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  • 11/17/14--06:00: The Night-Light Reconsidered
  • There's no arguing that the plug-in night-light comes in handy for guiding family members in the dark (and, in the case of my children, keeping monsters away). That said, the ubiquitous night-light has its faults: In addition to presenting a possible safety hazard for tiny, curious fingers, it hogs precious outlet space and is something of an eyesore. So we were intrigued to discover the SnapRays Guidelight by SnapPower, a night-light disguised as an outlet cover with built-in LED lighting that disappears by day and glows at night.

    SnapRays Guidelight Outlet Cover Night Light, Remodelista

    Above: A replacement for the standard plug-in night-light, the SnapRays Guidelight is an electrical outlet cover plate equipped with LEDs to provide illumination in the dark, while offering two outlets available for use at all times.

    SnapRays Guidelight Outlet Cover Night Light, Remodelista

    Above: The Guidelight is equipped with a light sensor that automatically turns the LEDs on in the dark and off in the light.

    SnapRays Guidelight Outlet Cover Night Light, Remodelista

    Above: The design requires no wires or batteries. To install, simply remove the existing cover plate, snap on the SnapRays Guidelight, and affix with the turn of a screw. (Note that it's always advisable to turn off the outlet power before replacing a cover.)

    SnapRays Guidelight Outlet Cover Night Light, Remodelista  

    Above: SnapRays Guidelights are $15 each and are offered in standard duplex (L) and decor outlet (R) configurations in a choice of white, almond, and ivory. Money-saving sets of three, five, and 10 are also available.

    Getting ready to remodel or build? Consult our Remodeling 101 primers on Electrical Outlet Placement in every room. And for more ingenious outlet solutions, see:

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    As a girl, the adults in my life gave me the gift of creativity: They taught me how to build forts, carve woodblock prints, and sew a simple stitch. These are gifts that last a lifetime—and ones I hope to pass on to my own kids. Toward that end, here are six kits for the budding DIYer.

    Purl Soho Simple Stitched Hot Pads Kit | Remodelista

    Above: Purl Soho's fun and easy kits—embroidery, sewing, weaving, and knitting projects, make your own stuffed animals, and more—are the sort that design-savvy grownups might actually want to have in their homes. (Sorry. I know it's not about us, but in this case, everybody wins.) I had a hard time choosing between the Linen Aprons and the Hand-Embroidered Barrettes—until I came across this Simple Stitched Hot Pads Kit. For $68, your child gets the makings for 12 hot pads: That's less than $6 a piece.

    DIY fox by Kiriki Press, Remodelista

    Above: This five-inch Fox is part of Kirikí Press's Animal Embroidery Kit menagerie available on Etsy—there's also an equally winning squirrel, raccoon, owl, and sloth. Designed by Toronto artist Michelle Galletta, each set includes a screen-printed design, floss, and stuffing to create own companion using basic and intermediate embroidery; $18.

    Yellow Owl Workshop Winter Scenic Stamp Set, Remodelsita

    Above: Become a landscape artist with Scenic Stamp Sets from Yellow Owl Workshop. Choose from farm, circus, city, sea, beach, jungle, or the Winter Stamp Set, shown here, $24.50 each, including five stamps.

    DIY paper puppet kit by Furzechan on Etsy | Remodelista

    Above: The perfect stocking stuffer for crafty kids, Etsy seller Furze Chan's animal puppet kits include paper parts, joints, and a stick. You supply the scissors and glue. Sold individually ($8; the Penguin is shown here) or as a Set of Four Puppets ($30). There's also a bear, wallaby, fox, sheep, monkey, and rabbit.

    watercolor_set_alder_co_2, Remodelista

    Natalie L'Ete watercolor set from Alder & Co. | Remodelista

    Above, top and bottom: French artist Nathalie Lété's Large Watercolor Set includes 24 unusual colors in an old-fashioned metal box with one of her paintings on the lid; $25 from Alder & Co. 

    Acme Woodland Crown Kit, Remodelista

    Above: Something for the DIY woodland princess or elf? Acme's Woodland Crown kit features velvet leaves and spun-cotton mushrooms; $25.

    For more ideas, see our Guide to Handmade Presents for Children and consider creating alongside them with Gifts for the Crafty Gardener.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Los Angeles photographer Sharon Montrose is celebrated for her portraits of animals. Dedicated to making art accessible and affordable, she opened her online showcase The Animal Print Shop in 2008. More recently, Sharon has expanded into interior design, working with her team at the Animal Print Shop to create kid's bedrooms and nurseries that are the right setting for her baby animal series. The example shown here, with a play area and sleeping nook, features her work along with a host of accessories sourced on Etsy. The Animal Print Shop team generously detailed many of the sources on their own blog, and we've added a few more options. Here's how to get the look. 

    Animal Print Shop Kid's Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: A custom bed is set in a decorated nook. Photograph by Sharon Montrose.

    Animal Print Shop Kid's Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: Spencer Starr of Chalk Chalk in Los Angeles created a custom drawing of Yosemite Valley on a chalkboard-painted wall. Photograph by Sharon Montrose.

    Animal Print Shop Kid's Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: A corner is fitted with a wall-mounted desk of reclaimed cedar designed by LA's Monroe Workshop. Photograph by Sharon Montrose.

    The Materials

    Benjamin Moore White Dove Paint Color | Remodelista

    Above: The room is painted in Benjamin Moore's White Dove; $36.99 for a gallon of Ben Interior Paint.

    Studio Printworks Cone Wallpaper | Remodelista

    Above: Sharon and the team at the Animal Print Shop covered a single wall behind the bed with the Cones Wallpaper in Ciel from Studio Printworks.

    Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue Paint | Remodelista

    Above: The twin bed with storage drawers was painted in Benjamin Moore's Newburyport Blue; $36.99 for a gallon of Ben Interior Paint.

    Valspar Quart Size Interior Matte Chalkboard Paint | Remodelista

    Above: For a chalkboard wall, Valspar's Interior Matte Chalkboard Paint is $9.98 a quart directly from Valspar.

    Furniture & Lighting

    Ikea Flaxa Single Bed Frame with Storage | Remodelista

    Above: The room has a custom bed. For a readymade option, consider the Ikea Flaxa Bed Frame with Storage (it can be sanded and repainted it for a similar look); twin size $179.

    Objets Mecaniques Tent for Kids | Remodelista

    Above: From Objets Mécaniques the 7.1 Tente Pour Les Enfants (Tent for Kids) is made of yellow birch and hand-painted fabric; $285 CAD ($252 USD).

    Ikea Sundvik Children's Chair in White | Remodelista

    Above: The Sundvik Children's Chair is $19.99 from Ikea.

    Magical Thinking Geo Pendant from Urban Outfitters | Remodelista

    Above: The Magical Thinking Geo Pendant is similar to the Animal Print Shop's choice. It's $60 from Urban Outfitters and can be painted white to complete the look. The shade pairs with the Basic Cord Kit; $24, also at Urban Outfitters.

    Bedding & Rugs

    West Elm Nomad Coverlet and Shams | Remodelista

    Above: West Elm's Nomad Pillow Shams are made of quilted cotton voile; they come in several colors and are shown in slate in the room; $29 for the standard sham.

    Magical Thinking Pom-Fringe Duvet Cover | Remodelista

    Above: The Magical Thinking Pom-Pom Fringe Duvet Cover is $99 for the full/queen size at Urban Outfitters.

    Safavieh Plush White Circular Rug from Overstock.com | Remodelista

    Above: From Overstock, the six-foot circular Safavieh Plush White Premium Shag Rug is $163.99. Another option is Ikea's off-white Ådum Rug; $99.

    BoHelina Cloud Pillow from Etsy Seller in Finland | Remodelista

    Above: Based in Vaasa, Finland, Etsy seller BoHelina designs handmade pillows; her Cloud Pillow (shown here) and House-Shaped Pillows are both featured on the bed. The two designs are sold out, but contact BoHelina directly for custom pillow orders and shop her current selection of pillows and linens on Etsy.

    Accessories

    The Animal Print Shop Framed Animal Prints | Remodelista

    Above: Sharon's signature photographs of baby animals from the Animal Print Shop in white frames are hung in a grid over the bed. The room features her Baby HorseBaby White TigerWolf PupBaby KangarooBaby Monkey, and the Baby Zebra; $25 each for the 8.5-by-11-inch size; a mat and frame are an additional $90.

    Talpathings on Etsy Blue Baby Whale Stuffed Animal | Remodelista

    Above: The Baby Blue Whale Stuffed Animal is handmade to order; $39 from Talpathings on Etsy.

    Nellie Fellow on Etsy Vintage Wooden Train Toy | Remodelista

    Above: The Vintage Wooden Train Toy is $34 from Etsy seller Nellie Fellow.

    Multi-Colored Wool Ball Garland | Remodelista

    Above: A Multicolored Wool Ball Garland on Mustard String is $24 for nine feet from Murdock Design on Etsy.

    For more children's room sources, see all of our Kid's Bedrooms posts to date, including:

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Emma Allen named her new housewares line Fait La Force after the motto on the Haitian flag: "L'Union fait la force" ("Strength through unity"). Her connection to the country dates to childhood: She grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, the daughter of a pediatric geneticist, and she often accompanied her father on his twice yearly trips to Montrouis, north of Port-au-Prince, to volunteer at a clinic run by the NC-based medical nonprofit Consider Haiti. She also has a sister who is Haitian. And so, naturally, when she decided to launch her own housewares collection, she returned to Haiti to research what she could have made there. In Port-au-Prince she met Chandler Hamilton, an American with a merchandising background, who runs a small but growing Haitian production facility. Allen teamed up with Hamilton and spent months recruiting talent and holding workshops. Fait La Force is now just off the ground; come see. 

    Fait la Force Serant banana and palm baskets made in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: Serant Banana + Palm Leaf Baskets are handwoven by Fait La Force partner Serant Valmont; $98 for the medium size (R) and $148 for "great big" (L). "The artists we work with who make baskets, weave rugs, and work with horn and bone are very skilled at their craft; we collaborate with them to create new designs or tweak what they're already doing," says Allen.

    Fait La Force Cassan linen quilt made in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: To get quilt production going, Allen sourced canvas, cotton, and denim from the Dominican Republic. "I haven't been able to find any textiles that are actually produced in Haiti. If anyone knows otherwise, please be in touch." Bekah Stewart of online boutique A Well-Traveled Brand taught Fait La Force's artisans how to do a Japanese running stitch. The results are the Cassan Linen Quilt; $245 in a full/queen size.

    Fait La Force Cassan indigo quilt made in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: The Cassan Indigo Quilt is made of denim and indigo-dyed linen; $245.

    Fait La Force Cassan linen quilt made in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: A look at the colors, patterns, and detail work of the Cassan Linen Quilt.

    Fait La Force denim whale made in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: Wally the Whale is another collaboration with A Well-Traveled Brand; $25. Like the quilts, its made of selvage denim leftover from jeans production in the DR.

    Fait La Force checkers handmade in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: A quilted Indigo Checkers Board with horn and bone pieces and its own travel pouch; $98. Horn Bowls and Soap Dishes are another Fait La Force specialty.

    Fait La Force Oblin rugs made in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: Third-generation weaver Oblin Etienne hand-looms the cotton Oblin Mat; $58 each. "He's one of the last loom-weaving artisans left in Haiti," says Allen. See him at work at home in Port-au-Prince here.

    Fait La Force Oblin Striped Cotton Mat woven in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: The Oblin Mat is 21 by 36 inches.

    Cenise Leather Carry All from Fait La Force, made in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: Fait La Force's leather goods were the trickiest to produce. Allen tells us, "We trained a group of leather workers from square one. We sought out people who were interested in doing this type of work and then spent 15 months working closely to create the type of bags that they're now doing. Our leather manager, Cenise, was the yard maintenance guy when I first visited the workshop. He came to the class that Chandler and I organized and showed immense potential. Now he's our leather manager and supervises our small staff." The Cenise Leather Carry All is made of vegetable-tanned leather and can be carried as a backpack or tote; $398. Learn about the two- to three-day production process here.

    Fait La Force denim dop kit made in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: The denim and leather Dopp Kit is $42.

    Fait La Force tote bags made in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above L: The multi-pocketed Everyday Tote, $98, is made of canvas with red stitching and leather handles. Above: R: A denim and leather version of the Everyday Tote; inquire about price.

    Fait La Force oversize wooden rosary made in Haiti | Remodelista

    Above: The hand-carved Republic Wood Rosary is sized to hang on a wall; $72 for large (shown) and $85 for extra large. Says Allen: "Our goal is not to provide charity but to provide jobs and skills and to create connections that will live on and grow." View the full line at Fait La Force.

    For more designer-artisan collaborations, see Dosa, A Housewares Collection with a Cult Following and Lagos Del Mundo: Mexican Basics Reinvigorated. Go to Gardenista for Artisan Accessories for the Outdoors.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Double sinks in kids' bathrooms? We think they make a lot of sense. (We have our doubts about double sinks in the marital bath, however; see Michelle's Domestic Dispatches: Death to the Double Sink.)

    Children's Bath with Double Sinks | Remodelista

    Above: A cheery Cape Cod summer-house bathroom in a house designed by William Lee. Photograph by Dan Cutrona for the Boston Globe.

    Modern Farmhouse South Carolina Kids' Bathroom | Remodelista

    Above: A row of sinks in a children's bath in a house designed by Ken Pursley. Photograph by Stacey Van Berkel for Garden & Gun.

    Kids Double Bath Modern | Remodelista

    Above: A children's bath in the Tilburg, Netherlands, house of Marijke and Sander Lucas of design firm Lucas & Lucas, via Depto 51.

    Double Green Sink Kids' Bath | Remodelista

    Above: A children's vanity painted green, via AT.

    Double Sinks in English Children's Bathroom | Remodelista

    Above: A family bath in Utah, via Design Mom.

    Double Sinks in English Childrens' Bath | Remodelista

    Above: A London children's bath by designer Anita Kaushal.

    Danish Bathroom with Double Sinks | Remodelista

    Above: In a Denmark bathroom, two wall hooks in the shape of mounted deer are fixed between the children's sinks; below are two hampers for hiding linens and clothing. Photograph by Bjarne B. Jacobson for Bolig Magazine.

     For more designs for kids, see:

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Zoie Kingsbery Coe, founder of vacation rental site Kid & Coe, traveled the world with her deejay husband, managing his career (first as a couple, then with two kids in tow). Out of necessity, she began compiling a list of rental houses all over that welcome kids; when her friends entreated her to share her list, Kid & Coe was born.

    Little more than a year later, the New York–based company offers family vacationers sophisticated, kid-friendly rentals on six continents (no Antarctica, yet). We browsed the site and found inspired kids' decor worldwide.

    Amsterdam

    Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals for Families with Kids | Remodelista

    Above: The Wouwermanstraat residence in Amsterdam offers two double bedrooms and two kids' rooms in an early-1900s building. Its three floors are outfitted in Scandi-style whites and grays; €475 to €500 (about $590 to $620) per night.

    Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals for Families with Kids | Remodelista

    Above: Amsterdam's Keizersgracht is on the third and fourth floors of a renovated canal house, within walking distance of the Anne Frank House and an organic farmer's market. The living room sports a hot pink sofa and the kitchen comes with Philippe Starck Louis Ghost chairs; €275 to €300 (about $340 to $370) per night.

    Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals for Families with Kids | Remodelista

    Above: The Brahmsstraat home in Amsterdam occupies the ground floor and lower level of an apartment building with a large backyard garden. Charming modern furnishings include a tepee in one of the kids' rooms and a light-filled, brick-walled kitchen; €250 (about $310) per night.

    Barcelona

    Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals for Families with Kids | Remodelista

    Above: Barcelona's Diputació residence is a circa-1900s flat with one adult room and two kids' rooms. It's within walking distance of the city's central attractions and bicycle distance of the beach and zoo; €150 (about $186) per night.

    Berlin

    Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals for Families with Kids | Remodelista

    Above: The Ballenstedter home in Berlin can accommodate a small family in one large room with a double bed, a kids' bed, and a crib on the third floor of an apartment building. Sightseeing is nearby, as are local parks and a playground behind the building; €70 (about $87) per night.

    Lisbon

    Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals for Families with Kids | Remodelista

    Above: The cheery Rua Bombard residence in Lisbon is decorated with artifacts from the owners' travels. The nursery has twin cribs, plus a play table and plenty of toys. A child-safe terrace overlooks Lisbon's rooftops and river; €80 to €90 (about $100 to $112) per night.

    New York

    Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals for Families with Kids | Remodelista

    Above: In New York's Hudson Valley, the 1930s residence sleeps five and has a playroom, covered front porch, and sprawling yard with a tire swing, baby swing, and hammock. Older kids can explore swimming holes nearby; $300 per night.

    Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals for Families with Kids | Remodelista

    Above: This West 11th Street residence in New York City is located in the West Village near parks and playgrounds (one kids' room has a double bed and the other has bunk beds). Renters are free to use the on-site skateboards, scooters, and helmets; $750 to $850 per night.

    Paris

    Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals for Families with Kids | Remodelista

    Above: The Faubourg apartment in Paris is on two floors with high ceilings and sleeps two adults and two children (there's also an extra crib). Kids can play in the playroom and private courtyard; the Centre Pompidou is a 20-minute walk away; €200 to €250 (about $250 to $310) per night.

    Sydney

    Kid & Coe Vacation Rentals for Families with Kids | Remodelista

    Above: The Cambridge Street house in the Paddington area of Sydney has three bedrooms, a nursery, a small private terrace, and a shaded deck with a play area; $500 per night.

    Ready for a vacation? Go to our Rental Houses posts for more ideas, including:

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Several ancient cultures lay claim to the invention of enamel, but credit goes to the Austrians and Germans for taking this brightly colored, crushed-glass surface out of the jewelry box and into the kitchen. They discovered that when vitreous or "porcelain" enamel is bonded by high heat to metal, the resulting nonporous, nontoxic, and nonstick surface is not only an excellent heat conductor but also very durable—hence the application of enamel to all manner of utilitarian objects from cooking utensils to pots to stoves.

    In the foothills of the Austrian Alps, the Riess family has been making kitchen utensils for nine generations. The Riess company's factory went hydroelectric in the 1930s, and all its electricity has since been powered by the local water source. In the town of Ybbsitz, Riess produces enamel-coated pots and pans fabricated from single sheets of steel, which makes them much lighter than cast iron. The choice of color is lighter, too: Many of Reiss's pots haven't altered at all since the 1950s. Perhaps a founding father asked his frau what colors she'd like to cook with, and she replied, "rose, blau, grün, und gelb." Riess interpreted these as soft deep pink, very delicate blue, palest green, and powdery yellow, all finished off with a clotted cream interior. The Riess palette continues to appeal today; here are some notable examples.

    Five to Buy 

    Riess green milk pot from Ancient Industries, photo from Provisions | Remodelista

    Above: The half-liter Green Milk Pot, 4 inches tall and 4 inches wide, is $45 at my own shop, Ancient Industries. Photograph via Food52 Provisions.

    Riess of Austria enamel and wood canisters from Joinery NYC | Remodelista

    Above: A more recent design from Riess, the Stackable Canister comes with an airtight ash lid and is made in four sizes. They range from $38 to $58 at Joinery, which also offers Riess ladles and other accessories.

    Riess enamelware blue roaster pan from Objects of Use in Oxford, England | Remodelista

    Above: The Blue Roaster, 13 inches long and 8 inches wide, is £40 ($62.56) from Objects of Use, in Oxford, England.

    Riess enameled measuring cup from Potager | Remodelista

    Above: The Enameled Measuring Cup is another new design from Riess, made by dipping a white-enameled pitcher into a purplish-navy enamel. This measuring vessel holds one liter (four cups); $45 at Potager.

    Riess enamel colander from Provisions | Remodelista

    Above: The Colander is 7 inches in diameter and 15.5 inches from tip to stern, which allows it to hook across the kitchen sink. $48 at Provisions. 

    Object Lessons columnist Megan Wilson is the owner of Ancient Industries and curator of the Remodelista 100, a collection of essential everyday objects presented in the Remodelista book. Watch for her column every Tuesday, and have a look at her past lessons on iconic designs, including the Hudson Bay Blanket and the Eames Lounge Chair. We featured her Connecticut shop in our post Purveyor of the Practical and the Timeless.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on April 15, 2014, as part of our Shades of Pastel issue.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    With any luck, a new baby will spend the majority of his or her first year sleeping. So it makes sense that expecting parents start feathering the nest by choosing a crib. 

    For me, I knew that my husband and I would be welcoming a baby into a small New York City apartment without a designated nursery. We wanted to make sure we found a crib that integrated discreetly with the rest of our furniture, but that also gave our daughter a safe, peaceful space to sleep. When we were ready to begin our search, this is what we looked for: solid hardwood construction (compliant, of course, with safety rules), eco-friendly finishes, and unobtrusive, timeless design. 

    While we decided to go with the most affordable option on this list, here are my top 10 choices for beautiful cribs at a range of price points. 

    Ikea crib photographed by Erin Boyle | Remodelista

    Above: For affordable and attractive cribs, Ikea is a reliable place to turn. The Sniglar is made of solid beech and is left unfinished. Simple spindles, a low-profile, the ability to convert to a toddler bed, and the incredibly low price (just $69) made it the choice for our family. Photograph by Erin Boyle for Reading My Tea Leaves.

    10 Easy Pieces: Cribs | Remodelista

    Above: The Oeuf Sparrow Crib is my favorite from the company famous for its modern kids' designs. It's sustainably made in Europe of FSC-certified birch and Baltic birch plywood with nontoxic, water-based finishes. Available in birch, white, gray, and walnut; $760. A toddler bed conversion kit is sold separately.

    10 Easy Pieces: Crib | Remodelista

    Above: The Caravan Crib by Kalon Studios is made in New England of FSC-certified, domestically harvested maple, and comes with a choice of natural, black, red, yellow, or green rails. It's also available for a limited time in white and pink; $695.

    10 Easy Pieces: Cribs | Remodelista

    Above: The Mid-Century Natural Crib from Dwell Studio is an option for the sophisticated nursery. It’s made of poplar with a natural finish. The X-base structure and brass hardware on the tips of the tapered legs add a touch of elegance. It's currently on sale for $649 (marked down from $799). Also available in white; $899.

    10 Easy Pieces: Cribs | Remodelista

    Above: The Loom Crib by NurseryWorks was inspired by Shaker designs and is ready for the clean-lined nursery. Made of sustainably harvested wood, it's finished with low-VOC lacquers and stain. Available in white and natural catalpa wood; $649 at All Modern. A toddler bed conversion kit is sold separately.

    10 Easy Pieces: Crib | Remodelista

    Above: Another choice from Kalon Studio, the Ioline Crib is an eco-friendly option with a Charles Rennie MacIntosh–style geometric detail. The design converts to a toddler bed without needing extra parts; $1,595 (currently back-ordered).

    10 Easy Pieces: Cribs | Remodelista

    Above: The Andersen Crib from Land of Nod is a classic, made in the US and available in white or walnut; $749. A toddler bed conversion kit is sold separately.

    10 Easy Pieces: Cribs | Remodelista

    Above: The Kili Baby Cot & Junior Bed by Sebra is hard to come by on this side of the pond, but this Danish convertible crib has sweet, old-fashioned styling. Available to European shoppers in gray and white at Kids Love Design; €945 ($1,177.40). 

    10 Easy Pieces: Cribs | Remodelista  

    Above: The expandable shape of the Sleepi by Stokke makes it stand out from the crowd. The crib is made of solid beech and can be adjusted to fit the growing needs of a baby, starting with a round shape for 0 to 6 months and growing into an oval to fit a child up to 10 years old; $799. Extenders and rounded mattresses sold separately. 

    10 Easy Pieces: Cribs | Remodelista  

    Above: The Bloom Alma Mini Crib is a smaller choice for parents (and babies) with limited space. The crib folds flat to store and comes with four lockable casters. Recommended for infants up to 12 months old. It's available in natural (shown here) exclusively at Giggle; it also comes in white, brown, gray, and green; $340.

    Looking for more nursery inspiration? See Steal This Look: Stylish Nursery on a Budget. In the mood to make something yourself? Make a sweet-smelling Bouquet for a Newborn (and his or her parents).

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    We’ve been big fans of French designer Caroline Gomez since 2009, when she launched her first collection of home furnishings and accessories. Light of touch with practical purpose, the designs are first prototyped in Gomez’s studio in Bordeaux, France, before being sent out for artisanal manufacturing by French craftsmen. Partial to keeping things close to home, Gomez invited us into the live/work home and studio that she shares with her husband and young daughter, where her specialist training as a colorist is soon evident. 

    Photography by Julien Fernandez via Style Me Pretty

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Living Area | Remodelista

    Above: Gomez's home and studio are in a former jukebox repair shop built in the 1930s. In the open, all-white main space, she uses color to define the living, dining, and work areas.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Living Room | Remodelista

    Above: By introducing a wall of windows, as well as skylights and internal glass partitions, Gomez filled the house with daylight and integrated her urban courtyard into the main space. Her furnishings are a mix of her own designs and midcentury Scandinavian pieces.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Dining Area with Yellow Wall | Remodelista

    Above: Defined by a yellow wall, the dining area sits outside the kitchen, which is sectioned off by a partial glass partition. The dining table is surrounded by an assortment of midcentury greatest hits: two Panton Chairs by Verner Panton, the Series 7 Side Chair by Arne Jacobsen, and the Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Pink Smeg in Kitchen | Remodelista

    Above: Gomez includes a block of color in the kitchen with a pink, under-the-counter Smeg refrigerator. Note the carefully chosen pastel accessories.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Living Area  | Remodelista

    Above: A painted rectangle of mint green demarcates the living room, while a light blue patch calls out Gomez's studio beyond.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, mint green chair, pale gray walls | Remodelista

    Above: An Eames RAR–style rocker in mint green sits in front of a pale gray wall. 

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Living Area with painted pastel green rectangle | Remodelista

    Above: A closer look at the mint green that quietly defines the living area. The standing wood lamp is Gomez's La Baladeuse design.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Studio Office, Light Blue Paint  | Remodelista

    Above: Gomez painted her studio a light blue that crosses a corner and extends two-thirds of the way up the walls.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Color chart in office | Remodelista

    Above: The color specialist finds inspiration in fabric color samples and organizes her books on the top of the bookcase by hue.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Pink and Gray bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: In the master bedroom, Gomez plays with blocks of color. La Torche, another of her lamp designs, sits on bedside wooden drawers painted pink and gray to match the walls. 

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Pink and Grey Bedroom  | Remodelista

    Above: By turning the corner with the block of gray paint, Gomez alludes to a headboard.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, corner shelf in bedroom, white and gray painted walls | Remodelista

    Above: In the family room area, Gomez painted a band of gray to wainscot height to ground the daybed and midcentury credenza. She used her own Linge Longue shelves to form a corner display of cards, drawings, and photographs.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, desk area defined by green paint on wall | Remodelista

    Above: Gomez introduced a painted blue-green backdrop to the wooden desk outside her daughter's bedroom. 

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Cluster of Paper Lanterns | Remodelista

    Above: Canvas curtains hide storage while an assortment of paper lanterns create understated whimsy in the daughter's bedroom. See 5 Favorites: Paper Lantern DIY's for more ideas.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, red and pink cushions on bed | Remodelista

    Above: A pink Pigeon Light by Ed Carpenter hovers over an assortment of floral and geometric-patterned cushions.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, mint green walls and black tiled bathroom | Remodelista  

    Above: An unexpected combination of mint green and black tiles brings an otherwise plain bathroom to life.

    Caroline Gomez, Pastels and Colors in Bordeaux House, Blue and Yellow entry hall, galvanized metal panelling | Remodelista

    Above: Gomez outlined the pale blue entry in bright yellow, and paneled a wall with a sheet of galvanized metal to protect against wear and tear.

    Caroline Gomez on bicycle outside of her Bordeaux House | Remodelista

    Above: Gomez and her young daughter, outside their Bordeaux abode.

    To see more of Gomez's furnishings and accessories, have a look at Display-Worthy Wood Cutting Boards and Lean-To Shelving and Storage. Her website and online shop are at Studio Caroline Gomez.  

    Intrigued by Gomez's use of pink and want to give a it a try? See color specialist Eve Aschcraft's post about Ways to Introduce Pink.

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    As a mother of two, I know the value of classic toys designed to burn young energy. Here are six made-to-last options that are nice looking enough to leave out on display. But have no doubt: Children like these even more than parents do. 

    Peg and Awl Wooden Swing Remodelista

    Above: The Peg & Awl Olde-Fashioned Tree Swing is made of old-growth pine salvaged from the floor joists of a 19th-century house. The manila rope holding the seat has a 695-pound tension limit and is looped through the seat and secured with a fisherman's knot with five loops. The swing is available in small, medium, and large, and starts at $200 at Peg and Awl.

    Buckhorn Wood Slingshot I Remodelista.

    Above: This Old-Fashioned Slingshot keeps my six-year-old son entertained for hours. Two rules apply: He can't aim at anything made of glass or possessing a heartbeat; $24.99 at the Original Tree Swing. 

    Stilts by hand-crafted by Amish I Remodelista

    Above: Prepare to run away with the circus using these Sturdy Stilts handcrafted by the Amish. They're made of oak with tapered handholds and have three positions that allow room to grow in height and skill level; $58 from Nova Natural.

    Jumping Rope in Leather by Kaufman Mercantile I Remodelista  

    Above: Kauffman Mercantile's European-Made Leather Jump Rope of leather and wood is designed to be handed down for generations; $37.95.

    Hapticlab sailing ship kite in indigo I Remodelista  

    Above: The Sailing Ship Kite of bamboo and nylon is made by architect Emily Fischer's Haptic Lab of Brooklyn in collaboration with Balinese artisans. It comes with kite twine and easy assembly instructions; $40 via Haptic Lab.

    Boules set by Fredericks and Mae | Remodelista

    Above: Bocce (in the boules sport family) is an outdoor game the whole family can enjoy (in fact, my own clan even likes to play indoors). The Bocce Set by Fredericks & Mae comes with eight hand-painted, solid wood balls and one jack, plus a carrying bag and instruction booklet; $320 from Fredericks & Mae. See the designers' own Game-Filled House Boat.

    Bypass the shopping frenzy: Browse more options in our Toys posts, including:

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    Designer Sonia Prevost sees the bedroom as the new frontier: a place "full of life, where we write, sometimes work, and share moments of intense happiness." It's what inspired her to found Bed & Philosophy, her Toulouse-based home textiles brand, which offers organic, mix-and-match linens in brilliant colors like persimmon, saffron, and fluorescent pink. 

    Bed and Philosophy Bed Linens from France | Remodelista

    Above: Children's beds decked out in hand-dyed Nolita Duvet Covers; €191.

    Bed and Philosphy Linens from France | Remodelista

    Above: The linens are available in 14 colors, ranging from aqua to curry to carbon black.

    Bed and Philosophy Gray Linens | Remodelista

    Above: Round Numerical Cushions are €85 each.

    Bed and Philosophy Pale Pink Bed Linens | Remodelista

    Above: Linens in palest pink.

    Bed and Philosophy Bed Linens from France | Remodelista

    Above: A fluoro pink ensemble.

    Bed and Philosophy Bed Linens from France | Remodelista

    Above: Twin beds in shades of gray.

    Bed and Philosophy Bed Linens from France | Remodelista

    Above: A duvet cover in curry.

    More kids' linens that we love? See:

    Wish you had a linen closet? Consider one of these 12 Armoires as a substitute.

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    Design junkies, holiday shoppers, locavores, and habitual browsers, take note: We're back in San Francisco for our annual Remodelista Holiday Market at Heath Ceramics on Saturday, December 13. And this year we've assembled our biggest lineup yet: More than 40 designers and indie shops are taking part, and for the first time we'll be offering a dedicated Gardenista section, spearheaded by Terrain.

    Expect to see familiar faces plus plenty of new talent, including architect Silvia Song with her hand-turned wooden bowls, cult store Anaïse, LA lighting designer Brendan Ravenhill, new online shop The Citizenry, and LA jeweler Kathleen Whitaker. 

    Del Popolo, our favorite mobile pizzeria, will be back too, and Blue Bottle coffee will be providing the brew. Come join us!

    When: Saturday, December 13, 10 a.m. to 5p.m.

    Where: Heath Ceramics, 2900 18th St., San Francisco.

    Admission is free, and there's plenty of street parking.

    San Francisco Remodelista Holiday Market 2014

    Fancy a signed copy of the Remodelista book? The event is open to all, but if you RSVP ahead of time, we'll enter you in a drawing to win one of four prizes: 

    • A signed copy of the Remodelista book.
    • A $500 gift certificate from Big Daddy’s Antiques, in LA.
    • A Seasonal Bud Vase Set from Heath.
    • A gift certificate from Terrain.

    For more details and to RSVP, visit our Remodelista Market page. 

    Our vendor list: AirplantmanAlice TachenyAmbataliaAnaiseBlock ShopBrendan Ravenhill, The CitizenryDe Jong & Co., Erica Tanov, Flint, Haute Bohemian Groupe, Heritage Culinary Artifacts, Homestead Apothecary, Huddleson, Imperfect PublishingIn Fiore, Jess Brown, Julia Turner, June Taylor Jams, Kathleen Whitaker, Len Carella, Les Petits Carreaux, Little Apple Granola, Maria Schoettler, Million and Clark, Ola Wearable Verse,  Petel Design, Pope Valley Pottery, Quitokeeto, Richard Carter Studio, Rough Linen, Sara Mc Design, Sarah Kersten, Scout Regalia, SHED, Silvia Song, Small Trade Company, Soup, StudiopatroTW Workshop, VanderMolen Ceramics, Voices of Industry, Whim & Caprice

     

    San Francisco Remodelista Market sponsors

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    Can anyone resist the sensation of walking barefoot on a heated floor? If you’re just embarking on a renovation or building a new house, consider installing radiant heating (also known as underfloor heating), an energy-efficient way to keep warm throughout the cold months. As an architect who has supervised and survived many remodels, I have experienced radiant floor heating in other people's houses and covet it in my own. Here’s the lowdown on the subject: Read on if you're ready to rip up your floors in the name of cost-effective, energy-efficient heat.

    1. What is radiant floor heating?

    Invented by the engineering-savvy ancient Romans, who had slaves fanning wood-burning fires under elevated marble floors, radiant floor heating is an under-the-floor heating system that conducts heat through the floor surface rather than through the air (as in conventional forced-air heating systems).

    Dinesen wood floor in bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: Imagine waking up and putting your bare feet on warm oak floorboards every morning in the winter. Photograph via Dinesen.

    2. How does radiant floor heating work?

    The two most common types of radiant-floor heating systems are electric (heat via electric wires) and hydronic (heat via hot water tubes), both of which are buried underneath the floor. Here's how the two compare: Electric radiant-floor heating systems are easier and more affordable to install, but more expensive to operate, making them ideal for heating small areas. Hydronic systems are less expensive to operate, so they work well for large floor areas and even entire houses. The caveat is that they come with higher initial costs because they're more complicated to install and require heated water from a boiler or a water heater. For more on the pros and cons of each system and which might be better suited to you, see Radiant Floor Heating: Electric vs. Hydronic by San Francisco contractor Jeff King of Jeff King & Company, a member of the Remodelista Architect and Designer Directory.

    Radiant Floor Heating, Electronic and Hydronic | Remodelista

    Above L: An electric wire system being installed in a bathroom. Photograph via Maud Plantiga on Flickr. Above R: A hydronic system waiting for the flooring to be installed. Photograph via Triangle Tube.

    3. What are the pros of radiant floor heating?

    Not only does radiant floor heating keep your toes warm, but it ensures that the rest of your body will be kept at a comfortable temperature as well. Waves of infrared radiation rising from the floor warm up the building mass, insuring that heat isn't lost to surrounding surfaces. In a conventional forced-air heating system, heated air (along with dust and allergens) rises to the ceiling and drops back down as its temperature lowers, making it difficult to keep your toes warm even if everything above your shoulders is boiling. "We experience pure warmth with radiant floor heating. As we heat up from our feet, we stay warmer at a lower temperature," says contractor Jeff King. Delivering heat and comfort efficiently, what’s not to love?

    Radiant Heating Diagram from Sustainability Workshop | Remodelista

    Above: The diagram on the left illustrates the principle of radiant floor heating in which heated surfaces transmit heat to all surrounding objects. There is no loss of heat because everything is at the same temperature. The diagram on the right illustrates how heated air in a conventional forced-air system rises to the ceiling and then comes back down as cool air. This explains how you can still be cold when the thermostat says 72 degrees. Diagram via Sustainability Workshop.

    4. What are the cons of radiant floor heating?

    A radiant-floor heating system is difficult to install after a floor is already in place, and it's really only feasible if you're prepared to remove your floors or are building a new house. While there are new products, such as electric radiant pads, that can be installed between the joists underneath your floor, they require access from below via a basement or crawl space. Lack of one or the other is a deal breaker.

    Atlier Am, Rustic Stone Floor in Bathroom | Remodelista  

    Above: Stone tiles work well with radiant floor heating because of the material's thermal conducting properties. Shown here, rough-hewn stone tiles in a bathroom by Atelier Am of Los Angeles. Photograph via Mark D. Sikes.

    5. Which flooring materials work best with radiant heat?

    While all flooring materials can be used with heated floors, some work more effectively than others. Some general rules of thumb: Materials with thermal-conducting properties (stone, concrete, ceramic tile) conduct, transfer, and hold heat effectively while withstanding high temperatures. Solid wood floors can shrink and expand with fluctuating temperatures leaving unsightly gaps. If you’re in love with wood floors, however, an experienced wood-floor installer will be able to manage potential shrinkage. Vinyl and plastic laminate floors also come with temperature limitations, while carpets have insulating properties that potentially reduce heat flow.

    Radiant Floor Heating, Polished Concrete in The Stables by AR Design Studio | Remodelista

    Above: Polished concrete floors with radiant floor heating warm a house converted from a horse stable by AR Design Studio. See Manor House Stables, A Champion's Home Reborn for more. Photograph via AR Design Studio.

    Ready to rip up your floors and install radiant floor heating? Choose your next flooring by perusing images of our Favorite Floors in our gallery of rooms and spaces. And see our earlier Remodeling 101 flooring features:

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on November 14, 2013, as part of our Under the Covers Issue.

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    Matthew Hranek, Yolanda Edwards, and their 11-year-old daughter, Clara, are a traveling trio. The urge to see the world perhaps explains their careers—he's a celebrated photographer and contributing style editor at Conde Nast Traveler, where she's the creative director. It also explains their approach to putting down roots: When they were looking to build their country house in Sullivan County, New York, they went shopping globally and ended up ordering a prefab design by Austrian architect Oskar Leo Kauffman. Hranek and Kauffman first crossed paths at a shoot for Wallpaper in Milan, where Kauffman had been commissioned to create an overnight glass-box house for a Design Week party. Hranek was so impressed by the results that when he returned home, he and Edwards, longtime committed modernists, stopped their search for an architect and placed their own order. She was pregnant at the time, and the two felt ready to trade the cabin on their 130-acre property for a little more room and a much better view.

    Kauffman gladly accepted his first (and, to date, only) US prefab order—he and his team even traveled to the site to survey the possibilities. Hranek and Edwards, in turn, made the trip to Dornbirn, Austria, to see their walls and roof in progress at Kauffman's factory operation. ("These guys are perfectionists," says Hranek. "They're so beyond us in their skill level. They create concrete surfaces as smooth as baby skin.")

    The prefab design arrived in a series of containers, along with a small crew. Four days later, the structure was standing. And it was complete for the arrival of Clara. Now that they've had time to fully make themselves at home, what does the family of three have to say about life in their $350,000 kit?

    Photography by Matthew Hranek.

    Matthew Hranek and Yolanda Edward's Austrian-made prefab house in Sullivan County, NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: Yolanda, Clara, and their dog, Charlie, in their customary morning perch—in front of the 40-foot windows that overlook their meadow. The walls and ceiling are covered in European oak veneer, all of it precisely fitted (note the lack of baseboards and moldings to hide the seams). Kauffman even contributed the dining table (the chairs are vintage Thonet.)

    The house is as old as Clara is. "Oskar is a true pro, so I wasn't nervous," says Edwards. "I was actually more anxious about the idea of having a house built from the ground up by local contractors, because I knew the price and the finish date would be constantly moving. Instead, it was a fast and easy process."

    Matthw Hranek and Yolanda Edwards' Austrian-made prefab house in Upstate NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: The open-plan main room—39 feet long and 24 feet wide—has oak floors with radiant heat and built-ins fabricated by master cabinetmaker Heinz Ruscher. (His work was installed by a five-man finish crew that arrived from Austria after the structure was in place and a local team had added essentials such as plumbing.) "The cabinets are painted with something like car enamel," says Hranek. "Everything is solid in this house and made from the best materials. You close doors and have a seamless surface." 

    Matthw Hranek and Yolanda Edwards' Austrian-made prefab house in Upstate NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: The kitchen, with its white Corian-topped island, is the hub, and Hranek is the designated cook: "I'm completely sold on Corian, it's indestructible. The only thing I'd do differently in this whole place is put in a double kitchen sink," he says. "The Austrians are into little tiny sinks." The pair of 1950s stools are from Housing Works on 17th Street in New York City's Chelsea. Hranek had the pendant lights made to his own specs by "a copper guy out West."

    Matthw Hranek and Yolanda Edwards' Austrian-made prefab house in Upstate NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: The couple supplied their own appliances: "We shopped online for the most affordable options from restaurant supply stores; the range is a commercial model by Dynasty." (For a kettle like theirs, see Object Lessons: The Great Japanese Cast-Iron Kettle.)

    Matthw Hranek and Yolanda Edwards' Austrian-made prefab house in Upstate NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: Books do furnish a room—even one shelf. The living area is sectioned off by a felt "ravioli" carpet—two layers of wool with natural latex in between—by Austrian designer Johannes Mohr, and is furnished with the couple's collection of midcentury designs that come from places like "the Swedish version of the Salvation Army." 

    Matthw Hranek and Yolanda Edwards' Austrian-made prefab house in Upstate NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: "At one point I was very into European pottery," says Hranek. "Someone had to stop me." The black and white pieces are by Arabia of FInland.

    Matthw Hranek and Yolanda Edwards' Austrian-made prefab house in Upstate NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: A French tin holds Champagne caps from many weekend celebrations.

    Matthw Hranek and Yolanda Edwards' Austrian-made prefab house in Upstate NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: Hranek and Edwards found the Haida prints over their sofa at the gift shop in the Museum of Natural History in Vancouver "for about the price of a poster at Spencer Gifts." The ceramic lamp is a 1950s Martz design.

    Matthw Hranek and Yolanda Edwards' Austrian-made prefab house in Upstate NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: A Hans Wegner 1960s daybed with a snowy view. One of the couple's requests to Kauffman was for "as much glass as possible." 

    Matthw Hranek and Yolanda Edwards' Austrian-made prefab house in Upstate NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: Family craft books from the 1970s on the daybed's wool-felt mattress from Johannes Mohr. "We are all our happiest when we're here," says Edwards.

    Matthew Hranek and Yolanda Edwards Austrian-made prefab house in Sullivan County, NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: The raised one-story house is entered via stairs. Kauffman detailed the passage from the living room to a bedroom with a narrow bridge and a barely visible panel of glass.

    Matthew Hranek and Yolanda Edwards Austrian-made prefab house in Sullivan County, NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: The wood paneling continues in the house's three bedrooms. Clara's room is shown here.

    Matthew Hranek and Yolanda Edwards Austrian-made prefab house in Sullivan County, NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

    Above: Clara in the guest room. The blanket is a vintage national park Pendleton.

    Matthew Hranek and Yolanda Edward's Austrian-made prefab house in Sullivan County, NY by architect Oskar Leo Kaufmann | Remodelista

     Above: "The house is like an elevated shoebox that has a glass wall on one side," says Edwards. 

    All told, the project rang in at about $336,000—$236,000 for the turn-key house ("We got a good deal because Kaufmann is a friend," says Hranek), $12,000 in shipping costs, and the rest for site prep and other work done by the local crew, including electrical installation. "Unlike standard, stick-built construction, there were no surprises. What the Austrians said would happen, happened," adds Hranek. "This house is our think tank. It's the best thing we've ever done." As for Kauffman, he's since moved on to large-scale, one-of-a-kind projects, but we're hoping he makes his way back to the world of prefab.

    Curious to see where Hranek and Edwards are traveling? Take a look at their his-and-hers blogs: The William Brown Project and Travels with Clara. (Edwards is also a founding editor at Mom Filter.)

    For another notable Upstate New York design, see The Architect Is In: A Rural Barn Transformed for Modern Living. More prefabs? We have our eyes on:

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    Vitamix and Remodelista Remodelista readers know that we swear by Vitamix blenders for morning smoothies. This time of year, we rely on these powerful contraptions for far more than that: White bean dip, pesto, and raw jam (made with the last fall fruit) are but a few of the blender's uses. Recently I decided to try out a soup with my Vitamix Professional Series 750 machine, which has a preset soup setting—and the ability to warm up liquid while blending. Here's how I did it.

    N.B.: My recipe was adapted from Pumpkin Soup, one of the many Vitamix-specific recipes at Vitamix; you can search the library by seasonality, dietary needs, and level of difficulty.

    Written and photographed by Alexa Hotz for Remodelista.

    Materials

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    • Vitamix Professional Series 750 blender; $639 at Vitamix.com
    • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
    • 1/2 cup light, unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1 small pumpkin
    • 2 cloves of garlic, skinned
    • Parchment paper
    • 1/2 cup onions, sliced and sautéed
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
    • Salt and ground pepper, to taste

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    Above: I served the pumpkin soup with a few sliced fuyu persimmons and Seckel pears, which add a sweet note.

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    Above: As much as I love the convenience of pre-ground cardamom, it's one spice, I've found, that when freshly ground has a special kick to it.

    Instructions

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    Step 1: Prep your ingredients, including all the spices.

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    Step 2: Halve your pumpkin, remove the seeds, and cut into one-inch wide slices.

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    Step 3: Place the slices on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet along with the skinned pair of garlic cloves, douse in a bit of olive oil, and roast 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees F.

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    Step 4: Add the vegetable stock, coconut milk, roasted pumpkin (with skin removed), roasted garlic cloves, the sautéed onions, paprika, cardamom, salt, and pepper to the Vitamix Professional Series 750 machine.

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    Step 5: Start your blending on the Variable Speed Dial at 1 and, over the course of about two minutes, slowly increase to 6.

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    Step 6: From Variable 6, continue increasing to Variable 10 and blend for six to seven minutes more; the mixture should be warm and ready at this point—just adjust salt, pepper, and other spices to taste.

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    Step 7: Pour into bowls, garnish if desired, and serve right away.

    Vitamix Holiday Entertaining, Pumpkin Soup | Remodelista

    Above: After roasting the pumpkin and sautéeing the onions, the blending process takes less than 10 minutes. You can toss all your prepped ingredients into the blender, cover, and wait until the moment is right for the final blending. This way your soup is ready when your guests are.

    Vitamix and Remodelista

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    We know we're not the only ones with childhood dreams of hidden passageways, slides, and ladders. Here are 15 radical indoor spaces that fulfill those dreams and help burn off excess energy.

    N.B.: For children who prefer swings, visit 14 Children's Swings for Indoor Play.

    Kids' Room with Rings from Oyoy | Remodelista

    Above: A kids' bedroom with gymnastics rings created by Danish textile company Oyoy and filled with their Kids' Collection. For more, see our post Fabrics and Linens from Danish Oyoy.

    Sliding Bed in the Children's Room, Remodelista

    Above: A wooden slide in a girls' bedroom. Photograph via Milk Magazine.

    Scandinavian Kids' Hanging Wall, Remodelista

    Above: A wall-mounted ladder serves as a climbing wall. Photograph via Mrs. Jones.

    Alex Michaelis' Children's Stairway Slide, Remodelista

    Above: In his own house, London architect Alex Michaelis created a dramatic slide for his children. For more, see 10 Radical Staircases for Tight Spaces.

    Climbing Wall in Melrose from OWI, Remodelista

    Above: A loft space in Los Angeles. Photograph by June and John Brown for OWI.

    Fire Poles as Play Structures, Remodelista

    Above L: A sliding pole via My Scandinavian Retreat. Above R: A house in London designed by Anita Kaushal.

    Climbing Wall in Children's Room in New York, Remodelista

    Above: This climbing wall in a child's room in New York also adds colorful accents. Photograph via AlignedNYC

    Wood Slide in a House in Nakameguro, Remodelista

    Above: A built-in slide in a house in Nakameguro, Japan, by Level Architects.

    Kita Drachenhöhle Kidergarten on Architizer | Remodelista

    Above: A set of polished tree trunks installed upside down provide climbing areas in the Kita Drachenhöhle kindergarten, in Berlin. Photograph via Architizer.

    Skyhouse Indoor Slide for Children, Remodelista

    Above: An indoor steel slide in Skyhouse, a Manhattan penthouse designed by David Hotson. Photograph via Dezeen.

    Indoor Climbing Wall by Feldman Architecture, Remodelista

    Above: This climbing wall by Feldman Architecture allows access to the next floor. Photograph by Joe Fletcher.

    Indoor Climbing Ladders for Kids, Remodelista

    Above L: An indoor climbing ladder photographed by Louis Lemaire. Above R: A ladder in a house in Inverness, California, designed by Gustave Carlson.

    Interior Climbing Wall in Bergen, Norway, Remodelista

    Above: An interior climbing wall in Bergen, Norway, by Saunders Architecture via ArchDaily.

    For rock climbers in the making, see even more examples in 5 Favorites: Children's Climbing Walls.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on November 27, 2009.

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    Does having kids mean living with chaos for a decade or two? Yes, I'm afraid it does. (Welcome to the humbling, yet oh-so-gratifying world of parenthood.) But for design-minded types, there are several easy steps to take to introduce order—and style—into the equation. 

    1. Minimize Your Gear

    DIY baby gym, Reading My Tea Leaves, Remodelista

    Above: Gardenista contributor Erin Boyle encourages floor time with a simple cotton blanket and homemade baby gym. Photograph from Erin's blog, Reading My Tea Leaves.

    Even before your baby is born, it's hard to resist the urge to buy every gadget and gizmo that experts say will guarantee early admission to Harvard. But junior doesn't actually need swings, bouncy seats, and Baby Einstein videos. What he or she needs is the floor. Research shows that floor time, during which the newborn figures out how to navigate the world, develops both important gross motor (movement) and psycho-motor (body/brain connection) skills. So forget the ExerSaucer and shell out for a really nice blanket instead.

    2. Invest in Classic Toys Made of Natural Materials

    jess brown rag dolls 24, Remodelista

    Above: Jess Brown's handmade rag dolls wear clothes that I wish were available in my size.

    Classic toys made of natural fibers are not only better for healthy bodies and brains than plastic, they also look better and are often longer lasting. One of the best toys I ever bought was my son's all-wood Svan scooter (which I scored on Craigslist). It got passed down to his sister, and the grandchildren may get to enjoy it. Meanwhile, it looks good wherever it gets parked. Another favorite is the wooden Like-a-Bike. Expensive, yes (but not after the grandparents chipped in). Other basics you can count on for years of creative play are wooden blocks and handmade rag dolls and animals. And their colors and patterns are unlikely to clash with your own decor. 

    3. If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

    White-Board-Paint-Tree-Wall

    Above: Kids drawing on the walls? Let them, with dry erase paint.

    Sometimes you just can't train your children, so meet them where they stand (or climb or draw). I set up a beautiful easel in our home office, but my kids still prefer to do all their art projects at the kitchen table. Rather than wish for a better way, I incorporated their habits into my design scheme: Our centerpiece is a now a vintage Finel bowl filled with Muji markers. Similarly, in our hall, flea market crates house the shoes that never seem to make it into bedroom closets. 

    700_scandi-kids-room-hanging-wall

    Above: Better to have your kids climbing the walls than for you to be the one. Offer them a built-in wall ladder or climbing structure. (See 15 Radical Kid's Climbing, Swinging and Sliding Structures.) Photograph via Mrs. Jones.

    4. Create a Gallery

    Delson_Sherman_NY_Loft_08, Remodelista

    Above: A cork board wall is ideal for displaying art by the young and prolific. Delson or Sherman Architects of Brooklyn designed this room.

    I proudly displayed my son's first scribblings on the fridge. His later illustrations papered a whole wall. Now, with two kids in elementary school, I'm buried in their projects. How to tame all that art without stifling their creativity? Make a designated display space. Don't worry about hanging things neatly; if your hanging area is well defined, the art will read like one big piece. The most important thing is to make sure your gallery allows you to easily swap images, so there's a place for the latest—a magnetic wall (created with special paint) or an extra-large cork board work really well. And for when great work comes off the wall, I created portfolios for each child. They feel like real artists filing their canvases away.

    5. Play with Style

    jess brown child's room with tree, Remodelista

    Above: Designer Jess Brown got creative in her kid's room with an old tree trunk.

    One of the best things about being a parent is that you get to be a kid again. Use your children as an excuse to unleash your playful side: Experiment with a bold colors that you might not otherwise choose; introduce a swing in the living room or a tree in the bedroom.

    6. Develop an Old-Fashioned Work Ethic

    DIY Make a Roaring and Eco-Friendly Fire, Gardenista

    Above: Get kids to pitch in around the house; this young girl is helping to build a cozy fire. Photograph by Sarah Jagger.

    Today's over-scheduled child often doesn't have time for chores. But helping out at home is important for a number of reasons. Children like to feel like they're a significant member of the group, and chores can foster this sense of security and well-being, especially when parents and kids tackle something together. Whenever my husband and I work in the yard, our children are expected to chip in. We start small with tasks that take 5 to 15 minutes and are fun—like picking up apples in the yard before we mow—and gradually get more elaborate. Assigned tasks also help give your child a sense of accomplishment, especially when you keep them age-appropriate with some challenges. We "trust" our eight-year-old to use the garden loppers on his own (aka we stand close, but don't hover). Lastly, chores lend your child a feeling of ownership of his or her space—which just might lead to a tidier home. 

    7. Kick Them Out

    Nature Walk by Christine Chitnis, Remodelista

    Above: Gardenista contributor Christine Chitnis heads out for a beach stroll with her kids.

    Recently, while taking a family walk, my son declared, "Mom, there really is no better toy than a stick!" It was one of those moments when I felt like I really might be able to pull off this parenting thing.

    Outdoor time not only gives your child a chance to enjoy fresh air and exercise, it also opens the door for all kinds of imaginative play. With trees to climb, and dirt and sand to dig in, Mother Nature really is the best gym around. And bonus for neatnicks, if your kids are out of the house, they're less likely to mess up the inside. 

    For more style tips, see 11 Zero-Cost Room-Changing Ideas.

    Looking for family art projects? Consider DIY: Wrapping Paper Made by Your Kids and DIY: Easy Art Leaf Prints.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Something must be in the air: We've all been ditching our shoulder bags and converting to backpacks. Maybe it's the fact that we're constantly hauling around computers, cords, phones, and notepads, along with the usual load of everyday accessories. Here's a roundup of our latest favorites.

    Let us know: What's your favorite backpack?

    Kiki NY Denim Harvest Backpack I Remodelista

    Above: Lately, I've been admiring the work of Kika NY, a Brooklyn-based studio established by Kika Vliegenthart and Sabine Spanjer. Their Canvas Harvest Backpack is available in black or tan water-resistant waxed canvas and features bridle leather straps and brass hardware. The bag has two dividers (large enough to fit a 13-inch laptop) and a small pocket on the back panel; $335 from Kika NY.

    Building Block Rucksack I Remodelista  

    Above: It wasn't until Alexa saw the Building Block Rucksack in person (on someone's back in the subway) that she realized just how much she loved it. It's the kind of backpack that, with a slip of the extendable strap and flipped over to a single shoulder, could double as a bag for the evening; $530 from Building Block. To see the Building Block shop and studio space, visit our post True Grit: The New Iko Iko Shop in LA.

    Mansur Gavriel Black Backpack | Remodelista

    Above: Julie has her eye on the 12-inch-tall Mansur Gavriel Backpack, made from Italian vegetable-tanned leather and available in six colors (with contrasting interior); $745 from Mansur Gavriel.

    Mercer-bag-by-State-Bags-remodelista  

    Above: Francesca likes the Mercer backpack from State Bags. "This could be our go-to family backpack: simple, classic design that anyone could carry (adults, teens, kids). And for every bag sold, the Brooklyn company donates one to a child in need," says Francesca. The Mercer bag features a water-repellent waxed cotton canvas exterior and adjustable leather straps. The interior includes a zippered iPad pocket and padded laptop sleeve; $225 from State Bags.

    Postalco Hammer Backpack | Remodelista

    Above: Julie is a fan of the lightweight, handmade nylon Hammer Backpack with leather handles from Tokyo-based company Postalco; it's $618 from La Garconne.

    This is paper backpack black I remodelista  

    Above: Margot says, "I'm a longtime backpack addict. I carry one every day, usually paired with a tote bag; the combo of bag in hand and bag on back feels perfectly balanced to me." Her current pick: This Classic Backpack of waterproof sailcloth with leather detailing from This Is Paper of Warsaw, Poland; €120 ($150.64). "It's not too big, not too small, and, most importantly to me, not too heavy", adds Margot. 

    chris-van-veghel-minimal-rucksack-remodelista  

    Above: Justine is a backpack lover (in fact, she has devoted an entire Pinterest board to various versions she admires). Her choice comes from the Netherlands. The handmade Minimal Rucksack is available in black and nude leather and features a rope handle that can be adjusted to make a handbag; $341.36 via Chris Van Veghel's Etsy shop. 

    ally-capellino-waxy-frances-olive-01-remodelista  

    Above: Christine's go-to backpack is the Frances Waxed Cotton Rucksack in navy (shown here in olive) by Ally Capellino; £224 ($351.72).

    MARGARET-HOWELL-Military-Backpack-Remodelista  

    Above: Sarah recently spotted (and admired) the Military Backpack in Nylon Canvas made by Yoshida for Margaret Howell. "I have had several Japanese bags over the years, and they are well-made and long-lasting," she says. The backpack is £435 ($682) via Margaret Howell.

    Rucksack-by-Southern-Field-Industries-Remodelista  

    Above: On Janet's wish list: The navy and black Rucksack by Southern Field Industries is handmade in Saitama, Japan, by artisan husband-and-wife team Manabu and Keiko Okada. The bag is made of heavyweight Japanese waxed canvas and accented with soft, supple vegetable-tanned leather and brass fittings; $398 from Roztayger. 

    Filson Rucksack in Navy  I Remodelista  
    Above: Meredith's pick is definitely on the rugged side of urban style—what else would you expect from a Pacific Northwester? She likes Filson's water-repellent Rucksack in navy, which "fits all my work gear (laptop, camera, notebook) but is surprisingly light," she says. The Rucksack is $290 at Filson.

    For more Editors' Picks: 

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    "Whether you live in the city or the country," say the Gardenistas, "you can grow food, tend a flock, and be inspired by farmhouse design." Or you can sit back and sip one of their garden-fresh Thanksgiving cocktails.

      DIY cotton garland by Justine Hand | Gardenista

    Above: Justine found the ingredients for this DIY garland at Whole Foods—and those white puffs are branches of cotton. Go to Entertaining & Arrangements for step-by-step instructions and a look at cotton as you likely haven't seen it before. 

    Axel Veervoodt fireplace | Remodelista

    Above: A guilt-free wood fire? Christine explains how to create an "eco-friendlier" blaze in this week's DIY Project. Perfect setting courtesy of Axel Vervoodt.

    Mayflower Cocktail from Caledonia Spirits, photo by Justine Hand | Gardenista

    Above: Mess with the Thanksgiving menu and you'll face an all-ages outcry. Instead, advises Cheryl, apply creative license to the drinks. In this week's Cocktails roundup, she presents 10 ways to toast your turkey (this one calls for cider, gin, and bitters).

    Peg and Awl Shanty Man log carrier | Gardenista

    Above: It's time to lug home the logs. See Erin's 10 Easy Pieces: canvas carriers for "toting wood without snagging sweaters or mussing rugs in the process." 

    Studio Gorm small-space peg garden furniture | Gardenista

    Above: Wish your outdoor furniture disappeared in the winter? An Oregon design company has a genius suggestion: Hang it up. See their new line in Small-Space Living.

    Add some livestock to your life—read about raising backyard chickens and exotic rabbits.

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    What to get for the kid who loves books—other than, well, more books? Get those, yes. But we've also rounded up some accessories that stand a good chance of pleasing the petit bibliophile. 

    N.B.: To make sure you've got everyone on your list covered, shop all our Gift Guides to date.

    Penguin Bloom Books, Gift Guide for the Young Book Lover | Remodelista

    Above: Puffin Bloom, a collaboration between Rifle Paper Co. and Penguin Books, is a line of pretty hardcover books complete with gold foil, illustrated endpapers, and matching bookmarks. Titles available: Little WomenA Little PrincessHeidi, and Anne of Green Gables; $16 each at Rifle Paper Co.

    Library Card Pouch, Gift Guide for the Young Book Lover | Remodelista

    Above: The Library Card Pouch is made in the US of 100 percent cotton canvas, and at 9 inches wide by 6 inches tall, it's perfect for keeping kids' desk accessories corralled. The best part? Every product sold sends a book to a child in need through partner organization Books for Africa. Shown in natural; $12 from Out of Print.

    Oiseaux Bookplates, Gift Guide for the Young Book Lover | Remodelista

    Above: Kids love to claim things as their own; give them customized bookplates with designs from vintage childrens' books from the 1920s. Made by Oiseaux Vintage Paperie, who describes herself as an "artist-illustrator-designer-vintage book lover." She's also a mother of two, based in LA. (I can vouch for these bookplates; I ordered a set for my baby sister a few Christmases past, and they're beautiful.) Shown here in Under the Sea and White Lilies; $16.95 for a set of 24. 

    Personal Library Kit, Gift Guide for the Young Book Lover | Remodelista

    Above: The Personal Library Kit lets your kids add library pockets inside their books, stamp them with due dates, and track their volumes on a checkout card so they can loan books to friends while playing librarian; $11.15 on Amazon.  

    Schoolhouse Electric Ion Lamp, Gift Guide for the Young Book Lover | Remodelista

    Above: A gift that's half for you and half for your child: The Ion Lamp is made in the US and comes with a black or white porcelain base and a red, black, or tan twisted cord (the on/off toggle switch means your child can kill the light in no time when she hears you coming); $99 from Schoolhouse Electric. 

    More gifts for everyone on your list: 

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