Archive for the ‘Ana's Design Tips’ Category

Amazing Glass Homes!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

I found this interesting article by John Giuffo of FORBES about amazing glass homes throughout the world. Can you imagine living in one of these unique spaces? So cool!

Almost everything inside this Milan, Italy home is made of glass.
Photo: SantambrogioMilano

There are a few good rules of thumb to follow when owning and living in a house made of glass, and they don’t just involve throwing stones. Don’t play baseball in the front or backyard, don’t build a glass home near a golf course, and, most importantly, don’t forget to stock up on a supply of industrial-sized Windex—you’re going to need it.

Skyscraper architect Philip Johnson left a legacy of impressive buildings and skyscrapers, such as the Sony Building in Manhattan and Madrid’s improbably angled Puerta de Europa. But it’s his Glass House, in New Canaan, Connecticut, that is his most famous.

“Sure, it’s just a box of clear glass in the woods, but that simplicity makes this 1949-era house stand out as particularly beautiful,” says Rich Beattie, executive online editor at Travel + Leisure.

Some glass abodes enjoy their wooded nooks, as the surrounding foliage allows for privacy, a notion with which all glass houses play. Case Study House #22 (also known as The Stahl House) takes a different approach, and, due to its location atop the mountains surrounding Los Angeles, opens itself up to the city skyline below. The home, designed by Pierre Koenig, was a product of Arts and Architecture magazine’s 1945 project to inspire famous building designers to create modern and affordable homes for G.I.s returning from the war.

Ultimately, the project was abandoned, deemed a utopian idea that ultimately proved impractical. It did, however, leave behind some beautiful “experiments.” Visitors are allowed to view the privately owned home on weekends.

As Philip Johnson designed his glass home, Mies van der Rohe was contemporaneously at work on his glass-walled Farnsworth House, situated outside Chicago. His work reportedly greatly influenced Johnson’s final vision. The resulting home, the Farnsworth House, located in Plano, Illinois, is located nearly 55 miles outside of the Windy City.

The single-room window retreat, reminiscent of Johnson’s style, and has become so famous and influential that it was named a National Historic Landmark. Originally commissioned by Dr. Edith Farnsworth, who worked with van der Rohe on the designed and approved the final plans, the home was eventually the subject of a lawsuit first brought by van der Rohe and later countered by Farnsworth. Rumor has it that it wasn’t the home that drew her litigious ire upon completion, but rather the souring of a relationship with van der Rohe.

Read on for more about the Farnsworth House and four other amazing glass homes:

Church Point Home
Location:
Pittwater, Australia

The Church Point Home, outside Sydney, resembles a tree house.
Photos: Utz Sanby

This hill-perched transparent home plays peek-a-boo through the trees, but for the most part, rocks and foliage nestle it in complete privacy. Located near the ocean in Pittwater, about 30 miles north of Sydney, the Church Point Home was designed by Sydney architectural firm Utz Sanby. The firm describes the home on its website as a tree house that offers “seclusion and sanctuary” to its residents.

Concrete pillars made to look like trees support the house on its hillside seat, much like limbs act as a tree house’s supports, and though the home can seem muted with a majority grey-and-white color schemes small bursts of red strategically assert themselves inside and out. Hardwood floors and a wooden kitchen table set help harmonize the home with its forest location.

Philip Johnson’s Glass House
Location:
New Canaan, Connecticut

Johnson’s home is surrounded by art that he and his partner collected.
Photos: Philip Johnson’s Glass House

Used as the famous architect’s “Glass House Retreat” (he died there in 2005), the building was originally designed as a home. Johnson preferred to use it for the 58 years he lived after building it. Johnson’s lifelong partner, David Whitney, helped design the surrounding landscape and was responsible for collecting the art that the couple amassed. Thirteen other modernist buildings occupy the land, adding to the famous couple’s art collection.

Glass Home By Santambrogio
Location:
Milano, Italy

The Milan glass home is being replicated in Paris.
Photos: SantambrogioMilano

If you have the funds, architect and glass designer Carlo Santambrogio will design for you almost any glass structure you can think of. But it is his Glass Concept Home, located in Milan, which is perhaps his most impressive architectural feat – one which is currently being replicated in Paris. A blue-tinged glass cube sits in the middle of a wooded clearing – a location private enough to reasonably place a home that is made almost entirely of 6 to 7 millimeter glass (the material can be specially heated during the winter).

“After the client requested it,” says Santambrogio, “I came up with the project idea.” Almost every feature or piece of furniture is made from glass as well, from the dining room table, to the stairs, to the bookcase. In fact, one of the few items not made of glass is the bed. Seems glass is just not comfortable to sleep on, even with a great comforter.

Case Study House #22 (The Stahl House)
Location:
Los Angeles, California

The Stahl home is the result of a post-World War II project.
Photo: 2012 Stahl House

Arts and Architecture magazine had an inspired idea in 1945: to commission a variety of homes from some of the best architects of the day as a way of designing efficient and modern homes for troops returning from WWII. From 1945 – 1966 (with some gaps in between) a total of 25 homes were built (11 projects were never completed) and Case Study House #22 remains one of the most impressive.

Built on a cliffside overlooking the city, the home designed by Pierre Koenig, was completed in 1959, and the Stahl family, which still owns the home, moved in. Views from any area of the house (except for one wall facing the road, which provides privacy) take in the expanse of the whole valley, and guided tours of the home, while possible during the day, are most stunning at night. Tours are available and admission varies.

Farnsworth House
Location:
Plano, Illinois

The Farnsworth House is a straight line of glass.
Photos: Farnsworth House

Modernist German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe has had more influence on the architectural identity of Chicago than any other architect. The Farnsworth House, located 55 miles southwest of Chicago, is a fine example of his penchant for straight lines, steel and glass materials.

It was commissioned by Dr. Edith Farnsworth in 1945, who wanted to use the one-room glass shelter as a weekend retreat. Designated a National Historical Landmark in 2006, the Farnsworth house is essentially one large series of floor-to-ceiling mirrors, with a steel roof and support beams holding it in place. Today, the house and its grounds are now a popular backdrop for wedding ceremonies.

  • Share/Bookmark

Beach Weave Bathroom Installation!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

I came across this beautiful bathroom installation using the Beach Weave Glass & Stone Mosaic! So beautiful and serene! I love the texture the mosaic gives to the backsplash without being overwhelming. So cool!

Beach Weave Installation

  • Share/Bookmark

How to fix dents in wood floors & furniture!

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

I was on Apartment Therapy’s Blog and ran into this useful article about fixing dents in wood, with an iron! So helpful, I would have never thought about this easy solution. Thank you for this great DIY fix Apartment Therapy!

Oak 1.jpg

Many years ago a teacher told me that you could steam out a dent in a piece of wood (one where the wood fibers had been compressed, not a where they had been removed) using a wet rag and an iron.

This technique was meant for unfinished wood, but unfortunately, most of the wood we deal with in our homes has some sort of finish on it. With some research I learned that this technique can work with finished wood but it depends greatly on the type of finish you are dealing with. So I decided to do a couple of tests to see the results for myself.

NOTE: BE CAREFUL! SOME FINISHES MIGHT TURN WHITE WHEN EXPOSED TO STEAM. PLEASE TRY THIS IN A HIDDEN AREA BEFORE DOING IT IN A VISIBLE PLACE.

The first test was a on a birch table from IKEA. Although this technique works better on new dents I decided to try to steam out a dent that had been there for quite a long time.

Here is what I did:

1. Wet the dent
2. Apply a wet cloth or paper towel
3. With the iron on High apply the iron to the wet paper towel or cloth and make a circular motion, don’t keep it in just one position as this might burn the surface of the towel. Make sure there is a lot of steam being generated. Do this for a few minutes and check your results. In my case I did this for about 3-5 minutes.

Birch 1.jpg

Birch 2.jpg

Birch 3.jpg

The dent came up almost completely and there was no damage to the finish!

My second test was on our hardwood floors. I found a dent that was pretty deep. I followed the same steps as above.

Oak 1.jpg

Oak 2.jpg

Oak 3.jpg

Although the dent came up, the surface of the finish had been broken and some dirt had gotten in side the cracks. If you know what type of finish you are dealing with you might want carefully sand the area and reapply the finish.

Oak 4.jpg

In the spirit of this experiment I tried sanding and got most of it out. Then I applied some Tung Oil that I had at home. It’s probably not the same as the original finish but the area certainly looks better than before. Here is my result:

Oak 5.jpg

Has anyone else given this method a try? Have any other fixes to recommend? Please share your smarts in the comments…

  • Share/Bookmark

7th Street Residence

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Located in the East Village, this contemporary duplex apartment was designed by Pulltab Design. The clients requested that the 2, 400 sq ft space be renovated with unique architectural additions. What the clients wanted to achieve was a warm, open environment with unique detailing throughout. Some of the finishes selected in the space include Steel, Bronze, Stained Concrete, American Black Walnut and high gloss lacquer surfaces. The Living Room / Dining Room area are the heart of the apartment, a stunning planted garden wall was designed to create a focal point between both spaces. This garden wall is accented by a shallow reflecting pool below, which is designed to serve as an irrigation system. Simply Stunning!

7th Street Residence

7th Street Residence

7th Street Residence

7th Street Residence

7th Street Residence

  • Share/Bookmark

Domino Magazine Fans Rejoice!

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

For those of you that were heartbroken like me when Domino Magazine was shut down, I’ve got great news! Conde Nast has decided to bring back a special print edition of the magazine called Domino Quick Fixes. This publication will be a compilation of the magazines best home decorating tips, tricks and design stories. The publications will focus on the best ways to dramatically change the look of your home without breaking the bank. Domino Quick Fixes will be a great tool for anybody looking to create something unique in their space. Domino Quick Fixes will be available on national newsstands from April 17 through July 16 2012, for $11.00.  A second special edition scheduled for the Fall. Can’t wait!

Domino Magazine

  • Share/Bookmark

Cube Court House, Tokyo

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

I came across this amazing Tokyo residence and was instantly captivated. The single family residence is extremely minimalist and yet so beautiful and serene. The residence was designed by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates and it is truly a masterpiece!A large frosted glass wall on the principal facade allows natural sunlight in to the main living / dining / kitchen area. Intimate inside with a enclosed courtyard and connecting rooms, completely exposed with a outward looking glasshouse above. Wow!

Cube Court House, Tokyo

Cube Court House, Tokyo

Cube Court House, Tokyo

Cube Court House, Tokyo

Cube Court House, Tokyo

  • Share/Bookmark

Choosing the perfect color scheme!

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Don’t be afraid of color. Do avoid common mistakes and check out these useful tips from our friends at HGTV. Mark McCauley, the author of Color Therapy at Home: Real Life Solutions for Adding Color to Your Life,  offers eight tips to help you discover your color preferences and take on boring white walls.

Tip #1. Choose a color scheme from the largest pattern in the space.
If you’ve got patterned upholstery, an Oriental rug or large piece of artwork, pluck colors you like from the pattern. For a neutral wall paint color, look to the pattern’s whites and beiges.

Tip #2. Start with the formal areas of the house.
Specifically, the living room, dining room and entry way. Choose a color scheme for those areas first, then pull one color from the scheme. For example, take the red sofa and tone it down (say, to burgundy) for an accent in more private spaces such as the den, office or bedroom.

Tip #3. Decorate your space from dark to light, vertically.
A real “cookbook” way to make any space look good without much risk, McCauley says, is to use darker color values for the floor, medium color values for the walls and light values for the ceiling.

“Any interior space replicates the outside world,” he says. “The exterior environment is generally darker below our feet (the earth itself), medium-valued as you look straight ahead (buildings/trees) and lighter values skyward.”

Tip #4. Study the color of your clothes.
Most people buy clothes in colors they like to wear and think they look good in. Similarly, you should decorate your rooms in colors you look good in. “If you don’t wear yellow, don’t get a yellow sofa,” McCauley says. “You’re going to look sickly on it.”

Tip #5. Use the color wheel.
In general, analogous color schemes — colors next to each other on the color wheel, such as blue and green — are more casual and relaxing, and work best in informal or private spaces. This is a good strategy for a bedroom, where you want to rest and recover.

Whatever color scheme you choose, McCauley advises to put something black in every room. “The black clarifies all the rest of the colors in the room,” he says. Try a black lampshade, a black vase or a black picture frame.

Tip #6. Use the rule of 60-30-10.
“When decorating a space, divide the colors in the space into components of 60 percent of a dominant color, 30 percent of a secondary color and 10 percent of an accent color,” McCauley says. The walls will most likely be the majority, the upholstery would represent the secondary color and accessories such as a floral arrangement or throw pillows would make up the rest. “Works every time!” he says. “The colors are properly balanced and there is a shot of color (the 10 percent color) for interest.”

Tip #7. Go with the architecture.
If you have a small room in your house, don’t paint it white to make it seem bigger. Instead, cozy up to its architecture with a rich, warm color scheme. Let your big rooms expand with light, and your small rooms wrap you up and nurture you.

Tip #8. Follow your personal style.
If you decorate honestly, other people will appreciate it because it’s you, even if they’d never decorate their own house in the same way. That means if you want to make every room in your house red, white and blue, go for it. You can make any color look good as long as it’s your taste.

  • Share/Bookmark

9 Remodeling Tips to Make your Home Feel Bigger!

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

I came across this interesting article on www.cnnmoney.com and thought I would share it with our followers. The article provides useful information about using existing spaces in your home and re vamping them to make give them a different purpose at a low cost. Enjoy!

9 Remodeling Tips to Make Your Home Feel Bigger

By Josh Garskof, CNNMoney.com
January 23, 2012

Photo: Thinkstock

You don’t have to be underwater on your mortgage to feel trapped in your home.

Now may be a less than ideal time to put a house on the market or to take on big debt — icing your plans to trade up or build an addition anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck living in an uncomfortable home.

For a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, you can make your place “live” bigger without actually making it bigger, says architect Sarah Susanka, a small-space specialist and author of “Not So Big Remodeling.”

Call it thinking inside the box; here are nine creative solutions for cramped homes.

1. Multitask the dining room …

Cost: $500 to $2,000

If you have an eat-in kitchen, your dining room is probably used for special occasions only.

“Why have a prime spot sit vacant except for two or three holidays a year?” says Susanka.

Use it every day as an office or homework room without giving up dinner-party capabilities. Install doors ($300 to $500 each, with labor); add shelves or a cabinet for supplies; and invest in fitted pads to protect the tabletop.

For more flexibility, try a table like homedecorator.com’s $629 Mission Table Cabinet, a sideboard that — amazingly — telescopes into a full-size dining table.

2. … and the guest room

Cost: $100 to $3,000

Stop dedicating a whole room to infrequent out-of-town visitors.

With a decent air mattress, futon, or pull-out couch, you can lose the spare bed and use the room for day-to-day needs. (If you go with an air mattress, make sure to choose one with a built-in reversible motor to simplify the inflating and deflating.)

Add furniture, and what was only a guest room can double as a media or game room or home office.

3. Add a powder room

Cost: $3,000 to $6,000

Adding a first-floor powder room is simple if you have an unfinished basement or crawlspace for running the new pipes. Look for an existing room — a coat closet, say — and you won’t have to build walls.

To save more, forgo the tile. The minimum space required by code is typically 2½ by 4½ feet, but you can often get an exemption to go even smaller.

4. Build a home office closet

Cost: $100 to $3,000

If your family is already bursting the seams of your abode, a home office might seem out of the question. But every household needs at least a small desk for paying bills and to anchor a wireless Internet system — and you can often fit it all in a closet or armoire.

At its simplest, all you need are five or six deep, sturdy shelves made from wood or a composite product, which can total less than $40 at a home center. In a closet, set the lowest shelf at 30 inches high so you can wheel up a chair.

5. Bring the laundry upstairs

Cost: $5,000 to $7,000

Hiking up and down the stairs with laundry is enough to make anyone wish she could trade up. Instead, just move the machines.

Today’s full-size high-efficiency washers and dryers are all designed to stack. You can steal the space — a little more than four square feet — from a closet, hallway, or nook.

You’ll need to run new pipes and wiring, so being near an existing bathroom helps keep costs down, says Raleigh, N.C., architect Tina Govan. Make sure to include a drain pan to collect overflows or spills.

6. Open the floor plan

Cost: $2,000 to $4,000

A choppy layout of undersize rooms can make any house feel claustrophobic.

“People like the look of older homes, but not the way they function,” says Seattle architect Thomas Lawrence.

To open your floor plan without major expense, remove doors from rooms that don’t need them. Interior walls can come out for $2,000 to $4,000, unless they support the building or contain pipes — in which case a window or pass-through may be a more feasible solution.

7. Use built-ins to replace a closet

Cost: $4,500 to $6,000

If you choose to eliminate a closet to expand or enhance your living space, create some built-ins to get back the lost storage. A run of four- to 10-inch-deep shelving along a wall has almost no effect on the size of a room, says Corvallis, Ore., architect Lori Stephens.

And it can handle many times the capacity of a closet. You might spend $4,000 removing the closet and another $2,000 on new built-in cabinetry, or just $500 if you use assemble-it-yourself home-center cabinetry, such as the Billy collection from Ikea.

8. Build a bump-out

Cost: $6,000 to $12,000

Another trick to expand a home without a full-blown addition is called a bump-out. You hang extra space off the side of the house, sort of like an oversize bay window.

Structurally, it can’t extend more than about three feet from the existing exterior wall, but it can run nearly the whole length of the building — enough space to add an eating area to your kitchen or a closet to your master bedroom suite.

Because there’s no foundation work, a bump-out costs about $150 a square foot — or just $100 if you can tuck it under an existing roof overhang.

9. Finish non-living spaces

Cost: $15,000 to $30,000

Converting a full-height basement or garage into living space gets you an addition at half price. You’ll need a floor, ceiling, walls and more, but no structural work, no foundation, and no roof, so it’ll cost $50 to $100 a square foot — vs. about $200 for a true addition.

Attics are fair game, too, but more complicated because you may need to add a stairway and probably extend the plumbing, heating, and cooling systems a flight up. Doing all that brings the cost to around $150 a square foot.

  • Share/Bookmark

Design Find, Surrealist Scents!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Fornasetti’s second scent collection features a signature blend of thyme, lavender, cedarwood, and balsam in each candle. The ceramic pots feature orange-eyed owls and ruby lips, among other signature motifs, all of which make for chic keepsake objects once the wax has melted away. The full collection is available at www.barneys.com. LOVE, LOVE LOVE!

Fornasetti Candles!

  • Share/Bookmark

DIY Project: Dramatic Wall Treatment (tape!)

Friday, January 13th, 2012

I came across a very unique design blog called “A Creative Day“, this blog is filled with easy and inexpensive DIY projects! I was looking for a fun project that wouldn’t be permanent since I am a renter and came across this dramatic wall treatment. Looks so great and it is so easy to do, all you need to do is create the grid pattern and start taping! Best part? I can peel it off the wall easily if I ever move! Thanks for the inspiration “A Creative Day“!

Creating the pattern

Taping over the pattern!

Finished project! So chic!

Finished project! So chic!

  • Share/Bookmark