Home & Design

Indulgences - Toys

The Ultimate Bed
With Italian designer Edoardo Carlinon’s High Fidelity Canopy bed, or Hi-Can, you may never leave home again. It offers a state-of-the-art sound system, reading lights and a built-in PC. A game and entertainment console connects to a projector for high-definition movies on a screen that slides down at the foot of the bed; one panel controls everything. $59,000. www.hi-can.com

On the Move
Take over the road in the Lotus Elise SC. This speed demon goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The sleekly designed soft-top convertible is available in two standard colors, with options including more colors and a hardtop. From $54,990; www.lotuscars.com

Info with Style
Stay connected with the PC Notebook Computer from Ego Lifestyle. Equipped with a 12-inch-wide screen, front-load DVD player and integrated camera, the computer also comes with Microsoft Windows Office Small Business Edition software. Choose from an array of changeable handmade leather skins including Common Casual (pictured.) www.egolifestyle-us.com

Expert Advice - On the Drawing Board

Creating the ideal backyard can be a difficult feat, but with the right plan and design team in place, it’s a challenge easily met. With crowded schedules and limited vacation time, homeowners are looking at their own backyards to give them a much-needed escape. Although existing terrain can dictate the type of landscaping that will best fit a space, clients’ ideas and lifestyles play a major role in the decision process. Whether your goal is a pool complete with a cascading waterfall or a picturesque patio for informal gatherings, with enough preparation your dream landscape can become a reality. Below, we present two recently completed, award-winning projects that perfectly illustrate how to arrive at a design that maximizes available space and meets client needs.
Ellicott City Backyard Escape
In the spring of 2006, Botanical Decorators’ landscape designer Brian Hahn had an opportunity to create a vacation spot right in the backyard of a client’s residence near Ellicott City, Maryland. The homeowners wanted their yard to feel like an escape. They requested a pool and a space for entertaining anywhere from five to 100 people. Although they knew what they wanted, Hahn was given free reign to be creative in achieving it.
According to Hahn, the two main components of a successful design are form and function. In order to maximize the usefulness of the property, the design of this backyard had to address some obstacles, including a seven-foot change in grade and a forest conservation area towards the rear of the proposed pool. Hahn concealed the change in grade by constructing three separate levels for entertaining, which also enhanced the homeowners’ privacy by limiting the view of the property from the driveway. Additionally, a pool design was created that would respect the boundary of the conserved area, and a new drainage system was installed because the original one would have run into the center of the proposed pool.
Construction began in the fall of 2006. “October is a great time to dig a pool,” says Hahn. “Do the work through the winter and you’ll be swimming in the spring.” The pool, which serves as the centerpiece of the backyard, includes color-changing lights and a spa, complete with jets, for year-round use. Flame-torched geometric and broken flagstone walkways and patios emphasize the natural setting, and a blue pebble-sheen finish in the interior of the pool makes it resemble a lake. Although rich in detail, the yard is low in maintenance. Hahn believes two major clean-ups—one in fall and one in spring—with minor weekly upkeep is the best maintenance plan for most clients.
Private Patio in Alexandria
For Alexandria, Virginia, clients, the backyard haven of their dreams didn’t include a pool; rather, they wanted a patio for intimate family gatherings, centered around a large arbor. In the spring of 2007, they approached Howard Cohen, vice president and landscape architect at Surrounds Landscape Architecture and Construction. The clients had previously collected photographs to show him what they wanted; Cohen believes it’s important to look at best of show magazine, books, and other reference materials to get an idea of all the available options.
The process took six months and resulted in a backyard that “takes the term ‘patio’ to a new level,” says Cohen. The focal point of the space is the arbor constructed of 14-inch solid cedar beams; it doubles as an aesthetic feature and a shady retreat. Its size set the scale for the rest of the plan, which included a grilling area and fireplace. The homeowners wanted privacy, so Cohen installed a custom-built, white-stained cedar fence at the property’s perimeter. The flagstone walkway from the gate is bordered by white, single-stem river birch trees and other white plantings, which complement both the gate and the arbor. A trail of flagstone off the main patio leads to a kids’ play area.

Although both projects differ in scope and size, their designers offer similar advice to homeowners planning a project. They stress the importance of knowing your budget before starting, which allows the designer to create accurate plans within your means. Also, be aware of how you want to utilize your property. This will help your designer create the beautiful outdoor space you always wanted.

Fabulous Flooring 1. Build Your Own
West Coast interior designer and collector Windsor Smith and Kravet Carpets have joined forces to create a new line of fabrics and rugs in crisp, classic designs. The Build Your Rug option allows customers to choose from 11 designs and more than 600 custom colors in silk or wool threads. www.kravet.com

2. Popping the Cork
Architectural Systems, Inc.’s new Vencork flooring is both fashionable and eco-friendly. This product comes in a variety of shades and combines a traditional wood overlay with a sustainable cork substrate to give your floors a sleek look. www.archsystems.com

3. Wool Wonders
Enliven your home with the rich hues and variations of a hand-made Tibetan rug by Tamarian. Made from hand-carded, hand-spun wool and organic dyes, each rug is unique. Customize your color and design options by choosing among 500 hues and patterns ranging from traditional to contemporary. www.tamarian.com

4. Broadloom Basics
Be your own master of design with the new “Inspired Luxury” program from Karastan, which allows customers to design rugs to their own specifications. Choose everything from broadloom style to binding and have your very own creation in four to six weeks. www.karastan.com

5. Quiet Time
Block out the noise with ecofinishes’ collection of cork flooring. Available in 12 different looks, the floor is soft to the touch yet durable, and muffles the sound of loud footsteps. Available at Flooring America in floating floor or tile form. www.ecofinishes.com or www.flooringamerica.com

6. Exotic Appeal
Mirage’s World Aromas Series features hardwood grown in Canada. Canadian Breza is available in Bali Coco, a shimmering brown inspired by Balinese coconut trees. Using new, environmentally safe technology, the wood’s natural pigments are enhanced, resulting in a richer shade with the allure of the tropics. www.miragefloors.com

7. Textured Tile
Designer and manufacturer Ann Sacks provides the perfect alternative to typical tile with leather flooring, made in conjunction with craftsman Cowden Bell. Tiles are hand-dyed and stamped to create little works of art, each subtly different in color and texture. www.annsacks.com

8. Floating Floor
Bamboo flooring manufacturer Teragren has introduced the newest addition to
its Synergy Line, a wide plank, floating floor. Equipped with a glueless self-locking system for stability and ease of installation, the product is available in Wheat, Chestnut, Java and Brindle and can be installed anywhere in the home, including basements and bathrooms. www.teragren.com



The Digital Kitchen
Digital calendars, recipe projection systems are some of the innovations that may hit kitchens in the future, says Blue Arnold, CKD, CBD, of Kitchens by Request in Jarrettsville, Maryland, who designed the “Digital Kitchen” at the 2007 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS) in Las Vegas. “The Kitchen is the center, the hub of the home, busy families want an easy way to organize their lives,” Arnold says.

Though most of the products shown in Arnold’s kitchen are still in the concept stage, a number of new appliances unveiled at the K/BIS in 2008 introduce hot new features that will put any kitchen on the cutting edge. Below are some of our favorites.

1. The Coanda Effect
Gaggenau’s AI 280-720 Island dual opening hood introduces a new technology called the Coanda effect, an aerodynamic principle that occurs when multiple fans are positioned to create a backflow of air. The result is a ventilation system that offers energy efficiency and low noise levels while whisking away odors, vapors and steam. www.gaggenau-usa.com

2. Look, No Hands
The combination of hands-free and touch control technologies make the Pascal Culinary Faucet from Brizo a cook’s dream. Activate water flow by tapping almost anywhere on the faucet or by placing something under the “water work space.”  Water temperature and flow are set by the faucet’s single-handle manual valve. www.brizo.com

3. Stay Cool Cooktop
Siemens’ Avant-Garde Induction Cooktops boast a new TouchSlide control that enables home chefs to adjust up to 17 temperature levels with the touch of a finger. www.siemens-home.com

4. Fresh Air
Studies show that air quality in a refrigerator has a big impact on food freshness. As a result, Sub-Zero has revamped its line of built-in refrigerators--which already have a freshness preservation system that controls the humidity and temperature—to incorporate an air purification system that runs every 20 minutes to eliminate odors. www.subzero.com

5.  Wine Cooler
Northland’s Connoisseur Collection caters to oenophiles with a new selection of undercounter and full-height wine cellars. Each is equipped with the company’s TruStor temperature management system, which allows wines to be stored at an optimal temperature for proper aging. The cooling system, run via a separate unit from the cellar, houses all of the mechanical components to leave more room for wine bottles. Available in four sizes. www.northlandnka.com

6. Clean Air Act
The new Arc Collection from Zephyr offers ventilation hoods that are equipped with a new “Clean Air” feature. They eliminate stale air and odors by re-circulating air for 10 minutes every four hours. www.zephyronline.com




Expert Advice - How to Work with Architects

Both inside and out, this contemporary poolhouse exemplifies a dialogue between architect Randall Mars and his clients, which allowed them to arrive at a design aesthetic they all could be happy with.

At a recent lecture sponsored by the Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, architect Randall Mars, AIA, of McLean-based Randall Mars Architects, offered advice and guidance on “How to Work with an Architect.” According to Mars, style is the most important factor to consider when choosing the right architect. With numerous choices at one’s disposal, he stresses the idea of looking around and using resources in order to find the best fit. After 19 years of putting his unique touch on both residential and commercial properties alike, Mars believes that client involvement and communication are essential in achieving a successful final product. “At the end of the day, I have to believe in what I give you and you have to be happy. I have to feel good about it and think that I’ve been successful in giving you what you want. I believe that’s how you practice architecture.”

Q&A with Randall Mars

What is the most efficient way to select an architect?
The best way to select an architect is by style, not price. There are a lot of good architects around. Use different resources including magazines, books and AIA materials to help you select a few architects to choose from.

How should one choose an architect if the project is out of town?
If you are doing a project located elsewhere, but you’re here, I recommend
hiring an architect close to where you reside. There are many more meetings during design than there will be during construction.

How do you best prepare for a project?
Cut out pictures and show them to the architect in order to give them an idea of what you like. It’s also important for you to know what your budget is and to be realistic about it, so the architect can figure out how to give you what you want at a cost you can afford.

What helps to make the best project?
Good clients make the best projects. I know that’s been said a lot before
but it is absolutely true. If a client refutes all suggestions made, the outcome of
the project will be unknown. A good client is someone who is involved in
the project and communicates what they like and dislike.

Should the architect be involved with picking a contractor?
The architect should be involved with the selection of contractors. The architect can tell you about the contractors they know and better research the quality of construction.

What do you believe are the benefits of hiring an architect?
An architect will spend a lot of time on design. They will work with you to design a home that you’ll love, with the details you’ll love. They stay with you every step of the way, including being your representative during construction. If you’re not 100 percent comfortable with construction, it’s nice to have an advocate on your side making sure that what the architect has on paper is what the contractor is giving you.

What are the different phases in the process?
The first phase is called schematic design. During this phase the architect comes up with concepts that reflect your ideas. First, they will meet with you to talk about your likes and dislikes. An architect will listen to your ideas, look at the pictures you’ve chosen for reference, develop a program for the new work and measure your house so they know what they are working with. Then they will come up with a plan and do some rough sketches of what it would look like. At this point, a budget will be put on the project. At the end of schematic design, you’ll know the scope of your project. After the total scope is known and the budget is agreed upon, the second phase begins and you will receive a contract for the remainder of work, including design development, construction documents and construction administration. That takes you all the way through the project. Design development is when the architect takes the design concepts and develops them into real spaces, including details and materials. That process leads into construction documents, which include drawings and specifications of everything that is to be included in your project. The final phase is construction administration, where it is the architect’s responsibility to make sure that the contractor is following the construction documents and providing the owner with everything agreed upon contractually. The architect will work with the contractor to get what was designed for you.

Are there different types of contracts?
There are different kinds of contracts: There is a fixed-fee contract, an hourly contract and a percentage contract. The fixed fee is developed from the scope of the project. The hourly contract bills for every hour an architect works on your project. The final option is the percentage contract, with the architect receiving a percentage of the cost.

Cachet- Holiday Cheer

Creating the perfect holiday setting for your dining room table can be a challenge. However, last year interior designer Rose Dinapoli of Morris-DiNapoli Interior Architectur suceeded in a home that was part of the McLean's Women's Club Holiday Homes Tour. Inspired by the magic of Christmas lights, she grouped a variety of objects-hand-blown glass vessels holding red and white roses, beaded cones, small packages and greenery to create a centerpiece that extended the length of the table.

Photo by Lydia Cutter. 

Celebrate the holidays with these decorative accents for your home. Two woven reindeer from Neiman Marcus, $185; www.neimanmarcus.com

Colorful handcrafted Hiball glasses from Moser's Drift Ice collection, $110; www.moserusa.com

A nickel-plated menorah from designer Michael Aram's Pomegranate Collection, $150; www.bloomingdales.com

Get ready for Thanksgiving with the Harvest Wreath from Williams-Sonoma. Woven with olive branches, salal leaves and carved dried whole oranges, it is a perfect addition to either the inside or the outside of your home. $89; www.williams-sonoma.com

Kick off the holiday season at the third annual Georgetown Jingle on Sunday, Dec. 14, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC. Since its inception in 2006, the Jingle has raised $645,000 for the Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at Georgetown University Hospital. In the past years attendees browsed holiday tree and table top displays by 15 different local interior designers (including David Herchik of JDS designs, pictured.) This year, 15 designers will have an opportunity to create holiday trees, which will be available for auction at the Jingle along with vacation packages, furniture and spa visits. Participants can enjoy tastings from the city's hottest restaurants, while children can visit with Santa, decorate cookies and sing carols. For ticket information, visit www.georgetownjingle.com or call 202-726-0504


HOME&DESIGN, published bi-monthly by Homestyles Media Inc., is the premier magazine of architecture and fine interiors for the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia region.

The company also publishes an annual H&D Sourcebook of ideas and resources for homeowners and professionals alike. H&D Chesapeake Views is published bi-annually and showcases fine home design and luxury living in and around the Chesapeake Bay.

The H&D Portfolio of 100 Top Designers spotlights the superior work of selected architects, interior designers and landscape architects in major regions of the US.

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