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    Jamie Blake of Blakes London applied a high/low mix of materials—from marble to readymade beadboard—in his design for a sun-splashed kitchen. We recently featured the house in Endless Summer in a London Victorian. Thanks to the popularity of the kitchen, Blake has kindly offered to share its secrets.

    Kitchen designed by Jamie Blake of Blakes London | Remodelista

    Above: The open kitchen is fronted by a marble-topped island built from wood textured to look like reclaimed timber. "The best way to describe the design is an exploration into textures," says Blake, ticking off a list of materials that includes porcelain floor tiles, beadboard paneling, subway tiles, and painted brick. Note that the designer carefully hewed to a subtly contrasting pale palette offset by dark overhead cabinets and a trough of herbs sprouting in the middle of the island. Photograph from Blakes London.

    Kitchen designed by Jamie Blake of Blakes London | Remodelista

    Above: The upper cabinets have a surprise lining of white subway tiles with dark grout. Only clear glassware lines the shelves, allowing the design to shine through. Photograph from Blakes London.

    The Materials

    Carrara marble | Remodelista

    Above: The countertops and backsplashes are Carrara marble. Considering splurging on marble in your own kitchen? See Remodeling 101: Marble Countertop Pros and Cons and read Michelle's cautionary tale, My Dirty Secret: How I Learned to Live with a Marble Backsplash.

    Farrow & Ball Raillings | Remodelista

    Above: The cabinets are painted a Farrow & Ball dark charcoal called Railings; $95 a gallon.

    Home Depot Metro Subway Tile | Remodelista

    Above: The cupboard's Metro White Matt Flat Wall Tiles came from Tons of Tiles in the UK; £O.32 per tile. Home Depot sells miniature 1-inch-by-2-inch Metro Subway Matte White Wall Tile, shown here, for $5.95 per square foot, and 2-inch-by-7-inch Metro Soho Subway Tile Glossy White for $6.97 per square foot. For a top-of-the-line version, consider Heath Ceramics Modern Basics tiles. Subway tiles can be patterned in a number of ways: See our White Tile Pattern Glossary.

      Elmwood antique barn wood reclaimed timber paneling | Remodelista

    Above: What looks like old wood, Blake reveals, isn't reclaimed timber: "It's a finish that we do ourselves, completely handmade to look like reclaimed timber. Almost any color or texture can be achieved." Since Blake's technique is labor intensive (not to mention proprietary), we suggest sourcing Reclaimed Barn Wood. It's available in a wide range of finishes, including a white-washed version, from Elmwood Reclaimed Timber, in Peculiar, Missouri.

    Lowe's hardboard wall paneling | Remodelista

    Above: Not every detail in the kitchen is rarefied. On the back wall, what looks like old-fashioned, carpenter-built tongue-and-groove wood paneling is prefabricated MDF fiberboard. It can be sourced at building supply stores, such as Lowe's, where White/Satin Hardboard Wall Paneling is $19.98 for an approximately 4-by-8-foot panel. For more ways to put it to use, see our Rehab Diaries: DIY Beadboard Ceilings and The DIY Kitchen Overhaul for Under $500

    European Heritage wood effect porcelain floor and wall tile | Remodelista

    Above: Another surprise is the floor: What looks like whitewashed wood is actually white porcelain timber-effect tiles. "They're all the craze in the UK right now," he says. "Porcelain tiles are in many cases more affordable than wood floors, require much less maintenance, and are great with underfoot heating—in the winter the floor has a warm feel, and in the summer a cool one." The kitchen's tiles are Origine Cire Wood Effect Porcelain Tile, shown here, from London company European Heritage; inquire about pricing. Also consider, Marazzi's US-made Harmony Porcelain Tiles, created with inkjet technology and available in a four "wood effects." For the lowdown on heating your house underfoot, see Remodeling 101: 5 Things to Know About Radiant Floor Heating.


    Copper pipe, elbows, and adapters for DIY projects | Remodelista  

    Above: The kitchen faucet was built on site by a plumber. Feeling handy? The site Instructables explains How to Build Your Own Copper Pipe Faucet. You can source a variety of copper parts, including piping, elbows, and pressure cup adapters, shown here, at Home Depot; 5 feet of 1/2-inch Copper Pipe is $7.34. Want to start with an easier copper pipe project? DIY: Copper Pipe Curtain Rods for $35. Photograph by Izabella Simmons.


    Cox ad Cox Co pendant lights | Remodelista

    Above: The trio of Twisted Flex & Copper Pendant Lights hanging over the island are by Cox & Cox of London; £43 each. For an energy-efficient alternative, consider the Plumen Drop Cap Pendant Set in Copper; $44.95 (and read World's Most Stylish Light Bulb, Version 002).

    Industrial Scissor Wall Lamp by Long Made Co. | Remodelista

    Above: Industrial Scissor Wall Lamps were sourced from Etsy seller Long Made Co. of Houston; $175 each. For more of their work, see our recent post The New Industrials


    Canvas Home Tinware Creamer (made of ceramic) | Remodelista

    Above: Canvas Home's small Tinware Creamer is actually glazed stoneware (with mock chips); it's 3 1/4 inches tall and on sale for $3, marked down from $10.

      Crate and Barrel wine decanter | Remodelista

    Above: Crate and Barrel's take on the classic Wine Tasting Carafe is $12.95.

    Ikea Hederling red wine glass | Remodelista

    Above: Ikea's Hederlig Red Wine Glasses are $1.99 each.

    Stainless Steel bottle trough from Central Restaurant Supply | Remodlelista

    Above: In the middle of the kitchen island—territory that often goes unused—Blake inserted a custom stainless steel planter that holds pots of herbs. It can also be used to store bottles of wine and countless other kitchen things. To make your own inset, consider the 34-by-4 1/2-inch Stainless Steel Bottle Trough from Central Restaurant Supply; $45.79. For a similar idea, see DIY: A Picnic Table with a Built-In Wine Bar.

    Dualit Classic Toaster | Remodelista

    Above: The Dualit New Generation Classic Two-Slice Toaster comes in 11 colors, including cream; $239.95 from Williams-Sonoma.

    Dualit electric kettle from John Lewis | Remodelista

    Above: The electric Dualit 1 Litre Jug Kettle in canvas white (also available in black) is £49.50 from John Lewis. Larger sizes available.

    Riess Aromapot by Dottings | Remodelista

    Above: The Riess Enamel Aromapot by Viennese industrial designers Dottings comes in a range of sizes and stacks for compact storage; $188 for the 1/2 liter size on Amazon. The Aromapot is also available from Rodale's for $188, and in a smaller size for $158. Read about the design in the Remodelista 100, a list of our favorite everyday objects.

    Explore more Steal This Look posts, including A Low-Cost Kitchen for Serious Cooks. And over at Gardenista, learn how to re-create A Romantic Outdoor Kitchen in Puglia.

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    I first took note of Marité Acosta's ceramic work when I spotted a trio of her bone-like, white glazed vases arranged with pale Delphinia and olive branches at an event a few weeks ago. I've been thinking of them ever since.

    Acosta, who is based in New York City, grew up in a Cuban household around home cooking and handmade dishes. The influences of her childhood kitchen led her to a career full of variety. In addition to being an established potter, Acosta is also a chef and a stylist. This gives her the advantage of knowing firsthand which shapes and sizes are most functional for tableware—and she has a flair for design. Her pottery is sculptural, often textured on the surface, and much of it is finished with a painterly wash of glazes that Acosta experiments with in her studio. Select pieces are available online directly from Acosta.

    Marité Acosta Ceramics | Remodelista

    Above: A set of textured dishes in a matte white glaze on white stoneware. 

    Marité Acosta Ceramics | Remodelista

    Above L: The textured Salt Dishes are two inches in diameter; $20 each. Above R: A detail of the textured stoneware.

    Marité Acosta Ceramic Vases | Remodelista

    Above: A set of white glazed vases with a slight lean to their shape. (Acosta's vases are custom-made; while she isn't accepting custom orders at this time, she's open to the suggestion of making more of a particular piece.)  

    Marité Acosta Ceramic Vases | Remodelista

    Above: White stoneware vases, some with a dark green glaze washed over a textured surface.

    Marité Acosta Ceramics | Remodelista

    Above L: The Honeycomb Bowl is white stoneware with a brown underglaze and matte white glaze; $65. Above R: The hand-built, textured Funnel made of brown stoneware with a matte walnut glaze is $20.

    Marité Acosta Brush Plates | Remodelista

    Above: Acosta's Brush Plates are designed with a layering of brushed-on underglaze on white stoneware; prices range from $40 to $75 for the plates. The darkest blue Bowl (front right) is $200.

    Marité Acosta Brush Plates | Remodelista

    Above L and R: Details of the blue-green brushstrokes and the variation seen in each plate.

    Acosta's pieces are made in small batches; go to Marité Acosta to see more of her work that's currently available.

    We frequently visit the houses of ceramic artists; for two standout examples, have a look at In the Garden and Atelier with Cécile Daladier in Paris on Gardenista and The Handmade Kitchen: Paula Grief in Brooklyn. Go to Ceramics to view our archive of tableware finds. 

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    On a swelteringly hot summer day we asked Louesa Roebuck, a Renaissance woman and renegade floral designer, to create summer bouquets for us. The perennial rule breaker (whose clients have included Chez Panisse) raided her friend Lauren McIntosh's lush Berkeley garden and some nearby trees to create two offerings: one fuzzy, wild, and green; the other fresh and floral.

    While all the components were sourced in Northern California, substituting similar elements from your own locale will work just as well. For Louesa, it's all about creating a mood in the moment with whatever is on hand.

    Photography by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    The Edible Bouquet

    The Components: Branches laden with quince, grapes, and pears; oregano stems; and grape leaves.

    Louesa Roebucks foraged flora with quince

    Above: Branches of quince and oregano stems. To these Louesa added branches of pears, grapes, and grape vines. "I found the quince in a tree in an abandoned empty lot where the Oakland fire was. Someone never rebuilt, but the tree survived," Louesa says. "Quince's fragrance is one of my favorites, and it will stay in the house. The leaves will drop, but you can mist them. I wanted this whole bouquet to be edible, which is why I used the oregano and grapes." 

    The Finished Look

    Louesa Roebucks foraged flora quince and thyme

    Above: "I am very taken with the fuzziness and shape of the quince, and the color is so beautiful with the dark grapes and the oregano that has gone to seed," Louesa says. "Part of the appeal is the way the dark grape leaf comes through and the oregano that's tall and leggy—it's an unexpected element. Herbs are really good at adding a note of wispiness. They're not tameable and have their own form, so they make things wild. And it's the wildness that makes it work—that and the fact that it's only one herb. If it had been three, the arrangement would have been too busy." The vase is by Kelly Farley of Pope Valley Pottery.

    The Bloomsbury Bouquet

    The Components: Dahlias, oakleaf and viburnum hydrangea, white and yellow roses, and white magnolias.

    Chrysanthemum. flower display by Louesa Roebuck

    Above: "I am not a dahlia fan but these are pretty," Louesa says. "I don't use hot or yellow dahlias—I think they're ugly—I like them creamy, creamy; bloody red; or deep and moody purple. I also used a big, white magnolia, and oakleaf and viburnum hydrangeas from Lauren's garden. They're one of my favorite things to use. They do well even if you don't put them in water—they look a little sad and dead for a while, but then they dry out. The white roses are Sally Holmes, very scented and beautiful and old-fashioned; the yellow roses are David Austin, which hold up really well."

    The Finished Look

    Chrysanthemum. flower display by Louesa Roebuck

    Above: Flowers displayed in industrial medical glass vessels from Ohmega Salvage. Louesa notes, "The components in this arrangement are much more conventional and pretty than the quince display. Hydrangea and dahlia in glass is very English and dear and feminine…it's sort of bridal and romantic and Bloomsbury. It's my take on an English arrangement. I used three vases—I only do odds. I like it when they look like one organism—it's three vessels but it's one piece; they have a language together."

    To see Lauren's garden, the source of much of this bounty, read our post on the Renegade Florist; also check out Louesa's Foraged Ikebana Florals and Not Your Mother's Rose Bouquet.

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    Tucked away on a quiet street around the corner from Remodelista’s London office in Fitzrovia is a tiny restaurant with a giant soul. Sarah and I stumbled upon Honey & Co. two summers ago when the Middle Eastern cafe had just opened. We were immediately transfixed by its mix of heady food smells, charming decor, and the warmth and passion of Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, the husband and wife owner/proprietors. The two also happen to have first-rate culinary pedigrees: He served as the head chef at Ottolenghi; she was the head of pastry at Ottolenghi and executive chef at Nopi.

    Thrilled that we’d found our "local," we watched the rest of the neighborhood discover the restaurant, which seats 20 and is now always fully booked for its two lunch and dinner sittings. During all this, Srulovich and Packer somehow also managed to find time to write their recently launched cookbook, Honey & Co: Food from the Middle East. Grab a table if you can.

    Photography by Patricia Niven, unless otherwise noted.

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant, Photo by Patricia Niven | Remodelista

    Above: The tiny cafe has a one-room dining area (the kitchen is out of sight downstairs). A small area at the back of the room (pictured) is designated for coffee and tea prep. Open shelves float across the window to maximize much-needed storage. (To see a kitchen that makes clever use of across-the-window shelving, go to last year's winner of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards: Best Design: Professional Kitchen Space.)

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant, Metal Teapots, Photo by Patricia Niven | Remodelista

    Above: An under-mounted rail provides accessible storage for teapots.

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant, Thonet Chairs, Photo by Heloise Faure | Remodelista

    Above: The decor of the 20-seat dining room is pleasingly simple: a blue and white tiled floor, Thonet chairs in natural wood and painted black finishes, and paper covered tables. The kitchen is downstairs.

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant, Thonet Chairs, Photo by Patricia Niven | Remodelista

    Above: Yellow bench cushions complement the blue in the Encaustic Moroccan Floor Tiles from Dar Interiors.

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant, Clothespin napkin detail, Photo by Patricia Niven | Remodelista

    Above: To be tried at home: a wooden clothespin provides an easy finishing detail for a napkin and set of cutlery.

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant, Menu, Photo by Heloise Faure | Remodelista

    Above: Menus are printed on kraft paper. Photograph by Heloise Faure

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant, Photo by Heloise Faure | Remodelista

    Above: Homemade granola and seasonal jams are always on offer. 

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant, Photo by Patricia Niven | Remodelista

    Above: Honey & Co. is always full and buzzing.

    Above L: The bathroom's washbasin was built into an existing brick niche that was painted white. Photograph by Heloise Faure. Above R: Red accents decorate a group of outside tables.

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant, Exterior, Photo by Heloise Faure | Remodelista

    Above: In good weather, classic Bistro Tables and Chairs from Fermob provide an instant sidewalk cafe by day, and are easily stowed away at night. Photograph by Heloise Faure

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant, Lamb Shawrama, Photo by Patricia Niven | Remodelista

    Above: Honey & Co.'s lamb shawarma, another of the cafe's signatures to be tried at home—the recipe is included in the book.

    Honey & Co, London Restaurant Book, Photo by Patricia Niven | Remodelista

    Above: Honey & Co., Food from the Middle East is published by Saltyard Books; £25. The book isn't officially out in the US until spring 2015, but it's available on Amazon and via Kindle.

    For more tiny London restaurants with soul, see Kitchen Confidential: PipsDish in Covent Garden and Leila's Shop: The Ultimate Greengrocer. And how about a Greenhouse as Restaurant on the outskirts of Amsterdam?

    Below: Honey & Co. is near Fitzroy Square, in London.

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  • 07/29/14--10:00: Object Lessons: Canning Jars
  • Napoleon Bonaparte declared, "An army marches on its stomach," and in 1795 he offered 12,000 francs to anyone who could liberate his men from the monotony of dried, salted, smoked, and pickled food. It took about 15 years for a French confectioner to produce a ceramic jar that preserved fresh fruit and vegetables using boiling water, cork, and sealing wax. (Napoleon kept his word, though we don't know if he honored inflation.) 

    The cork and sealing wax method, however, wasn't always reliable, and it was impossible to see the contents of a sealed ceramic jar. Some 50 years later a New York tinsmith named John Mason worked out these drawbacks. Mason patented his simple, threaded-zinc, screw-top glass jar and emblazoned "Mason's Patent Nov 30 1858" on every example that issued from his factory for years, making his name synonymous with a well-kept pantry. He did this just in time for the Civil War, eventually adding the removable rubber ring that we know today. Later, World War II played an important part in canning history as citizens in America, Britain, and Canada were encouraged to grow Victory Gardens, preserving the bounty for the lean winter months of powdered food and substitutes.

    Since then, a variety of jars have proven invaluable in the canning process, some with screw tops, others with hinged and clipped lids or clamps. Today the canning jar is put to countless uses, including as an ideal, plastic-free receptacle for nuts, grains, and tonight's leftovers. 

    Five to buy

    Above: In 1900, Johann Weck introduced his glass jars with lids that clip on the exterior, preventing the contents from coming in contact with metal. Weck's wide-mouth jars also provided a more efficient way of adding and subtracting contents than the more traditional bottleneck jar. A set of 12 Weck Mini Mold Jars (pictured) is available for $34.95 at Williams-Sonoma.

    Above: The Weck strawberry insignia is Germany's oldest logo, and as fresh today as it was in 1900.

    Kilner preserve jars | Remodelista

    Above: British company Kilner has been around on and off since the 1840s. Kilner Preserve Jars are $6.99 for four 16.9-ounce jars, and $8.99 for four 33-ounce jars at Williams-Sonoma. For more sources, go to Kilner.

    Above: The name Mason became synonymous with canning jars in America. Recently Ball reintroduced its original blue jars to celebrate the centenary of the Ball Perfect Mason Jar. Ball American Heritage Collection Jars are $24 for a set of 12 at Provisions.


    Above: Le Parfait utilizes the "lightning" or latch closure to hermetically seal its jars, and has been perfecting the art of French canning since 1930. A range of Le Parfait Jars in different sizes is available from $1.97 to $15.95 at Crate & Barrel.

    Above: Vintage Canning Jars can be found on eBay and put to a myriad of uses.

    Object Lessons columnist Megan Wilson is the owner of Ancient Industries and curator of the Remodelista 100 presented in the Remodelista book. Watch for her column every Tuesday, and have a look at her past lessons, including The Trusty Tiffin Box, another classic food container. We featured her new shop in our recent post Purveyor of the Practical and the Timeless.

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    Cooktops fall into four basic groups: gas drop-in, range tops, electric, and induction. We've rounded up our favorites in the 36-inch gas category that offer the power and performance of full-size ranges but with a sleeker stature. 

    The cooktops featured are pro-style in looks (stainless steel, prominent knobs, iron grates) and in burner power. These drop-in models fit into a cutout in the counter (and typically require at least four inches of room underneath). Many of the models are also available in a 30-inch size (a standard for electric cooktops). They all have high-power burners and very low heat or simmer options. The biggest differences are in burner and control configurations. Here are 10 to consider.

    (A range loyalist? See our recent post: Remodeling 101: Range vs. Cooktop, Pros and Cons.) 

    Thermador 36-inch Gas Cooktop, Remodelista

    Above: Top-rated by Consumer Reports and other appliance review sites, the Thermador 36-inch Masterpiece Cooktop—SGSX365FS has five star-centered burners (which distribute heat more evenly across bottoms of pans), an 18,000 BTU power burner, continuous grates, and two extra-low simmer burners. It has been updated with illuminated front controls; $1,899 at AJ Madison. 

    Viking 36-inch Gas Cooktop, Remodelista  

    Above: What sets the Viking VGC5366BSS Professional Series Cooktop apart is its six-burner configuration rather than the five burners customary on a 36-inch cooktop. The burners are sealed and in a seamless burner pan for easy cleaning. It has an 18,000 BTU power burner and a simmer setting on all the burners; $2,199 at Abt.

    Wolf 36-inch Gas Cooktop, Remodelista  

    Above: Wolf range devotees can venture to the cooktop side with the Wolf CG365PS Professional Cooktop complete with Wolf's signature red knobs. Made by SubZero, this cooktop offers an 18,000 BTU power burner, continuous grates, very low true simmer settings, and dual-stacked sealed burners; $2,070 at an Authorized SubZero Dealer in your area. 

    GE Monogram 36-inch Gas Cooktop, Remodelista  

    Above: Another highly rated model, the GE Monogram ZGU385NSMSS Gas Cooktop features three high-power burners with low-temperature simmers (140 degrees) and continuous grates; $2,999 at AJ Madison.

    Bosch 36-inch Gas Cooktop, Remodelista  

    Above: The Bosch NGMP655UC Benchmark Series Cooktop offers a low-profile look with high performance, and it's a bit pricier than its professional cooktop counterparts. It has a 20,000 BTU power burner, continuous cast-iron grates, and metal knobs; $1,399 at AJ Madison.

    BlueStar 36-inch Gas Cooktop, Remodelista  

    Above: Made in Reading, Pennsylvania, the Bluestar Drop-in 36-inch Pro-Style Cooktop has five open Nova burners that evenly disperse the gas flames. It features a high-powered 22,000 BTU UltraNova burner, a new 130-degree simmer function, and heavy-duty controls; $2,149 at AJ Madison.

    For more appliances made close to home, see our earlier feature on 13 American-Made Appliances.

    Miele 36-inch Gas Cooktop, Remodelista

    Above: Miele is a growing force in the cooking-appliance market. The Miele 36-inch Stainless Gas Cooktop (KM3474G) features two 15,300 BTU burners, continuous grates, a center control panel, and a wok ring; $1,699 at Abt. 

    Dacor 36-inch Gas Cooktop, Remodelista

    Above: The Dacor Distinctive 36-Inch Cooktop (DCT365SNG) features five sealed burners in a one-piece spill basin. An 18,000 BTU simmer/sear burner has a built-in melting feature; $1,610 at US Appliance.

    GE Cafe Series 36-inch Gas Cooktop, Remodelista

    Above: The GE Cafe Series 36-Inch Cooktop (CGP50SETSS) offers a center-set 20,000 tri-ring burner and a dedicated simmer burner among its five sealed burners set. The deep recessed cooktop contains spills; $1,439 at Plessers.

    Maytag 36-inch Gas Cooktop, Remodelista

    Above: A great budget option in the pro-style category, the Maytag 36-inch Gas Cooktop (MGC7536WS) has five sealed burners, one simmer burner, and continuous grates. The lower price brings a high burner power of 15,000 BTU, slightly lower than some but still in the performance cooking arena; $697 in black and $787 in stainless steel at AJ Madison.

    For more cooking appliance options, see our posts:

    Does summer motivate you to cook outdoors? Us, too. Steal some ideas from Gardenista's Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen. For more remodeling resources, see all of our Remodeling 101 Features

    And don't forget to vote for the finalists in the Remodelista and Gardenista Considered Design Awards. You can vote daily in all categories, now through August 8. Winners will be announced August 9.

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     N.B.:This post is an update; the original story ran on May 14, 2008 as part of our Color Contrast issue. 

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    When we heard that Bay Area photographer Aya Brackett was heading to Tokyo, we knew she'd be dropping by her friend Yuri Nomura's cult restaurant Eatrip, so we asked her to capture it for us. Nomura, who refers to herself as a food director, is also a chef, writer, film director and radio host, not to mention tastemaker. Hailing from a food background—her mother teaches cooking and her father owns an organic farm—Nomura studied cooking in London and later did a stint at Chez Panisse, but her culinary interests extend far beyond preparing delicious locally, organically, and sustainably sourced food. Her real passion lies in exploring the intersection between eating and everyday living, and in understanding the ways in which food unites us. These topics are the subject of Eatrip, her 2010 documentary, and are part of the ongoing discussion at her canteen, which has all the casualness and comfort of a home, much like the food on offer. 

    Photography by Aya Brackett for Remodelista.

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: An oasis of calm hidden away off a side street in the middle of Tokyo's bustling Harajuku district, Eatrip—a conflation of "eat" and "trip"—is surrounded by gardens. Adjoining the restaurant is The Little Shop of Flowers, run by Nomura's friend Iki Yukari, who sells flowers and handmade gifts. (Watch for the Little Shop of Flowers on Gardenista.)

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: With its darkly painted wooden beams, the restaurant has the feel of a Japanese farmhouse—one with a modern sensibility. 

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: Eatrip was designed by a friend of Nomura's—she often works with friends in her endeavors—and is layered in different woods, blonde on the ceiling and dark-stained on the floor. The look is rustic, weathered, and comfy.  

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: Open wooden shelves line gray plastered walls. All elements, from food to tabletop to furnishings, come into play at Eatrip. Nomura says she learned the art of creating a casual but carefully considered approach to dining by haunting the Conran Shop when she lived in London. On her return to Tokyo, she cooked for the cafe at Idée, Japan's take on the Conran Shop, and honed her aesthetic.

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: Piles of dishes and planks of wood for serving food sit in view on the counter, ready to be used.

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: A planter is suspended inches above a table with a simple cotton runner. Nomura collaborates with Yukari of the Little Shop of Flowers on the restaurant's arrangements.

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: Nomura sources her ingredients for Eatrip from organic farms, including her father's.

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: Nomura in a denim apron designed by her friend Matt Dick of Small Trade Co. and custom-made for Eatrip. The aprons are sold in the Little Shop of Flowers where many of the small artisan goods are the work of Nomura's cohorts. 

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: A compelling rustic pair.

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: The Little Shop of Flowers displays create a lush backdrop for the tables on Eatrip's terrace. 

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: The covered terrace overlooks the garden. 

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: Nomura's pursuit of the organic extends to Eatrip's wine list, which includes offerings from Scribe, the Sonoma-based winery owned by the Mariani brothers. Heading to Sonoma? Don't miss our post on the Haute Bohemian Scribe Winery.

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

    Above: Diagrammed order in the kitchen.

    Eatrip Restaurant in Tokyo, Photograph by Aya Brackett | Remodelista

     For more on the restaurant and Nomura's other projects, go to Eatrip and Babajiji.

    Have a look at Idée, where Nomura previously worked, in our Shopper's Diary. And to get your hands on an Eatrip denim apron, go to Small Trade Co. Where else to visit in Tokyo? Check out our Guide to 10 Cutting Edge Cafes, Shops, and Restaurants.

    Have you cast your vote today for the 2014 Remodelista and Gardenista Considered Design Awards? You can vote for the finalists of your choice every day until August 8; we'll announce the winners on August 9.

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    Our judges have chosen the finalists, now you choose the winners. Vote for the finalists in each of the 17 Considered Design Awards categories, on both Remodelista and Gardenista. You can vote once a day in each category, now through August 8. We'll announce the winners on August 9.

    In the Best Office Space/Professional category, our five finalists are Alterstudio Architecture, Koch Architects, Egon Walesch, Whitten Architects, and Klopf Architecture. 

    Project 1

    Alterstudio Architecture | Austin, TX | Hillside Office

    Design Statement: "The Hillside Residence is a substantial renovation and expansion of a 1927 bungalow in Austin, Texas. The existing 1,000-square-foot building was rescued from dilapidation, delineated abstractly in stark white, and paired with a new 1,100-square-foot sculptural volume clad in black-stained cypress connected via a glass entry bridge. Akin to Marcel Breuer's 1943 proposition for a Bi-Nuclear House, the house is split into two zones: one for living and socializing, and the other for concentration, work, and sleeping. And by virtue of entering in the middle, both sides appear to be in dialogue with each other. Inside, the two zones are defined in distinctly different material and spatial characters, the combination being both gracious and provocative. While small in size, the home office is at the center of the new public nucleus, both tucked away under the stair and powerfully present in this great room—simultaneously omnipresent and a refuge."

    Chosen by: Guest judge and editor in chief of Conde Nast Traveler, Pilar Guzman, who said: "The pine-clad desk nook under the stark white staircase proves that efficiency can also be whimsical."

    Alterstudio Office Remodelista Design Awards

    Above: "Long-leafed pine reclaimed from the walls of the original bungalow was used for the interior walls of the office—the patina of age and previous use posed against the unadulterated painted cabinetry."

    Alterstudio Remodelista Design Awards

    Above: "The painted MDF walls of the stairs give a sense of specialness to the ensemble and turn underneath to form a desktop."

    Alterstudio Remodelista Design Awards


    Project 2

    Koch Architects | Berkeley, CA | Oxford Office

    Design Statement: "Originally designed in 1952 by Berkeley architect Roger Lee, this space was part of the first phase of renovations beginning in 1999 by Berkeley architect and homeowner Joanne Koch of Koch Architects. Digging out a 600-square-foot basement and creating a 200-square-foot studio/office area by dividing the existing carport allowed enough room in the house to accommodate both a family with a young child and an emerging architectural practice."

    Chosen by: Pilar Guzman: "This is the rare highly functional and pleasant basement space that doesn’t feel like a basement. The wood-clad walls, which borrow from Scandinavian and Japanese traditions, and the hidden clerestory over the desk area create a work area that is both warm and spare."

    Koch Architects Remodelista Design Awards


    Project 3

    Egon Walesch | London, England | Home Office

    Design Statement: "The project involved turning a little-used upstairs sitting room in an Edwardian house in southeast London into a stylish and practical home office and library."

    Chosen by: Remodelista editor in chief Julie Carlson: "I love a multitasking room and this one fills the bill: part library, work space, lounging area. I love the salvaged mantelpiece, and the contrast between the pale wood floors and the chalky blue walls."

    Egon Walesch Remodelista Design Awards

    Above: "The library offers plenty of comfortable seating options for reposing with a good book."

    Egon Walesch Remodelista Design Awards

    Above: "The mantel is made from a piece of driftwood rescued from the nearby Thames." 

    Egon Walesch Remodelista Design Awards

    Egon Walesh Remodelista Design Awards

    Egon Walesch Remodelista Design Awards

    Egon Walesch Remodelista Design Awards


    Project 4

    Whitten Architects | Rogue Bluffs, ME | Home Office

    Design Statement: "The interior spaces of Johnson Cove Retreat are organized around the path of the sun through the sky. The sleeping porch, master bedroom, and master bath get first light. By midmorning and throughout the day, the sun directly illuminates the living, dining, and kitchen spaces. A north-facing clerestory fills the room with diffused light and softens any potential glare from the sun and ocean views. The space is clad in locally sourced wood boarding and flooring that provide visual warmth in a harsh northern climate. The main structural components of the house are visible from both the interior and the exterior, providing a clear sense of shelter and protection."

    Chosen by: Pilar Guzman: "I have to applaud a space that carefully considers the pattern of the sun throughout the day and cleverly maximizes both light and space in this treehouse-like retreat."

    Whitten Remodelista Design Awards

    Remodelista Design Awards Lofted Resting Space

    Above: "Lofted resting and office 'away' space."

    Whitten Architects Remodelista Design Awards

    Whitten Architects Remodelista Design Awards

    Above: "Site-built ladder detail."


    Project 5

    Klopf Architecture | Cupertino, CA | Net-Zero Energy Home Office

    Design Statement: "The goal: a new two-level house that could score as high as reasonable in the GreenPoint Rated System. The owners deconstructed their existing home when they realized that any single-story design would completely eliminate their backyard. In respect for the neighbors, a partially-submerged lower level was designed with a pulled-back floor plate to create a light-filled atrium. In conjunction with the mechanical engineer, Klopf designed a net-zero energy home featuring insulated concrete forms, structural insulated panels, high-performance windows, cementitious siding, and a solar photovoltaic system sized to cover all the energy usage. The new house is open and light, offering a connection to nature while maintaining privacy."

    Chosen by: Julie Carlson: "I could get a lot of work done in this office: It's light and airy with plenty of storage space. Bonus points for the view."

    Klopf Architects Remodelista Design Awards

    Klopf Architects Remodelista Design Awards

    Klopf Architects Remodelista Design Awards

    Klopf Architects Remodelista Design Awards

    Klopf Architects Remodelista Design Awards

    Remodelista Design Awards Klopf Architects

    Vote daily, now through August 8, on both Remodelista and Gardenista. Winners will be announced on August 9.

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    After practicing architecture for more than a decade, Brazilian-born Bay Area resident Silvia Song was in need of something more hands-on. As she explains, "I was doing a lot of design work and mockups, and visiting vendors and fabricators, but I never got to make anything myself. I missed the act of doing." Her solution? She purchased some hand tools and started building simple wooden shelves: "I didn't need much more than a hammer and some lumber from Home Depot."

    That was her start. Then Song started thinking about trying her hand at ceramics, but instead took a five-day class to learn how to turn wooden vessels, and became a wood potter. Her bowls in particular have really taken off. "I like vessels," she says, "the small opening means you can’t see what’s going on inside, so it gets tricky and dangerous, but it’s also challenging and satisfying." When she recently posted some indigo-dyed pieces on Instagram (she has a devoted following, myself included), we had to learn more. California dwellers, stay tuned for her show, which runs August 15 to September 15 at Heath Ceramics, in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

    Silvia Song maple nesting bowls | Remodelista

    Above: A set of Unfinished Nesting Maple Bowls; $500. Song likes the fact that maple begins as a pale white and ambers over time.

    Silvia Song indigo maple bowl | Remodelista

    Above: Song collaborated with natural-dye specialist Kristine Vejar, dipping hand-turned maple bowls in a traditional Japanese-style indigo vat. 

    Silvia Song indigo maple bowl | Remodelista

    Above: The indigo bowls will be available exclusively at home-furnishings shop March, in SF. For the record, they're oiled and waxed; Song uses hers as a fruit bowl.

    Silvia Song hollow vessel and bowl | Remodelista.

    Above: Maple bowls. Song tells us, "Maple is one of the hardest and densest domestic woods, and to me it turns like butter; even if it's bone dry, it turns well."

    Silvia Song Claro Bowls | Remodelista

    Above: Claro Walnut Bowl; $230. Claro walnut grows only in Northern California and is not readily available. Song works with a city arborist who emails her photos of felled trees. 

    Silvia Song double dovetail butcher block | Remodelista

    Above: A Butcher Block made from thick end-grain maple; $300. In addition to wood turning, Song is developing a new line of wood work. The cutting boards are inspired by old-fashioned farmhouse stand-alone butcher blocks. 

    Silvia Song woodwork studio | Remodelista

    Above: Song renovated her garage to create a workshop, but keeps needing more space: "I am slowly seeping into my husband's man cave." Keep up with her work at Silvia Song.

    Have a look at March in our Shopper's Diary. For more fine woodwork, see our post on 8 Design-Worthy Wooden Spoons. And if you want to see how wood is salvaged, see our post on Evan Shively, the Ultimate Arborist.

    Don't forget to vote for the finalists in our 2014 Considered Design Awards! You can vote now and every day until August 8. The winners will be announced August 9.

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    Let's be honest: Northern California's Marin County is fab in many ways. World's most beautiful landscape? Check. Birthplace of the mountain bike and the hot tub? Check. Stomping ground of the Grateful Dead? Check. But the restaurant scene has been lackluster. Until recently.

    LA import Farmshop, located in the revamped Marin Country Mart, has upped the ante. The food is noteworthy, but we're more interested in the interiors, designed by Commune.

    Photography by Mariko Reed, unless otherwise noted.

    Farmshop Noguchi Light Remodelista

    Above: A lounge area exudes midcentury cool.

    Farmshop Polished Concrete Floors Remodelista

    Above: Another view of the private dining area.

    Farmshop Dining Room Remodelista

    Above: The main dining room features Commune's trademark (and hard-to-pin-down) sense of cool.

    Farmshop Marin Dining Table Mural Remodelista

    Above: School chairs against an agrarian photo mural. Photograph by Katie Newburn.

    Farmshop Marin Mural Dining Table Remodelista

    Above: Teal velvet banquettes. Photograph by Katie Newburn.

    Farmshop Sliding Door Remodelista

    Above: Cool polished concrete floors.

    Farmshop Dining Room Heath Tile Remodelista

    Above: Tiling by Heath Ceramics, in Sausalito.

    Farmshop Marin Dining Tables Remodelista

    Above: A view of the bar seating. Photograph by Katie Newburn.

    Farmshop White Tiled Counters Remodelista

    Above: Heath's textured subway tiles.

    Farmshop Marin Grill Remodelista

    Above: The wood-burning hearth. Photograph by Katie Newburn.

    Farmshop Marble Counter Remodelista

    Above: A view of the precision detailing.

    Farmshop Marin Oven Remodelista

    Above: Fire cooking in action. Photograph by Katie Newburn.

    Farmshop  Marin Wood Burning Oven Remodelista

    Above: For more, go to Farmshop. Photograph by Katie Newburn.

    Below: Farmshop is in Larkspur, a ferry ride away from San Francisco.

    Marin's Most Beautiful Office Space features the office of Marin Country Mart owner (and mastermind) Jim Rosenfield. The mart is also spotlighted in Steal This Look: A Patriot's Post Office. Another Marin hub that we recommend: Sir and Star (see A Restaurant that Channels The Birds).

    Have you cast your vote today for the 2014 Remodelista and Gardenista Considered Design Awards? Vote for the finalists of your choice every day through August 8; we'll announce the winners August 9.

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    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on September 23, 2013, as part of our issue The Nonchalant Kitchen.

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    As far as kitchen countertops are concerned, Mr. McGuire in theThe Graduate had it right: "There's a great future in plastics." Not all plastics, of course—in general, we try to keep them out of the kitchen—but the durable, adaptable manufactured material commonly known as Corian is gaining traction. While natural materials (granite, marble, and wood) have ruled the roost in kitchens for many years, solid-surface countertops are increasingly the competition. Greater color choices, widespread availability, and a more affordable entry point than high-end stone are just some of the reasons to take another look. 

    Have you installed Corian or other solid-surface countertops in your own kitchen? Please share your experiences in the Comments section at the bottom.

    White Kitchen with Solid Surface White Corian Countertops, REmodelista

    Above: In a Victorian house in Stoke Newington, London, a white Corian countertop lightens the small kitchen. Photograph via JJ Locations.

    What are solid-surface counters?

    Solid surface is a manufactured material made from polymer resins mixed with minerals and colorants. It is durable, nontoxic, hygienic, non-allergenic, and Greenguard Indoor Air-Quality Certified. Most commonly manufactured in sheets (in thicknesses akin to standard countertops), solid surface is fabricated into countertops, cabinet fronts, and backsplashes.

    In addition to being man-made and therefore abundantly available unlike natural stone, solid surface is:

    • Nonporous, making it resistant to stains and easy to keep clean.
    • Solid—hence its not exactly poetic moniker. There's no veneer or coating; no matter how you slice it, solid surface has the same composition and color throughout.
    • Infinitely Repairable. It's scratchable, but thanks to its solidity, scuffs, dents, and burns can be sanded out.
    • Seamless in appearance. Solid-surface countertop pieces can be tightly glued together then sanded so that the seams disappear.
    • Fully Customizable. It can be carved, sanded, and heat-shaped to create, among other things, integrated drain boards, curved sink openings, and sinks themselves.

    Blakes London Designer White Corian Countertop, Remodelista

    Above: In a kitchen by Blakes London, a member of the Remodelista Architect Directory, the designers used white solid surface for both the countertop and integrated sink. "The ability to have an integral sink in the same finish as the counter is an attractive feature in some of these manufactured surfaces," Jamie Blake says. To get this seamless look, customization isn't always required: Many solid-surface manufacturers stand ready with prefabricated sinks for order. Photograph courtesy of Blakes London.

    Who makes solid-surface countertops?

    As Levi's is to blue jeans, the brand Corian is to solid-surface countertops. Dupont created the material in the 1960s and held a patent for over 30 years. The expiration of Corian's patent enabled other manufacturers of solid-surface countertops to enter the market. These include LG Hi-Macs, Samsung's Staron, Hanex, Wilsonart, and Finnish-based Durat, which uses 30 percent postindustrial recycled plastics. (It should be noted that Corian's Terra Collection is made with 6 percent pre-consumer recycled content.)

    What's the difference between the brands? The materials are actually nearly identical (Dupont's once secret recipe for Corian is now out in the world). The product pricing is similar, too, with some variations from installation requirements (see below). Color is the biggest differentiator between the brands. 

    What colors are available?

    Solid-surface counters are available in hundreds of hues, ranging from a rainbow of solids (whites to brights) to metallics to stone patterns. These are all matte and can't be polished to a sheen. Corian alone offers a portfolio of 118 colors. Manufacturers offer samples (small tiles of the actual material in the same thickness as a standard counter) either to order on their websites or through installers or reps. 


    White Solid Surface Countertop, Remodelista

    Above: Solid surface is one of the few countertop materials that you can get in perfect white—lending it particular currency in the pale kitchen trend of late. The white Corian countertop in this London Victorian has integrated sinks to give the small space a minimalist look. Photograph via JJ Locations.

    Stone Patterns

    Corian Rain Cloud Countertop, Remodelista

    Above L and R: Corian Rain Cloud mimics Carrara marble. Photographs via KCB Cabinets.

    Like the natural stone look? Most solid-surface brands offer stone-like colors and are working to get them closer to the real thing. That said, patterned solid surface should come with a warning label: Installation may compromise the seamless look. When patterned pieces are joined together at a corner, it's not possible to have perfect pattern matching; the seam won't be visible, but a perpendicular pattern change will be noticeable.

    "In most of these manufactured materials, the solid colors or uniform, granular patterns are more successful than the ones that try to mimic granites and marbles," says architect Robert Schultz. Architect Lauren Rubin agrees: "I like the solid surfaces but generally avoid the simulated stone. I'm a purist, if you want the look of stone, stay with stone."


    Durat Solid Surface Orange Countertop, Remodelista  

    Above: Unlike most other countertop material (except plastic laminate) solid surface is available in a wide range of eye-opening colors—including this orange from Durat in a kitchen by Pirkko-Liisa Topelius. Photograph courtesy of Durat.


    Durat Solid Surface Counter and Cabinets, Remodelista

    Above: Dark colors are available, but show scratches and nicks more than lighter hues. Helsinki-based Studio Koskinen Rantanen used dark gray Durat solid surface throughout this kitchen. Photograph courtesy of Durat.

    Can solid-surface countertops be mixed with other materials?

    Yes, its range of colors and adaptability makes solid surface a great partner for all kinds of other materials, including wood and stainless steel.

    BMArchitects White Corian Countertops, Remodelista  

    Above: Stainless steel appliances and a white solid-surface countertop and backsplash complement the wood cabinets in a Brooklyn kitchen by BWArchitects. See more at Artist Live/Work Space. Photograph via BWArchitects.

    How is solid-surface countertop installed?

    Solid surface is most commonly manufactured in sheets that are then fabricated into countertops. The process typically goes something like this:

    • The installer does a "rough," a drawing of the space to create a price quote.
    • Once the quote is accepted, the installer comes to the site to create a template of the countertop dimensions and details, including openings for cooktops, sinks, and any other customizations.
    • The counter is fabricated offsite using premade sheets of the material. In the case of a simple galley countertop, the entire counter is created in a single piece. For kitchens with L-shaped corners, the countertop may be fabricated in two or three pieces and then connected onsite (see info above on seams). This typically takes four to five weeks. 
    • The counter is installed (usually in a day since the bulk of the work is done offsite). Solid surface is typically applied to a sub-base of plywood.

    Corian Countertops by Oliver Freundlich, Remodelista  

    Above: In a renovated kitchen by architect Oliver Freundlich, the sink counter is Glacier White Corian that's .75-inch thick: "1.25-inch thick is standard. I went with .75 inch because it's thin and light and complements the scale of the kitchen," says Freundlich. See more at Rehab Diary: Cobble Hill Kitchen Makeover, Before and After. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Can solid surface be used for more than countertops? 

    In residential settings, solid surface is most commonly found as countertops, but thanks to its durability, strength, and adaptability its uses are expanding. These include integrated sinks, backsplashes, wall panels, cabinet fronts, tables, shelving, and even switch plates—and that's just in the kitchen. Solid surface is making inroads in other rooms, too, especially bathrooms, thanks to the fact that it's impervious to water.

    Bosundet Hotel Solid Surface Countertop and Bath, Remodelista  

    Above: The vanity and tub in a bathroom at the Hotel Brosundet in Norway is made of white Durat. Photograph courtesy of Durat

    How much do solid-surface countertops cost?

    Corian and its competitors are not inexpensive. Northwest-based Precision Countertops advises that a good rule of thumb for estimating the cost of a solid-surface counter is $45 to $68 per square foot installed. The variation in price is mostly dependent on the color selected (colors are typically grouped in different price bands). 

    Another factor effecting pricing is fabrication. Some manufacturers require that the final product be fabricated by approved/trained fabricators (meaning you can't track down your own, more affordable option). The upside, in the case of Corian, is that the product and installation are covered by a 10-year warranty.

    Gray Corian Countertop, Remodelista  

    Above: To help lighten a dark kitchen in An Amsterdam Loft for a Nomadic Family, a minimalist light gray, solid-surface countertop was introduced. Photograph by Irene Hoofs of Bloesem Living.

    How do you clean and maintain solid surface countertops?

    Unlike many natural countertop materials, solid surface is extremely low maintenance. It doesn't require sealants and for day-to-day use, soapy water is all that's recommended. If however, there's residue buildup, a product like Soft Scrub and a nonscratching scouring pad should do the trick.

    As for ongoing maintenance, the number-one thing to avoid is putting hot cooking vessels directly on the counter—like Formica, solid surface is not heat resistant and can burn. The good news is that if an accident occurs, solid-surface countertops are repairable: chips, scratches, burns and any other visible damage can be filled and sanded. 

    Helen Lucas Architects Corian Countertops, Remodelista

    Above: In artist Alison Watt's live/work studio space in Edinburgh, Scotland, a solid-surface counter with an integrated drainboard stands next to the sink. "Corian is seamless," project architect Helen Lucas explains, "and it can cope with brush washing and oil paint." Take a tour of Watt's space in A Georgian Townhouse in Edinburgh Remodeled for an Artist. Photograph by Angus Bremner.

    Solid Surface Countertop Recap


    • Can always be repaired
    • Nonporous, so won't stain
    • Easy to clean
    • Available in a wide range of colors, including pure white
    • Seamless 
    • Available in varying thicknesses, including thinner profiles than most countertop materials without sacrificing strength and durability.


    • Not heat resistant
    • Can scratch and dent
    • Not a natural look
    • Can't be polished to a shine


    Researching new countertops? Read 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Kitchen Countertops. And for more specifics on the subject, see our Remodeling 101 posts:

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    The art of maximizing minimal countertop space begins with the right storage components. We're drawn to West Elm's new trio of brass-toned kitchen accessories, designed to keep counter clutter at bay.

    West Elm Brass Wire Foldable Dish Rack | Remodelista

    Above: The Wire Mountable Paper Towel Holder is $24. The paper towel holder, along with the other items in West Elm's new wire collection, is made of brass-finished steel and is dishwasher safe.

    West Elm Brass Wire Mountable Paper Towel Holder | Remodelista

    Above: Here's an idea we like: A Foldable Dish Rack that closes up for easy storage; $39.

    West Elm Brass Wire Soap Dish | Remodelista

    Above: The Wire Soap Dish is designed with drainage in mind for watery bars of soap; $14.

    Looking for more? See our 10 Easy Pieces posts on the best Countertop Paper Towel Holders and Countertop Dish Drainers. Have a look at brass-filled kitchens in our posts Trend Alert: 10 Kitchens with Brass Accents and Steal This Look: A Glamorous London Kitchen from a Designer with "Shitloads of Talent."

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    When I was 20, I lived for five months with a woman named Fabienne and her two young daughters in the city of Toulouse, in southern France. Beyond my delight at speaking French all day and indulging in a daily chocolatine from a neighborhood bakery in the afternoons, I was enthralled by something much more mundane: Fabienne's refrigerator.

    Every evening when I returned from my classes, I'd peek into the family refrigerator to see if I could determine what we might be having for dinner. I was foiled every single time. I knew that we wouldn't be dining on butter and cheese alone, but night after night, those were the only things of any substance that I found. Despite the spartan contents of Fabienne's fridge, she churned out consistently delicious meals. Fresh ingredients, daily stops to the market, and an unrelenting mission to finish what she'd purchased were the secrets to her tidiness.

    Keeping a refrigerator like Fabienne's is still something that I aspire to. Until I get there, I rely on a little trick that keeps my refrigerator smelling fresh, if not also perfectly edited.

    Above: When it comes to natural cleaning products, baking soda is King and sweetly scented lavender is Queen. These two ingredients are all you need to make a 100 percent natural odor absorber.

    Above: An aluminum Dredger, made for sprinkling flour or powdered sugar, is the perfect vessel for this project. I purchased mine for $3.50 at Whisk.

    Above: The Union Square Farmer's Market, in New York City, is my go-to spot for dried lavender flowers. Dried Lavender Flowers are $15.10 per pound from Amazon. (Or you can use a few drops of lavender essential oil; a half-ounce bottle of Lavender Essential Oil is $4 from Botanic Choice.)

    Above: To make your odor absorber, fill the dredger about three quarters of the way with baking soda. (Baking soda all by itself will work wonders to absorb unpleasant odors.)

    Above: Adding lavender flowers helps mask unpleasant odors. Remove the lavender buds from the stems by rubbing the blossoms between your thumb and forefinger, then mix the buds into the baking soda with a spoon. I used about 10 stems of lavender to make a batch of odor absorber.

    Above: The dredger's perforated top allows the baking soda to absorb unpleasant smells while avoiding spills. As an added bonus, if there's a day when your trash can is particularly offensive, you can sprinkle some of the baking soda mixture on top of the garbage. 

    Above: Tucked into the back of the refrigerator, the dredger fits right in without drawing attention to itself. Replace your baking soda and lavender every few months to keep a perfectly odor-free refrigerator.

    Erin also uses herbs to deter moths. Read about her technique in DIY: Modern Mothballs (No Chemicals Included). And for more of her cleaning secrets, see The Secret Ingredient to Make Windows Shine Bright Like a Diamond. Both stories are on Gardenista.

    Have you cast your vote today for the Remodelista and Gardenista Considered Design Awards? You can vote for the finalists of your choice every day until August 8; we'll announce the winners on August 9.

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    Here at Remodelista the obsession with tiny kitchens hits close to home. Many of us live with postage-stamp-size setups, but, surprisingly, we don’t long for more space. What we’re eternally searching for are great-looking, high-functioning appliances scaled to fit our quarters, which is why we're so taken with Italian company Alpes Inox's freestanding stainless steel kitchen systems. Tailored for tight spaces, they're multifunctional and made to come with you should you move—none are built-ins, so they can be rearranged as needed, and most designs are available on wheels.

    Based in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, Alpes Inox has been fabricating stainless steel kitchen equipment since 1954. Inox, by the way (an abbreviation of the French, acier inoxydable), means stainless steel, and the company uses only top-of-the-line, high-nickel stainless, which has a durable, bright white shine. All of Alpes Inox's designs are the work of founder Nico Moretto, who now runs the business with his two sons. An American company would be wise to take inspiration from Moretto's example.

      Alpes Inox Kitchen Remodelista

    Above: US buyers can purchase directly from Alpes Inox (be warned that these pieces are pricey—the most compact electric oven with a five-burner gas cooktop is €6,695). For more information and prices, see Alpes Inox, and contact Mr. Passalacqua in the company's export department at

      Alpes Inox stainless steel kitchen appliances via Remodelista

    Above: The two gas burners on this cooktop flip up so that the piece doubles as a food prep table. Under it, a two-drawer cart on casters holds pots and pans and other kitchen essentials. Several variations of the cart are available, and buyers can opt for a steel top or a wooden cutting board (shown in the previous photo).


    Above: This all-stainless-steel sink has two basins with different depths, which makes it possible to position a dishwasher under the shallow side. A sliding cutting board (not shown) fits over the work surface alongside inset bins with knobbed white tops for collecting compost. 

    Alpes Inox stainless steel kitchen appliances via Remodelista

    Above: An Alpes Inox stacked oven and beverage refrigerator stands next to a multi-drawer unit that features a sink, inset dish-drying rack, and cooktop.


    Above: The gas burners flip up to create extra counter space as needed.


    Above: Alpes Inox's Washing, Cooking, and Refrigeration Column comes with a 60-centimeter-wide oven and spaces to insert a dishwasher and fridge.


    Above: The same structure is available as a two-door wine refrigerator, a side-by-side refrigerator and freezer, or a four-shelf pantry.


    Above: The at-your-service island contains a five-burner gas cooktop, a deep sink, and drawers on two sides. 


    Above: The top drawer is kitted out with wooden dividers for flatware, serving utensils, placemats, a cutting board, and knives.


    Above: A rolling electric oven with its own shelving unit and utensils drawer.

    Living with a tiny kitchen? See our photo gallery of Small-Space Kitchens and our roundup Radical Downsizing, High/Low Mini Kitchens. On Gardenista, have a look at the 186-Square-Foot Guest Cottage, postage-stamp Ikea kitchen included.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on September 25, 2013, as part of our issue The Nonchalant Kitchen.

    Don't forget to vote for the finalists in the Remodelista and Gardenista Considered Design Awards. Until August 8, you can vote once a day in all categories. We're announcing the winners August 9. 

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    Tucked into a corridor-like niche, the 9-by-12-foot kitchen in a Victorian house in Noe Valley, San Francisco, had no natural light. Tasked by her client with brightening the space and maximizing storage and seating, designer Alison Davin, founding principal of Jute, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, wanted to make the kitchen feel bigger and yet knew she couldn’t add any more square footage. Her game-changing move was to remove the wall between the living areas and the kitchen, enabling the opened-up kitchen to borrow and benefit from the natural daylight in those spaces. “The family of four did not want to take space away from their dining and living areas so we worked with what we had,” Davin says. “The redesign of the kitchen layout made the space more functional. Coupled with the natural light, the kitchen feels like it has grown in size.”

    Photography by Drew Kelly.

    Jute, Noe Valley Kitchen Remodel | Remodelista

    Above: The streamlined new kitchen is in a light-reflecting white palette. Having worked with Davin before, the client gave her and her team at Jute the freedom to work without an approval process because the project was under a tight deadline. Says Davin, "We started with the layout, followed with the custom-cabinetry drawings, figured out where the plugged-in appliances would go, and then added the decorative pieces: large aluminum lights, marble chevron backsplash, and accessories for the open shelving."

    Jute, Noe Valley Kitchen Remodel, Clever Microwave Storage | Remodelista

    Above: A kitchen cabinet next to the refrigerator reveals a hidden microwave. See 10 Strategies for Hiding the Microwave for more ideas about keeping the microwave tucked away.

    Jute, Noe Valley Kitchen Remodel | Remodelista

    Above: Davin created a U-shaped layout to maximize the efficiency and functionality of the small kitchen, and introduced cabinets and shelves on all three walls. Lighting is provided by a pair of Oskar Pendants in a satin aluminum and nickel finish. Get the lowdown on U-shaped kitchens and see 10 of our favorites in Remodeling 101: The U-Shaped Kitchen.

    Jute, Noe Valley Kitchen Remodel | Remodelista

    Above: Caesarstone counters are paired with custom marble tiles (Parramore in Thassos and Alba Chiara) from Waterworks. Closed overhead cabinets—painted in Horizon by Benjamin Moore—maximize storage and keep the open kitchen from looking busy. The Quincy Deck-Mounted Bridge Faucet with Lever Handles is by Kallista.

    Jute, Noe Valley Kitchen Remodel | Remodelista

    Above: The neutral palette provides a blank canvas for culinary color.


    Jute, Noe Valley Kitchen Remodel, Before Image | Remodelista

    Above L and R: These images show the wall between the living areas and kitchen that was removed in the remodel.

    Jute, Noe Valley Kitchen Remodel, Before Image | Remodelista

    Above: The enclosures created a corridor-like kitchen (shown here looking toward the front hall).

    Jute, Noe Valley Kitchen Remodel, Before Image | Remodelista

    Above: A view of the old kitchen looking toward the living area.

    Jute, Noe Valley Kitchen Plans | Remodelista

    Above: The before and after plans illustrate the dramatic opening effect of removing the wall separating the kitchen and dining room. 

    For more kitchen success stories, peruse our Rehab Diaries, including An Artist's NYC Kitchen Renovation and Cobble Hill Kitchen Makeover, Before and After. On Gardenista, have a look at our Recipe Roundup for the Perfect Picnic Menu.  

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    You might not know the name, but you will no doubt have seen her work. Brooklyn-based British stylist, Hilary Robertson, aka Mrs. Robertson, has left her imprint on the covers of countless American and British shelter magazines, and in visual campaigns and displays for Ochre, Canvas, Williams-Sonoma, and Garnet Hill, to name but a few of her clients. And on top of that, Hilary recently came out with The Stuff of Life, a book that we consider Required Reading. In need of some inspired summer entertaining ideas, who else to turn to but Hilary? 

    Photographs courtesy of Hilary Robertson, unless noted.

    Hilary Robertson Black Outdoor Table | Remodelista

    Above: An outdoor dining setting.

    RM: For summer tables, what look do you like best?
    HR: Natural colors, textures, and materials seem to work best with food, so I usually opt for a neutral palette.

    Summer Berries Hilary Robertson | Remodelista

    Above: Summer fruits displayed on a pedestal.

    RM: Summer tableware of choice?
    HR: I use ceramic plates and proper glasses in the garden, but when I'm trekking further afield, I like Wasara Paper Goods made from tree-free renewable materials and Tallrik Papper graph-patterned plates from Granit in Sweden. Ball jars make great lanterns teamed with a nightlight or candle, and they also work beautifully as glasses. Pierce the metal of the jar, add a straw, and you have a spill-proof container. I also like the classic shape of the Duralex glass and look-alikes from Terrain that are made of bamboo [see below]. 

    Hilary Robertson bamboo cups| Remodelista

    Above: Bamboo Picnic Tumblers from Terrain are reusable, dishwasher-safe, and biodegradable (they're made of bamboo fiber).

    RM: Napkins of choice?
    HR: I prefer using cloth napkins and I collect vintage ones that are monogrammed or simply embroidered. I can't resist the wonderful quality of linen that's been laundered for years. Sometimes I use old denim torn roughly into squares as napkins. My friend Kathleen Hackett thought of this and it looks great.

    Torn denim napkins Hilary Robertson | Remodelista

    Above: Torn denim used as napkins.

    RM: Preferred flatware?
    HR: I have a weakness for bamboo-handled cutlery and mismatched vintage flatware bought at flea markets. It's good to use something recycled whenever possible.  

    The Anatolian Turkish Bathtowel | Remodelista

    Above: A Turkish Bath Towel that Hilary uses as a tablecloth and picnic blanket. 

    RM: What do you like to use for table linens? 
    HR: I use multitasking, lightweight cotton Turkish towels as tablecloths and as picnic blankets. For eating al fresco, I pile several rolled-up towels in a market basket and use them to wrap cutlery, plates, and glasses. Then I layer the towels in a patchwork pattern on the ground or sling them over a table.

    RM: Anything else?
    HR: Another natural material that feels summery and makes a fun table runner is raffia; I buy it at Jamali, in New York City's flower district. Lazy Point, in Amagansett, New York, stocks table mats, runners, and rugs made of woven cotton and raffia.

    Hilary Robertson styling and lunch setting | Remodelista

    Above: Mrs. Robertson's display genius lies in the tension between objects and the energy created by her groupings.

    RM: Entertaining staple?
    HR: I have lots of painter's hardware store drop cloths that I use as blankets, tablecloths, and sometimes as a sun shade suspended from a tree or some bamboo poles. They come in natural canvas, and I have experimented with dyeing them indigo. I'm also fond of drop cloths that are covered in paint spatters and have often begged my set builders to give me their used ones.

    RM: Lighting suggestions?
    HR: For evening parties, I like to create a glow by filling paper bags with sand and a night light, or I hang white paper lanterns with outdoor string lights from Terrain.

    Mosquito net tent with sheepskin rugs by Hilary Robertson | Remodelista

    Above: For after-dinner lounging: The Solig Mosquito Net with sheepskin rugs and a few pillows.

    RM: Any other outdoor ideas?
    HR: When I want to create a romantic scene, I make an outdoor room: I hang a mosquito net from a branch over a pile of sheepskin rugs or a table—a pair of saw horses and an old door make a great garden table.

    We're huge fans of the drop cloth: See Drop Cloths as Decor, our Black Drop Cloth find, and my DIY Hibiscus Dye Drop Cloth. Expecting company? Have a look at our Entertaining posts, including Tiina's Finnish Midsummer Table and Louesa Robuck's Wild (and Edible) Bouquets. And Gardenista has great summery drinks and no-cook recipes.

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    While we've been celebrating the summer kitchen, the Gardenista team has, too—all over the world, and without ever having to come indoors.

    Illustrator Celia Hart's Garden in Suffolk | Gardenista

    Above: Celia Hart is an illustrator and printmaker in Suffolk, England, whose blog keeps readers up to date on her plantings on the grounds of an old estate, her work (oh, and her chickens, too). Take a Garden Tour with Kendra, stately henhouse included.

    In the garden with Laura Silverman of Glutton for Life | Gardenista

    Above: This week's Cook's Garden belongs to Laura Silverman of the aptly named blog Glutton for Life. After exploring her and her husband's Mexican sour gherkins, shiso, lovage, and hops (she says the first tender shoots are delicious in an omelette), have a look indoors, too.

    Justine Hand hydrangea bouquet | Gardenista

     Above: "My first thought was that prim hydrangeas might benefit from a walk on the wild side,” says Justine of her assignment to invent The Bouquet of the Week. "Figuring I could add a little Danny Zuko to their Sandy (to use a Grease reference), I set out in search of some unruly locals."

    Clyde hanging kitchen basket | Gardenista

    Above: Speaking of Justine—in her Cape Cod cottage (which we featured in the Remodelista book), she keeps an old-fashioned root basket above the kitchen work table. Now we know where to source one, thanks to 10 Easy Pieces.

    The fixings for Oliva Rae Jame's avocado lemon sprout sandwich | Gardenista

    Above: "For me," Michelle says, "the perfect summer kitchen is one I barely see." She has rounded up five of her favorite garden-to-table recipes for peak-season salads and sandwiches, no cooking allowed.  

    And don't forget: Voting is now under way for the 2014 Remodelista and Gardenista Considered Design Awards. You can vote for the finalists every day until August 8. Winners will be announced August 9. 

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    Our judges have selected the finalists, now you choose the winners. Vote for the finalists in each of 17 Considered Design Awards categories, on both Remodelista and Gardenista. You can vote once a day in each category, now through August 8.

    In the Best Bedroom/Amateur category, our five finalists are Michelle Pattee, Tori Willis, Finn & Flora, Thayer & Todd, and Anne S. Holtermann.

    Project 1

    Michelle Pattee | Sebastopol, CA | Sebastopol House

    Design Statement: "This room on the second floor of our 1904 farmhouse was raw and unfinished. The only access was a ladder through a window. The previous owner liked to drink and shoot. We found lots of bottles and bullets in the floor framing. The painter used the wrong primer—the only time I’ve ever hired a painter—and the wood knots showed through eventually, which turned out to be a good mistake. We kept the room open due to budget constraints, and the open space is pure indulgence."

    Chosen by: Guest judge and former Martha Stewart Living art director Gael Towey, who said: "I love the idea of converting existing space into something useful and also a retreat. The black floor with the whitewashed pine walls and contrasting beams is very dramatic and accentuates the design of the house.The white bed covers, white armoire, and white sofa reinforce the overall simplicity of the color palette."

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista


    Project 2

    Tori Willis | Los Angeles, CA | Rustic Nomad 

    Design Statement: "Light-filled space allows a calming oasis to rest and relax. Touches of rustic, reclaimed wood design, along with objects from many travels and memories fill the room."

    Chosen by: Remodelista editor in chief Julie Carlson, who says: "A simple, restful bedroom with all the necessary elements: a reading light by Brendon Ravenhill, a low-slung bed, a window for breeze; we're on board."

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista


    Project 3

    Finn & Flora | Brooklyn, NY | Adventures in Legoland

    Design Statement: "The objective here was to create a fun bedroom for our four-year-old boy who loves Legos and going on adventures.”

    Chosen by: Gael Towey, who admired "the funny idea of using a duvet to create a tepee for her son. The navy blue walls look like deep sky and the flags around the teepee make it feel like he's sailing away into the cosmos like Peter Pan. The accessories are thoughtful: The funny picture in the gold frame is hung asymmetrically in the perfect spot, and the blanket looks like a camp blanket. The bed's wood side rails make it look like a ship sailing into the night. Well done, Mom."

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista

    Above: "This tepee was made from an old queen-size duvet cover, cut open and gathered at the top with twine. No finishing work required. Army blanket from Paris flea market, light-blue fitted sheet from Ikea, and yellow Lego storage box.


    Project 4

    Thayer + Todd | Centerpoint, NY | Sleeping Loft

    Design Statement: "We wanted a cozy getaway for our weekend guests, so we converted our attic into a sleeping loft. It's accessed by a sliding Putnam ladder, which makes for a fun escape."

    Chosen by: Julie Carlson: "I love 'found' space, and this is a perfect example of repurposing an unused space for hosting guests and encouraging community and revelry."

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista

    Above: "A vintage surfing photograph and beachy, organic cotton linens for the bed."

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista

    Above: "Reclaimed wood from original attic floorboards makes for a great headboard."

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista

    Above: "This way up."

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista

    Above: "The rough-hewn beams came from a New York City building."


    Project 5

    Anne S. Holtermann | South Dartmouth, MA | St. Paul de Vence

    Design Statement: "This is a little maisonette that I refurbished from top to bottom using local materials, found materials, old materials, and my own wits. I love a good mixture of color and calm, clean but interesting, and a design that can easily be changed with the smallest amount of effort—just a move of the vase or add a new bright pillow and change a room! I wanted the space to be quiet and romantic for a couple or perfectly peaceful for one. True calm."

    Chosen by: Gael Towey, who said that she likes "the overall summery feeling of the room—the tile floor and bright informal accessories, and the large windows that let in lots of light. The unmatching dressers that double as side tables are an excellent use of space and give the room style and personality. My favorite feature is the picture rail above the bed that echoes the rough beam overhead—it's like a drawing on the wall."

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista

    Best Bedroom Finalist in 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards | Remodelista

    Start voting—and vote daily—now through August 8, on both Remodelista and Gardenista. Winners will be announced on August 9.

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    Chris Thorpe of Head & Haft, in Cornwall, England, describes his outfit as "a multidisciplinary product, furniture, home design, and manufacturing business, adhering to the principles of function, beauty, quality, and craft longevity." His materials include "air-dried, Cornish-cut, seasoned ash, sycamore, beech, and oak, really nicely figured," as well as wood he finds on his rambles, and local granite, too.

    Head Haft Stool | Remodelista

    Above: Milked Side Tables.

    Head Haft Light | Remodelista

    Above: The Quake Pendant Light.


    Head Haft Bowl | Remodelista

    Above: XL Ash Bowl.

    Chris Thorpe of Head Haft | Remodelista

    Above: Chris Thorpe in his studio, near Falmouth.

    For artisan-crafted furniture made in the US, have a look at Sawkille's Color-Stained Designs and Richard Watson's Furniture with a Feminine Touch (and a Masculine Name).

    Don't forget: Voting is now under way for the 2014 Remodelista and Gardenista Considered Design Awards. You can vote for the finalists every day until August 8. Winners will be announced August 9. 

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    Housed in a cottage that's the perfect shade of Oxford blue, Josephine House, in downtown Austin's Clarksville, is for those looking to spend an easy afternoon beating the Texas heat with a cool cocktail.

    The cafe is the daytime counterpart to Jeffrey's, the neighboring dinner institution (the cottage began as a private dining room for Jeffrey's before opening as a separate restaurant in 2013). Both are owned and masterminded by Larry McGuire of McGuire Moorman Hospitality, who named Josephine House after portraits of Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte that are longstanding fixtures in Jeffrey's two private dining rooms. With its exposed shiplap, George Nakashima chairs, and marble counters, the interior at Josephine is a brighter version of the elevated club atmosphere at Jeffrey's. Picture Southern Living meets Nantucket whites—in a modern way.

    Photography by Michael A. Muller for Remodelista.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Built in the 1930s, the cottage was, among other things, a catering kitchen before McGuire Moorman Hospitality took over Jeffrey's and reinvented it. It has since been singled out by Bon Appétit as one of the best new restaurants in the country.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: In the central dining room, a painted farmhouse table, George Nakashima chairs, and round walnut tables stand out against high-gloss white walls.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Table arrangements are a nod to Josephine Bonaparte's love of roses.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The restaurant's menu is printed daily on heavy white stock "so that each meal feels like a private party," McGuire says. Tables are set with classic stainless flatware from Saint Andrea and Riedel glassware.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: When the interior was being renovated, the construction crew discovered shiplap underneath the drywall. McGuire explains, "We removed, sorted, and straightened the shiplap, and then spray-insulated the whole house before reinstalling the wood." 

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: A window offers a view into the kitchen from the main dining room—and can be closed off via a sliding hex bar. The marble countertop displays grain salads, fresh pastries, and cheeses of the day. The restaurant is open for lunch, brunch, happy hour, and dinner.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: McGuire takes great care in his tableware selections. Josephine House uses Heath Ceramics' opaque white Coupe line, paired with serving boards by Edward Wohl and Spanish clay cazuelas.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The open shelves above the dining room's marble countertop hold, among other things, vintage silver pieces that the restaurant uses for chilling wine and as vases.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: A stack of menus weighted down by metal card holders; the umbrellas are for the borrowing.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: A vintage rug at the front door leads into the main dining room.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Umbrellas and built-in nooks allow for shady outdoor seating options.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The rattan designs are Serena & Lily Riveria Side Chairs.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The restaurant's logo was designed by FÖDA Studio of Austin.

    Josephine House in Austin, Texas, Photography by Michael A. Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The Josephine House exterior is painted a custom shade of blue that has become its signature. For more, go to Josephine House.

    Below: The restaurant is in Clarksville, a historic section of Austin.

    See Larry McGuire's other restaurants in our posts on Jeffrey's and Clark's Oyster Bar. Traveling to Austin? Have a look at the best places to shop, eat, and stay in our Austin City Guide.

    And have we mentioned that you can vote every day for your favorite finalists in the Remodelista and Gardenista 2014 Considered Design Awards? Voting ends August 8; we're announcing the winners August 9. 

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