Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sabores (Tango) Sara Baras

Sara Baras en Sabores-Zambra

Sara Baras is one of my favorite flamenco dancers...enjoy!

New Concept House Plans Unveiled!

Simply Elegant Home Designs has added a new Concept Plans gallery page at Concept Plans and Custom Home Design.  The page has a flash gallery of home designs that we have started, but are just waiting for the right client to fully develop.  These concept plans basically represent a starting point towards the design of a new custom home.

A shingled cottage home design that could serve as a great mountain cabin plan or beach house.  

A modern cottage with an open floor plan and a beautiful front porch.  The roof lines are simple, yet dramatic.

A mountain lodge with wrap around porch!

Simple yet unique farmhouse plan with a wrap around porch and a main floor master bedroom.  Classic Midwest Living

An elegant cottage home design with a welcoming front porch.
You can check out more of the gallery at  Concept Plans and Custom Home Design

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Magnolia Pearl

Many of you gypsy girls, I'm sure, have heard of the uber-talented Magnolia Pearl (aka Robin Pearl Brown).  She is the founder and creative spirit behind a business that focuses on bohemian-inspired fashion and home decor.  If I got to choose a "designer" to work some decorative magic on my cottage, it would be this talented lady!  Check her out:  Magnolia Pearl


Modern Cottage House Plan Update - The Afton

Simply Elegant Home Designs has updated the design of our Modern Cottage House Plan - The Afton.  We liked the old design for it's modern simplicity, but wanted to provide a fresh version for those with a bit more traditional sensibilities.  I've highlighted some of the changes below.

Here is our previous design.  Nice - so we just wanted to add a few touches to make it a bit more traditional.

The new front elevation.  We added a an "eyebrow roof" above the wrap around porch, added muntins to the windows and changed the color tones of the exterior.  These changes give the home design a more soothing feeling and give it more of a beach cottage aesthetic.  By the way you can check out an exterior animation at Modern Cottage Exterior Video
View from rear yard.  We added a wrap around porch that connects to the screen porch.  This is a great home plan for outdoor living

Interior image from dining area through kitchen to living room.  We updated materials and color tones.   And we have added a great video that walks you through the main floor spaces.  You can check that out at Modern Cottage Interior Video
 All in all I think you can see that a few subtle changes can make a significant difference in a home design.  So let us know if you think.  Do you like the "before" or the "after"?

By the way - you can see more information on this plan at Modern Cottage House Plan! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Home Design Ideas - Crazy with Tile!

I recently ran into a photo of a simple bathroom design that I wanted to share with you.  It's a really skinny, small, simple, unique and fantastic powder room within a 1910 Georgian Mansion in San Francisco.  Check it out below.
This powder room is a contrast of the very modern and the very ornate.  It starts off as a very spare space with almost awkward proportions.  Add to that the modern wood vanity, vessel sink and faucet.  This is contrasted by the "crazy" - but well designed tile pattern, reinforced by the stained glass window and the ornate mirror. 
Detail view of the tile pattern.  I cannot imagine the man-hours that went into this.   But you have to admit it's very cool.
All in all a very quirky but beautiful powder room.  So todays lesson is this:
  1. Keep it simple but pay attention to the details.
  2. A contrast of styles can be very dramatic.

If you want to learn more about this bathroom you can check out the link where I found it:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Home Design Ideas - Drop the Ceiling!

My design philosophy is all about getting big design impact from simple ideas.  After all good design ought not to be expensive.  So here is a simple trick that I have been using for years - "Drop the Ceiling".  Take a look at the examples below and I think you will agree.  Simple Idea - Big Impact!

Here I added a gypsum board "bulkhead" to help define the spaces on either side of the kitchen.  Making the walls extra thick allowed space for ductwork in this otherwise wide open floor plan.
This home design offered for sale at Deephaven Modern Cottage
Here is the same bulkhead idea as seen from the dining area.
This home design offered for sale at Deephaven Modern Cottage

In this home I again utilized the dropped ceiling theme to define the space between kitchen and dining.  Here the client wanted a little more segregation of the spaces, so we crafted a beautiful buffet cabinet and anchored it at the bulkhead.

Here you can see a subtle drop in ceiling above the foyer.  The crown molding and color tone differences help to emphasize the edges of the space.
This home design offered for sale at Lakeland Cape Cod

Similar to above we positioned dropped "soffits"along the circulation lines between rooms.  Simple gypsum board "columns" marked the corners of the spaces.  We took advantage of the soffits by placing the main ductwork runs within.
This home design offered for sale at Apple Valley Foursquare

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Walls that Speak

Displaying art is an art unto itself.  I adore my little gypsy cottage, but with all its funky angles and corners, hanging art can be a challenge, so I've sort of avoided it - but, my art needs to come out of the closet!  It takes a good eye and finesse to pull off looks like the ones below.  I'm inspired to get out the hammer this weekend...


Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Unique Ranch Plan

Simply Elegant is now offering a new unique ranch house plan.  The "Somerset Ranch" offers a modern open floor plan, a main floor master suite and a generous front entry porch.  This modern Ranch with it's clean lines and careful attention to detail is definitely not your parents Rambler.  Check it out!

View of Entry Court.  Dormers filter natural light down into the vaulted living room and master bedroom spaces.
Nicely organized floor plan - a hallmark of Simply Elegant Home Designs.  Three additional bedrooms are located on the walkout basement floor.  This layout is ideally suited to "empty nesters" or families with tweens.

Front Elevation - Careful attention to proportions.  Clean and simple lines.  Also notice the transparency through the windows.  
Left Side Elevation.  Designed for a walkout lot.  The stone base wraps the entire footprint.

Rear Elevation - Abundant glass to take advantage of rear yard views.  The screen porch is smartly placed to the side so as not to obstruct.

All in all a very New and Unique Ranch House Plan available from Simply Elegant Home Designs.

Friday, January 7, 2011 do I love thee?

I've been fighting a losing battle with a tenacious cold virus, and I've been especially grateful for tea these past few days.  Few things comfort like tea, whether you're sick or not.  From a cup of spicy chai to a perky green to the soothing herbals like chamomile, it's all good.  My favorite place to buy tea is Teavana   If you're fortunate enough to live near one of their retail stores, by all means's a treat for the senses.  If not, you can rest assured if you order online that you will not be disappointed.  You can also purchase tea accessories like brew pots and beautiful collectible tea sets like the ones pictured below.  Think I'll go brew a cup right's to good health!  xx

Green House Plans Gone Wild!

Green is the big thing now in the design world and the house plans business.  I recently ran across these images of Icelandic houses that definitely take green to the next level of meaning.  Check them out below.

I love the repeating simple gable roof forms.
Grass grows nicely in Iceland.  Remember Iceland is green and Greenland is white.
The details exhibit a strong Scandinavian design influence.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Plum Crazy

It's no secret that I love color.  Rich, deep, saturated, glorious color.  Though my favorite is burgundy, lately I've been a tad obsessed with plum.  My bedroom windows are draped in sari fabric and burgundy velvet curtains, and I've been thinking a plum accent wall would be fabulous.  Add some candle wall sconces, and voila - instant romance!  Might be getting out the paintbrushes soon...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Architects Have Great Tools - Color Visualizer

Every once in a while I like to give you an example of the tools I use in my business.  One of these tools is the
Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer.  I use it to perform quick color studies; which helps me to narrow concepts down pretty quickly.

The tool is pretty simple to use.  You just choose from one of their preloaded exterior architectural styles; then you paint the scene with colors that you choose from the Sherwin Williams palette.  Below is one set of color studies I performed in less than five minutes.

When it's time to repaint your house you might give this tool a try.  You can find it at Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer.  

One important note:  Please put a good size sample up on your wall before you make a final commitment to your colors.  One additional step I do at Ron Brenner Architects and Simply Elegant Home Designs is to take my colors and apply them to my 3d house model.  You can see an example of that at Architects Have Great Tools!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

comfort food

January.  In my part of the world, it's the coldest month of the year, when my thoughts turn to warm comfort food!  I love one-pot meals. Tonight I'm going to make this delicious West African inspired chicken peanut stew...with a side of crusty bread and a nice spinach salad, I think I'll be a happy girl!  Find the recipe ~here~

What are your favorite winter comfort foods??
Happy New Year everyone!