Category Archives: Home and Garden

Easy Ways to Make Small Spaces

Small spaces are the bane of practically any city-dweller’s existence. And when you’re living in a minuscule apartment or home, figuring out how to make the most of your square footage is essential. Thankfully, inventive interior designers and architects have long devised solutions—from paint finishes to light fixtures—for making small spaces feel big (or at least bigger). Phillip Thomas’s petite room at this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse is chock-full of small-space ideas. We caught up with the New York–based interior designer for his tips on living large in a tight spot.

Create a glossy ceiling. “With the right finish, a ceiling can make a room feel bigger. At Kips Bay, we chose to use a decorative plaster finish that adds sheen. The finish helps to move light around the space and create the illusion of height.”

Add glass. “Glass can also be a wonderful way of making a space feel larger. In our daybed nook at Kips Bay, we used laminated glass panels by Galaxy Glass, consisting of a layer of frosted mirror and of frosted clear glass with a metallic gauze interlining. The effect of the glass is to create the illusion of great depth in the space.”

Cover the walls in pattern. “We upholstered the walls of our ‘Lady Lair’ in a beautiful cream fabric, which was then graffitied by Andrew Tedesco Studios. The layering of graffiti paint and the play of the sheens create the illusion of depth.”

Hang a statement light fixture. “Even if a space is small, a large light fixture can make a room feel larger and taller. At Kips Bay, we chose a monumental vintage Italian glass chandelier that is 54 inches in diameter but only nine inches in depth. The diameter of the chandelier helps to open up the space, while the depth is not oppressive. The glass also catches the light, drawing your line of sight up.”

Delineate different spaces. “While your space may be limited in square footage, the function of the space does not have to be limited. Create different zones to maximize use of the space. At Kips Bay, we created three zones within our space: a desk area, a small entertaining area, and a sleeping area.”


Penthouse Transformation Ideas

A walk-in closet with endless shoe storage, a skyline view, outdoor space—in Manhattan, amenities like these take on Holy Grail status. So when designer Wesley Moon’s clients commissioned him to design their fixer-upper of an Upper West Side pied-à-terre with an enormous wraparound terrace, the idea of bringing the outdoors in was suddenly reversed to highlight the benefit. “We wanted the terrace to feel like a natural extension of the inside to make the narrow interior spaces feel more expansive and cohesive,” says Moon.

The best way to do that: light. Moon covered the home’s walls in soothing shades and chose texture over pattern to create a retreatlike atmosphere for the world-traveling homeowners. “The whole space glows because we used warm tones and some key reflective surfaces,” says Moon. “So when you’re inside, you sort of get the feeling you’re floating on a cloud.” To enhance the effect, Moon removed a closet to expand the kitchen’s footprint, adding quartzite countertops and replacing upper cabinet fronts with opaque textured-glass panels. “They make the space feel lighter while adding a glamorous element,” says Moon.

The seamless indoor-outdoor transition suited Moon’s concept for the dilapidated terrace, which is visible from most rooms thanks to expansive windows throughout the apartment. “My vision of the terrace started with a series of exterior rooms,” he says of the nearly 1,000-square-foot space. To help execute the plan, Moon called upon his good friend, local landscape architect Aaron McIntire of Gunn Landscape Architects. Together they created multiple lounges using privacy hedges as partitions, an herb garden next to the kitchen, and an outdoor dining room, complete with a custom-made pergola and banquet seating. McIntire then planted an array of evergreen trees, flowers, and shrubs, in shades designed to complement Moon’s interior palette. The result is a home that makes the most of its coveted amenities—indoors and out.

High Style Hamptons Houses

Since the late 19th century, Manhattanites have been fleeing the sticky heat of the city each summer for the breezy coast of Long Island. In fact, a 1983 article in The New York Times deemed the cluster of villages around old Southampton “as close an approach to Eden as can be found in a long journey,” noting also that “well-bred men and women find a congenial atmosphere, refined attractions in plenty.” And if you’ve ever caught an episode of Seinfeld, Sex and the City, or The Real Housewives of New York, you might note that not a lot has changed. So for those of you dreaming about your entrée into Hamptons real estate—or perhaps just researching a summer timeshare—we’ve rounded up the best-looking homes from the pages of AD, from a multicolor modern abode in Hampton Bays to a Shingle Style beauty in East Hampton.

Nearly 20 years after it was built, Shelton, Mindel & Assoc. gave this Colonial Revival Hamptons home by Robert A.M. Stern a vibrant refresh, leaving most of the structure and its classical detailing in place.

After living for more than a decade in a Shingle Style home in East Hampton, architect Frank Greenwald crafted a modern two-story abode for himself and his wife in Sag Harbor, featuring big bay windows and a gently sloping hipped roof.

On architect Peter Marino’s 12-acre, lavishly planted Hamptons plot, ‘Pink Beauty’ hydrangeas engulf the rear of the 1990s house, which looks as if it had been built in stages over centuries—a shingled Dutch Colonial section at right, a central block recalling the late-19th-century country houses of McKim, Mead & White, and an Arts and Crafts wing that could have been added around 1905.

How to Find Chic London Apartment Is for Sale

London’s stylish Mayfair neighborhood just got a serious dose of design—an entire apartment full, to be exact—as Nina Yashar, of Milanese gallery Nilufar and its sprawling warehouse adjunct, Nilufar Depot, moved a portion of her vast furnishings collection into a refurbished Victorian apartment on South Audley Street. The installation—a collaboration with interior design and architecture firm Shalini Misra on display through October—marks the fifth iteration of Nilufar Squat, Yashar’s version of a pop-up shop that feels a lot more like a swanky apartment, decorated with a mix of blue-chip 20th-century design collectibles, contemporary furniture, and museum-worthy artworks.

The only difference? Everything in the three-bedroom apartment—from the Gio Ponti chairs in the dining room to the Henri Matisse painting in the reception room—is for sale. The furnishings were valued at £1.5 million, and the apartment listed at £10.9 million. Set aside a few more millions if you want to take the art—a collection that includes works by Lucio Fontana and Julian Schnabel.

“I have always been interested in creating new and unexpected associations between furniture and space,” Yashar said in a statement. “I like changes and challenges, which is why I decided to bring Squat to different cities around the world.”

Nilufar Squat, 70 South Audley Street, London; Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. through 7 p.m. and Sundays by appointment only through October 15.


Banquette Ideas to Elevate Any Kitchen Design

Naomi Watts has one. So does Patrick Dempsey. But star power aside, there are plenty of reasons to install a banquette in your kitchen or breakfast nook. More than just a bold design treatment, the cozy construction makes for a seating arrangement that’s more conducive to intimate conversation than the traditional table-and-chairs setup, much like the corner booth at your favorite restaurant. It’s also a great choice for families, as anyone who’s ever tried to get a squirming kid to sit still in a single seat can attest. Whether upholstered in a cheerful patterned fabric or classic leather, banquettes can even make a big impact in smaller spaces, where there’s limited room for a full dining area. Here, we’ve rounded up 12 stunning banquettes that will inspire you. From modernist benches to cushy booths, there’s one to suit every style.

The banquette and Saarinen chairs in accessories designer Fiona Kotur’s kitchen in Hong Kong are cushioned in a DeLany & Long outdoor leather.

Designed by Campion Platt, the sunny breakfast nook in a Hudson Valley, New York, home features a banquette in a Kravet vinyl, leather chairs from Ralph Lauren Home, and a custom wood-grained-vinyl area rug by Patterson, Flynn & Martin.

In the kitchen dining area of a New York townhouse designed by Delphine Krakoff, the table by Paul Evans is accompanied by a Pamplemousse Design banquette, upholstered in a Holly Hunt fabric, and Erwine and Estelle Laverne chairs; the pendant light is by Tom Dixon, and the marble floor is by Exquisite Surfaces.

Outdoor Lighting Tips

Your outdoor space may be built around making the most of natural light, but come nightfall the glow of the moon and fireflies will only get you so far. If you want to dine alfresco—or simply illuminate your entryway for late-night guests—you’ll need to find some outdoor lighting to suit your terrace, porch, or patio. Try a wrought-iron pendant or a statement chandelier over the dining area. Or flank the front door with wall-mounted lanterns. For a real statement, try a group of two or three on the porch or covered patio. Just remember to make sure a fixture is damp rated to accommodate your outdoor setting—covered or not. Here, we’ve collected some instructional examples from the AD archives.

The outdoor dining area at Michelle Pitcher’s Palladian-inspired villa in San José del Cabo, Mexico, is crowned with a chandelier by Formations.

Architect John Murray and decorator Elissa Cullman employed a glass cube lantern in this pergola-topped outdoor dining area in a Manhattan penthouse.

A wrought-iron lantern illuminates the 18th-century French stone doorway of designer and antiques dealer Richard Shapiro’s Malibu, California, retreat.
The rear loggia of a Los Angeles villa designed by Mark Boone resembles an outdoor living room, illuminated by a couple of wrought-iron lanterns.
Simple black sconces from YLighting illuminate this sprawling rooftop terrace in a Manhattan penthouse devised by Dufner Heighes and Brooklyn-based landscape firm Future Green Studio.

Creating Homes For the Kardashians

Jeff Andrews is perfectly happy discussing the many homes he’s designed for titans of entertainment and sports. His celebrity clients include a fistful of Kardashians and Jenners, a beloved television serial killer, and one of the NBA’s most dapper Goliaths. Yet Andrews never seems blinded by the superhigh wattage of the luminaries on his roster—he’s not particularly interested in the orgy of fabulousness that permeates pop culture. He’s all about the collaboration between himself and the client—whoever that client may be—and the process of bringing a home to life. The rest, he says, is “just noise.” I recently caught up with the globetrotting designer in his lofty new office on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. Freshly returned from some foreign port of call, he sat down for a wide-ranging chat that skipped from his background in dance to his present thoughts on Dubai.

Jeff Andrews: I grew up in and around San Bernardino, in California’s Inland Empire. I started dancing when I was 15, and I got a scholarship to study dance in Los Angeles. After that, I danced professionally for a while, then I started choreographing and staging live industrial shows.

MR: What are live industrial shows?

JA: Basically trade shows, but also commercials and videos. I had a contract with Reebok and also worked for different surf and ski companies. I’d study whatever apparel collections they were launching, then I’d turn that concept into theatrical scenes and dance numbers.

MR: I’m picturing a phalanx of high-kicking, leotard-clad aerobics fanatics.

JA: It was actually much more artsy than that. I designed the costumes, the sets, the whole look of the shows.

MR: And that segued into interiors?

JA: I started getting antsy and I’d always had an interest in design, so it was a natural progression.

MR: Who was your first client?

JA: Eleanor Mondale.

MR: Ooh, the fun Mondale! I remember seeing her on television. She cohosted a memorable special about Madonna with the divine Robin Leach.

JA: I met her through an ex of mine. I started doing a single room and ended up doing her whole house. She became a fan of mine, and she gave me the courage to pursue interior design seriously. She was an amazing woman, and she introduced me to a lot of people.

MR: Who was your next high-profile client?

JA: Ryan Seacrest. A good friend of mine was his stylist at E!, and she connected us when Ryan bought a house in Nichols Canyon. We clicked. He was a fantastic client, and that house was a real turning point in my career.

MR: Is that how you met Les Kardashians?

JA: I was in New York when I got a phone call from Khloé. I of course knew who the Kardashians were, but I wasn’t a big follower. I didn’t watch their show. But I met her, I loved her, and I ended doing a house for her and Lamar. In the process, I met Kourtney and Kris, and I started working for them as well. It was a family lovefest.

MR: At what point in the Kardashians’ trajectory of world domination did you meet them?

JA: They were already super-popular, but it wasn’t as crazy as it is now.


Warmth and offer privacy

Originally intended to conserve warmth and offer privacy, canopy beds are now beloved for their sumptuous design. These beds, typically four-posters, feature fabric draped over the top and on all sides, often finished with tassels or other details to add drama. From a simple, sheer surround to an over-the-top lit à la polonaise, these canopy beds from the AD archives make a good night’s sleep more luxurious than ever.

Cole Park, the manor that designer Anouska Hempel shares with her husband, Sir Mark Weinberg, in the countryside of Wiltshire, England, dates from the mid-16th century. In the master bedroom, a J. Robert Scott stripe is used for the ebony-and-gilt canopy bed.

For her English manor home, designer Anouska Hempel conceived the Oriel Room’s bed, which is wrapped in burlap, velvet, and rope cord.

At Easton Neston, in Northamptonshire, England—the 1702 house by Nicholas Hawksmoor owned by fashion designer Leon Max, who restored it with Ptolemy Dean Architects and Spencer-Churchill Designs—the Tapestry Bedroom features a George III mahogany bed with a custom-printed linen canopy; the carpet is a 19th-century Sultanabad.

Designer Peter Dunham worked with Steve Tisch on the redecoration of his 1932 Paul Williams house in Beverly Hills, California. The hand-carved canopy bed in the pink bedroom is by Hollywood at Home; a vintage suzani covers the headboard, and the bedding is by Deborah Sharpe Linens.

Pantry Ideas for a Seriously Stylis

The key to a spotless kitchen is a well-organized pantry. These two spaces make a perfect team, with the kitchen doing the heavy lifting in terms of prep and the pantry providing plenty of room to stash tools, ingredients, and serving pieces. While storage is the centerpiece of the pantry and should be the main consideration when it comes to design, the space can do double duty as a bar or a secondary prep area for food and floral arrangements. It can also serve as a showcase for collections of glassware and china, on open shelving, in glass-front cabinets, or even on the wall. See how Steven Gambrel, Barbara Westbrook, Ray Booth, and other designers have created highly organized and beautifully functional pantry spaces.

In the pantry of a Bridgehampton, New York, home designed by Steven Gambrel, a white-oak ladder by Putnam Rolling Ladder Co. makes the tall shelves easily accessible; polished-nickel pendant lamps by Hudson Valley Lighting illuminate the space.

Antique Wedgwood and Coalport china is stored in the pantry of architect Jim Joseph and musical theater composer Scott Frankel’s upstate New York home.

The pantry of architect Alison Spear’s Hudson Valley, New York, home is outfitted with a 1930s pendant light and heirloom china; the dishwasher is by Miele.

Best of all, though, is how easy the unit is to install. The in-home process only takes three to nine days when done by Spiral Cellars. Plus, it doesn’t require any foundation work or breaking into belowground, as it can be housed within a basement or crawlspace.

Easy Ways to Make Your Home a Makeover

Being an interiors journalist has given Claire Bingham insider access to many incredible homes, and she’s learned a thing or two about great design along the way. In her new book, Modern Living: How to Decorate with Style (TeNeues, $55), she reveals how to think like the top interior designers whose work she’s witnessed. “Yes, you can devise a scheme based around a gorgeous new cushion, but it is best to think less about colors or details. Focus more on the mood and emotion, instead. Homes should make you happy,” Bingham writes. She walks us through the decorating process room by room, with tips and tricks for overhauling a space or just making a few quick upgrades. Here, we share some of her most memorable pieces of advice.

Once you’ve come up with an overall idea for your living room and determined your furniture needs (and where those pieces will go), it’s all about adding character, says Bingham. Here, an old sofa was reupholstered in a funky floral fabric that matches the wallpaper.

“Comfort comes first in the bedroom, so make your bed the priority,” writes Bingham. “Go for extra wide and get the best mattress you can afford. To make your bed extra inviting, introduce an extra set of satin pillows to crisp white cotton linen and layer with velvet and wool throws.”

Give your work space just as much attention as the rest of your home, Bingham says. And while an aesthetically pleasing spot is important, the real must-haves are a tidy surface, good task lighting, and a comfortable chair.
Taking inspiration from luxurious hotel rooms, install a freestanding tub in your bath, suggests Bingham. Dark walls (and a few candles) add drama.