Monthly Archives: August 2016

Innovative home devices from Amazon

With the popularity of smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home on the rise comes an influx of other products designed to make your home a little smarter. Whether you want some extra help in the kitchen or a way to monitor your pets when you aren’t home, there is a smart home product for all of your needs. From a refrigerator equipped with a touchscreen for looking up recipes to a sleep machine that analyzes your bedroom to create a “sound blanket,” these seven devices will take your home to the next level in 2017.

With features like two-way talk and one-way video, smart visitor detection, and notifications right to your phone, Vivint’s doorbell camera makes knowing who’s at your front door easy, whether you’re upstairs or out of town. Monthly plans start at $40.

Master the sous vide method with the Anova Precision Cooker. Easily attachable to any pot, the device allows for flavorful, expertly cooked meals every time by using temperature control.

Designed for light sleepers, Nightingale works with the acoustics of your room and your existing sleeping conditions (like snoring) to diffuse sound and create white noise for better slumber. Available in February; preorder for $249.

Attach GeniCan to your trash bin and as you throw food items away, it automatically scans their barcodes to keep track of what you need to buy on your next trip to the grocery store. Or you can have your food delivered from Amazon right to your doorstep. Available in early 2017; preorder for $125.

Commit to Stone Flooring

Just like wood or glass, stone is a hugely popular element in interior design, and the possibilities for how to incorporate it are endless. Do you want granite kitchen countertops? Travertine flooring? A stone fireplace surround? To find out how to make the most of the material, we turned to Miriam Fanning, principal at Mim Design in Melbourne, Australia, for advice. But before you decide on an application, you’ll need to choose the stone itself. Fanning’s first rule: “When selecting stone, it’s important to make sure that it is authentic and not faux. Authentic products will stand the test of time and will not be prone to dating.” From there, here are the factors to consider.

 

Stone should enhance the aesthetic of your space

“The kitchen we created at this residence has a soft look that was achieved by selecting a stone with a minimal vein,” says Fanning. “A stone with a heavier vein would have created a more dramatic look.” Here, the material of choice was white-and-gray Elba marble, but if the room requires a design with more heft, Fanning suggests Calacatta or Statuario marble.
Not every type of stone can stand up to wear and tear
“For heavy-duty spaces and frequent usage, granite can be the best natural stone to use in terms of its performance,” says Fanning. In this commercial kitchen showroom, it was the obvious choice. “Jurassic granite is practical, hard-wearing, and ages well over time. As a natural stone, it will last for many years, gradually forming a patina, and will enhance the value of the home.” Of course, no stone is indestructible; Fanning always recommends applying a sealant to protect the surface from scratches and stains.

The Luxurious Way People Are Now Storing Their Wine

Wine cellars are a luxury most city dwellers don’t expect to find in a home, but soon that might change. To make the amenity more accessible, one company is digging deep, literally. Spiral Cellars specialize in exactly what their name suggests—vertical wine cellars that are wrapped around a cylindrical opening beneath your floorboards. The design, created from engineered concrete, allows for the storage of 1,900 bottles of wine, without compromising on square footage.

It’s a wine lover’s dream, as it’s not only an über-luxurious way of showcasing your collection, it’s also practical. The storage unit has a commercial-grade climate-control system, which means that bottles can be kept at the ideal temperature as the ventilation setup swaps out warm air for cold.

Of course, collecting wine as a hobby is going to cost you—so it might not be a shock that Spiral Cellars run between $23,000 and $67,000 each. Take a deeper look at what goes into making one below.

Embarking on a custom kitchen renovation? Before you drive yourself crazy with cabinetry fittings and countertop consultations at stores all over town (or the Internet), consider the benefits of a ready-made kitchen. Convenient and in some cases surprisingly affordable, all-in-one kitchen designs can be customized to suit any-sized space (measurements are key) and come in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles, from Italian modern to country traditional and everything in between. Here, AD rounds up 17 stunning examples that let you choose every element—think hardware, finishes, and more—in one shot, streamlining the design process without compromising on beauty and functionality.

Tips to make a garage on your home

A garage is a natural place to hide away anything you don’t want cluttering up the inside of your home, whether it’s a box of holiday ornaments or outgrown clothes. The problem is that over time, the space can start to look like a dumping ground. “If you can’t fit a car or two in the garage, you need to reassess what you’re keeping in it and how it’s organized,” says Amelia Meena, owner of Appleshine, a New York–based organizing service. She recommends doing a thorough garage reorg twice a year, as your storage needs will change seasonally. Here’s her five-step plan for getting the job done.

Put it on the calendar
While you can probably chip away at cleaning up your closet, tackling an organizing project like a garage is better handled all at once, says Meena. For most people, she recommends setting aside a weekend for the project. “If you commit to overhauling the space and setting up a system, any future changes become much more manageable.”

Consider your ideal layout
Before you start organizing, set your priorities for the garage, says Meena. “This will help you figure out how to best divide up the space.” For some people, the main goal may be to clear it out enough to park two cars inside; others may be looking to set up a dedicated area for tools or garden gear. Determine whether you need everything to be easily accessible or are okay with a stacking system that may leave less frequently used items difficult to reach.

Home in on a strategy
To kick off the project, Meena works with clients to determine how they work best: Some people prefer to start with the hardest organizing tasks, to get them out of the way; some people like beginning with the easiest job; and some choose to focus on the spot where change will make the biggest impact. “Figure out what would be most motivating for you and keep you going,” she says.

Sort, purge, repeat
Now comes the hard part: figuring out what to keep and what to let go of. “You have to differentiate between what really belongs in a garage and what’s just taking up space,” says Meena. For most people, tools, outdoor gear, bikes, and seasonal decorations all make sense in a garage. What doesn’t? Anything you put out there because you didn’t know what to do with it. “Often people decide they have too much stuff, box it up, and just put it in the garage,” she says. “Those items—books, old clothes, decor items—are typically ready to be put out to pasture”—i.e., donated or recycled.

Create a long-term system
Only after you’ve sifted through your stuff are you ready to buy any shelves, hooks, or bins. “Your approach to any organizing project should be to deconstruct and then reconstruct the space,” says Meena. While everyone’s needs are different, of course, Meena has a few favorite tools. To get things off the floor and onto the walls, she likes the Container Store’s Elfa utility rack, which allows you to hang everything from gardening tools to bikes. She also recommends sturdy metal shelving (Rubbermaid and the Container Store both offer good options, she says). Before you buy anything, “make sure the product is really the right solution,” she says. “The last thing you want is to bring more stuff into the garage that’s not purposeful.”

 

Fifth Avenue Apartment

Though designer Marshall Watson was delighted with his new project’s location—in a pedigreed building with direct views of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Beaux Arts façade and into its galleries of classical antiquities—the space, as he found it, was far from problem-free. It had a palatial “head” (entry hall and double parlor), but the body, toward the natural light–deficient back, was disproportionately restrained, thanks to a subdivision some years prior.

“No surprise: our major inspiration lay just across the street,” says Marshall, whose new book, The Art of Elegance: Classic Interiors (Rizzoli New York, $55), will be released on March 14. “Since the apartment looked directly into into the museum’s Greek and Roman galleries, we decided that the residence would be a de facto extension of them.” So Marshall, a designer renowned for his meticulously researched interiors, set to work with the owners’ architect, reapportioning oversize public rooms, creating new spaces: a half bath, a prelude to the master suite, a library, and passages connecting each. With an eye toward getting the best use of natural light, the parlor, library, and bedroom were all positioned along Fifth Avenue, while the formal dining room, occupied almost exclusively at night, was set on the dim inner court.

“I was gratified to see that the couple’s very contemporary art collection sat naturally and comfortably within a classical setting,” Marshall says. “Rather than being at odds with one another, art, architecture, and décor are all mutually enriching.”

Striking Belgian marble floors mix with poured, mercury glass–paned mirrors set behind Hellenic art, playing on the fact that across the street from this Fifth Avenue pied-à-terre sit the classical and antiquity galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Inspiration for your home project

Cork has taken a few stops on its winding journey to showstopping interior design element: From the wine industry as bottle-stoppers (its most common and most lucrative use), then to badminton shuttlecocks and bulletin boards, next to a purely functional use in architecture as sub-flooring and insulation, and finally the walls, ceilings and floors in the homes featured in AD. The woody material’s pragmatic use in architecture is well deserved because of its elastic, cellular structure, its thermal-regulating and soundproofing qualities, and its natural resistance to fire, but it’s the cork’s natural warm hue and subtly dappled texture that are the secret to its modern design success. The versatile material can be dyed or painted (and still maintain its speckled look), it can be applied to walls and ceilings, and its inherent durability make it a prime choice for floors. Here, AD explores the varied uses of cork in spaces like one of Seth Meyers’s dressing rooms, a summer house designed by Thom Filicia, and the modernist home of GQ‘s Fred Woodward.

Designed by Ashe + Leandro, a dressing room backstage at Late Night: Seth Meyers features the warm, natural texture of a cork wall covering by Wolf-Gordon. The space, which also boasts an overhead cork pendant light made by Benjamin Hubert, is livened up with a bright-red sofa, colorful artwork, and a lime green floral arrangement.

The striking black cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances are balanced with the softer, more natural tones of cork flooring by DuroDesign in this Hudson Valley home. Known as Obercreek Farm, the countryside residence has been in the family of financier Alex Reese for six generations and was renovated by his wife, architect Alison Spear.

Canopy Bed Inspiration That Yo May Like It

Originally intended to conserve warmth and offer privacy, canopy beds are now beloved for their sumptuous design. These beds, typically four-posters, feature fabric draped over the top and on all sides, often finished with tassels or other details to add drama. From a simple, sheer surround to an over-the-top lit à la polonaise, these canopy beds from the AD archives make a good night’s sleep more luxurious than ever.

Cole Park, the manor that designer Anouska Hempel shares with her husband, Sir Mark Weinberg, in the countryside of Wiltshire, England, dates from the mid-16th century. In the master bedroom, a J. Robert Scott stripe is used for the ebony-and-gilt canopy bed.

For her English manor home, designer Anouska Hempel conceived the Oriel Room’s bed, which is wrapped in burlap, velvet, and rope cord.

At Easton Neston, in Northamptonshire, England—the 1702 house by Nicholas Hawksmoor owned by fashion designer Leon Max, who restored it with Ptolemy Dean Architects and Spencer-Churchill Designs—the Tapestry Bedroom features a George III mahogany bed with a custom-printed linen canopy; the carpet is a 19th-century Sultanabad.