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A Glamourous Pad on the California Coast

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Designed by Jonathan Segal, Lemperle Residence is a striking entertainer’s home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, California.

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The three-storey structure looks like a series of glass boxes set one atop the the other.

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Beautiful custom seating is simply low flat slabs of thick creamy-white cushions.

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On the ground floor, the public area includes a glassed-in walkway suggesting a pool.

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While atop it on the second floor the master bedroom overlooks the ocean from above.

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A must for any luxury master suite, its bath overlooks the ocean.

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Behind it, in the masculine all-wood bathroom a shower is built in to an alcove in the wall.

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On the top deck, a dip pool under a sky frame allows for oneness with the vast sea beyond.

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On this public floor, designed for entertaining, lolipop-inspired gel seating seems attached to the floor by a suction-cup.

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Altogether a glamourous and luxurious retreat.

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Design Dilemma: Decorating with Dark Hardwood Floors

traditional kitchen how to tips advice

Dark hardwood floors have been in vogue for several years now, but the problem is that many of us still haven’t figured out how to show them off to best effect. Yes, dark hardwood floors can feel elegant and sophisticated but they also can feel… dark. Pair dark wood floors with dark heavy furniture and you could be in for a very gloomy existence.

So if you’ve got dark hardwood floors, or are contemplating getting them, here’s what you should keep in mind to prevent the darkness from overtaking your space.

Keep the walls light and bright.

As you see above, dark hardwood floors shine in bright, white spaces, where the contrast comes off as chic. This Georgetown townhouse, also pictured below, keeps the walls very white or a pale cream for an airy feeling. You’ll also notice that when dark wood floors are used in kitchens, they are usually paired with white cabinetry to lighten up the whole effect.

traditional kitchen how to tips advice

Here’s another interior, this time a very modern one, that uses dark wood with bright white walls.

contemporary dining room how to tips advice

Sometimes, what really helps to offset the heavy feeling  is going with a cheery color on the wall. For example:

contemporary living room how to tips advice

Lean toward the minimal

There’s something else we’ve noticed about homes that have used dark wood floors well —- they tend to go light on the furnishings. The star of the show is the dark wood itself, so too much furniture only detracts. Take a look at the spaces we’ve featured so far on the page. Not one of them is overburdened with too much furniture.  And the furniture that is used is relatively small in scale.

contemporary family room how to tips advice

Warm things up with rugs.

Although it’s true that the dark floors are the star of the show, they can be a rather overbearing star, prone to scratches and specks of dust. One of the best ways to counter these issues is to show off your rug by a throwing a colorful area rug over it. A beautiful oriental or kilim rug has the effect of making your dark wood floors that much more dramatic. Plus, they protect your floor from scratches and prevent the build-up of dust and dirt.

 

eclectic living room how to tips advice

Opting for a light color rug is another strategy for offsetting the heaviness of the floors.

traditional family room how to tips advice

Don’t be afraid to mix up your woods.

Just because you have dark hardwood floors doesn’t mean that every other wood surface in your home has to match. In fact, that would be a recipe for disaster. Take a page out of the book of the kitchen, below, which has mixed dark wood floors with birch cabinetry.

modern kitchen how to tips advice

And in the cottage below, homeowners have mixed dark wood floors with a lighter oak table and painted wooden chairs for a breezy, beachy, informal look.

traditional dining room how to tips advice

Think all light furniture would look strange in a room anchored by dark wood floors? Think again!

contemporary dining room how to tips advice

The home above also makes use of the fuzzy white rug trick, to lighten up the solemnity of the wood.

So you see, dark hardwood floors nee not be forboding or heavy in feeling. Lighten up, keep furniture at a smaller lighter scale, and your dark hardwood will be the star of the show.

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Magical House with no Walls in Sao Paulo

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Flanked by a huge bookcase, a library is completely open to the garden, and overlooks a reflecting pond.

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Seen in the background here, what seems to be a “library” is open on three sides.

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In fact, that room is a place to sleep, yet its integration into public views completely preserves its privacy in a way that is almost magical.

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While it is completely open air, the bedroom pavilion overlooking the pond is to one side of the house.

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Brazilian architect Fernanda Marques has created an unusual home that is totally open to the outside.

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An overhead tent of a glass roof is used to shield its inhabitants from direct rain overhead, but that is all.

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Sunshine rakes rough stone walls that warm in the sun, and bring textural contrast with limestone floors stretching throughout.

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With simply a hanging canopy above, daylight plays much more than the usual supporting role.

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With her intense use of daylight, the architect has conjured a bookish escape from the frenzy of urban life in Sao Paulo.

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Rustic Home on the Range in Wyoming

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Outdoor seating by a roaring fire is arrayed on a wooded “rug” under a hefty hanging metal lampshade to create the cosiest of deck furnishings in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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Giant blocks of hardwood are used to create the custom woodblock outdoor furniture by Pearson Design Group of Bozeman, Montana.

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Materials are used in an imaginative way throughout to define the home as a unique and special place to live.

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Found antlers and a headboard of a thick slice of hard wood with its edge left natural, is played off furs in a palette of browns and whites in the master bedroom to tell a story of the legacy of The West.

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In the living room, a thick of wood is a side table, and the comfort of furs continue, and are contrasted with uncompromising industrial fittings.

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The only splash of color in the muted palette of naturals is in the bold reds and oranges of these extremely industrial rolling stools and metal dining room chairs.

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Most of the graphic interest is supplied by textural contrasts, rather than by many colors, which are restricted to just the red families.

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The kitchen features an unusual juxtaposition of industrial stainless steel, effete marble and hardy rustic wood.

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A deep overhang is high off the back porch captures early morning sun in a deck designed for the first coffee of the day.

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Almost the same colors as the prairie grass setting, siding is just left to weather naturally.

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Together with a gently curved roof, he result is a home that disappears into the curves at the base of the hills.

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West Coast Luxury at California’s Laguna Beach

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What an utterly stunning place to drift off to sleep!

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Designed by Horst Architects and Aria Design, the Rockledge Residence in Laguna Beach, California is the ultimate in luxury.

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The architects brief called for a relaxed family beach house where the client could engage family and friends.

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The clifftop dwelling is perched on the rocks high above Laguna Beach with a nearly sheer drop to sea’s edge.

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There is a casual and easy luxury in the design.

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Virtually every room is about enjoying the views and natural surroundings of the site.

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The house and a separate guest house meet around a connected courtyard.

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An outdoor fire brings family and friends together in California’s balmy evenings.

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Sliding, concealed pocket doors bring the ocean

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The boundary between interior and exterior space is dissolved by the wide expanses of  glass.

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The mild coastal climate allows for the seamless integration of interior and exterior spaces.

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A serene bath overlooking the ocean is one of the charms.

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Sunlight leaches into the living spaces warming the surfaces.

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Native, drought-tolerant vegetation make relaxed and tropical landscaping.

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Rockledge is a place of meditation and contemplation, the lure of the ocean and sky.

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Altogether a stunning house in a stunning setting.