11 Tips for Building a Bathroom in the Attic

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 3.44.56 PMTurn that dusty storage space into a bright, relaxing bathroom by working with your attic’s quirky spaces

Many of us don’t have room to add a luxurious four-piece master bathroom to our homes, unless we sacrifice a spare bedroom or carve into our closet space. (Heaven forbid!) But some savvy designers and homeowners have found a smart solution: an attic renovation. A deep soaking tub tucked under an eave or a pair of pedestal sinks may just fit perfectly. Take cues from these stunning examples of beautiful bathrooms that are all found in this often-overlooked storage space.

Hidden in Plain Sight: 10 Cleverly Closeted Home Spaces

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 3.42.52 PMTuck your home office, wine collection or even your entire kitchen behind closed doors for all of the function and none of the clutter

Everybody loves a good closet, a place where you can shut a door to conceal clutter in one fell swoop. In that spirit, forward-thinking designers and homeowners have learned the advantage of tucking all kinds of living spaces — home offices, laundry facilities, media rooms and even kitchens — behind closed doors, keeping them out of sight (and mind) until needed.

This design technique requires you to use space in the best way possible (for instance, a stacked washer-dryer combo or a wine collection niche in the dining room). Here are some intriguing examples to inspire you in your own home.

Kitchen of the Week: Industrial Design’s Softer Side

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 10.45.06 AMDark gray cabinets and stainless steel mix with warm oak accents in a bright, family-friendly London kitchen

The style was pretty well set when kitchen designer Jane Powell created this kitchen for Phoebe and Nick Bryans and their three kids. “Phoebe had a clear vision of what she wanted, which was design-led with a slightly industrial feel, using stainless steel and brick,” Powell says. But in addition to aesthetics, the functionality and atmosphere of the space were crucial too. “It had to be a relaxed family area,” Powell says. “Friendly and warm, not at all clinical, and somewhere that reflected the family’s personalities.”

Phoebe Bryans came armed with a mood board of images, and she and Powell worked closely together to design the space. “Her ideas were very much on the pulse of current trends,” Powell says. “One tear sheet she had featured an open shelf on an island, so we incorporated that here.”

10 Recipes for Shabby Chic Style

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 12.56.31 PMRustic furniture, floral fabrics, sparkling chandeliers. Here are 10 easy ways to bring the romantic cottage look into your home

Vintage and antique finds; distressed, cracked and imperfect finishes; antique linens; sparkling chandeliers; and lots of white. Though certainly not for everyone, for those who love the style, Shabby Chic is utter comfort and luxury. The spirit of the style is to work with what you have, enjoy the hunt for unique antique and vintage pieces, and celebrate imperfection. It’s not for everyone, but more than two decades after its rise, Shabby Chic appears among the top decorating search terms on Houzz. If you’re among those who would love to bring the look home, check out these 10 decorating combinations.

Folding Designs Make the Most of Your Space

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 9.41.38 AMLook to furniture and doors that fold to increase usable living space without crimping your style

Remember folding tables? Many of us grew up with one in our homes. It had a simple design: Its two leaves could collapse down, leaving just a narrow central worktop, with legs neatly stowed beneath. When folded up, it left masses of space free, but could be flipped open to create a dining table to seat the whole family. What’s not to like?

Today this simple concept has been expanded and improved upon. Now folding designs crop up in every room of the home. From doors that fold away to reveal a pantry in a galley kitchen to ingenious flip-down storage, the foldaway concept works in both small spaces with confined dimensions and stylish bigger rooms with a streamlined look.

Here are 10 great ways to use designs with hinge benefits.

Who Says a Dining Room Has to Be a Dining Room?

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 9.38.25 AMChucking the builder’s floor plan, a family reassigns rooms to work better for their needs

Cathy Zaeske’s kids had moved on from their Lego blocks and taken up musical instruments, so it was time to get rid of the playroom that had taken over what had once been designated the dining area. Clearing things out gave her a good chance to rethink her home’s layout.

“Since the traditional dining room is right off the kitchen and has become the throughway to the screened-in porch, it receives lots of traffic and activity, not to mention the afternoon sun,” Zaeske, a decorator, explains. “I’m a big believer in designing a space for how people will live in it, not how they should live in it.” She refused to let the fact that her builder had written “dining room” on the floor plan fence her family in. And she didn’t let the same plans make her feel like she had to have a formal living room either. Repurposing and swapping spaces resulted in a functional layout tailored to her family.

Rethinking the Master Bedroom

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 12.26.39 PMBigger isn’t always better. Use these ideas to discover what you really want and need from your bedroom

For some time now, it’s been the norm in new construction to include an enormous master suite in the plans. Is it a blessing, or is it just overboard? The answer is, there is no cookie cutter answer — it depends on you.

Zeroing in on what you personally want and need from your master bedroom can help you build the just-right space (or tweak the one you have). These tips can help.

Yes, You Can Use Brick in the Kitchen

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 12.22.17 PMBrick can lend a wonderful historic look, warm up a kitchen or make you feel like you’re in an urban loft. On the other hand, you fear you’ll wind up with a stack of greasy, hard-to-clean masonry stacked behind your stove. Or perhaps you suspect that a thin brick veneer will look oh so faux. There’s no need to fear. Here’s the lowdown on brick and brick veneer: whether or not to seal it, how to make a brick veneer look authentic and how to maintain and clean it — it’s much easier than you think.

7 Kitchen Flooring Materials to Boost Your Cooking Comfort

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 7.33.44 AMGive your joints a break while you’re standing at the stove, with these resilient and beautiful materials for kitchen floors

love the look of polished concrete floors in kitchens, but concrete — along with other nonresilient floor surfaces, such as stone, ceramic and porcelain tile — can take a toll on your joints. I’ve heard complaints from many homeowners who regret putting in a hard flooring material in their kitchen because of the subsequent knee, hip or back pain they feel after standing or walking on it for a long period. Fortunately there are plenty of softer, resilient kitchen flooring types available that are as functional as they are good-looking.