Contrasting Tile and Grout

contrasting tile and grout in a Swedish bathroom with white square field tile and black grout - via Atticmag

For a new bath, options like contrasting tile and grout need to be explored.

Sometime in the next six months I’ll be embarking on a project to expand our first floor powder room into a full bath with an accessible shower. I’ve been thinking about this for some time and I may have mentioned it previously. While I have a good idea of where the bathroom will go visually, I’m exploring tile options because the shower will be large and run across the entire end of the new bathroom. At least, that’s my current plan.

My house was inspired by Swedish design, the color scheme is very light throughout and the style could be described as contemporary cottage.… Continue Reading


Slate Sink with Backsplash

slate farm sink - slate farm sink with angled front and integral backsplash - molly frey design via atticmag

A big slate sink with integral backsplash is both practical and handsome

Farm sinks can be made from many different stones but most commonly soapstone, marble and slate. In a contemporary kitchen with dark gray cabinets and light gray slate counters, Mass. designer Molly Frey installed a large, double-bowl slate sink under the window.

The advantage of a farm sink of this style is fourfold:

1. It looks great, big and inviting.

2. It has a double bowl so it multitasks for draining and washing.

3. The back of the sink is integral meaning that there are no seams in back and no deck.… Continue Reading


Safari Camp Bedroom Décor

safari camp bedroom - Mkombe’s House Lamai villa bedroom in Serengeti National Park - via Atticmag

If you haven’t seen the Robert Redford, Meryl Streep film “Out of Africa,” the full romance of a high-end safari camp bedroom might not be clear.

Then again, it may be — photos tell stories, too. For me, the appeal is using the organic, informal look of an African safari camp bedroom based on the textures and light, natural colors used in warm climates. Three gorgeous upscale safari hotel rooms in Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa provided ample inspiration when they crossed my desk.

So many aspects of home decor — colors, textures, surfaces — are based on place. We’ve seen that in our various beach house, lake camp, and fishing lodge posts.… Continue Reading


Flat Screen in Modern Disguise

flat screen - Toronto living room with a walnut cabinet disguising a television over the fireplace - Dwell via Atticmag

A Toronto smart home has a surprise feature in the living room — a flat screen TV in modern disguise.

A Toronto smart home, “wired for the future,” is fully automated. So I find it a bit ironic to see a TV cached behind wood panels in the living room. With basic house systems like lighting, audio, security, heating, air conditioning and ventilation as well was the fireplace and the TVs controlled from touch panels via WiFi, would the flat screen even work when the panels are closed?

With that level of commitment to tech — along with modernist architecture and furniture — it may not matter that the tv is in hiding.… Continue Reading


Fancy Stainless Drop-In Sinks

drop in sink - Vault stainless drop in sink with minimalist style - kohler via atticmag

The minimalist Vault drop in sink has replaced two highly styled stainless predecessors.

A drop in sink is out of favor for high-end kitchens because the borders sit on the counter rather than under it. And resistance to the price of two stylish drop in sinks have led Kohler to discontinue them. Those “fancy” drop ins — – Kohler’s Verve and Verity — were the original subject of this post because they were good, if expensive, options for wood and laminate counters.

The newest look in the drop in category is Kohler’s ultra minimalist Vault [top]. It’s zero-radius to be exact — meaning square edges and a square bowl.… Continue Reading


Fernando Caruncho Minimalist Gardens

fernando caruncho - an autumn garden with brillant maple leaf color behind the hedges - house & garden via atticmag

Reflecting pools, clipped hedges, olive trees and cypress are typical of the Fernando Caruncho style.

About five years ago I clipped a garden with exquisite fall color from a magazine and scanned the pages for reference. The only notes I made was the name of the landscape architect: Fernando Caruncho. Spain’s premier “gardener,” as Caruncho has referred to himself, is a “minimalist” whose landscapes are rooted in geometry. Reflecting pools, clipped hedges, olive trees and cypress are typical of the Fernando Caruncho style. Caruncho’s gardens are serene and ordered. Even when they are flamboyant maples blazing with color [top] behind a stepped, squared off hedge, the color is balanced by water and space.  … Continue Reading