Indulgences - Toys
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
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
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
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
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.