French style: finding art in the everyday

By Bill Lahay

It’s one thing to have a favorite architectural or decorating style that is plentiful in your region and recent enough to find examples to inspire and guide you. But what if the look you love is a continent away and spans centuries rather than decades or mere years?

In those cases, often only the most cliched or coarse elements make the transition into an American home design. For example, Tuscan and Mediterranean styles have been trendy for years, but we still see a mostly limited menu of recognizable features — tile roofs, arched windows, textured stucco walls, ornamental wrought iron. Nuanced or personalized elements rarely make the trip across the Atlantic, so homes here tend to take on a generic quality that doesn’t reflect the true tapestry of Italian life.

The same fate might await devotees of classical French decor, but a London antiquities dealer has compiled an inspired volume filled with examples and strategies for keeping this look authentic and individualized. Josephine Ryan’s Essentially French (Ryland, Peters and Small; $29.95) does have a decidedly unfair advantage in that it features the homes of antiques dealers who either live in or travel frequently to France and thus have occasion to come across hundreds of unique furnishings, accessories and artworks. 

Read more

The best design categories you’ve never heard of

by Bill Lahay

From its inception as Apartment Ideas magazine in 1969 to the December 2009 issue that marked the end of its run, Metropolitan Home underwent more than a few transformations. Its revenues waxed and waned, its publisher changed, and its audience matured and grew more affluent. Through it all, the magazine metamorphosed from a hip but humble journal for renters to an upscale champion of modernism in its many forms.

During that time, this sourcebook for modernist design developed a tradition of its own: an annual issue called the Design 100, which featured the editors’ favorite picks in residential architecture, decor and related disciplines.

Now Michael Lassell, a former features director for the magazine, has gathered with other former staffers to produce a hardcover book to extend that legacy.  “Design 100: The Last Word on Modern Interiors” focuses the same sharp lens on the 100 locations chosen here, but takes creative and sometimes whimsical liberties with the categories each represents (many of the homes featured appear under the MH banner for the first time, in order to avoid duplication of previously published material).


Read more

Dreambuilder Custom Homes announces Dreambuilder Nine: a master bath spa

Dreambuilder Custom Homes is pleased to announce Dreambuilder Nine:  a master bath renovation in Jacksonville, FL. The current bath is poorly designed and full of low-grade finishes.  Dreambuilder will take down almost all of walls to redesign the space, nearly doubling the size of the shower.  Working closely with the clients, a variety of contempory, luxurious finishes will create the spa…

Read more

Internet Plan of the Week: the Craftsman ‘Wexler House’

As a follow up to our post earlier this week on the Craftsman style, we bring you Wexler House by Donald Gardner Architects.  This plan is just over 2200 SF, including the bonus room which can be used as a fourth bedroom. It’s a great example of traditional Craftsman detailing with a contempory floorplan.  Craftsman…

Read more

Craftsman style reborn

By Jean Patteson
The Orlando Sentinel

The Craftsman-style home of Tom and Vivian Ward looks so authentic that passersby assume it is a remodeled version of a house dating back to the early 20th century.

Although the home sits in Orlando, Fla.’s Lake Lawsona Historic District, where many of the homes do date from the Craftsman period (1905-1930), the Wards’ home is brand new.

Only the distinctive new-home smell gives it away.

Read more