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You’re likely to spend much of your energy planning your kitchen, because you’ll make the most choices for it. But every room in your new house merits your careful attention — even the garage. If it’s not big enough for two cars and all the other stuff you want to put in there, you won’t be happy.

When you begin examining each room, you may find that your preferred floor plan needs minor adjusting or a major reworking. Many floor plans, especially those favored by production builders, are geared to that elusive “average family.” But every household’s needs in a house are different.



Handmade Touches Add Flair in Modern Kitchens


For an unconventional but stunning effect in a new or remodeled kitchen, consider eye-catching handmade items that show the subtle imperfection of the human hand at work. The result is traditional flair and charm in a space where modern appliances and maximum efficiency are emphasized.


Pop Goes Kitchen Color as Homeowners Stay Put


Homeowners today are throwing resale caution to the winds and opting for colorful kitchens — they want to kick up and have fun! But they want to do this tastefully with colors that complement those in the rest of the house. If the style is contemporary in shades of white and gray, the kitchen will have this, too. With a more traditional style, range of color in the house will be broader, with more choices for the kitchen.


Kitchen Cabinets: The Case of Beauty v. Functionality


With kitchen cabinetry, insisting on a certain look can add more to the cost than most homeowners realize. It can be like paying $3,000 extra to get a car painted red instead of taking the same model in blue. Functional upgrades to cabinetry will make daily life easier. Kitchen designer Bart Bauer shows you how to make sensible choices, save money and still love your new kitchen.


Designing a Kid-Friendly Kitchen


Designing a new kitchen to be kid-friendly is surprisingly easy, doesn’t add to the cost, and it’s a great way to help your children develop healthy eating habits and learn to cook. Homeowners may fret that the modifications would only be needed for a few years, but they can also make kitchen duty easier for adults.


The House Hunter’s Kitchen Quiz


Resale or brand-new house, the kitchen is the first stop for most prospective buyers and often the reason they choose one house over another. As they look and linger, what questions should they be asking themselves?


The Joy of Comfortable Cooking: Johnny Grey’s Kitchen Ergonomics


For Americans, British designer Johnny Grey’s unconventional kitchens are a radical departure from convention. They feature jazzy colors, original artwork, playful, custom cabinetry best described as “sculptural” and work areas that are carefully tailored to a client’s body measurements. He developed his signature style after becoming seriously ill early in his career.


Johnny Grey’s Kitchen Design Stirs the Senses


Though British designer Johnny Grey isn’t well known by the American public, his ideas have influenced kitchen design in this country for more than 20 years. He introduced the "unfitted" kitchen, featuring an assortment of unusually shaped, non-matching, custom-built cabinets, emphasizing what he calls "soft geometry.”


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Bath & Laundry

Say Ahhh to Radiant-Floor Heat in Bathroom


For most people, pampering in the bathroom means luxury materials like marble and showers with multiple shower heads or fancy lighting. Radiant heating under your bathroom floor is a perk that’s often overlooked, but it’s one will help you start every day in winter on a high note.


Bathroom Vanity, Thy Name Is Wow


A bathroom vanity can be 100 percent utilitarian, or it can be something else entirely. The vanities of Naomi Neilson Howard marry modern convenience to craft traditions that are hundreds of years old while showcasing a creative reuse of materials. By contrast, George Moussa’s work reflects his unusual background — he’s a lifelong resident of Dallas who grew up immersed in European culture.


Splashing Playful Design in Master Bath


“A playful ambience” would probably not be on your must-have list for a master bathroom remodel, but if you hired Alexandria, Virginia, designer Jeff Jenkins that would be part of the deal. Not only would he create a bathroom that you have never seen before or even imagined, it would bring a smile to your face every time you use it.


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Family Room

In Search of the Family-Proof Sofa

  A family room sofa should always be comfortable. To last through your child-raising years, it should be durable as well, with a sturdy, hardwood frame, and commercial-grade upholstery fabric that is manufactured to wear well for years, despite extremely heavy use. The fabric should also be treated to keep moisture from being absorbed into the cushions where it can produce mold and unpleasant odors.

Kid-Proofing the Family Room

  When your children are teenagers, your family room might look the way you imagined when you decided to buy a new house. But if they’re very young when you move in, you will be happier if you start out on the spare side and let the family room “grow” with your children.

Well-Designed Party Space Works for Everyday Living

  A room that accommodates both large scale entertaining and daily living is a challenge for the architect. Almost any large room will seem like a great space for entertaining if the party occurs at night and the place is jammed with people. But the same space in the cold hard light of day can be a different proposition altogether and that’s what you will live with on a daily basis.

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Home Office

The Home Office: Think Multiple-Adjustment Chair

  A multiple-adjustment chair helps you maintain good posture, which is essential to avoiding stress-related muscle injuries caused by hours at the keyboard. Such a chair gives you back and arm support exactly where you need it while allowing your upper back and upper arms to relax. The adjustable parts include armrests that go up or down and in or out, seat depth, seat height, and seat tilt.

Kitchen Cabinetry Works in Home Offices Too

  When your home office makes you feel good every time you look at it, you’ll find it’s easier to turn out the work. When the office design is tailored to your needs, you’ll also work more efficiently. A certified kitchen designer can help you nail down a plan because kitchens, like home offices, are task-oriented spaces. Kitchen and bath cabinetry are easily adapted for home offices.

To Do: Organize Home Office

  You probably don’t perceive any connection between how a home office is organized and how easily and quickly the work is produced. But there is one, and when you factor it into the planning of your home office, your work will go more smoothly and your productivity will go up.

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Tile Italian-Style: Stunning, Revolutionary


Fifty years from now, historians of the decorative arts will likely describe the current era of tile making as "The Great Revolution." Combining advances in the manufacturing process with the wonders of digital photography, ceramic tile makers today routinely produce tiles that were unimaginable in size, application and appearance only a few years ago. Tiles ¼-inch thick can be as large as 5 by 11 feet.


Cambria’s Vision for Quartz Countertops


When Katherine looks at quartz countertops, she’s not usually thinking about the work of famous painters or places she’s visited. But these are exactly the connections she made when she saw very large slabs of Cambria’s Waterstone collection at the 2014 Kitchen and Bath Show (KBIS) in Las Vegas.


Closet Chaos Theory: Why Clutter Expands to Fill Space


In many cases, the desire to move to a bigger house is driven by the need to “get my life under control.” The thinking goes like this: In a bigger house I’ll have bigger closets and my house won’t be awash in clutter anymore. But bigger closets can be both a blessing and a curse, said Messies Anonymous founder Sandra Felton, who struggled with chaos in her own house for more than 23 years before devising strategies for neatness that work.


So You Think You Can Sit! Check Out the Chairs of Peter Opsvik


Norwegian designer Peter Opsvik’s chairs don’t look like anything you have in your house or have ever tried out in a furniture store. Their novel shapes let you move, squirm, fidget, turn, rock, twist and tilt. Opsvik says he allows for such a wide range of movements because even though most adults spend most of their days sitting, “no one stands or sits like a statue.”


After 30 Years, She Gets Eames of Her Dreams


Introduced in 1956, the Eames lounge chair may be the most comfortable chair in the world. Curved and playful in profile, it incorporated principles of ergonomics before the word came into common use. Katherine had yearned to own an Eames since she graduated from architecture school 30 years ago—and now she’s scored one in the secondhand market.


Local Artisans Deliver Custom Touches


Local artisans can add a custom touch to a new house for a surprisingly affordable price. The only hitch is that they are often small, one-person operations, and they can be hard to locate. In Ann Arbor, Mich., where I live, I found a brother and sister team who make tiles, a potter who can make sinks, and two muralists.


Choose Chairs for Comfort First, Looks Later


Over the last 40 years Bill Stumpf has transformed the office environment with ergonomically designed chairs that are comfortable and help you to perform your job more effectively. In a recent interview, he said most people have yet to apply the lessons learned about chair comfort at work to their furniture choices at home. There is plenty of comfortable, ergonomically sound furniture available, but most people put looks first.


Stealing Space for Storage

  How do you resolve your non-clothes storage needs in your new house? The basement or the garage is great for rarely used items. But where to put those everyday things you want close at hand? New houses tend to have neatly squared off rooms, so the only way to garner space for storing things you want nearby is to steal it.

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Other Spaces

Check Out These Home Libraries


Architects say clients who can afford home libraries still want them, even in a digital world, though most of these clients are 40 or older. Some collect first editions or acquire books related to a particular interest. Others have inherited libraries maintained by their families for generations. And some are simply voracious readers.

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