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 |

Irish Pub Recipes

Home By Design

october | november | 2017

pub grub

Irish Pub Recipes for the Home Chef

RECIPES AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY KARISTA BENNETT

American football dominates the airwaves during the fall months. And while it can be tempting to head to the pub to catch a game and some grub, family time is important too. Get the whole family together to make a comforting meal of Irish-inspired dishes; this hearty cuisine is the perfect accessory to a football game or the ideal centerpiece of a casual dinner party.

Pub Grub

IRISH CHIPS WITH THREE DIPS

Irish chips are simple to prepare and delicious to eat. They can be served à la carte or with these three tasty dips. This combo offers a festive beginning to a pub menu at home.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 6 cups plain, thick-cut potato chips
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the chips in a single layer on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the blue cheese. Bake the chips for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the blue cheese is melted.

Remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve with Bacon and Cheese Dip, Chive and Onion Dip, or Roasted Red Pepper Dip.

IRISH CHIPS WITH THREE DIPS

Dips

dips

Each dip makes about 2 cups


IRISH REUBEN SANDWICH

The classic Irish Reuben is a melt-in-your-mouth sandwich that will forever be one of my family’s favorites. We adore this sandwich slathered in the sauce and piled high with sauerkraut. I like this sandwich best with a dill rye bread, but marbled and dark rye taste just as delicious.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 (2- to 3-pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup chile sauce, ketchup, or cocktail sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 to 12 slices dark rye or dill rye bread
  • 6 to 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 2 cups sauerkraut, drained
  • Dill pickles (optional)

Place the brisket in a large pot or Dutch oven, add the spice packet, and then cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for about 45 minutes per pound until the meat is tender. When the corned beef is done, remove it from the pot and let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. When slicing the corned beef, slice the meat across the grain for a tender bite.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, chile sauce, lemon juice, pickle relish, capers, garlic, chives, and Worcestershire sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

IRISH REUBEN SANDWICHButter one side of each slice of bread. Spread a tablespoon or two of sauceon the other side of each slice of bread. Layer half the bread slices with Swiss cheese, shredded corned beef, and then top with sauerkraut. Place the remaining bread slices onto the sandwiches and heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat.

Once the skillet is warm, place the sandwiches on the skillet and brown both sides of the sandwiches. Once the sandwiches are toasty, remove them from the skillet or griddle, slice, and plate. Serve immediately, with dill pickles if desired.

Maria Walker

Maria Walker

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on October 24, 2017 at 7:04 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Beautiful Kitchen Transformation

Home By Design

october | november | 2017

KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL

A Run-Down Row House Kitchen Is Transformed into a Sophisticated Place to Gather

WRITTEN BY BLAKE MILLER  PHOTOGRAPHY BY STACY ZARIN GOLDBERG PHOTOGRAPHY

When designer Breeze Giannasio first saw her clients’ row house located in Washington DC’s hip Dupont Circle neighborhood, she knew she had a challenge on her hands. Though the home had fantastic bones and boasted historic architectural details common in a classic Federal row house, it was run-down and in need of some serious upgrading and renovations. Luckily, though, Giannasio was willing to take on the project and help the couple—who, at the time, had just become new parents—transform the dated house into an open and seamless floor plan that was ideal for a fun, growing family.

Originally two separate rooms, the kitchen was opened up into one room, and the existing fireplace was transformed into a bay window allowing for natural light to brighten the entire space. Though the narrow, long shape of the kitchen may have posed a challenge to some designers, Giannasio embraced it. “Architectural constraints are gifts to designers in that they create the parameters that create design solutions and opportunities,” says Giannasio. “Design doesn’t exist in a vacuum—it solves problems. Here the layout is fundamentally linked to the unique volume of the space: the long, narrow room with lovely, high ceilings.”

Make the Most of It

Use Every Inch
“Take advantage of any recessed areas, which can offer a wealth of space in situations where every inch matters! In this kitchen design, there is recessed spice storage behind the stove (behind sliding stone doors) as well as a recessed area built out for a TV near the kitchen nook, but styled here with accessories. Live large and carry your cabinets all the way to the ceiling—you’ll appreciate the storage and the visual drama!”
Amplify Seating
“Seating can also be incorporated into circulation areas—we have great bar seating on a long central island along the main circulation back to the eating nook. A banquette (built-in or freestanding as here) is a nice way to economize the footprint of your eating area given that it can back up against the wall leaving more square footage for the accompanying dining table and chairs.”
Maintain Continuity
“Having continuous flooring from space to space makes things feel larger. Here the flooring connects from the formal living room and flows directly into the kitchen through two large, historic pocket doors.”
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The kitchen was originally two separate rooms, but designer Breeze Giannasio opened and combined the spaces to create a long, dramatic kitchen area.

Kitchen Confidential

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ABOVE: To modernize the traditional architectural details of the classic Federal row house, Giannasio installed contemporary decorative pendant lights and a sleek glass chandelier. LEFT: Giannasio added sliding stone doors behind the stove to conceal a spice rack.

Ample seating was paramount to the homeowners, who wanted the downstairs of the home to exude a more sophisticated aesthetic while the upstairs was denoted as the much more relaxed and casual “kid zone.” To achieve a more formal dining room, Giannasio created an elegant dining area in what would normally be reserved as a casual breakfast nook. In lieu of expected chairs, Giannasio installed a tufted, lavender banquette, which immediately elevated the space. Adjacent chairs upholstered in a sleek geometric pattern complement the modern crystal ball chandelier that serves a twofold purpose of providing functional light and acting as a piece of artwork.

The approximately 300-square-foot space was limited in natural light due to the lack of windows on two sides of the room (typical of row houses). “Light is perhaps the most important facet of successful interior design,” explains Giannasio. “Placement of the kitchen was linked to being on the hunt for natural light. We brought in ample recessed lighting to make sure the space was light and bright. The decorative pendants and chandelier are on a separate circuit so mood lighting is possible in the evening hours.” Beyond that, a color palette of neutral grays, white cabinetry, and a sleek, white cowhide at the opposite end of the kitchen helped brighten what could easily have become a dark space. “I tend to gravitate toward immersive grays with handsome, high-contrast architectural ‘pops’ and a bit of play with color and pattern,” says Giannasio. “All of those elements happened to be a part of this space.” To take advantage of the kitchen’s ceiling height, Giannasio added floor-to-ceiling cabinets and grand windows and doors, which immediately opened up the space.

The final product was exactly what the homeowners wanted in a place they knew they’d spend much of their time in as a family. “While it remains family friendly and extremely functional,” says Giannasio, “I love the fact that we were able to achieve such a sophisticated and tailored look to suit the couple’s pre-child aesthetic.”

Maria Walker

Maria Walker

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on October 20, 2017 at 5:58 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

White Balance

Home By Design

october | november | 2017

WHITE BALANCE

This Symmetrical, All-White Kitchen Provides a Calming Family Gathering Place

WRITTEN BY RONDA SWANEY  PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOP KAT PHOTO

“When I leave, it should look like I was never there,” says Katja van der Loo, CEO of Papyrus Home Design, a Boonton, New Jersey interior design firm. She’s describing the desired end result after a remodeling project. “Whatever style the kitchen is, if it is in keeping [with] and respectful to the architecture of the home, I think that’s when it’s most successful. This bright kitchen would look awful in a different type of house. In this house, it looks incredible,” she says.

When van der Loo was hired for this project, she found a kitchen stuck in the ’80s. The older part of the home had a classic design but suffered from a poorly executed addition. The remodeled portion appeared to be tacked onto the house as an afterthought. The owners, a couple with young children, needed a fresh start. The previous construction was removed and a new three-story addition was planned for the back of the house. This kitchen was part of that project. “We had to seamlessly blend the old with the new,” says van der Loo.

“I knew this client was into balance and symmetry, and that’s how I approach things too,” explains van der Loo. “The cleaner it is the better it feels, I think.” Balanced designs create a calming effect, which is helpful for any busy homeowners.

The range and island are perfectly centered, as are the large glass pendant lights. “Those pendants add an industrial touch to the kitchen,” she says. And they are grand enough to be noticed. “The kitchen has nine-foot ceilings and the island is nine feet long. I felt we needed something large scale to balance all that space.”

Off to the side, the bench seating that skirts the wide bay window is also perfectly symmetrical. The seat cushions are custom, while store-bought pillows in gray, white, and taupe finish the look. Drawers beneath the window seat add more storage, which the homeowner uses to keep serving pieces that are rarely used.

Designer Katja van der Loo believes in keeping it classic. “Make a remodeled kitchen fit the home’s architecture and it will always feel current,” she says.

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Inspired by a sojourn in Paris, the homeowner requested a marble top in the kitchen—a surface prized by professional bakers.

White Balance

In any remodeling project, it’s smart to save dollars where you can. The homeowners already had the table and chairs used in the eating nook. Chair slipcovers were a practical selection because they could be removed and machine washed if the children spilled on the furniture. A glass chandelier, with a traditional shape but modern transparency, sparkles above the dining table. The transparency gave an added benefit to the room. “The garden, which you can see through the windows, is spectacular. I didn’t want anything to obstruct that view,” explains van der Loo.

The children use the small desk off to the side to work on arts and crafts projects. Open cabinets above the desk make books easily accessible. A printer is hidden in one end of the island, which provides easy access without visual clutter. At the island sit practical and lightweight aluminum barstools, which van der Loo calls “indestructible.”

Attention to proportion promotes the calming effect as do the colors and materials used. The cabinets, subway tile, and crown moldings are awash in white. Room flow is enhanced by how the cabinet molding merges seamlessly with the crown molding that circles the room. Pietra cardosa, a mineral-laden gray stone, tops the perimeter counters. Neutral paint with the slightest hint of gray covers the walls. The range and hood serve as the room’s focal point, while other appliances are hidden beneath cabinet panels.

One of the homeowners has a great passion for cooking and baking and many of the room’s features align with that. Many an amateur baker covets a marble surface, so statuary marble tops the island at the homeowner’s request. A high BTU range is professional grade and the warming rack above it aids in meal prep. A mixer lift is hidden in the other end of the island.

“A lot of people store mixers in a pantry, but that’s not convenient. With a lift, you open the cabinet and it pops up. When you’re done, all you have to do is clean the bowl, then it pops back down to be hidden in the cabinet again.”

A custom cabinet to the right of the range hides steel cooling racks for baked goods. To the left of the range is a wall oven and microwave. To the side of the island is a wet bar. It contains a beverage fridge and a small sink. This spot is adjacent to the family room, which is helpful for enter-taining. Guests can serve themselves without getting in the way of food prep in the main cooking area.

Symmetry, soothing tones, and hiding places that keep clutter at bay—each element plays a role in creating a calming atmosphere that draws the family together. “I love the openness and balance of this room,” says van der Loo. “But you know what the best thing about this kitchen is? It’s how you feel when you’re in it.”

Maria Walker

Maria Walker

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on October 17, 2017 at 6:26 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Fun Western Get-Away

Home By Design

august | september | 2017

Where the West Lives

GOLDEN, COLORADO

BELOW: Visitors to the charming town of Golden, Colorado are welcomed with a friendly arch. INSET, FROM LEFT: Guests of The Dove Inn Bed & Breakfast enjoy small-town luxury; sample a Buffalo Reuben at local favorite D’Deli; catch a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Golden, Colorado

“Howdy Folks! Welcome to Golden,” reads the historic arch as you enter this charming downtown. Just fifteen minutes west of Denver, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, sits the quaint Front Range town of Golden, Colorado. Extremely walkable options for where to stay, shop, play, and dine abound.

WRITTEN BY KIM A FUQUA

Enjoy views of Table Mountain from your room at Table Mountain Inn, an adobe-style hotel with Southwest decor in the heart of downtown. Another great downtown option is The Golden Hotel, boasting charming mountain lodge ambience and an expansive deck overlooking scenic Clear Creek. The Dove Inn Bed & Breakfast occupies a stunning Victorian mansion with several historic rooms and luxury suites from which to choose. Located on a quiet street just off the main downtown strip, Dove Inn proprietor and hostess Elizabeth ensures guests are well cared for and well fed before they head out for a day of shopping and adventures.

Spend a day getting to know Golden with a walking tour along Washington Avenue, the main street of historic downtown. Stop by Spirits in the Wind Gallery for beautiful western art and jewelry crafted by local artists. You’re guaranteed to find a unique piece of wearable art at Baby Doe’s Clothing, a women’s apparel and jewelry boutique featuring the works of many local artisans. The scent of freshly baked bread wafting out to the street beckons a visit to the decades-old sandwich shop D’Deli. This old-fashioned counter-serve deli features hot and cold creative sandwich classics along with locally sourced twists like the corned buffalo Reuben and smoked corned elk with goat cheese and blackberry chutney. Pair your sandwich with a locally crafted Rocky Mountain Soda and enjoy an alfresco lunch on the bluffs overlooking the kayaking and tubing action on Clear Creek.

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Photography by (opening spread) ©iStockphoto.com/cumulus_humilis, (these pages, from left) ©iStockphoto.com/milehightraveler, The Dove Inn Bed & Breakfast, D’Deli, ©iStockphoto.com/schmez.

Following an afternoon of wandering through galleries, kitschy museums, and Wild West gift shops, hit up Indulge Bistro & Wine Bar for happy hour in its sleek bar area. Order a round of small plates to share; don’t miss the garlic fries and the Ahi Tuna Guacamole with wonton chips. Pair these eats with a Colorado Native draft beer or a glass of Troublemaker red blend from the specially priced menu available until 6:00 p.m. daily. For dinner, don’t miss the gorgeously ornate Nepalese cultural experience that is a meal at Sherpa House. Cap off the evening with a handcrafted cocktail with a vintage vibe at Golden Moon Speakeasy.

The Front Range offers ample tasting opportunities for beer lovers, particularly during the month of October when Denver hosts the Great American Beer Festival. Golden alone boasts seven breweries, including MillerCoors, the largest single-site brewery in the world. Prepare yourself for a day of beer tasting with lunch at Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza, a local favorite for lunch, dinner, and late-night eats. Sample a bit of everything with the unlimited pizza bar, including the salad bar and a crock of beer cheese soup. Walk one block and you’re ready to take the Coors Brewery Tour, a self-guided tour that ends with free samples.

Spend the rest of the afternoon touring Golden’s craft breweries. Walk back downtown a block and visit Barrels & Bottles Brewery, a nano brewpub that’s home to Colorado’s first fusion beer tower. Next, hang with the locals in the downtown beer garden at Golden City Brewery. Located in an old machine shop on Washington Avenue, Mountain Toad Brewing features a broad range of styles in a hip setting.

A short drive will take you to Cannonball Creek Brewing Company, where brewers focus on Belgian-style ales, and Holidaily Brewing Company, currently the only gluten-free brewery in Colorado. Whatever your plans, don’t miss a visit to New Terrain Brewery, Golden’s newest craft brewery. The culture of adventure and creativity shines through in both the thoughtful design of the indoor-outdoor space and the array of innovative brews. Grab a picnic table outside and savor the beauty of the surrounding foothills. You’ll soon understand what Golden is all about.

A day exploring the foothills around Golden cannot be beat. Take a scenic trip up to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, stopping at Panorama Point Scenic Overlook, where you can see one hundred miles of the Continental Divide. Twelve unique hiking trails offer something for everyone, including horseback riders and mountain bikers. The “Golden Cliffs” on North Table Mountain offer opportunities for novice and expert climbers alike.

Red Rocks Amphitheater

Catching a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater in the neighboring town of Morrison is the experience of a lifetime. Whether you’re seeing a regular touring band like Dave Matthews or catching a showing of The Matrixduring Movies on the Rocks, the natural beauty of the red sandstone rock formations and expansive views to Denver are worth the trip.

Maria Walker

Maria Walker

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on October 2, 2017 at 7:07 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Elegant But Comfortable Decorating

Home By Design

august | september | 2017

Farm fresh

a home with a story to tell

WRITTEN BY CAROLYN M. RUNYON  PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANGIE SECKINGER

Alex Deringer, co-owner with Courtney Cox of Ivy Lane Living in Alexandria, Virginia, believes a person’s home should tell his or her individual story. Her 4,500-square-foot, three-level residence on a unique two-acre lot in the heart of the city does exactly that. The home was originally a farmhouse built in 1912. Deringer wanted a family-friendly environment—a place where every room is approachable and comfortable for children as well as adults. She created a casually elegant home through her use of family heirlooms, soft neutral colors, and a pleasant mix of furnishing styles and designs.

Alex Deringer uses neutral colors as a canvas, then layers her design with an interesting blend of antique, vintage, and classic pieces. The collection offers texture, pattern, subtle tones, and often a touch of the owner’s history.

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Many of the antique and vintage items in this design have been handed down within Deringer’s family. This designer loves to incorporate family heirlooms with subtle classic design to create a home that is an extension of the owner—a story of past and present lives.

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Farm Fresh

“We maintained the original footprint of the house and added an open floor plan in the rear that enables natural light into the space. The front portion of the house is more compartmentalized and has a more traditional feel than the addition,” says Deringer. “Because of that, we kept the palette light in that space, permitting the front rooms to make the best use of the natural light they have.” Random-width, mellow-toned hardwood floors unite the spaces. Deringer used Dove White by Benjamin Moore as the base color for some of the walls and the majority of the trim. She added varying degrees of a neutral tan with subtle blue accents to other parts of the living space.

The foyer is simple with an inherited antique dresser as a focal point and a unique, antique chandelier. To the right of the foyer is an office and library for Deringer’s husband and to the left is a formal parlor. The parlor holds an antique piano that belonged to her family, a vintage mirror, and a set of antique, hand-painted Limoges plates that were the first gift she ever received from her mother-in-law. “I feel that your home should be an evolution of who you are,” she explains. “These pieces that were part of our families, and part of our growing up in many cases, help tell our guests who we are.” The light grass cloth area rug and gentle-toned Schumacher grass cloth wall covering create a neutral canvas. Deringer mixed up the slipcover upholstery in the simple chairs using tones of beige and blue. They are Baker slipcover chairs with fabric by Osborne & Little. She then added accessories like the whimsical pillows in a fabric by Vervain. The iron and glass table, a design by Salvations Architectural Furnishings in Silver Spring, Maryland and a small outdoor metal accent table by David Iatesta further breaks up the style. “When things match too strongly, they die away from each other,” explains Deringer. “They make a room look flat and artificial. I like to ‘layer’ different styles and elements in my designs.”

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The formal dining room has a cream area rug and walls in Grant Beige by Benjamin Moore. One wall is covered in a Thibaut trellis print, also in a neutral tone. Other family antiques, the buffet and matching antique corner cabinets, again bring in a touch of history and family tradition into the design. The drapery fabric has metal thread vines on an ecru background. Window treatments are simple throughout the house, allowing natural light to filter into the rooms.

In the rear addition of the home is a living room with French doors that lead to the back patio. The sofa and armchair are upholstered in a quiet beige Schumacher fabric. Two blue accent chairs are in a flame pattern by Travers. Walls are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Sail Cloth and the trim continues in Dove White.

One of Deringer’s favorite rooms is the master bedroom. “It’s high up and you can see the treetops from all the windows. I call it my tree-house room,” she adds. The walls are painted Hollingsworth Green by Benjamin Moore. It continues the outdoor leafy feel. The chandelier is an Old-World design by David Iatesta and brings in that historic touch Deringer is fond of. The linens on the bed are from Ivy Lane Living’s boutique—a retail component of the design company. Deringer loves to mix metals in her designs. She feels the glam feel of the Oly floor lamp adds reflection and sparkle to the room.

Although the addition has a more modern open floor plan, the design of both areas of the home is cohesive because of the smooth transition of color and the continuing relationship of furnishings and attitude. The mix of antique and vintage, formal and casual, and the varied styles, attitudes, and periods of accessories unify all the rooms. This home truly reflects Deringer, her family history, and her personal development.

Maria Walker

Maria Walker

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on September 27, 2017 at 7:12 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Easy Home Aquaponic System

Home By Design

august | september | 2017

age of aquariums

Maintaining Your Personal Fish Tank Garden

WRITTEN BY CATRIONA TUDOR ERLER

For centuries, farmers have cultivated plants with aquaponic systems. Since at least 11,000 B.C.E, in China, rice has been grown in paddies. When the fields are flooded, fish come in. Ducks also arrive to enjoy the wetlands. The fish and fowl waste feeds the plants, and the plants keep the water clean. When the paddies are drained for harvest, the fish are easy prey, and they too are harvested.

In South America, the second-century Aztecs learned to build chinampas: a series of rectangular raised beds created in Lake Texcoco’s shallow waters. A system of canals between the beds irrigated the plants and provided access by canoe to care for them. Plants flourished in the nutrient-rich lake water, making it possible to harvest at least seven full crops a year.

Now this time-honored symbiotic growing technique is making the leap from commercial agriculture to homeowners. Instead of vast flooded fields or acres of floating gardens, manufacturers are making decorative fish tank systems that combine the soothing pleasures of an aquarium with indoor herb, flower, and vegetable gardens.

HOW IT WORKS

This closed-loop, self-cleaning ecosystem frees owners from the necessity of cleaning an aquarium or fertilizing and watering plants. Here’s how it works. Fish waste has high concentrations of ammonia. In streams where the water is continuously running, the waste is flushed away. But in a closed fish tank, the concentrated excretions become toxic to the fish. If you add plants, beneficial bacteria that grow naturally in the potting medium convert the ammonia into nitrates, which fertilize the plants. As the plants continuously take up the nitrate nutrients for growth, they are also cleaning the water for your fish.

Typically, a pump moves the water in the aquarium up to the planting bed, where it continuously flows over the roots. The plant roots take up the nutrients, and the cleaned water runs out through the drainage holes back into the tank.

HOW TO MAINTAIN IT

Maintaining a balanced miniature aquaponic system is easy. When the water level drops due to evaporation and transpiration, top it up with room temperature dechlorinated tap water, maintaining a water level at about one inch from the bottom of the grow bed. According to Tom Sanford of Back to the Roots, an innovative company that sells complete miniature aquaponic kits, it’s not necessary to exchange one-third of the water every month, as is recommended for an aquarium system that is not being purified by plants.

Back to the Roots

Back to the Roots is a California-based company with the goal to help families get back to the roots of growing and eating organic, nutritious, and pure food. Founders Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora have grown the business to include accessible aquaponic kits, mushroom farms, garden kits, and self-watering planters.

www.backtotheroots.com

Age of Aquariums

Photography provided by www.backtotheroots.com.

Feed your fish daily, but only as much as they will eat in about five minutes. Otherwise uneaten food will rot at the bottom of the tank. Don’t be overzealous about washing the grow stones. The beneficial bacteria that grow on them are key to the process of converting ammonia to nourishing nitrogen.

HOW TO SIZE IT

Depending on the size of your system, you can grow anything from microgreens such asradish sprouts and wheatgrass to something much larger, such as a braided Japanese money tree (Pachira aquatic). The important thing is to have a balance between the volume of fish waste and plants. The more fish you have, the more plants you’ll need. The goal is to have all the fish excretions taken up as nutrients for the plants. If you purchase a kit, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for the ratio of water volume to fish and to plants.

A number of companies offer kits that come with everything you need to get started. The Back to the Roots kit comes with a 3-gallon fish tank and gravel, a submersible water pump, the plant bed, organic seeds and grow stones, natural fertilizer (to jump start the process), fish food, and a coupon for a betta fish. Fin to Flower Aquaponics offers several size options and configurations ranging from a 2.5-gallon tank with three, two-inch grow pots to a 5-gallon tank with two planting tiers, which each hold three, three-inch grow pots. These systems each include a waterfall that returns the circulated water back to the tank, aerates the water, and is visually appealing. Check online to learn more about the many options available on the market.

A home aquaponic system combines the pleasure of tropical fish with the fun of growing plants indoors. You’ll have no weeding, no soil pests, and no watering. It is a great project for the entire family.

Maria Walker

Maria Walker

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on September 18, 2017 at 6:13 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |

Meshing Modern with Historic

Home By Design

august | september | 2017

timeless in toronto

A Historic Townhome Gets a Modern Face-Lift

WRITTEN BY BLAKE MILLER  PHOTOGRAPHY BY LISA PETROLE

It was a blank canvas for designers Ashley Tracey and Laura McLellan. The design principals behind the wildly successful firm The Design Co., which specializes in blending old with new, were tasked with designing the interiors of a three-story, circa-1910 historic townhome. Located in the Casa Loma neighborhood of Toronto, the property did not have a buyer but the duo had one in mind when they imagined just how everything would come together. “The buyers would be Toronto professionals who were rather design savvy, well-traveled, and looking to downsize to a luxury town house such as this,” explains Tracey.

To keep the look consistent throughout the home, the designers installed rich, walnut hardwood floors. And they decided to forgo window treatments to take advantage of the home’s substantial natural light.

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Working side by side with developers allowed the designers to have input in the layout of each floor from the beginning of the project. “We started with a super functional and open floor plan,” explains Tracey. “One that would be amazing for entertaining guests. Each room is connected such that guests can flow between rooms without breaking up a party or gathering when entertaining.” Once that was in place, the designers began to address the finishes of the home, which, they say, “needed to ooze luxury.” Rich, walnut hardwood floors run throughout the home and are complemented by sleek Calacatta marble featured in the first-floor living spaces on the floors and counters. “It was very important to Laura and I that the home had good flow and consistency,” says Tracey. “We don’t want rooms to feel choppy and mismatched.”

Because of the home’s original facade—the only part that remains from the 1910 structure—Tracey and McLellan wanted to reference that classical, Georgian-style architecture on the interiors while still bringing a fresh, modern feel to the space, which was all new. “This is why we included many classical design features such as carved marble fireplace surrounds, wood floors, detailed crown molding and baseboard, a classical kitchen design, and more,” says Tracey. “But we also made this place feel new and fresh with furniture and finishes, and modern technologies in the form of appliances [and] speaker systems.”

The fairly neutral color palette would mimic that sleek, classic-yet-modern feel the designers created with the hard finishes and architectural elements. The designers layered various textures—tweeds, cowhide, fur, wood, metal—to help break up the neutral hues but still keep the flow consistent from room to room.

Layers of various textures such as tweed, cowhide, fur, and metal provide interest to each space without impairing the neutral aesthetic.

Timeless in Toronto

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Meshing Historic with Modern

Designer Ashley Tracey of The Design Co. offers these tips on designing with old and new.
Keep Finishes Classic
“The hard finishes such as hardwood floors, molding and trim, countertops, [and] kitchen cabinets in a home should be timeless, because you cannot easily change them out without a major expense,” says Tracey. “When designing a home we try to pick hard finishes that are rooted in tradition and will not go out of style in a few years.”
Think Neutral for Your Soft Goods
Invest in furniture that’s neutral and timeless and change it up by layering accessories and textures via pillows and throws. “We recommend choosing classics for the main furniture pieces, the ‘investment-pieces’ such as a sofa, bed, dining table,” says Tracey.
Use Trends in Small Doses
“The element of ‘new,’ contemporary, or ‘trendy’ should come in the form of side tables, art, and accessories,” advises Tracey. “These decor items are easy to switch out if you tire of them or they need a refresh without a substantial cost.”

One of the biggest draws of the home, though, is its hidden rooftop terrace and outdoor living space. On the former, the home boasts spectacular views of downtown Toronto and CN Tower, not to mention breathtaking sunsets. While downstairs, black garden doors run across the entire backside of the house and lead out to an open flagstone courtyard. “It was important that in the summer months, which are decidedly short here in Toronto, homeowners could open up these garden doors and extend their entertaining space into the courtyard,” says Tracey.

Though the resulting design was so impressive that the home sold fully furnished by the exact buyers the designers envisioned for the home, it was still a challenge for Tracey and McLellan. “You are trying to create a stylish, exciting home but you don’t necessarily know who is going to buy this house and what their style is,” says Tracey. “So when we are designing a home like this, we try to appeal to those who appreciate good design, a functional home, and we make sure that there are touches of luxury throughout—because who doesn’t like a bit of luxury? We definitely try to get into the heads of potential buyers and think about how they live and what they would appreciate in a home.” Challenge accepted and fulfilled.

Maria Walker

Maria Walker

509.370.2664

Where Dreams Come Home

Featured Magazine

Posted on September 6, 2017 at 8:08 pm
Maria Walker | Posted in Uncategorized |