There’s a certain genius in repurposing things for uses they weren’t originally intended for. Today we’re turning our attention to the world of curtain hardware. Sure, all those rods and brackets are good for hanging curtains…but they’re also good for a lot of other things, too. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite uses.
I’ve long been a proponent of the pot rail as an elegant kitchen storage solution, and as this DIY from Style at Home proves, curtain rods and brackets are a great way to create a pot rail, even one that stretches the length of a rather long space.
There’s no denying the beauty and romance of a canopy bed—but canopy beds can also be really expensive. To get the look on a budget, try mounting a pipe frame from curtain rod brackets, as seen in this example from Domino.
Tension rods are de rigeur in the bathroom, but if you’re looking for something that will hold up your shower curtain and also impart a touch of class, try a ceiling-mounted curtain rod. The brass shower curtain rod takes things up a notch in this bathroom from Country Living—and the fact that the shower curtain is mounted much higher than you would expect, almost at the ceiling, draws the eye upward and visually heightens the space.
Another way to use curtain hardware in the bathroom is to create a towel rail. I’m particularly partial to this DIY from A Beautiful Mess, which combines curtain rod brackets and lucite rods for a very luxe look.
Really, curtain rod finials aren’t too far from wall hooks, and when you find them, all you need to do is drill a hole and insert a two-way screw (if they don’t have screws in them already). This can make for a clever and very appealing display of wall hooks, as seen on Hemlangten.
For a more hefty and permanent system, you could create something like this one from Designer Trapped, where Tasha mounted a rod to the wall with curtain hardware, and then created a series of frames designed to hang on the rod.
In this DIY from The Bird and Her Song, curtain rod brackets are used to mount wooden dowels in front of a kitchen window. Pots hung from the dowels make for a beautiful kitchen garden—and a great way to grow things, with or without an outdoor space.
Discover the different types of window blinds available for your home.
Not sure about the different style of window blinds available? Or confused about what type of blind would be better suited to a particular room of your home? Follow this essential guide which provides you with all the advice you need to help make your decision easier.
Before you measure up, decide which fitting option you’d prefer: inside or outside the recess. Inside the recess is a good option for windows in small rooms without much wall space around them. It’s also ideal if you are teaming your blind with curtains. For larger rooms, choose a blind that sits outside the recess and blocks out more light.
For a blind that’s going inside the window recess, measure the width of the recess at its narrowest point and the height of the recess.
For a blind that’s going to hang outside the recess, measure the width of the recess and add 4cm to each side, then measure the height of the recess and add 15cm.
Decide which side the pulley and catch should be in case accessing them will be an issue.
DASH TEAL ROLLER BLIND, FOLK ART RANGE, HOUSE BEAUTIFUL COLLECTION AT HILLARYS
CHOOSE A STYLE
Roller blinds roll up or down by means of a cord. To add interest when they’re open, they can have a different fabric on either side. They are an affordable option for informal settings, such as a home office. Take a look at John Lewis’ ready-made roller blinds which can be cut to size to fit your space.
BLIND ILLUSTRATION: DANNY LUCKETT
Roman blinds give a formal look. They are made from fabric and operate by a pulley. When raised, the blind concertinas into large horizontal pleats, leaving a good segment of fabric on show. You can make Roman blinds yourself, buy them ready-made or have them custom made. There’s a wide choice of linings.
BLIND ILLUSTRATION: DANNY LUCKETT
Venetian blinds are slatted blinds made from wood, metal or plastic. They often feature in sleek kitchens or bathrooms, and metal or plastic blinds are a practical choice for rooms with high levels of moisture. As you can filter the light, they are also great for a home office.
BLIND ILLUSTRATION: DANNY LUCKETT
Vertical blinds are ideal for floor-to-ceiling windows and, as a consequence, tend to be used in summerhouses and conservatories. The vertical blind sections hang from a track and slide to the side when open.
BLIND ILLUSTRATION: DANNY LUCKETT
For made-to-measure blinds, and curtains, take a look at the House Beautiful collection with Hillarys. And follow this advice on how best to clean venetian, Roman, vertical and wooden blinds in your home.
Working from home is kind of the ultimate dream. You can wear your pajamas all day if you want, you never have to pack a lunch and the commute couldn’t be better. The only issue is whether you have a solid workspace or not, because I think productivity does depend somewhat on your surroundings. The good news is that even if you don’t have a full room to dedicate to an office, there are plenty of smart ways to sneak a hidden workspace into your home.
Above: This unfolding apartment by Michael K Chen Architecture has made its rounds on the web, but I feel like it’s worth taking a look at. It’s a hidden bedroom, closet, nightstand and desk all in one, which is pretty remarkable. Oh, the things you can do (and clutter you can conceal) when you start from scratch and commission an insane built-in.
The murphy desk might be my favorite solution, especially when it looks as chic as this wooden drop-down style from Architectural Digest. Who knew these came outfitted with wall-mounted shelving inside? A more practical person might stash office supplies here, but I’m okay with these tasteful vases and sculptural objects, too. Lighting is key for any work area, so it was a smart idea to add a sconce above. It can provide task light when you’re working and illuminate your pretty cabinet when not. My guess is the occupant pulls a chair from a nearby dining table, which is totally acceptable. Saves you from having to buy a special office chair.
I’m not totally sure how “hidden” a built-in actually is (okay, it’s not at all), but this little desk area from the home of the Schoolhouse Electric owners (via Emily Henderson) sure is an efficient use of space. Even though the back wall is covered in dark shiplap, the white cabinetry keeps the look visually light. Props again for thinking about the lighting situation and adding in those sconces, but a table lamp would also do the trick.
Full disclosure: the hiding your desk area behind a set of huge doors idea comes from a super swanky industrial Tribeca home designed by Dirk Denison Architects. But imagine replacing what appears to be heavy-duty steel sliding doors with a barn door, and you have a relatively inexpensive way to DIY a super private, quiet workspace. From the looks of it, your home probably needs some kind of a niche, corner or half wall to pull this off.
One idea that practically anyone can steal is the closet-turned-home-office. It’s amazing because you already have the door that’ll be hiding your workspace. So it’s just a matter of removing the clothes bar and setting things up to your liking by adding shelves and a surface for a desk. You could do this with a bigger closet, but from the looks of this cheery set up from Bourbon Daisy, even a small linen or hall closet would work if you MacGuyver a drop-down desk.
Remember appliance garages? This workspace from Kropat Interior Design has taken that concept and really run with it. The perforated door may even be a real garage door brought inside—very industrial but also very creative.
When in doubt, you could always build a faux wall and hide your desk behind that if you’re super committed to fitting in a home office (and own your home). The Hong Kong-based Clifton Leung Design Workshop did a nice job in this small space apartment, where the living room TV wall reverses to a desk. Talk about a wow factor, even if the wall isn’t motorized.
Time to stop working from your couch. Trust me—any of these offices would be an upgrade. Here’s to hoping I can practice what I preach.
2017 might have officially already begun, but you can never be too late when it comes to finding out about all the interior design trends that are set to be huge news in the coming months! Interior designers always have the inside scoop as to the must-have colors, textiles and schemes and we think we’ve figured out they key trends that they are going to be pushing this year and we’re going to tell you all of them! Think of it as a belated Christmas present from homify, as we don’t want you lifting a paintbrush or choosing furniture until you’re sure you are bang on trend and selecting pieces that will really work in your home for years to come! If you’re ready to get inspired, come with us now as we see what’s hot for 2017!
Stainless steel will always be popular, especially in kitchens, but for the time being, it is being dramatically overshadowed by some of the warmer metal tones out there! Copper and rose gold look set to be the metals to have in your home this year and we think they make wonderful light fixtures, as the warmth just radiates out!
Pantone might be heralding Kale as their color for 2017, but in interior design circles there is only one hue that you need to be including in your home and that is… drum roll please… GRAY! Perfect for walls, furniture and anything else you can think of, gray is the new neutral!
We don’t just mean a little bit of natural wood here, we are talking about lashings of it, all over your home! Wooden-clad interior and exterior walls, rich flooring and even statement dining tables all look set to have an organic feel to them this year so what are you waiting for?
Has marble ever really gone out of fashion? We don’t think so, thanks to the natural opulence that it adds to any room, but this year, we are expecting to see a lot of it in bathrooms, especially darker varieties with pale marbling. Come to the dark side guys, as it looks amazing from where we’re standing!
Industrial styling really got into a groove in 2016 and it looks set to continue, at least in the form of polished concrete interior walls. Plaster was so 2015, so if you want to make more of a statement with your walls, think about this modern and pared back alternative to more standard finishes.
We’ll never tire of statement wallpaper and that’s a good thing, considering the fact that the brighter and more daring it is, the better as far as 2017 is concerned! Tropical and geometric prints look set to be incredibly popular and we think you’ll see them spilling over into bed linen too!
Rugged wool, felt and cotton are all going to be huge news in 2017, as a result of Hygge being so trendy last year. Cozy fabrics that encourage you to hunker down are the way to go and keep the colors natural too, to really tap into the trend. Remember that you can’t have too many wool blankets in your home, or cable-knit cushions!
Luxurious, dramatic and just a little over the top, velvet is one of our all-time favorite materials and we are delighted to see it enjoying a massive comeback! Some of the best uses are as vintage chair upholstery and heavy, luxe curtains that simply fall to the floor and block all that pesky sunlight out!
Those Nordic styles are staying firmly put, so if you embraced a little Hygge or Scandinavian influence last year, you are going to stay on trend in 2017. Think stylish yet simple storage solutions, timeless furniture and geometric rugs and you’ll be on the right track and don’t forget to include a lot of white!
This one had us a little surprised, but not in a bad way! Splatter effects are going to be really popular this year and there are so many ways to get involved! From bed linen to curtains, upholstery and even crockery, splatter techniques are going to be on everything, so how will you incorporate them?
We get it. Your bedroom is tiny, and you’ve probably already thought of storing things in boxes under the bed. So what if you still don’t have enough space? Here are seven solutions that are a little off the beaten path, things you may not have thought of, but that will still help you make the most of a very small space.
Above: You’ve thought about the space under your bed, but what about the space under your dresser? If yours is lifted above the ground, you could re-capture the space underneath from the dust bunnies, as seen in this Brooklyn home from Design*Sponge.
Have you thought of putting a bookcase behind the bed? This may seem like an unusual choice, but it’s actually a great way to add extra storage in a bedroom where space is at a premium. The bookcase provides a lot of extra storage, and only requires an extra 10 or 12 inches of space. The lower tiers, of course, will be a bit harder to get to, but these are good for seasonal storage. (A bed on casters, like most bed frames have, can be rolled forward to access the lower layers.) And, as seen in Ashley’s San Francisco apartment, it’s a great way to add a focal point to the bedroom, and a bit of a cozy feel as well.
If a bookcase behind the bed seems like a bit much, you could also go for storage at the opposite end, by positioning bookcases (or crates) at the foot of the bed. Dave and Hopie use theirs for books, but you could just as easily fill your bookcase with baskets or boxes and use them to store pretty much anything. The low height of these crates means that you can still kick off the covers if you get a bit warm during the night.
Replacing your nightstand with a tall, narrow bookcase will add a lot of extra storage within the footprint of your existing nightstand, and also make your bed feel just a little bit more cozy. You could even mount a reading lamp to the bed-facing side of the shelf. This example is from Gripsholms, via Homedit.
If you have space available underneath your nightstand or desk, trying adding a basket catchall, like decorator Sarah Sherman Samuel did in this project from her blog Stories. Having a place to stash things that don’t really go anywhere else is a great way to control clutter in any space, and particularly welcome in a small room.
From Planete Deco, a solution that will work for even the smallest bedroom: wall mounted shelves above the bed. (Not recommended for earthquake country, however, as you may wake up to an unpleasant surprise.)
From My Scandinavian Home comes this solution for a small bedroom with insufficient closet space (which is pretty much every small bedroom, right?). Hang a clothing rod above your dresser and you’ll have an extra few feet of hanging space—like suddenly discovering a second closet you didn’t know you had.
Coffee tables can have several purposes in your living room. The top surface is good for giving a home to your current read or displaying your tray of cheese or putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes it has a bottom shelf to store your laptop and that stack of magazines. Sometimes there is a drawer for remotes and coasters.
While all these things are necessary for a living room, have you thought about how handy it would be if your coffee table had wheels? Suddenly, you can roll it over to your favorite chair across the room or push it out to eat pizza in front of your Friday night flick. Thankfully there are some simple ways to make such a thing without spending a fortune. Take a look at these 10 coffee tables on wheels to DIY for your living room.
You’ve probably seen it floating around the Internet. Attaching some wheels to a pallet is the easiest way to create a coffee table on wheels. Pallets come in pretty standard sizes which are perfect for filling the coffee table void in your living room. (via Delikatissen)
While pallets are basically pre-assembled coffee tables, you can use whatever scrap wood you have laying around from past projects to DIY your coffee table. Just lay a piece of glass on top for a classier feel. (via Plan B)
Maybe you have a living room full of kids that require storage for toys and extra movie night pillows. Make your coffee table on wheels a little deeper so you can store all those movie night essentials and wheel it out of the way come show time. (via Shanty 2 Chic)
Don’t have the time or energy for a big long DIY project? That’s okay. On your next thrifting trip, keep your eyes out for a large antique trunk. Just attach wheels to the bottom and you have a fun and unique coffee table ready to roll. (via The Epoch Times)
Countertops can be found very affordably, especially at places like IKEA. Choose your favorite in a size that will fit in your living room and just put the wheels on the bottom. It’s a great option when you need something a little heavier that the dog can’t throw around. (via IKEA)
Some living rooms aren’t made for large coffee tables. In fact, some don’t even have sufficient storage space. Here’s a coffee table that will give you the surface space you want as well as additional storage on the bottom. Perfect for stashing your little one’s toys and books. (via Mon Makes Things)
Let’s not poo poo the classic coffee table on wheels. With a stained wooden top and large chunky wheels on the bottom, it’s the perfect industrial piece to keep your farmhouse living room updated yet rustic. (via Shanty 2 Chic)
Using stumps as side tables has been a popular rustic trend for a while. But have you ever thought about using them as coffee tables? With wheels on the bottom, they’ll be easy to move around if necessary and the wooden tones will bring some warmth to your space. (via schwartzandarchitecture)
Wheels don’t have to be only for square or rectangular coffee tables. You can use them on round ones too! Build your own or go the easy route and use one side of a giant wooden spool for your round piece of coffee table mastery. (via Twelve on Main)
Concrete is an element that lots of modern decorators look to when styling their homes. Make your own concrete coffee table on wheels, complete with fireplace. Just think about all the cold nights roasting marshmallows from your very own couch. (via Homemade Modern)
Compared to regular tubs which protrude from the ground, sunken bathtubs are carved into the floor and this gives them this dramatic character which allows them to stand out despite their minimalism and lack of visible design elements. A sunken tub is reminiscent of spas and swimming pools and this gives it a sense of luxury and sophistication. However, this is a pretty rare feature. Maybe these designs will inspire you to include one in your own home.
House of Would by Elii is a structure that adapts to the site, featuring a layered design which allows it to be modular and to offer different levels of privacy to different areas. It’s a design that puts the house in close contact with the site and nature in general. One of the features that highlight this element in particular is the sunken tub which you can see here.
When they designed this London house extension, Studio 304 Architecture made sure to preserve the original charm and beauty of the exterior while seamlessly integrating it with a contemporary interior and addition. One of the most notable features is the sunken tub which you can see here, framed by glass walls and a wooden roof.
When Keiji Ashizawa Design created this two-family residence in Tokyo, Japan, they made sure to give it a simplistic, contemporary appearance and to design a sort of courtyard at the center. This allows each room to receive sunlight and to look open, bright and spacious. At the same time, the house remained closed off in relation to the exterior which ensured lots of privacy. The entire house was designed to feel close to nature and this includes this beautiful bathroom which has a sunken tub lit up from above.
The mixture of rustic and modern is a beautiful defining feature of this home designed by Jordan Iverson Signature Homes in Oregon. This eclectic mix characterizes the interior of the house as a whole, with certain spaces being slightly inclined towards one of the styles. This bathroom, for example has a sunken tub, a glass walk-in shower and and an overall simple decor with windows that frame the view.
Although it’s a bit more tricky to design a sunken tub in an apartment, it can be done. The perfect example is the loft designed by Fabio Fantolino in Turin, Italy. Its interior is focused on the views so the decor is very simple. The bathroom, on the other hand, doesn’t have large windows. It has this wooden platform with a built-in tub and an opening in the ceiling that brings in light.
I’d say that the design of this house in Syros, Greece is just what a summer house needs: simple, inspired by nature and with a focus on the views and the surroundings. The house was completed by block722 in 2014 and has large windows open to the surrounding landscape with no exceptions, not even in the bathroom where this beautiful oval tub was designed half sunken into the ground.
Sunken tubs are closely related to the idea of a spa so the design looks very natural here in the Aigai Spa designed by figueroa.arq. Located in Sau Paulo, Brazil, the spa is like an oasis in the city. It’s a place for relaxation and meditation, where time stops and serenity takes over.
In 2011 Pedro Domingos Arquitectos completed House of Agostos, a residence located in Portugal. The house was built on the ruins of an existing structure but you wouldn’t tell by judging its look. It’s modern and full of simple yet fancy and intriguing features like this small sunken tub.
A simple sunken tub would have been enough to make this bathroom stand out but A-OMA architects decided to also highlight it with a cover screen that looks a lot like a pair of wooden shutters. The tub is embedded into a wooden platform with stairs and two washbasins on a sleek and stylish vanity.
Located on a cliff overlooking the ocean, this house in Yokosuka Kanagawa, Japan has that tranquil and zen ambiance usually reminiscent of a spa. It blends modern and traditional design features and it highlights the views in the most wonderful ways. For instance, the ocean can be admired while relaxing in the tub. This was a project by acaa.
There’s a lot to admire about this majestic house in Zurich. This is actually a reconstructed multi-family house, the original structure being 170 years old. Notice the arched ceilings, stone walls and all the unfinished and imperfect surfaces and finishes. Gus Wüstemann Architects made sure to use natural materials and colors and to make the interiors feel warm and inviting despite the scale. They also introduced modern featured from place to place, like the fixtures in this bathroom.
The Ordinary House is surprisingly intriguing given its name. This is a house designed by Kasaka shinichiro atelier. It’s organized on two levels and it sits on a hill with a view of the forest. Although it has a simple and uncomplicated design, it doesn’t lack charm and character, as you can see in this narrow but fresh bathroom which has a sunken tub at the far end.
One of the main goals followed by studio Gisele Taranto Arquitetura when they refurbished this house in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was to blur and even eliminate the boundaries between indoors and outdoors. The attempt was successful. The house is surrounded by vegetation and exotic trees and it can all be admired from every room of the house. One can even relax in the sunken tub while doing this.
A sunken tub in the library, now that’s something we haven’t seen yet. It’s the design direction chosen by PARA for this studio in Syracuse, New York. The structure is organized on three floors. The garage occupies the ground floor, the library and writing area are on the second floor and the third level houses a reading room.
Thanks to the full-height glass walls that perfectly meet in the corner, this sunken tub really feels like a part of the garden. This is a family home designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. It’s located in Northern California and its privacy is not compromised by the openness of the design and the strong connection with the outdoors.
Believe it or not, this beautiful swirling tub is actually part of a hut built on a mountaintop in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. There are five such huts in total and they were designed by architect Issei Suma. The project is the perfect blend of simplicity and sophistication.
I’m always searching for storage products and other organizational tools for my clients. Although I don’t think that bins, baskets and shelves alone can solve someone’s organizational problems, they are helpful in providing a designated place for belongings. Clutter tends to pile up when people don’t know where to put things. As the saying goes, a place for everything and everything in its place.
The Now You See It Acrylic Shelf Bookcase from Land of Nod ($249, landofnod.com) can be used in a variety of rooms. (Land of Nod)
Crate & Barrel’s Wine-Stem Rack ($50, crateandbarrel.com) is perfect for kitchens that lack storage. (Crate & Barrel)
The Now You See It Acrylic Shelf Bookcase from Land of Nod ($249, landofnod.com) isn’t just for kids’ books and toys. Its simple design makes it perfect for bathrooms, offices and family rooms, too. I’ve recently used these in a basement playroom, hung horizontally, to display Lego projects on the inside and top surfaces, but they can also be hung vertically on a narrow bathroom wall or in an office.
Crate & Barrel’s Wine-Stem Rack ($50, crateandbarrel.com) is perfect for small kitchens with little storage, but its use doesn’t have to be limited to tight spaces. Most people have at least a dozen wine glasses — and usually more — but rarely use more than four at a time. This rack makes the wine and the glasses easy to access and frees up cabinet space for other items that you don’t want to display.
Crate and Barrel’s Brabantia Stackable Laundry Sorter ($35, crateandbarrel.com) has an opening in the front that makes it easy to toss in laundry. (Crate & Barrel)
The Kvissle lidded box from Ikea ( $10, ikea.com) can be used as a desktop charging station. (Bjorn Dahlgren/Ikea)
The Brabantia Stackable Laundry Sorter from Crate & Barrel ($35, crateandbarrel.com) is appealing not so much because it’s stackable (although that can be useful when space is at a premium) but because it’s easy to use. It has a lid, which I prefer, but you don’t have to remove the lid each time you want to put clothes inside. The opening in the front makes it simple to toss in your laundry (especially for kids), and the handles make it easy to pick up and take to the laundry room. And if you want to hide it or put it away, it folds up.
I dislike seeing cords, even when they’re organized with ties, clips and labels. The Kvissle lidded box from Ikea ($10, ikea.com) can be used under a desk to conceal cords or on top of a desk as a charging station.
The dividers in the Container Store’s Clear Linus Divided Lazy Susan ( $17-$25, containerstore.com) stop items from toppling over. (The Container Store)
The Folding Wire Storage Basket from the Container Store ($20, containerstore.com) folds into at least five shapes and sizes. (The Container Store)
I have a Lazy Susan in my spice cabinet, and it works pretty well. However, the bottles occasionally topple over, which can be frustrating. With the Container Store’s Clear Linus Divided Lazy Susan ($17-$25, containerstore.com), the contents will stay upright and can be divided into categories. It’s useful not only for spices and other kitchen supplies but also for makeup, office supplies and more.
The versatile Folding Wire Storage Basket from the Container Store ($20, containerstore.com), which folds into at least five shapes and sizes, is perfect for storing all kinds of things, but it also doubles as a piece of art. It can be used as a fruit basket, a container for things such as cloth napkins, a trivet or even a wastebasket. It’s fun and functional. And because it folds flat, it’s easy to store.
The Over the Door Mirror With Storage from PBteen ($79, pbteen.com) can be hung on a closet door or attached to a wall. (PBteen)
PBteen’s No Nails Fabric Wall Organizer ( $49, pbteen.com) can add storage to a desk that lacks it. (Marili Forastieri/PBteen)
The Over the Door Mirror With Storage from PBteen ($79, pbteen.com) works well on either side of a closet door. The shelf and hooks provide easy-to-access storage for things such as jewelry and scarves in a bedroom and for perfume, hair products and towels in a bathroom. Despite its name, it doesn’t have to be hung on a door. It can also be attached to the wall in a front or back hallway and hold things such as keys, umbrellas, coats and sunglasses. The height is adjustable, making it easy to adapt to your needs.
Desk-organizing products are great as long as your desk is large enough that you still have enough room to do work. But if you have a smaller desk without a drawer, the No Nails Fabric Wall Organizer from PBteen ($49, pbteen.com) will come in handy. Not only can it hold notebooks, pens, pencils, scissors and more, but it can also serve as a display space for photos and keepsakes. And the best part: You don’t need any nails to hang it. All it requires are double-sided adhesive strips, and they come with the shelving. Easy.
Anzia is a freelance writer and owner of Neatnik. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intelligent Design and Modern Interiors Combine in Private Latvian Residence
The Guaja river in Latvia is one of nature’s own large-scale designers, having carved its own picturesque valley out of the dramatic terrain through which it runs. And, because birds of a feather flock together, the similarly ambitious Latvian team at lolot design settled to build VILLA A, the innovative private holiday house located along the river valley.
From the outside, the home is partially embedded in the valley hill, so it appears smaller on the approach than its 280 m2 floor plan spread across three floors. Inside, the house is rigged with an advanced network of smart-home systems and minimalist contemporary design.
It was decided from the outset that the house would focus thematically on exposed concrete, wood, and plants. “These three materials were the base of the comfortable and cosy feel of the space,” lolot interior designer Santa Meikulāne tells THE PLUS, a cosiness that they’ve pulled off in spite of the dramatic open space left between the first and second floors, creating a spacious atrium, and the gravity-defyingly minimalist staircase.
The furniture and internal doors were planned from the get-go to be of a single material: oak, finished variously in wood oil and wood wax. The 25cm wide oak triple-layered parquet flooring was produced in a small Latvian factory – all the furniture, in fact, was designed by the studio, and apart from the upholstered pieces all were produced on site in Latvia.
The private clients’ tech-savvy exploitation of smart devices takes care of the dynamic elements of the design: smart home systems monitor heating and solar power collectors, outdoor blinds, musical ambience, lighting atmosphere scenarios using the many in-built lighting features, and can even turn the taps on and off. The modern approach is mirrored in the furniture design, with a dramatic black, grey, and wooden colour scheme running throughout the house, punctuated by plant life.
With two first-floor guest bedrooms, a master bedroom on the second floor, outdoors pool, and an open fire, it’s a house were comfort and style meet.
THE PLUS: The river valley seems to have proven a useful tool for creating a private space for the residents. Take us through how!
Santa Meikulāne: The use of the terrain and the small forest and ravine located on the property means that the internal glazed façade of the building is completely hidden from the neighbours’ view. The pool and yard area along with the glazed façade create a closed courtyard, providing a great view of the valley and the treetops.
TP: What attracted you to the use of oak throughout the house?
SM: Historically we have a very ancient and strong tradition of producing wooden furniture, with vast numbers of excellent carpenters and small factories. Oak as a material is historically very typical for this region, and massive local oaks are still used in manufacturing today.
TP: You’ve got some great interior touches – we particularly love the elliptical suspension light. What did you want it to bring to the space?
SM: From different angles, and also from the outside, this lamp along with the light lines of the 2nd floor and the metal tie lines of the glazed façade creates a graphic modernist drawing. The client and the guests sometimes joke that it is a halo.
TP: As a designer: is smart house technology the future?
SM: Artificial intelligence is our future, and it exists in parallel with us. Artificial intelligence develops, and grows in intelligence along with its users. There may come a time when your house might remember precisely where you put your keys, or even prepare a cup of coffee without your input.
TP: What would be your ideal smart house function?
SM: My ideal smart house would know exactly what music I would like to hear the moment I wake up. Music is extremely important to me, both in my creative and everyday life. The house would know when to open the curtains to let the sunshine in – we live in the North and we could really use a bit more sun.
TP: What is the most important thing you’d like to teach artificial intelligence about?
SM: Music, sun, nature and working in a field you love.
As the temperatures rise, installing a pool in your backyard probably sounds like a really good idea — until you learn that the average cost of a backyard pool is $20,000 to $30,000. Instead of dropping a ton of cash just to stay cool this summer, you may want to consider a stock tank pool.
These inexpensive farm staples, originally designed as water troughs for livestock and affectionately referred to as “hillbilly hot tubs,” are popping up in more backyards across the country than ever before. “More and more, we see our customers turning to this innovative solution as a way to enjoy many of the benefits of a pool without the high cost,” reads the Tractor Supply Company‘s website.
Not only are they more affordable than traditional pools, they’re easier to set up, too. Once you’ve chosen a smooth area in your yard, you can seal and install the cow trough and even add a pump to make it easy to fill and clean.
To maintain the tub, drain it after use or treat it like any other pool. “We use an above ground pool pump/filter,” Annie McCreary, the owner of a stock pool, wrote on Instagram. “We do add chlorine as needed, just like a regular pool/spa. I test it daily with the pool strips, [and], I shock it once a week — so easy! If it gets too funky, it’s easy to drain and re-fill.”
We think the standard galvanized metal look offers rustic charm, but you can also customize or enhance the pools to complement the style of your home. Some users position them in the ground and add surrounding rock tiles or flooring, while others add wooden decks or siding. For around $350, plus the cost of an $89 pump, you can easily add a country pool to your yard this summer.