Bright and Charming Modern Residence Surrounded by Nature

 Every home has a story and every story has its own protagonists. Created to suit the lifestyle, expectations and ambitions of its inhabitants, this next home gathers under its roof a world of inviting and clutter-free interiors, as well as many spaces for entertaining guests. From the outside, the residence appears as a strong and imposing structure, although the interior space is limited to two stories. With a combination of stone, dark wood and glass, the facade has a striking contemporary look. Large glazed windows create a connection between the indoor living space and the surrounding nature. An interior courtyard further creates an equilibrated feeling of belonging to nature.
The designers express their view on the beautifully created residence: “Cantilevered framed structures are anchored to the site with monolithic limestone walls. Expansive glazing opens the interior to the valley bush land views beyond. Light filled spaces with a direct connection to garden courts and the natural bush surrounding the property. An open external fire pit to enjoy the summer evenings. Soft casual furniture and finishes set the mood, a sanctuary from the hustle of city life.”  Every room in the house was exploited by the architects from Dane Design Australia to its full potential.

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Expert Advice- Home Drama

When homeowners in Clifton, Virginia, were ready to design their home theater, they turned to a team of talented professionals to create a room that wasn’t only entertaining, but stylish as well.

The couple wanted to transform their 3,000-square-foot basement, focusing on a home theater room and using additional space to house game tables, a kitchen, an exercise room and a room for the husband’s large model train. They hired Warrickshire Woodcrafters, a Reston, Virginia-based firm that had created a home office for them in the past, to design the space.

Sterling, Virginia-based Integrated Media Systems (IMS) who had done the audio/visual design in other areas of the home, were brought in to handle the technical requirements of the theater. The homeowner “wanted a really, really nice AV system,” says IMS president Tom Wells. He brought the husband ideas on new technology showcased at consumer electronics shows. Some of the pieces weren’t even on the market yet, and Wells had to consult with the manufacturers about projected specs for the design process.

Once the tech was established, Warrickshire Woodcrafters partner David Fox was able to start his design knowing what to expect in terms of screen size, the number and overall configuration of the theater seating, the number of speakers— all the other “concrete things that I have to do my design around.” From there, he started on the design elements. “One of the things that they did to begin with is to give me some pictures they had clipped out of magazines. It gave me a good starting point, as far as how to design it for them,” he says. He designed the spaces with a three-dimensional design software to provide his clients with a good idea of what the rooms would look like.

The idea was to create a very relaxing room that wasn’t overwhelming. Throughout the theater and the surrounding spaces, Warrickshire Woodcrafters had solid mahogany paneling and trim carved by hand. Fox considers the design process an art, and relies on classic proportions to make the design clean and balanced. “One of the most important things to me is proportion,” he says. He utilizes odd numbered-groupings, and tries whenever possible to apply the “Golden Mean” to his designs, which represents “perfect proportions” based on a mathematical equation frequently used by artists and architects. “If you can proportion out your work, it will always look good.”

One of the factors that shaped the room was the Runco projector, which adjusts the actual projected screen to show all viewing—television and old movies and more—at true widescreen ratio, without black bars framing it. In the middle of the room, it “was the driving force of the design,” says Wells.

It was for Fox, as well, when he realized that the projector was a much larger piece of equipment than he had initially expected. He designed a larger box for it, well ventilated to handle the heat it produced, and added wings on the sides of the projector box give the room proportional balance. To keep visitors from walking below the box and hitting their heads, he designed a bar into the space, which also provides additional seating in the room.

“The elements that you need to work with might not be the size that you like, or work perfectly with your designs, but you have to deal with that,” says Fox. “I try to play that up somehow, so that it becomes a feature, rather than detracting from the whole scheme of things.”

With the seating, Fox was careful that there was plenty of space for walking between the seats and the walls, so he kept the bar simple and to scale. In a large, spacious home, he cautions, the last thing you want to do is make people feel crowded.

To conceal an unsightly subwoofer, Wells suggested placing it in an unused fireplace below what would be the screen area. The fireplace was bricked in from the flue upwards to close it to code, and the subwoofer tucked into the space.

“It definitely takes a team of people to accomplish something like this,” says Fox. In addition to IMS, he worked closely with Jackson Construction, a Fairfax, Virginia-based firm that did all of the wiring, drywall, painting and plumbing, as well as Centreville, Virginia-based interior decorator Katherine Petty. Petty chose the finishing details throughout, such as the lighting, curtains and wall colors.

The homeowners were very patient during the process, which took about a year and a half from initial concept to completion. “These things take some time to do, and it can get frustrating, but they were very nice to work with,” says Fox.

“All in all, it was a great project, with great people,” agrees Wells.
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Made in America; take the challenge yourself! And an Update on the Novogratz Family.

In My Mailbox

Every once in a while I get announcements that are worthy of sharing. 
Here is the first of two:

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer launches this Monday (Feb. 28) a new series called "Made in America," which will focus on American manufacturing and our economy. The facts show that our nation is addicted to imports. In 1960, foreign goods made up just 8 percent of Americans' purchases. Today, nearly 60 percent of everything we buy is made overseas.

In its series launch, World News reveals its “Made in America” challenge, which took place in Dallas, Texas.  The World News 
team worked with a Dallas family to furnish three rooms of their 
home exclusively with products that are made in America. Is it possible? 
On the broadcast and online, they tackle 
the key questions:  

*Is buying American-made more expensive? 

*What staples are 
no longer manufactured in the U.S. at all? 

*And what difference would it make if 
everyone promised to buy more American-made product? 


If every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods, it would create almost 10,000 new jobs in this country.


The broadcast will feature several American manufacturers that are making products 100% made and assembled in this country. 

I found a site called "Still Made in America" that lists companies and their products -- all stamped "Made in the USA."

Here are some of those companies:

John Boos & Co. Woodmakers
Photo from Sur La Table

From Cool Sofa

The Latest About 9 By Design
The second announcement shares where our favorite decorating family  -- 
the Novogratz family -- will be this summer. If you haven't heard, they are moving to HGTV.

When we last saw Courtney and Robert Novogratz, they were sharing glimpses of their lives --both professionally and personally -- with us on Bravo.

The couple now has a new HGTV series called 
"Home by Novogratz."

The series will follow the couple as they take on residential design projects -- customizing eclectic finds, turning trash to treasure and mixing colors and textures in innovative ways.  On their new 30-minutes series, viewers can expect to see perfectly customized, spectacular room makeovers that reflect the talented couple's  unique ability to identify and determine the practical potential for everything from art to artifacts and furniture to fabric. 

Robert and Courtney have created design projects from stunning Manhattan homes to commercial projects like  Bungalow Hotel in Long Beach, New Jersey and Babkul at Fred Segal  in Santa Monica, California.  Their client list includes a number of celebrities and sports figures.  

Stay tuned for more details about their new show. In the meantime, visit them at 

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Architectural Digest Home Design Show

Kevin has just received word that his Chevron Console has been accepted into this year's Architectural Digest Home Design Show.

His console will be part of a group exhibit at The Furniture Society's display.

This Chevron Console measures 30" long x 6" deep x 6" high. It has been crafted from quarter cut Wenge panels that have been compound mitred to create a seamless monolithic structure. It is wall hung by means of a French cleat that is recessed into the back face.

It is a great honour for Kevin to be participating in this event, because his piece will be displayed alongside the works of distinguished furniture makers such as Garry Knox Bennett, Wendell Castle , Michael Fortune , Vladimir Kagan , Silas Kopf, John Makepeace, Judy McKie, Po Shun Leong and others.

More details can be found in the attached link.

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