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Interior Design

Making Sense of Wood Flooring

Making Sense of Wood Flooring


by Jonathan Sapir, managing director of Real wood is a versatile flooring material, which is the perfect backdrop to many interiors. Should you decide to venture in the direction of wood flooring, you will soon come across technical and industry buzzwords that may sound confusing at first. In this visual guide we aim to explain your options.

Solid and Engineered Natural Wood Floors There are two options when it comes to the floorboard construction. One made entirely of solid wood, while an alternative that is made from solid wood and artificial materials. Your first decision is choosing one type over the other, but don’t worry it is easier than it seems.

Solid Wood – Each floorboard is made from 100% natural hardwood. Species vary from the common European Oak to the exotic African Teak. Solid wood floors are suitable in most parts of your interior, with the one exclusion of wet or humid areas.

Engineered Wood – Each floorboard is made from 3mm to 6mm layer of natural hardwood. Underneath this layer you will find MDF, Plywood and softwood. The use of hardwood externally and artificial materials internally ensures that the floorboard retains the look of real wood. The big difference is that engineered wood can be fitted across the entire project, even in humid or wet areas such as the bathroom and kitchen.

Natural Wood Floors Grade The visual appearance of the floorboard is heavily influenced by the grade. Natural wood includes features such as Sapwood, Knots, grain markings and colour fluctuations. How many of these features are visibly present in the floorboard is measured and cataloged as grade. Grade has no bearing on quality, merely a visual indication.

Prime and Select Grades – These are the two premium grades in which the floorboards benefit from a uniform look. Sapwood and knots are minimal, while colour is persistent across the entire length of the board.


Natural and Rustic Grades – These are the two basic grades where sapwood and knots are randomly visible. Furthermore, colour fluctuations are to be expected and overall the abundance of these features makes the natural and rustic grades more affordable.


Natural Wood Floors Colours  Natural hardwoods are available in shades of honey golden colour. The species of hardwood whether it is Oak, Walnut or any other hardwood will determine the precise shade. The problem is that golden honey isn’t suitable in every interior, which is why there are many colour techniques nowadays that can change the natural colour of wood. Here are a few examples.

White Wood Flooring – Perfect in making your interior appear bigger and brighter by spreading natural light around. Ideal for dark rooms that receive very little natural light.


Dark Wood Flooring – Perfect for making your floor the focal point by creating a contrast against white or off white fixtures. Can also enhance a rustic interior using bulky and chunky furniture.


Grey Wood Flooring – Perfect for creating sophisticated and modern interior and avoiding color clash against dark fixtures, which can happen in the case of dark wood flooring.


Natural Wood Floors Finish The very last consideration is your choice of finish. This refers to the clear chemical layer that is applied onto the floorboard. It is meant to offer basics protection from common causes of damage and comes in the form of oil or lacquer.

Oil Finish – Oil will often result in a matt finish. This can be enhanced by coating the floorboard in several coats of oil, or lessened by using only one coat.


Lacquered Finish - Lacquer will often result in a semi-gloss (satin) or glossy finish. Again it can be enhanced or lessened depending on the number of applications.


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 Caribbean Cozy

Caribbean Cozy


Some of us may be dreaming of a Caribbean island as we wait for spring to kick in. Well, here are a few ways you can infuse the sunshine right into your home. Bright paint colors, graphic patterns and modern wall murals make this villa on the island of Saint Barthélemy the perfect inspiration.




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Credit: Villa La Banane, Saint Barthélemy

House Beautiful’s House Makeover

House Beautiful’s House Makeover


Interior designers take on the role of problem solver every day. Many clients realize they need a professional eye when it comes to finding the right solution for their space. As the new year rolls in, we tend to see more redesigns that are centered on the needs of the inhabitants. House Beautiful magazine took this as inspiration for its Home Makeovers article showcased in the February 2013 issue.

Take a look at the beautiful creation shown in the images below. This homeowner wanted to address the home's faux-Mediterranean look, small rooms and lack of personality. What they ended up with is a surfer-cottage feel with big, open spaces, skylights and a dutch door. Overall, this home screams easy and casual.


3 4 5 6 7

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 Seeing White

Seeing White


Big and bold color always seems to be in style, but white walls can add the same amount of drama as any shade of red or be just as calming as grey. Sometimes a shade of white is the answer.

These rooms are cozy and elegant with bare walls. It's the perfect canvas for colorful accessories and furniture.

Ett Skärgårdshem simple-black-and-white-bedroom-with-whitewashed-wooden-floor1 Ett Skärgårdshem

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Kitchen Seating

Kitchen Seating


The holidays are all about spending precious time with your loved ones. And this tends to mark the kitchen as the social headquarters on any food-related holiday. People are buzzing about while conversation lingers in the air. So why not transform the kitchen to include seating? Here are a few great options of how a simple change can mean big seating.

Kitchen Seating
Kitchen Seating

Pretty in Plaid

Pretty in Plaid


The undoubtedly recognizable criss-crossed pattern of plaid has been woven into fashion design for centuries thanks to Scottish kilts. Now, this traditionally wool fabric has crept its way into home design, generating warm and cozy spaces. The horizontal and vertical bands are showing up on drapes, ottomans, accessories, rugs, and even the walls. Although everyone will certainly have their own opinion on the topic, it is safe to say plaid solicits the perfect atmosphere of warmth as we approach winter.


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Home Portfolio: Mixing Old with New

Home Portfolio: Mixing Old with New


By Sharon Johnson

It may seem counterintuitive, but combining antique or vintage furnishings with newer pieces is a great way to create an up-to-date and uniquely individual space. Nine gifted designers show us just how right a room can feel when traditional rubs shoulders with contemporary.

Family Room by Jessica Helgerson

Modernist Meets Traditionalist

While the owners of this turn-of-the-century house are modernists, the decorator managed to honor their sensibilities while still respecting the history of the house. The traditional armoire was the first piece selected and acts as a great anchor for the light colors and modern graphic shapes throughout the family room.

Bedroom by Tara Seawright

Get This Look Bedroom by Tara Seawright

Past Meets Present

Custom silk wallpaper and a custom-designed Ultrasuede headboard create a soft, inviting palette. The gold leaf details on the antique bench play nicely against the pattern in the Madeleine Weinrib rug.

Get This Look Dining by Caryn Grossman, ASID

Urban Meets Urbane

The aged wooden table provides a just-right counterpoint to the sleek Lucite chairs. The ionic column fragment adds a gracious salute to the enduring relevance of classicism.

Living Room by David Kaplan

Glamour Meets Whimsy

A distressed wood coffee table offers a gracious, muted counterpoint to the vibrant violet sofa and sophisticated zebra-print chair. The result is at once vibrant and tranquil.

Bathroom by Barbara Eberlein

Get This Look Bathroom by Barbara Eberlein

Country Meets City

The rustic and old-world style finishes and fixtures are in perfect harmony with the mid-century modern chair and contemporary spotted wallpaper.

Living Room by Carter Kay

Get This Look Living Room by Carter Kay

Timeless Meets Transitional

The contemporary side table next to one chair is as at home as the traditional table placed next to the fireplace. The warm, neutral palette of the walls, floor, and ceiling unifies the space, while allowing the many varied pieces within this elegant living room to stand out.

Dining Room by Kenneth Brown

Get This Look Dining Room by Kenneth Brown

Black Meets White

The mix of a rustic wooden table and sturdy, Louis XVI-style seating ably achieves the designer's goal to create a dining room equally suited for sit-down dinners both formal and kid-friendly.

Living Room by Julie O'Brien

Get This Look Living Room by Julie O'Brien

Contemporary Meets Classic

A pair of mid-century chairs and a decidedly modern set of coffee tables work together seamlessly in this architecturally rich, classically inspired, double-height living room.

Living Room  by Marie Burgos

Old World Meets New

In this living room, the original architectural details provide plenty of interest. The combination of neutral and modern finishes were chosen to respect and emphasize the brick walls and iron columns indigenous to this former spice warehouse. An Accent Chair for the Bath, Too

An Accent Chair for the Bath, Too Make the Bath Better With a Nice Chair, Bench or Stool

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by Shoshana Gosselin

Seating in a bathroom might seem like an afterthought, but it can be a very functional part of your room's style. An added chair, bench or stool can warm the place up, double as a small table, and hold linens and other necessities. In a powder room with little counter space, it is a great spot for guests to put their purses or keys. Oh, and if you are in the bathroom with a small child, it gives them a place to sit. Check out these examples:

by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

Chairs create a comforting feel in a room that can feel cold. The rich wood, carved back, and ornate shape of this chair bring warmth to this bathroom and anchors the space.

mediterranean bathroom by Elizabeth Dinkel

by Elizabeth Dinkel

Near a bath tub, a stool is helpful for holding towels, or a magazine or drink while you are soaking in bubbles. This simple rich angle-legged stool adds character to this bathroom.

traditional bathroom by Filmore Clark

by Filmore Clark

Here is another example of a chair anchoring the space. Choose one that makes a nice contrast to an otherwise monochromatic room. The warm red against the green/blue tiles creates interest.

by BiglarKinyan Design Partnership Inc.

If you have a countertop with open space underneath, add a stool. It can be pulled out to serve as seating or side table.

by Xstyles bath

This stool turns a floating tabletop into a vanity.

by Brandon Barré

Create a very shiny, glamorous bathroom with glass tiles, a clear acrylic stool with a plush upholstered seat, and a crystal chandelier.

by Marie Burgos Design

Add a garden stool to your powder room. Guests will have a place for their purse or keys. Here is a cute one from West Elm and another in shiny chrome.

by Peg Berens Interior Design LLC

How about a stool in the shower? This one is the Prince Aha Stool from

by modern house architects

An Asian-style teak stool adds a spa touch to this open shower. Here's a similar one.

contemporary bathroom by Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

by Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

A bench turns a bathroom into a spa with an upholstered seat and throw pillows. And if it is a storage bench, it can serve as a linen closet.

by Joel Kelly Design

A long bench along a wall opposite your sink can be useful for placing slippers or a used towel.

I just love when function and style fuse together harmoniously. These stools pull out when you need them, then disappear when you don't.

Merging the Kitchen With the Rest of the Home

I have seen the transformation that a house experiences when the kitchen is renovated. As they say, “the kitchen is the heart of a home.” A new kitchen design is often just the thing that is needed to pump more blood back into the circulatory system that is your home.

Making small seem big

I have seen remodeled homes of all sizes. I have seen the difference, in appearance and value that a kitchen remodel can make. Knocking down an adjoining wall will create one big open space, and this alteration invariably gives that home an entirely different feel. It gives the allusion of being in a much larger space, even though the square footage has not changed.

And, it’s not very expensive, nor does it really require many tools or skill. Basically, you’ll need a cat’s paw, maybe a couple hammers and a really strong back. For cleanup however, that’s a whole other story!

Modernizing the outdated

There are some marked differences between East Hampton real estate and Brooklyn real estate, but there is at least one major similarity. Numerous older properties have a lot of charm but are filled with numerous tiny rooms, including the kitchen. Most families spend the majority of their time in the kitchen and living room. They study, eat, and spend time together in these areas. Unfortunately, some kitchens and living rooms are divided up in a way that makes the family feel distant and unconnected. I know I want my home’s living areas to be welcoming and to help bring my family together. Finding a way to open up these divided areas will help encourage that comfort and closeness. Just make sure that your remodeling does not ruin the character of your home.

Replacing a wall with an island is a great way to get rid of that separation between the kitchen and the rest of the home. Some walls are needed in order to support the ceiling, but you can still open up the space by putting a peninsula in.

One major aspect of a room that many people overlook is the trim. Surprisingly, these small segments of a room can greatly affect a home’s feel. A popular trim style is to paint this portion of the room a different color than the walls. This can add some contrast to your décor and can also help merge the style of the rest of the house with your kitchen.

Covering the details

There are other seemingly insignificant details of a kitchen transformation that are often overlooked. Unfortunately, even small details can contribute to the success, or failure, of a remodel. I know I want my kitchen to be attractive, but I realize that, first and foremost, this room must be functional. Kitchens always include space for cooking and cleaning, but a lot of people do not think about the everyday traffic that a kitchen experiences. Think about the placement of appliances, chairs, and entrances – The sink should typically be directly across from the fridge, and your stove should be as far away from the sink as possible.

For folks doing any sort of construction or repair (i.e. removal of a wall), it’s important to remember to patch dry wall holes by mudding repeatedly. This way, you’re not as liable to make these repairs eye-catching.

These details will all influence the setup of a kitchen because they impact how the space is used. You want to make sure that everyday traffic will not interfere with the normal workings of the kitchen.

These general tips are just some of the ways in which a home can be revived through the kitchen. There are plenty more ways in which the design of a new kitchen can merge this room with the rest of the home.

Images: 'Extremely Loud' Teems With Kids' Décor Ideas

houzz interior design ideas

Oskar Schell lives in a magical, complicated, twisty world. In the Oscar-nominated film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, this nine-year-old narrator is quick to share his likes and dislikes. Although he loves making jewelry and origami, playing his tambourine and studying astronomy, he hates public transportation, bridges and meat. Oskar's enchanting New York City bedroom isn't necessarily a fantasy kids' room, but its imagination immediately strikes the viewer. It's clear that Oskar's room is his refuge — which is how every child should feel about their own, special space.
Movie set: Oskar has a lot of diverse interests, and his room is a wonderful display of his passions. As soon as you see it, you get a sense of who he is. Star charts and hand-drawn maps cover the walls. Models, minishrines, photos and toys litter his desk and shelves.
Get the look: A child's bedroom is where their personality should shine. Try adding personal style with wallpaper or a fun paint color to start. Map wallpaper is a playful and timeless addition to any child's room. If you're up for it, let your child mark where he or she has been with thumbtacks or stickers for a more personalized touch. Built-in shelves are great display cases for trophies, art projects or favorite collections. They're also simple storage and display solutions that will continue to work for your child for years to come.
Get the look: Pick a theme, but keep it simple. Oskar is a self-described amateur astronomer, so a room like this definitely would be his cup of tea. If your child is really into a certain activity right now, let them go for it in their room. Themed rooms can be a little daunting, since inevitably they're going to have to be changed as your child grows. But you can still keep a theme low key. This room does a great job — a hand-painted star chart, planets above the window and a telescope in the corner are all it took to turn this into a dream room.
Movie set: Each item in Oskar's room is a cherished treasure on display. Whether it's his secret shrine to his father, photos, origami, toy models or his beloved tambourine, he keeps everything organized and safely secured in its own special place.
Get the look: Creative storage solutions will help keep toys and treasures organized. If your child is a pack rat like Oskar, try coming up with simple ways that encourage organization. When divided up into smaller sections, it's less likely that a wall display shelf will become a cluttered mess. A set of small bins, a dresser with minidrawers or drawer dividers, or cabinets with multiple shelves all have smaller spots that can all help cut down the clutter and keep things neat and clean.
Get the look: Flat surfaces can help keep favorite items on hand. Even though some items should be safely tucked away, allow your child to display the cream of the crop. Flat surfaces keep favorite items in a convenient place for playtime. Trays are a great tool here too — use a few colorful ones to hold unfinished puzzles, small pieces of models or a Lego sculpture.
Get the look: Don't forget the walls. Even if you're not a fan of posters on your beautifully painted walls (my mom certainly wasn't), there are plenty of clever ways to let your children personalize the wall space in their rooms. Bulletin boards are an easy solution — in fact, Oskar has several in his room in the film. They're the perfect place to pin up photos, old ticket stubs — or, if your child is like Oskar, the latest origami attempt.
Movie set: Oskar is a complex kid, to say the least. He's shy in some ways and outgoing in others. But when it comes down to it, he's just a kid, and every kid needs some space to play around in and get a little messy.
Get the look: Make room for playtime. Let your child enjoy being a child while there's time. Lots of carpet space and big tabletops are great places for kids to spread all of their toys out and get a little messy. Set up a craft table for finger painting and other projects. Or if your child is more into trains or cars, make a special spot to set up tracks.
Get the look: Is your child into music? If his or her interests go beyond the tambourine, you might consider setting up a special practice spot. Of course, electronic instruments with headphones or installing a little extra soundproofing could be worth your while too.