Contemporary Beach Front Design

Home By Design

december | january | 2018

it’s all in the details

Thoughtful Design Brings Harmony to This Beachfront Beauty

WRITTEN BY RONDA SWANEY  PHOTOGRAPHY BY BARRY CALHOUN

“Details distinguish a home from looking amateurish to looking like a professional did it,” says Kelly Deck, director of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Kelly Deck Design and host of the HGTV series Take It Outside. With so much professional experience under her belt, Deck understands a thing or two about flawlessly executing details.

Her design skills captured the attention of the Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. Every year, these organizations work together to create a house—the grand prize for their fundraiser, Vancouver’s Millionaire Designer Home Lottery. They asked Deck and her team to design and execute the interior of this spacious prize home located on Marine Drive in White Rock, British Columbia.

The goal of the lottery is to appeal to a wide audience to entice ticket purchases. Typically, the lottery home design follows traditional styles and tastes, but Deck wanted to go in a new direction. “We encouraged the foundation to look at something more modern. We introduced the idea of a contemporary home that felt a bit like a luxury hotel,” says Deck. “They trusted us and took the risk.” That risk paid off when the 116,000 lottery tickets available for the home sold quickly.

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big and bold.

A home with a large footprint, such as this featured design, can be intimidating. Here, Kelly Deck shares her secrets to making the most of big spaces.

Go big. “When you have that much volume, you need to take up space. Making big moves actually makes your space feel more cohesive and whole,” Deck explains. Large rooms can handle large pieces. Consider the eighteen-foot-long headboard in the master bedroom or fourteen-foot long island in the kitchen. Neither looks out of place because both are proportional to the dimensions of the rooms they are in.

Be bold. If you want your rooms to make a statement, choose materials that make you somewhat nervous. Designers shy away from marble because it can etch or stain. Deck says to look overseas to overcome that nervousness. “In Europe, marble floors and counters have been in buildings for centuries and they look spectacular,” she says. “They’re not in perfect condition, yet the forms and overall look is beautiful because those materials tell a story.”

Even without textiles, the master bath celebrates texture through wood grain, marble veining, and matte (versus iridescent) tile.

It's All in the Details

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Deck first focused on the atmosphere and mood that she wanted to create. “My approach to modern is about using materials that are sensuous and have strong texture,” she says. “I want people to want to touch them.” Natural materials appeal to the sense of touch, as does the variety of textures. The home is filled with wood, marble, and natural textiles like cotton, linen, velvet, and wool.

Learning to balance varied textures takes practice and a reliance on gut instinct. “There’s no prescriptive recipe. It’s more of a feeling,” says Deck. “You need to focus on framing, blocking, and sight lines.” The master bath provides an excellent illustration. Each material is used with precision, training the viewer’s eye where to look next. Dark stained quartersawn oak starts at the vanity cabinets and continues to wrap around the bathtub, drawing the eye to the beachfront view. Elongated marble slabs top the vanity and show up again in the shower seat and base footing. A wide swath of iridescent glass tile shimmers between the vanities and flows from the wall to the floor spanning the length of the room. A velvety ottoman sits beneath a sparkling chandelier that is reflected in both the mirrors and shower glass.

Even with varied materials and textures, the design feels harmonious. How does Deck create that harmony? She compares the process to smart entertaining. “If you plan a dinner party, you’re not going to invite twelve people with gigantic personalities. If you do, no one will get to say anything. When you design, you have to choose pieces that command attention and then support them with those that are quieter and more contemplative,” she explains. “If you want one thing to stand out as special, then other things need to be quieter and command less attention.”

Dramatic focal points command attention in each room, but it’s the smaller details that make the home feel cozy. “With accessorizing, there’s a fine balance between having just enough so that it looks collected, but not so much that it looks cluttered. Each vignette should tell a story,” she says. Books, photos, and plants accessorize each room and provide the narrative. “Books are a very critical component of any styling. They instantly soften a space and give you a sense of feeling at home,” Deck explains. For artwork, she relied on photos. “I like the subtle graphic quality of black-and-white photos. They capture a specific moment in time better than a painting does.”

From a room-spanning headboard to how books are arranged on a nightstand, nothing is overlooked. “When you walk into a home and the whole thing just feels good; that’s the magic of well-executed details.”

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on January 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Soup and Sandwich Specials

Home By Design

december | january | 2018

soup’s on

Elevated Soup and Sandwich Recipes That Delight

RECIPES AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY KARISTA BENNETT

Wintertime calls for comfort food. The chilly temps drive me indoors and I crave the combo of warm soup and a hearty sandwich. A bowl of soup, a sandwich, and a soft blanket make the day feel a bit cozier. Soups and sandwiches have always been a family favorite, but I’ve elevated my recipe game with these distinctive and satisfying pairings. To maintain some childlike simplicity to these staples, I’ve also designed them for dunking. Whether you dunk artisan croutons into tomato bisque or dip the edge of a pita-wrapped curried chicken salad into a hot bowl of Mulligatawny, settle in. Soup’s on.

Soup's On

RED CURRY CAULIFLOWER

Pureed cauliflower and red curry paste come together to make a smooth, silky soup. It becomes a bit heartier when paired with an arugula, apple, and hummus wrap. This soup and sandwich makes a tasty combination for a quick and easy meal.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 2 to 2½ pounds) stemmed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not light)
  • 1½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lime juice to taste
  • Sliced green onions or fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the garlic, chopped cauliflower, fresh ginger, ground coriander, and vegetable broth. Let the veggies and broth simmer on low for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.

Next, stir in the coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, and turmeric. Bring it back to a simmer. Let the soup simmer on low for another 5 to 10 minutes to bring all the flavors together. With an immersion blender, blend the soup to a puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender or Vitamix and puree.

Then pour the soup back into the pot. If the soup feels too thick, add another ¼ cup veggie broth until you feel you have the right consistency.

RED CURRY CAULIFLOWER SOUPSeason with salt and pepper and then add a squeeze or two of lime juice to taste.

Garnish with sliced green onions or fresh cilantro.


ARUGULA, APPLE, AND HUMMUS WRAP

I like to use spinach wraps for this sandwich, but you can use any kind of tortilla wrap you like. When sliced into smaller pieces, this wrap also makes a festive nibble for guests or a delicious after-school snack.

Makes 1

  • 1 large tortilla or sandwich wrap, slightly warmed so it’s pliable
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 8 to 10 arugula leaves (or a good handful of baby arugula)
  • 4 to 5 slices of your favorite apple

Place the warmed tortilla on a flat surface and spread the hummus on the half closest to you. Layer with arugula leaves and then the sliced apples.

Fold in the sides of the tortilla and then roll away from you. Cut in half or in quarters and enjoy.

ARUGULA, APPLE, AND HUMMUS WRAP

MULLIGATAWNY

Mulligatawny soup originated in England and is inspired by Indian cuisine. You will find many different versions of this beautiful soup; however, this one is my favorite. I added coconut milk and diced apples to give just a hint of sweet, which deliciously complements the savory flavors.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, olive oil, or ghee
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated or minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups diced sweet potato
  • ¼ cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken, optional (I often make this soup vegetarian)
  • ½ diced fresh apple
  • 1 cup coconut milk (not light or low-fat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, add the oil and place over medium heat.

When the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook them for about 5 minutes or until soft. Then add the garlic and ginger, stirring for another minute.

Next stir in the flour and curry powder and when it’s nicely combined with the vegetables (about 30 seconds or so) slowly stir in the broth.

Bring the soup to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Add the diced sweet potato and rice. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

MULLIGATAWNYWhen the rice and sweet potato are soft, stir in the fresh thyme, diced apple, and chicken if using. Then stir in the coconut milk until combined.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the soup sit for about 30 minutes prior to serving.

This soup is excellent the next day and can be held in the refrigerator for approximately 3 days.

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on December 27, 2017 at 11:06 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Vintage Post Stamps

Home By Design

december | january | 2018

signed, sealed, delivered

Sending Mail with Vintage Postage Stamps

WRITTEN BY MARESA GIOVANNINI

Communication in the modern age changes every day. New programs and apps for sharing information and images are constantly being developed, and they are changing historical forms of communication along the way. With the advent of the cell phone came the phrase landline. And with the advent of e-mail came the phrase snail mail. As archaic as snail mail sounds, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The art of letter writing, sending, and receiving is back in fashion, and as a result, postage stamps are too. New designs are always a thrill for philatelists, but vintage, never-been-used stamps are resurfacing and dressing up envelopes all over North America.

Vintage postage stamps are often maintained in curated hobby collections; however, they can still be used for practical purposes too. Editions that aren’t particularly rare offer a beautiful opportunity to honor social history and provide your friend or family member with a well-decorated piece of mail. Even though the cost of a single stamp is more today than it was sixty years ago, you can still use uncanceled stamps. As long as the face value totals the current cost of postage, you can use as many stamps as you’d like in the upper right hand corner of your envelope.

Create a mix of stamps you love or think the recipient would appreciate. You could also group them by color or theme. For example, animal postage stamps complement a jungle themed birthday party invitation, while stamps with love and flowers in pastel shades are a popular wedding invitation trend. A collection of vintage stamps is a particularly detailed and romantic gesture for brides and grooms to use when inviting guests. But whatever the occasion, postage stamps help communicate your message. “When I was in college I had a long-distance relationship, and we wrote letters constantly. Postcards, love letters, drawings—anything to stay connected,” says Liz Tannehill Cook, owner of online-based Vintage Postage Shop. “The envelope was as much a part of the correspondence as the letter itself. From the stamp that was chosen to any artwork that was drawn to any words used; it was very personal and intentional. I still have all of those letters. Each one gave me so much joy and is a story of that relationship.”

You can find usable stamps from Vintage Postage Shop and other vendors on Etsy. If you’d like someone else to curate a complete set and make sure it totals the amount you need per envelope, Etsy is a fantastic resource. Or if you’re simply on the hunt for sheets of a specific stamp, you can check out eBay or Amazon. There might also be local brick-and-mortar resources in your area.

Remember when you had to lick the stamps? Yes, there really was a time when the adhesive had to be activated with moisture. When applying vintage stamps, forgo the traditional method and instead use quality glue sticks to affix them to envelopes. Use a piece of scrap or construction paper to firmly press the stamp to the envelope and avoid getting glue everywhere.

Preserve the integrity of your vintage stamps by having them hand canceled. Today, most mail is machine sorted, which means it’s processed in a not-so-gentle way, and your pretty postage stamps might end up peeling or covered up completely. Take your mail directly to the postmaster for a hand cancellation. Not only is this a gentler and more traditional way to send mail, it can also add dimension to your envelope. (See the sidebar for more about specialty postmarks.)

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Photography provided by Vintage Postage Shop.

You can easily find vintage postage stamps from all over the world. Although you can’t use them to send mail within your country, you can turn foreign or canceled stamps into artwork so they will continue to be appreciated. Consider framing and matting your favorite finds, use them to create greeting cards, or arrange colorful stamps in the shape of a heart or letter. With postage stamp artwork on your walls, you can appreciate snail mail every day.

Specialty Postmarks

A beautifully decorated envelope is a treat for any recipient. But if you want to go the extra mile, have your mail hand canceled in a town that has a unique name or specialty postmark. The postmark is the part of the stamp that documents the date your mail was accepted and the cancelation renders the postage unusable for the future, although you can use both terms interchangeably with the postmaster. If you’re passing through one of these towns, bring some mail with you or pick up a postcard to document the visit. You might even be able to send invitations directly to a post office in a box and have the mail properly canceled and sent from there. Here are a few post offices worth visiting to put the finishing touch on your mail.
Bliss, New York
Bridal Veil, Oregon
Celebration, Florida
Dinosaur, Colorado
Happy Camp, California
Heart’s Content, Newfoundland and Labrador
Love, Arizona/Love, Illinois/Love, Saskatchewan
North Pole, Alaska
Paradise, Pennsylvania
Romance, Arkansas
Valentine, Texas
Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

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Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on December 20, 2017 at 7:34 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Pops of Color!

Home By Design

december | january | 2018

colorful classic

WRITTEN BY JEANINE MATLOW  PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAURA HULL

As Betsy Burnham proves to perfection, the details make a difference in your decor. The principal designer and owner of Los Angeles-based Burnham Design (@burnhamdesign) focused on the details to deliver classic interiors with a layered twist for a family who purchased a pared-down traditional residence in an upscale neighborhood near the beach in Santa Monica, California. “Layering is a big part of what I do,” says the clever designer who infused the rooms with an arresting array of elements in a variety of styles, patterns, and textures. “There’s a real mix of vintage and new.”

For Burnham, the layering process happens in stages with pops of color here and there. “It’s all about balance,” says the designer, whose personal aesthetic is classic and timeless, but not stuffy. “I always caution people about trends. In the end, no one wants their home to read like a year.”

Instead, she says,“I always default to something high-quality and classic and I want it to look collected in a natural, authentic way.” Burnham had already established a rapport with these clients while working on their previous home, so when they outgrew it they came back to the designer for more of her dreamy decor.

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Because the nearly 5,000-square-foot house was in pretty good shape, most of the work was cosmetic, like the showstopping entry wall. “It was all about having this wallpaper and then everything just fell into place,” says Burnham about the exquisite backdrop from Pierre Frey. “They let me play with wallpaper, which is exciting to me, and it really made a couple of the spaces important.”

Key pieces they already owned were reworked and repositioned, like a vintage farm table that once served as a desk paired with chairs reupholstered in leopard print. “When used in the entry, they took on a new life in the new home,” she says. “This home is all about having a family place and making each individual space in the house matter. They wanted to use all the areas and not be too precious about it.”

The layout gave Burnham some leeway to take the road less traveled. “With traditional architecture, you have the opportunity to have rooms with their own distinct personality because you can close the door,” says Burnham. “I played a little bit more with color because I could.”

Still, there’s a common thread. “When you have a through line of neutrals, it will ground whatever bright color you bring in. The great room has a lot of pops of red, but there’s also a touch of brown, gray, black, and white,” she says.

Initially, the vast great room felt intimidating to the homeowners, so Burnham created an area for the kids to watch TV, a spot for grown-ups to have cocktails, and a place for a game table that can accommodate meals. “It was a fun room for me,” she says. “It’s a wonderful room that’s all about delineated areas that are functional.”

A purple desk found at auction defines the vibrant home office.

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A cozy grouping in the great room offers a spot for grown-ups to sip cocktails while soaking up the views of the visually stimulating surroundings.

Colorful Classic

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ABOVE LEFT TO RIGHT: The luxurious layers begin in the entry where graphic wallpaper highlights some repurposed pieces from the family’s previous home. A classic California facade leads to the lively yet timeless interiors that feature everything from a console wrapped in python vinyl to a vintage Asian occasional chest.

The original built-in bookcases that likely date to the ’30s or ’40s didn’t go all the way around the room, so they were extended. Then it was time to accessorize. “The books and art give the room so much personalization,” says Burnham.

A neutral U-shaped sectional sofa grounds the great room where pillows covered in vintage textiles lend warmth to the new finds. Behind the sectional sits a midcentury-style console from Lawson-Fenning that’s often done in lacquer paint, but Burnham had a better idea. “I asked them to wrap it in a python vinyl I found that has since been discontinued,” she says

Vintage pieces add character to the cocktail area where painted chairs join an ornate table the designer calls a must-have piece. A red love seat anchors the space that’s further enhanced by decorative accents.

In the dining room, a custom table acts as a statement piece, so the chairs are quiet in comparison. The wife’s Hermès china inspired the space where the walls wear Needlepoint Navy by Sherwin-Williams. “I’m really true to paint colors,” says Burnham. A distinctive dresser serves as a buffet where custom lampshades add a pop of red.

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The white kitchen already featured classic details, so it didn’t require much. “It was an opportunity for quiet,” says Burnham, who also kept the breakfast nook neutral. The same premise applies to the master bedroom. “I love creamy brown, and cream and white, and gray and white in the bedroom. It’s so restful,” she says. “As much as I love color, I usually pick monochromatic colors when it comes to bedrooms.”

In baking, the layers make the cake; here, they take the cake. “It’s the details here—the mix of pattern, vintage with new pieces, art and collectibles—that bring personality into the design and make it special,” says Burnham. “This is the kind of design that’s the antithesis of the stripped down, high-end ‘hotel’ look that has had so much popularity in recent years. Love it or hate it, it’s one of a kind and definitely not easy to duplicate.”

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on December 12, 2017 at 6:08 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Living Large in Scotland

Home By Design

october | november | 2017

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

A Custom and Compact Kitchen Lives Large in Scotland

WRITTEN BY JEANINE MATLOW  PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOUGLAS GIBB PHOTOGRAPHY

Though cooking may be continuous, it’s not the only creative process that happens in the hub of the home. When starting from scratch, a kitchen’s design and layout require a great deal of thought and consideration, especially when space is at a premium and a major remodel is part of the plan. That was the case for a young family living in the Scottish seaside town of North Berwick.

For their waterfront apartment in a traditional, stone-built Victorian villa from the late 1880s, the homeowners hired Alison Howard, a designer with the Gullane, Scotland-based design firm Christopher Howard. “We are designers and makers who specialize in custom kitchens and interiors for the home,” says Howard of the firm. “We love to design with flair and imagination and hope our showroom, attention to detail, and enthusiasm is inspirational to people.”

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With this project, patience and compromise were key. The couple, who like to entertain, decided to reside in the home for three years, planning the alterations over time before the work was done. In the end, an old addition and a conservatory behind the former kitchen area were demolished to make way for the current configuration. One important stipulation was that the new space would have to reflect two different tastes. The husband wanted a contemporary kitchen, but the wife preferred a more traditional style. The end result, says Howard, was designed as a compromise: a modern look, but traditionally made.

Custom cabinetry, painted in Railings by Farrow & Ball, let them maximize every inch of the tight space while Corian countertops accommodate the unusual shape with no visible joints. The Glacier White countertops that incorporate a molded sink provide a dramatic contrast to the deep-gray cabinetry. Walls were done in Johnstone’s Trade White and the glass backsplash behind the gas stove features a slightly off-white finish. Italian ceramic tiles cover the floor.

A combination of black-glass and stainless-steel appliances was intentional. “We did not want to use all stainless steel as this would have been too harsh, and we wanted attention to be drawn to the cabinetry and countertops rather than the appliances,” says Howard. “The steel elements of them, however, tie in with the spiral staircase.”

The kitchen measures fifteen feet three inches by fourteen feet nine inches, and the space beyond the spiral staircase measures thirteen feet by nine feet three inches. “This gave the option to have the table in the body of the kitchen or beyond at the window for the sea view,” says Howard. “It also gave them the flexibility of adding in a kitchen island at a later date as the table fits easily in the space beyond the staircase.”

What this well-equipped kitchen lacks in space, it gains in form and function with a clever and chic design layout that maximizes every inch of the unique footprint with custom cabinetry and more.

Recipe for Success

A mix of appliances keeps the focus on the handsome cabinets that were built to provide plenty of storage in this fully renovated, custom kitchen. The stylish environment blends the contemporary tastes of the husband with the traditional design preferences of the wife for a happy outcome.

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Special Order

If your kitchen has a unique shape or is short on space, customization may be the way to go. The flexibility of tailor-made cabinetry allows a designer to maximize every corner and utilize height and depth, so even if it is more costly than ready-made styles, Howard says it is money well spent.

In this design, cabinets feature varying depths and widths in order to accommodate the angled walls without any gaps or filler spaces. By using a custom service, the clients were able to work out the details at the design stage as to how the space would be used and where everything should go.

Because many appliances were included in the design, clever storage was a must. Howard included a tall pull-out pantry beside the oven and a short one for spices and bottles near the stove. Other smart solutions include a curved end cabinet, an under-the-counter refrigerator for everyday items, and a full-size refrigerator-freezer in the utility closet.

Although the spiral staircase that leads to a rooftop deck was an online purchase, it could easily pass for a custom piece. Other unique features include a series of closets around the eat-in kitchen that offer plenty of storage; one houses laundry and another holds the husband’s motor bike. “There is an outside doorway on the driveway he can open to drive the bike in, and then he can exit out of the [closet] into the hallway—Batman style,” says Howard.

Despite the challenges of the uniquely shaped space and its varying angles, a 3-D design plan let the homeowners know what to expect ahead of time. Howard married the homeowners’ styles with the necessary functions of a kitchen, and the clients were delighted with the way their kitchen turned out in the end: with a modern look, but traditionally made.

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

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Posted on December 4, 2017 at 6:39 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Your Next Big Adventure

Home By Design

october | november | 2017

The Polar Bear Capital of the World

CHURCHILL, MANITOBA, CANADA

Polar bears are the main attraction in Churchill, where you can see the arctic mammals in abundance. The tundra has a reputation of being barren, but depending on the time of year you visit, you can spot wildflowers, wildlife, and the elusive northern lights.

The Polar Bear Capital of the World

There’s something to be said for quality over quantity. There are plenty of vacation destinations that people flock to for an abundance of activities. But there are some places that vacationers adventure to for just a handful of unique attractions and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, offers one of those once-in-a-lifetime adventures.

WRITTEN BY MARESA GIOVANNINI

Located on the western shoes of the Hudson Bay, Churchill is a small town of approximately 1,000 year-round residents. But from July through November, it sees an influx of visitors from around the globe. They’ve all heard about the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” and they want to see the beauty of the landscape and wildlife firsthand.

POLAR BEARS

Although the town has historic roots and once acted as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, polar bears have put Churchill back on the map. The Bay has an estimated population of 900 to 1,000 of these arctic mammals, which can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and stand up to ten feet tall. Prime viewing season is the middle of October to the end of November, when the ice pack returns and the bears begin their migration from the tundra to their winter hunting grounds in the bay. It’s a rare and special sight to see polar bears as intimately as you can in Churchill. But remember they are predators, and the best way to view them is on an organized tour where you will be guided safely by professionals.

BELUGA WHALES

A more docile mammal that welcomes human contact is the beluga whale. This social creature is small by whale standards—weighing in at 1 to 1.5 tons and thirteen to twenty feet long. From July through September belugas and their calves bask in the warmer waters of the Churchill River estuary to rest and feed. You can get up close and personal with the friendly and vocal “canaries of the sea” via an organized kayak or snorkel tour.

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Travel Alert

Churchill is a remote destination that is only accessible via train and air travel. In June, 2017 a severe flood damaged parts of the Hudson Bay Railway tracks that are used to bring visitors into Churchill via train. There are no hard deadlines for repairs, and at press time, planes were the only way to access the town. You can easily get a nonstop flight from Winnipeg or Thompson, Manitoba with the expanded schedule by Calm Air. Check the town’s tourism website, everythingchurchill.com, for transportation updates. Whether you arrive via plane or train, remember that the journey can be just as much of an adventure as the destination.

THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

The aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, is nature’s light show, and a must-see for many people. The fantastic dancing colors can appear year round, but are most visible in Churchill during January to March when the sky is darker. One of the best places to take in the lights is just outside of town in Natural Habitat Adventures’ Aurora Pod. The structure has a heated interior, theater-style seats, and a glass roof and glass sides from waist-height up so you get a 360-degree view of the night sky.

FOOD AND LODGING

There are about a dozen different places where you can hang your hat during your stay in Churchill. Most of the hotels and bed-and-breakfast options are located centrally in town and include the basic comforts including Wi-Fi. On the edge of town you’ll find Bluesky Bed & Sled, which offers packages that include mushing experiences—“authentic, natural, un‘fur’gettable.” The restaurants in town are often associated with the hotels and offer local fare such as peppered elk, arctic char, and Manitoba Bison.

TOURS

Although the main draw to Churchill is nature, you’re not encouraged to adventure out on your own for a hike or walk along the beach—especially after dark. There are plenty of opportunities for danger, so it’s best to see and experience Churchill and the surrounding area from the safety of a guided tour. You can choose from twenty-five tour companies that create comprehensive and custom packages for experiencing the riches of the region. In addition to tours highlighting polar bears, beluga whales, and the northern lights, there are also opportunities for dog-sledding, birdwatching, and more. Turn to Churchill Northern Studies Centre for a “learning vacation.” The organization is an active research facility located just outside of town where the boreal forest meets the arctic tundra. The week-long experiences include Winter Skies: Aurora and Astronomy in Churchill, Into the Wildflowers: Flora of the Subarctic, and Lords of the Arctic: The Ecology of Hudson Bay’s Polar Bears.

Photography by (top) ©iStockphoto.com/graphicjackson, (above from left) ©iStockphoto.com/VisualCommunications, ©iStockphoto.com/graphicjackson, ©iStockphoto.com/buchachon, ©iStockphoto.com/2686832.

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on November 27, 2017 at 7:14 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Finding Balance

Home By Design

october | november | 2017

the four elements

Principles of Good Garden Design

WRITTEN BY CATRIONA TUDOR ERLER

Great gardens don’t happen by accident. They are the result of good planning that relies on the key elements of design: unity and harmony, proportion and scale, mass and space, and texture and pattern. A good designer will effectively use these elements to make a pleasing composition.

HARMONY AND UNITY

There are many ways to achieve a sense of harmony and unity in a landscape. Start by growing healthy plants. A garden with plants that are struggling to survive is an uncomfortable place, lacking in harmony. Group plants that have similar needs. It is jarring to see plants that require moisture growing with ones suited to dry conditions, or sun lovers paired with shade seekers. Harmonize the garden with its surroundings.

Echo an architectural detail from your house in the garden to help create a cohesive whole. Use materials in the garden that are consistent with the house. Repeat color or planting themes in different parts of the garden to create visual unity. Patterns and shapes repeated throughout a garden also provide pleasing rhythms that unify.

PROPORTION AND SCALE

Put a large a couch in a small room and it will look enormous. The same couch in a large room looks quite small. The phenomenon at work is scale. Any object will look larger or smaller, depending on the relative size of its surroundings. The same principles of scale and proportion apply outdoors. Be sensitive to the size of your space, and design accordingly.

A common mistake people make in small gardens is to have too many undersize features because they think the pieces are in scale to the space. Instead of making the garden feel bigger, it looks busy and lacks focus. Plant one tree or specimen shrub as an important statement in a small garden, and then use that plant as a reference, relating the scale and proportion of the rest of the plantings and ornaments to it.

A vertical element in a small garden, such as a tree, trellis, or arbor, will help distract from the close boundaries of the property.

MASS AND SPACE

Massive plants, especially if their colors are dark, take up more space in the garden both physically and visually. These plants have mass, and are important to define and fill space as well as to provide resting places for the eye in a landscape that is busy with plenty of floral and other ornamental interest. They are like punctuation marks, providing moments of rest and giving form to the design.

The Four Elements

Photography provided by ©iStockphoto.com/swedewah.

In winter, when all the frills and distractions of summer’s bounty are removed from the garden, you can best judge whether your garden has adequate mass. If your design is well done with enough mass, the garden will be interesting even in this bare state.

The other source of visual rest in a garden is space. An expanse of patio, a change in level, a swath of lawn, a reflecting pool, and an uninterrupted view are all ways to provide an open, horizontal break in the design.

An ideal design is a pleasing mix of mass and space. If there is too much mass, the garden will appear heavy and dark. If there is too much horizontal space, the garden will feel empty.

TEXTURE, PATTERN, AND COLOR

Patterns in gardens are primarily provided by the physical layout. Whatever the pattern, whether symmetrical and ordered for a formal garden or an abstract pattern for an informal design, it will establish the essential character of the garden. On a smaller scale, you can create additional patterns in many ways. Laying bricks or stones in special designs is an obvious option.

Foliage is another source of texture. Large-leaf plants are bold in texture, creating a strong, assertive look; small-leaf plants appear more delicate. Experiment by combining contrasting textures to create a balanced and visually stimulating display.

Flower form also contributes to texture in the garden. The most interesting designs combine different shapes and textures, including round heads; tall, pointed spires; airy sprays of small blossoms; umbrella-shaped blooms; and tiny petal flowers.

For color in the garden, look beyond flowers to foliage. Take advantage of the incredible range of hues in yellow, red, blue, and purple that are found in leaves. For added interest, opt for variegated leaves that combine two or more of the possible colors.

By effectively using the basic principles of design, you can create a garden that evokes delightful tensions between restful and stimulating; one that is harmonious without being repetitive and boring. Aim to make a garden that is balanced and unified, while at the same time surprising. But most importantly, design your garden so it reflects your own personality.

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on November 20, 2017 at 6:23 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Classic and Timeless in Georgia

Home By Design

october | november | 2017

Classic Character

Modern Updates Make a Southern Home Timeless

WRITTEN BY CAROLYN M. RUNYON  PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF HERR

The city of Decatur, Georgia, is a suburb of Atlanta that has a traditional small-town atmosphere with tree-lined streets, parks, playing fields, and even a community bandstand in the town square. There are libraries, colleges, and a walkable downtown area with shops and restaurants. Just minutes east of the cultural and economic center of Atlanta, Decatur also offers all the benefits of living in a major metropolitan area.

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Dark-oak flooring continues throughout the home for flow, but it is broken up by accent rugs that relate to each individual space. Classic details, like the pocket doors and custom built-ins on either side of the French doors in the living room, meet with current styles of furnishings from Oly, Pottery Barn, and Serena & Lily, and mix beautifully with several custom pieces.

This 4,000-square-foot home, located on an unusually large one-acre lot about five miles from the heart of Decatur, was built in the 1920s and most recently renovated in the 1980s. “Our client loved the phenomenal location and the lot, but felt the home needed some repairs and significant updating,” says Ili Hidalgo-Nilsson, principal, architect, interior designer, and project lead of the renovation completed by Decatur-based Terracotta Design Build Co. “We handled both an interior and exterior renovation.”

The property drops off significantly on the left as you’re facing the home, allowing for additional living space below that side of the building. “Because the overall home is not huge, we kept the front simple,” explains Hidalgo-Nilsson. “There was no room for a grand entrance, but we designed an entry with a tailored Spanish-Mission feel and eliminated the overdone Greek-style entrance that was there.” Hidalgo-Nilsson and her team, comprised of Luly Bestard-Melarti, Maurie Hullender, and Scott Madsen, maintained the existing stucco finish and used a clear stained knotty pine wood door, simple columns, and a slate-gray metal roof over the entrance to add some character. “We replaced a bow window to the right of the entry with French doors that lead from the front yard to an office indoors,” she adds.

The entry opens to a formal living room with neutral Front Porch paint by Sherwin-Williams, accented by pops of teal. On either side of the fireplace, custom built-ins, finished in Sherwin-Williams Shoji White gloss, flank the French doors that lead to the hallway. The backs of the shelving units are papered in a bright-teal zigzag pattern by Schumacher. “We picked up the teal in a chair and several accessories in the room,” says Hidalgo-Nilsson. “We simplified the fireplace with clean architectural detail and installed a white-marble surround.”

Glass pocket doors lead from the living room to a completely contrasting office on the right. The entire space, including the built-ins, is painted in Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black gloss. “This room used to be a sunroom but we converted it to a much-needed office space,” says Hidalgo-Nilsson. “The change from the cool neutrals of the living room to the intense black office is striking.” Wood-toned work tables, white draperies, and a white rug with a black pattern offer a departure from the deep, dark background. The hand-pierced silver pendant light by De-cor adds a touch of panache. Double glass doors open to the yard outside.

The living room leads to a modest dining room on the left with a wood table that was handmade by the homeowner’s uncle. Upholstered chairs by Lee and four Josephine dining chairs by Serena & Lily complete the seating. A nickel chandelier by Jonathan Adler adds the perfect modern touch. Again, clean neutrals create the canvas with Sherwin-Williams Front Porch on the walls.

A large, open kitchen and family area are just off the dining room. The kitchen and family room follow the neutral tones of the rest of the home with Shoji White walls. The white custom cabinets and open shelving are in Sherwin-Williams Incredible White gloss. Exposed shelves keep the space open feeling and provide visual variety, according to Hidalgo- Nilsson. A ten-foot, navy-colored island captures the eye against the warm-white background.

Ili Hildalgo-Nisson used warm whites and varying tones of gray to create her base, then added strokes of strong black and pops of blue tones, from navy to teal, to keep the design from being flat.

Classic Character

Classic Character

A Simple Foundation

This home design by Ili Hidalgo-Nilsson was done with neutral tones in mind, and the flooring was no different. Rich, deep-toned oak hardwood creates a smooth flow throughout the living areas. Although the streamlined wood floors complement any space, the designer added a bit of individuality to each room in the home with rug treatments, which can easily be changed when and if the homeowners transition their style. A Serena & Lily carmel, hand-knotted wool, and viscose rug with soft shades is in the living room and layered over a simple jute rug. A pale-beige custom rug is in the dining room. The outdoor room holds a light-blue rug in a flat chevron print. But the office breaks the trend of quiet, subtle floor coverings with a bold, Souk wool rug in striking black and white.

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Pendants are from Rejuvenation and the counter chairs are by Serena & Lily. Countertops are HanStone quartz. A spectacular range hood was a custom piece by Vent-A-Hood. To the right of the stove is a black-glass Sub-Zero refrigerator. “The lights slowly go out when you close the door so it glows beautifully in the room,” says Hidalgo-Nilsson. Tricorn Black French doors at the end of the kitchen open to a patio. A white fireplace, wood railings, and an arbor-style cover extend the seasonal use of this outdoor living space.

Hidalgo-Nilsson believes that great materials and simple design make a home welcoming and timeless. This design captures classic elements, uses quality products, and adds an occasional punch of color for interest. It’s the perfect recipe for the lasting enjoyment and satisfaction of the owners.

Maria Walker CRS

Maria Walker CRS

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on November 16, 2017 at 9:15 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

“Tudor” Style Kitchen Remodel

Home By Design

october | november | 2017

TIMELESS TUDOR

Respect for Architecture and Attention to Detail Revive an English Tudor Kitchen

WRITTEN BY RONDA SWANEY  PHOTOGRAPHY BY KEITH SCOTT MORTON

“Can you do a black kitchen?” Mario J. Mulea laughs as he recalls the first words the homeowner spoke to him. The homeowner had just stepped into the showroom for Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly (kitchendesigns.com), a firm serving the Long Island area of New York where Mulea works as a kitchen designer. As an experienced interior designer herself, the homeowner had a clear vision of what she wanted to accomplish. That she sought Mulea’s help offers a clue into how specialized and complicated kitchen design can be.

The kitchen in the homeowner’s nearly-century-old Tudor was the final update that needed to be made to return the home to its former glory. In Mulea, she found a kindred spirit who appreciated the history of her home and believed it should inform and inspire the design. “I always talk about the house first,” he says, describing his design process. “What’s the style of the house? What neighborhood is it in? Do the interiors match the architecture? If you have a center-hall colonial and you ask for cobalt-blue, high-gloss cabinets, I’ll tell you that you’ve picked the wrong designer. I’m not going to do that.”

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With pickled maple cabinets, green Formica countertops, and vinyl flooring, nothing about the kitchen matched the home’s Tudor style. Respecting that architecture necessarily constrained the design. Windows, doors, and a radiator could not be moved. Another design constraint, which would ultimately become the room’s centerpiece, was a wish-list purchase by the homeowner. “She absolutely had to have the La Cornue CornuFé range,” Mulea recalls.

After the must-go, must-stay, and must-add items were defined, Mulea’s next questions revolved around how the room would be used. “I talk with clients about how their family uses the kitchen and how they use it when they have visitors,” he says. “We discuss zones and how kitchens work.” He notes that the “work triangle” notion is now outdated for most modern homes. It’s more helpful to know how homeowners actually use the space and what traffic flows in and out of the room.

Once all the information is gathered, Mulea starts sketching possible ideas. That’s the creative side of the process, but it’s paired with more analytical considerations. “A kitchen is both a giant jigsaw puzzle and a math problem,” he explains. Once you know window and door positions and appliance sizes, you then have to figure out the best way for cabinets, islands, and countertops to fill the room’s envelope. Every available inch of space in this kitchen is put to use.

Respecting the home’s history meant choosing materials that seemed contemporaneous. “The materials you use don’t have to be historic, as if they’ve been there for one hundred years. The critical thing that makes a kitchen timeless is integrating it into the fabric of the rest of the house,” says Mulea. The distressed finish of the black cabinets is one such example. Handscraped hickory floors with black distressing also add a patina of history to the room.

Kitchen designer Mario J. Mulea says you don’t need one-hundred-year-old materials to make a historic remodel look authentic. Case in point: the reproduction Victorian fireplace located behind the range.

Timeless Tudor

The homeowner, a designer herself, worked closely with the kitchen designer, Mulea. The layout, architectural details, and finishes were his purview, while she focused on accessories, fixtures, and fabrics.

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The black La Cornue range with brass trim serves as a centerpiece. Other appliances were clad in cabinet panels so they would not distract from the showpiece. The mantel hood arches over the range and an English foxhunt print rests on its ledge.

No detail was overlooked during the remodel. The diamond angles of the white-tile backsplash match the angles in the room’s windows and leaded-glass cabinet fronts. A fireplace back hangs behind the range and looks like a reproduction from the Victorian era. In a corner of the room, a new door with a ring pull was added to the home’s original milk delivery box. A copper sink serves the wet bar off to the side of the room. The same wet bar camouflages the room’s radiator, which sits behind a lattice door and vented toe kicks that allow air circulation. Practical quartz counters top the perimeter cabinets, while walnut slabs cover the wet bar and island.

The homeowner added her own special design touches throughout the space, too. She discovered the vintage chandelier, which now hangs over the island, in an antique store and had it rewired. The wallpaper was her request, and the plaid-covered stools with brass nailheads were one of her finds. On a trip to England, she gathered many of the teapots, crystal, and curios on display behind the glass-fronted cabinets.

The surfaces in the kitchen exude Old-World charm, but beneath them lies functionality. A tug on custom brass hardware reveals deep pot drawers, appliance garages, an ice dispenser, and a trash bin.

The end result is a kitchen that looks like it could have been there from the home’s beginning, but incorporates all the modern needs for today’s family. “If you look at my portfolio, you’ll see I do not have a signature design,” says Mulea. “To me, my signature is that the design must fit the house and the people who live there above everything else.”

Maria Walker

Maria Walker

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on November 6, 2017 at 8:33 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Keep Those Pearly Whites Healthy

Home By Design

october | november | 2017

sweet tooth

Heed These Tips for Your Healthiest Mouth Ever

WRITTEN BY BLAKE MILLER

They say your eyes are the windows to your soul. If that’s the case, then your teeth are the windows to your overall health. In fact, not only can your oral health offer serious clues about your overall health, but any issues you may have in your mouth could seriously affect the rest of your body, and not necessarily in a good way. So what’s at stake? Poor oral health can lead to a variety of health problems including endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of your heart), cardiovascular disease, and premature birth and low birth weight. Plus, in some diseases like diabetes, periodontal disease can lower the body’s resistance to infection. “Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is extraordinarily important for overall good health,” says Dr. Edward A Alvarez, DDS PC, who is based in New York City, New York. “The good news is that taking care of your teeth and oral health doesn’t have to be difficult or cumbersome.” Here are some top ways to keep your teeth (and, in turn, your overall body) healthy.

BRUSH YOUR TEETH

It may seem obvious, but brushing is the number-one thing—with flossing right behind it—you can do to keep your teeth healthy; however, not all brushing is created equal. In fact, how you brush, what you brush with, and what toothpaste you use all play a role in keeping your pearly whites healthy and, well, pearly white. Gently brush your teeth on all sides with a softbristle brush, advises Alvarez. Adds Dr. William Crutchfield, DDS, an orthodontist in Washington, DC: “Leaving food on and between teeth is what breaks down the enamel and causes long-term damage. The age-old wisdom of avoiding over-exposure to sugary foods or drinks remains true. For adults, many people forget alcoholic beverages have lots of sugar as well. So make sure, if you’ve been out on the town, brush your teeth before bed to maintain your best smile.”

SKIP THE TOOTHPICK

Your tools of choice when getting in between your teeth should be limited to dental floss and Waterpiks—not toothpicks or random items with sharp corners (read: business cards). “While not as popular in recent years as before, toothpicks are dangerous for dental health,” explains Crutchfield. “Floss, Waterpiks, and brushing are much safer and won’t damage the roots of your teeth. For those with cosmetic dentistry, toothpicks can chip or loosen the bond of veneers making for a costly habit.”

STEER CLEAR OF STAINS

Foods that stain, that is. “Patients should be aware that foods that are acidic, such as tomato sauce, citrus dishes, and drinks such as lemonade can soften the enamel,” says Alvarez. “It is important to rinse after such meals if possible. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks will cause your mouth to dry out, and that can lead to greater plaque and tartar build up, and to cavities.”

Sweet Tooth

Photography provided by ©iStockphoto.com/ferrantraite.

KNOW YOUR MEDS

“Patients on medications, such as antidepressants, thyroid medication, high blood pressure medications, and others, should use a fluoride rinse daily, as those medications can cause dry mouth, which can lead to decay,” explains Alvarez. “Hydrating with lots of water during the day is very important when taking medications.”

Pearly Whites

Want to get the whitest teeth on the block? Consider these at-home treatments, but check with your dentist to make sure the method is right for you.
Crest 3D White Strips
“There are lots of products on the market nowadays for whitening, but what I use and my family uses is Crest 3D White Strips,” says Dr. William Crutchfield, an orthodontist in Washington, DC.
Activated Charcoal
“You can take some charcoal powder (please make sure it’s medical grade) and lightly brush with it after mixing it with some distilled water,” says Dr. Edward A Alvarez, DDS PC, who is based in New York City, New York. “The charcoal is abrasive, so it will remove any build up and external stain on the teeth.”
Baking Soda
“Much like charcoal, baking soda is an abrasive substance that will polish off external stain and plaque that gives teeth that dark, yellow appearance,” says Alvarez. “Baking soda also serves as a buffer to raise the pH of the mouth, which will pull out the tannins from your teeth.”
Coconut Oil
“Oil pulling with coconut oil (where we hold coconut oil in our mouths for ten to twenty minutes while swishing it around, and then spitting) has great benefits,” says Alvarez. “The coconut oil will break down the plaque that has that nasty, pasty yellow look to it. Plaque that hardens becomes tartar, which can sometimes not only look yellow, but also brown, or even green.”
Maria Walker

Maria Walker

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on October 31, 2017 at 5:13 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |