Have you ever wanted to unlock your door with a fingerprint? Control the indoor and outdoor lights with your phone? You can do those things and more with a smart home. We show you how to get a home with connected technology and remote-operated devices that are designed to improve and simplify your life. We sift through the many options, including smart appliances, new apps, and smartphone and tablet innovation, and only bring you those that can make your life better. We give you tips and tricks for navigating the new home technologies and help you with buying decisions.See More
A first-time home buyer remodels a small two-story home and adds stylish design touches throughout.
This sweet little house was just the right size for a starter home. Seeing the home was structurally sound and had a good layout, the homeowner saw the potential and developed a workable plan.
Tall windows throughout the house bring in plenty of sunlight. Hanging the drapes from ceiling to floor emphasized the height of the room and added a boost of color and pattern to the room. The pipe drapery rods extend the length of the wall so the draperies can be opened to the spaces between the windows during the day, exposing the entire window.
Maintaining a consistent wall color through most of the house (select shades of pale gray) creates a sense of expansiveness and connectedness while allowing for definition between spaces.
Small houses don't require small furniture. This grand round table sits at the end of the sofa and near the front door to serve dual functions while providing style. The rich wood complements the flooring and window treatments. The pedestal style results in open space under the table, which keeps the look light so the table doesn't overwhelm the corner.
Blending new flooring and pieces salvaged from elsewhere in the house allowed for a seamless repair. "Fingering" wood planks into the surrounding floor blurs the edges where new meets old. Here, before refinishing, the exposed wood of the repair is still evident. After staining and sealing, the spot disappears.
Even budget remodeling projects often have a few splurge items. In this kitchen, they were the restaurant-style faucet, the countertops, and a quality extra-quiet dishwasher, three items that get a daily workout in any kitchen. And the countertops elevate the look of the home-center stock cabinetry.
Style is important in an eat-in kitchen that sees a lot of entertaining. The armoire, table, and armchair were all thrift store finds and are a testament to elegant, but budget-friendly decorating savvy. The sleek side chairs and big shade on the industrial light are welcome, yet unexpected, modern additions.
Open shelves above the range store serving pieces in style. With the addition of simple but interesting supports and a decorative edge, plain shelves become grand. As an alternative to permanent task lighting, a pair of desk lamps was placed on the counter to perform the needed function.
Curved pieces such as this bombe chest are great additions in tight spaces. They provide storage but prevent clipping knees and hips when you walk past. Black-and-white artwork in a variety of frames adds quiet visual interest.
The tiny bathroom is the only space in the house sporting a bright color. Because much of the wall space is lost to a window, the bath surround, and a mirror, the bright yellow walls don't overwhelm. A glass shelf over the pedestal sink creates additional storage or display space. Leaving the mirror unframed keeps the look clean.
Choosing a clear shower curtain keeps claustrophobia at bay. Heavily textured, semiopaque window glass allows light in while protecting privacy. Along the wall, shallow shelves and hooks for towels make the bath functional and preserve elbow room.
Because the only path to the bath was through the second bedroom, the space was transformed into a study. Not uncommon in older homes, the room had no closet. A rustic armoire provides needed storage.
With the table/desk in front of the window, foot traffic moves through the room easily and there's plenty of daylight for reading or working.
The floor plan shows how a central staircase in this small house creates a pleasant symmetry of space. It also makes for an efficient use of space--no floor space lost to hallways. The effect maximizes the sense of space.