Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 2
RSS

Home Design Find

VIEW: FULL | LIST | GRID

No Comments »

Design Dilemma: Alternatives to Marble Countertops

traditional kitchen how to tips advice

No doubt about it, Carrerra marble countertops are gorgeous! Classic and classy, they’re also very high maintenance and easy to stain. That’s because marble is a calcareous stone composed of mostly calcium carbonate. It is extremely sensitive to acidic foods, like lemons, tomato sauce and wine, in addition to acidic cleaning products.

So are there  any alternatives where you can get the look of white carrera marble without the maintenance?

Here are a few other options:

White Granite

 

contemporary kitchen how to tips advice

You won’t get off scot-free with white granite.  Granite is a siliceous stone composed mainly of silica or quartz-like particles. It is usually very durable and relatively easy to clean with mild acidic cleaning solutions. However, just like marble, white granite requires care and some protection, mainly in the form of a sealer applied every few months to protect from stains and acids. Use coasters under all glasses, especially drinks with alcohol or any type of citrus juice. A lot of common food and drink contain acids that can etch or dull the surface of granite. Do not place hot items directly on your countertops, use trivets or mats under hot dishes and placemats under dishesMost importantly, seal your granite every one to two years to keep it from getting cloudy or stained due to extensive use. And if your stone takes a beating, you’re better off sealing every six months. If your granite does get stained with organic stains of coffee, tea, fruit, etc.,  you can remove the stain by cleaning with 12% hydrogen peroxide (hair bleaching strength) and a few drops of ammonia. If your granite gets etched by acids you can clean off any stain and re-polish the stone by sprinkling a small amount of marble polisher on the area after wetting it with water. Use a clean, dry towel to rub the powder into the stone, or you can use a buffing pad on a low speed power drill.

 

Quartz

transitional kitchen how to tips advice

Quartz, which is also known by the brand names of Silestone and Caesarstone, is one of the best options for a low-maintenance countertop that can have the veining that gives it the look of marble.  Why is quartz so resistant? Because it’s engineered in a factory, where the primary ingredient is ground quartz (about 94 percent), combined with polyester resins that bind it and pigments to give it color. For some designs, small amounts of recycled glass or metallic flecks are added to the mix. The resins also help make these counters stain and scratch resistant—and nonporous, so they never need to be sealed. This gives quartz a big advantage compared to granite.

Icestone

modern bathroom how to tips advice

This is a concrete material made by a company in New York called IceStone. IceStone counters use a combination of cement and recycled glass to make what is the one of the most sustainable surfaces on the market.  While there is no mistaking Icestone for marble, it can come in lighter colors and retains a pleasing natural look. And you don’t have to worry about sealing, polishing or etching!

Laminate

contemporary kitchen how to tips advice

Would you ever think that the countertop above is a laminate? Over time, laminates have become increasingly sophisticated and resemble more and more natural stones. If you can’t have the real thing and you’re concerned about maintenance, this could the best, most economical way to go!

No Comments »

The Sheer Delight of a House Anchored to the Cliff

912 architecture

The Cliff Face House from Fergus Scott Architects and Peter Stutchbury Architecture is named for the sheer face of sandstone anchoring an amazingly original house north of Sydney.

615 architecture

It extends out from the sandstone rock face, taking in a tranquil view towards the calm inland waters of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

10 architecture

You descend down through the house next to the raw rock face.

413 architecture

A gloriously original open air bathroom marries sea views to the rock face.

91 architecture

A luminous polycarbonate vaulted roof suffuses the primary living areas with a delicate light.

Suspended above that is a separate roof that captures rainfall and moderates the sun’s heat.

111 architecture

The western facade is not a facade at all, but rather a continuous verandah linking all the rooms on each level.

Perforated copper screens dispense with the unwanted effects of low, penetrating western sunlight. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments »

A Sumptuous Retreat from New York for an Interior Designer and a DJ

117 architecture

Bates Masi Architects designed the Robins Way House in Amagansett, as a complete renovation and addition of a 1960’s kit house.

36 architecture

The clients, an interior designer and a DJ, were looking for a country retreat from New York City.

85 architecture

The house was gutted and reduced down to the skeletal framework of the original kit set ranch house.

47 architecture

A design and textural vocabulary was developed that integrated the traditional patina and history of aged buildings in the region.

26 architecture

The history of the house was preserved with well-chosen new materials like the slate wall perfectly balancing the chunky white china and the patina of the aged timber.

95 architecture

The newly constructed interior cabinetry was faced in reclaimed barn wood.

67 architecture

Typical of the tasteful touches is a charming Swedish chandelier that is rusted and aged, yet a stripped-down and elegant shape.

55 architecture

To hide a system of speakers used by the DJ, natural rope was threaded between the ceiling joists, creating a novel and sumptuous texture.

77 architecture

Clerestory windows were added above the original low ceiling of the kit set ranch house to a more contemporary cube shape, while lighting the interior from all four sides.

106 architecture
Unifying the exterior is a dark stained cedar siding that wraps all of the exterior facades and transitions to the matching frames of the replaced windows and doors.

The transition to sumptuous retreat is complete.

No Comments »

The Sculptural Joy of the Bluff House in Montauk

19 architecture

Bluff House in Montauk, New York by architect Robert Young suggests the prow of a ship heading out into the ocean.

23 architecture

These clearly defined and boldly stated volumes are a real sculptural joy.

113 architecture

The house boasts rather intriguing engineering, held up as it is by little more than a central fireplace.

74 architecture

This fireplace pierces the second floor for a second shot at its sculptural mission.

83 architecture

Other than this central design idea, the house is quietly modest and comfortable in the traditions of New York beach house architecture.

53 architecture

Its bedrooms merely nod respectfully at the stunning views. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments »

Design Dilemma: Two Contrasting Strategies for Tiny Spaces

eclectic living room how to tips advice

There are all sorts of approaches to small space living. Some go minimal, others maximal. Some create different zones, others go for one big open space. Let’s take a look at how different designers have approached spaces of less than 400 square feet.

Above and below, check out a space by designer Lyndsay Caleo of Brooklyn Home Company. Caleo and her colleague Fitzhugh Karol, both designers with backgrounds in art and furniture design, tackled this 400-square-foot studio apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn by creating distinct zones, including an entry way, a bedroom and a separate living area.

eclectic bedroom how to tips advice

One clever idea was to use a lathe theme as a separation between bedroom and living room. The lathe keeps everything feeling airy and open and the texture and patina help to give the space character. It also allows a wall on which a small console can rest, providing the perfect landing strip for keys and other items. Here’s another view of the bedroom:

eclectic bedroom how to tips advice

The kitchen keeps things feeling open and airy, as it features only one wall of cabinets. A sculptural island makes for an artsy transition from living room to kitchen and can also serve as a workspace.

eclectic kitchen how to tips advice

This 350 square-foot Manhattan studio takes a similar approach of creating separate day and night zones, this time using an Expedit bookcase from Ikea as a see-through wall.

eclectic family room how to tips advice

What these first two homes have in common is a reliance on light bright colors to keep things airy, and a rigorous order.

But it’s not always possible to section off a studio. And this is where the opposite strategy comes in — leave everything right there, together, in one open floor plan. For instance, this 260 square foot Barcelona studio is simply too small to contemplate divisions of any sort. And that’s where photographer Christian Schallert and architect Barbara Appolloni came up with clever built-ins to make the space functional and beautiful. Below is a view of the dining room. The dining room table can flip up and the bed can flip out in this same area:

modern dining room how to tips advice

The kitchen and refrigerator are embedded in a storage unit on one side of the studio:

modern kitchen how to tips advice
modern kitchen how to tips advice

On the other wall near the entrance is an open shower, and across from the wall encompassing the kitchen is the entertainment center. The toilet is the only private space — in a small room with a little window, behind a hidden door next to the sink:

modern bathroom how to tips advice

The bed can be pulled out of the area nearest a sunny balcony:

modern bedroom how to tips advice

And what makes this microscopic apartment totally livable is the 65 square foot balcony, right outside the living area:

modern deck how to tips advice

So you see, there are a multitude of ways to tackle small space living. Creating divisions with “removable” walls or creating built-ins are two great options for making a small space just as comfortable as a large apartment.