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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 10/13/2005

You don t need deep pockets to own nice things

Imagine designing four rooms that can meet all of your needs for convenience and luxury without worrying about a budget.

Maybe you can t afford $9,150 for a copper Japanese soaking tub or $647 a square foot for 24-karat white gold mosaic tile, but these rooms offer great inspiration for those of us who don t have the budget of those who live in McMansions.

A playroom plus

Concept: If you had this playroom in your house, your children could disappear for weeks. They wouldn t need to leave the room to eat, take a shower, go to the bathroom or participate in any of their favorite indoor activities. They can cook popcorn in the microwave, fetch drinks from their refrigerated drawers and clean up using the drawer dishwasher. They can do crafts and tack up their artwork on the cork board, play games on the computer, listen to music, watch television and even practice wall climbing. They can even wash the family dog with the hand-held showerhead.

Design team: Karen Waldren of This Old House, project manager, and Clare Donohue, a designer in Riverdale, N.Y.

Best quote: I showed the plans to my sister-in-law and she said American children have no privacy, Donohue said. I designed the loft so they can be by themselves.

Ideas to steal: No more worrying about dirty little fingers messing up painted walls. Corian is not just for countertops anymore. Corian s new Bas Relief Signature Surfaces are 9-by-18-inch tiles that feature raised patterns, such as stars and diamonds, which are produced through a 2-D molding process. You can mark your child s height on these walls with a grease pencil and wipe it off later. The floor is covered with Marmoleum, which looks soft but is durable and allergen-free. It comes in sheets that can be cut to make any pattern you desire. Composition cork on the walls doesn t crumble when kids tack up their artwork and it absorbs sound. The bathroom has Corian walls that can be hosed down and a drain in the floor.

Mountain retreat kitchen

Concept: This kitchen reflects nature s colors and the rustic appeal of a getaway in the mountains, but it lacks the kitsch or staged look of the style designers like to call Lodge. Picture the kind of mountain retreat rich folks like to pretend is rustic. It actually contains all the luxuries in a more subdued presentation. Appliances are top-of-the-line brushed stainless steel from the Frigidaire Professional Series. The flooring is metal tile, which echoes the look of the appliances. Custom cabinets are made from exotic lyptus wood, a hybrid wood that is harder than red oak and grown on South American plantations. A corner Tulikivi fireplace, manufactured in Finland, retains heat in the soapstone mass long after the fire has gone out. A bonus: You can really get rustic and cook in this fireplace. It s perfect for crusty bread and pizzas.

Design team: Sally Belk King of Sarah Belk King Productions in Richmond, Va.; Chad Scothorn, chef and owner of The Cosmopolitan restaurant in Telluride, Colo.; and artist Patti Ryan of Patti Ryan Decorative Finishes in Richmond.

Best quote: If the kids are done eating, dial it over and send it back, said Jack Campbell, Custom Cupboards in Wichita, Kan., designer of the kitchen s cabinets and Lazy Susan. I like it because I m lazy and never move.

Ideas to steal: The best idea from this kitchen was Campbell s 54-inch-diameter Lazy Susan, which is made of brushed stainless steel and sealed with an auto finish. You can copy the concept, mounting a large Lazy Susan on an island and substitute another surface material. Other good ideas include mixing wood finishes, in this case some are black and some are caramel, and adding sculptural hardware, such as the nature-inspired designs from Soko.

Bathed in luxury

Concept: This bathroom has an air of European luxury, from the Duravit tub designed by Philippe Starck to the 24-karat white gold mosaic tile from Bisazza. This peaceful, Zen-like design centers around a tiled oval structure, which opens to a shower and toilet area. The freestanding tub is the room s focal point. The sink resembles a trough with Dornbracht faucets coming from the backsplash. Architect David Ling designed this as a prototype for a bathroom he is creating in a home he is building for himself in Amagansett, N.Y.

Design team: Elana Frankel of Metropolitan Home, project manager; and David Ling, a New York architect who also does work in Palm Beach, Fla.

Best quote: My responsibility is here, Ling said, when asked about the incandescent lighting he used that is close to candlelight. How they look after they leave the bathroom is up to them.

Ideas to steal: Tired of steam covering your bathroom mirrors? Heat them from behind. If your bathroom is big enough, float the tub in the middle of the room instead of putting it against the wall. Instead of using large tiles on a backsplash, go for the mosaic look. Try his and her showers in the same enclosure.



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