Tag Archives: contemporary design

3 Trending Fixtures for 2014

Fixtures are the accents to your home that make it fashionable. Unlike remodeling or new construction, you can swap out fixtures with ease, making them the diamond jewelry of your home. Here are three fixture styles trending in 2014.

Porcelain Fixtures
If you want to commit to some work that’s a bit more than just swapping out some knobs, but a bit less than completely remodeling your bathroom, new sinks, toilets, and showers can add some style to any home. The trend is towards hiding plumbing fixtures in the walls and selecting more angular, square fixtures. This isn’t to say that they’re severe; the edges are rounded both for safety and to soften the lines just enough to make it different without making it look too industrial.

As far as colors go, believe it or not white is still very, very popular, but keep an eye out for fixtures that use primary blue accents. Blues in general are becoming more popular, especially shades that lack any hint of greens to them, and will add a hint of color and pop. Look for lighter blue to give your bathroom a vibrancy beyond just dazzling white.

Remember, even a subtle change can make a big difference in your home décor. By tweaking your fixtures and making careful choices about what to buy and how to match, you can give your home a stylish spin unlike anything your friends have ever seen, and a unique look any Miami homeowner will be proud of.


A Scarabeo sink will cost you, but it’s worth it.

For a high-end fixture from Scarabeo or Tecla, expect to pay between $500 and $800 for a single faucet fixture, and up to $2,000 for a double faucet.


Kohler will be slightly less expensive

If you’re looking to save, though, you can get similar styles from Kohler for between $150 and $200.

Lighting

In lighting fixtures, the name of the game is glass. Glass blowing has become more and more common and fixture manufacturers are experimenting with different designs and colors when it comes to glass. Especially trendy right now are “pendant” designs, where the fixture hangs straight down from the ceiling from the cord or the cord is contained in a flexible covering. It’s much more attractive that standard hanging fixtures, which simply twine the cord around the chain used to hang it from the ceiling, and it’s also more modern.

Generally you should use pendant fixtures in numbers, such as arranging four over a kitchen counter or hanging several in a pattern over your dinner table. Best of all, the limited materials used means that they’re offered in more styles and metals than standard fixtures; you can match your faucet and your lighting fixtures more much easily and better demonstrate your sense of décor.


Lighting prices will depend heavily on the fixture.

Proper lighting installation will require an electrician, and it’ll also require a good budget; a custom lighting fixture can run you $2,500 or far more depending on the artist you hire and the size of the fixture.


Pendant lighting adds style while staying discreet.

This pendant is a good example of high quality at a low price; you can pay as little as $35 per fixture for a simpler light and still get a stunning effect.

Faucets and Knobs

Chrome is, of course, the classic for fixtures of all sorts; we’ve all seen plenty of chrome faucets in homes from the beautiful to the pedestrian. But it’s annoying to clean, and more to the point, it’s not particularly unique. Increasingly popular are more matte fixtures, in colors such as antique brass or brushed nickel. A nice, oil-rubbed metal will give you both the stunning sheen you look for in a fixture, while also giving your bathroom a different touch.

As a bonus, it’s easier to clean and less likely to be mistaken for a cheaper fixture. Even chrome and steel fixtures from major designers are mistaken for knock-offs constantly.


Grohe is high quality, but it’ll cost you.

Faucets you can generally install yourself, which is a good thing because fixtures from a high-end company such as Grohe can cost $900 or far more depending on the extras you choose.


Brushed and oil-rubbed textures give your fixtures subtle style.

Even low-budget fixtures can be attention-getting; this Kohler faucet, complete with handles, runs just $300.

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Five Things Every Home Theater Needs


Even visible speakers can be incorporated into your home decor.

Home theaters are becoming more popular as home theater technology gets better and better. Things like 3D televisions, 7.1 sound systems, and crisp video playback…a well-built home theater can be like having a private screening room. That said, though, there are things you need and things you don’t for your home theater, and what they are might surprise you.

Location, Location, Location
The first and most important step is deciding where everything will go. For example, placing your television behind a window will both block the sun in a room and draw undue attention to it, making it hard to watch and distracting. Putting it on a wall opposite the windows may make it difficult to watch during the day. Before buying and installing, do some measuring and thinking; properly placing an integrating your home theater into your home will mean fewer arguments and a happier home.

A Well-Built Amplifier With the Proper Wattage
The foundation of every home theater system is the amplifier. To understand why, you need to understand how speakers work. Essentially, all speakers really do is push air at certain frequencies that the electricity flowing in tells them to push at; but, the more air you want to push, and the more energetic the frequencies, the harder it is to push. An amplifier gives your speakers just the right amount of power; overpowering might trash the speakers, and underpowering can result in distortion. Pair your amp with your speakers carefully, and your theater will sound that much better.

Hiding Places
It’s very rare that you want your home theater to dominate the room, but if you put a gigantic television and thumping sound system into your living room, it’ll draw attention even if you don’t turn it on. It doesn’t help that many systems are designed to look cool, not blend into your home décor. Look into touches like home automation that tucks screens and speakers away, or building a cabinet into the wall that lets you keep your living room as a multipurpose space.


This might be a bit of overkill.

Proper Speaker Placement
Getting perfect sound requires placing your speakers properly. There’s a specific place in each room where the speakers and the acoustics align to create a perfect listening spot. It may not always be ideal to create this, but where possible, you should try to do so. Beyond that, think about how the space will be used; will you and your friends be watching and discussing TV shows and sports games? Will you be sitting in appreciative silence watching a movie? Place your speakers for the best effect to get the most out of your system.

Hidden Cables
Unfortunately, making all home theater technology wireless is a work in progress; there aren’t really any solutions at the moment that rival their wired cousins. That means you’ll need to choose wires and cables carefully, and also look for solutions to hide them. One popular method of organizing and tucking cables away is to thread them through the walls; that way, you have fully wired speakers, but also flawless home décor. If that’s not an option, look for cables that can be painted over, or consider covering them with electrical cord covers; there are quite a few available at your local hardware store.

Whichever methods you choose, remember that you can have a home theater in your home without it dominating, and a well-designed theater makes a home that much better. Happy shopping!

Photo credits: Viet Hoang,

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The 4 Most Unique Fabrics That Work


The right fabrics make all the difference.

Miami is a beautiful city, but it can be a tricky one when it comes to home décor. The heat and humidity can make finding the right fabrics for your home a tough choice. But have no fear; there are fabrics that work with the weather, and will give your home that luxurious feel. Here’s what works for your Miami home.

Cotton
Yes, cotton; it’s not just for your clothes and your sheets, it’s also for upholstery. Cotton is ideal because it can fit into any budget, be dyed to fit any design scheme, and best of all, it breathes. In a climate such as Miami, your home furniture needs to use breathable upholstery in order to be comfortable; otherwise, you get that awkward, sticky feeling that we’re a little too familiar with thanks to visiting Grandma on a hot day. That said, get upholstery with a high thread count for a soft, luxe feeling, and use it for furniture that sees moderate use or less.

Hemp
Hemp has, for far too long, been the province of crunchy-granola types and burnouts. It’s time to take this fabric back and use it where it belongs as the luxurious natural fiber of choice for your furniture. Hemp is not only breathable and soft, it can take quite a lot of abuse. Hemp fibers are tougher than even the brattiest child or the most ill-behaved pet. Like cotton, it takes to dyes and patterns extremely well. Use hemp for furniture that sees a lot of use; it won’t wear out and will give you plenty of time.

Linen
If you want comfort and breathability, linen is going to be your fabric of choice. Remember, true linen is made from fibers from the flax plant; any other kind of “linen” is not true linen. It’s referred to as such largely thanks to the weaving method used, but won’t offer the same freshness. Linen is actually best used not for upholstery but for curtains, pillows, and other accents. It wrinkles and stains more easily than some fabrics. It can also take some of the humidity out of the air because it absorbs liquids well, which is just another reason to keep it out of the reach of red wines and sodas.

Leather

Leather has always meant luxury.

Finally, there’s the classic upholstery choice of leather. It may seem odd to say that leather is the best choice for a humid, warm climate like Miami, but it does have a few advantages. First of all, if you air-condition your home, leather releases its heat quickly and effectively, making your leather furniture cool and comfortable to the touch. Secondly, well treated leather can withstand a lot of damage and brush off spills and accidents without staining. Finally, it’s easy to clean; you can buy wipes from leather furniture stores that can easily clean the sofa. Of course, it’s luxurious; leather is considered the best kind of upholstery for a reason.

There are other fabrics, but these are the best you’ll find for home décor in the Miami area. Factor them into your design and you’ll find they give you the pop your home needs.

Photo credits: The Miami Story, stewf

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5 Tips from the Miami Home Show

Regional home shows are a brilliant place to find the best ideas in design. Different regions have different climates and concerns, and as a result, there’s a staggering variety of ideas. Here are just a few ideas from the recent Miami Home Show to consider.

Energy Efficiency Is King

Everyone at the show was looking for lights, appliances, and especially home electronics that sip power instead of guzzle it. Energy efficiency in areas such as home theater has made enormous strides, saving you on your power bill while putting better materials and designs front and center. Home theater devices in particular are a key focus because they’re improving so rapidly: Every year, flat screen TVs, speaker systems, and media players are re-engineered to offer more quality for less energy. Especially for homeowners who first built their systems with the rise of DVD and haven’t been keeping up with home theater since, it’s an effective way to make your house that much better.

Hard Floors Are An Easy Choice

Hard flooring is rapidly becoming more popular for several reasons. First of all, it’s environmentally conscious; most carpet made from renewable materials is more expensive and harder to make compared to flooring materials such as bamboo. New materials and designs are added constantly, given homeowners a wider choice. It’s health conscious: hard flooring doesn’t trap allergens, and it’s easier to clean, making it particularly popular among Miami’s elderly population. And it can improve home acoustics to a surprising degree, making it appealing to music lovers.

Home Theaters Are On The Rise

The rising prices of movie theaters, and the rising quality of home video and streaming options, are making home theaters more and more popular. In addition, large living rooms are making it possible to add more components, especially as components keep shrinking and more ideas are developed to place speakers and monitors in just the right position. Even a high-end system will save you a lot of money in the long run as ticket prices keep going up, and getting a theater grade experience is easier, and cheaper, than ever.

Smaller Remodeling Is More Popular

Instead of completely rebuilding or adding onto your home, homeowners are increasingly doing smaller work, which is more budget-friendly and more time-conscious. Examples include automating a home theater system to fold into a wall, repainting a few rooms and adding flooring, and even adding different throw pillows to brighten a space.

Outdoors Is The Way To Go

Miami being Miami, it often has gorgeous weather, and as a result, home ideas are making the most of it. It helps that improving your outdoor spaces is often less of a remodeling commitment. Additions such as fire pits, energy efficient lighting, and outdoor audio systems not only add to your enjoyment of the home but add to its resale value as well.

These are just a few of the ideas you’ll find when it comes to home redesign. Whether you decide to automate your home theater, dig a fire pit for grilling burgers, or install hard flooring to help keep your home clean and filled with the sound of music, there are dozens of options to improve your Miami home.

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4 Reasons Britain’s Most Expensive Home Was Worth It

4 Reasons Britain’s Most Expensive Home Was Worth It

Recently, One Cornwall Terrace, located opposite Regent’s Park, became Britain’s most expensive home after selling for an astounding 80 million, and that was 20 million under the original asking price. The property sold with ease, largely because of the complete home automation system, but was it worth the price tag? Here are four reasons why the answer is a resounding, “Yes”.


How would you like to call this swanky mansion home?

Impressive Automation
Imagine being able to control your entire home’s lighting with a touch of a button. One Cornwall Terrace features iPad-controlled lighting. With 21,000 square feet and seven bedrooms, saying that this lighting automation offers convenience is quite an understatement. Yet, the property’s automation doesn’t stop with the lighting. 

The property’s high-tech security gates are also automated with a number plate recognition system. The system undoubtedly increases the owner’s sense of security and simplifies the task of allowing visitors in and out of the massive property. These features of automation and others are becoming increasingly important for property owners because of the convenience they provide and also for the increase they bring in property values. 

Location
The notion that location is everything still rings true and was certainly an influencing factor in the selling price of One Cornwall Terrace. Sitting just opposite of Regent’s Park, the property is an impeccable status symbol and will remain a hot topic of conversation throughout the UK even after the selling dust has settled. 

Design
A property’s design influences everything from the comfort it brings an owner to which features can be included in a renovation. As far as swanky features and endless space, One Cornwall Terrace has it all. The mansion boasts seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, nine reception rooms and an impressive catering kitchen with marble and limestone-lined halls in between each room. The property’s sports complex includes a gym and a swimming pool while the exterior features a 40-meter long landscaped garden. 

Each area of the mansion is impeccably designed and the layout offers an attractive and convenient flow from kitchen to sports complex and beyond. This design blended with the mansion’s modern automation features make the property a true one-of-a-kind.

History
One of the most interesting features of One Cornwall Terrace is its history. Originally built in the 1820s by architect Decimus Burton and overseen by John Nash, the mansion features notable architectural elements including a neo-classical Stucco elevation with Corinthian pilasters. The property’s two-story bay is outfitted by columns that resemble the Greek goddess Artemis. It was the official residence in London of the New Zealand High Commissioner from the 1950s to the 1970s and, recently, underwent an extensive overhaul before being placed on the market. 


How much would you pay for a mansion like One Cornwall Terrace?

Sure, not everyone can purchase a swanky property like One Cornwall Terrace that is 336 times more expensive than the average UK home. However, regardless of your budget, ensuring the property you do purchase is worth the price is easy by assessing such factors as in-home automation, design and more.

Photo credit: Elliot Brown

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Color Juxtaposition, the ones that do not normally work.

Color Juxtaposition, the ones that do not normally work.

If you ask a group of interior decorators what colors are not compatible with each other, you may be surprised to find out that many designers believe that all colors are meant to go together, but the shades, hues, intensity, saturation and amount of color needs to be tweaked for the best results.

Color Wheel

The color wheel is a way to assess the compatibility and contrast of one color to another. Primary colors are blue, yellow and red. The colors between the primary colors are called secondary colors and are made by mixing combinations of blue, yellow and red together.

Secondary colors

Mix red with yellow, and you create orange. Mix yellow and blue together, and you get green. Red and blue mixed creates purple. Therefore, orange, green and purple are considered secondary colors.

Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors are primary and secondary colors that are mixed together. The six tertiary colors are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet.

Colors in Context

Colors look different depending upon the colors they are near. For example, a red square stands out on a white background but is hardly noticed on a brown background. The same shade of lavender will look reddish on a blue background and bluish on a purple background. Colors change drastically depending upon the colors around them.

Color harmony

Color harmony is the midpoint between too many colors that may cause over stimulation and not enough color that is boring and uninteresting to the eye. Harmony is achieved by both trial and error, and by following some basic rules of color theory.

Paint Chips and Fabric Swatches

There is a reason interior designers collect a variety of paint chips and fabric swatches in the process of renovating or redoing a living space. Even the trained eye of an interior designer may not be able to select the perfect color without trying out some combinations.

Color Theories

Yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange are three colors that sit side by side on a 12-part color wheel. Any three colors next to each other are called analogous colors and usually are pleasant to the eye.

Complementary colors, those colors opposite each other on the color wheel, also are deemed universally compatible.

Exceptions

Some designers believe that if you follow nature’s palate of colors, it doesn’t matter what colors are placed next to each other. Designers will often use a picture taken from nature as an inspiration for color hue, saturation and intensity.

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Top 6 Interior Design Trends of 2013

Interior Design Trends of 2013


Design trends for 2013 invite everyone to get comfortable.

Interior design trends for 2013 are all about simple yet bold statements, raw materials, and leaning toward sophisticated, masculine lines throughout the home and not just in the man cave.

The idea isn’t to overwhelm your space with every new trend, but to incorporate a few ideas with your own perennial decor.


Beautiful wood grain doesn’t need ornamentation.

Lots of Natural Woodgrain
Focus on the grain of the wood instead of design details. The wood’s unique pattern becomes art instead of just a construction material. Exotic species such as tigerwood don’t need elaborate details to stand out. 

Wood is nothing new, so you’ve got to look at it a new way. A custom paneled wall might be out of your budget, but a single 4 x 8 sheet of furniture-grade plywood isn’t. Wrap the raw edge with veneer and seal the whole thing with shellac, and it becomes art for a large, bare wall. 

Really Green Walls
Pantone named Emerald Green the color of the year for 2013, but green walls aren’t just about paint. Living panels bring in the year’s hottest color while acting as a natural air filter and humidifier. Think of it as a vertical garden. 

For about $30, you can buy wall garden foundation panel, which looks like a wall cubby system. The planter sections are slanted so the dirt won’t slide out. Any plant with a shallow root system works. Imagine an herb garden on the kitchen wall or ivy in a bathroom. As plants grow and fill in, they blend into a contiguous, green wall.


Updated for a modern home, authentic vintage appliances work as well as new.

Comfortable, Warm Kitchens
Vintage meets modern in a warm, inviting kitchen where friends and family want to gather. Mix materials instead of aiming for a sleek, uniform room.

A new AGA cookstove has the right look, but the $9,000 price tag puts it far from reach for the average homeowner. Find a vintage stove from the 40s or 50s for a few hundred dollars, invest in a professional overhaul and you’ve got the genuine article.

Funky details like multicolor glass tile countertops, mixed cabinets and floors that look well worn make your kitchen feel less like an art show and more like a place to mingle.


A coat of paint is all you need to give a cupboard a big splash of color.

Daring Colors Spice Things Up
Color is the thing. Bold reds, greens, blues and yellows are everywhere from carpets to walls and furnishings. If your’e not ready for a fuchsia lacquer wall, add a few chunks of color to liven things up. 

Fire engine red on a filing cabinet, sunny yellow on a pair of nightstands or a dining room hutch that’s robin’s egg blue: paint is your friend when it comes to adding a lilt of color. 

More Focus on Masculine
Men spend more time at home now than in recent history, and the design trends for 2013 show it. “Masculine” isn’t easy to define, but designers are leaning toward simple, sophisticated furnishings such as leather club chairs and oversizes sofas with clean lines.

Substantial pieces that stand up to wear aren’t confined to bachelor pads. Think chunky end tables, large mirrors with thick, simple frames and a sofa that isn’t just for looks. 

Feel-Good, Sumptuous Textiles
Forget about choosing between attractive and durable. Layers of sumptuous textures that you want to touch means homes are more comfy and less for show. 

A thick wool rug feels warm and lovely underfoot, and a microfiber duvet makes bedtime delicious. Look for easy care fabrics that don’t require dry cleaning and upholstery that you aren’t afraid to use. 

Simplicity is the key for 2013. Overdone, contrived decor where no one feels comfortable gives way to lived-in, luxurious spaces that make home feel like the best place on earth.

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Incorporating Media Design with Small Modern Spaces

Incorporating Media Design with Small Modern Spaces

Creating a home is not as easy as someone might think. A home is basically a place where people live. What makes it a home is that feeling that suits the people that live there. Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate that feeling of a home instead of just a house, for the media design of small spaces.

Listening Space

The sound system needs to be capable of reaching all angles of the room for the proper listening space. That range is something that must be evaluated by a professional installation person. Those types of sound systems typically offers an installation service when a purchase is made. That means a system of speakers must be placed in a way that offers the best listening space. They should be something that doesn’t distract from the room either. It is simple to do that. If the the people living in the home want a warm feel to the home, then they should buy media furniture that hides away the speakers. Warm colors are typically darker in hues. White and other lighter colors offer a cool look to the room, with the exact same effect on the feel for the room. In order to allow the sound through the furniture, some design features need to be in place. There must be a hole of some sort that allows the full range of sound out. Generally that can be achieved with a fake front to the furniture. Many media design shops have these. Plants can also be used to allow the hidden speakers for the same effect. The choice is up to the people living there, along with their budget. In general though, the “Totem Forest Speakers” or the “SIG-1.5R-30 v.3 are a both great choices as they offer a full theater sound with several finishes, at an excellent price for the quality of sound.

Size Counts

When it comes to choosing the television for that media room, the size counts. The proper viewing range must be observed for each person in the room. If a person is doing the installation themselves, then they can sit in each seat and see what works for them. Otherwise, there are professionals that can help anyone with that when they buy their television. Generally speaking though, the viewing range is measured dependent on the people that have vision issues or don’t. Any designer will ask about that when they design the media room. It will vary by the people that live there. How much money that is available will also be an issue for that. The larger the television is, the more it will cost. The “BeoVision 12” works great for a large room. It is thin and blends perfectly into any room.

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5 Interior Design Tips for Tight Budgets

5 Interior Design Tips for Tight Budgets


Hiring a designer for a one-time consultation helps avoid costly mistakes.

Glossy magazine pages brimming with the latest interior design masterpieces are both dreamy and depressing when you’re on a budget. Designing a comfortable, well-appointed home doesn’t require a wealthy benefactor, but it just takes a few tricks and a careful eye.

Here are 5 tips for working within a budget to create a living space that you’re happy to come home to.

Create a Sample Board to Avoid Mistakes
Something that seems great in your head might simply look weird in your living room, but a sample board helps you picture it clearer and avoid expensive mistakes. 

Take inspirational clippings from magazines and tack them to black (not white) poster board. Add swatches of fabric, paint chips, carpet and anything else until you get the right look.


Laminate flooring is a DIY job and it covers up ugly, old vinyl. 

Paint Floors Instead of Refinishing
Worn wood floors degrade the look of some rooms, although they can work to your advantage in a rustic or cottage setting. If the expense and labor of refinishing wood floors finds you thinking about carpet, rethink and consider paint. 

Painted wood floors are classic, easy to clean and stand up to heavy traffic. Apply bonding primer first, then several coats of floor paint. Seal the floor with urethane for a long-wearing finish.


Thrift stores turn up the most unexpected treasures, and older pieces are usually made well. 

Shop Estate Sales and Thrift Stores
High-quality furnishings usually come with equally high price tags, but you’ll replace a cheap sofa a lot sooner than a good one. 

The best finds on solid, well-made furnishings are at estate sales, thrift stores and even flea markets. Learn to look past quirky or outdated upholstery to appreciate the overall design and construction. Upholstery is replaceable, and you can learn to do that at home or hire it out.

Solid wood furnishings with a scratches and wear are also worth bringing home. Refinishing wood is a simple, although messy, job. With some sandpaper, stain and sealer or paint you can make a sturdy old dresser look stunning.

Sew your Own Draperies
As with furniture, cheap draperies won’t do anything to boost the look of your home. Instead of buying pre-made, inexpensive drapes, bring out the sewing machine and make your own. 

Upholstery fabric sold by the yard lets you choose from a wide range of colors, patterns and fabrics. Simple, elegant drapes are nothing more than rectangles of fabric with a muslin liner sewn into the back side. With drapery clips, you don’t even need a casing across the top. Snap the clips across the top edge of the drapes and slide the clips onto the rod. 

Filling in the Gaps
If the budget is almost gone but the room still looks sparse, it’s time to bring in some extras. 

Plants add life to any room, and the bigger the better. Green, growing things placed anywhere you have a vacancy makes the space feel fuller without the overcrowded sensation of too much furniture.

A few oversized, square pillows do more to upgrade a simple sofa than numerous little decorative cushions.

Mirrors become instant focal points reflecting light and drawing attention with interesting frames. Instead of buying a mirror, find a large picture frame at a thrift store or flea market and have a mirror cut to fit.

If the room still looks wrong, take a photograph. When something looks off but you can’t put your finger on it, seeing the space on a computer monitor lets you step back more objectively and figure out the problem.

A tight decor budget doesn’t mean you’re relegated to discount stores and cheap imitations. Being thrifty and clever make your home look like no one else’s, and you’ll have money left over for a great bottle of wine.

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