Materials: Kitchen Countertops

I recently learned that many universities now offer advanced degrees in Environmental Decision Making. I’m not surprised. Even after decades of practicing sustainable design, I find that sussing out the best green products could be challenging. There are many environmental aspects to consider, plus there is a constant barrage of new, better, greener goods. So, save for enrolling in a postdoctorate app, what is a guy or gal to do?

Sorting through the countless choices of any construction material could be made simpler with the assistance of industry-independent organizations who provide their endorsement, or certification, to goods that fulfill the business’s guidelines for sustainability. For countertops, you will find three significant certifications I search:
GreenGuard certifies construction products for low chemical emissions, which improves indoor air quality.Cradle to Cradle focuses on products which are safe for both people and the world, and are also made for a long life cycle.The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ensures that wood products come, in part, from intelligently chosen forests.Be they accredited, salvaged or recycled and wood, glass or resin, below are a few countertops which get the green light.

Buckminster Green LLC

Salvaged Wood

You will feel great about your selection and add personality and richness from the timber’s history. I look for wood which has a narrative — maybe it is salvaged from a iconographic construction or even from the job’s remodel. Just remember, wood is more susceptible to damage by water and heat, so it is best located away from the sink, dishwasher and range. An island is a great alternative.


More about hardwood countertops for the kitchen and bath

Butcher Block

Composed of smaller pieces of wood, butcher block can make great use of reclaimed or stained material. Sustainable butcher block can come from varied sources, including retrieved transport pallets or deconstructed buildings. Your knives will adore this surface and, once it shows any age, it’s possible to just sand the wood somewhat and refinish with a food-grade natural oil.

Cost:$30 to $85 per square foot for the material only

Gardner Architects LLC


Bamboo’s best green feature is it is a rapidly renewable resource, plus it is naturally stronger and harder than most other hardwoods. Teragren, one of the best-known producers, offers an FSC-certified product called FSC-Pure. Be aware, however, that nearly all commercial bamboo stems from China, therefore a lot of energy goes into transporting the product to the USA.

Cost: $26 to $36 per square foot for the material only

Brennan + Company Architects

Recycled Paper

Paperstone, one of many recycled paper counter materials, is FSC certified and made of 100 percent postconsumer recycled paper, petroleum-free pigment and resin. It has a handsome monolithic look, and its texture is often compared to some warm, soft rock, like soapstone. The material is just heat resistant to 350 degrees, so you need to exercise care with your hottest utensils.

Cost: $18 to $30 per square foot for the material only

Agrestal Designs

Squak Mountain Stone – Hazel

Squak Mountain

Squak Mountain’s countertop reproduces the handsome and natural flaws of rock using a mixture of recycled paper and glass along with cement. This can be a stout and durable countertop; however, like stone or concrete, it’s susceptible to rust and etching, therefore either use additional care or embrace the patina.

Cost: $30 to $40 per square foot for the material only

Kitchen Countertops


Engineered glass countertops differ greatly in appearance. IceStone, which can be Cradle to Cradle certified, gives an opaque, refined character with its own fine glass particles put in pigmented concrete. Because the material is porous, recommendations involve sealing twice a year, so make sure you’re up for the upkeep.

Cost: $40 to $54 per square foot for the material only

Woodmeister Master Builders


Bio-Glass, yet another recycled glass countertop material with Cradle to Cradle certification, has an ethereal, translucent look, as it is made of 100 percent glass. Much like glass-based counters, it is not knife friendly, so maintain your cutting boards useful.

Cost: $85 to $115 per square foot for the material only

Beckwith Interiors


The recycled-content resin-based counter options from 3-Form never fail to spark creativity with their innumerable colours, designs and finishes. Their products are PVC free, and GreenGuard has accredited the Varia EcoResin, Chroma, 100 Percent and Alabaster lines. The business walks the green talk by working toward zero waste and being neutral.

Cost: $28 to $105 per square foot for the material only

Studio William Hefner

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel consists of 60 percent recycled material and, since it can be recycled over and over, has an extended useful life. This item offers top-notch durability that stands up to commercial kitchens and their strict criteria for cleanliness. Perfectionists take note: Keeping stainless steel absolutely free of smudges and watermarks can be a chore.

Cost: $45 to $65 per square foot for the material just

More about stainless steel counters

Ken Levenson Architect P.C.


Concrete counters might be terrific green choice if they are sourced locally or cast in place (transporting heavy slabs great spaces absorbs a lot of energy). Additionally, start looking for low-impact aggregates, such as raised coal fly ash, and recycled paper or glass.

Cost: $60 to $75 per square foot for the material just (precast slabs)

Inform us What’s your preferred eco friendly countertop?

Kitchen Countertops 101: Choosing a Surface Material
Alternatives to Granite Countertops

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Longwood Gardens' Pathways Invite Exploration

At a previous ideabook, I introduced you to the conservatories at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. In this one, I’m going to share the pathways of these magnificent gardens.

Longwood Gardens can be a challenging place to photograph, not just because of the audiences and lighting difficulties, but since it is such a wonderful garden. A garden done properly is not just a showpiece but an encounter. It leads you from place to place, from plant to plant, into mystery and out of darkness. Longwood Gardens is among the few gardens in the world that can masterfully take you to a journey in an Italianate, laced-up increased garden into a totally American trail through the forests. Those twists and turns make for an excellent garden encounter but can sometimes hinder a photographer trying to capture the backyard. Maybe next time I should choose a helicopter.

Amy Renea

Longwood combines structure with well-laid pathways that lead the eye and invite people to explore. See the way in which the floor is laid to accentuate the circular design of the metal-domed gazebo. Also notice how in which the gazebo opens into perfectly frame the grass pathway beyond.

To find another example of an intricately carved metal-roofed gazebo, have a look at the Sunken Gardens of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Amy Renea

Here’s the reverse end of the pathway, edged with proper hedging. The hedges are varieties of plants, terraced up the mountain to the left. The usage of sheared hedges within this pathway is a nod to the sheared topiary types from another room of their garden.

Amy Renea

Grass pathways are used in low-traffic locations, but good ‘ol blacktop is used in high ranking places. Notice how the design draws your eye away in the blank slate of a path. The trees have been pruned to grow up instead of out, leading your attention to the statuary in the end of the path.

Amy Renea

Here is another illustration of a blacktop pathway, broken up with a roundabout. Notice the yellow dogwood from the background, highlighting a darker portion of the trail and providing depth to a simple walkway.

Amy Renea

On the opposite side of the roundabout is a mountain along with trellised vines. With simple iron stoves, the designer has created a focal point and also a showstopping climbing apparatus.

Amy Renea

Elsewhere in the gardens, climbing paths are produced from a mix of blacktop and stone. The steps are long and wide, creating more of a walking walkway that happens to ascend, instead of a staircase. The slow pace makes it possible for visitors to look round the woodland garden while gently climbing the mountain.

Amy Renea

I seen the gardens in the peak of springtime, therefore a number of the paths were covered with blossoms from the surrounding trees.

When you are planting pathways, consider the possible droppings in the plantings. Fruit-bearing bushes, for instance, might drop jewel-colored, juicy fruits all over your walkways in summer. In contrast, a very simple yew will maintain its needles through the winter and create very little perspiration.

Amy Renea

Maybe you’re inspired by the pathways of Longwood. I am aware I am rethinking my hillside paths. Those elongated cement steps might do the job perfectly in my backyard. You might decide to rethink plantings or alter your pruning methods to create a pathway.

Pathways are the civilized extension of a wild garden and can make or break the experience to your customers. Give them focal points, look at walking patterns and habits, and create magical pathways on your own garden this year.

Create an Inviting, Protected Pathway

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Modern Farmhouse in the Hamptons

As his profile reveals, Jeff Chmielewski is an architect’s son. Growing tired of what he saw because lackluster design in the Bridgehampton community of Long Island, New York, Chmielewski designed and constructed the farmhouse he now shares with his family — all without proper design training. He attributes its success to his decades of exposure to all things , of course, a little bit of assistance from his dad. “I spent drawing and laying out the house,” he states,”faxing my sketches to my dad and getting CAD files back in return.”

Chmielewski is pleased with his home, a farmhouse perched at the peak of a field near Bridgehampton’s Main Street. Built with traditional bones and modern shapes, it is full of things that reflect his discerning taste. “I wished to be quite conscious of the surrounding environment — the Bridgehampton Historical Society is located on the other side of the area that the home sits on. But at precisely the same time, I really like the light and willingness of modern architecture and needed a compromise,” states Chmielewski.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Jeff and Angela Chmielewski and baby Chase
Location: Bridgehampton, New York
Size: 4,800 square feet
That’s Interesting: Chmielewski is writing a novel on home design and building called The 80/20 House.

Chmielewski sited the windows of the primary living spaces on the southern side of the home, allowing plenty of light to heat the space. The passive solar heat made by the southern exposure helps keep the home warm in the chilly winter months. In the summertime, the house stays cool in the shade of trees surrounding the property.

The home is clad in cedar shingles, divided-light windows plus a metal barn roof from homage to Bridgehampton’s potato farming and agrarian roots. Chmielewski picked cable railings to the balconies since they vanish into the shingles when viewed from afar and don’t block the view.

One potted orchid provides the only flora inside the home, which is surrounded by plant. Chmielewski purchased the vintage Scandinavian seat from a brocante shop called Guéridon. “The seat is one of a pair; it does not have any labels or markings, but they’re much like the Falcon Chair from Sigurd Resell,” he states.

Chmielewski retreats to the particular reading corner throughout his downtime. “it is a wonderful place to see a book and revel in the view,” he states. Each window panel includes two separate components; the bottom sections open and allow the breeze to cool the space in the summer months.

Windows: Lincoln Windows

The kitchen’s open floor plan, unadorned windows, and floating cabinets and shelves, in addition to the clean, simple lines of this décor, enlarge the space visually.

“We have guests visit us nearly every weekend,” states Chmielewski. “Our kitchen is open and visible from the dining area, living room and screened porch, therefore no one ever feels left out. From May to November we purchase all of our produce from the regional farmers’ stands.” He and his wife have not ever had a get-together catered. “We all do our own cooking and try to get everyone involved.”

A mirrored wood table using a modern glass top and antique seats occupy the dining room. Chmielewski, a self-professed math geek, made the wood-burning fireplace as a reflection of this gold ratio, widely regarded as the most aesthetically pleasing proportion.

Browse thousands of fireplace designs

“The way the light hits the home through the day, the way the floor plan flows from room to room, and how every room relates to one another — getting these components right will create more of a difference than anything else once you design and construct a home,” states Chmielewski. Wife Angela (previously ) reclines and watches over their baby, Chase, as well as approaches.

Beanbag: Roche Bobois; pumpkin sofa and carpet: Ligne Roset; mounted photograph: Jeff Chmielewski; stools: Eames Walnut Stools

When asked about the crude and clean inside spaces of his home (bedroom and bathroom graphics above), Chmielewski waxes philosophical. “It’s very important to leave unadorned spaces in any new home. We have our whole lives to assemble exquisite things, and you need to leave some areas to add the things you find along the way”

More Tours:
Modern Beach House at the Hamptons
When an Architect Designs for Himself
Bright, Polished Vermont Cabin

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Porch Life: 11 Inspirational Tiny Porches

While I really like the big two-story porches in Low Country homes and extended wraparound porches on farmhouses, their smaller counterparts hold just as much charm. You don’t need tens of thousands of square feet to make an enchanting and welcoming porch. Provided that you’ve got a place to sit a porch of any size is an excellent covered outdoor space you will love from spring through autumn. Here’s a look at some small porches that include kilometers of charm and amazing livable space.

More in this series: Wraparound porches | Sleeping porches | Screened-in porches

Structures, Inc..

This tiny porch and its pediment give this house loads of charm charm. From the Chippendale railings to the comfy rockers, a welcoming entrance where you will want to stay awhile is clear.

Crisp Architects

This pediment provides just enough room for this tiny entry porch. It doesn’t provide quite enough room for rockers, therefore cleverly buit-in benches offer a cozy spot for appreciating the country scenery.

New urbanism embraces the fantastic conservative front porch as a component that promotes community interaction. There is plenty of room here in order to wave your neighbors over to join you for a few sweet tea.

Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

This California home unites several architectural styles, and the front porch gives it a dose of All-American style.

Texas Construction Company

This back porch has room enough for a porch swing, which will be all the porch furniture it needs.

Debra Campbell Design

Get the most out of a long, narrow porch using either finish for larger pieces of furniture.

Arcanum Architecture

This facet porch’s roof is metal, so making a great spot to sit down and revel in the noise of the rain while staying dry.

Arcanum Architecture

Around the corner of the same house, another small porch creates a secure entryway.

The porch’s roofline extends and wraps round the corner to the side porch. This is a cleverly executed vernacular detail that gives a farmhouse feel to your own home.

Tongue & Groove

A big, open pediment creates a shallow porch, gives a searchable feeling of entrance and enriches the Craftsman style of the home.

LLC, Woodburn & Company Landscape Architecture

This beautiful shingle-style home’s small porch allows the owners to sit for a spell and admire their gardens.

Philip Clayton-Thompson

Who wants lots of square footage whenever you’ve got a view from a sunporch similar to this?

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

If your tiny porch has the room, a pair of rockers is all you need to give you the full porch experience.

12 Ways to Prep the Porch for Summer
Screen that the Porch for More Living Room (Almost) All Year Round

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Nap No Bedroom Required, in a Breeze

I always know when it’s 2 pm — no opinion demanded. It is the same every day, however many hours I’ve slept the night before. My eyelids become heavy, and I get that fuzzy-thinking feeling. It’s nap time.

If you are like me, the most crucial point to know is that this is normal. We generally have two periods of intense sleepiness at a 24-hour cycle, after between two 4 and pm a.m. and yet another about 10 hours after. An perfect nap is 20 to 45 minutes long. A 20-minute nap can promote alertness, concentration, coordination and an improved mood.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to nap during the day, then here are a few strategies for a quick and productive snooze.

Wendi Young Design

Find a quiet corner in the house in which you are able to draw the curtains. This daybed with excellent light control provided by the Roman shades is perfect for a two p.m. date with the sandman.

Philpotts Interiors

Use a blanket. You’ll have a hard time falling asleep if you’re chilly. Be cautious to not overheat with heaters and blankets, as this might cause you to oversleep.


Surround yourself. Blue is associated with tranquility and produces a calming effect. It is fantastic for the mind-body connection. Think of the sea and the skies and the calming influence of being outside.

Madison Modern Home

Attempt to find a space in your house where you feel removed from everything that is happening. Ideally, you would like to be away from the noise of TVs, mobile phones as well as the doorbell. This cozy nook feels exactly like a nest, and curtains provide a visual barrier.

Mahoney Architects & Interiors

Many people today say they have a hard time falling asleep during the day. Try reading a novel. For many people, this really is the magical tip for slipping into that quick catnap.

Dreamy Whites

Produce a bed of white linens and use lavender-scented lace spray. Much safer than having a candle, aromatherapy can relax your body and create the calming effect you need to fall asleep.

Dan Forer, Photographer

White noise might help also; try the noise of waves or birds chirping.

Ownby Design

If you’re one of those folks who prefers to not nap during the day or just cannot fall asleep, consider taking 20 minutes to sit at a nice room or by a fire and have your own private timeout.

Allow me to know what you think in the Comments section — following your nap, naturally.

8 Decorating Ideas for a Fantastic Night’s Sleep
Your Own Perfect Bedroom: Calm and Airy or Moody and Dark?
Ways to Get the Hang of a Hammock

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'Extremely Loud' Teems With Children' Décor Ideas

Oskar Schell lives in a world that is twisty. In the Oscar-nominated film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, this nine-year-old narrator is quick to share his likes and dislikes. Although he loves making jewelry and origami, playing his tambourine and studying astronomy he hates public transport, bridges and meat. Oskar’s enchanting New York City bedroom is a dream kids’ room, but the viewer immediately strikes at. It is clear the Oskar’s room is his refuge — that is how every kid should feel about their own, special space.

Oscar Sunday: 7 p.m. Eastern, 4 p.m. Pacific, Feb. 26, 2012

Warner Brothers

Film set: Oskar has a lot of diverse interests, and his room is a wonderful display of his or her passions. As soon as you see it, you get a feeling of that he is. Maps that are hand-drawn and Star charts cover the walls. Models, minishrines, photos and toys litter his desk and shelves.

Dufner Heighes Inc

Get the look: A child’s bedroom is where their personality should shine. Consider adding design with background or an enjoyable paint colour to start. Map background is a timeless and lively addition to any child’s room. If you’re up for it, let your kid mark where he or she’s been with thumbtacks or decals for a more personalized touch. Built-in shelves are great display cases for decorations, art jobs or favorite collections. They’re also simple storage and display solutions which will continue to work to come.

Laura Bendik Interiors

Get the look: select a theme, but keep it simple.Oskar is a self-described amateur astronomer, thus a room such as this definitely would be his cup of tea. If your son or daughter is actually into a specific action at the moment, let them go for it in their room. Themed rooms could be somewhat daunting, since inevitably they’re going to have to be changed as your child grows. However, you can still keep a theme key. This chamber does a great job — a hand-painted star chart, planets above the window along with a telescope at the corner are all it took to turn this to a fantasy room.

Warner Brothers

Film set: Each thing in Oskar’s room is a cherished treasure on display. When it’s his secret shrine for his dad, photographs, origami, toy models or his cherished tambourine, he keeps everything organized and safely secured in its own unique place.

Get the look: Creative storage solutions can help keep toys and treasures organized.If that your son or daughter is a pack rat like Oskar, consider coming up with simple methods encourage business. When divided up into smaller sections, it’s less likely that a wall socket shelf will become a cluttered mess. A pair of small bins, a dresser with minidrawers or drawer dividers, or cabinets with a number of shelves all have smaller spots that can help cut down the clutter and keep things neat and tidy.

Pour Toujours

Get the look: Flat surfaces can keep favorite things on hand.Even though some things should be safely tucked away, allow your child to show the cream of this crop. Flat surfaces keep favorite items at a handy place for playtime. Trays are a terrific tool here also — use a few colorful ones to carry unfinished puzzles, small parts of models or even a Lego sculpture.

Michelle Hinckley

Get the look: Don’t overlook the walls. Even if you’re not fond of posters on your superbly painted walls (my mom wasn’t), there are plenty of smart techniques to allow your children personalize the wall area in their rooms. Bulletin boards are a simple solution — in actuality, Oskar has several in his room in the film. They’re an ideal place to pin up photographs, older ticket stubs — or, even in case your kid is like Oskar, the latest origami attempt.

Warner Brothers

Film set: Oskar is a complex kid, to say the very least. He’s shy in some ways and outgoing others. Nevertheless, when it comes down to it, he is only a kid, and every kid needs some space to play and get a bit cluttered.

David Howell Design

Get the look: Make space for playtime. Let your child enjoy being a kid while there’s time. Lots of carpet space and large tabletops are great places for kids to spread all of their toys outside and get a bit cluttered. Establish a craft table for finger painting and other projects. Or if your kid is more into trains or cars, make a special spot to establish tracks.

Marie Burgos Design

Get the look: Is your kid into music? If their interests move beyond the tambourine, you may consider preparing a special practice place. Obviously, electronic devices with cans or installing a tiny bit of extra soundproofing may be worth your while also.

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Decorate With Intention: Give Kids' Rooms a Boost

Wee socks everywhere and not a match available? A wealth of toys, yet the children claim to be bored? We’ve all been there. A former preschool teacher and mom of an active toddler , I’ve dug deep in years of experience to talk about my 10 best hints on creating beautiful and practical children’s spaces. We continue our series on decorating with intention this week with a peek at a few of the usual themes parents can concentrate on when little ones arrive on the scene. Let us get started.

Jute Interior Design

1. A youngster’s -eye perspective.

A great thing to do when designing children’s rooms is to literally get back on their level. In fact, babyproofing experts often recommend crawling through your home to spot any possible risks. Safety issues aside, you can also use this hint to help decide which toys to place on lower shelves, where to place that cozy reading corner and where to hang art so your little one will actually be able to see it.

2. The wholesome home.

When children are in the home, it’s essential to be thoughtful about the finishes and materials used around the home, particularly if you’re remodeling or adding a lot of new furniture. Natural fibers, reclaimed and untreated woods, paints with zero or low VOC (volatile organic compounds) and also air-cleaning plants are all excellent options.

From House to Home

3. Embrace the power of less.

Don’t be afraid to ruthlessly winnow the amount of toys and substances in your children’s room. If a younger child is having difficulty letting go of old toys, consider decluttering the room on your own. You will be amazed at how much more engaged your child becomes when there is not as to concentrate on.

Initially to go ought to be any toys that are broken or have missing bits, and those that are no more age appropriate. If that still leaves you with a heap of toys that are obnoxiously bright or loud, or drive you nuts, either give them away or store them at a special rainy-day box.

A word of caution if you do eliminate toys in your child’s lack: You may choose to hold off on really giving the items away in the event you’ve mistakenly attempted to get rid of a real favorite. The point is not to cause meltdowns but to simplify and help your child concentrate on beloved toys and games.

Jeanette Lunde

4. Rotate toys.

Once you have eliminated older, weatherproof and broken toys from the stash, then you still may have more left than comfortably fits on the existing shelf area. Instead of rushing out to purchase more storage, then I recommend you to give this age-old suggestion a go. Place about a third of your child’s toys out on display, then pack the rest away in boxes and bins. That may seem like a lot to put away, but if you give it a go I think you’ll find cleanup time much easier. Plus, when it’s time to rotate toys, the old ones will feel completely new.

Imagine if you have no closet room to spare? No issue. Below are a few creative ways to hide toys in plain sight.
Fill vintage suitcases with additional toys and stack them at a corner. Voilà! Instant décor.Use horizontal bins or baskets to store books and puzzles under the bed or crib.Stuff a beanbag chair or Moroccan leather pouf with dress-up clothes.Utilize a storage ottoman or steamer back as toy storage and table in one.

From House to Home

5. Make room for creativity and art.

Children are naturally creative and expressive. Of course, sometimes this can come out in less-than-ideal ways, such as drawing on the walls, dividing things and generally causing havoc. Make the most of the favorable urge and make space for healthy expression rather.

A few ideas to get you started:
• Paint a entire wall or door with chalkboard paint. • Install gymnastics mats at a corner for rough-and-tumble play. • Keep simple art supplies at the ready (using a drop cloth nearby for clogs ).

Kate Jackson Design

6. Make room for play.

Particularly if you live in an urban area or are lacking outdoor play area, it’s important to integrate some playground elements into your home — space permitting, of course.

When you have the room, by all means go right ahead and devote an entire room to play. But if not, here are a couple of tips to make the most of the area you’ve got. When your children actually need to consume some energy, then they can be lifesavers.
• Consider investing in a cushioned gymnastics mat and tunnel. They can be kept flat in a closet or under a bed, and pulled out on rainy days.If your child’s room is too little for additional gear, why don’t you hang a swing at the living room? It would be a conversation starter when visitors drop by, and the children are sure to enjoy it. Just make sure you take precautions to put in it safely.If you get a long hallway, let your child use it as a”road” to get a ride-on-top vehicle or scooter.

7. Carve out a quiet place.

A calm place to study is vital for school-age children, particularly in a busy family. Find a room to dedicate to homework and quiet reading, and make sure nobody interrupts when it’s used. It could be a desk at the child’s room, a little table and chair placed on your home office, or possibly a built-in desk tucked into a little closet or alcove.

Apart from good lighting, a very clear workspace and a cozy chair, consider including a calendar or bulletin board, an object to fiddle with while believing along with a potted plant or flowers.

Fiorella Design

Two children sharing distance? It does not need to be a recipe for disaster. Start by taking an honest look at the 2 kids’ styles: Will they work nicely side by side, or would it be better to have different desks?

In case you go for the double workspace, avoid possible conflict by providing each child using a desk lamp, a cup for pens and pencils, and respective shelf space. Invite children to personalize the distance by hanging artwork, displaying favorite toys or utilizing vintage letters to spell their names.

Nicole Lanteri Design

8. Repurpose and salvage.

Decorating a child’s room need not cost a lot of money. Look to vintage sources and also other rooms in your home for furniture you might be able to utilize. For example, an older dresser can be a changing table today and still be useful when the tiny one has moved on from diapers.

If you’re performing a great deal of vintage shopping for your child’s room, the bits you bring home may not fit each other in complete or fashion, and that is OK. You can easily repaint the bits in a color you love, and also the new hue is likely to make the mismatched furniture feel like part of a intentional collection.

Classic gym lockers with brightly colored doors add a playful note that is fantastic for a boy’s room. Plus, the cubbies make it simple to maintain the room looking relatively neat. Start looking for storage that children can use to throw and move: Baskets, bins, wall hooks, and cubbies are all good options. Have all your child’s clothing on hangers? Don’t be too surprised when they end up on the ground instead of neatly wrapped in the closet.

Lauren Liess Interiors

9. Think ahead.

It’s simple to put too much focus on the point your child is in at this time, even though most of us know they grow so fast. Save time and money by thinking ahead and making a couple of design choices that will pay off in the long run. Choose classic and basic within cutesy and cartoony for bits that will remain in the room for a while, like drapes, lamps and rugs.

And think about versatility. I’ve been seeing an increasing number of daybeds in kids’ rooms lately, and I really like it. It is possible to put one in a baby’s room and use it to rest on during nighttime feedings, then transition it to a toddler bed when it’s time to move from the crib. In fact, if it’s a twin-size daybed, it could work for your child all the way to the teen years, and it typically includes a tailor-made for sleepovers.

Marie Burgos Design

Respect your teen’s desire for independence by including him or her in any style updates. Of course, you always have the power to veto, however, demonstrating that you care what he or she desires goes a long way. A quick update may incorporate a fresh coat of paint, a bigger desk and a few floating shelves to house a budding art collection. For bonus points, include a few extra stools for friends to perch on and also a wall mount for a guitar.

Kate Jackson Design

10. It is your home too.

It’s completely possible to make a child-friendly home that’s also stylish and hip. This was a lot harder years ago, but with all the new children’s products on the marketplace, plus the wealth of thoughts on home design websites like and at different websites, we now have some incredible resources at our fingertips. Don’t be afraid to expand your style in your children’s room. We spend a lot of time at our children’s rooms, particularly when they are young, therefore it’s important to spend the opportunity to make them attractive to us too.

Now it’s your turn to chime in.

Inform usWhat are your ideas on decorating children’s spaces? Challenges? Tips? What works for you?

More Decorate With Intention: Create a Vision for Your House

Kids’ Bedrooms: Amp Up the Playfulness
Kids at Work: A Kids’ Office Space in Your House

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Scandinavian Modern Expanse in Napa

Indra Fortney explains her years in Finland as a love-hate relationship. “The Finnish men and women are extremely kind and well educated, but the weather got to me,” she says. The California native found it hard to survive the long, dark winters that are part and parcel of Scandinavian living. “While I was there we had record lows for snowfall and among the darkest winters in history. We had a nine hours of daylight for the whole month of December this past year.”

As many on the West Coast know, California (and Napa, specifically) is a great spot to be both human and avocado. For the most part, Fortney now loves the Mediterranean weather that Wine Country dwellers appreciate: clean days and sleepless nights, using a relatively short rainy season in the winter.

“I do miss my customers [in Finland],” Fortney says. “From the end of the time there, I had cultivated a thriving architectural and design photography business.”

Inspire Your Own Life Style

Fortney enjoys the Ikat cloth she had custom made for the throw cushions. “Ikat fabrics are stitched on narrow looms,” she says. “It is a labor-intensive procedure. I favor handwoven Ikat fabric because it is free of the chemical additives and pressures of power-loom production, and they’re vastly different in feel and appearance from machine-made fabrics.”

Coffee table: Habitat (Sweden); floor lamp: CB2; armchairs: Classic flea market with initial faux leather upholstery; Buddha statue: Via Diva

Inspire Your Own Life Style

Inspire Your Own Life Style

Fortney’s house showcases original artwork from friends and family, and a few she made herself, such as the artwork above the table. “The photos are a triptych of my girlfriend, Anna, that volunteered to be my own version,” she explains. “I was going to get a vintage’70s Vogue [style].”

Rug: Vegetable-dyed Afghan rug from the Alameda flea market; table: Ikea; white leather chairs: imported from Finland

Inspire Your Own Life Style

Fortney enjoys the fireplace that is contemporary. “No plug, no gasoline socket,” she says. “It only burns with cans of gel. You pop open a can and light the flame.”

Art: Angela Willetts; fireplace: AllModern

Inspire Your Own Life Style

Fortney identifies the layout roots of the guest toilet as clearly Finnish. “This bathroom has the simple, clean appearance that is widespread in Finland,” she explains. “I included touches that give it a more earthy texture: pottery, baskets and an oil painting.” The oil-on-wood art piece is a smaller version of a larger fish painting by Angela Tirrell, awarded to Fortney as a housewarming present for the villa in Greece. The fish, together with a few other bits, today call Napa house.

Sink: Vessel sink by Decolav; artwork: Angela Tirrell

Inspire Your Own Life Style

The buttery cream paint colour was Fortney’s method of infusing the space with a little New England feel. “I do not mind throwing a New England reference into a contemporary, loftlike inside,” she says. “My attention was to maintain a spacious feel, a place where the two art and furnishings can breathe.”

Inspire Your Own Life Style

The master bedroom is still pristine, with a slipcover headboard and a George Nelson pendant on order. But”this article has led to a purchase of a big, beautiful new painting in our bedroom,” says Fortney. The abstract can also be by Angela Tirrell. “I asked her to deliver something over for the photo shoot,” Fortney recalls,”and decided that I couldn’t live without it” The prayer seat against the wall has been obtained from among Fortney’s trips to Nepal.

Inspire Your Own Life Style

The top shelf at Fortney’s home office, from where she asserts her blog, shows a portrait in oil that artist Caitlynn Booth did ; it was part of a larger exhibit of portraits. “The fan is circa 1940s, and the lamp is now, from Target,” says Fortney. The top, bottom-up shade is constructed from the exact same natural woven cloth as the living room colors.

Bamboo shades: Woven Woods Plus

Inspire Your Own Life Style

Fortney, found here with her husband, loves to entertain and says that their favourite spot to hang out at home is with no doubt their built-in bar. “I am always throwing a celebration,” she says. “The previous one was a Mad Men cocktail party. The open floor plan we’ve generated is the ideal arena for small or large groups of individuals.”

Inspire Your Own Life Style

The pair had a steel framework made out of a very long leg section that has been bolted into the wall. “Among my 200-pound employees stood on the bar — that is how powerful it really is,” she says. Fortney’s stepdad, who was able to design race cars for Lotus, came up with the pub layout; lacquer automobile paint was used for the bar end.

Clean, Colorful and Collected at Denmark
Guest Picks: 20 Scandinavian Finds
Regional Modern: Northern California Architecture

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Guest Groups: Chalet Getaway

This month I am embracing winter, dreaming of a romantic escape to a little chalet in the snow-topped mountains — one with a Nordic-inspired inside in wood-warmed white and black tones. Simply add a crackling fire, a hot toddy and snow falling softly out for the ideal winter retreat.
— Lori from automatism


Log Pile Cushion by Roddy & Ginger – $40

Add a magical touch of woodland prettiness using the Log Pile pillow out of Roddy & Ginger. It would be ideal in a comfy chair by the fireside.


Trio of Chalkboard Tablets from Peg and Awl – $60

This is a brilliant item to have available at a chalet or cottage — a pair of chalk tablets. They’re ideal for jotting down boardgame scores, ideas for a poem or even a visiting friend’s recipe for granola. No more scrounging for scraps of newspaper.


2012 Calendar Anek Kitchen Art Print by Anek – $32

If you find yourself losing track of those days as you’re relaxing at your chalet retreat, this fairly art print calendar by Anek will not only keep you on schedule, but also add charm to your kitchen.

Dutch by Design

Karlsson Frosted Wall Clock – GBP 32.50

Add just a little winter style whilst checking out how long the wine was mulling with this elegant wall clock. I really like the bright blue palms against the warm face.

Finnish Design Shop

Alvar Aalto 406 Armchair, Black Linen | Finnish Design Shop – EUR 1,090

A contemporary classic, the 406 Armchair by Alvar Aalto would look fantastic in just a small chalet with a fluffy sheepskin draped over the back for additional warmth. I really like this version, together with the comparison of the black linen webbing against the pale wood.


MId Century Modern Birdhouse by Nathan Danials

I really like the fresh modern shape of this handmade birdhouse — the lovely cedar wood reminds me of conventional Scandinavian saunas, although the matte black painted roof provides an elegant contrast to the warmth of the wood. Only looking at this pretty home is as pleasurable as observing its feathered tenants!

Graham and Green

Orla Kiely Grey Sugar Bowl – GBP 17

This fairly sugar bowl featuring the traditional gray Linear Stem print by Orla Kiely would seem equally as great holding sweets as it would holding jewellery. I really like the comparison of this graphic ceramic bowl with the lid of exotic Freijo wood also.


TWIGGY Modern Coat Hook by StudioLiscious – $32

Sturdy enough to hang the bulkiest down-filled coat , the design of this elegantly simple Twiggy hook comes in the twig perches that StudioLiscious makes for their line of birdhouses and feeders. I really like the feel of this birch plywood base — so fairly.

Snowden Flood

Kew Gardens Scented Candle – GBP 19.50

Add a little love to your cozy cottage with this candle, which will fill the room with a wintry fresh scent of spruce, Scot’s pine and fir trees. You will also admire the warm glow through the pretty pine branch pattern on the glass holder.

Haus Interior

Black / White Rug – $651

This strikingly graphic, hand-printed rug in Haus Interior would look fantastic on a wood floor whilst adding a bit of warmth .


Place of Teak Canisters by Valerie’s Vintage Home – $48

Keep your tea, cookies and crispbreads tucked away in style in this lovely trio of solid teak mid-century canisters. They’re ideal for a tiny kitchen, in which good-looking storage is essential.

Black Sheep White Light

Icelandic Sheepskin Rug – CAD 159

No chalet would be complete without a sheepskin rug to help keep you warm on cold winter nights. This one from Black Sheep White Light conforms to stringent EU environmental directives. It is a terrific way to add texture and warmth to a minimalist cottage.


Lamp CAMP, White – EUR 165

An elegant contemporary take on the camping lantern, the Camp Light is the perfect way to make a warm ambiance in your space. I am able to see this collection on the dining table, casting a soft pool of light over an evening game of Scrabble.

Haus Interior

Alpaca Wool Throw – $167

When the snow begins falling out in earnest, remain snug and warm beneath this lovely, soft wool toss in an elegant black and white test. Add a crackling fire and a good book, and you’re all set.


Vintage Danish Teak Salad Bowl by Bel Modo – $19

The simple lines of this vintage teak salad bowl would seem equally as great holding popcorn, pretzels or balls of yarn.


Danish Modern Vintage Lounge Chair by Rhan – $405

Make an impression in your small chalet with this stunning vintage Danish lounge chair. Gently restored (repainted its first black), it merely needs is a seat cushion to be ready for long evenings lounging with firm.


Modernist Teak Salt & Pepper Shakers by Vintage Modern and More – $15

This charming set of 1970s cherry pepper and salt shakers is sufficient to keep out on the dining room table when there’s no meal being served. I really like them.

Finnish Design Shop

Baby Rocket Stool – EUR 183

I just love the great silhouette of this charming Baby Rocket Stool from Eero Aarnio — it is like sculpture you are able to sit . But besides being handy additional seating, it might be equally as useful as a side table or bedside table.


White Birch Wall Art from Urban+Forest – $100

Add a reference to the forests out of your window with this intriguing white birch wall art, created from reclaimed white birch from Maine. I really like the way that it’s both organic and contemporary.

Finnish Design Shop

Nordic Wool Thermo Cup – EUR 29.90

Give your apres ski treat of hot chocolate a comfy look by viewing it in the playful Nordic Wool Thermo Cup, with a layout inspired by the designs from Nordic knits.

Get the Look: Modern Rustic

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