Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 3

Home Design Find


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Design Dilemma: A Small Bungalow with Style

Historic Downtown Home

A bungalow is defined as a low house, with a broad front porch, having either no upper floor or upper rooms set into the roof, typically with dormer windows. Bungalows are a big part of the American landscape — especially in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, where many neighborhoods are a mixture of  bungalows done up either in Craftsman or Spanish stucco style. The picture above is very typical bungalow.

What’s really cool about bungalows is that their small stature — usually just five or six rooms of no larger than about 1500 square feet — is perfect for today’s lifestyle. Small means less to furnish, less to heat, less to decorate, less to pay for, usually increased walkability, and certainly a lighter footprint on the earth.  And that’s where we’re all at these days!

The best thing about bungalows is that though they normally have a very classic layout, they are incredibly easy to adapt to any family’s needs. Below a beachy bungalow in Venice, California exemplifies the adaptability of this house style, showing that the bungalow does not have to mean dark or drab, as many people think.

Electric Avenue Residence

The exterior shot above gives you a sense of the small size. This two bedroom home, owned by architect Cayley Lambur and her partner Kyle Blasman, is a diminuitive 750 square feet. A 1914 Craftsman bungalow, the home, at the time that the couple bought it, suffered from problems with mold and dated finishes But Lambur was able to dramatically change the character of the home by opening things up and keeping everything bright and light.

Electric Avenue Residence

In the long, narrow livingroom, pictured above and below, the front door opens directly onto the livingroom (as is true in many bungalows) that means there’s no wasted space of a hallway. A long bank of windows makes natural light the stand out feature of this home.

Electric Avenue Residence

Lambur opened up the floor plan of the home by taking down a wall that divided the living room from the kitchen. She added a peninsula to give the kitchen an L-shaped layout.

Electric Avenue Residence
Electric Avenue Residence

In keeping with the small scale of the home, Lambur chose smaller, Euro-styled appliances. And below, the bedroom feels airy and open, thanks to Lambur’s choice to open up an extra door leading to the bathroom, which was formerly only accessible directly from the living room.

Electric Avenue Residence

Below, a photo of the renovated master bathroom.

Electric Avenue Residence
Electric Avenue Residence

And here’s the backyard deck:

Electric Avenue Residence

And in case you’re interested in what it looked like before, the photo below gives you an idea:

Houzz Tour: Electric Avenue Residence (JUNE)
Houzz Tour: Electric Avenue Residence (JUNE)

What a wonderful transformation, proving that comfortable, bright and light, doesn’t necessarily mean big!

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How Swag Valances and Blinds Enhance the Look of Your Windows



When it comes to interior design, there’s no detail that has quite the impact that window treatments do.  Upon entering a room, window treatments immediately catch the eye, setting the tone and style of a home. Old World or Modern, Traditional or Rustic, you’ll know instantly the mood just by examining what type of window treatments have been chosen. But they serve another important purpose too: they provide privacy, control the amount of light that enters a room, play an important role in controlling room temperature and protect artwork and furniture from the sun.

Two interesting options for dressing up your windows include valances and window blinds — both of which serve slightly different functions but which can complement each other, even on the same window.

Swag Valances

Swag valances are a swath of material artfully draped over the upper side of a window. The great thing about swags is that they instantly emphasize and highlight a window, while at the same time adding elegance and class. You’ll most often see them used in traditional and formal styles of decorating, and especially in formal rooms like living and dining rooms, although you’ll often see them in bedrooms too. Swag valances come in a wide variety of colors and fabrics, ensuring that you can easily find just the right set to match furnishings and the other colors in your room.

You’ll notice that some swag valances only dress the upper half of the window, while other swags gently waft down to cover the sides of a window opening. If you’re looking beyond decorative appeal to cover a window for privacy, swags should be used in conjunction with blinds, shades or more substantial curtains. Be sure to choose a fabric that will not fade due to sun exposure, as there’s nothing that detracts from a room like sad, faded curtains!


People often confuse blinds and shades. But, in fact, they’re quite different. Blinds are amomg the most widely used window treatments for homes and offices because they are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at most big-box store. Shades, on the other hand, are sometimes custom-made and are available in a range of materials, from soft fabrics to grasses and even wood.

Blinds and shades can be installed either horizontally or vertically. Both ways offer privacy as well as the ability to filter light. What’s more, you can also install motorized shades controlled with a remote that are especially ideal for oversized windows that are difficult to reach.

As you can see, there are loads of options and tons of factors to consider before choosing a window treatment. Because so many factors come into play, it’s a good idea to speak with a design professional who can help fill you in on the advantages and disadvantages of each type of material.  If you choose the appropriate window treatment you’ll find it will add undeniable appeal and functionality to your home.


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Design Dilemma: Warm Minimalism Captures the Zeitgeist

Warm minimalism

If there’s one decor style which seems to capture the zeitgeist of our times better than any other, it’s what has become known as “warm minimalism.” In an age in which sustainability, climate change, excess consumerism, and growing inequality have become the issues of the day, there is something about a welcoming but very simple environment, boiled down to a few essentials, which seems to reflect the spirit of our times. Environments like these:

Caterpillar House

And this:

master bedroom

And this:

Caterpillar House

Why are these environments so appealing, and what do they have in common?

To answer the first question, many of us feel increasingly jaded by societies in which we are constantly expected to grasp after the next new trend. Instead, we are in search for classic environments that will endure the test of time, spaces that do not require expensive designer furniture, rooms that embrace sustainable woods, and that are not filled to the brim with “stuff.” at the same time, classic minimalism, as it is widely understood — no color, no rugs, sharp lines and empty spaces — does not provide the sense of retreat and welcome that most of us are after in our homes. In an increasingly competitive world, we want a space that gives us a kiss and a hug when we come home, not a cold shoulder.

So that answers the question of why we find spaces like those below appealing.

Albert Park House

The second question of what these environments have in common is easy to spot. Warm, minimal environments make liberal use of wood. Wood is often on the lighter side of the color palette to emphasize airyness and spaciousness. There is a distinct lack of clutter. Organic shapes, rounded corners, nubby textures, are important design elements, as is the concept of light and space itself. While it might seem easy to pull off such a space, it really isn’t. If your home doesn’t have good bones, it will be harder to let minimalism shine the way it should.

The bedroom below just wouldn’t be the same without the huge window and all the light streaming in.

Meadow House

So if your space has good bones and you think you have the restraint to pull off this decor style, here are a few tips:

1) Try Coco Chanel’s tip. Design what you think is the perfect room and then remove one object. It could be that extra lamp, object d’art, or side chair.

2) Use warm woods but don’t go crazy. Wood, used in just the right amounts, can warm up a space that might otherwise seem clinical. But if you add too much, the minimalism effect gets lost. So use wood judiciously. Below, a dining room makes use of wood and organic, live-edge table to warm things up.

Decor Aid

3) Art and touches of color make a big difference in an otherwise empty room. Below, two pieces of art and one simple yellow stool steal the show. Notice also how the lamp brings in a touch of nature, always critical in a warm space.

Beet Residence

And here, a simple white hallway is warmed up with lots of art and touches of color.

Stockholm, Sweden

4) Steal a page out of the Scandinavian playbook, and paint a simple room all white, then fill your walls with artwork and touches of primary color. You can see that aesthetic at work in the hallway above.

5) Make editing a regular part of your life.  The hardest part of having a warm minimal space is keeping it minimal. In order to do so, you’ve got to purge regularly, giving away things — extra clothes, books, art objects, that seem to find their way into your home. If you don’t love it, let it go!