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The Power of Scent

by The Prestige Properties Team

 

Using Essential Oils to Improve Your Health and Mood
There are certain things that trigger memories in your mind. Sometimes it’s a song or a piece of clothing. But more than likely, it’s a scent; the olfactory system has the strongest link to memory. This correlation can trigger memories of experiences and places, but it can also trigger your body into a specific state of being. Encourage restfulness, healing, increased energy, and more with essential oils.
Determining how to best incorporate essentials oils into your lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming. How do you use them? What does each scent do? And why do they work so well? Ultimately the oils might help ease the stress of it all. But in the meantime, here’s a quick-start guide to using essential oils at home.
WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?
Essential oils are highly concentrated oils extracted from plant parts such as leaves, flowers, needles, roots, seeds, resin, bark, rinds, berries, wood, and grass. “It takes nearly eight million small jasmine blossoms, handpicked on the day the flowers open, to produce just over two pounds of superior essential oil,” says Stephanie Tourles, a certified aromatherapist and holistic esthetician among other designations.
HOW DO I USE THEM?
“To capture the aromas of nature—whether it be the fresh scent of the ocean or sparkling citrus to freshen the bathroom, or heady jasmine or distinctive gardenia in the living room or bedroom—you can purchase a wide array of essential oils, which can be diffused into different machines or diffusers,” says fragrance expert Sue Phillips, founder of the Tribeca, New York City–based The Scentarium. Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls with the essential oils and apply them to cold lightbulbs, she adds. “Then when you switch the light on, the heat from the light bulbs will diffuse the fragrance and will waft in the air.”
WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO WITH THEM?
“Always dilute the oil if you’re going to apply it to your skin or someone else’s skin,” explains herbalist and aromatherapist Lisa Akers. “About 1 to 2 percent essential oil in a carrier oil like coconut, avocado, olive, or jojoba is best. Water won’t dilute the essential oils, because they don’t mix. Use an oil, glycerin, or milk to get a good, diluted oil.” And most importantly, do not ingest the oils. “Don’t take essential oils internally unless under the direction of a physician or trained aromatherapist or herbalist. Most essential oils are corrosive and can cause liver damage. The damage isn’t seen for months or even years later, which makes this a real concern that people aren’t considering when they drop that lemon essential oil in their morning water.”
WHAT ARE THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR EVERYDAY USE?
Lavender. This do-all essential oil is a powerhouse when it comes to helping your body inside and out. Research shows that lavender is the go-to aroma for relaxation as it lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature—but that’s not all. Studies also suggest that it helps alleviate insomnia as well as eczema. “A few drops of [diluted] lavender sprinkled on your pillow or applied to your temples will help relax you and cause a good night’s sleep,” says Phillips. “I love lavender-filled eye sachets, which can be placed over your eyes and you will immediately drift off to sleep.”
Peppermint Oil. Headaches be gone! “A few drops of peppermint oil applied to the temples, wrists, and forehead will alleviate headaches,” says Phillips. Another unconventional use for peppermint oil is to get rid of spiders. “Take about fifteen drops of peppermint essential oil and add a cup of water in a spray bottle,” she says. “Shake well. Gently spray around the corners, window frames, and doorways and the spiders will disappear. They hate the smell of peppermint!”
Eucalyptus Oil. The common cold is no match for eucalyptus. “Eucalyptus is used for treating the common cold and all its side effects like coughing, mucous, sinus infections, and a sore throat,” says acupuncture physician Elizabeth Trattner. “Eucalyptus oil also has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacertial effects. My favorite use for eucalyptus is during a cold. I like to take a bowl of hot water and create a tent with a towel over my head draped around the bowl. I will put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in and inhale the steam. It works wonders for any cold or virus and opens my respiratory passages. I would use this oil in a diffuser or a few drops in a bowl of hot water.”
Article written by guest blogger Blake Miller.

Using Essential Oils to Improve Your Health and Mood

There are certain things that trigger memories in your mind. Sometimes it’s a song or a piece of clothing. But more than likely, it’s a scent; the olfactory system has the strongest link to memory. This correlation can trigger memories of experiences and places, but it can also trigger your body into a specific state of being. Encourage restfulness, healing, increased energy, and more with essential oils.

Determining how to best incorporate essentials oils into your lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming. How do you use them? What does each scent do? And why do they work so well? Ultimately the oils might help ease the stress of it all. But in the meantime, here’s a quick-start guide to using essential oils at home.

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are highly concentrated oils extracted from plant parts such as leaves, flowers, needles, roots, seeds, resin, bark, rinds, berries, wood, and grass. “It takes nearly eight million small jasmine blossoms, handpicked on the day the flowers open, to produce just over two pounds of superior essential oil,” says Stephanie Tourles, a certified aromatherapist and holistic esthetician among other designations.

HOW DO I USE THEM?

“To capture the aromas of nature—whether it be the fresh scent of the ocean or sparkling citrus to freshen the bathroom, or heady jasmine or distinctive gardenia in the living room or bedroom—you can purchase a wide array of essential oils, which can be diffused into different machines or diffusers,” says fragrance expert Sue Phillips, founder of the Tribeca, New York City–based The Scentarium. Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls with the essential oils and apply them to cold lightbulbs, she adds. “Then when you switch the light on, the heat from the light bulbs will diffuse the fragrance and will waft in the air.”

WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO WITH THEM?

“Always dilute the oil if you’re going to apply it to your skin or someone else’s skin,” explains herbalist and aromatherapist Lisa Akers. “About 1 to 2 percent essential oil in a carrier oil like coconut, avocado, olive, or jojoba is best. Water won’t dilute the essential oils, because they don’t mix. Use an oil, glycerin, or milk to get a good, diluted oil.” And most importantly, do not ingest the oils. “Don’t take essential oils internally unless under the direction of a physician or trained aromatherapist or herbalist. Most essential oils are corrosive and can cause liver damage. The damage isn’t seen for months or even years later, which makes this a real concern that people aren’t considering when they drop that lemon essential oil in their morning water.”

WHAT ARE THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR EVERYDAY USE?

Lavender. This do-all essential oil is a powerhouse when it comes to helping your body inside and out. Research shows that lavender is the go-to aroma for relaxation as it lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature—but that’s not all. Studies also suggest that it helps alleviate insomnia as well as eczema. “A few drops of [diluted] lavender sprinkled on your pillow or applied to your temples will help relax you and cause a good night’s sleep,” says Phillips. “I love lavender-filled eye sachets, which can be placed over your eyes and you will immediately drift off to sleep.”

Peppermint Oil. Headaches be gone! “A few drops of peppermint oil applied to the temples, wrists, and forehead will alleviate headaches,” says Phillips. Another unconventional use for peppermint oil is to get rid of spiders. “Take about fifteen drops of peppermint essential oil and add a cup of water in a spray bottle,” she says. “Shake well. Gently spray around the corners, window frames, and doorways and the spiders will disappear. They hate the smell of peppermint!”

Eucalyptus Oil. The common cold is no match for eucalyptus. “Eucalyptus is used for treating the common cold and all its side effects like coughing, mucous, sinus infections, and a sore throat,” says acupuncture physician Elizabeth Trattner. “Eucalyptus oil also has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacertial effects. My favorite use for eucalyptus is during a cold. I like to take a bowl of hot water and create a tent with a towel over my head draped around the bowl. I will put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in and inhale the steam. It works wonders for any cold or virus and opens my respiratory passages. I would use this oil in a diffuser or a few drops in a bowl of hot water.”

Article written by guest blogger Blake Miller.

 

Privacy Among The Palms

by The Prestige Properties Team

An Overgrown Lot Transforms into a Tropical Winter Vacation Spot

“I roll a design in my mind over and over again until it feels right,” says Craig Reynolds, owner of his eponymous landscape architecture firm based in Key West, Florida. “I believe there’s a fingerprint or a pattern on every property that makes sense and feels natural. I keep designing until I find that.”
That was Reynolds’s approach to this tropical retreat, which began as two empty adjacent lots. The owners envisioned their vacation home on the property and engaged both the landscape and structural architects at the start of the project. The gardens were to be a central focus of the property, so the owners wanted both professionals involved with the siting and design of the house.
“It’s not typical to work in tandem with the architect in placing the house on the site,” explains Reynolds. “This project was unique because the owners were focused on the garden. I worked with the architect and was able to say things like, ‘Don’t put any rooms here. Make this side bigger. Make that side smaller.’” That input ultimately led to an L-shaped house built to the sides of the property, allowing the pool and gardens to take center stage. The owners wanted a guest wing and a main wing. The L shape and subsequent plantings give the illusion of two separate residences. But both wings maintain their privacy while still retaining views of the swimming pool.

“I roll a design in my mind over and over again until it feels right,” says Craig Reynolds, owner of his eponymous landscape architecture firm based in Key West, Florida. “I believe there’s a fingerprint or a pattern on every property that makes sense and feels natural. I keep designing until I find that.”

That was Reynolds’s approach to this tropical retreat, which began as two empty adjacent lots. The owners envisioned their vacation home on the property and engaged both the landscape and structural architects at the start of the project. The gardens were to be a central focus of the property, so the owners wanted both professionals involved with the siting and design of the house.

“It’s not typical to work in tandem with the architect in placing the house on the site,” explains Reynolds. “This project was unique because the owners were focused on the garden. I worked with the architect and was able to say things like, ‘Don’t put any rooms here. Make this side bigger. Make that side smaller.’” That input ultimately led to an L-shaped house built to the sides of the property, allowing the pool and gardens to take center stage. The owners wanted a guest wing and a main wing. The L shape and subsequent plantings give the illusion of two separate residences. But both wings maintain their privacy while still retaining views of the swimming pool.

The shallow shelf at one end of the pool invites homeowners to cool their heels away from the tropical Florida heat.

House placement was only the first piece of the puzzle. “In any design, there are elements you must balance: house size, access points coming out of the house, property size, off-site views you want to hide, setbacks . . .” says Reynolds. “You take all these things, synthesize them, and then start moving the puzzle pieces to find the right fit,” he says.

Those large elements place certain limits on the design, but within those constraints, the landscape architects must discover and then create what the owners envision. This includes learning what design styles they like as well as their must-have features. Reynolds gleans this information in three ways. “When I meet with clients, I ask as many questions as possible. Then, I show them picture books of my past work. We flip through them and I ask them to tell me both what they like and don’t like, because knowing what doesn’t appeal to them is just as important. Finally, I ask them to send me images they like.”

From these Q&As and image reviews, Reynolds discovered that the couple wanted a casual garden. “They didn’t want something highly designed. They wanted it to feel homey,” he says. Privacy is a major component to creating that homey feel. “I design from the outside in,” he says. “I take care of privacy first and then work my way in toward the house.”

True of most Key West properties, the pool is a central feature. Part of the couple’s must-have list was a temperature requirement for the pool. “The husband is a member of a polar bear club so the pool had to be 62 degrees [Fahrenheit] all the time,” explains Reynolds. A gray aggregate finish covers the pool’s interior. Ming green marble tiles line the shallow shelf, where the couple can place plastic Adirondack chairs, allowing them to enjoy the coolness of the water without being fully immersed in the pool. Coral coping outlines the pool’s shape. Oolitic limestone, native to Florida, serves as stepping stones around the pool’s perimeter and leads away to various entry points around the house. Heat- and drought-tolerant zoysia grass grows between the stones.

An outdoor shower was another request. The direction from the couple was to keep it utilitarian rather than fancy. “I made it as simple as possible,” says Reynolds. “It’s just a copper pipe running up a palm tree. It operates with a simple pull chain.” A relaxing hammock was another customer request, so a teal hammock sways between two coconut palms.

One of the more challenging homeowner requests was installing an edible garden with citrus and mango trees. “Those trees are messy, so they couldn’t be near the pool. But they also had to be in a spot that got sufficient sunlight,” explains Reynolds. He ultimately planted key lime, Valencia orange, Meyer lemon, and mango trees in an out-of-the-way yet sunny spot near the master bedroom.

An abundance of palms—coconut, Christmas, sugar, lady, cabada—encircle the property. Their spiky green thatch stretches up to the welcoming sun while their sand-colored trunks root into the sandy soil. The garden is a sea of green, interrupted every so often with an eye-catching color from variegated croton, purple crinum lily, and pink muhly grass. Gardenia, jasmine, and bougainvillea provide fragrant reminders that you’re in the tropics.

“My design process is largely intuitive, so it’s hard for me to explain. I don’t go to the client until I’ve thought everything through.” From thought to plan to execution, Reynolds transformed an overgrown jungle into an ideal oasis.

Article written by guest blogger Ronda Swaney.

 

Shear Delight

by The Prestige Properties Team

Rejuvenating Overgrown and Aging Shrubs

Don’t be so quick to uproot and throw away those shrubs that have outgrown their space or become leggy and unattractive. In many cases, with some pruning and fertilizing, you can give those venerable troopers a new lease on life. Unless the plant has reached the end of its natural lifespan, most older yet healthy shrubs can be brought back into scale with the rest of the garden.

Shrub renovation is not for the faint-hearted. You must be prepared to do some heavy pruning, in some cases cutting the plant right back to the ground or to a few bare stubs. It also requires patience. It can take several years for a tired, overgrown shrub to be restored to a youthful looking thing of beauty.

There is always the possibility that the shrub you try to revive will not survive. If you plan to work on an unusual or hard-to-replace specimen, propagate new plants as a backup before you begin work. To enhance the chances of severely pruned shrubs making a good recovery, feed and water them well the following growing season. With the what ifs in place, you can safely get started.

REJUVENATING DECIDUOUS, FLOWERING SHRUBS

The best time to prune flowering shrubs is shortly after they’ve bloomed. While some shrubs, such as red twig dogwood (Cornus alba) can be completely down to the ground and regrow, a general safe rule of thumb for most deciduous shrubs is to cut one-third of the branches down to the ground or the main stem the first year, another third the second year, and the final third the last year. Choose the oldest and least desirable stems to remove the first year, but also remove stems from all sides of the shrub so you maintain a balanced form. While you are pruning in the second and third years, remove new growth that is weak or that will spoil the shrub’s form and balance.

To reduce the size of an overgrown shrub, cut the oldest stems right down to the ground as described above. Also remove all dead branches. Be sure to leave enough stems to provide energy to the plant. Then trim back the remaining stems to just below the ideal height you have in mind. Once the shrub grows back enough to cover the pruning wounds, establish a maintenance pruning routine to keep the shrub in shape.

RENOVATING BROADLEAF EVERGREEN SHRUBS

In warm, southern climates, you can renew shrubs such as rhododendrons, azaleas, and mountain laurel by cutting them back to the ground. Old boxwood, which can live for hundreds of years, also has a good chance of living when treated to this drastic measure. Survival is enhanced if the plants are given a heavy dose of cottonseed meal and manure at least a year before the radical surgery, and are kept well fed and watered afterward.

For plants you absolutely don’t want to put at risk, rejuvenate the shrub gradually by cutting back about a third of the branches at a time, spreading the operation over three years. Choose the longest, most ungainly branches first, cutting them back to their point of origin.

Whether you cut the plant down to the ground or remove the old growth in stages, do the job in late winter or early spring when the plant is bursting to send out new shoots.

RENOVATING HEDGES

Some of the best hedging plants include boxwood, holly, hornbeam, and yew because they are slow-growing and long-lived. If you have an overgrown hedge comprised of any of these plants, it is well worth your time and trouble to restore it. While the hedge will look odd for several years while the restoration is going on, you’ll have an attractive hedge again much sooner than if you start over with young plants.

Begin in late winter by cutting the top back to the height you want, cutting back to bare branches if necessary. Next, severely prune just one side of the hedge, cutting it back to the main stem or stems. Leave the other side untouched. Feed the shorn plant with a balanced fertilizer and top dress with compost or manure. To protect the now-vulnerable shrub, water deeply if the weather gets dry, then add a thick layer of mulch to help maintain even moisture.

Wait until the pruned side of the hedge is showing vigorous growth before you cut back the other side. You may need to wait two or three years to insure that the plant is strong enough to take another shock. Once you think it’s ready, cut back the second side, following the same procedures as you did for the first.

Rejuvenating old shrubs is well worth the trouble for mature plants that still have good years left in them. Give it a try.

Article written by guest blogger Catriona Tudor Erler.

Filing for Homestead Exemption 2018

by The Prestige Properties Team

The TIMELY Filing Deadline is Approaching!  

Realtors, this may be a good opportunity to contact your buyers who closed on their properties in 2017 to confirm they have applied for their 2018 Homestead exemption.  

The timely filing deadline for Homestead and all other exemptions is March 1, 2018 and the absolute deadline to LATE FILE for any 2018 exemption -- if you miss the March 1 timely filing deadline -- is September 18, 2018. 

All legal Florida residents are eligible for a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots if they qualify. The Florida Constitution provides this tax-saving exemption on the first and third $25,000 of the assessed value of an owner/occupied residence.      

The basic homestead exemption saved a Broward homeowner in 2017 anywhere from $615.43 to $1030.61 (depending upon the city's millage rate) in annual tax savings for all homes with a value of $75,000 or higher.  

Homeowners are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1st, they have made the property their permanent home.  By law, January 1 of each year is the date on which permanent residence is determined.   

Homeowners may file for Homestead ONLINE by going to BCPA.net, in Broward County, and clicking the large yellow button in the navigation menu on the top left side of the page.  Homeowners  may also file by visiting the Property Appraiser's office at 115 South Andrews Ave, Room 111, Ft. Lauderdale or at one of the County's community outreach events, (visit BCPA.net website for calendar dates and locations).

What You Need When Filing for Homestead

When filing an application you must bring the following items listed below. To claim 100% coverage, all owners occupying the property as Tenants in Common (i.e., proportional share co-owners) must file in person on jointly held property. In the case of a husband/wife ("Tenants by the Entirety") or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship ("JTRS"), any one owner may qualify for 100% coverage -- although it is always highly advisable to have all eligible owner-occupants to file.

  1. Proof of Ownership:  In general, the recorded Deed or Co-op Proprietary Lease must be held in the name(s) of the individuals applying for Homestead. You do not need to bring a copy of the deed or co-op lease if the document has already been recorded in the Official Records of Broward County. If the PROPERTY IS HELD IN A TRUST, WE ALSO NEED EITHER A NOTARIZED CERTIFICATE OF TRUST OR A COMPLETE COPY OF THE TRUST AGREEMENT. Note: Most taxpayers prefer to use the simple Certificate of Trust form, instead of submitting the entire trust for our review, as it better protects the privacy of your estate planning and other financial matters.   
  2. Proof of Permanent Florida Residence:  preferably dated prior to January 1 of the tax year for which you are filing -- is established in the form of:
  • FOR ALL APPLICANTS: Florida's Driver's License (or -- for non-drivers only -- a Florida I.D. Card) is REQUIRED. Note: You must surrender to DMV any out-of-state regular driver's license. You MUST also have either of the following:

1. Florida Voter's Registration; or

2. Recorded Declaration of Domicile.

  • FOR NON-US CITIZENS, you MUST have the items listed above AND proof of permanent residency, asylum/parolee status (or other "PRUCOL" status); OR proof you are the parent of a US-born (US Citizen) minor child who resides with you.  

     3. If you or your married spouse have a Homestead Exemption in any other county, state or country(or an equivalent permanent residency-based exemption or tax credit, such as New York's "S.T.A.R." exemption) on another property you also currently own, you will NOT be eligible for a homestead in Broward until after you surrender the exemption in that other jurisdiction. If you maintain an exemption on another property elsewhere it is FRAUD!

The State-approved application form requests certain information for all owners living on the premises and filing: 

  • Current employers of all owners. 
  • Addresses listed on last I.R.S. income tax returns. 
  • Date of each owner's permanent Florida residence. 
  • Date of occupancy for each property owner. 
  • Social Security numbers of all owners filing.
  • Social Security number of any married spouse of the applicant, even if the spouse is not named in the deed and is not filing).

Note: The amount of the homestead exemption protection granted to an owner residing on a particular property is to be applied against the amount of that person's interest in the property. This provision is limited in that the proportional amount of the homestead exemption allowed any person shall not exceed the proportionate assessed valuation based on the interest owned by the person. For example, assuming a property valued at $40,000, with the residing owner's interest in the property being $20,000, then $20,000 of the homestead exemption is all that can be applied to that property. If there are multiple owners, all as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the owner living at property filing receives the full exemption.

For information on other exemptions, please contact Customer Service & Exemptions Division:  954-357-6830.  Please feel free to copy this email and give it to your clients at their closing. This information was taken from the BCPA.net website.    

NOW YOU KNOW!!!

It’s All In The Details

by The Prestige Properties Team

Thoughtful Design Brings Harmony to This Beachfront Beauty

“Details distinguish a home from looking amateurish to looking like a professional did it,” says Kelly Deck, director of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Kelly Deck Design and host of the HGTV series Take It Outside. With so much professional experience under her belt, Deck understands a thing or two about flawlessly executing details.
Her design skills captured the attention of the Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. Every year, these organizations work together to create a house—the grand prize for their fundraiser, Vancouver’s Millionaire Designer Home Lottery. They asked Deck and her team to design and execute the interior of this spacious prize home located on Marine Drive in White Rock, British Columbia.
The goal of the lottery is to appeal to a wide audience to entice ticket purchases. Typically, the lottery home design follows traditional styles and tastes, but Deck wanted to go in a new direction. “We encouraged the foundation to look at something more modern. We introduced the idea of a contemporary home that felt a bit like a luxury hotel,” says Deck. “They trusted us and took the risk.” That risk paid off when the 116,000 lottery tickets available for the home sold quickly.

“Details distinguish a home from looking amateurish to looking like a professional did it,” says Kelly Deck, director of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Kelly Deck Design and host of the HGTV series Take It Outside. With so much professional experience under her belt, Deck understands a thing or two about flawlessly executing details.

Her design skills captured the attention of the Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. Every year, these organizations work together to create a house—the grand prize for their fundraiser, Vancouver’s Millionaire Designer Home Lottery. They asked Deck and her team to design and execute the interior of this spacious prize home located on Marine Drive in White Rock, British Columbia.

The goal of the lottery is to appeal to a wide audience to entice ticket purchases. Typically, the lottery home design follows traditional styles and tastes, but Deck wanted to go in a new direction. “We encouraged the foundation to look at something more modern. We introduced the idea of a contemporary home that felt a bit like a luxury hotel,” says Deck. “They trusted us and took the risk.” That risk paid off when the 116,000 lottery tickets available for the home sold quickly.

big and bold.

A home with a large footprint, such as this featured design, can be intimidating. Here, Kelly Deck shares her secrets to making the most of big spaces.

Go big. “When you have that much volume, you need to take up space. Making big moves actually makes your space feel more cohesive and whole,” Deck explains. Large rooms can handle large pieces. Consider the eighteen-foot-long headboard in the master bedroom or fourteen-foot long island in the kitchen. Neither looks out of place because both are proportional to the dimensions of the rooms they are in.

Be bold. If you want your rooms to make a statement, choose materials that make you somewhat nervous. Designers shy away from marble because it can etch or stain. Deck says to look overseas to overcome that nervousness. “In Europe, marble floors and counters have been in buildings for centuries and they look spectacular,” she says. “They’re not in perfect condition, yet the forms and overall look is beautiful because those materials tell a story.”

Even without textiles, the master bath celebrates texture through wood grain, marble veining, and matte (versus iridescent) tile.

Deck first focused on the atmosphere and mood that she wanted to create. “My approach to modern is about using materials that are sensuous and have strong texture,” she says. “I want people to want to touch them.” Natural materials appeal to the sense of touch, as does the variety of textures. The home is filled with wood, marble, and natural textiles like cotton, linen, velvet, and wool.

Learning to balance varied textures takes practice and a reliance on gut instinct. “There’s no prescriptive recipe. It’s more of a feeling,” says Deck. “You need to focus on framing, blocking, and sight lines.” The master bath provides an excellent illustration. Each material is used with precision, training the viewer’s eye where to look next. Dark stained quartersawn oak starts at the vanity cabinets and continues to wrap around the bathtub, drawing the eye to the beachfront view. Elongated marble slabs top the vanity and show up again in the shower seat and base footing. A wide swath of iridescent glass tile shimmers between the vanities and flows from the wall to the floor spanning the length of the room. A velvety ottoman sits beneath a sparkling chandelier that is reflected in both the mirrors and shower glass.

Even with varied materials and textures, the design feels harmonious. How does Deck create that harmony? She compares the process to smart entertaining. “If you plan a dinner party, you’re not going to invite twelve people with gigantic personalities. If you do, no one will get to say anything. When you design, you have to choose pieces that command attention and then support them with those that are quieter and more contemplative,” she explains. “If you want one thing to stand out as special, then other things need to be quieter and command less attention.”

Dramatic focal points command attention in each room, but it’s the smaller details that make the home feel cozy. “With accessorizing, there’s a fine balance between having just enough so that it looks collected, but not so much that it looks cluttered. Each vignette should tell a story,” she says. Books, photos, and plants accessorize each room and provide the narrative. “Books are a very critical component of any styling. They instantly soften a space and give you a sense of feeling at home,” Deck explains. For artwork, she relied on photos. “I like the subtle graphic quality of black-and-white photos. They capture a specific moment in time better than a painting does.”

From a room-spanning headboard to how books are arranged on a nightstand, nothing is overlooked. “When you walk into a home and the whole thing just feels good; that’s the magic of well-executed details.”

Article written by guest blogger Ronda Swaney.

Soup's On

by The Prestige Properties Team

Elevated Soup and Sandwich Recipes That Delight

Elevated Soup and Sandwich Recipes That Delight

Wintertime calls for comfort food. The chilly temps drive me indoors and I crave the combo of warm soup and a hearty sandwich. A bowl of soup, a sandwich, and a soft blanket make the day feel a bit cozier. Soups and sandwiches have always been a family favorite, but I’ve elevated my recipe game with these distinctive and satisfying pairings. To maintain some childlike simplicity to these staples, I’ve also designed them for dunking. Whether you dunk artisan croutons into tomato bisque or dip the edge of a pita-wrapped curried chicken salad into a hot bowl of Mulligatawny, settle in. Soup’s on.


RED CURRY CAULIFLOWER

Pureed cauliflower and red curry paste come together to make a smooth, silky soup. It becomes a bit heartier when paired with an arugula, apple, and hummus wrap. This soup and sandwich makes a tasty combination for a quick and easy meal.

 

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee, or extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 large head cauliflower (about 2 to 2½ pounds) stemmed and chopped

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon ground coriander

2 cups vegetable broth

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not light)

1½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste

½ teaspoon turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste

Squeeze of lime juice to taste

Sliced green onions or fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

 

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the garlic, chopped cauliflower, fresh ginger, ground coriander, and vegetable broth. Let the veggies and broth simmer on low for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.

Next, stir in the coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, and turmeric. Bring it back to a simmer. Let the soup simmer on low for another 5 to 10 minutes to bring all the flavors together. With an immersion blender, blend the soup to a puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender or Vitamix and puree.

Then pour the soup back into the pot. If the soup feels too thick, add another ¼ cup veggie broth until you feel you have the right consistency.

Season with salt and pepper and then add a squeeze or two of lime juice to taste.

Garnish with sliced green onions or fresh cilantro.

 

ARUGULA, APPLE, AND HUMMUS WRAP

I like to use spinach wraps for this sandwich, but you can use any kind of tortilla wrap you like. When sliced into smaller pieces, this wrap also makes a festive nibble for guests or a delicious after-school snack.

Makes 1

1 large tortilla or sandwich wrap, slightly warmed so it’s pliable

1 to 2 tablespoons hummus

8 to 10 arugula leaves (or a good handful of baby arugula)

4 to 5 slices of your favorite apple

 

Place the warmed tortilla on a flat surface and spread the hummus on the half closest to you. Layer with arugula leaves and then the sliced apples.

Fold in the sides of the tortilla and then roll away from you. Cut in half or in quarters and enjoy.

 

MULLIGATAWNY

Mulligatawny soup originated in England and is inspired by Indian cuisine. You will find many different versions of this beautiful soup; however, this one is my favorite. I added coconut milk and diced apples to give just a hint of sweet, which deliciously complements the savory flavors.

 

Serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons coconut oil, olive oil, or ghee

1 yellow onion, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon grated or minced ginger

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon yellow curry powder

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1½ cups diced sweet potato

¼ cup jasmine or basmati rice

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 to 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken, optional (I often make this soup vegetarian)

½ diced fresh apple

1 cup coconut milk (not light or low-fat)

Salt and pepper to taste

 

In a large soup pot, add the oil and place over medium heat.

When the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook them for about 5 minutes or until soft. Then add the garlic and ginger, stirring for another minute.

Next stir in the flour and curry powder and when it’s nicely combined with the vegetables (about 30 seconds or so) slowly stir in the broth.

Bring the soup to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Add the diced sweet potato and rice. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

When the rice and sweet potato are soft, stir in the fresh thyme, diced apple, and chicken if using. Then stir in the coconut milk until combined.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the soup sit for about 30 minutes prior to serving.

This soup is excellent the next day and can be held in the refrigerator for approximately 3 days.

Article written by guest blogger Karista Bennett.

 

 

Colorful Classic

by The Prestige Properties Team

As Betsy Burnham proves to perfection, the details make a difference in your decor. The principal designer and owner of Los Angeles-based Burnham Design (@burnhamdesign) focused on the details to deliver classic interiors with a layered twist for a family who purchased a pared-down traditional residence in an upscale neighborhood near the beach in Santa Monica, California. “Layering is a big part of what I do,” says the clever designer who infused the rooms with an arresting array of elements in a variety of styles, patterns, and textures. “There’s a real mix of vintage and new.”

A cozy grouping in the great room offers a spot for grown-ups to sip cocktails while soaking up the views of the visually stimulating surroundings.

 

For Burnham, the layering process happens in stages with pops of color here and there. “It’s all about balance,” says the designer, whose personal aesthetic is classic and timeless, but not stuffy. “I always caution people about trends. In the end, no one wants their home to read like a year.”
Instead, she says,“I always default to something high-quality and classic and I want it to look collected in a natural, authentic way.” Burnham had already established a rapport with these clients while working on their previous home, so when they outgrew it they came back to the designer for more of her dreamy decor.

For Burnham, the layering process happens in stages with pops of color here and there. “It’s all about balance,” says the designer, whose personal aesthetic is classic and timeless, but not stuffy. “I always caution people about trends. In the end, no one wants their home to read like a year.”

Instead, she says,“I always default to something high-quality and classic and I want it to look collected in a natural, authentic way.” Burnham had already established a rapport with these clients while working on their previous home, so when they outgrew it they came back to the designer for more of her dreamy decor.

Because the nearly 5,000-square-foot house was in pretty good shape, most of the work was cosmetic, like the showstopping entry wall. “It was all about having this wallpaper and then everything just fell into place,” says Burnham about the exquisite backdrop from Pierre Frey. “They let me play with wallpaper, which is exciting to me, and it really made a couple of the spaces important.”

Key pieces they already owned were reworked and repositioned, like a vintage farm table that once served as a desk paired with chairs reupholstered in leopard print. “When used in the entry, they took on a new life in the new home,” she says. “This home is all about having a family place and making each individual space in the house matter. They wanted to use all the areas and not be too precious about it.”

The layout gave Burnham some leeway to take the road less traveled. “With traditional architecture, you have the opportunity to have rooms with their own distinct personality because you can close the door,” says Burnham. “I played a little bit more with color because I could.”

Still, there’s a common thread. “When you have a through line of neutrals, it will ground whatever bright color you bring in. The great room has a lot of pops of red, but there’s also a touch of brown, gray, black, and white,” she says.

Initially, the vast great room felt intimidating to the homeowners, so Burnham created an area for the kids to watch TV, a spot for grown-ups to have cocktails, and a place for a game table that can accommodate meals. “It was a fun room for me,” she says. “It’s a wonderful room that’s all about delineated areas that are functional.”

A purple desk found at auction defines the vibrant home office.

ABOVE LEFT TO RIGHT: The luxurious layers begin in the entry where graphic wallpaper highlights some repurposed pieces from the family’s previous home. A classic California facade leads to the lively yet timeless interiors that feature everything from a console wrapped in python vinyl to a vintage Asian occasional chest.

The original built-in bookcases that likely date to the ’30s or ’40s didn’t go all the way around the room, so they were extended. Then it was time to accessorize. “The books and art give the room so much personalization,” says Burnham.

A neutral U-shaped sectional sofa grounds the great room where pillows covered in vintage textiles lend warmth to the new finds. Behind the sectional sits a midcentury-style console from Lawson-Fenning that’s often done in lacquer paint, but Burnham had a better idea. “I asked them to wrap it in a python vinyl I found that has since been discontinued,” she says

Vintage pieces add character to the cocktail area where painted chairs join an ornate table the designer calls a must-have piece. A red love seat anchors the space that’s further enhanced by decorative accents.

In the dining room, a custom table acts as a statement piece, so the chairs are quiet in comparison. The wife’s Hermès china inspired the space where the walls wear Needlepoint Navy by Sherwin-Williams. “I’m really true to paint colors,” says Burnham. A distinctive dresser serves as a buffet where custom lampshades add a pop of red.

The white kitchen already featured classic details, so it didn’t require much. “It was an opportunity for quiet,” says Burnham, who also kept the breakfast nook neutral. The same premise applies to the master bedroom. “I love creamy brown, and cream and white, and gray and white in the bedroom. It’s so restful,” she says. “As much as I love color, I usually pick monochromatic colors when it comes to bedrooms.”

In baking, the layers make the cake; here, they take the cake. “It’s the details here—the mix of pattern, vintage with new pieces, art and collectibles—that bring personality into the design and make it special,” says Burnham. “This is the kind of design that’s the antithesis of the stripped down, high-end ‘hotel’ look that has had so much popularity in recent years. Love it or hate it, it’s one of a kind and definitely not easy to duplicate.”

Article written by guest blogger Jeanine Matlow.

Recipe For Success

by The Prestige Properties Team

A Custom and Compact Kitchen Lives Large in Scotland

Though cooking may be continuous, it’s not the only creative process that happens in the hub of the home. When starting from scratch, a kitchen’s design and layout require a great deal of thought and consideration, especially when space is at a premium and a major remodel is part of the plan. That was the case for a young family living in the Scottish seaside town of North Berwick.

 

For their waterfront apartment in a traditional, stone-built Victorian villa from the late 1880s, the homeowners hired Alison Howard, a designer with the Gullane, Scotland-based design firm Christopher Howard. “We are designers and makers who specialize in custom kitchens and interiors for the home,” says Howard of the firm. “We love to design with flair and imagination and hope our showroom, attention to detail, and enthusiasm is inspirational to people.”

With this project, patience and compromise were key. The couple, who like to entertain, decided to reside in the home for three years, planning the alterations over time before the work was done. In the end, an old addition and a conservatory behind the former kitchen area were demolished to make way for the current configuration. One important stipulation was that the new space would have to reflect two different tastes. The husband wanted a contemporary kitchen, but the wife preferred a more traditional style. The end result, says Howard, was designed as a compromise: a modern look, but traditionally made.
Custom cabinetry, painted in Railings by Farrow & Ball, let them maximize every inch of the tight space while Corian countertops accommodate the unusual shape with no visible joints. The Glacier White countertops that incorporate a molded sink provide a dramatic contrast to the deep-gray cabinetry. Walls were done in Johnstone’s Trade White and the glass backsplash behind the gas stove features a slightly off-white finish. Italian ceramic tiles cover the floor.
A combination of black-glass and stainless-steel appliances was intentional. “We did not want to use all stainless steel as this would have been too harsh, and we wanted attention to be drawn to the cabinetry and countertops rather than the appliances,” says Howard. “The steel elements of them, however, tie in with the spiral staircase.”
The kitchen measures fifteen feet three inches by fourteen feet nine inches, and the space beyond the spiral staircase measures thirteen feet by nine feet three inches. “This gave the option to have the table in the body of the kitchen or beyond at the window for the sea view,” says Howard. “It also gave them the flexibility of adding in a kitchen island at a later date as the table fits easily in the space beyond the staircase.”

With this project, patience and compromise were key. The couple, who like to entertain, decided to reside in the home for three years, planning the alterations over time before the work was done. In the end, an old addition and a conservatory behind the former kitchen area were demolished to make way for the current configuration. One important stipulation was that the new space would have to reflect two different tastes. The husband wanted a contemporary kitchen, but the wife preferred a more traditional style. The end result, says Howard, was designed as a compromise: a modern look, but traditionally made.

Custom cabinetry, painted in Railings by Farrow & Ball, let them maximize every inch of the tight space while Corian countertops accommodate the unusual shape with no visible joints. The Glacier White countertops that incorporate a molded sink provide a dramatic contrast to the deep-gray cabinetry. Walls were done in Johnstone’s Trade White and the glass backsplash behind the gas stove features a slightly off-white finish. Italian ceramic tiles cover the floor.

A combination of black-glass and stainless-steel appliances was intentional. “We did not want to use all stainless steel as this would have been too harsh, and we wanted attention to be drawn to the cabinetry and countertops rather than the appliances,” says Howard. “The steel elements of them, however, tie in with the spiral staircase.”

The kitchen measures fifteen feet three inches by fourteen feet nine inches, and the space beyond the spiral staircase measures thirteen feet by nine feet three inches. “This gave the option to have the table in the body of the kitchen or beyond at the window for the sea view,” says Howard. “It also gave them the flexibility of adding in a kitchen island at a later date as the table fits easily in the space beyond the staircase.”

What this well-equipped kitchen lacks in space, it gains in form and function with a clever and chic design layout that maximizes every inch of the unique footprint with custom cabinetry and more.

 

A mix of appliances keeps the focus on the handsome cabinets that were built to provide plenty of storage in this fully renovated, custom kitchen. The stylish environment blends the contemporary tastes of the husband with the traditional design preferences of the wife for a happy outcome.

 

Special Order

If your kitchen has a unique shape or is short on space, customization may be the way to go. The flexibility of tailor-made cabinetry allows a designer to maximize every corner and utilize height and depth, so even if it is more costly than ready-made styles, Howard says it is money well spent.

In this design, cabinets feature varying depths and widths in order to accommodate the angled walls without any gaps or filler spaces. By using a custom service, the clients were able to work out the details at the design stage as to how the space would be used and where everything should go.

Because many appliances were included in the design, clever storage was a must. Howard included a tall pull-out pantry beside the oven and a short one for spices and bottles near the stove. Other smart solutions include a curved end cabinet, an under-the-counter refrigerator for everyday items, and a full-size refrigerator-freezer in the utility closet.

 

Although the spiral staircase that leads to a rooftop deck was an online purchase, it could easily pass for a custom piece. Other unique features include a series of closets around the eat-in kitchen that offer plenty of storage; one houses laundry and another holds the husband’s motor bike. “There is an outside doorway on the driveway he can open to drive the bike in, and then he can exit out of the [closet] into the hallway—Batman style,” says Howard.

Despite the challenges of the uniquely shaped space and its varying angles, a 3-D design plan let the homeowners know what to expect ahead of time. Howard married the homeowners’ styles with the necessary functions of a kitchen, and the clients were delighted with the way their kitchen turned out in the end: with a modern look, but traditionally made.

Article written by guest blogger Jeanine Matlow.

The Four Elements

by The Prestige Properties Team

Principles of Good Garden Design

Great gardens don’t happen by accident. They are the result of good planning that relies on the key elements of design: unity and harmony, proportion and scale, mass and space, and texture and pattern. A good designer will effectively use these elements to make a pleasing composition.

HARMONY AND UNITY
There are many ways to achieve a sense of harmony and unity in a landscape. Start by growing healthy plants. A garden with plants that are struggling to survive is an uncomfortable place, lacking in harmony. Group plants that have similar needs. It is jarring to see plants that require moisture growing with ones suited to dry conditions, or sun lovers paired with shade seekers. Harmonize the garden with its surroundings.
Echo an architectural detail from your house in the garden to help create a cohesive whole. Use materials in the garden that are consistent with the house. Repeat color or planting themes in different parts of the garden to create visual unity. Patterns and shapes repeated throughout a garden also provide pleasing rhythms that unify.
PROPORTION AND SCALE
Put a large a couch in a small room and it will look enormous. The same couch in a large room looks quite small. The phenomenon at work is scale. Any object will look larger or smaller, depending on the relative size of its surroundings. The same principles of scale and proportion apply outdoors. Be sensitive to the size of your space, and design accordingly.
A common mistake people make in small gardens is to have too many undersize features because they think the pieces are in scale to the space. Instead of making the garden feel bigger, it looks busy and lacks focus. Plant one tree or specimen shrub as an important statement in a small garden, and then use that plant as a reference, relating the scale and proportion of the rest of the plantings and ornaments to it.
A vertical element in a small garden, such as a tree, trellis, or arbor, will help distract from the close boundaries of the property.
MASS AND SPACE
Massive plants, especially if their colors are dark, take up more space in the garden both physically and visually. These plants have mass, and are important to define and fill space as well as to provide resting places for the eye in a landscape that is busy with plenty of floral and other ornamental interest. They are like punctuation marks, providing moments of rest and giving form to the design.
The Four Elements
Photography provided by ©iStockphoto.com/swedewah.
In winter, when all the frills and distractions of summer’s bounty are removed from the garden, you can best judge whether your garden has adequate mass. If your design is well done with enough mass, the garden will be interesting even in this bare state.
The other source of visual rest in a garden is space. An expanse of patio, a change in level, a swath of lawn, a reflecting pool, and an uninterrupted view are all ways to provide an open, horizontal break in the design.
An ideal design is a pleasing mix of mass and space. If there is too much mass, the garden will appear heavy and dark. If there is too much horizontal space, the garden will feel empty.
TEXTURE, PATTERN, AND COLOR
Patterns in gardens are primarily provided by the physical layout. Whatever the pattern, whether symmetrical and ordered for a formal garden or an abstract pattern for an informal design, it will establish the essential character of the garden. On a smaller scale, you can create additional patterns in many ways. Laying bricks or stones in special designs is an obvious option.
Foliage is another source of texture. Large-leaf plants are bold in texture, creating a strong, assertive look; small-leaf plants appear more delicate. Experiment by combining contrasting textures to create a balanced and visually stimulating display.
Flower form also contributes to texture in the garden. The most interesting designs combine different shapes and textures, including round heads; tall, pointed spires; airy sprays of small blossoms; umbrella-shaped blooms; and tiny petal flowers.
For color in the garden, look beyond flowers to foliage. Take advantage of the incredible range of hues in yellow, red, blue, and purple that are found in leaves. For added interest, opt for variegated leaves that combine two or more of the possible colors.
By effectively using the basic principles of design, you can create a garden that evokes delightful tensions between restful and stimulating; one that is harmonious without being repetitive and boring. Aim to make a garden that is balanced and unified, while at the same time surprising. But most importantly, design your garden so it reflects your own personality.
Article written by guest blogger Catriona Tudor Erler

HARMONY AND UNITY
There are many ways to achieve a sense of harmony and unity in a landscape. Start by growing healthy plants. A garden with plants that are struggling to survive is an uncomfortable place, lacking in harmony. Group plants that have similar needs. It is jarring to see plants that require moisture growing with ones suited to dry conditions, or sun lovers paired with shade seekers. Harmonize the garden with its surroundings.

Echo an architectural detail from your house in the garden to help create a cohesive whole. Use materials in the garden that are consistent with the house. Repeat color or planting themes in different parts of the garden to create visual unity. Patterns and shapes repeated throughout a garden also provide pleasing rhythms that unify.

PROPORTION AND SCALE
Put a large a couch in a small room and it will look enormous. The same couch in a large room looks quite small. The phenomenon at work is scale. Any object will look larger or smaller, depending on the relative size of its surroundings. The same principles of scale and proportion apply outdoors. Be sensitive to the size of your space, and design accordingly.

A common mistake people make in small gardens is to have too many undersize features because they think the pieces are in scale to the space. Instead of making the garden feel bigger, it looks busy and lacks focus. Plant one tree or specimen shrub as an important statement in a small garden, and then use that plant as a reference, relating the scale and proportion of the rest of the plantings and ornaments to it.

A vertical element in a small garden, such as a tree, trellis, or arbor, will help distract from the close boundaries of the property.

MASS AND SPACE
Massive plants, especially if their colors are dark, take up more space in the garden both physically and visually. These plants have mass, and are important to define and fill space as well as to provide resting places for the eye in a landscape that is busy with plenty of floral and other ornamental interest. They are like punctuation marks, providing moments of rest and giving form to the design.

In winter, when all the frills and distractions of summer’s bounty are removed from the garden, you can best judge whether your garden has adequate mass. If your design is well done with enough mass, the garden will be interesting even in this bare state.

The other source of visual rest in a garden is space. An expanse of patio, a change in level, a swath of lawn, a reflecting pool, and an uninterrupted view are all ways to provide an open, horizontal break in the design.

An ideal design is a pleasing mix of mass and space. If there is too much mass, the garden will appear heavy and dark. If there is too much horizontal space, the garden will feel empty.

TEXTURE, PATTERN, AND COLOR
Patterns in gardens are primarily provided by the physical layout. Whatever the pattern, whether symmetrical and ordered for a formal garden or an abstract pattern for an informal design, it will establish the essential character of the garden. On a smaller scale, you can create additional patterns in many ways. Laying bricks or stones in special designs is an obvious option.

Foliage is another source of texture. Large-leaf plants are bold in texture, creating a strong, assertive look; small-leaf plants appear more delicate. Experiment by combining contrasting textures to create a balanced and visually stimulating display.

Flower form also contributes to texture in the garden. The most interesting designs combine different shapes and textures, including round heads; tall, pointed spires; airy sprays of small blossoms; umbrella-shaped blooms; and tiny petal flowers.

For color in the garden, look beyond flowers to foliage. Take advantage of the incredible range of hues in yellow, red, blue, and purple that are found in leaves. For added interest, opt for variegated leaves that combine two or more of the possible colors.

By effectively using the basic principles of design, you can create a garden that evokes delightful tensions between restful and stimulating; one that is harmonious without being repetitive and boring. Aim to make a garden that is balanced and unified, while at the same time surprising. But most importantly, design your garden so it reflects your own personality.

Article written by guest blogger Catriona Tudor Erler.

Timeless Tudor

by The Prestige Properties Team

Respect for Architecture and Attention to Detail Revive an English Tudor Kitchen

“Can you do a black kitchen?” Mario J. Mulea laughs as he recalls the first words the homeowner spoke to him. The homeowner had just stepped into the showroom for Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly (kitchendesigns.com), a firm serving the Long Island area of New York where Mulea works as a kitchen designer. As an experienced interior designer herself, the homeowner had a clear vision of what she wanted to accomplish. That she sought Mulea’s help offers a clue into how specialized and complicated kitchen design can be.

The kitchen in the homeowner’s nearly-century-old Tudor was the final update that needed to be made to return the home to its former glory. In Mulea, she found a kindred spirit who appreciated the history of her home and believed it should inform and inspire the design. “I always talk about the house first,” he says, describing his design process. “What’s the style of the house? What neighborhood is it in? Do the interiors match the architecture? If you have a center-hall colonial and you ask for cobalt-blue, high-gloss cabinets, I’ll tell you that you’ve picked the wrong designer. I’m not going to do that.”

Kitchen designer Mario J. Mulea says you don’t need one-hundred-year-old materials to make a historic remodel look authentic. Case in point: the reproduction Victorian fireplace located behind the range.

With pickled maple cabinets, green Formica countertops, and vinyl flooring, nothing about the kitchen matched the home’s Tudor style. Respecting that architecture necessarily constrained the design. Windows, doors, and a radiator could not be moved. Another design constraint, which would ultimately become the room’s centerpiece, was a wish-list purchase by the homeowner. “She absolutely had to have the La Cornue CornuFé range,” Mulea recalls.

After the must-go, must-stay, and must-add items were defined, Mulea’s next questions revolved around how the room would be used. “I talk with clients about how their family uses the kitchen and how they use it when they have visitors,” he says. “We discuss zones and how kitchens work.” He notes that the “work triangle” notion is now outdated for most modern homes. It’s more helpful to know how homeowners actually use the space and what traffic flows in and out of the room.

Once all the information is gathered, Mulea starts sketching possible ideas. That’s the creative side of the process, but it’s paired with more analytical considerations. “A kitchen is both a giant jigsaw puzzle and a math problem,” he explains. Once you know window and door positions and appliance sizes, you then have to figure out the best way for cabinets, islands, and countertops to fill the room’s envelope. Every available inch of space in this kitchen is put to use.

Respecting the home’s history meant choosing materials that seemed contemporaneous. “The materials you use don’t have to be historic, as if they’ve been there for one hundred years. The critical thing that makes a kitchen timeless is integrating it into the fabric of the rest of the house,” says Mulea. The distressed finish of the black cabinets is one such example. Handscraped hickory floors with black distressing also add a patina of history to the room.

The homeowner, a designer herself, worked closely with the kitchen designer, Mulea. The layout, architectural details, and finishes were his purview, while she focused on accessories, fixtures, and fabrics.

The black La Cornue range with brass trim serves as a centerpiece. Other appliances were clad in cabinet panels so they would not distract from the showpiece. The mantel hood arches over the range and an English foxhunt print rests on its ledge.

No detail was overlooked during the remodel. The diamond angles of the white-tile backsplash match the angles in the room’s windows and leaded-glass cabinet fronts. A fireplace back hangs behind the range and looks like a reproduction from the Victorian era. In a corner of the room, a new door with a ring pull was added to the home’s original milk delivery box. A copper sink serves the wet bar off to the side of the room. The same wet bar camouflages the room’s radiator, which sits behind a lattice door and vented toe kicks that allow air circulation. Practical quartz counters top the perimeter cabinets, while walnut slabs cover the wet bar and island.

The homeowner added her own special design touches throughout the space, too. She discovered the vintage chandelier, which now hangs over the island, in an antique store and had it rewired. The wallpaper was her request, and the plaid-covered stools with brass nailheads were one of her finds. On a trip to England, she gathered many of the teapots, crystal, and curios on display behind the glass-fronted cabinets.

The surfaces in the kitchen exude Old-World charm, but beneath them lies functionality. A tug on custom brass hardware reveals deep pot drawers, appliance garages, an ice dispenser, and a trash bin.

The end result is a kitchen that looks like it could have been there from the home’s beginning, but incorporates all the modern needs for today’s family. “If you look at my portfolio, you’ll see I do not have a signature design,” says Mulea. “To me, my signature is that the design must fit the house and the people who live there above everything else.”

Article written by guest blogger Ronda Swaney.

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