Monthly Archives: November 201531

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Hidden Spaces Maximize Small Apartment in Brazil

This small apartment in Sao Paulo, Brazil, boasts a lot of character and an interesting layout. Designed by Conseil Brasil for a young couple, the 829-square-foot crib is a makeover of a home that originally had two bedrooms.

“The walls of the smaller bedroom were demolished to provide more space for the master suite and a flexible social area, which integrates the living and dining room and a small home office,” the designers say. “The kitchen, which was already integrated to the environment, was improved by adding high-end finishing materials.”
architecture new apartment designCurtains were used to divide the office and living space from the kitchen and dining areas. Colorful accents throughout the living areas add a playful touch to the design scheme. The serene bedroom is all white in order to enrich the sense of space.

“Previously a second bathroom, the toilet walls are covered by wallpaper,” the designers say. “The shower was maintained but hidden by a discreet black glass door.” Storage space also was cleverly hidden throughout the home. Enjoy the virtual tour! [Photography by Marcelo Scandaroli]

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How to list on MLS® in Ottawa

There are a few ways to list your home on MlS® in Ottawa. Some more expensive and restrictive than others. Listing on MLS correctly can allow you the potential to save a lot of money as you can negotiate many aspects of the transaction yourself including the commission amount for a realtor, from $0.01 to a % of your home’s sale price. MLS® is a great way to get your house on the market for buyers to know you are selling.

Examples of MLS® Listing Cost

A. With a traditional Realtor, listing on MLS® may cost you around 5% of your final home sale amount. The 5% is split in half with the agent that listed you on MLS® and the agent that brought the buyer. Listing traditionally also restricts the seller’s ability to sell to a private unrepresented buyer. ”’Scenario”’: If your house sells at $600,000, you would have to pay Agent A who listed you on MLS® $15,000 + HST as well as Agent B who brought the buyer another $15,000 + HST. Total cost of the commissions you have to pay out: $30,000 + HST.
B. ”Modern approaches to listing on MLS® and selling” There are many alternatives to the traditional approach that allow you to save money, most are dependent on your region. As an example: with The Usher Group, Ottawa, ON you can list on MLS® for as low as $699 or 0.75%, all while keeping your rights to sell privately. See packages. ”’Scenario:”’ Your $600,000 home sells, you paid The Usher Group $699 to list on MLS® the buyer found the listing online browsing through MLS®, the buyer contacted The Usher Group as an unrepresented buyer, which they then redirect the showing to you. Your final bill would be a total of $699 + HST. In contrast with the previous example, this scenario would save to seller $29,301.

Understanding MLS® and the relationship with Realtors

“MLS®” multiple listing service was created for real estate agents and brokers to share information on local listings in one place. The MLS® System includes an inventory of listings of participating REALTORS®, and ensures a certain level of accuracy of information, professionalism and co-operation amongst REALTORS® to effect the purchase and sale of real estate. To list on the MLS® system you must go through a brokerage registered with OREB. The Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) is an industry association of over 3,000 registered brokers and salespeople in the Ottawa area. It is important to note that this system opens your home sale to realtors® and realtors® traditionally work through a commission payment system. Reference:

Pick a brokerage & real estate listing package

Depending on your level of involvement and budget there are a variety of options. As noted above there are over 3000 options. The costs will range from a set amount to a percentage of your home’s value. It is important to note that the cost isn’t relevant to the success of your sale, rather on the level of involvement for your sale.

As a criteria for picking the right company a rule of thumb is to see how many listings the brokerage has. The largest databases of homes tend to have higher visibility in the community of Realtors®. An other important criteria is determining cost of a realtor and listing on MLS®. Many real estate agents will charge around 5% for full service. If you are willing to do some of the work yourself, like taking pictures and/or hosting your own open house than you could list on MLS® for as low as 0.75% or $699.

Other important features to consider is that you have an iBox and showing management services for realtors to have access and show your home to buyers.
One of the features that really separates brokerages is called SRR “Seller’s rights reserved” this feature allows yourself to, while listed on MLS®, have the rights to sell to anyone. As an example, if the company you work with doesn’t have this, if your unrepresented neighbour Tom sees your house is for sale and would like to make you an offer. You are now bound to pay your realtor a commission amount for Tom’s offer (usually 2.5%) even though you already knew Tom and didn’t go through the realtor. Some companies list their listing packages online.
You can see Ottawa real estate MLS® packages online through companies like Grape Vine or The Usher Group Inc.

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Clever Open Shelving Ideas to Divide and Conquer Your Space

Once thought of as an organizational necessity hidden behind closed doors, shelves have come out of the closet and made a grand entry into the design world. Open shelving is not only an efficient and typically inexpensive way to sort, display and store your sundries, but can also make a space feel lighter, bigger and more … well, open.

Here are some clever open shelving ideas for incorporating them into your home for practical and creative living.

Room Divider

If you’re looking to carve out a separate space but don’t want to commit to building a wall, installing an open-shelf bookcase can effortlessly divide a room. This is seen in many loft-like rooms or studio apartments.

The use of divider shelves is practical and seamless. It lets light flow from one part of the room to another, yet it allows a distinct function in each space.

Open shelving room dividers can be tall (almost to the ceiling) or low (creating a mid-wall separation). In either case, curate them with items that suit both spaces by coordinating the color and type of objects on each shelf.


Home Office

Challenged by a lack of space to work from home? Creating a streamlined home office is easier than you think — and one of the most clever and practical uses of open shelving.

Whether it’s in your living room, bedroom or kitchen, find a wall or nook that has enough space horizontally for a desk (30 inches wide, minimum) and at least a 42-inch depth clearance for seating. Install your desk shelf at seat height, and add storage shelves above that.

Desk shelves can be supported by open bookcases or filing cabinets underneath, or placed as a floating surface with the right hardware and wall brackets. Super-easy to DIY and a huge space saver, your new workspace can become even more stylish by adding wallpaper or a contrasting paint color on the wall behind it.


Gallery Wall

Displaying your favorite photos or framed artwork doesn’t have to be limited to one or two. With the use of shelves, you can create a gallery wall and display multiple pieces of art or photos.

Open shelving for artwork can range from narrow ledge-type shelves to deeper bookcase shelving. Shelf finishes can be textured, such as reclaimed wood or metallic. You can space several of the same-size shelves evenly apart, or artfully create a random pattern.

When curating your gallery wall, try to create a visual story. For example, select all vintage-style photos or use all white frames with white matting. Whether it’s showing off family photos or your kids’ artwork, your goal is to design a wall that is eye-catching but not so dissonant that it seems cluttered.


Media Wall

Turn a boring TV wall into a stylish multi-functional feature with the use of selective shelving. Media consoles and hutches tend to feel heavy and often limit the use of the remaining wall space.

By placing shelves around your flat-screen TV, you have the ability to store small media gadgets or display stylish objects to balance out the technical aspect of the wall. Shelf objects should be carefully selected and streamlined so as not to compete with the main feature of the wall — the TV.


Curated Collection

The most obvious and popular use of shelving is for displaying well-loved collections. From Grandma’s teacups to vintage cameras, open shelving is the perfect spot to show off what you love to collect while creating a standout design feature.

When curating your visible collection, remember that less is more. Don’t cram all of your treasures onto one shelf; space your items. If you need to cluster a few, then allow a reasonable amount of space between the next group on the same shelf. Individual cubes are perfect for spacing parts of a collection.

Also think about coordinating color and shape, even when it comes to books; some people color-coordinate their book spines (a controversial act in the book world). Or alternate between vertical and horizontal stacking.

Finally, painting a shelved wall or adding undermounted or other lighting beautifully showcases your curated collection for all to admire.

What are your favorite open shelving ideas? Do you have any others that you’d like to share? Add them in the comments below!

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Cramped ’60s House Transforms Into Open Modern Residence

Woonhuis M, an open modern residence in North Brabant, the Netherlands, was envisioned by the creative team at WillemsenU Architecten. Exhibiting a bold character, the project is the result of an extensive transformation.

”The layout of the old house from the 1960s, situated on the outskirts of a village in the south of the Netherlands, no longer met the needs of the family’s changing lifestyle,”the architects say. “The clients wanted more space for their two growing children and for working at home.”
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Maximizing living space while opening up the residence to the outdoors was one of the main requirements. “The existing layout, characterized by somewhat cramped rooms, was transformed into a logical, spacious plan,” the architects say. “The living room was relocated from the front of the house to the rear, where large windows on two sides of the living space offer views of the surrounding landscape.”

All interiors are minimalist, with functionality playing a key part in the design scheme. In the social area, a long kitchen island/dining table divides the room into multiple functional zones, each with its own atmosphere.

“The interior, the facades and the surroundings constitute a single comprehensive design,” the architects say. “All the parts are brought together to form a completely new, modernized and sustainable home with a different orientation and extra space.” [Photos by Hugo de Heij & Culimaat]
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Salvaged Wood Finds New Life in Live/Work Row House

The Grand Trunk in Montreal, Canada, is MARK + VIVI‘s latest project. Located in the transitioning neighborhood of Pointe-Saint-Charles, the newly renovated 1,100-square-foot house serves as both residence and work studio for designers Mark Fekete and Viviana de Loera.

The exposed structure of the building, built in 1880, supports a whimsical integration of traditional industrial materials and clever, efficient design. Instead of being shipped to the landfill, the salvaged wood from the demolition — including the old framing and floorboards — found new life as rugged yet tasteful furniture, cabinets and countertops.
modern house (1)Steel columns and beams were added to support the existing timber-frame structure. Left exposed and painted white, the new “bones” not only lift but gracefully complement the old.

Pleasantly unexpected antique finds during demolition helped influence the design process of various spaces throughout. Uncovered were old toys, antique tools and vintage enamel signs that now play an integral part in the home’s decor.

“We wanted to create a home that captured the essence and character of a classical 19th century Canadian row house infused with contemporary touches of playfulness and style,” the designers say. What do you think of the outcome? [Photos and information provided by MARK + VIVI Studio]
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Massachusetts Tudor Marries Traditional, Contemporary

The Newton Tudor home, built in 1932, was renovated by Hacin and Associates. The Tudor in Newton, Mass., encompassing 3,608 square feet, was reimagined from a traditional home into a more open, informal layout for a young family transitioning from the city to the suburbs.

Newton Tudor by Hacin and Associates (1)

“The project included a full architectural renovation throughout this four-bedroom home, as well as the design of all interior finishes, furniture and fixtures,” the architects say. “Rooms in the renovated home open directly to one another, providing long visual and physical connections accentuated by the use of natural materials that echo throughout the house.

“The colors and material choices were based on a study of traditional Tudor architecture and design; furnishings, carpet and decorative lighting were chosen with an emphasis on visible craft and casual family comfort, giving a contemporary feel to the house while respecting its original historic-revival identity.”

Newton Tudor by Hacin and Associates (2)

“Repetition, reinterpretation and an emphasis on natural materials and handmade features inform the integrated architectural and interior design concept,” they continue.

Those features combine to embrace the warm feeling of home in this Massachusetts Tudor. And that ceiling above the dining room could easily fit in our list of 30 ceiling design ideas to inspire your next home makeover, don’t you think? [Photos by Michael Stavaridis]

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Portuguese, Japanese Aesthetics Meet in Lisbon Restaurant

Studio Yaroslav Galant completed the design of Hanaya, a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar in Lisbon, Portugal. The eclectic concept was inspired by the owners’ travels across Portugal and their interest in Japanese culture.

References to traditional Portuguese aesthetics merge with the principles of Japanese philosophy. For example, the stone “lace” from the Monserrate Palace in Sintra became a prototype for the stamped wall. The bar’s metal facade repeats drawings of a typical Portuguese tile and is reminiscent of fish scales.

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Simplicity and understatement, common to Japanese aesthetics, infuse the room. Metal fittings adorn the wine bar, while flowerpots add a rustic feel. An unexpected wooden fragment of an ancient Portuguese mill adds character to an otherwise common corner.

Communicating with the customers in more than one language, this eclectic Lisbon restaurant will surely become a major attraction for tourists and locals alike. What do you think of the design? [Photos and information provided by Yaroslav Galant]
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Innovative Notebook Lets You Reposition Pages

On the outside, the Rekonect Notebook looks like an ordinary notebook. A closer look, however, reveals that it’s held together by a magnetic spine. Interior designers, architects, writers, sketchers and other creative types can reorganize pages as they please.

Imagined as a solution to challenges posed by creativity, it’s described by the Southern California-based Rekonect team as “the first magnetic journal with removable and reattachable pages.”

The Rekonect Notebook is available for preorder on Kickstarter and scheduled to debut in the spring. It measures approximately 8 by 5.5 inches, has a faux leather cover and comes with 60 sheets (120 pages) of lined, blank, graph or dotted paper.

Any pen with a metal clip can be attached to the magnetic spine. The Rekonect pages can even be run through a printer. How would you use this innovative notebook?

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Freshome Holiday Gift Guide for Design Lovers

The holidays are approaching quickly. Do you have your gift-giving plans in order? If not, don’t worry — Freshome is here to help. We have dozens of great ideas for the special people in your life, all categorized by design style and available at the Freshome Shop to make shopping easy for you. We hope you enjoy our first Holiday Gift Guide!

Gifts For the Mid-Century Modernist

MCM fanatics can’t live without wood elements. Their furnishings have a sleek, retro vibe, and at least one thing is probably shaped like an egg. Aqua, lime green and orange are favorite color accents in their homes. Here are some gift ideas sure to please fans of mid-century modern design.

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Numbers correspond with the products listed below.

1. Hanging Bird Feeder, Hand Blown Glass by Eva Solo, $42
2. Large Wavy Bowl, Acacia by Lipper International, $23
3. Audio Model One AM/FM Table Radio, Classic/Walnut by Tivoli, $149
4. Berks Lamp with Black Cord by Manhattan Project Design Shop, $95
5. Molded Plastic Armchair Rocker in White by LexMod, $86
6. “Eames” by Gloria Koenig, $11
7. “Arne Jacobsen: Objects and Furniture Design” by Architects, $23
8. Copenhagen Watch Me Wall Clock, Green by Normann, $49

Gifts For the Gourmet Cook

If you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life who can whip up a gourmet meal from leftovers and fill you in on the latest Top Chef episode, delight that special person with one of these fabulous kitchen gifts. We’ve even included the coolest record player so the chef can play some tunes while preparing a meal.

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Numbers correspond with the products listed below.

1. 6-Piece Silicone Utensil and Storage Crock Set by Le Creuset, $85
2. Indoor Smart Herb Garden by Click and Grow, $60
3. Pure White Magnetic Knife Holder by Stelton, $96
4. “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman, $10
5. Bin 8 Multi Kitchen Tool by Bento & Co, $11
6. Premier Chef’s Knife by Shun, $165
7. Bottle Grinder, Small, Carbon/Ash Set by Menu, $55
8. Cruiser Portable Turntable, Turquoise by Crosley, $74

Gifts For the Hippie Chic

Hippie-chic bohemians bring a smile to your face. They’re quirky dreamers who probably have lots of plants, both indoors and out. They may even display one or two of their prized ferns in macrame hangers. These happy folks tend to like bright, sunny colors like yellows and greens, and prefer materials that are earth-friendly. Here are some groovy gift options.

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Numbers correspond with the products listed below.

1. “Tree Houses: Fairy Tale Castles in the Air” by Philip Jodidio, $44
2. 06 Lamp Shade, Medium by Normann Copenhagen, $135
3. Pooley 2 Ceramic Flower Vase by Chive, $35
4. Retro Digital Flip Desk Alarm Clock, Orange by Idea, $42
5. Wally Living Wall Planter by Woolly Pocket, $82
6. Toast It Coasters, Set of 8 by Design Ideas, $14
7. Whale Bookends by Jonathan Adler, $112
8. Grassy Organizer, Avocado by Umbra, $9

Gifts For the Minimalist

Impeccably dressed and perfectly presentable at all times, minimalists are neat freaks and like all things in life to be as simple and sleek as possible. What on earth do you give minimalists? Anything to make their lives run smoothly or keep their space organized — items so well-designed they can’t resist. Here are a few we know they’ll appreciate.

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Numbers correspond with the products listed below.

1. Spice/Herb Storage Bottles with Oak Stoppers by Sagaform, $22
2. Karlsson Wall Clock Little Big Time Mini, Black by Present Time, $19
3. Molded Ply W Magazine Stand in Walnut by Offi, $180
4. “Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible” by Sophie Lovell, $60
5. Wonder Wall Desk, Walnut by Blu Dot, $399
6. &Tradition Bulb Mini Pendant by Ameico, $225
7. Adorne Pop-Out Outlet by Legrand, $40

Gifts For the Tech-Savvy

Experts at the art of connectivity, technologically oriented people can always help you figure out your electronic glitches. They covet the latest gadgets and are constantly pining for the next rumored prototype. Surprise your favorite techie with a gift that’s both functional and innovative.

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Numbers correspond with the products listed below.

1. Personal Environment Monitor For iPhone by Lapka, $439
2. Verbarius Written-Word Digital Clock by Art. Lebedev Studio, $132
3. Kevo Smart Lock With Keyless Bluetooth by Kwikset, $190
4. Powerstation Battery Charger by Mophie, $60
5. Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation by Nest, $249
6. “Thoughts on Designing Information” by Inge Gobert and Johan Van Looveren, $101
7. Quattro Swing Arm Table Lamp by Sonneman, $450

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Contemporary House in El Salvador Sets the Bar High

A sloping lot is often a challenge, but sometimes a path to inspiring solutions. Adapted to the sloping terrain underneath, the home known as the Mi3 House was designed by Cincopatasalgato for a young family in El Salvador.

The contemporary house is owned by the creative account director of an advertising agency and his wife, the brand manager for a car company. Along with his 8-year-old son from a previous marriage, the family loves to unwind after a busy day. Their home gives each of them a base for their preferred activities.

Mi3 House by Cincopatasalgato (1)

Resting on a concrete ground-floor base, the second floor is dressed in dark siding, while the third floor has a wooden facade.

The couple loves to cook, drink and watch sports, and their new home was imagined for entertaining. Exhibit A: The main entrance opens to the bar. The family requested that the bar be the first thing people saw when they entered the home, so the dining room, family room and even the gym were designed to overlook the bar area.

Mi3 House by Cincopatasalgato (2)

All of the spaces have mountain and ocean views. The private master suite on the top floor has a large terrace, a bathroom and a walk-in closet. The second floor includes a guest room and the child’s bedroom, imagined as a place to play and go on imaginary adventures.

Photos by Jason Bax explore the sloping site and the home’s bright interiors. From the large windows flooding the house with natural light to the smallest details imagined for the owners, this home will surely inspire you.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and check out this contemporary house in El Salvador, another one in Cincopatasalgato’s portfolio.

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