Maple’s understated beauty is a result of its even grain and consistent appearance, even across large surfaces. Because it takes dark stains well, maple is often stained to mimic a pricier wood or used to match other woods in the home near the kitchen. Hard and soft maple are also often the woods used for painted kitchen cabinets. Its smooth grain makes it a good choice to balance kitchens with lots of texture. How it’s used. In this kitchen from design-build firm LD&A, maple is used for the cabinetry on the refrigerator wall and for the base of the island. Supporting elements. This transitional kitchen features maple cabinetry stained in a custom warm brown that doesn’t compete with the dark flooring. The quartzite countertop for the island has warm whites and creams in the veining that complement the wood tones. The even grain of the cabinetry sets the stage for more prominent features such as the sparkly glass backsplash. The overall look is formal yet fun. Why it works. The custom-stained maple complements the hardwood flooring and adds a similar level of warmth. The layered wood provides a cozy envelope for crisper elements such as the white cabinetry and glass mosaic bac...
If your main hue is dark, consider classic white trim or another pale shade. A light field color can look stunning with darker trim — like eyeliner for your home, it produces a crisp, dramatic effect. Feel free to go bold with accent colors, but don’t go overboard. A door painted bright red or lemon yellow adds just the right accent. Extending that same shade to the shutters and gables may be too much.
Winding pathways combined with layered plantings of varying heights can create the illusion of land rising and falling, as shown in this level backyard in Washington, D.C. Emphasize this trick of the eye even further with the addition of low berms in the planting beds and a few vertical elements, and a yard that started out as flat will feel more dynamic.
Illuminate potted branches. You may not have small trees or shrubs to wrap with lights along driveways or paved entryways. But you can light up container plantings instead. Get the look: Pick up branches from the backyard or a florist, and set them upright in containers filled with sand or gravel. Wrap the branches with lights of your choosing, and use conifer trimmings to hide the plugs and containers.
Warm Up Gray Although gray is popular, it can be a difficult color to get right in north-facing rooms or where light levels are low. Mustard-colored accessories warm up this soft gray bedroom. By choosing a rich ocher shade and tactile materials for the pillows and throw, the designers elevated the bedroom into a comfy retreat.
A strict color palette of black, white and almost-black slate gray keeps the focus on geometry in this powder room by Casa Perfecta. The hexagonal tile covering the wall is unexpected here, because it’s typically a tile used on floors. Takeaway: Door hardware matters. Check out the way this matte black door handle and rectangular plate play off other elements in the room, such as the mirror frame and sconces.
Other nods to the Victorian era are the white apron-front sink and the traditional bridge faucet. The walnut casement window over the faucet is one of the most significant original architectural details of the kitchen. The new walnut flooring fits in with the wood doors and trim, while its 4¾-inch-wide planks update the look. The counters are a more modern material, Eternal Statuario engineered quartz by Silestone. Castro extended the new backsplash all the way to the ceiling. “Covering the entire wall unified everything on it and put the focus on the beautiful window,” she says. “A traditional backsplash that ended at the bottom of the cabinets would have created a distracting line.”
The doors on the cabinets are antiqued mirror applied to float glass with diamond-shaped grilles. “By using the float glass, it adds a subtle texture that makes it look older,” Westmore says. “Plus, it distorts the reflection enough so that you’re not looking at your face in the cabinet doors all the time!” She added the diamond detail to several cabinet doors in the living room as well.
Brass. Brass pendant lights and cabinet hardware. “We added brass in ways that would not be expensive to change if the homeowner wanted to adjust with future trends,” designer Amy Sullivan says. Other special features. Calacatta Gold marble backsplash. Salvaged-wood open shelves. A hidden office with file drawers, a coffee station, an appliance garage, storage for a mop and vacuum, and more. Designer secret. “We started with what could not change in the space — the ceiling beam on the left side that supported the house — and from there built a kitchen that was all about balance and light,” Sullivan says. The right beam is faux, and the French doors and two windows are new
Lighting designers work with the builder during the construction process when those inevitable changes come up, and they can be a valuable advocate in ensuring these changes don’t derail the lighting plan. Then, after construction is complete, the furniture is in and the art is on the walls, the lighting designer finalizes the lighting scheme. They aim and adjust the lights onto art, task surfaces, landscape elements and so on. If you’ve chosen a lighting-control system, they’ll also program it. They work from planning stage to completion to ensure the lighting part of the job is successfully completed.
Lighting designers work closely with you to find out how you use your home. Do you read in bed, and if so do you prefer to sit up or lie down? Do you spend all your time in the kitchen? Like to host dinner parties? A lighting designer can make sure your kitchen looks great and that you can see what you’re doing as you prepare the food and entertain your friends. In other words, it’s a lighting designer’s job to tailor your home’s lighting scheme to your specific needs and lifestyle.
Architect Christopher Kitterman of STADT Architecture says that the design for the dramatic feature wall and ceiling in this New York City bedroom took inspiration from the luminous golden skies observed at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia. The handmade wall covering also recalls the look of a classic canopy. “Our custom wallcovering is analogous to the canopy bed’s use of upholstery and hand-carved embellishments, which line the canopy and headboard wall,” Kitterman says.
Fall color palettes go beyond oranges and reds. Plant an unexpected jolt of black blooms or foliage in the yard or your front porch container garden to keep things feeling haunting but not over the top. Fall is a great time to plant the perennial black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) shown here, for instance. It adds visual interest, texture and a contrasting backdrop for the pumpkins.
The homeowners wanted their barn’s kitchen to be a complement to the restored 1870s farmhouse on the property,” designer Heather Scott says. “The room serves as additional entertaining space for the husband and his friends, a canning kitchen for their extensive vegetable garden and a private guest space when needed. The kitchen is meant to be a nod to the homestead’s original charm.” Farmhouse details. Timber framing. Reclaimed-pine flooring and island top. Wood ceiling. Natural stone countertops. Apron-front sink. “Also, there are few upper cabinets, adding to that airy farmhouse kitchen feel,” Scott says.
Team up power shades. Why have just one feature wall when you can have two? In this dark and dramatic room, a rich purple and a saturated teal cozy up against each other to create a double-whammy of deep color. This works well because they are both the same tone, which means that one shade isn’t lighter or darker than the other — a good rule of thumb when pairing up different colors. Imagine this as a black-and-white photo: These two colors would both read as roughly the same shade of gray. Dark colors are also a wonderful backdrop for brighter shades and warm metallics. Just look at the way the yellow accents leap out against the blue and purple, and see how the warm copper-colored pendant light glows from the wash of teal blue behind.
Create a mural. What do you see when you look at this wall? A sweep of sandy beach? A wash of ocean blue? Just a few lines of color can result in a fun visual effect and bring life and interest to a flat surface. If you want something that looks like a large-scale piece of art on a shoestring budget, try getting creative with your paint application. This design could be replicated relatively easily with some planning, a roll of painters tape, a selection of sample-size paints and a dollop of patience. If in doubt, ask a professional decorator to help you.
Tenement Museum New York City Spanning two historic 19th-century Lower East Side buildings, the Tenement Museum re-creates the apartments and businesses of several real immigrant families that started new lives in the city between the 19th and 21st centuries. Interiors have been re-created or left in a ruined state to give visitors a peek into what the museum founders discovered there in the late 1980s after the building had been closed as a residence and untouched for more than 50 years.