8 Little Remodeling Touches That Make a Big Difference

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 8.44.33 AMMake your life easier while making your home nicer, with these design details you’ll really appreciate

When we did our remodel, our contractor suggested a thousand things I had never really thought about. They weren’t necessarily design considerations; they were more quality-of-life considerations — just little things you didn’t know you were missing until you had them.

Here are eight little touches I didn’t know I couldn’t live without until I lived with them. What are yours?

9 Fun Ceiling Colors to Try Right Now

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 12.07.44 PMGo bold overhead for a touch of intimacy or a punch of energy

I’m always on the lookout for creative ways to sneak fun color into a client’s home. It can be tough to pull off an intense color on all four walls of a room without making the space feel small, dark and claustrophobic, so I tend to prefer injecting high-voltage hues in smaller bits and pieces, or in unexpected ways. It’s no secret now that a bold ceiling color is a great way to set the tone in a room and draw the eye upward and around the space. But choosing the right bold color is crucial. Here are some of my favorite bold ceiling colors right now along with suggestions for how to make them work in your home.

13 Great Ways to Say Yes to Plaid

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 7.33.00 AMGive your room a dose of the unexpected with plaid’s classic lines in nearly infinite colors and materials

When I hear “plaid,” my mind immediately conjures up L.L. Bean flannel shirts, Scottish tartan kilts and very traditional rooms. Plaid patterns adorn dark libraries full of leather-bound books, offices that smell of rich mahogany, hunting cabins, overstuffed sofas in country estates where cocktail hour occurs promptly at 6:00 every evening … you get the idea. What’s caught my eye lately is the way designers are giving my preconceived plaid notions a twist, mixing the pattern into modern, contemporary, transitional and eclectic rooms. Here are 13 ways to freshen up this classic pattern.

4 Secrets to a Luxurious Bathroom Look

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 5.14.53 PMGive your bathroom a special finish with a few splurges and budget-stretching moves

Ever looked at a beautiful bathroom and wondered what takes its design to the next level? You’re not alone. Many homeowners want to know how some bathrooms get that mysterious designer je ne sais quoi. I’ll let you in on a few secrets. Because the overall material costs are low in a small space like a bathroom, it’s a great place to spurge a little on a few features. But it also helps to know where to spend and where to save. Here are a few of my favorite tricks for getting a nicely finished look for a lower cost.

10 Living Room Touches to Bring to the Bath

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 11.40.58 AMGo ahead, borrow those bookshelves. Unexpected elements can boost interest and comfort in your bathroom

When you’re designing a bathroom, there are many decisions to be made — marble or ceramic, shower or tub, vessel or pedestal sink, brass or chrome? The list goes on. Not to stress you out, but there’s yet another design option to consider when designing your bath: the living room.

Stay with me here. By borrowing furniture, lighting, rugs, architectural elements and even plants from the rest of the house, you can add incredible interest to your bathroom. I’m talking an antique chest for linen storage, a crystal chandelier for romantic lighting over the tub or a built-in window seat for relaxing. Borrowing elements is a good way to add a personal touch and set your bath apart from the rest. Here’s are 10 ideas guaranteed to pique your interest.

Not a Big Cook? These Fun Kitchen Ideas Are for You

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 12.58.16 PMWould you rather sip wine and read than cook every night? Consider these kitchen amenities

Kitchen design tends to be centered around the presumption that you will be spending loads of time in your kitchen cooking. Not so earth shattering, right? But the fact is, not everyone loves to cook. Not everyonecould really use a supersize fridge, dual ovens and an enormous island. So what do you do when it’s time to think about a kitchen design, when all you’ve used your oven for is storage? While it makes sense for certain basics to be in place (sink, stove, dishwasher) even if you rarely cook, there is plenty of room for creativity. From wine storage to a library wall, here are a few ideas to consider.

Simple Pleasures: Movie Night for Film Buffs

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 12.54.39 PMIn a world of rising cinema costs … at a time when gathering comes naturally … small screens are hitting the big time

What could be better on a crisp fall night than curling up on the couch with a soft throw, a bowl of popcorn (or perhaps a glass of wine) and a great movie? Avoid the crowds at the theater, save a little cash and embrace the simple pleasure of movie night at home. Whether you keep it spontaneous or start a film club complete with movie-themed snacks (blini and vodka for Dr. Zhivago, anyone?), let these ideas inspire your next movie night at home.

How Merlot Can You Go? 8 Enticing Ways With Wine-Inspired Hues

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 3.57.57 PMAdd warmth and drama to your home with these deepest shades of red

Count me as a big fan of burgundy, whether I’m enjoying a glass of it with dinner or using it as an accent wall color. Decorating with shades of red wine can add drama, depth and a delicious cozy feeling to any room. But the hue can make a space appear somber, busy or even claustrophobic when overused or combined with too much visual clutter. So here are eight elegant examples of red-wine hues done right, along with suggestions for similar colors to try out in and on your own home.

Sound Advice for Designing a Home Music Studio

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 7.33.43 AMHow to unleash your inner guitar hero without antagonizing the neighbors

Most musicians will admit to sharing a single core skill necessary for mastering their instrument: control. When it comes to designing spaces for practicing, performing, recording or just jamming, control is equally important to acousticians and architects. We aim to control the sound entering and exiting the studio, the heat and humidity inside and, of course, the acoustics.

While a home music room may not have the demands of a professional recording studio, many spaces can benefit from the sound isolation and acoustic treatment applied to rooms designed for playing music. I’ve designed spaces for music at all scales, from auditorium halls to private listening rooms, and have learned a few basic sound concepts that can dramatically improve the aural environment of any space.