Updating White Kitchens

updating white kitchens - generic white kitchen - robert stiles architecture via atticmag

Four years ago, I observed that the all white kitchens trend was over. Looking back, that was the beginning of the end.

Today, the white kitchen — often amusingly referred to as “the one true kitchen” — has been copied to death. Apart from light fixtures or other details, it’s often difficult to tell white kitchens from one another. In concept, they are very lovely but the look has become formulaic. The all-white kitchen [top] is typical of the genre as it has milk-color Shaker style cabinets with Victorian brackets and feet, and upper cabinets with glass doors. Another hallmark is the white subway tile backsplash that blends in.… Continue Reading

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Hallway Picture Walls

hallway picture walls - photos on dark background with objects - potterybarn via atticmag

“Think of hallways as palate cleansers — the sorbet that’s served before diving in to the next course.” — Barry Dixon.

The concept of keeping things neutral in a hallway doesn’t mean bland or lacking in personality. Hallways say a great deal about the taste and creativity at work in a house. Few are so grand they need to make a statement — usually that’s reserved for the living room. However, an entry, landing,  stairwell or other hall tend to be highly original when family photos or special collections are displayed.

Personalizing hallway picture walls can be done by using a strong color behind any arrangement of pictures.… Continue Reading

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Exotic Sink Faucets

exotic sink faucets - embellished Turkish faucets in an Iznik tile basin - elhieroglyph via atticmag

Elaborate, unusual faucets are like pieces of art — or jewelry for your sink.

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

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Long Barn Gardens

long barn gardens - Historic house in Sevenoaks Weald, Kent - period living via atticmag

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

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Contemporary Bathroom Fireplaces

bathroom fireplace - 3 sided vented fireplace in contemporary bathroom with river view - freshpalace via atticmag

Technology is changing many things in our homes. That also extends to the fireplace.

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

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My LED Light Bulb Moment

LED light bulbs - eyeball accent lights in the tv room - Atticmag

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

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