Category Archives: Home and Garden

Design Rules For Your Home

In the world of interior design, decorating rules often become so embedded they are second nature—but not for everyone. We’re looking to those boundary-pushing talents to find out the popular design ideas they’re ready to move on from, and what they are trying out instead. First up: Miles Redd, who defies easy labels, bringing his own special blend of glamour and wit to every project. Whether he’s decorating a tropical vacation home or a Texas mansion, the New York designer can always be counted on to defy conventions. We turned to Redd, the former creative director of Oscar de la Renta and author of The Big Book of Chic, to learn which design rules he thinks were made to be broken.

 

Rule to break: Use color in small doses

“Often when I flip through a catalogue, it would appear we live in a world of beige, a great big bowl of coffee ice cream,” says Redd. The designer prefers to embrace rich hues, as in this windowless entryway “where it appears glittering rather than dull like dishwater.”
Rule to break: Scale back in small rooms
“I think people see tiny rooms and they think they need tiny furniture, but often one large thing kissing the ceiling will expand the room,” he says.

Organized The Garage on Your Home

A garage is a natural place to hide away anything you don’t want cluttering up the inside of your home, whether it’s a box of holiday ornaments or outgrown clothes. The problem is that over time, the space can start to look like a dumping ground. “If you can’t fit a car or two in the garage, you need to reassess what you’re keeping in it and how it’s organized,” says Amelia Meena, owner of Appleshine, a New York–based organizing service. She recommends doing a thorough garage reorg twice a year, as your storage needs will change seasonally. Here’s her five-step plan for getting the job done.

Put it on the calendar
While you can probably chip away at cleaning up your closet, tackling an organizing project like a garage is better handled all at once, says Meena. For most people, she recommends setting aside a weekend for the project. “If you commit to overhauling the space and setting up a system, any future changes become much more manageable.”

Consider your ideal layout
Before you start organizing, set your priorities for the garage, says Meena. “This will help you figure out how to best divide up the space.” For some people, the main goal may be to clear it out enough to park two cars inside; others may be looking to set up a dedicated area for tools or garden gear. Determine whether you need everything to be easily accessible or are okay with a stacking system that may leave less frequently used items difficult to reach.

Home in on a strategy
To kick off the project, Meena works with clients to determine how they work best: Some people prefer to start with the hardest organizing tasks, to get them out of the way; some people like beginning with the easiest job; and some choose to focus on the spot where change will make the biggest impact. “Figure out what would be most motivating for you and keep you going,” she says.

Sort, purge, repeat
Now comes the hard part: figuring out what to keep and what to let go of. “You have to differentiate between what really belongs in a garage and what’s just taking up space,” says Meena. For most people, tools, outdoor gear, bikes, and seasonal decorations all make sense in a garage. What doesn’t? Anything you put out there because you didn’t know what to do with it. “Often people decide they have too much stuff, box it up, and just put it in the garage,” she says. “Those items—books, old clothes, decor items—are typically ready to be put out to pasture”—i.e., donated or recycled.

 

How to Make Contemporary Kitchen

When Mass Design Group cofounder Alan Ricks decided to remodel his Boston apartment, he had a lucky head start: Ricks’s unit, on the top floor a charming 1850s brownstone, came chock-full of original architectural features. But there was still plenty of work to do, specifically in the kitchen; the dark exposed brick wall and wood trusses, previously stained a deep brown, didn’t jibe with Ricks’s dream of an airy gathering area where friends could mingle while a meal bubbled on the stove. Ricks promptly whitewashed those moody elements and stuck to a limited color and material palette, instantly brightening up the room and creating a simple backdrop for special elements to shine. “The idea that design affects behavior is true for the home as well,” he says. “Creating this open kitchen layout, for example, shapes the social dynamic and creates a bright, welcoming space that is great for entertaining.”

Mass Design Group has a “LoFab”—locally fabricated—approach to design, and Ricks applied the same philosophy to his personal project. “Design decisions were developed collaboratively with the craftsmen who would do the building, sourcing materials regionally wherever possible and taking opportunities to highlight the craft of construction.” Case in point: the kitchen’s custom stairwell. Another advantage of the apartment’s elevated perch—and what convinced Ricks to buy the home in the first place—was access to the rooftop. However, to appreciate the valuable outdoor space, you had to climb up a perilous folding ladder. No longer. Ricks worked with expert carpenters and metalworkers to create wood steps that rise from the floor to blend directly into the kitchen island, then curve up into a matte-white spiral stairway. “To achieve this in one piece, the stair had to be craned into place,” he says.

After three years of meticulous renovations, many mementos from Ricks’s trips to Africa, including masks from Sierra Leone and Liberia and a painting from Rwanda, became the finishing touches in the kitchen. There are surely many dinner parties in Ricks’s future, and we’re hoping for a citrus-yellow seat at the table.

What do you think about Minimalism and Maximalism for New Home

“Though not necessarily minimalist, we define our style as ‘layered modernism’—a refined aesthetic that combines clean lines with luxurious materials and finishes, creating warm, sophisticated, and comfortable spaces. We do appreciate minimalism’s long unbroken expanses, simple details, and soft color palette—these act as a visual palate cleanser. As a society, we are assaulted every day by a barrage of visual stimuli—it’s overwhelming. A reductive environment allows the eye, the mind, and the soul to rest and rejuvenate. A successful minimalist setting, highlighting form and line and free of superfluous detailing, can be utterly sublime. What I don’t think people appreciate about minimalist design is that it’s not as easy as it looks—in fact, it requires rigorous precision in planning and execution. With traditional detailing, errors in measuring can be masked with thick moldings and flounces of fabric. With minimalism, everything has to be ‘perfect’; adjoining materials, walls, and floors, have to be exactly straight—any deviation shows terribly.” —Russell Groves of Groves & Co.

“Minimalism in architecture is a movement. Maximalism is a lifestyle of living in an unimprovable space that can’t be altered structurally so one must overwhelm the senses with objects, pillows, and color. True minimalism uses the refinement of materials and the poetry of intersecting planes with the relationship of objects and their proximity to each other. Maximalism is hedonistic and bohemian in its message. If you can’t hide it, paint it red.” —Simon Townsend Jacobsen of Jacobsen Architecture

“Minimalism allows beautiful objects to be seen in their most sculptural and pure form whether they are modern or antique. What is essential, though, is that a space be comfortable and warm—a chair should have a lamp nearby for good light for reading, and sitting areas should be conducive to good conversation.”

“Abhorring my parents’ modernist taste in furnishings and decoration happened very early in my childhood—1935! Very much like today’s younger generation, everything was quick delivery and off the shelf. There was no regard for the past or Granny’s best. My take for the past was immediate. My yearning to collect went along with that, as my mother was to nickname me Collyer (after the famous Collyer brothers) by the time I was eight years old. I loved the romance of being a collector.” —Mario Buatta

“There is a joy in designing a space without limitations and restrictions, where excess is encouraged and unlikely pairings create beautiful and unexpected harmonies.” —Kelly Wearstler

 

Kitchen Renovation Tips

Embarking on a custom kitchen renovation? Before you drive yourself crazy with cabinetry fittings and countertop consultations at stores all over town (or the Internet), consider the benefits of a ready-made kitchen. Convenient and in some cases surprisingly affordable, all-in-one kitchen designs can be customized to suit any-sized space (measurements are key) and come in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles, from Italian modern to country traditional and everything in between. Here, AD rounds up 17 stunning examples that let you choose every element—think hardware, finishes, and more—in one shot, streamlining the design process without compromising on beauty and functionality.

Downsview
The brand provides an extensive range of kitchen components, including these Modena cabinetry doors in a milk-paint finish and a handsome credenza in wire-brushed oak.

Arclinea
The sleek new Principia kitchens by Italian architect and designer Antonio Citterio for Arclinea feature handsome wood-grain cabinetry and specially treated stainless steel in three finish options.

Snaidero
LOOK by Snaidero was designed as a canvas that allows homeowners to create their unique kitchen vision. The wooden worktop has adjustable heights and widths, while pantry units come in several sizes to accommodate different layouts.

Think About Before You Commit

Just like wood or glass, stone is a hugely popular element in interior design, and the possibilities for how to incorporate it are endless. Do you want granite kitchen countertops? Travertine flooring? A stone fireplace surround? To find out how to make the most of the material, we turned to Miriam Fanning, principal at Mim Design in Melbourne, Australia, for advice. But before you decide on an application, you’ll need to choose the stone itself. Fanning’s first rule: “When selecting stone, it’s important to make sure that it is authentic and not faux. Authentic products will stand the test of time and will not be prone to dating.” From there, here are the factors to consider.

 

Stone should enhance the aesthetic of your space

“The kitchen we created at this residence has a soft look that was achieved by selecting a stone with a minimal vein,” says Fanning. “A stone with a heavier vein would have created a more dramatic look.” Here, the material of choice was white-and-gray Elba marble, but if the room requires a design with more heft, Fanning suggests Calacatta or Statuario marble.
Not every type of stone can stand up to wear and tear
“For heavy-duty spaces and frequent usage, granite can be the best natural stone to use in terms of its performance,” says Fanning. In this commercial kitchen showroom, it was the obvious choice. “Jurassic granite is practical, hard-wearing, and ages well over time. As a natural stone, it will last for many years, gradually forming a patina, and will enhance the value of the home.” Of course, no stone is indestructible; Fanning always recommends applying a sealant to protect the surface from scratches and stains.

Working Remotely Is Even Better Than You Thought

Work in your PJs, avoid the commute, answer emails from a hammock while sipping a pineapple daiquiri—you’ve heard the common benefits of working remotely (and yes, they’re true!). But there are some things that might surprise you about what it’s like when you don’t have to go into the office every day.

Take a look at these 10 ways your life can be different when you work remotely, then go out and get that great remote job you’ve dreaming of!

 

1. Your Office Can Be Any Kind

You’ll probably work from home if you work remotely. But that doesn’t mean you have to have fill a corner of your living room with a clunky desk, a huge monitor, and an ugly rolling chair. You can fit your office wherever it fits in your life. I’ve heard about a remote worker who uses her kitchen breakfast bar as a standing desk (all those health benefits with no investment!) and one who converted part of her bedroom closet into a “hidden” office so she can just shut her work away at the end of the day.

 

2. Your Office Can Be Anywhere—and I Mean Anywhere!

And you’re not tied to your home, either. That doesn’t mean your only other location will be the coffee shop around the corner: You can take care of your job while traveling (passengers only if you’re in the car, please!), enjoying the great outdoors (thanks to long laptop battery life and tethering to your phone), or even listening to your favorite band at a live concert (a tested and true location of a remote customer service manager I know who’s a die-hard country music fan).

 

3. You’ll Save Money

Of course you’ll see an immediate difference in your bank account when you don’t need to bear the costs of commuting. But you’ll also find savings in other areas. You won’t have to force yourself into a suit and polished shoes anymore if that’s not your style—no more separate wardrobes for work and for the rest of your life! And you can also save on food costs since you’ll easily be able to whip up your own lunch and coffee if you work from home.

 

4. Your Schedule Can Be Your Own

A lot of the work that can be done remotely nowadays can also be done on a flexible schedule. For example, if you’re a web developer or a content creator, you can most likely do your coding or writing whenever it suits you as long as you meet your deadlines. So, night owls, rejoice! You can still put in your eight hours without starting at 8 AM.

If you do need to work specific hours, you’re sure to still have some break time—time you can use however you’d like! Even if you have just 10 minutes, you can do something that just wouldn’t be possible in a traditional office: bust those samba moves, play a few tunes on your guitar, or take a refreshing power nap. You’re guaranteed to come back feeling more refreshed than you would after 10 minutes at your desk surfing Facebook.

Seriously Gorgeous Home Stylish

The key to a spotless kitchen is a well-organized pantry. These two spaces make a perfect team, with the kitchen doing the heavy lifting in terms of prep and the pantry providing plenty of room to stash tools, ingredients, and serving pieces. While storage is the centerpiece of the pantry and should be the main consideration when it comes to design, the space can do double duty as a bar or a secondary prep area for food and floral arrangements. It can also serve as a showcase for collections of glassware and china, on open shelving, in glass-front cabinets, or even on the wall. See how Steven Gambrel, Barbara Westbrook, Ray Booth, and other designers have created highly organized and beautifully functional pantry spaces.

In the pantry of a Bridgehampton, New York, home designed by Steven Gambrel, a white-oak ladder by Putnam Rolling Ladder Co. makes the tall shelves easily accessible; polished-nickel pendant lamps by Hudson Valley Lighting illuminate the space.

Antique Wedgwood and Coalport china is stored in the pantry of architect Jim Joseph and musical theater composer Scott Frankel’s upstate New York home.

The pantry of architect Alison Spear’s Hudson Valley, New York, home is outfitted with a 1930s pendant light and heirloom china; the dishwasher is by Miele.

Flexible Schedules for People

The 9-to-5 workday is losing its appeal, and it’s not difficult to imagine why. Night owls are rarely fully awake before 11 AM, and expecting a morning person to perform at 100% productivity in 4 PM meetings is just unrealistic.

Thankfully, more and more companies see the merits of offering flex work hours to keep employees healthy and happy. Need proof? Today, we bring you a series of jobs that let you make your own schedule.

 

1. Data Engineer

Launched in 2013, indico is a powerful, comprehensive, and developer-friendly platform for building text and image machine learning software. The company’s on a mission to demystify data science and share the magic of machine learning. indico is currently looking for a scrappy developer who is comfortable with data preprocessing, data normalization, and data collection. indico gives its employees the freedom and flexibility to set their own individual work schedules, aiming to incorporate as many types of workers as possible.

 

2. Outfitter

Trumaker, San Francisco

Dedicated to designing made-to-measure menswear with a personal touch, Trumaker seeks to combine tradition with technology. The company is seeking Outfitters to work directly with customers to deliver the best in menswear. This job is perfect for fashion-savvy salespeople, style consultants, budding entrepreneurs, customer service fanatics, and “do-gooders.” Dividing their time between in-office meetings, customer visits, and work-from-home hours, Trumaker’s Outfitters are self-motivated and autonomous.

3. Matchmaker

 

Three Day Rule, Multiple Cities

Three Day Rule is helping people find love every day. The TDR team is made up of world-class matchmakers and dating experts who act as personal dating concierges—hand-selecting, vetting, and personally meeting every potential match before making formal introductions. While being a Matchmaker is definitely a full time job, you’ll hardly spend any of it in the office; Matchmakers spend their days hopping from coffee dates to events to meet new people, so you’ll get flexibility to decide when and where you work.

Home Degree Virtual Reality

Today marks the launch of The People’s House: Inside the White House with Barack and Michelle Obama, the first-ever Facebook 360 project filmed inside the world’s most famous home. The piece, produced by Emmy-winning cinematic virtual reality creators Félix & Paul Studios alongside the Oculus team at Facebook, takes viewers to nine famous areas within the iconic building—from sitting with the President in the Oval Office to walking around the Situation Room to stopping into the Old Family Dining Room with Mrs. Obama.

“Michelle and I always joke, ‘We’re just renters here. ’ . . . The owners are the American people and all those invested in creating this amazing place with so much history,” President Obama says in the VR experience. “What we wanted to do is make sure that everybody felt they had access to the White House, . . . that as many people as possible could come in and appreciate the place where Lincoln, FDR, or Reagan made the decisions that helped to shape America.”

The cork-lined walls of this bathroom bring the surrounding landscape inside at a summer retreat on New York’s Upper Saranac Lake. The woody wall covering was selected by designer Thom Filicia, who designed the home, known as Big Rock, with an aesthetic that combines classic Adirondack style with modern updates.