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A modern take on wicker

Mon, 18 Jul 2016 21:18:00 UT

The word "wicker" might bring on flashbacks of the dusty rattan seating sets of the '70s and '80s or the last wicker crush in the '90s, but today's wicker - the technique of weaving reeds and other natural fibers into furniture and accessories - is worth reconsidering. Adding a dash of rattan or sweetgrass is a way to unlock today's hottest home-design trends, whether you're drawn to the nautical, beachy, boho, organic, well-traveled or handcrafted style. "People are tired of the matchy-matchy look," says interior designer Barbara Brown of Washington. Shankle likes to look for natural-fiber objects and furniture at West Elm, Dot & Bo, CB2 and AllModern, which offers a rattan magazine rack and newspaper basket by Kouboo in honey brown and a refreshing black ($32.50, Though it's not a natural material, poly rattan offers a natural look with the ease of synthetic, making it extra durable. Pier 1's Seagrass Block Headboard lends an exotic touch to a master suite or guest room ($200 for full, Ikea recently collaborated with Swedish glass and ceramic designer Ingegerd Raman to design a collection of handmade glassware and - you guessed it - woven pieces of natural fibers. Historically a material used for furniture - Cyrus Wakefield started it all when he found discarded rattan in the mid-1800s and bent it to make a chair - rattan is now used for accessories, too, as with West Elm's woven rattan trays, in which natural rattan is hand-woven over a metal frame ($59, A craftsman for Ikea wove the Viktigt basket of water hyacinth into a size ideal for collecting just about anything in classy form: toys, laundry, recycling in the office, shoes by the door and more ($18,

In the pink: A few of our favorite things

Fri, 17 Jun 2016 22:12:00 UT

June 23 is National Pink Day - and there's much to celebrate about the color most associated with femininity, romance and sensitivity. The Rococo period from 1720 to 1777 ushered in pink as a favored color in European fashion and was perhaps most famously worn by Madame de Pompadour, a mistress of King Louis XV of France. Nowadays, pink is associated with breast cancer awareness causes, as well as a color for spring and summer, bursting from our gardens and into our homes and closets. What's not to like about this perfect chair? A maple frame, "azalea" linen fabric and a comfy seat for virtually any room in your home. $2,870 at When the air conditioning is chilly, you'll want a soft throw to wrap yourself into in style.

Six common mistakes you make when washing your clothes

Mon, 23 May 2016 22:26:00 UT

[...] it might be time to dump some of Mom or Dad's outdated laundry habits. "Technology has come a long way since our mothers started doing laundry," says Provateare, a product development manager at Nehemiah Manufacturing, a Cincinnati-based consumer-goods company. Many people just sort by color, especially if they plan to wash everything in cold water. The dirt ends up on the rest of your clothes, making them dingy. Study the detergent box, bottle or cap to make sure you are adding the recommended amount. Consumers often select cold water since it's a less risky choice: [...] cold water is not always best and may not be getting clothes clean or odors out. A good rule is to use the warmest temperature your garment can handle, because, in general, you are going to get clothes cleaner in warmer water. If you spill ketchup on your shirt, immediately put a cloth or paper towel behind the stain and rub with your pen. If you fail to do this, chemicals could come in contact with your skin and cause irritation or contact dermatitis.

A little paint can go a long way toward making DIY project easier

Fri, 13 May 2016 16:11:00 UT

With more than 30 years of experience in home décor and furniture design, Howard has poured her heart into creating a new line of paints and craft tools that are perfect for any DIY novice or veteran. With her new line, she hopes to help people create a high-end aesthetic with affordable prices and an easy, hands-on approach. Increasingly, people are scouting out furniture at garage sales, estate sales and flea markets. For a faded industrial look, her liming wax can create a feathery finish on cabinets or a table. The wax must be painted in a diagonal direction, Howard said, starting from the upper left top corner. When designing a room, Howard recommends a neutral background and a few objects (lamps and pillows) with bright pops of color, a major trend.

Coastal chic making waves

Fri, 6 May 2016 23:04:00 UT

While homes all over the country employ coastal design, the Houston-Galveston iteration is chic and sophisticated, with lighter colors, polished or matte metals and plenty of blue. "The coastal experience is more about the color and texture, and a feeling that you get," said Seamus Kraham, owner of the Urban Resort home décor shop in Galveston. Through the week, the couple lives in Waddell's Memorial-area childhood home, a traditional, 5,100-square-foot house that used to be filled with dark wood and the furniture his parents chose years ago. After redecorating, their in-town home and their beach condo both capture their taste perfectly: open floor plans, light colors, big windows and plenty of natural light. The beachfront project draws UTMB doctors and other professionals, plus plenty of Houstonians who purchased lofts, townhomes and luxury homes - ranging from $350,000 to $6 million - for weekend getaways. Shari Shirazi is her husband's lead interior designer, sticking to the less-is-more philosophy with colors that borrow from what's outdoors: tans from the sandy beaches, greens from plant life and blue from the sky.

Coastal colors for your walls and trim

Fri, 6 May 2016 23:01:00 UT

When it comes to decorating, there are many elements to consider: flooring, furniture, lighting and accessories. Coastal design, says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, used to be about darker and bolder colors. The colors have softened versus where coastal was a few years ago when it was brighter and more Caribbean in feeling, Wadden says.

Houston designer creates her dream home in country

Mon, 2 May 2016 05:41:00 UT

While they rented a house with their two daughters, now 9 and 6, Prestridge drew the plans, adding in every detail she'd ever wanted a house to have. "Because it was the country, I needed it to be a farmhouse," Prestridge says, but she also wanted modern touches and an "urban vibe" mixed in with the homey details. The kitchen sink is farmhouse style, but it's made of stainless steel. The kitchen backsplash and shower walls are covered with traditional white glass subway tile - but it's laid straight, not in brick formation, to look more contemporary. The kitchen, dining area and living room all flow together as one space, and just off the open kitchen, a glass accordion door can fold back to open up the house to the outside. [...] in the living room, Prestridge has balanced two green glass Hollywood Regency lamps - a find from her great-aunt's attic - with a contemporary floor lamp from West Elm.

Remodeling uncovers mid-century modern gem

Fri, 22 Apr 2016 22:14:00 UT

The Currys ripped out the kitchen updates and returned the room to the open space it originally was designed to be, with a panel of cabinets suspended from the ceiling. The Currys have scavenged estate sales, demolition sites and trash piles to collect furniture and decor from the proper time period - post-World War II and early 1950s pieces that are appropriate for their setting. In a guest room, a full set of vintage Conant Ball bedroom furniture looks nearly new, with the Foley's tag still on the back of the bed frame. [...] he says, "a lot of the ideas people were coming up with (in the '50s) - architectural ideas, design ideas - that have contributed greatly to the way we live now." Even the color palette, which is original, seems Technicolor-crisp: the ceiling is chartreuse, while built-in shelves are stained green and red. People ask me, 'Why don't they build them like this anymore?' You know, they never really did.

This 1922 bungalow is an award-winning public and private space

Mon, 4 Apr 2016 21:48:00 UT

Cherryhurst House is a public and private space built in a 1922 bungalow that is a creative workspace and home.

Heights renovation blends past and present

Fri, 25 Mar 2016 22:47:00 UT

[...] they wanted to make the most of this bungalow, which had plenty of potential. In the older front part of the house, the Ryans converted a sunroom into an office and expanded a doorway, opening up the front room to the open dining room and kitchen. A panel of gray lantern tiles stretches up behind the stove and wraps around the wall as a backsplash; the shiny tiles sparkle in the indirect light from beneath the cabinets. [...] because they have alley access to the back of the house, they eliminated the side driveway and used the extra space on the lot to extend the house, adding the master suite and expanding a 9-foot-by-9 foot bedroom to be more comfortable as a guest room. The spacious master bath opens up off the bedroom, with a walk-in shower and two granite-topped sink cabinets. Because their home isn't in one of the neighborhood's historic districts, the Ryans didn't have as many renovation restrictions as some of their neighbors.

With e-design, homeowners seek virtual decorating help

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 18:42:00 UT

Japhet, an adjunct psychology professor, also didn't want to spend thousands of dollars to work with an interior designer. Through email and questionnaires, you tell the designer about your style, share pictures of rooms you like, take photos and measurements of your space and set a budget. Even high-profile and celebrity designers such as Betsy Burnham and Windsor Smith offer long-distance design; actress Gwyneth Paltrow used Smith's "Room in a Box" service to redesign her living room, then sang its praises on her lifestyle blog Goop. Long-distance decorating has emerged as a way to make interior design accessible to the masses. A few weeks later, Hansen had created a site designed to give users an affordable way to solve their decorating challenges - most of them small-scale projects like her pink chair predicament. [...] most women - and men - have to be their own interior designers. In San Antonio, Japhet loved the clean, polished look of her new living room, so in December she took advantage of a special offer and enlisted a Decorist designer's help for three more rooms, including her personal office. Dezignable's clients tend to be women in their mid-20s to late 30s; they're accustomed to acquiring what they want through technology, from food-delivery apps to Netflix, and consulting with a professional virtually feels natural to them. Using client photos and information, they create three custom designs for a room; the client chooses one, then gets a shopping list and instructions for putting it together. With anything more complicated - a job that requires contractors and construction, for instance - the flaws of long-distance design become apparent. Houston designer Jamie House started offering "Room in a Box" services about six years ago, but it's just a tiny portion of her business. [...] she said, virtual design takes away the benefits of a designer shopping for a client personally - finding

Living Smart: How to stage a home in 15 minutes

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 18:41:00 UT

Realtors champion the value of home staging, in which you remove clutter and personal items, and organize the furniture in a way that highlights the home's best features. Keep a basket handy so you can toss toys into it in a pinch. Stack magazines and newspapers in a neat pile, fold the throw blankets and fluff the pillows. First impressions mean a lot. Take a minute to make sure all the toilet lids and closet doors are shut. There's no time for a full scrub-down, so do what you can in the time that you have: put dishes in the dishwasher; wipe off the table and countertops; toss any so-so looking food you normally keep out.

Foundation trouble gives Houston couple a fresh start

Mon, 21 Mar 2016 15:24:48 UT

The house had four bedrooms and 4,000 square feet, but adding the apartment was a practical matter for this family of four. The couple's builder, Wamhoff Design&Build, put them in touch with designer Erika Barczak at By Design Interiors. Barczak helped them create a tidy, one-bedroom apartment with its own exterior entrance, a wrought-iron spiral staircase in the backyard. In the living room, a window seat that holds a twin-size mattress, offering one more bed for visitors. A kitchen hugs one corner of the main living area; it's outfitted with efficiency-size versions of the major appliances, including a refrigerator, an oven, a microwave and a dishwasher. The kitchen, breakfast nook and dining room of their 1976 house were walled off from the main living room, which felt "cavelike" and dark, Adam Chunn says. [...] Barczak helped them make the kitchen modern and fun, with bright colors and more room to move around. The Chunns chose a soapstone counter and sleek, industrial light fixtures. [...] the room has enough traditional touches - the farmhouse sink, the hickory floors - to make the space blend with the rest of the house.

Memorial-area kitchen gets a makeover to maximize space

Fri, 11 Mar 2016 23:23:00 UT

Beth and Lee Geiser's Memorial-area home had about 3,300 square feet - plenty of room for a couple with grown children. [...] with the help of interior designer Lauren Haskett, the Geisers transformed it into a room with lots of light and plenty of storage, one that truly connects to the rest of the house. To stretch the kitchen and provide a few more feet of floor space, Haskett took in a few square feet of the adjacent laundry room. In the nearby breakfast room, she moved the patio door to make way for a bright, sunny dining corner with two large picture windows. Above the island, Haskett made the most of8-foot ceilings by adding a recessed panel and a modern, industrial light fixture. Haskett got rid of the exterior door (the Geisers now access the patio from the family room) and pushed the breakfast table into the corner, with two built-in banquettes and a couple of large windows. To make the most of limited space in the kitchen, Haskett incorporated a lot of smart storage - a tilt-out drawer near the sink for sponges, a corner turnout cabinet for pots and pans.

Tour River Oaks on foot during weekend Azalea Trail

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 22:49:00 UT

The cozy courtyard - just a tiny portion of the grounds that surround this 1926 Spanish-style mansion - is frequently used for private receptions and cocktail parties, but it's open to the public this weekend. Visitors will be able to tour the house, its blooming gardens and its lush outdoor spaces. The seven-bedroom River Oaks estate sprawls across six acres, surrounded on all sides by extensive gardens. Azaleas bloom at the front of the estate and on the expansive back lawn, which is dotted with sculptures, including two bronze pieces by Lina Binkele and a tangle of blue glass by Dale Chihuly. The long, narrow dining room's walls are covered with murals that stretch upward, covering its arched ceiling. Jones made the crystal-laced tree in the courtyard and fashioned faux leather tiles for a covered space near the pool. The printed Azalea Trail map, shaped like a walking shoe, notes the number of steps between each stop on the tour, with distances ranging from 400 steps to 2,170. The only location not reachable on foot is the garden club's headquarters on Westheimer, the Forum of Civics, where a panel of gardening and landscape experts will be on hand each day to offer advice.

Home in The Woodlands reflects owner's personality, right down to the wallpaper

Fri, 4 Mar 2016 21:01:00 UT

The wallpaper in Haley Garcia's powder room is dark and dramatic, flocked velvet with a metallic gold print that features - wait, are those peacocks? [...] they cover the walls of the cozy, elegant room, sparkling against the gold-toned fixtures and the marble tile floor. The bright, open kitchen feels like an extension of the living room; there's more seating here, in the form of leather-covered bar stools lined up against the marble-topped island. "All my entertaining is appetizers, everyone's walking around with a glass of wine in their hand," she says, and the crowd can flow easily between the kitchen and dining room. [...] instead of a dining table, she and O'Neill filled the space with a couple of chic chairs to make a cozy conversation area, then increased the glamour with a shagreen chest and a flush-mount crystal chandelier. Just off the living room, a study features a sleek, minimalist glass table and a metallic grasscloth wallpaper with a rose-gold tone that gives it an understated femininity. For the vestibule that leads to the master bedroom, they chose a bold ikat wallpaper with deep crimson tones. [...] in the home's spacious entry chamber, a framed piece of art assembles bird feathers into a graceful wing - another hint that an animal lover lives here.