HOME 2020

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Genevieve Gorder

Glamour by design


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a more sustainable future starts today Natural resources are becoming scarcer as demand rises. We are designing and implementing innovative solutions to take on these challenges by developing access to resources, protecting these resources, optimizing their use and producing new ones. This is how SUEZ is helping to secure a resourceful future. Our smart utility network is recognized for customer enhancements around the world, especially in North America, where over 200,000 digital water meters have been brought online offering significant benefits for customers. In Canada we help the City of Edmonton divert up to 60 percent of its household waste from landfill through recycling and composting. In Southern California we are helping to preserve drinking water supplies by recycling wastewater for use in a wide variety of commercial and industrial applications. As a single, global force driving the next generation of resource management, SUEZ sees revolutionary thinking as key to our future. Our worldwide research, operations and technical network deliver impactful local solutions—to municipalities and businesses of every size. And in North America, our customers see the importance of innovation every day.

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HOME 2020



Wellness design is a hot trend





UP FRONT TECHNOLOGY 10 Popular podcasts help with DIY projects

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Gadgets take over cleaning tasks Control your home with technology

DESIGN & DÉCOR 18 Nature inspires top



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26 28

colors Displays can say a lot about you Custom tile, specialty stone possible for every home Get creative with curtains and shades Order home furnishings online, get them shipped fast

CLEANING 32 Easy-to-use,


ON THE COVER An Airbnb houseboat designed by Genevieve Gorder in a Scandinavian style PHOTOGRAPHER Chris Nolasco/Nolasco Studios

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Genevieve Gorder shares how she creates inviting spaces

How to bring 1970s flair into your home

Make downsized living feel larger

Historic buildings transformed into homes

ROOM BY ROOM 66 70 74 78 85 88 90 96


All product prices and availability are subject to change.


environmentally friendly products



SHELBY DEERING Madison, Wis.-based lifestyle writer Shelby Deering has written for Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living, Healthline, Naturally, Danny Seo and more. She believes nature can, and should, be woven into our lives to support physical and mental well-being — and an effective way to do that is through home design (PAGE 47). She enjoys displaying natural touches in her home like houseplants and seashells. “I love hiking and getting outdoors, but I need some nature indoors, too.”

STACEY FREED Writer and editor Stacey Freed loves researching and writing stories about all things house related — on topics ranging from home design to sustainability. “Researching this story was fun since I’m at the empty nest stage, and it was great to learn how liberating downsizing can be.” (PAGE 52). Her work has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, AARP’s Livable Communities, OneZero/ Medium, Forbes.com, House Logic, Professional Builder and other consumer and trade publications.

DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com ISSUE EDITOR Megan Pannone ISSUE DESIGNER Lisa M. Zilka EDITORS Amy Sinatra Ayres Tracy Scott Forson Harry Lister Debbie Williams DESIGNERS Hayleigh Corkey Brea Garnett David Hyde Debra Moore Gina Toole Saunders CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Cindy Bailen, Brian Barth, Debra Bass, Mary Helen Berg, Mark Brezinski, Margaret Buranen, Andria Cheng, Shelby Deering, Valerie Finholm, Jennifer Bradley Franklin, Stacey Freed, Mike Malloy, Rachel Murphy, Lia Picard, Camryn Rabideau, Rina Rapuano, Stacey Zable


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LIA PICARD Lia Picard is an Atlanta-based freelance writer who has written for publications that include The Washington Post, Architectural Digest, Playboy and House Beautiful. “I recently bought a house built in 1973, and suddenly noticed that the 1970s aesthetic is back. It was exciting to learn how to incorporate this era’s style in a modern way. And I don’t think it’ll be going anywhere anytime soon!” (PAGE 40).

JENNIFER BRADLEY FRANKLIN Atlanta-based journalist Jennifer Bradley Franklin has written for Architectural Digest, Conde Nast Traveler, Delta SKY and People. She wrote three stories for this issue, including the cover story on multitalented celebrity designer Genevieve Gorder (PAGE 34). “I loved how Genevieve shared her challenges — and triumphs — blending her style with her husband’s in their home together.”


BILLING COORDINATOR Julie Marco Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved herein, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or reproduced in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written consent of USA TODAY. The editors and publisher are not responsible for any unsolicited materials.


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TUNE IN Podcasts provide tips, tricks for DIY home improvement projects BY MICHELLE WASHINGTON


erhaps you’re knee-deep in spring cleaning and looking to spruce up some of your spaces. Maybe you need to fix a leaky showerhead, mount a TV or build a bookcase but you don’t know how. Don’t fret: You can get the help you need by just listening. Try one of these popular podcasts, and you can be entertained while being educated:

S TY LE MATTE RS The Style Matters podcast helps listeners surround themselves with beauty and put a personal touch on their home aesthetic. Hosts Zandra Zuraw and Karen June Grant, who started their Little Yellow Couch lifestyle and design blog in 2013, interview experts about creative interior design. Every week, they will inspire you to think creatively about any struggles you’re having by sharing ways for you to develop your own style in your home. littleyellowcouch.com/podcast

FIX IT 1 0 1 Since 2014, Fix It 101, produced in partnership with Mississippi Public Broadcasting, has been the bridge between doing it yourself and dialing up a professional. Each week, hosts Jason Klein, Pam Pybas and Jeff Salmons answer listeners’ questions, and veteran licensed contractors share their tricks and tools of the trade. You might even have a few laughs while you learn something new. fixit101.mpbonline.org


Tune in for weekly episodes filled with decorating advice, DIY stories, interviews with experts and a smattering of tips and ideas that can help you simplify, organize and update your home. Husband-andwife duo Sherry and John Petersik began chronicling their home improvement adventures in 2007 on the blog Young House Love, which spawned two New York Times best-selling books and product lines sold by Target and The Home Depot. Their engaging episodes offer deep (and not-so-deep) conversations about home improvement, design and life at home. younghouselove.com/podcast

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HOME : ON Home: On is a weekly podcast focused on the connected home and home automation topics for enthusiasts and DIYers. Host Richard Gunther discusses industry news, interesting products, project ideas and more about gadgets that help turn your ordinary house into a smart home. Gunther, an independent product experience consultant, is joined by co-hosts and guests, including industry experts, consumers and company representatives. thedigitalmediazone.com/home-on



If you fancy making things with your hands out of wood, this show is for you. We Built A Thing is fairly new, having debuted in September 2018. Hosts Mark Chryst, Bruce Ulrich and Drew Fisher, all part-time craftsmen with individual YouTube channels that focus on their respective woodworking businesses and projects, share their building processes, perspectives on being dads and humorous personal stories. Topics range from small projects to large remodels. webuiltathing.libsyn.com

Home is where the heart is. It’s also the heartbeat of a community. A home is so much more than brick and mortar. It can feel like the heartbeat of your community. It says, “I belong here.” We’re invested in igniting that spirit. understand that successful homeownership helps make individuals, families, and communities stronger. That’s why we’re working hard to support homebuyers by preparing them to become homeowners. Let’s keep our communities growing strong together. To learn more, call 1-866-875-7068. Or visit wellsfargo.com/mortgage

Information is accurate as of the date of printing and is subject to change without notice. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. © 2020 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. NMLSR ID 399801 IHA-6574004 AP5070387 REV 01/2020


SPICK-AND-SPAN IN SPRING Gadgets can make your annual cleaning ritual a breeze BY CAMRYN RABIDEAU


n my world, spring cleaning falls firmly into the category of “very unenjoyable, yet very necessary.” chores. There are lots of little cleaning tasks I inevitably put off all year — like vacuuming under the couch and dusting ceiling fans — that I force myself to do come spring. That way, when it’s finally nice enough to open the windows and let in the breeze,

my apartment doesn’t turn into a dust storm. If, like me, you casually dread deep-cleaning your home, you’re in luck. Cool, new technology can help you out. Whether you need to spot clean the carpet or collect dust bunnies from under the furniture, Reviewed.com found these high-tech gadgets to make your spring cleaning tasks that much easier:

A DORA BLE DUS T BUNNY BUS TE RS These fuzzy little battery-powered balls look like some kind of toy, but they’re going to be your new best friend when it comes to cleaning. The LOHOME Automatic Rolling Ball Electric Cleaners come with machine-washable microfiber covers, and they’re designed to roll around your floor picking up dust and dirt. Many reviewers say they originally bought the ball as a toy for their pets but were impressed at how well the product cleans. It can even fit under furniture, so you don’t have to worry about moving the couch. $13.99 for a pack of four, amazon.com

Sure, you can clean all the surfaces in your home, but is there a way to clean the air? GermGuardian’s Smart Elite 4-in-1 Air Purifier is an app-controlled gadget that helps to provide allergy relief, fight germs, reduce odors and monitor indoor air quality, keeping your home clean and happy. $179.99, target.com

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Solutions to Replace Traditional Lighting

Baytown II Bulb Solar Lamp Features a classic design with three installation options: Wall Mount, Pier Mount, or 3” diameter Post Mount. Installation takes minutes. ABS Resin-130 Lumens-2700K-Up to 16 Hours. Part #: 105B033

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Solar Coach Outdoor Wall Lantern Features a mix of industrial design and modern accent wall decor. Installation takes minutes and comes with mounting hardware. Cast Aluminum -60 Lumens-2400K Edison Bulb-Up to 12 Hours. Part #: 1BE40010

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SAN IT I Z I N G WA N D FOR AW KWARD I TEM S How exactly are you supposed to clean a TV remote, computer keyboard or your favorite trinkets? Instead of awkwardly trying to sanitize them with a wipe, just zap the bacteria with the Verilux CleanWave Portable Sanitizing Travel Wand. The wand uses UV-C technology to kill germs and bacteria — we can see it coming in handy during flu season, too. $59.95, amazon.com

Do you have a handheld power drill? If so, the Drillbrush Bathroom Surfaces Cleaning Kit will make deep-cleaning your bathroom a breeze. Just screw one of the brush attachments into your drill, then prepare to be amazed at how easy it is to remove built-up dirt and soap scum from your shower, sink, toilet and more. $10.16, amazon.com

Did you properly clean your grill before you put it away for the winter? If the answer is no, then you’ll love the Grillbot. This automatic grill cleaner will save you time and energy by scrubbing every inch of your grill in one easy cleaning cycle. Run it once, and you’ll be ready for all those summer barbecues. $76.99, target.com

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PROFESSI ON A L- GRA DE CA RP E T CLE A NE R THAT’ S ACTUA LLY A FFORDA BLE Whether you have kids, pets or just a messy spouse, chances are your carpets have seen better days. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get your carpets looking like new, though, thanks to the Bissell SpotClean Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner. This surprisingly affordable gadget gets rave reviews from users, who say it tackles even the toughest pet stains with ease. $159.99, target.com



GET IT SAID AND DONE THE FIRST TIME. When conditions ake co unication tough, ost-it xtre e otes ake eas work of lea ing notes and re inders • Made with ultra-strong Dura-Hold a er and adhesi e • Water resistant, durable and writable • Sticks to textured surfaces and in tough conditions • Use indoor or outdoor – holds in hot and cold en iron ents M

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LIVING SMART Tech gadgets to control and communicate with your home BY RACHEL MURPHY

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ith the growing popularity of smartphones, smart watches and smart vehicles, it’s only logical that homeowners are looking to bring smart technology into their homes. HGTV builds and gives away new houses outfitted with the latest gadgets — but there’s no reason you can’t create your own smart home with the help of the right products. Here are some of Reviewed.com’s favorites:


Wondering who’s at the door? The Ring Video Doorbell 2 lets you view your front porch and talk to guests from your smartphone. It offers a strong connection, loads video faster and more consistently than other doorbells we tested and lets you designate motion zones. But, if you want to save and play back video clips, you will need to purchase Ring Protect, which starts at $3 per month. $199, amazon.com

A smart home doesn’t always have to mean security — it can mean entertainment, too. We think that the LG C9 Series (2019) is the best TV you can buy right now — and it comes with Alexa built-in. The LG C9 is available in three sizes, all of which have 4K resolution, and the 55inch model is one of the most affordable organic LED TVs of 2019 that’s perfect for your home theater. $1,496.99, amazon.com



You’re going to need a smart speaker to help manage your smart home gadgets. Our favorite Alexa-enabled device is the second-generation Echo because it has great sound quality and can hear you well, even from a nearby room. If you’re looking for a smart display, we think the Google Nest Hub Max is great. Echo second-generation $69.99, amazon.com; Google Nest Hub Max $229, target.com

A smart thermostat makes adjusting your home’s temperature a piece of cake — you can even adjust it from bed. The Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat comes with a color touchscreen display and works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit. This is a great option because the setup and installation are easy, and the thermostat is simple to use. $144, amazon.com

S MA RT MICROWAV E A ND OV E N Amazon Smart Oven is a 4-in-1 convection oven, microwave, air fryer and food warmer that includes more than 30 built-in presets. If you have an Echo speaker, you can use it to control the oven by saying, “Alexa, preheat the oven,” or, “Alexa, cook salmon.” You can also scan certain packaged foods with the Alexa app and the oven will cook them automatically. $249.99, amazon.com

V OICE - A CTIVATE D S HOWE R With the U by Moen Smart Shower, you can automate your daily shower. In the U by Moen app, you can create shower presets like “morning shower” or “workout” that are set to a specific temperature. Then, you can use voice commands via Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit to start, pause and stop the shower. $411.26, amazon.com







PALETTE PLEASERS These pinks, greens and blues are easy to use BY CINDY BAILEN

Living areas and bedrooms: Don’t believe that millennial pink is over. It has become a classic. Benjamin Moore picked the pale, blushy First Light as its color to represent the coming decade. If you’re ready to move away from white walls, First Light is a refreshing, modern, optimistic choice. Pair with: black or white wooden furniture and shiny brass

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e already know the natureinspired top colors of 2020. With few exceptions, popular paint companies chose deep blues and light greens for their colors of the year, and there’s a bit of pink out there, too. Colors of the year don’t demand immediate change — if you’re still happy with your current wall color, even if it’s plain vanilla, there’s no need to repaint. As design experts will tell their clients, your favorite color never goes out of style. But if it’s finally time for you to paint a room or two and you find yourself standing in front of a display of color chips at the home center feeling confused, it can help to know what’s trending. Of course, you don’t have to apply these hues to your walls. Décor items, bedding, cabinetry and even household appliances can bring the colors into your home. When we all look back on 2020, these are the colors we’ll think of, according to Reviewed.com:



Bedrooms, living rooms or hallways: Chinese Porcelain, a rich cobalt, has a calming vibe. It’s an extension of the jewel-tone trend that is returning to home décor and fashion. If you choose this deep, dreamy blue for your walls, frame it with white trim and make sure that your room has plenty of natural light to show it off. Pair with: Neutrals, oranges, browns and golds

Living rooms, mudrooms or offices: A soft, meadow green, Back to Nature is refreshing and restorative. It mingles well with the grays and whites you may already have in your home and is accented by natural light. Green is easy on the eyes and represents growth and energy. Pair with: Black, white and wood-finished furniture and plants






Kitchens, dining areas and bedrooms: Navy blue is crisp and classic. When you use Naval on lower kitchen cabinetry with white uppers, it looks bold and confident. Used on the walls of the dining room, this shade can make you feel like every meal is taking place in the night sky. Pair with: Pale furniture, green plants and luxe finishes

Front doors or bedroom walls: A bright pastel bluegreen reminiscent of cool water, Minty Fresh reflects the teal greens that are perpetually in style. Use it on bedroom walls to give the space a sense of calm. Natural and grounded, this color plays nicely with most other colors. Pair with: Reclaimed wood, light pink, pale gray and white trim

Any room in the house: Glidden has chosen a more neutral color that serves as a design background. The company is promoting Whirlwind, a soft, warm gray with a touch of lavender in the undertone. Paint a room this color so you can get to the fun stuff: adding furnishings and accessories. Pair with: Décor pieces in bright accent colors


TE S T B E FO RE YOU PAI NT Designers can’t tell you which colors will work best for your home without seeing it first, and they generally advise that it’s best to always test a color before you paint the walls. Get a sample container of your chosen shade, paint a few coats on a big poster board, and hang it on the wall with blue painter’s tape. You might be amazed at how different a color can look once you see it in the room.



This timeless and simple blue reassuringly suggests the sky at dusk. The color provides an “anchoring foundation” in a time that requires “trust and faith” and lends itself to relaxed spaces, says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.



EXPRESS YOUR SHELF Let shelving showcase your personal vibe BY STACEY ZABLE


hether a mantel, singular floating plank or on a bookcase, shelves can say a lot about who you are. “The items displayed show your personality and your history,” says Kari Roundy, design consultant and owner of Atmospheres in Houston. “They can show if you’ve traveled, if you’re a collector and if you’re a reader.” Damian Tuggey, principal designer and owner at Tuggey Interior Design in San Diego, says there are myriad ways to

personalize the space, and you always have the flexibility to switch it up to suit your mood or theme. “Have fun with it,” she says. “You can’t really make a mistake when accessorizing a shelf in your home because you can keep changing it until you are happy. There is nothing wrong with trial and error.” When decorating shelves for clients, Roundy selects items she feels express the homeowner‘s personality, such as eclectic, modern or traditional.

ECLECTIC MANTEL A “cool, laid-back, well-traveled funky vibe” offering a “mix of things found near and far.”



Use an odd number of items

2 MODERN MANTEL Glamorous and sophisticated

Offset asymmetric placement or center symmetric placement of items


Mix personal framed photos with decorative items and a few books

4 5 TRADITIONAL MANTEL Classic arrangements with a twist

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Layer visual interest: Stack a few books with an item on top or put items in a basket


Less is more — never overload a shelf

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FANCY FLOORS Affordable materials make it easier to create drama BY DEBRA BASS

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aying genuine stone and specialty tiles once required elite artisans and was reserved for the wealthy. Affordable flooring meant synthetic carpeting and bland linoleum. But a barrage of innovations has made dramatic flooring designs plausible for any homeowner. “A floor brings a room to life because it’s such a large part of the palette,” says Ernest de la Torre of De La Torre Design Studio. He says floors haven’t been getting the attention they deserve because people remember how difficult and pricey they traditionally were to

customize. Times have changed. Synthetic flooring has come a long way — it now mimics the look and durability of costly natural materials, and mass production means there’s a material for any budget. Nikki Klugh of Nikki Klugh Design Group in San Diego says that flooring is more than just a backdrop. “With all those square feet, it can be a powerful statement all on its own,” she says. “Even if you’re just going with wood, do a pattern to have some interest in the room,” de la Torre recommends. Try one or more of these choices:





Feauturing: Olympian Danby White


TI LE Patterned ceramic tile can look striking in any room, but you’ll get the best bang for your buck by going big on tile in a small space, such as a bathroom or laundry room. If your budget allows, radiant heat and bathroom tiles are a winning combination for post-shower comfort. Stella Nero porcelain floor and wall tile. $9.92 per square foot, Home Depot

CARPE T A room with a soft layer of carpet underfoot can make you instantly relax, but materials matter. Propylene and nylons are cheap, stain-resistant and allow more vibrant colors, but they’re not eco-friendly. Fabrics like wool and wool-silk blends will feel luxurious and can also be stain-resistant, but they shed. A rug can anchor carpeted spaces, especially sitting areas, and it can provide a spotlight under a bed. Bilboa style made by Nature’s Carpet. $5.99 per square foot, greenbuildingsupply.com

LUXURY V INY L P LA NK If you like the look of hardwood or stone but not the cost, consider vinyl plank. Pergo flooring offers an option that can easily be installed on top of existing flooring if you want to avoid demolition. The cork backing conforms to uneven surfaces underneath, such as tile grout lines. It adds five-eighths of an inch to the floor, however, which may require some creativity if doors and room transitions are involved. Luxe plank White Veil by Armstrong Flooring. $4.29 per square foot, floorcity.com


CUSTO M CE ME NT TILE The sky’s the limit with cement tile — you can have options digitally rendered in every conceivable color and configuration from boutique tile companies like Sabine Hill that offer products via distributors. If that’s too overwhelming, you can select a pre-made pattern from home improvement stores like Home Depot. Create repeating mosaics or abstracts that flow underfoot, or go big with wide undulating waves. Cemento Empress Ocean tile. $20.88 per square foot, Home Depot

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This early 1920s favorite is making a comeback. Though cork requires some care, it’s surprisingly durable. Once treated and sealed, cork floors can last more than a century with annual maintenance. The richness of the cork coloring continues to evolve throughout the years, and it’s easier on your feet than tile. Bonus: If you drop something fragile, it’s less likely to break. That makes it a great choice for kitchens. Cork flooring by APC Cork. $7.49 per square foot, Lowe’s


COVER UP Window treatments bring your view into focus BY DEBRA BASS



ven if you never use them to block the light or view, interior designers recommend windows have window treatments. “It feels cluttered when clients don’t want drapes,” says Denver-based interior designer Jeffrey Elliott. Windows can compete with wall art, doorways and other elements nearby,

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of design flaws. Mismatched or uneven windows can be “fixed” by dressing both with curtains of the same height and width. St. Louis-based designer David Deatherage says small windows can gain impact with curtains positioned well above and beyond them. Long, flowing drapes trick the eye, even when you know it’s a trick, he says. It’s key to consider the view first, Deatherage says. “It’s important to know if you want to see the outside or do you want to hide the outside.” And take into account practical considerations. For instance, you wouldn’t put velvet

It feels cluttered when clients don’t want drapes.” JEFFREY ELLIOTT, interior designer

drapes in a kitchen. He recommends Roman blinds for that — easy to clean and no billowing fabric near a prominent heat source. Window treatments can also control light. Deatherage likes stacking sheers and drapes with blackout lining in a bedroom. Drapes

can also serve as temperature control, depending on the position of the room. But window coverings don’t always have to be functional. “I’ve had many clients who wanted drapes but said that they would never close them,” Deatherage says. This opens up playful options because if you don’t have to cover the entire window, you don’t have to worry as much about volume. And don’t skimp on the rings and mounts, Elliott says. Extend the rod all the way across a wall if there are multiple windows, and use brackets outside each window. l


potentially causing the eye to wander if there’s no drapery to impose order. A visitor’s gaze could bounce around, making the room seem too busy. A window treatment can define a space and give balance by creating a focal point. Unless you’re lucky enough to have exceedingly large, continuous windows, it’s difficult to avoid the need for some type of covering, Elliott says. You might argue that less is more, but Elliott says that’s a mistake, and that even big rooms can benefit from the framing that drapery provides. Window treatments can also remedy or negate a host





Online retailers amp up the convenience factor BY JENNIFER BRADLEY FRANKLIN


onsumers are used to ordering online and having items delivered lightningfast, and the interior design world is starting to cash in on the same convenience. Farah Merhi, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based interior designer and founder of Inspire Me! Home Décor, regularly leverages brands that make virtual shopping easy and provide quick — often free — delivery. “Ordering online helps me maximize my time,” she says. “The ease of having everything delivered to a project without having to carry things around from place to place (is an asset).” Celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard — whose clients include A-listers like Kourtney Kardashian and Cher — loves the convenience of a multicategory retailer like Frontgate, which ships all over the country. “It’s a one-stop shop for such fixes that give you an instant interior design look often at a fraction of the price you would pay going to a design, vintage or specialist store,” says Bullard. Here are some of the retailers making it simple to dial up your style without ever leaving home:

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FRONTGATE This retailer has become a go-to for everything from holiday décor to furniture (including a Martyn Lawrence Bullard-designed line of sofas, tables and more). It’s also a favorite for furnishing outdoor areas. Outdoor seating sets from $1,749, frontgate.com


Chairish made a name for itself in vintage décor and furniture, but art lovers also have a reason to frequent the site’s Print Shop, launched in 2018. Shoppers can source affordable, quick-ship artwork in a wide variety of styles and color palettes. Framed art prints from $115, chairish.com

fancy FLORAL

wallpaperdirect.com Make your home your own.


O n l ine Design


Kathy Kuo Home also offers digital design services with 3D renderings.

Started by an interior designer, this site is an easy resource across price points for lighting, mirrors, upholstery and accents. Dining tables from $800, kathykuohome.com

RUGS.COM A rug can add color and texture to any room, and this retailer makes it a snap to search. From one-ofa-kind, hand-knotted Persians to affordable power-loomed options, there’s something for nearly every space. Rugs from $59 to $93,000, rugs.com

This direct-toconsumer furniture brand offers all kinds of cozy down-stuffed sofas, daybeds and chairs clad in natural linen or Italian leather. The site offers free delivery, and some custom pieces can ship in as little as two weeks. Sofas from $1,499, sixpenny.com

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CLEAN GREEN Natural products are easier to use, cheaper and better for your health BY MARK BREZINSKI

Babies and dogs get into just about everything. While it’s best to have a secure area of your home to keep dangerous materials away from your kids and pets, using natural alternatives limits the potential harm that could occur and, if nothing else, might offer more peace of mind. If you are looking for a cleaner that’s safe for pets and babies alike, Puracy’s Natural MultiSurface Cleaner is a good pick: The Environmental Working Group gives it an A rating. $8.99, puracy.com


SAFER FOR EVERYD AY US E While some cleaning products are obviously harmful, many have effects that are only evident over time. Some detergents, as well as many products with fragrances, contain endocrine disruptors, chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormone functions. In general, natural cleaning products don’t have this risk. If you prefer a safe cleaner for daily use, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is a great option. $8.78, amazon.com

FEW ER TOX INS If you need a naturally abrasive cleaner that you can feel completely confident isn’t harming the environment, Bon Ami Powder Cleanser is still a good choice. The original formula is powdered feldspar, an aluminum silicate that also makes up about 60 percent of exposed rocks on Earth. $16.99 for two, amazon.com

BE TTE R FOR THOS E WITH S E NS ITIV ITI E S Even when used as directed, some cleaning chemicals can pose a problem for those with asthma, allergies or other sensitivities. The best natural cleaning products rely on vinegar, oils and plant-based surfactants. To avoid an unwanted reaction, consider Attitude’s Natural Window & Mirror Cleaner. The Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning rates it “low concern” across the board. $6.95, attitudeliving.com

SAVE S PA C E You don’t really need 14 different products to keep your home clean. The truth is, you don’t need different formulations to clean your tiles, tub and toilet. By switching to a green multisurface cleaner, you’ll not only save cabinet space, but you’ll also cut down the number of times you’ll search for that one bottle that claims to clean ceramic better than the others.

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atural and green cleaning products are becoming more common and increasing in popularity. While early offerings might have been overpriced with underwhelming effectiveness, times have changed. Environmentally friendly products can be safer than traditional cleaners, and it isn’t difficult to switch. If you’re still on the fence, here are a few reasons Reviewed.com gives why opting for a natural cleaner might make sense for you:



enevieve Gorder seems to be living her best life. “I don’t know how I’ve gotten this lucky to fall into the right timing,” says the 45-year-old interior designer and television personality. With brand collaborations, a new husband and lead roles on some of television’s most beloved design series, her reality is better than anything she could have dreamt as a performance-loving youth growing up in Minneapolis. Gorder jokingly refers to herself as “some kind of design octopus,” having crafted everything

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from wallpaper to an award-winning gin bottle. She moved to New York in the mid-1990s to work at MTV as a graphic designer (“It paid meagerly, but I had the coolest, most glamorous life ever,” she says) and to pursue a visual arts degree. “I’ve done just about every kind of design possible, and I continue to diversify so I don’t get bored,” she explains. “Being nimble is key.” Gorder cut her teeth on graphics projects, so when TLC approached her about being on a new show after they saw her Tanqueray gin bottle design, she wasn’t sure what to expect. “There was no design TV before Trading Spaces. >




We had This Old House and shows including Bravo’s Martha (Stewart), but we Best Room Wins and HGTV’s didn’t have room transDear Genevieve and served formation and interiors as a judge on HGTV’s Design (shows).” She took a leap Star. In 2014, she opened of faith — and a serious her home in New York City’s career shift — and became Chelsea neighborhood to one of the eight original Genevieve’s Renovation, where designers to tackle renovashe updated and expanded tion projects when Trading the light-filled apartment Spaces launched she shares with in 2000, joining her daughter, other nowBebelle. household In 2018, names like Hildi Gorder tied I’VE DONE JUST Santo-Tomas the knot with and Vern Yip. furniture and ABOUT EVERY The risk paid interior deoff, and Gorder signer Christian KIND OF DESIGN quickly became Dunbar in an a recognizable intimate desert POSSIBLE, AND face in the ceremony in Modesign world. rocco. While the “It was all about pair have much I CONTINUE TO the right timing in common, with the right blending two DIVERSIFY SO I people,” she says very different of the move that styles presented DON’T GET BORED. gave her even some challenges. more confidence “It was so hard!” — Genevieve about following Gorder recalls Gorder her intuition. with a laugh, She loved that adding that she filming the loves global, show allowed ancient pieces, her to travel while Dunbar is and not be chained to a drawn to midcentury Italian desk. “Being incredibly and American designs. extroverted didn’t hurt me. “Practicing what I preach, (In some jobs) people can you need other styles to punish you for that,” Gorder have contrast and show recalls. “I found an industry off what you love. We had where (my personality) was to meet somewhere in the embraced and celebrated middle.” because it was completely In 2019, Gorder hosted authentic.” Stay Here, a Netflix series in Since Trading Spaces, which she and real estate she’s gone on to appear on expert Peter Lorimer helped


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VRBO and Airbnb owners redecorate and market their properties. In an example of life imitating art, Gorder and Dunbar converted Dunbar’s former home in Savannah, Ga., into a short-term rental, a project they hope to repeat in other cities. Taking the Side Road Gorder’s success has come from her philosophy of trusting life’s timing and embracing opportunities as they come, even if they seem to be detours. “You don’t know where the road will lead. If you focus too intently you’ll never see the side roads, and sometimes they are even more beautiful.” Case in point: One of her most enjoyable projects in recent years has been designing interiors for the video game Vineyard Valley with developer Jam City. “It was so wildly fun to stretch and flex differently,” she says, noting the serendipity that she’s been an avid video game player for much of her life. While she’s fashioned products fans might expect — a line of rugs with Capel, wallpaper for Tempaper, children’s furnishings with The Land of Nod — Gorder doesn’t limit herself. So, when Scotties approached her to collaborate, she jumped at the chance. “Tissue boxes are notoriously unattractive,” she says. “I thought, 'let’s do this. Let’s make tissue boxes sexy.'”

She created eight winterthemed designs — including birch bark, cable knit and an art deco pattern — that could seamlessly blend with a variety of décors. On a personal note, Gorder has recently opened up about her health challenges. Though she’s struggled for years with Lyme disease and Hashimoto’s disease, she says, “I didn’t want to reveal those things in the beginning because I didn’t know enough about (them) myself.” In typical Gorder fashion, even dealing with health issues has provided opportunities for professional growth. While she typically has boundless energy, exhaustion sometimes takes over, necessitating self-care activities like a midday nap. “I’ve learned to listen to my body. I think it’s made me a much better designer because I understand home in yet another way when home truly has to be a cradle,” she says. “I get when your senses are so weary that everything hurts. It’s made me more sensitive.” Whether she’s creating functional décor, traveling the world for inspiration, spending time with family or bringing her distinct brand of optimism to television screens, Genevieve Gorder is on a mission to make the world a more beautiful, more interesting place. And, she’s starting with her own best life, designing as she goes. l






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CREATE A HAVEN Genevieve Gorder’s tips for designing a welcoming retreat:





Clean sweep

“If it’s not clean, it’s work to me,” Gorder says. This means ridding a room of dirt and dust, but also cutting clutter. Her advice? “Take five things out of every room,” she says, adding that it’s helpful to execute a “perpetual purging” every season to ward off accumulating unnecessary objects. Think ahead

When creating a room, Gorder’s goal is to anticipate the inhabitants’ needs before they know they need them. “That’s what makes a place feel well designed to me, whether it’s away or at home. You want the design to be an invisible host.” Think about how you’ll use the space and add thoughtful touches like a convenient surface to set a drink, matches stored right next to your favorite candle or a blanket folded near your preferred seat. Curate a collection

If you’re traveling, use those trips to grow your collection of meaningful items. Scout inspiring areas (Gorder says they’re usually “where the cool chefs, skateboarders, good juice bars and museums” are) and plan to explore. “I like to meet people. Finding objects and meeting (the) people who made them is the most fun,” she says. One such jaunt to a Greek island led her to a ceramics artist. Now a trio of beloved art pieces evokes a treasured memory.













The 1970s are back. The clean, midcentury modern design that dominated for so long is giving way to the frivolity of the ’70s. From the fashion world — hello, jumpsuits — to pop culture and restaurants, the disco era has returned. “It was one of the last really definitive style periods with recognizable elements, be it the color scheme or shape of things,” says restaurant designer Elizabeth Ingram. The reason it’s back in full force, she suggests, is nostalgia. People in their 30s today have parents who grew up in the ’70s and were introduced to the things

they were familiar with. If your mom and dad grew up listening to Queen and Fleetwood Mac, chances are you probably grew up listening to them, too. And that also translates into design.” Ingram infused varying degrees of ’70s flair into Manhattan cocktail bar Joyface and Atlanta restaurant Muchacho. Joyface resembles a kitschy, yet stylish rec room, complete with disco balls, wood paneling, a waterbed for lounging and gold geometric-patterned wallpaper. Muchacho’s aesthetic is minimalist and reminiscent of a retro California coffee shop, but it channels the ’70s through its yellow, orange and blue color palette, plants and floral-patterned vintage chairs. Hebron, Ind.-based interior stylist and Instagram influencer Jen Streeter infuses her home with 1970s details. “There are so many elements that never went out of style, but it’s something people are looking to add to their décor right now,” she says. “I think it depends on their taste. For some, it’s a nostalgia thing, and they want the same feeling they had in their grandparents’ home. But it’s definitely classic.” Unlike the actual 1970s, modern uses of the style incorporate these design elements in a refined way. You don’t have to cover your floors with linoleum or your walls with faux wood paneling. Here are some ways to give your home a ’70s vibe:


It’s no coincidence that the return of 1970s décor has also brought along a house plant revival. At Muchacho, plants are thoughtfully placed in niches and hanging from ceilings. “Suddenly, your room is interesting and alive and breathing without human interaction,” Streeter says about the addition of plants. Sansevieria and Sago

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palm are typically low fuss. If you have a green thumb and the right lighting, though, plants like String-of-Pearls and English ivy grow tendrils that add dramatic flair from a plant hanger or on a shelf. If your thumb isn’t so green, try succulents or cacti, which are hardier. Of course, there are always fake plants, too. “I have no shame in my plant game. I totally mix in faux with real,” Streeter admits. “I know a lot of people struggle with palms — they’re so finicky — but I love a palm. I have a real palm, and I have three fake palms. There is merit to real plants, but if you’re busy it’s OK.” Companies like ArtiPlanto and World Market make high-quality artificial greenery, but Streeter has had much success scoring faux plants in thrift shops where they’re sold for a fraction of the price.




EARTHY ELEMENTS Earth tones and organic materials are hallmark ’70s décor elements. No need to bust out the avocado paint, but earth tones such as brown, sunset orange and gold can add a retro punch to your room. “If you can’t paint your walls, have blankets in these colors to go over the back of the sofa,” suggests Ingram. Velvet is another great way to bring color in. It never goes out of style, Ingram says, and a velvet chair in mustard yellow or burnt orange adds a fun pop. These can be found at online retailers like Joss & Main and Article. When it comes to organic materials, you can’t go wrong with ceramic and wood accents. Bohemian brand Jungalow has several clay and ceramic accents in the form of planters, vases and cups that add a grounded energy to the room. >




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MACRAMÉ Macramé, a textile made from knotted cords of cotton, linen or hemp, is gracing walls and plant hangers again. You could buy a statement wall piece, but if you want to get into the retro spirit, Ingram and Streeter suggest making your own. “If you tend to have a bohemian flair, macramé is perfect. It’s something you can actually learn how to make yourself, and it adds texture immediately to your room,” Streeter says. If DIY isn’t for you, there are plenty of macramé wall hangings (vintage and new) on Etsy. Major retailers like West Elm carry macramé pieces, too. “It doesn’t have to be like a movie set that’s stuck in the time period and has to be completely true to that era,” Ingram says. She recommends buying one good vintage macramé piece that makes a statement. l


You can’t talk about 1970s décor without talking about rattan, a type of wicker furniture that is gracing vintage and retail stores alike. “When it comes to rattan, I would personally go with one really amazing piece because it can go in and out a bit as far as what’s hot and what’s not,” says Streeter. A lifelong fan of thrifting, she discourages buying rattan at retail stores and suggests heading to your nearby second-hand store. “Even if you find pieces that aren’t necessarily the highest quality but have high-style punch, that’s a great way to get it. Then do something to it, like put a coat of paint on it,” Streeter suggests. For rattan with some swagger, keep an eye out for peacock chairs. The high-backed chairs resemble thrones fit for bohemian royalty. There are plenty to be found on Etsy, and you can probably find them at your local vintage store, too.



RATTAN You can’t talk about 1970s décor without talking about rattan, a type of wicker furniture that is gracing vintage and retail stores alike. “When it comes to rattan, I would personally go with one really amazing piece because it can go in and out a bit as far as what’s hot and what’s not,” says Streeter. A lifelong fan of thrifting, she discourages buying rattan at retail stores and suggests heading to your nearby secondhand store. “Even if you find pieces that aren’t necessarily the highest quality but have high style punch, that’s a great way to get it. Then do something to it, like put a coat of paint on it,” Streeter suggests. For rattan with some swagger, keep an eye out for peacock chairs. The high-backed chairs resemble thrones fit for bohemian royalty. There are plenty to be found on Etsy, although you can probably find them at your local vintage store, too. l


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HABITATS Cultivate physical and emotional wellness at home BY SHELBY DEERING


IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO get in better shape, boost your mental health and improve your overall physical and emotional well-being, you no longer need to go to the gym or an expensive spa. All you have to do is walk through your front door. “Wellness design focuses on the interior environment with a holistic approach to incorporating health and wellness,” says Shelly Lynch-Sparks, founder and principal of the boutique New York City design firm Hyphen & Co. >


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HABITATS Timed lighting and temperature settings that sync with one’s circadian rhythm, tranquil color palettes, air purification systems, houseplants and using outdoor elements inside are some of the wellness-promoting features topping current home trends, Lynch-Sparks says. Whether you’re completing a construction project from the ground up, or simply want to add wellness features to your existing home, these are some elements to consider:

FRESH AIR Many wellness-focused designers make air quality a high priority. Although houseplants such as spider plants and aloe vera can remove toxins, including formaldehyde, from the air, specific design features can clean the air in a home as well. “Adequate filtered air in every room is necessary and a building code standard we abide by in every project. An HVAC system controlled and timed with an app like Nest is energy-efficient and allows for consistent air flow,” Lynch-Sparks says.

NATURAL LIGHT Light can be a gamechanger when it comes to mood. “Light is absolutely key,” says designer Kate Lester, owner of Kate Lester Interiors in Hermosa Beach,

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Calif. “Open spaces with natural light are (among) the most important benchmarks of each and every one of our design concepts. We often incorporate skylights, transoms over doors or glass-paned doors to add visual division without blocking out light.”

PURIFIED WATER Although it isn’t an outward aspect of the home, purified water is important to designers who specialize in wellness spaces. “We work with our clients to have their water tested and add a water filtration system for plumbing throughout their home, whether they are drinking it or using it for bathing. Reverse osmosis filters in the kitchen are our go-tos,” Lynch-Sparks says.

HEALTHY EATING Designers are integrating thoughtful details that encourage healthy eating. These components can include adequate counter space for meal prep and room for families to wash fruits and chop veggies together. Veronica Schreibeis Smith, founding principal of Vera Iconica Architecture in Jackson, Wyo., and founding chair of the Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness Architecture Initiative, specializes in what she calls the Vera Iconica Wellness Kitchen, “which brings the same level of convenience the 1950s brought to the kitchen,

but this time, it’s centered around nutrient-rich, whole foods,” she explains. “In the 1950s, there was a proliferation of appliances and food that were brought on to the market designed to save time as more and more women joined the workforce — for example, microwaves and TV dinners. At the time, the industry focused on the benefits of things like preservatives, highly processed carbs,

A living space


with ample natural light and fresh air is at the foundation of wellness design


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HABITATS sugars, thickeners, emulsifiers, etc. The unintended > consequences of all this was not just adding undesirable things to our food and ultimately our bodies, but also depleting our nutrient intake,” Schreibeis Smith says. On the flipside, Schreibeis Smith’s health-minded kitchens showcase environmentally friendly touches that also support good nutrition and include refrigerators with windows that provide instant viewing of healthy foods, large islands that act as prep stations and cellar-like storage geared toward root vegetables.

WORKOUT READY From cardio sessions to mindfulness moments, wellness designers are careful to include spaces dedicated to healthy activities. “Creating a space for meditation or fitness is key. An area that is quiet and outside of busy areas in

A bedroom that’s focused on quality sleep is a major component of wellness design

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your home is a great place to carve out a spot for your cushion or yoga mat. We like to keep them in areas that are seen every day, so they aren’t forgotten,” Lynch-Sparks says.

NATURAL SURROUNDINGS Nature has been scientifically proved to lift moods and ease depression, and it can be captured indoors. “When placing windows, we consider how to align them so the users will have a view to nature as well as get enough daylight into all areas so that the spectrum and quality of light benefits eye health as well as healthy hormone production,” Schreibeis Smith says. Lester, who believes that “plants are life,” always incorporates at least one tree and one potted plant into every room she designs. Lynch-Sparks prefers airpurifying snake plants for her bathrooms and bedrooms “because they require little light and do not need to be watered often.”

CLEAN MATERIALS In addition to being eco-friendly, many of today’s building materials strive to ensure healthy bodies. If you’re moving into an older or historic home, Schreibeis Smith advises removing any toxic materials such as lead that are original to the structure and to be mindful of

materials that can cause mold and moisture issues. “Work with a professional to ensure that the bones and hidden cavities of your home are setting you and your family up for success,” she says. “Next, when selecting new materials, a simple rule is the closer to nature the material is, and the less adulterated it is, the healthier it will be for you and the planet.”


SOOTHING HUES Color psychology focuses on how color can affect the brain. It’s often used in marketing, but you can utilize its principles in your home to reduce anxiety and improve moods. “Every personality is different, but universally textural spaces with neutral tones and minimal patterns tend to be more calming,” Lester says. “If we know our clients are prone to anxiety

or being overwhelmed easily, then a calm, cohesive color palette will put them at ease when they are at home.”

SLEEP-PROMOTING FEATURES A bedroom focused on quality sleep is a major component of wellness design. Apart from centering on clean and neutral décor, Schreibeis Smith offers

custom solutions. “If someone has trouble sleeping, we can integrate circadian rhythm-accurate lighting that uses GPS sensors to automatically adjust the color spectrum and intensity of light throughout the day and even year for healthy hormone production. That not only leads to better sleep but also a whole slew of other health and immune system benefits,” she says. l


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, Boomer” might be this era’s generation gap slogan, but there is one thing most millennials and baby boomers seem to agree on: They want smaller living spaces. “Both of these generations are thinking about living smaller,” says Sheri Koones, author of Downsize: Living Large in a Small House. “They want to save on energy, have less maintenance and don’t want the accumulation of so much stuff.” Regardless of their reasons, those looking to have a smaller footprint don’t have to scrimp on style, particularly when it comes to appliances. Whether you’re in a smaller house, an apartment, a condo or even a “tiny home,” there are modern, eco-friendly, Goldilocks appliances that are just right for your space. >


TRENDING DOWN The average size of a newly constructed home in the United States went from 2,689 square feet in 2015 to 2,576 square feet in 2018, according to the National Association of Home Builders. “There’s a real demand for smaller homes,” Vahe Avagyan, senior associate at RCLCO real estate advisers, told an audience of builders, developers and manufacturers at a November 2019 Housing Innovation

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Alliance roundtable on attainable housing. “About 40 percent of consumers said that they’re OK with a smaller home. But what they aren’t willing to give up are nice finishes, nice appliances and location.” Manufacturers have been responsive to the trend, Koones says. Typically, a refrigerator is 36 inches wide and 70 inches tall, dishwashers are 24 inches wide, and the average range is 30

inches wide (a six-burner cooktop, 36 inches). Now, most major manufacturers make smaller built-in and freestanding high-performance appliances — such as an 18- or 24-inch-wide fridge or a 15-inch cooktop module. And these aren’t just utilitarian items to fit the space. “When we were building a smaller home several years ago, I was finding things like college dorm refrigerators.

Ways to make a small space seem larger “The way you design the house is going to make all the difference in how comfortable you feel,” says Sheri Koones, author of Downsize: Living Large in a Small House. The 33 homeowners she inter-




Now they’re made of high-performance materials and finishes such as stainless steel; they come in lots of colors and offer a variety of features. There are a lot of smaller versions of the larger appliances,” says Koones. After her kids moved out, she and her husband downsized from a 6,800-square-foot house in Greenwich, Conn., to a 1,400-square-foot home closer to the downtown area. >


viewed for her book were all happy to downsize because their new spaces were “well-designed with adequate storage and excellent lighting.” Here are four tips for making a small space seem larger:

OPEN FLOOR PLAN Have as few walls as possible. “Do your best to have big, open spaces,” says Hannah Rose Crabtree, founder and owner of Pocket Mansions, a tiny house design company based in Seattle. “Keep tall things away from the front door so your eye looks across the space. Create stairs with see-through risers. Do as much as you can with these kinds of ‘mind games.’”

CREATIVE FURNISHINGS Koones suggests the following: built-in nooks, furniture with added storage, chairs that can hang on hooks, a dropleaf table that opens, a dining table tucked under an island and a Murphy bed.

MORE LIGHT “Have glazing at the edge of a kitchen,” for example, says Austin Watanabe, a designer at the St. Paul, Minn.-based architecture firm Alchemy, maker of the weeHouse. “The nearby natural light helps open the space. We’ll often specify full-height glass next to the kitchen, like a lift slide or patio door.”

FLEX ROOMS Consider multipanel sliding doors to be able to open one room into another, says Emory Baldwin, principal architect of Fab Cab, a Seattle-based maker of custom prefab energy-efficient homes. “Having spaces open wide makes them feel less compartmentalized, and it allows rooms to be multifunctional.”


WATER WORKS According to the Environmental Protection Agency, new Energy Star dishwashers use less than half as much energy as washing dishes by hand and save nearly 5,000 gallons of water a year. That seems like a good enough reason to get one, even if you won’t use it that often. Bosch has an 18-inch stainless steel model with a third rack (from $949 to $1,049), and, if you want to take up even less space, Fisher & Paykel has dishwasher drawers. “They’re the only company making singles,” which can be integrated into your cabinetry (starting at $749), says Adam Gibson, an architectural designer in Indianapolis. Whether you put it in the kitchen or elsewhere, an undercounter washer and dryer can save space. Bosch, Miele and Samsung have 24-inch options that can go side by side or stacked. They can get pretty pricey, ranging from about $900 to more than $2,000.

COLD COMFORT When it comes to energy usage, your refrigerator is one of the biggest energy guzzlers in your home. The good news is that newer fridges are more efficient than older ones. And a smaller fridge, in general, is going to use less energy than a larger one. There are multiple 24-inch options, such as the bottom-freezer refrigerator from Liebherr ($1,849) or Smeg ($1,899). Looking for

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something modern? Sub-Zero has a 24-inch, standard-height column fridge with a single door — no lines to mar the sleek look ($7,245). Open it to reveal two bottom freezer drawers. If you really want to keep the cold stuff out of the way, check out refrigerator drawers like those made by Sub-Zero ($4,395), which can be integrated into your cabinets. Sum-

mit, a New York City-based company that has been making smaller appliances for apartments for 50 years, has a triple-drawer fridge in stainless that’s less expensive ($1,809). These days, practically every major appliance manufacturer has its own undercounter refrigerator-drawer product. But keep in mind there are typically no real bargain prices with such a specialized item.

COOKING SPACE With counter real estate at a premium, there’s no need to take up a full 30 inches with a cooktop or range. “Miele’s got what it calls a CombiSet,” says Gibson. You can pick and choose single or double cooktop burners that are 15 inches wide. There are also options for specialty burners like a wok, steamer or griddle (from $1,499 to $2,299). “If you’re really into cooking and you’re afraid to go from gas to induction, try

a smaller induction cooktop paired with a wok burner using gas,” Gibson suggests. Sub-Zero offers similar 15-inch modules that also include steamer, fryer, grill, teppanyaki and multifunctional options (from $1,185 to $2,275). Haier, which owns GE Appliances, has free-standing range options at a lower price point ($1,299). In this case, though, small doesn’t mean dull.

BlueStar’s 24-inch range from its Small Spaces collection offers a wide palette of door and knob colors, including pink ($3,395). If you’re going with a cooktop instead of a range, wall ovens usually come in 24-, 27- and 30-inch options. Although a wall oven offers easier access — no bending — keep in mind that adding one means you’ll be devoting two areas of the kitchen to cooking. l


Historic buildings make unique homes By Valerie Finholm

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ove at first sight. That’s how many homeowners who live in former churches, libraries and schoolhouses describe their residences. Often, that first glimpse is of a building long past its glory days. But instead of being intimidated by caved-in walls, water stains and mold, these buyers recognize “good bones” — and want a chance to preserve a piece of history. They strive to conserve the graceful arches and curved windows of the past while making room for bedrooms, bathrooms and must-have 21st-century amenities like air conditioning. Taking on such projects is not for the fainthearted — or for those short of cash. Each of the homes profiled here ended up costing more than originally anticipated:





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Jo Ann Rosenthal’s white stucco house is almost 150 years old and features high ceilings and open spaces. It also has a steeple and stained glass windows — compliments of its previous life as a Catholic church. Rosenthal purchased the church with a friend in 2002 and spent two years converting it into a home. “It was a labor of love,” Rosenthal says of the project, which included the discovery of a mural found under a pressed-tin ceiling. “We decided the ceiling had to be kept intact for historical value,” says Rosenthal, a decorative painter who restored the ceiling herself. She added 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and a kitchen. A design highlight is an ornamental iron railing — made by renowned 20th-century ironworker Samuel Yellin — on the choir loft. Rosenthal purchased the railing at a local auction.





When Fire Station No. 17 opened, it had two bays to hold horse-drawn trucks, an upstairs bunkhouse for firefighters and two firepoles. The handsome Georgian-inspired brick building was constructed to fit in with the high-end neighborhood. By the time Karla Pearlstein bought it almost a decade ago, the firehouse was a shell of its former glory. Over the years it had been modified for modern trucks, and the original carriage doors had been replaced with aluminum. Pearlstein, a restoration consultant for homeowners and museums through her business Restoring History, says she considers herself a steward of the building. “It’s not really mine. It belongs to everyone and will be passed on to people not yet born,” she says. Pearlstein says she kept the basic layout, salvaged windows and carriage doors from old buildings and converted the upstairs bunkroom into a top-of-the-line kitchen. “I put the fire poles back because what would a firehouse be without fire poles?” she says.

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n 1912





n 2014

Some people would rather recycle something for a new purpose than restore a historic building. Kurt Smith was looking to build a sustainable house in 2014 when he stumbled across Denver architect Brad Tomecek’s website, which features one-of-a-kind houses fashioned from shipping containers. “I liked the idea of repurposing something,” says Smith, a retired anesthesiologist. Smith purchased two 40-foot-long shipping containers for around $5,000 each and found a solar-adaptable lot in the foothills of Boulder, Colo. Using a contractor who had never attempted such a feat, he had no idea how much the project would cost. By the time his house was completed, it had a modern midcentury vibe, with top-of-the-line recycled finishes like kitchen countertops made of recycled paper. The well-insulated house is heated with a wood-burning stove and has netzero electricity usage due to the solar panels.





From 1883 to 1929, industrialist and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie donated money to build more than 2,500 libraries. When Gail Vastola and her husband purchased one of them in 2007, it was a dilapidated mess — a “diamond in the rough, very rough,” Vastola says. In their search for a summer home, the South Florida couple was smitten with the library’s soaring rotunda, mosaic floor and ocean views. They installed new electrical, plumbing, insulation and plasterboard. They replaced the windows and planted hedges for privacy. Because the library is included in the National Register of Historic Places, they had to find Rockport granite in order to add a deck. “At one point the town had 32 quarries, but there are no longer active quarries, so we had to recycle granite from an old bridge,” Vastola says. After the renovation, they had a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath summer home. “It’s meant to be a comfortable house with a fabulous history, not a library,” she says.

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n 1904



Nursery Rhymes Create a room that can grow with your child.






Eco-friendly building materials are on-trend


hether you’re building a new home or updating your current residence, sustainability is becoming increasingly popular. And it’s getting easier to implement, as environmentally friendly building materials and products that help create an energy-efficient home are becoming more readily available to both contractors and homeowners. Tom Kenny, a partner at Scott Simpson Design + Build in Chicago, says his company builds homes so air-tight that “on a 10-degree day, if you turned all the furnaces off, you would only

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lose half of a degree of temperature every four hours.” But for those who don’t live in brand-new homes, the longtime builder says beefing up your insulation will give you the most eco-bang for your buck. “That always has the greatest impact on the environment and the performance of the home,” he says. “Windows and doors (are) No. 2. No. 3 would be the efficiency of your furnace.” Certified green building professional Suzanne Emerson is often asked by homeowners to help figure out why their utility bills are so high. The San Carlos, Calif.based eco-pro agrees that sealing areas of air leakage in floors, ceilings, exterior walls and ductwork will yield a noticeable return on investment. She adds that replacing incandescent lighting with LEDs is another easy money- and energy-saver. “A lot of it has to do with the construction techniques and the era when the house was built,” she says. “If you go into a 1940s home, there are many opportunities

to make it more efficient.” Here are some products that can help you stay comfortable and save money while being kind to the environment — whether you’ve bought new construction or are tightening an older place. Keep in mind that many of these products can’t be purchased directly by consumers, but you can work with a contractor or specialty store to order them.


Weather Shield Windows, like those on this home, protect against driving rain and high winds while keeping your home looking clean and modern.

Windows from Minnesota-based manufacturer Marvin are Kenny’s top choice because they’re beautiful, easy to operate and can be customized to match materials being replaced in older houses. Pricing starts at $400 per window. For homes in northern climates that often take a beating from the elements, Kenny likes Weather Shield Windows for their products’ ability to withstand high winds and driving rain. Pricing starts at $600 per window. >



Metal roofs with reflective paint can reduce heating and cooling costs.

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Kenny prefers the sustainability, good looks and sturdiness of a metal roof and often opts for supplies made by Pac-Clad Petersen. Emerson adds that buyers should consider roof colors that reflect solar radiation for maximum efficiency. Pac-Clad products range from $190 to $1,400 per 100 square feet. For those with aging asphalt tile roofs, Roof Maxx is a bio-friendly, plant-based spray that claims to extend the roof’s life by up to 20 years. The company was named one of the Top 10 Dynamic and Engaging Startups of 2019 by World Bio Markets. Roof Maxx runs about 80 cents per square foot.

INSULATION AND BUILDING MATERIALS Demilec offers contractors a variety of eco-friendly and energy-efficient spray foam insulation options to minimize heat loss and prevent cold air from getting in. They range from $1 to $1.25 per board foot.



Emerson recommends Prosoco R-Guard, a line of air and water barriers that includes a water-resistive joint and seam filler that she says does an excellent job of sealing without drying or cracking. Pricing starts at $22.39.


MAJOR APPLIANCES Emerson recommends the Wolf Induction Cooktop for its efficiency, speedy heat time and the fact that it won’t “negatively affect indoor air quality by burning natural gas inside your house.” Induction cooktops start at $1,450. Priced around $1,199, Energy Star rates the Miele TWB120 WP as the most efficient dryer of 2019. If you’re on a tighter budget,

the GE 7.4 cubic-foot 240-volt electric vented dryer is listed at $849 at Home Depot. It’s Energy Star qualified and has quick dry technology.

WATER HEATERS AND FURNACES In addition to its remarkable efficiency, Emerson says her Sanden SANCO2 heat pump water heater can handle back-to-back showers without running out of hot water. They only sell to distributors, but a residential unit runs between $4,100 and $4,300. Kenny says he appreciates the efficiency of American Standard furnaces, and the company’s website lists the Platinum 95 furnace as its most energy-efficient. The unit starts at $2,050. l

Wolf’s Induction Cooktop heats food quickly without natural gas and with maximum efficiency.




Nurseries made to transition from baby to big kid BY JENNIFER BRADLEY FRANKLIN



his year will bring exciting changes for HGTV’s Hidden Potential and Rock the Block host Jasmine Roth, who is expecting her first child in the spring. The new addition has the designer thinking about crafting a nursery that will stay stylish as her little one grows. Her sentiment reflects changing nursery trends, which are featuring whimsical décor that will still be chic years down the road. Here are some tips to furnish a room to welcome your home’s newest resident:

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HGTV host Jasmine Roth

FORGO A THEME For her own little one’s haven, Roth says, “It never occurred to me to pick a theme.” She recommends steering clear of specific subject matter such as animals, astronauts or cartoon characters because those can make a nursery feel more infantile and less “big kid.” Instead, consider more timeless ideas like subtle geometric shapes or a favorite color palette. “The last thing you want to do with toddlers is redo an entire room you just created a year ago,” Roth says.

EXTEND YOUR HOME’S DÉCOR Part of crafting a nursery that will stand the test of time as your child grows is making it blend with the rest of your décor. “Why would you design a room that doesn’t feel like it goes with your house? It makes more sense to design a room where the entire family will feel comfortable and is cohesive with the design of the house,” Roth explains.

COZY UP TO TEXTURE Create interest with a variety of textures, such as mixed metals, different wood tones and lacquered and painted furniture, which can be especially durable. “You’ll want to incorporate soft textures too, like rugs, furs, woven pieces and bedding,” says Roth. “It doesn’t all have to match.” >



Atlanta-based artist and designer Kristen Fountain Wilson, who is also expecting her first child this year, advises clients to think about the room’s layout, especially if they’re doing a feature wall with art or wallpaper. Because a crib won’t work past the baby stage, “ask yourself if the wall is big enough to later put a twin bed or bunk beds (against it),” she says. Can’t decide which wall to highlight? In a recent project, Fountain Wilson covered the ceiling with a whimsical wallpaper.

textiles and art,” Fountain Wilson advises. “I love to layer in color, but it’s smarter to do that with accent pieces because they’re easier to swap out.”

NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T Wallpaper and oversized murals can make a big décor splash, but if you fear you or your child will tire of the design, consider making it removable. Brands including Tempaper, a peel-and-stick removable wallpaper, can be a great option. “You just peel it off the wall like a giant sticker,” Roth says.



If you choose neutral foundational pieces — like furniture, rugs and wall color — you can add visual interest with accessories. “Bring in color with

Babies’ nursery needs are somewhat basic: clothes, bed, diapers and changing supplies. However, as your little one grows, he or she will want additional

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accessories like toys, games, stuffed animals, dress-up clothes, books and more. Think ahead about how your child’s bedroom will accommodate the influx. “Whether it’s a closet storage system or bins, try to incorporate storage from the beginning,” Roth says.

PICK SHAPE-SHIFTING FURNITURE Parents should consider furniture that can be used in another part of the home as baby grows — like a gliding rocking chair to soothe baby to sleep that can later be a comfortable addition to a living room. Fountain Wilson likes the idea of buying a dresser that’s deep enough to accommodate a changing pad. “You can remove (the pad) later and put a mirror over the dresser for a more grown-up look,” she says. l



Moving is the best medicine. Keeping active and losing weight are just two of the ways that you can fight osteoarthritis pain. In fact, for every pound you lose, that’s four pounds less pressure on each knee. For information on managing pain, go to fightarthritispain.org.


LOADS OF LOVE Add fun and function to your laundry room BY MARY HELEN BERG

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nless you enjoy the Zen of folding sheets and sorting socks, (you know who you are), doing laundry can be like doing your taxes — mind-numbing and time-consuming. And the longer you wait to do it, the worse the situation can get. Fortunately, recent design trends offer loads (ahem) of inspiration on how to create appealing, efficient laundry rooms that will help take the bore out of the chore. Colorful cabinets, patterned tile flooring and organizational hacks can put fun and function into your laundry room and help make this inevitable task almost a pleasure. About 15 percent of homeowners renovated or added laundry rooms in 2018 and 2019, according to an overview by interior design website Houzz. Once a gloomy, no man’s land sequestered in a dusty corner of

the basement, today the laundry room is a design showcase, says Vivian Torres, a designer for Havenly, an online marketplace that connects clients with professional designers. “Laundry isn’t a sexy task,” says Torres. “But laundry rooms are a small place where people are willing to take a design risk because it’s not a space that a lot of people see in your home, so you can kind of flex your design muscles.” Thoughtful laundry room design organizes space in ways that literally lighten your load, adds Jennifer Bertrand, a Kansas City, Mo., designer and stylist on Lifetime’s Military Makeover with Montel. Custom elements that reflect personal needs can save time and energy. “You don’t realize how amazing a room it can truly be,” says Bertrand, who was also the season three winner of HGTV’s Design Star series. “It can be beautiful and happy and function and improve the way you work.” These tips can boost your laundry room to the next level:

Laundry rooms are a small place where people are willing to take a design risk.” VIVIAN TORRES, designer for Havenly



FUN Lighting Try a pendant light or a statement fixture for stylish ambient lighting, but include overhead task lights to target the inside of cabinets. Lights underneath cabinets will brighten the counter area, and light from windows or skylights creates a naturally cheery work space.

FUNCTION Location Think about the flow of your home when you select a laundry area. Placing it in an active hub near the kitchen or playroom makes it easier to multitask, says Bertrand. Short on space? If you stash a laundry center in a hall closet near bedrooms, you’ll reduce the distance needed to lug clothes and linens. Barndoor-style sliders can help disguise appliances without blocking the hallway. Multitasking Improve efficiency with a multipurpose laundry room. Use the tops of side-by-side appliances to sort and fold. Extend counter space and create room to work on your laptop or incorporate a gift wrap, workshop, sewing or craft station. Today’s laundry rooms even boast customized pet washing centers, says Gwendolyn Purdom, an editor for Houzz.

Color Don’t hesitate to brighten walls with splashy hues, but be thoughtful, says Bertrand. “You want it to be fun, but you don’t want it to add chaos to your mind. You still need it to have an undertone of togetherness.”

Cabinets and Cubbies Utilize open shelves to lend an airy feel and add cupboards with doors to hide chaos. Cubbies with matching baskets or bins keep items organized and within reach. “How great does it feel when your countertops are clean and everything has a spot?” asks Bertrand.

Hampers and Hideaways Pull-out hampers keep your whites and colors organized and out of sight. Removable hampers tuck into laundry room cubbies and can travel throughout the house to streamline the sorting, folding and distribution process, suggests Bertrand. Custom drawers disguise built-in ironing boards that never require setup.

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Floors Patterned ceramic and wood-look tile are low-maintenance choices that give new dimension to tight spaces. A small throw rug can also add personality.


Rods and Racks Don’t scramble for hangers or run out to the clothesline when a hanging rod can be camouflaged behind a cabinet or placed conveniently above the appliances or sink. Drying racks can disappear when not in use and instead pull out like drawers, slide from inside a cabinet, fold down or pop out accordion style.





Real Estate


House Tours





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Bathrooms and kitchens are trending toward luxury BY CINDY BAILEN


oday’s homeowners are increasingly expecting their bathrooms and kitchens to mirror some of the modern, spa-like features that were previously seen only in hotels, resorts and luxury vacation rentals. Home magazines, television shows and websites like Better Homes & Gardens, ElleDecor.com and Houzz.com have showcased these once aspirational luxuries, while technical advances have made them more attainable. A kitchen remodel gives you a chance to create the cooking and serving space you’ve always dreamed of and can finally afford. Ditto for a bathroom redo: If your master bathroom is grungy, but you have visions of a home spa, a makeover can pay off in resale value. But, really, you should do it just to pamper yourself. There are more design choices available every day, and your rooms will definitely benefit. Here are some of the latest features transforming modern bathrooms and kitchens, according to Reviewed.com: — The Pawhuska (Okla.) Journal-Capital contributed to this article.

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Would you ever think of hanging a chandelier in your bathroom? Designers are increasingly recommending them. It’s the sexiest light fixture and really dresses up a bathroom. Before you buy, make sure you have room to hang the chandelier at a height that makes sense. Some bathroom ceilings are too low for anything but flush-mount lighting. The Progress Lighting Astra eightlight brushed nickel modern/ contemporary shaded chandelier is a stunner. $349.98, Lowe’s

FASTER LAUNDRY WITH A SPEEDY CYCLE Samsung claims that its WF9110 washers can clean laundry 50 percent faster. The company says its SuperSpeed setting finishes a full load of laundry in as little as 30 minutes. The less time spent on laundry, the better. $679, samsung.com


K I T C H E N + B AT H




Unloading wet dishes can be unpleasant, but some new machines can now do a better job of drying. The Bosch 800 series dishwashers include “magic” mineral zeolite to ensure dry dishes every time. Zeolite crystals absorb 30 percent of their weight in moisture from the wash cycle and undergo a chemical process that causes them to heat. This results in quick and efficient drying. The crystals live in a sealed chamber inside the dishwasher and never need servicing or replacement. $1,249 to $1,849, bosch-home.com

Air fryers have traditionally been designed as countertop convection ovens. Now, you can get air fryer functionality in an oven range, whether you choose gas, electric or induction. Frigidaire has created a group of ranges that bring you crispy food without the oil and as much guilt. The oven includes a tray for chicken, french fries, tater tots or whatever you want to prepare. Select the air fry mode, and using a fan to circulate hot air, the oven temperature spikes to brown the food, and then gradually cools down to cook the inside to perfection. $1,098, Best Buy

A peelable adhesive wall covering that you can apply yourself and take down when you’re tired of it, temporary wallpaper can be a kitchen or bath’s new best friend. It will add color and texture that brings the walls to life, without requiring a longterm commitment. When design trends change, you can switch it out without making a major investment. $39.99, tempaper.com

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APPLIANCE COLORS TO CUSTOMIZE THE KITCHEN For years, all kitchen appliances were white — clean but uninteresting. Now, with appliances coming on the market in a wide variety of colors, you can truly customize your kitchen. Natural colors are roaring back into style, so complement them with appliances in warmer colors. Samsung’s Tuscan Stainless and Champagne finishes are warm metallics. The GE Cafe line has matte black and matte white appliance finishes that you personalize with your choice of metal handles. And black stainless steel is still popular, accounting for up to 30 percent of appliance sales, according to Samsung.


SCANNING TO COOK There’s nothing glamorous about nuking frozen dinners. They’re fast and easy to make, and we’ve all learned to lower our expectations as far as flavor goes, but maybe we’re just cooking them wrong. Whirlpool has scan-to-cook technology that lets you use an app on your phone to scan the barcode on the product box. Press a button and the microwave or oven knows the right way to cook the meal. $499, whirlpool.com

K I T C H E N + B AT H

SMARTER BATHROOMS The bathroom of the future is loaded with luxury features. If you have to go in the middle of the night, new fixtures can detect the motion and turn on soft lighting. Kohler’s Veil products specialize in that and will be available to order this year. Voice control is great in the bathroom, and U by Moen lets you tell Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri to start or stop the shower and warm it to your preferred temperature. $429.99, amazon.com

BIDETS Sometimes old-fashioned toilet paper just doesn’t cut it. The mess. The hassle. Why not upgrade your toilet with a fresh water spray to secure a more healthy clean? Bio Bidet offers a range of nonelectric bidet attachments ready to install without needing a plumber. Their SlimEdge model fits a wide range of standard toilets and is complete with pressure-controlled posterior and feminine settings. $59, biobidet.com

WI-FI DEVICES TO PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM WATER DAMAGE When Flo by Moen is installed on the main water line, it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to monitor typical water usage. Then, if it detects a leak or anything irregular in the water system, it calls the homeowner’s smartphone. A running toilet, leaky faucet, a broken water heater — any of these can be expensive and potentially damaging. For an under-$500 investment, Flo keeps a home safe by turning off the water when it detects a problem. Homeowner’s insurance policies sometimes even issue a rebate for installing one. $399, Home Depot

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TOWEL WARMERS On a cold morning, nothing is more pleasant than reaching for a warm towel as you step out of the tub or shower. To help make your bathroom feel more like a luxury spa, a towel warmer keeps towels at just the right temperature for optimal comfort. If you don’t have enough space for the Zadro, smaller space-saving options are also available. $139.99, Bed Bath & Beyond


SPALIKE SHOWERHEADS High-end showers often have a handheld component as well as a rainhead. Our favorite showerhead, the Hydroluxe 24 Function Ultra-Luxury, offers luxury for a remarkably low price. You won’t need a plumber for most showerhead installs. Just unscrew the old showerhead, wrap some Teflon tape around the threads on your shower pipe and screw on the new head. $24.99, Lowe’s

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Slant/Fin’s Revital/Line®, pre-cut replacement baseboard cover, is so easy to use! Simply measure your current baseboard, choose your color, and you’re ready to begin. Revital/Line® is designed to slip over the existing back panel. All you do is remove the old accessories, front panel and damper, and you’re ready to slip on the new cover. Visit www.slantfin.com to learn more and see a quick installation video. The unique, modern design will provide durability and has been tested to allow for up to 40% more heat output than the competitive brands currently on the market. It’s amazing how simple it is to transform the look of any room. And, best of all, anyone can do it! Slant/Fin takes the guesswork out of it…and puts our unsurpassed quality into every Revital/Line® makeover.

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Quality lighting, vinyl flooring accent extra living space BY ANDRIA CHENG



ary Weichert, a real estate agent in Chatham, N.J., for 20 years, has seen a shift in expectations for finished basements. They’re no longer just a nice-to-have feature for your home — they’re a must-have if you want to put your house on the market. “Buyers expect to come down to the basement and open up to a nice room,” Weichert says. “They like their basement to be additional living space.” With this change in attitude, the basement is moving beyond its traditional role of storage or laundry space and expanding to >



WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET? Gehman, who’s been in the remodeling business for decades, says his company has handled basement projects that range from a kids’ playroom for under $40,000 to a furnished home theater in an 1,800-squarefoot space outfitted with a bathroom and bar. The price tag? About $250,000. “Talk with your contractor or designer to decide what budget you have,” he

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Buyers expect to come down to the basement and open up to a nice room. says. “Start with your dream and work back down. Maybe do phase 1 one year and phase 2 the following year.” The midrange of basement remodeling projects cost an average $71,000 nationwide, according to Remodeling Magazine’s most recent cost versus value study on basements. It estimates that homeowners could recoup 70 percent of their costs when they sell the house.

BRIGHTEN IT UP Lighting is a critical component of an inviting basement, so industry experts advise plenty of recessed LEDs as well as accent lighting or side table lamps. Homeowners can also replace existing small windows with larger ones

to let in more natural light. Good lighting will make a basement “feel like a natural living space,” says Lucy O’Brien, an interior designer in Philadelphia. Mirrors, as well as metallic or any other “highly reflective” wallpaper on the ceiling, also are good tricks to reflect light and liven up a basement space that’s “usually dingy and not very interesting,” she says. If homeowners want to make their ceilings feel higher, they can skip a dropped ceiling and leave the electrical wiring and existing structure of the wood beams exposed and paint them white, Weichert says. “That would give you the illusion of a higher ceiling,” she says. “You go with a very industrial look with

exposed ceiling. You want everything as light and bright as possible.”

VINYL FLOORING Even though carpet has traditionally been used for basement flooring because it’s “softer and warmer,” Gehman says luxury vinyl


become everything from a lower-level suite with a guest bathroom and kitchenette to a home theater or office. “It really is a space that should be developed,” Weichert says. Nearly 60 percent of homeowners say their top reason to remodel a basement is to “add features and improve livability,” according to the most recent basement remodeling impact study by the National Association of Realtors and National Association of the Remodeling Industry. More than 80 percent of homeowners say they “have a greater desire to be home” since finishing their basements. “People are putting more money into the basement,” says Dennis Gehman, owner of a design remodeling company in Harleysville, Pa., and a master certified remodeler. His firm gets inquiries about basement projects about once a week and completes about five to six a year.

plank or vinyl tile flooring is “taking off.” “It looks really good, and it’s pretty inexpensive compared with tile or wood,” he says, adding that most of the vinyl flooring comes with a lifetime warranty for residential use. Hardwood isn’t recom-

mended because of moisture that may lie underground, he says.

FLOW WITH THE HOUSE Approach decorating your basement as you would the rest of your house. “Add textiles, pillows and that warmth that you’d put

in your upstairs living room,” O’Brien says. If a house’s design is open concept, homeowners should follow the same plan for their basement, Weichert says. People “want to walk downstairs (and) feel it’s an extension of the first or second floor.” l

Good lighting is key to making a basement feel less like a cave and more like additional living space, especially in a theater room.




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Backyard gardeners are embracing this growing trend



reenhouses can extend the growing season and allow gardeners a wider range of plants to cultivate. Once requiring permanent installations and carrying heavy price tags, greenhouses now come as more affordable DIY kits with a variety of sizes and materials. The main requirement is still sunlight: “Six hours of sun a day,” advises Michelle Torres, marketing manager of The Greenhouse Catalog. “Anything less than that and you may have to add supplemental lighting.” But it’s important to research other factors to find the right kit for your local weather conditions and property. A gardener who lives in a snow-prone area will need a greenhouse kit with heavier, more durable components. Both Torres and Angie Adams, a plant-care specialist for Home Depot, recommend that greenhouses in windy areas have sturdier components, like plexiglass panels instead of plastic film, and be firmly anchored down. In addition to local weather, it’s important to consider the area where the greenhouse will be located. Adams says that older trees near the greenhouse should be trimmed to allow enough sunlight. And whether the greenhouse will sit on the ground or a hard surface such as a driveway or pa-

tio, “Make sure the site is completely level,” Adams says. “Even one-eighth of an inch can throw you off, causing components not to fit.” Other factors to consider are access to water and a safe source of electricity. Both Adams and Torres stress that greenhouses need proper ventilation so the plants will not be stressed by excessive heat. And depending on the climate, a fan or heater might be necessary to regulate the temperature. Torres also recommends that gardeners “read the reviews by people who have used the greenhouse for a time.” Both experts agree that new owners often wish they’d bought bigger greenhouses, so consider buying a larger size than you think you’ll need.

Get growing From sizes to materials, DIY greenhouse kits offer a multitude of choices to make sure you get the growing space that suits your needs. Here are some options to help you get planting:

The Palram Snap and Grow 6-by-8-foot greenhouse features durable polycarbonate clear panels set in aluminum frames. Its split door and roof vent regulate airflow, temperature and humidity. $649, Home Depot

The Mythos 6-by-6foot greenhouse has 4-millimeter twin-wall polycarbonate panels set in a green aluminum frame with a galvanized steel base. Its roof vent is adjustable. $599, greenhousecatalog.com

The Early Bloomer 8-by-8-foot greenhouse has a sturdy composite base frame and features Solexx XP panels to increase heat retention in winter and shield plants from harsh summer sunlight. The white Solexx panels provide optimal diffused light. $1,357 to $1,532, greenhouse catalog.com




Outdoor kitchens turn grilling into greatness


here is no finer dining than under the stars in your backyard — if you have the right amenities. Grilling is an American obsession on par with baseball and fireworks on the Fourth of July. At one end of the barbecue spectrum is an annual affair: Invite a bunch of friends and relatives over for burgers, hot dogs and beer. You set up a volleyball net and spread blankets on the lawn; the next day you clean up the mess and pack it away until next year. At the other end of the spectrum is a devoted

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grillmaster who believes that all meat should be cooked outdoors, rain or shine, heat or cold. This person is attuned to the flavors of different wood smokes and speaks of basting with a religious fervor. For this person, the grill is the kitchen. The grilling-obsessed — and even casual enthusiasts — want more than just a grill, however. They want a table to eat at. They want a surface to chop and mix things on. They want a sink to wash in after handling raw meat. They probably wouldn’t mind a small refrigerator and some cabinet space. A sound system and TV >




Keep the grandchildren coming back again and again with SlideAway,™ the safe removable pool slide from S.R.Smith. SlideAway combines fun, safety and durability in a slide that can TM

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If you create an outdoor environment that has all the amenities of a kitchen and dining room, you’re basically adding rooms on to your home.” TIM GLASS, landscape architect

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would be nice, and while you’re at it, how about a wood-fired pizza oven and a Kegerator? “Cooking outdoors is such a pleasure — it takes the drudgery out of cooking everyday meals,” says Russ Faulk, a grillmaster (yes, that’s actually a profession) and the chief designer at Chicago-based Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. “But an outdoor kitchen, if it’s going to be used regularly, needs to be easy to live with. If it takes an hour to get it ready each time, you’re not going to use it on weeknights.” Kalamazoo makes high-end grills

that can cost as much as a car. They will design a layout with all the accoutrements your heart desires, custom-made with their weatherproof cabinetry systems and marine-grade stainless steel surfaces (so if you live atop a seaside cliff in Malibu, the salt spray won’t cause rust). You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a beautiful and functional outdoor kitchen, but there are some things you shouldn’t skimp on. TVs, speaker systems, refrigerators and other electronic devices must be designed for outdoor use, even if located under cover, as >



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Going Beyond the Grill Elevate your outdoor dining lifestyle with these bells and whistles:

uGaucho Grills’ Argentine-style grill insert transforms an outdoor fireplace into a wood-fired grill with perfect heat control. Starting at $1,990, gaucho-grills.com

uThe all-electric SmokinTex Smoker keeps things simple: Add wood chips, flip the switch and relax while your meat is perfumed to perfection. $599.95, williams-sonoma.com

uSummit Appliances’ beverage center — rated for outdoor use, lockable door included — slides under any outdoor kitchen countertop. $808.99, bbqguys.com

uStereostone’s faux-rock Sierra speaker survives the elements to bring your favorite tunes to your outdoor kitchen landscape. $159, bbqislandinc.com


they still must contend with humid air, blowing rain and temperature extremes. Sinks must be connected to the sewer system (though Faulk says some homeowners avoid this expense by using self-contained sinks similar to those found in RVs), and any permanent structure attached to the ground (such as a roof covering) will require a building permit. Beyond these practical matters, consider how the design of your outdoor kitchen meshes with that of your home and landscape — it is a bridge between the two, says Tim Glass, a landscape architect with Alderwood Landscaping, a Seattle-area company specializing in “backyard resorts.” All the elements — pool, patio, fire pit, play area, outdoor kitchen — need to work together in the design, visually and practically speaking, using planted areas to soften the transitions between them (an herb garden and lemon bush next to the grill is always a nice touch). As a general rule, outdoor kitchens are most user-friendly when adjacent to the indoor kitchen or dining area to facilitate the movement of people, food and dishes, and to simplify plumbing and electrical connections, Glass adds. How hog-wild should you go with your outdoor kitchen? Glass cautions his clients to think realistically about how often they will use the space before they pursue a design with every possible gadget. On the other hand, he says, some clients are so excited that they forgo renovations to their indoor kitchen in order to prioritize the outdoor cooking experience: “If you create an outdoor environment that has all the amenities of a kitchen and dining room, you’re basically adding rooms on to your home.” Seen in that light, an outdoor kitchen is not an extravagance, but an investment. l



This fragrant foliage will help keep mosquitoes away STORY BY MIKE MALLOY, ILLUSTRATIONS BY HAYLEIGH CORKEY


on’t let pesky insects like mosquitoes keep you from enjoying your outdoor space. Some smart planting can help. Most insect-repelling plants produce natural fragrances that come from the oils in the leaves and flowers, so they’ll keep the bugs away while emitting pleasant scents. You can place them in containers on your patio or deck, by the front or back door or plant them directly in your garden.

LEMON GRASS This is the No. 1 plant to use in your landscape or in pots to keep mosquitoes at bay. Before having an outdoor event, brush or trim lemon grass to release more of its fragrance, making it more effective.

ROSEMARY This mosquito-repelling plant has an extra benefit: You can enjoy its scent and use it to make tasty rosemary chicken on the grill.



This herb is also a butterfly nectar plant, and you can add it to flavor cold or hot teas.

Most scented geraniums work as a mosquito repellent, but lemon and pineapple scents seem to work best. These fast growers do well in gardens and containers.

BASIL An herb that doubles as a pest repellent, basil does well in pots and planted in the ground.

— Mike Malloy writes for the Naples (Fla.) Daily News

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