Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April showers...and other bath trends!

April showers have got me thinking of the latest trends in bath designs (see how I did that? April showers...showers in the bathroom...?!) In all seriousness, I have more and more clients asking to remodel their master bath or other bathroom in their homes. As with all home design, there are trends that come and go. There are some elements that stay the same. And in today's day and age there are new technologies to introduce.

Here are my top 5 trends in bath design!

1. Skip the tub and go for a more sizable shower: I'm not sure exactly what's causing this shift in bath design, but I am definitely seeing a trend toward creating beautiful expansive showers and leaving the tub out of the design. Could it be that we are just so busy in our modern day lives that we don't have time for a soak in the tub? Bigger definitely seems better in this case!


2. If you aren't willing to skip the tub, make it a free standing soaking tub!  Listen, I understand, it seems counterintuitive to design a master bath retreat without a luxurious tub, right? Some of us just aren't ready to forego it just yet. However, trends have changed. Jetted tubs are a thing of the past. Large soaking tubs are the latest and greatest in bath design. And I, for one, LOVE them!!! Because of their size and the wide array of design choices available today, the soaking tub can quickly become a focal point in your bath retreat. You no longer have to tuck it in a corner. Showcase one of these babies!

Master bath designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

Master bath retreat designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

3. Bring on the heat! Perhaps it's because we live in New England where so often it's chilly, or maybe it's because our lives are so busy that we seek to have a spa-like experience in the comfort or convenience of our own homes. Whatever the reason I am seeing the addition of "heat" in my bath designs. Who wants to step out of the bath or shower onto a freezing cold tile floor? No one! Bring on the heated floors! Electric floor heating makes sense in the bathroom because it works well with linoleum, laminate or tile, and the heat spreads evenly over the entire floor while warming up the surrounding air.

Photo credit: www.lowesforpros.com
One of my favorites to bring heat into the bath is with an +EcoSmart Fire fireplace like the one I installed in this master bath renovation. It not only adds warmth, it's beautiful and adds an exquisite element of luxury. I know I'd feel like the queen soaking in the tub with the warm glow of a fire.

Master bath retreat designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

4. Custom vanities: Gone are the days of selecting cabinetry right off the shelf. Now we are able to design cabinetry specifically to suit your needs and your design taste. In addition, one of the hottest trends is to design based on the user experience. Trying to be more practical and think functionality as much as beauty. When redesigning a clients' bath, I always be sure to ask both the husband and the wife how they use their bath day-to-day and what they feel is missing. Men typically have different needs than women, but with custom cabinetry, I am able to accommodate both sets of needs without compromising style. I have found that everyone is seeking more cabinet space in the bathroom to keep the clutter off the counter!

Designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

Designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs 
Cabinetry by PK Surroundings

5. High tech and highly efficient: We can't avoid it, not even in the bathroom...technology is everywhere! I like to think that it is improving our lives in ways we never dreamed of ...like the toilet!  Take for example the AT200 smart toilet by DVX. It features luxury conveniences such as hands-free flushing, automated lid opening and closing, and seat heating join a completely adjustable two-nozzle water-spray system with integrated air dryer to create a state-of-the-art smart toilet that delivers the ultimate in performance and efficiency.

The AT200 smart toilet from DXV by American Standard
Not only are faucet designs more beautiful than ever, they are of course, smarter than ever! Sensor operated faucets are making their way into the home and finding themselves right in your very own bathroom!

Sensor faucet by American Standard
For those techy people out there, try hooking up your iPod to play music in the shower with the MTI Stereo H2O! From the rhythm of the rolling sea to your favourite melody , the new Stereo H2O bath tub wraps you in strains of relaxing music. Music Therapy is an established treatment that promotes wellness and healing, relieves stress and alleviates pain.

These are just a few of my favorite bath design trends of 2015. For more ideas and inspiration, check out my Pinterest board, Dream Bathrooms.

And remember, "April showers, bring May flowers!"


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"Y" I love my job.

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The heart of a volunteer is not measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.
-DeAnn Hollis
Volunteerism and Community Outreach is deep within the heart of Mandeville Canyon Designs. There is something incredibly rewarding about having the opportunity to share your time and talent in a way that benefits the community in which you live. This is why I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of a group of people spearheading the design of the new Southern District YMCA right here in Exeter, NH!  

Amy Hage, Renee Carman, Jaye Carr and Julie LaNigra
Designing a public space that tends to the needs of just about every age group presents a very fun design challenge. It begs for function, along with a certain aesthetic. So how did we approach the project? Well, I would say the Southern District YMCA has tapped into the local community, the end users, the people who the "Y" will matter most to, and asked them for their input. This has truly been a community project.

At the same time, our design team has put careful thought into the building process. It has been wonderful to see that the Y has the same design theory as we do at Mandeville Canyon Designs, which is to design in balance with nature.

In addition, we want to utilize the neuroscience of designing a public space. Not sure what I mean? The neuroscience of interior design is simply the practice of designing a space based on how it makes you feel, or how we want it to make you feel. We are paying closer attention to the human's natural cognitive response to their surrounding environment. According to the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, everything around us; the shapes, scales, textures, materials and sounds affect our mood, decision making, health and the level of motivation at any given moment in time. Fascinating, right?

We have been able to incorporate a lot of windows to bring the feeling of outside in. The use of tactile materials that may be either warm or cool to the touch have also been thoughtfully incorporated into the building design.

At Mandeville Canyon Designs, we always consider the five earth elements and look to them for inspiration, which is exactly what we've done at the Y! We have brought in the element of fire, with the addition of a fireplace where members can gather. And we are currently looking into creative ways to bring in the element of water as well. Colors have been chosen carefully, warm and inviting in one space, colorful and playful in another. I don't want to give the entire design away, but suffice to say, it's going to be wonderful!

The Southern District YMCA has worked incredibly hard to make the building a special place within the Exeter area.  It's so exciting to see the progress week to week and I, for one, can not wait to see the final product, as I just know it's going to be fantastic!
Stay tuned for more updates on the project!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Are you smarter than your thermostat?

Pretty soon I think our houses are going to be smarter than we are as technology makes it way into interior design. It may take some time to convince you, but it is definitely a trend that won't be going out of style any time soon...or ever!

For some of us, the idea of technology is frightening!! I'm still trying to figure out my smart phone, and my iPad! The thought of another device makes my head spin!

While technology may not be your thing, there are some benefits you may want to consider, like safety, energy efficiency and convenience.

Photo Credit: www.freshome.com
As a mom, safety is always on my mind (even though my kids are not really kids any more!). And I am happy to say that things are smartening up in the kitchen! Take induction cooktops for example. They produce heat that only heats the cookware when the metal comes in contact with the induction cooktop surface. This means a safer kitchen to work in, and less heat being generated for comfort while cooking.

Many clients are beginning to install their tablets into the wall of their kitchen so that they can really operate it as "command central"!

Photo credit: Kohler.com
Kitchens aren't the only room in the house getting a technology overhaul. You can also find a lot of products to make your bath experience even more luxurious and comforting. Who wouldn't want to hop into a shower that is programmed with temperature, spray, steam, audio and lighting just for you?!! If you like to soak to classical music, while your husband likes to wake up to old school rock, you can program that too, all with the touch of a button!

 I also love some of the products out there like Canary that keep your family safe. You might not think you are ready for a smart phone activated security system, however, if you have kids who come home from school before you get home from work, or if you travel often, it may offer the peace of mind you've been looking for! 

Home Security System from Canary

Canary is a complete home security system packed into a single device. It adapts to your home over time, and sends intelligent notifications with HD video directly to your smartphone. That way, you’re never surprised when you walk through the door. 

Nest Learning Thermostat
Of course, energy efficiency is always top of mind for me. Anything that we can do to cut costs, and respect the environment is worth doing in my book!  And that's why I love Nest where, as they say, "Saving energy is a beautiful thing." This cute little thermostat actually learns the temperature settings that you prefer in your home, and then automatically adjusts for you! With convenient features that will save you money, this seems to be a win-win to me!

Other smart home technologies that I totally dig... how about remote control skylights? Brilliant idea, right? No need for that ugly long pole that you used have to use to crank open your skylight (which inevitably  one kid or another used it as a baseball bat and broke it...sigh!) Or showerheads that help conserve water usage, without compromising function or style...um, YES! Sign me up for that!

I do love  automatic landscape lighting and anything solar power is a YES in my book!

So you see, even for some of us "technology-adverse" folks out there, products like these offer some undeniable benefit. Plus, they are pretty cool!

For more great ideas on how to incorporate technology into your interior design, check out this article from Fresh Home.

Let's embrace home technology together!



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hey! Where'd you get that?

It seems like all of the buzz lately is focused around our food and where it comes from. There's a definite shift back towards locally grown food. While it may be true that it's more expensive to eat "farm to table" all of the time; it's also true that it's better for us, and quite frankly, better tasting! So why don't we do it 100% of the time? Well, convenience is one reason, but cost is another. But if the old saying is true, "You get what you pay for.", then why are we selling ourselves short?

Just like my food, I like to know where my furnishings come from as well! There's a different kind of connection; a different feeling you get when there's a personal connection that comes along with it.

I'm talking about something deeper than just knowing a product is American made. Don't get me wrong, American made furnishings are my favorite! But I like to go farther than that...It's creating a personal connection with the company I purchase from. It's when you dial the number and actually get to speak with the owner! It's where you'll find that the custom work and craftsmanship is of much better quality.

One such company whom I adore is J. Redmond Design Furnishings. The products I order from them are each beautifully handcrafted with an incredible attention to detail. Custom work at just a little more than the mass produced.

Transitional Living Room by High Point Furniture & Accessories j.redmond designs

Working closely with our business partners has other benefits too.

* The quality of work and craftsmanship is much better.
* You can create a custom look that reflects only your style, not that of everyone else ordering from those popular catalogs!
*  If it's an artist you are working with, you walk away with a one-of-a-kind piece!

While you may end up paying slightly more, the reward is worth the money!

There are too many business partners whom I adore working with, so we decided we would feature one or two of them every so often.

In addition to J. Redmond Designs, I also admire the works of Tracy Glover. Her lighting and hardware are interchangeable so that you can literally design your own unique piece. And she works with her clients to create something special, just for their own home.

So, the next time you are about to buy something for your home, ask yourself, "How am I connected to this? Or am I connected to it at all?". Why would you want something in your life that doesn't have meaning, doesn't speak to you and reflect on who you are?

Stay tuned for lots of other featured business whom I feel have a high level of customer service and go way out of their way to make their clients feel like royalty and to ensure that what their clients purchase is special to them!

Be well,


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Trendspotting in NYC!

I was like a kid in a candy shop, walking through the 2015 +Architectural Digest Home Design Show last week! More than 300 companies exhibit and over 40,000 people attend. My "amateur" photos below don't do justice as to how brilliant the show was, but it is a sneak peak into some of my favorite things!

It is simply amazing to me that year after year more and more creative designs are presented. This is what makes me love my job so much...it's never boring!
It comes as no surprise to me that much of what I saw reinforced the theme of organic earthy elements with lots of reclaimed wood materials. It's still super hot, especially in the kitchen.

If you are loving the reclaimed wood trend, then I think you will absolutely drool over anything by Palo Samko.
Next on my list of hot trends is anything by Brizo. They are always ahead of the curve in design and ease of use. This kitchen faucet, Artesso, is ergonomic genius with an almost Sherlock Holmes industrial vibe. I can't help myself...totally getting one!

Brizo Artesso faucet

Wonderwall Studios is a fun take on the traditional tile and is no more expensive! Organic and warm to the touch, it has limitless applications.
Below are some stunning samples using Wonderwall Studios tiles to add warmth to a room with some unexpected applications.

As seen on Wonderwallstudios.com

As seen on Wonderwallstudios.com
One of the most exciting booths I visited was that of JM Lifestyles. They are a leader in concrete fabrication and creates out of this world designs for kitchens and bath, indoor and outdoor. It's warm and sensual and ecofriendly.  Believe it or not, this table is not even wood...but I dare you to tell the difference!
JM Lifetyles

Look for our collaboration later this year!

And who doesn't want an acrylic ping pong table like this one??  With looks this good, the game room no longer has to be an eyesore!

Another hot trend that struck a chord with me was the appearance of smarter technology in everyday items. I am always impressed at the technological smarty-pants of the world...and their creations certainly made a bold appearance at the show this year. Voice activation and multitasking appliances are taking the market by storm. With some of these advances you will literally be able to turn down the heat on your oven while you relax in your backyard with guests! Imagine the luxury in that!

As for multitasking appliances, we're talking about ranges that you can grill, griddle, boil water, use the conventional oven, which can be switched to steam-enhanced for the baker in you....or use the convection oven all while keeping your plates warm in the warming compartment! Whew! And I thought I could multitask! This thing does it all! If only it could prepare the food itself....

Stay tuned to see how we incorporate these hot new design trends into our clients' designs!

We can't wait!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Beam Me Up Scotty!

I feel at home in an old barn!
I love it when, what's old is suddenly new again! It dawned on me recently that I have been incorporating lots of reclaimed wood into my designs these days. I am an advocate for using green materials and for bringing new life to old pieces. This is especially true when it comes to wood. Because reclaimed wood was once live, it has a story to tell from it's previous life before dawning it's skin and becoming something new. I often sense that you can still feel the old energy that wood once had. All of the markings, dents, color variations shows a life already lived. Bringing that extra vibe into the home can work wonders!

The beautiful thing about reclaimed wood is that it's style is so flexible. It doesn't necessarily mean that you live in a barn, or a farmhouse. Or that your style falls into the "country" category. I love the warmth it can bring to a modern design. It adds a uniqueness that you can't buy or get anywhere else. And let's face it....it's timeless. Using reclaimed wood never goes out of style. Very often I find that the juxtaposition of old beams in an updated décor is just what a room needed.

Mandeville Canyon Design

Believe it or not, old wood is actually stronger than new wood. It doesn't split, swell or warp like new wood does.

Using reclaimed wood from old barns, log posts and beams or wherever you may stumble upon, often transforms a room and quietly becomes the focal point. It's a way to connect the past with the present.

If this mantel could talk, what would it say. The timber mantel is made from salvaged beams from a barn in Sunman, Ind., where Abraham Lincoln once gave a speech. Not to sound like a teenager, but that is so TOTALLY COOL!                      

Mandeville Canyon Design

I just found a beautiful heart pine with a live edge that I am going to use for one of my clients...I loved it so much that I bought extra to use in my house (sorry honey, I did it again!). There are lots of ways you can bring wood into your home. Shelves, beams on the ceiling, use it as a kitchen counter, highlight an accent wall or a fireplace with it.



A piece of reclaimed wood is as unique as you are! That's why I love to bring such pieces into a home! It gives the house personality without having to say a word.

For lots more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board, Doing Good With Wood.