Archives For Trends

Eyes Up: Inspired Ceilings

Househappy —  March 25, 2014 — 1 Comment

There’s a reason “ceiling gazer” isn’t exactly a compliment. Usually there’s nothing up there worth staring at, but Design Sponge rounded up a few creative ceilings that will make you rethink the blank canvas above.


Photos: Design Sponge


Last week we showed you IKEA’s ad for their new PS collection. Now, we’re bringing you a preview of a few designs. This wall shelf ($50) is among our favorites. No screws, no nails—you just lean it up against the wall, making it an ideal shelving unit for design-minded individuals who love to rearrange their interiors. (We’re speaking from experience.)

Other items in the budget-friendly collection include pendant lamps ($70), a storage table made of four different-sized stackable trays ($69), and a corner cabinet ($99). Each piece was designed to be moved around and used in different ways, in large or small spaces. PS 2014 will be released April 1.

Photos: IKEA

1. Stand out from the crowd, loud and proud, it’s time to bust a real estate rhyme. (

2. A mini revolution—one in 10 new homes in the city of Portland are considered “tiny.” (

3. Street style blogs are seriously going to the dogs. And we love it! This is hound style. (

4. Beatrice Gallilee appointed to a newly created role as curator of architecture and design at the Met. (

5. A gorgeous Soho dream loft where everything is for sale. (

6. Has John Travolta been naming IKEA furniture all along? (

7. In honor of International Women’s Day, Architectural Review put together this comprehensive compendium of women in design. (

8. It’s almost the weekend! Time to rock out and head home. (

Bigger does not always mean better in todays luxury home market as many high-end homeowners are skimping on size to make room for expensive amenities.

In the past, the luxury real estate has been defined by the size of homes, but today many are scaling down on the size. Real estate brokers say more and more clients are shaving off square footage to give priority to sustainability and smart design––including solar power and becoming LEED platinum certified.

For example, last year mortgage banker Heidi Brunet built a 2,085 square foot home in Dallas with extra additives like soy-based, energy-efficient insulation, stained concrete floors, and $48,000 LED lighting system.

Instead of splurging on space in the house, she chose to have a large yard with a 1,000 square foot deck, and a pool because she spends most of her time outside. To Brunet she “wanted the house to be everything I needed it to be and nothing more”.

Architects design  size-conscious homes by removing unnecessary space like formal living rooms, dining rooms, and large hallways. Some regions are also attempting to regulate home size with new ordinances; For example, city planners in Austin, Texas created the 2006 “McMansion ordinance’” which limits floor area to 40% of a lot size. Also, in 2010, Marin County, California required any plans to double homes size more than 3,000 square feet to undergo a design review.

The lesson? A home can still be a dream home no matter the size.

This article can be found in its original form on WSJ.

Photo: Wall Street Journal

From a 37-story apartment tower on Market Street to a 6-story condominium building in Dogpatch, it is clear that black is becoming one of the latest trends in San Francisco architecture.

“When a single black structure pops out from a corner or in the middle of a block, the contrast can give an energetic jolt to a familiar scene,” writes John King of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But as more owners and architects use dark cloaks to look sharp, there’s a very real danger that the eye-catching exception could spread across some districts like an oil spill.”

For many San Francisco residents, maintaining the aesthetics of a city “renowned for crisp light and soft fog” has long been a priority. In 1971, the Urban Design Plan stated that new buildings should “avoid extreme contrasts in color;” and the Downtown Plan of 1985 maintained that “disharmonious colors or building materials should be avoided. Buildings should be light in color.” But despite their best efforts, shades of onyx and charcoal are popping up on everything from downtown office buildings to single family homes in residential neighborhoods.

Even architects who have used the trend in their own designs are unsure of the long-term effects on the city’s over-all look.

“Old San Francisco is a white Mediterranean city,” said Stanley Saitowitz, the architect responsible for a new 6-story condominium on 20th St. painted a rich charcoal. “Black’s definitely the new color, but my feeling now is that it really doesn’t fit too well with the light.”

Like most trends, the feeling seems to be: “less is more.” In context, black paint can highlight a building’s structure or provide necessary visual balance to a bold neighboring edifice; however, if black continues to be in vogue, many people fear that the trend is in danger of changing the face of San Francisco as we know it.

This article can be found in its original form at SFGate.

Images: San Francisco Chronicle

medium_e5334f5e-cc6a-409e-bf04-0d845d7f0021Remodeling spending is expected to jump in 2014 as the housing market steadies and homeowners begin to look at adding value to their homes. The following five areas are where homeowners are expected to spend the most remodeling dollars this year:

Bathrooms: An updated bathroom can be a huge advantage when selling a home. Furthermore, remodeling a bathroom is often one of the less expensive rooms to make over. Homeowners are likely to recoup 72.5% of the cost at resale according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report.

Kitchens: Even a minor kitchen remodel (replacement of cabinet fronts, oven and cooktop, countertops, sink and faucet, and flooring) is shown to recoup 82.7% at resale.

Exterior Updates: After kitchens and baths, landscaping projects are high on the remodeling list for homeowners, said Liza Hausman, Houzz’s Vice President of Community. Many people choose to create outdoor entertainment spaces to add more usable square footage to their existing home.

Age-in-place improvements: Remodeling the first floor to create a master bedroom and bath is a common way for retirees to reconfiguring their space to prepare for the years ahead.

Additions: Adding on a family room, expanding the kitchen, or building a master suite are all more expensive projects and will be lucrative for contractors and designers in 2014. Large additions were shown to recoup 68.8% of their cost at resale.

This article can be found in its original form on MarketWatch.


It’s no secret that tiny homes have become one of the latest trends in housing and architecture. More frequently, people are finding that downsizing their space is not only more sustainable (and often cheaper), but it can also lead to a less-cluttered, easier existence.

But what do we sacrifice when we give up space? Will living in a tiny home leave us feeling constrained and claustrophobic? Last week, The New York Times featured a 704 square foot Oregon home that proves forfeiting space doesn’t have to feel small.

Lily Copenagle and Jamie Kennel of Portland, Oregon, had a few things in mind when imagining their perfect home: Kennel, who is 6″1, wanted to escape the low doorways and cramped rooms of the older houses they had previously occupied, and Copenagle dreamed of living in a home that wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to vacuum. Their strategy became, “own less, live more.”

$135,000 later (including materials and labor), the result is a one-room home with a wood stove for heating, a green roof, a 550-gallon rain barrel, a huge backyard, and industrial touches throughout.

This article can be found in its original form at The New York Times.

Photos: Aaron Leitz via The New York Times