By Amory Hofmann. Home Decoration. Published at Saturday, April 13th, 2019 - 09:36:30 AM.
Model homes and condos are a different breed. Custom homebuilders and developers are showing how much more important this niche has become by creating the illusion that a pet lives on the premises of their show homes. Toll Brothers, a custom builder of both single- and multifamily housing based in Horsham, Penn., stages swank models with plush pet beds and fancy dog showers that feature designer tiles. ICI Homes designed a “pet condo” under a stairway, a place that typically represents dead space, in one of their model houses. The area measures 4 by 4 feet, has a large opening with a gate, and room for a bed, bowls, light, and electric outlet. “The outlet can be used to plug in one of the newer self-cleaning litter boxes,” suggests sales assistant Sabrina Bosarge. Staging expert Kristie Barnett, founder of Expert Psychological Training in Nashville, Tenn., says builders arent risking much with these add-ons because they can easily be reimagined when needed—a shower can be used to rinse off small childrens feet or water plants, and a space under the stairs can become a play area or storage space.
Plants and herbs. In most gardens, its best to seek out a variety of heights, textures, and colors. If privacy and quiet are desired, evergreens like spruces or a “wall” of noninvasive bamboo may be a good choice. Landscape designer Donna Christensen of Christensen Landscape Services in Northford, Conn., uses lilacs not just for their fragrance but because she can also group them to create a privacy hedge. But be aware that too many plant walls can create a dark, claustrophobic space. Color may contribute to healing, too. Blue is a good universal choice because most find it calming, Langrall says. Those with cataracts find it easier to see bolder rather than pastel hues. Butterfly bushes do double duty by displaying colorful flowers and attracting butterflies to add vibrancy, but be sure to choose a seedless or low-fertility variety, as the plants are considered invasive in some areas. Other plants that attract pollinators include cosmos, foxgloves, and cone varieties. Certain herbs have a symbolic connection and can offer freshness in favorite recipes and a medicinal effect. Chamomile is one standout example of this archetype as its equated with comforting, but is also thought to work as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory agent, and tissue regenerator. Tomatoes and leafy greens also help fight inflammation, and herbs can be seeped in water to flavor what can be a healthy alternative to soda, says Lisa Schwartz, a physical therapist and coordinator at the Marianjoy Center. “Planting in raised beds or along walls also is smart, so people dont have to bend and reach as much,” Schwartz says. And for those wanting something tactile, many therapy gardens, especially those designed for children, feature fuzzy, soft lambs ear, which has the additional benefit of bearing a cute name, Sachs says.
When you think of sleek, modern homes, the traditionalist Washington, D.C., area is not the first place that typically comes to mind. Colonials and Greek revivalism seem to populate every other block, which gives Ron Mangas Jr.s focus on contemporary homes a kind of rarefied status. Mangass four-person team, The Contemporary Listings Group at TTR Sothebys International Realty in McLean, Va., closed nearly $39 million in total dollar volume in 2017; 87 percent of the 15 listings they sold were modern, and 77 percent of the 21 buyers they assisted bought modern properties. Mangas usually refers deals that stray outside the modern style to one of the two other associates on his team. But all their marketing dollars go toward attracting buyers and sellers who are interested in this niche.
Wallpaper made its debut centuries ago as a less costly alternative to tapestries used by affluent homeowners for decorating. In stark contrast, wallpaper today represents a luxury decorating tool. While the medium continues to cycle in and out of style, the pendulum has now swung in favor of wallpaper as more homeowners are eager for hues and patterns beyond the white, beige, and gray neutrals that have recently dominated interior palettes, says Chicago-based designer Tom Segal, principal of Kaufman Segal Design. But these arent the dainty floral or striped patterns of the past. Manufacturers such as Brooklyn, N.Y.–based Flavor Paper have introduced modern, sometimes funky patterns that include Andy Warhol floral prints and nature motifs. “[Wallpaper] lets my client start and end the day in a joyful way,” says interior designer Phillip Thomas. One of the reasons for the uptick in interest, he says, is because so many artisans now design papers that resemble exquisite works of art. “It gives homeowners an opportunity to create interest in certain rooms and differentiate spaces.”
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