Better Homes and Gardens

Jill Waage

Big News: We’re Building an Innovation Home!

Bet you can’t recall what you were doing on January 10, 2014. But I do. Editor-in Chief Gayle Butler and I were peering out the back windows of an SUV looking at snow-covered lots in Mequon, Wisconsin, with builders from Lakeside Development Company.  She and I excitedly chatted about the possibilities: Does this neighborhood look like us? How would a Better Homes and Gardens house look on this lot?

 

 

Yep, for the past 15 months we’ve kept a little secret. The Better Homes and Gardens 2015 Innovation Home has been underway! Home building and design is in an unprecedented time of innovation and connected technology, meaning there is more for consumers to suss out. We wanted to build a new-era idea house, one that focuses on products and features that will make a real difference in your life. Whether you’re building a home, or improving the one you already love, you’ll learn about home automation and controls, innovative appliances, smart TVs, efficiencies galore, and low-maintenance materials inside and out.

As you’d expect, our home is beautifully designed and the decorating will help visualize how innovations blend seamlessly into your look and lifestyle. Sorry to tease, but we’ll reveal the interior designer’s name a little later. Tiny hint: You already know and love her work from our pages and Pins.

Snowy lot searches? Done. Sponsors secured? Check! An autumn full of framing? Delightful. A winter so cold the GoPro froze? Well, it is Wisconsin, after all. But now the house is a flurry of spring activity. Cabinetry is in the works and painting isn’t far behind. Look for updates here on the Style Spotters blog and follow our progress on Facebook . It all leads up to our big story in the Better Homes and Gardens October 2015 issue and the online reveal in September. But for now, here’s a sneak peek video … well, at least the part up until the camera actually did freeze:

Innovation House: Time Lapse
Innovation House: Time Lapse
Innovation House: Time Lapse

 


BHG Guest Blogger

Walls and Floors: Making a Surface Statement

 

The BHG Innovation Kitchen, created for the May 2014 issue, is filled with fresh ideas and cool products. Here, senior editor Kit Selzer highlights a few of our favorites.

 

Walls and flooring are the spring rain showers of your home design plan: It’s easy to forget what a powerful punch they can pack. But don’t overlook these background players. The right surface treatments can make the difference between a so-so room and a “so pretty” one.

Most of our Innovation Kitchen features hardwood flooring, but in the pantry we switched to luxury vinyl tile, also known as LVT, by Mannington. This high-style, high-performing material is on the rise (it’s the fastest growing category in the flooring market) and comes in a range of patterns, including stone and wood looks. For the pantry, we chose a tile with a subtle pattern — a striated look that adds visual texture. The 12×12-inch tiles in gray and white are laid in stripes; think of it as an updated version of the classic checkerboard flooring pattern.

On the walls, we went for simple but striking. The backsplash is covered in 3×6 white ceramic subway tiles from Daltile, which you can buy at Home Depot. Two tricks bump up the style factor: The tile covers the wall from the countertop to the ceiling (a technique that’s best for affordable, neutral tile), and it’s finished with gray grout, which gives the expanse just the right amount of definition.

The remaining walls in the kitchen feature an innovative paint by Sherwin-Williams. It’s formulated to help reduce not only common indoor odors (pets, cooking, smoke), but also the smells that can come from new carpet, cabinets, and fabrics. It’s especially good for kitchens, pantries, laundry rooms, and bathrooms because it’s designed to resist mildew and withstand frequent washings.

 

Who knew hardworking walls and floors could look so good?

 

See more of the BHG Innovation Kitchen we created in collaboration with designers Jen Ziemer and Andrea Dixon of Fiddlehead Design Group.


BHG Guest Blogger

3 Tips for Pairing Cabinetry + Countertops

 

 

 

The BHG Innovation Kitchen, created for the May 2014 issue, is filled with fresh ideas and cool products. Here, senior editor Kit Selzer highlights a few of our favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

Salt and pepper. Vinegar and oil. Bread and butter. Compiling a list of kitchen pairings can make a fun party game, but what’s the most important combo when designing a kitchen? We say it’s cabinetry and countertops. Together, they set the overall style of the space and have the biggest impact.

 

Whether you’re updating your existing cabinetry with paint or creating a kitchen from scratch, as we did, a few rules of thumb will help you get a polished look.

 

1. Don’t be afraid to use more than one color of cabinetry. In our Innovation Kitchen project, we used four: light gray in the main part of the kitchen, dark gray in the adjoining multipurpose pantry, white for a few select pieces, and a fresh green for a tall built-in the dining area. This combination of cabinets from Decora helps define zones, creates more interest than a single hue would, and sets the basic palette. Variation in cabinet color makes a kitchen feel more personal, less like it’s straight off the showroom floor.

2. Show restraint with countertops. When you use different cabinet colors, you’ll likely be happiest using the same countertop choice throughout. We love this quartz-surfacing countertop from Cambria, which, with its gray veining, resembles marble but is more durable and easier to care for. It looks great with all of our cabinet colors and gives the entire space continuity. Bringing in a second pattern would have created a busy look.

3. Cabinetry and countertops in similar tones gives the effect of furniture. Generally, it’s best to choose countertops that coordinate with but don’t match cabinetry for greater contrast. However, you can use near-matches for effect. Take this hutch, for example. It’s made from a glass-front cabinet placed on top of two slightly deeper sets of drawers with a slab of the kitchen’s quartz-surfacing countertop placed in between. Together they look like a single unit. Another idea: Match a countertop to a low, wide cabinet to create the look of a freestanding buffet.

 

Now you’re ready to create your own perfect pairings.

 

See more of the BHG Innovation Kitchen we created in collaboration with designers Jen Ziemer and Andrea Dixon of Fiddlehead Design Group


BHG Guest Blogger

American Dream Builders: Small Homes, Big Style

 

 

This season on #DreamBuilders we’ve seen our competitors reach for their highest creative limits, and the headline of that is that the best is yet to come, and YOU arrived to the party just in time to catch it!  We’ve watched them brave the elements, and then each other, all while pulling off the BIGGEST home transformations I’ve ever seen on Prime Time TV…and you know what, I’m loving every minute of it — not because I’m the host, but because it’s design at its inspired best returned to TV!

 

 


This week our contestants face what most of you contend with everyday…SPACE or lack thereof. Divided into four teams of two, they were each issued a modular home and given one direction: get as much style into this small space as you can. And guess what? They delivered BIG time. Along the way they found real small space innovations and inspired ideas that we can all takeaway at home. One being that real-sized furniture works best even in a small space. Small scale makes the room even smaller.

On top of that, for this episode we up’ed the ante by welcoming the BH&G editors on set to give their input and pick a space to feature in the pages of the magazine. Make no mistake, four editors staring you down made the stress even more palpable. To say the least, our contestants were definitely feeling the pressure!

 

So, you’ll have to tune on Sunday night at 8/7c and tell me what you think! Make sure to include me (@nateberkus) and @BHG in your tweet so we can talk all about it!


BHG Guest Blogger

Nate Berkus: American Dream Builders

 

The first thing people ask me when they see me, or on my Facebook page, is…Nate, please come to my house! Because how we live really matters. Period, the end. It’s about living with what you love, in a space that reflects who you truly are. This show is about bringing high design back to television…design that I hope inspires people to think about their spaces in a new way. And that’s what you see on the show. Talented, passionate designers who are fighting for their point of view. Some of the choices you will love, some you won’t. And that’s the thing with design, it should always be about what feels good, about what speaks to you. That being said, there are rules…things that can help turn an okay space into a room that really feels special.

 

 

 

 

I love this living room transformation from last week’s episode. The mistake people often make is thinking they need 20 pieces in a room. But the thing is, if it’s well-chosen and edited, fewer pieces are fine. In this space they edited the book case and left only a few curated objects. I might not have made that choice but it certainly hits home the fact that more than books can live on your shelves. In fact,  that’s one of the take aways for me doing this show;  sometimes less really is more. People also think that they have to be adventurous with paint. If that’s what you love, I say do it. But freshly painted white walls will never go out of fashion. Keep to the same hues when you add color, like the grey and purple accents here. And don’t forget lighting. People, I can’t say it often enough…it’s one of the most important things to think about. Go flea market shopping and pick up vintage sconces or brass lamps. These are the details that will bring the room together. That will make it feel layered. And like a room you love to come home to.


 

How great is this wallpaper! Absolutely perfect for a kid’s room…that was my greatest takeaway here. It feels fresh, fun…but also chic. And a space that they can grow into. That’s important. You want your child’s room to evolve with them. I also love the seating area. A place they can do homework, or read a book. It’s about creating a beautiful space, yes. But also, is this practical…does this space serve us? This is actually a pretty small room. But proof that you don’t need a lot of space to live well.

 

I can’t wait for you all to tune in and watch the second episode of American Dream Builders on Sunday night at 8/7c on NBC. I would love to hear what your favorite rooms are; what you’d love to recreate and why.

 


BHG Guest Blogger

Hilary Rushford: Fall Accessorizing with Jewel Tones

 

 

 

Do you ever look at your outfit in the mirror and think, “This just doesn’t do anything for me”? As a stylist at Dean Street Society one of my favorite tips to give clients is to always leave the house looking remarkable — worthy of remarking upon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you compliment other women on in their appearance? “That dress looks great on you!” “I love you in that color!” “Where’d you get that fabulous necklace?” We typically comment that someone’s figure looks especially flattering, we’re captured by a color or we notice a unique detail. Today I’m sharing six ways you can add the latter two to the classic outfit of a white top and dark jeans to look remarkably lovely this fall.

 

 

First up, is color. My secret to color that’s always chic, plus a closet that can be mixed and matched throughout, is to wear jewel tones. Wearing multiple pastel shades can feel a bit too Easter sweet, while pairing primary hues can quickly channel Rainbow Bright of the 80′s. Meanwhile, jewel tones — emerald, plum, marigold, burnt orange, poppy red, magenta, royal blue — have a richness that stays classy. Plus, you can rest assured you can wear more than one without fear of clashing, as they always complement one another.

Next, let’s look at six spots you can add these colors in the form of unique details that convey confidence and create a polished finished look.

 

Want three more bonus reasons to add any of these to your wardrobe?

You can find them at any price point. They fit even if you gain or lose a bit of weight. And they can be worn almost year round.

I think it’s pretty black and white that you have nary an excuse not to go add some remarkable accessories to your wardrobe, m’dear!

With grace & gumption,

Hilary & Dean Street Society

 

 

P.S. Don’t just think about it. Make it happen! Which of the items or colors above are you inspired to try? Leave your faves in the comments below!