Home innovation should solve real-life problems and make life better, focusing on the people, not simply the systems, inside. To demonstrate, we decided to build, furnish, and tech out our ideal house: the BHG Innovation Home. Check out these useful and accessible products and ideas.View Slideshow
A slideshow of a renovated waterfront Long Island home
A 1968 waterfront house in Long Island is gutted and rebuilt, doubling its size and taking advantage of the views. Dutch doors, like this extra-wide one, can add drama to an entry. It's made more dramatic with a diamond-pattern transom and sidelights, suggesting the casual grandeur of an antique summerhouse. White-painted crown molding and a paneled doorway to the staircase straddle the fine line between elegance and informality.
Tucked into a turret, the stairwell makes the most of its natural curves with a variety of windows: a semicircular window seat on the landing, and a porthole window above a small window seat niche. The windows repeat the round theme found throughout the house.
Living room bookshelves pop with orange paint covering their back walls. The fireplace wall's symmetry enhances the room's traditional style. To make the most of the scenery, some rooms were reshaped and shuffled (this room used to be the kitchen, for example). The overhaul gave the homeowners the freedom to make a personal style statement from scratch—easygoing, but a step above beach casual. Warm, chocolate-brown floors add richness and are eco-friendly, too—they consist of reclaimed oak that's stained a walnut color and finished with tung oil. Comfortable living room furniture ties the space together.
Every inch of the new kitchen is packed with storage: There are special spaces for food containers, bread, rolls of plastic wrap, and even the owner's collection of plates from Italy. The kitchen spans the width of the house. It includes a large island, two ovens, and a cooktop that stays modestly out of view. Dark wood flooring makes the white kitchen cabinets pop.
The kitchen's modern amenities include a desk topped with American cherrywood. Tucked at the end of a counter, it offers a convenient place to pay bills, use the Internet, or write a quick note. A small TV flips down from the kitchen cabinets.
A curved shape allows the master bedroom to embrace every view. Six windows overlooking Long Island Sound make the 15x18-foot space feel open and sweeping.
The design of the new master bath cuts no corners. Clad in Jerusalem gold limestone, it includes separate bathroom vanities, a tub with a view, and a steam shower. The woven texture of the granite flooring prevents slippage.
A turret, eyebrow windows, and shingle siding transform a generic clapboard Colonial to an indigenous East Coast shore house. The exterior home design mimics the traditional Shingle style of 19th-century East Coast summerhouses. In the salty air, the shingles quickly weather to gray. With its up-to-the-minute function and ageless looks, the house feels at home on the Long Island shore.
The key to this whole-house remodel is angles and curves that take advantage of waterfront views. The original rectangular footprint was made irregular with curves and odd angles skewed to maximize views. The floor plan was rearranged so the most important rooms take advantage of the best views.
Throughout the house millwork details add a timeless, easy-living quality that's neither formal nor casual. Standard 1960s windows were replaced with diamond-pattern models that look historical but reach high for a modern airiness.