Taking the inside outdoors -new Caribbean design
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here’s a saying: Man plans, God laughs. This year has proven that to be so true! No sooner were we putting the first edition of Smart Homes for 2020 together than the pandemic hit, the island shut down, and we got a new normal for living. Some things never change, though, and one of those things is ‘fixing up’ where we live. Our homes are our safe spaces: for some a sanctuary, for others, a place to sleep or store precious and meaningful things. Whatever use is put to a house, some kind of decorating or organising is necessary. Thus, in this issue, we feature articles on decorating small spaces, designing homes for the Caribbean climate, and elements of design. Just as there are fashion trends, there are trends in architecture and home design. Did you know that the colour of choice for next year is aqua? That info, and more on trends is featured in this edition. On the topic of elements of design, Smart Homes has collaborated with the Barbados Institute of Architects (BIA), and has also got some input for experts in the field of design and décor. Michael Trotman, who won third place in the Ashley Furniture Smart Homes Design Challenge, lends his expertise, as does veteran decorator Yvette Holder, who gives tips that will be relevant in a couple weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic has really brought into laser focus how to clean our hands, and protect ourselves. That cleaning also applies to our houses, and a special article on cleaning and disinfecting the home takes pride of place in this year’s issue of Smart Homes. There is also a feature on an award winning house design, constructed right here in Barbados and done by a Barbadian firm. We wish to extend special thanks to Peter Sandiford of the BIA for his tremendous help with this year’s Smart Homes, as well as photographer Leslie St. John, whose work dominates the magazine. Enjoy the read!
Smart Homes is produced by The Nation Publishing Co. Limited; a subsidiary of The Nation Corporation, which is a member of the One Caribbean Media Limited (OCM) group of companies. For general info email: smarthomes@nationnewscom. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained within this magazine is accurate, however, The Nation Publishing Co. Limited cannot be held responsible for any consequences that may arise from any errors or omissions. This publication cannot be copied in whole or in part without the explicit permission of the Publisher. ©2020 NATION PUBLISHING CO. LIMITED
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06 Sanitise your home against COVID-19 Home designs for Caribbean clime Decorating trends for 2021 Decorating small spaces
8 Elements of design Award winning Red Residence
Wallpaper the new paint? Outdoor recreational spaces New ways to decorate for Xmas
Smart Kitchen tools
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Sanitising your home in the wake of Covid-19
e know one crucial method to protect ourselves against catching the COVID-19 virus is to wash our hands frequently with soap and water. Well, in order to get more protection form the virus we should also clean and sanitise our homes regularly. Now there is a difference between cleaning and sanitising: sanitise in this instance means to kill viruses and bacteria, while cleaning means removing dirt. And even though we may sanitise our hands frequently, we cannot be so sure what we bring into our homes with items from outside by Maria (bought at theCollymore store, or given to us). If people come to our houses,
there is the possibility of being exposed as well. Some people may be infected but not show the symptoms. We are certain that the virus spreads from person to person, but what is not yet confirmed is documentation of the spread of the virus from persons to surfaces or any scientific proof of the rate of transmission from surfaces to people. However, studies have shown that within three hours of the SARS-CoV-2 virus being in the air, it still has the capability to be infectious. This is also why wearing masks is important. Studies also indicate that the virus can live on cardboard and similar surfaces for the span of a whole day. So it’s best to both clean and sanitise your home, not just to prevent contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but also to protect against other viral respiratory illnesses. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises disinfecting high-touch surfaces at least once daily just to be safe. This is especially pertinent now that our country has relaxed the protocols which existed during the lockdown and more people are engaging in activities outside of their homes. When cleaning and disinfecting, always wear rubber gloves. If strong reusable gloves are your preference, keep them dedicated to the task of COVID cleaning, and disposable gloves should be thrown away after each use. It is best to clean surfaces first before sanitising. Pay special attention to places that are frequently touched, and sometimes not only by members of your own household. These areas include countertops, doorknobs, faucets, light switches, handles, phones, toilets, sinks, tables etc. For electronics, it is best to follow the manufacture’s guide, and if there is none, liquids containing at least 70 percent alcohol should be used. The CDEC also advises that most disinfectants carry a label which lists the viruses they’re effective against. American health professionals have stated that if a disinfectant product has an indication for killing influenza, RSB, SARS virus, or other coronaviruses, then it should work against the SARS-CoV-2.
Remember to both clean and sanitise your home: Cleaning is about removing dirt from a surface; disinfecting is about killing germs. Do both daily if anything or anyone has entered your home.
High-Touch Surfaces to Clean and Disinfect Daily: • Bathroom counters and sinks • Computers/laptops • Desks • Door knobs • Faucets and faucet knobs • Game controllers • Hard dining chairs (seat, back, and arms) • Kitchen counters • Light switches • Microwave oven • Mouse pads • Refrigerator • Stove knobs • Table surfaces • Toilets (seat and handle) • TV remote controls • Window latches or knobs
hat’s the biggest consideration when designing and constructing a home in Barbados or the Caribbean? “There are several factors to consider,” states architect Peter Sandiford. “However, I would say that weather and the orientation of the home on the site are the two that are high on the list when designing a home. “ You have to factor in the wind, sun and rain. Wind and sun direction will have an impact on where you place the various rooms in the home and where to position a pool, if there is one. With regards to construction, the home (or any other structure ) should be built to be hurricane resistant. Hurricane straps are a must when building wooden roofs and the windows and doors need to be strong enough to withstand flying debris and high winds. These factors and many more are needed for a successful project and your architect should be able to employ
them, all the while creating something pleasing to the eye, comfortable to live in and within the budget of the client,” he declares. Many people want to own a piece of the rock, and precious land space has become very expensive, so many small compact homes are being constructed. A drive through St. Philip and St. James will reveal many housing developments with small two and three bedrooms houses. “It doesn’t make a difference if a house is big or small. A tropical house should be one that maximizes on natural ventilation wherever possible–especially in the bedrooms and gathering spaces,” asserts Peter, who correctly observes that this may not always be possible due to the shape of the land and egress to the site. “Assign the rooms that you don’t normally spend a lot of time in e.g storerooms, garages, to the areas of the house that do not get the most breeze,” he advises.
Home designs for Caribbean climate
Building a hurricane proof house provides an opportunity for architects to get creative. “Firstly, the house has to be safe and protect its occupants. Achieving security with style is where the magic comes. The typical features that protect you from storms like the walls, roof or the windows can be designed in creative ways that make your home stand apart from the rest and give it character. Anyone can design a box, making that “box” safe to live in, comfortable and interesting is what makes a good design,” Peter said. Design experts also advise that a house with a square or octagonal/hexagonal floor plan, and hip roofs (roofs with four or more slopes) both reduce wind loads and withstand hurricane winds. Another element of contemporary home design in Barbados is the open plan where a formal dining or sitting room is no longer relevant. “Lifestyles have changed over the years. I am sure many of us grew up in a house where there are formal dining and living rooms,” notes Peter. “These spaces are now treated as museum display spaces and are hardly used now–maybe at Christmas when the whole family comes together, but that’s about it. Of course, I am generalizing here but in essence, today’s clients are now asking for more elegantly casual spaces where dining and living areas are now extensions of the house–usually in covered terraces. “In the Caribbean, this is one of the many luxuries we can exploit as we can play on that indoor/outdoor relationship that many other
countries in the world cannot. This allows us to take advantage of the cool breeze and the views but not be fully exposed to the elements. By extension the living terraces are increasing in size as people tend to spend more time there, especially when entertaining. This is a cost saving technique because now you are creating multi-use spaces within the home, effectively allowing you to use the same space for more than one activity,” he said. There are thousands more small houses than large houses in Barbados, and there are some things home owners of small houses-especially those built very close to other houses can do to keep their houses cool. Use natural ventilation, advises Peter. “From an architectural standpoint, moving into an already existing structure that is hot maybe difficult to make cool– especially if you are in a housing development where there maybe covenants that dictate that you cannot create openings in walls. Obviously adding an ac would be the quickest way to achieve this but what really should happen is the home should be designed in such a way that it minimizes the need to air condition the spaces. We are back to the natural ventilation again and I know this is not always possible, especially in housing developments when the units can be sandwiched next to each other,” observes Peter. Apart from natural ventilation, other things which can be done to help keep a small house cool includes putting awnings over windows so they can be kept opened, and reduce the amount of sun coming in; plant vines on the sun-facing side of the house to absorb the heat absorbed by the walls, paint the roof a light colour, install ceiling fans, and put a reflective heat film on windows.
Inspiration & INNOVATION
Trends of 2021
by Katrina Welch
very year has its own historic occurrences, but many will agree that the events of recent years past will pale in comparison to the year 2020. Worldwide, people were confined to their homes for an extended period of time, making them the space for work, schooling and entertainment. Unfortunately, this extensive period of time at home made some people realise that even though the physical space was their residence, it did not truly feel like ‘home’. In some of these houses the walls needed a coat of paint, the appliances were dated, the accessories looked tired and overall the house was simply depressing and uninspiring. However, there is hope and an opportunity to spruce up your home décor. With the resumption of business under the new normal, you now have the opportunity to update and improve your living space. Your home should be your sanctuary (especially if you will be confined to it for a few months again). To help you out, let’s take a look at six current decorating trends:
There was a time when all-white cabinetry and appliances in the kitchen provided a sleek, modern and sophisticated look. That time is no more. Now, more warm colours are being incorporated into kitchen décor with many opting for cupboards with their natural wood finish.
High contrast colours
So, you might not be able to afford to repaint your walls entirely, replace your appliances and redo your cupboards. That doesn’t mean you can’t refresh the look of your home. Simply work within your budget to add a high colour contrast to your existing space. For example, if you have an all-white kitchen, maybe
you can add black small appliances, bright-coloured crockery and knobs, or even beautifully wall-papered shelves to make your space pop. In the living room, if you have a dark brown sofa, try adding light-coloured throw cushions or pine-coloured side tables to the space. These small contrasting changes will make a big difference.
Vintage and Gold Accents
Many a Barbadian has grown up in homes adorned by ceramic ornaments. These 20th century home accents could be found on display in almost every home before vases with dried flowers took centre stage. Now, there is a new trend in town to upstage the latter and that is the use of vintage accents, popular in the late 1800s and early in the 1900s. Whatâ€™s important to note is that with these pieces, you donâ€™t need a lot of them (after all your home isnâ€™t a museum!); you just need to place one or two strategically in the desired rooms of your home and watch them become conversation starters. 12
You’ve seen them in movies, haven’t you? Some hotels even have them and I promise you that they are as comfortable as they look. So, why not get one for your home too? Canopy beds have an elegant yet classic look, which will surely make you fall in love with your bed night after night. Though you might wonder if the fabric draping, which is normally on the bedposts, will keep you too hot in this warm climate, just keep your bed frame fabric free. Additionally, you aren’t limited to heavy wooden canopy. Nowadays, these bed frames are being made from other materials such as metal and acrylic.
Navy Blue and Aquamarine
Speaking of colours, each year Pantone announces its colour of the year and for 2020 Classic Blue has had the honour of being that pick; for 2021 it’s Aqua. Classic blue is a shade of navy blue and can be used to enhance any room of your home. Some might want to go all the way and use this shade on all the walls in a room, but it can be used on one wall as an accent. And for those who prefer to keep the walls light, you can add a pop of colour with your throw cushions, curtains, bed linens, and a wide range of accents and accessories. Aquamarine, a colour we’re very familiar with, is inspired by advances in technology and building on from the popular neo-mint trend, according to fashiontrendsetter.com. This ‘positive’ colour has a futuristic and innovative feel. This bright, bold blue is so diverse; it triggers feelings of clarity, looks ‘sporty and trend-forward’, and has major ‘commercial appeal’.
Art is another great conversation starter for any home, but you don’t need to limit the art work to the dining and living areas of your home. Your kitchen can also be adorned with appropriate pieces which highlight who you are while enhancing the beauty of the space. Barbados is replete with local artists whose work would look better in your homes than in their current gallery or studio. When selecting your pieces remember this, the more unique the artwork, the better!
Inspiration & INNOVATION
Decorating T small
spaces Be practical!
hat’s the first rule for creating your ideal living space when it is small. So you’ve been living in what feels like a cramped stale space for too long, or you’ve moved into a new but small house or apartment. The most important thing to consider when creating your living space is that it needs to be practical, especially if you have children. “You can’t have everything,” advises Michael Trotman of De Space Designs. “Is it practical to have a full living room or a full dining room suite? Decide what you want to do, what is essential for your space, and what you already have. Of course this will vary from household to household, but everyone has to consider mobility,” he added. One tip that all interior designers will give to create more space is to use furniture which can fold – a folding table or desk which can be put away when not in use. “Another thing to consider is that air is space, and that means hanging things on a wall leaves more floor space to be able to manoeuvre. So shelving could serve as storage,” Michael noted, adding that the use of multi-functional items like a couch or centre table that is also a storage unit are great for space saving.
“Another item that is very efficient in opening up spaces and making it feel bigger is mirrors. Mirrors are reflective surfaces and allow light to shine a lot more,” he said, adding that they create an illusion that adds depth to a room. A caution about mirrors: you can make them a focal point, but make sure you don’t go overboard and use mirrors that are too large for a small space. If you’re into feng shui, a mirror is a water element, and works really well near entrances. Decorating your home is considered to be an extension of your personality, the background of your life, contributing to your happiness and well-being. While some people don’t put much stock into it, others will go all out just to have the right vase for the centre or side table, or the right accent for the wall, the right carpet that just pulls everything together. Home décor pieces help to express innate creativity, but if you have a small space or a low budget, you can’t go crazy and buy everything you like. “If you’re decorating on a small budget you’d want to get items you can get the most use out of, so you get a lot of bang for your buck,” Michael opines. “While people may think of getting a lot of cheap things, it doesn’t mean that they will last long-term. It’s best to use
things that are sturdy and of good quality and multifunctional.” Another interior design hack for small spaces includes using one statement piece which draws a lot of attention and also serves as a space divider. Michael also notes that use of colour is even more critical in a small space. “In any space, use of colour is important, but in a small space it’s what helps to make a room open up and look big, or can make a room look small. Whites and lighter colours usually open up a space, because light opens up a space naturally. Lighter tones help the space feel less cluttered. Pastel tones – lighter blues, lighter greens, whites, peaches, yellows definitely are good to use to open up smaller spaces. And if pastels don’t do it for you, you can go bold and create an accent wall in a bright colour, or put a loud bold colour in a strategic space like entryways, on trims, a darker colour like teal, platinum or peacock blue in a corner to create depth. A dull room, or a plain room can be very uninspiring, and a cluttered room could create or increase feelings of anxiety. How your home looks – both inside and out – helps create or set your mood when you are in it. Your home should inspire you and make you feel happy; so if it’s not doing that now, it’s time for a redo!
Inspiration & INNOVATION
Understated, but elegant…is the smart home of now by Nick Nunes
ave you ever dealt with the terror of removing tacky tiles, crummy wallpaper, or even considered crashing down the walls of your home because of the style ideals of ages that have aged out of style? Especially in the Caribbean, we’re familiar with the décor styles of decades passed and dream layouts of architecture that has been tainted into confusing nightmares of time-bubbles and kitsch cradles of the past, unglorified. By that, I of course mean the aged ubiquitous tropical patterns that are always found in dated hotel rooms and expat oriented furnishings and accents. Their patterns are varied but inevitably the same and, ultimately, forgettable (sometimes forced into forgetting). Even aside from fixtures and fittings best forgotten, archways and entrances have a magical aura that is, very definitely, psychological in nature. You pass through a barrier and should be greeted by the purpose of that special expanse or sphere. Home or office, entering a new space induces an effect that has been termed the “Doorway Effect”. You get up from wherever you are with a
Today, every home can be converted into a smart home through Bluetooth blubs, smart switches, and sustainably efficient additions or replacements. purpose. You walk from the living room to the kitchen, or the bedroom to the hallway, or the parking lot to the market, or any space to another and you have forgotten the reason for your impetus journey. Everyone has done it. You’ve left the house and jumped into the car to drive away on a journey to do whatever and then stopped, fast parked, and E-brake screeched to run back inside frantically, and abashedly forgotten what you surged for on entry- mask, in 2020 you’ve probably forgotten your mask. Sure, it’s embarrassing in the moment but it should comfort all to know that it’s common and reasonably explained. Older generations may not associate with the analogy but video game save points are a reasonable comparison. You’re concentrating on so many things and then you pass through an arch, a doorway, a bridge that the mind takes as a break in the recording of what you’re doing. And, cut scene. So easily flits away the lightest level of your most recent sidequest. Here asserts an overlooked boon and aspect of open-plan spaces, both domestic and commercial. Interior and unnecessary walls cordon off flow of movement and mind, while also obscuring a peaceful flow of light, line of sight, and creative curves that are imagined on the way while moving through spaces. We are in the 21st century and it is characterised by an ideal of holistic function and pursuit towards minimal adversarial impact and aesthetic lasting. Smart technology for smart homes is best married with ecologically efficient and carbon-negative or carbon-neutral materials impressed at their best possible potential. Our world is one of convenience and ingenuity. Today, every home can be converted into a smart home through Bluetooth blubs, smart switches, and sustainably efficient additions or replacements. However, optimising your abode to not just serve and satiate you can influence your life in unknown and unimaginable ways that stretch beyond the image conscious movement of the eco-warrior and ecoally agenda. These agendas of eco-salvation or, at most minimal, eco awareness are, at heart, advocating for the innovating of better practices for the future continued pairing of people and their plights with preserving 18
the best possibility of our shared survival on a planet that perseveres life. Open living areas inherently expect less of the building industry and more of the design dreams to make the best of a given area. Optimal air flow and, if you’re into it, Feng Shui, can all be addressed through minimalism which will save you in the future. How many videos have you seen of new homeowners prying up floors, tearing through tiles, scraping away ancient wallpaper, and knocking down unnecessary walls? Initially designing with a mind of minimalism and streamlined potential is the best gift you can give to your future self; whether you’re going to renovate for evolution of your own style or sell to someone with a different palate and prediction for their own perplexities, pleasant simplicity prevails. Now is the time of smart homes. The 21st century is an age that is supremely characterised by all the ages the have come before it because this is the first age that has ubiquitously afforded a generation with the knowledge of so many ages gone by. Whether you’re into tiny homes that are custom-made from whatever material, or container-homes made from steel boxes, or whatever other homes of wood, brick, coral, or other creative minds of whatever century, convenience and flow seem to be the consensus, obviously along with smart tech for the smart, and convenient, future of homes, and buildings going forward. The new age breeds an expectancy of certain efficient comforts that have only been afforded within the short time of this century. Strong WiFi that permeates every crevice of your new century home, adaptive lighting that can be adjusted by voice, and even the strange comfort that comes with the security of SkyNet-like systems are all, mostly, in favour of forging some unknowingly-eco-friendly future. We want it now and without costly and timely effort. Efficiency and flow are becoming the demand of the home of the future, the home of the now. Luckily, innovation, demand, and brilliant creativity are the driving forces that are building our future smart, sleek, and sustainable homes.
Inspiration & INNOVATION
8 Important Elements of
n g i s de
Contributed by Peter Sandiford M. Arch., B.E.D.S., B. Eng., BIA, ARB. for the Barbados Institute of Architects website: www.bia.bb Photographs by Leslie St. John.
2. Take Risk
esign is an important component of a house, no matter the size, and good design makes a plain, barren space appealing, comfortable and beautiful. A well designed space should encompass certain design factors. This is a list of the eight most important elements which transforms the basic to the alluring
It must tell a story
What is the narrative? Sometimes a space can have more than one story to tell, especially if it is to be used for different functions at different times of the day. Some may argue that a well designed space in a home is one where you can have several uses (especially in this day when formal living and dining rooms are becoming less common). The family unit becomes stronger when the architecture of the home encourages gathering. This is one of the many strengths of architecture and its influence on the positive impact on a society as a whole.
Too many times finances limit the creative side of architectural expression. Once in a blue moon, though, you get a client who is willing to take a risk and try something new (or in this case actually something centuries old) â€“ the use of lime render. On coral stone buildings this is a must and many clients, contractors and, yes, even some architects, are unaware of this. Lime render is used on many famous buildings (e.g. Sydney Opera House and the White House) and it can also be used on concrete walls. Itâ€™s self-healing and environmentally friendly. In Barbados, our limestone walls should not be clad in cement (a common mistake by many). They should only be clad with lime render as it allows the coral stone to breathe and eliminates the buildup of mildew on the walls.
Sweat the detail In the Caribbean architects find themselves re-using the standard “off the shelf” details or architectural design elements in order to reduce cost. Creating the small “one-of-a-kind” details which can have a large impact sometimes requires learning how to use an unfamiliar material and pushing its limitations. In-depth thought and ingenuity to fully express the creative gene without going over budget is a constant challenge, and with global access to materials and talent, architects can actually get very creative with the “traditional” details. Above at right is an Asian version of a typical louvre, hand-drawn on graph paper, then digitised into a dwg. file and emailed to Indonesia where this was handcrafted. Again, the things you can do when you and your client are willing to take risks.
Inspiration & INNOVATION
Simplify your details
Sometimes simplifying the construction of a detail might make it easier to produce, and a better fit for the space where it will be featured. For example, to reduce the bulkiness of a vanity in small bathrooms you can remove the corners and create curved edges to make the space feel larger.
Establish O rder Public to P rivate
A home should really do more than just provide protection from the elements. It should be a place of refuge from the outside world. How people enter a home and the various spaces/rooms they have access to is therefore a critical part of design. Screens are a good way to establish that public to private order, and screens can be made with a variety of materials, wood, stone, fabric and any designs and styles. If you have more room, you can also achieve this by introducing different earth elements to your entry, like water. Water is a great relaxer and even in small spaces fountains can be used to relax your mood.
6. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
One of the many tools to ensure a well designed building is the integration of a concept that is carried out throughout all aspects of the project – from the large-scaled items (doors and windows) right down to the smallest details (light niches and skirting boards). In this design, rounded corners and curved skirting boards just bring the whole project together. Finding subtle, and maybe not so subtle, ways of repeating the design ideas/concepts throughout all aspects of the building definitely unifies the project and is key to any design, big or small.
8. Engage the Senses 7. Break the rules (calculated risks) Indoor/Outdoor spaces
After studying and understanding what people’s expectations are when it comes to the use of a space, an architect can have fun with people’s perceptions and expectations. This view is taken from the front door of a house and the idea here was that as soon as you enter the home you are then visually transported right back outside. These doors were custom-made and installed to allow the room to double as an indoor living room space or when opened up become part of the pool deck. Fantastic for entertaining.
Along with the kitchen, the bathroom is the most important place in a home and the true value of a home is often found in these two rooms. Imagine coming home after a stressful day to a bath or shower that has an amazing view, flowers from the garden in full bloom and sounds of either waves crashing or birds chirping in the background, maybe even a little glass of wine and soothing music to ease the tension away…. A little slice of heaven whenever you need.
Inspiration & INNOVATION
RED is Award winning Residence
ou take a look at pictures of this house and you go “WOW! Is that in Barbados!?” Tucked away in Inch Marlow, Christ Church, is the winner of the International Property Awards 2019 design of a contemporary and sustainable residence. It’s called RED, and it’s a five-bedroom, fivebathroom wonder in Caribbean design and construction done by Studio Blue architects, Bradley Thompson and Neil Hutchinson. For the 18-year-old Barbadian firm, the accolade is validation that it is undoubtedly of international standard.
“This is an important achievement for a small practice like ourselves as it confirms that we can deliver a quality product which is recognised on an international level,” was the demure response of Studio Blue’s managing director, Neil to the accolade. The house can look sometimes imposing (depending on perspective) and all the time awesome with its very clean lines, minimalist style, and unobstructed views of the surrounding nature and seascapes. The design and construction of the house takes into consideration our Caribbean weather and climate. Neil told Smart Homes about the innate Barbadian/Caribbean influence in the design of Red. “Addressing our tropical climate and environment played a big role in driving the design process. Designing for natural ventilation was facilitated through the open plan layouts, and the use of louvres and shutters which are very common in traditional Barbadian (and Caribbean) architecture;
albeit we have used them in a new and innovative way. Floor to ceiling louvres and sliding shutters (with operable louvres) maximise the potential for ventilation, light and views in and out of the building while still allowing for these spaces to be “closed off” if privacy is desired and security or hurricane protection is required,” he said. Other important features of the house include its elevation, not so much for the aesthetic view as for protection from flooding, and consideration of choice in fixtures, fittings and materials since the house is close to the sea. “The patio is also a very important part of most houses in the Caribbean and we as a people can spend a lot of time on the patio as it is often cooler and more comfortable to be there rather than inside. We have taken this idea to the next level by breaking down the barriers between inside and outside to the extent that the ground floor living, dining and kitchen spaces almost feel as though you are on the patio – the client has actually said this in fact.
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“The design also allows for a ‘traditional back garden’ where edible plants and herbs such as bananas/ plantain, pawpaw, coconut, fat pork, spinach, thyme, rosemary etc. are grown and you can retreat for more privacy ....with a cup of coffee in the shade of the building in the morning. The design does break from some of our traditional views on privacy where houses may have small windows shrouded with layers of curtains. This house has no curtains! The sliding louvre screens and the louvre windows serve this function to provide control of light, and views (both in and out).” Neil explains the characteristics of contemporary design exemplified in Red. “ Contemporary style encompasses a range of styles developed in the latter half of the 20th century. While modern architecture is the type of style built between the early years of 1900s to 1950s and basically refers to a specific time period in history, contemporary architecture refers to the evolutionary and ever-changing trends in design. “Projects often feature neutral elements, bold colour and they focus on the basics of line, shape and form while drawing inspiration from abstract art. Red in my mind is also contemporary as it
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embraces new ideas of how people want to live; more sustainable and connected to nature and the outdoors with less clutter and stuff (decorative curtains, moulding, trims etc)...placing more value on experiences than possessions,” he revealed. And of course, the house takes its name from the choice of bold colour! The Studio Blue Architects ethos is clearly manifested in the design of Red. “Our designs are intended to enhance wellbeing, and our designs respond to the climate and their environment. We are ‘green architects’ in the sense that we create buildings that harmonise with the site’s natural features and have minimal impact on the environment. “Our approach varies depending on the client and the project, but typically includes natural ventilation and day lighting, rainwater harvesting and water conservation systems, energy-efficient lighting and air-conditioning, photovoltaic systems for energy generation, solar panels for hot water heating, and ‘sustainable’ building materials,” Neil stated.
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Smart Kitchen Tools by Andrea King
smart home is one that not only looks great, in Bajan parlance, it’s also one in which all the rooms, furniture and equipment function to make a really comfortable and efficient space to be in. One room in which many of us spend a lot of time is the kitchen, especially if in the home design, the kitchen and dining room occupy the same space. And when it’s time to cook, having essential kitchen equipment makes it a joy and pleasure for those of us who love to prepare meals. Even if you don’t like cooking, but need to, here are some tools that will make your kitchen smart.
Digital food scale
For those always baking or doing a recipe which calls for measurements, a digital food scale is the right piece of equipment to have. Some can measure up to five pounds.
The three-in-one avocado slicer
A spiral slicer
It splits the skin, takes the seed out and slices the pear in less time than you would take to cut the pear in half.
The electric pressure cooker Who needs a whole set of saucepans with this upgraded version of the first home pressure cooker that came to market in 1938? Today’s pressure cookers are electric (so they don’t need to take up room on the stove) and they come with many programmable functions for all kinds of foods, including yoghurt. 32
Ever had yams or sweet potatoes which look like spaghetti? Bet it tastes different just because it looks different! Today’s splicers can also spiralise hard vegetables. A spiral slicer is perfect for making common meals look like gourmet food. For vegans and people who eat only raw foods, the splicer can help make your meals look exciting.
5 A square colander Why didn’t they think of this before!!?? How many times have you poured some of your pasta, fruit, vegetables or rice in the sink when trying to drain them from a normal circular colander? The square shape allows for much easier draining and it’s much easier to have a hand free to hold a cover on the colander.
Metal Reusable Tea Strainer Spoon Straw
Leaf Herb Stripper Isn’t it frustrating to be in the middle of cooking and suddenly decide to use fresh or dried herbs, only to find that you also have to separate the leaves from the stalks in quick time to add to your pot? Well, the nine-hole herb leaf stripper is the exact thing you need. The ideal one has nine holes ranging in size to cut from rosemary and thyme to kale. The ideal one also has a two-in-one feature which can cut the herbs, and any other small things like cookie or bread dough, fruits and vegetables.
Whisk Wiper Just when you thought they’d created everything! This handy tool makes cleaning a whisk so much easier, and helps save on wasting food left on the whisk and in the bowl. Be sure to get the size whisk wiper to fit your whisk.
This one is for the tea connoisseurs, especially those who prefer loose leaf tea. It’s a multi-function reusable straw, tea infuser, drink stirrer and spoon. The fine sieve mesh spoon head helps strain tea leaves. It’s also useful for cocktails made with real fruit to strain seeds.
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Love dreams design to reality by Nick Nunes
home is a dwelling place. It’s where you live and where you feel a personal and intimate connection to your environment. A home is what you make it and its personality is dictated by, not only who has made it their home, but who designed the home. Passion for craft is what can differentiate little boxes made of “ticky-tacky”, from a hearth, the heart of a home. Being in touch with the owner and the atmosphere in which they are living comes next. One such passionate proponent of the magic of architecture and design is Kashka King.
“I first got interested in architecture when I was around 14 years old when my father was building the cottage that we live in now,” he afforded. He fell in love with the process, recalling, “It was about how all the different tradesmen were all participating in one big thing. It was about getting to see how an idea on paper could be transformed and depicted into real life. That’s what spoke to me.” For years, King has used his creativity to craft ideas into reality. From his mid-teenage years, he turned his love for Volkswagen Beetles and Buggies into a construction of personal creation. Over the years, he’s been the designer and creator of several Beetles and Buggies for both personal use and custom sale. As a young adult, King attended Sheridan University in Canada and the University of Technology in Jamaica in pursuit of architectural acumen. He said, “My process for architecture and design is about coming up with a cohesive idea of what someone says they want while taking into consideration their personality. A client’s body language and the way they talk about what they want helps to convey their whole personality and that can help me figure out exactly what it is they are looking for.” Custom pieces are always personal. According to King, “The designs that really inspire me are mid-century and modern aesthetic. I like the idea of infusing modern architecture with both wood and concrete.” Kashka King’s designs can be viewed as a fusion of elegance and minimalism with an affinity for links to the natural world, as manifested through his modern flows that stream gracefully with beautiful woodworking. Simplicity can signify synchronicity and King states: “I find that when you have simple lines in architecture that it creates less
tension within your brain. There are fewer things to process which makes a person within that space feel a lot calmer. That’s why I gravitate to that style. Less to me means more. “Spaces with a lot of ornate design seem very busy and it takes your brain a lot of time to process all of the detail which can get lost anyway. The calming effect of simple architecture creates a better mood within the space,” he elaborated. For King, the design and creation of spaces is a working symphony that should flow with aesthetic appeal, a tune of mental relaxation, and a feel of a welcoming environment. “I feel like my little interjection into the world of Barbadian architecture has been quite fulfilling for me in the sense that people are getting to see my potential. Also, my goal for a while has been to change people’s perspectives on what a house or a building could be,” he added. Nostalgia is a part of any generation but there are always parallels within the sentiment of looking back. King confessed, “My favourite project that I’ve worked on is the updating of a 1936 coral stone house. It was the house where my father grew up. It was a fun project, but it also had sentimental value. That journey was about taking something old and giving it a modern spin.” On the process of this renovation, or revitalisation, King said, “I intertwined coral stone with slate walls and the steel windows that were originally there, while using beautiful cuts of wood to bring the tones together.” Bridging the old and the new and finding a happy marriage betwixt is a battle that is worth fighting as remembrance often brings meaning to new light. On bringing the old into the web of the new, King asserted, “The future of architecture is definitely going towards smart technology.
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Being able to control your house from wherever you are is definitely the trend. You could be in Australia or San Francisco and still have access to your house. Being able to open your front door and turn on and off your lights, on the interior and exterior, and being able to check your security from anywhere is definitely what people are looking for these days.” Part of the appeal of open spaces and simple lines within a home means that you cut down on the obstructions that would hamper smart tech within a home. Fewer blocking walls and better views also allow for better visual access for those that desire cameras in their interior spaces. Kashka King’s designs are also about incorporating natural feels, which is why he began delving into the world of woodworking. About six years ago, King started trying his hand at personally crafting things he envisioned so as to best realise what he wanted to create. According to King, “Trying to get what I wanted done from other people was becoming a challenge, so I just decided to do it myself. The pieces that I build from wood are a mixture of what the client wants and a bit of my own artistic work.” For King, “The most important thing is the client’s needs. The function of a piece is the first thing you look at. If someone wants a table, then you need to know what they’re going to be using that table for. Is the table for the interior or exterior? Is it for sitting at or standing height? Then you go on to the type of finish for the piece. Is this just for visual appeal or is it a functional piece? Function and form come first.” “My favourite woods to work with are Brazilian Walnut, Teak, and Green Heart. Their colours, their grain patterns, and their strength all add to their aesthetic. These are excellent woods for Barbados because they’re very weather tolerant. The Boardwalk on the South Coast is all Brazilian Walnut,” King added. Fusing the old with the new and bringing sleek modern lines to natural tones of wood and the world are what marks King’s work as his own. “I love doing renovations. Taking something and repurposing it for something more useful or more modern is what I really enjoy. Taking something from the past and bringing it into the future is a great process to be a part of,” he said. “I love the challenge of each job and what I can bring to the table architecturally to create positive solutions,” he stated. For the past six years, Kashka King had been doing his work project by project. At the beginning of 2020, he asked his sister Nadia King, having worked on her Masters in Marketing in Australia, to take the helm of promoting his work and participating in a worthwhile endeavour of entrepreneurship. Thus, from the fusion of Nadia and Kashka’s names was born NAKA Designs. Love for what you do is important in the creation of spaces that are loved. Elegance and peace, as a sanctuary from the outside world while maintaining a calming and natural connection, are very much the trend of design moving forward. Your own personal touch is what makes each space something special and, with the world becoming more curated by technology and convenience, a little connection to soothing spaces with natural tones and materials can create spaces that are truly timeless. 36
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Wallpaper the New Paint?
id you know that the colour of a room can impact your mood and thoughts? That’s why wall décor should be chosen with careful thought and consideration. Beyond being a reflection of your personality, colours and patterns on our walls tend to have an influence on people when they enter a room. Think about it: how are the walls of a children’s clinic usually decorated in comparison to that of a tattoo parlour? Or how about the walls of a spa versus the walls of a night club? Whether you are using paint or wallpaper, the appearance will set the mood for the room whether it is in a home or a business. In Barbados, most homeowners and business owners use paint or trowel plastic to finish their walls, but have you ever given thought to the use of wallpaper? Though uncommon in its usage locally, over the years a few companies have embraced the use of this decorative wall feature. This year, floral wallpapers have been trending in their use in other parts of the globe. So, if you want to bring this trend to your home, here are five pros and cons to consider when it comes to using wallpaper.
rulers or hiring a professional artist, you can add patterns, shapes, objects and more to any wall your heart desires. Con – It’s pretty easy to get enough paint or trowel plastic to cover your intended wall or room, because even if the full amount needed is not available on the shelf most suppliers offer to mix the colour you need to ensure your job can be completed. However, if you find a patterned wallpaper that you love but the supplier does not have enough for your job, you might be forced to settle for a different print.
Pro – Your rooms can represent you beyond a basic colour scheme. Without having to enlist tools such as stencils and
Pro – Unlike paint which might need to be retouched as often as every two years if the walls are in a high traffic area,
Pro - Some wallpaper brands provide an easy means of installation as they are made with self-adhesive backs. This reduces some of the work and materials which would be needed during the installation process and can help you out big time if you’re applying a wall paper with a pattern that needs to be lined up. Con – Even though this is an easier means of installation, care must still be taken when applying the self-adhesive wallpaper to match a pattern beside it. If you make an error, trying to remove the adhered paper and reposition it might not be very easy.
good quality wallpapers can last as many as 15 years before they need to be replaced. Con – After a few years you might grow tired of seeing your wallpaper choice even though the wallpaper is still in good condition. Thus, if you don’t want to spend money replacing perfectly good wallpaper, you might find yourself stuck with a wall pattern or colour you no longer like.
Pro – Choosing to use this type of wall finish can save you lots of money in the long-term since its durability means that it does not need to be changed or replaced as regularly. Con – The initial cost of purchasing wallpaper and having it installed can be higher than that of paint or trowel plastic. Removal Pro – When it is time to upgrade the wallpaper, whether because it’s worn and dated or because you have a new vision for the space, the wallpaper can be removed and replaced. Con - Sometimes, the concept we visualise and the outcome we expect, does not match the reality when it comes forth, and unfortunately you may not like the look of the wallpaper when it has been completed. Unfortunately, unlike paint where a few coats can bring a change you need the right tools and knowledge of how to remove wallpaper, otherwise it can be a very difficult task. (KW)
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Outdoor recreational spaces by Nakiah Thomas-Edwards
t’s amazing that for people who live in a fantastic climate like ours – summer year round – we don’t spend a lot of time relaxing outdoors at home. The stark reality of having to work away from home means that many of us often do not get to enjoy outdoor daytime activity there. And when we are home, we spend time cleaning and clearing our backyards and gardens. One solution to reduce the amount of clearing and cleaning so we have more time to relax on the outside of our homes is to create an outdoor recreational space. Recreational spaces can be formal or informal, active or passive. Wood, stones, concrete, weather-resistant fabric and exterior tiles can be used in any number of combination of textures, colours, shapes and designs to create amazing spaces. Add outdoor furniture to that mix to complete a little haven by your home. Here are eight ways to create outdoor recreational spaces:
1. A patio
Whether or not there’s a lot of space outside your house, a patio is ideal for creating a place that can be used for dining or other activities that usually happen inside your home. Patios can be elevated, or made at ground level, or constructed so that you step down onto them. Patios can be covered or uncovered, and can be created with stone, wood or concrete - as elaborate or as simple as design features and costs allow.
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A tent can be made comfortable with rugs, large pillows and any other item of decoration. 2. A tent
If you have space and prefer a clear yard with no permanent structures, a temporary structure could provide cover for those times you want to do more than look across the expanse of your land. A tent can be made comfortable with rugs, large pillows and any other item of decoration. In fact, you can recreate any room in your house if your tent is big enough.
3. A gazebo
A gazebo, unlike a pergola, is completely free standing and covered, usually has built-in seating, and can be enclosed for more privacy. Enclosures can be curtains/drapes, half walls or latticework. A gazebo is usually shaped like a hexagon or octagon.
4. A faux jacuzzi or outside shower
Your very own tub in the privacy of your yard or garden, made even more private by a partition or screen creatively constructed from a variety of materials. Consider using a trellis to create a vertical garden wall that creates more of a nature feel to your outdoor shower
5. Permanent or semi-permanent outdoor seating Made with wood or concrete, the look of this form of seating can be changed with use of fabric cushions in bright matching or contrasting colours. Your outdoor seating will be even better if a fire pit can be made in the centre to roast breadfruit or grill on open flame. Outdoor seating can be enhanced with mood lighting. If there is little or no space at all, create a hammock haven or get some hanging chairs/egg chairs Hammocks are very comfortable and relaxing, and can be installed in a variety of ways. An egg chair which can swing is also a dream, but they come free standing as well. 42
6. A fish pond
You can make a small pond in the most suitable place in your outdoor space, and fill it with the right fish. Koi have increased in popularity, and experts will tell you that ideal size for a koi pond is 25 feet long by 13 feet wide with a maximum depth of four feet. So if space is an issue, put a Koi pond at the side of your house and use its edges for seating. The sides of the pond can be made with stone slabs, rocks (smooth or rough) bricks or even wood. If you live in an area that can be terraced, a waterfall pond would be ideal (especially if you use a tank to catch rain water and recycle it!)
7. A pergola
A pergola is an open structure made with columns which support a grid to form a roof. This roofing grid can be covered, half covered or left open â€“ the design opportunities here depend only on the desires of the owner. The grid roof can be used for crawling plants or vines to form a natural canopy. A pergola can either be freestanding or attached to the house.
8. An outdoor bar
Not much room to do anything? Fear not! Two pieces of wood wide enough to hold a bottle and glass can be mounted around a corner of the house to create an outside bar. Add bar stools and voila!
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New ways to decorate for Christmas
by Nakiah Thomas-Edwards
hristmas is definitely in the air! And we know this not only because the Starcom Network radio station 104.1 FM has been playing Christmas music since October 1, but we also know because some stores have already put out their Christmas stock
for sale. In honour of Christmas 2020, Smart Homes presents a few tips to help create some special differences in your decorating this year. These tips come from Design Consultant of Blissful BegininZ Yvette Holder, who, with 30 years of decorating, knows exactly what to do with a little or a lot. All the photos with this article are of Yvette’s work in Barbadian houses. Here’s what she says about decorating a tree that you want to make look different every year. “Select one element each year, for example, ornaments, lighting, balls, picks, lights, ribbon, to complement your current stock; this will freshen the look. If you decide not to purchase any items, some of the options available would be to hire a decorator, repurpose some of the decorations by spraying them or just creating a new arrangement or layout,” Yvette advises. For just over 12 years Yvette has been part of a team which provides Christmas décor services to hotels, restaurants, corporate establishments, as well as private homes. 44
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Here’s her advice to add Christmas creativity to your home: • Add décor to doorways or wall spaces. To avoid clutter remove some items where necessary. • Rearrange furniture • If you do not have a tree, create a focal point when you enter your main living area. • Utilise shelves, tables, counter tops to add an element of Christmas. • Repurpose everyday items in your home, like trays, wine bottles. • Introduce different textures, like dried twigs or branches. • Spray paint can give life to old items and by adding a touch of glitter as an option you will achieve that Christmas feeling. • Add small elements like a vase with Christmas balls, a bow or wreath on your interior door, or small arrangements in mason jars placed around the home can create that magazine décor look. • Lighting is one of the major elements which adds that ambiance and warm cozy feeling of the holidays; warm white is more effective to achieve this look. Last piece of advice from Yvette: Whether you go large scale or small, make use of what you have around you and the Internet can be a source of inspiration. Do not limit yourself; let your imagination run as you ‘deck the halls and walls’ this holiday season.
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