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Month September 2015 Archive

 Why Houses Are Getting Smaller

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A modern home doesn’t have to be huge. There are lots of great reasons to live in a smaller home. Image Source: CLB ArchitectsAre you one of the millions who have down-sized in recent years? If you are, what made you decide to move into a smaller home? Was it financial motives that lead to your decision, or just the fact that you no longer required a home full of rooms that collect dust and never get used?Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a downsizing retiree—there is a definite trend toward people buying and building smaller homes.  It’s a fact, houses are getting smaller. It seems there is a new world-view developing—people are shunning the ideals of bigger is better in exchange for a more modest lifestyle,  despite what is in their pocket books.Let’s look at the many reasons that people are heading towards smaller homes, exchanging vast opulence for the little luxuries of life— And maybe you will discover that a more modest home is in your future, too. The pictures alone will make you realize that good things do come in small packages.Good things do come in small packages. Image Source: Cab Like EnterprisesWith the hopes of retiring early from his job as a school teacher, Doug Immel decided to downsize to 164 square-feet of living space, yet still managed to create a dream home with cathedral ceilings and cherry wood floors.This is the viewpoint of the aging population— they want to retire; they have their eyes on the prize and are doing whatever it takes to get there—including downsizing.  The Administration on Aging says that by 2030, there will be approximately 72.1 million persons 65 years or older in America alone. This is a vast populace of aging citizens who will be looking to downsize, either for financial reasons or physical ones—the physical ones mainly being the desire for a small, stair-free home that is easier to get around in.We can all take note from this senior population, learning that bigger is not always better, and that life’s luxuries can be enjoyed in even the smallest of homes.Life can be relaxing and enjoyable when you don’t have a big mortgage payment. Image Source Blansfield BuildersA CNN report offers a practical reason for the trend in downsizing— People are recognizing that by buying a large home, they are consequently living paycheck to paycheck in order to cover their immense mortgages. Who wants to live month-to-month just so that they can have a big house?The financial crisis of 2008 , acted as a wake-up call to many, prompting them to reassess their lifestyles and begin dreaming of a new, more modest dream. Devastating foreclosures forced many out of their homes, but also brought about a happier, less stressed world-perspective—gone were the worries of climbing the corporate ladder in order to realize the dream of the bigger house or the faster car—ideals were changing and people were discovering a new road to happiness.Being forced into a smaller home, makes you become inventive; you learn to use small spaces in amazing ways, and you learn that you really don’t need all those big rooms in order to make you happy.We are learning to use space in our home that we never dreamed of before. Image Source: Cultivation DesignYoung people can be powerful agents when it comes to change, and in numerous ways they are being emboldened with the knowledge of their environmental footprint and how they impact the natural world around them.We are developing into a society that is more aware of our natural surroundings and our ecological encroachment on the world. With this new-found awareness comes the challenge to live a greener lifestyle; this challenge is being met, in part, through the trend of small, eco-friendly homes.Now, it is almost commonplace to hear of someone building a green home with reclaimed materials; salvaging them from dumpsters or  tear-downs of older buildings. Eco-friendly technologies allow for us to build a home that is energy efficient and produces less waste. Naturally, we are discovering that smaller homes consume less energy versus a home full of unused and unnecessary space. Imagine what the next, younger generation will do!Smaller homes lessen our environmental footprint on the world. Image Source: JH Interior DesignHouses are getting smaller because people are realizing that high-end luxury and style can be achieved in even the smallest of spaces. There is  plethora of do-it-yourself designers who offer-up unique ways to create a luxurious space despite small surroundings.It seems that designers have responded to the smaller housing movement, showing us that luxury can be achieved in the smallest of homes, with a little help from the experts.In turn, this designer response may perpetuate the realization that we can still  have it all, just in a smaller home. There are so many inventive small-space solutions! Let’s consider trying some in our own small homes today!Luxury living is achievable in the smallest of homes. Image Source: Kathleen BostThere is a definite trend of people buying and building smaller homes. Whether it is for ecological reasons, health reasons, retirement reasons, or simply a more design-savvy public…the movement of bigger isn’t better is here and it seems to be taking off.Consider looking to the numerous online sources that can help with your small space design solutions. Declutter your lifestyle—you will quickly see that you don’t need immense rooms filled with things in order to be happy.Do you plan to downsize in the near future? What is your ideal square footage?

 Why People Love Modern Architecture

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Modern architecture attracts a large following with unique designs such as this one. Image Source: NicovdmeulenModern architecture has something for everyone. Even if your taste may veer towards the opposite side of the design spectrum (i.e. rustic country)— there are still elements of modern design that will appeal to you. Don’t believe it? After reading this article, you may change your mind.The fundamentals of modern architecture are clean and simple. Its ever-present philosophy abides to the ideal that form follows function. Therefore, modern architects express themselves through simplicity, clear views of structural elements and by eschewing unnecessary design details.Modern architecture boasts the actual structure and materials used in the building vs. covering them up with ornate designs. That is why most modern designs feature elements of wood, steel and glass, in order to show-off these industrial structural materials.Let’s look a little further into this amazing architecture and what makes people fall in love with it:Modern architecture does not have to be cool and cold. With warm wood materials this modern home is anything but cold and unwelcoming. Image Source: MindayThe terms— modern and contemporary — have been intermingled in the design world, resulting in a bit of confusion. A kind of confusion that leads us to ask: Is contemporary architecture/design the same as modern architecture/design? The answer is no, and a little bit of yes.  To be very literal, contemporary means now, while modern refers to technological and engineering developments that date back to the turn of the 20th Century.To keep it simple, modern architecture focuses more on industrial metals such as steel, concrete and glass (innovative industrial developments of the time). While contemporary design may use these same elements, its designs are considered new, re-thought, or forward-thinking.  Clear as mud?  With all that being said, the two designs will always mix and mingle with one another—even in the images in this article.Overall, modern architecture is defined by clean lines and minimalist interiors that allow the structure to speak for itself and take center-stage. The image below is a perfect example of clean and simple modern architecture.Modern homes are clean and minimalist. Image Source: Design UnityDespite its simplistic styling that avoids extra fluff, modern architecture remains unique. In fact, modern architects have created some of the most unique designs to date. Just look to the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and numerous other iconic architects.Yes, some of these modern designs may have flat roofs and boxy style, but they certainly manage to be anything but boring. Look around your city streets and neighborhoods—which architectural designs stand out to you the most? The unique one-of-a-kind modern ones, or the traditional designs that tend to mimic one another row upon row? Modern architecture is anything but cookie-cutter.Look to the originality of the bold, angular roof lines that are so prominent in modern design—these are very unique.  Everything from the vaulted ceilings, to the exposed structural elements, to the unusual linear elements— all equate to a unique, artistic design that you cannot help but be amazed by.With designs like this, how could you not love modern architecture !? Image Source: EskucheLess is definitely more when it comes to decorating a modern home. After all, why would you want to hide all the amazing architectural details of the design by adorning it with a lot of extra ornamentation? These designs were meant to speak for themselves, making their own statement through their structure and functionality.In the image below you can see that the interior decor of this home is kept simple, clean and natural. The furnishings feature elements of steel and wood, and are incorporated to help highlight the real hero—the architecture. Everything is kept simple so that the blueprint of the home and the materials used in its design are allowed to take center-stage.This is not to say that a modern home cannot have pops of color or added character through decor. It is just that it needs to be done in a manner that adds to the architecture rather than takes away from it.The restrained decor of a modern home allows the architecture to come alive and take center stage. Image Source: Drewett WorksA misconception that critics often have of modern architecture is that it’s cool and cold. However, the opposite could be argued.  A large number of modern designs feature elements that are naturally warm and inviting, such as wood and stone.Floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces, large windows that let in natural light and vaulted post and beam ceilings— what could add more character and warmth than these wonderfully modern features?  While the pattern may be linear, clean and uncluttered—there is definitely warmth to be found in modern architecture.Also, most modern plans contain fewer walls, thereby creating a more welcoming, open living space that most people crave. Are you loving modern architecture yet? If you still desire a bit of traditional style, then keep reading….Modern design can still remain warm and inviting. Image Source: JDesign GroupThey can co-exist. Mixing traditional and modern architectural elements works well when done properly and with a slight hand of restraint.There are numerous examples of successful meshing of these two, seemingly opposing, styles together into one cohesive design.  Look to the image below— it’s a exemplary illustration of a modern and traditional union. The mixture of cedar shingles with modern structural elements creates a very unique and appealing home.Of course, this is not a design marriage for the faint of heart. One would have to be daring in order to have the nerve to try it.  Obviously, it is best to attempt this only under the supervised watch of a skilled design architect. The good news is that you can have the best of both worlds —modern and traditional.Traditional and modern architecture go well together. Image Source: lda-ArchitectsWhat’s not to love about modern architecture! We have proven that modern designs are unique, warm, inviting and open creations of structural beauty. Even better, you can add traditional elements into a modern design and get the best of both design worlds.Use the above images and text to inspire the modern home of your dreams. Research local architects in your area to see if you can find one to build you a modern mecca, or help you remodel your current home into a modern version of itself. For further inspiration try reading 10 ContemporaryWhat elements of modern architecture are your favorite? We would love to hear from you!

 Sculptural Chair Design Adding Cheerfulness to Modern Interior Schemes

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The mere sight of this sculptural chair design by Italian product manufacturer Binome inspires cheerfulness and a loose approach to sober modern-life aspects. We love the colorful swing-ring look, as well as its chubby, almost humorous character. The Acari chair proudly displays a  resin rubber base, fiberglass cloth cushions and oak-wood legs. Well rounded and smooth, the tactile base also acts as a powerful back support. Seemingly “skinny”, compared to Acari’s massive body, the four elegant-looking legs can support the weight of each respected family member. Removable cushions as well as back rest were added to the base for extra comfort. Cleaning is done easily: use a wet cloth for the rubbery support and remove the cushions for machine wash. Both the base and cushions come in a variety of colors, making the chair easily adaptable to many contemporary interiors. But the furniture piece was also designed for the outdoors. Spread around the garden, these flashy rounded chairs will add a vibrant atmosphere, suited for private gatherings, as well as large parties…

 Massive Flooring Showroom in Novi Sad Offering Full Support for Architects

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Serbia based Tarkett has officially opened Tarkett Academy, a 1000 square meter training center and showroom in Backa Palanka, This unique centre has been created to offer the clients, architects and designers full support and help in finding the best solutions for flooring for various projects. The minimalist design approach offers a high level of functionality, while keeping everything perfectly organized and in sight for visitors. The use of wood creates a welcoming and laid-back atmosphere.Tarkett Academy provides its visitors with a range of solutions in different areas from education, health facilities, hospitality, residential facilities to retail shops, as well as a presentation of Tarkett products – parquet, laminate, vinyl, linoleum, sports flooring. Within the Academy, there is a space for flooring installation training and installation training, as well as common areas for presentations. Tarkett Academy reflects  the company’s constant ambition to meet its clients’ needs in an increasingly higher quality manner. [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Tarkett]  

 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Staging Your Home For Resale

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Staging your home is invaluable to the resale process. Image Via: Erika LamThough it may not be realistic, every homebuyer dreams of purchasing a property that looks like it belongs in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens. While you don’t necessarily need a state-of-the-art kitchen or fully remodeled master bathroom that looks like you hired an interior designer in order to find the perfect buyer, looks do make a difference. Staging your home, or making it look as aesthetically pleasing as possible, is one of the first steps to putting it on the market. Since many eyes will be on your home during showings and through promotional materials, this is an area in which you’ll want to put your best foot forward. Most people know enough to clean their home before potential buyers come to view the property, but here are the a few tips that go beyond common knowledge. Use these tips to set your home apart from the rest.A put together exterior adds value to your home. Image Via: Greymark Construction CompanyThe exterior is the very first impression that buyers will have of your property and, if they don’t like what they see, they are not opposed to walking away without finding out what the interior has to offer. Make sure your exterior leaves a lasting impression by consistently maintaining the lawn and landscapingA, power-washing any siding, and giving shutters a fresh coat of paint. Don’t hesitate to add accessories like a doormat or wreath on the entranceway to add an extra welcoming touch. If you don’t have a green thumb, it may be a good idea to reach out to a landscaping company for some suggestions. American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recommends that homeowners invest 5-10 percent of the home’s value in landscaping in order to achieve the best return.Stay neutral with design to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. Image Via: Eskuche DesignStaging your home is different than any other interior design scenario in that this is one occasion where you want to be careful with how much of your personal style shines through in the space. Many different groups of people will be viewing your home – from couples looking for a starter home to established families looking to downsize. It’s inevitable that everyone will have different opinions on design. This is an important tip about buying an older home, as often the decor may only reflect your nostalgic design style. In order to appeal to as many of these groups as possible, aim for a neutral appeal. Put away statement decorations and family photos, opt for traditional furniture, and choose traditional colors over trendy ones.A few wall hangings can complete the look of the room. Image Via: Hugh Jefferson Randolph ArchitectsIn the same vain, when staging it can be tempting to remove all design elements from your home while starting to pack. Put a few things away, but don’t go overboard. Buyers like picturing themselves in a home that looks lived in. Help maintain that homey feel by selecting a few of your most classic wall hangings and leaving them up until the home is under contract. For the greatest visual impact, choose wall hangings that play off of colors already present in the room, hang pictures so they’re visually within four to six inches of nearby furniture and, if you’re using multiple pieces, maintain a consistency in the theme. Create furniture groupings to help rooms feel cozy. Image Via: Von Fitz DesignSometimes when sellers are trying to make a small room seem like it’s more spacious, they have a tendency to push all of their furniture against the walls to leave a big open space in the middle. This type of arrangement may leave a lot of open space, but ultimately leaves the interior design looking unfinished – a big turn off for buyers. In this situation, it’s better to create furniture groupings. First, envision the way the space should be used. Do you have a huge flatscreen TV that requires a lot of seating? Is there a corner in your living room that would serve perfectly as a reading nook? Group the furniture in ways that would make sense for the intended use. Then, make sure that there are clean and direct pathways through the room. You want potential buyers to be able to envision themselves living in your home and one of the quickest ways to do that is by creating a cozy seating area that’s fit for conversation.Paint can make rooms flow into each other and appear larger. Image Via: Design FindIf you do find yourself needing to make a room appear bigger, the right paint color will do the job. Paint the space that you need to enlarge the same color as the room that is adjacent to it.The matching colors will help potential buyer’s eyes flow seamlessly from one room into the next and make both rooms seem like one big space. The shade you choose also makes a difference. While bold colors succeed in making a statement, they tend to make rooms feel smaller and more closed off. When you’re trying to create the illusion of more space, opt for lighter colors that will reflect the sunlight. Before painting, be sure to try a few sample colors. Put a small square of each wall. Then, check on them throughout the day to see how they look in varying amounts of light.Play up natural light as a selling feature. Image Via: Moger Mehrhof ArchitectsLighting can make all the difference between a good showing and a bad one.You want to ensure that potential buyers can actually see all aspects of your home. Opt for more lighting whenever possible. Natural light is a huge plus where potential buyers are concerned. Whenever you have a scheduled showing during the daytime hours, pull back the curtains and open up the shades to let the sunlight fill the room. Virtually Staging Properties even recommends forgoing traditional curtains for treatments that hang above the windows. In terms of artificial lighting, there needs to be enough to make your home feel cozy during night showings. Pick up a few floor lamps to shine light into any dark corners and routinely check lightbulbs and make replacements as needed.Buyers should be able to determine the use of the space with just a glance.  Image Via: The WorksMany families have an extra room that is just used for storage or, if the house is small, a room that serves multiple functions. While that particular use of space may suit your needs perfectly, it comes off as confusing to possible buyers. Each space in your house should have a singular, clear purpose. For instance, with just a desk and a few bookcases, a messy storage area can be transformed into a home office. Or, a single bed and dresser can pull together a quick guest room. Once you’ve decided what function of the space will be, take time to de-clutter. Clean out any ancillary belongings and leave the use of the space easy to guess with just a glance.Stage every space – even closets, basements, and crawl spaces. Image Via: San Francisco Organized InteriorsSellers like to assume that buyers will stick to the main rooms of the house during the showing. When they need to get out of the house for a showing in a hurry, they’ll throw unfolded laundry and other items into a closet, hoping they won’t be seen by prying eyes. In reality, potential buyers will look everywhere. Since they’re trying to visualize themselves living in the property, they want to gather as much information as possible about the home. They’re not afraid to look in closets, crawlspaces, or storage areas. Closets are essential to home buyers and should be clean and organized before a viewing. See 30 of the best walk-in closet ideas on our site, here. Make sure these spaces are as presentable as possible. A good rule of thumb to follow is: If you wouldn’t feel comfortable showing this area to a guest, it’s not organized enough.Baskets create a uniform look while hiding mess from view. Image Via: Palm Design GroupChances are that you’ll still be living in your home while going through the showing process. You don’t want personal items like toys, mail, or pet items to be cluttering up your property when potential buyers are taking a look. The easiest way to clear up your home in a hurry is by investing in proper storage. Put a chest at the foot of the bed or line shelves with cute baskets to create a cohesive look while hiding your belongings from view. If you have quite a few items that need storing,  Wendy Van Cott Speight, owner of DECO-The Design Company, recommends renting a storage pod for the time that your home is on the market. Those storage pods also do double-duty since, once the home is sold, you can have it shipped to your new address instead of renting a moving van.A bouquet of fresh flowers is a simple way to set you home apart from the crowd. Image Via: Feldman Architecture, Inc.If you really want to go all out when staging you’re home, bring in some fresh touches.A new coat of paint to keep things looking new or a vase of fresh flowers proudly displayed on the kitchen table is all it takes. Buyers will pick up on the extra effort to make your property feel homey and it might just be that small detail that gets your house to stand out among the crowd. Staging your home doesn’t have to mean a huge interior design overhaul. Like a date or a job interview, it just means sprucing up enough to make a good first impression. The tips in the list above are quick fixes that will make a world of difference in how potential buyers view your property. Follow them if you want your home to be the hottest property on the market…

 How To Incorporate Marble Into Your Interior Design

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A marble island will give the room a sleek look. Image Via: Abruzzo Kitchen & BathIn the past few decades, marble has fallen by the wayside in interior design. Odds are that when you picture marble as a design element, you have visions of large, cold rooms encased in floor-to-ceiling stone. Or, of the ornate sculptures that adorn your Grandma’s pristine living room. It’s hardly modern and sleek – or so you may think.Marble has made a modern comeback in the world of interior design. However, the key to keeping the trend fresh is using it in small doses – accents and statement pieces – rather than in amounts that overwhelm the eye. In this case, less is infinitely more.If you want to be ahead of the curve, check out this list of ways to incorporate marble into your interior design. We’ll walk you through innovative ways to use marble to give a classic touch to your décor while still staying modern.Use marble as a statement piece like this fireplace. Image Via: John Maniscalco ArchitectureOpen-concept living is becoming increasing common. Whether you live in a small studio apartment or a spacious single-family home, this type of floor plan opens up the space and leaves it feeling less stuffy and confined. However, though your home may lack certain walls, you still need to delineate the space in order to keep it looking organized. Let marble do the job.Columns are, of course, the obvious answer. But, there’s no need for them to look like they came straight out of a white telephone feature. Choose columns with straight edges and relatively few decorative touches to give the space a more industrial feel.Keep in mind that there’s no need for the columns to stretch from the floor to the ceiling either. Consider building a half-wall with columns that will separate spaces while still letting the eye through all the way through the space.Use modern marble columns to visually separate spaces. Image Via: Vanguard Studio Inc.The “or” part is key in this instance. If both the walls and floors were covered in marble, the space might end up looking too stark and cold. However, by just choosing one, you have the ability to tie just a touch of classical feel into the space while tying it in with more modern materials. Whichever element you pick, there are a variety of ways to execute the design.Think about adding marble to the backsplash in your kitchen. Use marble as an alternative to traditional wainscoting in your bathroom or dining room. Add a pinch of marble to your living space by encircling the room with a marble chair rail.If you would rather add marble to the floor, the foyer is a great option since it is traditionally a more formal space.  Add an artistic flourish to your dining room at low cost by using marble to create a design that anchors your dining room table. Marble flooring could add a luxury feel to anyone’s master bathroom.If you need more luxury in your life, check out these 10 Affordable Ways To Make Your Home Look Like A Luxury Hotel.Think about marble for your kitchen backsplash. Image Via: Alice Lane Home CollectionThough it may seem could and uncomfortable at first glance, when paired with the correct pieces, marble makes an excellent material for furniture. It is strong, sturdy, and will last a lifetime. Don’t be afraid to invest in a statement piece of marble furniture. It can withstand a lot of wear and tear while still looking high-end.A note on choosing the right pieces for your space: Be sure to take measurements. Since marble is particularly heavy and unforgiving, you’ll want to be certain that your new purchase will fit into the space before you make the effort to bring it home. Additionally, don’t feel like you need to stick to neutral tones. A colored marble table top could add just the right pop of color needed to bring your space to life.Tables work particularly well when made of marble.  Replace the wooden island in your kitchen with one made of marble to create a visual transition from the stove into the dining area. Add a bit of elegance to your living space with a marble coffee table. Think about using marble tables as outdoor furniture since they are hardy enough to stay put during stormy weather.A marble coffee table makes a timeless addition to any living space. Image Via: Burritt Bros. CarpetsIn the past, adding marble into your home’s design was a significant commitment. After all, it’s not cheap to have a stone company come in and start digging up your walls and floors to replace the old materials with heavy stone. One of the best aspects of this marble reassurance is that smaller marble accessories and décor items are popping up on store shelves. They allow you to try out the trend before taking a lasting plunge or to incorporate it into small apartments that would have previously been deemed too tight of a space.For more information on decorating small spaces, take a look at these 10 Things Nobody tells You About Decorating A Tiny Apartment.When looking at accessories, focus on adding one or two marble pieces to the room. A pair of marbled lamps like the ones shown above would be nice focal point by your bedside or in your family room. Marble candleholders and a soap set can add a romantic touch to your bathroom.For a subtler feel, focus on marble-inspired pieces. They offer the same pop of classical style without the big price tag. A piece of wall art or a patterned throw rug that that mimics the neutral colors and bold lines found in marble could be all you need to tie a room together.For a less permanent design option, consider adding marble through accessories. Image Via: Kerrisdale Design IncMarble has fallen out of favor with interior designers in recent years, but it is about to make a comeback. If you are under the impression that marble can come off looking heavy-handed and ornate, think again. This article offers suggestions on how to incorporate marble into your interior design while keeping it subtle and modern. Use them to stay on trend.How do you feel about marble’s resurgence? Are you up for incorporating it into your interior design? Have you found any marble products that you absolutely love? Let us know in the comments…

 Intriguing LASSO Lamp Showcasing A Powerful Minimalist Design

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Designed by Quentin de Coster Design Studio for French company Cinna, LASSO lamp pays tribute to minimalism and functionality. As its name suggests, this unconventional lighting unit resembles a lasso, but also a suspended torch: “I wanted to create a poetic light that invites users to interact with it. I tried to give shape to the idea in the most minimal way possible and it was only afterwards that I realized it looked a bit like a torch. But it is fun, and I like to refer to archetypes in my work“, De Coster explained.LASSO is a suspension made of a steel tube and wire offering a new way of guiding light. Usually unattractive, the electrical cable is here used to direct the lighting by a sliding motion turning it into a nice graphic element. On top of it, the LASSO lamp adopts different triangulations according to your requirements and draws beautiful lines in space. In a nutshell, a contemporary light that is interesting both off and on ! [Information provided via e-mail by Quentin de Coster Design Studio; Photography: Julien Renault]

 Indispensable Tool for Modern Gardeners: Edyn Garden Sensor and Water Valve

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Another Kickstarter project caught our attention just in time for summer: the fantastic Edyn Modern Garden Sensor and Water Valve with its matching smartphone app. Smart home systems are only days away from having a garden companion with technical arguments that demand attention. This impressive smart garden gadget is somewhat a hybrid between old-school gardening and new-school farming games. By connecting your garden to your smartphone and offering real-time information, the modern garden gadget encourages and reminds you to take good care of your plants’ health. Easy to insert in the ground, easy to connect to your smartphone via the appointed app, this fascinating gadget takes gardeners from guessing to knowing in a matter of seconds.After many years of farming research in Panama and Kenya, soil scientist Jason Aramburu and designer Yves Behar of Fuseproject built not only a smart and “instinctive” garden gadget that provides you with knowledge and your plats with the right amount of water, but a “community of like-minded growers”. By tracking a range of factors like sunlight, moisture or soil nutrition levels, the solar-powered sensor turns free-energy into a healthy vegetable crop.The team’s research shows that gardeners and small-scale farmers were looking “not for something to do the work for them, but to give them a deeper understanding of their plants” and so the whole system was created around this need. “We designed the app to give the user information in a clear and concise way, maximizing their gardening potential. Upon opening the app, you are given a contextual snapshot of your garden – including percentages for ideal moisture, nutrition levels, light, and temperature. The app provides tips based on weather and soil nutrient levels, sends you in the moment updates and notifications, and even shows which plants or groups of plants will grow best in your garden.”Supporting sustainability through their work, the versatile team imagined a sensor that would constantly monitor its environment in order to provide the data needed for informed action. Whether you’re growing vegetable, fruit, herbal, decorative or medicinal plants, this compact garden system relies on the same energy plants use while also proving its aesthetic worth in a cheerful bright yellow package. Together with Click and Grow Smart Herb Garden, the Edyn smart garden system is here to encourage people in their pursuit of sustained health.Now be honest, how bad do you want it?

 Why Our Brains Love Luxurious Interiors

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Have you ever wondered why we love luxury interiors so much? Image Via: Marilee Bentz Designs, Inc.Luxury. The word even feels nice rolling off your tongue. There’s something so clean and crisp about it. Perhaps it’s the way that the simplest mention instantly conjures up mental images of sprawling mansions, designer collections, and sleek cars.Reality is, everyone loves lavishness, especially when it comes to interiors. The proof is all around us. Why else would insider peaks into celebrity homes cause magazines to fly off the shelves? Why else would we love tips on how to give our own interiors a luxurious feel?As it turns out, there are a few unifying characteristics about the ways in which our brains perceive luxury. Take a look below to find out more.Read on to learn about the psychological effects of luxury. Image Via: Tobin Dougherty ArchitectsWhere interior design is concerned, there is no set formula for how to produce luxurious surroundings. It’s more about creating a certain feel for the space than following a few of hard and fast rules. But, to try and give you some guidelines, asked a few designers to tell us what “luxury” means to them:Keep these thoughts in mind as you as look your own interiors. How do they match up to your own personal definition of luxury? If you are considering working with an interior designer for your next project, make sure to ask them the same question. It’s a quick but effective way to get a sense of how well your design styles match up.Think about what makes you feel like you’re luxuriating. Image Via: S. B. Long InteriorsWe often associate particular feelings with the concept of luxury, lounging on a plush, sofa after a hard day at work, soaking in a hot bath in your elegant Jacuzzi tub, or even cooking on a kitchen island that leaves plenty of room to spread out. When we have the chance to do these things, we feel a little naughty, almost as if we’re being indulged.It would seem that we are not alone in these feelings. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found evidence to suggest a link between luxury brands and the area of the brain that controls self-interest. In it, they asked participants to look at images of cars. Half of the group was given high-end brands, while the others were given more pragmatic choices. The researches found the luxury group experienced brain activity in their medial prefrontal cortexes, which is related to self-reflection and self-relevant processing, while the pragmatic group did not.Of course, who ever said that a little self-indulgence was a bad thing? Your home should feel like an oasis from the outside world in which you’re constantly catering to others’ needs. Close your eyes and consider which aspects of home design will make you feel pampered. If you’re not sure, take some time to browse design magazines and websites like our site. Take note of anything that catches your eye, especially if it happens more than once. Then, try to work something similar into your spaces to create luxurious interiors.     Go ahead, feel free to indulge a little. Image Via: Kristin Ashley InteriorsConvenience and self-indulgence go hand-in-hand. After all, what’s more self-indulgent than getting the results you want with minimal effort? As you go through your day, think about the areas where you notice yourself expending extra effort. Do your best to brainstorm ways to inject a little connivance into your daily routine.Remember: Not all luxury items have to be a huge expense. You can easily DIY similar experiences for pennies on the dollar. Are you a movie buff with no home theater? Invest in a universal remote that lets you dim the lights, start the show, and adjust the surround sound from the comfort of your seat. If you enjoy an evening cocktail, put together an outdoor bar cart to transform your backyard into a patio bar.Don’t hesitate to keep an eye out for luxurious trends. Who knows? You may end up stumbling upon an extravagance you never thought possible. Creating a small coffee station for your master bedroom was once unheard of outside of hotels, but is quickly gaining popularity. You never know what could come next.Bring luxury to your home by adding convenience items. Image Via: Archadeck of CharlotteAs diverse as the particular aspects of luxury design may be, one statement holds true: Every style has a luxury option. Whether your tastes are ultra-modern or tend to veer more towards a comfortable country aesthetic, there are ways to ensure a luxe feel. Follow these tips:Once you have the main components in place, infuse your (no doubt, excellent) sense of style into the room with things like fabrics, accessories, and décor. If you can’t get enough of the great outdoors, focus on using natural materials in your design or if you can’t stop dreaming about of Classical interiors, work in a few marble elements. Whatever items you end up choosing, your luxurious foundation will be sure to shine through.Play up natural light for an instant luxurious feel. Image Via: Stocker Hoesterey MontenegroLuxurious interiors will never go out of style. Regardless of what fads come and go, we’re always going to feel drawn toward spaces that make us feel pampered. It’s only natural. Our brains are wired that way. Take these tips into account as you consider rooms in your home. There’s no doubt in our minds that you can infuse a little luxury.What is your definition of luxury? Which luxe design features leave you drooling? Have you managed to recreate a DIY version in your home? Let us know in the comments!

 Bungalow Makeover in Québec With Large Openings: Lausanne House Project

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Lausanne House project is the architectural equivalent of bungalow renovation in Québec, Canada. Opting for a sober and elegant exterior, Hatem+D Architecture installed a cover of pale grey wood at the level of the main block and a mixture of fibrocement and black bricks. A second floor was added, which accommodates three large bedrooms. According to the architects, landscaping was thought to preserve most of the existing elements. Rocks discovered during the works were moved in various places on the site. Additionally, three mature trees were preserved, their foliage allowing a play of shadow and light on the facades.Aside from requesting a face-lift for the bungalow, the owners wanted a place filled with natural light, as well as large openings to enjoy their landscaped terrain. Therefore, the living and dining room both open to the terrace through generously-sized glass doors. Moreover, “a passageway was added in front of the residence and makes the link between this volume and the new garage. The hallway, generous and open, throws a great deal of light at the heart of the project.” Enjoy the virtual tour! [Photographs: Alexandre Guilbeault]

 modern window awnings

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Contemporary bedrooms are all about a neutral color scheme that is accentuated by pops of color in an elegant fashion. These colorful additions can be often swapped out with ease to alter the appeal of the room and its color palette with changing trends and seasons. While blue is touted as the most popular hue in the bedroom irrespective of style and season, green is the ‘chosen one’ for those who want to bring a hint of natural goodness indoors. Relaxing, elegant, bright and refreshing, it is a pleasant hue that comes in diverse shades ranging from the brilliant jewel-toned emerald to more subtle and modest minty greens.

 whimsical bathroom

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Green in the girls’ bedroom coupled with pink works surprisingly well and it elegantly complements other colors such as brown and orange as well. Working with more than 3 or 4 bright colors in a room requires great care, perfect planning and a hint of ingenuity that lets each hue standout even while blending with the overall look. While it does sound like a risky proposition, get it right and you will have a playful kids’ room that is a visual treat.

 home decor bedrooms

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Painting the walls might be the easiest way to add green to the bedroom along with bedding and accessories in matching hue, but think beyond the obvious if you want a truly captivating room. Painting the ceiling in green can be a fun alternative and by leaving the walls white, you will still have a neutral and versatile backdrop that will beautifully showcase wall art and sculptural décor additions. And for those who really want a personalized solution, mixing different shades to come with your own custom green hue is indeed an exciting and enjoyable alternative. This will assure that you are proud owner of a one-of-a-kind bedroom with a shade of green that you came up with.

 distressed trestle table

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Most people have closets in their homes these days, but sometimes there’s always that need for the stuff that just doesn’t fit or belong in there. Check out this great use of an armoire to hang coats, store outerwear, and even provide a little bench area! Perfect for any entryway or mudroom. If you have a bathroom that fits one, an armoire is a beautiful way to add more storage — especially for towels. Like some of the others on this list, this armoire from Enchanted Home does away with the glass and replaces it with netting instead.

 Living Room Ideas – The Ultimate Design Resource Guide

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Once inside your front door, the first room your guests and family members are likely to encounter is your living room. You host gatherings in your living room, snack on the couch while watching TV, listen to children practice musical instruments, and just generally hang out in this multifunctional space. The way you design your living room can set the design feel for your entire home. You may also change your living room décor at various times of the year for different holidays and seasons.
Because you spend so much time in your living spaces, physical and visual comfort is important. You don’t have to compromise on style and décor in favor of comfort, however. In fact, you can fill your living room with furniture that is as functional as it is beautiful. Similarly, you can choose accent pieces and floor coverings that also boast comfort and usability.
Another important aspect to consider when designing your living space is durability. Due to the high traffic your living room will likely experience, it is worth spending a bit more on higher-quality furniture and floor furnishings to realize extended use and not necessitate constant repair, refurbishing or cleaning. Choose fabrics that are both pleasing and durable. In addition, choose colors that transition well when you set out new décor items each season.
More extensive living room remodeling projects may include structural changes. These can include changing windows and doors, replacing walls with ceiling beams to create an open concept, and refacing or replacing fireplaces. If your project includes these in-depth changes, you’ll need to research local building codes and permitting requirements. Changes that include electrical or plumbing work may require working with a licensed professional under special permits. If your interior changes impact your exterior design, also check with your homeowners association to ensure you are staying within regulations.
No matter how many ways you use your space or how many times each year you change out your tchotchkes, you can find living room ideas in the collection of inspiration pieces we’ve gathered and shared below. From ultra-formal to ultra-comfortable, your living room can become the blank slate upon which you introduce your home’s design.
As with all the uniquely designed rooms in your home, you’ll want to have a focal point for your living room. This focal point is where your eyes are instantly drawn when you enter the room. Without a focal point, your room can feel like an overwhelming mix of decorating themes, each competing with the next for attention.
A centerpiece is a great way to create a focal point in your living room. Living room centerpiece ideas can include floral designs, an elaborate design piece like a monogram or a stunning fireplace. Your own furniture can be a great way to create your living room centerpiece. Classic designs usually place sofas or seats along walls, creating empty space in the middle of a room. Instead, you can center your seating furniture to create both a great visual and a cozy conversational area. Don’t be afraid of angles, either, when you arrange your furniture. Often, placing facing pieces on the diagonal can change the entire feel of your living room.
Maximize your living space with minimalist designs, clever pieces of décor that make a small space feel bigger or pieces that serve multiple purposes. When it comes to small living room ideas, the common theme is that less is more, both in the colors you choose for your walls and the furniture that fills the space. Oversized furniture can make an already small room feel even more cramped, and change a space with a lot of potential to a space you can’t wait to exit. Likewise, overly vibrant paint colors can make your walls look like they are closing in on your room.
Instead, aim for a light and airy feel, with smaller or more delicate-looking furniture, and emphasize light and bright through neutral hues, lots of natural light and mirrors to create the illusion of extra space. Wicker or Victorian-era wooden furniture can instantly open a small space. Light blues and yellows can make a cramped space seem larger, and less bric-a-brac on your tables and walls can create an uncluttered and hospitable design.
A geometric rug in vibrant colors can add interest to the living room.
You can choose between one of two schools of thought for living room decorating ideas — a variety of pieces that all reflect one unified theme or a simple design that can be the backdrop for décor pieces representing many styles. To begin designing your living room remodel, literally begin from the ground up. If your living room is part of a much larger open concept space within your home, you can choose a different type of flooring, like an area rug, to set off the living area. On the flip side of that design, if you have a small living room, unifying the flooring with surrounding areas can lead to the feel of a much larger space.
In addition to flooring type, you can change up the style and color of your flooring to create different feels. A vivid geometric design is a great addition to a modernist space, while refinished hardwood floors can harken back to a historic home’s past. You can use complementary hues between your floors and walls to create the overall color palette.
A can of paint is one of the easiest, fastest and least expensive ways to completely change the look of your living room. Two great living room paint ideas include adding an accent wall and adding texture to your walls. If your living room lacks a focal point, or if you want to further emphasize a focal point, an accent wall can emphasize a particular shade, or you could use a complementary design like stripes or two hues separated by a chair rail. In a small room that a bright tone may overwhelm, you can still incorporate your favorite shade on one wall while the others boast a more neutral color. If your décor pieces can best be described as eclectic, an accent wall can pick up on a common hue and make each item pop.
Textured walls are also a great way to change the feel of your living room. You can use either visual or physical texture to fulfill this idea. With visual texturing, your wall may feature a feather design with contrasting paint to the main wall color. This type of design is still flat against the wall and often called faux painting. For physical texturing, your ultimate design may encompass the look of a plaster wall, a swirl effect, a Mediterranean or Spanish knife texture, or nearly any other texture your mind can imagine. Once you pick your room’s overall design, texturizing your walls is a great way to show it off.
If you’re struggling to find the best living room ideas to update your home, use our vast library of design inspirations to get started. For eclectic collections, read about creating a unique vintage feel. When it’s time to redecorate for the holiday season, use our Christmas design ideas for inspiration. If you can’t figure out where the TV should be placed, we have advice on that too. And don’t forget to check our infographic that provides guidance on laying out your furniture to maximize results. When you spend extra time thoughtfully planning out your design, your living room will become the wonderfully welcoming space you want it to be…

 Surprising Modern Design Ideas Showcased by Loft Bauhaus in Brazil

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Designed by Ana Paula Barros and located in Brazil, Loft Bauhaus is an example of modern architecture in its purest form, if such a thing exists. Inspired by the famous Farnsworth House by Mies Van der Rohe, the residence is said to explore five points of contemporary architecture: open plan, pilotis, free facade and ribbon windows. The straight, harsh lines and overall minimalism characterizing modern design are attenuated with the extensive use of stone and wood, adding warmth throughout. According to the architects, “the project is composed by a large living room / dining room, which also works as a balcony. The room and the bathroom are in the same environment, having only the toilet hidden. The bath is open to the outdoor garden with a huge glass panel. The kitchen, which has no divisions, is located on the opposite side of the room and it is integrated with the dining room”. Sustainability was not left aside when developing Loft Bauhaus. Suspended 60 cm above the ground, and constructed using mainly organic materials, the house has a minimum impact on the environment…

 teenagers desk

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Your bench doesn’t necessarily have to be built right into your shower. If you have enough room, you can purchase a standalone bench that you can bring right in, and remove whenever you want! Here’s a wooden bench in a large walk-in from HGTV. What type of bathroom bench or stool is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

 living room storage systems

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The terms ‘contemporary’ and ‘modern’ are often used interchangeably when describing design. It’s a common faux pas and one of which this writer is certainly guilty. In design lexicon the two words have contrasting and quite distinct meanings. Describing their difference at a somewhat rudimentary level: contemporary makes reference to the present-day – that which is current and of the time – whereas modern alludes to the past, specifically that of Modernism (post the First World War) and mid-20th century modern design and architecture.

 Jiyoung Seo’s SAI Modular Wall Storage Unit [Video]

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Created by Korean designer living in Finland Jiyoung Seo, the SAI Modular Wall Storage Unit raises some questions about the way we use to store our belongings. Spotted on MonkeyZen, the interesting storage unit is made out of small silicone tubes that apparently have an interesting feel when you touch them. The silicone blocks can be arranged in different ways to accommodate different functions. Some cubes change color, acting as fun blocks that can be personalized according to your wishes. You can store books, magazines, papers, notes or other stuff and keep them on the boards by rearranging the silicone blocks. “The grip of the cubes will keep your things safe and tidy. You can change your imagination take flight and modify it according to your mood state. It can turn crazy modern art box or an organized platform” – this is how the designer describes her work…

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There’s more to San Diego than sun and surf, although the nation’s eighth-largest city loves to boast about a mild climate considered by many to be the best in the U.S. With (mostly) easy access to beaches, mountains and deserts, San Diego is a recreation lover’s paradise. Attractions like the jewel of Balboa Park (home to the San Diego Zoo), Legoland California and SeaWorld keep tourism booming, and the highly rated University of California at San Diego has spawned a healthy biotech industry. Meanwhile, a diverse, ever-gentrifying urban population is upending the city’s reputation as a conservative Navy town.

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