Have Your Open Kitchen and Close It Off

Allow me to say up front that at the great debate on open versus closed kitchens, I am firmly onto the open-plan team. I’ve helped dozens of layout clients tear down walls and open kitchens up to adjoining spaces, and demo day always brings enormous smiles as the homeowners obtain their first glimpse of what the newly opened-up kitchen is going to look and feel like.

However, after years of living with kitchens that are open, I realize there are many detractors amongst us. There are individuals who entertain and cook often and do not particularly like to have their own kitchen mess in open view of their guests. Some would rather not smell their dinner through the home long after it has been prepared and eaten. I propose that you can have your open-plan kitchen but use some suggestions to shut it off to conceal a mess, or to keep your guests from underfoot as you prepare your own feast.

Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

Give Yourself Options

Consider installing a large sliding barn door or 2, to allow you the flexibility of having a spacious or closed kitchen. You can keep it available for everyday use — to delight in the open, expansive feel and circulation of light — while using the choice to close those doors if you want to keep children, pets out or visitors, or to conceal the prep mess while entertaining.

K.Marshall Design Inc..

Close off the part of the kitchen which sees the most action — like the area close to the primary sink or range. You can keep the rest of the kitchen, which perhaps doesn’t get overly cluttered, open and accessible to all.

diSalvo Interiors

If you want to have the ability to shut off the kitchen but still want to have an open atmosphere and light, put in a door made of a translucent material. You can close it to block out cooking scents or sounds without feeling entirely closed off from the rest of the home.

Allen Construction

These folding doors above the island are a brilliant way to produce a hybrid open-closed kitchen.

Bushman Dreyfus Architects

Visually Close It Away

That really is a cool option for a contemporary loft space. Metal mesh drapes installed on a monitor allow the kitchen to go from open to closed. The kitchen still has an open feel, but the drape can disguise any kitchen messes. It certainly discourages visitors from getting in the way while someone is elbow deep in meal prep, too.

Gast Architects

This kitchen combines closed and open in a means which allows the chef to still be a part of the party. A peninsula limits the circulation of traffic to the kitchen also creates more space for working cooking magic. Upper cabinets add to the partially enclosed effect.

Laidlaw Schultz architects

Raise Your Isle

If it’s not so much children or guests circulating to your kitchen area that disturbs you, but more a necessity to disguise meal-prep messes, consider increasing the far end of your island. It provides visitors a nice place to perch at as you work in the sink or cooktop, too.

Suyama Peterson Deguchi

Viewed from outside the kitchen, a raised island will obstruct the view to the kitchen work surfaces.

Loop Design

Insert a Half Wall

This kitchen opens to the adjacent dining area, but a half wall provides some separation. Additionally, it hides most of the work surfaces in the kitchen from perspective. This setup means someone can easily mingle together and serve guests without having the remains of their meal prep on full screen.

Vent the Smells

when you have an open-plan kitchen and cook often, I can not emphasize enough how important it is to put in a high quality, properly powered venting hood which vents to the outside. A recirculating blower simply will not cut it ; you need to receive the cooking smells up and out of your home.

Here is a guide to selecting and installing the correct vent hood to your kitchen.

Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

Invest in Quieter Appliances

you desire your port hood to efficiently eliminate kitchen odors within a spacious kitchen, and you also want it to be quiet. Some port hoods and dishwashers are so loud when they are running, it’s like you are hanging out on a aircraft carrier once you are close to them. Great sound-dampened appliances are going to cost you more, but they’re worth it if you are dedicated to an open-plan concept and do not want to listen to excess blower sound.

Inform us : Can you prefer an open or closed kitchen? What are your tips for making it work for you?

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Just-Right Realism in an Eclectic Family Home

Yes, this is my residence. I opted to include it not because I think that it’s perfect, but because it is an ongoing project that comes with lots of DIY, a sensible budget and one major remodeling project.

We purchased the house, in San Francisco’s Sunset District, in 1998, and it was a total dump. The linoleum was duct taped to the baseboards, the entire place was covered in white wall-to-wall and the garden has been empty except for weeds and puppy poop. We didn’t find until later we moved in that there was not any hot water in the kitchen. We paid $302,000 for it.

It was the height of this dot-com flourish, and we were actually being priced out of the housing market by the day. We purchased in a blind panic, and on the day we signed the paperwork, I cried my eyes out. It was definitely not my dream house.

We fixed it up as best we could with no money (we spent all of it buying the area), ripping out carpet, refinishing floors, and painting and replacing warped and mildewed doors. And then we lived in it pretty much as it had been for ten years, attempting to use decorating flair to cover for its own shortcomings. Additionally, we added two people to our family, making the place look even more compact compared to its 1,100 square feet.

Then, in 2011, we finally remodeled, opening up the entire first floor and gutting the kitchen entirely. The place is still little and imperfect. Nonetheless, it is our house, and also reflects our own life and personalities perfectly.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Me; my husband, Pete; our 6-year-old twins, Magnolia and Oliver; 5 chickens and 1 goldfish
Location: San Francisco
Size: 1,100 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms
Next big project: Adding a separate room and toilet into the back of the garage

We knocked a wall down to open the kitchen into the living room. A table and a hanging globe light demarcate the dining room area between them. My dad painted the canvas about 1967. I discovered it in my mom’s garage, cleaned it up, repainted the frame and voil√†. I discovered that the ’60s-age ladder chairs on the sidewalk first 1 morning — my best street find ever.

I wished to keep the color palette in the brand new kitchen fairly earthy and neutral so I could have plenty of vibrant accessories. Also, as soon as your living room looks to the kitchen, it is wonderful to keep it simple.

My inspiration for those stuff was a creek bed: timber, stone, water and forest (that’s the green you can view out both big windows in the last photograph). The countertops are Caesarstone; the top cabinets are quarter-sawn oak in a slab style. The lower ones are a color named Truffle, in a Shaker style.

Besides accessories, this is the sole wall color on the entire first floor. It is barely noticeable, but I think that it adds some warmth. The moment I painted it, the entire place seemed more “done.”

All these are custom shelves that I had our builder build. My inspiration was this photo from . I wanted a little flourish in an otherwise modern and clean-lined room.

The yellow sofa was an impulse purchase, and I love it. I love color in a large, white space. I had the cushions made from a Otomi embroidery I got in Mexico.

The carved Indian table is from a local import store, and the chairs were bought out of an early property office which was going out of business. I planned to re-cover them, but the black has sort of grown on me.

This attorney’s bookcase is in the same defunct property office. As it’s such a beautiful display case, I use it for knickknacks as much as for novels. The toughest things to choose in the entire remodel were that the sconces. I ordered and returned three places before I discovered these geometric milky glass ones.

I adore the look of old and new together. This is my collection of miniature modern chairs next to my collection of old etiquette and homemaking novels.

I covered the backs of those shelves with bits of Woods wallpaper using double-stick tape. The bookshelf looked too thick and dim in the first, and the paper helps lighten it up.

This is right across from the living room couch. More mixing of old and new. The mirror is out of my great-aunt; the photos are by San Francisco photographer Thomas Chang. The low console is from Ikea; it retains kids’ toys and games. The white basket is full of construction blocks.

A detail of the stuff on my console. I adore these yarn flowers, because they never expire! I’ve yellow ones in the bedroom.

Our house’s previous owner turned the linen closet to a water closet. For years we all had to walk across the hallway to wash our hands in the primary bathroom. Then we discovered this toilet-sink combo, and we finally have a fully working powder room. It also saves a ton of water.

I traded a buddy a little table with this bookcase. I then painted it that the brightest, reddest pink I could find after realizing that I have a lot of red, pink and turquoise in the art here.

Down the hallway, reverse the pink bookcase.

Our twins share a space so we can have this combination TV room, office and guest room in our bedroom. It also houses all our novels and also my husband’s closet. It is a very crowded room. A sleeper couch is a must-have for small houses.

The shelf above my desk (in the same third bedroom). There’s a magnetic strip below the shelf so that I can hang inspirational bits and ephemera.

Our small bathroom. There are not any windows, but there’s an opaque skylight for natural lighting. I hung a large full size mirror on the wall next to the sink to try to create a sense of space.

The kids’ room, courtesy of Ikea. The only way to get two 6-year-olds into a very small bedroom would be to utilize loft beds which can accommodate furniture underneath. In our case this means a dresser, a desk and a toy storage tower for each kid.

Most pictures of kids’ rooms allow me to sigh, because they are unrealistically neat and clutter free. The truth is, kids are natural collectors and hoarders. I openly acknowledge that this is as clear as this place gets.

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An Florida Bungalow Gets Brand-New Polish

Perhaps it had been the dune and the beach leading to the gulf. Perhaps it had been the warm gulf breezes. Perhaps it was just one of those beautiful Florida days with heavy blue skies and puffy white clouds. Whatever it was, I immediately fell in love with this wonderfully renovated bungalow on the Gulf of Mexico. Certainly part of my passion for this home comes in the narrative of its renovation.

Recently bought by only its fourth owner in the century since it was built, the house, now called Idlewild Cottage, had dropped into quite a lot of disrepair. Let’s face it, a century on Florida’s gulf coast can be demanding for any construction, particularly after the likes of the Tampa Bay Hurricane of 1921 came barreling through. In fact, since it was first built by Angel Cuesta (of Cuesta-Rey cigars) in 1919, Idlewild Cottage has witnessed its share of hurricanes.

But the home’s less-than-perfect condition didn’t deter the new owners. Having played on the beach in front of the home as a child, one of them couldn’t wait to undertake the renovation. And it would have been much cheaper to have torn down the house and built new. But renovating the old residence and keeping those memories alive was the right thing to do. As Ed and Julie, the owners, have said, people walk by and thank them for saving the house. Surely a cost can’t be placed on that — particularly as so several of these wonderful Florida bungalows have contributed to much bigger homes and condominium buildings.

So thanks to Ed, Julie, architect Andy Dohmen of Design Styles Architecture and builder Steve Perry of J.S. Perry & Co. for maintaining Idlewild Cottage secure for future generations to enjoy from the beach nearby.

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

The renovated porch is a great location for relaxing and enjoying the noises, scents and sights of the beach and the gulf waters. Having a salvaged brick floor and a tongue and groove timber ceiling, the porch is in keeping with the historic nature of the house. Electronically controlled roll-down displays keep this a fantastic spot for hanging out just about every single day of the year. And you can find speakers for when the party moves outside.

A large sliding glass door attracts light and views to the inside, and also the glass not only is impact resistant to withstand hurricanes, but it’s also turtle friendly. You seethis glass has a unique treatment that prevents the turtles from getting confused when they are migrating to put their eggs.

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

In the beach side of the house it’s apparent the remodeled home is a party of the Florida lifestyle. In the huge patio with an integrated spa to the porch area to stay from sunlight and rain, the home provides a range of outdoor spaces.

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

The rebuilt entry side shows off a number of the job’s sustainable features, from deep overhangs to shade the windows in the Florida sun to fiber cement siding to barrels to capture rainwater for irrigation. Actually, renovating the house to add sustainability was one of Ed and Julie’s requirements.

The upstairs master bedroom is a small room, just 12 feet square, with windows on three sides (you may see two of those sides ). With all those windows and the view from the gulf, the room is like an airplane cockpit, says Julie.

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

Just because it’s an old house doesn’t mean it has to live old. Several inside walls were eliminated, and an entirely new structure was installed to create an open living room. This wasn’t all that simple to perform. That gorgeous floor is the first timber, but the structure supporting it had to be rebuilt. Builder Steve Perry and his crew pulled up the flooring and rebuilt the structure, then relaid and refinished the flooring.

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

With built-in appliances, custom cabinetry and a glass tile backsplash, this kitchen is all about convenience and fashion. My favorite aspect of this kitchen other than the wine cooler, of course — is your colour palette. Soft grays and blues echo the sand and water just outside.

Before Photo

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

The house stays exactly the exact same dimensions and appears much as it did before the remodel. But don’t let that fool you. New siding, windows, roofing and a great deal of new framing create for a brand-new old residence.

Click photos for larger views

Before Photo

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

The original structure had sagging beams, rotted timber and termite damage and has been almost completely replaced.

Before Photo

J. S. Perry & Co., Inc..

The inside had a different kind of 3-D result: dark, damaged and obsolete. Now the inside is a celebration of light and relaxation.

Tall ceilings enable tall windows, which makes this room a excellent location for kicking off shoes, catching a drink and watching the gulf waters.

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Balloon Shades Float Into Fashion

Within the family of window treatments, the balloon color is the opulent, maybe not- so-distant cousin of the Roman colour. Substantial balloonlike puffs are made by inverting pleats in the fabric and repeating them several times across the expanse of a window, allowing the substance to scallop at the base.

The balloon color delivers on softness and texture, but it remains more of a decorative element than a practical one, as it requires fluffing and washing. Consider using balloon shades in rooms that are traditional in design and need little change in light to keep maintenance to a minimum.

Siemasko + Verbridge

Formal Balloon Shade

Every fantastic room deserves excellent window treatments. An arched window opening is the best setting for this very tailored balloon color with bottom bullion fringe.

Style suggestion: Should you desire an even more formal texture, decrease your balloon color farther. The more fabric that is exposed, the more appropriate the window therapy seems.

RSVP Design Services

Conventional and Casual

The accumulated top heading generates more of a flouncy look on this balloon colour. The imperfect scalloped bottom adds a relaxed note, while the fringe is just the ideal touch to complement the chandelier.

Style suggestion: Rather than fitting the fabric of the window treatment exactly to other upholstered pieces, coordinate over the general color palette for a more casual look.

Classic Symmetry

The perfect symmetry from the reversed pleats of the balloon colour has a more streamlined and classic appearance. The very best banding is an up-to-date strategy that ties from the yellow of the banquette fabric.

Style suggestion: Apply a contrasting band in a coordinating color to incorporate your general colour story throughout the space.

Harper Design from HarperCollins Publishers

Eclectic Edge

though balloon shades are very traditional in design, this set succeeds in creating a contemporary look. The geometric design of the fabric, together with the playful vertical ties, adds to the element of whimsy that’s often found in eclectic spaces.

Style suggestion: Save money by producing your own balloon color — vertically gather one, ordinary curtain from top to bottom with ribbon.

Cabell Design Studio

Dazzling Duo

A window behind the mattress may be awkward, but maybe not in this bedroom. A balloon color done in the exact same fabric as the swag over the mattress is the ideal mix.

Style suggestion: though the window is arched, the balloon valance has a straight top. Think about trying multiple techniques with these colors — there’s no exact formula, and what looks good may surprise you.

Jamie Herzlinger

Toilet Solution

You need both privacy and light in a bathroom. In this room, a dual balloon valance provides a spectacular example of two purposes within one layout. The rear balloon color is a sheer fabric that may offer solitude but let in light, while the forwards balloon color can block out light if needed.

Style suggestion: The longer inverted pleats you enhance your balloon color, the more fuller and more tasteful it becomes.


Camouflaged Treatment

This elegant balloon color, done in a complex toile fabric, disappears to the fitting wall covering. Repeating the design of the wall covering on the window therapy emphasizes the tiled bathtub opening and adjacent cabinetry, maybe not the colour.

Style suggestion: This effect works just as well with solid colors. Choose a fabric in a color similar to your paint colour to emphasize other architectural components in a space.

Kelly Mack Home

Playful Style

This balloon color is the ideal complement to this fun wallcovering. The balloon color design has a shirred (a couple of rows of gathering) top that enriches the fabric’s playfulness in the body of the window treatment.

Style suggestion: Contemplating making a fitting balloon valance for a topper into your shower curtain for a coordinated look.

Interior Styles, Inc..

Layered Lesson

Use your balloon shade for a background for additional treatments on the same window. Here we have a balloon color flanked by a set of drapery panels and finished off with a decorative valance — layering at its best!

Style suggestion: To get a slightly lighter appearance, consider forgoing the side drapery panels and letting the balloon color shine on its own.


Sheer balloon shades cover half of the window whilst filtering soft light to the space. Four symmetrical drapery panels offer additional texture and function along with the gathering of their bedskirt.

Style suggestion: If you put in the perpendicular lines of drapery panels into some window treatment ensemble, ceilings will look taller than they actually are.

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Guest Picks: Hit the Slopes!

When my husband and I met I was a stranger to ski. Five years later, I find myself looking forward to our annual ski trip each winter. Though, that may simply be because I really like heating up fireside, at a cottage, while drinking gallons of warm cocoa. — Rachel from Raenovate


Ski Lodge Recycled Felt Applique by Alexandra Ferguson – $99

Each ski lodge needs this picture pillow.


Fire Drum 2 – $2,800

Warm up alongside Malm’s fire drum after a very long day on the slopes.

Baron Bob

Inflatable Deer Head – $19.95

I’m in love with this PETA-friendly alternate to that quintessential object of ski lodge decor, the deer head.

Keep Calm Prints

Keep Calm and Ski On, Navy – $64.99

This winter, maintain calm and ski on!


Cable Knit Sweater Mug – $20

Layering up is the secret to keeping yourself warm on the mountain — and your cherry warm at the kitchen.

The Land of Nod

Pink Snowflake Felt Garland – $29

Deck the halls of your ski lodge using this colorful, snowy garland.


Love Hot Water Bottle – GBP 14.95

My favourite way to heat up is using a hot water bottle, especially one full of love.

Jayson Home

Silver Glitter Tree, Large – $46

Frost yourself!

The Container Store

Who wouldn’t like a brown paper package tied up with snow?

Garnet Hill

Slalom Flannel Bedding – $34

There’s nothing quite like climbing into a bed composed with toasty flannel sheets, let alone vintage-inspired skier sheets.


Vintage Ski Coat Rack – GBP 119

Made from a pair of vintage skis, this coat rack is perfect for hanging your winter gear in style.

Cozy Faux

Faux-Fur Cozy Chic – $198

What kind of ski lodge is it if there isn’t a bear skin rug or faux-fur blanket for a few post-slopes romance?


Nordic Napkins – $39

Nothing says Nordic such as a hand-embroidered alpine skier cloth napkin.

Sundance Catalog

Snowflake Hooked Runner – $295

Cold floors at the winter is your worst! Keep your tootsies warm with this picture snowflake runner.


Let It Snow Globe Tea Towel – $15.99

If you are unable to reach the hills this winter, then you could always wind up your own snowy scenery with a snow globe or snow-globe-inspired decor.

Garnet Hill

Skier Dinnerware – $48

I am always starving after a day of skiing, and what better way to chow down than using a thematic set of dinnerware?


Snowflake Stocking Hanger – $48

“And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.”

Ironworks Home

Snow Guage – $44.95

Plant this wrought iron snowflake snow judge in your yard, and perform your own powder report.

Magpie and Rye

Fire Starter Bundle – $16

There’s nothing better than lounging fireside after a day on the slopes. Begin your fire efficiently with Magpie and Rye’s beautifully designed apparel.

Schoolhouse Electric

German Incense Smoker – Forester or Skier – $58

Invite this smoking skier incense burner. Handmade in Germany, the skier houses pine-scented incense that billows from the mouth when lit. It is joyous and functional!

Next: Dreaming of a White Christmas

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How to Identify an Antique Dresser by Its Signature

Early wood furniture crafters, much like other artisans, frequently left their signature, also known as a maker’s mark, on completed furniture pieces. These signatures help buyers and buyers identify and authenticate the piece of furniture. The signature on your antique dresser, along with other clues, can potentially help you learn more about its own history and craftsmanship.

Search Your Dresser

Analyze your antique door to look for a mark, stamp or signature. Typically, early craftsmen put a mark on the bottom, the back or inside a drawer. The location and style of the mark can fluctuate depending on whether the antique furniture piece has been created and built by an independent craftsman or someone who worked for a furniture business. You might be searching for a handmade material signature, a carved or engraved mark or even a custom manufacturing stamp.

Gather Documentation

Thorough detective work regarding the mark, signature or stamp on your dresser will call for a physical examination of the mark along with research and maybe the opinion of an appraiser or antique trader. Collect information regarding the signature that would be helpful to a specialist. Take clear photographs of your dresser as well as the signature — electronic if possible. Start looking for a date if you think the piece might have been crafted, and make notes about the mark, especially if it’s not apparent or completely null. As an example, can it be stamped in ink, a paper label, a metallic plate or a carving?

Consult Ethical Resources

Consult sites such as Antique Marks or even Kovels to look for the maker identified on any marks or signatures you found on your antique dresser. Books such as “A Dictionary of Marks: Metalwork, Furniture, Ceramics: The Investigation Handbook for Antique Collectors” by Margaret Macdonald-Taylor can help you learn more about the signature in your piece. Websites such as Collector’s Weekly and Your Antique Furniture Guide also offer helpful periodic updates.

Consider a specialist

Find an appraiser if you wish to have your dresser officially appraised within an antique. The appraiser can examine the signature and provide you a written present value to the dresser, which can be great for insurance purposes. If you choose to consult an appraiser, then you can usually find a specialist by calling or visiting nearby antique stores for referrals. The appraiser will examine the dresser and its own signature; notice its construction, layout, design, material and patina; see if any components have been replaced or solved because manufacture; and provide an estimate as to its age.

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The Way to Work With a Remodeler

Lifestyles evolve over time, and so do our homes. Infants are born; children grow up and leave the nest; aging parents join the household. And even when a home functions just how it needs to, changing design trends and new materials can render older spaces looking somewhat cluttered and dusty.

That’s where a professional remodeler comes from. Read on to find out what a remodeler can do for you and how to get the maximum out of your own experience.

Michael Robert Construction

What a remodeler does: A remodeler is a contractor with a concentration on creating structural alterations to an existing house or building. He or she implements architectural plans and sometimes provides residential design services. Remodelers also perform a number of the same duties as a general contractor, such as hiring and overseeing subcontractors and sourcing materials. Many states have certification requirements for remodelers.

When to hire a single: If you’re planning a significant change or improvement to your house, hire a remodeling contractor to guarantee the integrity of the design and construction, and also to ensure you will meet current building codes. Remodelers are also well versed in cost estimating, legal problems and other nuts and bolts concerns.

What it will cost: Remodelers’ fees take many distinct forms, and costs vary widely depending on the nature of the work and the materials utilized. Although some may agree to a flat fee, others charge a percentage of their total labor and materials costs (typically 10 to 15 percent, but sometimes as large as 25 percent).

It’s worth noting that, as with many facets of home improvement, you get exactly what you pay for — a remodeler who may charge more but has profound expertise and a sterling reputation is usually worth the excess price. Do not hire according to the lowest estimate alone.

Where to locate one: Read the directory of specialists on or listings from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Check to see if there are remodelers’ trade organizations in your area as well. Another professional you’re working with, such as an interior designer, also may have the ability to give you leads.

Should you detect that one of your neighbours is doing work (remodelers frequently place a sign with their name and emblem in the front yard during construction), inquire if they’d recommend the professional they have hired.

Bosworth Hoedemaker

Have a clear idea of what you want. Maybe you’re looking to double the size and change the footprint of an obsolete kitchen, or perhaps you want to convert your attic into a guest suite. Consider the reach of the project you have in mind and generate a ideabook or cull other design resources for inspiration. Do not worry too much about if every detail is achievable; your remodeler will help you brainstorm alternatives if it isn’t.

Interview the candidates in your short listing. Not just should you confirm that they have experience with the kind of project you’ve got in mind, but you’ll also need to be certain that you’ve got a good rapport and communicate well.

Ask detailed questions about job history, professional instruction and affiliations, licensing requirements and insurance, and get the names of a couple references. If lead paint is an issue in your house, you may also should confirm that the remodeler is lead-safe certified under EPA guidelines.

Visit an in-progress job site. Request to fall by a few of the remodeler’s current job sites. This may give you a sneak peek at what your experience may be like. Is the site clean and well preserved, and does function seem to be progressing in an orderly manner? Look closely at the character of the construction and also the attention to detail as well.

Ventana Construction LLC

Be sure you understand the details of the contract. Once you’ve chosen a pro, examine the contract in detail to be certain you won’t encounter any surprises. Besides basics such as contact information for the remodeler and others who are supervising, license number and insurance information, it should incorporate a start-to-finish schedule, a materials list with price breakdowns, payment terms, alter order specifications, patterns or detailed sketches and provisions for conflict resolution. Do not be shy about asking the remodeler to describe any information you find confusing.

Confirm that areas of the house the undertaking will affect. You might be remodeling a single area, however the temporary disturbance could extend to adjoining spaces. Electric wiring and other behind-the-walls systems may be impacted. Ask the remodeler which rooms the work will touch so that you can prepare accordingly.

John Kraemer & Sons

Do your part to produce the remodeler’s job easier. Clear furniture out from affected rooms, be certain the work team has adequate space to park and transport stuff, and also make provisions to maintain pets and children well out of the way. Give the remodeler an idea of your family’s daily schedule and stick to it as closely as possible to minimize disruptions to the workflow.

Make sure you’re easily reachable even when you’re not as onsite. And should you decide to make a shift along the way, try not to haul out the decision-making procedure, which may throw the schedule significantly off schedule.

Do not wait to listen to problems. Few, if any, remodeling projects reach the finish line without a few bumps and snags along the way. Speak up when a problem arises, while it’s substandard work quality, a communication breakdown or a subcontractor who leaves the site in disarray. That way, you and the remodeler can agree on a plan to solve it as soon as possible, before work proceeds too much — and you’ll feel confident that you’ll be completely satisfied when it is time to make the final payment for the occupation.

More: Find a remodeler near you

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Interior Trim: 8 Must-Know Elements

Welcome to the fantastic world of interior trim. From baseboards to casings, from crown moldings to railings, trim is a style element that adds depth, detail and richness to a room. But it has become so common, so omnipresent, that lots of people don’t give it much consideration. We go to the local lumber store or big-box home centre and buy a few feet of”colonial” or”ranch” moldings and then call it a day. That is a shame, as there are so many profiles, sizes, fabrics and much more.

So let us look at some molding and trim elements and see how they are positioned on a wall and also the way they could enliven a room.

dSPACE Studio Ltd, AIA

1. Base. Employed where the walls and flooring come together, the base, or baseboard, conceals any gaps between wall and floor finishes in addition to provides protection to the wall end from shifting feet, jostled furniture, etc.. Traditionally it had been composed of three distinct components: a shoe (the little, curved or beveled bit that transforms from baseboard to floor), the baseboard (the tall, flat piece) and the cap (an ornamental piece that sits atop the baseboard). But foundations are now more frequently than not manufactured from a single bit to get a cleaner and more modern aesthetic.

Incidentally, when I was considerably younger, I moved to architectural school in London and worked for a British construction firm. In addition to learning a new language (we all know a”elevator” is an”elevator” and the first floor is the second floor), I heard that the British term for a baseboard is”skirting.” I like that term, especially as a base and a skirt have.

Hanson Fine Building

2. Chair rail. Moving up the wall from the floor, the next bit of trim after the base is the seat rail. Functionally, this trim item protects the walls finish from any furniture that gets put against the wall. Though most commonly installed around 36 inches from the floor, a chair rail could be set up just about at any given height. The key issue is the way the seat railing divides the wall into horizontal layers and getting those proportions right.

Shirley Meisels

3. Wainscot. While the space between the seat rail and baseboard could be finished as the rest of the wall (painted or wallpapered), many times the place is paneled. The options for the wainscot are numerous, such as easy wood panels, beadboard, raised panels and flat wood paneling. And though the end of the wainscoting may match the wood trim, it does not need to. By way of instance, a painted wood baseboard and wainscot of easy, recessed panels functions well with the stained wood window and door trim.

Clay Squared to Infinity

4. Window casing. The conventional way of casing a window (or door) would be to use different side, top and bottom bits. Since each piece is distinct, the trim can be detailed and articulated. For instance, along the top of the windows there may be a horizontal ring that offers a base for a large, flat ring that retains a shaped crown. This really is a semicustom approach, as each bit may be purchased, or milled, and set up separately, getting you the specific profile and appearance you will want.

The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn

Using a pleasant, deep sill to put objects on is an edge to casing a window using distinct pieces. And the flat bit below the stool (shelf), called the apron, may be shaped and sized as you like. The feces can be shallow or deep, depending on what you want to put there and you are overall design.

Veranda Estate Homes & Interiors

5. Door casing. Like window casing, door casing is traditionally set up as separate bits. But unlike any window casing, door casing, for obvious reasons, does not have any bottom stool or apron.

Although not entirely a specified, the door casing stems from the exact same family of trim profiles as the window casing. So where there’s a Craftsman-style window trim, you’d expect to observe a Craftsman-style door trim. Sometimes, especially in a design that is complex, changing scale while retaining the profiles exactly the exact same is a way of identifying door and window trim. By way of instance, a big and tall doorway may deserve a bigger and more robust trim than, say, a little specialty window.

Ben Herzog

You could realize you want to treat the sides and top of a cased opening exactly the same. That means you are going to take the identical profile that is used on the sides, or jambs, and run that around the opening. In this instance, a cased opening is created by using the exact same trim on the sides and on the cover of the door. In a window program, a”photo frame” effect is created by using the exact same profile around (top, bottom and sides).

MANDARINA STUDIO interior design

6. Picture rail. Continuing our journey up, closer to the top of the wall you’ll come across the picture rail. This trim piece originally served as a support to hang images on, as plaster walls were not the best and may be easily ruined by all those image hooks wrapped into the wall. Of course, with the arrival of inexpensive pictures hooks that is readily nailed into a wall to support pretty much any size image, the image rail has lost its utilitarian function. Now this bit of trim can be used mostly as a decorative element to split the wall into horizontal layers.

Bosworth Hoedemaker

7. Plate rail. Though not always near the top of a wall, the plate rail serves as a platform to exhibit an assortment of objects. The depth of the plate rail may vary from quite shallow, in many instances where a plate has been displayed, to very heavy when large objects must be displayed. A plate rail’s place on the wall (higher up for heavier railings ) will also determine its depth. By way of instance, bigger objects requiring a heftier rail will demand placing the plate rail higher on the wall therefore that it’s out of their way, even though a thin rail for displaying plates may also serve as a seat rail.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Though plate rails and image rails have lost their working function, a cut line at the top of the window and below the ceiling is a powerful design tool. In addition to making a room more interesting and rich, this trim line may be used to set up that a”datum” from that other elements such as soffits could be organized out of, an approach used by architect Sarah Susanka and many different architects quite effectively.

dSPACE Studio Ltd, AIA

8. Crown molding. At the very top of the wall, where ceiling and wall come together, is the crown molding. Just like other trim items, the option of size and profile are almost unlimited.

What’s especially nice about crown molding is its ability to soften the transition between ceiling and wall, between vertical and horizontal plans. So instead of have that sudden sharp corner, crown molding allows the eye simplicity into moving from one to another. It’s a kinder, gentler and more elegant solution to your shift.

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Rosette Blocks Show It's Hip to Be Square

Being married to a carpenter, I have the joy of being immersed in a world of architectural trim. My most recent learning experience came in the form of the rosette block.

Wooden rosette blocks are both practical and stylish. They form a decorative corner window and door casings; functionally they remove the need to calculate complicated miters, typically otherwise required where moldings meet in corners.

Wood rosettes have been showcased on window and door casings because the 1800s and were especially popular in Victorian houses. These days they be may used with many trim styles to create a traditional or transitional feel.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

This historic Highland Park, Illinois, residence features original stained trimwork with rosette blocks.

Union Studio, Architecture & Community Design

Rosette blocks helped Union Studio preserve the architectural integrity of the Jamestown, Rhode Island, residence during its renovation and addition.

The Red Jet

Wood rosettes add ornamental detail to the original wood moldings in this Boston apartment.

Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction

Designed by architect David Adler, this historic Princeton, New Jersey, residence features a bevy of architectural details, such as bull’s-eye rosettes.

Flea Market Sunday

Together with rosette blocks, bull’s-eye plinth blocks are utilized at the edge where the baseboard joins the casing of the doors in this Encinitas, California, waterfront home.

Gast Architects

Rosette blocks are quite common in Victorian houses, like this 1898 San Francisco row house.

Union Studio, Architecture & Community Design

This historic New England home is loaded with architectural details, like a coffered ceiling, an integrated buffet and trim with rosette blocks.

Moore Architects, PC

Crown molding and rosette blocks grace the interior of the 1889 Gothic Victorian residence in Arlington, Virginia.


BR215-T Rosette

Rosette blocks made from solid wood are readily available in many sizes.

More: 11 Must-Know Interior Trim Elements

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An Architect's Calling Cards

Hello. I’m an architect.

I often feel misunderstood. I’m usually cast as the aloof, artistic type, standing at the corner of the room, staring out the window at some distance church steeples. I appear to know complicated and important items. I appear cool and collected on the outside, wearing my perfectly tailored black turtleneck sweater at the middle of July. But on the inside? Well, not so much cool and collected. I can be hard to approach. I can be difficult to talk to. And if you do spend time together with me, I can be impossible to understand. I can be esoteric. I can be obtuse. I’m impatient. I have a problem.

So I’ve started giving calling cards out to people at parties, to break the ice. This way, people will know how to talk to me. These cards would be the equivalent to an architect ID tag. If I’ve drifted off to my ideas and I’m unable (or unwilling) to talk for myself, I can just show you my calling card, and then you’ll know I’m severely allergic to small talk.

And we can just skip it and chat about Prague.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Thank gawd for Ikea.

Pllc, Jody Brown Architecture

Unless it is sexy. Then I wear black.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

[Jody shuffles feet uncomfortably.]

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

OK, this one’s not fair, really. Architecture is one of the few professions that I can think of where you are likely to have a broad knowledge of multiple fields. Architecture is part art, science, engineering, sociology, economics, politics, ecology, engineering, psychology and so on. We can not know everything. We all know just a bit about what, by coaching. This is most likely why I’m anxious talking to you. You believe I know what I’m talking about. However, I do not.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Please , never let an architect pick your dining room seats. They’ll be beautiful but uncomfortable and costly.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Mainly because less requires more time.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

I almost couldn’t create this picture. It hurts my head.

Photographs used to make these graphics are used with permission under creative commons license. Click graphics for links and photo sources.

More by Coffee Using an Architect:
12-Step App for Architecture
A Primer on the Language of Design
Find Your Inner Minimalist
Flash Cards for Architectural Conditions
Find Your Architectural Style
Great Architecture Speaks to Us

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