Spaces 4 Living

An Architect's Idea Book: Sharing ideas and inspiration to help create beautiful living spaces.


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Taking on “Tiny House” ideas for your own home.

The concept of Tiny House Living is becoming more and more popular. The increasing number of foreclosures and unemployment in recent years has really pushed homeowners to rethink the concept of home and its size. Most tiny homes are under 500 square feet and many have stretched this notion to 150-300 square feet house on wheels. The ideals are simple living…focusing on outdoor spaces, de-cluttering and down-sizing. Smaller housing is not just for the retirees, but for those who wish to own their home who normally couldn’t afford a house or those who feel mobility fits their life style.

 

Tiny houses do not imply to live without comfort, just using your space more wisely. That is a concept that we can all employ.

 

Vertical Space

 
Craftsman Basement by Seattle Architects & Building Designers Board and Vellum
Eclectic Bedroom by Somerville General Contractors Morse Constructions Inc.

 

Built-in floor to ceiling storage or creating a partition wall with cupboard and drawers lets you packs away all your collectibles.

 
Eclectic Kitchen
Traditional Kitchen by Huntington Kitchen & Bath Designers Susan Serra

 

Using the vertical storage in the kitchen adds a bit more visual interest as well creating more storage. Whether choosing to incorporate shelves and/or rails to display your kitchenware or you could suspend over an island   if you have the space. The wall solution is not just limited to pots and utensils, there are baskets you could add for spices, plants and even task boards.

 

 

Shallow shelving 

  
Contemporary Kitchen by Jackson Interior Designers & Decorators dwelling
Eclectic Bathroom
Finding extra space to store things in shallow shelves or thin concealed drawers that might be otherwise wasted.

 

Under the stairs

loft-staircase-storage  office-under-staircase
http://www.tinyhousetalk.com

 

Using the dead space under the stairs is a great area for added storage, closet, home office or a powder room that can fit a number of storage needs and stair configurations.

Wall niche

  
Traditional Entry by Los Angeles Interior Designers & Decorators Alexandra Rae Design
Modern Staircase by London Photographers David Churchill – Architectural Photographer
   
Modern Bathroom by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers Michael Tauber Architecture
Traditional Home Theater by Peoria Design-Build Firms Dan Waibel Designer Builder

 

Creating a wall niche is not just reserved for the medicine cabinet.  Framing out the space to add niches for art, books, shower shelving,  or even to hide AV equipment.

Hidden storage under bulky furniture

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BoConcept  (Chiva functional coffee table & Adria Nesting tables)

We’ve seen the storage in an ottomans and drawers in coffee tables, but the Chiva coffee table combines both ideas with elegance. Nesting tables are not a new concept, but them are coming back into trend. Storing tables beneath tables is a traditional and simple space saving innovation to keep.

 

Hidden bed

 

 
Poppi Theatre by Resource Furniture
 
Atoll 000 by Resource Furniture

 

Nothing short of amazing! I love the ideas that Resource Furniture has to offer. A twist on a murphy bed shown here is only a small sample of what they create. These beds are a vast improvement from the traditional hide-a-beds for guests in the living room. So comfy, they could be your own bed.

 

Dual Function and Transforming Furniture

Goliath Glass Table 
Goliath Glass by Resource Furniture

Modern console table transforms into a dining table suitable for 8 people. Incredible!

 

Loft Floor Space

Tiny House Floor Storagehttp://www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com

This storage solution is not for everyone, but for the loft or attic floor especially in a mobile tiny home, this is a great idea to incorporate storage without incrouching floor space with large furniture.


core77.com

If you can’t go over, go under! (the floor). Using the ceiling space between floor joists is a great spot to keep your books and trinkets.


Knee wall storage

 Traditional Hall by Chappaqua Architects & Building Designers Fivecat Studio | Architecture
Contemporary Family Room by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Ashley Roi Jenkins Design, LLC

 

Built-in storage into the knee wall maybe a great solution for hard to find furniture pieces and it keeps the floor space open.

 

There is always a storage solution, no matter the size of the space. Whether choosing built-in, dual function, transforming, wall space, floor space are but a few examples to use space more wisely and many more ideas out are there.

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Festive Dining in Style

We all want to create that holiday style that doesn’t come from a box and is as individual as we are. Styling for a traditional, contemporary, minimal…you name it…There is something for everyone.

 

 

Many of us think of Christmas decor at the dining table as a formal and traditional affair. The time to bring out the good china and crystal glasses. Decorate with the deep red, deep greens and gold.  A nostalgic glass up to good times past and present.

 

 

I feel that this is a transitional dining experience. It is half way between traditional and modern thanks to the juxtaposition of the rich red and the fresh chartreuse green. The crystal and silver accents give a winter wonderland feel at the centre of the table.

 

 

The contemporary existing decor is lightly spiced with a few amber toned ornaments on the sideboard/ credenza. The table is kept simple and uncluttered with a few candles and warm textiles. The main focal point is above the table, the hanging wreath is adorned with strategically placed ornaments.

 

 

The Scandinavian influenced decor, sings in with simple and clean design. The blue-greys, silver and white colour scheme work well with the raw wood tones and the texture of the sheepskin. This festive decor embraces the crafter and artisan in all of us.

 

Happy Christmas!


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Outdoor Holiday Decorations

The Festive Season is upon us.  It’s time to deck those eaves, window boxes and plug in that inflatable snowman. Hahaha maybe not the last one for me….but t’is the season to let your inner child out.

 

 

A simple wreath or winter topiary can do the trick to welcome your guests with the Christmas spirit. Dont be afraid to add a bit of bling. Adding a few shiny well placed baubles/ ornaments would not go a miss in the image above.

 

 

This image is a bit more grand due to its size, but the door decor and topiary are still present. I like that they have stuck to a theme to tie all the decorative bits together. The red is very traditional, but the dog tooth plaid/ black and white checkers gives it a subtle modern twist.

 

 

Creating a festive vignette in the window. Showcase lit trees, candles, faux crystalised fruit, and evergreen garland. Experiment, have fun, add a few quirky childhood novelties.

 

 

These overfilled flower boxes are a gorgeous sight. The mix of 4 or 5 different evergreen varieties adds lots visual interest. As with any decorating, mixing high and low quality items creates greater depth and stretches your budget. There is no shame in visiting the dollarstore/ poundland for the background roughage and then adorning it with a few good quality ornaments. Or why not trim some existing trees in your garden to tie in the whole scheme with your landscaping.

 

 

Adding the lighting is always my favourite. There are so many types and colours to choose from. Reigning in a holistic theme is sometimes the hardest part. The soft white always looks classic.

 

 

Adding pre-lit garland to the well tested front door formula: wreath/swag and topiary lifts it up  a bit. The red poinsettias look beautiful. They have that Christmas charm and are a classic staple for any theme.

 

 

This has to be one of my favourites.  It is simple and bridges the modern and traditional styles extremely well. The candle, when lit is inviting. The flickering flame is deep in our mindset for comfort, warmth and friendship. Even if you do chose battery operated!

 

 

Most of us have stored away are summer patio furniture, but if the temperature is agreeable, this looks like a fabulous idea. Table top BBQ for marshmallows, or venture a little further and set up the fire pit for ski resort style hot chocolate party, all wrapped up in festive blankets fire side.


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The Small Bedroom

Whether your quandary is with a small guest room, child’s room or master bedroom the resultant frustration of “what on earth do I do with it?” is the same.

An appropriate size bed for the size of room is one thing, but sometimes when space is premium, we run out of options. So the next best thing is to be creative with storage, add some quirkiness and work some design tried and tested methods.

 

 

This bed just fits and no more in this guest room. For a night stand, shelving on the back wall provides just enough space for a glass of water for your temporary guests.

 

  

 

Kids bedrooms are always so fun for creative space solutions. Whether it is using beneath the bed with drawers for toys or linens or cubbies for books right by the bedside. Find places for pin boards, display areas where you’d least expect it, and (in the case of the image of the above left) a port-hole shared between sibling rooms. The over sized map is a great visual interest for re-directing your attention. It helps give the impression of a wider space, which is also aided by the curve-linear  design of the rug on the floor. The image on the right, uses a simple white scheme to make the space seem more airy, but as with many schemes the clutter (and colour) is kept to a minimum.

 

  

 

The fun and little hidey spaces aren’t just for the kiddies. When there isn’t enough floor space for night table or a chest of drawers, build up! The built-ins around the bed, not only add storage but add a great deal of character and interest as well. The spaces seem to look more finished. There is space for ornaments, books, and personal belongings. An alcove around the bed is the perfect opportunity for mounting wall sconces and an interesting headboard…a little niche.

 

I adore this space. It is fun and playful. If it would have gone down a traditional route of bed-night stand etc. it probably would have folded in on itself. The over all black and white scheme has interesting elements “dotted” throughout. This not only a pun on the upholstery pins that create an upscale interest on the basic white shelves, but also to the creativity within this tiny space. The placement of the shelving creates a bedside surface at the window and another for a workspace at the foot of the bed. Even the quirky “Apocalypse Now” quote on the roller blind adds to the rooms interest. The coloured ceiling and mock black posts and rails around the bed space makes me think of a four poster bed! So much artfully placed creativity leads you to pause and to take in the elements of the space and not its size.

 

The successful outcome of the small space is only limited by your imagination. It almost forces you to become more creative with your spatial solutions. You’d be surprised that it may end up being the best room in the house!


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The Art of Decorating with Black

 

So often many fall at the wayside away from colour and slump into the unfulfilled wasteland of beige! Some are intimidated to commit to using bold and bright colours in there living spaces…so goodness knows how they would react to black. OK black is not actually a colour, but it is a bold choice.

There are ways to enrich your space, just remember a little does go a long way.

 

Black Doors

 

Black doors can help create an upscaled and elegant look,  not just for the exteriors but the interior doors as well. The vertical plane of black draws your eyes to the other black objects in the room and creates a visual balance. It also helps balance the other large black elements in the home, for example that huge 60″ television that you always dreamed of, a black leather sofa or the unlit fireplace.

 

Black Windows

  

The odd thing about black or dark window woodwork is that you look past them to the outdoors. Whereas with white, your eyes tend to fix on the white frames instead of looking beyond. Bring the outdoors inside with black, charcoal or a dark stain.

 

Black ceilings

         
 

 

Now I bet you think I have gone too far!  A black ceiling adds a completely different character as compared to the traditional white. Your eye has a tendency to look for defined details to inform it of boarders and boundaries. Therefore, if you had black or partially black walls with a black ceiling your eyes would be tricked by the size of the space…making the room feel more spacious.

On the other hand, if you were to have lighter walls and a dark ceiling, the ceiling would appear lower. This could be beneficial in a room with a high ceiling that you wanted to make it feel more cozy and intimate.

 

Black Floors

     

 

Black floor have a huge impact. It is a bit more of a finacial commitment than paint, but the rewards could be outstanding. It says luxury all over it. If you have a dog that sheds it maybe more of a chore to keep spotless and high shine floors show more dust so unless you enjoy sweeping every day opt for a matte or textured finish.

 

Black Cabinetry or Surfaces

      

 

There is one way to get your white surfaces to pop in your kitchen and that is to have black cabinets. For a  contemporary open layout this would be stunning. The black gives the modern white space living a new twist. However if you inverse the palette with white cabinets and black surfaces the same pop occurs, but with a more traditional appeal. Granted, the main influence on the contemporary vs transitional vs traditional depends upon cabinetry style and layout.

 

Architectural details

   
 

Why not paint the wainscoting black (charcoal is illustrated in the photograph) or the ornate frames. It gives the woodwork a new lease on life and celebrates its artistry and craftsmanship.

The key element in using black, is that it enhances the other colours in the spaces as well (in my opinion) gives a sense of solid, grounding elegance. Dare I say, its the equivalent of that “little black dress”- a staple that imbues a air of simple sophistication.


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Barbeque Season

If you are getting ready for Canada Day, Independence Day or celebrating the strawberries and cream during Wimbledon, the barbeque season is in full swing. Having family and friends over for a Summer gathering is one of the great things about the season. The Summer cook isn’t standing away from the action with his face towards the wall any longer. He is in with the conversation and has a full outside gourmet kitchen to ignite the celebrity within us.

 

 

An extension of the kitchen is a complete prep station with outdoor grade fridge and wine cooler. This great outdoor kitchen is all beneath a covered deck so you can cook rain or shine (or blistering heat). There is nothing to say that you couldn’t cook a Sunday full breakfast in the fresh air without heating up the house.

 

 

Why not watch the game, match and point whilst grilling those steaks! Probably not so good in rainy climates, but you could angle your television so that you can view it through the window.

A room with a view! An otherwise cramped breezeway has made an opportunity for a great exterior lounge. Time to unwind watch the stars with the flicker of the fire and a late night snack. Ah Summer!


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The Age of Faux!

Low maintenance gardens are highly sought after. After a gruelling day at the office most of us would rather kick off our shoes and relax than mow the grass, clip the hedge and water the plants. We are not all destined to be limited to pavers and a bottle of weed killer. Now we can have our cake and eat it too!

 

 

Contemporary Patio by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Martha Angus Inc.                           

 

 

Artificial turf has come a long way. The products are remarkable out there. Thick lush greens that feel and look real without that plastic sheen and feel as soft as velvet. Many ranges have UV inhibitors that do not degrade under the hot sun. A faded pastel green of years gone by are no more…most suppliers have 10 year warranties. Low maintenance like this comes with a big price tag, so do your research well. Great for roof terraces where the added weight of a garden limits your options for a greenspace.  Hard to reach places like terraced gardens or areas with a lot of shade or too dry to grow grass for kids and pets to play are prime areas for artificial turf without the hassle of trying to get the real stuff to grow.

 

 

 

Faux hedging- Yes, its true you can construct a fake boxwood hedge. No waiting for it to fill in and grow.  The “hedging” can be much narrower than a real hedge which is perfect for adding greenery to a small balcony. It usually comes in 12″ x 12″ square panels that can be stapled or tied into a frame. It could also be arranged into a vertical planting “living wall” that are becoming popular. You get what you pay for so be aware of cheaper varieties that look blatantly fake.

 

 

Faux timber, better known as composite wood decking, reduces the maintenance of routinely staining your wood structures. There are many different colours and grades to chose from.  Some even look like hardwoods you’d have inside. Varieties also come in both traditional planks or more contemporary panels.

 

 

 

 

Faux Stone can have a great visual impact without a hard hit to the wallet like natural stone. There are many different products for different applications from pavers for your patio to lightweight veneer panels for vertical mounting on walls and columns. There are countless colour and texture combinations to fit any landscape, Even the stamped concrete patio above that resembles weathered 2×10 decking is an amazing statement piece.