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    A year ago, when Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson's son, Henry, was about to start walking, they realized it was time for them and their two golden retrievers and black cat to bust out of their one-bedroom apartment. Fortunately, a two bedroom became available just three floors up in their Chelsea high-rise in New York. So they made the world's easiest move. But with a challenge: To keep costs down—and because they spend half of every week in a house in North Chatham, New York—they vowed: "Whatever we didn't already own, we'd make ourselves." 

    It helps that the two happen to both be designers: Together they own Hollymount, a design-build firm with a large upstate New York studio and workroom specializing in store design as well as prop building. (Members of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, they also do remodels for private clients and occasionally moonlight as event planners.) But even though they had fabrication help on hand, they stuck to a keep-it-simple-and-inexpensive mandate for the apartment.

    How to transform a characterless 1,200-square-foot modern shoebox into a place with their stamp on it? "We used things like drop-cloth canvas and neon twine from Lowe's," says Dale.

    Photography by Michael A. Muller for Remodelista.

    Entry

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: In the entry, the console table—a contemporary piece made out of old Chinese wood—is from Dale and Joe's days in the early 2000s living in Hong Kong, where Dale worked as a design directory for Burberry. The outsized snow globe and box shrine are the couple's salute to Martin Margiela: "He's so inventive with everything, even white boxes," says Dale. The curious twisted object is dried sea kelp.

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: One of the couple's many weekend DIY projects is this pedestal built from books—"99 cents each from the remainder table at Barnes & Noble"—each slipcovered in copper chimney flashing from Lowe's. The stack served as a bedside table in their last apartment and they like the way it's patinaed. The vase resting on top, a Groove Bottle by Dutch artist Hella Jongerius, was a wedding present from Joe's parents.

    Living/Dining Area

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: The living room furniture—a wool sofa from Cite and a vintage driftwood coffee table, an eBay find—moved with the family. The light is one of Lindsey Adelman's DIY Pendants assembled by Joe. It's in front of window sheers made from Rose Brand fabric and lightweight aluminum angle rods found at Lowe's that hang on neon green Mason Twine: "We thought, 'Why try to hide the fact that they're suspended panels?' Instead, we decided to accentuate that detail by using neon." 

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: A lampshade that the couple made from strips of vintage fabric and sequins hangs over the dining table. "It's a prototype for a capsule lighting collection we're working on," says Dale, who, not coincidentally, spent six years as a design director at Victoria's Secret.

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: The pillows are a high/low mix: "We made the plaid ones from leftover Paul Smith fabric, the others are from Ikea." The wall assemblage ranges from a Chinese propaganda poster to photographs from affordable art site 20x200 and a Droog Hanky "to break up the order a bit." The piece of driftwood was once a Burberry window prop.

    Dale Saylor Gold Details | Remodelista

    Above: The coffee table had a glass top until Henry toppled it. It's now simply a piece of linen-covered, 36-inch plywood finished with an edging of copper tape to continue the metallic highlights. "We just stapled on the fabric and the tape is adhesive," says Joe. "It's for making stained glass; we found it on Amazon." 

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: Pitched in a corner of the living room next to a drop-cloth-padded window seat, Henry's Vilac teepee is another Amazon purchase. (For more ideas, see Indoor Camping: Children's Teepee Roundup.)

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: A resin bowl from Hong Kong rests on a media console made from barn wood that came out of the family's house upstate.

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: The cloth-draped tripod light is Philip Stark's Rosy Angelis Floor Lamp—"It's been following us around forever," says Dale. The rope chair is mended with a bit of pink mason twine.

    Kitchen

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: Sequestered at the far end of the living/dining room, the open kitchen, with midnight granite counters and laminate cabinets, is "pretty nice as far as rental kitchens go," says Joe.

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: "We thought about replacing all the metal handles with rope," says Dale. "But then we said, Why not be easy? So we wrapped the hardware with textured duct tape cut with an X-Acto—and we still have a bunch to go. When we move, we can just pull off the tape."

    Master Bedroom

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: Another homage to Martin Margiela, the master bedroom has a pillow headboard wall inspired by the Belgian designer's cloudlike installation at Les Sources de Cauladie hotel in Bordeaux. The bedspread is a Linen Sheet from Merci in Paris. The room's neon-strung sheers match the ones in the living room (and mask the air-conditioner).

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: Dale and Joe made their bedside lights from cloth-covered twisted cord sourced at Sun Dial Wire and brass lamp parts from Grand Brass (which also sells half-chrome bulbs).

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: "We used Ikea's cheapest pillows," says Dale. "They're perfect because they're lightweight and they have nice stitched edges. We steamed out the wrinkles and then just put them up with thumbtacks." The light brackets are also from Ikea. The bedside table is a rice masher from a trip to Cambodia.

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma's Flax Light hangs over a desk found on Wayfair. The stacked banana-fiber poufs are from Ikea.

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: An Ed Ruscha print—a Gagosian gallery giveaway—is taped over the desk.

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: An old school chair from Vermont and a quince branch.

    Baby's Room

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: Formerly featureless, Henry's room is tented with double-faced satin ribbon and lit by Tord Boontje's Garland Light. The animal flags on the walls are limited-edition designs by Hella Jongerius for Ikea.

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: "We stapled the ribbon to the corner where the wall meets the ceiling and then swagged it to the center," says Dale. "The ribbon is tied to a three-inch metal hardware store ring that hangs in the middle."

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: A mushroom night-light and mustachioed moon print, both from Fawn Shoppe.

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: A bell-tipped Garland from French website Smallable hangs over the crib. Like the print, it's afixed to the wall with washi tape. (See more flags and bunting in our 10 Favorites roundup.)

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: The crib came from Bed, Bath & Beyond and was originally on wheels, so that in the family's one-bedroom apartment it could be moved around. The Kallax Shelves are an Ikea classic.

    Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson in NYC | Remodelista

    Above: The brass hangers in the entry to Henry's room are Jon Harrison's Kippford Hooks from Thorsten van Elten, and are modeled after ship fittings. See more of Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson's work at Hollymount and on Instagram @hollymountltd.

      Remodelista subscribe | Remodelista

    Peruse more apartment transformations in Rehab Diaries and Space-Space Living posts.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    An easy half-day project for a doorknob-less door, courtesy of Alessandra Taccia, a Cambridge, England–based artist and blogger. We featured her house a while back on Remodelista, and one of the details that struck us for its ingenuity was this DIY door pull.

    Alessandra Tacci DIY Door Pull | Remodelista

    Above: Alessandra's clever door pull offers two options for opening and closing a doorknob-less door. 

    Leather Lace | Remodelista

    Above: A roll of Natural Leather Cord is $2.35 for three millimeters from Minor Details on Etsy. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Wooden Beads | Remodelista

    Above: Round Wood Natural Beads are available in a range of sizes on Amazon. Photograph via Earnest Home Co.

    Alexa Hotz Leather Drawer Pull | Remodelista

    Above: It's easy to replicate Alessandra's leather pull—go to How to Make a Leather Cabinet Pull for our tutorial.

    See more of Alessandra's house at House Call: Slow Living at La Casita and visit her shop, Alessandra Taccia, where she offers items for the home. 

      Remodelista subscribe | Remodelista

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    We're not carpenters here at Remodelista, but we tackled each of these DIYs ourselves in response to a niggling problem, such as a front-entry shoe pileup, ugly electrical cords, and cheap-looking lamp detailing. Take notes from us: Here are the top 10 projects from our Remodelista Weekend Project Hall of Fame.

    1. Make a Headboard

    DIY Painted Wooden Headboard | Remodelista

    Above: Like Alexa, have you been sleeping in an unfinished bed? She finally moved her mattress off the ground and created the perfect finished look for it—see DIY: The Three-Step Headboard.

    2. Tackle Your Cord Tangle

    DIY Beaded Extension Cord, My First Apartment, Home for the Holidays with Home Depot | Remodelista

    Above: And to remedy the ugly cord issue in her apartment, Alexa strung her own Beaded Extension Cords.

    3. Create a Rolling Mud Room

    Dalilah Arjah DIY shoe rack | Remodelista

    Above: After tripping over their shoes for too long, Dalilah and her boyfriend built this DIY: Shoe Rack Perfect for a Narrow Entry.

    4. Turn Rope into a Doormat

    DIY woven rope doormat by Erin Boyle from Gardenista | Remodelista

    Above: Erin admits that wrestling rope into a DIY Woven Doormat was no mean feat—but she did it. And her results as so impressive that we're all ready to give it a try (or to get her to make one for us).

    5. Tie Your Own Shower Curtain Rings 

    Sarah Lonsdale rental house bathroom update with leather shower curtain ties | Remodelista

    Above: Sarah puts leather lace to all sorts of uses, from napkin ties to Shower Curtain Rings (to replace the plastic ones in her guest bath). Read her 10 Tips for How to Transform a Rental Bath and see the rest of her house in Sarah's Refined Rental.

    6. Rig Your Own Utility Closet 

    Myles Tipley's DIY curtained laundry closet | Remodelista

    Above: Myles and his wife were "stoked" to finally have their own washing machine and dryer, but they didn't want to look at it—so he built the $65 Laundry Closet, Renter's Edition.

    7. Upgrade an Old Dresser with Braided Pulls

    DIY braided drawer pulls from Reading My Tea Leaves | Remodelista

    Above: After our slew of posts on leather pulls (including a DIY video), Erin surprised us with her own version: see The Homemade Changing Table with $1.25 Pulls.

    8. Use Color to Remedy a Rental Kitchen 

    Ikea Drawers Painted as Spice Chest with Heath Ceramics Bowl, Remodelista

    Above: In her Small Kitchen Makeover, Meredith, our resident paint expert, made the eyesore faux mahogany cabinets almost disappear against a new gray palette.

    8. Transform Pendant Lights with Paint

    Izabella's Dining Lamp Rehab | Remodelista

    Above: Izabella liked the look (and price) of her West Elm dining room lights, but not their white plastic cords and silvery hardware. She remedied all in DIY: The $7 Pendant Light Redo with Brass Paint.

    9. Roller-Pattern a Room

    Justine Hand's roller painted wallpaper alternative | Remodelista

    Above: After seeing the price of the wallpaper that she wanted for her daughter's room, Justine took matters into her own hands with an Economical Wallpaper Alternative.

    We have many more Weekend Project Ideas, including:

    Remodelista subscribe | Remodelista

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    How's this for an afternoon well spent? In a matter of hours—and using parts from Lowe's—Robert Highsmith of Brooklyn architecture firm Workstead whipped up a two-person desk for himself and his wife and design partner, Stefanie Brechbuehler. Voila, instant home office. Here's how to replicate the design down to the desk accessories.

    DIY partner's desk designed by Robert Highsmith of Brooklyn design firm Workstead | Remodelista

    Above: The partner's desk serves as Robert and Stefanie's upstate New York home office on weekends and summer stretches. It's on the second-floor landing of their 1850s farm cottage, which they overhauled almost entirely themselves—explore the whole house in the Remodelista book. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Workstead architect Robert Hightower's DIY partner's desk | Remodelista

    Above: "I bought the parts at Lowe's and got to work one Sunday afternoon," says Robert. "It just took a few hours." The chairs are Paul McCobb classics from the early fifties—"We found them at Brimfield," says Stefanie. "Someone had painted them, so we got them cheap." Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    1911 German industrial light made by Bolich | Remodelista

    Above: Robert and Stefanie's light was a wedding present from her aunt: "She went with us to a few favorite stores in Zurich and we picked it out. It's a 1911 industrial-era German lamp made by Bolich." Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Workstead architect Robert Hightower's DIY partner's desk | Remodelista

    Above: The marble-based desk light is an OMI design from the sixties bought at a vintage shop in Hudson, New York. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

     

    The Parts

    29-inch mixed maple table leg from Lowe's | Remodelista

    Above: These 29-Inch Mixed Maple Table Legs are $14.48 each at Lowe's.

    Aspen panels from Lowe's | Remodelista

    Above: A 3/4-by-24-by-72-inch Aspen Panel is $42.74 at Lowe's. Robert detailed the desktop with three-inch wide trim to make it standard depth and also used the trim as cross pieces. A three-inch-wide, eight-foot-long piece of Spruce-Pine-Fir Furring Strip is $1.72 at Lowe's. 

    Workstead architect Robert Highsmith's DIY partner's desk | Remodelista

    Above: Final step: The desk is painted a Benjamin Moore color match of Farrow & Ball's Lamp Room Gray. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Furniture and Lighting

    Paul McCobb chair from Chairish | Remodelista

    Above: Known as the Paul McCobb Planner Group Dining Chair, the design is easy to find online often for sale in sets. It was made in the fifties by Winchenden Furniture. This example, a Paul McCobb Chair from a Chairish vendor in North Miami, is $329.

    Vintage Bolich spotlight from THPG in Germany | Remodelista

    Above: A close facsimile of the couple's vintage light, the Bolich Inside Spotlight of powder-coated steel with a rotating and swiveling bracket, is €395 ($417.42) from Thomas Hoof's company THPG in Germany

    Midcentury modern light via Tr3eats on eBay | Remodelista

    Above: An 18-inch-tall Midcentury Modern Desk Lamp with chrome shade and marble base is available for $94.99 from eBay seller Tr3ats, who has as total of three.

    The Accessories

    Italian vintage-style Rolodex from Manufactum |  Remodelista

    Above: Is it time for a Rolodex comeback? The Zeuss Index Holder, an Italian old-fashioned "card index system" made of aluminum and steel, is €143 ($151) from Manufactum in Germany.

    Chinese scissors from Brook Farm General Store | Remodelista

    Above: Brook Farm General Store's steel-handled Scissors are made by a Chinese company that's been in business since 1663; $12.

    Montague Leather Satchel from JCrew | Remodelista

    Above: The Montague Leather Satchel is $298 at J. Crew.

    Molecule building set  by Ferm Living | Remodelista

    Above: Meet the decorative desk toy: the Molecule Building Set by Ferm Living is $79.95 from Fawn and Forest.

    Workstead is a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory. See more of their designs in:

      Remodelista subscribe | Remodelista

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Meet the charming Mr. and Mrs. White of Sydney, Australia, who "got married young, some would say too young," as Sasha (the wife) says. "But we didn't care. When you know, you know. And six years later we have a business and two daughters."

    Their business was born when Nathan, who completed a four-year shipwright apprenticeship, segued into furniture making after feeling that "something was missing," and Sasha, after finishing university with a degree in graphic design, found herself "meddling with a sewing machine."

    "Suddenly everything seemed a little clearer. The smell of timber, the touch of linen, that giddy feeling from seeing a concept sketch become something tangible. So, in short, Mr. White makes the furniture and Mrs. White makes the textiles. We are all about simple, honest, handmade design with a focus on the natural beauty of the material, whether it be recycled timber, linen, or leather." 

    Mr and Mrs White Bed | Remodelista

    Above: A Beam Bed made from plywood is $1,200 AUD ($914 USD).

    Mr and Mrs White Leather Pillows | Remodelista

    Above: Round Leather Floor Cushions are $185 AUD ($140.93 USD).

    Mr and Mrs White Atelier Desk | Remodelista

    Above: The American oak Atelier Desk is $2,265 AUD ($1,725 USD).

    Mr and Mrs White Dish Clothes | Remodelista

    Above: A pack of Two Linen Tea Towels is $40 AUD ($30 USD).

    Mr Mrs Smith Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: The Beam Bed made of American oak is $2,300 AUD ($1,760 USD).

    Mr Mrs Smith Table | Remodelista

    Above: The Box Leg Table in American oak is $3,080 AUD ($2,346 USD).

    Mr and Mrs Smith Dresser | Remodelista

    Above: The Box Drawers made of American ply are $1,630 AUD ($1,242 USD).

    Side Table Mr and Mrs Smith | Remodelista

    Above: The Kiss Cuddle Side Table in American oak is $680 AUD ($518 USD). See the full collection at Mr and Mrs White.

    Remodelista subscribe | Remodelista

    For more simple, small-batch furniture, take a look at:

    And on Gardenista, see DIY: Garden Pallet as Instant Toolshed.

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    Like us, do you have frames propped here and there waiting to be hung? Meet your inspiration: the salon-style art wall. Here are 10 favorite examples by members of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory.

    For art-hanging lessons from a curator, see Expert Advice: 10 Tips on Displaying Art at Home. And for some frames we like, go to 6 Simple Ways to Hang Art.

    Art Walls How to Hang Art at Home | Remodelista

    Above: A wall of photography at the Arden & Anstruther Gallery by Harriet Anstruther Studio of London. Photograph by Henry Braham

    Art Walls How to Hang Art at Home | Remodelista

    Above: Salon-style hangings in a Brooklyn brownstone by Heide Hendricks. See more by the Connecticut-based designer in The Architect Is In: The New Connecticut Farm, Sustainable Edition. Photograph by John Gruen

    Art Walls How to Hang Art at Home | Remodelista

    Above: An art wall in the otherwise all-white bath of designer Beth Dadswell of Imperfect Interiors. Tour the house in Before and After: A London Victorian Transformed. Photograph by Leanne Dixon.

    Art Walls How to Hang Art at Home | Remodelista

    Above: Before hanging this wall, designers Rebecca Robertson and Marco Pasanella and their clients made kraft paper templates of each piece and arranged them on the floor, perfecting the grouping for hours. For more, see A Whimsical Family Loft in Brooklyn: Whale Wallpaper Included. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Art Walls How to Hang Art at Home | Remodelista

    Above: An art wall greets guests at the top of the stairs in a new beach house by Rethink Design Studio of Savannah, Georgia. Photograph by Richard Leo Johnson

    Art Walls How to Hang Art at Home | Remodelista

    Above: Not everything needs a nail—art is grouped on a wall and neatly arranged on the floor in a San Francisco remodel by Nick Noyes Architecture. For more from the designer, see Architect Visit: Nick Noyes

    Cloth and Kind Art Wall | Remodelista

    Above: An art wall in the living room of a Tudor-style cottage by Cloth & Kind, an interior design firm with offices in Athens, Georgia, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. For more by the designers, see Pattern Language: A Textiles Enthusiast at Home in Ann Arbor. Photograph by Rinne Allen.

    Art Walls How to Hang Art at Home | Remodelista

    Above: In a Brooklyn Heights loft by Elizabeth Roberts Design/Ensemble Architecture, the clients wanted wall space for their individual art collections to coexist. For a recent project by Roberts, see A Kitchen for a Cookbook Author and a Sculptor, Williamsburg Edition

    Art Walls How to Hang Art at Home | Remodelista

    Above: A pink-inflected art wall from the portfolio of NYC designer Ellen Hamilton of Hamilton Design Associates. For Hamilton's thoughts on color, read Parsing the Pantone Color of the Year

    Art Walls How to Hang Art at Home | Remodelista

    Above: A private gallery and music pavilion in London by Sanya Polescuk Architects. Photograph by Ioana Marinescu.

    Remodelista subscribe | Remodelista

    Looking to hire a pro? Consult the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, and see:

    More Stories from Remodelista


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    The Scenario: Fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi launched their minimalist-chic clothing line Black Crane in 2008. Not long after that, the two—Japanese transplants who met in LA nearly 20 years ago—decided it was time to go looking for their dream house. They pictured a modernist Schindler classic with views and acres, but happily settled for a tree-shaded 1948 Pasadena bungalow built by the seller and his son. 

    The Challenge: Untouched for decades, the 1,200-square-foot house was gloom-central inside and just about every inch needed tending. "It was bad," says Momo, "a true fixer."

    The Solution: Momo and Alex's design skills, they discovered, translate well to interiors. With help from a construction crew, they re-tailored the place themselves, removing walls, replacing windows with French doors, installing a new bath, and generally infusing the rooms with a look that's equal parts midcentury modern and Japanese serene.

    Top Takeaway: 1. "You can change the interior but not the location," says Momo—so choose a setting that you like. 2. A limited budget forces you to be resourceful. "There are always tons of approaches you can take to a remodel, but we had to be very mindful of costs. We discovered that sometimes you find a better solution by respecting the current condition of the space." 3. Let "simple and functional" be your mantra. 

    Photography by Kikuko Usuyama.

    Momo Suzuki of fashion line Black Crane at home in LA, photo by Kikuko Usuyama | Remodelista

    Above: Momo in a Black Crane dress. She says their house and fashion are both all about relaxed design that "eliminates the unnecessary." 

    Like the faceted bowl? It's by artist Kelly Lamb. Have a look at her work in our post Kelly Lamb's Glamorous LA Art Studio.

    Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguch of fashion line Black Crane at home in LA, photo by Kikuko Usuyama | Remodelista

    Above: In the kitchen the couple added new walnut counters and shelves, and relocated existing wall cabinets to nearly ceiling height to lend an airiness. They also introduced new brass hardware to the windows and cupboards. Originally hoping to replace the linoleum floor with organically shaped terracotta tiles, they instead used slate—"it was a third of the price." They're contemplating extending the slate partially up a wall.

    Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane at home in LA, photo by Kikuko Usuyama | Remodelista

    Above: "We like to have long, leisurely breakfasts, enjoying the views of the big oak trees around the house," says Momo. Here they're shown at their eight-foot-long table—"chosen to emphasize an open feeling"—with chairs by Arne Hovmand-Olsen.

    Momo and Alex both made their way to the States as teens—she in pursuit of environmental art studies and he as a professional surfer (who subsequently became a graphic designer and then launched his eponymous fashion line, the men's wear companion to Black Crane). The collector of the family, Alex stalks Scandinavian and Dutch midcentury arcana from foreign vendors on eBay.

    Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane at home in LA | Remodelista

    Above: "This is how we spend our weekends: My husband likes to take care of all the plants while I read magazines." They were able to remove the wall between the dining and living rooms by installing a wooden support beam—one of the most involved (and costly) maneuvers of the remodel. They also cut out a window above the sofa to connect the public and private parts of the house.

    LA home of Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: The couple's favorite corner of the living room features a Serge Mouille light and a ceramic wall tile installation by LA sculptor Stan Bitters, who got his start in the sixties and is still going strong. The sectional sofa is from VIesso, an LA company that offers custom details and sizes.

    LA home of Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: The living room is furnished with Alexander's finds. The daybed is by A. R. Cordemeier and the credenza is from Dutch designer Cees Braakman's 1950s Japanese series. "Eventually we want to build a superlong counter along the window wall," Momo says. The oak flooring is original—"fortunately all we had to do was re-sand and add one clear coat." The windows, too, are original "with some new brass hardware to sharpen the look."

    Japanese wood sculpture in the LA home of Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: A wooden threesome: sculptures by Hideki Takayama and Alma Allen, and a piece of cork—a souvenir from a trip to Corsica.

    Stan Bitters tile and Alma Allen bronze bowl in the LA home of Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: A tile by Stan Bitters and a bronze bowl by Alma Allen.

    Midcentury ceramics in the LA home of Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of fashion line Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: A collection of midcentury ceramics on another Cees Braakman cabinet from his Japanese series.

    The LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: To connect indoors and out, Momo and Alexander installed several sets of French doors, including at the entry, shown here (where they replaced a single wood door). After puzzling over how to afford French doors, they used wood-framed windows, $200 a panel, from Home Depot and stained the wood themselves. A friend at Hot Metal Soup in New York made the front handles.

    Front entry in the LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: A teak and oak chair by Danish designer Ib Kofod-Larsen and hanging coat rack in the entry. For similar polished teak and chrome racks, see Amsterdam Modern in LA.

    Master bedroom in the LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: The master bedroom overlooks a "green curtain," thanks to newly installed French doors. The bedding is from Remodelista favorite Matteo and the white curtains are from Ikea: "You don't need to spend much for everything—we mix high quality with reasonable items; it creates a good balance."

    The LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: Momo and Alex keep the house largely pattern- and color-free to maintain Zen calm—but fill it with sculptural shapes, such as these hanging hats.

    Overhauled master bath in the LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: A window removed from the guest room was put to use in the overhauled bathroom. The couple found a bathtub they liked in a showroom and then tracked down the same model online for less. "We wanted to have a view from the tub, so we moved the bath to the window wall." They had the mirror fabricated by a local frame shop and then finished it to match their walnut counter. Adds Momo, "Because the space is small, we wanted it to feel more like a room than a bathroom, so we added tile only to the shower area—we bought discontinued subway tile for 99 cents a square foot." 

    LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: The toughest design decision? "Figuring out the exterior color for the house," says Momo. "Always make sure to test it out on a big patch of wall." She advises looking at the color from a distance and at several points in the day, with and without sunlight. She and Alex considered several options and lived with them for a while before committing to a color they call "gray forest." 

    The LA house of fashion designers Momo Suzuki and Alexander Yamaguchi of Black Crane | Remodelista

    Above: "We're preserving the wildness of our yard—it's nice to come home from our office downtown and see this." Go to Black Crane and Alexander Yamaguchi for their latest collections.

    Remodelista subscribe | Remodelista

    Looking for more DIY remodeling inspiration? Take a look at:

    This post is an update; the original ran on October 30, 2014, in our Lessons from Japan issue.

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    Looking for an easy, high impact way to transform your kitchen? Consider replacing old cabinet hardware with new. A can't-go-wrong-choice for classic kitchens: brass bin pulls.

    Swedish Kitchen with Brass Bin Pulls | Remodelista

    Above: A kitchen in Stockholm via Interior Stockholm.

      Cal Crystal Pull in polished brass I Remodelista  

    Above: The Cal Crystal Solid Brass Cup Pull comes in eight finishes (shown here in polished brass); $6.30 from Pulls Direct. 

    Cliffside-Solid-Brass-Cup-Pull-Polished-Brass-Remodelista

    Above: The Cliffside Solid Brass Cup Pull in polished brass is $17.20 from Hardware Hut. 

    Basic bin pull in unlacquered polished brass I Remodelista  

    Above: Crown City Hardware of California offers a 3 1/2-inch Basic Bin Pull in six finishes (shown here in unlacquered polished brass); $6.99. 

    Martha Stewart Living Bedford 3-inch Brass Awning Cup Cabinet Hardware Pull I Remodelista  

    Above: The Martha Stewart Three-Inch Brass Bedford Canopy Cup Cabinet Hardware Pull is $4.49 from Home Depot.

    Cast Brass Bin Pull Lee Valley I Remodelista  

    Above: The Cast Brass Bin Pull measures 3 3/4 inches; $8.30 from Lee Valley. 

    Queslett Pull I Remodelista  

    Above: The Queslett Bin Pull is made in England and finished by hand in the US. The pull comes in 10 finishes and three different lengths (it's shown here in the longest, nine inches). The pull starts at $33.25 from Horton Brasses. 

    Bevel Edge Bin Pull from Rejuvenation I Remodelista  

    Above: The Bevel Edge Bin Pull comes in seven finishes and three lengths, starting at $11 from Rejuvenation.

    Cup Drawer Pull I Remodelista  

    Above: This English Cup Drawer Pull is solid brass and available in six finishes, including unlacquered polished brass (shown here); £15.79 ($23.27) from Sds London. 

    Empire Bin Pull I Remodelista

    Above: Part of the Ted Boerner collection, the Empire Bin Pull in brass has a minimal design (with no visible screws). It comes in 10 finishes and two lengths, starting at $70 from Rocky Mountain Hardware. 

    Bedford 3-inch Brass Awning Cup Cabinet Hardware Pull by Martha Stewart I Remodelista  

    Above: Another option from Martha Stewart, the Bedford Three-Inch Brass Awning Cup Cabinet Hardware is $4.49 at Home Depot. 

    Baldwin Cup Pull I Remodelista

    Above: The classic Baldwin Cup Pull comes in nine finishes (shown here in polished brass) and measures four inches; $12.60 from My Knobs. 

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    A new stop on your Toronto itinerary: The just-opened outpost of Old Faithful Shop. ("Good quality goods for simple everyday living" is their motto.) Cofounder Walter Manning worked on the renovation of the 100-year-old storefront, "wallowing in dirt, dust, and chance," as he says. "Our intention was to grace the space rather than disgrace it. Renovations are always a gamble, but we're pleased with the results."

    Old Faithful Shop in Toronto | Remodelista

    Above: The shop is located in the happening West Queen West neighborhood. 

    Old Faithful Store in Toronto | Remodelista

    Above: "We tore away a wall and revealed a brick archway, pried up old tile and restored the original floorboards beneath, repaired rotting floor joists and laid hexagonal tile, and installed wall moldings and millwork throughout," Manning says.

    Old Faithful Dustpans | Remodelista

    Above: A row of Redecker Dustpans and Brushes; $34.95 CAD ($27.32 USD). 

    West River Ceramics at Old Faithful | Remodelista

    Above: Ceramics from West River Field Lab.

    Old Faithful Shop in Toronto | Remodelista

    Above: An array of classic kitchenwares.

    Old Faithful Shop in Toronto | Remodelista

    Above: A tropical plant from local shop Dynasty Toronto.

    Old Faithful Shop in Toronto | Remodelista

    Above: Manning added a jib door to the new millwork.

     

    Tour Old Faithful Shop's original location in Keeping the Faith: Vancouver's Modern General Store, and go to the Remodelista Shop to see some of our favorite goods from the store.

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    The natural instinct when remodeling a house with wall-to-wall carpet is to take it up, right? Before you can confirm what's underneath, you hold high hopes for finding a wood floor that was covered up in a past era (when they didn't know any better). But it's best not to set your expectations too high. More likely than not, the carpet was a cheap solution to cover up a floor that was already in poor condition. 

    In the minimal remodel of our Connecticut home, we were delighted that the floors were primarily wood and required a mere polish and buff to restore them to their optimum condition. When we lifted the carpet on the stairs, we discovered wood treads in pristine condition and optimistically assumed that we would find the same in the four bathrooms, whose floors had all been either carpeted or covered in vinyl tiles.

    And while we weren't completely wrong, the floors were too far gone to be restored, and here began my dilemma. We did not want to spend any of our already limited budget on floors in bathrooms that were going to eventually require updating anyway, so I asked our builder what he thought the best and least expensive short-term solution would be. Based on his recommendation, we went with painted plywood. 

    Unless otherwise noted, photography by Christine Chang Hanway.

    High gloss painted white plywood floor, Sally Schneider, The Improvised Life | Remodelista

    Above: A plywood floor that has been painted with a high-gloss white paint. Photograph by Sally Schneider via The Improvised Life

    A material more typically associated with subfloor material, plywood was not designed to be used as a finished surface covering. It can, however, be made to look and act like one with a few extra steps outlined here for a mere $1 to $2 a square foot in materials. 

    Painted white plywood floor with sage green trim | Remodelista

    Above: A corner detail in my bathroom with a Cotton Woven Bath Rug from Restoration Hardware; $28 to $169, depending on size.

    Painted white plywood floor with sage green trim | Remodelista

    Above: The painted plywood floors in my bathrooms all have a Restoration Hardware paint Silver Sage trim.

    Painted white plywood floor with sage green trim | Remodelista

    Above: Short-term solution? Maybe not in our case. My hard-to-please mother visited last summer and proclaimed that our bathroom floors were genius. We might just quit while we're ahead. 

    Take a Before & After tour of our house in Minimal Moves for Maximum Impact.

    Obsessed with white wood floors? Go to Scandi Whitewashed Floors: Before and After to see the lengths Izabella went to for hers.

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    This post is an update; it originally ran in September 2013 as part of our Get Organized issue.

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    What do you do when you're not at work? Brooklyn ceramic artist Suzie Ryu and painter/furniture designer Kana Philip both have demanding jobs by day—she does marketing for architecture site Architizer and he's the cofounder of just-launched content-sharing platform 8. At night, they create things for their online design shop, Trollhagen & Co. As for weekends, they can be found in Chatham, New York, making a dent on their DIY house remodel. Take a look at what they were able to accomplish in two weekends for just under $350. 

    Photography by Suzie Ryu.

    Suzie Ryu of Trollhagen DIY kitchen remodel at the School House in Upstate, NY | Remodelista

    Above: Suzie and Kana arrive every Friday night to their 1930s house, known as The Schoolhouse because it has an 1812 school attached to it. ("The school was rolled down the road after the house was built," says Suzie.) They only have 48 hours there every week, but they manage to get a lot done. After setting up their bedroom, they opened up the 1980s kitchen in the main house by removing the dark upper cabinets and replacing them with open shelving and Ikea pot racks. They painted the lower cabinets white and left the speckled laminate counter and fixtures as is.

    Here's Suzie's description of the open-shelf prep: "First we measured the length and depth we wanted. We decided to run two 6-inch-deep boards across our brackets to have an approximate shelf depth of 12 inches. We knew we wanted to run one shelf along the whole length of the wall and have a shorter one running over the sink but not over the stove, so we took our measurements accordingly."

    Suzie Ryu of Trollhagen DIY kitchen remodel at the School House in Upstate, NY | Remodelista

    Above: The shelves are Home Depot pine boards that the couple painted with a roller for speed and then brush-finished because they prefer a handmade look. They used Home Depot's Behr Ultra Pure White paint in matte on the walls and shelves. (Suzie notes that in hindsight it would have been smart to paint the under shelves matte and the top gloss for easy cleaning.) The brackets are Ikea's Ekby Valter design in birch—a mere $4 each—and the hanging bars are Ikea's Bygel Rail (over the sink) and Grundtal Rail (over the stove) with companion Bygel and Gundtal S hooks.

    Like the look? See our post Ultimate Budget Storage: 10 Kitchens with Ikea's Grundtal Rail System.

    Suzie Ryu of Trollhagen DIY kitchen remodel at the School House in Upstate, NY | Remodelista

    Above: The shelves are stocked with Suzie's own ceramics that she sells at Trollhagen & Co., including, on the top shelf, the Harvest Bowl, two-toned Saturday Carafe, and, on the lower shelf, Harvest Dishes and Porcelain Berry Bowl. Stay tuned: The couple are at work on furniture and textles for the shop and also plan to showcase some of their friends' designs.

    Enamelware in Trollhagen Co's DIY kitchen remodel in the School House in Chatham, NY | Remodelista

    Above: Vintage blue enamelware collected locally and white enamelware from Valley Variety in Hudson, New York.

    Suzie Ryu of Trollhagen DIY kitchen remodel at the School House in Upstate, NY | Remodelista

    Above: Suzie replaced the existing leaky faucet with a Glacier Bay Single Handle Pull-Down Sprayer Faucet that she picked out at Home Depot—"it was $170, our biggest expense." She did the installation herself by watching YouTube videos on how to remove an old faucet and put in a new one (here's one she recommends).

    In Progress

    Trollhagen Co's DIY kitchen remodel in progress at the School House in Chatham, NY | Remodelista

    Above: The cabinets await paint: They received two coats of brushed-on Behr Ultra Pure White in matte from Home Depot. Suzy and Kana like the look of the hardware-free paneled drawers and doors now that they're white and say they're holding up well.

    Before

    BEFORE Suzie Ryu of Trollhagen kitchen, pre-remodel, at the School House in Upstate, NY | Remodelista

    Above: The compact kitchen overlooks the sun porch, which Suzy and Kana turned into their bedroom. 

    BEFORE Suzie Ryu of Trollhagen kitchen, pre-remodel, at the School House in Upstate, NY | Remodelista

    Above: The cupboard and vent removal took place over a winter weekend (during which three pipes burst), and the wall spackling, sanding, and painting the following weekend.   

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    See more DIY kitchen overhauls: 

    And on Gardenista, read Michelle's kitchen wisdom in 10 Mistakes to Avoid When You Remodel.

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    We're a bunch of cat fanciers here at Remodelista—we love our felines, but not their litter boxes. Here are a dozen ways to conceal the dreaded kitty loo.

    Fellow cat lovers: Please let us know if you've come across any genius solutions in the Comments section.

    House Tweaking Concealed Litter Box | Remodelista

    Above: Dana Miller of House Tweaking came up with a cat-box solution involving an Ikea Pax cabinet with an added side entrance; see the DIY at House Tweaking.

    Project Palermo Broom Closet | Remodelista

    Above: Chicago DIY blogger Marti Palermo of Project Palermo hid her litter box in a closet—take a look at Cat Hole: Litter Box Closet Cat Door.

    Tula Amir Architects Cat Litter Box System | Remodelista

    Above: In a Tel Aviv family apartment, architect Tula Amir came up with a clever solution: a cutout in the kitchen leads to a tunnel to a utility area where the cat box lives (plus a sprayer for washing out the pan).

    Bham Design Studio Cat Cutout | Remodelista

    Above: Belgian architect Bham Design Studio created this litter box niche under a stairway in a residence for a cat lover.

    Cat Box in Bathroom with Washing Machine | Remodelista

    Above L and R: In a Tel Aviv apartment, interior designer Liat Evron slotted a washer/dryer and a cat box under a bathroom sink console.

     

    Above: A cat door under a built-in banquette provides indoor/outdoor access (if you added hinges to the bench top you could hide the litter box beneath it). See more of the London townhouse design in our post Platform 5 Architects Keep Books and Cat in Mind

    Above L and R: A kitty loo concealed in a drawer and a climbing wall in a house by Japanese firm Asahi Kasei.

    Litterbox Cover Ikea Hack | Remodelista

    Above: For the tiny apartment urban dweller: an Ikea Stuva box with a hole cut in the back becomes an instant cat box/side table, an Ikea hack via The Gold Standard.

    Hidden Cat Litter Boxes | Remodelista

    Above L: A litter box concealed in a utility closet by Klopf Architects. Above R: Designer and Canadian House & Home editor Suzanne Dimma says, "My signature design move for clients with cats is a litter box cubby configured into built-ins by a front or back door." Photograph via Canadian House & Garden.

    Catteaux Litter Box Furniture | Remodelista

    Above: Designed by Elips Design of London, the Catteux Litter Box Cabinet has two separate compartments (the smaller one on the left is for supplies and the larger one on the right is for the litter box), a discrete side entrance, and tiny venting holes on top; contact the firm directly for ordering information. (For a similar solution built from Ikea parts—a Faktum wall cabinet, Applad white door, and Besta push opener—go to Ikea Hackers).

    Ikea Hack Cat Box | Remodelista

    Above: An Ikea hack via Gizmodo: a combination kid's desk and hidden cat toilet made from a piece of MDF and a pair of Ikea lockers (with a cat flap inserted). 

    Dog owners, take a look at Remodeling 101: How to Build a Dog-Friendly House. Also check out our gift guides: for the Feline Fanatic, Part 1 and Part 2, and for the Dog Lover.

    Worried about pets who eat houseplants? Read Gardenista's report: Will a "Poisonous" Plant Really Kill Your Pet?

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    As a New Englander and historic house buff, I've spent a good deal of time in colonial-era houses that have been lovingly restored in period style. One of my favorite subleties about these dwellings? The chalky texture of their limewashed walls.

    I've always longed to create the same soft depth in my own home. Unfortunately, limewash, in this country at least, was a victim of progress: Commercial paints and easy-to-install drywall soon replaced this handmade pigment as well as the plaster to which it was applied.

    So I was delighted by Janet's recent post announcing that limewash has entered the modern age (see Remodeling 101: Limewash Paint). Thanks to new, premixed formulas, it's now possible to apply limewash to virtually any primed surface, even to drywall. But can an amateur do it?

    As Remodelista's resident wall-treatment tester—see DIY: An Economic Wallpaper Alternative and DIY: Stenciled Kid's Room, Boreal Forest Edition—I decided to find out. The good news: It was totally easy.

    Photography by Justine Hand for Remodelista, unless otherwise noted.

    Kalkliter-Lime-Wash-Paint-1-Remodelista

    Above: Limewash powder. Photograph via Kalklitir.

    Limewash is created when limestone or calcium carbonate is crushed and burned, then mixed with water and natural pigments. It was traditionally applied to plaster, stone, cement, or stucco. These days, it's also mixed with an adhesive, so it can stick to nonporous contemporary materials. It's nontoxic, antibacterial, and mold resistant. The only drawback is that you can't clean it—instead, a fresh coat needs to be applied. (In colonial houses, with constantly burning hearths, this ritual was repeated twice a year. I guess I forgive my ancestors for embracing the more long-lasting effects of modern paint.)

    Kalklitir limewash 2, Remodelista_edited-1

    Above: Imported from Sweden (where limewash never went out of style), Kalklitir limewash is available at online shop Komedal Road.

    Materials

    • Limewash specifically formulated for walls. I used Kalklitir's limewash powder in Palladio and Ivory, available at Komedal Road; $68 for a one-kilo bag, which, when mixed with 1.7 liters tap water, makes two liters of paint.
    • Acrylic primer. Since limewash is nontoxic itself, I chose a low-VOC primer to go with it: Benjamin Moore's Fresh Start. (To read more about low-VOC paints, see Remodeling 101: All You Need to Know About Low-VOC Paint.)
    • Limewash brush. Mine came with my paint from Komedal Road, but you can also buy a similar Liquitex Freestyle Giant Block Brush at McCollum Interiors for $56.
    • White plastic paint bucket with lid. Available for $3.85 for a two-gallon bucket; $2.18 for the lid at Home Depot.
    • Mixer or wisk
    • Paintbrush, roller, and paint pan (for the primer)
    • Safety goggles and gloves
    • Drop cloth

    Instructions

    DIY limewash, wall prep_edited-1

    Step 1: Prep your walls as you would any paint job, by spackling holes and washing the surface. We had to strip old wallpaper.

    priming the wall_edited-1

    Step 2: Apply any 100 percent acrylic primer. This base coat will ensure that no imperfections show through the limewash and will help the wash adhere to your wall. Allow this to dry thoroughly.

    DIY limewash, mixing paint, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

    Step 3: To mix your limewash, add 1.7 liters of tap water to your paint bucket. Gradually add the limewash powder a bit at a time, stirring to dissolve fully before adding more powder. After all the limewash powder is added, let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until powder is fully dissolved and there are no lumps. You should now have two liters of paint.

    DIY limewash putting paint on brush, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

    Above: Limewash must be applied with a brush not a roller. If I just lost you there, let me say that this is not akin to applying a whole wall of paint with a brush. Limewash is so watery that the process is actually about as fast as applying paint with a roller.

    And because of its consistency, limewash will drip or run if you get too much paint on the brush, so only dip the tip of the bristles in the paint. Scrape off excess liquid on the sides of your bucket. 

    Note: Limewash can splatter and get on your hands as you continue to mix it. Though it's nontoxic, it's an irritant, so I recommend wearing safety glasses and gloves.

    DIY limewash, x stroke, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

    Step 4: Limewash can by applied with an X stoke or in a more traditional manner with overlapping perpendicular (up and down) brush strokes. Both are really easy, but I prefer the X stroke (above in ivory), because it creates a more interesting texture when viewed close up, and overall gives the wall a more cloudy effect. (See Kalklitir's website for videos of the two application methods.)

    Making an X stroke: First edge around the side, bottom, and top of your wall. Fortunately, since limewash is so liquid, edging is very simple. I didn't even tape off my trim! Then, starting at the top (or bottom) of the wall, paint three or four strokes on a diagonal, then flip your brush over and go over these strokes in the opposite direction to make an X. Continue working up or down until you reach the lower (or upper) edge, before moving sideways. Note that the working edge should always be wet, so leave enough time to complete at least one entire wall. And remember to continue to stir the paint in the bucket every so often. If you don't, your pigment will settle to the bottom and your application will be uneven.

    Allow your limewashed walls to dry thoroughly for two to eight hours, depending on the humidity of the room.

    DIY lime wash, first coat stil wet, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

    Above: Here's my Palladio wall after applying the first coat. You'll note the area to the left is already starting to dry. You may also notice that my application doesn't look particularly neat. That's okay. 

    DIY lime wash, first coat dried, Remodelista

    Above: Here's that first coat dried. See how my messy application has taken on a nice textured patina?

    DIY LIMEWASHED WALLS, 2nd coat, Remodelista

    Step 5: Apply the second coat in the same manner as the first. (Notice how much darker the wet coat is? Limewash is up to 10 times darker went wet.)

    DIY lime wash, clean up, Remodelista

    Cleaning up and storage: Because limewash is water based and environmentally friendly, you can simply wash your brush with water to clean it. Once mixed with water, limewash paint can be stored in an air-tight container for up to a year. Dry limewash powder can be stored indefinitely.

     The Finished Look

    DIY limewash in Kalklitir ivory, by Justine Hand for Remodelista

    Above: Here's my bedroom in Kalklitir Ivory paired with Benjamin Moore Sea Salt on the trim. It's very subtle, but if you look closely, you can discern a slight modulation on the walls. Up close, it has a soft chalky texture that is so much more lively than matte paint. When I showed it to my mother, she observed, "Oohhh. It looks like old plaster…but more modern." (Yes!) 

    DIY limewash in Kalklitir palladio, by Justine Hand for Remodelista_edited-1

    Above: The texture of the limewash is more visible in this detail of the Palladio in the guest bedroom. (I still need more furniture in this room, but for now, this warm hue looks lovely paired with my pink Ikea sheets.)

    Want to explore more old-fashioned finishes with a contemporary flare? See:

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    Did you know Ireland has the perfect horticultural environment? So much so that things get a little wild and overgrown and mossy (just the way we like it).

    Gravetye Manor | Gardenista

    Above: Ideas to steal from Irish gardens.

    Artificial Grass | Gardenista

    Above: Pros and cons of artificial turf.

    Gardenista Green Paints | Gardenista

    Above: The best green paints

    June Blake Gardener | Gardenista

    Above: Discover the genius of June Blake.

    Black Canvas Garden Cart | Remodelista

    Above: We're all coveting this black canvas garden wagon.

    Decomposed granite driveway ; Gardenista

    Above: Low-cost luxury: nine ways to use decomposed granite in a landscape project. 

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    "Reuse, restore, recycle" is a familiar mantra, but 25 years back, Amanda Pays was one of the early adapters. An actress turned designer (she's currently appearing in the TV series The Flash, revisiting a role she first played in 1990), you might not expect frugality to be central to her mission. But thriftiness without sacrifice is Amanda's longstanding MO: "I grew up in London and the English countryside. My father was a theatrical agent, but he also flipped houses as a hobby. He gave me the appreciation for saving old things and spending sensibly."

    Amanda bought her first house in London when she was 22: "I paid £45,000 and sold it two years later for £185,000. Voila!" Since then, over the course of dozens of remodels for her own family and clients—and in the past 12 months alone, three house flips—she's figured out how to create made-to-last design without ever breaking the bank. Here are her secrets.

    Amanda Pays Ask the Expert | Remodelista

    Above: Amanda and her husband (and fellow in-the-trenches house fixer) Corbin Bernsen, in the kitchen of an LA flip house off Mulholland Drive that they overhauled in three months. It sold the first day it went on the market. (Read about how the two collaborate in our Expert Advice post Corbin Bernsen: Star Handyman.) The light is the $195 Isaac 1 Pendant from Schoolhouse Electric. Photograph by Laure Joliet for Remodelista.

    1. Buy as much as possible at flea markets.

    "Never buy new unless you really have to," says Amanda. "When I first work on a project, I look for ways to use what's already there, such as windows and moldings. And when it comes to the furnishings, I start by pulling out things I already own and making new use of them. Then I shop at flea markets and swap meets—I like the monthly Long Beach Antique Market—and Habitat for Humanity ReStores.

    Old things, in addition to being better made and more affordable than new, have more to say—they have soul. One item I'm always on the lookout for are old metalwork stools; I use them at kitchen islands, and I never pay more than $15 apiece. I also buy things like soap dishes and wall hooks when I travel. I'm eternally on the hunt. Recently, when I was filming in Vancouver, I returned home with a suitcase full of $4 steel bin pulls from a vintage hardware store called The Source. Our own kitchen has metal handles that we bought at the Rose Bowl: 50 of them for $25."
    Amanda Pays design brass faucets found on a trip to Marrakech and brass hooks from travels in Spain | Remodelista

    Above L: Amanda found these brass taps at a hardware stall in a Marrakech market. Above R: Antique brass hooks found at the bottom of a bin on a recent day trip from France to La Bisbal, Spain.

    2. Build shelves from scaffolding wood. 

    "Along with liking antiques, I like the look of old wood. But reclaimed timber has gotten to be expensive and overused. A while back, Corbin and I noticed our builder's old scaffolding boards—and he was happy to sell them to us for $10 a plank. We made several shelves (and brackets too) from each. They're all over our house. We even used them as stair treads. Builders, I've found, are happy to sell their scaffolding or trade it for new boards."

    Amanda Pays kitchen in LA | Remodelista

    Above: The Jenn-Air range (from Sears) in Amanda and Corbin's own Studio City, California, kitchen is flanked by shelving and brackets built from scaffolding wood. The island was put together from two flea market workman's benches. "We added a stainless top and a shelf underneath," she says. "The whole thing cost $200." For a detailed tour of the space, go to "The California King-Size Kitchen" in the Remodelista book. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Amanda Pays house in France | Remodelista

    Above: An antique dining table and €30 chairs (found in a wicker store in Las Bisbal, Spain) at Amanda and Corbin's family house in the Languedoc region of France, near where her mother and two sisters live. Amanda and Corbin have been slowly and cost-consciously renovating indoors and out for the last four years. Photograph by Camilla More.

    3. Use drop cloths for curtains and slipcovers.

    "I have a default for window treatments: I always make Roman shades from cotton canvas drop cloths that I get at Koontz Hardware. I like the ones that aren't too yellow, but I'm not picky. The shades are incredibly simple—you can get them stitched at a dry cleaner that offers sewing. I also use drop cloths for slipcovers."

    4. Use pipes as curtain rods and towel rails.

    "I never go looking for rods—whether for curtains or towels or closets or handrails. I like the look of plumbing pipe, and I cap it off with standard cast-iron pipe flanges."

    Corbin Bernsen and Amanda Pays bunkhouse | Remodelista

    Above: Amanda turned a shed into a bunkhouse for her four sons. It has drop-cloth curtains, shades, and slipcovers. Take a tour in Backyard Bunkhouse, Hollywood Royal Family Edition. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Corbin Bensen bedside shelf made from scaffolding wood | Remodelista

    Above: Corbin made this bedside shelf from scaffolding wood.

      Amanda Pays designed bunkhouse closet with pipe railing and flea market handle | Remodelista

    Above: The bunkhouse closets have pipe railings and hardware-store handles.

    5. Find appliance bargains by buying on sale and in bulk.

    "I don't buy fancy appliances, but I do buy reliable, good-looking ones. For a long time, I went to Sears and got great deals by purchasing a lot of pieces at once and getting bulk discounts—sometimes as much as 30 percent off. Lately, I've been going to Costco and Home Depot—I watch online for sales and strike then.

    For flip houses, I generally stick to a $5,000 budget for range, hood, fridge, and dishwasher. It breaks down as $1,500 for the range (I just bought two Ancona Gourmet Series 36-Inch Ranges at Costco), $600 for the hood (I buy the interior and then build it out), $2,000 for the fridge (I like the industrial handle on this Stainless Steel Maytag French Door Refrigerator from Home Depot), and $800 for the dishwasher (such as this Maytag from Home Depot)." 

    I don't put washing machines and dryers in my flip houses, but at home I spend a bit more on them because I have a big family, so our machines have to be workhorses. Ours are Kenmore Elite from Sears. Another source that I use to buy appliances as well as bathroom fixtures is Build.com—it carries everything and my builder has an account that gets us a 10 to 20 percent discount."

    Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen laundry room LA | Remodelista

    Above: Amanda and Corbin's laundry room has a Kenmore washing machine and dryer (both now discontinued models) from Sears. Learn all about the detailing in Rehab Diary: Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen Air Their Dirty Laundry. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    6. Shop at hardware stores.

    "Koontz Hardware is my go-to spot for so many things: I find wall-mounted laundry faucets (great for kitchen and bathroom sinks), $99 chrome gooseneck faucets, old-fashioned galvanized steel garbage cans (for storing things like dog food), and, of course, piping, paint, and drop cloths."

    Amanda Pays Corbin Bernsen laundry room sink | Remodelista

    Above: The laundry room sink, a refinished vintage design, came from Square Deal Plumbing Supplies in LA. It has a faucet from Koontz Hardware. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen laundry room LA | Remodelista

    Above: The room's ample storage includes ventilated shelves modeled after old British laundries and inexpensively made from narrow Douglas fir boards by Amanda's builder. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    7. Take a high/low approach to lighting. 

    "I use lighting of all sorts, old and new. I like simple porcelain sconces from the hardware store and also often use Ikea's basic lighting (ceramic designs that don't have a lot of small parts). But I mix these with statement-making pieces: a splashy antique chandelier, a brass globe light. My favorite source is a place in North Hollywood called Practical Props, which sells restored vintage, reproduction, and new lighting—in 2013, it was voted the best lighting store in LA by Los Angeles magazine.

    Thomas O'Brien Hicks Pendant and Etsy seller Ind Lights sconce | Remodelista

    Above L: In a flip house she's working on right now, Amanda plans to splash out with Thomas O'Brien's Extra Large Hicks Pendant light, $798, over the kitchen island. Above R: Elsewhere in the house, she's using Etsy seller Ind Lights' $55 Brass and Steel Sconces.

    8. Source stone at remnant yards.

    "I love using natural stone, and I buy it affordably by shopping the way French chefs do—before planning anything, I see what's available. I go to stone yards and fabricators in the San Fernando Valley and look for marble, soapstone, and quartz remnants and returns. I find pieces of Carrara left over from a kitchen island that cost $80 and are big enough for a bathroom sink counter. In kitchens, I often balance stone, such as on an island, with counters made of Caesarstone—it's well priced, durable, and comes in a huge color palette."

    Learn all about Caesarstone in Remodeling 101: Engineered Quartz Countertops. Also see our Remodeling 101 posts on Marble Countertops and Soapstone Countertops.

    9. Use outdoor materials indoors. 

    "I love placing outdoor things, like garden sinks and stone pavers, inside—they're priced lower than indoor materials and beyond rugged. Plus they add a surprise element."

    Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen's LA bathroom | Remodelista

    Above: Amanda and Corbin's own master bath has a floor paved in Pennsylvania irregular blue flagstones (from Prime Masonry Materials), a vintage tub, and drop cloth Roman window shades. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Amanda Pays laundry hamper from old wooden box | Remodelista

    Above: Amanda turned a paneled wood box from a swap meet (see previous photo) into a his-and-hers laundry hamper in the master bath. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    10. Apply stealth color. 

    "Paint is well-known as the cheapest and quickest way to make over a room. It has the same impact as tile but is so much more affordable; and if you use semigloss or gloss, it's washable. All the elements in your remodel—floors, walls, countertops, hardware, lighting—have to come together. Once they do, I go in at the end of every project and add paint statements: a borderline in a quiet room, a color around a window frame, a band of paint instead of a tiled backsplash, a stripe on the bottom of the front door—a bit of wow."

    Amanda Pays two-toned bathroom design in LA | Remodelista

    Above: The two-toned WC is one of Amanda's signatures. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

    Amanda Pays picking tile grout for a house remodel in LA | Remodelista

    Above: Picking out a grout shade for a flip house bathroom. "I never spend more than $2 to $5 a square foot for tile," says Amanda. "And I love pairing basics, such as subway tile, with different colored grouts to make it more dynamic." Photograph by Laure Joliet for Remodelista.

    Amanda Pays design two-toned painted front door on a flip house | Remodelista

    Above: A yellow-painted punctuation point on Amanda's flip house off Mulholland Drive.

    11. Stay on budget by resisting random splurges.

    "When you're filling in the details for your remodel, you fall in love daily with unexpected things you suddenly think you can't live without. But if you only have so much to spend—or are already deep in borrowed money—it's important to set a budget and stick to it. Pin your pricey find, or a take a picture, then walk away—and keep looking. I guarantee you'll turn up something within your range that excites you just as much. Remodeling is a treasure hunt."

    Actors Corbin Bernsen and Amanda Pays at work on a remodel | Remodelista

    Above: After overhauling a house, many couples vow, "Never again," but Amanda and Corbin say, "What's next?" Photograph by Laure Joliet for Remodelista.

    See more of Amanda's work at Amanda Pays Design, and take a look at our posts:

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    Read on to find out what we're obsessing over this week.

    Lonny Magazine, Cafe Mamam owners at home | Remodelista

    • Above: The owners of Mamam, a chic downtown NYC cafe, live in an equally stylish sixth-floor loft in TriBeCa. Photograph by Nicole Franzen. 
    • Follow along as Design Sponge's Grace Bonney remodels her new home in upstate New York. 
    • Is it time to put a woman on the $20 bill? 

    KBH Mirror Copenhagen | Remodelista

    • Above: Prettiest bath mirror ever (via Shop of the New)?
    • Carved bowls modeled after "the shapes in yogurt when it's being eaten with a spoon." 
    • What you can rent for $3,200 in NYC
    • Paris's most Instagram-worthy restaurants. 

    Popsugar Home, Sarah Jessica Parker's $20 million townhouse in NYC is for sale | Remodelista

    • Above: Sarah Jessica Parker has put her NYC townhouse on the market. The price tag? $20 million. 
    • Which US cities are the friendliest and unfriendliest? (There are some surprises.)
    • Not a typical nursery

    Est Magazine, Koyasan Sleeping pods | Remodelista

    • Above: A Japanese guesthouse with soaring ceilings and sleeping pods
    • Thirteen houses with a view

    Instagram and Pinterest Picks of the Week

    Remodelista Instagram Pick of the Week: @nickeykehoe

    • Above: Keep up with the LA interior design duo behind Nickey Kehoe via Instagram (@nickeykehoe). 

    Pinterest Pick of the Week: Ignant

    • Above: Looking for workspace inspiration? Follow Ignant's pinboard dedicated to artists' studios

    Roll up your sleeves and look at our recent Weekend Projects issue. And head over to Gardenista to take in the best Irish gardens.  

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    Who can resist the inventive, off-the-cuff charm of an artist's live/work setup? This week, we're dropping in on creatives the world over—and along the way, we'll be spotlighting accessories that give rooms atelier appeal.

    Creatives At Home cover image Remodelista, March 2015

    Above: The shared LA loft of architect Lindon Schultz and shop owner Chay Wike. Take a tour in Studio Visit: At Work with Two Downtown LA Pioneers. Photograph by Jessica Comingore for Remodelista.

    Monday

    Berlin Apartment of Architect Julius Kranefuss | Remodelista

    Above: Later today, we're paying a House Call to Berlin architect (and toile wallpaper fan) Julius Kranefuss. Photograph via Freunde von Freunden.

    Tuesday

      Ryan Roche Pink Bedroom Upstate New York | Remodelista

    Above: New York it knitwear designer Ryan Roche—the subject of Tuesday's Designer Visit—has the powder pink touch. 

    Wednesday

    Minimalist Kitchen on Steeles Road, London by Sevil Peach | Remodelista

    Above: The illustrator of Charles Dickens's books once lived in this London Victorian, newly revived for an artist. Watch for Julie's Remodel & Renovation post.

    WRF Ceramics | Remodelista

    Above: No need to stop at a piece or two—in 10 Easy Pieces, Izabella presents studio pottery dinnerware sets.

    Thursday

    wall-mounted kraft paper roller from George & Willy in New Zealand | Remodelista

    Above: Do you find kraft paper on the wall as irresistible as we do? On Thursday, watch for our new must-have Accessory

    Friday

    Cutting Board Display | Remodelista

    Above: Another weakness of ours: cutting boards. On Friday, Julie takes a look at SF photographer Leigh Beisch's knack for putting them on display. Photograph by Leigh Beisch.

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    It's Spring Awakening week at Gardenista: potting sheds, marble planters, and 10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Martha Stewart.

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    Art-collecting architect Julius Kranefuss is not afraid of grandmotherly tea sets or toile wallpaper. His firm's motto? "We do architecture like others do drugs." 

    Read the full interview (and survey the designer's office) in Freunde von Freunden's latest post.

    Julian Kranefuss in Berlin | Remodelista

    Above: The Willow tea set was given to Julius by his mother; he chose his kitchen's red toile wallpaper and pink-striped upholstery to match it.

    Julian Kranefuss in Berlin | Remodelista

    Above: The china pattern plays well with an antique candelabra, salt and pepper shakers, and a vase of dried flowers.

    Julius studied at Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany, before working for design stars Rem Koolhaas and Massimiliano Fuksas (the latter's work appears in 10 Easy Pieces: Architect-Designed Flatware), then establishing his own firm, Zweidrei.

    Julian Kranefuss Kitchen | Remodelista

    Above L: Julius in his kitchen. Above R: The two-toned bath.

    When he first started his practice, Julius was interested in the idea of "media architecture," the capacity of architecture to govern social interactions. He asked, "How can one, with the help of architecture, create social spaces and urban identities?"

    Julian Kranefuss in Berlin | Remodelista

    Above: A white-painted brick wall serves as a rough-hewn backdrop for his tableware. (Note that he sticks with clear glass and white ceramics with his Willow ware.)

    The effects of space on people may be an interest Julius gleaned from life in a large family, where, he says, "The first thing you learn is to be considerate of others."

    Julius Pink Wallpaper | Remodelista

    Above: A glimpse of Julius's toile wallpaper.

    Julian Kranefuss in Berlin | Remodelista

    Above: The practical and the beautiful: a wall-hung three-way mirror in the bedroom.

    Julian Kranefuss in Berlin | Remodelista

    Above: A dusty pink wall in the sitting room with a part-art, part-practical umbrella.

    Though he works on a computer all day, he doesn't have Internet in his apartment—"to maintain a necessary distance to work," he says. "Working with my hands is a part of me that I can live out in my apartment."

    Julian Kranefuss in Berlin | Remodelista

    Above: "I grew up in a very art-interested family; we used to go in every museum. At the time I couldn’t understand it and would have rather gone to the beach," says Julius. He's now an avid art collector. 

    Julius Kranefess Berlin | Remodelista

    Above L: A sofa table vignette. Above R: A midcentury chandelier in the sitting room. 

    Julian Kranefuss Bedroom | Remodelista

    Above: Julius collects work by contemporary artists, including Horst Janssen, Julius von Bismarck, and Santiago Taccetti (a piece by the Berlin-based Argentinian sculptor sits to the left of the bedroom door). He balances modern work with vintage pieces, such as the wildlife painting over his bed.

    Julian Kranefuss Bathroom | Remodelista

    Above: Antlers given to Julius by his grandfather decorate the bathroom. See more of Julius's place and his work setup at Freunde von Freunden.

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    Keep exploring artists' interiors and ways to bring art into your own rooms:

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    A find from LA designer and world traveler, Cynthia Carlson: Lokal in Mitte, Berlin.

    German cafe owner Maren Thimm and her American partner, Gary Hoopengardner, had initially set up a temporary restaurant called Kantine in the courtyard of British architect David Chipperfield's Berlin office (with the promise that Chipperfield could always get a seat). Then Chipperfield received permission to build on his firm's lot, so the couple took Kantine's floorboards with them and opened Lokal, a permanent cantine serving locally sourced ingredients. 

    Photography by Cynthia Carlson, except where noted. 

    Lokal Restaurant in Berlin, Germany | Remodelista

    Above: Mismatched chairs at a recycled wood table made by German architect Katja Buchholz. Photograph via Lost in Cheeseland.

    Lokal Restaurant in Berlin, Germany | Remodelista

    Above: The painted tabletop. For variations on this theme, see 5 Favorites: Tables Transformed by Stencils.

    Lokal Restaurant in Berlin, Germany | Remodelista

    Above: Tapered glass pendant lights hang over more tables designed by Buchholz. Hoopengardner himself finished the whitewashed walls and stone flooring and painted a group of chairs white.

    Lokal Restaurant in Berlin, Germany | Remodelista

    Above: Open shelves behind the counter display Lokal's own preserves.

    Lokal in Berlin | Remodelista

    Above: Pink tulips paired with spindly branches. Photograph via Foodie in Berlin.

    Lokal Restaurant in Berlin, Germany | Remodelista

    Above: For big groups, tables are pushed together and neatly surrounded by white chairs. Photograph via Lost in Cheeseland.

    Above: Live piano music, which had been a popular feature at Kantine, has carried over to Lokal, where an alcove is just big enough for an upright. 

    Lokal Restaurant in Berlin, Germany | Remodelista

    Above: Mismatched chairs lend a casual note. Photograph via Foodie in Berlin.

    Lokal Restaurant in Berlin, Germany | Remodelista

    Above: Fur throws and candles add warmth. For more information, go to LokalPhotograph via Foodie in Berlin

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    If you like the look of Lokal, see our Reclaimed Wood archive, and for similar chairs, consider The Windsor Chair Revisited. Heading to Germany? Allow our City Guides to lead the way.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on October 11, 2012, in our Oktoberfest issue.

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    Lately we've all been obsessed with German heat-resistant kitchen glass (Margot just bought the glass water kettle as a gift). German chemist Otto Schott, son of a window maker, developed heat-resistant borosilicate glass in 1893, and in Jena, a glassmaking hub and university town, went on to found Jenaer Glas, known for its designs by Wilhelm Wagenfeld ("Glass is the magic of frozen light," he famously said). Jenaer Glas stopped production in 2005, but the pieces are still being made under the brand name Trendglas Jena. The company's teapots, SIGN 0.6/1.2, won the 2013 iF design award. 

    German Glass Tea Kettle Jaener Glass | Remodelista

    Above: The German Glass Water Kettle is $49.90 from Kaufmann Mercantile. (Margot reports that her brother and sister-in-law love their present, but that the handle gets very hot.)

    Trendglas Pitcher | Remodelista

    Above: The Glass Pitcher is SFr 38 from Edition Populaire, and in the US, the Large German Glass Pitcher is $38 from Kaufmann Mercantile.

    Canton Teapot | Remodelista

    Above: The Straight Glass Teapot is £20 ($29.88) from the Canton Tea Co.

    Glass Teapot by Wagenfeld | Remodelista

    Above: The Wagenfeld Tea Pot is €135.90 from Connox (a similar German Glass Tea Pot with Strainer is $54.90).

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     For more of our Glassware discoveries, take a look at:

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