Roots of Style: French Eclectic Design Continues to Charm

Original French diverse architecture began in the early 20th century and remained popular for about 30 years. Americans romanticized the types, details and shapes that they saw in France, borrowing themes from a very long and rich history of domestic architecture.

Because of this there are three principal subtypes of the style.

Symmetrical layouts, the first, developed out of Renaissance styles and were frequently inspired by manor homes and even royal palaces. The preceding extravagant Beaux-Arts and chateauesque fashions also provoked the appetite for French architecture in the following generation. Asymmetrical examples sometimes married Renaissance detailing and a formal medieval massing.

Towered variations were motivated by French regional fashions in regions such as Normandy and Brittany. Most interestingly, medieval kinds persisted through Renaissance influences in each one these subtypes. The unifying distinction in this design is a prominent, and frequently steep, stylish roof.

Reynolds Architecture- Construction & Design

Early-20th-century examples could be scenic, mimicking the nature of country cottages and farmhouses, or else they could be quite formal, with Renaissance classical detailing and carefully arranged and proportioned elevations. A number of the scenic examples have characteristics very similar to those of medieval English structure, while formal illustrations share characteristics with Italian Renaissance buildings.

In the middle of the 20th century, the design dissipated in fame. French design returned in the 1960s and ’70s in the form of the mansard roof. This cousin to French diverse more frequently appeared with little focus on correct detail and proportion as found in first French diverse illustrations. Not until the late 20th century did carefully considered French diverse return to prefer, among many other revivals of standard styles as modernism waned.

Symmetrical French Eclectic

Although less dominant a fashion as Spanish diverse or colonial, French diverse was revived in all its first forms before twenty years. All these neoeclectic examples are located across the nation and are often commissioned individually, which adds to the variety.

The stone-clad symmetrical example here seems balanced and ordered, however its intimate scale and magical details relate well. Note these French diverse details: prominent chimney, round dormers with oval windows, flared eave, Renaissance classical detailing, segmented arches and casement windows. Special to this house is the prominent arched pediment with a comprehensive relief.

Reynolds Architecture- Design & Construction

Similar in scale to the preceding case, this stucco-clad house varies in a couple of details but has the same belt line and prominent chimneys. The arch-topped dormers reflect the shape of the lower-level windows.

The upper-floor windows are uniquely grouped but nevertheless carefully balanced in the front view. The classical entry porch farther designates its formality. The modest proportions of these windows and the entry design keep the scale amorous.

E. B. Mahoney Builders, Inc..

Roof materials could be slate, horizontal wood or tile, as in this house, giving it a country taste. Notice the use of dividers compared to the other cases, placed just on the principal set of French windows. These French doors extending into the ground evolved to what we commonly refer to as the French door. The remarkably shaped dormers further individualize the house.

Spacecrafting / Architectural Photography

As in the first instance, this symmetrical layout (not considering the commonly added wings to both sides) builds a highly organized set of components. The quoins frequently found in French diverse layouts formalize the outline of their exterior perspective, or elevation. The stylish dormer, a third kind found in the design, rests beneath the principal roof, while an arched wall dormer pierces the eave line of the second level.

Highgate Builders

Asymmetrical French Eclectic

This second subtype contains most examples of the French diverse homes you will see. Endless variations unite under the signature hip roof shape and the use of many types and dimensions of dormers.

Handsomely covered in stone and topped with a slate roof, this elegant house achieves a moderately formal air but provides exceptional visual interest with its varied window shapes and dimensions. Notice the oval windows put in round-top dormers and the delightful play of the roofline.

A mansard-shape roof component cleverly draws attention to the centered location of the entry with lovely arched French casement windows over. The huge chimney and multiple eave lines exemplify other components common to the bronchial subtype.

Fergon Architects, LLC

Combinations of stone and brick like this are typical during the design. Nicely detailed gutters and downspouts further contribute to the home’s character. Few fashions accept a combination of complex elevations and rooflines without feeling filthy.

Michael Abraham Architecture

Also, few styles encompass wide variations of the motif suited to both city and country structure. Certainly inspired by French country homes, this beautiful Norman-style cottage includes a carefully dominant roof and beautifully scaled dormers of 2 types and dimensions, all placed atop a simply stuccoed rectangular frame with little windows (in this case, two leaded casement windows) and a romantic entry.

Fusch Architects, Inc..

This complex example joins symmetry, asymmetry and several French diverse elements to get a sumptuous experience. Unified by a redbrick exterior and fine black trim, a central symmetrical block simplifies the makeup. Signature elements such as segmented arched windows, flared and varying eaves, and also a classical entry surround are all found here. Note that stylish, gable and arch dormers are all current.

Orren Pickell Building Group

Towered French Eclectic

The towered variant, the least-common kind of French eclectic design, reaches back into the medieval past for inspiration. These components were inspired by medieval reinforced compounds found in French rural settings.

Most possess the tower as the main entry, with easy wooden arched doors together with a segmented arched inset. In this case stone clads the tower also is mixed with stucco on additional exterior walls. All other elements found in the asymmetrical type are here too. Notice the stucco with the stone unturned to attain an old-world look.


Normal components apply to this contemporary version. On the other hand, the towered elevation is symmetrical, in stark contrast to normal designs. The architects have also produced a exceptional element with the eyebrow roofs over the two bay windows.

This house references the English Tudor design, which shares a number of the qualities of French diverse. The forward-facing gable is found less frequently, but half-timber components and patterned brick exteriors can be discovered in early-20th-century originals.

Peter Zimmerman Architects

Here the architects have combined a tower component with an otherwise symmetrical primary elevation. Massive brick chimneys, stucco with brick detailing and hipped dormers contribute to the French diverse motif.

The French eclectic design persisted through much of the 20th century, though it was less popular than many different styles. Most homes in this fashion were custom built during times of wealth, since the complexity of the style adds to the price of building. More recent cases are often located on independently developed parcels in luxury areas. A couple modest early-1900s homes exist in popular places.

Because of the mix and variants of these components, these homes rarely appear to resemble one another. As mentioned earlier, the prominent hipped roof signals the style’s designation, combined with appropriately scaled details. Because of these features, the design continues to charm and encourage lots of homeowners.

More: Where Can Your House Get Its Look?

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Ultrahigh-Definition 4K TVs Sharpen Their Sights on the Home

A new generation of exceptionally high-definition TVs came out there in 2012. But these were priced beyond what is reasonable or affordable to most people, starting at about $20,000. The technology is known as 4K since the settlements are 3840 pixels × 2160 pixels (the higher pixel row approaching 4,000). These screens have four times the pixels as a regular HD (high-definition) screen.

Frequent HD TVs look great — until, that is, you visit 4K. The 4K experience could be literally stunning. The facts look more real than reality. It’s very difficult to find any pixelation however close you look at the monitor. Once you’ve observed it, 4K is a very desirable thing.

Sony 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD TV – $4,999.99

But let us face it: That is not a very compelling proposition, especially since 4K content is so hard to come by. For today just a very small selection of 4K movies is available on the market. YouTube and a few other online streaming video services support 4K. And there are prosumer (producer-consumer) and extreme-sports cameras that capture content in 4K resolutions. But most 4K TV owners are only watching Blu-ray movies upscaled in software to 4K. That is a personal computer suggestion that 4K TVs can do this makes HD movies higher quality, although not 4K quality.

New alternatives appearing

The content situation is slowly improving, but the cost of 4K is getting better quicker. Just recently new options for 4K have emerged and they’re far more affordable. If you disregarded 4K as a hopeless luxury for the very wealthy, it is time to take a second look. Here’s what’s new.
Sony is in the forefront of bringing down the price of high-quality 4K TV sets. While its flagship 84-inch collection cost $25,000 in its debut, its newest 55-inch TV retails for $4,999.

The Sony 55-inch 4K Ultra HD TV has a sleek, minimalist, modern look, with 65-watt speakers built into the chassis on either side of the screen. The set also plays upscaling, which displays average Blu-ray movies in a higher resolution than they appear on HD sets.

Additionally, it comes with four pairs of 3-D eyeglasses.

Sony 4K Ultra HD Media Player – $699.99

Content is a problem for 4K TV sets, specifically that there isn’t much. And becoming exactly what does exist is hard and time consuming since the files are gigantic. Sony offers help in the shape of a separate product that operates with its (and just its) 4K sets by streaming and storing those huge 4K movie files onto a 2-terabyte hard disk.

The Ultra HD Media Player even comes with 10 4K movies already downloaded into the drive, including The Amazing Spider-Man, Salt as well as the classic Bridge on the River Kwai. It works with an upcoming Sony paid streaming service that uses compression technology from Eye IO.

Asus PQ321 4K Computer Monitor – $3,799

Another option for becoming smaller and more affordable 4K in your life is to buy a 4K PC screen. Asus planned as of this writing to establish its own PQ321 screen, a 311/2-inch 4K monitor screen. The screen offers a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels in an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a gorgeous pixel density of 140 pixels per inch. It has built-in stereo speakers, and it is wall mountable. It’s thin, too — only 35 millimeters.

One device for TV and calculating

This creates a lot of sense for some folks, especially those who want really great high def for both calculating and TV viewing, but don’t want to purchase two expensive apparatus. Additionally, it helps since most of the 4K content is on YouTube and other internet services.

Although at the retail price of $3,799, the Asus 4K screen is far more affordable than larger TV sets, that is a very expensive screen by PC screen criteria. A normal price for a high-quality, conventional-resolution screen of this size would be about $600.

Naturally, that the PC you plug in this monster to will need to encourage 4K output, which newer graphics chips from Nvidia and AMD are ready to do.

It’s apparent that the costs for ultrahigh-definition 4K screens for entertainment and productivity will continue to return. But it’s also apparent that the age when these awesome displays are within reach is already here.

More: Switch Your Kitchen Counter Into a Touch Screen

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More Space 5 Spectacularly Converted Garages

I guess some people actually park in their garages. We’ve been in our home for 15 years and have never used it for the intended function. Which explains why I dream of converting it to a family room one day shortly.

The very best thing about converting a garage into living space is that the construction already exists. Typically all you will need is a little creativity to change the interior into a comfortable, pretty, livable space. (An architect can be very handy when it comes to creating space in which you believed there was none).

These five examples — a studio, two living rooms, a mini home and guest quarters — have interpreted the humble garage in vastly different but both inspiring ways.

Urban Oasis

This is an exterior shot of a little studio that was a garage that is not-so-lovely.

Before Photo

Urban Oasis

This is in its original state: a dim and jumbled mess of space with some arbitrary storage thrown in.

Urban Oasis

AFTER: This is the same space reinvented as a bright studio apartment with a view to the pool. A crucial for a successful garage transformation is light, light, light. Because many garages begin small with relatively brief ceilings, natural light makes all the difference in the way in which the space feels.

Watch more of the garage transformation

Dark, windowless and arranged. To put it differently, your normal garage.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

AFTER: This is one of my preferred renovations. It’s light and modern, with incredibly clever uses of distance. The architect managed to have a living room that was bright intriguing inside that garage.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Large windows and half walls increase the sense of space and openness, but also separate the entrance hall in the living area.

Watch more of the renovation

Michelle de la Vega

You may imagine what is in here: a broken lawn mower and a great deal of spiders.

Ira Lippke

AFTER: Artist, welder and designer Michelle de la Vega’s whole home is in this 250-square-foot former garage in Seattle. But for the addition of a bathroom, the footprint didn’t change.

Ira Lippke

A room of one’s very own, complete with sleeping kitty and loft.

Get the whole story here

Before Photo

It might be a dumpy garage in this shot, but those high ceilings are of what is to come a good omen.

Susan Jay Design

AFTER: Susan Jay Design transformed the garage of a ranch-style California home to a swinging midcentury living area. It’s still recognizable as the same structure since the architect maintained that open, magnificent ceiling.

Before Photo

Rossington Architecture

BEFORE and AFTER: Rossington Architecture in San Francisco transformed this shadowy, under-the-house garage common of the area to a bright playroom and guest quarters. Natural light comes from 1 wall only, however light colours and a great deal of pot lights help brighten the space.

See more photographs of the endeavor

Perhaps you have found extra living space in the garage?
Please show us an image and tell us about your project in the Comments!

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Owners Locate Their Bliss in a Wine Country Ranch House

When a San Francisco couple was looking for a second house in Sonoma, California, they saw past the dark and embarrassing areas in this 1940s ranch house, the former home and office of a dear local physician. They knew a renovation, master suite addition, rear courtyard and pool would make it the retreat of their dreams. The results were fantastic, the couple left their city attic behind to live full time.

in a Glance
Who lives here: A couple who works from home
Location: Sonoma, California
Size: 1,900 square feet prior to the remodel; 2,500 square feet later

Before Photo

Since the house had served as a physician’s office and residence, the entryway was quite strange. “It was similar to the Winchester Mystery House,” architect Amy Alper says. “You walked into this very little room with three doors to choose from.” The whirlpool hallway foreshadowed the rest of the house, which was divided into little rooms.

Architect, Amy A. Alper

AFTER: “For those who have lived in the region for a long time, while they detected the construction, they did not see anything other than the beloved physician’s former house being refreshed using an elastomeric finish to the stucco and new energy-efficient windows selected to resemble the older,” Alper says.

Before Photo

The kitchen has been among the more cramped rooms at the house.

Architect, Amy A. Alper

AFTER: Alper opened the kitchen, dining room and living room to create one large, light space.

Architect, Amy A. Alper

A brand new skylight plays a massive role in brightening up things. Additionally, it is operable, bringing in fresh air and letting out heat. The kitchen has an updated traditional style, combining shaker cherry cabinets and Richlite counters, contemporary pendant lighting and glass backsplash tiles.

Another neat trick: Two rows of fluorescent lighting tucked to the ceiling cove add ambience to your kitchen when meeting California’s codes requiring more fluorescent lighting than incandescent.

Architect, Amy A. Alper

Alper place the bar countertop 42 inches to conceal any kitchen mess in the dining area. Translucent glass doors split the long expanse of reduced cabinets. New oak floors were stained to match present hardwoods.

Curved doors just off the dining room open to the outdoors.

Before Photo

From the back the house resembled a pair of pavilions, which inspired Alper’s renovation plans. The doors on the far left are the old dining room doors, which Alper replaced with the curved doors in the prior picture.

Architect, Amy A. Alper

AFTER: The arrangement in the far left is the rear of the original house (displayed in the last photo) using its own new roofline. The present two-car garage, using another story for storage and also a ground-floor workplace, is about the far right, in the conclusion of the new fiberglass pool.

The master suite addition in the middle feels as though it has been there. A courtyard that serves as an outdoor living room is created by the new layout.

Architect, Amy A. Alper

And here is your master suite addition’s opinion to the courtyard. It’s not tough to comprehend why the owners fell in love with Sonoma and have moved here full time.

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Travel Guide: Montreal for Design Lovers

Residents of Montreal did not need UNESCO’s crowning it the City of Design from 2006 to reaffirm their love affair with their city. Referred to as Canada’s cultural capital, Montreal can claim bragging rights to your summer full of festivals together with world-renowned architecture and stylish restaurants and bars.

When you read through this guide, put together by myself and fellow Montreal native Laura Garner, visualize yourself admiring the unique art installations of every subway station, walking through over 32 kilometers (20 miles) of tunnels in the Underground City or riding in an horse-drawn carriage through the cobblestone roads in the exact European area of Old Montreal. No matter how you decide to get someplace in town, Montreal always has a way of surprising you on the way.

More city guides for design junkies

This perspective of the St. Lawrence river shows off the beauty of the Montreal skyline at night and includes the Bell Center (in which the Montreal Canadiens play hockey). This photo was shot from one of the bridges that connects Cité du Havre (a strip of property in which the Habitat 67 community is found; see below) to the Île Sainte-Hélène, which homes La Ronde amusement park and is home to the popular indie music festival Osheaga along with the Formula 1 racetrack.

A few notes on the information that follows: We have included the closest metro stop and have emphasized design destinations by locality.


Mount Royal Park: A 200-hectare (about 500-acre) park in the heart of the city
Location: From Côte-de-Neiges Road to Park Avenue, between route des Pins and Voie Camillien Houde (subway: Mont-Royal)
Noteworthy: Lookout points throughout the park offer the finest views of the city, day or night.

Produced by Frederick Law Olmsted (the designer of New York’s iconic Central Park), Mount Royal is a yearlong congregating place for tourists and residents alike. Summertime brings long walks round the pond and picnics under the trees, while chilly offers ice skating.

If you are in Montreal on a Sunday in the summertime, head to the Sir George-Étienne Cartier monument to observe the complimentary, unofficial event known as the Tam-Tams, where hundreds of people gather to drum and dance under the sun.

Laura Garner

Habitat 67: A stunning 12-story apartment complex designed by architect Moshe Safdie
Location: 2600 route Pierre-Dupuy (close to the casino)
Noteworthy: The apartments are designed with lots of solitude, terrace gardens along with numerous degrees that confront the St. Lawrence river.

Produced in 1967 by Montreal architect Moshe Safdie for his master thesis, also debuting at the Expo 67 world’s fair, the revolutionary 146-residence housing complex areas single-family dwellings in an urban atmosphere.

More info: Habitat 67

Laura Garner

Palais de Congres: Montreal’s convention center
Location: 159 rue St. Antoine West (subway: Place-D’Armes)
Noteworthy: Located between the downtown center and Old Montreal, the Palais includes 113 rooms and venues. Its multicolored glass facade consists of 332 coloured glass panels and 58 transparent panels.

More info: Palais de Congress

Laura Garner

Grande Bibliothèque: Montreal’s biggest public library
Location: 475 boulevard de Maisonneuve East (subway: Berri-UQAM)
Noteworthy: Constructed in 2005 and located in the bustling Latin Quarter downtown, with direct access to the subway and Underground City, this modern six-story construction has large horizontal plates of glass running along the complete exterior.

The space includes an exhibition hall, a theatre and a complete floor for children in addition to top-of-the line audiovisual equipment.

More info: Grande Bibliothèque

Laura Garner

Notre Dame Basilica: Centuries-old basilica
110 Notre-Dame Street West, corner of Saint Sulpice Street (subway: Place D’Armes)
Price: $5 Canadian (about U.S.$5) for adults; $4 for ages 7 to 17; free for children 6 and under
Noteworthy: Its opulent and vibrant interior hosts about 100 weddings every year, together with Celine Dion being one of those who have tied the knot.

This really is a beautiful illustration of the Gothic revival style of architecture; it had been the very first of its type to be constructed in Canada. The basilica displays stained glass windows that feature the history of religion in Montreal, which is not typically done.

More info: Notre Dame Basilica

Esther Hershcovich


Le Confessionnal: Stylish bar
Location: 431 rue McGill in Old Montreal (subway: Square Victoria)
Price: From $9 Canadian (about U.S.$9) per cocktail
Noteworthy: Seductive red decor and dim lighting from chandeliers Result in a darkened setting

After a few beverages, Old Montreal does not neglect for foodies. The area is a design lover’s paradise. Try the three-course lunch menu for $28 Canadian inside the black-painted walls of the favorite Les 400 Coups (400 Notre Dame Est). If you are lucky enough to find a reservation, make sure to eat dinner at Garde Manger (408 rue St. François Xavier), owned by star chef Chuck Hughes.

Apart pub Le Confessionnal, try an after-dinner drink at the Philemon Bar (111 rue St. Paul Ouest)famous for its laidback yet trendy ambience. Don’t forget to respect its decoration, done by Montreal interior designer Zébulon Perron.

More info: Le Confessional, Les 400 Coups, Garde Manger, Philemon Bar

Amielle Clouatre

Bar Pullman: Upscale bar
Location: 3424 route du Parc, corner of Sherbrooke downtown (subway: Place des Arts)
Price: From $4.50 Canadian for a 2-ounce glass of wine to $5 Canadian for tapas
Upscale yet understated ambience

This wine bar is something of a hidden gem in the downtown core of Montreal, offering wine samplers and tasty tapas to accompany them (try the foie gras).

If you want a casual dinner, have a look at Lola Rosa (545 rue Milton), a cozy vegetarian eatery from the McGill ghetto that’s very popular with college students.

Across the city are several places of the crisp white tea shops called David’s Tea, recently recognized by Oprah. Make sure you smell all of them.

More info: Pullman, Lola Rosa, David’s Tea

Laura Garner

L’Ambroisie: A popularFrench restaurant
Location: 4020 St. Ambroise, in the historic Chateau St.-Ambroise, Little Burgundy and St. Henri (Sud-Ouest) area (subway: Place St. Henri)
From $19 Canadian for a table d’hôte supper
The hall of this building leading to the entrance displays quirky classic items such as suits of armor along with a carnival caravan.

Housed from the Chateau St.-Ambroise along the Lachine Canal, this enchanting restaurant displays an eclectic mix of industrial architectural elements combined with Greco-Roman features. Offering French cuisine, this restaurant is something that you need to try at least once.

Other noteworthy suggestions for a gourmet meal in the neighboring areas of Montreal include Joe Beef and Tuck Shop — make sure to make a reservation.

If you are in the mood for a picnic, then be sure to stop by the Atwater Market farmer’s market to pick up fresh fruits, meats and cheeses.

More info: L’Ambroisie, Joe Beef, Tuck Shop, Atwater Market

Esther Hershcovich

Baldwin Barmacie: A design-minded bar
Location: 115 avenue Laurier Ouest in Plateau and Mile End (subway: Laurier)
Price: Drinks start at $7 Canadian
Noteworthy: The design evokes a modern pharmacy motif.

If you would like to feel transported back to the Mad Men era, the decor and drink list at Baldwin Barmacie are sure to please. Midcentury modern decor has an upgrade with neutral colours and clean lines.

If you are a fan of cocktails, then a must-try is your trendy pub Distillerie (with three locations in central Montreal). The biggest hit? Delicious and creative cocktails presented in mason jars.

If you are on the hunt for a breakfast spot from the Plateau, look no further than Resto Fabergé, a breakfast place with a lounge setting. The interior design, performed by the architects at laroche et gagné, is bright and entertaining and take a peek. Try the breakfast poutine.

Additional info: Baldwin Barmacie, La Distillerie, Resto Fabergé

Les Enfants Terribles Brasserie

Les Enfants Terribles: Restaurant and bar
Location: 1257 Bernard Ouest in Mile End/Outremont
Price: Cocktails start at $10 Canadian, tartare plates start at $14 Canadian
Rustic wood, chalkboards and murals all add charm for this brasseries and its own terrace, designed by architect Louis-Joseph Papineau.

If you are up for rich French pastries, a walk up the block will take you to Boulangerie Cheskie. On the must-try listing is your chocolate babka. St.-Viateur Bagel is just another timeless stop in the area. Open 24/7, this legendary shop has been mentioned in a variety of books and movies.

More info: Les Enfants Terribles, St.-Viateur Bagel


Position des Arts: A performing arts center
Location: 175 rue St. Catherine Ouest (subway: Place des Arts)
The center holds festivals throughout the year, including the Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs and Montreal’s Nuit Blanche.

Want to watch Marie-Antoinette performed by les Grands Ballets Canadiennes? Head to one of Place des Arts’ 10 halls. The Symphony Hall, with an interior made almost completely of light beech, is the most recent addition to the complicated.

A subway ride away, on St. Laurent, is your Society for Arts and Technology (SAT), a nonprofit center featuring cutting-edge audiovisual experiences for everybody.

More info: Place des Arts, SAT

Laura Garner

Canadian Center for Architecture
Location: 1920 rue Baile, downtown (Rene-Levesque Boulevard and rue Saint Marc), (subway: Georges Vanier)
Price: $10 Canadian for adults; $7 Canadian for seniors; free for children and students; free for everybody on Thursday evenings
Noteworthy: The Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) has been constructed in 1979 with the objective of raising awareness of the function of architecture in society.

Across the road you can find the CCA Garden, a public sculpture installation by Montreal architect Melvin Charney.

Additional info: Canadian Center for Architecture

Esther Hershcovich

Architectural Bike Tour: A guided four-hour adventure through the streets of Old Montreal
27 rue de la Commune Est (subway: Champ de Mars)
Price: Rental starting at $6.50 Canadian
Noteworthy: You can also see it on your own by downloading the Architecture Walking Tour app.

Relax after a long day of exploring at Spa Bota Bota, a serene five-deck boat anchored on the St. Lawrence river.

Additional info: Architectural Bike Tour, Spa Bota Bota

Esther Hershcovich


Hotel Gault
449 rue St. Helene (subway: Square Victoria)
Price: From $178 Canadian
Noteworthy: Minimalistic design contrasted by big French windows onto a corner located steps away in the downtown area.

This luxurious 1871 hotel has 30 suites and a restaurant. Spend some quiet time in its library, complete with a hot fireplace for the chilly nights.

More info: Hotel Gault

Laura Garner

Location: 262 St. Jacques West in Old Montreal (subway: Square Victoria)
Price: From 135 Canadian
The collection of artwork on display is fit for a museum.

This boutique hotel is in the heart of Old Montreal. Owned by Georges Marciano of clothes brand Guess, the LHotel has become the permanent home for Marciano’s extensive personal pop art collection, including works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Damien Hirst.

More info: LHotel

Hotel St. Paul

Hôtel St. Paul
355 McGill Street in Old Montreal (subway: Square Victoria)
Price: From $195 Canadian
This was Old Montreal’s first boutique hotel.

Employing the four elements of fire, ice, earth and sea as inspiration, this Old Montreal boutique hotel has a monochromatic color palette and organic textures that provide the decor a soft, relaxing feeling.

More info: Hôtel St. Paul

Laura Garner

Loft Hotel
Location: 334-336 Terasse St. Denis in the Plateau (subway: Sherbrooke)
Price: From $125 Canadian
The building was once used as storage space for Canadian Armed Forces tanks.

Completed in 1920 by notable Montreal architect Ernest Cormier, the building that houses the Loft Hotel is one of Montreal’s enduring art deco landmarks. The building was recently converted to loft-style hotel rooms, which can be as spacious as they are trendy.

More info: Loft Hotel

Esther Hershcovich

Must-Visit Shops

Les Touilleurs: Cooking provide shop
Location: 152 avenue Laurier Ouest in the Mile End (subway: Laurier)
Noteworthy: Get a free recipe-of-the-week card.

The big, spacious chalet-style kitchen is where you’ll discover the very best cooking supplies for your culinary needs. It was created by architect Luce Lafontaine with big, open cabinetry to make you feel at home. Courses are offered onsite 3 nights weekly by local chefs.

A walk round the corner will take you to Jamais Assez, where you’ll find a huge assortment of locally made furniture and creative accessories. Le Boutique Artisanal Une Monde is a warehouse on a side road that carries a choice of Asian-inspired and revived furniture at affordable prices. If you would like to scout for some more boho home accents, Buk&Nola will have everything you’re searching for. This shop is well known for its casual elegant decoration. The owners offer a decorating service as well.

More info: Les Touilleurs, Jamais Assez, Buk&Nola

Esther Hershcovich

L’Affichiste: Classic poster gallery
Location: 471 rue Saint François Xavier in Old Montreal (subway: Place D’armes)
Noteworthy: The largest collection of original vintage posters in Montreal is housed in this gallery, attached with underground tunnels to the Notre Dame Basilica. A storage room is housed in a walk-in vault.

If you are still searching for that perfect piece of art, have a walk down to La Rue des Artistes. It might be where you are going to discover that coup de coeur, French for “favorite uncover.” Keep walking and you’ll arrive at the big indoor Marché Bonsecours marketplace, where local artisans sell everything from furniture to clothes and unique umbrellas.

More info: L’Affichiste, Marché Bonsecours

Esther Hershcovich

Style Labo: Shop selling vintage and new things
Location: 5765 St. Laurent Blvd in Plateau/Mile End (subway: Rosemont)
Noteworthy: The classic lights collection

If you’re searching for a big collection of industrial-style vintage and new items, this is the place to visit. The shop’s decor transports you to another moment.

If you’re trying to find a design experience, Les Commissaires doubles as a boutique and gallery, selling daring designer pieces from around the world. It’s continually restocked with a mix of innovative, occasionally provocative things attesting to the city’s flair to the mix offered in its own design. Monastiraki is just another vintage shop; it also serves as a community art center. Search via its cabinets for vintage and locally made prints.

More info: Style Labo, Les Commissaires, Monastiraki

Surface Jalouse

Surface Jalouse: Printing store
Location: 2672 rue Notre-Dame West in Little Burgundy (subway: Lionel Groulx)
Surface Jalouse can print pictures (the store’s or your own) on virtually any surface — such as furniture.

Component furniture shop and part studio, this boutique offers funky and thoroughly unique home decor items.

As you’re on Notre Dame street, head west to explore the strip of antiques shops and curiosity shops.

More info: Surface Jalouse

Esther Gibbons

Hidden Gems

Gibeau Orange Julep: Landmark and fast-food restaurant
Location: 7700 Decarie Boulevard (subway: Namur)
Noteworthy: On Wednesday nights during the summer, the lot fills with classic vintage cars and bicycle lovers.

Since the 1960s the Julep has been one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, with its distinct fiberglass orange form and coloured party flags dangling off the side. Roller skating waitresses initially brought food to the automobiles, but they’ve been replaced with a top fast-food service. The Gibeau Orange Julep (an orange drink), offered when the shop opened in 1932, remains what attracts most customers.

More info: Gibeau Orange Julep

Réne Lévesque Park: Sculpture park
Location: 1 chemin de Musee, (subway: Angrignon)
Noteworthy: Admire 22 enormous sculptures at this park, located off the Lachine Canal bike path and offering panoramic views of the Saint Lawrence and Saint Louis rivers.

Enjoy a picnic with your loved ones, rent a kayak or enjoy the green and open 4 kilometers of walking paths.

More info: Parc René-Lévesque

Esther Hershcovich

Spazio: Antiques shop
Location: 8405 boulevard St. Laurent (subway: Jarry)
Noteworthy: Architectural detailing from several time periods are readily found in this two-story shop that was formerly a renowned tavern.

It is divided into neat sections, so it’s possible to find a room filled with antique doors or sections for stained glass windows, vintage knobs or handles. The owner is constantly expanding as the collection grows.

More info: Spazio

Inform us Which are your favorite areas for soaking up design in Montreal?

Pack your luggage: More city guides for design junkies

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Fantastic Design Plant: Globe Mallow

Globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) is a gorgeous perennial that is equally at home within an English-style backyard or along a desert roadside. Like desert perennials that are native, it has this is one plant. Globe mallow is a gorgeous addition to the desert scene.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Botanical name: Sphaeralcea ambigua
Common title: Globe mallow
Resource: Native to arid regions of the American Southwest
USDA zones: 6 to 9 (find your zone)
Water necessity: Low
Light requirement: Entire sun
Mature dimensions: 3 feet tall and broad
Tolerances: Drought tolerant but does best with supplemental watering; manages reflected warmth
Seasonal attention: Orange, red, rose, white or pink flowers appear in spring and intermittently through the year.
When to plant: Plant seeds or bark plants in fall or spring.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Distinguishing traits. At first glance, world mallow is a rather unassuming plant with gray-green lobed leaves. But when it blooms, it is transformed. Flowers that resemble hollyhocks appear in spring, turning this desert continuing.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

The surprise that world mallow hides is that you can not tell what color the flowers are going to be on a plant until it flowers. Nearly all world mallow plants possess orange blossoms, but in addition, there are plants that make red, rose, white or pink blossoms.

If you don’t enjoy surprises in regard to flower color, there are a few ways to know what color flower a particular world mallow plant will produce.
Buy plants from the nursery when they’re flowering.Take a cutting from a world mallow with the flower color you want.If you enjoy red flowers, there’s a reliable reddish variety of world mallow referred to as ‘Louis Hamilton’.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

If you are more of a daring type, roll the dice and then plant a world mallow without knowing what color it will be. Let it surprise you with its color once it blooms.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

The best way to use it. The delicate-looking blossoms of world mallow make it a fantastic plant to improve a perennial bed, developing a cottage garden look. Other landscape uses for world mallow comprise as a base plant, around a swimming pool and even at a container.

Pair it with additional indigenous desert perennials, including blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum),desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata),goodding’s verbena (Glandularia gooddingii) and parry’s penstemon (Penstemon parryi).

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Globe mallow can be excellent paired with dark green succulents, such as cow’s horn agave (Agave bovicornuta),for excellent color and texture contrast.

Because world mallow grows easily from seed, it is fantastic for revegetating bare areas.

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting

Planting notes. The demands of the alluring perennial are a few. It needs to be planted in well-drained soil in full sun and watered every other week at summer and once a month in winter (in the lack of rain) to your best look.

Globe mallow packs a colorful punch in the landscape and requires hardly any maintenance. Simply shear it back to 1 foot once it has finished blooming, to excite another flush of flowering.

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7 Evergreen Wonders of the Plant World

The importance of green space in our urban environments, as far as in our personal lives, is at the forefront of our heads today more than ever. Street curbs are being turned into rain gardens; community plots are blanketing former parking lots; parks are popping up in the very incongruous postindustrial sites. On each square inch of those victories, it’s imperative to guarantee an inspired and durable plant selection.

I believe that such a vital goal in planting design starts by securing solid bones: evergreen plants that provide construction and year-round interest — because off-season soil, yet fertile, rather looks like mucky dirt. Past overplanted rhododendrons and pieris, vinca and nandina, let’s discover seven top-notch evergreen plants for discerning gardeners.

CYAN Horticulture

Bear’s Breech
(Acanthus mollis)

No need to build Corinthian columns and plinths to rightfully enjoy acanthus (Acanthus mollis) in the garden. The model where the Greek decorative element originated, the acanthus foliage provides a bold, clean and durable appearance. It may die down through the spells but will sprout back. Together with cast-iron plant, described next, I utilize acanthus in large planters deprived of sunlight.

USDA zones: 6 or 7 to 11 (find your zone)
Water demand: Wet to moist dirt
Light demand: Partial sun to dappled shade
Mature size: 4 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Spring or summer

CYAN Horticulture

Cast-Iron Plant
(Aspidistria elatior)

A staple in the American South, cast-iron plant (Aspidistria elatior) is often sold as an indoor plant elsewhere. For me personally it is now essential for its darkest porches, in which it thrones year-round without flinching. It’s indestructible, so the common name was really well chosen.

The majority of the time it’s green all the way through, but some of the many collector’s selections occasionally trickle down to the trade, like this mesmerizing variegated one dubbed ‘Asahi’. Using its clearly upright growth habit and its compact, lush foliage, cast-iron is a standout.

USDA zones: 7 to 11
Water demand: Well-drained dirt
Light demand: Dappled to complete shade
Mature size: 2 1/4 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Anytime

CYAN Horticulture

(Beesia deltophylla)

Dear buddy and plant explorer extraordinaire Daniel J. Hinkley is to thank you for the wide introduction and promotion of Bessia(Beesia deltophylla). This more compact grower deserves a prime place in unethical planters (as shown in this Vancouver garden) as far as in formal bedding and thoughtful woodlands.

Heart-shaped, its thick glossy leaves stay healthy appearing year-round. For extra cleanliness, I remove the gangly scapes produced through summer.

A few peeps will be left with such a green plant, but I rejoice in knowing that in spite of the weather ups and downs, my Bessia will tough it via. Loyalty, my buddy; that is what it’s all about.

USDA zones: 6 or 7 to 9
Water demand: Moist but well-drained soil
Light demand: Partial to full shade
Mature size: 1 foot tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Anytime

CYAN Horticulture

Upright Yew
(Taxus x press)

In comparison with broadleaf evergreens, coniferous evergreens are, generally speaking, that far hardier. From the warmer reaches of North America in addition to on the majority of its West Coast nicely into Canada, broadleaf evergreens abound.

In colder reaches, however, the selection is much thinner — boxwood, euonymus, hollies and leucothoes are a few of the more demanding contenders. Yet there is more to conifers than blue spruces and hedging cedars.

An all-time favorite is yew, upright (Taxus x press, shown here) or creeping. Its nice, dark green foliage has nothing to envy of almost any exotics.

USDA zones: 4 to 8
Water demand: Moist but well-drained soil
Light demand: Full to partial sun
Mature size: Variable
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Spring to fall

CYAN Horticulture

Mexican Orange
(Choisya ternata)

Mexican strawberry (Choisya ternata) must be the one evergreen plant I use the most. While I strive to refrain from falling back into the same plants over and over, this enchanting and flexible shrub is hard to resist.

Obviously rounded and complete, easily maintained to a more compact size, generously covered in superbly fragrant clusters of white blossoms, Choisya is as near perfection as it gets. There is even a golden-leafed version named ‘Sundance’ and a filigree-leaved hybrid called ‘Aztec Pearl’.

USDA zones: 7 to 9
Water demand: Well-drained dirt
Light demand: Full to partial sun
Mature size: 5 feet tall and wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Spring or summer

CYAN Horticulture

(Pachysandra axillaris ‘Windcliff’s Fragrant’)

It’s far from my intention to recommend infinite blankets of covers. A default design stroke of too many designers and architects, ground covers could be counterproductive and, yes, a pain to keep. There are, however, areas — at the foundations of shrubs, along paths — where ground covers are all welcome.

Of the more recent candidates is this gorgeous pachysandra (Pachysandra axillaris ‘Windcliff’s Fragrant’). Eons from the oh-so-common Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis), this one is slightly taller, thankfully a bit looser and clad with diminutive yet exceptionally fragrant flowers in the fall and again in late winter. A must-have plant.

USDA zones: 6 to 9
Water demand: Moist to well-drained soil
Light demand: Partial sun to full shade
Mature size: Up to 1 foot tall; spreads
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Anytime

CYAN Horticulture


In the past few years, there’s been an avalanche of newer winter-blooming hellebores. While some really represent a fantastic improvement, there is one older selection I profoundly cherish: Helleborus x sternii. For its compact habit, it has such outstanding foliar attributes and parsimonious purple-tinted blossoms I haven’t consigned this one to oblivion yet. Call me conservative if you will, but this hellebore is a keeper.

USDA zones: 6 to 9
Water necessity: Well-drained dirt
Light demand: Full sun to dappled shade
Mature size: 1 1/4 feet tall and 1 1/2 feet wide
Seasonal interest: Year-round
When to plant: Anytime

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Easy Green: Country vs. City for Ecofriendly Lifestyles

It’s easy to idealize the country as the ideal place for living a green lifestyle, with fresh, clean air and plenty of space to live off the property. And while these features are surely there (and quite appealing for some), the surprising part is there are good ecofriendly lifestyle options that go alongside urban and suburban or rural living. Learn here how to make the most of all your own area has to offer, wherever you reside.

B. Jane Gardens

Country living sounds green … but can it be? While there are many advantages to living in the country, one big negative from a green perspective is the fact that you probably need to get in the car to get just about anyplace. If you live in a rural or suburban area, try these measures to minimize auto use:

Carpool to work with neighbors
Send little ones to school on the bus
Work from home or telecommute part-time
Cluster errands to reduce time in the car

Amy Renea

Use your property to the maximum. With ample property and distant neighbors, in the country you can grow much of your own fruit and veggies, or perhaps (based on zoning laws) keep livestock. Having the ability to select beans and lettuces for supper and gather fresh eggs is eating neighborhood at its best.

John Hill

The green key of town living: walkability. Living in a dense urban area provides one distinct advantage over rural neighbors — especially, the ability to walk nearly everywhere. And where you can not reach by foot, it is likely you can utilize public transportation, virtually eliminating the need for a vehicle.

You can even get the Walk Score for your own neighborhood, that takes into account things like proximity to markets, parks, shops and restaurants. Fort Greene, Brooklyn, in which this house shown is, scores a 98: “Walker’s Paradise.”

Read more about neighborhood walkability

Rossington Architecture

Embrace a lack of space. Living in a very small city apartment makes it a lot easier to buy less material. So the next time you find yourself bemoaning the absence of a nice kitchen or full-size closet, you can at least be reassured that you do your part to conserve resources. After all, little spaces not just take less material to fill, but they also require less energy to heat and cool, and also use less water compared to larger homes.

Tobin + Parnes Design Enterprises

Get creative with urban gardens. City neighborhoods are seeing edible gardens springing up anywhere from rooftops and fire flows to postage stamp backyards and community spaces. Greening up town is a superb way to consume neighborhood, to be sure, but less obviously, it’s also a boost to air quality. Even in the event that you have space for just a few pots on the balcony or windowsill, opting to add some potted edibles are able to really make a difference, including fresh air to your house and fresh greens into your dining table.


Grow vertically in town. Thanks to innovations like wall sockets (displayed here), you can even develop a garden right in your wall, inside or outside.

The buzz on bees. Gardens need pollinators, which is exactly why some town dwellers are even choosing to add beehives for their gardens. Bees take up very little space and can offer fresh, local honey to boot.

Gardens from Gabriel, Inc..

Go green in the suburbs. Owning your own single-family house does hold a few advantages over residing in apartment buildings and condos: You are able to make more lasting structural modifications without asking permission from a co-op or homeowners association. For a quick addition, try using a rainwater collecting system to store water for use on your garden; or to get a larger investment, you could even have solar panels installed in your house.

Aloe Designs

Give up some yard space for a garden. The edible garden motion is increasing by leaps and bounds, and in many suburban areas it is no longer uncommon to see tomatoes and peppers growing in the front yard and expanses of grass given in favour of raised vegetable beds. A family of four does not require a massive garden to provide fresh, local food to supplement regular market trips, so why not give it a try?

Tour this efficient backyard edible garden in Vancouver

Amy Renea

Chickens in suburbia. Just because you do not have acreage does not mean that you can not do a bit of suburban farming right on your backyard. Local ordinances vary, so make sure you check with your town prior to bringing home a backyard flock — and educate yourself on the proper maintenance required to keep healthy hens.

Schwartz and Architecture

Expand your vision of the “homestead.” Even in the event that you reside in a town or do not want to garden, anyone can freeze and can clean, seasonal food by the farmer’s market. Widen your perspective and the range of changes that can be made right where you’re.

Tell us What do you love about where you live? What do you find is harder or easier about going green in your area?

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Central Plains Gardener's December Checklist

I bet you’re starting to overlook the garden just a little bit. You would give anything to feel dirt under your nails. Even a new scratch from a maple branch would be pleasant. As in love, it is all about the anticipation, and winter is the time to organize your spring and summer moves.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Have you been looking out your window in the “barren” landscape and needing for longer? The expression “winter interest” means something to people like us, who have four strong seasons. Winter interest we need. Start looking for structural variety so that following winter the snow produces a magical place for wildlife and you.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Perhaps you require a conifer to jazz up winter view with a few green — even one adaptable Thuja (Arborvitae) may get the job done.

Do not forget about leaving your dead-stemmed perennials status; their capacity to add winter interest is unmatched, and they provide cover for wildlife while grabbing snow to insulate their crowns and roots. Occasionally — in just the right sun — sparks of orange, rust, magenta and tan come living at a garden left up for winter.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Last year I had a sharp-shinned hawk visit my garden in winter, searching for songbirds which take shelter (and therefore escape) in my garden of winter interest. Things are very much living if you give a place for them.

Exteriorscapes llc

If you have a fantastic coat, a mild day gives you a chance to work outside. Hardscape and infrastructure chores get the blood flowing.

For instance, why not include a raised bed in December? You may create one out of almost any material (just do not use treated timber, which has chemicals that leach into the soil and poison plants). Raised beds may be used for optimal vegetable gardening, for dryness-loving plants or simply to create architectural interest — even sun interest.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

A simple rain string is something fantastic to have outside in winter, and it catches the crisp sunlight like an engagement ring’s diamond. You understand, it is that time of year. Perhaps a rain string would be a better option for your sweetheart?

Produce something amazing with the runoff from your roof

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Regardless of what you are doing, get outside. Simply because it’s cold does not mean there aren’t discoveries to be made. Get to know your garden in a season. The spent seed heads look more visceral, and the grasses more orchestral. Locate the world via the smallest and simplest pleasures. Let yourself be surprised.

Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens

Walk the garden and program out additions and subtractions throughout the bones, in which you want to add some depth, what is not functioning or is feeble. Make a few sketches. Take photographs to look at interior more than a cup of hot cocoa.

Upload the pictures to a photo editor and start drawing circles erase an entire bed and add an enviable inspiration photograph. It’s the best time of year to become interested in gardening — you can fall in love all over again as you get to understand the landscape afresh.

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10 Ways to Create a Warm and Welcoming Living Room

One of those concerns I hear most frequently is the way to make the dining area feel much more welcoming — rather than just when business coming but every day. It’s natural to focus our attention on the more heavily utilized living and family rooms, but this means formal dining rooms sometimes wind up neglected.

Maybe you picked a fitting dining area place you adore but never took the time to finish the room. Or maybe you filled the space with pieces that would make a look you respect, but in fact found that the seats weren’t comfortable or the style was too stuffy for your family. By reassessing the colours, furniture shapes, accessories as well as room layout, you can give your dining room a fresh lease on life, creating a space that seems warm and inviting and feels just perfect.

Adrienne DeRosa

1. Soften a modern dining place with a cozy rug. Sleek, modern spaces look the at home when balanced using handmade elements, like the stunning Moroccan rug shown here. An oversize terrarium and colorful art bring character whilst still fitting with all the modern aesthetic.

Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

2. Use rich wall colour to warm a large space. A huge dining area might seem good (there are more room for that large table you have your eye on) but can feel chilly. Bark-brown walls bring out the warmth in this rustic ranch-style dining space, but any color with thickness will produce a cozier feeling in a cavernous space. Be sure to use a soft rug and thick, layered window coverings to help with the acoustics.

Cottage Market

3. Pull up a couch for a cushy English cabin texture. In case a genuinely comfortable look is what you crave, upholstered pieces are the way to go. Use armchairs in the ends of a long table, pull an upholstered banquette into the side or perhaps perch on a cushy couch — just be sure that the chair height will work with your table prior to making a purchase. Crates secured to the wall eventually become pastoral shelves for displaying china, even though a fringed floral colour adds a whimsical touch.

Niche Interiors

4. Take advantage of a sunny spot with a window seat. If your dining area receives a lot of natural light, you might be missing out if you use the room only during dinner time. Put into a comfy cushioned window seat and it might become your new favorite dining room. Bonus: A window seat is a great spot for kids to slink off to after they’re done eating, while being in sight.

Heather Scott Home & Design

5. Or fake sunlight with bright yellow cloth. Sunny yellow curtains or chair cushions and a green topiary bring the outside in, no matter what the weather outdoors. If you want to bring into a living plant, then be sure to speak with your local garden center to discover varieties that will thrive in low-light ailments.

Earth Fur

6. Add character using a cabinet of curiosities. Accessories can set the tone for the space, so consider the mood that you wish to make prior to filling that china cabinet. Pick to stack your collections somewhat haphazardly rather than in perfect order to loosen up the space. A garland draped in the top and much more decorations hanging from the knob contribute to the fun atmosphere. For an organic, nature-inspired look, use pretty rocks, moss and leaves to accent piles of dishes.

Siemasko + Verbridge

7. Alter the layout and have dinner by the fire. When you have an open living-dining space, then try turning your furniture into the other side of the space for a change of speed. You can always go back if the installation does not do the job, but you might get used to having fireside dinners!

Lucy Interior Design

8. Or suggest warmth with a blazing-hot hue. Paint a coat of vibrant red in your china hutch, buffet or seats — attempt wine or tomato red for a classic look, salmon if you’re courageous.

Emily A. Clark

9. Liven up a plain, boxy space with painted-on stripes. Paint wide wall stripes in two different colors to make a bit of architectural interest at a bland room. Insert a symmetrical arrangement of art on the walls to match the strong horizontal stripes without appearing too busy.

Caitlin Wilson Design

10. Utilize a pinboard in an unexpected location. Fight the unspoken principle that dining rooms should be impersonal by bringing into a corkboard to hold current snapshots. Guests will love having something to talk about at dinner!

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