Eclectic Homes

Basement of the Week: Fishing-Focused Spaces Lure the Family In

When a devoted muskie fisherman needed a place for his decorations, photos and gear, his adoring wife suggested he make a log cabin into their own basement. With pine half logs, aluminum rust slate, comfy furnishings and ample light, interior designer Melissa Bovee transformed a dingy, unfinished underground lair into an inviting escape. Have a tour and you’ll find out why it has come to be a favourite getaway for your family members and their friends.

Basement at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple with two teenaged boys. An abysmal daughter utilizes the lower degree as a private flat when she visits.
Location: Waukesha, Wisconsin
Size: 1,000 square feet

Brillo Home Improvements

Pine logs have been cut in half and affixed to the walls, giving the space its own rustic cabin look. Copper Rust stacked stone along with a slate flooring provide a rich, rugged contrast.

“While the remainder of their home is much more conventional, our inspiration down was an ‘up North’ cabin,” Bovee says. “He’s a big-time fisherman and desired it to feel rustic and outdoorsy.”

The light wood walls contrast with the dark slate fireplace at the end of the room, drawing the attention to the latter. There are just two separate seating areas defined by the furniture one together with the fireplace and one for watching TV and playing video games. The leather armchairs are arranged around a lively coffee table featuring a recumbent black keep topped with a sheet of glass. It’s a great illustration of the relaxed layout of the basement.

Brillo Home Improvements

Cleverly tucked beneath the stairs, this moist bar ensures that one seldom has to leave the basement. The habit built-ins incorporate a wine rack, beverage sink and refrigerator. Puck lights underneath the staircase draw the eye on the stacked-stone wall above the countertop.

The strong diagonal line of the staircase divides logs and stone, railings and wine rack. The hickory cabinets have a simple, rustic style, with unfussy doors and doors. The countertop is granite.

The plan shows the way the spaces relate to one another. Closets include storage for fishing gear, a sump pump and also a spot in which to tuck away a treadmill. A special closet (observable in the lower-right corner of the design) is outfitted with French doors and custom light, providing extensive storage to your husband’s collection of handmade muskie fishing lures. (See a photo in the first Comment box below.)

Custom French doors also lead to an office. The proprietor is a catch-and-release fisherman; the decorations are replicas made to remind him of his triumphs.

Brillo Home Improvements

The bathroom is a great place to heat up and clean up after a long day of fishing, and functions guests that are staying on the lower level. Knotty pine overhead and on the walls, and coppery slate tile and from the shower, make a rustic jewel box of a bathroom.

The frameless glass shower stall allows a clear view of all the slate tile in the shower, which includes both a rain showerhead and a handheld showerhead.

Brillo Home Improvements

The colour variations in the tile add scrumptious earth tones and vitality.

Now that the basement is done, it has become a favourite family room, especially for the teens playing video games and hosting sleepovers. Dad might have his guy cave, but he’s seldom alone.

More: Watch more great spaces designed for guys

See related

Eclectic Homes

Must-Know Modern Homes: Gropius House

Along with Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius (1883–1969) is considered one of the masters of modern architecture. His buildings aren’t as widely known as among the other three architects, however his role as a teacher at the Bauhaus School in Germany, also at Harvard University after immigrating to the United States in 1937, cemented this status.

Gropius founded the Bauhaus School in Weimar in 1914, at the start of World War I, penning a manifesto five decades after when the school began in earnest. In it he called for people to “desire, conceive, and create the new structure of their near future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in 1 unity.”

These words indicate the contemporaneous De Stijl manifesto, but the conclusion of the Bauhaus’ new dwelling in 1926 in Dessau is a different direction than buildings such as the Rietveld-Schröder House. Considered Gropius’ masterpiece, the Bauhaus is an asymmetrical complex with all-glass exterior walls that he described as “accommodated into our universe of machines, radios and fast cars” and aligned “with all the new audacity of engineering.”

But seven decades after the Bauhaus closed under pressure from the Nazi regime, and Gropius, working on his own at the moment, fled to England. Four years later that he put out for the United States (as did Mies van der Rohe, to Chicago) at the invitation of the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design to direct the Department of Architecture, shifting it from a Beaux-Arts college to a concentrated on the “new architecture.” Close to Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gropius constructed a house for himself, an expression of his ideals in a foreign land. As we’ll see, the house shows how modern architecture, often seen as universalizing, actually responds to particulars of location.

Gropius House at a Glance
Year constructed: 1938
Walter Gropius
Location: Lincoln, Massachusetts
Visiting information: Self-guided tours accessible
Size: 2,300 square feet

More: 10 Must-Know Modern Homes

Gropius managed to create the home for his family through the generosity of Helen Storrow, a wealthy Boston matron, who provided him the land and a loan. Gropius worked on the house using Marcel Breuer, a colleague from the Bauhaus; the two would work together before the early 1940s.

Here we view the north elevation, with the front door beneath the canopy and supporting the glass block wall. A spiral stair leads to a second-floor terrace.

The land that Gropius was provided is near Walden Pond — Historic New England, which currently administers the house, gives this direction to it : “Route 126 South past Walden Pond.” The immigrant architect supposedly discussed Thoreau in writing concerning the house when it comes beyond physical closeness to the pond.

The house is surrounded by an apple orchard and other trees. It takes advantage of the circumstance through large windows and terraces, possibly a modern interpretation of Thoreau’s communing with nature.

Architectural historian Kenneth Frampton explains the house in his analysis: It is “more sculptural than most photos suggest. … [It] is a dynamic spatial article.” We’ve seen the primarily closed north (entry) side of this house; here we see that the south side, which invites the sun in through bigger windows and can be carved for the second-floor terrace.

The west side is anchored by a brick wall that contains the fireplace for the first-floor living room. The home’s sculptural attributes are most conspicuous in this view, where we view that the roof overhang propped upon slim pilotis as well as the trellised patio and a screened porch on the back of the house.

The solution to the house is via a driveway that comes in the northeast. This angle presents an extremely International-style appearance of the home’s planar white walls, ribbon windows and asymmetry. Yet some vertical lines can be felt when looking carefully at the bright east facade. Rather than whitewashed concrete block partitions — as was the norm with many modern buildings in Europe — Gropius utilized white vertically lapped siding on a wood balloon framework. (The steel columns in the previous photograph reveal that the structure is a hybrid vehicle in components.) Gropius found inspiration with the standard building methods and materials of the region, all of the while creating something different from the norm.

A canopy reaches out in the north facade at an angle, as if to catch people from the driveway. About halfway up the road to the front door is a glass block, a primitive separation from the vernacular substances that Gropius utilized. A glance round the wall shows the spiral stair leading to an opening in the exterior wall, what’s one of the most intriguing aspects of the design. (A spiral stair around the front of a house? Where does it lead?)

The glass block wall straddles inside and outside, making some refuge on the exterior and bringing a few indirect natural lighting to the interior.

A few steps inside the entryway and one is faced with a spiraling stair leading to the second floor. Again, there is something of a balance between new and old happening. Architect Alexander Gorlin explains how “the plan can be interpreted as a modern variant of the typical Colonial, using a central stair hall and also the living area to a side, the kitchen on the other, and the bedrooms over.” From that view toward the front door, the living room is about the left and the kitchen is behind us to the right.

Off the entry hall is Gropius’ study, which appears north through a large window. A doorway from the analysis into the front door also leads to the spiral stair outside; this doorway and the stair are due to how the second-floor access to the patio is through the children’s room. (See the floor plan below.)

Opposite the plate glass wall is just another glass block wall, separating the study from the dining room and living area.

Here is a view of the dining area from the living room; the two are basically an L-shaped open space wrapping around the analysis through the glass block wall. The furniture pieces in the dining room are Bauhaus originals made by Marcel Breuer that Gropius attracted from Germany.

Access to the bedroom in the master suite is by way of the dressing room of Gropius’ spouse, Ise. (The cupboard and toilet are on the left.) This special and possibly inconvenient situation is remedied by a transparent glass wall having a mirror mirror separating the two spaces.

Our final view of the house is of this second-floor terrace, looking west; the opening out of the spiral stair is just out of frame to the right. Here we can find a better glimpse of this timber siding that covers the house. We can also see a house that Gropius and Breuer made for Breuer on precisely the same land from Helen Storrow.

Gropius expired in 1969, and his wife decided 10 decades after to donate the house to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, currently Historic New England. The Gropius House opened as a museum in 1985, two years following Ise’s passing. In 2002 the house was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Forty-five decades of attention by the Gropiuses and regular restorations by Historic New England mean the house and its original furnishings are in fantastic shape and worth seeing in person.

Conrads, Ulrich, ed. Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture. MIT Press, 1994 (first published in 1964).Curtis, William J.R. Modern Architecture Since 1900. Prentice-Hall, third edition, 1996 (first published in 1982).Frampton, Kenneth and Larkin, David. American Masterworks: The Twentieth Century House. Rizzoli, 1995. Gorlin, Alexander. Tomorrow’s Houses: New England Modernism. Rizzoli, 2011.
Historic New EnglandMore: 10 Must-Know Modern Homes

See related

Eclectic Homes

Ocean Views Exhilarate on the Sunshine Coast

British Columbia is one. So it makes great sense that just a short ferry ride from Vancouver, a coastal house will wrap its arms around its own environment. “The owners wanted some wood frame and natural components to tie it in with the site and felt it should be a low-profile structure from the street,” says architect Kevin Simoes of Streamline Design. “They desired a beautiful house on the inside but did not feel the need to showcase that from the road”

They moved with an easy A-frame and incorporated timbers for most of the structural components. Simoes’ layout was limited by the bunch, which has setbacks on three sides, for example, sea side. “The site really ordered what we can do in regard to the footprint and layout of the house,” he says.

Working with designer Jonalyn Siemens, he made a minimalist yet charming getaway that’s beautiful inside and outside.

at a Glance
Who lives here: This is a weekend retreat for a designer and her husband.
Location: Sechelt, on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia
Size: 3,400 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms
That’s interesting: The house was constructed with a sustainably harvested Douglas fir wood frame and has a metal roof and a rainwater collection system.

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

An open living room, dining area and kitchen features a big portion of the most important level. “It is very popular with us to design such a manner and join all these open spaces,” says Simoes. “In this specific house, it allowed the great room and dining area to be slightly smaller than we would normally make them still feel as though they have more volume than they really do.”

Dining table: Restoration Hardware; chairs: Another Room; chandelier: Halo, Roost; sleeper couch: Willow Studio; mermaid sculpture: Alisa Shebib; fireplace: handmade Updated tile, Solus Vancouver

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

Seven doors open the space to the outside up . The floors throughout are engineered walnut from Lauzon.

Bar stools: Pier 1 imports, draped with sheepskin; pendant: Hudson Valley lighting, Luminosa Light Design; windows, doors: Dynamic Windows

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

An aggregate concrete route leads to the entry. There is into the mudroom A doorway off to the best.

The exterior is Douglas fir wood frame made without the wood’s heart. Simoes explains that because timber shrinks and expands, you don’t wish to work with the heart, or centre pith, of the timber. Nonheart timber is not as likely to expand, contract or spin over time.

Timber frame: West Coast Log Homes

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

The beams and posts are Douglas fir timbers. A floating staircase is Douglas fir and has a steel and cable railing. A similar railing leads to the reduced level, which contains two bedrooms, a rec room, a wine room and a media room.

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

Moveable portholes are fun features that help provide venting, since there aren’t many operable windows on the front part of the house.

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

The kitchen includes high-gloss white Euro cabinetry with Merit Kitchens, a stainless steel square tile backsplash from Custom Flooring and KitchenAid appliances (with the exception of a Miele dishwasher).

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

The homeowners plan to make use of the upstairs attic as a sitting area and library. Another area of the room contains a wall of bookshelves.

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

“Normally we wouldn’t place this kind of beam construction at a space where only the vertical post is required,” says Simoes. “But we wanted to add additional visual interest, as well as the beamwork helps to specify the kitchen space, not only when you’re down below looking up, but also when you’re up in the attic looking down”

He integrated the structural post which supports the ridge beam into the kitchen island. “Rather than have a stand-alone post, we wanted to integrate it in the island to give it a tiny bit more mass and to floor it.”

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

The master bedroom is on the main level, and you can see through the two-way fireplace into the excellent room.

Custom bed: Vincent Lang Furnishings; bedding, cushions, carpet: Designers Guild; pendant lamps: Luminosa Light Design; standing lamp: Adesso; couch, ottoman, draperies: custom by Jonalyn Siemens

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

We desired the master bath tub to be the focal point of the space,” says Simoes. “The owners love to sit here and feel as though they’re about the sea.”

Bathtub, sink: Ravello, Victoria and Albert; tub fixtures: Axor Massaud, Hansgrohe

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

The simple yet lavish finishes at the master bathroom comprise polished travertine tiles atop the vanity.

Mirrors: Restoration Hardware; sconces: Hudson Valley lighting, Luminosa Light Design; faucet fixtures: Axor Massaud, Hansgrohe

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

The homeowners wanted to maintain the master bathroom as spacious as possible. Sliding doors open into the bedroom, and picture windows provide a view of the sea from the shower.

Shower walls: limestone; flooring: pebble tiles, Ecolfor; fixtures: Axor, Hansgrohe

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

Practical and visually attractive, the mudroom with laundry has a countertop and loads of storage.

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

This is only one of two guest bathrooms on the lower level.

Shower tile: polished ceramic, Olympia Tile; sinks, sink fixtures: Ronbow; mirrors: Home Depot; sconces: Hudson Valley lighting, Luminosa Light Design; shower fixtures: Hansgrohe

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

The cedar rear deck runs the entire 45-foot span of the house.

Deck furniture: Costco; fire pit: Solus Vancouver

Streamline Design Ltd. – Kevin Simoes

A log staircase from the main floor deck brings down into a gazebo and a route into the sea.

See related

Eclectic Homes

15 Rooms That Excel at Double Duty

The era of giant homes is finished. We seem to have learned the key to the good life isn’t more, but much better. Better design, better technology, better efficiency and better use of space.

One of the secrets to making a little space work is to combine functions in interesting ways and rethink layout. Rooms that do double duty allow you to get more use out of your square footage, and they also let you extend your design chops. In my novel, clever beats big every time. Have a look at these 15 rooms at six classes to find out whether any of the ideas could work in your house.

Tim Cuppett Architects

The Intelligent Living Room

With Another library is indeed Downton Abbey. Behold the library and dining room combo. Walls lined with books make a room feel cozy and intimate. Additionally, your dinner guests will know how well read you are.

Bookshelves at the dining area do not have to be built in, but it helps if they span the full length of at least one wall. This looks intentional as opposed to like you ran out of shelving.

Sarah Susanka, FAIA

The Multitasking Laundry Room

A laundry area in and of itself sounds like luxury. Combining it with a home office or a workshop is brilliant. I mean, why do not pay the bills, write a novel or check your email while the garments are agitating?

Dream House Studios

It’s a laundry room/office/workshop/wrap room/craft area. A large, wide-open dining table is almost always a useful thing.

S / Wiley Interior Photography

The Hidden Home Office

This home office is tucked away so neatly to the little living space, you hardly know it is there. A slim parson’s desk, a few double-duty seating plus a wall-mounted TV make this a seamless combo.


This office, tucked into a cupboard, even has space for a guest. In my version there’s storage in that bench and folding shutter doors to close off the space.

Domestic Stories with Ivy

Here is a workplace off the entryway at a “space” made by shelving. Keep the space facing the door for the pretty stuff and hide the papers and mess down near the base of the shelf from the wall.

Scheer & Co..

Behind curtain number one: a workspace for two! When the curtains are closed, the entire thing vanishes, leaving the living room for dwelling.

Michael K Chen Architecture

The Disappearing Guest Room

There is a happy medium between a guest cabin at the ready and a blow-up mattress in the living area. Murphy beds benefit from vertical space; when guests leave, they can be flipped up, and your life can get back to normal.

De Meza + Architecture

A flexible couch or daybed at the office can be the place where all your best ideas hit and the place where guests put their heads during the night time.

Prestige Custom Building & Construction, Inc..

This guest room–office combination is permanent but still different. You do not have to look at a workspace as you’re resting, and also you do not have to be tempted by a rest space as you’re working.

Don Ziebell

The Working Kitchen

In eat-in kitchens, long, narrow tables can double as workspace.

Gabriel Builders Inc..

The Functional Family Room

Families do not want to be doing exactly the exact same thing at the exact same time. Creating different areas for different interests is the key to togetherness. With this house playground, the kids won’t even notice that you’re watching Breaking Bad right next to them.

Eisner Design LLC

This playroom outside a house gym is like a built in daycare.

Highline Partners, Ltd

This living room doubles as a guest room and gives a place where you can cozy up with a book when the movie gets dull.

See related

Eclectic Homes

Junk-Storing Garage Becomes a Cabana Getaway

Although this family of four enjoyed the cozy, cottage-like atmosphere of their house, they knew they had more room. “Our children share a room, which makes fairly tight,” says one of those owners. “We wanted some extra room for visitors and for when the kids get larger.” They didn’t need to look farther than their extra-large garage which wasted a lot of room on stored junk. “We needed some breathing room since our house is small and we’ve got two growing children,” the owner says. “We also wanted a bathroom nearer to the pool along with a secure space convenient for refreshments and shelter for the backyard. We basically needed a peaceful place to hang a sanctuary.” After the couple needed architectural plans in hand, they hired Bill Fry, whom friends were recommended, to construct it.

The garage structure is extra long and provided enough room for a living room with a wet bar and a complete bath, although the base needed some unexpected structural function to encourage the newest uses. While a complete garage stays, the rear provides room for your family to blend drinks, play games, read, get on the Internet, mix playlists for the outdoor speakers, have a film night, store snacks and grab a postswim shower, inside or out.

Space at a Glance
Location: Los Gatos, California
Size: Around 270 square feet
Year built:

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

The living room enjoys natural light in the large sliding doors that recall a relaxed Japanese teahouse.

A glance through the doors from exterior reveals a light and open area in addition to a perspective through the pocket door to the full bathroom.

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

Shelves behind the sofa provide ample area for board games, towels, magazines, DVDs and books. “I occasionally will read or see movies out here,” says the homeowner. “My children like to see MythBusters, read and play games with their buddies in the cabana.”

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

A sloped ceiling creates a cozy spot for your own couch and provided the opportunity to bring a skylight and a ceiling fan.

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

Cleverly placed wall niches are used for display and storage.

Lots of wet feet trample through the space; these are radiant heat floors that look like wood but are ceramic tile.

Floors: Parker Wood Porcelain Tile

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

From the wet bar area, custom open shelving rather than clunky upper cupboards leaves things more open and makes the room seem larger.

In addition to supplying a spot for mixology, this area comes in handy during al fresco dinner parties. “When we’ve got friends over during pleasant weather, we’ll eat in the backyard and we are going to set up a buffet within the cabana, which is quite convenient,” says the homeowner.

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

Clutter never gets it into the cabana in the first place, so open shelves didn’t present the typical troubles. “The nice thing is this tiny cabana serves as a ‘escape’ place — we don’t use it every day the way we use the rooms in our house, so it does not get cluttered,” says the homeowner. “The shelves have a smooth finish, so they are extremely easy to wipe down. Consequently it always feels clean in this area, even if our house feels disorderly!”

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

Another market offers storage for glassware. The background of mosaic tile may be enjoyed through the glasses and glass shelves.

The tasteful quartz countertops have been locally located remnants.

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

Moving into the bath, a clear glass shower enclosure retains the open atmosphere, which makes the bathroom seem larger than it truly is.

The shower is a steam shower by ThermaSol. The glass at the top tilts down to maintain the steam within the stall.

Tile: Tile Fantastic

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

A pony wall offers extra privacy around the commode. A mosaic tile edge continues throughout the whole bath.

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

A well-placed niche offers storage for bath towels.

Tip: When using open shelving in the bathroom, you truly cannot go wrong with white towels.

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

Yet another market in the shower offers space for shampoo as well as some decorative cubes.

Tip: When planning shower markets, make certain they are tall enough to accomodate your favorite products. If you prefer to buy shampoo in bulk, then look around those tall bottles.

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

The mosaic detail continues to the shower stall floor. A bench and a ledge offer room for bottles and using a seat.

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

When there’s no time for the full steam treatment, an outdoor shower provides a spot for a quick rinse.

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

The homeowner got a little overzealous when it arrived to tile indoors, but the outdoor shower benefitted. “I fell in love with too various kinds of tile so the tile designer tried to work them into the design — it seemed pretty darn good on paper, but if the tile man started installing the tiles, then the design was quite muddled and did not work at all,” she explains.

“After losing sleep over it, I decided we had to rip out a number of the tile he’d already installed and just go with a more straightforward design. The silver lining was that we ended up salvaging a few of those already bought, fresh tile by installing it in the exterior shower area, which turned out more tasteful than we were planning. It was a lovely way to use the substances.”

Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..

Finally, another side of the garage offers more play area in the kind of a giant chessboard.

“The chessboard thought was triggered from something that I saw in a landscape book and one I had seen at an upscale outdoor shopping mall,” says the homeowner. “My children had just begun to get into chess, and that I believed it’d be an enjoyable element to add to the lawn. I wanted to make it subtle, sort of like a surprise, and our landscaper did a great job with it.”

8 Tips for Pool House Perfection
A Tale of Two Pool Houses

See related

Eclectic Homes

Contractor Tips: Smooth Moves for Hardwood Floors

If your place does not have hardwood floors, you probably want it did. Wood makes amazing flooring. It’s amazing, long lasting and easy to wash. The Victorians weren’t too fond of it (they covered with rugs and oilcloths the same floors people are now refinishing), and I appear to remember wall-to-wall carpeting everywhere in the ’80s. But hardwood floors have almost always been in style for the past couple hundred decades, so they stay a smart investment.

If you are thinking about installing or refinishing your existing flooring, then read on for some insight from a contractor which can help you get the most from them.

Jordan Iverson Signature Homes

The region where you can lay the flooring affects the sort of flooring which can be used. If you’ve got hot-water or electric radiant heat, you can install wood floors, but you must follow the manufacturer’s directions, and you will likely be limited to engineered timber.

Main living areas such as the first flooring, kitchen and family room advantage from a more challenging wood, such as oak or walnut. In a bedroom on a third floor, a softer wood (such as pine) will hold up just fine.

Design Manifest

Wood is a nice option for floors at a kitchen, and though I don’t suggest it at a full bath, it holds up nicely in a powder room. But in both of these places you’re exposing the wood to water, which means you’ll want to clean up spills straight away.

Tip: In the event of a disaster — such as a leaky dishwasher supply hose which floods the floor — stay calm and be patient. Mop up as far as you can and operate fans to dry out the floor.

The planks will likely buckle from the moisture. Don’t attempt to sand down the surface to fix the problem. It might take several months, but given sufficient time to dry out, the flooring should go back to normal.

Coggan + Crawford Architecture + Design

When you see a wood floor that looks like it’s past its prime, the wear you’re seeing is most likely the end on the wood. Most floors nowadays are finished onsite with some sort of polyurethane.

Prefinished floors that are completed at the factory will also be offered. To protect the finish on your floors, sweep and dry mop often, and be certain there is a mat in front of and inside every door.

Buckminster Green LLC

I encourage everyone to consider the environment and the health of your family when doing renovations.

Installing a wood floor is a green option as it can easily last 200 decades, but to ensure that your choice is as responsible as possible, start looking for FSC or SFI tags on the timber, which attest that it had been chosen in a sustainable manner.

The walnut floors pictured here came from city trees which had to be cut, but timber from storm-damaged trees can typically be found. These days, logs which have been submerged for decades are being turned to floor, too. Wood holds up just fine in the bottom of a river or pond, because it is deprived of oxygen.

Crisp Architects

Salvaged timber is a great alternative for flooring that is wood. Having a salvaged floor you are becoming true personality — not fake hand scraping or nail holes. You’re reusing floors, therefore there is less labour and shipping involved, and no virgin timber is used.

Installing prefinished floors does frequently involve more labour onsite, however. Anticipate 10 percent to 30 percent more time spent on the task to cull unusable boards, pull stray nails, cope with wonky boards and so on.

In my view it is worth it, however. And remember, using your buying power to support the local labor force is among the most sustainable choices you can make.

Sroka Design, Inc..

This herringbone wood flooring brings to mind the other chance: using salvaged timber which was not originally used for floors or can not be reused for its original function. This will take even more labour, but sometimes the cost can be offset by decreased material costs.

My firm recently bought about 300 square feet of the older Palestra basketball court in the University of Pennsylvania. Because of the manner it was removed by the demo crews, it required several days to turn the pile into usable planks, and even then they were 2 to 3 feet long (too brief for a conventionally laid flooring). The tiny boards will be ideal for a herringbone design.

I can not stress enough the importance of reading the manufacturer’s directions when installing new floors. You may like to read — according to your reading a dry post about floors — but that does not mean that your installer does. If you’ve got your doubts, look up the directions online before install day.

Tip: Some manufacturers recommend you orient the floors based on the dominant light source inside the room. In this picture front door casts a flood of light on the floor. This bamboo floor has been sanded and completed onsite, so the way the boards operate in seems great. However, some prefinished floors look better if the planks run together with the light.

LKM Layout

Maybe you have hardwood flooring and they simply want some help. Or perhaps you just uncovered old floorboards underneath several other floors and you wonder whether they are turned into a beautiful flooring.

If your house is older, you might have uncovered the subfloor. These days, we use plywood for our subflooring, but in the past in my area they used old-growth pine and fir.

Can there be anything wrong with using this as your completed flooring? Not automatically. Just keep those items in mind: Gaps between boards will be open to the distance or joist bay below. Subfloor helps to stiffen the end floors above, so be certain the floor isn’t too thin to support daily usage.

Check how much repair will be needed, too. You’ll want to add in planks that are salvaged to make repairs. This can be labour intensive, and you’ll want to source the timber. After repairs, you’ll sand, but if glue or paint is built up on the floor, this could use up more sandpaper and time than it is worth.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Once your floors are sanded, they need to get completed. A full discussion of these available finishes might easily fill its ideabook, but here are a few points of conventional wisdom:
An oil end might be more durable, however you will have to cope with odors and VOCs when it’s installed. The glossier a end, the better it will hold up to traffic. Of course it is also going to show that traffic much greater than a matte finish. Polyurethanes, the very popular flooring finish, can not be touched invisibly, which means you have to refinish when the wear gets too bad.

Bona Naturale

Since many of my clients are asking to get a textured floor finish that seems like there is absolutely no end on the floors, I have been searching for a floor finish that holds up but still matches this description.

I simply used Bona Naturale for the very first time on a old white oak strip floor. It is the least glossy end I have seen, and predicated on Bona’s reputation for excellent products and also my observations employing the product, I recommend trying it if you are searching for the natural appearance.

A Intro to Solid-Plank Floors
Cork Flooring: Heat to a Natural Wonder

See related

Eclectic Homes

Tour Compound in California

A large property may seem like a luxury, but it may also be an immense challenge, especially when it comes to finding a building. Functional concerns like utilities and access may point to one place, while factors like sun and breeze may detect taste elsewhere.

With 1,200 acres, the Willits Compound in Northern California was rather an undertaking in terms of site selection. But the ultimate solution by David S. Wilson of WA Design meant that the remainder of the house basically fell into position. Continue reading for a tour of the house, which also contains a facility to get a nonprofit ecological foundation.

WA Design Architects

The Willits Compound is a U-shaped plan, composed of three rectangular buildings about a courtyard. Within this view from the north we see the garage to the left, the living space and master suite in the middle, and the bedrooms to the best. In the middle of the space between these three constructions is a large boulder, what turned into an organizing device to your house.

WA Design Architects

This view of the Willits Compound creates the U-shaped plan clear. Though bathed in a snowstorm, the exterior walkways that connect the three buildings will also be apparent. Each structure functions as a windbreak, making the courtyard a usable space in an environment which veers between chilly, hot and humid.

WA Design Architects

The native grasslands provide the house a distinctive circumstance. The reds and greens of the landscape pointed to a complementary exterior palette, most notably the vermillion stucco walls.

WA Design Architects

The other substances are evident in the approach to the parking courtroom. (The courtyard with stone would be to the right of the wall.) The stucco is accompanied by wainscot walls of Choctaw sandstone and steel gray standing-seam metallic roofs. Surprisingly, Wilson admits that”all along we planned to clad the whole building in Cor-Ten steel.” As constructed, the house includes a softer contrast with its surroundings and much more variant than one substance would let.

WA Design Architects

Among the reasons for choosing the outcropping since the middle of the house was the moss covering the stone. Wilson calls it”a living backyard” and admires the way the moss veers from lush green to dormant russet color:”The story of the seasons passing is advised every year on the surface of this boulder.” The gravel surface of the courtyard extends right up to the boulder, to intentionally recall a Zen rock garden.

This opinion toward the bedroom volume makes another mention clear: The covered walkways that connect the three structures are”reminiscent of an Old West street frontage,” Wilson says.

WA Design Architects

Outside of the main courtyard, at the elbow between the garage and living spaces, is a smaller outside square based on a pool. The large window on the ideal links this courtyard to an indoor pool adjacent to the garage.

WA Design Architects

Inside the fundamental building, the palette of whites and blues and the impressive scale of the space, much taller as it seems from outside, are apparent. The vermillion exterior gives way to a softer space with lots of exposed wood.

WA Design Architects

This photo, showing the opposite direction from the previous shot, illustrates just how narrow the plan is from front to back. This is helpful in supplying cross-ventilation and daylight to the interior.

WA Design Architects

Evident in the previous two shots is a second-floor bridge. This attribute traverses the entry space and divides the master suite on one side from the analysis in the opposite end.

Watch more interior bridges

WA Design Architects

To one side of the entry is the dining area, located beneath the master suite. With functions stacked at the ends of the fundamental building, the scale of the spaces drops from what one encounters upon entering. Notice the timber ceiling and much more intimate scale to this area.

WA Design Architects

In many ways a detail may tell the whole story of a building. The Zen-like character of the principal courtyard can be located at the column base detail and paving. From the former the simple steel link illustrates the means of construction; at the latter the light and dark gray paving create a simple expression that’s very well crafted. Notice the feel of the paving and the way the dark gray strips are mitered in the column base.

Ultimately this detail shows an intersection which creates four quadrants. In three of them is the light gray paving, and at the fourth is your gravel. Just like a microcosm of the chemical, the gravel would be the courtyard, and the emitting would be the buildings.

Spectacular Prairie Home
Zen Gardens: Serene Outdoor Spaces
Gorgeous Berkeley Courtyard House

See related

Eclectic Homes


The spotlight is on Hollywood, as awards season comes to an end. This made me consider movies in which the architecture is integral to the storyline, where a home becomes an important personality. This listing of 10 is certainly not all inclusive. I have resisted including movies just because the set design is perfection, like A Single Person or Something’s GotId Offer. Additionally, I have never seen The Fountainhead, because it’s my favourite book. Please chime in under in the Remarks section about any I have overlooked.


Grey Gardens (The Criterion Collection): Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith – $21.99

Some call it a gorgeous love story. Some call it a chilling story of residing in a raccoon- and – flea-infested, cat urine–filled home. Most soil somewhere in between the two. In case you haven’t seen Grey Gardens, you are passing up a ton of cultural references and you do not even know it.

Watch the first teaser first, let it marinate and then rent the HBO movie that stars Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore as the two Edies. The latter will answer a whole lot of questions, and also the set designers did an amazing job of imagining and representing the home in its entire glory.


The Money Pit – $5.49

Long before Tom Hanks was stuck on a deserted island he was stuck with this dreadful house and went through a renovation nightmare. I get sucked into this home every time it airs. Tom Hanks is completely hilarious, but the home itself steals the show. Watch it during the frustrating elements of a renovation to observe how things could be much worse.


Home Alone – $11.71

A large, empty brick home plays a big role in this blockbuster. These parents figure out how to leave their son Kevin home alone, and he has to not just take care of himself, but also shield the home by a couple of inept burglars.


Beetlejuice (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) – $5.19

Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! This movie brought about a new method to describe a particular style of interior décor. “It was a complete Beetlejuice living area” immediately conjures up odd proportions, a dash of bravura modern and extreme use of color. You have to see the movie.


Housesitter – $8.99

Housesitter opens with Steve Martin, playing an architect, suggesting to his girlfriend in front of a gorgeous white home he is designed with a red bow wrapped about it. She says no. Input Goldie Hawn, who’s always dreamed of living in this home.

Another movie with a fantastic home (such as all Nancy Meyers movies) is It is Complicated, where once more Martin plays an architect. Architect is the job screenwriters often give characters.


The Lake House (Widescreen Edition) – $4.99

This movie is so boring I fell dead in the midst of it, however, the glass house to the lake as well as how it joins the two main characters is of the utmost significance to the storyline. It’s also a really neat-looking home; along with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, it’s easy on the eyes. However, if you just wish to watch both of these celebrities and you wish to remain alert, I recommend leasing Speed instead.


House of Sand and Fog – $9.59

This is only one of the most depressing movies I have ever seen in my life, but I can’t think of another movie where the home is as central to the storyline. Additionally, Jennifer Connelley Ben Kingsley and Shohreh Aghdashloo provide performances.


The Notebook – $6.99

If any of you have not seen The Notebook (you’ve seen it at least 10 times or not at all), I do not wish to ruin any surprises, but also the unbelievable renovation of a home as well as the reasons for doing this are very significant.


In The Holiday, the whole plot is made by the two main characters’ swapping of homes. One is a cozy little cabin in the U.K., the other is a big and sleek Hollywood home. As this is a Nancy Meyers movie (such as It is Complicated and Something’s GotId Offer), both are dreamy. Due to the temporary new digs, life changes to the two main characters ensue.


Marie Antoinette – $6.23

In Sofia Coppolla’s Marie Antoinette, the palace in Versailles plays a significant part, from initially imprisoning Marie Antoinette, to later representing so many of the excesses that drove the French Revolution. Another important set is Antoinette’s special escape, the Petit Trianon, a smaller chateau on the home.

I know I am missing movies where a home steals the show. Please share your favorites in the Remarks section.

‘True Grit’: Classic, Old-West-Style Design
Sixties Southern Style: Inspiration from ‘The Help’

See related

Eclectic Homes

Guest Picks: 20 Affordable Area Rugs

The floor in the front of my sofa is looking awfully bare. The requirements? A fun patterned rug that doesn’t cost more than $1,000. — Melanie from You’re My Fave

Hand-Hooked Chelsea Southwest Multicolor Wool Rug – $264.34

I don’t usually go for Southwest themes, but I saw this rug in a bedroom that was not themed and the colors and patterned seemed fresh and modern.

West Elm

Gradiated-Stripe Cotton Rug – $19

Classic stripes in three different colors with a accent trim? I am sold.

Urban Outfitters

Bead Silhouette Printed Rug – $50

A contemporary pop of pattern and colour. It’s about the small side but might make a great addition to a kitchen or laundry area.


Island Graphite Chevron Rug – $199

A nice neutral rug with a subtle chevron pattern can be easily added to any area.


Up-Close Cranesbill Rug – $398

This modern abstract pattern will add colour and interest to your flooring. I enjoy that the most important colour is a nice shade of gray instead of a white that dirties simpler.


Expanding Colorscape Rug – $698

My husband is concerned with all the coziness of this rug we select. This will provide him the softness he needs while not compromising about the pattern that I need.

Home Decorators Collection

Rosa Area Rug – $69

I enjoy the safe color of the one. It would not be hard to fit and it sill conveys interest.

Home Decorators Collection

Chrysanthemum Area Rug – $119

Although florals are often regarded as girly, the large-scale pattern and navy colour of the rug make it a bit more masculine. At least that is the argument I would give to my spouse.

Garnet Hill

Bogart Flat-Weave Wool Rug – $68

If Oprah recommends it then it has to be useful. I really like the deep teal one.

Garnet Hill

Droplets Hooked Wool Rug – $98

This droplet reminds me of this classic stem pattern from Orla Kiely. That’s a win in my book.

Garnet Hill

Houndstooth Flat-Weave Wool Rug – $188

Houndstooth is one of these classic patterns I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. If you stare at it for too long it might cause a hassle though.

Cost Plus World Market

Nomad Sculpted Rug – $349.99

I typically don’t go for red, but combine it with a nice gray and it looks sharp enough to blanket the floor.

Dash & Albert Rug Company

Spinnaker Woven Cotton Rug – $30

Dash and Albert have stripes down. I really like how brightly colored this rug is, as well as the very affordable price.

Rugs USA

Firouz Shadow Ikat Ivory Rug – $209

This ikat pattern looks way more lush and expensive than it really is. It almost looks like something from the pages of a magazine.

Handmade Alexa Modern Damask Wool Rug – $205.27

Just how long has the damask pattern been about? Long enough to know that it’s always going to be a classic.

Amy Butler Hand-Tufted Ivory Floral New Zealand Wool Rug – $499

Amy Butler knows how to operate a blueprint, and this flowery rug is no exception. It’s a great cost for your designer look.

Dash & Albert Rug Company

Tattersall Black/Ecru Woven Cotton Rug – $33

I feel like this one would fit in well at a cabin. It kind of cries “mountain man.”

Handmade Alexa Pino Suzani Rug – $295.79

I haven’t really considered lavender, but I am thinking it might certainly work paired with navy and gray.

Rugs USA

Cenon Ikat Black Rug – $209

Another ikat pattern that looks luxe in more manly colors.

Rugs USA

Homespun Modern Trelllis Charcoal Rug – $59

Gray is my preferred neutral, and this trellis pattern feels classic yet fresh. Is that possible?

Next: More guest product selections

See related

Eclectic Homes

Lose It: CDs, DVDs, Cassettes and VHS tapes

As we continue to get our audio and music on the internet, we develop from an increasing number of types of technology. That the CD was the press storage solution of the long run. Now, it is becoming nearly as obsolete since VHS and cassettes. While streamlining your stuff makes for a more ecofriendly potential, what can you really do with your leftover tapes and CDs when you are done?

While plastic casings and covers can at times be recycled, the CDs themselves and the tape in VHS and cassette tapes requires a special recycling procedure. It might require a little additional work, getting the excess crap out of your house and rescue it from filling landfills and polluting air and water is a fairly wonderful benefit.

Use It!

Unfortunately, aside from re-watching and listening to them, there are not many practical applications for worn out VHS tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, and DVDs. There are some quirky crafts for things beyond repair, however your best choice for tapes and CDs that nevertheless work would be to give them. Odds are there’s somebody out there who will believe that your trash is an absolute treasure.

Give them to the Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or the Alternative Community Training organization. ACT provides work for handicapped people who work on erasing and repacking donated VHS tapes, cassette tapes, and floppy disks. Usually tapes still in good shape following erasing are resold, whereas the plastic portions of the rest are recycled.

Give them to the local library or school if the content is applicable. Some schools will also utilize cassette tape for crafts (there’s a rumor that it creates great puppet hair).

Try giving them away on Craigslist or even Freecycle. You would be amazed by how many people would jump at the chance to get a bit of music/media history.

When you have a particularly impressive collection, try selling them on eBay or Amazon.

Lose It!

VHS and cassette tapes:
Check with your town’s recycling guidelines. Some cities will allow you to recycle the plastic casing with the tape taken out, which means you can throw them in your recycling bin.

Mail things in to GreenDisk, Back Thru The Future, or Nationwide Recycle by Mail. Each company has different shipping rules and regulations, but provide easy options that you mail in your old VHS and cassette tapes, and have them disposed of correctly.

CDs and DVDs: Much like VHS and cassette tapes, CDs and DVDs will need to be recycled at special facilities. Most of these discs contain aluminum, lacquer, gold, dyes, glass, silver, and nickel — one of other harmful substances and substances. Throwing them from the garbage or recycling can be harmful. A number of the facilities that procedure VHS and cassette tapes will also procedure CDS or even DVDs.

The CD Recycling Center of Americahas a record of places where you are able to mail in small quantities of DVDs and CDs — along with their jewel boxes — such as processing. For bigger quantities of disks, there’s a separate collection of facilities nationwide where you can fall off boxes and boxes of old CDs and DVDs.

When you have a fantastic collection, try selling them on eBay or Amazon — you’d be amazed by how much people will pay to get a CD of some vague’80s band.

More Use It or Lose It tips:
Lose ItWhat To Do With Leftover Building Materials
Lose It: The Way to Get Rid of a Mattress
Lose It4 Ways to Get Rid of Your Carpet

See related