My idea of Turkish delight has nothing to do with candy, unless it’s eye candy — like the incredibly exotic sink faucet in a basin lined with stylized tulip Iznik tiles. Embellished, handcrafted, and clearly made of brass, the faucets are Turkish. I’ve been saving the photo because it’s so unusual (at least here in the US) as well as beautiful. This is likely a travel photo. But during the late 19th century, Middle Eastern themes and motifs appeared all across the decorative arts — from oil paintings to accessories — as Europeans traveled through that part of the world and many were used in Victorian homes.… Continue Reading
In England, a historic home distinguished by its 20th century garden designers, has been taken on by a new generation.
From 1915 to 1930, British diplomat Harold Nicolson and his wife, the poet and writer Vita Sackville-West, lived on an eight acre property in Sevenoaks Weald, Kent, known as Long Barn. Sackville-West, who may be the most famous and revered gardener of the 20th century, also wrote an influential weekly gardening column for The Observer newspaper at the time.
But when it came to creating gardens, the couple worked as a team. And while they are best known for the monumental garden at Sissinghurst Castle, it was at Long Barn gardens where their distinctive style was developed.… Continue Reading
Ours is an old-fashioned, hand-built wood burning hearth. But I’m fascinated by sleek, contemporary gas fireplaces I’ve seen on TV — notably on ABC’s Castle — and in magazines. These come in a variety of shapes and widths and can be placed in non-traditional spaces — like the center of a wall. Most impressive is a contemporary bathroom fireplace installed between the bedroom and bath, or in a wall over a bathtub. Because the bathroom remains such an unusual location, a fireplace will upstage even the most dramatic tub every time.… Continue Reading
Finding the right LED light bulb became an exercise in absurdity this week. I thought I understood new lighting tech.
Two of the ceiling lights in our TV room burned out a few days ago. And while that may sound like a domestic detail hardly worth noting, what with beheadings in the news and the ebola virus spreading, this one small event has taken on a larger significance. So I hope you will indulge me while I break today from talking about kitchen design or chair styles. I want to explore why changing a lightbulb now requires a 22-year investment, a magnifying glass to read the fine print, and an email to the electrician to be sure the house won’t burn down.… Continue Reading
More popular in Europe than in the U.S., conservatories are glass walled and ceilinged structures added onto a house as a garden or sun room. They are synonymous with greenhouse rooms or sun porches. These days, with formality on the way out, the concept of a conservatory is easily applied to the kitchen and with spectacular results. This kitchen style is a BOGO — designed like a greenhouse by the way the ceiling and windows are configured. One lovely example is the English-inspired Gothic Revival Kitchen which has a conservatory-dining space and kitchen in an open-plan room.… Continue Reading
A bedroom added in an attic is bound to be an interesting, unique space and a bonus for the house.
One of the most dramatic transformations I’ve ever seen here was the Old-House Attic Master Suite our artist-decorator friend Amy built for herself and her husband. So I believe in attic bedrooms. We’ve presented other ideas for attic spaces but I think bedrooms are most important because, in addition to making the owners more comfortable, adding a bedroom increases the value of a house.
But building a successful bedroom in an attic has its challenges. Roof lines can create short or irregular walls or areas where the ceiling is angled and too low to stand comfortably.… Continue Reading