Archive for January 2018

How to Make Your Kitchen Feel Brand-New—Martha Stewart Tells All

January 31st, 2018

Upgrading a kitchen can be daunting for a few reasons: It’s not something most of us do often, it feels more permanent than swapping out pillows seasonally, and it can seriously impact the value of our homes. No wonder it can lead to some serious questioning and doubt. Only professionals who are seasoned renovators can adequately anticipate issues and provide solutions to maximize the value of a kitchen. So when we heard that Martha Stewart herself was launching PureStyle Kitchens, a new line of cabinets for Martha Stewart Living with state-of-the-art storage solutions, we were compelled to ask the homemaking maven about all things kitchen renovating.
Instead of asking her questions at random, we turned to our Instagram community to find out what their burning kitchen renovating questions were. Ahead Martha Stewart herself answered 11 of them. From her favorite neutral paint colors for cabinets to her thoughts on open shelving, here is everything the TV host wants you to know before updating your kitchen. You’ll be glad you read this before your next renovation.

Do you believe there is a way to lighten up a kitchen without spending on new cabinets?

“You could repaint the space, consider updating the lighting, remove cabinets to create open cabinetry, or switch out countertops with quartz or Corian for a quick fix. If you don’t have the time to do a full renovation, cabinet refacing might be the perfect option for you. You can keep the footprint of your kitchen, but add new cabinetry and functional elements. The installation process takes three to five days, and you can continue to use your kitchen and appliances throughout!”

What is a timeless kitchen cabinet color besides the typical white?

“Gray. Our Sharkey Gray is the perfect universal color—it is neither warm nor cool, and it’s a neutral and easy-to-live-with color. We developed it so that it would work in a variety of environments.”

I am getting ready to remodel my kitchen, and I want to avoid anything that may look dated in five years. Are there certain timeless, classic elements or finishes you recommend? Anything you would avoid?

“When it comes to kitchen remodeling, people are so afraid of making mistakes. Whether you’re seeking the opinion of a friend or a professional, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Most people regret not spending more when remodeling their kitchens, ignoring small details, and not fully taking in the needs of the family, so be sure to keep those things in mind. Also remember to consider the architecture of the home. Think about cohesive colors, styles, and other elements that will complement the rest of your home. Our Seal Harbor kitchen is the perfect transitional look. It looks great in both a modern and a more traditional setting.”

What do you think of butcher-block countertops as an affordable but stylish option for kitchens?

“I prefer quartz because it is heat- and moisture-resistant. With quartz, you don’t have to worry about everyday stains or spills.”

How do you feel about removing kitchen cabinets and replacing them with open shelves? Do you think it looks too busy?

“Open shelving is truly a matter of personal taste. Glass door cabinets that showcase your glassware or china collection can be beautiful. However, it depends on how neat and organized your items are. If you choose to do open shelving, then you have to commit to keeping everything in its place.”

What cabinet inserts are a must in making a kitchen the most efficient?

“You want to use cabinet inserts that maximize your storage capacity and make your kitchen tasks run smoothly as you cook and entertain. A few of my favorite solutions from Martha Stewart Living Kitchens are the bases with roll-out trays, the corner cabinets with a lazy Susan door, the spice pull-out cabinets, the deep drawers with peg dividers, the pull-out knife blocks, and the utensil organizers. As a dog lover, another one of my favorite solutions is the pet feeding center. The pull-out portion features roomy bins for dry food and treats, as well as shelf space for grooming products and accessories, and the feeding drawer has a toe-kick control, giving you easy access to food while containing messes.”

What’s the best way to make a rental kitchen feel personal and stylish?

“You could buy a pantry or an island—something that you love and could take with you when you leave.”

What changes can we make on the smallest budget that will make the biggest difference or the most impact?

“First, come up with a budget, and decide what features are most important to you and the needs of your family, and then allocate your finances accordingly. I think upgrading your storage options makes a huge difference in any kitchen. Do you entertain a lot? Do you bake often? Do you have a large family? All these factors are important to consider when selecting storage options for your kitchen. It’s a small change you can make for maximum impact.”

In a small kitchen, is it better to go bold with the backsplash or keep it simple? Is it okay to choose a bold cabinet color in a small kitchen or is it better to keep it neutral?

“Elements of the kitchen that are harder to change such as the backsplash should be more neutral. Something that you can be a bit bolder with is your choice in hardware. If you regret your decision or your taste evolves over time, you can go back and change the hardware easily enough.”

How do you mix black, silver, brass, and gold in kitchen hardware/appliances? How many is too many finishes/colors?

“Accents are great when it comes to hardware and appliances. It is your moment to do something bold. They are easy to change as your taste evolves. Backsplashes, countertops, and cabinets are more difficult and costly to change.”

What is your ideal combination of cooking elements? A gas range with ovens or a double oven and cooktop? What are your thoughts on steam ovens?

“I like an electric oven for the wall because it keeps baking more consistent. A gas stove top with a gas oven—with a convection setting—is good for roasting meats. I believe that steam ovens are a little too specific. It’s much better to get a gas stove with a convection setting.”

This article was originally published on My Domaine on November 14, 2017.

This 1914 Craftsman House Is the Ultimate Unconventional Family Home

January 29th, 2018

Think for a moment of your typical home for a young family. Chances are a 1914 Craftsman—painstakingly restored to its original splendor, from the wall trim down to the lighting fixtures—wasn’t the first image that popped into your head, but that’s just what made one Berkeley, California, project so appealing to Los Angeles designer Frances Merrill, principal of Reath Design.

“The previous owners had done a remodel that was very faithful to the era,” she says. “Every detail was really beautifully done. But it was sort of serious for a young family; it could look imposing and formal. The goal became figuring out how to make it lighter without changing the look of the house.”
Merrill began by researching a spectrum of Craftsman homes to see which characteristics were most conducive to playful intervention, finding that the aesthetic was surprisingly flexible so long as a handmade feel was visible throughout. She swapped out the lighting fixtures’ heavy yellow casings for airier clear-glass custom models, adding green-hued detailing to introduce a more colorful palette; repainted the second-level trim to match; and retiled the living room’s fireplace with livelier Heath ceramic tiles. “When you go into a home that’s so perfect for the era, you don’t want to make it wrong,” says Merrill. “We tried to tell a story and create a mood that stayed true but was just a little fresher.” Reupholstered furniture pieces, window treatments, and vintage rugs in a variety of textures and patterns, from Liberty of London to William Morris, give the house a bohemian feel that isn’t representative of any one time period. In the basement alone, Merrill and her team sewed together 20 antique rugs from Lawrence of La Brea to break up the space.
But perhaps the most impactful move to add life and personality to the space came with the unorthodox application of wallpaper throughout the home. Merrill plastered whimsical patterns by the likes of Tafet Café and Trustworth in a series of unexpected places—in a windowed nook in the attic playroom, above the picture-rail trim in the nursery and dining room—to create the kind of imaginative flourish that children particularly appreciate. “The clients wanted to create a home where their family would grow and make memories,” says Merrill. “The space you live in affects your experience of the world. When you grow up in a place that feels magical, that stays with you.”
A vintage settee from Nickey Kehoe, antique rugs from Lawrence of La Brea, a Blue Dot side table, and a custom chandelier from Mission Studio lighten the mood in the house’s entry.
Merrill coated all the wood trim on the second level in a deep green to unify the spaces and create a sense of flow. A custom headboard clad in Walter G fabric and a Noguchi pendant add texture in the master bedroom.
Avian-themed Sandberg wallpaper and a geometric Jason Koharik sconce give a powder room new life.
A Roman shade clad in Liberty of London print and pendants by Natalie Page add personality in the kitchen.
“We were really aware of how the space would be experienced by everyone in the house, especially the children,” Merrill says of the kid-sized play nook in the attic. The space was outfitted with a custom daybed and mattresses in Liberty of London fabrics, throw pillows by Ace & Jig, and Trustworth wallpaper.
A custom vintage rug installation by Lawrence of La Brea anchors a daybed from Lost & Found, a ceiling fixture by Apparatus, and Atelier de Troupe sconces.
“The chandelier isn’t typical of Craftsman houses, but the era was less important than the hand of it,” Merrill says of the Ana Kras lighting in the dining room. The Environment chairs arranged around the Nickey Kehoe table pick up on the verdant palette of the Jasper paper along the walls.
In the outdoor space, Merrill converted a basketball court into a seating area whose focal point is a teak Warehouse sofa and a pair of vintage cocktail tables.


This store was originally published in Architectural Digest on November 15, 2017.

Tour a Panama City Home Where Museum-Grade Design Meets Livability

January 26th, 2018

“I make it my policy never to chase the market, to buy trophies or artists for the wrong reasons; it has been a long and evolving process,” says financier Johnny Roux of building his contemporary art collection, which he describes as “my passion.” The same can be said for how he approached the design of his primary home in Panama City, which he shares with his wife, Patricia Martinelli. First, the space had to be large enough—for not just an expansive art collection but also the couple’s five children. Featuring an open plan for the central entertaining areas, it has high ceilings and ample bedrooms for the entire family and their guests. As he does with his art, Roux approached the interiors with the discerning eye of a curator, wanting them to have a sense of balance, simplicity, plenty of natural light, and a welcoming vibe. A fan of midcentury design, he further wanted his multimedia art collection—comprising painting, photography, video, and sculpture—to live seamlessly with the house and its occupants. “The decor could not overshadow the collection,” he says. “I wanted it to highlight every piece.”

Roux met his soon-to-be decorator, Jennifer Chused, of Chused & Co, in a design store in Manhattan. The couple were looking for furniture for their new home, and they struck up a conversation about the property’s unique challenges, becoming fast friends. Later, Chused visited Panama on vacation and went by the construction site to see the progress. After offering Roux and Martinelli her professional input, she left as their official interior designer and was eager to look at photographs of Roux’s art collection, which would ultimately inform the overall vision. “I told Johnny I wanted to choose pieces that were important in their own right, paying close attention to design, materials, and workmanship,” comments Chused. “Pieces like the Brazilian midcentury chairs by Jorge Zalszupin anchored spaces, and I then built up layers around them.”

Designing an entire home around an existing art collection is a challenge for even the best designers, but Chused and Roux were perfect collaborators. “I think when the art is not necessarily your taste, it can be distracting to work on the interiors,” says Chused. “But in Johnny’s case, the collection is so inspiring it was a joy to complete the vision.” The complexity and depth of the pieces ultimately informed the design choices—both minute and major. “I wanted to work with rich materials: linen, silk velvets, parchment, and marble, and I stayed with a somewhat neutral palette for large items,” Chused says, adding that she was not afraid to include saturated colors, like acid yellow and a deep blue-green. “I need to layer enough color and pattern in to give the interiors depth against the art on the walls.”

The art collection, which spans the entire apartment, includes from left to right: Jalta, Ukraine, July 29, 1993 by Rineke Dijkstra, Case History 239, 1997 by Boris Mikhailov, Melissa, 2005 by Alec Soth, and #28 BB1 (Boys and Dwarfs) by Arturo Herrera. The room is centered around a Minotti sofa, Malay chairs by Brabbu, and a bronze Araneae side table. The coffee table is Aqueduct Parchment by Scala Luxury and the media cabinet is by TCC Whitestone.

In the lounge area, a silk velvet sofa from ABC Home is coupled with a vintage chair reupholstered in Vermillion Splash from Holly Hunt. Chused created a custom coffee table and finished the space with a vintage rug. Above the sofa hangs Club Cornic, New York, February 1997 and Benefit Concoran Gallery, 1975, both by Larry Fink. The large-scale pair hangs beside photographs by Diane Arbus and Zanele Muholi.

In the lounge area, a silk velvet sofa from ABC Home is coupled with a vintage chair reupholstered in Vermillion Splash from Holly Hunt. Chused created a custom coffee table and finished the space with a vintage rug. Above the sofa hangs Club Cornic, New York, February 1997 and Benefit Concoran Gallery, 1975, both by Larry Fink. The large-scale pair hangs beside photographs by Diane Arbus and Zanele Muholi.

The dining room is centered around a custom black-walnut-and-brass table by Asher Israelow, a light fixture by Reagan Hayes, and dining chairs by Hickory Chair covered in fabric from Donghia. The sideboard is the Turner by Egg Collective. The salon wall includes works by Samuel Fosso, Larry Fink, Anders Petersen, Ed Van Der Elsken, Gerard Fieret, Diane Arbus, Christopher Stromholm, and Francesca Woodman.

The Seymour Bar by Century Furniture stands below The Spaces In Between, by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

In the powder room, a Gio Ponti mirror hangs between a pair of antique sconces. The wallpaper is Fornasetti Procuratie e Scimmie.

A custom bookshelf holds Roux’s art books and catalog.

The master bedroom is an oasis of calm. The vintage sofa, recovered in Lee Jofa’s Agate, complements the custom bedding and gray silk rug by Chused & Co. The bedside table, by Made Goods, holds a Caraway lamp by Hickory Chair. On the wall hangs Untitled from Katy Grannan’s “Poughkeepsie Journal”.


This article was originally published in Architectural Digest on November 20, 2017.