Friday, October 22News That Matters

Tag: Interior Design and Furnishings

The Enduring Appeal of Laura Ashley

The Enduring Appeal of Laura Ashley

LifeStyle
In this way, and on account of the sheer number of wearers, there was always something populist about the brand. At the same time, of course, the British countryside idyll was traditionally a lifestyle reserved for a certain kind of person, namely someone white and Protestant. Designers like Hay, who draws on her Jewish heritage — her line was inspired, in part, by her Yiddish-speaking grandmother’s “frumpy New York aesthetic,” as she puts it — and Kika Vargas, Yuhan Wang and Sindiso Khumalo, who are all women of color, have found ways of subverting the aesthetic and its conventions and, in doing so, making it their own.Khumalo, who is based in South Africa and references her Zulu heritage in her work with bright, sustainable fabrics, admires Ashley’s ability to “tell stories with her text...
The Austin Bungalow Had Charm. But It ‘Needed Everything.’

The Austin Bungalow Had Charm. But It ‘Needed Everything.’

LifeStyle
Ricardo and Daphny Ainslie happened upon the house that would become their home while strolling the North University neighborhood of Austin, Texas, in 2009 and noticing a dejected-looking man outside a compact 1920s bungalow.“There was a realtor sitting, literally with head in hand, on the front steps,” said Mr. Ainslie, 72, a psychology professor at University of Texas at Austin who is also a writer, filmmaker and musician.After striking up a conversation, the agent told them that a prospective buyer had just canceled a contract to buy the house. “The reason ended up being that they found so many problems,” Mr. Ainslie said, including issues with the foundation, plumbing and wiring.“It needed everything,” said Ms. Ainslie, 42, a forensic psychologist.Nevertheless, the couple was looking f...

Shopping for Swing-Arm Lamps

LifeStyle
Swing-arm sconces put light exactly where you need it. And they’re especially helpful in spaces where you don’t have wiring for a ceiling fixture or a place for a free-standing lamp.“I do love a swing-arm,” said Heidi Caillier, an interior designer based in Seattle. “They’re really great for directed reading light, and feel more discreet than a decorative lamp that takes up real estate.”Ms. Caillier frequently mounts a pair of small ones on either side of the headboard in a bedroom, or installs a single, large one in living and media rooms.But whatever the space, a big part of the swing-arm lamp’s appeal is its ability to move.“You can tuck it away and then pull it out when you need it,” she said. And if you have children, she added, a swing-arm sconce eliminates “lamps on tables that kids...

Today’s Must-Have Amenity? A Little Green Space.

LifeStyle
RockFarmer Properties put a similar emphasis on weaving landscaping into the heart of its new building, the Rowan, a 46-unit condo at 21-21 31st Street in Astoria, Queens, designed by the architecture firm DXA Studio, with the horticultural designer Patrick Cullina. There, residents returning home will pass through a street-side garden to a green-roofed, glass-walled lobby with a private courtyard garden. About half of the apartments have private outdoor space, and about half of those outdoor spaces are sizable, said John Petras, a founder of RockFarmer Properties — “anywhere from 500 to, in some cases, 1,500 square feet.”When the pandemic stuck soon after sales started last year, the developers worried. “But after about a month, I was just shocked,” Mr. Petras said. “We were selling units...
Can You Renovate a Rental Apartment? Sure, if You’re Careful.

Can You Renovate a Rental Apartment? Sure, if You’re Careful.

LifeStyle
“They weren’t thrilled about it at first,” she said, adding that she was going for a minimalist, Donald Judd-inspired look. “I actually had to sell it to them, as if I was pitching a potential new client. I was like, ‘I’m an interior designer and here’s my vision.’ And I had to share a mood board.”The landlords agreed, and Ms. Piscione hired a millworker to do the job, which included building an additional bank of open plywood shelves for another wall of the kitchen.She repainted most of the interior walls, including feature walls in the living room and bedroom that got a faux-concrete finish. “I wanted that somewhat-rustic-cabin, somewhat-Japanese vibe,” she said, which turned out to be an ideal background for Zoom calls.Beyond those changes, the house is a study in how much an interior c...
Shopping for Canopy Beds

Shopping for Canopy Beds

LifeStyle
Any bed can provide a place to sleep, but a canopy bed does something more.“You can create a room within a room,” said Sandra Nunnerley, an interior designer in New York. “It’s like a cocoon.”That’s why she installed a custom canopy bed in her New York apartment and frequently specifies them for clients’ homes, as well. “They’re heavenly to sleep under,” she said.There are various ways of getting a canopy effect. One is to buy a bed with a canopy structure; another is to do what Ms. Nunnerley did in her home: Mount a fabric canopy on the ceiling that suspends curtains at the corners of the bed.Either way, a canopy can provide an extra touch of comfort heading into fall.“We’ve done many of them over the years,” Ms. Nunnerley said. “And I’ve never met anybody who doesn’t like to sleep in one...
Want to Increase Your Home’s Value? Start With the Entrance.

Want to Increase Your Home’s Value? Start With the Entrance.

LifeStyle
The entrance to your home is often its public face, communicating your sense of style to the world. It’s also a transition space that can be either inviting or forbidding — a source of pleasure or frustration.“I think of it as an outdoor room, and it’s the first room you come into contact with, which sets the stage for everything you’re going to experience in the house,” said Scott J. Sottile, a partner at Ferguson & Shamamian Architects, a New York-based firm whose latest book, “Collaborations: Architecture, Interiors, Landscapes,” will be published next month.So getting the design right, Mr. Sottile said, is “incredibly important.”The front entrance is also a place where a few inexpensive changes can boost a home’s overall value. “In a very direct way, we think curb appeal increases ...
Before Renovating, They Had to Get Rid of the Current Occupants: Mice

Before Renovating, They Had to Get Rid of the Current Occupants: Mice

LifeStyle
Drew and Jeanne Barber thought they had found a heavenly place to raise their two young children when they toured a four-bedroom, 4,900-square-foot house on 11 acres in Farmington, Conn., in 2018.A 1975 house with a gambrel roof that had been expanded with multiple additions, it offered plenty of space to spread out, manicured gardens, a cute stone pool house for the summer and — most important for Mr. Barber, an avid hockey fan — a big yard capable of accommodating an ice rink in the winter.But it also had something less desirable that the couple didn’t discover until it was too late: a thriving colony of mice.After closing that August for $900,000, they moved in with their children, Camden and Colette, now 8 and 6, and were happy enough for the first couple of months. The interior of the...
A New Way to Look at Furniture in Milan

A New Way to Look at Furniture in Milan

LifeStyle
It has been 60 years since Salone del Mobile Milano, the premier annual exhibition of furniture, was founded, and two and a half years since crowds last gathered in Milan’s exhibition halls to admire the relentless creativity of international designers and manufacturers.A spirit of innovation continues to drive the fair, not least in the way its organizers have responded to the pandemic. Sunday marked the opening of a special edition called Supersalone.With 423 exhibitors, about a quarter of the usual number, Supersalone is a scaled-down affair, “but in a certain way it is bigger in terms of our capacity to experiment with the format,” said Stefano Boeri, a Milanese architect and the event’s curator. Exhibitor booths have been replaced with display walls that are hung with products and all...
Shopping for Room Dividers

Shopping for Room Dividers

LifeStyle
A folding screen is useful for dividing space, but it can do so much more.“It really is a great way to bring in scale, texture, artistry or a decorative moment,” said Thom Filicia, the New York-based interior designer.Screens, he noted, are essentially pop-up architecture.Mr. Filicia uses them to separate various seating areas in one big space, or to soften the corners of a room. He uses them to hide ugly heating and air-conditioning equipment, and to frame or emphasize furniture, mirrors and art. And he has used them to create privacy in glass-walled apartments.While room dividers were once de rigueur in professionally designed interiors, they are a little less common today. But Mr. Filicia thinks they’re due for a pandemic-driven comeback.“Now that everyone’s doing home offices, I think ...