Colorful, Luxe Designs for Your Home

What immediately jumps out at you with New York-based interior designer Steven Gambrel’s job is his dazzling use of colour. Lacquered walls in high main colours and chambers upholstered in jewel-tone textiles are de rigueur in a Steven Gambrel-designed house. And his bold color choices are not out of place. Whether designing an oceanside retreat, historic country manor or city house, he creates richly detailed settings that meld the design of the region with a modern way of life. “The place that a client chooses to reside reflects their personality, and helps notify others of the distinctive way of life,” he writes. “For me personally, to design a background for that lifestyle is a really exciting undertaking.”

Steven Gambrel: Time and Place, his very first publication, showcases the unique way he brightens and enriches living. Read on for tips from your publication on upgrading your house, Gambrel style.


Use patterns to emphasize scale: The luxurious of big rooms is their capacity to absorb pattern and colour. Here, Gambrel combines just the right amount of solid and patterned bits to make a harmonious yet intriguing composition. The white and black patterned curtains draw the eye upward to the dramatic vaulted ceiling.

Hint: The vaulted ceiling was not an original feature of this room. To get the effect he wanted, he opened the lowered ceiling, then painted it with semi-reflective paint and set up the softly glowing mother-of-pearl lanterns.


Update a conventional room with bright paintGambrel pays homage to the historic whaling town heritage of his Sag Harbor house by decorating the guest bedroom with rustic hardwood flooring planks and early American antiques. But the coral walls and contemporary-looking framed art instantly and seamlessly anchor the room to the 21st century.

Tip: Repurpose old paintings. Gambrel cut nautical scenes from a 19th century folding screen to make a framed montage with this wall.


Play with contrasts in colour and texture: In this prewar Greenwich Village apartment, Gambrel went for a sophisticated European look. He achieved this via stark contrasts. The apartment entry shows this off beautifully — warm yellowish curtains stick out against white, black and grey surfaces, and the lacquered hardwood flooring is amplified by the matte paint onto the walls and doors.

Tip: Understated European elegance is evident in the doorway’s colour palette, which was painted in three shades of grey after a storefront seen in Paris. To accentuate the entryway’s architectural elements, he applied thin strips of paint into the wood paneling.


Soften decorative rooms with high gloss and colour: The clubby feeling of this library is tempered with the golden glow created by the reflective surfaces and amber accents. The shiny black walls are the perfect background for a modern art collection while the bright yellow ceiling gives the illusion of a lofty ceiling.


A little playfulness goes a long way: Situated in between two grand public rooms in this New York City apartment, the kitchen is intentionally minimalist. The colorful world lamp adds some levity and contrasts with an industrial background of appliances and cabinetry.


Guide your layout options by picking a sense of the room: This library evokes warmth and relaxation for a counterpoint to the marble-clad entryway preceding it. Gambrel accomplishes this with walls clad in scored beeswax and lined with cerused oak, and soft orange accents.

Hint: Prominent crown molding not only lends the room an architectural gravitas, in addition, it accentuates the height of the ceiling.


Uncover unexpected details: To open a darkened and darkened kitchen, Gambrel eliminated a cupboard and set up windows and built-in seat seating. The turn of the staircase is currently a feature of the room that adds to the kitchen’s comfy ambience.


Steven Gambrel: Time and Place – $50

More inspiration:
Designer Crush: How to Construct Like Thomas O’Brien

Layout Tips From the Countess of California Cool

Interview: The Design Magic of Tobi Fairley

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Meet the Inventive Lighting and Furniture of Peter Bristol

After I first saw a photograph of the Peter Bristol–designed Corner Light just a couple of months before, I had been struck with its logic, simplicity and elegance. Of course there should be a light which only nestles at a corner and illuminates a space, I believed. It is one of those things that causes you to wonder why it did not exist before. It works so cohesively in a space it seems it can fit with almost any architecture or decor.

Bristol is a Seattle designer that creates lighting, furniture and other home goods and is also a lead industrial designer at Carbon Design Group. His work has received accolades from the form of design awards, patents, rave media and recently a judging position for I.D. magazine.

I talked to him recently about his Corner Light and other cool products, the impetus for some of his designs and also the intersection of practicality and creativity.

Peter Bristol

Q. Since its launch at the Milan Furniture Fair at 2011 your Corner Light has generated a Great Deal of interest. Do you think it has had allure?
A. The Corner Light takes part of the room that’s overlooked. It is very simple yet at the exact same time very unique. It only became something which I believed needed to exist. It is fascinating that Sebastian Wrong and Established & Sons felt exactly the exact same way and were able to help it become accessible.

Peter Bristol

Q. What are some tools you use in your own work?
A. Obviously your head is the most significant tool. The rest of the tools have a tendency to aid recognize, iterate, refine, define and communicate the job done upstairs. Thumbnails capture ideas and explorations; bodily mock-ups help understand ergonomics and scale quickly. Computers are invaluable for invention, refinement and communication along the way.

Peter Bristol

Q. How did your American Standards Light come about?
A. I had been doing a workout looking at regular icons. The wall and switch plug have been the icons. But then I realized that the manner in which many 2-by-4 walls are made is also recognizable. Referencing the entire drywall construction strategy became interesting. Putting elements collectively, the extra socket and also called switch strategy combined to make a pretty neat light.

Peter Bristol

Q. How much do older designs and new trends become involved?
A. You cannot help but be affected by what you know. The context of what has happened and is happening is always there. However, it seems good solutions have a tendency to be less about what others do or have done, and more about what should be done now.

Peter Bristol

Peter Bristol

Q. In case your Training Dresser had been around when my kids where growing up, they would have adored it. But then I realized: Hi, I could use that now. I am always loosing track of socks. What inspired you to style it?
A. Not certain where it came from. The usage of these clothes images outside is a too literal usage of iconography and a playful way of highlighting what is inside the dresser.

Q. I understand that it’s made in Washington state.
Right, its own handmade and packed in southern Washington by the team at Mountain View Cabinetry.

Peter Bristol

Q. The Cut Chair is indeed sculptural. It appears like it’s drifting. Can you sit on it without tipping over?
A. Yes, it’s pretty stable. The carpeting a part of the piece, and there’s a steel plate underneath that allows the seat pan to cantilever off the one leg.

Q. It seems like a departure from the more practical designs.
Yes, I agree. Not sensible. … I guess it’s a little more art than merchandise. That line is always a little fuzzy.

Q. Do you differentiate between layout that serves a particular purpose and design that’s great to check out?
A. That’s sort of the traditional form-function conversation, right? I am not certain that those two could be separated. Context guides good layout, but there are many interpretations of context. Something such as a medical merchandise has to be usable first, although other regions of design can let the item character take the lead. Function is beautifully distilled at the work of Dieter Rams, but there’s a whole different kind of attractiveness in the opinionated function of Marcel Wanders. Though the processes vary, there’s awesome work at both ends of the spectrum.

Peter Bristol

Q. Will there be a particular equilibrium you like to strike with experimentation, study, cooperation and other procedures?
I think each project takes on a life of its own. Those procedures all exist to help generate and find the ideal ideas. The manner in which they are mixed along the way is always different. It is tough to attempt to induce a rigid structure around such a fluid kind of work.

Q. How much does production affect your designs?
A. How things are created and how they go together always affect a layout, just like use always affects a design. Occasionally manufacturing methods define a item, and at times they enable it. It is typically difficult to separate the design in the engineering on nice products. Ultimately is the layout.

Q. Is it sometimes difficult to discuss your own work?
A. Occasionally it’s tricky to talk about attributes without seeming sales-y. I guess I think design must speak for itself, so any communication concerning the job should only confirm your natural intuition.

Q. Thus, just to torment you, here’s the dreaded query. How would you explain your outlook on layout?
A. Honest? Succinct? Appropriate? All these are things I try for.

Q. Can there be a Seattle or Northwest style?
A. There are probably several perceived Northwest fashions. I’m hesitant to explain any, since the web world tends to let things to happen anywhere and everywhere simultaneously.

Q. How do you approach designing and decorating your own house?
A. (Laughs) No real time to Be Worried about it. We obviously curate with things we like. Set up your house to suit the way you live, and the result will be good. It’ll be pleasurable for living and a true representation of you.

Learn more about Peter Bristol and his job

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11 Lighting Fixtures That Rethink the Flush Mount

When you live in an older house like I do, you tend to think of the big picture when it comes to renovations: marble, landscaping, master bath. But it’s the small details that can take a bite out of your time and budget.

Take, for instance, the many flush-mount lights that scatter my ceilings, all of outdated and in need of replacement. It is going to be expensive to upgrade all of them, but having stylish fixtures rather than those stodgy old ones are going to be well worth every penny. Check out these 11 lights that take the flush mount into fresh territory.

Joel Kelly Design

Sleek and chiseled, this fixture falls right in step with all the area’s angular, manly design.

Wm. F. Holland/Architect

Rows of semiflush-mount pendants blend the best of both worlds: the visual allure of pendant lighting and the low profile of a flush mount. As a result of their orderly placement, these additionally enhance the design of the coffered ceilings.

Karr Bick Kitchen and Bath

A pretty, yummy fixture takes the place of a classic over-the-sink mild and adds a note of gentle elegance.

Michael Knowles, Architect

I am not sure I’ve ever seen flush mounts in cobalt blue. These seem like drinking goblets turned upside down, a fun spark in a neutral setting.

Erica Islas / EMI Interior Design, Inc..

This space-age fixture feels completely of the moment — there’s nothing old-fashioned relating to it.

AIA, dSPACE Studio Ltd

A sinuous semiflush mount underscores the slick, sexy aura of the little bath.

Charlie & Co.. Design, Ltd

All these drum-style fixtures punctuate the ceiling like buttons on a tee top. Their big scale feels suitable for the quantity of the corridor and helps to make it cozier.

Bruce Kading Interior Design

This sculptural standout is far more interesting than a typical crystal chandelier.

Inform us : What do you think of flush mounts? Share your ideas in the Comments section.

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Groovy 1970s Retro Pad at Los Angeles

“If my walls could talk, they’d say thank you,” says Lorena California. It was in total disrepair before this wardrobe artist, stylist and classic boutique owner renovated her Echo Park, California, home with her celebrity husband, Johnny Sleeper, she says. Now each corner welcomes 1960s and ’70s style, from high-pile orange shag carpets to lemon-colored modular vinyl cabinets that save eight-track tapes. Feeling groovy? Get ideas for your own mod pad out of this dream home that is exuberantly.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Lorena California and Johnny Sleeper
Location: Los Angeles
Size: 1,650 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
That’s interesting: The house is allegedly haunted by a kitty ghost termed Peachfuzz Kelli Pop.

Alex Amend Photography

Alex Amend: what’s your preferred furniture bit?
Lorena California: One of my favourite furniture pieces are these classic 1960s Broyhill modular vinyl cupboards. The lemon and lime colors I like even better than the Raymond Loewy bits they’re knockoffs of. We utilize the credenza to shop and play classic records and eight-tracks.

Carpet: Linoleum City; credenza: classic Broyhill; chair: classic

Alex Amend Photography

AA: What’s your latest splurge?
LC: This floating sofa is among my favorites and is something I have always dreamt of owning. In reupholstering the couch in that color I splurged. One of my best friends works for Kelly Wearstler and could not believe I had exactly the exact same sofa Kelly was now pricing out to go into production.

Design notice: The high-pile orange shag carpeting is really area rugs using the bindings cut off and laid as carpeting.

Carpet: Linoleum City; sofa: classic; shelving: classic Umbo

Alex Amend Photography

AA: Tell me about this particular space.
LC: I really like the yellow Umbo shelves, I have classic Barbie cases and other items on them, but I’m not sure any trinket or knickknack could outshine the shelves themselves. I also find the materials plastic and Lucite really appealing. They’re just so pretty and shiny.

Carpet: Linoleum City; shelving: Ikea and classic Umbo; chair: classic

Alex Amend Photography

California constructed a loft in one of the bedrooms to create a workspace to get her three-dimensional vintage-inspired collage art, which decorates many of the walls in her property. She says, “It is just a much better way to display amazing stuff than at a drawer. I always include one thing in each collage I truly don’t need to part with.” Many of the furnishings and collectables include Los Angeles flea markets, including eBay and Fourth Street in Long Beach, California, also called “Retro Row.”

Carpet: Linoleum City

Alex Amend Photography

AA: If you have four famous people over for dinner, who would you invite?
LC: John, Paul, George and Ringo.

AA: What would be in your soundtrack?
LC: The Monkees’ greatest hits.

Carpet: Linoleum City; table and seats: classic

Alex Amend Photography

Lorena reissued Formica counter tops and remodeled the kitchen with classic appliances. “The countertop is an original Formica pattern from the ’50s that was reissued a few years ago when Disneyland revived Tomorrowland,” she says. Working pinball machines light up the space beyond.

AA: What do you love most about your city?
LC: Los Angeles is my oyster. Though I’m pretty much a homebody, if I wished to go outside and do anything, I certainly have the alternative. When we are not playing at home, a favorite neighborhood spot is the local Pins and Needles pinball arcade.

Alex Amend Photography

AA: Was sourcing materials for your renovation a challenge?
LC: It’d have been a whole lot easier if granite, stainless steel and hardwoods didn’t make me gag!

Carpet: Linoleum City; shelving: classic; chair: classic Herman Miller

Alex Amend Photography

During the remodel, California place a window above the bathtub to gain access to the previously inaccessible roof space above the carport. That space now houses a hot tub and a sundeck. “We had to jump through a lot of hoops to get the permit to your window to go in,” she says.

AA: What advice would you offer other homeowners going through a renovation?
LC: You shouldn’t just double your worst-case-scenario estimate. You need to triple it.

Glass Floors: Modern Home

Alex Amend Photography

Many of the things in the home were found at flea markets rather than always in the best state, including the pendant lamps at the master bedroom. “They were gray with decades of filth and dust, but those spaghetti lamps always clean up if you soak them in the bathtub with dish soap to get a day or two,” California says. “Cut out the wiring, but it’s cheap to replace that and the swag chain at the hardware store.”

AA: Do you have some other home jobs in the works?
LC: We just did the master bath, but we’d like to update the fence in front yard so that it’s accessible from the living room.

Wallpaper: Designyourwall.com; carpet: Linoleum City; lamps: classic

Alex Amend Photography

Each surface in her home holds something dear to California.

AA: Tell me about your collections.
LC: ” I like to accumulate female fetish figures, Dolly Lollies and the like; bright colors; trippy designs; Lucite; ’70s maxi dresses that were weird rehash mashes of ’60s psychedelic themes. I’m ever refining and honing, upgrading and replacing.

Carpet: Linoleum City

Alex Amend Photography

AA: How can you select your color scheme?
LC: I really like the citrus palette for the downstairs, highlighted with java store turquoise to your kitchen. Pink and red for love in the bedroom, and I’m sure most folks would agree, however, lime green goes with whatever.

Carpet: Linoleum City; dresser: classic Broyhill; chair: classic

Alex Amend Photography

Johnny Sleeper and Lorena California, together with kitty Gingersnap Snickerdoodle.

AA: Can your home decor influence your fashion and work for a wardrobe stylist?
LC: It will. It need to live, if you love it.

More Tours:
Exuberant, Spacious Hacienda at Texas

Retro Modern at East Austin

Cozy and Deadly Vancouver Apartment

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Guest Picks: Styling and Storage for a Kid's Bookcase

I recently completed decorating my daughter’s bedroom. The last area to undertake was a much-needed bookcase to house all of her things. Tween women (well, my daughter anyway) often collect piles of it.

I made a linen bulletin board to display her art and photographs, and leaned a poster and a framed doughnut tea towel on top of the bookcase. The fun part, though, was styling it that it would not only be functional, but pretty to look at.

I am always on the search for good looking yet cheap containers to store modest items. With a place for everything, everything is in its place. This bookcase has done wonders to maintain my daughter organized and keep things off the floor, which is where everything used to finish up.

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite storage/organization products in the rustic to the elegant. And I couldn’t help myself — I’ve included some tiny pieces of art to up the pretty factor of almost any bookcase. — Vanessa from Decor Happy

Vanessa Francis

This really is the bookcase, and I love how it turned out. Possessing a large piece like that (actually two bookcases attached together to seem like you ) means that there’s ample space to house everything from jewelry and books to stuffed animals and CDs. My daughter’s favorite slippers even have a house!


LIATORP Bookcase – $220

The beadboard back on the Liatorp Bookcase won me over. It’s a magical detail I adore, and painting it in a vibrant colour simply adds to its charm.


KVARNVIK Box, Set of 3, White – $19.99

I just adore these jute storage boxes. There are endless possibilities as to what it is possible to fill them with.


KVARNVIK Box with Lid, Dark Blue – $11.99

I purchased two of those boxes to home my daughter’s CDs and odds and ends. I really like the indigo colour and they include labels.


Cabo Rectangular Basket, Medium – $24.49

These wire baskets enable your children to easily see what’s inside. I adore their vintage charm.

Pottery Barn

Linen Pin Board – $99

I left the linen bulletin board leaning towards the top of the bookcase, but you can save yourself time by buying one such as this. I find a neutral background is ideal for displaying art, photographs, etc..


Tin Box with Lid – $22.50

These shoebox-size tin containers labels are sturdy and charming.


Deep Dip Bowl from Rou Designs

I am a sucker for handmade porcelain bowls. Even though this one could be supposed to carry food, I think it would be excellent for keeping hair clips, elastics, etc..


Gold Leaf Birds on Branches Jewelry Holder – $43.49

This jewelry holder is so exceptional! I really like the gold tone, and the birds are so sweet.

West Elm

Whitewash Modern Weave Collection – $14

I adore the whitewash on these handwoven rattan baskets. The large ones are perfect for keeping blankets.

West Elm

Agate Bookends – $14

These agate bookends are practical and lovely.


Acrylic Case, 2 Drawers with Lid – $26.75

These cases have two drawers. I’d home my daughter’s most adorable jewelry in these.

West Elm

Glass Shadow Boxes – $24

These are the most exceptional glass shadow boxes I’ve observed. They’ve a canvas lining, can be hung on a wall and can even be monogrammed.


SOFT BIN Grey Dot – CAD 32

I adore this Canadian firm, and their bins made from organic cotton in vibrant patterns and colors are perfect for a kid’s room.


Valentine Pink Heart Decor Wall Art by Lucy Snowe Photography – $40

This photograph of pink balloons forming hearts will seem pretty in a frame leaning on the back of a bookcase.

Jonathan Adler

Little Gold Bird Bowl, Gold – CAD 108

I really like Jonathan Adler’s pottery for its quirkiness, and these golden bird bowls are no exception. The end has a hammered detail which will add sparkle and glam to any area.

Grey Felt Storage Box – $49.95

Items made from sensed have a homespun component and remind me of my childhood. These storage boxes might be utilized at a boy’s or girl’s room to help keep the clutter at bay.


Illustration Art Print Beautiful As You Are Birds by The Tiny Illustrator – $18

I really like motivational sayings, and this one would be ideal at a young woman’s room; it’s a good reminder.


Tree House Bucket by Jenna Rose Handmade – $46

This hand-screenprinted fabric bucket is the perfect size to perch on a shelf. The leather grips as well as the linen/cotton treehouse fabric are a striking combination.

The Container Store

Blossom Stockholm Magazine File – $10.99

These magazine holders at a coral colour are functional and fashionable.

Serena & Lily

Pandan Bins – $28

You can never have enough storage bins. These juicy ones are made from handwoven palm fronds and are ideal for storing newspapers or bits and bobs that don’t have a house.

Next: 11 Styling Tips for Shelves You Will Love

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American Architecture: The Components of Craftsman Style

What it’s : Craftsman houses were largely motivated by the function of 2 builder brothers — Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene — who worked together in Pasadena, California, in the turn of the 20th century. The Greene brothers were influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement (a response against the Industrial Revolution in an attempt to promote the work of craftsmen and the handmade within the system made), as well as by Oriental wooden architecture.

Where to locate it: The earliest examples are in Southern California, but due to popularization of the style through national periodicals like House Beautiful and Ladies’ Home Journal and the following access to design books and kit houses, Craftsman bungalows became the most popular style of small house throughout the country from about 1905 through the 1920s.

Why you will love it: Just like most of things that come from California, there is something distinctively American about this fashion. Outside you will find details galore but inside, there is a simple, wide-open layout that makes the most of typically limited square footage.

Lawrence and Gomez Architects

What Makes It Craftsman

A low-pitched, gabled roof. The low-slung rooflines signify the effect of Oriental architecture on the style. These roofs typically possess a broad, unenclosed eave overhang with ornamental supports.

Roofs with a very low pitch are typically better suited to warmer climates, in which snow and ice aren’t likely to accumulate. They do require regular maintenance to make sure debris like leaves does not build up with time.


A front porch. It is rare to find a Craftsman bungalow that doesn’t have a porch, even when porch only covers the entryway. Porches are either full (like this one) or semi width, and therefore are either sheltered under the main roof or under a separate, extended roof.

Porches are a terrific investment — they expand the livable space of small houses and make it feasible to spend time outside.

Melaragno Design Company, LLC

Tapered columns. This is one of the most distinctive characteristics of Craftsman houses, despite the version in detailing. Tapered columns, which support the porch roof, are typically brief and break upon massive stone or brick piers that extend into floor level, both of which convey a certain solidity. Not all columns are pliable; yet another popular variant is the double column.

Borrowing the exact comfy porch supports from the Craftsman style is a great way to find a touch of the look without rebuilding your home from scratch.

RW Anderson Homes

A partly entrance door. One great authenticity test of Craftsman bungalows is the way their doors are all styled. Almost all original models have glass panes in the top third of the doorway, separated by the underside paneled portion by a thick piece of trim.

Swapping out your door to get a Craftsman one is another way to incorporate a bit of the style into your home. There are lots of excellent sources for brand new Craftsman-style doors.


Multipane instead of single-pane windows. Just like a few other Craftsman details, this window style originated with the Prairie architectural style. The most common configurations are either four-over-one or six-over-one double-hung windows. The windows are usually grouped together and cased in broad trim.

This window style is a terrific traditional or historical style for houses with an opinion, since the single-pane lower sash has no mullion obstructions.

WINN Design+Build

Earthy Colours. Craftsman houses are usually painted in a nature-inspired palette of greens and reds to assist the low-profile bungalows blend seamlessly with their surroundings. Despite the mostly muted palettes, one or two contrasting colours are generally used to highlight architectural features like trim or decorative supports.

Put your best foot forward. Irrespective of the manner of your home, painting architecture comes with a contrasting colour is a great way to highlight your house’s best features.

Gardner Architects LLC

Single dormers. When Craftsman houses have dormers, they are usually wider and stick out on their own, unlike the pairs of dormers that typically appear in Cape Cod–fashion cottages. Single dormers are usually broad enough for two to three windows.

Dormers, especially broad ones, can change unused attics into livable space by adding square footage (sometimes an entire room’s value ) and ushering in organic light.

Joe Carrick Design – Custom Home Design

Stone details. Craftsman bungalows almost always feature a mixture of materials. The siding is typically wooden clapboard (though shingled siding can also be common), but porch piers and bases are usually made of stone. Brick, concrete block and stucco are also occasionally used.

Take a page in the Craftsman stylebook and combine stuff publicly. Think about cladding a small addition in stone or brick, even if your home has clapboard siding.

Dorothy Howard AIA, Architect

Exposed rafter tails and beams beneath heavy roof eaves. This another one of the distinctive qualities of the style; it reflects the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, which sought to make visible the handiwork that went into design, on the style.

Adding exposed rafter tails and beams does not need to involve reconstructing your house, let alone replacing your roof. These details are usually decorative and may be added under any heavy roof eave.

Christopher Templeton

Knee braces. These triangular supports are a structural solution to exposed rafter tails and roof beams. Like beams and rafter tails, they are usually decorative and may be added under any heavy roof eave.

Tell us: Do you love the visible craftsmanship of these houses? Or does it feel like overkill, particularly if you know that so much of the identifying characteristics are decorative and only made to look like engineering demonstrated?

Browse photos of Craftsman-style houses

Find guides to home designs

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The Way to Work With a Landscape Pro

Even if you bedeck a bedroom together with the very best of them or can decorate a living room, landscape design has a unique set. Not only does this require a completely different skill set from interior design, but in addition, it changes and evolves over time — blossoms wither trees older, shrubs grow and spread. And that is where a landscape pro can prove to be priceless. Follow our tips for locating, hiring and working with landscapers to create your yard the envy of the area.

Determine which type of landscape pro matches your requirements. Before you begin, you’ll need to ascertain the skill set that best fits the range of job you have in mind.

Landscape architects, who typically hold advanced degrees in their field, are trained to come up with comprehensive structural and decorative plans that include hardscaping, water use, and drainage in addition to plant selection and garden design. Plans can also include alterations to the exterior of the house as part of the general exterior design.

Landscape designers may or may not have advanced training. They often concentrate on the side of yard and garden preparation, but many do work.

Landscape contractors implement the programs laid out by a landscape architect or designer. Sometimes, a landscape contractor also provides design solutions. Based upon your vision to your yard, you may choose to utilize any or all of these kinds of professionals.

Exteriors From Chad Robert

Establish a budget. As with interior design and remodeling projects, have a firm idea of what you wish to spend before you contact a pro. Not only can this give the landscaper a set of parameters and a point, it will save both of you frustration in the future. You do not need to fall in love with sketches of lavish flowers and stately trees, just to learn they’re beyond reach, and a pro does not wish to waste time drawing up comprehensive plans that will afterwards must be scratched.

With a target cost in hand, a pro may also indicate creative solutions that may never come into play otherwise, assisting you to extend your budget to get the most mileage out of each dollar.

Scout out potential resources. Have you got friends whose gardens blossoms with lavish color or look to win “Yard of the Month” once a season? Ask whether they utilize specialist help, and if that’s the case, put those experts on your short list. Local botanical gardens and homebuilders’ associations are other excellent places to seek names.

Barenz Builders

Assess licensing and references. Assess for certificate requirements in your area. This is particularly true when it comes to elements with security ramifications, such as walls and retaining walls. If certification is required for your occupation and your area, confirm licensure for each pro you consider. When you have narrowed it down to two or three finalists, get references from each and be diligent about checking them. If past customers are happy, chances are you’ll be too.

Provide useful documents. Although your landscape pro will run an initial site visit and walk-through initially of this project, they will probably require a copy of your house plat in order to start work on your design, particularly if there are building licenses involved. You can also be asked to complete a questionnaire or other info sheet to assist the expert understand your requirements and requests as completely as possible.

Samuel H. Williamson Associates

Know the look you want. It can help to have at least a basic idea of your favorite style and upkeep level. Would you rather have formal gardens or a wilder, more free-form look? Would you like plants that thrive under benign neglect, or are you prepared to take on specimens that require a great deal of attention and care? Will you need paths, pavers or other hardscaping? How would you like to water? Just a little direction will help your pro fine-tune your options.

At precisely the exact same time, allow room for imagination — your landscaper’s creativity and experience are the reason you hired them.

Be open to suggestion and feedback. And do not automatically nix plants you think you dislike; you may find they gain a whole new appeal as a portion of the ideal general scheme.

Andrew Renn

Set a maintenance plan. When the landscape crew has packed up their spades and shovels, you’re responsible for keeping your yard in tiptop form. If you’ll be tackling the maintenance of your garden once it is set up, your landscape pro should provide an outline of what tasks to get ready for, in addition to when and how often to perform them. If you’d rather employ a gardener to perform the maintenance job, request the landscaper for recommendations. Some companies provide both services; assess whether this is the situation.

More: 4 Steps to the Perfect Garden
Lay of the Landscape: Natural Garden Style

Find a pro: Landscape architects | Landscape designers | Landscape contractors

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Salvage Style in San Francisco

Five decades before, proprietor of AMG Construction John Paul Coffey bought a house in the Mission district of San Francisco and went to work on a comprehensive remodel. Four decades after, Coffey’s girlfriend, designer Megan Nordin, proceeded in and added her experience. “We love living in the Mission and consider it as home,” Nordin says. “We all know our neighbors, we have relationships with the local merchants, and our lives and stories go back more than a decade. The area is filled with life, art and people who really make it a neighborhood.”

at a Glance
Who resides: John Paul Coffey and Megan Nordin
Location: San Francisco
Size: 1,200 square feet; 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom

Alex Amend Photography

“I find that too many pieces of art can divert from one another and lose their individual presence,” Nordin says. “In contrast, I discover that lots of bits together can create its own look as a collection. With something like family photographs, as in our workplace, I just enjoy them as a big collection and would never scatter them around individually. I like the feel of these. It’s like a family.”

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A lot of the furniture used is made from laminated wood or refurbished parts out of vintage pieces. This slat coffee table is made from a refinished vintage shirt and new legs.

Coffee table: produced by proprietor; sofa: Room & Board; lamp: vintage; artwork: Danny Purtill

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Nordin made the custom shelving at the workplace using salvaged wood and vintage parts. She reupholstered the midcentury Danish bench below.

Alex Amend Photography

Nordin layouts for practicality in lived-in spaces. “I think it’s necessary to have the things you need available at a kitchen,” she says. “I need to wash bags, so I need to take a little counter space to avoid getting wet bags draped all over the place. I also need oils and spices easily available, since I cook a lot. I find that if something has a location on the countertop, it is simpler to just set it there once you’re done instead of having to place it off”

Alex Amend Photography

This dining table was likewise made by Nordin from sterile materials. “I just adore the way Engineered timber seems, but if it is real, not made to look weathered,” she says. “Most of my bits do not have a whole lot of work to the wood. I will oil if it requires it, make necessary repairs, but mainly I just like to find interesting wood and use other salvage materials to create the wood to furniture, such as a coatrack, coffee table, or even a handbag drier.”

Table: produced by proprietor; chairs: vintage

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Vintage outdoor chairs have been refinished and used at the table. “I really like using outdoor furniture indoors,” Nordin says. “I am a huge fan of metal, weathered wood and furniture which has a linear layout of some sort — pliers, straps, ropes. I discover there are so many beautifully designed pieces meant for outside that work wonderfully indoors and add immediate visual interest.”

Chairs: vintage; bench, mirrored-shelf coatrack and table: made by proprietor

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Nordin commonly uses vintage Japanese chests (tansu) in her spaces. “Everyone has clutter, as well as the tansu I use most frequently, that the choba-dansu (merchant torso) has many different pockets of different shapes and sizes. I find these bits very usefull in office or living spaces to store everything from pens and scissors to mail and files,” Nordin says.

Tansu: vintage

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“I feel that layout should reflect one’s taste and lifestyle,” Nordin says. I really don’t believe in form versus function or the contrary. I believe good design incorporates both form and function.”

Choba-dansu: vintage

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For practicality in a little bathroom, Nordin suggests having a coatrack for towels.

Alex Amend Photography

“I do not always use colour on the walls. White rooms may be an excellent background for different bits to stand out. I also tend to remain very neutral or white,” says Nordin.

Bed: Scandinavian Designs; tansu: vintage; table: made by proprietor

Alex Amend Photography

John Paul Coffey and Megan Nordin.

Art: Danny Purtill

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