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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Ways Create a Color Palette

If you’ve been searching high and low for the perfect palette for your house, chances are red is the answer. Or should we say, Miles Redd, the Manhattan-based interior designer who is known for wildly stylish color combinations that give rooms an elegant charisma homeowners can only dream of creating on their own. Until now. AD caught up with Redd to find out the secrets to creating color schemes that stir the senses—and found his advice to be every bit as nuanced and witty as his designs.

Look outside for inspiration

Take a tip from Redd and let the outdoors guide you. “Leopard always works, a bit of blue always works, things that you find in nature always work,” says Redd. “Our creator knew what worked, which is why he made the sky blue and white!”

Expand on the classics

Before you try for adventurous, start with what you know: Pick a classic color combination and add in some Redd-style flair. “Blue and white works with everything,” the designer says. “So toss in an accent color, like butter-yellow or shocking pink, to throw it off a bit.”

Incorporate some yellow

Though many people are nervous to bring this controversial color into their homes, Redd wields it like a powerful talisman, as seen here in a stunning Houston residence. If you’re not ready to commit at a macro level, try his advice for starting small. “Paint a door yellow or a chest,” he says. “A yellow pillow can also do the trick—sometimes small bursts of color can be better.”

Try non-neutral furniture

Eye-catching furnishings are a hallmark of Redd’s work. But, as one might expect, there’s an art to choosing what you go bright with. “Furniture with rococo lines in fanciful colors looks forced,” he says. “You can get away with a bright color on something simple with severe lines, because it has room in its severity. But if something is already bold, you probably should go the other direction, and opt to tone it down. We don’t want to gild the lily.”

Take a page from Redd’s book

The hue-master’s tome, The Big Book of Chic, is filled with extravagantly beautiful rooms featuring some of his favorite unexpected color pairings. Want to try some in your own home? Redd recommends the following: pale brownish pink and daffodil-yellow; mossy green and peacock-blue; pale lilac with cobalt and feather-gray. Start with one of these combinations, and you’ll be on your way to Redd levels of chic.

When choosing wall colors, think big

Big as in entire-house big. “Look at the whole picture first: Is a red room going to feel good coming off your ecru hallway?” he says. “Color can be exhilarating and transporting, but it helps to have a road map of the house and make sure the colors work well off each other.” Which means thinking small as well. “Don’t be afraid to paint your trim the same color as your walls. Red rooms with cream trim don’t always work.”

Design for the Best Night’s Sleep

As if you needed another excuse to make over your bedroom: It can be good for your health. Every decor choice you make, whether it’s the lighting, the window treatments, orthe bed itself, has an impact on the quality of your sleep. “When I evaluate sleep environments, I think of four of the five senses and how each one has an effect on sleep,” says Michael Breus, a sleep expert and the author of the forthcoming book on optimizing your inner clock, The Power of When. Here are six ways to upgrade your bedroom for the best night’s sleep—and make the space look better in the process.

Splurge on blackout curtains
“Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is called the Vampire Hormone, since it only comes out in darkness,” says Breus. “So whatever a person can do to make their bedroom dark will help with sleep.” Replace any flimsy window treatments with elegant heavy drapes to help you rest easy.

Kick electronics out of the room
A television and a tangle of cords by your bed aren’t doing your decor—or your sleep—any good. Studies have shown that viewing electronics before bed, whether it’s watching TV or checking email, has a detrimental effect on sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Keep these devices out of the bedroom, replacing them with attractive objets and an old-school clock.

Buy a pretty fan
“When a room gets too quiet, your hearing gets more acute,” says Breus. “So having a little noise to drown out sounds can be very helpful.” Buy a small fan (which also helps keep the room at the optimum 65 to 75 degrees) or a sound machine.

Swap out your lightbulbs
Changing the type of light that’s on as you get ready for bed can help induce snoozing, too. “I personally have special bulbs in my bedroom that filter out the frequency of light that prevents melatonin production,” says Breus. Plus, he says their brightness isn’t vastly different from that of a regular bulb.

Make your bed more luxurious
Your bed deserves a lot of attention, from both a design and a health standpoint. “If you wake up sore more than three days in a row and it was not from working out, it may be time for a new bed,” says Breus, who recommends replacing mattresses every eight years and pillows every 18 to 24 months to make sure you’re getting the support you need. “Sheets are a personal preference, but I like whatever is the most breathable, such as cotton.”

Create a spalike space
Spritz a natural lavender room freshener to transform your bedroom into a soothing retreat. “There are clinical studies to show that aromatherapy can help a person fall asleep,” says Breus. The scent of lavender or ylang-ylang “can cause a relaxation response in the large muscle groups, and then the body, once relaxed, can go to sleep.”

Ways Clean Copper Pots and Pans

Copper cookware has a long association with world-class cooking (think Julia Child). And as copper experiences a renaissance in design right now, people are snapping up copper pots and pans to bring warmth and a gorgeous sheen to the kitchen. But while copper, which is considered a soft metal, is prized for its ability to conduct heat, it requires a little more TLC than other materials. “Depending on the lining of one’s copper cookware, it’s possible to make mistakes when cleaning,” says Mac Kohler, of Brooklyn Copper Cookware. But when your pots are well cared for, they pay off in decades of use and beauty in the kitchen. Here, Kohler and Tara Steffen, marketing manager at French copper-cookware manufacturer Mauviel, share their best practices.

Handle with care.
Copper pots are generally lined with stainless steel or tin. Either way, use a soft sponge to wash them with a gentle dish soap and warm water. Steffen warns against putting copper in the dishwasher or picking up a stronger cleaner that contains bleach. In fact, avoid abrasive products altogether—even if they advertise themselves as safe, they can score stainless steel and tin, says Kohler. Notice some damage? “In the case of a tinned pan, the solution is to re-tin the pan,” he says. Stainless-steel pans, however, cannot be brought back to life.

Never heat a dry pan.
This rings true for almost every type of pot: When heated empty, without food or a fat like olive oil, the lining can degrade. “Generally speaking, one uses copper cookware low and slow, meaning it’s the metal of choice for delicate preparations,” says Kohler.

Keep them gleaming . . .
Left alone, copper naturally tarnishes over time. To polish it, Steffen recommends regularly applying either a specialty copper cleaner or a homemade mix of lemon juice and baking soda (or vinegar and salt). Buff the surface with a soft cloth, rinse, and dry. While Kohler says the salt trick works well, he warns against scouring pans with it. “In the case of stainless-steel-lined copper, the most frequent mistake is scrubbing cooked-on residues with salt. If rinsed thoroughly, this can be harmless, but often salt is ground micro-finely by being worked aggressively,” he says. “These stranded micro-crystals then pit the stainless steel irreparably.”

. . . or embrace patina.
For practical or aesthetic reasons, you may want to skip polishing and let your copper cookware age naturally. “In the case of copper, a patinated surface is becoming harder and more thermally efficient,” says Kohler. “Professional chefs cultivate a good, dark patina as one does bloom on wine grapes; it improves what the thing is supposed to do.”

Big Ideas for Small Baths

A few things all old house lovers are familiar with: Drafty windows, less-than-perfect plumbing, squeaky floors—and small bathrooms. While new home baths have nearly doubled in size over the past 30 years, old home bathrooms average about 5- by 8-feet.

Not to worry, though: You can combat the claustrophobia by scaling down to physically save space. (Pedestal sink, anyone?) And, with the right colors and lighting, you can create the illusion of a roomy bath.

Here, we dig into the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) Design Competition archives to deliver great ideas from Certified Kitchen Designers that you can use in your next remodel.

Rich, Asian-Inspired Design

This homeowner wanted to bring her home out of the 1980s with contemporary Asian design, so the powder room vanity was inspired by a Japanese kaidantansu(stepped chest), which contributes fluidity of design in the cramped quarters. The use of rich and dark colors makes the walls of the small space recede.

Day at the Beach

These homeowners opened up their space by getting rid of two small closets and adding task and ambient lighting to help create the illusion of a larger room. Little width remained after incorporating the tub and toilet, so a shallow cabinet was incorporated. Our favorite detail? The playful “dry riverbed” of stones in the floor.

His-and-Her Bath

The use of continuing horizontal lines, a large, frameless mirror, and well-placed task lighting helps to create the illusion of a larger space. The marble-clad dividing wall lends modesty to the toilet area, while creating a recessed storage opportunity. A must in every small bath, the shower has a curbless entry to eliminate demarcation of the limited footprint.

Small and Simple

These homeowners wanted to “keep it simple and do it well.” This cherry and limestone bath replaced a tiny, cluttered space meant for guest use. The curved-front vanity maximizes usable space with two deep drawers on double extension drawer slides.

Zen Escape

The size of this room called attention to an eyesore: an off-center, aluminum-framed window. A floor-to-ceiling Shoji screen took care of that by concealing the flaw, while letting light through. A 7-foot framed mirror, hung horizontally, spans the entire length of the room and reflects the ladder towel rack, which adds storage without taking up floor space.

Small Spa Retreat

This bathroom was constrained by bedrooms on either side, so it wasn’t possible to increase square footage. To make the space feel roomier, white marble tile and several mirrored surfaces wrap the room. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets add height, while a glass shower wall eliminates the visual barrier of a shower curtain or doors. Rich wood tones add warmth and create balance.

Hacienda-Style Bath

This guest bath features a custom miniature sideboard topped with a rich red travertine counter and copper vessel sink. Rich shower draperies and handmade tiles add to the charm of this space, showing that patterns used selectively as accents will not overwhelm a small room.

Tone and Texture

It’s not uncommon to create attention-commanding focal points in compact spaces. This powder room vanity is crafted with smooth, flaxen veneer and is topped with a cast bronze basin and patina counter. Recessed lighting around the large mirror illuminates any reflection.

Modern Makeover

This vanity continues the lesson of creating a bold focal point in a small space. The upper walls of this ultra-feminine retreat are upholstered in padded silk, but the stainless steel backsplash adds a rugged accent.

Compact Commode

This teeny, tiny full bath features a wall-hung toilet; the tank is hidden inside the 2×6 stud wall, allowing for 9 inches of extra space in the center of the room. Clear glass shower doors eliminate visual barriers and a skylight floods the space with natural light.

Glass Grandeur

A curved glass countertop provides a sense of spaciousness, while hand-applied 1-inch Bizazza glass tiles mimic the swooping curves of the fixtures. The high ceiling features a deep amethyst color wash to visually lower the height of the room, which felt “like a tunnel” to the homeowners.

Retro Redo

This homeowner wanted a nostalgic style with a contemporary twist. Trumpet-shaped sconces flank an oval mirror that conceals a medicine cabinet. A frameless shower door extends the visual expanse of the space, while allowing unobstructed views of oversized subway and amber glass tilework.

Eastern Oasis

A freestanding vanity with elongated fixtures, a custom bamboo mirror, and ladder towel rack create the illusion of vertical space in this small guest bath. A soft color palette, accented with dark woods, balances the space. Artistic relief panels add visual interest without completely walling off light.