Thursday, June 4, 2015

Need Ideas on How to Create a Fantastic Outdoor Living Space?

With summertime approaching quickly, we put together a bunch of fun outdoor living space ideas to get you thinking about transforming your backyard into an entertaining masterpiece.

Read all about it on Estate Homes' Remodeler Blog.

Ready to get started on your new Seattle metro area covered patio or outdoor kitchen?  Get in touch and we'll be happy to schedule a complimentary appointment to discuss all the possibilities!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Game On! Ideas for the Ultimate Game Room

If the thought of braving the madding crowd for entertainment this weekend sounds like more than you can stand, not to worry: we have some ideas for how to make your home the ultimate entertainment spot!

While a home theater is often the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dedicating a room solely to entertainment, we’d like to focus on something a little more social: the game room (and, no, watching sports in your home theater doesn’t count).  Depending on your budget and how much space you have to play with (pun intended), options range from “thanks for a nice evening” to “who needs a weekend in Vegas?”

Billiards, anyone? 
Personally, we couldn’t imagine a game room without a pool table.  If you just cringed because the first one that popped into your mind either looks like it belongs in a seedy bar or a Scottish castle, you’ll be happy to learn that there are many options beyond the stereotypes.   We particularly like the Brixton table from Brunswick for its clean lines and furniture-like appearance.  

Brixton, by Brunswick
Perhaps something a little more traditional (but still not reminiscent of a Scottish Castle) is more your style?  Check out the Coventry model from Spencer Marston.   

Coventry, by Spencer Marston

If space is an issue, consider opting for a pool table that moonlights as a dining table.  Or maybe it’s vice versa?  Anyway, Blatt Billiards has just such a product with their fusion tables line.  We particularly like the stainless steel and walnut version.

Fusion Table by Blatt Billiards

Friendly Game of…
We get it: not everyone desires to become a pool shark.  For those of you more interested in entertainment that doesn’t involve equipment that can be brandished (and take out a lighting fixture), consider adding a card table.   The Marin game table by California House is a beautiful piece that comes in sizes to accommodate from four to ten players.   

Marin Game Table by California House

If chess is more your style, the Ithaca Pub Table available from Howard Miller allows you to play a game and stow your fine spirits at the same time.

Ithaca Pub Table, available at Howard Miller

Let’s Talk Turkey
Residential Bowling Alley by Brunswick
For a money’s-no-object kind of game room, add your own bowling alley.  It takes a minimum of 90’ x 11’6” for a two-lane residential alley (based on information from the folks at Brunswick), so space can’t be an issue!   To get a general idea of what your own bowling alley will set you back, Fusion Bowling provides a handy pricing guide on their website, along with a gallery of the amazing projects they’ve completed. 

Game On!
Even if your game room requirements are considerably more modest, please get in touch and tell us what kind of fun you’d like us to build into your home.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Up, Not Out: Use Your Attic to Expand Your Home
Without an Addition

S-01O from Salter Spiral Stair
In the quest for additional space, it isn’t always feasible to build an addition to your home.  Whether the size of your lot, restrictions from your city planning office, or your budget preclude you from adding on to your home, you can still increase your available space by renovating your attic.

Access is Key
Some attics – even those above your garage – naturally lend themselves to being converted to useable square footage.  Unfinished “bonus rooms” are a prime example, as they were originally designed to be completed at a later date and, most likely, already have access available (think stairs).  But what if you don’t have a bonus room waiting for conversion?  Or what if no staircase was ever built to your bonus room?

If no staircase to the attic exits, it may have still been part of the original design, making it fairly easy for your builder to implement without impacting your floor plan much (if at all).  Even if an attic staircase wasn’t part of your home’s original plan, one can often be built above the staircase that connects the two floors below, maintaining as much of your existing square footage as possible.
Loft Ladders by Alaco Ladder Company

For those homes that – no matter how you arrange things – simply do not have a suitable spot to add a traditional staircase, all is not lost.  There are some unique attic/loft access stair products available, including “library ladders.”  Keep in mind that these small footprint staircases and ladders are generally not code compliant, so any extra space gained by their access will probably be called “storage” and not count towards your square footage if you go to sell your home.  Not to worry, though:  savvy buyers won’t be put-off by this and will have the vision to put the space to good use.

Designing the Space
1m2 Staircase by Eestairs
If your attic space doesn’t yield a full-height room, be creative.  Tuck built-in bookcases and storage cupboards into areas where the ceiling height is most restricted.  Create sleeping nooks or fun play areas to free-up space in family rooms or bedrooms that are overrun with toys.  Maybe you just need a quiet space to work?  Add a built-in desk and suddenly your attic could be where you come up with your next great idea.  

You’d be surprised just how much you can squeeze into a small attic space  – the possibilities are endless!

Convert Your Attic Now
If you’re ready to convert your attic to a new living area, let us know.  We can work with you to design the perfect balance of function and value. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

We’d Like to Float This Idea By You: Wooden Bathtubs

When you think of unique, luxurious materials for your sinks and bathtubs, you probably don’t think of wood.  After all, wood and water just don’t mix, right?  Happily, we can dispel that myth – just don’t expect these products to be inexpensive or available at your local home improvement store.

If you’ve ever pined away for teak patio furniture, you know that teak is one wood that is inherently resistant to water, making it a natural (pun intended) choice for this gorgeous bathtub available from Box Art Shop.  The site is in Italian (and the price tag is not for the faint of heart), but even if you don’t use Google Translate, the pictures are worth a look. 
Vasca da bagno ovale in Teak - Box Art Shop

Maybe importing a teak bathtub from Italy sounds a bit too extravagant?  If so, you’ll be happy to note that WS Bath Collections is located state-side and has tubs available in various woods, with either a matte or a mirror finish.  We love the simple elegance of their Laguna Basic 02 model shown here. 

Laguna Basic 02 by WS Bath Collections

Haven’t seen EXACTLY the wooden tub of your dreams yet?  Another US-based company – Bath in Wood of Maine – offers custom-built wooden tubs that allow you to get as creative as you and your designer see fit.  Their portfolio showcases a number of beautiful tubs, but we particularly like this one that has ADA-compliant grab bars artistically integrated into the design.  “Safe” doesn’t have to be boring!

Easy Access Ofuro by Bath in Wood of Maine

Regardless of which materials you choose for your bathroom, we can help you design and build your perfect retreat.  Get in touch and let’s get started!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Get Lit This Weekend With Inspired Lighting

Regardless of your social plans the weekend, your home wants to get properly lit.

Ava by Tech Lighting
Lighting is an important aspect of interior design and has a huge impact on how a space works and feels. Think of the fluorescent lighting above your desk at the office and how it affects you.  If its harsh, unflattering rays make you want to bolt for a glass of vino at 5pm, here are some ideas to get relief (at least when you’re at home).

Ambient Lighting
When you flip the light switch as you enter your home tonight (crossing the threshold like it’s the finish line to a week-long marathon), take note of the light that greets you.  If it’s not welcoming or providing just the right amount of light to illuminate the room without either burning out your retinas or requiring a flashlight, it’s time for an update to your ambient lighting.  And while replacing spent bulbs and ensuring that you have the correct wattage bulb for your fixtures can also help, consider both the style and placement of the lighting, too. 

Aura by Axo Light
Often, builders place a single light fixture in the center of a room’s ceiling which acts a bit like a spotlight, leaving the corners of the room dark.  While this central location is perfect for a statement piece like this one in stunning red Murano glass from Axo Light or this cheerful one from Tech Lighting, ideally, you should have multiple lights strategically placed to evenly disperse light throughout.   Modern can lights (down lights) are a great option as they are small, unobtrusive and last for what seems like forever; they also easily integrate with other “layers” of lighting within the same room.     

But if installing recessed lights isn’t an option, you can still achieve the appropriate level of lighting with track lighting like the monorail line from LBL Lighting. Floor and table lamps can also fill-in ambient light but the trick – particularly if you have a large room – is to not limit them to placement against a wall.   

Task Lighting
In areas such as the kitchen and bathroom, task lighting is critical.  No one wants to chop vegetables with a razor-sharp knife or shave when they can’t see!  For this reason, task lighting is brighter than ambient lighting and is directed to the specific area where the task is performed.  In the kitchen, under cabinet lights provide great task lighting and low-profile versions like these from Legrande Adorne are available that won’t intrude on your design.  

Our favorite way to provide task lighting in the bathroom is through backlit mirrors like the Elite model from Electric Mirror.  Suspended from the ceiling in a stainless steel frame, it adds as much visual interest as it does light.

Elite by Electric Mirror

Another consideration: if you place your lighting on dimmer switches, you can easily adjust task lighting down to ambient lighting (and vice versa).

Accent Lighting
Don’t forget that lighting is instrumental to showcasing art and other focal pieces in your room.  Using accent lights like these swivel puck lights from LBL Lighting help to bring attention to your treasured belongings without being distracting.  Accent lighting can also be used outdoors on sculpture or landscaping features, making for an elegant nighttime setting.

Ready to Get Lit?

Our interior designer Lynne Dillon can work with you to develop a lighting plan for your home that is easy and comfortable to live with.  Get in touch and get started!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Take-Off with These Aviation-Inspired Design Ideas

As a company headquartered in the land of Boeing (just outside Seattle), we find aviation design inspiration just about everywhere. And whether your taste leans towards jet-like sleekness, or the warmth and nostalgia of vintage design, there is something aeronautical for everyone.

Propelling Design
It’s no surprise that ceiling fans are a natural fit for aeronautical design – after all, how many other household products are specifically designed to move like propellers?  This chrome and translucent fan, called Artemis, from G Squared Art beautifully mimics the look of a jet engine without the roar: it’s silent (too bad actual jets aren’t).  But if your aviation style is less Bill Lear and more Red Baron, the Ariel 68" 2 Blade Ceiling Fan from Savoy House and the Aviation 60” Ceiling Fan from Minka Aire both have a more traditional wood propeller shape (even if their lines are still elegantly modern). 

Are airplanes a bit too plain-jane for you? More the maverick who’d prefer to go for a spin?  This fun helicopter design from Raffaele Ionnello would be the perfect addition to your home’s man cave – hovering right in front of a monster big-screen TV hooked-up to every possible video game console. 

Landing Lights
In the search for lighting, none fits the aviation theme quite as well as LED Illuminated lighting from LBL Lighting.  Why?  It reminds us of the nighttime cabin lighting from our last trans-Atlantic flight (minus the FASTEN SEATBELT sign, of course).  Check out the rest of their website, too, as they offer a range of gorgeous options (that aren’t necessarily appropriate for the cockpit). 

If you have a large room to light and want a fixture the equivalent of a B-52, opt for the the D2V2 designed by Danny Venlet for Dark Belgium. (Chocolate, anyone?)  Seriously, though, with its tubular shape and propeller-like internal fittings, this light is the bomb.   

Carnegie Collection: Jump Seat Chair by Four Hands
From Legroom to Tray Tables
Even if you didn’t go to flight school, time will fly by as you work at your desk from the Carnegie Collection Jump Seat Chair by Four Hands.  We love its sculptural shape and riveting detail.  Rather than scoot it up to a standard desk, why not pair it with the Table B (Steel) from Barcelona Design?  The table’s graceful top is reminiscent of an airplane wing, making it the perfect complement.  

What about storage?  Yes, we know that using a table in lieu of a desk means that your hoard of sticky note pads has nowhere to live.  We thought it would be a lot more fun to use an airline trolley cart to hold all your office unmentionables.  This patriotic one from Skypak is made from stainless steel, has rollers and will probably outlast all of us.

Once your workday is over, you can always retire to the pilot’s lounge (or family room, as the case may be) and have dinner on a tray table like this inexpensive Fuselage Table from World Market. Or, eat dinner at a proper aircraft-inspired dinner table like this turbine table from Art Aircraft. With a number of aviation-themed tables available, we actually had a tough time picking a favorite.

Over and Out
Now that you are ready to install landing lights along your driveway to usher your guests to your door in style (is this even legal?), contact us. We can work together to get your home flight-ready and have fun, too!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ways to Escape Without Ever Leaving Home

There are good days and then there are the get-me-outta-here-NOW days.   If you’re approaching the point where escape not only sounds good, it sounds like the only way to refrain from screaming and scaring the hell out of your coworkers, we have some home product ideas to help you relax and reset.  (Of course, if your coworkers are the source of your angst, you might want to seek alternate employment.  Life is just way too short for that.)  And, while these aren’t immediate fixes (after all, they do take time to implement), maybe just thinking of them will help in the meantime. 

Whirlpool/Air Bath from Aquatic

We’re a big fan of hydrotherapy and we think that the combination whirlpool/air baths from Aquatic are just what the doctor ordered.  Want your back massaged by shiatsu jets?  Consider it done.  Need a barrage of tiny air bubbles to work their calming magic?  These tubs have that, too, as well as an inline heater to keep your water nice and toasty.  With options for pulsating neck pillows and chromatherapy LED lighting (check out our earlier post that features other chromatherapy products), you’re well on your way to creating the perfect relaxation environment.   

Since you’re already updating your bathroom to install the whirlpool/air bath, add a gas fireplace for additional warmth and ambience.  We like this small, contemporary gas fireplace from Regency.  Why not add a bathroom audio system to pipe in some mood enhancing tunes while you’re at it?  These SoundTile speakers from Kohler integrate with any audio system to provide you with the exacting performance and quality your bathroom haven requires.

Built-in CocktailPro Station courtesy of Lynx
Get Out (Literally)

Need to escape further than your bathroom?  How about escaping to your backyard instead? 

Create the perfect oasis for chilling and grilling with an outdoor kitchen.  Fancy yourself a barbecue master?  You need this charcoal smoker from Viking to prove once and for all that you really should be on BBQ Pitmasters.  More of a beverage genius?  We think this built-in cocktail bar from Lynx could have you serving up the perfect martini in no time.  With your newfound bartending skills, you're going to need an outdoor ice machine, too.  Good thing Sub-Zero makes one that fits under the counter and holds up to 26 lbs of ice. 

So, turn off your phone, relax and enjoy your downtime.  And if you need help with getting your home outfitted with resort-like amenities, get in touch