1960s Ranch Redo at Denver

At first, a sister and brother couldn’t envision how to upgrade their inherited childhood home. However, by the time that this whole-house renovation was complete, they understood they needed to sell it to prevent a feud over who got to reside there.

The house sat in a fantastic location with a big, lovely backyard but the siblings’ attempts to receive it sale ready (new paint, new carpeting) were insufficient. “If you strike the proper areas and work creatively within a budget, frequently you can double your investment,” says designer and general contractor Jonas DiCaprio of Design Platform, an architecture and construction company. In this case, the house was worth $240,000 before the renovations, the renovations totaled between $70,000-$80,000, and the house sold for $370,000.

in a Glance:
Who lives here: New owners. During the renovations, the house was owned by a sister and brother who inherited their childhood home from their parents and wanted to make it ready to sell.
Location: Southeast of downtown Denver, Colorado, in the Bible Park neighborhood
Size: 2,639 square feet; five bedrooms; three baths
Scope of this job: Complete house, such as gutting the kitchen and baths, including hardwood flooring, opening the floor plan, decorative changes to all the bedrooms and changing a cellar workshop to a rec room.
Year Built: 1967

Design Platform

“The house had a whole lot of nasty maroon and green onto the facade,” says DiCaprio. “We needed to work together with all the brown roof and gold brown brick, so we went with an easy black and white palette.” The architects also included a bright orange doorway to grab attention, and also added the decorative cement border to expand the very narrow driveway.

Before Photo

BEFORE: Indoors, a entrance cupboard cut the living space away from the dining room, creating chopped-up, dark spaces.

Design Platform

AFTER: The painters removed the cupboard, moved the kitchen in the former dining room space and added a massive beam. Now natural light spreads from one side of the house to another.

Design Platform

The designers stored money in the kitchen intestine renovation using black Ikea cabinets and then adding custom details. “Ikea cabinets are great quality and they cost about a third of the purchase price of custom or semicustom cabinets,” says DiCaprio. “While you can’t refinish them you may just replace the fronts should you ever need a change.” They swapped in higher-end modern Sugatsune handles and pulls.

The wall-mounted cabinet to the best of this stove can be from Ikea. “It is shallower than a standard cabinet, so it does not affect the window,” says DiCaprio. The backsplash works up into the base of the cabinet, reflecting the light.

Glazed ceramic tile in architectural grey: Daltile

Design Platform

The designers dressed the cabinets by adding rift white oak details, wrap the ends of the pantry, cabinets and island in the timber, in addition to creating a custom rift white oak refrigerator surround.

Before Photo

BEFORE: This earlier shot was taken at approximately the exact same angle as the previous picture. The former dining room was transformed into a part of the spacious kitchen. Look to the far left and you will see the fireplace shown in the next picture.

Before Photo

BEFORE: DiCaprio moved the dining room in order to make the most of this fireplace — well, this fireplace using a really dramatic makeover, since this one is not very appetizing.

Design Platform

AFTER: The brand new dining room takes advantage of this previously obsolete fireplace, which failed a significant facelift.

Design Platform

“We covered the instant present encircle in black grill paint that is fire-resistant,” says DiCaprio. “We then covered the facade in El Dorado stone, which is a veneer. We finished it by trimming out it in rift white oak, which we also used in the kitchen.

“We also used 4-inch rift white oak on the flooring,” he adds. “Oak is a frequent ranch aspect, but generally red oak. We chose rift white oak to freshen up things; it casts more brown tones instead of the typical ranch red.”

Design Platform

DiCaprio knocked down more walls and created an open floor plan. The dining room and kitchen open to one another, which divides up everything and allows the person cooking trip with relatives and guests.

Before Photo

BEFORE: The guest bath and its own salmon-colored countertop were, quite frankly, depressing. “I don’t know why the majority of these ranches have these built in soffits using all the awful lights,” says DiCaprio. The room had a grim tub, which he was able to reglaze and keep for only $300. “It might have cost at least $800 to replace the bathtub with a poor quality fiberglass bathtub,” he states.

Design Platform

AFTER: “By incorporating subway tile from floor to ceiling, we brightened up the space,” says DiCaprio. The dressing table is from Ikea; DiCaprio splurged on the custom-built medicine cabinet.

Before Photo

BEFORE: From the master bath, this shower/commode configuration was less than perfect.

Design Platform

AFTER: DiCaprio made a tiny space from another room to enlarge this bathroom. This allowed for a lengthy, curbless open shower which does not require a shower door. Using glass leaves the room look much bigger.

Hint: Placing the faucet handle away from the showerhead, as you see here, makes it effortless to switch it on without getting blasted by cold water.

“It is funny, we get some jobs where the sky is the limit in terms of budget, but somehow functioning within a budget can ignite more creativity,” says DiCaprio.

Rejuvenated Ranch
Cozy and Family-Friendly Space

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12 Ways to Cool Your House Without Air Conditioning

Summer heat waves have everyone looking to cool. Blasting the air conditioner isn’t necessarily a choice, and it certainly uses a lot of energy. Instead of shelling out the big dollars to stay cool, think about several alteratives that can make a difference.

Eileen Kathryn Boyd Interiors

1. Choose light-colored blinds. Installing window blinds or shades is a no-brainer. But light-colored colors tend to be more effective, since they reflect the heat back outside. Close south- and – west-facing drapes during the day.

Consider applying window tint too. “You don’t have any idea how amazing the brand new 3M window film products are — not only for reducing heat, but also for cutting down on the UV variable that can fade your carpeting and substances,” says window designer and expert Cory Jacoby of this Jacoby Company. “This should be your first line of defense.”

2. Use liners with your colors. Bamboo or closely woven shades are just another good way to cut heat. “The trick here is to set up an operational liner as well that can be dragged down for sun and heat control,” says Jacoby. “This is truly the best of both worlds, since you see outside through the weave when you want, then lower the shade behind it for sun protection when necessary.”

Rachel Greathouse

3. Install ceiling fans. “Ceiling fans can make a room feel much cooler, since they circulate the air. And considering they can cost as low as $100, they’re often a investment that’s not only affordable but easy,” says general contractor LuAnn Fabian.


4. Open the windows during the night. Ventilate your home on cooler days or during the night time to reduce any hot air that’s snuck inside. Open windows in all rooms of the house and place window lovers facing the downwind side of your home. Make certain all interior doors are open to keep the atmosphere.

Terra Ferma Landscapes

5. Plant shade trees. Exercise your green thumb by planting shade trees around the house. Design partner Andrew Spiering, previously of Terra Ferma Landscapes suggests casting shadows on the southwestern exposure of the home using large deciduous trees, such as oaks, sycamores and elms. “Other ideas include increasing humidity around the home using layered planting or reducing hardscape,” he says.


6. Allow ivy to crawl up the walls. Ivy provides a buffer between your home and the sun. “Planting a green wall or vines in your home reduces dependence and absorbs heat,” says Spiering.

Exteriors From Chad Robert

7. Cover the south side of your home. Install awnings on south-facing windows to compensate for insufficient roof overhang and provide extra colour in the summertime.

8. Turn off the TV. Maintain heat-generating appliances, like lamps and televisions away or off from your air-conditioning unit or thermostat. The device works harder to respond to nearby heat, believing your home is hotter than it truly is.

Holly Marder

9. Get a hood fan. In case you don’t have a range enthusiast in the kitchen, think about the investment. Cooking can generate considerable heat throughout the house, and a range fan can help considerably with venting that hot air outside.

jessop architects

10. Replace your lightbulbs. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents — based on Fabian, CFLs can emit up to 75 percent less heat.

NAUTILUS Architects

11. Paint your roofing white. A white roof can help to reflect heat away from your home and help maintain the loft — one of the hardest places to cool — as low in temperature as you can.

12. Update your insulation. Many newer houses must follow certain depth codes for insulation, but older layouts may require an upgrade. “Replacing insulation in older houses will definitely reduce the heat inside,” says Fabian.

More: Cool Architecture for Hot Summers

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Architect or Zombie?

Allow me to be clear. I’m not saying that architects would be the living dead. That would be absurd. Of course architects are not zombies. That would be like saying that Abraham Lincoln was a tall dark, vampire slayer, which he totally was.

I mean, architects do not ramble aimlessly toward a city, in loosely shaped packs, mumbling incoherently, waving their arms around. They are not gradually reanimating and reimagining kinds and thoughts from long-dead architects and designers. No, no. Architects are not darkly clad, pale visages of incomprehensible rage. Ennui possibly, but not rage. Architects do not timber — although allowed, houses are typically constructed of timber.

And architects do look like they never sleep, plus they are pale and weary and angsty and odor oddly of arabica beans and disappointment. But do they intend to feast on our collective intellectual shortcomings to nourish their persistent hunger for knowledge and brains?!

I’ll be in the corner of the basement holding a baseball bat for those who need me.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Why are they all holding out their arms and chanting,”Mies. Mieeeeees! MMMMIIIIEEEEEESSS!!!!” ?

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

They simply keep moaning”expire -ametrically” and”expire -chotomy” and”expire -dactic.” What are they trying to convey?

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Seriously, it’s almost obvious. You really ought to get some sunlight. Unless you are actually a vampire, in which case we need Abraham Lincoln, and he is dead, so we actually need to reanimate him — but he had been a lawyer, not an architect, so we’re screwed. Where was Thomas Jefferson buried again? Get the truck and a shovel.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Catch the T-square. It’s the most deadly tool.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

It smells like French roast and unemployment in here.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

The finish is near. Really? A tie?

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Well, obviously. I believe shopping malls are designed by engineers.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Aw, that’s sweet, actually. Aim for the head.

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Southeast Gardener

July is your prize after many months of gardening from autumn prep to spring preparation — and you now get to reap your rewards with new fruits, vegetables and fragrant flowers. It’s a time of wealth.

July is not the best planting month for Southeast gardens, but it is a good time to prepare and plan. The weeds won’t let you rest, but they may slow down into a manageable pace throughout the dog days of the summer. Rainfall will best determine how long you will spend weeding. Weeds that are fewer , little rain. More rain, more weeds.

Gardening with Confidence®

Cut back annuals: Cut back summer annuals in order that they don’t get leggy. A good time to do this is right before you go on vacation; in this manner, you’ll be gone since the plants get a fresh start. Petunias benefit from this type of summer pinch. This cutback in the ends of the stems encourages branching, leading to a bushier plant.

Gardening with Confidence®

Practice shrewd watering methods: July could be a month with rain. When nature stops supplying routine rain, you might need to supplement. Here are a few pointers to help your backyard during a dry season:
Odds are your container plants need to be watered daily. Check by doing the finger test. If the top inch of soil is dry, it is time to water. Water thoroughly. Small pots will dry out quicker than bigger pots, and containers at sunlight will dry out quicker than those from the shade.Add mulch. A layer of mulch, 3 to 4 inches deep, can moderate soil temperature and reduce evaporation. Organic mulches include: composted leaves, shredded pine or hardwoods, and even nuggets. Mulches will also reduce marijuana creation and keep the lawn looking tidy.First season plants — those fall and spring additions — will need more frequent watering than established ones. Water new additions two or 3 times a week until the plants are created. Established plants usually require watering after a week.Conserve water by simply conducting a sprinkler during cooler hours, typically early in the morning. This can help reduce water loss due to evaporation. When at all possible, set up a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose to minimize waste. Watering in the morning also makes it possible for the water to dry on the leaves, minimizing mould formation.

Gardening with Confidence®

Deadhead and deadleaf spent flowers: Remove hosta flowers after the blossom is invested. They are primarily decorative and not a power source to the plant, so they don’t need to die back completely before removing.

Gardening with Confidence®

Deadhead the spent flowers of daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) , Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum spp.) ,black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia spp. ) and bee balm (Monarda spp. ) to prolong the bloom time.

Gardening with Confidence®

Do these yellow leaves of this daylily allow you to see red? They do to me. Not only do I deadhead my daylilies, but I also deadleaf. I really don’t like the appearance of yellow or decaying daylily leaves.

Gardening with Confidence®

Split irises: Can you have success with your new iris planted this year or two at the autumn? If not, it might be due to several factors: too much shade, too much fertilizer, too deep a planting, or crowding. July is a good time to fix any of these problems by lifting and relocating or repositioning into a more positive location.

Plant the iris high with the rhizomes along the surface of the dirt. They will be coated finely and gently using mulch, but not soil. Make sure that you are able to either see the rhizomes or even have the ability to brush away the mulch exposing the bulb.

With the exception of Louisiana variety, irises need six to eight hours of sun to blossom and require decent drainage. In case you’ve got a damp, partial sun location in your garden, plant a Louisiana iris.

Read on growing irises

Gardening with Confidence®

Harvest summertime edibles: Harvest berries when they are ripe. There’s nothing better than sinking your teeth into a ripe tomato, heated in sunlight. Weren’t plant tomatoes? See your regional farmers market to get a selection of new, field-grown varieties.

Inside your home backyard, keep an eye out for early blight. Blight is a fungal infection which will cause spots to develop on the foliage. The leaves begin to yellow and then drop. Pinch off foliage in the beginning indication. If too severe, there are numerous fungicides which can be used to reduce the symptoms.

Gardening with Confidence®

After the blackberry and raspberry harvest, remove the old fruiting canes to create room for the new canes that will make next year’s harvest.

Gardening with Confidence®

Manage pests: Do yourself a favor rather than explore the “eye” of a bagworm. Bagworms have got to be the most disgusting looking thing ever — to me anyhow.

Bagworms can be treated by removing them by hand and dropping into a bucket of soapy water. In case the bagworm infestation is not within easy access, they are sometimes sprayed with Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt.

Bt is a microbial insecticide that is frequently used to control various caterpillars such as the red-headed azalea caterpillar along with many others, in addition to bagworms.

See more Southeast gardening guides

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Luxuriate in the Calm of a Minimalist Garden

Minimalist design has moved beyond inner layout. In the last several decades, glossy lifestyle magazines have featured immaculate interiors composed of carefully selected decoration, blank walls, practical furniture with transparent work surfaces and no mess.

But the concept of the minimalist garden follows the thoughts of the modernist architecture of the 20th century, when glass and concrete buildings took a unadorned surrounding landscape, and takes leads from your Zen gardens of Japan.

Minimalist gardens have become popular with those who prefer order, with simple lines and prohibitive planting, combined with the advantages of low care.

Let us look more closely at a number of the common themes found in minimalist garden layout — the usage of distance, pristine hardscaping, restrictive planting and formal water features.


A Doorway to Minimalism

The debut of this “rooms outside” style of garden design in the 1960s led us to see smaller gardens in another manner. Rather the garden turned into an extension of the house.

The debut of patio doors with large regions of glass, and later, bifold doors that pare back to remove any barrier between the interior and exterior, has forged the way for the invention of the minimal garden.

By making use of exactly the identical flooring material inside and outside a smooth transition is made between the distances.

To Japan’s Zen gardens, we should look for the supply of minimalism. The perfectly placed rocks set in immaculate gravel, raked into trapping patterns, are pure minimalism.

Japanese gardens are made in the pursuit of spirital equilibrium, but at the West that has become a garden style.


The usage of Space

Space is perhaps more significant in a minimalist layout compared to some of those individual defined features. The equilibrium between the zones or areas is vital in producing oneness with the comprehensive layout, and nothing should be permitted to distract from the invention of minimalistic perfection.


This beautiful illustration of a modern minimalst backyard, by London garden designer Amir Schlezinger, brings together the key features we’ve come to expect from this sort of layout.

The layout is appropriate and easy, upkeep is low, there is little or no ornamentation and planting is restricted. Each area of the garden is nicely defined, be it that the dining zone or relaxing/sunbathing area.

The weed-free and manicured lawn is elegantly straightforward and perfectly flat, with crisp edges.

Grounded – Richard Risner RLA, ASLA

Striving for Paving Perfection

Paving in minimalist gardens has to be easy and straightforward, yet highly engineered. The materials used need to be immaculate in complete — limestone or light sandstone are favorites utilized by designers, though polished concrete also fits the bill.

Although any minimalist garden should be as maintenance free as possible, any hardscaping has to be maintained pristine to acheive the look.

Maintenance tip: Pressure washing needs to keep more absorbent rock, such as limestone and sandstone, free from algae and dirt stains.


If regular pavers are used, they are generally butted with quite tight joints of 3 millimeters or not. The easy planting of boxwood (‘Buxus spp.’) Highlights the apparent lines of this paving.


Where Fewer Plants Can Be

With fewer plants utilized within this manner of layout, each plant needs to be carefully selected to do the job demanded of it — make it a focal point or a visual partition. Restricting the range of plants (such as this case to four species), enables the planting to soften the hardness of the design, but not detract from the line and structure.

Maintenance tip: Plant maintenance should be easy and not time consuming. Minimize watering by adding water-retention granules to planting composts, and use an automatic irrigation system on a timer. Slow-release fertilizer pellets may turn feeding into just an annual job.


The clean lines of this deck — minimalism has brought the use of decking to the maximum echelon — are complemented with all the bold tropical-style planting. This could be anywhere in warmer climes, but this courtyard is set on the banks of the River Thames at London.

The plants have been carefully selected to provide the feeling demanded. Hostas, Ligularias, bamboos and tree ferns have been planted in repetitive groups.

C.O.S Design

Creating a Reflective Atmosphere

Water attributes can change the mood of this style, which may be somewhat sterile or sterile. A reflective pool can help attain a relaxing setting, whereas the soothing sound of a modern waterfall or fountain brings a additional dimension.

The size of any water feature should be kept in scale with the distance and fit to the set geometry — many minimalist water attributes are formal.

The asymmetrical formality of the layout shown here is constructed around the tiled floor pool, linking all spatial regions of the backyard.

Thuilot Associates

This extended pool appears to flow out of the house, its reflective surface echoing the glow on the inside floor.

The pebble floor of this pond gives extra texture to the layout, yet a pure black reflective surface could have been achieved with black pond dye added to the water. This would have the benefit of blocking light, which would help prevent the development of algae and keep the pond at the spotless state demanded of minimalist layout.

Any water feature employed in minimalist designs must be ideal in construction and maintenance, and care needs to taken with water levels, pond hygiene as well as the disguising of almost any pond liner.

Huettl Landscape Architecture

This garden really sums up the ethos of how to create a minimalist design you can live with.
The space is crystal clear and obvious with a generous dining area set on immaculate paving floating over a profound refective pool. The plantings are easy, insistent and easily maintained.

Give Your Little Garden Some Room
Set of the Landscape: Modern Garden Style

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A finial is an ornament that tops a roof, a fence post, a bit of furniture or any other construction. It adds visual interest.

Sean O’Kane AIA Architect P.C.

This roof is topped with a finial, and at the finial foundation is a pendant. Running diagonally in the pendant down the roof are vergeboards with simple cutwork.

Stephen Fuller Designs

A shingled, domed roof has a finial to decorate the peak.

White Crane Construction

This roofline has a hummingbird finial made from bronze.

Joseph T. Deppe, Architect, P.C.

A pointy finial sits above a cone (click photo for full view).

Somers & Company Interiors

Fences generally have finials on the vertical posts.

This weapon has a ball finial on its own gate.

Beckwith Interiors

Finials can be used alone for decoration; those were made using a wood-turning tool.

Darci Goodman Design

Furniture can have finials. These are ball finials.

Siemasko + Verbridge

An eclectic finial with metalwork appears to flow the roof in waves down.

Browse more finial photos

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Make a Wedding Memorable Having a Bridal Shower Brunch

Weddings and summer go together. If you are looking to honor a unique bride in your life this wedding season, glean inspiration from this gorgeous bridal brunch designed by Charmean Neithart.

The bride was having a difficult time choosing a wedding china, so the bride’s family and friends bought her a pair, which Neithart used for the bathtub’s tableware. See what other thoughts she created that is able to help you throw your very own memorable affair. Happy planning!

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Neithart threw the shower in the bride’s home so the bride might have a vision for the way to re-create the event for entertaining later on. The gorgeous custom hand-painted Gracie Studio wallpaper served as her design inspiration to your celebration.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

The designer performed with the”Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition for this shower. This china, a pattern that was discontinued from the’80s, found at Replacements was the”something old.” The tablecloth, a fresh Le Jacquard Francais routine, was the”something new.”

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Orange and orange slices in a pretty punch bowl ensure that a simple drink takes on a festive feel. This is the designer’s grandma’s Fostoria classic punch bowl, for”something borrowed.”

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Glasses from Anthropologie have been”something blue.”

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Neithart chose flowers in complementary purples for a look that the bride might easily replicate when having a dinner party of her own. Lilacs, plum roses, white hydrangeas, calla lilies, ivy, orchids and tulips make up this gorgeous arrangement.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Tip: Use orchids as table structures for long-term reminders of the particular day.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Summer is our favourite time of year for meal preparation, since it is so simple. Whatever is being grown locally is bound to be the freshest and most flavorful item available. Do not the greens look gorgeous? The berries and pomegranate seeds tie in the color scheme.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Tip: Bite-size treats are ideal to promote conversation in addition to eating.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Elegant macaroons are a colorful treat that add flair and style to an event. (These pastel beauties are available in Lette Macarons.) Neithart also picked bite-size cupcakes to complement the color scheme, with new fruit for those who wanted a healthy snack.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Tea sandwiches give the shower a women’-dinner vibe. Piled up high and accented with microgreens, the demonstration is fresh and unexpected.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

These gorgeous, edible butterflies out of Sugar Robot around Etsy were the designer’s favourite part. A gorgeous cake is a good way to finish the day on a memorable note.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Baking charms into the cake and having each guest tug you to show her potential is a fun bridal shower tradition. It may not accurately predict who is going to be the next to fall in love or have a baby, but gathering all of the charms on a single necklace is a sentimental way for your bride to remember her special day.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Small things really show the bride you attention. A photograph of her with her groom, a special gift or a keepsake to commemorate the day and background music unique for her are specifics she’ll remember for quite a long moment.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

At this brunch, even Bellini and Daisy — that the couple’s dogs — were contained in the party. See more photos from this project

Show us Upload a photograph from your spring decorating project under!

Handmade Home: Cast a Vintage-Style Wedding Shower
Seattle Couple Restyles Their Home for a Wedding

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Renovation Detail: The Awning Window

On a recent weekend in my family’s lake house we had a marathon talk regarding awning windows and their advantages (we’re crazy conversationalists, I know). Awning windows are a member of the casement household, although standard casement windows are side hung, an awning is hinged in addition to start out from the floor.

On account of their ingenious top-hung sash, awning windows could be open while it is raining without letting water into your home. This is particularly attractive at our lake home, where rainstorms flood the valley with little warning and the sound of rain on the water is really a welcome orchestra.

Rain or shine, awning windows are also an easy way to boost ventilation. With proper positioning they will greatly enhance your home’s air flow and most surely its charming appearance.

Ply Gem

If launching a window wants a reach (like when it is over a mantel), awnings are a great option, because they start from the base.

TEA2 Architects

Awning windows are fantastic for welcoming in fresh lakeside air, even if it is raining.

Richard Bubnowski Design LLC

Designer Richard Bubnowski perfectly paired an awning window with exposed rafters, knee braces, cedar shakes and square tapered columns, to create the quintessential Craftsman seaside home.

Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

This contemporary Texas house is situated on a mountain, and the low awning windows enable breezes to develop and in, increasing ventilation. The window design also allows for an unobstructed view.

Richard Bubnowski Design LLC

Awning windows provide excellent ventilation and increased air flow in an attic.

Whitten Architects

They belong at this fully equipped woodworking shop in Scarborough, Maine, if awning windows belong anywhere.

Group 3

Awning windows welcome Southern summertime breezes at this vacation home on Daufuskie Island, near Savannah, Georgia.

Rockefeller Partners Architects

Awning windows can help alleviate steaminess when you are having tub time.

Dale Browne

Awning windows along with a clipped-gable roof are an aesthetic match made in paradise.

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Multicultural Modern California Home

Architect Steven Ehrlich made his house to incorporate architectural moves he learned living in Africa, a modern aesthetic and the community and climate of Venice Beach, California. The house is just a couple of blocks from Abbot Kinney Boulevard that is playful. “It’s so much fun to be part of a walking community in L.A.,” he states. “We can pop out for coffee, shopping or even a bite to eat, and all the action of the boardwalk and beach is just 1 kilometer away.”

In designing a home for one of Venice Beach’s typically long and narrow lots, ” he remembered lessons he had learned in the neighborhood architecture of Nigeria and also the courtyard layout of homes in the medinas at Morocco, calling his approach “multicultural modernism.” The result is a house that takes advantage of the climate and uses natural systems and technologies to enhance the home’s efficiency.

The design also takes advantage of every inch of the narrow lot in a manner that respects the neighborhood, opening wide to incorporate three interior courtyards that provide additional living space.

at a Glance:
Who lives here: Steven Ehrlich and his wife, Nancy Griffin
Location: Venice Beach, California
Main house: 2,800 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
Guest house/garage: 1,200 square feet; 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms.
That’s intriguing: While teaching at Nigeria, Ehrlich made a theater made from mud for the play area.

The whole site strategy responds to the narrow bunch, which is 132 feet long by 43 feet broad, as well as into the larger community. Ehrlich’s design steps the top floors back from the street side out of admiration for the many one-story bungalows in the neighborhood. A large steel exoskeleton extends beyond the house’s elevation, joining indoor and outdoor spaces. A guest house/garage is about the right and provides an excess bedroom suite, a laundry room and a gallery-like area.

The elevation steps up from the sidewalk, to ensure its elevation and volumes admire the streetscape. From the left we see the pool, the mezzanine level and its deck together with all the master suite and patio on top.

The home doesn’t have air conditioning; instead its ventilation design gets the most of cross breezes. Pivoting glass doors off the dining area open up to among the house’s three exterior courtyards. The large expanse of glass opposite the dining room doors also opens up to let in the breeze.

Materials are carried throughout the property, some repeated on the interior, exterior and fencing walls. Ehrlich paid additional focus on using sustainable materials as well. The siding is Trex, which is usually used for decking and is made up of recycled sawdust and plastic. The steel is Cor-Ten, which includes a rusty patina that transforms over time. Concrete cubes are utilized inside and out.

Concrete flooring throughout the first floor supply radiant heat during winter months and help keep things cool throughout the summer.

An exterior wall articulates the perimeter edge of the property and interior creates Ehrlich’s unique, somewhat inside-out take on Moroccan homes that open into hidden courtyards. This wall is composed of Trex, concrete blocks that match the ones used within the house, and LUMAsite, a translucent combination of acrylic and fiberglass.

The next edge is one that transforms; Ehrlich utilized a dynamic system of sunshades, mounted on the top and down the long street side of the exoskeleton to control temperature, light and privacy.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

The colors are motorized and radically change and enliven the facade. Ehrlich fell in love with this brilliant colour blend of burnt sienna and yellow ochre while operating in the peace corps in Morocco; the colours were motivated by the wood-dyeing souks in Marrakech. They also work nicely with the colours of the rusted Cor-Ten steel.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

“The added benefit of the design, due to its scale is it also transforms the pool area to a spatially exciting new area,” Ehrlich explains. “The fact that the colors can move also suggests there are numerous choices of not only sun control however of spatial quality.”

“The colors can control the quantity of direct sun penetrating into the house from the southwest elevation,” clarifies Ehrlich. “When the colors are on the exterior of the house it is a very effective sun control system,” he states.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

Inside, the first floor includes a wide-open strategy from one end to another. It’s even more wide-open once the glass doors have been opened to their adjoining courtyards at both end, extending into the outside living spaces. “When the house is closed, it can be quite cozy on a cold and rainy night,” says Ehrlich. “When everything is opened, the house transforms into something more like a pavilion.”

At one end, the dining area looks out onto a courtyard and also the guest house/garage beyond. The wall is exactly the exact same concrete block used on the perimeter wall out. No paint was used inside; all the substances used are intended to weather naturally.

Painting: Ed Moses

A courtyard joins the dining area into the guest house/garage and provides an outdoor space to lounge al fresco. Saving big existing trees was crucial to the site preparation.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

An expansive living room opens up to its own courtyard on the opposite side of the design from the dining room. The 16-foot from 16-foot glass expanse entirely opens into the courtyard and the opinion of a sizable Aleppo Pine tree. Minimal detailing blurs the line between inside and out, whether the doors are closed or open. I am certain their dog, Joey, have to have thoroughly enjoyed never needing a doggy door.

Ehrlich made the couch and coffee table himself; the classic Boomerang chairs are by iconic California modernist Richard Neutra.The big painting is by L.A. artist Ed Moses. The house acts as a gallery for the couple’s impressive art collection.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

This Japanese-inspired tansu staircase exhibits objects collected from worldwide travels.

This staircase dissipates at the mezzanine level, which comprises two bedroom “pods” and a bath, plus a street-side patio just beyond the pool.

Black and white art: Guy Dill

Past the staircase, a mezzanine-level glass bridge connects to another staircase up into the master suite. This very long landing gives a special experience of the distance between the 2 floors. “It’s like you are drifting as you walk upon the glass,” clarifies Ehrlich.

The sunshades change the master bathroom’s view. Waterproof plaster protects the bathroom from moisture and reflects light.

The normal ventilation carries through the top master suite floor, which includes large openings to the outdoors and its own private patio.

The residence is a living, breathing thing, thanks to the combination of the movable sunshades, the changing patina of the Cor-Ten steel, the big openings and the attention paid to renewable materials and systems. The place in this funky and vibrant beach community matches the couple’s lifestyle and entices their grown children (and other family and friends) to visit.

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