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SP R I N G 20 1 7


Rachael Ray’s

Fresh interior designs


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Her lifestyle brand includes TV shows, cookbooks, food products, cookware and home furnishings.

UP FRONT DESIGN 8 2017 trends to 10 15

update your home Readers share photos of their awesome abodes Use mirrors to reflect your style

LIVING 16 Experts offer tips to help prep your place for spring

MADE IN THE USA 18 American-made

furnishings in every style and color

WALLS 24 Bright, bold



PAINT 32 Which colors set

the right mood for your home?









ON THE COVER: Rachael Ray PHOTO BY: Diana Parrish Design &


All product prices and availability are subject to change.

Abandoned structures provide materials for homes and décor

Find extra space in your home to enjoy your hobbies

These devices can make tasks easier and more fun

Three designers share their sense of style

BE INSPIRED 72 80 84 88 96



Homegr own

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4 HOME | SPRING 2017

wallpapers wow Create gallery walls with personality


DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com

NANCY MILLS “Rachael Ray talks at warp speed because she has a lot to say,” says L.A.-based Nancy Mills, who interviewed the celebrity chef/ furniture designer for our cover feature (PAGE 40). Mills pens cookbooks and writes a food blog (moms cookinghelp.blogspot. com). She once painted a 12-foot-high mural on a wall in her London apartment. Sadly, she had to leave it behind when she moved.

JENNIFER E. MABRY Writer Jennifer E. Mabry is a believer in the adage: “Everything old is new again.” The concept became even clearer after Mabry, based in Boulder, Colo., wrote about using reclaimed wood for building and construction (PAGE 34). She came away with a new perspective on how to adopt more sustainable practices that can help our planet.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com EDITORS Patricia Kime Elizabeth Neus Sara Schwartz Tracy L. Scott Debbie Williams DESIGNERS Miranda Pellicano Gina Toole Saunders Lisa M. Zilka INTERNS Antoinette D’Addario, Rosalie Haizlett CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Karen Asp, Coco, Hollie Deese, Valerie Finholm, Lisa Marie Hart, Margaret Littman, Jennifer E. Mabry, Janene Mascarella, Diana Lambdin Meyer, Nancy Mills, Peggy J. Noonan, Denise S. Valenti



VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com

DIANA LAMBDIN MEYER Based in the Kansas City area, one of Diana Lambdin Meyer’s favorite pastimes is visiting model homes and home design centers, imagining her life had she chosen interior design as a career instead of journalism. In talking with three uniquely different designers (PAGE 64), Diana learned that “editing” a room for clarity and purpose is just as important as editing a story.

DENISE S. VALENTI A design aficionado, Denise S. Valenti of Cranford, N.J., was inspired to write about outdoor lighting after noticing the many applications of LED lights on public buildings (PAGE 92). “The technology has caught up to its promise, and it keeps getting better,” she says. “We’re now seeing more consumer products that reflect those developments.”

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Justine Madden (703) 854-5444 jmadden@usatoday.com


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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Fun patterns will put a smile on your face.





IN STYLE 2017’s hottest trends nyone who has seen popcorn ceilings knows that home décor trends quickly come and go. Before you update and renew, you must determine what’s in style. Here are five trends that will boost your décor and keep it from being dreadfully drab:



When it comes to color-blocking, interior design once gravitated toward bright, fluorescent hues; however, the current use of simple, bold blocks in furnishings is more subtle, with a focus on neutral tones, such as tans and grays.

Coco launched the cococozy.com blog in 2008 and introduced the Cococozy textiles collection in 2011. With more than 200,000 social media followers, her goal is to “provide design and style inspiration with a personal and sometimes humorous approach.”

In the past, homeowners might have felt compelled to choose between using wood on walls, floors or ceilings. Today, it’s being used everywhere in different styles, all in one room.


ACCESSORIES MIX-AND-MATCH METALS The chrome of your light fixtures doesn’t have to match the gold moldings around the fireplace. There will be a mix of metals, all subtly blending together in spaces.

8 HOME | SPRING 2017

FLOORI NG BOLD TILES IN DINING ROOMS Tiles are replacing carpet and wood as the preferred flooring in dining rooms.

While we want furniture that looks good, it also has to function. With limited space, homeowners are opting for convertible pieces that transform from sofa to bunk bed or garden stool to end table. Homeowners are also gravitating toward hideaway elements, such as drawers in stairs.






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Our social media followers share photos of their spaces

When we walked in, we could see us in this space immediately — with a few tweaks, of course. Our own private chalet with huge windows! We wanted lots of light and greenery around us. Our motto was, ‘Just paint it black,’ as evidenced by both our fireplace and exterior. The main living area is the central space of our home. We particularly love the open floor plan with extra high ceilings. Here, we can easily entertain, but it’s also where we cozy up at night as a family in front of the fire.”


Try using black or navy for an accent wall

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10 HOME | SPRING 2017




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Pair a neutral color palette with a bold color

Mr. Bubbles

I love our master bedroom and how we were able to infuse my husband’s obsession with the color red with my desire to have a serene, peaceful, hotel-like space. I also love that Mr. Bubbles (adorable Shih Tzu in the photo) loves it so much, too, that he wanted to pose for the photo op! For our shower, I became fixated on the idea of wrapping an accent tile wall into the niche wall. I love how it turned out, and it’s just an interesting detail that makes me happy every day — assuming that I shower every day. (Sorry, odd sense of humor over here.)”

Try chevron accents in pillows, tiling or wallpaper


This is our living room in our 1964 home that had one owner before us. When we moved in a year ago, we painted the wall and hung my husband’s artwork. The curtains and carpet were left as is. As an architect, my husband had an affinity for clean, bright colors, and I love that (they bring) out a colorful, fun atmosphere in this room. It’s bright but still warm and inviting to me, and we love having guests over and spending time in our living room.”

Embrace bright colors that add fun to a room

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12 HOME | SPRING 2017







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A N O TH E R LO O K Designer Elizabeth Cross-Beard says a mirror can: uCreate the illusion of a larger space.


uMaximize natural light in a darker room. uReflect that gorgeous chandelier or piece of art to draw the eye into a space.

MARVELOUS MIRRORS They not only reflect your image; they can reflect your style BY JENNIFER E. MABRY


irrors are best used when integrated into your interior to take full advantage of their beauty and function, says Elizabeth Cross-Beard, an interior designer with Baltimorebased Jenkins Baer Associates. Mirrors can serve as artwork and play many roles in one’s home, she adds. For instance, “a properly placed mirror in an entryway or mudroom is wonderful from a purely functional standpoint and gives the homeowner an opportunity for one last look before heading out the door,” says CrossBeard. When you mix that function with style by featuring a mirror with an unusual frame, finish or shape, it’s the best of both worlds.



SPRING INTO SPRING! Prepare your home for the season with these expert tips BY CHRISTINA POLETTO


hen it comes to transforming your home from the muted tones of winter to the bright hues of spring, the rules are simple: It’s all about welcoming in fresh air, color and a bit of life through fun accessories and accents. Just take a cue (or a few) from these design experts, who know all about creating livable, lovable rooms with the simplest of tweaks. Ready. Set. Spring!




Author of Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds. ▶ eddieross.com

Interior designer and author of Design Rules: The Insider’s Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator. ▶ elainegriffin. com

Lifestyle and entertainment blogger, specializing in home décor and cooking. ▶ julieblanner. com

16 HOME | SPRING 2017

MAKE A GRAND ENTRANCE Add elements that sing “spring!” to your veranda: Apply two coats of cheery paint to your front door; add a new pair of topiaries with flowering plants flanking the entrance; place new cushions on outdoor furniture, and don’t forget a fresh new doormat! — Elaine Griffin


Meet the experts

COLOR YOUR WORLD Swap out ivory and white candles for colorful ones that usher in spring. Colorful candles add a pop of personality from the foyer to the backyard, formal dinners to casual get-togethers.

SIGNS OF LIFE Bring a room to life by adding something organic; a bowl of fruit, a vase filled with fresh flowers or effortless house plants like succulents make your home feel fresh and beautiful. — Julie Blanner Spring’s first blooms are also among the loveliest — azaleas, daffodils, tulips and hyacinth radiate cheer. Sit potted flowering plants throughout your house in pretty cachepots. — Elaine Griffin

— Eddie Ross


Virtually every textile that isn’t nailed down can be switched out seasonally, and going lighter as summer approaches is like giving your home highlights — spiritlifting and stylish, too! Start lightening and brightening texture and color patterns in your living, dining and bedrooms — switch out pillows and throws, even dishcloths in the kitchen.


— Elaine Griffin

Rekindle the spark in your bedding with a lively mix of color and pattern. Start with two bed sets in solid hues that work together, then add pillowcases in playful patterns. — Eddie Ross

Area rugs take up loads of visual real estate. As a rule, they anchor a room, so alternating seasonally between lighter and darker-hued rugs makes a terrific seasonal adjustment. Another great option for solid-colored large rugs: Layer a smaller seasonal rug on top of the solid base, which adds another layer of warmth and style to the room.

ADD A NEW ACCENT Reinvent a lamp or two with new shades, finials and trim. — Eddie Ross Most light fixtures can be replaced in 15 minutes or less and immediately transform a room. And here’s an insider’s tip for you: Hardware stores often have similar styles as home décor stores for a fraction of the cost. — Julie Blanner

— Elaine Griffin

Shake up the monotony in your floor plan by moving around furniture. Try different configurations and live with them for a few days before making a decision. — Eddie Ross





Lime & Leaf

American-made furnishings come in a wide variety BY TRACY L. SCOTT


ime & Leaf, a textiles company based in Alexandria, Va., is just one of many home furnishing companies proudly manufacturing products in the U.S. With countless artisans creating stylish décor and accessories for brands nationwide, there’s more variety than ever from which to choose. Different textures, styles, patterns — and especially colors — make it easy to create your perfect room.

Sho p

Turn the page for different styles and colors of trendy made-in-the-USA products.

All available at limeandleaf.com

18 HOME | SPRING 2017


1. Sand dollar pillow cover, $48 2. Cone shell pillow cover, $48 3. Sea urchin pillow cover in Midnight, $48 4. Sea grass throw blanket, $148


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Classic shades

Muted tones make bold statements with chic patterns and designs


1. Berne black storage bench from Skyline Furniture, $249.95, bellacor.com 2. New Geo throw pillow, $59.24 for two, pillowperfect.com 3. Paul D. Harrie pyramid glass paperweight, $170, artfulhome.com 4. Erik Wolken Dancing Couple wood mirror, $1,960, artfulhome.com 5. Scott and Shawn Johnson glass garden table centerpiece, $698, artfulhome.com


1. Skyline Furniture tufted linen chaise lounge, $644.99, amazon.com 2. Bernhardt Design Sonar stacking chair, $585, hivemodern.com 3. Jan Hoy Cardinal Connection bronze sculpture, $3,800, artfulhome.com 4. Airlie faux leather pillow, $49, thepillowcollection.com 5. Maple side table, $780, pendleton-usa.com

1. Echoes in the Wind I metal wall sculpture by Marsh Scott, $2,220, artfulhome.com 2. Large vase, $207, salisburyinc.net 3. Moss Studio Prism console table, $3,123, zincdoor.com 4. Pablo Designs Isabella table lamp, $140, hivemodern.com 5. Chain cotton pillow, $75, shop.cococozy.com —Tracy L. Scott

20 HOME | SPRING 2017



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Haute hues

These popular colors add style and flair to almost any room TEAL

1. Knoll PaperClip large round table, $1,650, hivemodern.com 2. Destry blue topaz zigzag pillow from The Pillow Collection, $57.95, bellacor.com 3. Susan and Caryn Kinzig Christa mixed-media table lamp, $800, artfulhome.com 4. Tom Bloyd blown glass heart sculpture, $58, artfulhome.com 5. Bernhardt Design Chiara lounge chair, $1,649, hivemodern.com


1. Geiger Crosshatch chair, $2,329, hivemodern.com 2. Michael Wisner dovetail weave ceramic vessel, $700, artfulhome.com 3. Bernhardt Design Calibra .02 loveseat, $4,716, hivemodern.com 4. Walnut Portland chair, $1,440, thosmoser.com 5. Lime & Leaf fan shell blanket, $148, limeandleaf.com

1. Bloom! canvas wall art by Oliver Gal, prices start at $204, zincdoor.com 2. Jezebel Radiance Lazy Daisy lamp, $538.20, bellacor.com 3. Jhode plaid pillow, $55, thepillowcollection.com 4. Mosser Glass 8-inch candlestick, $41.80, bellacor.com 5. Knoll three-seat bench, $3,920, hivemodern.com —Tracy L. Scott

22 HOME | SPRING 2017




OFF THE WALL Make a statement by adding bold and beautiful wallpaper BY SARA SCHWARTZ

Various wallpaper prints from HYGGE & WEST



Hire a pro to install your wallpaper. Try the American Society of Interior Designers (asid.org)

ince humans began taking shelter, they’ve been upgrading their surroundings with art. Prehistoric cave drawings, meet your descendant — jaw-dropping wallpaper. “The trend is becoming increasingly popular now,” says Keisha Gilchrist, proprietor and principal designer of SDV Decor (sdvdecor.com), an interior design firm based in Hyattsville, Md. “For years, people tended to shy away from what they thought was a more ‘permanent’ application. Now, it is hard to resist! The textures, the metallic colorways and the bold patterns are the rave.” Whether playful and patterned or serious and sophisticated, there’s a wallpaper to suit any personality. Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Flavor Paper (flavorpaper.com) creates customizable hand-screened and digitally printed wallpaper, including an Andy Warhol x Flavor Paper collaboration. The company’s 150-plus designs (including scratch-and-sniff wallpaper with scented images of cherries or bananas), will please any inner wild child. If you prefer something calmer with an Instagram background vibe, check out Hygge & West (hyggeandwest.com). Created by Aimee Lagos and Christiana Coop, the online company launched in 2008 with the Daydream wallpaper by Julia Rothman, which continues to be a big seller. “It just seems to really resonate with people, both for adult spaces and for children’s spaces,” says Coop. “It’s just a very happy pattern we consider our classic now.” Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga; it’s Danish for “cozy”) & West works with

WA L L S | U P F R O N T



Scratch- andsniff banana print wallpaper, FLAVOR PAPER


Beaded, textured wallpaper, MAYA ROMANOFF

Julia Rothman’s popular Daydream wallpaper, HYGGE & WEST


multiple artists to collaborate on lines, offering a wide range of fun looks. Love dogs? Rothman’s Dog Park paper might perk up you and your pup. Pineapple lovers should check out Rifle Paper Co.’s sweet line of pineapple patterns. “(Adding wallpaper — KEISHA GILCHRIST, is) actually one of proprietor, principal designer the easiest, quickest of SDV Decor ways to change up a room and really add personality to a space,” Coop says. “It can add so much visual interest.” For sophisticated texture and depth, look into Skokie, Ill.-based Maya Romanoff (mayaromanoff.com), one of the largest manufacturers of handcrafted wallcoverings in the U.S. The company produces stunning wallpaper using mother of pearl, glass beads, gold leaf, seashells and even wood textures. Phillip Jeffries (phillipjeffries. com), with showrooms across the country, offers grasscloth, paper weave and raffia lines for a unique, tactile natural look. If you want something a bit more personal, Murals Your Way (muralsyourway.com) allows you to upload

For years, people tended to shy away from what they thought was a more ‘permanent’ application. Now, it is hard to resist!”


any photo to create a wall-sized memento of that dream vacation to Spain. Homeowners can install wallpaper themselves, but Vincent LaRusso, president of the Wallcovering Installers Association, strongly recommends hiring a professional by asking interior designers in the American Society of Interior Designers (asid.org) for recommendations. “Wallcoverings today are better quality and you need a professional,” he says. “Not just anybody can hang wallcovering.” A professional will help ensure a level installation, prevent air bubbles and — best of all — guarantee proper installation to ensure easier removal, he says. “(Wallpaper) brings life to the room, as opposed to paint,” adds LaRusso. “I don’t want to insult paint — paint is wonderful. But wallcoverings give it a different look, a whole different dimension.”


U P F R O N T | WA L L S


If the thought of wallpapering a room or even an accent wall has you breaking out in a cold sweat, start Blogger small. Elyse Major There are many other ways to incorporate wallpaper into your home. Elyse Major, a Rhode Islandbased blogger (tinkeredtreasures. com) wanted a no-sew pattern for her Roman blinds but wasn’t able to find instructions online or in any books, so she developed her own do-it-yourself wallpaper project instead. Major says she kept the project easy by cutting three strips of paper for each slat, working around the cord, and using a glue stick as adhesive instead of taking the blinds completely apart. (See how at tinkeredtreasures.com; search for “wallpapered blinds.”) On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most difficult, she gives it a three. “I avoid complicated projects and aim for simplicity,” she adds. “I don’t worry about perfection.” Keisha Gilchrist, principal designer at Hyattsville, Md.-based SDV Decor, used wallpaper as a background in her family photos by covering the mat with wallpaper. Her original idea was to use scrapbooking paper, but the patterns she found just didn’t appeal to her, she says. “So I went to my (stash of) samples that vendors send to me and decided to play around with some of the options. It turned out beautifully and was very easy to affix.”

26 HOME | SPRING 2017

through the task at hand,” Gilchrist says. LIVEN UP YOUR LAMPSHADE. “If you have a boring lampshade that needs a level of ‘pop,’ wallpaper is a quick and easy fix. Simply measure and adhere the wallpaper to your existing shade and you have an instant, patterned look,” says interior designer Keisha Gilchrist.

FORFEIT YOUR BACKSPLASH. Skip the tiling and use a tough, cleanable vinyl instead.

DECORATE YOUR KITCHEN DRAWERS. “Most of us don’t enjoy household chores, but opening your kitchen drawers and finding a burst of color may help you weed

CREATE A FAUX HEADBOARD. Can’t commit to a bedroom furniture set or style? Wallpaper your headboard for a quick and temporary (or not!) fix.

MAKE YOUR STAIRS A CONVERSATION PIECE. Line the risers of your stairs with a bold wallpaper pattern and have a topic to discuss with your guests all night.

GIVE YOUR GLASS TABLE A BOOST. Before you replace your glass table with

an entirely new piece of furniture, Gilchrist suggests another option. “Try adding wallpaper under the glass top.”

JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. Want to display books? Cover them with wallpaper to match the décor in your room.

ADD INSTANT ART. If your space calls for artwork that is bigger than what you can find, create your own with wallpaper. The sky will be the limit for your size requirements, and simple trim can provide a more finished look to your project. — Sara Schwartz






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U P F R O N T | WA L L S

Spacious gallery walls allow homeowners to express a variety of interests.

A FINE DISPLAY Showcase your favorite décor with artistic gallery walls

here are few things that show off your unique personality the way the décor of your home does, and it’s not just the furniture you choose that offers a peek into who you are. Cherished pieces such as heirlooms, collectors’ items and other visually striking objects can create an atmosphere in your home that’s authentically yours. A simple method of showing off your treasures, such as musical instruments, large

28 HOME | SPRING 2017

block letters or mirrors, is a gallery wall, a sprawling display that lets people see a mix of your favorite and most beautiful pieces. “A gallery wall needs open space to exude the wealth of interest it presents,” says Christina Bryant, founder of San Francisco-based luxury home décor company St. Frank. “Give yourself the freedom to compile a plethora of pieces and choose a location that will make the room pop. Take advantage of the space you chose by staggering pieces high and low.”




U P F R O N T | WA L L S

When it comes to embracing the eclecticism that comes from different styles merging, Robert and Cortney Novogratz, who currently star in a People.com show, are experts. Owners of L.A.-based The Novogratz design company, they also have seven children, ages 7 to 19, to consider when making home décor decisions. Luckily, they don’t feel inhibited by dated directives that dictate how home accessories should be displayed. “The great thing about gallery walls, as with design, is that there really are no rules,” Cortney Novogratz says. “Whether you want everything to be lined up perfectly, be in the same color palette or look artfully assembled over time, it’s

Cortney and Robert Novogratz really about what you like.” Robert Novogratz notes that you shouldn’t be afraid to mix different frame textures and colors, types and sizes of art — even mix artists’ work with art created by your children. “We’ve got some of our kids’ work on our latest gallery wall in our home and people usually can’t guess which

pieces are (theirs),” he says. Bryant agrees that the best way to show off a collection is to include your favorite pieces, whether or not they appear to match. “An antique mirror can mingle with a photograph from your grandparents’ wedding and a painting picked up on your latest travels,” Bryant says. “This juxtaposition only adds to the intrigue and authenticity of your story reflected in your space.” Justin M. Riordan, founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency in Portland, Ore., connects dissimilar items using framing techniques. “A banana, a suitcase and a hat have no common thread, but if you have black-andwhite photos of those three items, all matted with white mattes and all framed in the

Paintings and photographs aren’t the only items that can be featured on gallery walls. Experts encourage mixing precious trinkets, mirrors, vases and even musical instruments together for a one-of-kind design.

30 HOME | SPRING 2017

same size black frame, then (that creates) a common thread,” he says. Luxury designer Anita Lang, founder of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based IMI Design Studio, suggests grouping items together within a large-scale background that frames the entire collection. “This can be done with an accent paint color or a great wallpaper texture.”

PLANNING AHEAD While eclecticism is key, Meredith Mahoney, founder and design director of Birch Lane, a furniture design company, says she has recently seen the gallery wall trend shift its focus from several seemingly disparate pieces given equal display to only one or two cohesive shapes and sizes being featured for a more universal look and feel. Mahoney suggests choosing one focal point for the wall, such as a mirror, then surrounding it with a maximum of eight (avoid a cluttered look!) similarly shaped or sized items. Sticking with one theme will keep you focused and on track, which is critical because it may take time to discover the best collection of items for your wall. It will eventually come together, so don’t rush to grab things just to finish. “Take your time to find things you really love, rather than following the latest trends,” Cortney Novogratz says. “And you’ll want to live with your gallery wall for longer.”



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U P F R O N T | PA I N T

THE COLOR CONNECTION Find out what shade sets the perfect mood for you


reen with envy, red with rage, feeling blue … clearly, there is a correlation between color and emotion. How deep is that connection, and can color alone be used to raise one’s spirits? According to experts, color can indeed affect moods. Color is “a non-verbal communication tool that we subconsciously absorb,” says Dawn Stafford, founder of Gathering Souls, a Washington, D.C.-based interior design and

32 HOME | SPRING 2017

event planning company. “As designers, we have the ability to create a space and feeling with (the colors we choose),” she says. While wall coloring definitely has an effect, it’s not just paint that affects our emotions. “Decorative accents and artwork are also successful ways to inject a pop of color to any environment,” says Stafford. “If you are going for a ‘feeling’ with accents, make sure they are repetitive in order to get your point across. This works well with metallics such as gold.”






Victor Tirondola, CEO of Manor Works Painting in Sterling, Va., says paint helps define the character of a room. Color, “the backdrop” that helps bring elements of a room together, can evoke a range of emotions, from calm to dramatic, or cheerful to comfortable.

Tirondola warns clients not to overlook the color choice on ceilings and trim. “This color selection can change the look of the room and even the color on the wall.” The appearance of color, he says, can change between oil-based or latex paint and even different finishes.

To avoid selecting a “fad” color that will quickly move from chic to dated, Tirondola suggests clients pick a color scheme that suits them, and is either on the upward curve of design trends or is a classic. Assess what works with the room’s current design, he says.

THE COLOR CODE Just as sound, touch and other senses affect us on the sensory level, so do colors, says psychologist Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, an expert in social and international psychology. Hospital walls are often painted blue, which is associated with trust and calm — necessary traits for a health care setting. Because colors are such a subtle determinant of human behavior (many graduate schools offer psychology of color courses), Bais says it pays to understand the positives and negatives of the color spectrum. B L U E is considered a calming color. It is ideal in offices and hospitals.

R E D is associated with drama, danger, strength, excitement and passion.

G R E E N is associated with a healthy mind and body and stimulates health and trust.

Y E L L O W is associated with happiness, cheer and loyalty. It grabs attention.

B L A C K is elegant, powerful and perfect for entertaining spaces, as it conveys formality.

O R A N G E combines red’s passion with the cheer of yellow, promoting creativity.

W H I T E is ideal for meditation rooms or bedrooms. It’s associated with safety and faith.

Paint by the numbers What are the hottest colors for 2017? Here’s an up-close look at the hues making a splash this year:

B E N J A M I N M O O R E chose Shadow, a rich, royal amethyst. “Shadow ... is a color that calls to mind a past, yet it can also make a contemporary, color-confident statement,” says creative director Ellen O’Neill. COLOR: SHADOW

V A L S PA R has curated a collection of 12 essential colors to help consumers choose the perfect paint. The 2017 colors reflect key prevailing trends: sustainable and simplistic living, spirituality and self-improvement. COLOR: LAKE HENRY

B E H R takes a non-traditional approach to color forecasting. Its experts have created a collection of hues that are curated into themes, empowering individuals to choose colors that speak to their emotions and personalities. COLOR: BALANCED

S H E R W I N - W I L L I A M S offers Poised Taupe, a hue that celebrates what people love about cool gray as a neutral, and also brings in the warmth of brown, says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing. COLOR: POISED TAUPE





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The wood from old structures is used to make new furniture.

hile some explore the outdoors just for sport, Ryan Trombley treks across the Rocky Mountains and Midwest on the hunt for old, dilapidated sheds and Mennonite barns built from chestnut, oak and black walnut wood. His goal? To transform beautiful, forgotten structures into custom furnishings. “Upcycling” is a spin on recycling. For the uninitiated, it is repurposing existing materials into something new, perhaps of higher value and quality than the original. It’s a progressive, energy-efficient way to give new life to decaying or unused structures — generally made of wood — such as floorboards from retired 18-wheelers or decommissioned railcars, says Daniel Louis, owner of Revampt, a home furniture boutique in Denver. Louis purchases his wood from distributors like Trombley, owner of Front Range Timber in Broomfield, Colo.




While Louis was earning his fine arts degree and studying architecture at the University of Utah’s DesignBuildBluff program, he learned about using salvaged or reclaimed materials to construct sustainable homes. “You can take something that everyone is throwing in the trash and make something everyone wants,” he says. Revampt sells handcrafted furniture made by a select group of Colorado artisans with whom Louis collaborates. And while the art and craft of making furniture from reclaimed wood has increased in popularity in the last decade, it only has become a trend in the last three or four years, says Louis. When he opened Revampt in 2010, he says he could purchase an 8-foot board for about $1; now he says the same board costs upwards of $8 to $9 per square foot. If you’re considering investing in a custom piece but think it’s out of your price range, you may be

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— Thomas Porter, owner of Porter Barn Wood


Wooden beams from an old barn now cover the walls, ceiling and floors of Mandy Sancic’s Ohio home.

Visit Revampt in Denver’s Cherry Creek shopping district to find dining tables, shelving and cabinets made from reclaimed mahogany and other woods. revamptgoods. com.

surprised. Louis says most of the items in his showroom range from $1,800 to $2,800 — similar to what consumers might pay for new items at outlets such as West Elm — with orders for custom dining tables being the most popular. Headboards and coffee tables are also in high demand. Louis says people want pieces that make a statement. One example in the Revampt showroom is a nearly 9-foot long mahogany farmhouse-style dining table that served as a boxcar train floor in its previous life. Louis restored the wood slab’s beauty, retaining its character, and added a U-shaped steel-legged base for a clean, modern look that contrasts nicely against most wood flooring. Reclaimed lumber is rarely found in a condition that makes it ready for furniture production. The wood planks usually undergo an extensive process, which may include “de-nailing” or removing all metal particles from the wood, pressure washing, then drying in a kiln before it is milled. Sculptor and master carpenter James Hixson, owner of Denver’s Black Hound Design, and his crew of 10 frequently work with fire-damaged wood and sustainably harvested blue-stain pine to create custom pieces. When meeting with clients, Hixson assesses the spatial elements of the area where the furniture will be used. A 3-D rendering is

then created, and construction of the piece ensues. The process, from initial meeting to delivery and installment, takes about eight weeks. Louis says repurposed wood has become fashionable because it isn’t limiting. You can bring a reclaimed element into a traditional home or a modern home, he adds. For Hixson, the appeal of reclaimed material is simple: “It has character, texture and color. It’s not cookie-cutter.” Mandy Sancic of Canton, Ohio, always knew she and her husband wanted to use reclaimed materials to build their dream home. Nine years ago, they constructed a nearly 7,000-square-foot home on 12 acres using 80 percent reclaimed materials, including slate tiles that “went from being on a barn roof for 100 years to being on my house,” she says. The Sancics, owners of Olde Wood manufacturing, have been procuring reclaimed wood for 20 years and designed their home to reflect their values and personalities. “It’s obviously a much more eco-friendly option, and one of my favorite things about reclaimed wood is the history and character, which you cannot get from a (conventionally built) home,” says Sancic. “When I walk near a beam in my home, I think about that tree that stood for so long and how it sustained a family in the form of a barn for so many years. I tear


up just thinking about that,” she says. The three-story home is a hybrid-timber frame incorporating beams that are structural and decorative. Three of the fireplaces are made from reclaimed barn beams and four different varieties of wood were used to build the edifice, with oak being the predominant material used throughout the open-concept floor plan. The staircases and floor-to-ceiling beams are made from Douglas fir that the Sancics removed from a glass factory. Sancic says she has decorated her home with both new furniture and rescued pieces, including a coffee table in her living room taken from “an old lumber cart” and antique school desks from one-room schoolhouses. She is quick to note: “We were (reclaiming) wood before reclaimed wood was cool,” and she’s

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pleased more people are learning about and seeking “these beautiful (elements)” for their homes. Arizona’s largest barnwood company, Porter Barn Wood, also builds custom furniture. Owner Thomas Porter says, “Our wood makes (homes feel) personal and comes with a story that makes the wood even more personal, more special.” Salvaging wood from 100- to 300-year-old barns, Porter sells to contractors, homeowners, architects and interior designers attracted to hand-cut wood from old-growth trees. Last year, one of his customers bought a door that he scavenged from a Tennessee tobacco barn. The customer said that when she and her husband drilled into it to place the handle, the wood released a subtle smell of tobacco … and a whiff of its history. Unlike new lumber, Por-

Reclaimed oak, walnut, Douglas fir and pine are used in the structure and furniture of Sancic’s home made mostly of reclaimed wood.

ter’s weathered boards show off decades of pounding by sun, wind, rain and snow. “I call it ‘finding a home for history.’” For wood distributor Trombley, necessity was the mother of reinvention that led him to this entrepreneurial endeavor. He was looking to boost his income when a friend told him about an old barn in Wisconsin that was going to be razed. Trombley hitched a trailer to his truck and “dismantled as much of the barn as possible and took it back to Colorado.” He sold the entire truckload to one person. From there, business took off. His company, which was started with a $4,000 investment three years ago, is the largest supplier of reclaimed woods in Colorado. Wood he selects must be structurally sound and in good condition. Trombley says his intuition led him to believe “there was a bigger demand than supply” for the product because he saw reclaimed wood being used, commercially, by businesses in his community, and he noticed it was a regular feature on home renovation shows. The success of his business combined with the enthusiasm of his customers is reassurance that his gut instinct was on target. “People love to be able to pick out wood for their projects,” he says. The Arizona Republic reporter Karen Fernau contributed to this story.




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at home with

the ce le br ity che f is co o king up mo r e de signs fo r he r f ur nitur e br and



achael Ray talks fast — faster than most. You’d expect her to be spent by the end of the day, but she says she has little need for rest. “I don’t sleep much — maybe five hours a night,” the TV personality says. “I try and exhaust myself. I’ll wake up and make notes or I’ll get a diet ginger ale or some Smartwater and

watch Columbo until I fall asleep again.” It’s not surprising that the 48-year-old entrepreneur has built a cooking empire that includes a syndicated daytime show, Food Network series, more than 25 cookbooks, a magazine (Rachael Ray Every Day), consumer food products and a line of cookware. “I don’t sit idly by. I’m terrible having a day off with no



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ST Y LE + C O M FO RT Rachael Ray’s current collections offer three distinctive looks: SOHO Chosen for her apartment in New York City, this line is “midcentury modern — mostly Italian and Danish,” Ray says. “It’s based on my love of Gio Ponti (an Italian architect and furniture designer) and Scandinavian artists.”


UPSTATE Ray describes it as “a rustic Italian vibe,” which she chose for her Adirondacks home. “I see it as well-used European.” HIGHLINE “I like an urban clean line with a slightly industrial look, especially for men and millennials,” says Ray, who created this line “for life in the city.” — Nancy Mills

purpose. It freaks me out,” the Emmy Award-winning TV host notes. Now, she is taking the next steps toward a complete Rachael Ray lifestyle brand. Already in stores are three furniture lines that Ray designed — Soho, Upstate and Highline, with a total of 130 pieces — and she plans to double that number within a year. “I want pieces that work in multiple rooms and have more than one purpose,” she says. The furniture, which is manufactured by Legacy Classic Furniture and Craftmaster Furniture, is available nationwide. Also in the works are lighting, rugs, casual dining furniture, kitchen storage, plus two additional furniture lines — all designed by Ray. Rachael Ray Youth will start at age 5 and is designed to carry young consumers into their first dorm room or apartment. The other line is called Cinema. “I watch a lot of old movies, and I wanted something easy and elegant,” Ray says. “If I lived on the West Coast, I’d want to decorate like this.” However, she has no intention of leaving the East Coast, where she and her husband, lawyer John Cusimano, have a home in the Adirondacks of upstate New York and an apartment in New York City. Michael Murray, general manager of Rachael Ray Home, is the catalyst who turned Ray into a home furnishings designer. They

met about four years ago and Murray is married to Rachael Ray COO John Hall. “I’m a designer, but because I lived so many years in Wisconsin renovating houses, I joke, ‘I’m a handyman from Wisconsin.’” Murray says. “Rachael is a very literal person, so when something went wrong with her house, she thought, ‘Handyman. I need Mike to get over there and fix it.’” When he arrived, Murray was impressed. “I was amazed how well curated and beautifully decorated Rachael’s apartment was,” he says. “I asked her who decorated it and she said, ‘I did. I love design. I wish I could design my own furniture because there are no pieces out there that do what I want them to do.’ “I told her, ‘People should know about this. Everybody thinks you just cook, but you love this stuff. You should tell your story.’ I was a big advocate.” Ray started doodling in her recipe notebooks and showed her designs to Murray. “It all started because somebody liked my house!” she says, still slightly incredulous. “Rachael wants to have beauty but everything has to work technically,” Murray says. “She’ll give me her doodles, and I’ll bring back samples, thinking I’ve translated them successfully, and she’ll say, ‘Nope.’ She has full veto power.” Murray gives an example: Ray’s garbage bowl, into which she tosses dirty



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want to be the best value.” Decorating her own homes was important to Ray, who takes the task very personally. “I’ll hire contractors to come in and hang wallpaper, but I’ll pick the wallpaper. I consider all my furniture and artwork to be a reflection and a reminder of where I’ve been. I like the security that comes with knowing the story behind every single thing in my home.” Not surprisingly, her favorite room is the kitchen. “I spend most of my time in my kitchen upstate,” she says. “I built it as one great room, so I can see from one end of the house to the other.” Ray, who grew up primarily in upstate New York, has never strayed far from her roots. She started her career at Macy’s Marketplace candy counter in New York City before hosting a cooking show and becoming a local personality on a Schenectady, N.Y., TV station. She moved to Food Network in 2001. Throughout Ray’s life, she has relied on her home as a sanctuary. “Walking into a clean house that’s visually pleasing — that I’m proud to share with friends — is calming,” she says. “It improves my quality of life. It’s a hug. “I love a home that feels like a living, breathing thing. When I’m not there, it’s living its life without me — and I don’t mean that stuffed animals come alive. My home reflects my life

I WA NT P IE CE S THAT WORK IN MULTIP LE ROOMS A ND HAV E MORE THA N ONE P URP OS E .” and my personality.” That personality includes the drive that Ray seems to have always possessed. “When I was a child, my nickname was ‘Little Hoot’ because I was a night owl. My mom always let me get out of bed if I was doing something creative — drawing, painting, reading or making something with my erector set.” Years later, she’s still building, and her mom remains a major inspiration and influence in her life. “I come from people who love work. We never looked for balance,” says Ray, whose mom worked 80 to 100 hours a week in restaurants for 60 years. “She brought us to work and taught us responsibility and work ethic when I could barely walk. “I’m a pale comparison to my mom. She’s a wonderful cook and a great home decorator. I love getting her advice on recipes and design. Everything I do is a reflection of her and how I was raised. I go to work to please myself and make her proud.”


utensils and food scraps while she cooks. “When she told me she wanted a garbage bowl in the island, I thought she meant the garbage bowl from her show,” he says. “I brought her the sample, and she said, ‘No. Cut a hole through the top (of the island) and give me a stainless steel sleeve so I can wash it in the dishwasher. The garbage bowl goes right inside.’” “When you work in restaurants, you work on a long stretch of sideboard, which has a hole in it, and a garbage bucket underneath,” Ray notes. “I want that for the home cook.” Though she appreciates luxury, Ray isn’t targeting the wealthy. “The quality of your life is not necessarily based on your bank account,” she says. “When I was a kid, we lived checkto-check, but we made time for each other.” (She has an older sister, Maria, and a younger brother, Emmanuel.) “No matter how poor we were, our stoop was always swept. Our clothes and our shoes were always clean and tidy.” Murray says that’s reflected in the price points for Ray’s products. “She keeps it simple and easy and absolutely affordable,” he says. “We went for the middle of the market. She’s very much like the customers she designs for.” “In some stores, we’re the least expensive line,” Ray adds. “In others, we’re the most expensive. I never want to be the cheapest. I

Ray designs furnishings for nearly every room.





our home is likely your largest investment — no space should be wasted. So, consider: How often do guests actually sleep in that guest room? Do you dine in the dining room? Can you make room in your attic for something more than just old clothes and holiday decorations?


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You may have a spare room just waiting for your creative touch. From hobby hideouts to man caves, a place that rekindles your interests and rejuvenates a neglected room isn’t just a trend — it’s almost a given. Some consider these rooms a luxury, while others deem them a necessity, a slice of sanity, a part of who they are in this world. A 2016 U.S. Houzz & Home survey found that more than two-thirds of homeowners visiting Houzz.com planned to include a recreational area in their new custom-built homes. The most popular were gaming and entertainment rooms, followed by home gyms, libraries, home theaters and kids’ playrooms.


“Life is short. If something makes you happy, make it yours.” — FRED WILSON, MORGANTE WILSON ARCHITECTS



Imagine a fanciful escape devoted to your vintage china collection and high tea parties; a refuge for knitting, reading and book club meetings; a secret screening room decorated with posters and wall decal quotes from favorite flicks. “We encourage design that is personal, interesting, and classic — fresh, but not

trendy,” says Allison Bloom of Dehn Bloom Design in Mill Valley, Calif. “Rooms that encourage socializing with friends and family or support long-term hobbies will always be useful and in style.” Over-garage spaces, attics, basements, backyard sheds or simple prefab, customizable structures such as those by Studio Shed (studio-shed. com) are all ripe for a fantasy. If not a full room, steal an alcove, closet or under-stairs niche for your passion — whether that’s midcentury glass and pottery or collecting and listening to vinyl albums. While designers suggest the room stay cohesive with other décor in your home, no rule book says you can’t indulge in a radical departure. One client asked Elissa Morgante and Fred Wilson, co-principals of Morgante Wilson Architects, an architecture and interior design firm in Evanston, Ill., to craft an old-world gym in a raw attic space. “We tricked it out with heavy timbers and beams — it was very different than the rest of the house,” Wilson says. The firm has also tucked gift-wrap rooms into hallway closets with flip-down work surfaces and wall-mounted spools for paper and ribbons. “Life is short. If something makes you happy, make it yours,” Wilson says. “Interest-specific rooms and amenities elevate the experience of living in, and enjoying, your home. Building them with future flexibility in mind almost always ensures maximum enjoyment now and maximum resale opportunities later.”



Ready to create and nurture your specialty room? Designers generally agree on this approach: Set a budget; know your goals for using the space; enlist a designer; and make it personal. Your theme will dictate the budget, layout, time frame and any required construction permits. As part of her Charleston. S.C., home’s ongoing makeover, home and lifestyle blogger Nikki Boyd of athomewithnikki.com finds a photo of a room that’s similar to what she wants. “Not a space to mimic, but one that gives you that special feeling of how you want your space to feel when you are in it,” she explains. Next, create a shopping list based on essential items that determine the room’s layout and purpose, followed by accessories, says Cheryl

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Eisen, president and CEO of Interior Marketing Group in New York City. “Early-stage planning and budgeting ensure spending doesn’t get out of hand,” she says. Scout around for items you already have. “Remember that the room’s function might be specific, but its design should not be permanent in case you ever tire of your original concept.” Then find a professional you like, trust and can communicate with, advises Jason Cameron, star of DIY Network's Man Caves. “Someone who understands what you’re trying to achieve,” he says. Check their references. They should be licensed and insured. To help avoid unforeseen issues, Cameron assists homeowners with extensive research and planning. He adds a minimum of 10 percent to the final budget to cover any unexpected hiccups. If you need some inspiration for a long-term specialty room, you can’t go wrong with one of these top choices by design professionals:

THE HOBBY/COLLECTIBLE ROOM Gone are the days when most hobbies involved stamps, baseball cards or sewing machines. Our dynamic use of leisure time — and our modern desire to make the most of every minute — has prompted a fresh wave of dedicated spaces in which to cultivate a plethora of different pastimes. Interior designers urge clients to make the leap enthusiastically, yet with a dose of realism. Short-term interests and passing fads need not apply. While architects at Morgante Wilson specialize in full-home designs, they frequently work with clients to create customized spaces. As an avid model railroad enthusiast himself, Wilson had long toyed with the notion of a train room but debated allocating square footage to his pursuit. “Ultimately, my wife and I decided that because of



the enormous joy and satisfaction a train room would bring, it was worth the cost,” says Wilson, who spent about $5,000 on materials for the train table and surfaces where the trains run, as well as the built-ins and shelves where trains are stored. Of course, the outcome was “priceless,” he adds. As a design expert, Wilson had a strong vision for his collection’s display and railroad track layout. “But most clients need some assistance expressing what they want the space to be and some guidance in understanding the possibilities,” Morgante says. “Once we draw that out, we explore ideas together before committing to the final design.” Boyd turned her home’s den into a combination studio/craft room. During the week, it serves as an office where she blogs and films for her YouTube channel. After business hours, it morphs into a haven for do-it-yourself projects. “A simple built-in houses my materials. When I open the cabinet in the evenings and on weekends, it beams with inspiration and instantly transforms the room into a craft space. Its vibrant colors differ from the otherwise neutral space, so the room has a different feel depending on what I am using it for at the time,” she says.


The man cave trend has more staying power than most beards. Homeowners haven’t shaved a bit off their attraction to them. And the men who hole up in these finely tailored lairs are seemingly having a blast. Not every family can dedicate a whole room for exclusive use by the man of the house. But if he’ll settle for a versatile zone with a masculine touch, there’s your starting point. The best caves cater to the way he likes to kick back and unwind. One man’s baseball-themed Irish tavern is another man’s souped-up garage with car-detailing kit, sports gear storage and tinkering workshop. Backyard chess-and-cigar lounges with cognac trays and leather club chairs are ultra-swanky without chiseling into the home turf. Cameron says, “Keep it realistic,” no matter your man’s style. “People

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tend to go a little crazy when they start planning, but it doesn’t need to be a major project. Repurpose existing materials to create something new and use paint in creative ways to keep your costs down.” Dig out a few nostalgic photos, a meaningful jersey or trophy or a special Father’s Day drawing to showcase with pride. Unearth board games to spark a game-night tradition. Install a wood-burning fireplace, says Cameron, for a warm, den-like atmosphere. A family in San Francisco that loves to entertain designed a penthouse cave in concert with designer Allison Bloom. They

refer to the room as the Skybar, and despite its name, it’s very kid-friendly, with pool, pingpong and TV as well as snacks and drinks for all ages, including the couple’s 12- and 18-year-olds. Bloom converted the top floor with a 12-foot leather banquette, its own dishwasher and dishes, and retro games like dominoes and tic-tac-toe. She painted the lower half of the walls a dark navy to create drama and coziness and to make the low ceilings feel higher. Mirrored tiles on the bar’s back wall enliven a dark corner. Lighting and furniture — a little edgy and sexy for their traditional home — makes it a special destination.


Amassing good vino faster than you can drink it isn’t a bad “problem” to have! Stylish solutions to showcase your collection while maintaining its integrity abound. Just ask the growing number of businesses that specialize in enclaves that honor a sip of the good life. Casual collectors to serious connoisseurs have called on Christopher Brandon, president and principal architect of Brandon Architects in Costa Mesa, Calif. All receive rooms that focus on their personal connection to the wine rather than the wine itself. “You like what you like, so reflect that individuality,” Brandon says. “But functionality is important no matter


how creative the presentation. The wine needs to be accessible and the labels easy to read.” Once you calculate the size of your collection (and decide where you plan to cap it), determine whether the area will be air-conditioned or chilled. “This determines everything from the type of enclosure to its location,” Brandon says. “Chilling requires insulating the space and providing room for the AC equipment and a condenser that goes

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outside, which (drives) up the overall cost” and requires a design professional or general contractor. “The cost varies quite a lot based on what a client is looking for,” he says. “It could range between $5,000 and $30,000. It is really dependent on whether or not a wine cooling system is installed and the walls and door are insulated.” If you forgo the fancy cooling system, you can pop the cork on borrowing real estate from nearly any nook in the home, as long as it’s protected from sunlight and extreme fluctuations in temperature. “Do you want it to be a focal point or a hidden surprise?” Brandon asks. Racking options allow abundant storage in modest space, though spacing out the bottles yields a more stunning display. “Don’t be afraid to think outside the bottle!” A sleek built-in across the living room wall packs a juicy “wow” factor, as does a clever alcove doused in mood-lighting under the stairs. Make a first impression with a glass-door entry closet (formerly for coats), or integrate your stash in the pantry or kitchen. Ample space, such as a basement cellar, warrants a tasting area for sampling surrounded by your finds. While traditional Mediterranean themes reign, many collectors keep the design of their storage areas consistent with the rest of the house. In the heart of Manhattan, the contemporary Place 57 residence was re-imagined by architecture and interior design firm GRADE New York, after a renowned United Kingdombased asset manager purchased it from Oprah Winfrey some years ago. The owner gave GRADE carte blanche to create a distinct pied-a-terre where his custom-designed wine cabinet now glows on a prominent corner between the dining and living room spaces. “We illuminated the collection from within as a hospitable gesture,” says partner Thomas Hickey. “The cabinet invites family, friends and guests to make a selection of their choice.” By placing the wine front and center, GRADE believes the cabinet nearly whispers, “Help yourself; this is for you,” Hickey says.



What’s on trend Design experts predict what you’ll ask for this year: → Woman caves and “she sheds” counter the trend of letting the guys have all the fun. → Home offices that double as libraries.




A pint-sized space and shoestring budget can accommodate this less-is-more of specialty rooms. As our thoughts begin to race and our schedules struggle to keep pace, this meaningful sanctuary beckons as a place that reminds us to be mindful. Designed to banish stress and promote daily wellness for mind, body and soul, this clutter-free oasis should engage and soothe the senses, says Eisen of Interior Marketing Group. “Some meditate in dark, windowless rooms; others prefer to relax in the bright calm of sun-bathed rooms with an indoor garden. Knowing your intentions will help architects and designers best cater to you.” Whether as a yoga studio or a quiet spot for reflection, most clients seek a Zen palette with muted paint colors. Skylights, windows and open doors incorporate the natural world with a splash of vitamin D. “Lounging areas coupled with a small refreshment station with lemon water, scented candles, a water feature or even an ambient sound system create an at-home spa,” she says.

→ Bunk rooms for sleepovers and extended family. → Backyard hideouts used as sleeping cabanas, greenhouses or fitness studios. → Old-school “rec rooms” where teens and adults can play pool, pingpong and cards. → Music practice rooms that house instruments and a performance area.



Excitement and comfort meet the cinematic technologies of light and sound in this experiential room most everyone can agree on. A dark escape free from cellphones, foot traffic and other distractions invites the whole gang to hunker down and catch a movie or binge on a favorite TV series. Those with deep pockets might splurge on A-list architectural enhancements that harken back to classic movie houses or on heatedseat recliners with cup holders and massage options. Even DIY-ers can stock retro candy in glass pedestal jars and offer an inviting mix of seating. A romantic screening room for two might spice up your movie nights. Larger theaters produce a new hub for Super Bowl parties, a chick flick and mimosas, video game competitions or karaoke parties. In repurposing a spare bedroom to feature five compact, affordable recliners and a flat-screen TV, blogger Boyd ensured all elements were removable, including the built-in bar and platform for the second row. “If we ever decide to change the space or sell our home, we can easily

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transform our media room back to a bedroom,” she says. A beverage fridge, treat drawer and seasonal throw pillows complete the space. Eisen suggests a dark paint or textured walls paired with dimming lights and privacy shades or blackout curtains. “If the room will double as a guest bedroom, office or playroom, opt for comfortable couches, love seats or even bean bags. Then take it to the next level with a vintage popcorn machine.” Cinema Design Group in Boca Raton, Fla., blends performance with aesthetics for its clients. “The priority is always acoustics,” says president Brad Bergoine. “The room has to sound great.” After that, the sky is the limit. The firm recently designed a sci-fi home theater for serious fans of the Stargate series. From a starry LED ceiling to replica water portals to other worlds on the walls, the theme is out of this world. “Before you buy anything, get your design down on paper, including seating layouts, speaker placement, acoustic panels, wire management, site line analysis and soundproofing,” Bergoine advises. “And spend more of your budget on speakers. While AV receivers, projectors and other components change often, you will rarely change your speakers. Get the best you can afford up front.”


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The average U.S. home has up to 8 connected devices




IN SYNC Connected devices turn homes into high-tech centers of automation and fun BY MARGARET LITTMAN



here are more smart-home products on the market than you can imagine: cameras, thermostats, lights, smoke detectors and, yes, even toasters and slow cookers. Smart-home options are becoming more affordable and accessible to a wide range of customers, says Mick Koster, general manager and vice president of Iris Smart Home Management Systems, a line of integrated smart-home products sold at Lowe’s. However, just because a plethora of smart products are available doesn’t mean they’re what you need. While it might be tempting to run out and purchase dozens of tech devices to update your place, a little research and analysis of your home will help you narrow down your shopping list. Most devices fall into one of two categories. The first includes products that Jason Johnson, CEO of August Home, a company that manufactures smart security devices, calls “painkillers” — something that prevents or solves a problem.



ASK THESE QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU BUY Not all smart-home devices are created equal. Which features will work best for you?


HOW DO I WANT TO CONTROL THE DEVICE? Maybe you prefer one app that controls multiple devices, instead of one for each. Find out whether each product works with others you already own. Know your criteria before you shop.


HOW DOES IT WORK? You don’t need to become an engineer or a coder, but you should understand whether the devices you are considering use Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, an independent hub or another option.



reliable Internet connection, then you don’t want a cloud-based system. If that connection fails, you won’t be able to access your apps.


CAN I CONSOLIDATE? “Right now there is a race to build ecosystems that are walled off from one another,” says Carley Knobloch, HGTV Smart Home 2017 tech expert and digital lifestyle expert on Today. Your thermostat might be part of Apple’s HomeKit, but if your smart lock only works with Nest thermostats, they won’t talk to each other. It’s better to look at creating your dream system; then buy slowly,

knowing that all the things you want will likely work together in the future.


CAN I INSTALL IT/SET IT UP MYSELF? Many of today’s smart-home devices are do-it-yourself. Instead of having an alarm company come out to install wired sensors on your doors and windows, you can plug and play on your own. Some lock systems are designed to work with your current deadbolts and keys; others replace the existing mechanism. Read the instructions before you buy to determine whether you need a professional to get you started.

S TAY SEC U R E u Create a solid password for your home Wi-Fi network, says Roel Peeters, CEO of Roost, a company that makes smart devices.

u Use devices that aren’t connected to Wi-Fi and a system with a secure hub at home, says Mitch Klein, executive director of Z-Wave Alliance, a global consortium of 450 firms using Z-Wave interoperability technology.

u Refer to the manual to learn about extra controls you can add to your devices to enhance safety, says Kevin Robinson of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Lock your doors or check your thermostat from anywhere.

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updates to your device’s firmware, the software permanently installed on your device, bimonthly, says Robinson.


u Check for

For example, sensors can now detect humidity or temperature changes that may indicate leaks from a pipe under a sink or rising water in the basement that, if not caught early, could end up costing thousands of dollars in damage. There are also painkillers that assist with smaller tasks, such as turning off your decorative outdoor LED lights remotely through an app or through a timer so you don’t have to walk outside. The second category is designated for toys — items that are fun before function — that tell jokes, play games or stream music by voice control. According to the international research firm Statista, U.S. consumers will buy about $10.4 million worth of smart-home devices in 2017, and that number is projected to grow annually by 22 percent for the next four years. That’s a lot of voice- and app-activated controls. Right now, about one-third of U.S. households have some kind of smart-home technology; by 2021, it will be closer to two-thirds, according to Statista. The average U.S. home has eight connected devices, says Kevin Robinson, vice president of marketing at Wi-Fi Alliance, an international group of companies that offers Wi-Fi products. There are 45 connected devices in Koster’s home, where his kids enjoy comparing jokes told by Amazon’s voice-activated Alexa or Google Home.

A product’s ability to interface with other devices is what makes it “smart.”


2021 About twothirds of homes will have smart-home technology by 2021 — Statista

WHAT LIES BENEATH Sometimes, it’s not enough to know that the lock you’re buying will open your door without a key. You also want to understand how your devices work. A product’s ability to interface with other devices is what makes it “smart.” If you want a coffee maker that starts brewing when your alarm clock goes off, it’s helpful to know the basics of how those two devices sync with one another. Knowing how they communicate also means you’ll know what to do if connections fail. In general, to make a lamp go from something that requires a manual flip of the switch to “smart,” you need sensors, such as motion controls that do what they are told to do (such as lock or unlock the door or adjust the thermostat). In addition to sensors, “smart” products need the protocol that enables them to talk to each other, regardless of brand. This is what the pros call “interoperability.” Pay attention to what you buy and how it works (likely by using smartphone apps, communication hubs or cloud-based services) to foster connections among different branded products until there are standard protocols.

Ask Google Home questions aloud, and it verbally responds.


Make sure your devices will sync with one another.


August Doorbell Camera: See who’s ringing your doorbell, even when you’re not home. Want the UPS driver to leave a package inside? You can unlock the door when he rings. $199.99, Brookstone

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AirSense monitor: Get alerts about air quality, including room temperature and humidity levels, and handle some ionic air purifying, all from a device that is stylish enough to be mistaken for artwork. $149.95, Home Depot

Roost Smart Water and Freeze Detector: Find out when you have a water leak or if your basement pipes have frozen with this battery-operated, Wi-Fi-enabled device. $49.99, shop.getroost.com

Sense: Think of this as a FitBit for your house. Instead of monitoring steps and workouts, it keeps track by electric usage of appliances and devices, so you can figure out how to be more energy efficient. $299, sense.com

Centriq Home: No more hunting for instructions at 3 a.m. when the alarm is going off. Keep track of all the manuals in one app. And, it’s free. centriqhome.com


Smart home devices are all about personal preference. Whether you’re using them in the living room, kitchen, garage, office or for security, they’re customizable to meet your specific needs. Here are five of the newest to try:

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INSPIRATION Three interior designers share their philosophies on home décor BY DIANA LAMBDIN MEYER

HE TASK OF SELECTING interior design elements can be daunting for many homeowners. With myriad choices in furniture, flooring, paint, fabric and color, a trip to a design center can be overwhelming. But for Sheryl Scruggs, Lindsay Chambers and Robert Brown, three of today’s most talented designers, few things are more exhilarating than home design. Art, accessories, lighting — these bring life, beauty and functionality to a living space. Whether you find yourself in the daunted or exhilarated category, you may find inspiration from the ideas offered by these formidable designers — each with a distinct perspective on home décor.

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Life experience is the best tool any interior designer — amateur or professional — brings to a room, according to Sheryl Scruggs, whose Bronze Interiors design business caters ence for guests,” to residential and says Scruggs. commercial clients “Take a serious in the Washington, look at your hotel D.C., and Baltimore space and think areas. about how you feel “A designer is (there).” only as good She as his or her says such exposure experiences to the should help world,” says amateur Scruggs, designers who SHERYL “edit” their believes SCRUGGS home space, travel is a facebook. com/bronze eliminating key factor in interiors all but those helping to things that develop and are beautifine-tune a ful and purposeful. sense of taste and Travel trinkets and style. family heirlooms, “The hotel and while filled with hospitality indussentiment and tries are merging personal value, can with residential frequently clog an design in an attempt to create that otherwise clean homelike experidesign.

“It’s tough to do, but if you’re serious about design, either redesign around the piece or pass the heirloom on to a family member who will use it properly,” she says, noting that not all travel souvenirs are created equal. The best design element in which to invest is original art, which “can change a room more than anything,” she says. “Art can activate a room and anchor a space, and it holds its value more than any other item in your home.” At the same time, Scruggs is all about the detail in interior design. One of the simplest steps to updating a room’s look is replacing the hardware on doors and cabinets. These little elements bring magic to a space, she says.

FAVORITE ROOM The bedroom, “because it’s where we start our day. It sets the tone for the day ahead, and then sets the tone for our rest.” While all room design should be inviting and nurturing, Scruggs believes the bedroom has the greatest physiological influence on our well-being. Her tips: ■ Lighting should be recessed or on a dimmer; pillows should be abundant and dresser space should not be cluttered with unnecessary knickknacks. ■ Headboards are not required for a bed to be complete, especially if the right piece of art hangs above it.


■ Invest in high quality linens. ■ Never put a television or exercise equipment in a bedroom, but always include a small splash of red, no matter the color scheme. Red represents passion, something that should be present in all bedrooms.


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With locations transitional design, in Los Angeles and that delicate the San Francisco balance of old and Bay area, Lindsay new. She’s not Chambers spends opposed to selecta lot of time in ing furniture and and between both accessories from of these vibrant different eras as cities, and her style long as these items reflects complement that. one another. The San “This will Francisco help keep native is the space drawn to from feeling LINDSAY the undisjointed, CHAMBERS derstated, which can lindsay often happen if chambers .com traditional transitional elegance design is found in many not successfully houses there. executed,” she says. Currently an L.A. The most resident, Chambers important factor to also appreciates the remember is what smart boldness and Chambers calls sometimes flashy “the dialogue with design of the city’s current lines in many contempoyour home.” rary homes. To introduce It’s no wonder the transitional that she has aesthetic in an othbecome a fan of erwise traditional


space, Chambers suggests an update in fabrics, such as window treatments with clean lines. That’s what she is currently doing for her mother’s Palo Alto, Calif., home, which hasn’t had a makeover in nearly 10 years — just about the right time, Chambers says, to take a serious look at a room redo. “I recommend revisiting and refreshing current furnishings at least once per decade to keep your home from feeling dated,” she says. “Repainting your room in a color that is currently in style is by far the easiest way to update a room to feel more modern without breaking the bank.”

Kitchens, “because they are the heart of the home — the center of daily life,” and master bathrooms. “I enjoy the challenge of creating a space that needs to be functional and durable while also warm, inviting and beautiful,” Chambers says. “Providing ample storage and easy access to whatever tool the cook needs is a fun challenge.” New light fixtures are a simple update

Lindsay Chambers can transform almost any corner of a home into a stylish, comfortable and functional space.

that helps set the tone for the kitchen. Although upgrading pendants may require electrical modifications or patching and painting, it really pays off. She’s currently using a lot of bronze in kitchen designs. In the master bath, Chambers adds that she is obsessed with creating a spalike experience for her clients, “a place for them to escape the world,” she says.



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room a blank canvas; then draw a tic-tac-toe grid over the image. The centers of interest for the space lie somewhere along those lines, particularly at the intersections. When you employ this technique, furniture and art that should be the focal point of a room will ideally fall within those parameters. Overdesigning, such as putting too much in a space or having items competing for attention, is a common mistake that Brown believes can be avoided by implementing the rule of thirds. “Some things simply need to be a backdrop,” he says, recognizing that interior design is usually driven by one’s instinct and often follows no rules whatsoever.

The dining room, because “I love bringing people together and there’s no better way to do that than with a good meal in a comfortable setting.” Brown believes that all dining rooms should have dramatic lighting and “spectacular” art that contributes to the conversations. Whatever media is reflected in the art selection, it should all have a common theme, such as the frame style, the color or the subject matter. Dining rooms are also a lot of fun to design, Brown says. Although not all homes have formal dining spaces these days, he forecasts a return of this distinct room in home design.


An early career a traditionalist and in fashion helped advises against launch Robert buying significant Brown’s current elements just and more satisfying because they are professional work “trendy.” in interior design, The most though he still important lesson looks to he shares fashion as with his an indicaclients is tion of the the concept future of of scale and décor. proportion, “Fashion an idea ROBERT and interior that some BROWN robertbrown design remay find interiordesign flect each difficult to .com other in grasp. many ways, The with color as the challenge comes most prominent in thinking beyond force,” says Brown, the size of the room who has witnessed while considering a fair amount of the relationship pastels, mauve of each piece to and gray at recent everything else in runway events. the space. Although he’s “I’m a big befamiliar with them, liever in thinking in Brown doesn’t thirds,” the Atlantafocus too much based designer on the latest says, referencing trends in design. standard artistic Using antiques and guidelines used by classical design photographers and as inspiration, he other visual artists. considers himself Consider the







Kitchens have evolved into the epicenter of many homes. Our experts share the latest trends in color, cabinetry and more to add style to a traditionally utilitarian space.



White and gray combine for a modern, clean look that’s popular with many homeowners.

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New ideas make kitchens as stylish as they are functional


BY PEGGY J. NOONAN n the past, kitchens were designed as separate parts of the home. Their colors, cabinets and styles were unique to that space. Now designers are integrating the kitchen into a whole-home harmonious look. “People really want the whole house to flow together,” says Sarah Fishburne, Home Depot’s director of trend and design. With homeowners’ preference for open floor plans, it’s the kitchen that really connects the living spaces, says Laura Britt, owner and principal of her self-named design company in Austin. As such, it has to serve as an area for entertaining, food preparation and family gatherings. How do homeowners merge function and style to achieve the perfect kitchen space? Follow these trends:


COLOR “White, white and white” is still the most popular kitchen color, says Fishburne. “There’s something very nostalgic about white that (many) of us gravitate toward,” she adds. People want “something that’s timeless — that’s always going to feel very updated and fresh,” she explains, and white fits. Gray, which is often used to complement white, will continue to be a top choice for kitchen color schemes, says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at SherwinWilliams.


Many of today’s kitchens offer an abundance of space, allowing for creative displays of dishes, home accessories and food.

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For those who desire more forgiving colors in their busy kitchens where spills and splatters happen, black and various shades of blue are rising in popularity, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2017 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends report. Two-toned kitchens are also on trend, and few tones complement one another better than black and white. Jule Eller, director of style, trend and décor at Lowe’s,

says white still reigns for countertops, but the biggest kitchen trend right now is incorporating black-andwhite wall tile, cabinet hardware, faucets and accessories into the popular all-white color scheme.

CABINET STYLES More homeowners are requesting the seamless, minimalist look of Scandinavian and Shaker-style cabinets, Wadden says. (Most Scandinavian cabinets

have flat, smooth doors; Shaker cabinets are usually simple, rectangular frames over a recessed panel.) While homeowners gravitate toward simple and minimalist on the exterior of cabinets, what’s offered inside is evolving as kitchens become more functional for work and entertainment. Appliance garages, which keep coffeemakers, blenders and smoothie machines out of sight when they’re not in use, make tools easily





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With a multitude of options, here’s how to choose the best design element for you: Take time to think about how you will use the space, Lowe’s Jule Eller advises. “Make the space fit your lifestyle instead of working your life around the space.” Be sure you’ll be comfortable living with your choices, adds Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets. “Styles will always be changing and evolving,” she says. “One key thing that will never go out of style is functionality.” With good planning, Sarah Fishburne of Home Depot says you can end up with a beautiful, great-functioning kitchen. — Peggy J. Noonan

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COUNTERTOP MATERIALS Engineered quartz, which Fishburne prefers because it is antimicrobial and doesn’t scratch, is the most popular countertop material. It resembles natural stone, she says, but doesn’t need the upkeep and sealing that mined materials require. Granite is in second place, trending downward, according to the NKBA Trends report. Consider maintenance before choosing a countertop material, Britt advises. How easy will it be to use and maintain? She likes Dekton products because they require minimal maintenance, need no sealing and are heat-resistant. “You can take something out of your oven and set it directly on the countertop with no scorching, no problem at all,” Britt says. Want fun and functional? Formica Corporation is introducing its Writable Surfaces in chalkboard and marker options this year, says the company’s senior design manager Gerri Chmiel. These durable surfaces for countertops, backsplashes, tables and more “provide a new platform for homeowners to stay connected, manage schedules, jot down a recipe,” Chmiel says. Children also can draw and doodle without harming the durable surface. Mixing materials is another growing trend in countertops and islands, according to Eller. For example, she says “a marble countertop can be layered with a butcher block for functionality and interest.” People are also choosing a contrasting material for the island instead of matching it with their other countertops.

PREP PANTRIES Open kitchen designs are great but they have a downside — there’s no place to hide food prep messes. Many people are demanding a secondary space, such as a butler’s pantry or caterer’s


Before you decide...

accessible via pullout shelves, Britt says. Some have electrical outlets built into the cabinet and lighting, she adds. Customized lighting in and under cabinets also is a newer feature in cabinetry. “Usually we would specify LED lighting as it doesn’t cause heat buildup inside the cabinet,” Britt explains. Cabinetry innovations are also happening below the countertops, where pull-down shelves and deep drawers (instead of shelves) make kitchens more user-friendly.

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C ompact Appliances BIGGER DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN BETTER. Instead of tying up space with large, blocky appliances that can only fit in one place, new designs are putting space-saving compact refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, washers and washer-dryer combinations where we need — and want — to use them.

RE FRIGE RATORS Samsung’s 12-cubic-foot Chef Collection compact refrigerator with bottom freezer is only 24-by-76 inches. $2,996.10, Home Depot

kitchen that can be a little less tidy than the main kitchen because it’s not visible to the rest of the home, Britt says. “We’ll locate a dishwasher and even cooking appliances and food storage” in that out-of-sight area.

BETTER APPLIANCE TECHNOLOGY KitchenAid has just introduced a dishwasher with a glass front window that allows you to see inside the machine, says Fishburne. While most dishwashers come with indicator lights that help track the machine’s progress, the new glass-door version allows you to see when a cycle has ended. New refrigerators have added even more convenient options such as multilevel French doors, pullout freezer drawers and sections that allow you to change a refrigerated space into a freezer or turn a freezer drawer into a cooler as needed. One of Britt’s favorite improvements is side-opening ovens so “you’re not reaching over a hot door to remove your hot item out of the oven.” Topping Britt’s list of best new design trends is the “life altering” convenience and flexibility of steam ovens. She was skeptical, but after she tried a Gaggenau compact 400-series steam oven, Britt says it “has become our go-to appliance in the kitchen. It holds a tremendous amount of food” and functions as an oven or steamer, cooking food “almost as fast as the microwave.” Britt also recommends the induction cooktop. These electric appliances convert electricity into magnetic force, which creates heat without flame or electric burner coils to cook food almost instantaneously, Britt says. Unlike other stoves, the Gaggenau 491’s entire surface is a cooktop. It detects pots, pans or griddles no matter where you put them on its surface and lets you control heat to each individually. j

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Frigidaire 4.5-cubic-foot freestanding compact refrigerator with freezer compartment, 22 inches wide. $299, Lowe’s

RA NGE S GE’s Smooth Surface freestanding 3-cubic-foot self-cleaning electric range is 24 inches wide. $899, Lowe’s Hotpoint’s very compact

WA S HE RS LG’s SideKick Pedestal Washer adds a 1.0-cubic-foot washer disguised as a pedestal beneath your current machine. It fits most LG front-load washers (more recent models). $577.80, Home Depot Kenmore’s 2.4-cubic-foot compact front-load washer with steam technology offers 14 wash cycles and four installation configurations. $884.99, Sears

2.4-cubic-foot electric range is among the smaller ranges at 20 inches wide. $467.10, Home Depot

DIS HWA S HE RS Frigidaire’s 18-inch front-control dishwasher with UltraQuiet III sound package fits up to 12 place settings. $584.10, Home Depot

WA S HE R- DRY E R COMBOS LG’s 2.3-cubic-foot high efficiency, all-in-one front-load washer and dryer. $1,529.10, Home Depot Frigidaire high-efficiency 3.8-cubic-foot top-load washer and 5.5-cubicfeet electric dryer (stacked). $1,439.10, Home Depot


Built-in shelving keeps blenders and other appliances nearby, but off countertops.

Electrolux 52-decibel built-in dishwasher with five wash levels is 18 inches wide. $854, Lowe’s

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The bathroom gets a much-needed update BY JENNIFER E. MABRY


The ubiquity of smart technology has breached the washroom! Decorative-plumbing specialist Grant has a message for those who like to linger in a steamy shower while listening to their favorite music through integrated speakers: “You’re not alone.” Remote wall-mount systems are gaining in popularity by adding convenience to comfort. The ThermaTouch, created by ThermaSol (thermasol.com), allows users to control the music, the amount of steam and lighting options with an in-shower touchscreen.

SUPER SOAKERS While few people have time to luxuriate in their bathtubs daily, Jen Grant, with The KB (Kitchen and Bath) Studio in Boulder, Colo., says the tub remains an important feature, particularly if a homeowner is ever in the market to sell. She sees a trend that finds the standard tiled-in tub being replaced with a

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free-standing soaker tub that provides a sculptural element. The Chelsea tub by Hastings Tile and Bath (hastingstilebath.com) is an option to consider. Made of a stone composite material, called “silk,” expressed in a comfortable, contemporary design, it is durable and stain-resistant.


hether you’re planning a full-on remodel or simply considering some moderate upgrades, these trends that are making a splash with designers and homeowners can bring convenience, simplification and a touch of luxury to one’s water closet, no matter the size:

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FLOATING FIXTURES If you’re thinking of remodeling your powder room and seeking a way to increase the space, consider a wall-hung toilet. “(They’re) ideal for a small powder bathroom,” says Grant. “(The tank and pipes are) on the inside of the wall and it gives you more knee clear-

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ance because you’re scooting everything back into the wall.” These units can be mounted by height to accommodate those in wheelchairs or who are taller than average, making it a practical renovation solution. The wall mount, says Grant, also makes it easier to clean the floor and surrounding area of

the room. Wall-hung vanities, such as the Vanessa by Ronbow (ronbow. com) also get “everything off the floor,” providing an open feel without having to sacrifice storage, Grant says. This design, with its three full-extension drawers, allows plenty of space for necessities.



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Check out these three design trends making waves in the organizing world:

Experts offer simple ways to organize your closets

Lighting: Homeowners are requesting more lighting in closets, and soon, LED lighting will be inside drawers and cabinets, says organization expert Heather Walker.


leaning out your closets might be as low on your list of favorite activities as scrubbing the toilets. Yet it’s a necessary task, especially if clothes are strewn everywhere in your closet and hangers are jammed so tightly you can’t see what’s on them. Regain control by following the lead of Amanda Sullivan, New York-based author of Organized Enough: The Anti-Perfectionist’s Guide to Getting — and Staying — Organized, and get in the FLOW, which translates to Forgive yourself, Let stuff go, Organize what’s left and Weed constantly.

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Individual closets: People are opting more often to have a separate closet for each partner. “Each user then has features that work for his or her needs,” Walker says.


Open-concept design: The days of hiding clothing behind doors are fading. Today, visibility is key so when possible, opt for more open, visual storage areas.

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4 M U S T- H AVES FO R C LO S ETS Expert organizer Amanda Sullivan shares her favorite products for keeping closets clutter-free:

Slimline hangers: Sullivan prefers flat hangers that don’t use too much space. Designate a spot in your closet where you keep empty hangers, and place them there every time you pull out a piece of clothing. Shelf dividers: These can be helpful for storing handbags and other accessories.

“Your house is like a body,” she says. “If you eat cookies all day and never exercise, you’ll get fat, which is the same thing that happens with your closets.” To that end, Sullivan recommends weeding at the beginning and end of every season. Find clothes you didn’t wear and get rid of any you don’t foresee yourself wearing in the future. Get rid of stained or tattered clothes and those that are either out of style or lower quality than what you buy now. Anything that looked great on the rack but not on your body should go, says Heather Walker, founder of Functional Spaces Organizing in San Rafael, Calif. “If you must keep them, store them (somewhere) other than in the ‘high-rent district’ of your daily wardrobe,” she says. Most importantly, adjust your buying mentality. Of course, you can follow the commonly accepted rule of pitching one piece of clothing for every one that you buy, but Sullivan recommends a different approach. “Think about buying not to buy, but to replace,” she says. For instance, don’t — HEATHER WALKER, founder, buy a pair of boots just because they’re cute but Functional Spaces Organizing because your others are worn out. So what do you do with all of these unwanted items? Either recycle them — some cities have textile recycling — or if they’re in good shape, donate or sell them on consignment. You’ll have a better chance consigning items of clothing at the start of their specific season, Walker says. The bottom line is simple: “If you just focused on what you love to wear and what makes you feel good, your closet would be smaller,” Walker says. j

If you just focused on what you love to wear and what makes you feel good, your closet would be smaller.”

Shelf for folding: If you have space and can afford this luxury item, do it. “It makes a beautiful folding area when you’re arranging clothes in your closet,” Sullivan says.

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Lucite trays: Store your jewelry in the closet in these trays, which fit on shelves, to eliminate the hassle of digging through a jewelry box, Sullivan says. The trays can also store belts and scarves.

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INSIDE OUT Homeowners are extending the comforts of home into outdoor living spaces BY VALERIE FINHOLM


hether it’s because they want to appreciate nature, need more space to entertain or want breathing room away from their cars or cubicles, more homeowners are erasing the lines between their interiors and exteriors and creating outdoor “rooms.” Such spaces are usually extensions of an existing interior room, says Brian Unger, a designer with Denver-based Short and Brennan Architects who encourages his clients to view the outdoors as part of the square footage of their homes. And you don’t have to own 100 acres to create an outside room. Today’s outdoor spaces tend to be intimate and geared toward smaller gatherings, allowing them to fit on almost any property. Unger has added outdoor rooms as small as 9-by-9 feet. They’re built off the front of a house, the side, the backyard — even on the roof. Some are shaded with retractable fabric awnings or pergolas, but they can also be open to the sky. Some homeowners choose distinct spaces with plantings or walls for privacy, while others take advantage of scenic views.

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Lawn chairs and wiry furnishings have been replaced with comfortable outdoor furniture that rivals what’s found inside many homes.

Unger, taking his own advice, is building an outdoor office in his backyard, where he plans to move his desk and add a vertical garden. “There’s nothing better than natural light for reading, writing or drawing,’’ says Unger, who often works with landscape architects to design these outdoor spaces. Unger frequently builds in furniture to define a space; gas fireplaces, fire pits and lighting are popular with his clients. “When we’re done, it’s their favorite room of the house,” he says. Architect Deborah Berke of New Haven, Conn., has designed yoga terraces, living rooms and dining rooms for the outdoors, mostly in New England and Canada. She has a theory about homeowners’ affinity for nearby outdoor oases: They’re an antidote for people who spend a lot of time in climate-controlled cars, offices and indoor malls.

“It’s a reaction to so many of our experiences being completely enclosed,’’ says Berke, who is also dean of the Yale School of Architecture and author of House Rules: An Architect’s Guide to Modern Life. “We really do want to experience climate, weather, the scent in the air.”


OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE, INDOOR COMFORT That experience, however, doesn’t include roughing it. Today’s outdoor rooms have all of the comforts of home, with must-have conveniences, such as Wi-Fi, lighting, TVs, stereo sound and hidden heaters and cooling

systems, as well as built-in kitchen appliances. “We don’t say, ‘That’s outside, so it doesn’t have to be as nice,’” says interior designer Anne MichaelsenYahn, founder of Anne Michaelsen Design in Newport Beach, Calif. “It’s the same quality inside and outside.’’ — ANNE MICHAELSEN-YAHN, Michaelsen-Yahn, whose projects founder of Anne Michaelsen Design include rooftop kitchens and outdoor lounges with fireplaces, asks clients the same lifestyle questions when designing an outdoor room as she does for indoor space. “I ask: How is the space going to be used? When is it going to be used? Who is going to use it? Will it be used for entertaining? For eating dinner? What about the holidays?”

Function is the most important thing. A space must function well and look good.”




Whether it’s metal, wicker or fabric, choosing weather-resistant outdoor materials is essential.

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The answers to these questions determine how the outdoor room is designed. “It’s just like adding another room; it’s just outside,’’ says Michaelsen-Yahn. “Function is the most important thing. A space must function well and look good.” Michaelsen-Yahn says her clients want rooms that flow seamlessly from indoors to outside, often through retractable walls, which have become more affordable now that they’re mass-produced in different sizes. Deep-seated sofas and sectionals, plush rugs and bold accent pillows are all typical in today’s outdoor rooms, rivaling the décor options once exclusive to indoor furnishings. All-weather materials that resist fading in the sun and withstand rain and snow help to make that possible. Aluminum and wrought iron are popular, low-maintenance metals preferred for outdoor furniture, according to IBISWorld, which provides business statistics on more than 700 U.S. industries.

FRAMING THE VIEW Susan Person and her husband are adding an outdoor family room to the back of their home in Highlands Ranch, Colo., outside Denver. “Our house had smaller windows and a sliding glass door,” Person says. “We wanted to open it up to our backyard and the greenbelt in back and make it feel like the entire space is in the family room.’’ The new room will flow from the main house through retractable doors. The focal point will be an 8-foot-wide gas fireplace. The space will include comfortable furniture, a built-in television under a partial roof and a dining area under a pergola. The room will take advantage of the scenic landscape near their property. “It will frame our view of the Rocky Mountains,’’ Person says. “I want to go out there and feel like I’m in the mountains.’’


Fireplaces are a popular design element added to outdoor spaces. They serve as a focal point and keep homeowners and guests warm.





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LED bulbs can last 30,000 hours (nearly 3.5 years).


LEDs transform outdoor living


H LED lights are versatile enough to be integrated into almost any design.


omeowners ready to spruce up their outdoor areas for spring are likely to find themselves in the market for lighting, and never has there been a better time to illuminate the exterior of your home. “Great strides are being made in the quality and style of outdoor lighting,” says Matt Michaels, a spokesman for Lowe’s. Homeowners’ recent focus on creating outdoor rooms that are furnished similarly to indoor spaces are largely responsible for the product boom, he says. Advances in LED technology also have revolutionized the industry. “It’s a quick install; it’s going to save energy, and you (rarely) have to install it again,” says Home Depot’s national merchant for outdoor lighting Brent Mathews, who adds that LED bulbs can last


30,000 hours (nearly 3.5 years) or more. “In the past with halogen or fluorescent (bulbs), you always would have to get a replacement bulb.” Mathews says a traditional flood light might have used 20 watts of energy, whereas a comparable LED unit uses about three watts — a significant savings for consumers. Then there’s the light output itself, which can be engineered to account for brightness, beam angle and color. “You can do anything you want with integrating the light with the design,” he says. LEDs are the preferred choice when it comes to landscape accent lighting, allowing for even more creativity in lighting design, and string lights are now almost exclusively comprised of LEDs. Michaels says LED lights work with almost every outdoor style, including the popular minimalist contemporary with its sleek lines and clean designs; industrial, featuring piping and metallic finishes; and rustic, with features that have an updated feel, incorporating wood grain patterns and country details. Outdoor decorative lights are becoming more popular, but consumer interest remains strong in functional lighting such as security lights, which — largely because of LEDs — continue to be a top seller for Home Depot, says Mathews. Not having to change bulbs regularly — especially in areas that are difficult to access — is also a huge plus for consumers. The bulbs are not as bulky, allowing for sleeker designs that provide a brighter, more consistent, light output.

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Bright Ideas LED lights allow for more decorative and creative displays than some other bulbs.

While many homeowners take on outdoor lighting projects as do-it-yourself jobs, there are times when it makes sense to hire a landscape design firm or other professional to plan and install lighting. Robert Newell of Robert Newell Lighting Design in Westfield, N.J., says homeowners living in harsh climates — those residing near the ocean, for instance — would likely benefit from an expert’s input when choosing fixtures. For example, aluminum can pit and corrode when bombarded by saltwater and ocean debris during storms, he says. A longer-lasting choice would be brass, copper or marine-grade stainless steel. Those generally are available through electrical distributors. “That’s a big issue with landscape lighting,” Newell says. “Will it stay watertight? Will the gaskets stay good? Will (ultraviolet) light make the paint peel?” Calling on a professional might also be the best option when executing more elaborate designs, like placing LEDs into pavement, along sidewalks or into individual bricks. They can be inconspicuously added into a stone wall to shine down on an adjacent path. “There’s a lot more opportunity because the fixtures are small,” Newell says. Mathews agrees: “LED definitely has changed the lighting industry. This is as big as the lightbulb, if not bigger.”




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From pipes to plants, these books offer creative ways to style your home BY TRACY L. SCOTT

Pipes aren’t just utilitarian anymore. DIY Industrial Pipe Furniture and Décor: Creative Projects for Every Room of Your Home helps bring them to the forefront. Stylist and set designer James Angus shares new uses for sturdy old pipes by showing you how to incorporate them into your interior design. Learn how to create lamps, hooks, bookcases and more that can become trendy one-ofa-kind pieces. $16.95, Ulysses Press

Sisters Amie and Jolie Sikes take flea-market shopping seriously because that’s where they find treasures to repurpose and use in their Junk Gypsy line of bohemianinspired designs. In Junk Gypsy: Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder & Wander, these former HGTV stars show off their style, which is a little bit country and a little bit rock-and-roll, and spin tales of their freespirited flea-market treasure hunts and DIY projects. $16.37, Touchstone

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Liz Fourez pulls from her own experience renovating an old farmhouse for A Touch of Farmhouse Charm: Easy DIY Projects to Add a Warm and Rustic Feel to Any Room. Seventy projects fill the pages with step-by-step instructions that will help you add a bit of country chic to your home. $14.57, Page Street Publishing

Stylist Selina Lake examines five botanical looks — vintage, boho, natural, industrial and tropical — in Botanical Style: Inspirational Decorating with Nature, Plants and Florals. Her tips and DIY ideas will help homeowners bring the outdoors inside. If you love nature and design, they intersect here with real-life foliage and fun furniture. $22.02, Ryland Peters & Small



Combining vintage and natural treasures, artist and photographer Heather Ross presents sustainable style in The Natural Eclectic: A Design Aesthetic Inspired by Nature. While understated, her home accents, including chairs, throws and candles, manage to stand out and fit in simultaneously. She instructs readers how to achieve the same in their most treasured spaces. $21.26, Figure 1 Publishing

New house plus an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) — that’s a winning combination. Buying a home is no small matter. It’s one of the most complex transactions you’ll have, and you can’t be expected to know all the ins-and-outs of it. A REALTOR® with their ABR® designation will help guide you–never push you– to help make a no-pressure home buying experience. Working with an ABR® means you are not only in the hands of a top notch real estate agent, but you also get their services at no additional cost.

Find your ABR® at www.HomeBuying.realtor

The Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation is awarded by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The National Association of REALTORS®.

CableRail by Feeney stainless steel cables are the perfect infill alternative for any railing. They’re extremely durable, effortless to maintain, and virtually invisible, allowing the surrounding views to take center stage. Plus, the pre-fabricated assemblies and special automatic-locking Quick-ConnectŽ fittings make installation a breeze. For more information and the location of a dealer near you, call 1-800-888-2418 or www.feeneyinc.com/FeeneyUSA

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