Archive for the 'Design Ideas' Category

Enlightened journeys

I’ve been especially enchanted with several house photos in my collection, and I finally realized what they have in common: All of the homes use natural light to make the journeys from room to room more pleasant. The top photo shows Claire Gunning, 8, walking down the stairway in her family’s Hermosa Beach home, which [...]

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Staging your home long before you sell it

Here’s the thing about those compelling, addictive stage-your-house-so-you-can-sell-it shows like Designed to Sell: I always feel a little sad when the previously dumpy, awkward house is turned into a graceful object of desire for just a few bucks. I think: Why didn’t the owners do this stuff five years ago so they could enjoy a [...]

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Design Challenge: What to do with a long room?

Reader Wendy S. sends in the following design challenge. The pictures of her room are at top on the right. (Click on images to enlarge.) On the bottom, you’ll see the room I plugged into Better Homes & Gardens’ nifty online Arrange-a-Room program, which you can play with here. And now for Wendy’s dilemma: “I [...]

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Ask an Architect: Can I pick your brain for ideas?

Question: I’d love to hire an architect to give me some ideas for my remodel. I’m not sure I want to hire the architect to oversee the whole project, or even draw up any specific plans. I just want the benefit of an architect’s creative ability to come up with visions for what my house [...]

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Fireplaces, SoCal style

As the deep of winter descends here in Southern California (it’s what today? 70 degrees?), I thought I’d share some distinctly SoCal fireplaces I’ve had the pleasure of visiting (click on images to enlarge): Top left: Jay Falamaki shows off the plaster fireplace surround he created in his L.A. condo. The embellishments include ceramic tiles [...]

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Orlando Bloom paints his house black? Not sure about that

A story in the New York Post says actor Orlando Bloom painted his newly purchased, $2.7-million Hollywood Hills house black and that some actresses who live nearby are upset. But . . . I’m not sure it’s really black. Seems more like dark gray to me. And anyway it looks cool. And would these talented [...]

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Cures for the open loft

So you got a downtown loft, or you created a loft-like space, and now what? Crave a little privacy? Wish you had a little separation of spaces without all those pesky solid walls? A story in the Home section addresses just that dilemma. In the photo shown here, Douglas Westmoreland of West Hollywood rotates what [...]

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Reader Letter: How to find an architect?

Today’s query comes from Michael H. in the Beachwood Canyon area of Los Angeles: I’d like to enlist an architect to help me with some design work for a remodel, including load calculations (I need to take down some walls). My end goal is to have plans in hand that I can shop to contractors. [...]

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Tragic fire in Long Beach: Sleeping rooms without a window or door to the outside are illegal

Two girls died in a fire this morning in Long Beach and reports in an article initially stated that the garage in which they were sleeping was legally converted to living space. Later, Long Beach Fire Capt. Mike Duree said the garage was not permitted for residency. Specifically, the garage was divided into two spaces, [...]

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Shower power in a Glassell Park bungalow

In response to Erik’s bathroom design challenge (below), I’d like to offer this bathroom that was remodeled by Kristina and David in the Glassell Park area of Los Angeles. I’d been out to the house recently to see their new kitchen, which will be appearing soon in my Pardon Our Dust series in the newspaper. [...]

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Designer for a Day: What about this old tiled bathroom?

Let’s put on our design caps and see if we can help Erik, a reader with an old tiled bathroom he’d like to update. He writes: “I’ve got a Monterey Spanish house in the Hollywood Hills, where there is no master bath, and the main bathroom for the bedrooms is fairly large, and is tiled [...]

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Remodeling Challenge: How about a swivel TV on a structural post?

Tom M. of Pacific Palisades needs our design help. Tom’s planning a remodel where several walls will be removed to open up the kitchen to an adjacent office and family room. Because of structural issues, there will be a supporting post in the middle of the space that has to stay. (See the black square [...]

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Contrary about contemporary

This Pacific Palisades house, a rebuild designed by L.A. architect John Sofio, is pretty good-looking, don’t you think? I love the boxy shapes, banks of windows and the way he brought natural light into that stairwell. But, I wonder what the neighbors think. If you study the top photo, you can see that the house [...]

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A bathtub on the landing? Dude! It’s Venice!

Why live in Venice if you’re not going to go eccentric with your remodel? You can move to Northridge if you want to be conventional, or Diamond Bar. It’s not that those areas don’t have their eccentricities, but when you live in Venice it’s kind of expected that you will push the limits of design. [...]

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What if the view from your windows isn’t so great?

Windows are great. Don’t get me wrong. There’s brightness and air flow and the feeling of balance you get when natural light comes from many directions. But when the view from a window is not so great — perhaps looking out on neighbors you’d rather not be looking at — what do you do? Make [...]

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Can’t read blueprints? Welcome to my world

I’m sure few things excite architects and contractors so much as a full set of blueprints for a house or remodel. I also like those stacks of large paper sheets with thin lines and serious notations. But as for being able to visualize what these plans represent? I haven’t got what it takes. And maybe [...]

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Curbside Critic: low-cost, high-style gates

Out walking this week, I came across two stylish gates that really caught my eye. There’s something so agreeable about the juxtaposition of the reddish wood and the lighter wavy panels. (Click on photos to enlarge.) As I got closer, I saw that the panels look like some kind of corrugated metal (not fiberglass), but [...]

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Grass cloth trompe l’oeil: It makes sense

When a Claremont homeowner wanted a trompe l’oeil painting of grass cloth on her wall, decorative painter Dan Gallagher wasn’t surprised. While real grass cloth wall coverings are gorgeous, they can be expensive. They can get dusty. And if they get harmed, stained or mildewed and need to be patched, the new piece rarely matches [...]

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Calling all style watchers: Which trends are ending, which beginning?

I got a great question from reader Scott W. and rather than directing it toward just one decorator or designer, I thought I’d throw it open to one and all. Here’s the question: Question: What trends are ending (all-stainless-steel appliances, for example, is one trend that I hear might be ending) and what trends are [...]

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Painting a room red: Sometimes a great notion

A few years ago, I wrote a book (now out of print) with TV decorator Kitty Bartholomew. One of my favorite chapters in the book is on color. Kitty has studied color her whole career. She’s not so much interested in trends (though her audiences want to know about trends, and she delivers that info), [...]

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