Summer Time Bliss

Recently I had the opportunity to go to the Atlanta Modern Architecture Home Tour. What an inspiration. Here are some of the fabulous porches and terraces I saw.

P1020823Wonderful multi-use room for year round enjoyment.

This front screened room floats above the carport below. The horizontal architectural elements give the home a wonderful modern style while also making a strong visual line that creates a real sense of privacy for those on the porch. Lovely design.

P1020874By adding this high wall and ceiling, the architect creates privacy from the back while still maintaining a connection to the street, inviting neighbors to stop and visit. I always find it interesting that when a space is delineated like this it feels bigger because of the accentuated height. The homeowners had just moved in. I’m sure they will have a good time selecting just the perfect piece of artwork for their wall.

 

cliq-magnetic-hangers-designboom02

Magnetic Hangers Eliminates Hooks

 

Do you ever get frustrated when you hang something in your closet and the hook gets caught on another piece of clothing? Well the ingenious designers  georg dwalischwili and janis karklins of flow design are about to change your wardrobe, one hanger at a time.  These ingenious hangers use powerful earth magnets to attach to metal rods. Not only are they easier to use, they save room in a closet. We loose so much space in closets allowing for the hooks but these hangers can make it so rods can be stacked closer. What a clever design! Check it out!  http://http://vimeo.com/89295744

Best of HOuzz

Houzz Award

Thanks Houzz for the recognition!

Lou Stewart of Asheville Receives
Best Of Houzz 2014 Award

Annual Survey and Analysis of 16 Million Monthly Users
Reveals Top-Rated Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals

Lou Stewart of Stewart Consultants in Asheville, NC has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The interior design company was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Houzz has been a great resource for me and my clients. The ideabooks are a fabulous way to organize aspects for a design”, Lou Stewart states.

“Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Lou Stewart among our “Best Of” professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Lou Stewart, but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

Follow Lou Stewart on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/loustewart

Mid Century Modern Makeover

Living Room

Living Room

I recently finished a fabulously fun renovation project on an original Bertram King mid century modern home in North Asheville. The homeowners love the mid century period and wanted to restore the original look of the home and bring authenticity with the furniture selections. They even asked me to decorate for Christmas with an 8 foot tinsel tree, true to the 50′s.

 

Lake Room

Lake Room

Saarinen Tulip Table and chairs make for a great breakfast spot. Upholstered chairs from Mobilia reflect the natural elements surrounding this idyllic space.

Dining Room

Dining Room

The open concept with glass walls allows nature and lake views to play a major role in daily life.

Will be posting images of the fully renovated kitchen as soon as it is totally finished.

Keep posted.

 

 

What Color Light Do You Want?

light bulb

With all the choices for light bulbs out there, it can get confusing which bulb to select. The good news is that with the increased awareness of green design and being eco-friendly, the lighting industry has introduced a variety of LED and CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. When first released, the color of these bulbs was very sterile and gave off  a “cool” tone of light, leaving your living room feeling more like a hospital room. Now the industry has widen the spectrum and you can get LED and CFL  in a variety of color tones. The difference in these bulbs is the temperature at which the bulbs operate [measured in Kelvin (K)]. Each temperature gives off a different color of light.

By knowing about the 4 colors of light, you can create any desired ambiance in your interior design.

Warm Light: great for relaxation and entertaining. People look best under warm light. Ideal for living and dining rooms and accent in kitchens. Look for bulbs that are 2700-3500K

Neutral Light: this is a perfect balance between warm and cool light. Great for closets as they show the truest color…so you can be sure your outfits match well.  3500-4500K

Cool Light: great for areas where tasks are done, such as kitchens and offices.  5000K

Daylight: this is an even higher temperature bulb than the cool bulbs so they give the biggest visual separation of objects. Great in utility rooms, garages or hobby studios.  6000K

By using the color of light that reflects the ambiance you want in a space, you will enhance your surroundings tremendously. Let the light color match the room usage.

To learn more about creating inspiring spaces with Eco-Designi in Asheville and beyond please check out LouStewart.com

Simply Enticing Kitchen Design

Kitchens that boast of simplicity, clean edges and wide vistas inspire you to prepare your family meals with consciousness and pleasure.

Allow your view to come clear to you in the place where you spend so much of your time – the kitchen sink. Time to create a pantry to store your dishes, cuz we’re getting rid of the upper cabinets.

 

 Image Spotted on Silestone.com

Hurray for the contemporary kitchen design in Asheville and beyond!

Dangers of Dryer Sheets

In conversations with clients about how they can eliminate toxins from their homes, we discuss many ways in which a building can be constructed or renovated with eco-friendly options.

Yet sometimes the smallest of things can make a big difference.

While gardening, I noticed a smell coming from my neighbor’s house. The unpleasant smell permeated my yard so much that I had to go inside. I realized that this happened only on days when they did their laundry.  I knew this artificial scent had to be coming from the laundry products they used. So I did some research on this and found some startling facts.

Fabric softeners and dryer sheets with scents like April Fresh and Summer Orchard add toxic chemicals to your laundry and, consequently, your body.

 

 

 

CHEMICALS IN FABRIC SOFTENERS & DRYER SHEETS

Here is a list of just some of the chemicals found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets:

  • Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
  • Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
  • Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders
  • Limonene: Known carcinogen
  • A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
  • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list
  • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders
  • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic
  • Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
  • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

So how could products with pretty names like Soft Ocean Mist, Summer Orchard and April Fresh be so dangerous?

The chemicals in fabric softeners are pungent and strong smelling — so strong that they require the use of these heavy fragrances (think 50 times as much fragrance) just to cover up the smells.

Furthermore, synthetic fabrics, which are the reason fabric softeners were created in the first place, do not smell good when heated in a dryer or heated by our bodies … hence the need for even more hefty fragrances.

In other words, remove all the added fragrance that endears people to fabric softeners and — like the cliché wolf in sheep’s clothing — the real smells of the chemical-laced fabric softener and the synthetic fabrics they were designed around may prompt people to shoot their laundry machines and be done with it.

ARE “SOFT” CLOTHES WORTH IT?

Fabric softeners are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time. As such, chemicals are slowly released either into the air for you to inhale or onto your skin for you to absorb.

Dryer sheets are particularly noxious because they are heated in the dryer and the chemicals are released through dryer vents and out into the environment. Health effects from being exposed to the chemicals in fabric softeners include:

  • Central nervous system disorders
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blood pressure reduction
  • Irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract
  • Pancreatic cancer

Don’t wrap your family in chemical-coated fabric-softened towels! Simple baking soda will leave your laundry soft and your health intact.

SOFTEN YOUR CLOTHES SAFELY WITH THESE TIPS

Even if you don’t feel the effects of these chemicals today, they can affect you gradually over time, and children, whose systems are still developing, are particularly at risk.

There’s really no reason to expose yourself to these risky chemicals when natural alternatives exist. Not only are they safer for you, your family and the environment, but they’re much more economical too:

    • Add a quarter cup of baking soda to the wash cycle to soften fabric.
    • Add a quarter cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle to soften fabric and eliminate cling.
    • Check out your local health food store for a natural fabric softener that uses a natural base instead of chemicals.

It’s likely that fabric softeners and dryer sheets aren’t the only toxic products in your home. Many household products that consumers regard as safe are also full of toxic chemicals.

Source: http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/toxin5.php

So be wise when you buy.

iPhone Magnified

I just love when people come up with ingenious ideas that are so simple and practical. To amplify the sound of your iPhone or mp3 player, set it in a ceramic bowl. Amazing sound. And to think years ago, I had to arrange my whole living room around speakers that were 3′ tall and 2′ wide.

2013 – A Good Time To Renovate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good news for the home building industry. Last week (March 2013) the Commerce Department report showed the rate of single-family home construction at its highest level in four and a half years, the results of this study point to a strengthening economy, housing and renovation market. Yeah!

A survey done  by the popular Houzz site showed that 54% of those polled are planning to do a renovation project on their home this year. All that “pent-up” energy is about to be released into newly designed bathrooms, kitchens and more. In fact, 28% are sprucing up their bathrooms, while 23% are planning to tackle their kitchen or an addition.

Here in Asheville, I have definitely seen an increase in activity. The projects on our schedule this year include a mix of kitchen and bath remodels with several additions, as well as some new construction.

We’re happy to see people investing in their homes.