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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12 Libraries That Lightened Up

When you hear the term”library,” what comes to mind? Professor Plum with the candlestick? For me it’s plenty of dark wood paneling, a deep burgundy Chesterfield couch, an oppressive amount of leather-bound novels, a heavy desk, brass lamps and perhaps a lot of judges having their weekly poker game, complete with lots of cigar smoke.

As a dark and cozy library may be a great part of a conventional home, I’m more excited about the ways designers are kicking heritage to the curb and producing airy and open library spaces. They have kept the comfy stuffed furniture but gotten rid of the stuffiness. Another exciting aspect is they are finding room for libraries in that which would otherwise be wasted space. Get ideas by a look at a number of library layouts that are fresh.

Griffin Enright Architects

This home includes a wood-burning floor plan, however, the contemporary library space is demarcated by a change in altitude and rich dark wood. Using shelves which go only halfway up the walls as well as glistening ivory floor keeps things light.

Watch the rest of this home

Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

This library is also situated in spot using a transitional elevation within the floor plan. The architect must have taken careful notes on how best to maximize the natural light whilst maintaining the room sheltered from direct sunlight.

Watch the rest of this home

Mark English Architects

This spacious library provides a spot that is sleeping for guests around the contemporary sleeper couch and borrows light.

Studio Bergtraun AIA

This open and comfortable library is actually a portion of a kitchen renovation.


Instead of shutting the library off in the usual traditional manner, this spacious library keeps the space airy and leaves the entire first floor feel larger. Planked walls and a planked ceiling lend a cabin feel.

Chang + Sylligardos Architects

The upstairs hallway can be a wasted space; just a small addition to the thickness allowed for long bookshelves here. The walkway is available to the floor below.

Tip: Take notice of the monitor lighting, art lighting and library lamps utilized to spotlight the shelves in many of these photos. Shining light on your books and objects will change how you experience your library distance, especially at night.

Watch more ways to integrate libraries into other areas

Richard Bubnowski Design LLC

Here is another great library spot which makes excellent use of every square inch of space in this upstairs hallway.

Watch the rest of this home

Exedra Architects

Putting this library space in the end of the stair landing is just another brilliant use of space that is often wasted.

Emily A. Clark

This designer has made numerous moves I admire: the library desk complete with studying light (reminds me of faculty ), the oversize lantern, the light walls, the dark paint inside the shelves…

Tip: When figuring out furniture positioning similar to this, have your electrician put in a plug from the floor so you nobody trips over unsightly cables.

Chloe Warner

This bright library space is the best spot for hosting a contemporary salon.

Chang + Sylligardos Architects

There are no rules that say bookshelves need to hug the walls; they are also able to function as room dividers in a large, open space. This chamber can go out of breakfast area to research and homework area with one clearing of the table.

Belsey & Mahla Architects

This is a gorgeous illustration of a library that is transitional-style. It’s the bones of a conventional library but has lightened things up with paint colour, fabrics and light fittings.

Where and how can you store the books in your home? Let us know in the Remarks section.

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Designs from India Into Your Decor

I have never been to India, but I have always been drawn to Indian design. I adore the textiles — everything from brilliant saris to dull block prints — and the colours. I love the classical architecture, the garish billboards, the woodwork and the religious iconography.

Because India has been crisscrossed by so many people across the years, Indian design has components from the Middle East, China and Europe. It is a rich tapestry that has taken thousands of years to grow.

However, as with almost any modern design based in a place or a culture, you need to proceed with care, using the components of Indian design as inspiration or as a launch pad. To acquire an Indian appearance that is not overly “India World USA! ,” go less literal, more suggestive. Kind of like flirting.

All these 14 rooms are extremely different from one another, but all of them use India as their starting point. Some are diverse modern, while some are more overtly cultural motivated. All of these are beautiful.

Marie Burgos Design

Ornate Carvings

The ornately carved classic doors include thickness and a tiny grandeur to this plain space.

Lenkin Design Inc: Landscape and Garden Design

The carved doors leading to this breezeway are in abundant contrast with the modern building. To me they feel like a hot invitation to enter.


Indian Antique Damachiya – $1,095

If you can’t swing a large, classic architectural element, furniture can add the same richness and texture. A bit such as this could be the inspiration for an entire room.

Burnham Design

Cosmetic Furniture

This amazing inlaid dresser is at home in this modern eclectic room. The space is not obviously Indian, but this piece adds a little hint of spice.


Bone Inlay Chest

An ornate piece such as this could live comfortably into a white, modern room in addition to in a richly coloured, layered room filled with texture.

Chakki Dark Walnut – $450

This ottoman is a beautiful mixture of subtle, modern fabric and traditional Indian design. It may work almost everywhere.

Mac Free

Arches and Architecture

The corbel arch is one of the very telltale Indian architectural components. This chamber uses that shape, in addition to screened panels, intricate textiles and traditional furnishings to bring India to mind in a modern, Western room.

Louie Leu Architect, Inc..

White corbel arches and filigreed panels. It’s almost like the Taj Majal.


India is renowned for its textiles. Many modern designers (Madeline Weinrib, John Robshaw) and even firms like Hermès have turned to Indian textiles, in all their patterned, sequined, metallic-trimmed glory, for inspiration.


Blue Sari Tapestry – $860

A tapestry created from bits of vintage saris. Drool.


Indian Cotton Pillow Cover by ChezVies – $15

A block print in indigo. Simple, modern, Indian.

One Kings Lane

Kantha Handstitched Pouf, Patriot

A pouf created from bits of Indian madras and hand-stitched kantha cloth.

Calypso St. Barth

Elephant Tablecloth – $165

Metallics, either printed or woven, are common in India textiles, as are block prints of iconic Indian pictures, such as these elephant riders.

Carson Poetzl, Inc..


Just look at this blue. And ceiling! Swoon. So much of India is all about color — bold, vivid, mixed up-color. Oh, and a bit of bling too.

The Loaded Trunk

Indian Gujarati Bolster Pillows – $80

If you are not ready to go for full-on painted ceilings with glowing blue walls, then you can at least add a little shade with some throw pillows, right? India “lite.”

Trinetra Candleholder – $99.95

Elegant bling — it’s every woman’s dream.



Not all Indian textiles are glowing or blingy. This chamber is lively, airy, modern and definitely motivated by India. That is what judicious but still exuberant use of pattern can perform. I love this room.

Hand-Blocked Leaf Quilt + Shams, West Elm

A simple block-print bed set can add texture and pattern without adding more color than you’re comfortable with.

West Elm

Hand-Blocked Diamond Pillow Cover – $39

Modern, geometric pillows with block prints from India. They’ve an cultural vibe, but they’re still quite laid back.

French Colonial Mansion in India

Guest Picks: India

Moroccan Style

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Renovation Detail: The Chippendale Balustrade

In my search to replace the iron railings onto our front porch, I found that the Chippendale balustrade and fell in love. Affectionately inspired from the work of Thomas Chippendale, an 18th-century English furniture manufacturer, the fretwork is also influenced by Asian layouts trends.

The geometric pattern is typically placed inside a rectangular frame and is often repeated. With careful mathematical calculations, a skilled craftsperson is able to build the regimented balustrade, which is often found on porches, decks, widow walks and staircases.

The next time you end up in a historic neighborhood with well-preserved homes, have a look-see at the balustrades. You are guaranteed to stumble upon a Chippendale or two. Heck, even Thomas Jefferson used them at Monticello.

Acanthus Design-Denise Woolery

The Chippendale balustrade can function both decorative and practical purposes, as implemented with this exterior staircase.

Clifford M. Scholz Architects Inc..

Chippendale balustrades are combined with square spindles here in order to keep the rail system from being overly busy and also to allow the natural beauty of this seaside environment come through.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

The ground-level porch columns align with the upper-deck newel posts here in order to make a uniform outside facade. With good knee sides that the Chippendale balustrades help to make the second-story deck feel quite open.

Duckham Architecture & Interiors

Although only the only front and centre section of the New England porch rail is Chippendale, the jazzy geometric layout still manages to enhance the whole look of the facade. It is the great budget-friendly alternative.

Linda McDougald Design | Postcard from Paris Home

Used in conjunction with a screened-in porch, the Chippendale design enhances the interior as much as the outside of the home. The plan is also mimicked on the fireplace display.

Rasmussen / Su Architects

Not often seen on interior staircases, the Chippendale balustrades within this Philadelphia home complement the daring white trim across the home.

Hendel Homes

Constructed out of white iron, all these Chippendale balustrades are more and leaner than normal wooden rail systems.

Cory Spencer Partners

This expansive home uses the Chippendale balustrade as a protective barrier for double-hung windows on the second floor.

The Chippendale layout is highly prevalent in this garden garden: It could be located on the decorative rail system along with the patio seat.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

Chippendale balustrades unite with a custom pergola and garage doors to make an outside millwork montage. Also say that the rail height is low enough that it does not interfere with the view out the deck .

The Diagonal Cross Balustrade

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Kitchen of the Week: Two Islands in Colorado

Was among the things on their listing As it came time for this Cherry Hills, Colorado, couple to redesign, expanding the kitchen. Exquisite Kitchen Design was hired to centre the space in the house and provide the family of five room to spend some time together. The 400-square-foot kitchen was outfitted with a somewhat strange design: 2 islands and refrigerators divide the space according to work. Eliminating a walk-in pantry allowed for a design.

Exquisite Kitchen Design

The client wanted an distance to prepare family meals, hence the 2 islands. One is for cooking and prep, the other is for cleanup and eating.

Floors: white oak in mahogany finish; primary kitchen counter: tidal white granite in leathered finish

Exquisite Kitchen Design

The island includes a raised eating area, taking the place of a breakfast table. Each island has its own fridge space but stocks the joint pantry and freezer space.

Raised bar countertop: custom walnut slab

Exquisite Kitchen Design

The owners wanted heavy-duty appliances to take care of their ever-growing crew. The challenge was figuring out how to incorporate the appliances without using too much cabinet and storage space. A separate pantry hutch and 10-inch deep cabinetry around the rear of the islands offer plenty of space for dishes and canned goods.

The pale blue finish on the glass backsplash tile was chosen to coordinate with the leather bar stools and the furniture in the adjoining living area.

Cabinetry: Quality Custom; array counter: Pebble, Caesarstone; array: Wolf; hood: custom

Exquisite Kitchen Design

The family gave the first pantry up to open the space and work inside the design. The brand new built-in pantry is simply beyond the second island.

Sink and taps: Franke; light: Howard Kaplan Designs; bar stools: Kravet

Exquisite Kitchen Design

Freezer and the pantry were combined in a custom made hutch for a look.

Freezer: Sub-Zero; dishwasher: Asko

More Kitchens of the Week:
Simply Refined in Massachusetts

Smart, Elegant Atlanta Addition

White and Black Elegance for 7

How to Remodel Your Kitchen

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10 Faves: Designer Jeff Andrews

Designer Jeff Andrews at Los Angeles is known for his casual and playful but glamorous and classy interiors. With a client list that includes the Kardashians and Ryan Seacrest, he has learned to balance lavish with a more casual California style. Here, he lets us in on some of his favourite things.

For Andrews, livability is crucial and comfort is the largest priority. But if he is picking food, films or tourist stops, Andrews has a flair for all things fabulous.

Photo by Edward Duarte

1. What without?
Simplifies tape. I keep one in my bag, one in my car and at least 10 at the workplace.

2. Have you got a favourite hotel?
The Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris is the best destination due to its classic, traditional layout. It is in one of Paris’ best places, right from this Champs-Elysees, with an remarkable Michelin-star restaurant, Le Cinq — in all a real Parisian landmark.

3. Where would you go to unwind?
Palm Springs is ideal for a quick, relaxing escape, and I love all of the vintage shopping.

4. Any favourite tourist spots in Los Angeles?
I really like shopping at all of the flagship designer stores on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, but it’s also great for people watching. From tourists to celebs into the elaborate, Rodeo is glam with a splash of humor.

5. What’s the 1 item in your closet you’ll never get sick of?
One of my customers gave me a Gucci leather jacket while I had been working on his project in Rome. At this point I call it. It is so soft, comfy and worn-in. Fits like a glove. When I wear it I feel quite Italian chic.

6. Any books on your nightstand?
Wisecracker, regarding the life span of William Haines, is a biography of one of the greatest American decorators who ever lived. His intriguing and inspiring career started when he was a silent movie star who later reinvented himself into a decorator, designing for some of Hollywood’s most elite. I could not put it down.

7. What recent movie has become one of the favorites?
The Descendants was Great.

8. Have you fallen in love with any new house product lines recently?
That I really like the timeless quality of this Chatham bathroom accessories set in Waterworks. Made of simple white porcelain in natural shapes, they are the perfect accessories to function in any style of bathroom.

9. What do you love most about your present home?
My bed — it’s my refuge. But I’m in the process of buying a new home, so I’m sure I’ll have a different favorite shortly. Stay tuned.

10. Have you got a favourite comfort food you want to whip up in your home?
Turkey meatloaf. I took my grandma’s recipe and made it healthy by substituting turkey for ground beef. It tastes just like Grandma’s with the exact same comfort-food allure. Every person I’ve given the recipe to loves it.

Photos courtesy of Patricia, Claudine Maret, Marcie Pierce-Colleary, Marty McFry, tbroen, Grey Crawford and Jeff Andrews

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