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.