you will find daily care and stain removal hints for cookware made from stainless steel, copper, enameled cast iron and much more.

Cynthia Lynn Photography

Great practices for many cookware. No matter the sort of cookware, it’s ideal to wash it as soon as possible after ingestion (cleaning as you go is ideal), and use the least abrasive cleaning process you can. Washing by hand is always preferable, even for pans and pots that claim to be dishwasher safe. Washing by hand will avoid the discoloration and scratches that could occur in a dishwasher over time.

The tips and techniques that follow are good general instructions, but you might also need to confirm the manufacturer’s suggestions. In case your cookware is under warranty, employing the incorrect cleaning product may invalidate your arrangement, therefore it pays to do your own homework.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

Stainless Steel

Everyday care: Preferably, wash your stainless steel pots and pans by hand shortly after use, using regular dish soap. Nevertheless, stainless steel utensils are among the few types that could take care of a trip through the dishwasher — therefore, if you are in a hurry, don’t worry about tossing it in with all the dishes. Standard cleaning in the dishwasher may create spots or a muddy surface.

Stain removal: To brighten up muddy or spotty stainless steel, rub the surface with a rag dampened with white vinegar. To deal with stains on the bottom of the pan caused by high heat, sprinkle a gentle scouring powder (like Barkeeper’s Friend) onto a moist sponge or sponge to make a paste, and rub it on the stained area. Rinse with water.

Crisp Architects


Everyday care: Wash copper pots and pans available, with warm, soapy water.

Stain removal: Bring that lustrous finish back to stained aluminum by covering your brow using ketchup (yes, ketchup) or lemon. Allow the ketchup sit on your pan for a minimum of 10 minutes, then rub on the discoloration away with a rag or sponge. Rinse clean with warm water.

Divine Design+Build

Enameled Cast Iron

Everyday care: Allow the pan to cool before washing it — a sudden temperature change may endanger the enamel. Soak the pan in warm water first, then apply a soft sponge and a mild dishwashing detergent to wash it. Do not use abrasive scrubbing pads, as they can damage the tooth end.

Stain removal: Heal discoloration on the outside of the pan with a mild scouring powder, like Barkeeper’s Friend. For tough stains on the inner surface, fill the pan with white vinegar and warm water and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Switch off the heat and allow the pan soak using the vinegar solution, then wash as usual.

Goforth Gill Architects

Hard Anodized Aluminum

Everyday care: Allow the pan to cool before washing it, and never place a hot pan in cold water, which can cause warping. Wash by hand, with a mild dishwashing detergent and warm water — placing your hard anodized pans in the dishwasher may void your warranty.

Stain removal: For stains on the outside only, use a paste of baking soda or some mild scouring powder, like Barkeeper’s Friend. Rinse with warm water.


Everyday care: Use low to medium heat only — higher temperatures can permanently damage nonstick pans. Wash immediately using a soft sponge and warm, soapy water. If scrapes or flakes start to look on the nonstick surface of your pan, recycle or toss it immediately. Otherwise those flakes will wind up in your food … not some thing you want to occur!

Stain removal: On the outside only, consider using a glue of Barkeeper’s Friend or some similar scouring powder.

Cast Iron

First Taste: When you buy a new cast iron pan, wash it by hand in warm, soapy water. Dry the pan using a towel, then set it in a 300-degree oven for approximately five minutes to wash it thoroughly — even a bit of residual moisture can cause rust to form on cast iron pans. Next, with a paper towel, then rub a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil on the surface of the pan, indoors and outside. Wipe away excess oil — you are planning for a thin coating. Set the pan in a 300-degree oven for an hour, let it cool, then rub it all over with a clean rag.

The Last Inch

Everyday care: Never use soap in your cast iron pan. Promptly after each use, wipe the pan out using a paper towel and a bit of oil. When food is stuck, operate the pan under warm water and wash the food off using a soft brush or plastic loaf — recall, no soap! Soap will eliminate the seasoning, which is what creates that wonderful nonstick surface.

Stain removal and longterm care: For extremely rough, stuck-on meals, boil water in your pan on the stovetop for a few minutes, then wash it as normal. Reseasoning occasionally will help maintain the finish.

John K. Anderson Design

Clay Pot

Everyday care: Most clay jar must be soaked in warm water for 15 to 30 minutes prior to each use. Always place your clay pot in a cold oven so the pot can come up to temperature slowly. Do not use your clay pot on the stovetop or under a broiler, and never put a hot pot on a cold face — any abrupt temperature changes can break it.

Wash it immediately, with a paste of baking soda; wash with warm water. Soap isn’t encouraged for unglazed clay pots, though you may have the ability to use a mild soap on clay pots that have been glazed; check with the maker.

Stain removal: Try leaving a paste of baking soda onto the discolored area for a minimum of 10 minutes, then wipe out and wash with water. Do not use abrasive sponges or harsh cleaning products onto a clay pot.

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Tricky Basement Toilet? Cool Design Prospect!

Little spaces, outbuildings and basement bathrooms are some of the jobs on the bathroom remodeling spectrum. You have got to plan a lot beforehand with so much happening in this little space. Not only do you have to ventilation and route plumbing, but you have to consider the space you’re building in. Is it a hundred-year-old house with a rock foundation that might be a design wow? Or is it a modern building with a construction? You also have to consider what’s happening on each side of the door, which impacts, well, everything.

Gina Bon

Be bold. The typical strategy for a bathroom in a basement would be to hide it, but occasionally there is simply no way to pull this style move off that isn’t dull. The reason: Basement bathrooms will need to compete for space with the furnace, water softener, hot-water heater, stairs etc.. And occasionally after I lay out the bar, bedroom and whatever else makes the space awesome, there is no place awesome left for the bathroom.

In this instance it is often best to run hard in the other design management and observe it in plain sight, make the bathroom component of the plan along with a bit of their experience. Celebrating “undesirable” things is one of my preferred design tricks.

Fischer & Frichtel

Always vent. Among the most crucial parts of a bathroom in a basement would be a sufficiently powerful ceiling fan to evacuate the moisture — not letting it move in the ceiling or utility space, but outside. Like, where the sky is. While you’re showering, steam is a tiny cloud. But the water falls back to the baseboards and turns back into water, when you’ve left. Then it becomes that gross stuff you do not wish to wash.

A vent fan is your way to get the moisture from the house. I repeat, out of the house. Don’t get me started on how many times I’ve seen bathrooms beamed into the attic or a different hidden area. Your attic might be cold or hot, but it is still technically inside. Get that moisture out!

Paul Welschmeyer ARCHITECTS & energy advisers

DiGuiseppe Architect

Expose the construction. A basement bathroom offers abundant opportunities to use the present raw construction of the house. Rubble foundations, for instance, are basically constructions. Cover their looks that are powerful with shingles?

And consider the plumbing, also. While drain lines and electrical services aren’t all that cool to look at, aluminum distribution lines (water lines) can be gorgeous. If you’ve got an open structure, it is sometimes easiest — and awesome-est — to make the most of what you’ve got.

Exposing pipes can be a cool way to make a basement space sense industrial or like a person cave. It’s also far easier than building soffits and bulkheads to hide everything. If you’re a building geek like me, it is best to design a space where you can see the working parts.

Krause Construction Denver Colorado

Boost solitude. Many builder-grade homes include hollow-core doors. These doors have a real-looking timber grain but are composed only of 1/4-inch-thick components, and are basically cardboard and air inside.

While hollow-core doors can be OK for certain rooms, I try to use solid-core doors for the bathroom to help keep the bathroom experience as much of a one-person affair as possible. Solid-core doors deaden the sounds generated in the bathroom. So if you’re having a book club meeting or down poker night there, a good door and insulated wall framing that both deaden sound are fine for everybody.

HomeTech Renovations, Inc..

Build up. Small-space remodels can often be more challenging than big-space overhauls. So much must happen in such a tiny area, it is like dancing on the head of a pin.

So when I move into a small area, I’m constantly thinking about how I can use it smartly, use it and make everything seem like it is supposed to be there.

Jim Burton Architects

Be one with nature. Basements aren’t always underground. When designing or constructing a bath, take into consideration the approach from the outside, as well as the windows, egress and view, from inside and outside the john.

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How to Maintain Your Residential Window Tint

Installing window tint is an emerging trend that’s popular with many homeowners. And why not, window tints have immense benefits. To start with, a tint can prevent 99% of the harmful UV light rays from the sun, reducing the risk of skin cancer substantively. Installing window repair can also reduce the cooling cost at home to nearly 30%. These are massive savings.

Finally, the tint will reduce the glare on TV and computer screens, and protect your flooring and furnishing from the harmful effects of direct sunlight. The tint on the windows may also be valuable during a storm. The film can easily hold the glass shards when the glass breaks. This will significantly reduce the extent of damage caused. But in order to maximize these benefits, your tints need to be properly maintained.

Here are some tips that will help you:

The tint needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.  As a rule of thumb, the windows need to be cleaned facing east only and at night.

Don’t use glass cleaning products on your window tints. This is a very common mistake and you should avoid it. Most glass cleaning agents contain hush chemicals that can easily damage the film on the tint. Instead of going for chemicals, you can use a simple solution of mild soap or baby shampoo mixed up with water. Water and vinegar will work too.

Don’t use rough materials to scrub the windows. Kitchen paper towels, scrubbing pads, or even old newspapers should not be used to wipe off windows that have a tint. Instead, use a soft cotton cloth or a microfiber cloth.

Use a simple technique to clean the windows. First, spread enough fluid on the surface until it dampens. It’s only when this is achieved that you can now wipe off the excess fluid with a dry cloth. Don’t wipe off the tinted windows when they are still dry.

Hire a Professional Maintenance Service

In case you feel there’s not enough time in your schedule to dedicate to window cleaning, then you can easily hire a residential window cleaning maintenance service. Average window cleaning companies may also have the expertise needed to deal with tinted windows. Hiring a service has two important benefits. First, it ensures that the cleaning is done as effectively as possible. Secondly, it saves a lot of time and resources. Residential window cleaning has been estimated to extend the longevity of windows by 10-15 years. This is the kind of maintenance that your tinted windows will need. Considering you will only have to pay a small fee for the service, it should indeed be worth it.

window installation can add additional benefits on your home. There are many different types of tints but all will require pretty much the same maintenance routine. The simple options above should come handy for any homeowner. They will work well to ensure your tints last for a very long time.

Roots of Style: Château Architecture Strides Through a Century

As per a recent analysis by the American Institute of Architects, Biltmore is America’s eighth favorite construction. This château-style, or châteauesque, mansion is an indelible image of riches from the Gilded Age. Commissioned by an heir of the Vanderbilt family around 1889, the astonishing 178,000-square-foot house with 250 rooms, located near Asheville, North Carolina, is the largest private house built at the U.S.

Its celebrated architect, Richard Morris Hunt, based the design upon French châteaus located from the Loire Valley. These 15th- throughout 17th-century country estates of those noble and royal classes, were a mixture of late-Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture that resulted in exceptional French Renaissance creations. Hunt’s interpretation comprises numerous elements of the original French châteaus, with the parts organized into a fantastical and stunning architectural masterpiece.

The original château design developed around 1880, and homes were constructed in small numbers, largely from the northeast, for approximately 30 decades. The design rarely reached other areas of the nation in that time. It’s likely that other examples were constructed through the center of the 20th century, but late-20th-century home construction booms produced both extravagant and much more small examples across the nation.

The Biltmore Company

Seeing from left to right in this photo of Biltmore, notice the components that specify the design. Most originals had thick masonry structure, as does Biltmore, and were clad with stone and then topped with a steeply pitched hip roof farther improved with metal cresting.

An elaborately detailed parapet-type dormer divides the eave line, suggesting the loft story. Massive and detailed chimneys reach high to clear the steep and active roof ridges. A flattened arch defines lower-level windows and arcades. The detail and positioning of ascending window kinds reveal the location of the stairs.

Gothic stone tracery defines primary openings surrounded by shallow relief carvings. Spires and pinnacles extend the construction into a fractal finale.

Beausoleil Architects

Let’s return to earth and welcome this small but whimsical French château–fashion abode. This small stone, not far from San Francisco, openings with a delightful play of decoration and height that creates its individuality. Compare the detailing here to Biltmore and you can understand the inspiration.

Most originals in the late 1800s were asymmetrical, such as Biltmore. However, Renaissance influences probably persuaded some architects to balance the homes with symmetry, according to the primary part of the house.

Fusch Architects, Inc..

Château design borrows French diverse design and could be differentiated through the features found in Biltmore or the Renaissance classical details present in this house.

This handsome symmetrical facade holds a lovely balance of components. Notice the segmented arched windows of the flanking elevations along with also the classical delineation with Roman arches at the centered entrance. Classical pilasters, a belt line along with a pediment with stone relief further specify the carefully detailed composition. Two varieties of detailed dormers and pinnacles cresting the fashionable summit cue the original châteauesque taste.

Less formal than the previous example, though still carefully balanced, this newer house has the steep hip roof, detailed chimneys and cresting detail of the design. Note also that modern examples of the design are typically constructed of wood-framed structure, compared to their ancestors. The stone here is a veneer.

Derrick Architecture

Though this house could be considered French diverse, an attempt was made to imply a château by the usage of pinnacles and stone detailing. A belt line and broken eave additionally communicate a château impression. Notice the brick veneer, which can be located on a lot of examples during the design’s history.

Distinctive Dwellings – Thayne Hillrichs

This lively composition definitely takes its inspiration from château style. The symmetrical facade combines many components normally found in much more complicated houses.

Fusch Architects, Inc..

This formal example has a symmetrical central altitude flanked by minor extensions to the left, and generous but lower elevations to the right. Small but detailed dormers remaining in the primary roof, while bigger dormers split the eave line on the right side. Another bigger and highly detailed dormer and two little vent dormers cap the roof over the porte cochere.

Hollingsworth Design

Notice how this kind achieves the perpendicular expression significant to the design. Pinnacles, comprehensive port dormers, quoins, a belt line, window tracery and a wrought iron railing lead gently, in moderate quantities, to cleverly provide the château identity.

Eskuche Design

Notice the symmetrical and asymmetrical composition of the handsome home. The main body of the house is balanced exactly, however the porte cochere and abandoned appendage still complement the design. Notice that the elevation. Asymmetrical large and tiny windows rhyme with the other components.

Eskuche Design

To appreciate the flexibility of châteauesque architecture, analyze this back elevation of the exact same home. Generously proportioned windows open up to the personal outdoor spaces. This indoor-outdoor effect is not easily achieved in most conventional styles.

Fusch Architects, Inc..

At first glance this classically detailed facade appears symmetrical. On closer inspection, however, you are going to see more complex appendages along with a narrow interruption to the left of the entrance, adding to the pleasure of its design. Also notice the way the roof over the entrance is more steeply pitched.

Platinum Series by Mark Molthan

This generous house relates more clearly to Biltmore in its lengthy facade and varying particulars. You will find shed dormers and stylish dormers set into the primary roof shape, and stylish and arched dormers that split the eave line. The entrance sits within a little inset with a detailed surround.

Barnes Vanze Architects, Inc

First townhouse examples with lots of the components found in Biltmore live in big Northeastern and Midwestern cities. But this house keeps the design with slight classical detailing and a vertical emphasis.

Fusch Architects, Inc..

This house achieves a nation château saying through rough-faced stone and a slightly relaxed conversational composition. The exquisitely detailed entrance follows the typical châteauesque theme. See the brick chimneys with the implied quoins, a wonderful contrast to the stone.

Though modern design theory might eschew the imitation of styles like châteauesque, an affection persists among the public for areas with such different identities. Can we ever question that our reinterpretation of classical design with the use of materials accessible to us, instead of those used by the ancients?

As history will repeat itself, that the current attraction to modernism will probably cycle, and formerly established styles or variants of these will return. There’s no right or wrong regarding this matter. Certainly other styles will emerge, but is not it nice to have such a rich vault of design and so many choices?

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