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Design Dilemma: Living Outdoors in the Middle of the City

home design interiors

One month into Spring, we’re already thinking about spending more days out in the sun. But have you thought about making the outdoors an essential part of your home? One couple in Barcelona did, taking an old unused terrace and transforming it into a vital part of their homes.

This is what the terrace looked like before:

home design interiors

The apartment is only 517 square feet but its terrace is nearly twice that size at 753 square feet. The sheer size of the terrace in comparison with the size of the apartment, made it imperative for the owners to make use of all that space. Since the apartment is located in the sunny city of Barcelona, it’s possible to use it nearly year round making this renovation of $118,000 truly a great value.

Here’s another before picture:

home design interiors

And here are some after shots:

And here:

One of the biggest feats of the renovation involved lowering the terrace floor so that it would be at the same level of the apartment floor inside. Just this part of the job cost the couple nearly $12,000. But lowering the floor made a big difference, because it allowed the terrace to blend seamlessly with the apartment. A new sliding glass door out to the terrace dining area makes it easy to carry trays and plates from the kitchen.

The couple eats almost all their meals outside. They erected a pergola to protect them from the sun in the hottest summer months. Protective curtains allow them to linger on the terrace as long as they like.

The living area of the terrace also functions as a workspace. A small kitchen garden, below, includes a lemon tree, strawberries, cacti, geraniums, lavender, mint and other aromatic herbs for cooking.

And here’s a view of the apartment’s interior:

And here:

It’s easy to see just how essential the terrace is to the functionality and feeling of the apartment itself.

Here’s a view from the bedroom.

And another view from the living room:

Kudos to this couple for nearly doubling their apartment space, making for wonderful indoor/outdoor living!

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Design Dilemma: Adding A Touch of the Theatrical in Rome

contemporary bedroom how to tips advice

Ever feel like turning your home into a theatre set? Every now and then, we all do. Our homes. after all, are the stage sets of our lives, right? But in this particular apartment, a creative director and theatre director teamed up to provide a touch of  theatricality to their Rome apartment. They do so by going the eclectic route, mixing and matching furniture styles, eras, patterns and colors.

Let’s begin with the blue velvet couch in the living room. It’s something you might expect of your grandmother. It’s from an entirely different era than the leather couch it is combined with.  Just that contrast alone lends the living room a bit of drama. Touches around the living room make reference to the stage. A spotlight in the dining room references both the theatre, and photography, both passions of the owners.

 

contemporary family room how to tips advice

Here’s another view of the living room — and the couch.

contemporary family room how to tips advice

And here, a better view of the dining room, combined with photographs and the spotlight. The dining table was bought by one of the owner’s Neapolitan grandmother. It is combined with mid-century Eames chairs. Each of the photos on the walls represents a project one of the owners has worked on.

contemporary family room how to tips advice

There are plenty of combinations of high and low, antique and modern. The video monitors sit atop a 1930s desk that belong to the grandfather of one of the owners. Across from the antique desk is a Billy bookcase from IKEA. Another spotlight highlights the theatrical edge.

contemporary home office how to tips advice

The bedroom is particularly dramatic. The headboard is from the 19th century. The neon sign above the bed says “closer” and is the title of an English play by Patrick Marber that the owner adapted for an Italian audience. The dresser in front of the bed was manufactured in Sorrento, Italy, in the 1950s.

contemporary bedroom how to tips advice

In the bedroom, a reading corner stands out because of dramatic flamingo wallpaper. An antique stereo and chair provide an interesting contrast of patterns and eras.

contemporary home office how to tips advice

Below, the kitchen. Tropical-themed wallpaper is another unexpected choice. The pink chair comes from a flea market. The stall’s owner explained that it had been the teacher’s chair at a school.

contemporary home office how to tips advice

A stairway from the reading nook in the bedroom leads upstairs to an office and the kitchen.

contemporary staircase how to tips advice

So what makes this space dramatic?

  • Furnishings that are unexpected, and eclectic. Eras and styles are mixed with abandon, lending the space a whimsical feel. Antique and modern play off each other.
  • Patterns are used boldly. Wallpaper is one of the best ways to create instant drama.
  • Keeping the rooms relatively spare allows for focal points to stand out.
  • And speaking of focal points, there IS one in just about every room, from the gallery wall in the dining area, to the neon “closer” sign above the ornate headboard in the bedroom, to the boldly tropical wallpaper in the kitchen.

This Rome apartment proves that you don’t necessarily have to have the latest in trendy design to have a stand-out space. All it takes is a good eye!

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Three Easy Ways To Add Value To Your Property

Whether you’re thinking about selling your house or hoping to leave it as a legacy to your children, it makes sense to do all you can to add value to your property. Home improvements are a great way to do this, although it’s important that the potential increase in your properties value is going to be greater than the cost of the improvements themselves. The three improvements below don’t have to cost a lot and can make a significant difference in the value of your property, which can be great news for you and your children.

energy efficiency

1. Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

Increasing numbers of people are becoming environmentally aware and looking for greener options wherever possible. That’s good news for the planet as a whole, and it can be even better news if you have a home that’s energy efficient and eco-friendly, as studies show this can add around 6% to the value of a property. Adding double glazing and loft and wall insulation makes a huge difference to how warm a property feels, and they also ensure that much less energy is wasted, which increases your green credentials. Solar paneling is another green energy option that can make your home stand out in a crowded property market.

2. Turn Empty Spaces Into Useful Spaces

You may think that you make the most of all the spaces in your property, but if you have an empty loft or garage, the reality is very different. An empty space is a wasted space, as a loft or garage conversion allows you to add an exciting new room to your home. A conversion can be used for everything from a home office or study to a gymnasium or games room, or even an extra bedroom for guests. These additional rooms can come in very useful when you’re living in a property and are even more useful when you’re trying to sell it.

3. Spruce Up Your Landscaping

A beautiful looking home is not only a great place to live; it’s also sure to impress potential buyers, too, but this can be undone if the garden and landscaping let it down. Keeping your garden in perfect shape is essential but making the right additions to the exterior of your property can really boost its value. A well-kept garden building is undoubtedly a plus, but just as important is garden fencing. Fencing helps to protect the privacy of the homeowner and their family, and that’s a commodity everyone is interested in. To create the best impression it’s important that the fence is of high quality in good condition, so it’s worth buying a new fence from experts in the field like Northland Fence.

Home improvements can transform a property from top to bottom, but making a home more energy efficient, converting an unused loft, cellar or garage space, and adding high-quality, durable fencing are three of the best improvements you can make. Each of these additions can give your home a competitive advantage if you try to sell it, and the increase in property value they bring means they could pay for themselves many times over.