Best Smart Thermostat

  • SMARTPHONE COMPATIBILITY
    Android, iOS
  • MULTIPLE ZONES
    Yes
  • SELF-INSTALLATION
    Yes
  • MOTION ACTIVATION
    Yes
  • WORKS OFFLINE
    Yes
  • WORKS WITH
    HomeKit, Amazon Echo, Samsung SmartThings, Logitech, Wink, IFTTT

While there’s a lot of futuristic things about the Ecobee–such as its slick touchscreen interface–its best feature is something that thermostat makers should have thought about years ago: How to make sure all the rooms of your house are getting heated or cooled properly. A small wireless sensor gets placed in the room that stays chilly, and the thermostat will keep the heat on until it senses that room has warmed up enough. Now that’s smart.

Compared to the competition, the Ecobee3 also has the best overall feature set, and its mobile app worked seamlessly. It’s compatible with Apple’s HomeKit and the Amazon Echo, to name a few smart home systems. Also, the fact that I could get all of my rooms—not just one—to the right temperature makes all the difference.

 

[Source:- Tomsguide]

A stunning artwork inspired this neutral and blue living room

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Melanie Alsford, her husband Richard and their sons Luca and Leo, live in a four-bedroom Victorian house in Hampton, Middlesex. They created an elegant scheme in their neutral and blue living room.

What was the house like when you moved in?

It was mostly in good condition, but we were excited about giving it our own style. One of the first projects we tackled was the living room.

How did the work start?

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The old fireplace and built-in shelves made the room seem smaller, so we had them removed. The walls were replastered and painted grey with white above the picture rail. Then we had bespoke cupboards and shelving built either side of the chimney breast. New windows warmed things up as the room had been cold and damp before. We splashed out on a luxury grey and white wool carpet that makes the room feel sumptuous and cosy. As we already had the neutral sofa and tan leather armchair it was then about adding the accessories to pull the neutral and blue living room together.

More From HouseBeautiful

Tell us about your inspiration for the scheme

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As a wedding gift we were given a beautiful artwork painted by my husband’s cousin, Patricia Cordoba. She used aqua and gold leaf to create a large dramatic piece. It was a brilliant starting point for the entire scheme as I adore its turquoise, midnight blues and metallic shades. A painted decorative mirror over the fireplace reflects the colours across the room.

Was there anything else you had to buy?

blue-living-room-window

Rather than having a coffee table, we opted for a large footstool to create an impact, and added a couple of trays for drinks and ornaments – and there’s still plenty of room for us to put our feet up! We decided on a stove and chose a gas, woodburning-effect version that comes with a remote control for instant warmth, making this the perfect room to snuggle up at the end of a busy day!

 

 

[Source:- Housebeautiful]

How to create a hi-tech home with no cables on show

An Oliver Burns drawing room with a hidden TV

There’s a misconception that hi-tech homes can’t also be knock-your-socks-off beautiful. Speakers, televisions and the smart panels that control audio systems, heating and lighting are just eyesores that get in the way of a well-designed interior – aren’t they?

If that visual clutter is catching your eye, you’re simply not doing it right. Interior designers, working hand-in-hand with specialist tech firms, go to huge lengths to cleverly conceal everything.

Interior designer Rabih Hage’s scheme for a west London home has all the ingredients of an integrated home, including music in every room (even the bathroom) fed through invisible speakers hidden behind the plasterwork. There are multiple lighting “scenes” that transform the mood at the touch of a button, and an entertainment server that stores and plays movies to any television, or to the sumptuous home cinema in the basement. Yet it is all incredibly discreet, barely interfering at all with Hage’s tranquil vision of herringbone oak floors, hand-painted walls and contemporary art.

A Tillman Domotics project in Earls Court
A Tillman Domotics project in Earls Court Credit: Jake Fitzjones

Everything is controlled by iPad minis, which are mounted magnetically on wireless-charging stations in every principal room.

“People can find their way around a tablet much more easily these days,” says Matthew Tillman of Tillman Domotics, which designed, installed and continues to maintain this house’s technology. Because such systems have become so complex, post-installation care is now a big part of his company’s proposition.

“The industry has become less about offering a product and more the service. Everything’s monitored remotely, so if anything changes, we get a notification. We also spend a day or two twice a year at every property, checking everything and upgrading if necessary; and we’re also on call if anything goes wrong.”

Tillman doesn’t feel the need for the fruits of his labour to be on show, but that’s not always the case, says Joe Burns, managing director of interior design firm Oliver Burns. “Some of the technology guys will say ‘but it’s the best television; they’re the best speakers’ – they think that because of that they should be on display – but we explain that it’s better if they’re hidden. The television should never be the focal point of a room.”

The bathroom in an Echlin townhouse in Chelsea
The bathroom in an Echlin townhouse in Chelsea Credit: Richard Waite

Burns will hide the box behind a wall, so that a panel will move back and the television will move forward. “Speakers can go behind plasterwork but there are also ‘art’ speakers, so you can have a screenprint of a family portrait on top.”

Tillman Domotics doctored a divan bed where the television is hidden in a cartridge underneath, and can pop out at the bottom before rising up.

At a Knightsbridge property just completed by home technology firm James & Giles, with interiors by Belgian designer Lionel Jadot, the televisions were all hidden behind exquisite works of art, which slide to one side.

“If you have formal rooms like this, you don’t want to see an ugly speaker grille on the ceiling, or the television on show when you’re entertaining,” says James & Giles’s managing director Giles Sutton. “With every interior, you either have to find technology that blends in seamlessly and more or less disappears, or come up with ways of complementing it.”

An Echlin townhouse in Chelsea
An Echlin townhouse in Chelsea Credit: Richard Waite

For example, the lighting control panels (which set four or five different “scenes” per room) that have replaced the simple on-off light switch are a visible necessity, but most of them rarely meet the exacting needs of an interior designer.

James & Giles has sourced more beautiful alternatives: a minimal, futuristic white pad by Belgian company Basalte for contemporary interiors, and a tactile push-button one in antique bronze by Forbes & Lomax for period homes.

Joe Burns says that great joinery is the real secret to subtly integrating technology, especially in listed properties where the fabric of the building cannot be interfered with.

Wiring can be concealed behind cornicing and architraves rather than chased into the wall, and bespoke furniture created to hide air-conditioning units.

But this is not just any old furniture. Architecture and interior design practice SHH has just completed a project near Regent’s Park that features a pair of opulent bronze and antique mirror cabinets either side of a fireplace: one hides the television, the other contains the heating and air-conditioning unit. SHH’s associate director of residential interiors Rupert Martineau says it’s very common for him to commission reproduction antiques that contain a surprise television that pops up when needed.

A Tillman Domotrics project
A Tillman Domotrics project Credit: Jake Fitzjones

The watchword in home technology is “integration”, with all services controlled in one place.

The limits that this can be taken to is demonstrated by a project that James & Giles worked on, a new-build house in north London by Robert Dye Architects. The house won a CEDIA award, the Oscars of the home tech world, run by the industry body of the same name (CEDIA is a good place to start if you want your own hi-tech home).

As well as controlling the heating, lighting and audio-visual, the system looks after home security, the intercom, and even closes the blinds when the house’s weather station senses that the rooms might overheat.

Integrated systems have the advantage of cutting down on what Sutton describes as “wall clutter” – the various control panels that are needed for every separate element – as well as making life easier for users.

“People don’t want to learn how to operate a thermostat, and then an alarm system – they want everything consolidated, so there’s one panel you can go to, and anyone can use it,” says Sutton.

Interior designer Alix Lawson of Lawson Robb agrees. “People are already overloaded with gadgets and technology. When they come home they want to switch off and relax. Making everything simple is a key way that we can make the home a calm place to be”.

room

The firm’s ethos of “barefoot luxury” shows in a cinema room it created for a private home in Knightsbridge. Instead of manly rows of leather seats, there are silk-panelled acoustic-panelled walls that conceal the speakers, a super-sized daybed and a cosy fireplace; a dropped ceiling hides the heating and air conditioning.

This softer approach to the cinema room is becoming more common: there’s still a big screen, but the room itself is more informal and flexible. “We try to create multi-use, family-friendly spaces, with specialist acoustic treatment to reduce noise transfer,” says Sam McNally, design director of design and development studio Echlin.

“You still get the ‘wow factor’ cinema-like space, but one which can be used for other things such as a playroom, a space to do a workout class in front of the video, yoga or meditation.”

But with the top integrated home technology systems running into six figures, how do homeowners ensure that things don’t become obsolete?

“We now run data cable to the place where fridges and ovens are going to be installed, even though there are few ‘smart’ fridges or ovens on the market at the moment,” says Sutton. It also goes back to having a good maintenance contract, so that the same experts can upgrade systems as they come along.

[Source:- Telegraph]

New Issue Exclusive

Vogue archivist Robin Muir and his partner Paul Lyon-Maris’s north London house is urban nirvana: hidden down a private lane on the far side of a courtyard planted with cherry trees. With a Victorian brick façade almost filled by a two-storey window, it was built in the mid-nineteenth century as part of a group of artists’ studios when land in the area was cheap and Hampstead was still a village. A desire to wrest the title deeds from its owners’ hands and move in immediately began to form…

A story you need to read on p156 of the April issue of House & Garden, in shops now with. Subscibe and never miss an issue, or try your first digital edition for FREE by clicking here. 

Read our interview with Robin about the Vogue 100 exhibition and see his country house here.

 [Source:- Houseandgarden]

Patchwork Rug Collection by Werner Aisslinger

The new collection of Vorwerk “Elementary Shapes” is created from the master of collages and honeycombs Werner Aisslinger – this virtuoso with creative hands follows honorably the footsteps of Hadi Teherani’s highly successful carpet tile collection. Werner Aisslinger has interpreted the subject of fitted area floor coverings in a new way with soft, organic shapes.

rounded-curved-triangle-rug

free-form-area-rugs

modules-partitioned-strips-woollen-felt

free-form-area-rug

“Primary geometric shapes that form a part of our everyday perception in the sense of archetypes served as the inspiration for the ‘Elementary Shapes’ that emerged. Shapes like these equally gained fame during fairly recent design history – for instance in the Memphis era,” explains the designer based in Berlin.
The components of “Elements” and the freely shaped area rug islands “Mito” and “Leaf” originated from his concept. The textile feel of “Elementary Shapes” allows a sense of cosiness, warmth and comfort to arise in a cool architectural surrounding. The component units form a new playground for carpet zones while enhancing areas in a targeted manner. With “Elementary Shapes” Werner Aisslinger is imparting a new face to the area rug.

The free-form area rugs entitled “Mito” and “Leaf” constitute another segment of “Elementary Shapes”. “Mito”- a rounded, curved triangle, and the eponymous “Leaf” devote themselves to accenting ‘homey’ islands at a business site and provide creative solutions towards a pleasing spatial atmosphere. The rug areas give a distinct emphasis to lounges, lobbies and meeting sectors. The resultingly satisfying residential look sets them apart from their stern interior architectural environment while giving each area a special touch. The soft, organic shapes are put together from modules partitioned by strips of woollen felt, some in bright, luminous hues. Each of these unusual geometries is available in two different formats.

aisslinger-new-face-area-rug

elementary-shapes-rug-strips

area-rug

 

[Source:- Interiorzine]

7 spa-style bathroom storage solutions

bathroom-storage-room-scheme

Clever bathroom storage solutions will help you to create your very own relaxing spa in even the smallest of rooms.

1. On display

bathroom-storage-jars

Imagine your bathroom is like one in a smart hotel and dispose of anything that doesn’t fit with the image. Use beautiful jars and lovely boxes to keep small items tidy. Glass apothecary jars are great for storing cotton buds and soaps.

2. Less is more

A bathroom can be decluttered in a day and, says Rachel Papworth of Green and Tidy, the priority should be to remove everything that doesn’t belong there. She also advises ‘limiting the number of potions and lotions you have on display to one of each type.’

More From HouseBeautiful

3. Beautiful boxes

You may want to have cleaning materials such as shower spray and antibacterial wipes close to hand, but they can look messy. If you don’t have anywhere to store them out of sight, invest in wicker, porcelain or leather boxes so they don’t ruin the spa-like feel of the room.

4. Exploit every inch

Make the most of those awkward spaces. Use the wall above the loo for shelving and think about building storage under the basin and bath. Even a small space at the end of the bath can be converted into a useful cupboard.

5. On the wall

bathroom-storage-shelving

Use the walls for towel storage. A sleek heated towel rail helps towels dry quickly and keeps them off the floor. Similarly, a ladder-style rack allows for more towels to hang and dry while using less floor space. Use open shelving for spare towels so they’re to hand and easy to find.

6. Double up

If you’re redecorating your bathroom, consider reorganising the layout to make it easier to have more than one person using the bathroom. Chic twin mirror cabinets above twin basins mean you can apply your make-up while your partner’s shaving or children are brushing their teeth.

7. Inset shelves

Can you use the space behind a wall? As plumbing usually lives behind stud partition walls, your bathroom may conceal an untapped storage resource. ‘Put in some recessed shelves for soap and shampoo in the shower, and more nearby for towels,’ says interior designer Georgina Gibson of Georgina Gibson Interior Design. Also use the stud wall above the basin to recess a shaving cabinet, and the space next to the loo for brushes and spare loo rolls.

 

[Source:- Housebeautiful]

Gorgeous garden designs to suit your lifestyle

garden-designs-classic-country

Whether you want a family-friendly space, an easy maintenance scheme, a place to grow-your-own or year-round flowers – these garden designs have got it pegged.​

CLASSIC COUNTRY

A simple way to create a fantastic looking traditional favourite of gorgeous, continually flowering deep borders is to opt for colour theming (above). For example, team dusky pinks with reds, and keep blues, lilacs and white elsewhere – though dots of contrasting colour will add zing. This style does call for a certain amount of work and commitment. Each year you’ll need to check which plants need dividing, add compost, feed, water and provide support for the taller blooms.

EASY MAINTENANCE

garden-designs-easy-maintenance

More From HouseBeautiful

Planting a garden with plenty of foliage plants will cut back the amount of work you’ll need to do. The shape of the plants will give the garden structure and the tone of the greens will become the colour palette. Create variety with different shades of yellow, mid-tone greens and silver foliage. Using contrasting shapes, such as tall, slim bamboos, delicate frondy ferns, strappy grasses and large-leaved plants will bring interest. Evergreens will look good all year and need just a little tidying up. You can make life even easier by laying paving and gravel around beds rather than grass.

FAMILY FRIENDLY

garden-designs-family-friendly

Even a small space can have both a children’s and adult area. This sloping garden is divided into eating, playing and planting zones. Box hedges separate the dining patio from the steps, which are made safe by the addition of a toughened-glass gate. Closer to the house bright colours give definition. And artificial grass ensures a soft landing under play equipment. Try Lazylawn.

MODERN COTTAGE

garden-designs-modern-cottage

Traditionally cottage gardens produced fruit and veg for the home and flowers were grown alongside to make them pretty. This idea has been revived in this contemporary home with rows of brightly painted raised beds separated by gravel paths. Beans and salad vegetables, Swiss chard and herbs look lovely mixed with colourful marigolds and salvia.

 

[Source:- Housebeautiful]

Wave – Wooden Flooring Collection

wave-collection-wooden-flooring-2

Wave – Wooden Flooring Collection

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Wave is a collection of wooden flooring designed by Massimo Broglio for Corà Parquet.

wave-collection-wooden-flooring-2

wave-collection-wooden-flooring-1

Inspired by non-rectified planks of Nordic Countries. Wave is a creative pre-finished European Oak flooring inspired by non-rectified planks typical in Nordic Countries that in the past used to be laid respecting the irregular and natural trunk shape.

wave-collection-wooden-flooring-3

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The look of the wavy planks, the three elegant colors (black, grey, white) and the alternating of supernatural Matt and high Glossy finishes, make the wood flooring so new and modern. It’s a high sophisticated parquet, where the combination of colors and refinements emphasizes the wavy lines on the floor, almost like an optical effect.

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[Source:- Interiorzine]

The best of The List: Lighting

The List, our online directory of design professionals, is now live. Whether you’re searching for an interior designer, architect, garden designer, curtain maker or lighting specialist, look no further than The List. If you provide a bespoke service, we would love to hear from you…

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE LIST

Lighting may well be the key to everything – the ultimate determining factor in interior design. Here is a selection of our favourite lighting design ideas by List members, from dramatic chandeliers and vintage lampshades to well-matched pendant lights and stylish table lamps…

  • Luminous Lanterns
  • Diamonds and Pearls
  • In the Shade
  • Bronze Age
  • Shine a Light
  • Vintage Seekers
  • Hold Out an Olive Branch

The List, our online directory of design professionals, is now live. Whether you’re searching for an interior designer, architect, garden designer, curtain maker or lighting specialist, look no further than The List. If you provide a bespoke service, we would love to hear from you…

Lighting may well be the key to everything – the ultimate determining factor in interior design. Here is a selection of our favourite lighting design ideas by List members, from dramatic chandeliers and vintage lampshades to well-matched pendant lights and stylish table lamps…

 

[Source:- Houseandgarden]

Alan Titchmarsh: What do you call your sitting room?

The White Drawing Room, at Buckingham Palace

Learning the names that families use for their sitting room has offered plenty of amusement over the past couple of weeks.

Much seems to depend on the part of the country and the social aspiration of the household. Her Majesty the Queen, at Buckingham Palace, has a White Drawing Room , so clearly “drawing room” is an upmarket description of what we referred to as “the front room” when I was growing up in a terrace house in Yorkshire.

I confess to using the term on occasion in our current house, convincing myself that I can do so because we live in a Georgian farmhouse, and that would have been the term back then. I call it “the sitting room” when I forget to put on airs.

The White Drawing Room
The White Drawing Room Credit: Rex

My daughters bring me down to earth by calling it “the posh room”; to distinguish it from the room with the telly, where we sit on the floppy sofa when we have supper on our laps.

In 1965, when I was 16, we moved from the terrace house with “the front room and the back kitchen” to a pebble-dashed semi. It, too, had a front room, but it was then known as “the lounge”, and we even had a ceramic tile on its door to indicate as much. “Living room” is, I suppose, devoid of any class associations and is, at least, honest in its description.

In Yorkshire, rooms are given names that clearly describe their function and content. I vividly remember, when growing up, hearing a conversation between two of my grandmother’s neighbours. “We’ve just decorated our cloakroom,” said one; to which the other, with an identical house, replied: “Oh, aye? Well, we’ve just distempered the junk ’ole.”

A loft/attic
Loft or attic? Credit: Alamy

Nowadays there is little talk of sculleries and kitchenettes; attics are “lofts” and cellars are basements, unless they contain wine. Half of London, it seems, is due to suffer subsidence any time now, thanks to the demand for gyms and cinemas or, rather more upmarket, “screening rooms” underneath houses that were built without a lower ground floor.

Sheds are “studios” or “garden rooms” and toilets are “loos” in middle-class houses or “lavatories” in stately homes. Only in the US are they “rest rooms’, and it makes me smile when a visitor to our house asks for “the bathroom”, as though they were intent on having a good soak.

Anyway, must dash. I’m on my way through the loggia to take tea on the terrace. Patio? No, thanks.

[Source:- Telegraph]