Don’t Skimp on Materials - Select high quality materials that are long lasting and low maintenance. Think about how the materials will meet, and where you will use them. Use a slab on the countertops with an undermount sink for a sleek look and easy clean-up. Large scale tiles with straight cut edges for flooring work well (less grout) with a corresponding smaller scale tile in the shower and tub surround. I like the “drop in” tubs that allow you to tile the tub face for a custom look. Using tile for the wainscoting (the lower portion of the wall) will be much more durable and maintenance-free than drywall.
Lighting- Proper lighting is crucial in a bathroom. Install recessed lights directly over the vanity sinks, and sconces on the wall that direct light toward your face. Plan for good overall lighting to illuminate the whole bathroom, as well as fixtures over the tub and shower. Utilizing dimmer switches allows you to change from task to relaxation or a night light.
Mirrors and Glass – I like lots of mirror wall to wall, or surrounded by tile or wood. Other options include hanging framed mirrors from the wall or ceiling. We recently used tilting mirrors that mount at the center of the mirror on a challenging vanity wall that had window sills at about eye level. Frameless shower walls and doors give a clean, contemporary look. Putting the door on a pivot hinge gives it that custom touch. For a recent project, we used back-painted tempered glass for the shower walls for a contemporary look. It can be painted any color, and it is easy to keep clean, because there is no grout.
Planning Ahead- Implementing universal design features from the start can help you to avoid costly installations or remodeling in the future as your own or your guests’ physical requirements change. Consider a curb-less shower. It is an attractive option, and meets the universal design requirements. Even if you don’t want to install grab bars quite yet, have your contractor provide blocking in the walls for future installation.
Stay tuned for more on plumbing fixtures
Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to shed the clutter and revitalize your home. Even small changes can have a significant impact without a huge commitment on your part.
Reconfigure the furniture layout in your main living areas. Take this opportunity to give these spaces a fresh look, and create social hubs that are more conducive to casual impromptu gatherings.
Instantly update any tired furniture by reupholstering key pieces. The right fabric and color can make a room feel new without the need to replace the whole collection. If you keep your primary furniture pieces farily neutral, you can change your accent pillows and accent pieces (such as decorative chair or ottoman) for a fresh update.
Rotate your accessories and replace with fresh color. A few bold accessories are much better than many smaller ones. Switch out the winter scene photography and ski posters for botanical etchings or striking graphic prints for the summer season.
Let the outside in. With the arrival of warmer weather, our outdoor and indoor spaces morph into one continuous space. Remove your draperies for the summer and install inexpensive solar shades that can be "hidden" in a simple cornice box when not in use. You will still have sun control as well as your view.
Swap out textured bedding for a bright, crisp, lightweight alternative. Layer bold, diverse patterns and textures in a monochromatic color scheme lends a strong visual interest, while retaining a sense of calm and serenity.
Feeling really ambitious? Changing the overall paint color makes a huge impact on a space. The right paint color drastically revitalizes the environment of a space.
Our work environment directly impacts attitude, motivation, comfort, productivity and even health. The impact of positive changes can be huge whether we work in a traditional office setting or a home office. Here are a few basics to boost your own attitude and productivity as well as your employees':
Seating- The most important tool for a desk job. Don't Skimp. You wouldn't buy an old or outdated computer, so don't buy a cheap chair that will last 3 times longer than the computer. Select a chair that is ergonomic, adjustable and fits so that whoever sits in it can have their feet flat on the floor as well as proper back support.
Work Surface and Storage- This should be between 28" and 30" high and at least 24" deep. I like them deeper to accomodate my desktop keyboard and monitor, as well as any papers, etc. Make sure there is enough room for all the "stuff" while allowing room to actually work! Shelving that you can reach from a seated position above or to the side of the work surface is ideal.
Lighting- Poor or dull lighting equals a somber mood. Adjustable lighting is great as it allows the user to adjust the lighting for optimum use. Adjustable task lamps can be used if needed. Another way to improve the lighting and mood is with window treatments that allow control of light and heat.
Color, Decor, and Layout- Skip the beige and use some color in the seating, accent walls and art. Make sure your layout works and change it occasionally. Allow your employees some personalization of their workspace. Photos of their families motivate them more than you can.
Break-away Space- Provide a space away from the main work area, with sofas, espresso machine, billiard table and flat screen TV. This helps to brainstorm and boosts creativity, productivity and teamwok.
Make Changes Now- Studies show that even a few small changes to the work environment boost productivity, so start making changes today!
When deciding on a layout, decide the most important focal point in the room. Is it an architectural feature, like a prominent fireplace wall, or a beautiful view? Unless you have a large room, try to select only one. Do not put the TV on a different side of the room as the fireplace unless you have enough room for 2 seating areas.
Create a conversation “pit” by placing furnishings opposite and adjacent that work for conversation. Keep in mind the distance between furniture; You don't want pieces to be too far apart. Make sure that there is a clear path, at least 30" wide on one side, to enter the conversation area. You do not want people squeezing between a table and chair because there is no clear path.
Quoted from Mountain Homestyle Midwinter 2010-2011 Issue:
Story by Anne Grice
Using color effectively is all about proportions.
Nothing impacts a home’s interior design as powerfully as color. Choose well, and color will add warmth, character, and vitality to the indoor environment. Misfire on your palette choice, however, and color can become overwhelming, discordant, even irritating.
So how to select colors in a way that works? Your first big choice is between a warm or cool palette. Cool colors, such as blues and off-whites, tend to separate and create more contrast in a room. Reds, yellows, and other warm colors blend angles and surfaces together. Grays and greens can be warm or cool depending upon their particular hue.
Of course, the existing colors in your home help make the palette decision, too. Happy with your upholstery? Then focus your color choices on paint, art, and accessories that accentuate those fabrics. Love your art collection? Let your paintings guide your color choices of upholstery, rugs, and walls.
Just be sure to take into account any dominant architectural features in your home, such as built-in cabinetry, doors, wood ceilings, or stone fireplaces. They create large color blocks, and you have no choice but to adapt your design to them.
Room size is also an important consideration. A very large room benefits from being broken up by contrasting colors on walls and ceilings. Conversely, smaller spaces will feel larger if you keep the walls and ceilings all the same color.
Next comes tone. Tone is the lightness or darkness of a color as opposed to the actual color or hue. It’s important to realize that tones are relative. A tone that’s light in one context may seem darker in another if it’s surrounded by even lighter tones.
A useful rule-of-thumb ratio for tone is 60/30/10. For example, if light tan walls and ceilings make up 60 percent of your room’s color, then opt for 30 percent in darker reds and browns and 10 percent in bright orange or black accessories as framing, art, or throw pillows. Or you can reverse those percentages.
In the room at right, the walls and floor create a neutral overall tone in a medium hue. The brown bedding and furniture are about 30 percent of the palette, with the green and chocolate as the accent colors. Notice how the warm color of the walls blend the adjacent colors, which does well for this small bedroom.
Since a color overhaul is a considerable commitment, test your proposed colors (including your existing ones) by creating a collage using the 60/30/10 rule. Paint a piece of cardstock with a “sample pot” of your proposed wall color (or use a large color sample), then lay out fabric, paint chips, photos, or magazine photos in the relative amounts you will see. You’ll get an immediate idea if your palette works.
Anne Grice Interiors not only prides themselves on exceptional client and vendor relationships, and designs that exceed expectations, their baking skills are quite accomplished as well. This year the team lovingly baked dozens upon dozens of delectable Chocolate Peppermint Wafers, and meticulously packaged them for their well-deserving, much-appreciated clients and vendors.
Makes 45 cookies- Hands on time: 25 Mins- Total time: 2h 30m
-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for rolling the dough
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 large egg
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
-1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies (we used candy canes)
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until smooth. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated (the dough will be stiff). Shape into a disk and refrigerate, wrapped, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
4. Heat oven to 350 Degrees F. Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each piece out 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2-inch squares. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, 10-15 minutes.
5. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until just beginning to brown, 12-15 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
6. Dip one half of each cooled cookie into the chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, sprinkle with the peppermints, and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, 25-30 minutes. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.
I was walking in downtown Aspen the other day and had to stop at Galerie Maximillian after browsing the windows. I have always loved almost any kind of picture that is made from a mosaic or collage. They feature the work of Cameron Gray, whose photo collages create interesting, beautiful and eye catching works of art. I love the Marilyn series - look closely and see hundreds of tiny images. It's like getting hundreds of artworks in one!
Below is the detail of the flag above - fun isn't it?
You can see more and more close-ups and how the artist makes them at www.galeriemax.com
Galerie Maximillian co-owner Michelle Bryan with one of Cameron Gray's latest peices "Flowers After Murakami". This is composed of hundreds of tiny photos of flowers and has a very thick layer of resin poured over it for a stunningly bright look. I could see this in a breakfast room, family room or other gathering place in the home.
This is one of the easiest recipes that I have made since I was in college at the University of Texas at Austin. I served it to some friends on my back deck in Basalt, Colorado last weekend. There is lots of chopping, but it's pretty foolproof.
Marinate for at 2-24 hrs. in refrigerator:
Boneless Chicken Breasts – 4 halves – Pounded to a uniform thickness
Fresh lime juice (juice of 4 small limes)
Soy sauce (I use the lite) – approx. ½ cup
You can also substitue skirt steak for beef fajitas.
Make Guacamole – not too far ahead:
Mix together – cover and refrigerate
Make pico de gallo:
Chop small and uniformly
Add about 1 teaspoon canola oil or similar and
A dash of salt
Grill Chicken and Slice into 1/2-3/4” strips
The fresher the better, see below. This can be done in the microwave separating them with damp paper towels or on a hot skillet (no oil or butter) but this takes longer. Keep warm in oven covered by a plate.
Set everything up on a buffet. Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, salsa and of course the guacamole and pico de gallo.
Accompany with salad or rice and Margaritas.
I usually serve some fresh melon as an appetizer or side.
For dessert we had this awesome Mexican coconut ice cream and lime sherbet. I mixed them in waffle cones from the market.
It’s always fun to have something to do after the meal, especially if you like to serve your meal early, like I do. I suggested Rummikub, a tile based number game that anyone can play. But my friend Ellen, had Banangrams in her purse which is a game similar to playing Scrabble as an individual but racing against each other to use up all the tiles.
There are several ways to provide insulation other than the traditional heavy lined draperies. Cellular (think honeycomb) shades provide dead air space that insulates against both heat and cold. From the front, they look like standard pleated shades. However, when viewed from the side they have a honeycomb construction which provides outstanding insulation. Some are double cell. The Hunter Douglas Duette Architella shades have a cell within a cell that can save up to 50% of the energy lost through the window. Customers may also qualify for a $1500 federal tax credit. One nice feature is that when open, they stack to a very small height (i.e. usually they only take up about an inch and a half at the top of the window) which means they work well mounted inside your window frame for a more architectural look.
Close up of cellular shades, on the
right is the room darkening shade
These opaque cellular shades allow light to
Another example are PVC solar shades. These are a fresh alternative to more traditional roller or roman shades. This new advance in technology of PVC-coated fiberglass yarn means you can:
These sun shades (available from different manufacturers) all offer varying ability to see through them. This is known as the “Openness Factor”. These are a great option for motorized shades and a great solution for western exposures with a view you don’t want to give up.