Monthly Archives: October 201730

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Bucharest Apartment Sprinkled with Ingenious Design Ideas

This apartment in Bucharest, Romania, caught our attention thanks to the ingenious design ideas it puts on display. Discovered by Freshome on Designrulz, the 77 square-meter (828 square-foot) home is filled with light and storage solutions that maximize space.

The owners of the apartment, a young couple with a passion for minimalism, embraced the idea of Scandinavian influences in their home. The task was passed on to the architects at CRAFTR, who creatively merged function and refinement in the design process.

The living room is captivating to say the least. Your eyes are instantly drawn toward the window, which comes with an inspiring storage system. Moreover, the punctured areas below and above the glass hide away the heater and air conditioning system.

The TV unit extends with a small sofa. This complements the dining table, which can expand to welcome more guests. If we’re to talk about other original features of this home, lighting is definitely one of them. In the living area, you notice the light turquoise frame made of cast iron which supports decorative light bulbs. This idea is replicated in the kitchen as well.

An accent wall made of cork makes one of the two bedrooms in the house feel slightly more dynamic. We also like the minimalist light bulbs suspended on Ikea wooden frames. Are there any other details you personally find inspiring?

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Mid-Century Modern Small Kitchen Design Ideas You’ll Want to Steal

Mid-century modern has never been more popular. And that’s because homeowners and renters want a modern style that’s also warm and full of personality. Add mid-century modern elements to your small kitchen design ideas to enlarge and brighten your small space and put fun back into cooking!

Small kitchen design ideas and elements

Cool, modern and with a touch of whimsy, this small kitchen looks larger than its footprint thanks to the high ceilings. Image: HGTV

Let’s review the basics on mid-century design and why it works for a small kitchen:

  • Pastels and bright, vibrant colors add life to a small kitchen by brightening it and giving it a cheerful vibe.
  • The minimalist open space concept of tall ceilings, fewer walls or open shelving makes a small kitchen look larger and removes some of the heaviness dark cabinets can create.
  • Wood adds value and a warm, earthy feel.
  • Fun, quirky retro or vintage accessories and appliances put fun back into a small kitchen design.

Check out these beautiful mid-century modern small kitchen design ideas:

Small kitchen breakfast nooks

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Breakfast banquettes were big in their heyday. Take a small corner and create your own as a cozy breakfast and homework spot. Image: McKinney York Architects

midcentury modern small kitchen ideas - freshome.com

Retro wallpaper that coordinates with the bench vinyl adds a spot for loved ones in this mid-century modern small kitchen. Image: Elle Decor

Bright colors for a small kitchen design

mid-century modern kitchen ideas - freshome.com

Turquoise, golden yellow and orange are striking and cheerful colors for a small mid-century modern kitchen. Images: Elle Decor

midcentury modern design ideas - freshome.com

Add color to your small kitchen design via bold, geometric backsplash tiles. Image: Finch London

small kitchen design ideas - freshome.com

A two-tone combination of chartreuse green and turquoise works well with both wood tones and stainless steel appliances. Image: Loop Design

Pastels to brighten your small kitchen

mid-century modern small kitchen design ideas - freshome.com

Light buttercream yellow cabinets look modern and expand the space in this mid-century inspired kitchen. Image: Karen Garlanger Designs

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High gloss cabinets in a retro aqua shade reflect light and expand the space in this small kitchen. Image: Interiors by Maite Granda

Small kitchen ideas featuring wood and bamboo

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This mid-century modern small kitchen is sophisticated thanks to matte black finishes and bamboo cabinets. Image: Designed Space

mid-century modern kitchen design ideas - freshome.com

The homeowners restored the original wood cabinets by stripping them from years of paint. Image: M3LD Designs

mid-century style kitchen cabinets - freshome.com

Grain matched walnut cabinets give this mid-century style kitchen a high-end look. Image: The Jack+Mare Design and Build

mid-century modern small kitchen design ideas - freshome.com

Light oak cabinets flow beautifully with the pale celadon tiles of this small mid-century modern kitchen design. Image: Freedom Kitchens

Small kitchen design ideas with an open concept

Small kitchen design ideas - freshome.com

The most effective way to turn a small kitchen into an open, airy space is by raising the ceilings and getting rid of unnecessary walls and wall cabinets. Image: Becca Stephens

open plan small kitchen ideas - freshome.com

A minimalist galley-style kitchen opens up to the rest of the living area. Image: Plan It Green

small kitchen design ideas - freshome.com

Opening up a kitchen using wall cutouts and adding a small counter area can expand a small kitchen’s feel. Image: Monroe Design

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When working with an open-plan kitchen space, continue the mid-century modern decor into the adjoining rooms. Image: NJW Construction

mid-century modern kitchen design ideas - freshome.com

A custom floating shelf divides the small kitchen area and offers a place to display items. Image: General Assembly

Add fun with accessories and appliances

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A vintage refrigerator adds retro personality to a contemporary kitchen. Image: Studio BMK

midcentury modern small kitchen design ideas - freshome.com

Bertoia inspired barstools and retro appliances in turquoise add the mid-century chic vibe to a minimalist grey kitchen. Image: Flipping Diaries

small kitchen design ideas - freshome.com

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Small Floating House in Norway Maximizes Lake Views

Feste Landscape / Architecture completed the design and implementation of a small floating house on Lake Nisser in Telemark, Norway. The cabin’s total living area is 26 square meters (280 square feet) and is developed on stilts, due to local planning restrictions.

“Externally, the walls and roof of the cabin are clad in thermally treated pinewood, creating a precise and expressive design that merges with its surroundings,” the architects said. Gutters and downpipes are integrated into the external walls allowing for clean facades from all points of view.

“The micro cabin offers an alternative to the emerging trend in the Norwegian holiday home market of luxury cabins with sprawling footprints,” the architects explained. “We aim to maximize the user’s experience of the lake and the surrounding landscape.”

Thanks to wood and glass finishes, the cabin’s interior exudes warmth and light. A massive glazed entryway opens up the kitchen and living room space toward the covered terrace for an optimum indoor-outdoor connection. The small dwelling includes a mezzanine loft for sleeping, large enough to accommodate up to seven people.

Photography credits: David Fjågesund & Smarte Hytter AS

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Do’s and Don’ts of Finishing a Basement and Creating the Perfect Bonus Space

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Finishing a basement is one of the coolest home improvement projects you can undertake. Image: Hart & Lock Design

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Finishing a basement feels like the ultimate goal for many homeowners. Not only is it a chance to add some more — probably much needed — living space to your home, but it allows you the rare opportunity to design a room from the ground up. Working with that much flexibility can often feel overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with it for the first time.

If you’re ready to finish your basement, but aren’t quite sure where to start, this post is for you. We’ve outlined all the do’s and don’ts you need to know to tackle this project from start to finish. Use this as a guide to creating a bonus space that works for you.

basement utility

Remember to keep the space highly utilitarian. Image: Construction Ahead

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DO: Consider utility first

Remember that even though you’ll be taking your basement to the next level, it still needs to be a highly utilitarian area. Whether you currently use the space for storage, laundry facilities, a home office or some combination of all three, you want your new design to enhance that functionality rather than take away from it.

As you consider your new layout, there are three key rules to keep in mind. They are:

  1. Wall off any areas that need extra privacy.
  2. Leave the area around your water heater unfinished in case of leaks.
  3. Keep your plumbing in place whenever possible to cut down on cost.

Beyond that, the sky is the limit. Before you get started on your project, think about all the ways you’re hoping to use your finished basement. Maybe you’ve been thinking about adding a guest bedroom or another powder room or maybe there’s some wasted space that can take on a new purpose.

basement foundation

Start by making sure your foundation is solid. Image: Alair Homes

DON’T: Underestimate the construction

Finishing a basement is different than the other design projects we’ve covered because, in this case, you’re starting from scratch. While that does give you more freedom to customize the space as you see fit, there’s also more legwork to be done in the beginning to ensure it stays warm and dry.

Unless you have a true background in construction, this is one area where we truly recommend hiring a contractor. Shoring up any foundation cracks and framing around your existing ductwork are projects best left to the pros. No one wants to see their hard work dampened by an errant rainstorm or frigid temperatures.

Before you sign any contracts, make sure the team your hire has the skills to take on your unique vision. Select someone who is familiar with the permitting and zoning regulations in your municipality and, if possible, bring in specialists to handle any necessary plumbing and electrical work.

basement layout

Tailor an open-concept layout to fit your needs. Image: Leslie Goodwin Photography

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DO: Master the art of open-concept spaces

Most finished basements tend to involve some sort of open-concept arrangement. With that in mind, it’s vital to know how to construct these spaces in the right manner.

Start by creating distinct groupings based on how you want to use the space. Maybe you have a TV area in mind, a dining table or a play area for the kids. Regardless of which groupings you’re creating, you want to ground it with its own light fixture, as seen in the picture above. If appropriate, don’t hesitate to add an area rug as well.

Then, be sure to leave plenty of negative space between each segment you’ve created. Not only will this ensure there is plenty of space to walk around, it will also help visually separate these areas so they don’t seem overwhelming to the eye.

basement comfort

Account for comfort and aesthetics. Image: Leslie Goodwin Photography

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DON’T: Discount aesthetics

Finished basements have a long history of being relegated to enduring bare walls and mismatched furniture. This has to stop. We’re of the mind that if you’re going to spend the time, energy and money to finish a basement, you should treat its aesthetics like any other space in your house.

Color can do a lot to unify a space. Consider using one cohesive color scheme to run through every part of the room. Even if you’re not quite up to committing to the usual 60/30/10 color scheme, aim to use a similar shade through all of your furniture and cohesive hues throughout your accessories.

Speaking of accessories, layering a few, carefully selected pieces can do a lot to finish off a space. Make sure to include plenty of wall art, throw pillows, blankets and even strict décor elements until you feel as though your new basement is welcoming and cozy.

finishing a basement

Keep these tips in mind for when you’re ready to consider finishing a basement. Image: Martha O’Hara Interiors

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Pick of the Litter: 40 Modern Pet Products for the Design Fanatic

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If you’re a design purist, the everyday dog bowl or cat scratcher doesn’t work in your modernist home. But wait till you see this roundup of some of the most gorgeous and innovative modern pet products. They mix two of your favorite things: good modern design and your favorite furry (or feathered) friend.

Modern pet bowls

The Pet Lounge Curved Double Diner is made from contemporary white acrylic, $69.

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An Asian zen dining table for kitty by ViviPet, $60, including a spot for fresh catnip.

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This pet wall feeder looks like it floats and can be hung at the best height for your dog or cat. Image: MDeluxe

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Fell Pet makes modern pet products with a colorful twist, like this HiLo Duo Pet Feeder available at Bed Bath & Beyond, $27.

Cool cat scratchers

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Turn cat scratch fever into Saturday Night Fever with the Suck UK cat scratcher on Amazon, $27. Image: suck UK

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Here’s a mid-century modern furniture piece your cat is welcome to dig into. At Modernist Cat for $480.

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This multipurpose cardboard cat scratcher is also a lounge. Available at Style Tails for approximately $62.

In the (modern) dog house

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A mid-century modern dog house that deserves to be showcased. Fuora Flat Pack Dog House at Ultra Modern Pet, $400-$550.

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A contemporary wood chalet for your best friend by Forma Italia, $2,350.

midcentury modern dog houses - freshome.com

A mid-century modern doghouse you’d want to live in, too. Order yours from architects Alejandro and Sara Pijuan at PDW.

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Rah Design will create a custom architectural work of art, complete with your dog’s name on the front door, for $3,650, like the model shown.

For the birds

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A clear, minimalist and contemporary Bird Habitat by Bergan, $73.

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The Rocking Bird Cage by Chimere is for the avant garde design fan (and their birds).

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One part table, one part bird habitat and one part contemporary masterpiece, Architect Gregoire de Lafforest’s Archibird is available by special order at Galerie Gosserez Paris.

Small space modern cat perches and activities

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If you’re cramped for space, wall mount a cubist-style Catissa Pet Tower, approximately $520.

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Create a warm and cozy spot for your favorite feline by hanging a Bamboo Cat Furniture Radiator Bed, $38.

modern pet furniture - freshome.com

Cats (and dogs) love nooks. The Librato Divider by Petsmood is not only a modern multi-level pet nook, it also works as a cool room divider for lofts or open spaces.

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Stack a set or two of the Katris Modular Cat Tree, $197 and up, to create a modern geometric cat perch. Customize further by painting it.

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Turn a window into a kitty lounge for the ultimate bird watching experience with the EZ Mount Window Bed Kitty Sill, $17.

modern cat perches - freshome.com

Catastrophic Creation’s Cat Perch for $158 will turn an ordinary wall into a contemporary entertainment center.

modern pet furniture - freshome.com

A minimalist design cat exercise wheel by One Fast Cat, $199, that’s available in several colors.

Modern pet beds and lounges

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Tired of sharing your sofa? Get your dogs or cats their own, like this Keira Pet Bed …read more      

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Your Guide to Energy-Efficient Home Heating Systems

Heating the home in winter is one of the biggest household expenses. According to the EPA, 42% of the energy we use at home is for heating. While energy costs have risen, the improved energy efficiency of today’s heating systems offset those energy prices.

There are plenty of energy-efficient home heating systems available for every budget to help you stay warmer this winter, and save you money in the process. Here’s your guide to the latest energy-efficient home heating systems.

Let’s talk efficiency strategy first

The most important component of an energy-efficient home heating system isn’t the system itself, but how well your home uses the system’s output.

Sealing leaks in the doors, windows, walls and floors should be your first priority. Insulation, caulk and weatherstripping may be necessary around windows, doors or other drafty spots. These small steps are worth the investment — they’ll save you money in the long run in lower utility bills.

Image: EnergyStar

Some cities will send out a free home energy auditor who can help you find potential drafts and air leaks which may cause your system to work harder to keep your home warm. Energy.gov has a helpful video explaining how to do your own home energy audit.

How to choose the most energy-efficient home heating system

Think about the following six questions before you decide on the best and most efficient heating system for your home.

What’s the climate like?

A colder climate might require a larger, highly efficient system that can heat your home appropriately while minimizing heating costs over the long winter.

A portable heater or smaller zoned system may be better in temperate climates where heating is only needed on colder days.

How much of your home or apartment do you actually need to heat?

Do you want to pay to heat an entire home or just a couple of select rooms? Choose a system with vents that can be closed or adjusted so you can choose to heat rooms you use most. A thermostat is also essential to efficiency to keep the system running only when it needs to.

What type of installation will the most energy-efficient home heating systems need?

The two main heating systems are forced air or radiant. While radiant systems are often more efficient, they can be hard to install in an existing home.

How much space do you have available for your heating system?

A large furnace may not be practical if you have a small home or apartment. Outdoor units like heat pumps may not be possible without a yard or outdoor area for the unit.

What fuel is available and how much will it cost to heat your home?

Common fuel options include natural gas, heating oil, electricity or propane, all which can vary widely in price. Consider the lifetime cost of running an electric heating system versus one powered by a petroleum-based fuel.

Can I afford a renewable energy heating system?

A solar or geothermal unit may have a big initial price tag, but there are plenty of rebates and incentives to consider. The lower monthly costs and the increase in your home’s value may also make the initial investment worth it. Many renewable energy companies can help you decide if the system and the payback period is right for your situation.

best home heating systems - freshome.com

A bathroom radiator and towel warmer keep the bathroom and towels warm. Image: Interior Therapy

The latest and most energy-efficient heating systems

We’ve broken down the latest available energy-efficient heating systems by type. Now that you have an idea of what what type of heating system is best for your home, let’s explore the options.

Energy-efficient furnaces and boilers

The latest boilers, gas furnaces and oil furnaces are ultra-efficient and green. They’re designed to easily replace your existing heater.

  • Furnaces are equipped with a duct system that delivers warm air to the rooms of your choice.
  • Boilers deliver hot water in homes heated with radiators, baseboard heaters or radiant floor heat.

Current models have an impressive 90 to 94 percent efficiency range, which can save you a lot of money on fuel. In fact, the savings may offset replacing your current heater if it’s more than 10 years old.

the most energy efficient home heating systems - freshome.com

This home features radiant floor heating from a geothermal heating system. The fireplace adds to the warmth and ambiance of the room while the overhead fan forces the warm air that rises back down to be enjoyed. Image: Kimberly Peck Architect

Heat pump systems

One of the earth-friendliest and most energy-efficient home heating system options is the heat pump system. They don’t use fossil fuel at all. Instead, they intake heat from the air or ground, which is delivered to the home via an electric pump. This type of system can also draw cool air and work as an air conditioner in summer.

Heat-pump systems come in two varieties: ground source and air source.

  • Ground-source heating pumps are also called geothermal systems. Less common than air-source heat pumps, they draw heat from the earth via pipes buried roughly 6 to 8 feet beneath the ground.
  • Air-source heat pumps draw natural heat out of the atmosphere, even if it’s cold outside. They concentrate the heat and distribute it via pipes or a duct system throughout the house.

For every BTU of electrical energy needed to power an air-source heat pump, expect to get at least 3 BTU of heat. For ground-source systems, the ratio improves to roughly 1:4.

Both types are suitable for existing homes although air-source heat pumps are easier and less expensive to install, because they don’t require underground excavation.

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The first Passive House-certified home in Maine draws all its energy from renewable sources. Image: …read more      

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Freshome Finds, Edition 4

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Are you having end of the month calendar shock? It’s hard to believe this is the last weekend of October. We hope you are prepared for a spooky and entertaining Halloween and prepping yourself for the end-of-the-year holiday rush!

We love a beautiful storefront. This collection of showstopper awnings definitely caught our eye. Image: Design Sponge

Freshome Finds: Inspiration

It’s feeling like fall and that makes us think about hot apple cider and built-in firepits.

Did you know that the way your home smells is 1 of 4 intangibles that can make or break the sale of your home?

Who knew that minimalism style of this home could exude so much warmth?

Nothing is more appealing during this time of year than a rustic and cozy cabin. We think you will want to head to Montana after seeing this beauty.

We couldn’t agree more with these Instagram account recommendations.

Freshome Finds: Deals

Pottery Barn – 20% off all tabletop – discount valid through Nov. 2. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, we recommend you upgrade your serving platter with this tiered stand.

Rejuvenation – 20% off + free shipping with code FRIENDS17 – code valid through Nov. 1. This globe lamp is both classic and modern.

Target – 30% off home items + an extra 15% off rugs, lighting and decor with code HOME – code valid through 10/28. We just bought this wood tray for our Thanksgiving tablescape.

Bon-Ton – 50% off home décor from Fringe, Artisan Trend Collection and LED Décor with code FF30POCTB17 – valid through 10/31. Stock up on your basics with this sale – hangers, sheets and candle votives.

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Country House in Italy Becomes One with the Landscape

Zanon Architetti Associati worked on the interior renovation and expansion of a country house in Treviso, Italy. The design of the new extension, made from glass and weatherized steel, aims for a seamless indoor-outdoor transition.

“From the outside, the glass volume reflects the surrounding landscape and becomes part of it,” the architects said. “From the inside the windows become invisible giving the impression of being outdoor: the living room becomes one with the countryside.”

With the ceiling covered in weathering steel, brick flooring tiles and overall minimalist arrangements, the social area resembles a raw space for contemplation. Vintage furniture sits alongside contemporary lounge chairs, which gives the room an eclectic feel.

An all-equipped kitchen in stainless steel provides enough space for several people to cook together. The bedroom is particularly inviting with its king-sized bed reflected in the mirrored wall. The inclined ceiling, parquet flooring and exposed wooden beams turn this room into an original refuge from the daily chores. According to the architects, a key feature of the house is its energy efficiency and acoustic comfort. Photography by Paolo Belvedere.

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Reese Witherspoon Is Crate and Barrel’s New Ambassador and You’ll Love Her Tabletop Collection

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Crate & Barrel has named actress/producer Reese Witherspoon as its first-ever spokesperson. In a series of commercials that launch nationally October 29, Reese spoofs her “hostess with the mostess” skills in a fun, lighthearted way — with Crate and Barrel products as her co-stars.

Reese is no stranger to design. She has her own Southern preppy-chic lifestyle brand, Draper James, and will be selling a small selection of her brand’s holiday-inspired entertaining and tabletop products at Crate and Barrel.

“We’re excited to offer a selection of gifts from Reese’s lifestyle brand, Draper James, this holiday season,” said Crate and Barrel President Steve Woodward. “Draper James embodies a fun and vibrant sense of style inspired by gracious Southern living.”

Reese founded Draper James to honor her grandparents Dorothea Draper and William James Witherspoon. Her lifestyle brand is perfectly Southern and includes fashion and home accents available online and at brick-and-mortar stores in Lexington, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; and Dallas, Texas.

Draper James store in Lexington, Kentucky.

According to Crate and Barrel, the holiday items are a small tease of what’s to come. Larger, co-designed collections will roll out starting in the spring and summer of 2018.

Here’s her holiday collection; get yours faves before they sell out!

1.| 2. | 3. | 4.| 5. | 6. | 7. | 8.

And who could pass up this adorable dog inspired collection!

1.| 2. | 3. | 4.

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Grid Apartment in Rome Features an Element of Surprise

Welcome to a minimalist home that features a surprising centerpiece. The “Grid Apartment” in Rome, Italy, was designed by architecture studio Brain Factory with functionality in mind.

An open-plan living space was the main requirement of the owners, who wanted their 80 square-meter (860 square-foot) home to feel spacious and bright. At the same time there was a desire to separate the kitchen from the living room, while still being connected to it.
The solution was found in the shape of a glazing unit with galvanized iron framing, which surrounds the kitchen without visually isolating it from the rest of the apartment.

White walls and pendant lighting combine with the warm tones of the oak parquet flooring, resulting in a clean, minimalist ambiance. This black grid gives the place a subtle industrial touch and becomes the focal point of the entire home. Together with the tall, black bookcase, it visually disrupts the chromatic harmony of the place and creates that nice element of surprise.

The grid theme is also visible in the bedroom, where dense parallel wooden profiles function as shelves for storage. Photography by Marco Marotto.

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