Blog Archives

Design ideas for a house

March 6, 2013

Some of the architect’s sources were antique without him even realizing it. Though he was well familiar with the roofless sun rooms common to Mediterranean villas, Sottsass had no precedents in mind when he arrived at his unusual floor plan, a house divided into two portions and connected by a large room open to the sky. “Then one day I found a postcard of a Pompeian fresco,” he says. “It showed a house based on the same idea.”
Among the most startling features of Sottsass’ Memphis furniture were the crackle patterns and assertive geometries of his fabrics and laminates. In the Wolf house, the same pleasure in patterning is there, but carried out in more subtle ways. The watered-silk striations of the interior stone play against the natural grain of the Brazilian cherry floors, the false grain of a laminated cabinet, and the graph-paper grids of the ceramic tile. Without resorting to decorative attachments, Sottsass achieves a baroque complexity. Laid over that are the constantly changing patterns of the Colorado sunlight, inspired by Sottsass’ beloved sunstruck Italian coast and “the mood,” he says, “of Mediterranean architecture.”

Dynamic architecture

March 2, 2013

A dynamic architecture creates moods that move with you: In the atrium (right), a stairway gives the trip upstairs its sense of transition—and mystery. The doorway to Wolf’s studio is contained within a hinged wall that admits large canvases and furnishings.

Home remodeling

February 17, 2013

The original house confronted Young like blank earthenware: “One room and one color just led to another.” She quickly—and without expense—turned ideas into objects. To create a kitchen splashboard (right and below), she hand-daubed and glazed standard tiles in her kiln.

Paint the walls of the house

February 14, 2013

YOUNG’S ceramic training tends toward the sculptural; she invents what she wants from slabs of clay. She confronted the renovation that way, too, relying on paint for effect. Young started out with a sheaf of shade cards from paint companies. “I tried combinations that I used in my pottery,” she says. Living room walls and a rough-stone fireplace are painted in the dense blue of North Africa, the result of one shocking-to-the-eyes visit. Upstairs are half-a-dozen greens and gilding to the beams. The floors echo, in paint only, inlaid churches and loggias Young once toured Italy to sketch. She tried to connect rooms by marrying colors but admits, “I made mistakes. Ultimately, it was a matter of having the confidence to think, ‘Why not?’ I knew I could paint it out if it didn’t look good. People don’t realize they can do that.”
Young’s rooms work because there is very little furniture to distract and take it over the top. Looking at them, you can understand why French designer Paul Poiret, wanting to break with the fussy yet timid styles of his time (c. 1910), employed gifted chddren to create fabrics that were fresh and naive. He knew what he needed were minds like Young’s—powerful in their directness and not afraid to ask “Why not?”

Bathroom decorating

January 26, 2013

“Spacious but cozy, welcoming but not overwhelming”—these were the goals that designer JoAnn Deegan set out to achieve in this 6- by 8-foot bath. The wainscoting was whitewashed to show off its wood grain. A hand-carved Irish pine mirror enhances the vintage ambience.

Choosing what color to paint the bathroom

January 24, 2013

Here, as in baths on the previous pages, the walls carry out the designers decorating theme. To make the new guest bath, below, resemble an old space updated, designer JoAnn Deegan of Huntington, New York, applied a traditional wallpaper. Its pattern picks up every color in the palette she created for the rest of the house.

A bathroom with vintage style

January 22, 2013

The 45-year-old one-story bungalow had already been I gutted when Olympia, Washington, interior designer David Goularte went to work on it. His clients, a couple whose children were grown and out of the nest, told him they wanted a new look—”a house that resembled one that could have been built in the twenties or thirties,” recalls the designer. To oblige them, he created a his-and-hers master bath that is packed with vintage style.
The casement windows have wood muntins, and there are one-inch mosaic tiles throughout—squares on the walls, hexagons on the floor. “Instead of doing black and white tiles, which would have been typical choices of those eras,” Goularte explains, “we tried to soften the look with three shades of gray. The floor is dotted with charcoal hexagons; the walls are banded with a pattern involving médium and charcoal gray.”
To create separation without eliminating sunlight, Goularte built a glass-block partition as one wall of the shower stall. “Glass-block walls were not common in homes until after the thirties, but we liked the look. A shower stall true to the period would have been just a little hole in the wall.”—M.K.


January 8, 2013

Put the walls to work. With a bin for everything and everything in its bin, there’s no excuse for piles of paper on the counter. Design Ideas mesh basket ladder, $35, Cocoon,


January 6, 2013

Look up when you’re out of room. Hang pots and take backcabinet space for other things. J.K. Adams Co. maple rack(36 inches) with steel hooks, $50,

Wooden kitchen aids

October 31, 2012

Handcrafted of Appalachian cherry, these wooden kitchen aids, from The Wooden Utensil Company, are precoated with cooking oil for protection. Most have leather ties so they can be hung on a wooden storage rack. Prices range from $1.20 to $24. The rack is about $20.

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