Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Spice up your home’s holiday attire with fresh ideas and colorful, stylish products. Recruit friends and family to trim the tree and home, and feel the joy of this festive season.


CREATE A traditional Christmas tree with shades of red, gold, and green. Here, decorative ornaments are accented with berry branches and gold- and red-dusted pinecones. The redbow tree topper is enhanced with metallic gold spirals and ting tings, tied together with tree wire.

tree (#55986**)
ting tings (#243029**)
metallic gold spirals
pinecones (#179115**)
berry branches (#140975**)
ornaments** (gold crosses, #179241; assorted, #73303; large gold, #169306; crisscross glitters, #168245)
bow (#15977**)
red ribbon (#241349**)

* Does not include applicable taxes, which vary by market.
**Availability varies by market.


A SCHEME OF white, silver, and gold creates the ambience of a gentle dusting of snow reflected in the light. This tree is decorated with silver and gold ornaments, and then crowned with a gold star. A cascading waterfall of silver ribbon completes the look.

tree (#55986**)
gold star (#241346**)
ornaments** (large gold, #169306; medium gold,
#168315; small gold,
#143727; gold ornaments with writing,
#143698; silver angels,
#161077; silver studded balls,
#169956; silver crosses,
#161064; gold glitter balls,
silver ribbon (#241353**)
garland (#44744**)

* Does not include applicable taxes, which vary by market.
**Availability varies by market.

A Personal Touch

Looking for ways to spark your holiday decor this year? While your approach is likely anchored in traditions—both your own as well as classic looks you’ve been influenced by —adding new stylish twists can make the season even brighter.

• This year, two key trends can provide inspiration. The most important thing is to have fun and create a look that reflects what the season means to you.

A return to all things natural

Many of us revel in the beauty and simplicity of the outdoors, and it’s especially nice to capture those flavors and quiet colors indoors during crisp winter months. Grapevine, berry sprigs, and pinecones are perfect complements to the warm subtle shine and low-luster sparkle of gold tones mixed with shades of plum and green—just right if you love muted expressions.

A little more flash and dash

Lean into the holiday trend that borrows inspiration from the fashion runway. Experience tactile elegance with textures and materials such as velvet, crystal beading, damask, silk, feathers, and even fur. Create visual excitement in shimmering silver and gold mixed with bolder tones of garnet, spruce, and vivid blue.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Unwind & Design Gift Bags

Here it is, our latest installment of Unwind & Design—your excuse to set aside time for being creative and getting together with friends.Whether you make projects for wedding gifts, baby showers, teacher favors, home decor, or any other reason, the Unwind & Design experience is really about giving a present to yourself. In every issue of this magazine, we’ll provide you with project ideas, instructions, shopping lists, and tips for hosting a project party.You also can go online to find monthly project ideas as well as Unwind & Design extras. Just in time for the holidays—launch your first Unwind & Design party with the gift-bag project shown here.You only need a few materials and good friends to join you. In a short, relaxing time, you and your guests will have personalized wrappings for wine bottles, baked goods, or any small gifts.And you’ll have so much fun that you will want to make Unwind & Design a monthly affair.

Step 1: Cut a 13- x 18-inch piece of drop cloth to fit around a wine or oil bottle. (Adjust the size depending on the item you’re wrapping.)

Step 2: Paint designs or the recipient’s initials on the cloth. (We used tape to box off squares for painting, and felt pads were used as stencils to create polka dots.) Allow paint to dry.

Step 3: Align the top of the bottle with the top edge of the cloth. Fold the bottom
portion of the cloth over the bottom of the bottle.Then fold one side of the cloth, and roll the bottle so that the cloth wraps around it.

Step 4: Cinch the neck of the bottle, and wrap wire around it.Twist the ends of the wire to secure.

Step 5: Curl the ends of the wire if desired.Add accents such as mirror rosettes found in the hardware department, twine, or fan pulls.

canvas drop cloth (#126317)**
copper wire (#62938)**
galvanized wire (#62934)**
twine (#66510)**
foam brushes**
felt pads (#53406)
masking tape**
mirror rosettes (#61003)
fan pulls (#180508; #75874)

* Approximately half of this cost is for supplies that can be kept in your hostess tool kit. Does not include applicable taxes, which vary by market.

**Add these items to your Unwind & Design hostess tool kit.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Festive Front Doors

1. Elegant Blue

Subtle shimmer creates this look with silver and blue glass balls that decorate the tree branches, garland, and wreath. Frosted snowflakes on the sapphire-colored balls enhance the wintry theme. A beaded silver ornament hanging from the center of the wreath adds a special touch. Silver ribbons outline the trees to make them more visible from the street.

If you love this door, look for Therma-Tru Classic Craft, American Style Collection, available by special order at Lowe’s.

2 (4-foot) pre-lit potted trees (#60598**)
1 pre-lit wreath (#42434**) garland (#44744**)
2 rolls silver ribbon (#241353**)
2 boxes blue, silver, and snowflake ornaments (#33963**)
2 boxes assorted blue and silver ornaments (#7890**) silver studded ball (#169956**)

* Does not include applicable taxes, which vary by market.
**Availability varies by market.

2. Fun Color

Chic and playful decorations put a spin on this holiday display. Glittering glass and sequin-studded balls adorn the wreath and the two trees. Spiraling sprigs (called ting tings) in pink, green, and blue are interspersed throughout the tree branches and around a pre-lit wreath for
added sparkle. Icicle-shaped ornaments on the wreath top off this twinkling scene.

2 (4-foot) pre-lit potted trees (#69653**)
1 pre-lit wreath (#42434**)
6 packages assorted ting tings (pink, green, blue, #243029**)
2 (40-piece) boxes assorted small glitter balls (#173595**)
1 (28-piece) box assorted wish-glass balls (#120951**)
14 sequin-studded balls (pink, blue, purple, #172952**)
3 boxes whimsical glass ornaments (orange and red balls, blue and green drops, #144345**)

* Does not include applicable taxes, which vary by market.

**Availability varies by market.

3.Welcoming Red

Timeless forms and a classic holiday palette of red, green, and gold give these topiaries elegant appeal. Bright glass balls add glimmer from the curb. Faux poinsettias lend a natural touch and will outlast the season. Sprigs of gold beads and a bow made of poinsettia ribbon embellish a ready-made holly wreath, completing this welcoming look.

2 (41/2-foot) potted topiaries (#67386**)
1 (24-inch) holly wreath (#243018**)
20 faux poinsettias (#140945**)
10 red-and-gold beads (#140975**)
1 roll poinsettia wire ribbon (#158815**)
2 boxes assorted balls (red and red with gold trim, #10116**)
2 boxes small gold balls (#73303**)
2 large gold balls (#169306**)

* Does not include applicable taxes, which vary by market.

**Availability varies by market.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Let There Be Light


A layered lighting plan can significantly affect a home’s curb appeal, ambience, and safety. Take this home, for example. A new terrace and entry staircase provide gracious space at the front exterior, but adding the right lights completes the overall look. The previously dark steps, which were difficult for guests to navigate, are transformed into warm and welcoming stairs. In the evening, the garden beckons with a soft glow. Now the terrace is much more inviting—encouraging relaxation and entertaining throughout the day and in all seasons. For this home, the first step in the plan was to have a contractor build 12-gauge low-voltage wire into the front porch and install electrical boxes in the brick during the renovation. Then the homeowners installed most of the new outdoor lighting featured here—surface lighting, pathway lights, and floodlights—in just one weekend. With a layered approach, the entire effect proves seamless and truly celebrates the space.

Round surface lighting illuminates the porch’s brick columns. These lights also can be mounted high in an arbor and aimed downward for a soft, tranquil glow.

Pathway lights planted in the ground increase safety by brightening the steps and landing pads. Casting circular pools of light, they work best along walkways and around flowerbeds and low shrubs.

Floodlights placed below several trees provide drama in the scene by highlighting the trees and casting the branches’ graceful shadows on the house at night. Aiming a ground-mounted floodlight upward can create a focal point or add visual interest.

Half-brick lighting built into the brick showcases the round shape of the porch and lights the staircase for safer stepping. These fixtures also can be set in the risers of deck stairs for a similar effect.

Do-It-Yourself Low-Voltage Lighting

8 round surface lights (black, #134636)
6 pathway lights (black, #132597)
4 floodlights (black, #133542)
7 half-brick lights (black, #98677)
transformer (300-watt, Power Pack, #135708)
2 packages of outdoor wire (12-gauge, #157919)

Thursday, October 29, 2009


This family was running out of room inside the house, so they took a fresh look at their blank-slate garage. The large space was mostly unused for anything beyond parking the car. They evaluated their needs and decided to create a new pet area and a corner for the kids’ toys, helping to keep the indoors cleaner and clutter-free. Now the garage is the perfect spot to bathe the family dog, and the children can play outside of the house, even if it’s rainy, in the bright corner dedicated to storage and safety. Consider your own family’s needs—office, laundry, or craft area. You may have more room than you think.

Personality With Purpose

New products and ideas for the garage make it easy to design comfy spaces that work hard too.

Today’s garage has come a long way from yesterday’s version. What used to be simply a place to store cars, and possibly some garden tools and equipment, has evolved into a multitasking
space customized to fit your needs. Living space can be tight, so it makes sense to ask more of your garage. When the cars are parked outside, a garage can double as a workout room, a crafts area, a space for pet care, or a place to gather for a good game of cards. Think about designing your garage for these multiple uses. For a successful modern garage, storage and safety are two important aspects to consider. Check out products that allow for storage on the walls and even the ceiling. And be sure that anything dangerous to a child or animal is carefully locked away and out of reach.

Once safety concerns are answered, it’s possible to have as much fun planning this space as any room in the house.

base and wall cabinets (white; two-door base cabinets, #171175; three-drawer base cabinets,
#215819; wall cabinets, #163077)

backsplash (6- x 8-inch, American Olean, Ice White, #31675, #239383)
mosaic tiles (2-inch, slate, #72126)
tile countertop (12-inch, multicolored slate, #131691)
gray grout

utility sink (American Shower and Bath, #187945)
faucet (AquaSource, #242498)

outdoor ceiling fixture (Sea Gull Lighting, Model 8869-98, special order)

walls and ceiling (Valspar Ultra Premium, Gravity 4005-1B, eggshell)
floor (Quikrete Epoxy Garage Floor Coating, gray, #224198)

pet door (Ideal Pet Products, medium, #35911)

ClosetMaid MaxLoad Shelving (4-foot x 16-inch shelves, #114846; 40-inch hang tracks, #81166; 84-inch standard track, #117896; 16-inch brackets, #77570; end caps, #116167)
galvanized utility bin (#66661)
wire bins (#241041)
fabric drawers (ClosetMaid, Hunter Green, #161107)
3-tier wire shelf (Shelving By Design, #71485)

3-light track light (Portfolio, #119700)
airplane pendant (Portfolio, #205842)

walls (Valspar Ultra Premium; Blue Eyes 4007-8A; Metropolis 4005-1C; Wellspring 4007-8B;
Anthem White 7006-24; eggshell)
floor (Quikrete Epoxy Garage Floor Coating, gray, #224198)

2-foot-square foam linking mats (#168520)

* Does not include labor costs or applicable taxes, which vary by market.
**Does not include lead time for special-order materials.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Best of Both Worlds

This couple adores their Craftsman bungalow, and the outdated master bath was the home’s only flaw. “The existing bath, with its plastic whirlpool tub and pale pink tiles, never fit the spirit of our house,” the homeowner says. With this remodel, the combination of vintage style and modern luxuries creates a bath that blends perfectly with the rest of the home. What’s vintage? Tiny white floor tiles, white subway tiles, and mirrored console tables. Luxury? Think heated floors, towel warmers, and an innovative shower system.

The couple couldn’t be happier with the brand-new, yet 1900sinspired, space. “It’s luxurious, but design appropriate, as if it’s always been here.”

Spa Quality

1 The innovative shower features two showerheads and four wall tiles that spray water. A frameless glass door lends a clean design.

2 This shower control maintains the bath’s classic look.

3 A handheld showerhead is great for bathers of different heights.

4 On the shower’s digital interface, the homeowners can specify their preferred bathing experience, including desired water temperature.

walls and shower (American Olean, Field Tile, Gloss White SL10, special order)
floor (American Olean, White A13, special order)
gray grout

sink faucets (Kohler, Bancroft, #188739)
(Kohler, Kathryn, special order; tabletops, Model K-3020-O; sinks, Model K-2330-G-O; legs, polished chrome, Model K-6839-CP)
DTV digital interface (Kohler, Model K-683-1CP, special order)
showerhead (AquaSource, #234818)
body sprays (Kohler, polished chrome, Model K-8003-CP, special order)
shower door (Kohler, Purist, Crystal Clear, Model K-702012-L-SH, special order)
toilet (American Standard, #238691)

walls and trim (Valspar Ultra Premium, Cream Delight 7002-14, semi-gloss)

sconces (Tiella, Model 800SCSHDWN, special order)

doors (Masonite, MDF, one panel, special order)
window (Pella, Architect Series, special order)

door hardware (Gatehouse, satin nickel, #226037)
cabinet knobs (polished chrome, #224618)
humidity-sensing bath fan (Broan, #256739)
wooden blinds (2-inch, #42201)
towel warmer (WarmaTowel, Model H562PC, special order)
floor mat, #195284; programmable floor stat, #213932)
towel rings (brushed nickel, #75968)
wastebasket (#213862)
sink accessories (toothbrush holder, #170116; soap dish, #169881)
closet organizers (white, #12308)
baskets (#211164)
fabric bins (#145835)

* Does not include labor costs or applicable taxes, which vary by market.
**Does not include lead time for special-order materials.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Sweden is not the first place a garden designer would turn to for inspiration. Can there really be a rich gardening tradition in such a rugged, forested country that shares its northern latitudes with Iceland? Even in the south, summer temperatures rarely rise above the 70s. But the answer is yes, of course—Sweden’s international reputation for creative design extends to contemporary gardenmaking, and Ulf Nordfjell is one of Sweden’s foremost garden designers. Nordfjell moved from the study of ecology and biology to a stint as a ceramic artist and then to landscape architecture. He found his niche as a designer of modern outdoor spaces that are profoundly influenced by a feeling for nature.

Southern Sweden, fertile and gently undulating, has an aristocratic tradition of country manor houses, with French/Italian-influenced formal gardens of clipped hedges and flowerbeds near the house and estates modeled on the English landscape park on the outer perimeters.The farming community, marked by the intense struggle with an extreme climate, has no use for luxurious formal gardens—but there is a strong cottage tradition of growing vegetables and flowers.The farther north you travel in Sweden, the more the concept of gardening dissipates into nature “managed” as a transition between the house and its surrounding countryside. Ecological sensitivity to the nuances of rock, moss, water and trees is characteristic of such cold-climate “gardens”—and all of these streams meet in the work of Ulf Nordfjell.

The Gustavian style, still popular today, is also a favorite of Nordfjell’s—and another example of the way Swedish designers through the ages have taken international high design and fused it with folk traditions in a way that dignifies both.This 18th-century aesthetic was named for King Gustav III (1771-1792) who brought the style ofVersailles to Sweden.The ornate French originals—architecture, furniture and interiors—evolved by a process of severe simplification into a style of rural buildings painted rust red, white-painted wooden furniture and airy interiors characterized by graceful symmetry. As a garden designer, Nordfjell is influenced by his Swedish aesthetic heritage, but his first love andinspiration is the natural landscape. Rather than try simply to reproduce it in his work, he aims to extract its elements: “I try to distill a feeling for the landscape into the structure of the garden and do it in a naturalistic way,” he says. He uses Swedish materials, which speak the international language of granite, steel and timber, but the characteristically “Swedish” aspect to his approach is that he emphasizes functionality, natural beauty and simplification rather than high contrast (such as vivid colors or extreme forms).

As for any garden designer, every project sets up a demanding interplay between planting design and structure—and Nordfjell handles both very well. Contrast his summer cottage in northern Sweden, firmly in the rural tradition of cottage gardening.The heavily planted slopes down to the rushing Ore River need intensive upkeep, but the effect is naturalistic, with long views across the forested valley and beyond incorporated into a rich horticultural tapestry.The style is right for the site and the owner.

The setting for the Farstorp estate in southern Sweden is just as spectacular—but the design approach here is more pared-down and structured. Again, long views are incorporated into the garden—Nordfjell opened up the dark forest to soften the line between the garden and the wild and bring the natural landscape closer to the house. The new water garden and its pebble beach have helped make the garden feel more personal by bringing the scales of domestic and wild into balance.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Artful Endeavor

THE PERSON: Married mother of two wants to turn a seldom-used storage area into a studio that will satisfy her artistic drive. She sells some of her wares at local shops and galleries.

THE SPACE: A lively circle motif is upbeat and fosters creative energy. A palette of pink, white, and brown provides a cheerful backdrop for the artist’s peppy paintings. Products such as window boxes and peg-board are used in clever ways for organized storage that’s easily accessible.

1 The homeowner’s new table gives her ample room to work. A sheet of peg-board on the wall puts the vertical space to good use, and handy peg hooks keep the artist’s gear organized and within reach. A shelf below the peg-board provides an
additional storage area.

2 The homeowner added a utility sink to a nearby bath for rinsing off her hands and paintbrushes.

3 Painted metal planters and window boxes mounted to the wall create ideal places for supplies and finished artwork.

1 door (30-inch plywood door, unfinished, #10678)
4 legs (Colonial turned post with ball, #42602**)
2 (10-foot-long) 2 x 4s**
desk accent (Wall Pops, Lots of Dots, Pink Blox, #244255) paint (Valspar Ultra Premium; Safari Beige 6006-2B; Sawyer White 7002-16; semi-gloss)
4 (3/8- x 31/2-inch) lag bolts
1 box (21/2-inch) screws
1 box (21/2-inch) Kreg pocket hole screws, coarse thread
1 box 8d finishing nails
4 (3/8-inch) washers
wood glue (Titebond II, #41217)
paintable all-purpose adhesive caulk
primer (American Tradition by Valspar, #83181)

shelves (24-inch, white)**
shelf (36-inch, white, #61129)
peg-board panel (#15484)
peg-board hooks (#62612)

fluorescent ceiling fixtures**
pendants with glass shades**

walls and trim (Valspar Ultra Premium, Sawyer White 7002-16; walls, eggshell; trim, semi-gloss)
accent paint (Valspar Ultra Premium; Homestead Resort Parlour Raspberry 1006-3B, semi-gloss)
floor paint (Quikrete Multi-Surface Concrete Stain, Teddy Bear, #224169**)
metal primer (Rust-Oleum, #130950)

utility sink (American Shower
and Bath, #72672)
shelf with hooks (#165352)
green planters (5-inch, #178106)
soap pump (#243386)

door (32-inch, Reliabilt, #21698)
entry knob (Kwikset, Hancock, Venetian bronze, #34706)
dead bolt (Kwikset, Ultra Single Cylinder, Venetian bronze, #36229)

cedar window boxes (#148475)
metal planters (24-inch, #20222)
rug (Wooly Bully, natural, #243047)
drapery panels (white, #59738)
tension rod (#85713)
pink and striped bins (#102545)
pink fabric drawer (#148646)
pink planter (7-inch, #145924)
rattan trash can (#130260)

* Does not include labor costs or applicable taxes, which vary by market, or the cost of tools.
**Availability varies by market.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Storage by Design

THE PERSON: Up-and-coming interior designer seeks room for storing supplies, additional desktop space, and a comfortable, inviting area to meet with clients.

THE SPACE: A townhouse basement is turned into an edgy model of organization where cabinets and shelving, such as industrial garage units, are used in new, successful ways.

“A colorful space with lots of texture and patterns inspires creativity.”

Urban Home

Homasote walls offer workspace and provide soundproofing for this urban space. Also, Homasote is made from post-consumer recycled materials, and it’s recyclable.

1 A laminate countertop, placed on top of the storage units, provides a work surface with a splash of color. The concrete floor is painted a complementary blue, and carpet tiles create a stylish, low-maintenance rug. The individual tiles can be replaced if they get stained or tattered.

2 Sawhorse brackets, lumber, and a laminate countertop yield a customized desk. The designer cut the 2 x 4s into eight 28-inch pieces and two 24-inch pieces. The countertop will rest securely on the 2 x 4s and sawhorse brackets, but you can use L-brackets for extra support, if needed.

3 Metallic-finish peg-board creates the perfect spot for hanging supplies.

4 Cool blues and purples enhance the silver-toned storage units in the room. The cabinets’ graphic texture is mellowed by the whimsical countertop pattern and the varying floor stripes.

4 base cabinets (Gladiator, steel, #30622)
2 large cabinets (Gladiator, steel, #30928)
5 (4-tier) galvanized steel shelving units (#200482)
1 (4-drawer) rolling cabinet (Kobalt, black, #207312)
laminate countertop (Formica
Laminate, Skylark Boomerang, Model 6940-58, special order)

laminate countertop (Formica Laminate, Skylark Boomerang, Model 6940-58, special order)
2 sets sawhorse brackets (#128355)
4 (8-foot-long) 2 x 4s†
paint (Valspar Signature Colors, Eddie Bauer Home, Sailor Blue EB7-1, gloss)

table lamps (Portfolio, chrome, #168755)

wall (Valspar Signature Colors, Eddie Bauer Home, Globe Thistle EB30-3, satin)
wall and Homasote board (Valspar Signature Colors, Eddie Bauer Home, Honeysuckle Bloom EB13-4, satin)
floor stain (Quikrete Multi-Surface Concrete Stain, Lazy River)

carpet tiles (FLOR, special order; Orchard, Model FL26-63; Geranium,
Model FL21-14; Mixed Media, Model FL22-22)

Homasote boards (#14101††)
5 (4- x 8-foot) peg-board panels (brushed stainless, #211606)
peg-board hooks (#62612; #62677)
galvanized utility bins (#66661)
fabric drawers (blue, #154859; green, #163278)
drop cloths (#74135)

* Does not include labor costs or applicable taxes, which vary by market.
**Does not include lead time for special-order materials.
Availability varies by market.
††Available by special order in some stores.