Category: Fireplaces

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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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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Superstar Annuals for Containers and Baskets

I demand a lot of my container crops. I expect them to blossom with very little if any deadheading or to possess fabulous foliage — preferably both. I do not want to pinch them back, prop them up or do a whole lot more than water them frequently (and I do so with an automatic drip irrigation system to keep my hands free for that large, cold drink with a little umbrella in it). I don’t have any tolerance for wimpy crops. Only the best will do, and after personally analyzing each of them I can vouch for their celebrity status in the Pacific Northwest, although a lot of my horticulture colleagues will attest to their visibility from different fields of the United States too.

Have you tried these annuals? Many were new introductions for 2013 but are readily available in nurseries and on the internet.

1. Superbells Lemon Slice

I am not a petunia fan. In my Seattle climate, petunias go mushy with tacky and rain with aphids, and in addition, they have to be deadheaded regularly — way too much work for me.

Superbells Lemon Slice may look just like a miniature petunia, but thankfully that’s where the comparison ends. This new Calibrachoa hybrid is unfazed by summer rain and heat, and it blooms so prolifically that the foliage is hardly observable.

The dense, mounding habit means it hugs the sides of containers or baskets well, while trailing two feet approximately. This tidy habit makes it an 11 out of 10 from me.

Botanical name: Calibrachoa hybrid
Water requirement: Average
moderate requirement: Full sun

Le jardinet

Design thoughts: The multihued Luscious Berry Blend lantana displayed here is a perfect color partner, repeating the yellow while presenting hot pink and zesty orange. This lantana is vigorous enough to contend with Superbells too.

Lemon Slice would also make a vivid colorful ruffle beneath an arching purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’).

Le jardinet

2. Spitfire Coleus

There are hundreds of coleus hybrids. While all are colorful, some are spindly others need endless pinching back to keep the plants compact and a few assert they can take complete sun but actually can’t.

Spitfire is different. I analyzed it in harsh circumstances in 2012, and it came with style. Despite intense summer sun, it didn’t show any signs of scorching. It never wilted from the heat and even remained compact without pinching. The bronze foliage turns more cherry in full sunlight and can be accented with lotion.

Botanical name: Solenostemon scutellarioides
Water requirement: Average
Light requirement: Full sun

Le jardinet

Design thoughts: Emphasize the paler colors within Spitfire by mixing it with Orange King coleus (pictured here). The leaves of the 2 coleuses may differ in size and pattern, but their shared color palette creates a sense of unity.

I also planted Spitfire with Luscious Piña Colada lantana, which has a soft creamy yellow flower. This was shown to be a beautiful, fresh-looking combination.

Le jardinet

3. Bonfire Begonia

This sun-tolerant begonia is so dependable that I buy a dozen at a time once I see it look in nurseries. I use these tracking annuals in hanging baskets or at the advantages of containers, in which they not only tolerate full sun but thrive inside. Bonfire begonia is revealed here with Angelina sedum (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’).

The orange flowers, often mistaken for fuchsias are a hummingbird favorite, and I often find myself being heckled by these feisty little birds while I’m attempting to complete my planting.

No deadheading is required to maintain this beauty blooming. Just be careful not to overwater, but settle back and appreciate.

Botanical name: Begonia boliviensis hybrid
Water requirement: Average
moderate requirement: Full sun or partial shade

Le jardinet

Design thoughts: Permit Bonfire to ship out dozens of orange sparks out of a densely planted container.

This picture indicates the Arakawa Japanese walnut (Acer palmatum ‘Arakawa’)underplanted with deep red coleus, chartreuse and bronze sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), and Bonfire begonia. It also pairs well with purple or blue flowers and foliage, like the fanflower described next.

4. Whirlwind Blue Fanflower

This is one for the front of the pot. It is called a spiller, since it paths loosely, yet it ends flowering branches at a multitude of directions — making for some great, if unexpected, mixes. As opposed to making it look untidy, this feature is actually one of those I love most about fanflower; it is a filler plus a spiller all in one.

The pretty periwinkle-blue fan-shaped flowers cover this unassuming annual until a hard frost. It is really an outstanding performer.

Botanical name: Scaevola hybrid
Water requirement: Average
moderate requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Design thoughts: Plant a hanging basket exclusively with fanflower.

For more colour add the bold orange Bonfire begonia and trailing sweet potato vine — the black foliage of Blackie (Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’) would be dramatic.

Le jardinet

Or let fanflower to mingle with additional container crops, like this Superbells Apricot Punch. For foliage interest I’d add in one of those deep burgundy floor cover succulents like sedum ‘Blaze of Fulda’ (Sedum spurium ‘Fuldaglut’). The dark red rosettes would play off the similarly coloured neck of theSuperbells.

5. Beefsteak Plant

At first glance this looks like a coleus, yet it is sturdier than coleus and appears to be slug resistant. This leaves plant requires no return to look fabulous all season. It is going to typically reach two feet tall and one foot wide, making it convenient as a thriller in small pots or a filler in bigger ones.

I have used beefsteak plant just in a shade container, but I feel the coloring is much more intense in sunlight.

Botanical name: Perilla frutescens ‘Magilla’
Water requirement: Average to non
Light requirement: Partial shade to full sunlight

Le jardinet

Design thoughts: Utilize the bold dash of magenta as a springboard to your colour scheme. This foliage-focused container design has it paired with a white caladium (Caladium bicolor) that has striking pink veins and the leathery black leaves of a Calathea. This Calathea cultivar, ‘Dottie’, has an interesting pink stripe around the perimeter, which also plays into the theme perfectly.

6. Diamond Frost

This frothy white blooming annual is not nearly as delicate as it appears. It is demonstrated to be heat tolerant and drought tolerant, it’s a well mounded habit, and it does not require deadheading, therefore this pretty annual is firmly on my favorites list.

Expect Diamond Frost to grow to 12 inches tall and up to 18 inches across. It could be set in the middle or at the border of a container, in which it will mound daintily over the border.

Botanical name: Euphorbia graminea
Water requirement: Average to non
Light requirement: Full sun

Design thoughts: Plant some pretty party favors with white impatiens and Diamond Frost in vibrant tabletop pots. Use these as place settings or set a trio onto a table to decorate a buffet.

Notice: in view of the fungal disease affecting impatiens in many regions of the United States, you may prefer to use this disease-resistant New Guinea impatiens.

More: The Key Formula for Grouping Plants at a Pot

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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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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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Show Us Your Christmas Tablescape

I know you have probably just finished up the last of the dishes from Thanksgiving, but when you’re hosting Christmas dinner, then it is time to begin planning your tablescape. ers, we want your help! Please add photos of your Christmas tablescape to the Opinions section below and tell us who’s coming over and the way your desk will wow them. Here are a few, from minimalist to ornate, to help get your creative vacation juices. Your entry might be featured in an upcoming vacation ideabook that was featured.

Regina Gust Designs

It’s always nice to maintain the table adorned when a meal is not imminent. The bright colors of all these organic goodies enliven this dining table for the holidays, although I have a sense this long platter was not complete for long!

Michelle Edwards

Can you live somewhere warm enough to dine al fresco? If so, I’m jealous, but I would love to understand your table.

Can you force bulbs to your centerpieces? Are you an type or a paperwhite if so? Please show us everything you have come up with to your own centerpieces and place settings. Post your very best photograph from last year or this year below!

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11 Popular Materials for Fireplace Surrounds

The fireplace has been the most prominent element at the home for centuries. In just about any configuration using a world of substances, it may be designed. From the height of the firebox opening, to the shape of the hearth, to incorporating mantels and light, the most distinguishing detail remains what we choose to pay it with. Take a look at some of the most popular substances that designers are utilizing.

Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers

Ledgestone. This sleek floor-to-ceiling fireplace is constructed from among the most popular substances currently in the marketplace. Little pieces of rock are applied vertically to look like miniature ledges, creating a soft contemporary feel.

Design idea: With no hearth and mantel, the firebox floats within the rock, almost like artwork.

Cary Bernstein Architect

Steel. An whole fireplace clad in steel has a commanding presence. The industrial feel goes hand in hand with minimalism for those who love the look.

Layout idea: Applying texture to this frequent material during manufacture ensures a unique visual thickness.

Synthesis Design Inc..

Concrete. A popular of eclectic and industrial designs, raw concrete is lasting and distinct. Aim for this hardy solution if you want to have an edgy, outside-the-box look.

Design idea: Utilizing exposed components to adhere the concrete panels to the fireplace adds a little detail which makes a significant difference.

Julia Ryan

Brick with hardwood. Exposed brick with surrounding millwork appears timeless and can be a fantastic way to update an old brick fireplace. The untouched brick adds a more textural contrast to some freshly painted mantel and surround.

Style tip: Forgo whitened or off-white; paint your fireplace surround a bold color and see that your room change from good to good.

Xstyles Bath + More

Tile. Is there anything more serene in relation to the fireplace at the base of the bathtub? Glass tile at a camel color transports this fireplace to a transitional style.

Design tip: The market above the fireplace serves as a fantastic place for vignettes, photographs and other accessories for ambience.

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

Metal. Edgy but old college, this firebox surrounded puts an old-world material in a more contemporary form.

Design tip: Mixing and matching finishes — like with the raw wood planking, metal fireplace and extremely lacquered furniture here — feels eclectic and spontaneous.

Peter A. Sellar – Architectural Photographer

Wood. Floor-to-ceiling millwork at a coffered design surrounds this fireplace in true classic style, updated with a trendy hue of gray.

Design tip: Placing a decorative layer of rock around the firebox opening in addition to on the hearth divides all of the vertical and horizontal lines of this wood moldings.

Alpha Design Group

Slab material. A totally segmented wall pattern in wood generates this transitional center fireplace. The surround is served as by A single piece of stone with a hole cut out for the firebox. Smooth lines provide casual elegance in this living space.

Design tip: Select slabs from a rock yard’s remnants (material left over from other projects) to finish your job at far lower cost.

Harrell Remodeling, Inc..

Fieldstone. This rustic family room includes a fireplace made from stone which look and feel like they were located in an adjacent field. The wood mantel and a raised hearth beg for family parties.

Design tip: Faux fieldstone is now available for those who are looking for a more budget-friendly alternative to this look.

Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers

Marble. The quintessential contemporary living room wouldn’t be complete without a dramatic all-white Carrara marble fireplace.

Design tip: Should you desire a touch more flair, the mill can book match your rock — which is, put all of the veins of the marble to form a layout.

Plaster. Common at the American Southwest, plaster (quite like a textured drywall) fireplace surrounds are traditional in layout but oh so cozy. I enjoy dining room fireplaces!

Design idea: Eliminating a protruding hearth onto a fireplace in the dining room can free up much-needed floor space.

More: See more fireplaces | 10 Ideas for a Fireplace Facelift

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New Classics: The Metropolitan Chair

The Metropolitan Chair by B&B Italia has been a hit with architects and interior designers since its release in 1996. The seat is sophisticated and modern, yet its pliers and curves capability tap into nostalgia for midcentury modern design. The base foundation takes up small visual space, making the seat appear to float. Its curved form puts all the components (armrests, seat, back) in harmony; it’s the pleasing symmetry of a Pringles potato chip.

This really is a versatile seat — I’ve seen a caramel model concealed in the recesses of a masculine man cave and an elegant white one at a glamorous, blinged-out feminine bedroom. It had been important to designer Jeffrey Bernett it look great from every angle, so it can be set in the midst of an open space. An optional ottoman increases comfort and looks fantastic shared between a set of Metropolitan Chairs. Check out these photographs to decide if there’s a place on your house screaming for this sophisticated seat.

Blue Desert Interiors

This seat has a very solid presence without consuming a huge chunk of visual space.

Design Within Reach

Metropolitan Chair and Ottoman | DWR – $3,895

It comes in several colors, in both leather and cloth. The ottoman is offered individually.

The chair is perched atop a sleek cushioned base. You can spin from viewing the game over for your buddies for some at-home commentating.

A set of seats looks smashing side by side or separated by a coffee table.

Kevin Bauman

The back of the seat has pleasingly simple curves. This means you don’t have to put this baby in a corner or up against a wall. Bernett was very careful to be sure the chair looks great from every angle, together with the armrests flowing into the chair and back.

Shannon Malone

Magnets hold the neck rest in place and allow it to be flexible.

ras-a, inc..

Claudia Leccacorvi

The seat and ottoman look slick in a minimalist bedroom.

In a room for 2, a set of Metropolitan Chairs creates a nice place for a few to drink coffee, browse or lay another day’s clothing on. However, since this seat is an investment bit, I’ll not permit everyone to let laundry pile up on it.

This room features not just the B&B Italia Metropolitan Chair from the living area, but also B&B Italia Solo Dining Chairs at the dining room table.

alene workman interior design, inc

Note how the Metropolitan’s base, the ottoman’s bottom and the dining table seat bases all coordinate in this space.

More: Have a Spin in a Swivel Chair

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Plan Your Residence Remodel: The Construction Phase

It has been some time since we last looked in on our ranch house renovation project. As most projects do any delay was experienced by us. The good thing is that we are now actively engaged in the building phase of the project.

We started building in earnest right after Labor Day 2012. In the weeks since then, we have seen quite a little progress. Our builder, Steve Perry of J.S. Perry & Co., has worked on many renovation projects in Florida’s gulf coast. Perry’s experience working in this coastal zone has been a boon in getting our project moving. Actually, his Indian Rocks beach bungalow renovation convinced homeowners Mike and Leann Rowe and me that Perry was the builder we had.

Watch Part 1 of the renovation project

Before Photo

AIA, Bud Dietrich

The day that I anticipate in any renovation project is that the day that the Dumpster shows up. Demolition activities can not be too far behind using the Dumpster in place. Our builder made sure to line the region underneath with plywood to help distribute the weight, preventing damage to the driveway pavers. If you’re considering doing a renovation, be sure that you know where your builder is putting the Dumpster (in addition to portable toilets). The more you know up front, the less surprised you are going to be when the work occurs.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Before we could begin building, we had to naturally get a building permit. The single largest issue that we have to deal with in coastal Florida, and much of the eastern seaboard, is still hurricanes. With high wind speeds, wind-driven debris and storm strikes, the impact that a hurricane could have on a building’s layout is very significant. In fact, if we were constructing a new residence in lieu of renovating an existing one, then we would have to raise the house on stilts to accommodate the inevitable flood that hurricanes cause.

11 Ways to Hurricane Proof Your House | 4 Matters a Hurricane Teaches You About Design

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Therefore the drawings used to receive our permit include details on how the structural components of the building will defy hurricane-force winds and wind-driven debris. The ways in which windows are anchored and the relations between components all have to be precisely detailed and spelled out.

Before Photo

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Perry’s team has indicated the areas to be eliminated. We always like doing a walk-through with the builder only before demolition starts so that all of us have a excellent understanding of what’s going to be eliminated and what’s going to remain, as well as everything will get stored and reused. Even though the drawings can be quite clear about all of this, nothing replaces a walk-through.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

1 task that had to be taken care of ancient was getting rid of all of the overgrown trees and bushes that surrounded the house. Sometimes trees and bushes could be saved and replanted, occasionally not. So it’s important to have a survey using a landscape architect or arborist before starting the project.

Before Photo

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Just about the first real bit of demolition work was removing the fast-food-restaurant-style storefront in the back of the house. Watch exactly what it looked like before here). The majority of the building work is going to be along this back wall, in which new glass doors and windows will replace the old storefront.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Nothing blocked the view of the intercoastal waterway when the storefront was eliminated. However, the low ceiling and deep beam actually didn’t provide us the view we wanted.

AIA, Bud Dietrich

Altering the roofline and increasing the ceiling to catch this view was not something Mike and Leann originally conceived when they started the project, but using that grand view of blue skies and water, there’s no doubt that the excess expense will be worth it.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Soon we will have the big sliding-glass doors and windows installed, and the house will return to become weathertight so we are able to concentrate on the interior.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Something I truly enjoy is working with the builder to solve details in the field. We end up with details sketched on a piece of timber or something else. While this kind of sketch is not as probably needed when constructing a new residence, I find it to be standard operating procedure for renovation projects. There are simply too many unknowns to own that which completely resolved before the beginning of construction.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

We have also started to develop landscaping plans. Mike and Leann have engaged Ted Michel, a local landscape architect. Michel and I have started working on the deck layout, and he’s made a few recommendations on Mike and Leann about plantings. It is really nice when the owners, architect and landscape architect put their minds together to think of a program.

Next: The interior renovation has underway

Start in the start: Component 1 of the Renovation Diary

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Tour at Sydney Goes Glam

Designer-architect Greg Natale was thrilled when his clients asked him to decorate her apartment in the Astor construction in Sydney, Australia. Constructed in 1923, the Astor was Sydney’s first high-rise apartment construction and first residential co-op construction. “Many of Sydney’s famous have dwelt in this address. It used to be the tallest building in Sydney at one stage and still has an atmosphere of glamour that was sacred. I had to care for the area with respect and love,” says Natale.

Natale did just that and so much more: He restored and brought back every coved cornice and architrave with attachment. Natale also breathed new life to an apartment which reacts to the building’s classic without losing touch of the clients’ requirement to have a contemporary, fresh and lively home.

in a Glance
Who lives here: An expert bunch
Location: Sydney, Australia
Size: 1,200 square feet
That is interesting: The interior designer’s work in this unit earned him a commendation for residential decoration in the 2012 Australian Interior Designer’s celebrity.

Greg Natale

Natale’s attachment for strong geometric patterns and new regency design is evident throughout the area, specially from the master bedroom. Tufted upholstery and beddings in varying shades of gray coordinate with the draperies, developing a luxe yet elegant space.

Like most of his endeavors, the procedure has been a collaboration between Natale and his clientele. The chandelier and tufted headboard — an anchoring piece from the room — appeal the clients, for instance.

Rug: Pigeon Grey, Designer Cabinets; black lacquer and gold nightstands, Kindel; background, Hexagon, Cole & Son

Greg Natale

The decorative molding and trim from bright white heightens the contrasting effect of this wallpaper’s hexagonal pattern. Natale custom built floor-to-ceiling storage which retains to the style of the rest of the space.

Chandelier: clients’

Greg Natale

The female customer “had asked for more storage, internal laundry and his-and-her wardrobes [entry in previous picture]. We made the conscious decision to turn the third bedroom, the smallest among the three, to this new apparel glider,” states Natale.

Greg Natale

This bedroom corner is a piece of regency paradise: A bold background pattern, a neoclassical gilt headboard frame, a black lacquer nightstand along with whispers of Asian themes tie the space together with a boom.

Greg Natale

The mirror’s gilt frame draws out the gold trim and metal drawer pulls of this Dorothy Draper chest in the entryway.

Chandeliers and zebra hide: clients’

Greg Natale

Dining chairs reupholstered in Kelly Wearstler fabric echo the abstract artwork. A corner bar cabinet sings the maximum note in the dining room, with its eye-catching accessories.

Greg Natale

The fashion of the full area is right to a construction from the 1920s, but the green kitchen chimney feels very on trend. “I brought in small elements of modern details that help the space feel current despite its history and pedigree,” states Natale.

Greg Natale

The kitchen also adds to this unit’s drama. Black and white marble tiles placed in a diamond pattern line the floor, and brightly colored china and other porcelain pieces belonging to the clients peek out from in the cabinetry.

Greg Natale

A Laura Kincade hickory chair got a jazzed-up makeover with Kelly Wearstler cloth. Neoclassical decorative molding coexists harmoniously with the high-glam furnishings and metallic finishes.

“Any cornicing, skirting, doors and floorboards which were replaced in the Astor construction are given back to construction direction for future use,” states Natale.

Greg Natale

Here, brass ram’s head bases make a captivating coffee table base.

Greg Natale

This living room vignette reveals just how fearless Natale is in showcasing his love of new regency style. There is a lot to look at, yet no detail feels over the top: Gold cabinet trim, metallic pulls along with a gilded thing with reptilian details play crucial supporting roles to the star of this space, the sunburst mirror.

Supersleek Contemporary Home in Australia

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