Tag Archives: contemporary interior 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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Automation Startups With an Eye for Design

Automation Startups With an Eye for Design

The home automation industry is still in the early stages, but a few startups are already garnering attention. The best blend technology with sleek design. Take a closer look at these startups and maybe get in on the ground floor before they make it big time.


Automated systems such as the learning thermostat from Nest Labs are making big splashes in the home automation market.

Nest Labs – Learning Thermostat
Nest Labs made a big splash in the home automation and energy efficiency market with the release of their learning thermostat. Unlike old school thermostats that must be left at one temperature for the entire day, the learning thermostat learns your schedule, programs itself and can even be controlled from your smartphone. If you train it well, the company’s learning thermostat may lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20 percent. It truly is the next generation thermostat and its sleek design is the perfect complement to modern and efficient home designs.

KISI Systems – Automated Apartment Entry
An old school house key and lock don’t exactly complement an urban property design. KISI Systems offers the solution with cloud-based apartment or house access. Enter your apartment with the push of a button or grant visitors access even while you’re away on vacation. 

The system also provides access to such information as a record of when key holders have entered your residence and for how long. The system utilizes advanced security technology and also integrates with a traditional key locking system. If you happen to lose your smartphone, you can simply change your password and use your physical keys. 

iControl – Openhome Platform
iControl is making a name for itself in the home automation market by making the ‘connected home’ a reality for average consumers. By working with leading broadband service providers and home security companies, iControl offers next generation home management and automation services at an affordable price. The company’s automation solutions include interactive home security, energy management and home care. For example, the home security platform allows for distance monitoring of your modern home from your computer, smartphone and more. 

Leviton – Intuitive Lighting
One of the best complements to modern home design is automated lighting. As a top light automation provider, Leviton offers automated lighting control solutions in wired or radio frequency wireless configurations. The company’s lighting solutions are offered for residential and small commercial applications. 

Whether you desire soft lighting to complement a modern dining room setting or need bright lighting in the kitchen or bathroom, the company’s automated systems allow you to achieve the perfect lighting with the touch of a button. Use the system’s presets to program your preferred lighting and simplify the task of brightening or dimming the lights at any hour. The company also offers a slew of other products aimed at improving energy efficiency and more.

Home automation is new and exciting and several startups are leading the trend. From automating your home’s lighting to improving the property’s energy efficiency, learn how you can utilize the best of these startups to incorporate automation into your home’s design.


How cool would it be to control your entire home’s lighting with the touch of a smartphone button?

Photo Credit: David Berkowitz

Photo Credit: James Coverdale

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