Houses 2015: Fixtures and Materials
Great finds inspired by our best houses
The work of Danish designer Finn Juhl is the inspiration behind the colorful Unson Credenza from Joybird Furniture. The California-based manufacturer of midcentury wood and upholstered furniture launched its own lines last year after building a business manufacturing for other retailers. Its products include tables, shelving, upholstered pieces, clocks, and lighting, many echoing familiar profiles associated with the 1950s and ’60s. Built in Mexico of hardwood plywood with a European beech or walnut veneer, the sliding-door Unson comes in a variety of color gradients and retails for $3499. —D.J.S.
A Nod to Nostalgia
More than in other years, it seemed that the past was present in our award-winning homes. Our best remodel, best traditional home, and even best new home all share a sense of style rooted in times gone by. Not surprisingly, we didn’t have to look far for fixtures and furnishings that share the same sensibility.
Bright Spot on the Barn
Hayloft interior barn doors, a new collaboration between the Real Carriage Door Company and wood-surfaces manufacturer Timeline, offer a reclaimed-wood look without the use of antique wood. Available in 10 different board patterns and five striking colors—Tomato Peel, Blue Chalk, New Orange, White White, and Black Black—the doors are made in Washington State using sustainably harvested wood and low-VOC finishes. Meant to be paired with the company’s sliding-door hardware, the 1-1⁄2-in.-thick doors are available in widths from 30 in. to 60 in. and heights from 81 in. to 97 in. Prices start at $820. —D.J.S.
Latch Onto This
If your period home requires more authenticity than you can get from a typical home-center doorknob, consider the very cool, handmade Strike Bar Latches from Hardware Renaissance. Available in two dozen bronze and iron finishes for both interior and exterior applications, the latches look right at home on historic houses as well as more modern projects that use salvaged materials. Prices start at $622 for an interior-passage (nonlocking) version. —P.M.
Remains of the Day
Armstrong’s new Architectural Remnants laminate comes a step closer to an authentic reclaimed-wood look by combining boards of multiple species in random widths with an embossed-in-register surface. The laminate has a 50-year residential warranty and incorporates Armstrong’s VisionGuard wear surface coating to protect it from staining, fading, and wear through. Its proprietary solidcore construction makes the floor feel a bit more like hardwood. Prices range from $4 to $6 per sq. ft. —D.J.S.
In designing a microwave for his retro-appliance line, Big Chill founder Orion Creamer drew on the look of a 1950s television set. Inside, though, the 1200w appliance is fully up-to-date, with a glass turntable, sensor cooking, and settings for reheat, popcorn, and defrost. It’s available in eight standard colors or 200 custom hues; legs are optional. Priced at $595, it’s available online. —D.J.S.
Smart and Sustainable
While our best energy-smart home epitomizes an earth-friendly approach to design, sustainability is a recurring theme in all the best homes we see today. Even more encouraging is that environmentally conscious products are becoming less the exception and more the rule. And that’s only part of their appeal.
Indow is a Portland, Ore., maker of friction-fit interior window inserts that allow homeowners to reduce heating and cooling costs without detracting from the look of their house’s original windows. Edged with a patented “compression tube,” the thermal acrylic sheets install inside interior window frames without hardware. What’s more, they’re said to reduce outside noise by up to 50%. The inserts are available in three tubing colors and six glazing grades, from UV-blocking museum grade to light-diffusing privacy grade. Custom-sized, they’re sold through independent, factory-authorized dealers (the company takes direct orders where no dealers are available). Prices range from $20 to $34 per sq. ft. —M.L.
Pants on Panels
Find it hard to part with your favorite pair of old jeans? It’s a sentiment the sustainability experts at TorZo might understand. The Oregonbased company infuses fabric scraps consisting of 80% postindustrial recycled denim with a nontoxic acrylic resin and applies it to a Baltic-birch plywood backer to create panels for use on walls and tabletops. Not surprisingly, it’s called Denim. Denim is a NAUF product (no added urea formaldehyde) and can contribute to LEED certification in several categories. Available in 2-ft. by 4-ft. panels at $40 per sq. ft., Denim is available in standard blue only. —M.L.
Hook & Loom specializes in earth-friendly rugs made of undyed wool or their own “ecocotton” fibers derived from waste clothing that is shredded, sorted by color, and respun into “new” yarn. The rugs are hand-woven or machine-loomed in Haryana, India. They contain no chemical dyes or latex, and they come in a variety of striped, speckled, and geometric patterns, some of which are reversible. Standard sizes range from 2×3 to 8×11. A 5×8 eco-cotton rug will run you $165 (flat woven) or $320 (loomed); comparably sized (6×9) wool rugs cost $525. —D.J.S.
Taking the Heat
This year, clothes dryers became the last major home appliance to be included in the EPA’s Energy Star program, with those earning the Energy Star rating reducing energy use by 20% over previous models. Whirlpool’s electric HybridCare Ventless Duet heat-pump dryer goes even further, reducing energy demand by another 40% while also eliminating the need for venting. Rather than expelling hot, moist air, the 7.3-cu.-ft.-capacity dryer uses a refrigeration system to dry and recycle it; the water is released through the washer drain. The ventless design allows the dryer to be installed anywhere, an attractive feature for apartment dwellers. Drying modes include speed, eco, and balanced; drying times average 60 minutes. Available from appliance dealers and home centers, the dryer has a base price of $1799 (white). —D.J.S.
You don’t have to look hard these days for high-visual-impact ceramic tile, but I did a double take when I saw Oregon-based Clayhaus Ceramics’ midcentury-inspired geometrics. You’ve got to admire that these tiles are made from scratch—from the clay extrusion to the glazes, it’s all done by hand—and their 72-hue color palette has the spectrum covered. Altogether, Clayhaus offers tiles in more than two dozen shapes and sizes, with the mosaics starting at $36 per sq. ft. —M.L.
The folding hooks of the Piano coat rack are there when you need them—and they’re not when you don’t. Available from Resource Furniture, the versatile wall rack comes in two widths (15-1/2 in. and 32 in.) and is made to order in Belgium with a lead time of 12 to 16 weeks. Finish options include walnut, oak, oak-lacquered black, and beech-lacquered white (lacquers are water-based and nontoxic). Prices start at $1972. —D.J.S.
AdapTable captures the focus on flexibility that is the mainstay of newly minted Avandi Studio. The triangular tables in this series can be used separately as side tables or grouped to provide a larger surface. Tops are made of walnut, maple, soapstone, or Calcutta marble; the colorful legs are powder-coated steel and come in 16-in. or 18-in. lengths. Made in Brooklyn with a lead time of four to six weeks, these tables start at $450. —D.J.S.
As evident in our featured homes, the popularity of the pendant light and its oversize cousin, the pendalier, remains undimmed. Here’s a selection of some of our favorite handcrafted lights.
The techniques used by the independent glass-design studio Hennepin may be old, but its new Parallel Series of pendant lights have a decidedly modern air. Made of hand-blown glass in Hennepin’s Minneapolis studio and fitted to spun aluminum bases sourced from local craftsmen, the pendants are made to order with a lead time of four to five weeks. Shapes range from cylinders to spheres, canisters, teardrops, and orbs, with glass colors that include tea, smoke, sapphire, ruby, olive, crystal, and bronze. Metal tops come in champagne or dark bronze. Prices start at $389. —D.J.S.
Design Out of the Box
Handcrafted from recycled cardboard, Scraplights have become the signature design for Graypants, the Seattle-based industrial-design studio founded by architects Seth Grizzle and Jonathan Junker. The cardboard shades, available in classic (round), drum, and custom shapes, are laser cut and assembled by hand with a nontoxic adhesive, then treated with an environmentally friendly fire retardant. A new line, Kerflights, offers a different twist, with cardboard shades cut in kerf patterns that create unique light designs on surrounding surfaces. Both come with E-26 bases for use with screw-in LEDs or CFLs. Scraplights start at $195; Kerflights at $245. —D.J.S.
The creation of Thai designer Decha Archjananun of Thinkk-studio, CementWood pendants combine two materials rarely found—or found together—on a light fixture. Wood lathing and thin-walled concrete casting are used to produce the pendants, and these materials can be swapped top-and-bottom to produce two similar but contrasting pieces. Manufactured in France by Specimen Editions, the pendants can be purchased for about $185 each through independent online retailers such as buymedesign.com. —D.J.S.
Bright Lights, Big City
Pierced by polished aluminum rods, an edge-lit LED plate supplies the glow created by Cityscape, a sculptural chandelier that is part of the Hubbardton Forge’s new product line incorporating light-guide technology. Strips of LEDs are used in conjunction with thermal channels in a thin, optical-grade acrylic diffuser to create a uniform light on the top and bottom surfaces. The shorter Cityscape (15-1⁄2 in.; below), with a suggested retail price of $4200, is hung with cables; the larger version (51-1⁄2 in.) is hung from two rods in the center. Both allow removal of the sections to alter the look. Other fixtures in the collection include the ribbonlike Flux, the linear Landscape, and the Falling Water–inspired Planar. —D.J.S.
Debra Judge Silber is design editor, Patrick McCombe is associate editor, and Maria LaPiana is a freelance writer specializing in home design. Photos courtesy of the manufacturers.