Month: December 2018

Cool-Season Vegetables: How To Grow Broccoli

Broccoli is a vegetable staple, and for good reason. It may be eaten cooked or raw, and either way it has lots of nourishment. It has also become a garden staple. Not only is it effortless to grow, but there is a surprising amount of variety in colour, with dark green to chartreuse to purple florets or heads.

Besides the standard broccoli heads, you may also develop broccoli rabe, also called raab or rapini, and sprouting broccoli. Rabe has miniature florets with a perky taste. Sprouting broccoli produces tons of florets along a stem as opposed to a single mind, and may be frequently seen in the gardens. All need the care.

More: The way to grow cool-season vegetables

When to plant: Start seeds indoors about six weeks before the last frost date in spring; you will want to ensure that the crop reaches maturity before hot weather sets in, as it will quickly bolt. Place plants about two weeks before the last frost date. In climates with mild winters, you can sow seeds in summer or in early fall to harvest later in the fall or in winter.

Days to maturity: 50 to 100

moderate requirement: Total sun; semi shade where sexy

Water necessity: Regular watering

Favorites: Apollo, Belstar, Calabrese, Di Cicco, Flash, GreenComet, Green Goliath, Packman, Premium Crop, Purple Sprouting, Romanesco, Sorrento, Spring Raab

Planting and maintenance: Broccoli prefers very rich soil, so amend your bed before planting. Sow seeds fairly close to the surface, roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and an inch apart, then thin to 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart, or much more if the varieties are extremely large. Set transplants out at precisely the same spacing. Keep the plants evenly dispersed and mulch to keep the soil cool. Employ a high-nitrogen whole fertilizer just before heads form. Keep weeds down but be cautious when weeding to not harm the roots.

Unfortunately, broccoli brings a range of insects and diseases, including but not limited to aphids, cabbage worms, harlequin bugs, damping off, downy mildew and fusarium wilt. See your plants carefully and choose appropriate, but not extreme, measures if problems begin to emerge. Don’t go overboard; take some opportunity to see if the problem can correct itself obviously. If it continues, though, move on to stronger measures before you lose your harvest.

Harvest: Cut approximately 6 inches under the head right before it opens and flowers. The side branches will also form heads; harvest them the same way. Harvest the leaves and shoots of both raab and sprouting broccoli before they flower as well.

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Design Solutions for 11 Tricky Spaces

From long and narrow “railroad” flats to teensy rooms and studios that appear to be all doors and windows, every home has its own design challenges. If you’ve hit a roadblock (where in the world can I put that sofa?) Or merely believe there should be a better method of organizing your space, read on — we’re covering alternatives for 11 of the most typical space-planning dilemmas.

A+B KASHA Designs

Getting started. As with the start of any design project, it helps to look at your space with fresh eyes. Go out, grab a cup of coffee and come back for another look when you feel refreshed. Even better, bring a design-savvy friend together and ask what he or she’d do with the distance. Sometimes just hearing others’ thoughts can help get your own creative juices flowing and lead to your best thoughts.

When the room is really giving you trouble, I recommend taking every scrap out of furniture and looking at it entirely bare. When layers of stuff are clogging up your perspective, it can be tough to imagine setting up the room in any other way.

Move the stuff, and you may have the ability to move the psychological roadblocks too.

Hufft Projects

Tricky distance 1: Long, narrow hall

The solution: Think art gallery. Fresh white walls are the classic choice, though textured grasscloth or a coat of rich colour would work equally well. Go sleek and easy with black and white pieces, or make a quirky gallery with diverse, colorful artwork hung in a line, using a few frames left intentionally empty. Complete the space with appropriate lighting. Try overhead track lighting or small wall-mounted lights to light up the art.

Moment design + productions, llc

Tricky space 2: Small home, long hall

The solution: instead of let precious space go unused, put your hallway to operate by installing floating cabinets and shelves. Floating the storage pieces off the ground retains the area from feeling too cluttered or heavy. Just make sure you measure carefully, choosing cabinets that are narrow enough to permit ample room to walk by. Create a point of keeping the floors clean and surfaces carefully curated — jumble will get noticeable quickly in a tight space such as this.

Tricky distance 3: Small distance, no entryway

The answer: Don’t bother trying to squeeze a teensy table behind the door. It will just bug you, and it will not be large enough to hold considerably. Instead, look for the first open open wall and set a larger desk or storage bit there, letting it do double duty as an entertainment centre or workspace.

When there’s literally nowhere to put a table, consider using a few small, sleek wall-mounted pieces instead. A few hooks for keys, coats and bags along with a floating shelf or sorter for email are all you really need to handle the essentials.

Fivecat Studio | Architecture

Tricky distance 4: Eat-in kitchen using too many doors and openings

The solution: In places where a square or rectangular table would stick out like a sore thumb, go around instead. Curved contours generally fit into awkward areas, softening the hard edges in a room. Try to pull your table near a wall socket, even if it’s just as small part of wall at the room revealed here; it looks more natural than setting the table dead-center.

Tim Cuppett Architects

Tricky distance 5: living room with multiple doors and windows

The solution: If your living room has a component (door, window, fireplace, radiator) that prevents you from placing furniture near the walls, consider pulling the arrangement toward the middle of the room instead. Use the symmetry of a matching pair of couches to counteract the chaos of these entries and exits, and include a comfy area rug to anchor the conversation area.

Get guidelines on using area rugs

Studio D – Danielle Wallinger

Tricky distance 6: living room with hardly any available wall space

The solution: If your living room is driving you nuts, then have a look at your dining room instead. Can you create a swap? Multiple windows and doors do not really matter at a dining room, as furniture needs are minimal (table, chairs, perhaps a sideboard). And what’s more romantic than dinners by the fire?

Nichole Loiacono Design

Tricky distance 7: Tiny studio apartment

The answer: Small-scale furniture and careful preparation are crucial in a tiny space that has to serve several purposes. Round tables and furniture using curvy contours create browsing tight quarters easier, whilst glass or Lucite tables create more visual distance.

Ample storage is likely to make your life much easier, so look for smart designs that sneak in extra room. You can use storage ottomans rather than a coffee table or a classic dresser rather than an entertainment centre, or even conceal an entire wall of shelving behind attractive curtains on ceiling-mounted sticks.

Tricky distance 8: Slanted ceiling the under stairs

The solution: if you’re able to afford to make the investment, custom built-in closets, shelving or desk space is a wonderful way to make use of every last square inch. Otherwise, low-profile furniture like a small daybed (with no headboard or footboard) or chaise may turn into an awkward nook into a cozy hideaway.

For People design

Tricky space 9: Small living room

The answer: It’s a bit counterintuitive, but also many itty-bitty pieces may make a room feel cluttered and cramped. Strike a balance by choosing pieces that appear large but have sleek lines (no wrapped arms!) . Substituting an upholstered ottoman to the normal coffee table is an easy way to sneak in extra seating, and a pair of petite armchairs can fit in the space of a single overstuffed edition. Finally, make sure to place lighting all of the way into the back corners of a room — nothing shrinks a room faster than lighting.

Tricky space 10: Long, narrow room

The solution: When it comes to decorating a long, narrow space, you will want to construct in a few breaks in the sight point, which visually divide the distance and supply areas for different uses. Rather than push the sofa against the wall, then consider having a smaller-scale loveseat placed perpendicular to the wall as one of your room breaks. You are also able to use a very low cupboard or table behind the sofa to specify the line between two main zones; simply make confident that the cabinet is level with, or a few inches shorter than, your sofa.

Ziger/Snead Architects

Tricky space 11: High ceilings, large open space

The solution: Accent pieces with height (such as the arc lamp featured here) will visually fill the vertical distance. Supersize rooms can handle larger-scale furniture, so don’t be afraid to go large. A huge dining table made from a natural timber slab with an eye-catching pendant light hung over it might make a stunning focal point for your room. Create a comfy seating area in a different spot using two facing couches pulled perpendicular to a wall, and complete the arrangement using a big rug (or two rugs layered together) to include softness.

What is the most difficult space you’ve ever lived, and how did you deal? Leave a comment and fill us in!

Browse solutions to common design problems

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Playful Riverfront Pad in Oregon

Given its modern exterior, expansive backyard and beautiful riverfront location, it’s hard to think this home was once an outdated duplex. Homeowners Rich and Alicia dwelt in half of it for decades before taking the plunge on a full scale remodel. A second-story master suite, cedar exterior additions and new decks and landscaping generated plenty of indoor and outdoor area for this family.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Rich and Alicia; girls Hatte and Hazel; gold retriever Spinner
Location: Milwaukie, Oregon, near Portland
Size: 2,800 square feet; four bedrooms; four baths
That’s interesting: The backyard features a 75-foot zip line.

John Prindle

Rich and Alicia wake up to this particular view of the lush backyard out of their master bedroom. The calm Willamette River is located in the backdrop.

They moved here with a little bit of trepidation: The region suffered extensive damage from a notorious Portland flooding in 1996. Thanks to a lot, their home fared well.

John Prindle

The house was an outdated duplex once the couple moved in. Working with Gary Hartill of OrangeWall Studios, they saw the possibility, gutted it and rebuilt the construction. The renovation integrated a second-story master suite and contained fresh decks and landscaping. The group maintained the original shingle siding on the duplex and accented the new improvements with flat tongue and groove cedar.

John Prindle

Rich, a former contractor, built the treehouselike patio deck around an present tree. It could be reached by the garden line — a favorite activity of this couple’s daughters as well as their friends.

John Prindle

The main floor of the home is a totally open area. The corner dining area holds a handmade plywood table that’s immune to the indiscretions of 2 artistic daughters.

Following dinnertime, a sport of foosball or an impromptu dance session under the mirrored disco ball leaves the home full of fun and energy that is positive.

John Prindle

Artist Tyler Schlicting painted this hummingbird scene in 2006, and it’s a family favorite. The painting hangs in the corner of the dining space, mixed into a gallery wall of art by Hatte and Hazel. Paper animals from the Museum of Contemporary Craft make up the weeks of a calendar.

John Prindle

The spacious kitchen lets plenty of space for inquisitive chefs and provides a great view of the river. The teak-veneer cabinets are lucky leftovers out of an architect friend’s job. The raised kitchen bar is made of reclaimed wood from a Phillippines schoolhouse.

Pendant lights: Otto x Otto, Lighting Universe; rug: Ikea

John Prindle

Just off the dining area is located a seating area which Alicia has called “The Bird’s Nest.” A magnificent view of nearby Elk Rock Island and also an occasional appearance in the bald eagle make this a popular perch.

John Prindle

The spaciousness of the principal flooring is best appreciated when you look toward the door. The oversize rug in this area has been in Alicia’s family for about 120 decades. An abstract photograph by Kirk Jonasson hangs over the living room fireplace.

John Prindle

Among the biggest challenges of the remodel was the complete redesign of this stairs. The stairs used to go the other way and were super steep. “I had to leave if they were bringing in the metallic beam that retains the stairs,” Alicia says. “It had been the one thing that really stressed me out. I am not even sure how they got it.”

John Prindle

The stair treads are created from reclaimed mahogany, sourced from a demolished 1930s schoolhouse in the Philippines — the exact same wood used on the kitchen bar counter tops.

John Prindle

New skylights brighten the distance, and UFO-like lights out of Foscarini O-Space hang over the stairs. The modern pendants add a classy touch using an orange accent wall serving as the background.

John Prindle

Future film manager Hatte’s area has the exact same upbeat vibe as the rest of the home. Rich built the cabinets and loft bed over a two-week time while the rest of the family was back east to find relatives. Visiting artist Allison Reimus, who once lived with the family, did the portrait of Hatte.

John Prindle

Upstairs, the master bedroom’s balcony seats makes it possible for the few to enjoy views of the river. At the corner is another comfy birdwatching nook.

John Prindle

Flowers grow across the front and back of the home. An enthusiastic gardener, Alicia cut these pink roses for a nice impromptu tablescape.

Can you have a creative, lively home? Discuss it with us!

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10 New Appears for Fireplaces in Older Homes

Living in the Midwest, we utilize our fireplace a good deal in the winter. A glowing hearth can add such warmth to a room, both literally and figuratively. This really is a bonus in an old home with quite old windows that allow out quite a bit of valuable warmth in the winter.

In most older homes like my very own, the living area is centered around the fireplace, mechanically placing your mantel as the focal point within the room. Finishing and accessorizing your fireplace and mantel can completely alter the atmosphere in a room you probably spend most of your time — if it is fireplace season or maybe not.

Julie Williams Design

At times it seems there isn’t anyplace else for the TV to go except above the mantel. I’m sure the first owners of our old homes could never imagine such a thing, but now it is common and can be carried out in a way that doesn’t detract from the room’s decor. The dark paint on the woodwork can help to disguise the TV better than if it had been painted white like the shelves.

See more on where to put the TV

Kayron Brewer, CKD, CBD / Studio K B

This Craftsman-style fireplace is extremely popular in 1920s and 1930s bungalows. This chamber has a contemporary approach that starts with the tile surrounding the fireplace. The rest of the room pulls in the deep browns and caramel colors found in the tile.

Judith Balis Interiors

This is a very different way to dress up a Craftsman-style fireplace. Talk about glam! The bold colors and the striped couch are meant to be paired with that mirror. Also, notice how the fireplace just seems to blend into the decoration. Since black is utilized throughout the plan, the fireplace doesn’t look overly heavy but still seems to anchor the space.

Emily Ruddo

This fireplace mantel blends into the background. The colour closely matches the wall color, while bright accessories top the mantel and bold fabrics draw your attention away in the fireplace. This may be a fantastic way to use when your fireplace isn’t functional but still acts as a fixture in the room.

Kathleen Ramsey

I like the grey tones used in this tile. The mantel was painted in one of those darker hues, which makes it a little more dramatic than if it was painted lighter. The accessories and artwork are kept simple and neutral.

Mark English Architects, AIA

Brick fireplaces are common in older homes. If brick isn’t your style, just paint it. This painted white brick lightens a space already saturated in colour and gives your eyes a break. Without making the mantel busy straightforward accessories provide height.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

The owners have left this beautiful timber mantel in its first state. So many older mantels are painted, so we never see their first glory. Even though the mantel appears very conventional, a patterned tile is utilized that’s echoed in the varied bold prints of the carpet and the ottoman. This chamber proves you can have a conventional finish but combine it with bold, fresh patterns.


Modern art with this fireplace pairs well with the more traditional decoration to maintain the room feeling upgraded.

Kevin Kelly Interiors

This mantel is dressed with an oversized mirror with a scale that matches the height of the ceiling. This helps draw up the eyes to that gorgeous crown molding that’s frequently found in older homes. And did you observe the whimsical larger-than-life lamp in the corner?

Julia Ryan

This is a notion that we’re considering doing in our formal living room. You can extend your fireplace by adding ornaments to the ceiling and painting it the same colour. This creates a great backdrop for art and would suit board and batten or trimming already on your own space. The bottom ledge offers a wonderful place for decoration. Many men and women use a candelabra in a fireplace when it is not being used, but the plate and also books have a more eclectic and contemporary feel.

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Contractor Tips: Finish Your Basement the Ideal Way

Basements are catchy. These big distances beg for a new use, but they often become dumping grounds for many of life’s extras. If selling your house within this marketplace is not a choice but you need extra living space, you might find yourself pacing back and forth at the basement wondering in the event that you’re able to convert it to the room of your dreams. As the pictures below show, it is possible — and the choices are endless.

Diagrams: The steps in completing a basement

dSPACE Studio Ltd, AIA

If you think of finished basements, you likely think about a room that is not finished to the criteria of the bedrooms upstairs. This doesn’t need to be the case. However, the challenge of creating an inviting and beautiful area is greater in the basement, where the systems and infrastructure of your residence need to be hidden tastefully.

A finished basement certainly adds value to your home, but make sure you check with your own insurance agent. Some finished bathrooms might not be insured — and do not expect a bedroom to count in the total of bedrooms once you sell the house.

M.J. Whelan Construction

Plumbing. If you want to bring a toilet in the basement, then find your soil pile and see whether the main drain for your house goes underground or runs aboveground. If it runs underground, as long as you put the new toilet close to it, plumbing shouldn’t be a great deal more difficult than upstairs.

If it runs aboveground, you’ll almost certainly require a grinder and a pump — such as those produced by Saniflo. Water runs through gravity, so in the event that you want it to return once you flush, it requires special equipment.

Orfield Remodeling, Inc

Natural light. Natural lighting is often in short supply in a basement. In this image, the kitchen was set from the only window to maximize sunlight in the preparation area.

Additionally, many building codes require a second way to exit the basement in the event the space is going to be finished. Get more light and satisfy code requirements by installing an egress window and window nicely. An egress window is large enough for a person to exit through it, and also the nicely allows more light in your basement. To avoid water problems, have a drain installed in the base of the well.

Ernesto Santalla PLLC

The ceiling. You’d never know that this room is in a basement. There are always plumbing, wires and ducts to conceal. This usually means dropping the ceiling height in certain areas.

Attempt to combine the obstructions to one area and make a space with a lower ceiling. Continue the dropped ceiling to the walls for a natural transition. Boxing in pipes and ducts with soffits and chases informs people that there is something hidden.

Obviously, the other thing that makes this basement look like it belongs upstairs is the usage of drywall. You’ll need to place access panels where shutoffs, junction boxes or yards are. Be certain to install the drywall 1/2 inch off the ground and utilize moisture-resistant drywall. All basements flood eventually, and this can help.

Fiberglass-faced drywall is even better compared to paper-faced drywall, because it is the paper that harbors mould. Be prepared to pay additional for completing the fiberglass drywall, since the whole face should be skim coated with joint compound.


Mio Ceiling Tiles – $98

Finished bathrooms traditionally had ceiling tiles in a grid as opposed to a drywall ceiling. Most individuals don’t like this look, so we’re seeing an increasing number of drywall ceilings. If you want simple access to the area above the basement ceiling but need a more interesting appearance, consider sculptural ceiling tiles out of Mio.

Because a basement is below the bathrooms, kitchen and other sources of water at the house, when a basement floods it often comes through the ceiling. In case you’ve got a drywall ceiling, then you will want to cut out a section and fix it. In case you have ceiling tiles it might be as simple as replacing a tile or two.

Read more about Mio’s tiles

Overall Basement Finishing

Height. Think about how you intend on using your finished basement. If you want to exercise down there, then you might want more headroom. Lift your arms overhead. I need an 8-foot ceiling to do that. Are you going to be standing on a treadmill? Insert the height off the floor to your own height. If you’re going to run on the treadmill instead of posing for fake exercise Facebook photos, you’ll need more room as you’ll bounce up as you run. Often the height just is not there.

Recently, my company solved this issue two different ways for two different clients. In one house we cut the flooring joists in that region and hung them out of structural headers. Then we included steel angles to encourage the floor. Ideally this region should be found under an area upstairs that does not get a lot of traffic, like under a coffee table.

In the other basement we couldn’t track down the space out of the path of visitors, so it made more sense to return. We dug a pit in the ground 12 inches, poured a new slab in the reduced level and poured little walls with a curb surround so the hole would not fill with water in the event the basement got moist. Lowered into the pit, the treadmill is flush with the surrounding floor.

Case Design/Remodeling, Inc..

Waterproofing. I know I return to flood, but it is going to occur, so plan ahead. If you do not have a system in place to deal with the water, then choose a flooring material that may manage getting wet, like the tile shown in this basement. If you do not have a floor drain, get one installed. It’s ideal to get a drain that ties into the storm drain right or that drains into a pit with a sump pump in it. Should you pay for all these systems up front, you will not be paying to replace rugs, furniture and appliances afterwards.

Pine Street Carpenters & Your Kitchen Studio

Lighting. The most crucial element to making a basement a place people need to hang out is very good lighting. Here is another instance of a well-planned ceiling design. The tray ceiling in the middle is surrounded by reduced areas that can conceal ductwork and piping. Additionally, it gave the builder a spot to install indirect lighting. Since the ceilings in a basement are generally lower than everywhere in the house, light reflected up off the ceiling — such as the ambient lighting inside this tray ceiling or the sconces on the walls — is far better than light directed down.

Revealing Assets – Home Staging Services

If you plan on using recessed lighting in your low ceilings, consider about the cone of light that spreads out of a recessed lighting. The closer it is to the floor, the closer you’ll need to space the lights to find good coverage. Fantastic lighting design makes a big difference, so hire a professional lighting designer. A variety of light types is important so the space can accommodate unique uses and moods.

There are many alternatives today for energy-efficient lighting, and therefore don’t avoid LEDs and CFLs because you think that they’ll throw an unflattering light. Everything from cool to warm light is offered in most types.

Diagrams: The Measures in Finishing a Basement
Space for Family: Converting the Attic or Basement
5 Basement Renovations Created for Fun
How to Take Care of a Flooded Basement

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A pilaster is the official term for a flattened column projecting from a wall around a door or window or for a classical decoration on furniture. A easy pilaster will include a base, main column plus a capital (the ribbon at the top of the column) and can be either plain or ornate. Topping these bits, you will frequently find an architrave, frieze, and cornice.There may be extra ornamentation too, in the form of corbels (plaster, wood or iron trim bits that project out of the supporting piece), wood carvings or scrollwork.

david phillips

Pilasters frequently include an architrave, the expression for the piece that sits just over the capital. In this entertainment center, the architrave is the base of the bookshelf over the TV cupboard.

Harrison Design

The component formed by combining the architrave, the undecorated frieze over it, and the cornice, or top piece, into one unit is called an entablature.

david phillips

These fluted pilastercolumns are adorned with corbels in the very top whilst wainscotting covers the base. The space over the corbel is known as an arcade.

ASID, Christopher A Rose AIA

Above the pilasters of this bathroom are a capital and an arched walls opening. The centerpiece is known as the pendant.

American Masonry Supply, Inc..

All these pilasters are all topped by a capital.

Crisp Architects

When two pilasters connect on a corner, it is referred to as a canton.

Browse more pilaster photos

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Universal Design at San Francisco Home

For general builder Jeff Kann, universal design goes beyond outfitting the space for wheelchairs. It is about allowing people take part in family and community life for much, more. Sound universal layout avoids early moves and generates safer and sustainable spaces, she states:”It is about making the living spaces easier and simpler for all ages.”

This remodel was conceived to make a comfy and expanded living space on the first degree of a two-story home in San Francisco’s Sunset district, creating an choice to get around the use of stairs entirely as the customers grow old. Meanwhile, the homeowners can use the remodeled first degree now as a guest suite for visiting family members and friends.

at a Glance
Who lives here: An active retired couple
Location: San Francisco
Size: 2,100 square feet
That is interesting: The home was part of a housing project done from the early 1920s through 1950 using a production technique modeled on Ford assembly lines.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

From the outside, this Sunset district home appears to be a typical home constructed on a 25-foot by 120-foot lot by Henry Doelger or the Gellert brothers — as were homes in the city between 1920 to 1950. But indoors, the active homeowners have remodeled with the intent of living out their lives here, and possibly giving the home another life as a multigenerational home for part of this year.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

“My customers know that lots of aging baby boomers will not wind up in a wheelchair, but it does not indicate they won’t need assistance sooner or later,” states Kann.

The design and construct contractor first dealt with the ease-of-use issues by making the halls and doors larger; doors were piled at 36 inches to allow clearance for any assistive devices. Having bigger hallways and doors also reduces injuries, which Kann points out may also benefit parents carrying infants and toddlers.

Kann addressed the other issue of allowing light to the first-level space using multiple broad, narrow windows along the upper portion of the wall (this picture), installing a skylight over the staircase and using plenty of LED lights.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

Universal design features allow the first-level toilet to work for anyone: a child, a teen, an adult and anyone with mobility issues. A number of characteristics make the room comfortable and safe: a barrier-free shower; a shower door that swings both in and out, making it easier for a caregiver to assist; and enough space for getting around with a wheelchair or a walker.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

Kann installed all lever-type door fixtures and pipes for ease of use.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

A curbless shower with a trench drain leaves the zero-threshold toilet and shower area safer; the homeowners do not have to step over a threshold or risk tripping over a sill.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

The bathroom floors are heated using a Nuheat radiant floor-heating mat and a programmable thermostat.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

Kitchen cabinets containing food items are 15 inches above the counter, at least 3 inches lower than the standard, for easier accessibility. Overhead lighting and the light across the bar area were improved to address safety issues; task lighting under the cabinets illuminates the sink space, making it safer for the customers to prepare and handle food.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

Kann modified the connecting stairs from the upper level to reduce their steepness and slope, added better lighting with skylights and artificial lighting, and put in a railing. The homeowners are extremely active and have no plans of installing a wheelchair lift on the stairs. “Again, [the additions] are part of a universal design strategy that rewards all ages,” states Kann.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

Kann opened up the limited mobility space in the laundry area by shifting the wall toward the living room in the laundry area to make enough room to walk around the drier, despite the door open.

HOUSEworks Design/Build General Contractor

Kann’s customers might well remain mobile and active for a long time, without ever needing to use or live on the first floor. But by integrating universal design into their home, Kann worries, they’ve improved the home’s resale value, planned for potential future needs for customized and themselves their home to accommodate various lifestyles and life cycles.

See more universal layout ideas

Bathroom Safety Features That Support Your Design

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Expert Talk: Freestanding Bathtubs Create a Splash

I have always wanted a freestanding bathtub. I’m not really sure why. There is just something so appealing about all the different sizes and shapes and how they sit independently in a room and seem to virtually say, “Look at me” And today these designers have given me 16 more reasons why I need to get one.

Crisp Architects

Use this view. “I must acknowledge that the homeowners drove the decisions for all these bathtubs,” states James Crisp of Crisp Architects (see next photo too). “The actual inspiration is the opinion. If a master bathroom has another shower and room for a freestanding bathtub strategically positioned to enjoy a fantastic view, the big question is why not?” This tub is from Waterworks.

Crisp Architects

Soak from the sunset. For this particular bathroom, Crisp picked a classic black claw-foot tub. “Who would not wish to relax in a hot bath whilst looking to the sunset round the rolling hills?” he asks.

Susan E. Brown Interior Design

Highlight the positive. “Prior to its own remodel, this master bath needed a built-in vanity and bathtub surround that started at the entry door from the sinks and has been carried all the way around into the shower,” states Susan Brown of Susan E. Brown Interior Design. “By using a freestanding bathtub and separate vanities, I understood the space would be opened yet still feel cohesive with the integration of similar colours and finishes”

She adds that “having negative space surrounding the bathtub gives more emphasis to it because the pièce de résistance of this room. I continued to highlight that aspect with hidden accent lighting which shines through the onyx bathtub deck and down onto the iridescent turquoise glass tiles, making an ‘incredible soft glow,’ as my customer put it.”

Gibson Gimpel Interior Design

Be inspired by your journeys. “The perfect way to integrate my client’s love of his Hawaiian journeys into his conventional Craftsman bungalow master bath was to create a spalike focal point for this freestanding nickel-lined copper tub,” says Emily Gibson of Gibson Gimpel Interior Design. “Though the style is totally different from the Egyptian bungalows he enjoys on his holidays, the bathtub elicits the unique and relaxing setting of this luxury hotel that he experiences every day in his Dallas home.”

Zack|de Vito Architecture + Construction

Require an artistic strategy. “I think to actually make a freestanding bathtub work, you will need space, which is often not available in a standard bathroom, states Jim Zack of Zack/deVito Architecture + Construction. “These clients were very hands on and selected this tub themselves, but we were thinking about the other materials in the restroom. The sculptural quality of the stone and the craftsmanship of the stonework is amazing, and this tub has a very sculptural quality to it which is enhanced by placing it on a plinth.”

Zack elaborates: “A lot of these design decisions in other areas of the apartment were made to showcase the clients’ collection of artwork and sculpture, and the master bath was not any different, as you can see in the shelves we inserted to display part of the collection.”

Inspired Interiors

Produce a moist room. This bath had a starring role on HGTV’s Bang for Your Buck. “The bathroom was completely reconfigured and shuffled around,” says Emily Mackie of Inspired Interiors. “The room has 14-foot ceilings, and there’s a massive skylight overhead”

She explains that “the thought was really to place the soaking bathtub in an environment below the skylight, and also have it share the area with the shower instead of dedicating space to every one of them. It made more sense to enable the bathtub water to reach the bathtub and be part of an integrated area.”

Glass mosaic tile “was used across the open air shower and the bathtub place,” Mackie notes. “The MTI whirlpool bathtub has jetted attributes and remote controls, while the shower has a Grohe fixture with a flexible arm. There is also a heated towel bar”

In Detail Interiors

Move with stone. “I rarely use anything but freestanding baths. I really like them!” States Cheryl Kees Clendenon of In Detail Interiors. “This one is from Turkey and is solid marble. The owners are from Louisiana and like darker colors and rich texture. We wanted to showcase the distance, and placing the tub in front of these windows was perfect — it actually became the centerpiece”

Randall Mars Architects

Attempt a modern take on traditional. “The proprietor enjoys traditional claw-foot bathtubs, but the house called to get a contemporary fixture,” states Randall Mars of Randall Mars Architects. “This tub by Wetstyle has modern lines with the exact same feeling. In addition, it floats nicely in the space and enjoys excellent views. The pocket dividers offer privacy while flood the room with light”

Kerrie L. Kelly

Think green. “This bath was an ecochic endeavor where we used several natural or recycled/reclaimed products,” says Kerrie L. Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. “The clients fell in love with the hammered-copper bathtub when they found it. Fortunately the whole bathroom was demoed, therefore we had the opportunity to take an current tub/shower and clandestine the room to adapt a large bathtub and separate freestanding bathtub. It now serves as the centerpiece to the master suite renovation”

Mahoney Architects and Interiors

Can it for Mom. “The thought for this gorgeous bathtub came from my customer Susan,” says Colleen Mahoney of Mahoney Architects. “She wanted her master bath to incorporate a freestanding bathtub where she could sense that she was getting from all the demands of her daily life — a place with a feeling of refuge and silent. The tall ceilings and suspended chandelier bring about the feeling of luxury. In a busy mom’s life it’s very good to have somewhere to escape”

Give your guests the ideal. “This bath is situated within a dormer gable on the top floor of a large house, and it receives rare use,” states Dennis Budd of Gast Architects. “When the bathroom door is open, the area’s position adjacent the open stair’s upper hallway landing enables occupants to look at the bathtub, dormer windows and decorative full-height tile wainscoting as they ascend to the roof level”

He adds, “The bathtub is earmarked for guests staying on this degree, but we opted to use this particular freestanding slipper bathtub with a reflective, burnished cast iron end primarily since it is sculptural and decorative in character.”

Heal the bathtub such as furniture. “The proprietor simply fell in love on this tub and needed to have it,” says Colleen Knowles of knowles ps. “It worked flawlessly in this old home, where we changed an excess bedroom into a fabulous master bath. The vanities and tub look like furniture things set around the room in an interesting way, and the design leaves the large, original windows unobstructed.”


Add curves into a rectangle. “For this bathroom we wanted a means to keep as much floor space as possible and create an ‘unfitted’ look in the exact same time,” says Lance Stratton of Stratton Studio. The bathtub we selected has a small footprint but still appears substantial. Its own slipper shape provides some relief to what’s an otherwise rectilinear room”

Jamie Herzlinger

Celebrate luxury. “My inspiration for this bathroom was modern elegance,” states Jamie Herzlinger of Jamie Herzlinger Interior Design. “Modern can occasionally get very cold, but freestanding baths celebrate luxury and sensuality. So I always feel that if you’ve got the time to enjoy a bath, whether alone or with somebody else, it’s an occasion that has to be celebrated. Nothing beats taking a bath in a freestanding bathtub for a sensuous experience.”

Try this in a smaller bathroom. “Freestanding bathtubs, or claw-foots for this matter, possess a character about them,” says Sophia Cok of Design Associates. “They have the ability to turn bathing into a luxurious experience.”

She adds that “freestanding baths also have a tendency to be less cumbersome or bulky. They work better in smaller bathrooms which may not have room for a large whirlpool bathtub, which also tend to look dated over time. This tub was selected to maximize the wonderful Montana views”

anat shmariahu

Construct a spiritual retreat. “The master bath in this endeavor was part of a second floor remodel,” says Anat Shmariahu of ANAV Design. “The clients wanted their bathroom for their ‘living room’ They’re very busy people, and the bathroom is a relaxing space for them, a time for being together.”

“For me personally, freestanding baths reflect luxury, calm and a spalike environment, which is precisely what my clients were looking for. We wanted to make this a spiritual environment so that when you input you are immediately transported. The bathtub was really bought before we finished the layout. My clients just fell in love with it, and it became the key focal point in this master bath”

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Mood Makers Looks on a Budget

I am always hoping to help my customers find ways to make their houses look more expensive, even when they are working with a small budget. There are lots of ways to make your rooms appear richer and more luxurious that don’t need to cost an absolute fortune. With a few well-planned moves, you can make any room in your house feel like a million dollars.

Max Crosby Construction

Beefing up your architectural molding may go a long way toward making your rooms feel fuller. Wider crown moulding, taller base moulding and box trimming can be added.

Meadowbank Designs

Here’s one of my favourite hints: Install a thin piece of trimming several inches below your current crown moulding. Paint the drywall area between both trim pieces the same color and finish as the trimming. The bulkier your trim molding, the pricier it seems.

Wood flooring always elevates the look of a space. No carpet or other flooring material feels as rich as a gorgeous wood floor. Sure, it may cost a pretty penny, but the pretty is well worth the cost. And when you sell your house, you are going to get a big return on your investment.

Brown Glaws Contractors Fine Custom Homes

Throw cushions which are 18 inches or less may read shop bought. Look for or have bigger pillows designed for your couch — you will make the entire look of your living room higher end.

Annette English

Overfilling your pillow covers helps too. Stuff 24-inch down-filled pillow inserts into 22-inch pillow covers for a more luxurious look.

Schranghamer Design Group, LLC

Nothing leaves as much impact in a room as a fresh, interesting lighting fixture. Lose the builder-grade brass chandelier and install an eye-catching character piece similar to this one. You may find a variety of great lighting at big-box home improvement shops that could provide you a higher-end look for significantly less than you might imagine.

Atmosphere Interior Design Inc..

Here’s a surprise: Were you aware that painting your interior doors black immediately makes your space look more expensive? This simple change could make even cheap doors look like something truly special.

Wow Great Place

See? Even cheap flat panel doors texture richer using a coating of black paint. Don’t forget to put in a couple other black accents so that the doors connect with your decoration.

Mood Makers: Small Rooms, Broad Feel

Laminate Floors: Get the Look of Wood (and much more ) for Less

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