Bags a French Accent

All grain sack isn’t created equal. There’s linen and burlap, classic and vintage-made-yesterday. You will find tasteful stripes and loud farm-friendly images. And, of course, there is overuse and the ideal touch.

Personally, I like the stuff. But my love isn’t unconditional. I prefer a grain sack accent (it is French, incidentally) to a country-cute, French-cottage-theme room. I like to see it in unexpected places, with unforeseen companions: a contemporary seat, perhaps, or a Craftsman home. Yes, even the white-on-white cottage look is beautiful, but too much of a good thing is, well, you know.

Here are 14 distinct ways to utilize grain sack judiciously to bring a wee French accent. It is the difference between throwing on a stylish necklace and dressing up like Marie Antoinette.

Dreamy Whites

A beautiful white-on-white bedroom with layers of of grain sack pillows and throws. Distinctly cottage but not too cutsie.

Dreamy Whites

Another white-on-white beauty with just some grain sack for color.

Economy Interiors


An easy chair upholstered in burlap grain sack adds a kind of elegant rustic look for this bedroom. This particular seat from Wisteria is discontinued, but it is possible to peruse Etsy for comparable finds or attempt a very simple DIY project with a staple gun and a few upholstery-weight grain sack.

Phoebe Howard

Look! More grain sack upholstery at a non-French-cottage setting. It can be done. Just look at how good it seems in this neutral, modern room.

Pottery Barn

Gramercy Wingback Chair – $699

This neutral grain sack wingback chair could survive nearly anywhere — from the beach to the French countryside to a funky Manhattan attic.

Charles Phillips Antiques and Architecturals

Hemp grain sacks made into pillows in Provence


Pillows are the ideal means to get just a tiny grain sack love in your life. This wonderful big pile of classic allure is powerful inviting.

Christie Thomas

More grain sack pillows, this time along with a lake-cabin type of thing. Very eclectic casual.


Grainsack Basket Black Stripe Vintage Design by jennilyons81 – $39.99

Little Touches

A storage bin. It could hold potatoes, papers, blankets, knitting, toys. And it may look good doing this.

Michelle Hinckley

A burlap grain sack bulletin board. A very simple DIY project.

Kelley & Company Home

Only some grain sack goes a long way. These lampshades do not dictate the design of this room, but everyone seems to get along well.

Classic Grainsack Lampshade by lampshadelady on Etsy – $135

A custom made linen grain bag lampshade out of Etsy.

A dressing table ruffle curtain. It would look great under a kitchen sink too.

Kasey Buick

Living room curtains. You can discover similar types on Etsy or purchase lace by the yard and also have them made.

A table runner classic.

Guide to French Country Style

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Decorated Ceilings Are Looking Up

I was saddened to hear of master interior designer Albert Hadley’s passing this week. From the world of interior design, he had been one of the greats. He never took himself or design. Instead, he made for making life comfortable and enjoyable. I had been thinking about him this week, and while scrolling through a list of his best quotes I came across this one:

“Ceilings must always be considered. They are the most neglected surface in a space.”

Unfortunately, this is true. Ceilings are the final frontier. So let us take a peek at 10 ceiling choices that will save yours out of neglect.

Lizette Marie Interior Design

Paint. This is the easiest way to draw eyes up. When it’s just one tone away from the wall colour or it is bright raspberry, lime green or black, or a painted ceiling will make your room seem really decorated and finish.

Check out more ceiling paint ideas

Wallpaper. Covering the ceiling is a great way to put in a massive swath of a print which may otherwise overwhelm the space. If you would like to add some texture into the ceiling, then consider covering it in grass cloth.

Rodriguez Studio Architecture PC

Tin. Tin ceilings have been initially created as a more affordable means to add decoration than plaster. They became popular during the Victorian era. Now tin ceilings overeat a real estate listing. If you would like to get the appearance, you can purchase easy-to-install peel-and-stick tiles.

Whitten Architects

Beadboard. Beadboard adds cabin charm to any area. It seems especially great in kitchens and in attic bedrooms with sloped ceilings.

Watch more beadboard around the Home

Hammer Architects

Wood planks. This ceiling is made of decking planks, however you can pick any type of boards you want. While these work well within this midcentury-modern residence, reclaimed boards are another favourite option of mine.

Check more out wood-plank ceilings


Trays. A tray ceiling adds measurement. This one has a second ceiling part in the middle, ornate molding job within a geometric pattern. Pay attention to the exceptional lighting on and around this particular ceiling.

Watch 12 ways to dress up a tray ceiling

Dillard Pierce Design Associates

Coffered. A coffered ceiling includes a grid of flat panels involving boxed beams.

Carson Poetzl, Inc..

Exposed beams. This appearance is especially well known in Spanish colonial design, but it works in every type of home, from a rustic cottage into a minimalist, modern space.

Echelon Custom Homes

Barrel vaults. A barrel-vault ceiling dates all of the way back to Babylonia. While a single vault is a stunning element to get a long hallway, a bath or a living space, I really like the appearance of a series of barrel vaults in a kitchen. Itreminds me of sitting in my favourite restaurant in Tuscany, complete with comfy candlelight and the very best risotto in the world.

Watch more barrel-vault ceilings

RLH Studio

Fiber optics. Look closely: This ceiling is full of tiny fiber optic lights that recall the night sky when it is dark.

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Make a Good Sport: Build a Backyard Basketball Court

It is the final week of March 2012, and this weekend will be the NCAA Final Four basketball games in New Orleans. With a son who enjoys nothing more than shooting hoops, I have been hearing brackets, tip-off times and rankings for the past month. We’ve got our DVR set for Saturday’s games, which will determine the teams that will play at the finals on Monday evening.

After doing a little searching, I found additional ers who are large basketball fans too. One of the fantasy courts I discovered, a few are lit for night games, one includes a rock climbing wall and a particular court looks as though it was built in an old barn. Whether or not you have plans to put in a court of your own, you’re bound to love these gorgeous designs.

Land & Water Design

Pickup games can happen at any time of day. Be prepared by lighting up your court for the upcoming nighttime tip-off.

Kaufman Construction Design and Build

Including a basketball court at the cellar ensures that game timing can always be redeemed.

TRG Architects

The scene surrounding this house is amazing. The homeowners get full views of the landscape and the match from the big, open deck.

Designing Solutions

Incorporating a stone wall at the same space as the basketball court doubles the pleasure.

Arterra Landscape Architects

In this wooded backyard, parents can barbecue with friends while maintaining your eye on the match.

Visbeen Architects

Having a carpeted indoor court available to the remainder of the house’s living space, these homeowners can see shooting practice from just about any room.

Slifer Designs

The design of this court practically made my heart stop. The bedrooms that are manicured, the chevron wood floors… it’s all gorgeous.

Werschay Homes

Have you ever considered converting the garage into a basketball court? These homeowners did, and the results are fun and functional. When the match is over, simply pull in the family car and it’s business as normal.

Declutter Today: Lose That Old Sports Equipment
Landscape Trends: Bocce Ball Courts

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Inspired Great Room in North Vancouver

When Noor Grewal-Virk and Vincent Virk bought their North Vancouver, British Columbia, residence they had to decide between carrying a full renovation with 2 young daughters or producing effect with decor and paint. They chose the latter. Grewal-Virk considers every space deserves respect and love, whether you spend a third of the time in your living room or in the event that you just pass by it in the hallway. “You should let your space lure all of your senses,” she states. “Make it inspire you!” As principal and interior designer of Noor G.V. Interiors, Grewal-Virk designed each corner of her home to inspire her family.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Noor Grewal-Virk, Vincent Virk and their two daughters, Zehan (4 years) and Ajooni (22 months)
Location: Braemar Park, North Vancouver
Size: 2,450 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
That’s interesting: A vertical yellow stripe in the dining room is inspired by a beam of sun.

Megan Buchanan

Grewal-Virk painted the first brick fireplace surround a dark grey to make a neutral background for the room. A large round mirror aids bounce light around, and the round motif is repeated throughout the room. A huge area rug adds texture and pattern, while a modern white round coffee table floats in the middle.

Cedric couch and Strike coffee table: Urban Barn; wall decal and spiral painting: Home Sense; tall red chest: Moe’s Home

Megan Buchanan

Grewal-Virk’s decorating philosophy is to keep things easy and create impact with graphic and daring specifics. “I knew from the start I wanted to include a blend of grey and yellowish. But each time that I take on a job, I let my environment inspire me,” she states. “I believe in being open-minded concerning what I will discover, and I’ve always found bits that help me make something new and out of the box.”

Next to the fireplace, a comfy seating area for 2 rounds outside the living room area.

Megan Buchanan

A huge bay window runs the entire length of the living room. Grewal-Virk states this is only one of her favourite places to unwind at home to enjoy the perspective of their tree-lined neighborhood.

Megan Buchanan

The vibrant fabric used in this upholstered seat speaks to her pursuits. “My courses that focused on architecture and interior design in the early, medieval and modern world were the most interesting to me. These were the classes in which my initial love for layout and curiosity in background came together,” Grewal-Virk explains.

Upholstered Bergere seat: Home Sense

Megan Buchanan

“I’m inspired by history, nature, people and style,” Grewal-Virk states. Some of her favourite books are piled behind the couch.

Megan Buchanan

From the dining room, a fun typography-upholstered seat sits in the head of this table. A floating storage device that is grey and white gives a storage for tableware and anchors the feature wall.

Megan Buchanan

The large dining table seats eight people. Six velvety nail-head seats run along each side of the desk. Each seat includes a pull ring on the trunk, which is something Grewal-Virk thought could be fun for her daughters to interact with.

Megan Buchanan

If something were to happen to the house, Grewal-Virk states the first things she’d grab are her shadow boxes. “One of these has a tiny pillow my grandmother made for my dollhouse when I was a tiny girl, and another box has my dad’s police uniform whistle,” she states. Grewal-Virk considers in paying tribute to things with emotional significance. “When the family sees them every day, especially your children, it will help them understand a small amount of their particular history and where they came from.”

Megan Buchanan

Grewal-Virk says she isn’t reluctant to experiment. “I didn’t plan to put a bar in the living room,” she says, “but I found this gorgeous rustic piece in Urban Barn and knew I had to make a spot for it.” This piece is manufactured from laminated wood, possibly drained cherry trees or damaged ships. The family owns a marina in the Okanagan Valley, and this piece has been made to look like a classic piece used to store life jackets. The funky orange pub stool was a fantastic and surprising find at London Drugs.

Megan Buchanan

This tequila set is placed on a vertical shelf along with other gathered travel bits. A chalkboard wall invites family and friends to write fun notes and happy-hour recipes.

Wall Area: Lack, Ikea

Megan Buchanan

This glass-tile kitchen backsplash has been in place when the family bought the home. Grewal-Virk utilizes glass jars across the surface of the range to make a spice vignette. Her next home project is to reestablish the kitchen. She states, “It truly is the heart of the home, and I enjoy cooking — on most days.”

Megan Buchanan

A more informal eat-in option in the kitchen allows for meal preparation and interaction with kids and guests in the family room outside.

Megan Buchanan

Grewal-Virk’s favorite designer is Candice Olsen. She says, “I like that she’s gutsy and not reluctant to make tension and contrast in a distance.”

The entertainment device in the family room doubles as toy storage as well. Grewal-Virk desired the upper cabinets to be within easy access, making for quick cleanup if the space should change from a kids’ playroom into a fun area.

Karlstad sectional, networking cupboard and art: Ikea; coffee table: Liquidation World

Megan Buchanan

Grewal-Virk’s favorite places to shop for your home include Home Sense, Ikea, Urban Barn, Moe’s and Once Upon a Tree. Her fantasy splurge? “An initial Salvador Dalí painting. That would be my ultimate dream home item.”

Read hundreds of inspiring homes

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'Hobbit House' in Pennsylvania Countryside

It’s not unusual for homeowners to have a space, or even a small outbuilding, devoted to your hobby or interest. However, Pennsylvania architect Peter Archer and his customers, a Chester County couple with grown children, took that idea way past the norm.

The husband is a significant collector of J.R.R. Tolkien novels, manuscripts and artifacts, and wanted to make a small cabin to home and protect his group a cabin that would bring into life the hobbit dwellings in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. “He had been collecting since the early 1970s and had simply run out of space in the home. A fantastic piece of his collection was in boxes stored across the home,” Archer says.

Although Archer was not especially well versed in Tolkien’s work and background, he immediately brought himself up to speed. “Upon starting the job I read the publication The Hobbit and watched the Lord of the Rings movies, but more importantly, looked at the selection of writings by Tolkien, including excellent sketches he had done to exemplify his job,” he states. “I remember at the beginning saying we’d be happy to design the arrangement but were not going to perform a Hollywood interpretation.”

Pennsylvania architect Mark Avellino collaborated with Archer to bring the strategy to life. He “worked closely with me to interpret Tolkien and make the beautiful details that make this such a special building,” Archer says. “Also there were a host of landscape and builders individuals who put their hearts and souls into the making of what’s been coined a ‘Hobbit House.'”

at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple lives in the main home, a Brief walk from the cabin.
Location: Chester County, Pennsylvania
Size: 600 square feet
That’s intriguing: the plan of a distinctive “blossom” window originated from Tolkien’s own sketches. The semicircular halves of this window open by a center hinge.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

An 18th-century piled stone wall on the property made this website, a short walk from the primary home, a natural selection for the Hobbit House. From the beginning, Archer pictured a structure built to appear like it had risen in the wall. “Other substances were selected for their colors and textures, timelessness and compatibility with the rock,” Archer says.

A stone path leads from the primary house to the cottage’s front entry.

Stonework: Ted LeMastra, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The cottage seen in the back garden — is stepped downward to stick to the grade of this property, enhancing the feeling of having grown organically from the old rock wall.

“The location ultimately selected was ideal in the first rock wall was a retaining wall at the point, with a change in grade of approximately 4 feet,” Archer says. “This enabled the building to have a more human scale at the front, while on both sides and back the roof sits about 4 feet above, giving an amazing scale, nearly a miniature and certainly appropriate to a hobbit.”

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The 54-inch round hobbit doorway, a detail straight from Tolkien’s text, was crafted of Spanish cedar. Although lots of professionals insisted there wasn’t any way to create a hinge that would work together with the door’s perimeter, a Maryland blacksmith managed to invent a single-pivot model that met the challenge.

Exterior windows and doors: David Thorngate, New Castle, Delaware; ironwork: Michael Coldren, North East, Maryland

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Handmade French clay tiles give the roof a distinctive profile.

Dimensions: Northern Roof, Montreal

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Archer’s crew paid careful attention to the stonework through the cabin and grounds to ensure it’d feel suitable to the first 18th-century wall.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

A low, whimsical rock bridge arches above a drainage ditch. “Once the building was created, the customers fell in love with it and wanted to go farther and make walls and gardens befitting a hobbit, but place in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania,” Archer says.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Custom light fixtures in the reception area give period taste; textured stucco inlaid with slivers of roof tile cloaks the fireplace. A arch and rafters made from Douglas fir define the ceiling and add to the air of beautiful craftsmanship.

Timber framing: Summerbeam Woodworking, Oxford, Pennsylvania; inside and exterior millwork: French Creek Woodworking, Elverson, Pennsylvania; lighting: Vintage Lighting, Malvern, Pennsylvania

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Framed with timber arches, the library area forms the center of the cabin. It provides the owner with a quiet place to read, reflect and research, surrounded by the Tolkien works and mementos he so dearly loves.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The cottage’s distinctive butterfly window, made from mahogany and so named because it appears that the wings of a butterfly when open, originated from Tolkien’s sketches, in addition to his descriptions of hobbits preferring windows that showcase views of these woods. The semicircular halves of this window open by a center hinge.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

As with the doorway, blacksmith Coldren created custom iron hinges for the butterfly window.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

An eyebrow roof accommodates the curve of this window.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

In the English country tradition, the cottage’s mahogany windows have diamond-shaped muntins. Shards of roof, put into stucco in a diagonal pattern, arch overhead.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

A small courtyard frames the stunning stone chimney. The stucco surrounding the windows is studded with the same tile fragments that appear elsewhere in the cabin.

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Blended Doors for Standout Style

If you want to create a smooth, uninterrupted aesthetic to your space, you might be missing one element that could really complete your look: the blended door. The blended door (not a technical term) is essentially a door that blends directly into the wall application. Visual interruption is prevented by this sense of unity in the aesthetic.

Check out these photos for inspiration. Blink and you might miss these sneaky blended doors.

Sophie Azouaou

Not merely is this bedroom soothing in soft blues and neutrals, but also the blended door prevents any distractions from this tranquil space. Notice the way the designer attained the look by continuing the architectural detailing the door and painting it the same shade as the walls.

LLC, Huestis Tucker Architects

Look very carefully at the corner to the right of the fireplace. Can you make out the door that is blended? Again, since the architectural detailing is continuing over the door, you hardly see the door in any way.

LASC Studio

Slanted walls may make a room feel constricted; the very best way to counterbalance that is using a clean aesthetic that won’t confuse the attention. Here, a fresh door is cut directly from the wooden wall. With no noticeable handle, you might walk clean past it.

A fast glance at this space and you may think, “Oh, what beautiful paneling surrounding the fireplace …”

Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc..

… only to be amazed that one of these panels is really a door. Creating the same panel layout on each side of the fireplace accounts the space, regardless of whether the left side opens as a door or not.

Birdseye Design

After the timber paneling used for your door is transported across the space, the eye reads it as a layout element versus a door.

Schwartz and Architecture

Another way to help the door blend in is by extending the material past the door itself. Here, the wood paneling is continuing between the two doors and past their borders.

Narofsky Architecture + ways2design

The track probably gives away this door, but nonetheless, a sliding door in precisely the same material as the wall provides a coordinated appeal.

Farinelli Construction, Inc..

You can disguise your pantry door using a chalkboard in addition to mimic cabinetry on the floor. Visitors will be amazed when they visit compose a note and the door falls open to an additional room.

Amy Jesaitis

Really want to trick your customers? Wallpaper directly over the door. Friends and family will be delighted by your smart design.

Hidden Nooks and Secret Passageways

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Kitchen Workbook: 8 Components of a Cottage Kitchen

Cottage isn’t just a decorating style. Cozy, joyful and unpretentious, it harks back to simpler times and evokes a feeling of simple, carefree living. And since the kitchen is usually one of the busiest spots in the house, it is logical to translate that mindset to your cabinetry, appliances, fixtures and more. If you are arranging a kitchen remodel or remodel, consider these ways to infuse your kitchen with cabin comfort.

More kitchen styles:
Vintage | Conventional | Transitional | Modern | Contemporary | Eclectic | Craftsman | Mediterranean

CapeRace Cultural Adventures

1. Soft colours. The cabin palette is usually light and airy, and kitchens follow suit. It’s difficult to go wrong with crisp, classic white, but soft yellowish, pale turquoise or mild khaki all seem appropriate and fresh also. Or try a mixture of cabinetry colours: one shade on the island with a contrasting hue on the cabinets.

Erotas Building Corporation

2. Open shelving. Installed in place of conventional upper chimney, spacious shelving recalls the days when kitchens were utilitarian than cosmetic. Not just was cabinetry pricey, but open shelves allowed cooks to retrieve tools and dishes quickly. Nowadays open shelves are as much about aesthetics as about design: Their openness helps make a space feel bigger, and they frequently house accessories along with kitchen implements.

You do not need to be obsessively neat and organized for open shelving to seem attractive, but you will want to make an attempt to not allow clutter build. Keeping dishware to one colour, as shown here, creates a dramatic effect.

Group 3

3. Beadboard. Nothing says cabin kitchen clearly than beadboard. This grooved style of paneling warms cabinetry and walls and provides architectural interest with a minimum of fuss. Because it has so much visual impact, you do not require much to make a cabin impact. Go the classic path and then paint it a creamy colour, choose the same hue as your cabinetry or sand it marginally for an obsolete, distressed look.

Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc..

4. Farmhouse sinks. Also called apron-front sinks, these beauties have made a comeback in recent decades. They feature a broad, shallow head and an extra-deep bowl which can accommodate large pots or heaps of dishes. Farmhouse sinks create a feeling of country living, yet they’re unfussy enough to work with cleaner-lined spaces. Even though some versions on the market have raised or cosmetic detailing, streamlined styles such as the one displayed here would be the most classic.

The Workshops of David T. Smith

5. Furniture-style cupboard details. Years back, before cupboards since we know them came into fashion, freestanding armoires, pie safes and presses were the guideline. Evoke that time frame with the addition of furniture features to built-ins. Tuck bun feet beneath lower cupboards and corbels beneath upper ones, or paint an integrated hutch a contrasting shade to provide the illusion it isn’t fixed.

Witt Construction

6. Cup pulls. Cup-style drawer pulls, like those that might have been found in an old-fashioned general shop, give an excess dash of time flavor to cabin kitchens. Pick a finish with patina, such as oil-rubbed bronze or brushed nickel.

7. Hardwood flooring. Before carpeting became de rigeur, hardwood floors were the standard, and they match cabin kitchen style. You can either leave the planks bare to demonstrate the natural splendor of the grain or paint them in a solid colour or a pattern like checkerboard. However, hardwoods aren’t the only choice for cabin kitchen flooring — linoleum, vintage-look tile or perhaps slate could work also.

Whitten Architects

8. Pendant lights. Low-hanging pendants help a kitchen feel comfy and also provide all-important task lighting. Select models which have a retro feel, with colors of weathered or weathered glass or brushed nickel. If you prefer, combine the pendants with vintage-inspired sconces and perhaps even a lamp or two to make a gathered feel.

In this show: How to Find Your Kitchen Design | How to Remodel Your Kitchen

So Your Design is: Cottage
10 Reasons To Bring Back the Kitchen Table
How To Insert Cottage Charm to Your Kitchen

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Layout Calendar: March 2–22

Whether architecture, film or books are something, this roundup of upcoming events throughout the country has something to you. Continue reading for our 5 top picks.

FILM FESTIVAL — March 1–11, 2012
Cinequest Film Festival
Unfinished Spaces, directed by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray
Showings: March 2, 1:45 p.m.; March 7, 6:30 p.m.; March 10, 4:15 p.m.
Camera 12, 201 S. Second St., San Jose, CA

As part of the Cinequest Film Festival, watch a documentary film telling the story of three visionary architects revealing a different kind of Cuban revolution. Back in 1961, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara commissioned three visionary architects, Roberto Gottardi, Ricardo Porro and Vittorio Garatti, to design an advanced artwork school campus on the grounds of a Havana golf program. Construction started for the National Art Schools, but as Castro’s political motives altered, the project was brought to a halt, and dancers, musicians, and musicians were forced to master in half-completed classrooms. The architectural miracle was neglected and almost forgotten in the aftermath of Castro’s revolution. Four years later, the exiled architects were invited by Castro to complete their unrealized architectural dreams, and Unfinished Spaces records their passionate journey.
Purchase tickets.

TOUR — March 18, 2012, 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
Millard Sheets: A Legacy of Art and Architecture
Pomona, Claremont, CA

Combine the Los Angeles Conservancy and its Modern Committee since they take you on a one-time-only docent-led tour exploring the architecture and art of Millard Sheets. You will visit the next six sites: the prior Millard Sheets design and mosaic studioin Claremont (photograph); Garrison Theatre, Scripps College, where Sheets directed the artwork section for 19 years; Pomona First Federal, now the American Museum of Ceramic Art; Pomona First Federal, now U.S. Bank; Pomona Mall,the first pedestrian mall in America west of the Mississippi; andHome Savings Tower, currently Chase Bank.

From 5:00 to 6:15 p.m., participate in a panel discussion with artists Betty Davenport Ford and John Svenson, mosaicist Brian Worley, architect Rufus Turner and Millard’s daughter, Carolyn Sheets Owen-Towle. Read more information here.

Sheets was a nationally famous and extremely influential artist with the California School of painting who helped found the Otis Art Institute. Though he was never a licensed architect, Sheets’ work endures today, marking the Southern California architectural landscape. This tour is part of Pacific Standard Time, a collaboration of ethnic associations.

Price: $30 general public, $25 L.A. Conservancy members, $15 students, $10 kids 12 and younger. Purchase tickets here.


DISCUSSION — March 8, 2012, 7 p.m.
Of the book Project Japan: Metabolism Talks
New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Celeste Bartos Forum
Fifth Ave. at 42nd St., New York, NY

Hear from architect Rem Koolhaas, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and New York Public Library Director of Public Programs Paul Holdengraber since they discuss Koolhaas and Obrist’s brand new book, Project Japan. Part oral history and part instruction, the book captures Japan’s radical postwar manner of nation building, researching the comradery among architects that are unthinkable among today’s competitive professionals.

Some of those topics Koolhaas, Obrist and Holdengraber will cover include the way the activist state mobilized its best abilities and meticulously planned the future of its cities, the way the press adopted the architect as a serious agent of social influence (think anti-“starchitect”), and also the way the areas of architecture, art, sociology and engineering collaborated to generate something fresh.

Price: $25 general admission, $15 Friends of the New York Public Library. Purchase tickets here.


LECTURE — March 9, 2012, 1–2 p.m.
Depending on the book Landscaping for Privacy, by Marty Wingate
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd., Linnaeus Room, Glencoe, IL

Combine backyard and travel author Marty Wingate as she discusses her Most Recent book, Landscaping for Privacy, at the Chicago Botanic Garden. She’ll discuss how to design a calm retreat even in the urban environment. She’ll share practical tips on plant choices, hedges, purchasing displays and methods for creating the most visually satisfying use of distance. The lecture will be accompanied by a book signing.

Price: $10

CONFERENCE — March 19–22, 2012
2012 Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) annual conference
Hyatt Regency Baltimore, 300 Light St., Baltimore, MD

With the theme “Celebrating Our Past, Shaping our Future,” this seminar celebrates the Interior Design Educators Council’s 50th year since the top organization for interior design educators. The seminar comprises programming and keynotes that reflect on past achievements and look to the future of the profession, and provides an engaging forum for interior design educators at each level. Keynotes will be by Jo Heinz, interior designer and managing principle of Staffelbach; and Rosalyn Cama, president and principal interior designer of CAMA.

More 2012 design events: Feb. 6–March 2, 2012, Feb. 17–March 9, 2012

What is in your calendar? Let us know in the Remarks.

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French Colonial Mansion in India

Only a hundred miles in the bustling town of Chennai in South India, the former French colony of Pondicherry rolls into view using expansive cashew plantations, little fishing villages and palm-fringed beaches. This French colonial beach home on the Bay of Bengal is famous for its hospitality in hosting international businesspeople and diplomats amidst acres of coconut groves and inside rooms full of Indian artifacts.

Dr. S. Devendra, known as “Doc,” has been opening the doors into the five-bedroom estate mansion as 1991, as a shore retreat for friends and partners of Shasun Pharmaceuticals, the family business and one of the world’s largest suppliers of aspirin.

in a Glance
Location: Pondicherry, India, near the Bay of Bengal
Size: 10,000 square feet; 5 bedrooms, 6 baths, multiple sunrooms, multimedia conference room
That is intriguing: A stone that is raised platform to the grounds functions as a stage for musical performances from local groups.

Wendy K. Leigh

The primary entry door has been reclaimed from a historical abandoned temple at the Tamilnadu region of South India. A classic wood carving accents the entrance from above, while hand-formed vintage pottery pieces flank the entryway.

Wendy K. Leigh

The French colonial structure spreads elegantly across manicured grounds in the end of a long, winding driveway curving toward the sea. Windows line the front, sides and back, affording expansive views of the estate landscaping and shore. Ivy-covered stucco and stone form exterior walls, with curved balconies extending from bedrooms, living spaces and sunrooms.

Wendy K. Leigh

Antique furniture in the Chettinadu and Pondicherry areas in Tamilnadu provide an authentic air to the inside spaces. Working with Anita Goubert, a regional antiques dealer and close friend in Pondicherry, Doc has selected each slice carefully to signify a variety of phases of history in South India. This wood-carved divan and encompassing seats are decorated with vibrant cushions crafted from formerly worn vintage saris.

Wendy K. Leigh

A second-floor covered sunroom is available from all five bedrooms in the home, using a wooden swing extended from rafters in the grand ceiling.

Wendy K. Leigh

Bedrooms have a minimalist style with white bed coverings, mosaic tile floors and black custom-designed solid wood window shutters. Individual baths are attached to every bedroom, with modern showers installed. Doc himself makes the journey from Chennai several times a week and intends to retire here, near the sea and the quaint, French-inspired village.

Wendy K. Leigh

Ceramic inlays are a surprise feature inside the railings of one of those dozens of beds in this home. Designed to accommodate the numerous guests who are welcome here, some of the larger bedrooms have around six beds.

Wendy K. Leigh

A guest bathroom on the bottom floor is available from the estate grounds and swimming pool. It’s three sinks, a separate changing room and an enclosed sauna.

Wendy K. Leigh

Pottery features greatly in the décor. This lamp was fashioned from early earthenware and sits atop one of those numerous reclaimed paintings which are tucked into each nook.

Wendy K. Leigh

A specially designed multimedia room permits the owner to host business conferences on a dedicated floor of the home. Outside of working hours, Doc frequently arranges for guests to relax by meditating at the world-famousMatrimandir,an enormous marble and gold ashram in the countryside less than five miles from the shore house.

Wendy K. Leigh

Sunrooms are sprinkled throughout the home, linking outdoors to indoors, many with views of the beach and water.

Wendy K. Leigh

Family, friends and business partners can relax in the intricately tiled outside aquatic place, which comprises two pools and a spa, with the bay shimmering in the background.

Wendy K. Leigh

Breezy walkways connect the entire home on both floors and overlook the Bay of Bengal. Benches afford views of the sunset and sunrise from several positions on each floor.

Wendy K. Leigh

Kudapah stone floors from Kerala adorns outdoor spaces, with natural cultivated bamboo overlooking a stone water container.

Wendy K. Leigh

The bounty of the farm grounds is on display on any given day, with mounds of coconuts heaped up outside the pantry and kitchen. Palm trees sway in the sea breezes, which are relished — temperatures in Pondicherry frequently reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wendy K. Leigh

Coconuts are left to dry in sunlight prior to being turned into desserts by the numerous servants.

Wendy K. Leigh

Stone walkways on the estate grounds cause outbuildings sheltered by coconut palms.

Wendy K. Leigh

Statues and fountains of carved stone blend into the landscaping and fit the property’s exterior and interior style.

Wendy K. Leigh

A traditional outdoor bowl of drifting new flower petals offers “namaste,” an expression of welcome and warmth.

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Complex Family-Friendly Flat

When a San Francisco couple with a new baby purchased their flat in the Marina district, they understood they weren’t in it for the long haul. They planned to stay about three to five years while their loved ones grew and then to move on. “Because the customers knew this was not going to be their house forever, we decorated with pieces they would have the ability to take with them to their next home,” explains Ali Davin of Jute Interiors. Following is a glance at how she designed for the customers’ future with innovative design, family friendliness and versatility.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Two and two kids
Location: San Francisco
Size: 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

Jute Interior Design

Blue, brown, gray-green and tan make a wonderful palette for the playroom, and the dark color of the sofa helps hide stains. “Everything in this apartment is quite childproof,” Davin states. She utilized sturdy exterior fabrics where possible.

The painted wall stripes incorporate Davin’s signature shade, Benjamin Moore’s Texas Leather. The picture over the sofa, of neighboring Ocean Beach, was a present from the client’s mother.

Zebra Shade: Jonathan Adler
Side Effects: Roost
Sofa: Crate and Barrel

Jute Interior Design

The kitchen, dining room and living room are all open to one another. “My customers inherited this kitchen,” she states. “While they wouldn’t always have picked these countertops and cabinets, it was not worth changing themso we brought in the tile backsplash, pendant lights and Bertoia stools to bring some design,” Davin states.

Berlin pendant lighting: Roost
Bertoia counter stools: Design Within Reach
Backsplash tile: Ann Sacks
Counters: Caesarstone

Jute Interior Design

“My client’s preferred color was gray, and she brought me that the problem of Domino featuring Jenna Lyons’ townhouse because her inspiration since she loved the way they used lots of gray with these pops of yellow,” states Davin. This soft color palette carries through all the open area and retains the dining room and living areas sophisticated, light and cheerful.

Drape cloth: Charcoal Ribbons by Hable Construction

Jute Interior Design

The dining room incorporates an interesting and flexible mixture of materials, textures and eras; it includes a custom-made dining settee, reupholstered seats in the 1950s, a metal and wood table and a pendant light. The outcome is a comfortable, beautiful and practical space.

Pendant light: Design Within Reach; dining table: Hickory Chair

Jute Interior Design

A comfortable sectional sofa holds a mixture of pillows that are muted. A leather ottoman can be utilized as a coffee table or extra seating. The painting, by artist Nancy Christensen of Charleston, South Carolina (a friend of the client), picks up the lavender color of the Scottish throw.

Sectional sofa: Room and Board; pillow cloth: Osborne and Little; zebra carpet: Williams-Sonoma Home

Jute Interior Design

This office was created with a possible future transformation in your mind. The gray walls and vibrant blue window remedies could be incorporated into a nursery, and the Parsons desk could take on many functions in just about any room.

Parsons desk: West Elm; Eames Eiffel Base Shell Chair: Design Within Reach; roman shade cloth: Quadrille Veneto Collection

Jute Interior Design

If their second child came along, it was easy to transform the workplace into a nursery school, swapping out the desk for a crib as well as the Maintain Calm and Carry On posters for flags with all the letters of the baby’s name. Pops of pink have been added to the gray, blue and white color scheme.

Jute Interior Design

The couple used this room as a nursery (as shown) if they moved in. Now their son is older, they’ve swapped the crib for a twin mattress, a very easy transformation from baby to larger boy bedroom.

Background: Porter’s Paints; crib: Nurseryworks

Jute Interior Design

Future transitions drove the design of the master bedroom as well. “My customer knew this furniture would be for the guest room in their second home, so we stuck with serene, gray and gender neutral,” Davin clarifies. “She also wanted a mattress which resembled Cameron Diaz’s character’s mattress in the film The Holiday.”

The background has an enjoyable Art Deco floral print that does not overwhelm the space. Swing-arm reading lamps make it feasible to put a tufted occasional seat where a nightstand would normally go. Like the remainder of the home’s furnishings, those in the master bedroom work nicely for this phase of the family’s life and will continue to do so in the next.

Velvet headboard cloth: Schumacher; background: Cole & Son

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