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7. Display Family Photos It’s hard to put the first holes into pristine walls — but putting up photos is one of the best ways to personalize your new space and make it feel like your own. If you’re feeling unsure about where you ultimately want your family photo wall to go, consider using removable picture hanging hooks or strips instead of a hammer and nails. No one will be able to tell the difference, and you won’t have to fill holes if you decide to move things around in a couple of months.
Waste Is Out Sustainability was also on the agenda, featuring extensively in the talk A Sustainable Future and in The New Luxury. Howes pointed out that high-end clients were looking at ways to make design choices that last. She explained how people are choosing well-crafted items that have been designed with longevity in mind. The panelists also spoke about how good-quality vintage items were being chosen by clients and how they represent ways for their clients to preserve the bones of their properties and work with what they already have.
Miyar highlighted the benefits of making your office space aesthetically appealing —something that often comes second to function. “Whatever your home office space is, make it beautiful. Face something beautiful,” she said. “I like to face into the room, or you could look out of a window. Have a comfortable desk chair — spend money on that; it’s where you sit every day.”
Desks Are on Our Radar Working from home is a key topic these days, and The Art & Science of the Home moderator Pip McCormac asked his guests to explain what they thought made for a good home office. Ranpura cited the importance of designing your home office to suit your own needs and the requirements of the work you’re doing. For example, he likes his desk to be in the middle of the home, where he can see what’s going on. His wife, on the other hand, has two offices — one inside the house to do administrative work and another in a hut at the end of the garden. She’s a writer, so the garden office is more of a contemplative space.
We’re Open to Closed-Off Spaces “Open-plan isn’t suiting everybody,” said Miyar, referring to how households have had to live, work and play all together in one space during lockdown. “We’re looking at more seismic shifts in the way people are living,” Rumbold said. “Acoustic separation and things like that are going to be massive shifts.” Rumbold foresees us using our spaces in a multifunctional way for a while. “I don’t think we’re going to go back to the way we were before, so our personal spaces are going to have to work really hard,” she said. She added that designers will need to come up with clever solutions to help zone a space at different times of the day. “It could be a physical zoning, such as an internal door, or perhaps a storage solution that means that when function A is finished, everything goes away so function B can commence,” Rumbold said. “I think we’re going to have to be even cleverer at listening to our clients’ requirements.”
12. Go Dark Charcoal-colored walls and fences disappear and trick your eye into expanding the boundaries of a space. Here, the dark fences seem to fall away, while the eye is drawn to the vivid green plantings and inviting flicker of the outdoor fire pit.
11. Maximize Growing Space Vines, espaliers and containers are all your best space-savers when it comes to getting the most out of a limited area. If a small garden can’t accommodate a full-size fruit tree, take advantage of an otherwise wasted planting area to grow an espalier along a sunny wall.
Outdoor cushions can be tucked inside under the bench seats.
10. Have Storage Do Double Duty These custom wooden benches provide plenty of seating for garden parties and room for storage with a clever hinged seat design.
9. Keep it Clean Simple lines and a tight color palette make a small space feel more spacious. Here, the horizontal lines of the house siding are echoed in the detached cottage’s window frame and decking. A color palette of gray, blue and mahogany across all materials helps make the space feel calm and uncluttered.
6. Add a Focal Point An otherwise typical side yard becomes an inviting destination with the addition of a three large cor-ten planters, an L-shaped bench and lushly planted borders. Offering multiple attractive areas for the eye to rest makes a space feel larger. When the plants die down in winter, the pots and bench will still provide a focal point and visually anchor the area.
5. Create Multiple Areas Although it may feel counterintuitive, breaking up a small garden into defined-use spaces will actually make the area feel bigger. The designer of this urban garden made the most of its lot by splitting the area into two distinct areas: one for outdoor dining and the other for relaxing by a fire pit.
If your outdoor area is on the small side, use that as an asset to create an inviting outdoor retreat. With a few strategic choices to expand views, hide storage and maximize vertical surfaces, you’ll get the most out of every inch of your yard. These gardens all offer smart space-saving solutions and prove that less is often more.
From this view, you can see how the outdoor rooms flow together and wrap around the house. You can also see how significant the site’s slope is.
Mond concentrated a wall of hardworking cabinets around the fridge. The cabinet to the right is for brooms, mops and cleaning supplies. The cabinets to the left are pantry storage. The upper cabinets are for seasonal, bulk and other lesser-used items. “Most people just want the construction to be over, but these homeowners would have been happy to have it go on forever,” Mond says. “They loved everything about the design process.”
The homeowners also liked the idea of letting their cookware show. These drawer fronts allow the cookware to be seen when closed. “At first we also had talked about having all of the cabinetry be finger-pull, but it turns out that was more expensive than using hardware,” Mond says. “This was an opportunity to give them some cabinetry that could be opened this way.” In the spirit of making the most of every inch, Mond outfitted the corner cabinet with pullout shelving.
“Usually a kitchen just dies at a wall where the next room begins,” Mond says. Here, he blurred the line between the kitchen and dining room by wrapping the wall between them in more plywood built-ins. The shelves provide a nice spot to display some favorite decorative objects.
The idea of nice hefty pieces of metal also informed the use of oversize black metal cabinet pulls. And a coordinating matte black faucet with a simple silhouette works well with the granite countertops. Allia 31⅛-inch undermount single-basin fireclay kitchen sink: Rohl; matte black Solna pullout kitchen faucet: Brizo
Another way Mond revealed the construction and materials was by leaving the counter’s support brackets exposed. “These are really nice heavy pieces of metal,” he says. “Usually you’d hide them inside the cabinetry, but we decided to show them off.”
“These clients love to entertain,” Mond says. The peninsula that faces the dining room provides a convenient spot for guests to gather and for the homeowners to set up a bar and serve food.
Mond used inset doors and drawers to reveal the rest of the plywood cabinet framing. Typically, overlay doors and drawers would extend over the framing to cover it. “This shows that the cabinets are basically boxes within boxes,” Mond says. The framing also shows off the pressed composition of the plywood. More deep plywood boxes on the wall match those on the other side of the room. On this side of the kitchen, they opted to use a simple 4-inch backsplash in coordinating granite. “We wanted to put the focus on the blue range wall,” Mond says. “We didn’t want this side of the kitchen to take away attention from that.”
This detail illustrates the design philosophy of revealing materials and how things were crafted. “Both [owners] were very interested in showing materials for what they were. Their attitude was, ‘Let’s be proud that we are using plywood,’ ” Mond says. So rather than covering the cabinet frames, where the pressed sheets that make up a piece of plywood show, he revealed them. “We used a high-grade Baltic birch plywood so that it wouldn’t have the gaps that lesser-quality plywood has,” Mond says. “Usually the cabinet frame would be hidden by a built-up counter edge, but we didn’t do that. The true thickness of the slab shows.” The countertops are black granite. They have a honed finish to show off the qualities of the material. “This took out any sheen,” Mond says.
The focal point is the range wall. The backsplash is a handmade blue brick veneer by local San Francisco company Fireclay Tile. The irregularity in the tile and grout lines highlights that it was handmade, which was important to the homeowners. “In most cases we’d freak out if grout didn’t look perfect, but these homeowners wouldn’t have it any other way,” Mond says. Other things they wanted to reveal were china, glasses and cookware. The open upper storage is composed of simple 12-inch-deep plywood boxes that match the cabinetry. Rather than having fancy features like mitered edges, these are simple. “Their construction shows that a box is just a box,” Mond says. Backsplash: Vintage blue brick in gloss, Fireclay Tile
Kitchen at a Glance Who lives here: A couple Location: Berkeley, California Size: 200 square feet (19 square meters) Designer: A collaboration between the homeowners and Kevin Mond of HDR Remodeling “Because this house is only about 900 square feet, we had to make every inch count,” Mond says. His clients wanted to be able to work in the kitchen together and entertain with ease. To accommodate this in the 200-square foot kitchen, Mond designed a double-L layout, meaning the room has two peninsulas in opposite corners. The peninsula toward the back of the kitchen provides prep space and makes it easy to set down food from the fridge and pantry in a spot that’s convenient to the range and sink. The peninsula in the foreground serves the dining room.