Archive for June 2018

Inside a Bright and Airy L.A. Home With Major Vacation Vibes

June 29th, 2018

Confession: We’ve always had a soft spot for an all-white interior. While we adore bright colors and maximalist looks, nothing will make our jaws drop to the floor quicker than a minimal, bleached-out home (although our arm could be twisted for this décor trend). So, of course, you can imagine our reaction when we came across this striking California beauty. Homeowner Michelle Wenke is the founder and designer of lifestyle clothing brand Monrow, and it’s clear her effortless style permeates the design of her family abode too.

Wenke transformed the 1948 ranch into a contemporary masterpiece, bringing the outdoors in with a true open-plan layout and skylights that flood the interior with a soft, warm glow. With two young children, Wenke knew this minimal, open design would allow for more freedom (the kids can come and go as they please from the backyard to the kitchen) and encourage that relaxed vacation vibe every mom needs. Ahead, Wenke shares her notes on the design process and the challenges she had along the way.

This story was originally published on My Domaine on May 17, 2018.

20 Things That Will Make Your House Sell for More

June 27th, 2018

If you plan to sell your home, you want to know that you’re going to get the absolute best price, and a new report from Zillow takes a look at which features can help you get the premium you desire. To zero in on what makes a home sell for more, Zillow looked at the listing descriptions for almost four million homes that sold between January and December 2017, and analyzed keywords and features these homes had in common to find out which items helped a home sell for more than expected. There are some surprises—who knew there was a high demand for pet amenities?—and some clear trends (turns out, everyone loves the modern farmhouse look).

Ahead, check out the top 20 features that are proven to make your home worth more money. And PS: Painting your home this color will probably help, too.

Steam Shower

The self-care movement is moving beyond the bathtub, with steam showers being the top feature home buyers look for. Predominantly seen in Chicago, steam showers help vaporize the water for a warm bathing experience that can make you feel like you’re in a luxe spa. A steam shower can make a home sell for nearly 30 percent above asking price.

Professional Appliances

This one isn’t that surprising, as it seems like everyone wants to be the next Top Chef; homes with built-in professional appliances can sell for 29 percent more than expected.

Pizza Oven

We know: We’re just as surprised as you are. But similar to the way top-of-the-line appliances get the hits, homes with pizza ovens command higher prices, so don’t feel bad about indulging in this seemingly frivolous kitchen feature.

Pet Shower

With more millennials buying homes for their pets (and not their kids!), it’s clear their pooches and cats deserve some amenities, too. A pet shower, which is most common in Denver, can increase the sale price by 25 percent.

Outdoor Kitchen

Entertaining is no longer reserved for inside the home, and an outdoor kitchen makes those patio parties easier than ever. Dallas, Texas, sees the most listings with outdoor kitchens, which makes sense, given the mild weather year round.

Entertainer or Prep Sink

There seems to be a trend here: People really care about their kitchens. And a prep sink is essential, as people want separate spaces to entertain. The best prep sink we’ve ever seen? That would be located in the bar of this Toronto home.

Shed or Garage Studio

It’s not surprising that additional space would result in additional profits, and we’d wager that homebuyers are interested in turning these spaces into home offices, chic hangout spots, or guesthouses. Of course, people could very well just be interested in a place to store their garden tools and bicycles.

Heated Floors/Radiant Heat

Heated floors are the ultimate cold climate amenity, and in places like New York, they can increase the value of a home by 24 percent.

Meditation Room

Meditation rooms are on the rise: The ultimate place to rest and recharge, a home with an amenity like this really speaks to people’s desire to nest in their spaces. (And not surprisingly, Los Angeles boasts the most.) This Austin apartmentproves your meditation nook doesn’t have to be huge: It just has to be right for you.

Wine Fridge

The best way to keep your wine tasting great is by investing in a wine fridge that’ll keep your bottles at the right temperature… and homebuyers are willing to pay a premium for this very feature.



The people have spoken, and they prefer craftsman-style homes by a landslide (43 percent, to be exact). Those cosy features have a big following, with craftsman homes selling for 21 percent more. Want to buy one for yourself? Seattle, Washington, has the most for sale, according to Zillow.

Chef’s Kitchen

Ah, back to the kitchen. Like we said, everyone wants to be the next Top Chef—or at the least, they want a professional space for both family time and entertaining. In this breezy coastal abode in California (of course), clean white features and contemporary elements make up a kitchen the whole family can enjoy.

Herringbone or Parquet Floors

A clear trend in home design is herringbone or parquet floors. Heck, you can even get this hardwood trend in an Airstream.

Free-Standing Tub

Adding a modern element to a bathroom, free-standing tubs are all the rage right now (we think about Leanne Ford’s swoon-worthy tub on a daily basis). They can be placed anywhere, and are in-demand enough to make your home sell for 21 percent more.

Solar Panels

When Ikea starts doing it, you know you need to get on it—and solar panels are high on the list of most-desired home amenities. Not only can they cut one’s electricity bill by up to 40 percent, but they can also earn you 21 percent more when you decide to sell your home.

Coffered Ceiling

You won’t even need statement lighting when your ceiling itself makes a statement—which might be why coffered ceilings are so desired by homebuyers.

Outdoor Fireplace

For a truly pleasant outdoor experience, a fireplace is a must for when the weather gets cold—and most homebuyers agree. Of course, Los Angeles boasts the most, but the rustic brick version in this sophisticated Montauk home has us dreaming of lazy Hamptons days, too.

Carrara Marble

Carrara marble always boasts a clean, yet glamorous look that works for both minimalists and maximalists alike—just peep the bathroom in this stylish Nashville home if you don’t believe us. It also works well in kitchens, making it one of the top materials needed for potential homebuyers.

Home Theater

Used for both entertaining with friends or for a cosy solo movie sesh, a home theater is a luxury many homebuyers are willing to pay more for—19 percent more, to be exact.

Farmhouse Sink

Turns out prep sinks aren’t the only option people look for—farmhouse sinks are also trending in a major way, with homebuyers seeking out these cabinet-free pieces. We’re totally in love with this one in Thomas O’Brien’s pool house.


This article was originally published on Domino in April 2018.






An Eclectic California Ranch Inspired by Nature

June 25th, 2018

Many decorating professionals claim Mother Nature as their muse; few translate her inspiration so fully as one design team did for a sprawling family compound set on 140 acres in California’s Sonoma Valley. Overlooking rolling hills and terraced vineyards, the new-build ranch takes its cues from the land, quite literally. The site was chosen as much for its physical attributes as for its habitability—a spectacular giant oak tree, a stately weeping willow, and an ancient rock outcropping delineate the footprint of the home.

“The elements form a triangle, with the main spine of the house falling on one side of it,” says Ani Wade of Wade Design Architects in San Anselmo, California, who worked with husband and partner Luke Wade to establish the kitchen, living room, library, and master bedroom along that fault. “The house acts as a bridge between these outdoor elements but is also meant to be transparent, so we were mindful of the sun’s orientation in each room.” To achieve a sense of lucidity, the architects incorporated walls of windows and, per the clients’ wishes, lowered the roofline during construction, which prevents the structure from obstructing or limiting the view. Exterior wood was stained instead of painted, giving the impression of a house that emerges fully formed from the hillside. “There’s an earthiness to the home; the clients didn’t want anything too precious or pretentious,” says Wade.

Santa Monica–based designer Tim Clarke took a similar approach in the interiors, uniting natural references and eclectic flourishes. “Out of every window looks like a plein air painting,” says Clarke, citing the changing landscape as the catalyst for a more colorful take on the typical greige mountain home. “In the summer everything turns golden and green. I knew the teal in the bedroom would be a nice complement. And in the winter, when it’s all gray, the strong color feels cozy and inviting.” Such is the case in the kitchen, where pendants that resemble acorns pop against blue-hued cabinetry. “That was more of a happy coincidence,” acknowledges Clarke, noting the reference to that pivotal oak tree. “But it works.” In the dining room—a light-filled space dominated by three walls of windows and a table made from a felled tree on the property—a Lindsey Adelman chandelier gives the appearance of clouds on the horizon. And in the bedrooms, the designer incorporated textiles made by local Native American tribes, a nod to what Clarke calls “the real California.”

To temper the contemporary color scheme, natural textures come in the form of grass cloth wall coverings in the bedrooms, a rustic Sonoma stone fireplace in the living room, and terra-cotta floor tiles in the powder room. “The point was not to compete with the view, but to accentuate it,” says Clarke. “As the house ages, it will blend even more seamlessly with the landscape.” After all, Mother Nature always trumps human intervention.

A sea of lupines gives way to a four-bedroom ranch in California’s Sonoma Valley. The house—a collaboration between Ani and Luke Wade of Wade Design Architects, interior designer Tim Clarke, landscape architect Bernard Trainor, and general contractor Total Concepts—was stained rather than painted to give it a more natural look.

An outdoor living room is protected from summer invaders thanks to discreet roll-down screens. A Marc Phillips rug anchors a weathered teak RH sectional upholstered in Sutherland fabric, lounge chairs by Gloster, and an aged-brass side table from Lawson Fenning.

The game room features a custom cerused oak pedestal table, midcentury Italian chairs from Lucca Antiques, a brass-and-walnut table lamp from Blackman Cruz, and Lisa Fine linen curtains.

Farrow & Ball’s Ammonite paint creates a soothing backdrop for eclectic furnishings in the living room. A custom sofa designed by Clarke is complemented by a Holly Hunt cocktail table, a Turkish kilim from Woven Accents, and stools upholstered in a vintage Indian textile from Hollywood at Home.

In the library, a custom sofa is upholstered in Larsen fabric that coordinates with a hand-knotted rug from Woven Accents, an oak-and-leather desk from Lawson Fenning, and a brass pendant from the Urban Electric Co.

We went a little more modern in the kitchen, but the idea was to keep it clean and streamlined,” says Clarke. The acorn-shaped Mater Terho pendants reference the property’s giant oak tree.

The family hosts DIY pizza parties using ingredients from their vegetable garden in the outdoor kitchen, a patio off the main cooking space that is bordered by an ancient oak tree and features an Argentinean grill and a wood-burning pizza oven and rolling table.

Teak chaise longues from RH are upholstered in Ralph Lauren outdoor fabric and offer shady respite in a pool area lined with Sonoma stone.

Strategically placed sparrows were custom applied by wallpaper manufacturer Trove to encircle a metal-and-leather mirror from Orange Furniture in the powder room.

In the master bedroom, a hand-woven yarn light fixture by Paul Marra adds chunky texture that plays off the Turkish kilim from Woven Accents, woven wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries, and linens that reference local Native American tribes. The custom walnut bed, antique bench, and vintage Paul Frankl bedside tables add warmth, while metal sconces from Circa Lighting lend a note of contrasting sleekness.

A pool house made with Sonoma stone seems to blend into the landscape.

This story was originally published in Architectural Digest on May 16, 2018.