Month: July 2019

A Fantasy Indoor-Outdoor Home at Nicaragua

Peta Kaplan and Ben Sandzer-Bell first traveled from Chicago into Nicaragua in 2005 for a family holiday, but volcanoes, wildlife, markets, colonial architecture and beaches made them wish to call the area home. “On the last day of our trip, obtaining all agreed that indeed Nicaragua was the type of location our South African and French backgrounds resonated with, we found ourselves looking at five properties in Granada,” says Kaplan.

They bought a colonial house on the border of a historic district with plans to remodel, but the house was in such poor shape that they demolished it — only the red clay roof tiles were salvageable — and rebuilt in a typical colonial-Granada style that celebrates earth tones, organic shapes and a fuzzy line between indoors and outside.

at a Glance
Who lives here:
Painter Peta Kaplan and sculptor Ben Sandzer-Bell
Location: Granada, Nicaragua
Size: 1,292 square feet; two bedrooms, 2 baths
Cost: $54 per square foot

Louise Lakier

The couple created an open-air space for a profound relation to the surrounding character and animals. The coffee table is part of a repurposed door from the couple’s layout and construction firm, CO2 Bambu, which generates bamboo shelters.

Kaplan’s original paintings hang across the house. Her collection “Stray Dogs of Nicaragua” was shown extensively throughout the U.S.

Louise Lakier

The rooms open into a central courtyard and small swimming pool. “The kitchen is our backyard, and the pool is in our living space,” Kaplan says.

Using its open layout layout, the home was a magnet for drifting creatures. The couple shares the home with three dogs — Mango, Princessa and Dwayne — along with six cats: Salvador (Dalí), Diego (Riviera), Georgia (O’Keefe), Thurgood, Stubbie and Ziggy.

Louise Lakier

The pool’s undulating lines and untiled finish are meant to embody a river. “Our biggest splurge item was our river-inspired pool, as we knew it could be essential for the Granada heat. It was our best investment, and not a day goes by when we are not inside,” Kaplan says.

“Our style is best described as respectful of vernacular colonial architecture, combined with touches that permeate our home from Morocco to India to Peru to Argentina — all of areas that have impacted us throughout our journeys,” Kaplan says.

Louise Lakier

Kaplan painted murals to expand the backyard. The wall sconces are from San Juan de Oriente, a village known for its ceramics.

A vibrant cascade of tile intended to resemble a waterfall adorns a narrow stairway into a terrace used for biking and stargazing.

Louise Lakier

“The terrace is the best place for moon bathing and enjoying the night wind,” Kaplan says. “When we lie and have a look at the birds flying overhead at the conclusion of each day as the sun goes down, we have the feeling of a permanent vacation.”

Louise Lakier

Louise Lakier

Arching, organic shapes come up across the space, in doors and other openings, partitions, shelves and counters, while natural earth tones inspired the colour scheme.

Louise Lakier

Arched doors and windows appear in the main bedroom also, letting light and garden views in.

The ceiling is made from sugarcane, although the apparel is cedar.

Louise Lakier

The couple’s biggest design challenge was finding a way to bring light and air into the restroom.

Louise Lakier

They solved it by creating an opening into the sky over a little rock garden next to the shower.

Sandzer-Bell’s relief-figure sculptures hang on the enclosure wall.

Louise Lakier

More earth tones and curved forms show up in the main toilet, where relics from the couple’s travels also show the appreciation and influence of varied cultures in the couple’s design aesthetic. “We store in local markets searching for exceptional artistic pieces that catch the heart of local culture,” Kaplan says.

Louise Lakier

Like most of the rooms, the main bedroom opens into the courtyard, where among the few six cats stretches on cement tiles sourced from local factories because of their organic, organic coloring.

Louise Lakier

Local organizers assembled all of the wood doors in the house out of pochote, also called spiny cedar.

Louise Lakier

Sky-blue tiles in the kitchen produce among their house’s few bursts of vibrant colour. The cabinet doors and shelves are cedar. The door hardware is from India.

Louise Lakier

Mint, basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, oregano, tumeric, ginger, aloe vera and lemongrass all grow within reach of their kitchen.

Louise Lakier

Sandzer-Bell coated his piano in Financial Times posts about peak oil, flooding in New Orleans, Iranian conflicts along with also the election of President Ortega in Nicaragua. “Doing a collage on the piano was his second option, after wanting to cover his vintage Mustang convertible in newspaper clippings, but our boys vetoed that idea, so he depended on the piano,” Kaplan says.

The bamboo dining table was formerly part of a doorway in the couple’s Granada office.

Louise Lakier

Kaplan and Sandzer-Bell fell in love with the lot when they felt the wind current traveling up the broad street from Lake Nicaragua five blocks away.

“Our town is authentic, unique and architecturally rich. We can sit outside our house and watch the street go by — a horse, a family of goats, four individuals on a bicycle, or a horse and cart,” says Kaplan.

The couple hired a local artist for U.S.$200 to paint the large exterior mural of a Paul Klee painting that has sentimental value to them.

Louise Lakier

Sandzer-Bell and Kaplan sit inside their backyard with their dogs Mango and Dwayne, and kitten Ziggy.

“Our lifestyle goal for this house, beyond the architectural and design elements, was for every one of our four boys to utilize it as a vehicle for traveling in Latin America, to be exposed to new cultures, life in the growing world, and to get Spanish. Proudly, we may say that has become the case,” says Kaplan.

One of their sons, Oren Pollack, also relocated to Nicaragua. He resides in a custom bamboo home assembled by Kaplan and Sandzer-Bell’s company.

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Grand Openings to Get a Dallas Ranch

Although this midcentury Dallas ranch house had good bones, the closed-off layout just didn’t work for Lori Golman and her husband. Working closely together with Mark Domiteaux of Domiteaux + Bagget Architects and overall contractor JR Rowan, they opened up the tiny spaces to create the house feel larger and more entertainment friendly. An interior designer, Golman built the house in a soothing neutral palette, combining contemporary art and furniture with cherished inherited antiques. A resort-like backyard completes the picture.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Rick and Lori Golman
Location: Dallas
Size: 5,000 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms

SLIC Interiors

A previously closed-off pub area now connects to both the living area and the living area. A neutral color palette combines both spaces that are inviting.

Fireplace surround: ceramic tile, Ann Sacks

SLIC Interiors

A new little butler’s kitchen behind the bar produces a handy space for organizing snacks and beverages for parties. “I love my new bar area,” Golman states. “It was my dream to rip down the walls and generate a bar area where everybody could stand during parties.”

Constructed bookshelves create an ideal backdrop for the couple’s collection of antiques and art.

Wood and Glass side table: Donghia; urchin-like lighting fixture: Mecox Gardens

SLIC Interiors

Durable Caesarstone quartz covers the butler’s kitchen counters. Ann Sacks ceramic tiles wrap round, doubling as a backsplash and since the fireplace surround.

Floating shelf: Poggenpohl; sink, faucet: Dornbracht

SLIC Interiors

Golman splurged on these custom sliding doors; she loves how they create the space feel much more open.

Laundry appliances: Miele; sliding doors: Lumicor copper mesh glass; door hardware: TKO; builder for doors and cabinets: Charles Tate Company

SLIC Interiors

Mecox Gardens chairs along with a steel table from David Sutherland create a modern and sleek seating space just outside the pub.

SLIC Interiors

Golman loves clean lines and simple wallpapers. “I enjoy tailored appearances,” she states. “In most ways I design like I dress. I utilize monochromatic color schemes, adding in pops of color to add uniqueness to some space.”

She discovered these blue leather tufted armchairs from Mecox Gardens and paired them with a vibrant painting of her favorite flower, a peony.

Painting: Joe Mancuso, from Conduit Gallery

SLIC Interiors

The small nook that previously hosted the property’s pub now has a tiny, intimate seating space.

Wall covering: Phillip Jeffries; pub stools: Crate & Barrel; pillow: Mary Cates & Co.; java table: Ligne Roset

SLIC Interiors

Golman attracted the white quartz in the pub into the kitchen counter tops. Combined with maple cabinets and a blue glass mosaic backsplash, it makes the space feel refreshing.

Appliances: Thermador, KitchenAid and Sub-Zero; pendant lighting: Alison Berger for Holly Hunt; glass mosaic tile: Ann Sacks; apron sink: Kohler

SLIC Interiors

Lori Golman stands in front of the Kohler work sink having a attached cutting board, ideal for flower trimming.

Blinds: Conrad

SLIC Interiors

A serene master bedroom provides a retreat in the end of the day.

Rug: Stark Carpet; bedding: Frette; lamp: Donghia

SLIC Interiors

A treasured piece of art from New York hangs above Christian Liaigre Latin seats in a cozy sitting area with views of the backyard.

Side Effects: Knoll

SLIC Interiors

Landscape architect Peter Godat helped Golman construct her vision for a contemporary backyard area. An acid-washed concrete deck flows together with the blue slate pool surround.

Outside furniture: David Sutherland Teak Collection

SLIC Interiors

Aluminum-framed doors offer access to the backyard during the informal living area, family room and master bedroom, creating great indoor-outdoor flow.

SLIC Interiors

The home’s unique layout was divided into little spaces. Golman as well as the architects opened up these spaces to make the house feel larger and more entertainment friendly. This formal living space, place right behind the dining area, benefit from one of these smaller spaces.

Wall covering: Phillip Jeffries Manila Hemp; daybed: Donghia; seats: Christian Liaigre; table: Donghia; ceiling pendant: Stanley Korshak; art: Cameron Martin

SLIC Interiors

On the left side of this living room sits a classic Louis XV desk and ottoman given to Golman by her father, who owned an antiques showroom in Dallas. Another cherished gift, a classic Baccarat Boulle liquor collection, is on the desk.

Lamps: Donghia

SLIC Interiors

The formal dining area feels elegant and grand, with a classic table, a Baccarat chandelier and ivory toile textiles. An antique Japanese medication cabinet anchors a back corner.

Painting: Charles Andresan

SLIC Interiors

Frosted aluminum and glass doors in the entrance set the tone for the inside’s contemporary design. A Venetian mirror and antique rococo console create an eclectic combination.

Sconces: Vaughan; background: Fromental silk chinoiserie

SLIC Interiors

A miniature modern chair from Christian Liaigre and a art piece that Golman purchased in New York contrast with the more elaborate elegance of this rococo design on the other side of the entrance.

“I enjoy combining different elements. In this space I combined my father’s elaborate antiques with contemporary art and furniture to create something unique and relatable,” states Golman.

Pillow: John Robshaw for ABC Carpet & Home

SLIC Interiors

White walls and light floors create a gallery-like atmosphere for Golman’s father’s antiques and its art collection. This vignette sits between the living area and the entrance.

Rug: Madeline Weinrib for ABC Carpet & Home; chest: antique carved teak; art: Aaron Parazette

SLIC Interiors

Now that the interior is finished, Golman’s next project is a facelift to the front part of the home, at the beginning of 2013.

Share your remodeled family house with us!

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8 Strategies to Tap Into English Gent Style

A true English gent includes a dapper, tailored fashion. Savile Row, a street in London’s Mayfair, has been renowned since the 19th century because of its array of conventional men’s custom tailoring shops. The clean style of Savile Row can quickly translate to your house — see how with the ideas below.

Elizabeth Reich

1. Tufted herringbone and leather. A tufted brown leather chesterfield sofa oozes English fashion. Mix in a few upholstered side chairs at a traditional herringbone-patterned fabric for 2 traditionally British looks at one room.

Lompier Interior Group

2. A bit of wallpaper. We English have a continuing love affair with background. To keep it subtle, just paper a wall or beneath a chair rail. Select a neutral colour scheme and a conventional or graphic pattern to keep it masculine.

Atmosphere Interior Design Inc..

3. Sheets were tailored by crisp. Every English gent knows how important it is to get a crisp, clean tailored shirt prepared to go. Steal this look for your bedding by using freshly starched, crisp sheets. Choose something with simple piping to finish the look. Try to find 100 percent cotton, a high thread count (200 or higher) and a good-quality (long) thread such as supima, pima or long-staple Egyptian cotton.

David Howell Design

4. Pinstripes. The London city boys at the financial area love their pinstripe suits. Channel your pinstripe suit by upholstering a tailored couch or chairs in a dark pinstripe fabric. Try dark grey with cream pinstripes or put in a little color with some thing in navy and green, like on this couch.

Accent the dark fabric with bold colours in mustard, burnt orange or deep crimson.

5. Neutrals using a subtle shade. Stick to a neutral palette, like the grays, creams and beige shown here. Black accents help ground this plot, along with the dark red velvet couch adds a splash of colour.

6. A British bulldog. A dog is every Englishman’s closest friend, especially a British bulldog. Add playful bulldog art or dog silhouettes to your strategy — this works great in kids’ bedrooms too. Solid dark walls and pinstripe drapes keep the look masculine.

Scot Meacham Wood Design

7. Textured layers. Textured layers make you want to sink into a room and relax. Just take a timeless leather couch and try mixing layers of pillows in wools, velvets, silks, linens and cottons — all in a similar neutral colour.

Heavy tailored wool drapes (in plain fabric or a pattern of clean lines) can make the space feel extra cozy.

JD Ireland Interior Architecture + Design

8. Tailored, upholstered mattress. A neat upholstered bed frame provides a very tailored finish to a room. The grey striped fabric puts this mattress firmly at a gentleman’s entire world. Maintain the bedding neatly tucked into the mattress frame. You can nevertheless layer pillows, but try a long bolster rather than lots of fluff and layers.

These wall-mounted lights take jumble off the bedside table and provide focused task lighting for reading.

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A Brief Recap of Historical American Home Design

According to Vincent Scully, Jr., in his book American Architecture and Urbanism, a defining characteristic of the American built landscape has been the tension between two competing forces. While the apparently limitless all-natural landscape created a desire to keep moving, to learn what was beyond that forest and over that mountain, a countervailing yearning to stay rooted in 1 spot also took record. Our built environment has been an outward expression of our anxiety about leaving the security, security and familiarity of home when we can not help but follow the dictum”Go West, young man.”

This duality has been expressed in many ways in the design of the houses. From an emphasis on flat continuity anchored by a vertical totem to our fascination with the RV (even if it’s tethered into a parking space), we want the illusion that we can get up and proceed at any moment while having the security of being attached and adjusted into a home. It’s not surprising that our national pastime is baseball, the 1 sport where scoring is attained exclusively by leaving and returning home.

So let’s take a look at the way American house layout has expressed and tried to resolve this tension — what may happen when the realization hits that the trend of growth is changing.

Daniel Contelmo Architects

Even in the colonial era, a stress on the flat line was a defining characteristic of home layout. Design features like placing horizontally proportioned upper-story dividers tight into the eave with constant sill trim below bolstered this nascent horizontal expression.

While most houses of this age, especially those in New England, put the mass of the chimney in the center of the home, there was likewise a trend, especially in the mid-Atlantic and South, to put the chimneys in the sides. In the latter instance, all of the horizontal motion is contained and stopped, especially with vertical components like pilasters at the corners.

The tension between wanting to stretch out and break free while being hauled in position is clearly evident.

Between Naps on the Porch

The houses of 19th-century America had a linear aesthetic, despite the era’s predilection for revivals. Home designers could not help but weave all of those horizontal themes and trim into the layout when faced with inherently vertical fashions like that of the second empire. Therefore the towers, mansards and vertical factors are held in check with a ribbon of trim that weaves in and out to deny this perpendicular.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Obviously, it was the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright and the other Prairie School architects to resolve — or exploit the tension caused by the duality between horizontal and vertical. While creating homes that seem to float on the property and in which each design decision serves to accentuate the flat, even Wright could not help but create this massive central vertical anchor that firmly roots the house to its location.

Dick Clark + Associates

Yet the homegrown Prairie School dropped from grace, as transplanted Europeans like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius introduced International design to America.

But we Americans altered that style to suit our character. Therefore it was not the idealized modernism of Le Corbusier but versions that were more linear and stretched, more expressions of growth and not as much of Europe’s urbanism.

Home layout took on a new kind as a result of a car-dominated culture that celebrated the freedom of the open road. Relaxed, casual, distribute throughout the landscape, the brand new ranch-style house gave expression to the expansiveness of the soul. And as the desire to be rooted at a location gave way to increasing mobility, the perpendicular totem no longer appeared.

Butler Armsden Architects

As a result, variations of this ranch house fill the U.S. landscape from east to west and Canada into Mexico. This ranch house, sitting on its horizontal lot with all the ocean in front and the mountains behind, is a full expression of the American dream and the California lifestyle.

Princeton Architectural Press

Occasionally a home can take on the characteristics of the Conestoga wagon and Airstream trailer, ready to pick up and move whenever the owner’s tires of this area.

However, what happens when ever-increasing advancement means less space to build and explore?

Union Studio, Architecture & Community Design

Perhaps then we have a critical look in taming the auto. And while we are at itwe could build communities as opposed to developments. Places where we still have the single-family home, but this time it’s built for sustainability and efficiency. These areas could be, after all, more in tune with the agrarian ideal that’s been at the core of our built environment for centuries.

More: Back into the Future of this House

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Blues Blaze Into Fashion for Fall 2012

Start looking for blue as one of the handful of colours touted as”in” this fall. Pantone, a company which develops and preserves color management systems used by designers, calls Olympian Blue (consider the grim on the Greek flag) one of the year’s best hues. And trend bloggers are reporting seeing a significant bit of peacock blue and teal — profound, watery blues which have a touch of green in them on the runways.

Most homeowners can’t or do not need to modify the colours of their interior with every passing fad, but if you are looking for a small way to make a large change in your house, try introducing these hip blue colours in your decor.

Suggestions for autumn’s hottest oranges

Jennifer Ott Design

Select up on the blue fashion by incorporating one or more of those colours on your interiors, clockwise from top left: Peacock Blue GLB01, from Glidden; Caribbean Blue Water 2055-30, from Benjamin Moore; Hyper Blue SW 6965, from Sherwin-Williams; and Tidal Teal 5006-8B from Valspar.

House + House Architects

A teal accent wall in your bedroom paired with spicy oranges and yellows creates an exotic vibe reminiscent of faraway places. Just make sure you keep the flooring a light, neutral colour and limit the art and accessories to a few important pieces, to avoid the space from feeling overly busy and cluttered.

Martinkovic Milford Architects

Tons of extreme colour can be overpowering in a space. If you want to go bold on the walls but want a more soothing effect, take a tip from this beautiful toilet and keep everything else straightforward, neutral and light.

Laura U, Inc..

Peacock blue is striking in the bedroom contrary to the white, black, brown and gray hues.

Oceanside Glasstile

These glass mosaic tiles from Oceanside Glasstile make a gorgeous accent wall. The colours are reminiscent of cool blue Mediterranean waters, perfect for carrying a long, relaxing soak. With such a solid decorative part on the walls, the room needs no other art or bold colour to enhance it.

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

If you are worried about investing a massive chunk of change on wall tile which you might grow tired of down the street, or just do not have a budget which can accommodate it, try tapping into your internal abstract artist (or enlist the help of an artistic friend, or even employ a pro) to paint a color-field accent wall on your preferred cool hues. This could be supereasy to alter out if you desire another look later on.


Trina Turk Blue Peacock Comforter and Duvet Cover Set

Stick to bold blue accessories to get a smaller-scale approach for this trend. This bedding by Trina Turk could gussy up the dullest of bedrooms. It’s a great way to inject some colour into a neutral bedroom without needing to dig out your paintbrush.

West Elm

Potter’s Workshop Tableware – $50

These new dishes from West Elm include a beautiful beaded pattern in this year’s hip colors of blue.


Seaport Vases – $79.95

Collect a few of those vases together in a place of prominence in your house, and you’ve got a wonderful spot of colour. Add some yellow and green through cut flowers, and you’ll instantly have a beautiful, colorful focal point.


Remembrance Carpet Tile, Teal

Flor took inspiration from faded, antique oriental rugs for this line of carpet tiles. The pattern is very forgiving if you just happen to fall behind in your housecleaning, and the green-blue colours pair nicely with so many other colours, from grays into purples to greens into other blues.


Carly Pillow

These cushions are perfect perched atop a camel-colored couch (or any other furniture with a neutral colour ).


Picture Pool Sofa – $1,099

Normally I suggest staying away from bold, stylish colors for things which you don’t wish to change out very frequently, but sometimes you fall in love with an item and discover a way to make it work. This peacock-blue couch looks fantastic in a minimalist, contemporary space where it can be the star of this series.

Jonathan Adler

Leather Moroccan Pouf | Jonathan Adler – $275

If you love this colour but don’t need to dedicate an entire couch for this, try thinking in relation to smaller, less costly pieces, like this fabulous pouf from Jonathan Adler.

Z Gallerie

Aquarius Stemware – $39.80

If your drink of choice is red wine, then be forewarned that it might not seem so great in those blue-tinged stemware pieces, but go right ahead and fill them up with your favorite white wine, champagne or sparkling water.


Phoenix Swoon Bar Stools – $139

If I was on the marketplace for new counter stools, these are on top of my list. I love the clean lines and gorgeous shade of blue.


Carved Stool – $259

Looking for some interesting pieces to improve your living room? This handsome concave-front console and also carved blossom in Olympian Blue are standouts.


Brukbar Glass – $1.49

Bring Olympian Blue in your dining area without breaking the bank. This juice from Ikea costs just $1.49.

The Business Store

Ombré Rug – $39

Beautiful cool colours stitched together in an ombré effect create a terrific runner. The palette complements a hot wood floor nicely, but it would also look very stylish on a gray polished concrete flooring.

Inform us: What’s your preferred blue hue? Have you ever used it to boost your home’s interior?

More ways with blue

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8 Influential Home Design Trends for 2012

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) annually conducts its Best in American Living Awards (BALA). These awards, open to contractors and design professionals, acknowledge that fantastic design “is not and shouldn’t be restricted to high-priced and custom homes.”

The NAHB uses these design awards to search for upcoming trends for new house design. This past year the jurors identified eight layout trends that will have an impact on new house designs in 2012 and into the future.

When speaking about these tendencies at the International Builders Show, held in February in Orlando, Florida, BALA jurors Heather McCune, Mark Kiner and Victor Mirontshuk all noted that new home layout is significantly better now than simply a few years back. Unlike in the recent boom years, when just about anything constructed was sold, strong competition in the current market is forcing all builders to improve dwelling layout.

A better house with an eye on the future. Now that is what I predict better living.

National Association of Home Builders

Design fad no. 1: classic yet modern. The new homes with strong sales now are those that blend modern and traditional elements to create cleaner and simpler elevations. Interior spaces are clean, bright and easy. Gone are the generous and detailing ornamentation of the past.

This endeavor: Gold Award, One-of-a-Kind Home, 4,001–6,500 square feet
Private residence, Chicago
Project Team:
• Architect/Designer: Kenneth Brinkman, Chicago
• Builder/Developer: Environs Development, Inc., Chicago
• Interior Designer: Amy May, Environs Development, Chicago

Photo by Herbie Rooprai

National Association of Home Builders

Design fad no. 2: exterior spaces as an extension of living room. Whether to get a single-family house or a multifamily building, house buyers are looking for private outdoor spaces that blend seamlessly with the indoors. This trend cuts across geographic regions, being as accurate in the colder regions of the country as in the warmer, milder areas.

This endeavor: Platinum Award, Detached House around 2,000 square feet
Siena at Laguna Altura, Irvine, California
Project Team:
• Architect/Designer: Bassenian | Lagoni, Newport Beach, California
• Builder: Irvine Pacific, Irvine, California
• Interior Designer: Austin Johnson Interiors, Irvine, California
• Developer: Irvine Company, Irvine, California
• Land Planner: Irvine Company, Irvine, California

Photo by Eric Figge

National Association of Home Builders

Design fad no. 3: good, cost-effective designs. To keep construction costs low, we will see multiple roof lines and complexity give way to simplified forms. Gone is the “bursting roof” design paradigm to its simple gable roof and rectangular form. Innovative and creative methods to layouts, storage, curb appeal and so on will be established in the early design stage to make sure that the new designs don’t become boring.

This endeavor: Gold Award, Single-Family Detached Home, 2,001–3,000 square feet
Hampton Lane Plan 2, San Diego
Project Team:
• Architect/Designer: Bassenian/Lagoni Architects, Newport Beach, California
• Builder/Developer: Pardee Homes, Los Angeles
• Land Planner: Project Design Consultants, San Diego
• Interior Merchandiser: Citrine Interior Design, Whittier, California

Photo by Robb Miller Photography

National Association of Home Builders

Design fad no. 4: the family triangle. It was that open floor plans have been limited to certain geographical areas and buyer profiles. The open floor plan is desired throughout the country and by every industry segment. The older living room was replaced by a flexible space that could be used as necessary while still being near the family room. The jurors noted that these new open plans rely on light and detail to give a sense of spaciousness rather than simply being large.

This endeavor: Platinum Award, Interior Design, Kitchen
Brownstones of Brambleton, Ashburn, Virginia
Project Team:
• Architect/Designer: Lessard Design, Inc., Reston, Virginia
• Builder: Miller and Smith, Mclean, Virginia
• Interior Designer: Carlyn and Company, Great Falls, Virginia
• Developer: Brambleton Group, LLC, Brambleton, Virginia
• Land Planner: Parker Rodriguez, Alexandria, Virginia

Photo by Jim Kirby Photography

National Association of Home Builders

Design fad no. 5: multigenerational living. Whether it is because more are kids returning home after school or more parents are moving in with the family, multigenerational homes are rising in popularity. In fact, 1 study indicated that the construction of such homes has jumped 30 percent in the past few years.

So if they create “lock-off” units, two master suites (one up and one down) or even another sort of area, builders are recognizing the increased need for these types of homes and planning to them in their designs. Amenities such as wider hallways, elevators, grab bars and so forth are becoming the norm.

This endeavor: Silver Award, Green-Built Home
KB Home GreenHouse, Orlando, Florida
Project Team:
• Architect/Designer: KB Home Architecture, Los Angeles
• Builder/Developer: KB Home, Orlando, Florida
• Interior Designer: KB Home and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Los Angeles and New York

Photo by James F. Watson

National Association of Home Builders

Design fad no. 6: Kitchen entertaining using a view. Kitchens continue to be without a doubt the center of the house. But with square footage being trimmed, designers are having to create innovative solutions for storage and functional needs. There is also a growing use of large windows to keep the kitchen light, airy and bright so that it can live large. The loss of wall area for cabinetry is composed with walk-in pantries (dubbed the “Costco Closet”), in which it is not unusual to obtain the (messy) kitchen table concealed from view.

This endeavor: Silver Award, One-of-a-Kind Home over 6,501 square-foot
Private home, Bluffton, South Carolina
Project Team:
• Architect/Designer: Hansen Architects P.C., Savannah, Georgia
• Builder: JT Turner Construction, Savannah, Georgia
• Interior Designer: Hansen Architects P.C., Savannah, Georgia
• Developer: Crescent Resources, Bluffton, South Carolina

Photo by Elaine Fultz

National Association of Home Builders

Design fad no. 7: green design components that customers know and want. Buyers expect a certain level of green components in their homes now. Items that are somewhat familiar, reduce operating costs and are simple to use are the most popular.

This endeavor: Silver Award, Green-Built Home
KB Home GreenHouse, Orlando, Florida
Project Team:
• Architect/Designer: KB Home Architecture, Los Angeles
• Builder/Developer: KB Home, Orlando, Florida
• Interior Designer: KB Home and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Los Angeles and New York

Photo by James F. Watson

National Association of Home Builders

Design fad no. 8: much less soil development, more focus on multifamily. The tendency is to smaller developments and infill properties using a proximity to transport and other conveniences. A mixture of housing types and buyer profiles is clear to ensure that households across generations can live near one other. Less emphasis is now placed on the importance of an auto, as buyers wish to reside in walk-to-everything communities.

This endeavor: Finest in Region, Pacific Northwest
Legacy at Riverpark Apartments, Redmond, Washington
Project Team:
• Architect/Designer: EDI International, Houston
• Builder: Legacy Partners Residential, Inc., Mercer Island, Washington
• Interior Designer: Robin Chell Design, Seattle
• Developer: Legacy Partners Residential Development, Seattle
• Land Planner: Tiscareno Associates (Master Plan Architect), Seattle

Photo by Vicaso

More: The Case for Cautious Optimism

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Marine Blue Washes Ashore

As its name implies, marine blue is drawn from naval uniforms and ocean depths, plus it is a cornerstone of the classic coastal palette. Nevertheless this soulful, satisfying color — a hot colour with the barest undercurrent of green — looks even fresher away from the ocean.

Just like a well-cut blazer, marine blue is versatile, handsome and always in good taste, whether it takes the kind of Hollywood Regency elegance or eclectic chic. Have a look at the enormously different styles it adopts in the spaces below.

ZeroEnergy Design

A delightful marine-blue background adds richness and depth to this headboard. It complements the red-orange wall in the adjoining living room perfectly.

Glazed marine-blue backsplash tiles provide an otherwise neutral kitchen additional dimension. The white and natural wood surfaces retain the focus on that gorgeous stroke of color.

Katie Denham Interiors

Marine blue accents help to floor the bold reds in this bedroom. Though this home sits on the California coast, the appearance would be just as appropriate for a Chicago pied-à-terre or even a suburban ranch in Raleigh.

Studio William Hefner

This ranks up there with my all-time favourite photographs on . The blue velvet glows in the light bouncing off the walls along with the antiqued mirror, its own tones shifting between marine and navy and indigo for a quietly dramatic impact.

Jeff Sheats Designs

Though this bathroom would feel on point in a coastal home, swapping out the art would push it in a more conventional direction. The aluminum sink picks the hot undertones in the blue cabinet finish and represents a subtle spin on the classic pairing of blue and orange.

Lizette Marie Interior Design

Nuanced, striated blue tiles in a pattern of interlocking ovals provide this transitional bathroom a beautiful feeling of motion and flow.

Savvy Interiors

The time-honored blue and yellow color palette receives a sophisticated spin with a butter-hued sofa and extreme marine blue on the walls along with ottoman.

Belzberg Architects

Under a cloak of luminous blue tile this tub area shimmers just like the ocean.

Benjamin Moore Marine Blue 2059-10 Paint – $35.95

Rich and complex, this gloomy could be ideal for a research, a powder tub, a boudoir or a dining room. Add a coating of lacquer to give it a high-wattage gleam.

Sundance Catalog

Big Color-Tipped Cutting Board – $150

Dipped in a marine-blue wash, this cutting board extends from workhorse to function of art. It’s almost too pretty to mar with knife marks — I’d hang it on a kitchen wall rather.


Robert Abbey Triple Gourd Table Lamp, Marine Blue – $261.80

A classic lamp base profile gets an update in vibrant marine blue.

F. Schumacher & Co..

Santorini Print, Marine

Indoor-outdoor fabrics such as this one work beautifully in breakfast regions and dining rooms — they resist spilled food and sticky fingers. I could see this on bar stools or simple chairs in a kitchen with kelly-green cabinetry for a burst of preppy panache.

Modern Armchairs

Blue leather adds dignified charm for this midcentury modern–inspired armchair.


Royal Crown Derby Grenville Place Setting – $325

Mix in a few pieces of this delicate china pattern to elevate an assortment of basic porcelain.

The Lacquer Company

Handmade High-Gloss Lacquer Ice Bucket by Rita Konig, Blue Marine – $395

This showstopping ice bucket deserves a place front and centre on the pub buffet or cart.

Colors of Light

Ironwork Trellis Dhurrie Rug, Cobalt Blue and Ivory – $59

Where would not this versatile dhurrie function? Use it to anchor a living space, jazz up a hallway, freshen up a formal dining space or hot a guest suite.


Iron/Tones Smart Split Top-Mount or Undermount Sink – $1,295

Part of a limited-edition line of Jonathan Adler colours, this sink would draw the eye like a magnet in a pristine kitchen.

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the Life-Changing Decision and The Orchard

In 2005, Robert and Linda Cordtz took a remarkable leap of faith by leaving their longtime home and investing their life savings in an ailing orchard. Inspired by their enthusiasm for green living and their love of healthy food, they bought a conventional orchard in Eastern Oregon and began the tender and dull job of transitioning the trees from conventional to organic.

Robert used to work for the Forestry Service removing toxic waste from organic places. Throughout this time he watched more than his share of ecological destruction from chemicals and man-made contamination. “When I retired from this job I decided I didn’t want to touch another toxic thing ever again,” he says. When Linda talks of their job creating a sustainable future, she becomes severe and says that any poison on this house “stops”

at a Glance
Who lives here:
Robert and Linda Cordtz, their dog and a few laying hens
Location: Eagle Creek Orchard at Richland, Oregon
Size: Around 1,700 square feet; 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
That’s intriguing: The orchard consists of 5 acres and homes 1,200 fruit trees watered from Eagle Creek, which flows directly out of the Wallowa Mountains.

Sarah Greenman

The couple sells their natural produce at the Boise and Baker City farmer’s markets. They also have a fruit stand on the house for people prepared to make the drive. And after having tasted their succulent tree-ripened peaches, I can guarantee you the drive is quite worth it.

Sarah Greenman

The Cordtz house is sprinkled with glowing red accents, from the red roof, to the classic stove, to the red bench in the entryway, to the crimson pears that hang heavy on the branches this season. Linda invites me to the kitchen where she is peeling, cutting and dehydrating peaches. She moves to the sink, saying, “We are headed to the marketplace in Boise this weekend, and there’s a lot that must occur before we proceed.”

She bought the cooker secondhand for $250. “It works beautifully. The girl who offered it to me didn’t like the color,” she says. “Could you imagine? I just love it”

Cooker, oven: circa 1950s, O’Keefe & Merritt

Sarah Greenman

Sarah Greenman

Linda’s tools are within easy reach of her or her heirs. Open shelving, hanging baskets and pans along with a multipurpose kitchen table help her to stay focused and efficient.

She quits working as we discuss the home and the orchard. The sink is first to the home and shows signs of age and use. “I don’t mind living with older things. It reminds me to take care of things and be thankful,” she says.

“Ten decades back, I didn’t know what brown rot was or cling peaches,” she adds. “I’m not some sort of organic elitist. I just knew that I needed to live in a fresh way.”

Sarah Greenman

Both discovered the property online. “Linda and I had been frequent visitors of Hell’s Canyon, so we were familiar with the region,” Robert says. “My children had moved off, and we’re ready for something different. We wanted a place where we could grow our own food.”

For a kid in California, Robert’s family had an avocado orchard. “After high school, our family bought a vineyard collectively, which was very successful until Gallo transferred in and radically changed the price index,” he says. “So I’m pretty familiar with farm life.”

In their wish list: “Four seasons, gates to the property along with a nearby national forest,” Linda says. “The very last thing on the list was, I swear, ‘a few fruit trees.'”

The orchard contains 17 varieties of peaches in addition to prunes, apples, pears, plums, apricots, walnuts, hazelnuts, grapes and much more. There is also a steady supply of fresh eggs from laying hens.

Sarah Greenman

The entry is a welcoming and busy jumble of farm gear, art and paperwork. A bright red chair serves as a catchall for wide-brimmed hats, everyday crop lists and other essentials.

“Well this is us,” says Linda, motioning to the overflowing daily life of her property.

Sarah Greenman

Knotty pine walls cloak the upstairs bedroom at a warm glow. A very simple bed and side tables are the only furniture. The majority of the artwork in the Cordtz house is curated from local consignment and thrift stores.

A side table offers space for family photos, vintage postcards and other meaningful items. Linda shows me a picture of a family war veteran. “I’m constantly amazed by and curious about the people who arrived before me,” she says.

Sarah Greenman

Another room throughout the hall serves as an office and a guest space. A Tongan staff along with a thrift store butterfly adorn the hallway wall. Linda has a special love for tribal artwork. Even the “finders, keepers” nature of thrifted art means that lots of bits in the Cordtz house have unknown origins.

Sarah Greenman

A hodepodge of work, correspondence, artwork, keepsakes and invoices makes up the home workplace. A midcentury dining table and chair set act as a desk and seating. The remainder of the area is full of traditional pine furniture to match the trim and the ceiling. Robert constructed the hanging chimney on the far wall.

Sarah Greenman

Linda is a talented artist and appreciates mask making, among other art forms. This green mask hangs alongside the property’s exterior with pieces of foliage stuffed into the top. Linda laughs at her invention and says, “Now he’s doing the Rastafarian look”

Sarah Greenman

Though the orchard certainly takes a high level of labor during the high seasons, it also provides its owners with reflective space, peace and serenity. In their quiet moments, Robert or Linda might be located within this hammock.

Sarah Greenman

As soon as the Cordtzes moved on the orchard, the trees had been in pretty poor shape. The property invested several years as a conventional orchard and was suffering from liberal use of toxins. “Petroleum-based fertilizers are hard to come off,” says Robert. “We moved on the house and stopped it daily. It isn’t important just how long something has been at a state of mal use, you can always choose to end it. And that is exactly what we did.”

Sarah Greenman

On a schoolroom chalkboard pinpointed to the side of their fruit stand, Linda has produced a recommended reading list to its own clients. “I guess I’m a small evangelical about my job. Some people go door to door selling their own religion, but here on the orchard I’m living my religion,” she says.

Sarah Greenman

The Cordtzes believe there’s not any greater way to feed your family than to grow your own food or buy it from a local ranch or farm.

“Know that your predator,” Linda says. “Go to their farms and see exactly what they are doing.”

Sarah Greenman

The Cordtzes are deeply dedicated to their job at Eagle Creek Orchard and to providing their community with fresh, healthy food. Here is Robert walking up to the home with two buckets of peaches.

“This may sound out there, but Robert is talented intuitively to commune with the trees,” Linda says. “A couple years into our job here he said, ‘I can believe that the trees are healing.’ He was right.”

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Sleek Swimmer's Retreat in Buenos Aires

This modern house in an exclusive waterfront Buenos Aires neighborhood takes the homeowner’s love of swimming into a different level. Principal architect Alejandro Amoedo helped his client, a surgeon using a passion for swimmingpool, achieve the house of his dreams by constructing a house celebrating the pool. “At first, of course, the house appears extravagant,” says Amoedo,”but if you’re knowledgeable about the region, there are a great deal of extraordinary homes here that have pool designs.”

at a Glance
Who lives here: A surgeon who likes to swim
Location: Nordelta, Tigre, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Size: 4,919 square feet; 3 bedrooms; a ceremony room; six baths

Vanguarda Architects

Vanguarda Architects

The pool’s simple lines reflect the angular architecture of the house. There’s the lagoon fronting the house and visual continuity between both indoor and outdoor pools. “It was my client who asked this interior-exterior pool placement,” says Amoedo.

Unadorned picture windows heighten views of the lagoon and an equally expansive house in the distance.

Vanguarda Architects

The TV placement may seem odd, considering the prospect of water splashes in the pool. But that wall is the only place.

Vanguarda Architects

Vanguarda Architects

A steel bar describes the main entry in a facade of wood, concrete and glass.

Vanguarda Architects

Amoedo oriented the living room and dining table in regions with plenty of natural lighting and views.

Vanguarda Architects

From the main living room and indoor pool areas, the cooking station and kitchen island are obscured by cabinetry and modular appliances, but the cook still has a gorgeous view of the lagoon.

Vanguarda Architects

Views of the environment are all magnified on the next floor. A narrow walkway leads the eye into a home office with sliding doors, which open to a balcony with stunning vistas of neighboring properties and an infinite skies.

Vanguarda Architects

More: 16 Wonderful Home Pools

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7 Tips to Get Lovely Traditional Living Room Lighting

The living room could be where your relatives spend the majority of their time, but it’s about more than comfy seating and the right-sized flat-screen TV. Appropriate lighting accentuates the area’s design scheme and creates a sophisticated feel that’s characteristic of standard design.

Selecting and placing the chandelier, sconces, lamps and can lights can transform your traditional space. Below are seven tips that could help.

Howard Bankston & Post

Consider the best way to use the room. For rooms used mostly for entertaining, late-afternoon cocktails or after-dinner java, general lighting may be all you need. In a room like this, a center light provides the key general lighting, with sconces and smaller lights filling in the areas that the decorations miss. Can there be anything more traditional than a crystal chandelier?

Colleen Price

Don’t forget the dimmers. Particularly for general lighting centered in the center of the room, dimmer switches are crucial. This way, you can achieve any type of mood you desire. For vivid lighting, turn the lights up full blast. For nighttime events, turn down the lights to make a traditional scheme, like in this French country room, even more romantic — and looks even more flattering.

Spinnaker Development

Use task lighting to specify zones. Living rooms are to get a lot more than simply relaxing. For rooms for a good deal of use, consider job lights to brighten work areas. Task lighting includes built-in can lights that direct a stream of glowing light onto a reading or working area. An orb chandelier adds an updated twist on heritage in this room.

J.Banks Design Group

Task lighting also includes desk and side table lamps that illuminate areas utilized for paying bills or composing thank-you notes. Design that is traditional is, defined by the symmetry in this area, right down to the fitting pairs of lamps.

Rinfret, Ltd..

Play with accent lights for style. Don’t forget about accent lighting if planning your living room. Sconces are a fabulous touch that can show a painting, a focal point or a distinctive accessory by directing attention to a specific spot.

Anna Lattimore Interior Design

Pay attention to size. Fixtures should be proportional to the room. A fantastic rule of thumb would be to choose the dimensions of your area in feet and add them together. The amount of feet at the sum is the way many inches your chandelier should be.

Long pendants and tall table lamps can help balance rooms with very substantial ceilings. Hang chandeliers 78 to 84 inches high; place sconces at least 60 inches.

DKOR Interiors Inc.- Interior Designers Miami, FL

Add to a home’s ambience with your lighting. Lighting can be among the most aesthetically pleasing parts of a design scheme. This single big turquoise chandelier certainly makes a statement, repeating the color on the pillows and rug and creating a sophisticated neutral palette pop.

Ken Levenson Architect P.C.

Let it leak. Using exactly the very same fittings in adjoining rooms can create continuity. Matching fixtures — especially if they are as fabulous as those — create a design scheme feel well intended. These crystal ribbons are a classic fixture for a traditional home.

Next, two of the favorite traditional lighting fittings.

Restoration Hardware

Foucault’s Iron Orb Chandelier, Large – $1,195

The feminine lines and manly materials of the fixture juxtapose beautifully for use in a variety of living rooms.

Circa Lighting

Timeless Ring Chandelier – $1,050

If you are torn between a glamorous chandelier, a lovely focal point or a gorgeous centerpiece, a classic ring chandelier like this is a great thing to do. Its color coordinates with any decor, while multiple bulbs cast a glow — instead of a piercing, unflattering line of light.

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