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A Deeper Dive Into Lake Shore Restore

We’re excited to introduce you to #LakeShoreRestore, an active, exciting project we’ve been working on recently. This is a special job for us, not just because we get to completely transform an awesome condo with an amazing view, but because the project comes from a repeat client. In the previous project, we only renovated their kitchen, but we have much bigger plans for the new condo. Here’s a look at the old project:

Before picture of kitchen in the old condo.

 

The renovated kitchen from the first project we did for this client.

 

Old Project

Renovated kitchen in old condo.

 

Different angle of the renovated kitchen.

 

We’re planning a completely new look and feel for their new kitchen, so be sure to follow us on Instagram to see the progress. 

 

After seeing this unique space, which was once two separate units now combined into one, our client jumped at the opportunity to buy it and own another condo in the same building. We can completely relate to relocating just a few floors because we too purchased another condo in the same building after living there for 5 years.

 

We couldn’t be more thrilled to help transform their new home from drab and dated to fresh and beautiful! Our big plans for this space includes:

 

 

  • Opening up the kitchen by taking down the wall separating the kitchen from the living room (see previous post with some visuals for how we are accomplishing this)
  • Relocating the laundry room
  • Transforming all the bathrooms

 

 

We’re planning on posting the floor plans, layouts, and some of our initial designs in the coming weeks (along with the why behind our decisions), so stay tuned.  To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak peek into the unit.  As you can see, it is full of potential!

 

View of kitchen/living room of new condo.

Kitchen and dining room full view of demo with walls taken down

 

Different angle of kitchen/living room before construction.

Living room into hallway

 

Floor Plan Upgrades at #LugbillLanding

Today I wanted to walk you through the first level layout at #LugbillLanding, where construction is progressing beautifully.

 

I knew the home had the perfect floorplan for our family based off of the listing photos. I love how the space is open, with just the right amount of division. There were a couple of tricky areas that weren’t functional in their current form so I ended up breaking a couple rules.  I don’t regret it, though!  Before we get into my rule-breaking, here are the things I needed to solve for:

 

  1. Convert the sunroom into usable space
  2. Find space for a half bathroom on the first floor- I can’t be bothered going up or down a flight of stairs when nature calls
  3. Remove the wall between the dining room/kitchen- even with it being partially open, this wall was non-negotiable (despite Justin’s hesitations)
  4. Integrate more kitchen storage – it had a great footprint, but not a ton of storage 
  5. Make the ceiling height change work between the sunroom and kitchen (more on this later!)

 

With these things in mind, here are the “Design Crimes” I committed:

 

  1. I covered up a window. Not everything is about aesthetics.  Good design ensures optimal functionality.  To that light, because there were so many windows in the sunroom, the kitchen couldn’t be extended. The space is WAY more functional with that window gone, and there is still plenty of light!

 

  1. I put a toilet right off the kitchen. This was the only spot for a toilet, which is very typical for Chicago homes. This wasn’t the first offence on the premises.  There were old plumbing stubs already in the pantry space, so someone else committed the same crime at some point.

 

Location of Powder Bath

Powder Room off the kitchen.

 

Wall that must go!

The Wall That Had To Go!

 

During Demo

During demo…..Looking better already!

 

Progress photo of the Kitchen

Progress off the new kitchen with the wall gone.

 

View from Kitchen

View from inside the kitchen looking towards the foyer.

 

For those of you that are floor plan junkies- here is the layout of the first floor: 

 

Lugbill Landing’s Original Floor Plan

 

Lugbill Landing’s New Floor Plan

 

To wrap this up, remember if you are working on your own renovation there is always a balance between the aesthetics and the function.  In addition, you should always be thinking about how the changes you’re entertaining will impact resale value. Not every decision should be made based on this, as you have to consider the enjoyment and use you’ll get out of it.  However, it is an important variable to consider.  Last, take it from an interior designer that does residential remodels for a living:  The right thing for your home doesn’t necessarily need to follow the rules.

Replacing Tired Hardwood Floors (#LugbillLanding on IG)

Over the years, I’ve had a hand in replacing countless creaky, tired, dated floors with updated, fresh varieties.  Personally, I’ve owned three homes, and one of the first things to be updated has always been the floors.  New flooring has an uncanny ability to breathe life into a home and really transform a space.

 

Most recently, the original red oak wood floors at #LugbillLanding were not only dark, but they were t.i.r.e.d. The 100+ year-old home had floors with spots that were basically worn to the subfloor. In other spots, you would step on them and almost fall through the floor joists.  OK – maybe that’s a bit dramatic :).   Following tradition, I knew when we signed the papers to close on the house, replacing them was at the top of my priority list.

 

Stepping back 6 years to our family’s previous condo, on day one, we ripped out the basic, generic factory-grade engineered wood flooring, added a plywood subfloor and installed ¾” thick red oak flooring.  The dark ebony stain that we went with was absolutely perfect for the condo.  This time around though, the space called for something different – something lighter. 

 

Old Condo Floors

Red Oak flooring with ebony stain

 

Pro Tip: The Red oak wood species is a great choice if you are looking for a medium to darker tone stain. It is a durable hardwood and stains beautifully.  However, when you try to stain red oak floors lighter, the pink tones are really prominent.

 

New Floors

New floors being installed in the boys’ room.

 

When installing new flooring, I always encourage people to ensure their flooring contractor includes a minimum of 3 onsite stain samples in their bid. Although it may not seem like it, the same exact floor stain can look completely different based on the lighting and batch of wood. For LD projects, these on-site samples are a must.

 

Here’s a peak at the 3 combinations I was trying to decide between:

 

3 Stain Colors

From Left to Right: Bona Birch 100%, Bona Birch/Sand Dune 50/50 mix, Bona Sand Dune 100% — the sample board on top was my original inspiration for color

 

3 Color Stains

Another view of stain colors

 

My favorite stain was the Bona Birch – no question. It was so beautiful, bright and fresh!  Contrary to what you’d expect (and most people have to fight against),  it isn’t always the best choice to go with their favorite stain.   Despite it being the most logical thing to do on the surface, there are almost always other variables to consider.  Here, my hesitation to go with my favorite stemmed from the notion that we plan (I know, I know, plans change) on staying in this home forever, and while you can refinish floors, it is a big investment, alongside it being an incredibly messy proposition.  The thought of trying to live through that messy, dusty upgrade with a family in tow seemed pretty overwhelming. As a result, my gut was telling me to go with a more timeless option.

 

I studied the samples, putting down the other finish selections and walking around the room to get a sense of the different ways the light interacted with the stains… which is a somewhat daunting experience while the whole flooring crew stares at you,  waiting for a decision so they can get on with their lives.

 

In the end, I went with a 50/50 mix of birch and sand dune. It felt like the perfect combination of fresh and bright, while still being warm. This color has great staying power and will go with a variety of colors as the fads cycle through over the life of the home.  Even though birch was my favorite color in the moment, I LOVE the birch/sand dune mix. It is so beautiful with the other finishes I have planned throughout the home. 

 

Final Stain Choice

 

Final Stain Choice

The final stain choice

 

Post-stain, I am so, so happy with the decision.  The contractor paper we had down to protect the floors while the remodel was in full swing,  just came up last week, and I absolutely adore the color.  I love how they turned out.

 

More updates to come.  Stay tuned!

 

A Closer Look into Erica’s Own Gut Rehab (#LugbillLanding on IG)

For those of you following our #lugbilllanding remodel on instagram, I wanted to provide you with a little backstory. 

 

I have built my career and life around creating beautiful spaces through remodeling. I’ve loved a good construction project since buying a fixer upper and rehabbing it as a college student. 

 

I’m addicted to the process and love watching my vision come to life. One of my favorite parts of this process (and my job) is seeing peoples’ faces when they start to see the vision that I have had in my head materialize. It is so very rewarding.

 

Since moving to Chicago 12 years ago, Justin and I have lived at North Beach Lofts – an amazing condo building with around 45 units, a few blocks away from Lake Michigan.  After 5 years of renting, we purchased an amazing space that had the perfect bones for what we wanted.  The day after purchasing, we had the place, minus the kitchen, completely gutted.  Over time, we slowly made it into the perfect condo and have lived there for about 6 years.

 

Two years ago we had our first son, Tucker.  Our second son, Remi, joined us 8 months ago, which led to us being a bit cramped in the 2 bed/2 bath space.  While we adored where we lived, it simply did not have enough space for the bountiful toys that friends and family sent our way.  So, with a sad heart, we decided to start passively looking for a new place.

 

We had been stalking a greystone around the corner from our current condo for over a year (close proximity to our condo was non-negotiable).  We fell in love, which was no small feat given a must have list that included:

 

  • Be located within a few blocks of Lake Michigan and our current condo
  • 3-4 bedrooms
  • Indoor/outdoor flow
  • A decent yard
  • An open floor plan (or the potential for one)
  • The potential for an amazing master suite
  • A pleasing exterior facade
  • The right price point
  • Ample ceiling height
  • Great natural light

 

After seeing the greystone once, we put in a full ask offer that was verbally accepted. We were ecstatic until the owner got cold feet and ended up holding onto the property (and putting it on the market a few more times only to remove it).   Naturally, I was so, so disappointed, as I wasted no time in sketching out my floor plan and designing this property from top to bottom in my head.  

 

Fast forwarding, we were in the thralls of parenthood which led us to enrolling our two year old in swim classes, where we met an amazing realtor who later became our friend.   He casually sent us listings, but nothing ever compared to the greystone we were attached to. 

 

That changed when he sent Justin an off-market listing at the end of 2019.  I’ll never forget Justin sending me a link to #lugbilllanding over gchat.   I think my exact response was “Let’s get in that property, I want to buy it!”. The rest is history!   

 

I’ve put countless hours into every detail of the home, and am so very excited to continue showing it to you over the coming weeks.  Be sure to follow @lugbilldesigns and/or follow #lugbilllanding on Instagram or Facebook to stay up to date.

 

I hope you fall in love with this property and the construction journey as much as we have!

 

Checking out the new house.

2 Year old Design Assistant hard at work.

One final photo in the condo.

Air Plant Care: Help Your Tillandsia Survive

 

Just bought some air plants for your home? Good choice. Also known as tillandsia, these spiky, ball-shaped plants are both charming and incredibly low-maintenance because they can survive without soil! They’re also a lovely addition to any home because of their natural ability to clear air toxins. However, your air plants have to survive in the first place if you want to reap this benefit. For one, air plants actually need more than just air!

Here’s a guide to air plant care, covering everything from lighting to watering to unusual changes in color. Be sure to take note of all the tips for happy air plants in this article!

 

Tillandsia 101: Your Guide to Air Plant Care

 

These quirky plants can sit pretty in open glass balls or seashells. But as hardy as they are, it’s still possible to end up with withered air plants if you don’t know how to care for them. 

How Much Light Does My Air Plant Need?

Air plants basically need to sit in bright, indirect light. Prime locations include windows that face either south or east, the sun shines through most of the day. North-facing windows are also great if they provide unobstructed sunlight. 

On the other hand, western-facing windows can fry your plant because afternoon sunlight can be surprisingly hot.

Lighting Tips for a Happy Air Plant

  • A sunny bathroom is another great place to put an air plant. It naturally takes care of both lighting and watering for you, thanks to sunlight and the humidity from your shower.
  • Generally, a more humid space can help your plant tolerate more light. So if you’re placing your air plant in an especially sunny spot, you’ll need to care for it by misting it more!
  • Want to bring your air plant into your office or basement? Be sure to keep it within 3 feet of a full spectrum (fluorescent) light source so that it can still photosynthesize. Special bulbs like Gro-Lux or Vita-Lite are also suitable here. Also note that your plants will need 12+ hours of light daily.

How Should I Water My Air Plant?

Watering an air plant can admittedly be tricky. Some plant owners even find themselves doing trial-and-error for this aspect of air plant care. But amazingly, your air plant’s leaves can give you hints on the best watering routine!

  • Fuzzy leaves are a sign that your air plant is of the xeric type. These plants can collect and hold a lot of water, as well as tolerate more sun. You’ll only need to water them once or twice a week.
  • Smooth and glossy leaves indicate that your air plant is mesic. That means it’s comfortable with the moisture and shade of a cloud forest. You’ll need to water it a bit more frequently.

After figuring out what kind of air plant you have, you can choose a watering method that works for you and your plants. There are 3 ways to water your air plant, which you can mix and match according to your preferences:

  • Misting – great for plants inside globes or other interesting displays. This method lets you interact a lot with your beloved air plants, too! Depending on the type of air plant you have, you’ll be misting it 3-7 times a week. Try to wet the entire plant.
  • Dunking – ideal for plants that are either freestanding or attached to wood. You can also use this with air plants with dense or curly leaves if you’re having a hard time misting them well. Either briefly dip the whole plant into water or place it under a running faucet. Mesic air plants need to be dunked 2-4 times weekly while xeric plants just need to be dunked once a week.
  • Soaking – best for dry plants that need to be revived after a period of neglect. Submerge the plant in water for 1 to 3 hours. You can do this once a week until the plant is okay again.

Shake out the excess water afterwards and let the plant sit in a well-ventilated place. This ensures that the center of the plant will dry well, preventing rot. 

More Tips for Watering Your Air Plant

  • Water your plants in the morning. This lets your air plants breathe during the evening and dry well in less time.
  • Use room temperature tap water or rainwater on your plants. Do not use softened water, which can hurt your plants with its salt content.
  • Water more frequently if your plant is subject to hot weather, desert climates, air conditioning, or the atmosphere near a heater or fireplace. Water less frequently if you live in cool, cloudy weather.
  • Once a month, you can add a pinch of fertilizer to your water to round out your watering regimen. Use water-soluble fertilizer specified for orchids or tillandsias. Then, either mist or dunk your air plant (soaking it can lead to fertilizer burn). This monthly treat for your air plant can help it blossom and produce pups later on!
  • Thinking of “planting” your tillandsia? Don’t put it in soil or in moss that tends to hold moisture, otherwise it may rot.

Why is My Air Plant Changing Colors?

You may wake up one day and notice that your air plant has begun to take on a different color. It can be worrying at first, because a change of color can easily indicate watering issues. But depending on the color itself, your plant might not be as sick as you thought. Here are a few common colors that air plants can take on:

  • White or Gray. Xeric air plants are naturally whitish or grayish thanks to a coat of trichomes, or little leaf hairs which help your plant retain water. However, if your air plant is supposed to be naturally green, graying can be an early sign of underwatering. This is because its trichomes are becoming more pronounced now that your plant needs water.
  • Yellow. If your air plant’s leaves are yellowing, chances are the plant has been overwatered. Let the air plant dry thoroughly to help it recover. 
  • Brown. This either indicates underwatering or overwatering based on the appearance of the plant’s leaves.
    • Brown and curled: Underwatered
    • Brown and soggy: Overwatered
  • Black. Unfortunately, a black base is a sure indicator of air plant rot.
  • Red, Pink, Violet. If your air plant is taking on these interesting colors, you’ve done a great job! These happy colors indicate a maturing air plant. You may soon see a few vibrant flowers and even little pups or baby plants growing on the sides.

Wait, Air Plants Produce Pups?

That’s right, a mature air plant will produce little pups sooner or later! These baby plants start out tiny but eventually grow into mother plants as well. 

If your air plant is putting out pups, you can safely pull them off the mother plant if they’re ⅓-½ its size. They should come off easily, without too much force. Otherwise it may still be to early for the pups to be removed! It’s also perfectly fine to let the pup mature while still attached to its mother plant, creating an adorable clump.

Keep this guide on hand, and you’ll get the hang of air plant care in no time. You might even end up with a whole bunch of air plants if you’re able to take good care of the pups as well! Enjoy having greener living spaces with the help of these hardy but beautiful plants.

Looking for more indoor plants that you can easily take care of? Take a look at these 18 low maintenance plants and trees for your home.

For more news and trends on interior design, visit our blog regularly.

Finding the Right Wall Sconces: Your Complete Buying Guide

Have you just given your home a makeover with the help of a renowned interior designer? You might be looking for a finishing touch that provides light at the same time. A set of lovely wall sconces may be just what you need!

In essence, a wall sconce consists of a light source affixed to a wall. However, there is a huge variety of wall sconces to match your desired aesthetic. If you want to find the sconces that can complete your home, you’ll need a guide to help you weigh your options.

Here’s an infographic that will surely come in handy. This complete buying guide lists down your options for types, designs, power sources, and lighting configurations for wall sconces. You can have a clearer idea of what kind of wall sconce you’ll be looking for!

 

Finding the Right Wall Sconces

Your Complete Buying Guide for Wall Sconces

From Hard-Wired to Solar: 5 Power Sources for Your Wall Sconces

Where do you plan to place your sconces? Your answer will directly affect your choice of power source. This also works in reverse–the power source can affect the location of your sconces. Read up about the available power sources to prevent any inconvenience down the line!

1. Hard-Wired

These sconces are connected to your home’s internal electrical wiring. They can simply be turned on and off with a light switch. 

Since their wires are hidden inside the wall, hard-wired sconces have a clean look to them. However, this also limits where you can place them.

2. Plug-In

As their name implies, plug-in sconces are powered through outlets instead of being connected directly to internal wiring. This gives them a wider range of possible locations, although you still need to place them near power outlets. They may also look slightly less clean because of their visible wires.

3. Battery Operated

Because they run on batteries, these sconces can be placed virtually anywhere! All you have to do is replace the batteries every now and then. 

Battery operated sconces tend to be cheaper than their hard-wired and plug-in counterparts.

4. Candle

Sconces which use real candles can be placed wherever you want. You just need to switch out the candles whenever they run low. In return, you’ll get a welcoming ambiance for your home.

Some homeowners opt for battery-operated candles, which don’t have to be replaced as much.

5. Solar-Powered

Some outdoor sconces are solar-powered. Aside from adding flexibility to your sconces’ placement, solar power also serves as a renewable source of energy.

 

Up or Down? 3 Essential Lighting Configurations of Wall Sconces

Wall sconces will direct light in a given direction to achieve a certain effect. Because of this, they can be grouped into three different lighting configurations.

    1. Up-Light

  • Directs light upwards
  • Can help make a small room look more spacious
  • Suitable for entryways, living rooms, and hallways

    2. Down-Light

  • Directs light downwards
  • Adds coziness and warmth to expansive spaces
  • Great for bedrooms and large living rooms

    3. All-Around Light

  • Directs light both upwards and downwards
  • Creates a feeling of balance
  • Generally provides more light

 

8 Basic Types of Wall Sconces for Your Home

There are so many ways that home décor brands can interpret “a light affixed to a wall.” This has resulted in different types of sconces, which build off the basic concept for a variety of interesting structures!

1. Armed Sconce

In an armed sconce, the light is attached to an arm which extends from a plate on the wall. Some of these sconces are fixed, while others are foldable and adjustable. Armed sconces are great for offices, bedrooms, and reading nooks.

2. Spotlight Sconce

This specific type of armed sconce directs its light to highlight an object or area. Spotlight sconces often have down-light configurations. There are further subtypes of spotlight sconces, including:

    • Picture Lights. With a long, slender light source, this sconce is specifically used to illuminate artwork on display in your home. 
    • Sign Lights. These armed sconces light up wider areas, like signs or murals. 

3. Flush Mount Sconce

This sconce is directly mounted flush with the wall, seemingly washing it with light. Flush mount sconces have a compact, low-profile look to them. They are ideal for accent lighting.

4. Half-Moon Sconce

This specific kind of flush mount sconce features a light source surrounded by a half-bowl. Look hard enough and you’ll find half-moon sconces that are as minimalist or as ornate as you wish.

5. Wallchiere

A blend of the “wall lamp” and “torchiere,” the wallchiere is tall and slender with unique decorative elements. They direct light upward like torchieres while conserving floor spaces. Wallchieres are a prime choice for opulent displays.

6. Recessed Sconce

These sconces seem to radiate light from within the wall! All recessed sconces are hard-wired, which means homeowners may need to be creative about their placement.

7. Corner Wall Sconces

Corner wall sconces are designed to fit into the corners of a room. Aside from that, they can cross over with any of the previous types.

8. Candle Sconce

These sconces can either be wall-mounted candle holders or electric/battery-powered light sources that look like candle holders. The bulbs of imitation candles may take more time to replace, but they’re still relatively easy to find at hardware stores near you.

Candle sconces have been around for centuries, way before gas lamps and electric lighting were invented. 

TIP: The location of your wall sconces should also influence the type of sconce you choose. For example, a spotlight sconce may cast undesirable shadows if installed beside a vanity mirror. Flush mount or recessed sconces are more suitable in this case.

 

5 Types of Outdoor Wall Sconces to Light Up Your Yard

Think your porch, garden, or backyard could use some decorative lighting as well? It’s a good thing there are wall sconces designed specifically for the outdoors! Here are 5 common types for you to choose from.

1. Lantern-Style Sconce

Welcome your visitors with a pair of these sconces mounted beside your front door! You’ll usually find them in traditional or rustic designs.

2. Barn Light Sconce

These are a bit more casual than lantern-style sconces. You can find green, white, and even bright red barn light sconces for a pop of color.

3. Floodlight-Style Sconce

Thanks to their broad and focused beams, floodlights are great for providing ample outdoor lighting. In addition, many of them use long-lasting, eco-friendly, and energy-efficient LED light bulbs.

4. Bulkhead Sconce

The durable geometric design of bulkhead sconces builds more on function than form. However, these lights can still add some nautical charm to your home!

5. Motion Sensor Sconce

These sconces only light up when they sense someone nearby, which can help you save on energy. They’re often built in floodlight-style designs for ample lighting. Motion sensor sconces can also offer security by alerting you to movement in a particular area of your property. 

 

5 Different Kinds of Wall Sconce Designs for Any Aesthetic

If you look hard enough, you can find wall sconces that perfectly match the look and feel of your home. It still helps to know the general design that you’re looking for, however! Here are the 5 common designs you’ll encounter while browsing or window shopping for wall sconces.

    1. Contemporary

  • Showcases a sleek, contemporary look
  • Mostly flush mounted or armed, though you can definitely find other types of sconces with a contemporary design as well
  • Usually features silver tones and may even be made of stainless steel

    2. Traditional

  • More ornate and formal with more ornamental details
  • Can add a touch of luxury to your home
  • Great for houses that have a traditional or antique feel

    3. Transitional

  • Sits comfortably between contemporary and traditional
  • Combines minimalist details with contemporary shapes
  • Can match almost any other type of décor

    4. Cottage Style

  • Features homey design elements
  • Often come in light neutral or pastel hues
  • Great for homes with a warm country look

    5. Rustic

  • Dark colors and animal motifs
  • Perfect for a log cabin aesthetic
  • Can add character to any home

The right wall sconces are a surefire way to provide perfect lighting and extra flair. Bookmark this buying guide, and you can have an easier time finding the best wall sconces for your home!

Think you’ll find this buying guide helpful? Visit our blog for even more useful tips on interior design.

12 Zero-Waste Essentials for Your Modern Kitchen

 

While it’s important to take steps to avoid food wastage, food is far from the only waste your kitchen can produce. Look back on every time you crumpled up some cling wrap, tossed a wad of paper napkins into the trash, or threw out a plastic bag. Now, try to imagine how much waste that has built up to after a full year. Not a small amount, is it?

Fortunately, it’s not too late to make the necessary changes if you really want to achieve a zero-waste kitchen. Just take note of the 12 zero-waste essentials listed below!

 

12 Essentials to Complete Your Zero-Waste Kitchen

 

1. Cloth Napkins

Did you know that the average American uses up 2,200 paper napkins a year? Cloth napkins might seem more expensive at first, but they’ll help you cut costs in the long run. You just have to wash them when they get soiled, and they’re good to go. Aim for cloth napkins that don’t come in plastic packaging!

TIP: Go for dark-colored napkins and patterns. The colors and prints draw attention away from the stains that your napkins will eventually accumulate.

2. Dish Brushes

Disposable commercial sponges come in plastic packaging, accumulate bacteria, and gradually become discolored and smelly. Instead of buying sponge after sponge, switch to bristled brushes to scrub your dishes clean.

It helps to find wooden brushes that you can compost once they’re past their usable life span. Some brushes, like this one from the Package Free Shop, have replaceable and compostable heads.

3. Glass Spray Bottles

DIY cleaning solutions will be right at home inside a glass spray bottle. Some zero-waste homeowners keep two bottles around, one for homemade cleaner and the other for tap water.

4. Mason Jars

They’re functional, they’re portable, and they’re a charming sight on modern kitchen shelves. No wonder mason jars are so popular among zero-waste homeowners. Some people fill them with juices and smoothies while others use them for soups and oatmeal on the go.

Looking for some variety or a bit of European charm? Weck jars are Europe’s answer to the mason jar, and they’re just as stylish and practical.

5. Stainless Steel Funnels

Funnels make it much easier to transfer food from bulk containers to jars or small tubs without any messes. After all, a zero-waste lifestyle ought to be a zero-spill lifestyle as well. As a bonus, stainless steel funnels won’t crack or break like their plastic counterparts.

6. Beeswax Wrap

Did you know that traditional cling wrap can leach Bisphenol-A and other toxic chemicals onto your food? Reusable beeswax wrap is far safer and better for the environment. Just remember to wash it with biodegradable soap in cold water so that the wax doesn’t melt off.

Some brands such as Bee’s Wrap offer different sizes for all your zero-waste kitchen wrapping needs. It even supplies specialty beeswax wraps for bread and cheese!

7. Organic Cotton Coffee Filters

Say goodbye to plastic-wrapped disposable coffee filters! Reusable filters made of organic cotton are surprisingly easy to wash, and they’re perfectly compostable.

To start you off, a pack of CoffeeSocks can replace 500 disposable filters. There are varieties for hot brew and cold brew, as well as commercial-sized filters for shops!

8. Reusable Cloth Bags

Cloth bags are as versatile as they are varied. Use them to store food in pantries, pack for picnics, or opt out of plastic bags when doing groceries. They also come in a wide range of eye-catching prints and designs.

9. Eco-Friendly Sandwich Bags

There will come a time when you need to throw together a sandwich and eat it on the go. If you used to stock your kitchen with plastic sandwich bags, switch them out for pouches made of quick-drying cloth or silicon. These can be washed and reused, even if you’ve gotten mayonnaise all over the inside!

You can also opt for disposable bags made of unwaxed paper, which can be recycled or composted. Lunchskins’ paper sandwich bags stand out for being sealable and featuring simple but colorful designs.

10. Bandanas and Rags

Bandanas and rags are a great zero-waste swap for traditional paper towels. Use them to dry your hands, wipe up messes, or wrap up food without having to deal with a disposable wad of soiled paper afterwards.

11. Sustainable Kitchenware

Buying zero-waste kitchenware made from wood or bamboo can be more than a stylistic choice. These materials are far better for the environment than plastic, especially when the source material is harvested responsibly. You might also be surprised at how flexible wood and bamboo can be. Bambu’s selection of kitchen essentials ranges from spatulas to tongs to cutting boards and condiment cups.

12. Reusable Coffee Cups

You want to take your morning coffee with you, but you don’t want it to leak onto the inside of your bag. Reusable coffee cups are the answer you’re looking for. The best ones combine style, durability, insulation, and resistance to leaks.

The benefits of reusable coffee cups extend beyond the kitchen, too! As an eco-friendly plus, some coffee shops offer discounts to customers who have their drinks poured into their reusable cups.

A sustainable set of zero-waste essentials is the perfect finishing touch for a modern kitchen. Remember these 12 essentials, and you’ll be on your way to a kitchen that is both stylish and sustainable.

Visit our blog regularly for more posts about zero-waste kitchens and sustainable living.

Inside the Most Beautiful Celebrity Homes of 2018

At least once in your life, you sure dreamed of living in a mansion. It is for this reason why you look up to celebrities who live the life of your dreams with their lavish residences everyone desires of taking a look inside.

Wondering how it feels like to live in the homes of famous celebrities? In this article, we enumerated the most beautiful homes with luxurious interior design details that are all  worthy to be an inspiration to upgrade your home decor.

1. John Legend’s Manhattan Apartment

When John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen were in search of a home in New York, they were led to a loft-like one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. The place that was already an embodiment of opulence, warmth and character was further improved by interior designer Don Stewart, converting the space into an industrial-inspired refuge for the couple.

2. Marc Jacobs’ New York Townhouse

Although the four-story pad of Marc Jacobs is as impressive as one might expect from the fashion mogul, it still is a lot less outré in contrast to his fashion style. An equal display of casual and traditional, the townhouse is decked out in a 1970s-inspired interior design that is reflected in the warm earth tones and fine art collection that line the walls.

3. Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen’s LA Sustainable Home

The Los Angeles home of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen is a perfect picture of chic and laidback interior design. But, more significantly, it is also a case of an eco-friendly home. When building their home, the couple made sure to make it as sustainable as possible.

4. Ellen DeGeneres’ Beverly Hills Home

A single-story house previously owned by late actor Laurence Harvey, the California house of host-comedienne Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi was renovated by a team of interior designers so it reflects the bold and playful personality of the two. However, given their history of listing properties in the market, it seems this house will soon follow suit.

5. Jennifer Aniston’s Beverly Hills House

The home, which the American actress refers to as Ohana (which means extended family in the Hawaiian culture), takes after a midcentury interior design and carries a Bali-inspired feel. It was designed by architect Harold W. Levitt in 1970 and went under renovation the actress took on her own with the help of designer Stephen Shadley.

ALSO READ: Top 20 Chicago Celebrity Houses

6. Adam Levine’s Hollywood Hills Home

The Maroon 5 frontman has a restored 1940 home that encompasses a midcentury style. As one can assume, it also portrays his taste for music that is evident in a wide collection of instruments and as well as the three Grammy awards the American band has won. It also boasts a terrace that overlooks a swimming pool, lined with towering palm trees.

7. Pharrell Williams’ Miami Penthouse

The two-story penthouse apartment of the All of Me singer is bursting with an extensive collection of furniture pieces and an assortment of pop art items. But, what truly highlights the home is its spiral staircase that leads up to a translucent dome, which offers a 360-degree view of the city skyline. The lavish home was already sold in 2016.

8. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Palm Springs Estate

A gem in the Palm Springs, the single-story home of Leonardo Dicaprio showcases midcentury-modern inspired interiors. It was designed by the celebrated architect, Donald Wexler – who introduced the steel post and beam design – for singer/actress Dinah Shore in 1964. The best part is, you can rent the Palm Spring home for $4,500 a night.

9. Reese Witherspoon’ Ojai Home

Actress Reese Witherspoon may be most recognized for her Oscar-winning roles, but what really made her stand out is her loyalty to her Southern roots.  When it came to renovating her 1923 home, the actress made sure that it portrays her style through and through – from the impeccable interior design and elements that pay to her Southern heritage.

10. Taylor Swift’s Historic California Estate

Regarded as one of the great estates in Beverly Hills, the mid-century modern estate of Taylor Swift was once owned by one of the most recognized film producers in Hollywood, Samuel Goldwyn. The 1934 property is admired for its white beam ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass that lends the house a bright and airy feel.

When it comes to giving your home a timely update, you need not look any further than these beautiful celebrity homes. Now, you can picture yourself residing in a sanctuary as beautiful as that of your much-loved stars.

Do you have anything to add to this list? Let us know by commenting below.

How to Pull Off a Minimalist Interior Design for Your Home

Dreaming of a minimalist interior design for your home without stripping off its character?

In this article, you will be guided on how to pull off a minimalist interior design that will make your home look calm, refreshing, and absolutely beautiful.

What is a Minimalist Interior Design?

This is a decorating style that practices restraint while allowing space, lighting, and objects to come into play. For a minimalist interior design, you are actually limiting your options to your bare essentials to achieve a bold, sophisticated, and highly remarkable transformation in your space.

8 Tips to Achieve a Minimalist Interior Design

1. Maintain a Restrained Color Palette

Use colors from the same color family while using neutrals such as white, light grey and pastels to create combinations that won’t go out of place.

2. Add Texture

A minimalist home is not just about maintaining a clean color palette. You also have to maintain a smooth and slick look that is far from boring. How to do that? By adding textures that can effectively break a monotonous look.

What You’ll Need?

Find linens, wools, and textiles that you can use to accessorize your space and make your home look more inviting.

3. Use Simple Lines and Shapes

One feature of a minimalist interior design is clean lines and curves. Furniture with ornate detailing is to be avoided. Instead, choose accents with designs that allow the eyes to move with ease.

4. Add Decorations and Accents

Some people may think that you can’t use decorative elements to achieve a minimalist look for your home, but the truth is you can! One thing to keep in mind is to ensure that decorative elements are merely used as accents and not to overwhelm your space.

TIP:

Identify one focal point instead of a group of small ones that will only cause a distraction. If you are designing centerpieces, go for smaller collections from the same family to maintain a solid look.

5. Create Empty Spaces

Empty space is an essential element in a minimalist interior design. Remember, space can define the look as it interacts with the objects in your room. It also plays a role in keeping visual balance and amplifying the existence of the furniture you put in your home.

6. Make Room for Arts and Plants

Adding life to your space can be done through arts and plants. These elements add personality and allow you to make a statement while maintaining a simple and quiet look that is typical of a minimalist interior design.

Interesting Fact:

Plants work well with any color scheme. It blends well with any theme without necessarily competing with other colors.

7. Declutter

Getting rid of the clutter in your home is a step to becoming a minimalist. Stick to your essentials and get rid of the things that you no longer need. Along with that is the need to rearrange. Change your displays and go for well-chosen elements that work well with your theme.

8. Let the Light In

You’ll realize how bare windows work for a minimalist interior design once you see how it adds beauty and character to your decors. It would be best to leave the windows bare to allow the light to enter your space. If you can’t compromise your privacy for added light, you can opt for thin curtains, blinds or laser cut privacy screens that can also provide distinct styling.

 

There are ways to make a minimalist interior design work for your home. With the above-mentioned tips, you’re on your way to achieving a clean, modern and sophisticated space that you’d love coming home to.

 

Need help with interior design? Seek the help of expert our Chicago interior designer, Erica Lugbill.

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18 Low Maintenance Indoor Plants & Trees for Your Home

Are you looking for functional home decorations? Search no further. The best home decoration that can provide you with great benefits could be the plants or trees that are just waiting to find a space inside your home.

Indoor plants not only brighten up and beautify spaces, research already proved the significant role of plants in reducing stress levels, clearing air toxins, enhancing concentration, boosting mood, and lowering the risk for illnesses. With well-placed indoor plants, you can create an aesthetically pleasing interior design, plus a host of benefits!

Want to know what plants can be used for your home? Read on to know your options from the list of low maintenance indoor plants and trees that we have collated for you.

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe grows easily in a pot and can thrive on your desk or bedside table with only minimal care. It is popular for its many uses including providing a soothing gel for cuts and burns.

Proper Care: Keep the plant where it can get indirect light. It only requires occasional watering for about every week or two and can live for a long time without water.

2. Grape Ivy

Grape ivy is a vine with tendrils that readily cling to a surface or trellis. Its shiny, deep green leaves resemble those of grapes, only much smaller.

Proper Care: Allow the soil of grape ivy to dry slightly between waterings. It’s best to set up a framework for the plant to climb on before it becomes too large.

3. Hoya

Other Names: Porcelain Flower, Wax Plant

Hoya or wax plant has waxy foliage and beautiful flowers that are often powerfully fragrant. It is a versatile interior accent that can be climbing or trailing to 4 feet or more.

Proper Care: Hoya requires low watering and can thrive under medium to bright light. Allow the surface to dry between waterings.

4. Bromeliad

Bromeliad

Bromeliad easily adapts to regular home conditions and lasts a long time. It is a beautiful foliage plant that adds an exotic touch to your home with its strappy leaves that come in a variety of colors.

Proper Care: Bromeliad prefers shallow pots with non-soil organic items such as orchid mix (usually a blend of bark and sphagnum moss). It requires bright light and occasional watering.

5. Inch Plant

Other Name: Wandering Jew

Inch plant is a flowering houseplant that is also called wandering Jew or purple heart. It has stunning trailing vines with zebra patterned foliage and can grow in a pot or hanging basket.

Proper Care: Inch plant can grow in dim light, however, the beautiful markings on the foliage will fade. Keep it watered but allow the top surface of its soil to dry out between waterings.

6. Jade Plant

Other Names: Friendship Tree, Lucky Tree, Money Tree, Dollar Plant

Jade is a low-maintenance succulent houseplant that has thick, oval leaves with thick stalks and often produces small pink or white flowers.

Proper Care: Jade plant prefers bright light and ordinary room temperatures. It doesn’t require a lot of water so it only needs soil that is somewhat dry.

7. Calathea

Calathea

Other Names: Peacock Plant, Zebra Plant, Rattlesnake Plant

Calathea often called as peacock plant is prized for its attractively mottled leaves. Its foliage that comes in a variety of purple, green pink or red, makes a handsome addition in your home.

Proper Care: For the best foliage, keep calathea moist but not drenched and avoid bright lighting. It can be grown outdoors in warm, frost-free climates.

8. Kalanchoe

Other Names: Flaming Katy, Christmas kalanchoe, Florist kalanchoe, Madagascar Widow’s-thrill

Kalanchoe is a tropical succulent water-retaining plant that grows colorful, bell-shaped flowers. It requires very little care that it even welcomes dry climates and temperature swings.

Proper Care: Water Kalanchoe only when the top inch of the soil is already dry or about once a week.

9. Norfolk Island Pine

Other Name: A. Excelsa

Norfolk Island Pine makes a great houseplant that usually grows to 10 feet indoors. Its soft texture creates a cozy feeling to any room and makes a great Christmas tree for decorating during the holidays.

Proper Care: This pine loves ample light and humidity. In low light, its lower branches may turn brown and fall off. On the other hand, if the air is too dry, it can be infested with spider mites.

10. Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia

Other Name: Dumbcane

Dieffenbachia provides a tropical-looking accent to home décor with its leaves that can grow up to a foot long. It grows well in shade, which makes it ideal for a house that doesn’t get direct sunlight.

Proper Care: Keep its soil evenly moist and well drained. It thrives in normal room temperature with medium or low lighting conditions.

11. Peace Lily

Other Name: Spath

Peace lily looks elegant with its graceful curving white blooms and dark leaves. Its ability to grow easily and filter toxins from the air makes it a valuable indoor plant.

Proper Care: Peace lily favors low humidity, low light, and moist soil. It can thrive even in rooms with few windows like the bathroom.

12. Rubber Plant

Other names: Rubber Bush, Rubber Tree

Rubber plant gives a major pop of greenery in a room, with its dark leaves having an attractive shine to them. It can measure over 100 feet tall, but regular pruning can keep it as a shrub.

Proper Care: Rubber plant thrives in medium to bright lighting condition. Allow the surface of its soil to dry out before watering.

13. English Ivy

English Ivy

Other Names: Ivy, European Ivy

English ivy is an evergreen perennial that makes a wonderful trailing plant, climbing plant and indoor topiary. Aside from its elegant long trails, it is also known for removing mold spores from your indoor air.

Proper Care: Like most ivies, English ivy likes moist, fertilized soil and cool room temperature conditions.

Note: Keeping an ivy may be dangerous as all its part are poisonous if eaten or chewed by pets or children.

14. Snake Plant

Other names: Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, Snake Plant, Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Saint George’s Sword

Snake plant also goes by the name mother-in-law’s tongue with leaves that are typically tall, stiff and vertical. It is extremely drought-resistant that it can go for a month without water.

Proper Care: Snake plant grows well in any lighting conditions. It requires little air and watering that it’s better to allow the soil to dry before watering again.

15. Umbrella Tree

Other name: Octopus Tree

Umbrella tree is a tropical tree with long oval-shaped leaves that grow on a delicate stem. It becomes a low-maintenance tree when grown indoors that’s why it is a common sight in both homes and offices.

Proper Care: Keep umbrella tree on a bright spot of your space where it receives indirect sun. Avoid excessive watering.

16. Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Image Source: Flickr by Emily May

Fiddle leaf fig is a classy looking indoor tree with a large leathery foliage and height that creates a statement in a space. It can grow too tall but you can always prune its stems back to the desired height.

Proper Care: Keep the fig tree in bright, indirect light. It only needs water when the top inch of soil is already dry.

17. Weeping Fig

Other name: Benjamin Fig or Ficus Tree

Weeping fig is a popular indoor tree that produces quantities of shiny green leaves on delicate drooping branches. It is often sold in stores braided to form one spectacular trunk and can grow up to 15 feet tall indoors.

Proper Care: Weeping fig, prefers bright indirect light. It has the tendency to drop leaves when moved to a different location but will recover through time.

18. ZZ Plant

Other Name: Eternity Plant

ZZ plant earned the name ‘eternity plant’ because it is nearly indestructible. It has green, shiny foliage with thick fleshy leafstalks that are so durable it can survive drought, low light, and even low humidity.

Proper Care: ZZ plant thrives in almost any lighting condition and doesn’t require much watering that you can allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Warning: This plant is poisonous if eaten or chewed by children or pets.

 

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