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comfort and joy A CLASSIC CHRISTMAS
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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016, VOL. 3, NO. 5
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n EDITOR’S NOTE How we experience the holiday season as adults is a little different from how we experienced it as children. Back then, for me, holidays meant time off school (hooray!), loads of food and presents (gluttony and surprises!), and the best part: cousin time (wheeee!). What’s funny is that those things are still part of my adult holiday experience, minus some of the childlike joy. Time off school is a beautiful thing, but it means the kids are home (a lot); loads of presents and food means loads of shopping and chopping; and cousin time means traveling, or cleaning up to make things company-ready. For the past few years, though, with age and wisdom (ahem), I’ve been determined to bring back some of the childhood holiday delight by focusing on the fun. These are the times that matter; this is the stuff of life. We hope this issue of HOME inspires you to do the same. Our feature on Christmas collections will give you great tips on collecting, curating and creating meaningful vignettes with those special pieces that adorn your home this time of year, as well as some new ideas for displaying and even photographing them. Planning your meals can be just as fun as decking your halls. After all, around the table is where memories are made, and with our fun new recipes and ideas, we hope you’ll create some new traditions from around the globe. And don’t stress about all the holiday trappings: Simple touches go a long way. Our article on dinner napkins illustrates how to change the look and feel of your dinner table, and our articles on the best gifts and gadgets will surely help you simplify your shopping list. ‘Tis the season indeed, and we hope you are able to capture some of that childhood holiday fun—maybe some time off, some fun and surprises, and time with family and friends in that place you call home. Thanks for reading! —MERIDITH INGRAM, EDITOR IN CHIEF firstname.lastname@example.org
HOME C H A R L O T T E S V I L L E
VOLUME 3 ISSUE 5 PUBLISHER
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4 Charlot tesville HOME November/December 20 16
Ch a r l ot t e s v ill e H O M E N ove m b e r/ D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 6
DESIGN 12 BRI C K S, EX P O S E D Interior brick walls offer timeless, versatile look BY C HAR LOTTE A.F. FAR LEY
34 TA BL ESC AP E TI P S New napkins refresh your holiday table BY N O E LLE M I LAM
7 18 22 46
42 C OM F OR T U N DERF OO T Radiant heat flooring is a toasty option BY JAN ET A. MARTI N
MASTER BE DROOM REBOOT
Make your master a room to wake up in
31 DEC K Y OU R P O R C H How to add flair to winter container gardens
BY C H R I S TY R I P P E L
HOME TECHNOL OG Y U P G RA DES
From major appliances to handy gadgets, technology can make home life more efficient BY M EGAN H A L L
DURA BLE , TI M EL ESS, G RA C I OU S
A renovation for the ages on Whetstone Place BY JA N E T A . MA R T I N
YOUR HOLI DAY T REA SU RES
How to collect and showcase memorable holiday decor BY CYNTH I A B E M E N T
BY R O RY R H O D ES
LIVE 15 C U L I N A RY C O R N E R Embrace your heritage with family holiday meals and traditions BY MAR I S SA H E R MAN S O N
37 EDI T ORâ€™ S P I C K S : BEST BOO K S Great titles for giving, receiving BY M E R I D ITH I N G R AM
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK Charlottesville HOME Magazine
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RISE & SHINE MASTER YOUR BEDROOM TO WAKE UP REFRESHED BY CH R IS T Y R I P P EL
IF YOUR MORNING ALARM MAKES YOU GROAN AND REPEATEDLY HIT SNOOZE, A FEW TWEAKS TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT MIGHT MAKE MORNINGS A BIT LESS PAINFUL. IF YOUâ€™VE MASTERED THE RESTFUL MASTER BEDROOM RETREAT, COULD IT BE THAT YOU HAVE MADE THINGS A LITTLE TOO RELAXING? HERE ARE SOME IDEAS TO HELP YOUR FEET HIT THE FLOOR WITH MORE ENTHUSIASM.
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Use color and the sun to your advantage
While pale neutrals might help you drift off to sleep, they aren’t ideal for helping you feel energized when you open your eyes. Adding some vibrant color to your bedroom can make a difference—and you don’t necessarily have to change your entire palette. If you don’t want to paint the room, consider adding pillows, art work or an accent piece in a bright color like coral, yellow or emerald green in an area you’ll see when you open your eyes. If your room doesn’t get a lot of natural morning sunlight, consider breaking out the paint brush and painting the room a soft yellow to mimic natural light. Make sure to paint a large sample board first and leave it against your wall for a day or two to be sure you’ve chosen a pleasing buttery shade and not an electric yellow. If you are lucky enough to get the bright morning sun streaming through your windows, you can use it to help you 8 Charlot tesville HOME November/December 20 16
awaken by installing motorized blinds and shades, which can be programmed to open and close at a certain time of day. Depending on the time of year, you’ll sometimes have to rise when it is still dark, but when the times coincide, this is a much more natural way to wake up than to the buzz of an alarm. Motorized shades can also be operated remotely so you can adjust them with the push of a button on your bedside table. When you do get up, do your feet hit a cold, hard floor or a scratchy rug? Treat your sense of touch with a soft rug at the bedside—a sheepskin, a plush wool— anything that feels soft and comfortable to the touch will do the trick. And once you cross the floor to grab your robe, keep in mind that the color of the robe you reach for can also help you feel ready to face the day. Ditch your old white robe and invest in brightly colored one to help you kick off your morning routine. Set up your bedroom like a luxury hotel
Think of the nicest hotel you’ve ever stayed in, and why you enjoyed it. It was clean, free of clutter and had a few extra
touches that made waking up a bit more pleasant, right? Think about how you can incorporate a hotel’s charms into your own space. For example, you probably had a cup of tea or coffee in your room before heading down to the lobby. Why not install a small coffee bar in your bedroom? All it takes is a small piece of furniture, a few mugs and an available outlet to plug in your coffeemaker. To punch up your coffee bar style, add a small vase of flowers (a chance to work in those bright yellows, corals and greens) and a pretty tray or vintage wooden crate to hold your coffee mugs. Set the autotimer to brew at the time you want to wake up every day—the smell of fresh coffee will put a smile on your face and a spring in your morning step. If one of you is a coffee drinker but the other likes tea, consider a singleserving model with pods for different flavored coffees, teas and hot chocolate. After you took the first sip of coffee in your hotel room, you likely read the paper that was slid under your door early that morning. If you enjoy catching up on the day’s news, local papers and many national papers offer free or paid subscriptions to electronic editions, so you
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can browse on your phone, tablet or computer. Consider carving out daily time to sit with your coffee and read the news for a less hectic start to the day. If you have the space, add a designated spot to read and sip—a comfortable chair, a plush throw, a small side table and a lamp are all you need to create the coziest reading spot in the house. After you finished that cup of coffee, you probably strolled into the hotel bath, stocked with soaps and miniature toiletries. Everyone loves the soaps and lotions at a luxury hotel, and they often smell heavenly. Invest in some soap, lotion, essential oils and candles in energizing scents, instead of (or in addition to) ones that lull you into dreamland at night. Look for products that contain peppermint, citrus, rosemary or eucalyptus—which have been credited with doing everything from reducing stress levels to helping you feel alert, focused and stimulated. Why not light a candle before you step into the shower, so you’re greeted with an energizing scent when you come out? Organize and plan for an easier morning
Organizing, decluttering and downsizing our belongings has never been more in vogue. For example, in the international best-selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, author Marie Kondo contends that tidying up will transform your life. In a nutshell, she advises to put your hands on everything you own, ask yourself if it brings you joy, and if not, thank it for its service and donate it. Second, take what remains and put every item in a place where it is visible, accessible and easy to grab and put back in its place. While this concept may seem extreme, most people can agree they feel more relaxed, less stressed and more
optimistic when their living spaces are tidy—and while it may not transform your entire life, a tidy bedroom might transform your morning. When you wake, do you see an open laptop on a desk, or a pile of unfolded clothes? Opening your eyes to unfinished tasks, a reminder of work deadlines and visual clutter is mentally draining. Banish work to another area of the house, and if you can, fold laundry elsewhere. The most restorative bedrooms are only for sleeping and relaxing, and not for completing our laundry list of tasks (including the laundry). If you don’t have a designated laundry room, find another spot in the house for the drying rack of clothes and laundry baskets. In short, don’t use your room as the household dumping ground. Once the clutter has been banished, designing better mornings is often about streamlining. Can you pick out your clothes the night before, and hang them on the back of the door? How about investing in a standing valet to hold your clothes, shoes and accessories in your bedroom or bathroom for the next day so you aren’t rifling through your closet? Often the dread in waking up is the long list of tasks that have to be accomplished before you make your way out the door. Delegate to other family members when reasonable (Can your oldest child walk the dog? Pack his own lunch?) and check off other items the night before, so you can hit the pillow knowing you won’t have a crazy morning. While life outside your bedroom door might sometimes move at an overwhelming clip, you can design a more morning-friendly bedroom that kicks off your day in the right direction.
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SCENTS TO HELP YOU WAKE UP (From Sleep.org, a resource from the National Sleep Foundation) Just as certain scents like lavender can help you drift off to sleep, other aromas can be just what you need to feel alert and awake: CITRUS: Lemons, oranges and grapefruits aren’t just delicious and nutritious—the smell of the fruits can boost your body’s production of serotonin, a hormone that makes you feel happy. They also reduce levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine, so you’ll wake up but still feel calm. Lemon might be the most powerful of the citrus smells—it’s been shown that smelling it can increase mental stimulation. Since these scents come from everyday foods, you could try eating a grapefruit each morning or squeezing some lemon or orange juice into a smoothie. PEPPERMINT: It’s probably no surprise that this refreshing scent will make you feel alert, focused and stimulated. In fact, peppermint also helps you perform better on tasks that require sustained attention. Peppermint tea is especially soothing and aromatic.
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ROSEMARY: The smell of this common herb will get your brain revved up and working again, giving you more mental and physical energy. Another bonus: Rosemary can help you perform tasks better and faster, so keep sniffing it throughout the day if you’re at work. At breakfast, sprinkle some rosemary onto your turkey sausage and eggs. EUCALYPTUS: This woodsy scent will definitely help wake you up, and it can also improve your empathy if you combine it with menthol and camphor. Another bonus: If you’re stuffed up due to congestion, breathing in this scent may also help clear up your nasal passages. That’s not bad for a simple plant that’s best known as koalas’ favorite snack! c h a r l o t t e s v i l l e h o m e m a g a z i n e . c o m 1 1
n DESIGN EXPOSED BRICK WALLS
SHOW IT OFF how to make exposed brick walls work for you BY CH A R LOT T E A . F. FA R L E Y
When my husband and I first saw the house we now live in, we were thrilled that it not only met the criteria for what we needed (a larger kitchen, room for a baby grand piano, a nice yard for our boys) and what we wanted (a screened-in porch), but that it came with a bonus: a room with an exposed brick wall. We wanted a home with character, and an exposed brick wall is made-from-scratch icing on the cake. Since no two brick walls are the same, exposed brick provides a room with plenty of personality, style and charm. 1 2 C h a r l o t t e s v i l l e H O M E N o v e m b e r / D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 6
WEISS Unlike some other hard materials (such as concrete), exposed brick can bring a sense of warmth and history to a room. You’ll find exposed brick in historic homes, especially properties from the turn of the last century; back then, leaving bricks exposed in the interior was a way to save money on finishing the walls. Other places that exposed brick walls turn up include ranch homes from the 1960s and 70s as well as loft-style apartments and condominiums. In addition, any modern home that has a brick exterior may also have some of that same exposed brick on the inside, if the owners have purposely left the brick exposed or if they have added a room along the line. If you want to include some exposed brick in your home, don’t worry, you don’t have to sell your house for this to happen! You have options. If you already have a brick exterior and you were planning to add a room on, simply add on and leave one wall all brick. Foregoing the full-on add-on route, you (or your licensed contractor) can simply expose the brick from behind the plaster walls or the drywall. Bear in mind the age and condition of your home if you choose to do this since you might remove insulation or uncover lead paint, among other things. A licensed contractor with experience in rehabbing older properties would be a tremendous asset in this circumstance. You might prefer to avoid the kind of dusty mess that comes with exposing your brick and choose instead to have a brick and mortar wall installed with thin bricks, or even install more budget-friendly, DIY-friendly brick veneer. An exposed brick wall can be a home’s personal little black dress that can be dressed up or down. It pairs well with every style of decor: rustic, modern, industrial, cottage, farmhouse, traditional, Victorian, eclectic—there’s no limit to how you can decorate with exposed brick. Whatever your preference, bear in mind that brick may indeed work well as a blank canvas, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a neutral backdrop. All brick contains color and texture, two design components that you need to consider when styling the space. The biggest choice you need to make is how you wish to feature the brick: should it be a standout showstopper, or should it play a quiet supporting role in your space? The answer will guide you to how to dress the other walls. For instance, you’ll help the brick blend in if you paint the non-brick walls in a color that closely matches the mortar (usually a shade of gray, taupe or cream). Likewise, a paint color that contrasts with the color of your brick will work wonders for highlighting your exposed brick. For instance, if you have an orange undertone in the brick, walls and furnishings in shades of blue will both balance and draw the eye in.
A R C H I T E C T TELEPHONE OR TEXT: 434.242.9288 EMAIL: SCOTT@WEISS-ARCH.COM WEBSITE: WWW.WEISS-ARCH.COM
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Always consider the color of your brick in your furnishings, but also know that you have the option to change its color. Now, I’m not talking about painting your brick—brick is a porous material and removing paint from brick is an enormously difficult task. In other words, there’s no going back to the authentic color. Just like wood stain, brick stains specially formulated for application on brick surfaces are now on the market. This is the perfect solution for homeowners who like their brick well enough, but just wish it could be a different color or shade. Whatever you choose, keep in mind that the brick already contributes color and texture, so keep your palette to a minimum. To balance brick’s roughness, use soft, smooth and inviting textures in your fabric choices for things like pillows, throws, rugs and draperies. Another way to strike a balance involves adding sconces, track lighting or recessed lighting above the brick; this provides light, warmth and shadows, their interplay creating visual softness. You can also create visual space in a brick-heavy room by hanging mirrors or art on the brick. It seems treacherous, but
it’s not as treacherous as you might think. There are two tricks for hanging heavier items from brick walls successfully: be sure about the location of where you want to hang something since the hole will be permanent, and be sure to use a masonry drill bit and drill a hole directly into the mortar so you don’t damage the brick. Only drill deep enough to make room for the wall anchor in case there is any electrical wiring or plumbing behind the brick wall. Insert the wall anchor and screw a picture hook into the anchor (you can find special screws for this at your local hardware store). Make sure that the anchor and screw you use can adequately handle the weight of the object you are hanging! If this feels like a daunting task, you can always try brick clips that hook onto the brick. Again, check the weight limits of the clip against the item you wish to hang on it. These days, my family spends the most time in that room with the “bonus” exposed brick wall, and it’s not a big surprise: we enjoy being together in warm, comfortable places, and brick lends this sense of cozy appeal to any space.
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n LIVE CULINARY CORNER
embrace your roots in the kitchen and around the dinner table this holiday season BY M A R IS S A H ER M A NS O N
With the arrival of the holiday season, we comfort ourselves with the dishes that remind us of home—the green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, sugar cookies cut into yuletide shapes, babka, rugelach, pies galore. Passed down from generation to generation, these are the nostalgic foods that fill us with gratitude, and that truly make the holiday season so joyful. Growing up, my family embraced our Scandinavian roots during the holidays. For Thanksgiving dinner my mom always whipped up her Minnesota wild rice and mushroom side dish, which paired oh-so-perfectly with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. (As a kid, I’d mush it all together in a big savory pile, which didn’t look terribly appetizing, now that I’m looking back.) And, come December, my dad’s Swedish colleague would make a giant pot of glögg, and send him home with a bottle of the warm, spiced elixir for us to enjoy in the evenings.
This year, I’m adding a new Scandinavian food tradition to the mix—lefse-making. Decades ago, my Nana Sue would make the Norwegian flatbread with leftover potatoes from Sunday dinner. When she and her sister-in-law would make a batch, it was always a special treat, she tells me. I’m excited to welcome back the tradition of lefse-making this holiday season, as Nana Sue, my mom and I will make it together for the first time at Thanksgiving. After all, what are the holidays without the food that brings us together as a family?
c h a r l o t t e s v i l l e h o m e m a g a z i n e . c o m 1 5
Swedish Glögg (Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Karol) 3 to 4 bottles of beer 4 oranges, plus juice 1 tablespoon of cardamom seeds 10+ cloves 4 to 5 cinnamon sticks 2 cups of raisins 3 to 4 liters of port wine (not tawny) or cabernet (or combination of both) 2/3 cup of sugar Aquavit (or vodka), to taste Cheesecloth Pour the beer into a large pot. Squeeze the oranges, adding their juice and rinds to the beer. Tie the spices (cloves and cardamom seeds) in a cheesecloth and add them into the beer, along with the cinnamon sticks and raisins. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 90 minutes. You don’t want to liquid to cook away, so check the pot every 20 minutes or so, and add a little more beer or water to the pot. Remove the orange rinds after 90 minutes. Add the wine and sugar, letting the liquid simmer (not boil) covered for at least 2 hours. Taste the liquid and add more sugar, if needed. Remove the cinnamon sticks and let the glögg stand overnight (with the spices tied in cheesecloth).
The next day, remove the cheesecloth and raisins. Heat up (not boil) the glögg and taste. Add Aquavit (or vodka) according to your taste. TO SERVE: Add a few blanched almonds and raisins in the bottom of a small mug. Pour warm glögg over and serve.
Wild Rice and Mushrooms (Serves 12)
In Sweden, this warm mulled beverage is made in December and January, and is served at holiday parties and in restaurants. This glögg recipe was given to me from a Swedish family friend. Passed down to her from five generations of Swedes, the recipe serves more as guidelines than precise ingredients and instructions. You may want to tinker with the amount of spices, sugar and alcohol you incorporate, as it suits your personal taste. As they do in Sweden, serve a mug of glögg to guests as a welcome beverage when they visit you during the holidays. This memorable beverage will wow friends and family with its subtle sweetness and notes of warm spices.
Since I was a little girl, this side dish has been served at every holiday meal. It’s important to use actual longgrain wild rice, most of which is grown in Minnesota’s lake and river paddies. You can usually find it in the bulk section at the grocery store, or you can order it online through sites like lundsandbyerlys.com. This nutrient-dense rice is chock-full of all sorts of vitamins and antioxidants—and it’s gluten-free and low-calorie, to boot! If you are sick of the traditional side dish staples, mix it up this year and add this versatile side, which pairs well with turkey and gamey meats. 1 cup of long-grain wild rice 4 tablespoons of butter 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms, chopped 1 medium vidalia onion, chopped 4 cups of beef broth In a deep pot with lid, sauté the onions and mushrooms in butter for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent and the mushrooms have softened. Add the wild rice and broth, and bring to a boil while covered. Turn down heat to a simmer for approximately 60 to 90 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
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Wild Rice and Mushrooms (Serves 12) Since I was a little girl, this side dish has been served at every holiday meal. It’s important to use actual long-grain wild rice, most of which is grown in Minnesota’s lake and river paddies. You can usually find it in the bulk section at the grocery store, or you can order it online through sites like lundsandbyerlys.com. This nutrient-dense rice is chock-full of all sorts of vitamins and antioxidants—and it’s gluten-free and lowcalorie, to boot! If you are sick of the traditional side dish staples, mix it up this year and add this versatile side, which pairs well with turkey and gamey meats. 1 cup of long-grain wild rice 4 tablespoons of butter 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms, chopped 1 medium vidalia onion, chopped 4 cups of beef broth In a deep pot with lid, sauté the onions and mushrooms in butter for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent and the mushrooms have softened. Add the wild rice and broth, and bring to a boil while covered. Turn down heat to a simmer for approximately 60 to 90 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Norwegian Lefse (Yields 36 small or 18 large) Lefse is a traditional Scandinavian flatbread that is made from potato dough. If serving with dinner, spread butter on the lefse. Or, as a dessert snack, sprinkle it with brown sugar or serve with jam, peanut butter or chocolate hazelnut spread. Kids and adults alike will enjoy this delicate and tasty flatbread, a fun alternative to a ho-hum dinner roll.
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4 cups of boiled potatoes 1/4 cup of heavy cream 1/2 cup of unsalted butter 1/2 teaspoon of salt 2–2 1/2 cups of flour (plus more flour for dusting surface and rolling pin Mix the cooked potatoes, cream, unsalted butter and salt together in a bowl, kneading the mixture so there are no lumps. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, combine the potato mixture with flour, adding a 1/2 cup of flour at a time and kneading it into the potato mixture. (If the dough feels too sticky to work with, add more flour.) Form dough into golf ball-sized balls for small lefse (yields 36) or larger balls (yields 18), depending on your preference. Dust your surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough ball into flour, and using the palm of your hand to press it down on the counter into a disk. Using the rolling pin, roll out the dough into nice, thin circles. Heat non-stick griddle or frying pan to medium-high, and fry lefse 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side, until it bubbles and browns. (There’s no need to grease the frying pan; you can add some cooking spray to keep the pan slick, if it gets grubby from flour and dough as you move through the process.) When finished “baking” your lefse, layer each flatbread in a clean dish towel to keep them warm and moist. STORAGE: Lefse is best eaten fresh, but you can store it in your refrigerator and freezer for eating at a later date. To refrigerate, layer in plastic wrap to keep it fresh for a few days. To freeze, fold the lefse in quarters and wrap in plastic wrap.
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next-generation living champions efficiency BY M EG A N H A L L
I have always considered myself to be something of a technophile, embracing each new gadget as a conduit of knowledge and organization that culminates in a really snazzy design. But it appears I may be wrong. You see, as I began my holiday shopping and drafted my technology wish list for the new year, I quickly realized that I have not even scratched the surface!
or instance, I’ve been keeping mental notes about how many eggs I have when I could have snagged a WiFi-enabled egg tray that uses a smartphone app to share the quantity and freshness of the product in my fridge. I’ve also been sacrificing precious space in my purse for an umbrella, just in case of rain, when I could have invested in an umbrella that checks the weather for me and alerts me on days I’ll need it. Most importantly, all these years I’ve been whisking cream and sugar into my morning brew by hand when I could have just purchased a self-stirring coffee mug. How have I survived without these products? While these particular gizmos may not drastically improve my life, the good news is that the market is packed with items that are designed to do just that. From energy-efficient control systems to interactive appliances, the options are limitless. If you want to learn how to make your home and life more efficient and perhaps more comfortable by harnessing the power of technology, follow along as I share my newly gleaned insights. Luxurious Lifestyle
The world forever changed when Apple introduced Siri, our chipper, knowledgeable, handheld guide. Now, my friends, voice assistants have emerged from our phones and earned a rightful place in our homes and our hearts. The most widely acclaimed of these, the Amazon Echo, is a nearly 10-inch tall, slender, black cylinder that can perch on any counter or tabletop. Other options include Google Home, ivee, Cubic, Athom Homey, Mycroft and more. Regardless of brand, these ever-present attendants can add items to a grocery list, set a timer, play your favorite tunes, and even answer your burning questions like, “What is Bob Saget’s middle name?” 18 Charlot tesville HOME November/December 20 16
With your important queries out of the way, you can focus on bigger issues such as an inventory of your household goods. Luckily, technology is ready to save the day once again. With the flip of a switch, or, more accurately, the push of an Amazon Dash button, your favorite items—laundry detergent, paper towels, pasta, batteries and beyond—will automatically reorder. Measuring only a few inches long, this handy button is emblazoned with the brand you wish to order, and you can purchase the button on, you guessed it, Amazon. Once the button arrives at your home, remove the sticky back and place it on the wall near your stock of the product. If you have little ones with eager fingers running around the house, have no fear. You’ll receive an order confirmation request before your merchandise ships. These days, lighting embodies true luxury. Specialty lamps, like the Wake-up Light from Philips, soothe your body as you rise from your slumber, slowly brightening the light over the course of 20 to 40 minutes prior to the alarm you set on the device. What’s more, smart light bulbs, such as the BeOn LED version, learn your lighting use patterns as you turn lights on and off in your home; you can also input preferences via an app. A comforting safety precaution, you can use the provided key fob to select “home” or “away.” The away setting notifies the BeOn light to mimic your typical lighting actions. For instance, if someone rings the doorbell when you’re not home, the lights will automatically illuminate bulbs to simulate your progress from a far room toward the front door. Additionally, your lights will shine for up to five hours during a power outage. Who says luxury can’t also be safe? Safety First
The latest advances in home safety and security extend far beyond smart lighting. Have you ever heard the doorbell ring and wish you could see who it was before you approached the door? Now you can. Products such as the SkyBell HD WiFi Video Doorbell stream real-time video of your visitors to your smartphone. Many of these items also integrate with voice assistants like those used in Amazon Echo, allowing you to verbally respond to your guest. Additionally, new in 2016, video doorbells are beginning to partner with systems like Nest— featuring security cameras, thermostats, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and more—which enables you to control your full suite of automated systems from one app. Sometimes threats are silent. Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, such as the version from Nest, now have a longer life expectancy—upward of a decade!—and test themselves nearly 400 times a day. More importantly, instead of the frightening chirp to which we’ve grown accustomed, a soothing human voice will alert you to the location and nature of the issue. You can also silence the alarm from your smartphone, meaning no more time spent fanning the smoke detector when you accidentally burn the popcorn! When paired with an associated smart thermostat, your home will also automatically shut off your furnace in the event of a fire or a carbon monoxide leak, preventing a much larger issue! When considering any products like these, it’s a good idea to visit your local hardware store or contact your energy provider or HVAC company. They can answer questions and perhaps recommend other options. Nothing beats a face-to-face conversation when discussing home safety!
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While energy-efficient systems may not be the flashiest piece of technology, everyone can appreciate lower utility bills, especially during the chilly winter months. From thermostats to smartplugs, there is no shortage of ways to make your home more efficient. Many smart thermostats, such as the lauded Nest, have made their way onto the market. Just as the smart light bulbs learn patterns, so do these products, resulting in 10 to 15 percent energy savings. For instance, if you turn down the heat before bed each night and then crank it up each morning, your thermostat takes note and begins to make these changes automatically. It can also alert you in the event of a problem, such as low temperatures that could cause a pipe to burst. For other early alerts, consider the addition of a leak detection system, such as Wally, Fibaro Flood Sensor, or Utilitech Water Leak Detector. While each system utilizes different technology— Bluetooth, Z-wave, copper wires and others—these items are designed to alert homeowners to developing leaks that could lead to mold as well as major water emergencies. Again, local hardware stores usually have trained experts ready to help you choose the best option for your home. Despite their small size, smartplugs pack a mighty punch. Products such as Zuli and Wemo allow you to use your smartphone to control any appliance plugged into that outlet. Even more impressive, you can set preferences for the appliance dictating when you would like it turned on and off. The associated app also keeps a record of your energy use and, more importantly, your cost savings! Appliances
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It wouldn’t be a discussion about home technology without mention of appliances. From kitchen scales to refrigerators, the world will never be the same with these innovative ideas. Smart refrigerators are the way of the future. Options such as the Samsung Family Hub require only an open mind and an Ethernet connection. With these two items, your family will refrigerate like never before. A WiFi-enabled touchscreen makes it easy to manage grocery lists, coordinate your family’s schedule, and leave reminders (or a honey-do list!). That’s not all. Many of these smart fridges feature built-in interior cameras that snap photos of the shelves each time the door closes and then transmit the images to your smartphone so you can access them at any time. Say goodbye to those moments of panic in the dairy section when you can’t remember the status of your milk supply. If recipe measurements seem like a foreign language, products such as the Drop kitchen scale empower you to master any recipe. This wireless scale and recipe app helps any home cook craft delicious concoctions with any amount of ingredients. For instance, if you select a delectable cookie to bake and then realize you don’t have enough flour, simply place the ingredient on the wireless scale and then let the app recalculate the amount needed of the other items. The app also features step-by-step instructions and swift video tutorials to walk you through even the most complicated culinary delights. Life also got a little smoother in the laundry room. Products like the LG Styler Clothing Care System create a steamy chamber for your wrinkled items. Resembling a tall, narrow closet, this no-plumbing-required minimalist item features a vibrating hanger, pants press, an aroma kit, and a sanitizer, making it the perfect accessory to your laundry routine.
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Fun and Frivolous
One of my favorite new products is a smart piggy bank, like the Porkfolio by Quirky. These ingenious, and adorable, devices sync with an app to keep track of your balances and financial goals. What better way to teach young ones about fiscal responsibility? I would be remiss if I didn’t mention just one more item that’s top of my shopping list: a WiFi-enabled grilling thermometer such as Tappecue. Grill masters, rejoice! With WiFi probes and a complementary app, you can relax with friends while your meat securely cooks. When it reaches the appropriate temperature, you’ll receive an alert on your phone. Easy! Though I may have been a Luddite before—unbeknownst to me—after a holiday season of research, I now feel well-versed in all aspects of home technology. From energy efficient gadgets to luxurious lighting, I have my priority purchases mapped out. The rapid progression of technology can spark hesitation. However, I encourage you to delve into a little research and consult local experts in your area. Make your own wish list of smart items and then weigh the pros and cons. Will that purchase lower your energy costs? Will it increase the resale value of your home? Will it make it easier to get ready for work in the morning? Will it help your children finally learn who Bob Saget is? These are not questions to be lightly considered. Though if you find yourself in a true conundrum, I feel confident there is a technological advance on its way to help you!
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At Home on Whetstone Place contentedly combining the present with the past
BY JA N E T A . M A R T I N P h ot o g r a p hy by M e l o d y Ro b b ins P h ot o g r a p hy
Stepping into the entrance of 106 Whetstone Place in Charlottesville, you hear a twinkling bell from centuries ago, making you wonder… Where have I heard that sound before? “It’s an old piece, a servant’s bell, made by the man who constructed the bells in the opening scenes of Downtown Abbey,” says homeowner Gretchen Arnold. “My husband Bill researched and found him, and this is the prototype the craftsman used to make the summons bells for the television series.” This special doorbell at the home of Gretchen and Bill Arnold could hardly be more appropriate. With bell tones echoing in your mind, you go from the home’s entrance toward a spacious living room of yellows and grays, muted colors reminiscent of English sunbeams and opaque mists. The space is appointed with comfortable chairs, old portraits, varnished wood, and a fireplace with a fan of family plates arched over a distinctive mirror above the mantel. On the far wall hang floor-to-ceiling floral panels of Chinese figures in landscape. In one corner, a tall grandfather’s clock ticks, a replica built by Bill Arnold. In the other corner, Holly, a tricolored King Charles Spaniel, snores on the Oriental rug to the metronomic rhythm of the brass pendulum, her face buried on front paws. She is relaxed, and suddenly—as a visitor—so are you.
And that’s the whole idea.
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DURABLE. TIMELESS. GRACIOUS. THESE ARE ATTRIBUTES GRETCHEN ARNOLD ADMIRES. AND THE ARNOLDS’ HOME WILL ALWAYS BE A PROJECT TO FINE-TUNE AND TO LOVE. “IT’S A RETREAT, A PLACE WHERE YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR ANIMALS AND THINGS. AND THAT’S THE WAY I WANT IT TO BE—BEAUTIFUL BUT LIVED IN,” SHE SAYS.
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’m fascinated with English homes, particularly from the 17th and 18th centuries. I like things refined and gracious, but not over the top,” Gretchen says. “My goal in decorating this house was to make it timeless. I hate that ‘out of date’ look. I like the endurance of antiques.” The Arnolds bought the home on Whetstone Place in 1996, attracted to its interior flow and its location, close to town but hidden by mature trees and private cul-de-sacs, insulated from Charlottesville traffic. Gretchen is a medical librarian at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia; Bill is a former flight surgeon with the Navy and an anesthesiologist who retired from practice at the University of Virginia. Built in 1967, their two-story brick home contains four bedrooms and a glassed-in porch across the back. Immediately, the first time stepping inside, Gretchen and Bill identified the home as a “retreat,” where a medical doctor working long hours could look forward to coming home, “making a fire, and kind of unwinding. That was important for him,” says Gretchen. She saw the spacious Charlottesville home as a project, having worked as a librarian in other locations while living in apartments and condos. “It was a big opportunity. And that appealed to me, although I was overwhelmed in the beginning. I was like, ‘What was I thinking? Whoa!’”
A life-sized portrait from 1767 by Allan Ramsay, a Scottish painter who lived and worked mainly in London as a renown portraitist, sets the room’s tone.
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What she was thinking was establishing permanence, a kind of domestic graciousness, like scenes in a classic book she enjoys called The English Country House. “Within its pages there is this beautiful room in a Georgian house with a mantelpiece—it’s gorgeous—but if you look closely, you see a bottle of cough syrup on the mantel,” she laughs. “And I thought, ‘That’s the way I want my home to be—to look beautiful but lived in!’” She hired interior designer Moyanne Harding of Interiors by Moyanne in Lynchburg. “I realized I couldn’t do this project by myself; I’m a professional in my field and Moyanne is a professional in hers. I recognized her area of expertise, and she did mine. We clicked.” From the start, Gretchen, Bill and Harding’s shared interests in history and love of English antiques inspired harmonious choices. The present living room has yellow-checked draperies, accented with half-circle toile shades which combine a fresh 21st-century feel with the rich elegance of the past. A life-sized portrait from 1767 by Allan Ramsay, a Scottish painter who lived and worked mainly in London as a renown portraitist, sets the room’s tone. From a heavy gold-leaf frame, Mrs. Steele, as the woman in this portrait is known, casts her graceful countenance across the living space in which soft grays shimmer like a London fog. Another English painting from the 1770s hangs in the foyer—a youth holding his rifle in his left hand, his spaniel hunting dog on his right.
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A hunt board displays delicate china pieces from Gretchen’s family’s past, including a hand-painted punch bowl which dates from 1904. Her father’s family came to America around 1640.
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The dining room off the foyer contains a reproduction table of English yew, a soft wood of varying colors from amber to darker shades that deepen with age. A hunt board displays delicate china pieces from Gretchen’s family’s past, including a hand-painted punch bowl which dates from 1904. Her father’s family came to America around 1640 to settle in Athens, New York on the Hudson River. Her mother’s family established residence in Virginia around 1650 in the Northern Neck near Kinsale. It is this ancestry that deposited a fascination with history into her DNA. “My father was a historian. He got a job in Manassas as a park historian interested in military history and the Civil War. So as a family we went to historical sites, and we went antiquing. That was just part of my early childhood,” says Gretchen. Bill dates his lineage back to the Mayflower—hence his interest in relics and passion for history that led him to research the servant’s summoning doorbell. It was also at his suggestion that the front door, formerly a two-door entrance, became a massive custom single panel with leaded glass. Decorating her home has taken time, but Gretchen is glad she didn’t do it all at once. It’s kept her busy and fascinated. The kitchen was redone in 2010, including the installation of a long quartztopped center island for food preparation. Other focal points in this renovation are the black French range by La Cornue and the cabinets, finished in a gray-green lacquer with gold brush strokes.
Focal points in the kitchen renovation include the black French range by La Cornue and the cabinets, finished in a gray-green lacquer with gold brush strokes. c h a r l o t t e s v i l l e h o m e m a g a z i n e . c o m 2 7
The family room features what Gretchen calls the “lived-in look.” It’s a look that takes its cue from the past but also from what is functional in the present.
Off the kitchen, the family room contains a French reproduction mirror with glass that looks old and conveys solidity in its setting above a stone fireplace. Across the doorway two slender rifles—one old and one a reproduction—balance the room. A gray upholstered sofa borders one wall flanked by red-checked companion chairs. Lounging on one chair, two old-fashioned Siamese cats, Coco and Lila, open their slanted eyes, yawn, stretch and settle back into warm, snoozing circles on a leopard throw. This is what Gretchen calls the “lived-in look.” It’s a look that takes its cue from the past but also from what is functional in the present. An herb garden outside near the back door provides flavor for Gretchen’s weekend forays through cookbooks to find a recipe that nudges her, “Wow, I think I’ll try that!” And before long, the fragrance of a roasted lemon chicken with homegrown rosemary sprigs swells through the house. Colorful blooms from her yard—peonies and lilacs in spring, hydrangeas in summer—are merely a scissor-snip away. As you wander upstairs to the private rooms, gleaming white moldings invite you into bedrooms and Gretchen’s office. A glance there reveals a computer, stacked books, and a startled Siamese cat named Amy, who springs from an upholstered lounge chair and disappears under its floor ruffle. Other bedrooms carry soothing and dark gray tones from downstairs, lending harmony and quiet throughout. The master bedroom features a queen-sized French replication crowned with draping fabric above the pillows and a hint of soothing blue in the soft color scheme. It’s a perfect place to end the day. 2 8 C h a r l o t t e s v i l l e H O M E N o v e m b e r / D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 6
The sunroom features a comfortable lounge and a floor of poured concrete sealed with an eco-friendly sealer. The floor helps keep the window-filled space cooler in the summer, and absorbs and radiates sunshine in the winter.
The master bedroom features a queen-sized French replication crowned with draping fabric above the pillows and a hint of soothing blue in the soft color scheme.
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And the days are busy. While her doctor husband is retired, he is active, pursuing his interests in building things and researching history. Gretchen daily monitors a library profession that has changed dramatically since she entered it. While she admits to loving previous centuries, she is also a self-described “technology freak.” Today, she explains, “Our culture and my profession have intersected. It’s a librarian’s job to know what sites are useful and those that are not, and to help our clientele use and find data.” She continues, “Libraries have always been about knowledge. And for hundreds of years that knowledge was contained in books and journals, and they did a wonderful job and continue to, but now knowledge is ubiquitous; it’s everywhere—it’s born digitally—so, who preserves it? Who makes it accessible?” Her tone is emphatic. “Nobody knows how to preserve all this data yet. But we’re figuring it out.” Just as she recognizes the value of data—old and new—she appreciates tastes across the ages. History adds dimension to knowledge, a grounding, an understanding of something deeper. “I think,” she says, “that all of our culture is a journey, and it’s important to see where the journey started to appreciate where you are, because you are really building on that knowledge.” And so, while she doesn’t feel like she and Bill are finished decorating their home, she feels they’ve completed “the heavy lifting.” By the way, Whetstone, the street on which they live, takes its name from the tough, durable rocks referred to by miners as “whetstones” in Northern England—another pleasing connection to the past. Durable. Timeless. Gracious. These are attributes Gretchen Arnold admires. And the Arnolds’ home will always be a project to fine-tune and to love. “It’s a retreat, a place where you are comfortable with your animals and things. And that’s the way I want it to be—beautiful but lived in.”
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30 Charlot tesville HOME November/December 20 16
deck the porch
SOURCE YOUR GARDEN FOR WINTER PATIO & PORCH DECOR BY R O RY R H O D ES
When the first frost hits and there’s a sustained chill in the air, those festive fall ornamentals you planted will sing their swan songs and fizzle. Even relatively cold-hardy pansies, mums and ornamental kale will give up the ghost once temperatures and sunlight fade into the winter season. Christmas wreaths and holiday lights can temporarily perk up your porch, but what can you do to help keep your home’s exterior looking cheerful until spring? No, we are not suggesting you leave up your Christmas decorations until Easter. Instead, look to Mother Nature for the answer and put those empty garden containers to work.
In the garden, the approach of winter mostly means keeping things tidy—raking leaves, removing dead foliage, putting down a layer of mulch. Hopefully there are a few evergreens in your landscape, which often take a backseat to showier plants during the growing season, but provide welcome greenery during the cold months. If you have your garden tucked away for winter and a few year-round specimens within view, you’re doing well. You can head inside for a cup of tea by the fire with a sense of satisfaction… until you get to that bare front porch, or gaze out at that empty-looking deck! Tidy, yes. Welcoming? Maybe not so much. But there’s an easy way to add a little extra appeal to the quiet months, using potted evergreens and items from around your garden.
First, take stock of the containers you have to work with. Do you have window boxes on your back deck or—très charming— beneath your front windows? These are great spots for adding seasonal accents. How about some pots or urns? A combination of several different containers will provide the most visual interest; for example, a pair of urns flanking your front door, along with a good-sized ornamental pot on the porch or entry steps, will provide plenty to work with. Choose containers that are mediumsized or larger for better impact, and check that the pot is in good condition, free of chips and cracks (unless you’re going for shabby chic). Don’t forget to look in your garden shed for pots you may have stored which offer decorative finishes or unusual shapes; uncommon features stand out more during the winter months
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when foliage is scarce. Once you’ve got a good selection of containers, make sure you’re starting with a clean slate. Remove any faded or frost-mangled seasonal plants, wash away dust so that everything looks fresh, and fill with potting soil if needed. A simple way to provide year-round interest in a pot or urn is to plant a compact evergreen, such as a dwarf spruce, Sky Pencil holly, or English boxwood, in the center of your container, and vary the surrounding items with the season. If you want your evergreen to have a better chance of surviving the entire winter, make sure it’s in a sheltered spot (a porch that receives some low winter sun is the perfect place) and try to use a pot on the larger side so that the roots have more soil protection from freezing temperatures. Potted boxwood can generally survive winters in our area, and its compact growth habit and ease of pruning make it a great choice for this project. Window boxes are usually small and shallow enough that evergreens aren’t necessary, but you can use small English boxwoods if desired. Once you’ve got your centerpiece, it’s time to add the trimmings. English ivy, either dark green or variegated, is often invasive in the garden, but in a container is a hardy companion that will trail nicely. For spring, summer and fall, small annuals from the garden center tuck nicely around the edges, and for winter, you can achieve the same effect by arranging cuttings from your garden to fill in the bare spots. Look for a variety of shapes and textures. Lush magnolia leaves are a Southern classic; holly, boxwood, yew, fir and spruce provide chunky texture; white pine, cypress, cedar and arborvitae drape nicely and lighten arrangements with their feathery, delicate habits. Don’t forget to think outside the boxwood (groan)—camellia, euonymus, cherry laurel, aucuba, hardy rosemary, nandina—anything green is worth consideration. Speaking of nandina, plants with berries offer a festive pop of color. Additional species such as holly, cotoneaster, winterberry, red chokeberry, and cranberry bush viburnum can all produce late fall and winter berries. Bittersweet and pyracantha have bright autumn berries that can last into winter, depending on the weather. If you’re a fan of the Colonial Williamsburg “della
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Robbia” wreaths and swags that adorn many historic houses during the holiday season, you can incorporate some of the subtler natural elements—such as apples, nuts, seed pods, grasses, and pinecones—into your arrangements for a look that can make it safely past the Santa and reindeer zone. If you can find it, the Osage orange tree (also known as hedge apple) bears bumpy lime-green fruit which look marvelous and last for quite a while. Even textural elements such as twigs and small branches (dogwood branches have a pleasingly lacy, open structure) can be used for height and variety. When you have your selection of natural materials, simply tuck them into pots, urns and window boxes as desired. (Moisten the soil a bit first, if it’s very dry.) To help cuttings last a bit longer, snip stems at a 45-degree angle and give them a last drink of water, just like you would with cut flowers. If the container you’re using doesn’t have any sort of evergreen centerpiece, consider using some larger pieces in the middle and placing smaller bits at the edges. You can usually just tuck stems directly into the soil, but if that’s not working, try placing some chicken wire or sturdy mesh on top of the soil to help hold things in place. Finish the look by filling any bare spots with pinecones, smooth river stones, or moss, which can be bought at craft stores and also helps the soil retain moisture. That’s all there is to it! Cold air will preserve the clippings for some time, but if you want to extend it a bit further, try an anti-desiccant such as Wilt-Pruf, a protective pine oil coating designed to keep leaves on live plants from drying out which also works well on cuttings. Using evergreen clippings to “spruce up” (pardon the pun) your garden containers can help keep your porch and deck looking merry past the holidays and well into the new year.
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n DESIGN TABLESCAPES
BY N O EL L E M I L A M
here was a time, in our grandparents’ or perhaps even our great-grandparents’ day, when a bride was given several sets of table linens at her wedding, and later might hope to inherit heirloom family sets over subsequent years. Through the generations, homes of yesteryear could amass quite a collection. There were entire pieces of furniture (or even rooms!) created just to store linens and many, many instructions on how they should be used, cared for, and stored. In those days, no hostess would consider entertaining without a properly dressed table, and to past generations, laying a gracious table included layers of table linens: tablecloths, runners, placemats…and always drifts of napkins in various sizes, from tiny cocktail squares to pillowcase-sized dinner napkins, and everything in between. 3 4 C h a r l o t t e s v i l l e H O M E N o v e m b e r / D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 6
The modern hostess—or host, for that matter—knows that many of those old rules and requirements are both cumbersome and too labor-intensive for modern entertaining. Elaborate, towering centerpieces are often replaced with more conversation-friendly designs that enable dinner guests to see each other across a table, silverware requirements are often far more modest, and many-course, sit-down meals are often abandoned for more casual buffet-style dining. One thing, however, that has endured from the tables through the years is that cloth napkins remain an important—and necessary— component of a gracious tablescape, particularly when entertaining, at the holidays and year round. Cloth napkins are more elegant and sustainable than their inexpensive paper cousins, but there is a time and a place for both. In general, very large or very messy affairs (think barbecue rib cook-offs) are better suited to disposable napkins. But cloth napkins do not have to be synonymous with the stiff formality of a state dinner. The fabric and design of your napkins can have a big influence on the tone of the meal. If you are lucky enough to have been given or inherited sets of napkins, rejoice! These are the perfect start to your family’s napkin collection. Vintage linen is often made with longer (higher quality) fibers than the linen of today, so you might have heirlooms that you can enjoy now and pass along to the next generation. If you are purchasing your own napkin sets, look for those made of linen or cotton. Of these two, linen is the stronger and the most absorbent. Linen, and woven linen damask, its upscale cousin, both display a classic crispness and “sheen” when ironed, instantly dressing up any table. Cotton is also a good choice, especially for everyday or casual napkins. It is less formal and softer to the touch, and, if whisked out of a warm dryer immediately, might not even need ironing. Avoid polyester fabric napkins. Though inexpensive, and easy to care for (no ironing required), they may look inexpensive and feel even worse. Size is another consideration. The common size for dinner napkins is between 22 inches square and 24 inches square. Luncheon napkins are slightly smaller—18 inches square up to 20 inches square, and cocktail napkins, the tiny squares meant to sit under drinks to absorb condensation, are usually 6 inches square. To start a napkin collection, or to augment an existing one, it is not necessary to choose separate luncheon and dinner napkins, however. No one will be measuring, and you can creatively fold napkins to approximate the same size. Consider purchasing a minimum of 8, but 12 is better; having a few extras in case one of your napkins gets stained, torn or lost is always a good idea. Etiquette experts will suggest that when starting your cloth napkin collection, you should choose napkins in white or ivory. The reasoning is that these are always elegant and are appropriate on a very formal table, but can also be at home on a less formal table—and they will match everything. However, today’s creative hostesses often throw the whole matching idea out of the window, preferring to mix up colors and patterns of napkins to create a more festive, fun and informal tablescape. Bold colors and whimsical patterns in coordinating colors personalize a table and set the scene for a relaxed event, so chose colors you like and that look nice with your other table decor. Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Try stripes with florals, or a bold pattern with a similar one in a smaller repeat or scale, to add dimension and personality to your table.
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Speaking of personalization, there are practically limitless ways to personalize napkins. Since they don’t require lots of yardage, the napkins themselves can be made yourself, DIY-style, or purchased and then personalized. Embroidery, stenciling and hemstitching are timehonored methods of napkin embellishment. Delicately stitched patterns or monograms elevate the plain Jane napkin to a scene grabber. Remember, though, as you personalize, that you will likely fold these napkins in some way, so keep that in mind when choosing where and how to embroider or monogram. The most common placement is in the bottom left corner, so that when folded, the monogram will show rightside up. For cocktail napkins, embellishments go in the center. Whether you choose to embellish your napkins or not, you still have many ways of personalizing, dressing up and displaying this hardworking accessory. Folded napkins at each setting become a canvas of sorts for a little tableau of creativity at each seat. A fancy napkin fold—such as the Christmas tree or snowflake for a holiday meal—is one way to dress up the setting. Another way is with add-ons like themed napkin rings (burlap and dried flowers at Thanksgiving, or jingle bells in December) and/or placecards or menus tucked into the napkin’s folds (the tuxedo jacket fold with a menu tucked inside would be darling at New Year’s.) Whether you choose the timeless elegance of starched linen, the nostalgia of heirloom linen, the informal whimsy of mix-andmatch cotton patterns, or anything in between, there are napkins to complement your own taste and style—and endless ways to dress them up or down to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere at your table this season. Beautiful napkins are an easy and inexpensive way to personalize your own gracious table at the holidays and beyond.
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n LIVE A GOOD BOOK
editor’s picks: best in books HOT TITLES FOR GREAT GIFTING
BY M E R I D ITH I N G R AM
Here at HOME, books are among our favorite gifts to give and receive, at the holidays and all year long. (We especially love the coffee table book; glossy hardbacks with slick pages, beautiful photos and informative content are practical and pretty—which, to us, meets the criteria for great gifting.) This holiday season, check out some recent favorite titles for decor enthusiasts, avid cooks and intrepid gardeners—and everyone in between— on your shopping list. Or treat yourself! A House by the Sea
by Bunny Williams Does someone on your gift list need a vacation? (Or, do you?) Open the pages of this book and step inside the luxury Caribbean retreat of renowned designer and Virginia native Bunny Williams. Readers are invited to explore her home, La Colina, inside and out—from breezy, luxurious interiors to lush tropical gardens and outdoor rooms. Each chapter features an essay written by a Williams’ friend who has visited the property. Eye candy and a delightful read. Christmas at Designers’ Homes Across America
by Katherine McMillan and Patricia McMillan Designers help clients deck their halls at the holidays—but what about their own homes? Here, they’ll show you. Be inspired by nearly 250 pages full of photographs and ideas from noted designers’ homes across the country (including the king of vintage tree ornaments Christopher Radko himself). Learn their decorating strategies while gleaning insider holiday decor survival tips—from preserving trees, to caring for ornaments, to incorporating unusual color schemes and centerpieces. Get an insider’s look at some of their rituals and traditions, too. Color at Home: A Young House Love Coloring Book
by Sherry and John Petersik Richmond-based bloggers and bestselling authors Sherry and John Petersik are at it again following the success of their first two home improvement books. This time, partnering with illustrator Joan Borawski, the DIY darlings have created a way for you to play house: In this charming coloring book for all ages, you can design a new sofa, experiment with color schemes, try a new pattern on a pillow—or just color your way to a state of calm. For a complete gift for a decor lover of any age, throw in a pack of new crayons or artist’s colored pencils. c h a r l o t t e s v i l l e h o m e m a g a z i n e . c o m 3 7
It’s the Little Things: Creating Big Moments in Your Home Through the Stylish Small Stuff
by Susannah Salk As a petite hardcover, this gem of a book will look beautiful resting on an end table—as part of the very kind of vignette author Susannah Salk is urging us to create. She believes homeowners should incorporate things that they love and have meaning in their lives into their everyday interiors. Divided into five sections—Surfaces, Walls, Mantels, Little Moments and Big Moments—this book is sure to inspire you to style your home as a personal reflection at every turn. How to Celebrate Everything: Recipes and Rituals for Birthdays, Holidays, Family Dinners, and Every Day In Between
by Jenny Rosenstrach From the bestselling author of Dinner: A Love Story (and the popular blog by the same name) comes Rosenstrach’s latest work—part cookbook, part ode to family traditions and rituals. In a charming compilation of recipes, anecdotes and photographs, the author provides ideas and inspiration for reveling in family life—including celebrating everything from traditional holidays to unique family rituals like “The Sleepover Breakfast” and “Miracle Mashed Potatoes.”
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Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories
by Jocelyn Delk Adams For the bakers in your life, this collection of down-home desserts comes packaged in a hardcover cookbook dripping with vintage charm. Baker-blogger Jocelyn Delk Adams (her blog is grandbaby-cakes.com) has adapted recipes from her grandmother, affectionately known as “Big Mama,” for new generations. Her recipes, tips, techniques and mouthwatering photos will inspire bakers of all abilities, and perhaps, as she says on her blog, “not feel guilty about enjoying dessert.” The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods
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by Erin Gleeson Wholesome ingredients, simple and delicious vegetarian recipes, vibrant photographs, and whimsical illustrations and hand-lettering make this cookbook a multifaceted delight that’s equally at home on the kitchen counter as on the coffee table. Even if those on your shopping list are carnivores, there’s much to feast on in this cookbook.
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The Flower Chef: A Modern Guide to Do-It-Yourself Floral Arrangements
by Carly Cylinder Floral design beginners and aficionados alike will enjoy this how-to design book. Breathtaking photographs, helpful general tips and easy-to-follow directions put over 80 stunning floral arrangements within reach for beginners; even seasoned professionals might take a tip or two. Julia Reed's South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long
by Julia Reed Julia Reed—widely regarded author, journalist, columnist and humorist— is also known as the consummate Southern hostess. In her latest book, she shares a down-to-earth guide to throwing an unforgettable party. Whether it’s a formal dinner, holiday cocktails or a hunt breakfast, Reed provides—in her signature fun-loving style—easy-to-follow recipes, ideas for invitations, tablescapes and floral arrangements, and, best of all, advice on creating a mood.
Plant: Exploring the Botanical World
by Phaidon Editors Go ahead, judge this book by its cover. Part botany lesson, part art history lesson, it contains a carefully curated collection of botanically themed images, including the work of noted artists, photographers, scientists and botanical illustrators, as well as rare and previously unpublished images. Photographers, gardeners, artists and armchair botanists—or anyone with a love of nature, really—will appreciate this visually stunning survey of the world of plants. Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces
by Michelle Slatalla Not only will readers admire visual tours of enviable gardens around the world, they will also appreciate planting guides for a variety of climates, ideas for do-it-yourself projects, advice from landscape professionals, and in-depth looks at unique outdoor structures like yoga studios and chicken coops. This book is a gift that certainly qualifies as both practical and pretty.
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© The Market at Grelen; Kristi Ellis, kellis photography
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© The Market at Grelen; Kristi Ellis, kellis photography
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n IMPROVE RADIANT HEAT
RADIANT FLOOR HEATING
the end of the search for toasty toes BY JA N E T A . M A R T I N
STONE AGE MAN'S FLOORING WAS DIRT. His toes touched cold in the morning; his body shivered at night. His descendants heated dirt flooring with fire. Archeological digs in Asia and the Aleutian Islands of Alaska reveal evidence from 5000 BC of smoke blown along stone-covered trenches under dwellings. In 1000 BC Koreans created the ondol, drawing smoke from a wood fire to heat and to cook. By 500 BC, the Greeks and Romans had fashioned the hypocaust, underfloor heating for public baths and villas. Fires were stoked to channel heated water through stone-covered subterranean spaces, warming the stones (and rooms) above. Centuries rolled by. The longing for warmth endured. Flooring changed—straw, stone, brick or wood—but the problem remained: Cold feet at daybreak and cold bodies at night. Inventors around the globe tried to solve the problem. So did some Americans. In 1741 Benjamin Franklin constructed the Franklin stove. In 1937 Architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed a home with underfloor heating. In 1947, Abraham Levitt built mass-produced homes heated with copper pipes embedded in concrete for returning World War II GIs. Alas, corrosion between the substances caused widespread system failure. Cold floors seemed unsolvable. Eventually, however, decades of experimentation resulted in material breakthroughs like polyethylene tubing and computer sensing technology. Today, throughout the world, underfoot heating is commonplace. Known as radiant floor heating, this 21st-century warmth is affordable, efficient and easily installed, promising comfort in homes and commercial buildings. The heat is even, floor to ceiling; it’s quiet, without clanking radiator pipes or the sound of forced air; it adapts to old and remodeled heating systems.
“The object of a radiant floor is not only to heat the house, but also to give you a warm floor,” explains Jeff Perry of Piedmont Radiant in Charlottesville. He notes that if you have tubing in concrete—a basement or slab—the system is comfortable because “you now have a four-inch-thick concrete radiator!” As more and more new homes acquire underfloor heating systems, and older and remodeled homes combine them with traditional gas, radiator, fuel or electric heat, HOME wanted to know more. So we asked… What is radiant floor heating?
A radiant floor heating system may be electric or hydronic. Electrical systems are most often used in “spot areas”— specifically kitchens, bathrooms and foyers. The systems come as kits with electric wire embedded in a mesh resembling a mat. The wired mesh is installed in a bed of thin-set, a lightweight cement, over a concrete slab or a subfloor, followed by floor covering—generally tile. An electrician hooks the system to the power source in the home.
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Hydronic radiant systems pump heated water through tubing laid in a pattern above or underneath a subfloor to accommodate larger areas, even the entire house. These systems contain two primary components: half-inch polyethylene tubing placed beneath the floor in a zig-zag pattern, and a heating source—a water heater or a boiler. The system can work with any hot water heat source including oil, natural gas and propane. Heat rises, so a heated floor radiates heat upward and outward in a room. Radiant floor heating systems are also used outside for “snowmelt” sidewalks, access ramps and entrances to buildings. Triggered by a sensor, surface heat repels frozen matter before it accumulates. How is it installed?
Tubing can be put in concrete flooring, in a finished basement or a “slab on grade” home without a basement. It can go on top of plywood, later covered by a flooring chosen by the homeowner, or “stapled up” under the subfloor. All systems become “invisible” in the homeowner’s dwelling space. Radiant floor
heating also may be added onto an original structure, creating compatible new rooms and new areas. How fuel efficient is radiant heat?
Compared to forced air, radiant heat offers sophisticated advantages. Experts agree that one of the advantages is even heat. Such a system eliminates cold spots and cold air blasts from registers, maintaining a quiet system of consistent heat. Because of these qualities as well as cost efficiencies, underfloor systems are widely adopted in Nordic, Asian and European communities. The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse in Merrifield, Virginia, maintains that radiant floor heating can generate savings with lower thermostat temperatures, because the entire floor surface radiates about the same heat as the human body. Radiant floors operate between 85 to 140 degrees F, compared to other heating systems’ range of 130 to 160 degrees F, resulting in fuel savings of 15 to 20 percent over forced air systems. Another bonus is that if electric power goes
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out, the baseboard heat stops working, or the furnace shuts down, radiant floors, having absorbed heat, will radiate warmth for hours afterward. What floor coverings are compatible?
Manufacturers and installers recommend that homebuilders talk with their contractors about floor coverings. Installers recommend tile, slate, or travertine— that is, any kind of natural stone or ceramic. Electric radiant heat flooring best accommodates tiles. With hydronic radiant heat flooring most hardwood flooring options work, since radiant floor heating generally does not create an expansion effect in the floor, or dry out, or crack with the seasons, because the water temperature in the tubing is generally 100 degrees: lukewarm, not hot. Perry says he actually
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prefers manufactured wood as it “moves less.” Installers agree that wallto-wall carpeting is not a good choice, since carpeting and its padding inhibit warm air from entering the room. What about costs?
Radiant heat is recognized as an affordable and efficient operation. The principal expense comes at the time of installation. And homeowners should realize that while radiant heat is appealing, it is not air conditioning, which is a separate expense. According to CostHelper.com, you can expect to pay around $6 to $16 per square foot for a professionally installed hydronic radiant floor heating system in an existing home, depending on the number of temperature zones and the overall size of the system. Such costs usually include tearing out and replacing the existing floor. Installing a radiant heat floor in new construction tends to be less expensive. But labor costs vary by the job and location. Electric radiant floor heating costs around $5 to $7 per square foot for the materials
or $8 to $12 or more per square foot with professional installation. Costs vary depending upon location, materials, room size, floor covering, and labor. Overall, determining the expense to put in a radiant heating system will depend on whether you are installing it into new construction or retrofitting, as well as the type of system you choose. When considering a project, homeowners should consult several professionals to understand and ensure an estimate. So it seems the age-old problem of cold floors in the morning and cold bones at night may be solved, or at least today we have better options. Perry concurs. “It’s fundamental,” he smiles. “In winter if you walk barefoot across a concrete or wood floor that is 80 degrees, your feet are toasty.” Which makes one wonder, if confronted with modern radiant floor heating, what would a Stone Age person think? Surely he’d wink, or grin, or grunt, as if to say, “Sure beats dirt.”
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christmas, collected COLLECT, CURATE & CREATE YOUR MOST CHERISHED HOLIDAY SEASON TO DATE BY CY N T H I A B EM EN T
oliday decorating can be a cherished event and a challenge, all rolled into one. Unpacking box upon nondescript box of collections you haven’t seen in a year can prove taxing on the memory of where and how you arranged them last year, while those same decorations present themselves as little time capsules, each eager to trigger a warm holiday moment from celebrations past. Whether you're a seasonal decorating veteran or decorating for the holidays in your first home, we’ve got your guide for beginning, refreshing, rearranging, storing and even photographing your collections. Here, enjoy our tips for a fresh take on the holiday sights in your home.
Collect what you love.
If you’re just starting on your Christmas collecting path, it can be overwhelming to consider what to actually collect. To make the process of collecting more self-expressive, consider both traditional and outside-the-box ideas. Nutcrackers often come in primary colors that provide a punch to any traditional holiday decor and are made in a wide variety of sizes, from life-sized versions to greet guests in the foyer to tiny soldiers to line up on a fireplace mantel or along a stairwell ledge. Contemporary productions of snowmen, lighted villages and angels may also come to mind, but unique collections can also come from some less-obvious cues that can make the thrill of the hunt that much more fun when you’re just starting, or starting a new collection. Dog lover? A collection of ceramic holiday dog figurines or tiny snow globes with puppies in Santa hats may take
some detective work to find, but will produce a charming and meaningful collection you can cherish for years. A collection of antique children’s Christmas books or books you loved as a child can be displayed on almost any shelf or stacked among other collectibles and mixed with naturals to bring a vintage, nostalgic feel to your decor. Even antique sleds or ice skates can be grouped on a wall or balanced on wooden crates to create yesteryear holiday charm. Ceramic or antique bells, creamers, plates and other serving pieces that might not necessarily say “Christmas” in color or pattern can also easily be grouped together with a little ribbon, tinsel or a gilded pinecone or two into a stunning and festive display on a buffet or in a hutch. Love to sail or spend time on the water? A collection of wooden boats, nestled among a string of twinkling white lights, can easily say “holiday” with a nautical flare.
46 Charlot tesville HOME November/December 20 16
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Displaying: Steer clear of clutter.
Going all-out should be more of a feeling than a manifestation in your home; you don’t want to trip visiting merrymakers or Santa when he comes down the chimney to deliver the motherlode on Christmas morn. In short: it’s all about the edit. One trusty rule to follow when curating your collections is to group like items together, and practice restraint by creating negative space, with nothing in it—which gives the eyes and the floor space a breather—around each grouping. Take a treasured collection of snowmen or tiny snow globes and sprinkle odd-numbered groups around the living room—on side tables, shelves, even as a focal point when accented by a natural element such as pine boughs or sprigs of holly on the coffee table. Display a group of metallic ornaments atop glass taper and pillar candle holders for instant candlelight-like glow without the fire hazard. A group of soft ornaments in primary colors can be displayed on a small tree in a playroom or its own corner of the dining room or foyer for children or grandchildren to enjoy without the risk of breakage. Or try placing a large tree branch (real or faux) in a large pitcher on your dining table and suspending a collection of vintage or color-themed ornaments from its branches.
Not putting up a tree this year? Bring a fresh pine garland or two home and drape them on stair railings and mantels, then deck them out with your tree’s collections of ornaments. For instant, portable holiday decor, purchase a large glass-paned wooden or metal lantern and place pinecones, real pine sprigs and an LED candle inside to create lovely sparkle and scent for a fireplace hearth, mantel, entryway, stairway or tabletop. Also try consecutively placing several smaller lanterns on stair risers to light up the night and put everyone in a holiday mood. Keep function in mind, too. A treasured collection of your grandmother’s crystal stemware creates a stunning centerpiece when grouped together on a mirrored or rich wooden tray on the dining table while staying within arms’ reach of guests who are eager to imbibe your festive drink offerings. A collection of antique holiday hand towels may best be displayed on a small shelf in the bathroom or kitchen, hung on a tiny portable towel rack (assuming they are to be admired and not used by guests). For a new twist, brainstorm ways to display your collections in different ways this year for an instant freshen-up of your holiday themes. One way to add instant drama is to take them
S i lv e r M e d a l a w a r d
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to new heights—literally. Take a collection of villages that normally lights up your sideboard to new heights on a shelf or mantel, hang small sunburst mirrors in metallic finishes in windows to bounce light around the room, and select a few unique ornaments to suspend from your entryway chandelier on fishing line for a floating, unexpected aerial holiday display. Play shutterbug.
Taking the time to photograph your collections can serve triple-duty: Not only do images serve as great future reference for how you displayed your collections this year, but shutter-bugging your decor will also give you a catalog of your entire holiday inventory in case of future loss or damage. On the brighter side, taking the time to photograph your collections can be a wonderful exercise in brainstorming new groupings and in producing keepsakes in the images themselves. Try catching silhouettes of family members, friends, even pets admiring your collections, and catch some close-ups of ornaments and collections in front of twinkling lights, then print and jot a “happy new year” wish and mail them off to start someone’s year on a happy note. Printed images of your collections can also become their own collections; try mounting several images in frames of a similar color, style
or size to create a gallery wall in a stairwell or hallway next holiday season that pays homage to the merriment of this year. Some of your images may just make great holiday cards next year, as well. Tips for getting the best shots: Get close. By all means, photograph the tree, the house from the street and the entire dining tablescape from a distance, but do get in close to highlight specific items and groupings. If using a smart phone, tap the subject of your frame so that the camera’s lens uses it as the focus point for both sharpness and correct exposure for your lighting conditions. Steady, steady. Keep your camera as still as you can. When possible, mount on a tripod, prop on a solid surface, or steady your hand on a surface or close to your body to prevent blurry images resulting from camera shake. Light it up. You might think that extra lights take away from your holiday ones and may compete with them in photos, but in reality, because holiday lights are often photographed at night, they can tend to be the only things that show up in a photo of an otherwise dark room. More lighting means more glow and will help your camera attain focus. Try photographing with the tree in the background while you focus on your subject in the foreground for a beautiful blur of orbs (often referred to as “bokeh”)
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coming from its twinkling lights. This may take a bit of practice, but keep shooting and you’ll master it. Shoot outside at dusk, not dark. When photographing your home from the outside, don’t wait until it’s pitch black, or you’ll see plenty of lights but no house in your images. Photograph outdoors while it’s still light but when lights are visible, and you’ll get a pleasing composition that showcases not only the twinkle but your home and landscape as well. Try including a glimpse of sky in your shots—though it may look dull to your eye, chances are the camera will pick it up as a rich blue hue. Tip: Don’t just capture your favorite few (this goes for ornaments and people)—take a shot of each ornament and grouping in your entire home (include a couple of exterior shots). When you’re done, attach images of collections you store together to the top or front of their storage containers to make life easier next year at holiday time. Speaking of storage: Invest in next year.
When the holidays are over, nothing brings the promise of a new year to a screeching halt faster than the frustration of where to put all the stuff. Do yourself a favor and invest in a few smart storage items for your collections before you have to take them down, and you’ll ensure that your next holiday season is a putup and take-down breeze. First, wrap all string lights securely to avoid tangling and breakage; consider investing in a reel with its own storage bag to make the process of winding, unwinding and storing lights a painless one. Ornament chests, tubs and bags with dividers for each one are also a good option (made even better when you refer to your archived photographs of each one). Look for stackable versions with configurable dividers to accommodate large or oddly shaped ornaments and collectibles. If shelf or under-bed storage is tight, consider hanging a shoe organizer in a closet and tuck small collectibles or ornaments wrapped in tissue paper inside. Voila! Instant collectible organizer that can be found in almost any home or grocery store. Don’t forget the workhorses: Group ornament hangers, zip ties, adhesives, suction cups and extension cords into a multicompartment case (and go ahead and restock lost items for next year) so you’ll be ready to get your collections out and up in a flash next holiday season. With a little creative thinking, you’ll come up with the “what” and “why” of your most meaningful holiday collection decorating yet, and if you add in some pre-planning, your “how” will be the easiest part of your holiday season, this year and for years to come. 5 0 C h a r l o t t e s v i l l e H O M E N o v e m b e r / D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 6
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