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Month September 2014 Archive

 High-End Soho Residence Flaunting Pristine Open Spaces

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Spacious and boasting a neutral color palette that oozes simplicity and elegance, this memorable Soho residence was designed by Bulson Management and architect David Hotson. A pure white sofa thrones in the double-height living space that visually opens to every other social space in the home. With massive experience in high-end residential and commercial construction, Bulson Management and leading architect David Hotson imagined an open space where light and air flow freely. A dark piano breaks the monotony of a pure white room, while the darker library room under the mezzanine works wonders on the owners on cozy nights when all one wants to do is watch a great movie alongside loved ones.Photographed by David Paler, the welcoming home in Soho was imagined as an elegant space for socializing, enjoying good music and home cooked meals with friends and family. The modern Soho residence was tailored to the needs and desires of the owners, embedding high style and an open floor plan they can be proud of. Innovative design and simple elegance were instilled in this New York residence. This is how people live in the city, above clouds and enjoying the best that design can bring in terms of comfort, aesthetics and space.How would you like to live in this New York dream home? What would be the first thing you would do if you moved here today?

 Fresh Canadian Home Renovation Inviting Light Inside

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Springtime brings about not only seasonal changes, but opportunities for home renovation projects. Canada’s season changes are better enjoyed from a home that carries an old charm while flaunting spirited modern upgrades. Within a suburban Montreal neighborhood, this bright home was built by the owner’s father in the 1960s  and its heirloom features were respectfully dressed in modern skin. According to its architects, NatureHumaine, “the original house lacked natural light and had a series of closed rooms surrounding a central stair.” Now known as the Closse Residence, the old structure shines brightly renovated and brings a bit of modern sparkle to its neighborhood.“The first move was to open the south facade with large glazed patio doors. Removing the original partitions let the light penetrate deeply into the house. A new sculptural stair built of hot rolled steel, maple veneer, and frosted glass becomes the focal point of the house. The counter of the central island in the kitchen cantilevers 2.4 meters out from the cabinets becoming the dining table, uniting preparation and eating spaces. Two pivoting glass doors close off the entry creating a winter vestibule. The immense stone fireplace was conserved and restored. It’s textured materiality contrasts with the purity of the new elements. The exterior of the house was restored and repainted and the windows were replaced. A contemporary dormer was added to the roof of the house containing the two second floor bathrooms.”Knowing how to budget for a home renovation makes it easy to completely transform a home from dark & outdated to modern & fresh. An inherited home can be beautifully renovated, opening up interior spaces and capturing all the interior movement around a sculptural stair, as in this example of a modern dream home. This particular Canadian home photographed by Adrien Williams exhibits simplicity and brightness in an exemplary mixture…

 Private Penthouse in Kazakhstan Celebrating Multisensory Living

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Berlin-based studio COORDINATION has completed a new private penthouse in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Located on the 30+ floor in the highest and most prominent building of the city, the Esentai Tower, this apartment is aimed to be a place for sensory and intellectual stimulation as well as a refuge for relaxation. The brief was to create a setting purely for leisure, mainly intended for weekend breaks or short stays. Starting with a blank core & shell canvas, the space was equipped with everything necessary for a luxurious multisensory experience celebrating a unique setting.Initially intended as a three-bedroom apartment, the layout was turned into a luxurious one-bedroom loft-style space. The scope of the project encompassed the complete spatial planning, interior architecture and engineering. This included the design and selection of all surfaces, lights, built-in furniture elements, kitchen units, loose & bespoke furniture pieces, accessories, design editions and a curated, bespoke art selection. Every joint and screw was considered and carefully planned to create a completely harmonious experience.The L-shaped floor plan was composed with a clear spatial hierarchy between social and private areas. It reveals 270° city views while „leaning“ against the impressive setting of the surrounding TianShan mountains. The use of landscape-related structures and natural metaphors helped to shape the floor plan, spatial rhythm and atmospheres of the individual areas. Certain areas where emphasized by sloping and shifting and create physical sensations uncommon in a normal home. The experience is a new sensation of space, elegantly flowing without interruption.  [Information provided via e-mail by COORDINATION; Photography by Dirk Dähmlow] 

 Modern Family Home Tastefully Decorated With Natural Light

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Rising in a new neighborhood in Cassà de la Selva, Girona, Spain, this modern family home is known as “Casa en Cassà”. From outside, its bold architectural language hints towards the carefully manicured interiors. Architects Ricard Galiana and Yago Oliva imagined an impressive space, where light creates geometric games at different times of day and sunshine accompanied meals, time spent with family and friendly encounters.Balancing the concrete appearance presented on the facade, main social areas are bright and comfortable. This mixture of raw concrete, glass and the Mangas Rug and Pouff designed by Patricia Urquiola make the double-height living room a perfect place for both entertaining and relaxing.Spreading over 580 square meters, interiors designed by Georgina Figueras attract attention with a high degree of transparency. Natural light floods the spaces, creating a permanent connection to the beauty of the ever-changing outdoors. Photographs by Nani Pujol surprise the home from different angles, making it easy to observe the slightly sloped terrain shaping the architecture. Working with 1 million Euros as a budget, architects imagined a modern family home on two levels facing south, where the family would feel at home.According to the architects, “the main rooms are distributed along a single floor divided in two concrete blocks –“night and day areas”– , with a double-height living room and a mezzanine creating a transparent space connecting both blocks. The two blocks offer the needed degree of privacy to each space while taking into consideration the private views, the street, the forest and the solar orientation. The northern backyard provides a pedestrian access in contact with the forest. The south porch-terrace faces the swimming pool.”Upstairs spaces were reserved for main social areas, private quarters and the alluring swimming pool where entertainment and panoramic views converge. Underneath, the garden and parking areas create the lower level. Let’s take a short tour of the modern family home to observe details like the mezzanine level with glass railings drawing light deep inside or the scarcity of furniture making the space appear aired and cozy…

 How Modern Transit and Highways Affect Property Values

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What happens to our home value when the busy city life and modern roadways invade? Image Source: Zack DevitoBEEP! BEEP! Do you hear that everyday? Whether you are hurrying along your daily commute, or whether you live adjacent to a busy highway— the stress and noise of modern transit seem unavoidable.While new highways are great for commuters, they are not so great for those whose homes are impacted by traffic and noise pollution.We already know that highways can impact the value of your property, as well as other neighboring communities. The resulting noise, smog, and traffic that comes with a highway obviously has a major impact on property value and quality of life.Although, highways are not all bad news, new transit ways can actually increase property values and improve traffic flow.So, let’s look a little further into some of the ways modern roadways are affecting our way of life. After all, modern transit is only growing more popular as population skyrockets and more people squeeze into busy cities.While the views may be great, living in the city brings with it traffic and highway noise/pollution. Image Source: JT LivingAs was mentioned above, noise from a busy highway has a seriously negative impact on property value. This would seem especially true for individuals whose property is closer to the highway. However, the opposite may be the case— statistical models from one transit rail study  showed that with every meter a house was located to a particular railway station, property values went up by $2.29. While this doesn’t seem like much, the study showed that houses immediately adjacent to the stations sold for 38% more.So is closer always better?  Is there some truth to the classic economic theory—when a highway is initially built, large parcels of land that previously had poor accessibility – or none at all – are suddenly undervalued?   Yes, it seems intuitive that if you go from limited transit access to immediate proximity of modern transit, then your home value will increase.However, let’s say a highway was not present during the time your home was purchased or built—wouldn’t the introduction of a busy highway decrease your property value? Well, the answer is— it depends. This study on property values and highway expansions shows that home values depend on numerous factors such as proximity, noise, emissions, vibrations etc… Simply put, it’s complicated.You may be surprised to discover that closer proximity to transit stations may drastically increase your property value. Image Source: CSS ArchitectureHighways can also create what is known as a land-locked situation. This situation can also decrease the value of a particular property. This is mostly due to its lack of appeal for buyers when they have to find an alternate route into the property.A land-locked property occurs when the Department of Transportation (DOT) turns a ‘back road’ into a highway. Most often, this happens in rural areas where DOT decides to put a highway through a current farm or farm road. After all, expansion is the name of the game, right? And a new highway usually means the future encroachment of big cities into the suburbs.When DOT does this, individuals may not be able to access their properties as they once had. They may have to go through neighbors’ properties or find new routes.When a property cannot be easily accessed by the owner, it decreases the property value—nobody wants to invest money into a property they cannot get to without a hassle. On the flip side, access to a new highway may drastically increase the value of surrounding homes. It’s all about perspective.What happens when the the big city encroaches on your quiet home? Landlocked issues and city encroachment are a source of frustration to many homeowners. Image Source: EladgonenObviously, a highway brings more traffic to the area. While this is a positive impact from a business perspective, it can be a  negative impact in a residential community. Areas that have been looked at as being good family neighborhoods may not hold this appeal once a highway is put in.Highways bring a lot of vehicles driving at various speeds. Homeowners, particularly those with children, will find this unappealing when purchasing a home. If a home is already built in a area and then a highway comes in, it becomes less appealing, for safety reasons.Parents want to know that their kids can play in the yard without having to worry about a 6-car pile up, or drunk drivers, or vehicles traveling at high rates of speed. Not to mention, the new accessibility of your home to devious people.  All of these factors will make home values decline and make it hard to sellTry to protect your assets by investigating future city plans before buying. If it is already too late and the highway has been constructed, then be creative with exterior home designs such as fences, gated courtyards, water falls to drown out noise, security and green walls that beautify and act as sound barriers.Drown out the sounds of the highway and city-life with a stone barrier wall and water fall. Image Source: Lombardi DesignAs mentioned above, not all properties are negatively impacted by highways. In fact, there are several situations where highways can actually increase property value. This is particularly true for commercial areas.Commercial properties that have limited access can benefit from the addition of a highway. More people passing through, equals more business.Of course, this increased exposure increases the profits of the business and the property value.  You do, however, want to make sure that when the highway is put in that your business can be easily and safely accessed. You may want to talk with city planners to discuss whether your business needs a traffic light, as safety and available parking can make the difference between a person dropping in, or driving on by.Not all properties are negatively impacted by highways. In fact, there are several situations where highways can actually increase property value. Image Source: RNW ConstructionAs you can see, there are numerous ups and downs to having a property near a major highway. There are so many factors to consider, and whether your home value goes up or down truly depends on accessibility, noise, location, safety and emissions etc…When purchasing a new home it is important to take into consideration the transit ways and highways around the property. If there is plans for a major highway, it could cause some noise issues, causing your property value to decrease. On the other hand if there are plans for a new transit station that makes the big-city commute more accessible, you could watch your property values soar!Are you living near a busy highway? If so, do you love it or hate it?

 Small Flexible O-table Inspired by Antique Brass Candlesticks

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The O-table by Ola Giertz Designstudio is a small flexible unit inspired by antique brass candlesticks. We usually move this type of candlesticks by inserting our finger into the special eye that allows us to smoothly carry the candle. This is the idea of ??a sideboard based on the same concept, a sideboard with a handle that creates a removable and changeable furniture. The name of the table comes from the circular shapes that are recurrent in the table top, the rounded legs and the round handle.The project started after seeing an increasing need for flexible and easily moving tables. We often move from place to place in the room, and for example, sit and drink coffee in our favorite chair before we maybe move to the couch or the bed. Instead of having a table at each place, you can now instead use one table as you move along. The handle makes it easy to grab and creates a firm grip that makes it easy to carry the table with one hand. The bowl-shaped table top prevents items to easy fall off if you happen to shake or bump into anything.The handle also breaks the horizontal line in the table top which creates greater dynamism. Together these forms create a soft and graphical furniture with a minimalistic touch. [Information provided via e-mail by  Ola Giertz Studio; Photographer: Carl Magnus Johansson]

 Perfectly Balancing Rural and Urban Lifestyles: House JA in Portugal

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Located on the north-center of Portugal, House JA by Filipe Pina and Maria Ines Costa was envisioned to combine a rural and urban lifestyle. The lot is surrounded by different types of constructions, consequence of the informal settlements, characteristics of most Portuguese city neighborhoods. The existent stone ruins, vestige of a traditional house and the configuration of the lot were the main aspects for the new project. The first principle was to separate the new and the old construction, even if they are connected inside. A stone volume represents the existent building; a concrete volume the new one.The second principle was to introduce light in the middle of the house. Two different empty spaces were generated: the entrance, and the heart of the house – the courtyard. The courtyard and the stairs are the center of the house and its living. These are the key elements for the spatial relationships between the different parts of the house, the interior and the exterior. The program was divided in two levels: the living room, the kitchen and the garage were positioned on the ground floor; the bedrooms and the library at the first floor.The suite was placed in a privileged point – the memory of the old house. The scale and the site identity were always present on the construction details and material choices: stone, concrete, steel and oak wood. Inside the white and the wood comfort. Outside a granitic and a new concrete mass were sculpted on the same way. [Information provided via e-mail by Filipe Pina and Maria Ines Costa; Photography: Joao Morgado]

 Difficult Run Residence in Virginia Parading An Abundance of Outdoor Living Spaces

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Bordering a stream in Mclean, Virginia, this green, steep seven-acre lot accommodated an old building known as the Difficult Run Residence. Robert M. Gurney Architect took on the challenge of renovating the construction and extending it with a detached garage and guest house. Additionally, “stone paths and stairways, corten steel walls, gabion stone walls, a swimming pool with an infinity edge, a reflecting pool, terraces, decks, and structured plantings continue to organize the site and provide an abundance of outdoor living spaces.” The simple narrow, meandering driveway on the property was thus replaced by a rich and visually appealing landscaped environment.Initially built in 1965, the building was gloomy and cluttered: “The space was wrapped in a muted palette of materials including dark flagstone flooring, gray stone walls and fireplaces, and dark wood walls and ceilings. In renovating the main house, all interior finishes were stripped, walls were removed, spaces were opened up and windows were enlarged and replaced, in an effort to reflect the light rather than absorb it. A series of small additions were implemented as required and located within the footprint of the existing roof.” Complex and rejuvenating, the villa is now a holiday-inspiring refuge offering pleasant surprises at every step. [Photography by Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer]

 New IKEA LED Lamp For Illuminating Storage Drawers

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The new DIODER LED battery-operated lamp from IKEA answers a basic need when it comes to modern living: illuminating storage spaces, particularly drawers and cabinets. Unobtrusive and elegantly designed, the strip of light comes on automatically when you open the drawer and goes off when you close it. Moreover, the LED light source is said to consume up to 85% less energy and lasts 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
IKEA developed the project in order to boost the creativity of home users: “DIODER is a series of decorative lighting that you can put, well, anywhere you like and however you like. You can put strips and spotlights with built-in diodes that change color in your bookshelves or around the frames of your pictures and mirrors. Our idea was to make it playful and fun for you to create atmosphere and personality in your home.” Another appealing feature of the new IKEA lamp is its price: for $14.99 (batteries not included), you get a 29 cm LED strip and the possibility of illuminating your favorite storage corner…

 10 Smart Tips For Waking Up your Home with Lighting

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Simple ways to bring natural and artificial light into your home beautifully
There aren’t many single factors in your household that can change your mood, your health, the comfort of your home, the appearance of colors, and the feeling of a room with just one aesthetic – lighting. While most of us are trying to find the trendiest sofa to put into our living room or the best shade of blue to put into our home office, how you light your rooms with artificial light and how much natural light pours into your home can make all the difference. If you are trying to find smart ways to enhance your home with light – here are 10 tips to get started with.
When is the last time you went into a dark closet and felt warm and happy? For most of us the answer would be “not lately”. Natural light is needed for all humans to thrive and our skin, eyes, hair, mind and well being need natural light to be healthy. At the same time – your home reaps the benefit as well. Natural light can kill bacteria that loom in dark and wet spaces in your home and it creates an ambiance that can’t be rivaled by artificial lighting sources.
Bring natural light into your home with minimal window treatments
For those of you who struggle with trying to make your interiors feel larger, natural light and illumination can fool the eye. Dark rooms with larger furniture and well-lit rooms with less furniture can have the opposite affect when it comes to interior design. Consider using multiple lighting sources in the evening, to avoid dark areas in your home. Ambient, task and ambiance lighting such as wall sconces throughout your home will enlarge your interiors visually and make you want to linger in them longer.
In many homes the problem isn’t the sources of light through adjacent windows, rather the ability to let light in effectively. Take a look at your current window treatments. Heavy blinds, thick drapery and layered fabric curtains often keep out much-needed natural light. Consider using lighter-weight fabrics such as cotton or linen fabrics, especially in climates that allow moderate temperatures to filter in. For more extreme climates, opt for materials that are versatile and can be tied back to let in light or close when the sun is glaring or too bright.
Light colors and neutral color palette allows natural light to make your home feel welcoming
In many of our homes we forget about the health benefits of allowing natural light into our interiors and daily lives. Whether you enjoy the glow of natural light through translucent glass blocks in your shower every morning or you open your blinds wide in your home office every morning, there is a health benefit to natural light. Try walking outside and soaking up sunlight and then come back into your home. If your body feels like it’s lacking the fresh and therapeutic benefits of sunlight – think of ways to bring it into your home in greater abundance.
Lighting technologies have come a long way in residential design. From eco-friendly varieties such as compact fluorescents and LED fixtures to innovative one’s like this in-floor light strip in a home bridge. The Design Group – 186 Lighting says, “From the exterior, warm glows reflect off the wood ceiling from an invisible source. When crossing the bridge the singular linear source creates an unexpected connection between the master wing and the main house.” These type of technologies enable the homeowner to show off their architectural detailing and still have a wonderful experience with artificial lighting.
Artificial lighting – light bridge creates a gorgeous aesthetic
In many of our homes we forget about the health benefits of allowing natural light into our interiors and daily lives. Whether you enjoy the glow of natural light through translucent glass blocks in your shower every morning or you open your blinds wide in your home office every morning, there is a health benefit to natural light. Try walking outside and soaking up sunlight and then come back into your home. If your body feels like it’s lacking the fresh and therapeutic benefits of sunlight – think of ways to bring it into your home in greater abundance.
If you are in the process of designing your home or you at least have some flexibility in the placement of your furniture, remember these tips with natural light. Depending on where you live in the world and the orientation of your home will affect how the rising and setting sun affect you and your family. Consider your lifestyle – are you a morning riser and enjoy sun waking you or would you rather save the morning daylight for your main living areas. Think of these important window and furniture placement considerations when beckoning natural light into your home.
When designing your home or placing furniture – think about natural light sources
There are so many lighting fixtures on the market – we as homeowners are fortunate to have so many! Walk through your home at different times of the day to determine what activities you do the most in each room. Ambient or overall lighting usually consists of overhead lighting – while task lighting comes in the forms of under cabinet and table lighting. Ambiance lighting such as chandeliers and wall sconces add a unique ambiance to your space and are perfect for entryway and foyers. Choose lighting that compliments your interiors and allows you versatility in your everyday living.
What lighting best suits your needs?
Greenery and houseplants go hand-in-hand with healthy green living for humans and letting in natural sunlight into your home. Give yourself an excuse to have to open your window shades daily by using greenery around your home. Houseplants in a sunroom or growing in a kitchen garden can be perfect for growing herbs and small plants. Small terrariums grown on a side table or hanging in your bathroom are great for areas where you don’t have a lot of space. Either way plants give you an excuse to let in more light!
Plants give you an excuse to open up your windows!
You can change the mood in your home instantly with the flipping on of a switch, the closing of a blind, or the lighting of a few candles. Your lifestyle and all it has to offer will be enhanced with natural and artificial lighting. Create a home that you love to be in with these lighting ideas…

 colour bathroom

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There’s nothing quite like an old weathered wooden bench to add some character to almost any bathroom, even if the rest of the room isn’t exactly rustic at all. The State of Things shows a semi-rustic style in this farmhouse bathroom, which obviously works quite well, followed by this more modern and minimalist bathroom featured on Atelierul Decor.

 Stunning Modern Loft Inside Victorian Westbourne Grove Church

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DOS Architects have completed an intriguing renovation of the top two floors of Westbourne Grove Church, a Baptist chapel initially built in 1853. Situated in London’s Notting Hill, the interiors of the new apartment seem to defy their surroundings, showcasing a highly contemporary design. A double height space acts as the core of the loft; the church’s original arched windows were kept intact and flood this interior in natural light. Pink and purple were employed to add color to the place, dynamically contrasting the white walls. The home has a total living area of 400 square meters and a layout which ensures a high level of transparency. The two floors are connected through an interesting looking glass stairway. Combining a daring design with state of the art technology and modern finishes, it is difficult to believe this futuristic apartment is integrated in an old traditional church. We are curious to know your honest opinion regarded to the overall design of this apartment in relationship to its surrounding architecture- find this approach advisable?

 10 Questions to Consider in Your Apartment Search

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Use these questions to find an apartment that fits your lifestyle. Image Via: Staprans Design
A lot of new renters assume that searching for an apartment is simple. You just search for available spaces online, pick the best looking one in your price range, and sign a lease, right? While being that laid-back with your search might help you move into a new apartment sooner, you may find yourself in a less-than-ideal living situation down the road.
In order to find an apartment that truly works for your lifestyle, you need to the some homework before committing. Call the landlord and get a feel for how he or she responds to you, set up a walk-through of the space, and come prepared with a list of questions. You want to a solid idea of what living in the space will be like before you commit yourself to the length of the lease.
If you aren’t quite sure what to ask, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are 10 questions to consider in your apartment search.
Do you have the qualities that landlords want in a renter? Image Via: Nicholas Moriarty Interiors
Rentals move fast, much more so than listings. Since there is often a high-demand for rentals – especially ones that are that are clean and affordable – you’re more than likely going to face some stiff competition in your apartment search. In order to put yourself in the best vying position, you need to be sure that you present qualities that make you a look like a good tenant.
According to James McClelland of Chicago-based rental property management firm Mack Cos, some of the things that landlords consider are: income, length of employment, credit check, background check, number of applicants, and number of pets. Landlords want assurances that you have enough money to cover the lease and will presumably continue to have that income. They want to know that you have a history of paying your bills on time and that you will take care of their space.
If you find that one of the areas listed above may make give you trouble, there are a few things you can do. Find stable employment or a co-signer who has a consistent source of income. Start paying your bills on time and pay down as much of your debt as possible. Consider finding an alternative home for your pets.
Discuss who will be on the lease if you have roommates. Image Via: Terrat Elms Interior Design
Having a roommate in your new apartment has it’s pluses and minus. On the one hand, it certainly lowers the overall cost of the space, since you’ll only be responsible for paying a portion of the rent and utilities. But, on the other, if you are both on the lease and your roommate doesn’t pay, it could leave you with all of the financial burden.
If you and your roommate both intend to go on the lease, make sure you choose a person to live with who exhibits all of the good renter qualities listed above. Also be sure that it is someone that you trust enough to not to default on the payments.
The other option is to only put one of your names on the lease. This might be the best course of action if one of you has a less-than-stellar financial history. However, if you choose to go this route it’s wise to have a serious discussion beforehand about how much rent they will be expected to pay, what date you need to receive the money by, etc.
Keep your move out date in mind when searching. Image Via: Remont
Once you feel that you are ready to be a tenant, you need to be certain of when you’ll be able to move. Since landlords often depend on rent as a source of income, if given a choice between renters, they’ll often choose the one who is able to move in the soonest. You don’t want to fall in love with a space only to find that you are unable to move.
If you’re currently living in a rental, be sure to read your lease carefully to determine when you’re able to move and how soon prior to that date you’ll need to give notice of your departure. In the event that you are currently living with roommates, you’ll also want to discuss your intended move-out date with them in case they will need time to find a replacement.
Start searching for new apartments two to months prior to the end of your lease. Get a feel for the areas where you’d like to be and look at potential listings. Then, when you are six weeks out from the end of your lease, start setting up viewing appointments.
Get a feel for the apartment’s surrounding area. Image Via: Designed To Appeal
Think about what you need in terms of location for your new apartment and then tailor the listings you go to see accordingly. Do you need to be within walking distance of public transportation? Is the commute to work manageable? Would you prefer to be close to shops and restaurants?
Beyond the apartment building itself, make sure to take the apartments surrounding area into account. Is the area one where you’d feel comfortable walking alone at night? Is there a grocery store and laundry mat nearby?
Once you find a few listings that meet your needs, the best way to get a feel for the location is by spending time there. Make a few visits to the area at varying times of day. Find the stores you’ll know you’ll be needing to use most often and make a note of the travel time.
Pay attention for signs of disrepair. Image Via: Elemental Architecture 
When you finally go to see the space, take note of the building’s condition. The condition of the building is indicative of the way in which the landlord treats the space and by extension his tenants.
Are there any visible signs of the exterior needing repairs? Is the lawn maintained? Are the common areas and hallways clean? Can you see any appliances that are out of order? How long ago was the apartment’s decor updated? Think about how you feel walking through the building. If you see anything that seems like it’s seen better days, take that into consideration as you make your final decision.
If you have the opportunity, reach out to some of the building’s current tenants. Ask them how they feel about living in the apartment and if they would recommend you do the same.
Decide which amenities you truly need. Image Via: Dyna Contracting
As you’re looking at apartments online, it’s tempting to focus your search on the flashy, luxury buildings that offer their residents tons of amenities. After all, who wouldn’t want access to a 24-hour on-site gym and in-ground swimming pool? But, in most cases, the amenities often end up costing more than they are worth.
Think about what amenities are truly necessary for you and which would just be a nice benefit. Do you need a parking space for your car? Would you feel more comfortable if the building had security on staff?  Then, revise your search for buildings that include those items.
When you look at apartments, be sure to question the cost of these features. While some complexes may include the fees in the monthly rent that’s advertised, others may consider it a separate charge. Also, ask whether participation in these services is mandatory or if you would be able to pick and choose only the amenities you’re sure you’ll use.
Make sure you know what the monthly cost will be. Image Via: Mikel Irastorza
Obviously, the cost of a space is going to be a huge factor in deciding which apartment will be your new home. You want to make sure you can afford the amount that you’ll need to pay to the landlord in monthly rent.
However, in addition to rent, you need to consider utilities such as water, sewer, trash, electricity, and heat. When talking to a potential landlord, be sure to ask which utilities will be included in the monthly rent and which will be a separate charge for you. Get a figure for how much the current renter usually pays in utilities.
Also, inquire about the process for paying bills. Will they be mailed to you directly or will you pay the landlord. Double check what day of the month these payments will be due and check if any additional fees will be accrued for late payments.
Be aware of upfront costs like a security deposit. Image Via: Rendall & Wright
Monthly costs are not the only numbers that you need to consider. Renting an apartment usually comes with a considerable upfront cost and the costs of each unit will be different.
Most landlords require some amount of payment in a security deposit. Some ask for people to pay both the first and last month’s rent upfront. If you are looking to bring your pets into the unit, there will likely be an additional fee.
All of those payments can be add up to a considerable amount when they need to be paid in a singular lump sum. Make sure you have a thorough idea of what upfront costs you’ll be expected to pay and that you will have enough money to pay them on the day that you sign the lease.
Know the process for fixing problems. Image Via: Manuel Sequeira Architecte D.P.L.G
Though it is unpleasant to think about, at some point during the course of your lease, you’ll likely face a problem with your unit. Maybe you’ll have a small plumbing issue or need to have a pest control professional remediate the space. Whatever the case, Kate Kemp of Move.com cautions not to wait until you’re in the middle of a crisis to figure out how it should be handled.
As you tour the apartment, ask the landlord what the procedure is for reporting and rectifying problems. Figure out who is responsible for paying any associated repair fees and how long it usually takes for issues to be addressed.
Get a feel for if any the apartment buildings have experienced any major problems recently. If so, what has been done to fix the issue?
Always read the lease thoroughly before signing. Image Via: Holly Marder
We cannot stress this enough: Before you sign and turn in a lease, make sure that you read the entire thing thoroughly. Question any policies that you do not understand. If needed, have another person read over it as well to determine if you reached the same understanding.
Make sure you know what you’re agreeing to and that you feel that you will be able to abide by the all of the terms. Pay extra close attention to notices about your responsibilities as a renter, fees you’ll be required to pay, and the penalty for breaking the lease.
Once you sign your name to the lease, you are obligated to comply with the terms listed within. If you fail to meet those terms, your landlord is within his or her rights to take legal action against you, so it’s essential for you to be aware of the commitment you’re about to make.
If you don’t feel comfortable with a section of the lease, do not sign it. You’re better off taking the time to searching for another unit than risking costly legal repercussions down the road. The most important factor in your apartment search is making sure that you feel at home and at peace in your new space.
Ask questions during your search for an apartment. Image Via: Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design
Finding a new apartment can be overwhelming. It can be hard to glean from a few pictures on the internet and a short viewing if you like the space well enough to live there for the length of the lease. Use these questions to guide your search. They can help you determine which unit will work best for your lifestyle.
Do you have any essential tips for apartment searching? Tell us in the comments…

 bohemian design

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If you believe that green does not work in a trendy and minimal contemporary bedroom, then think again! A green accent wall is easy to shape and it brings that much needed warmth to an otherwise cool and mundane interior. Just repeat the color in the room using vivacious bedding, accessories, nightstands or even a couple of lovely vases and you have an inviting bedroom that is both energetic and relaxing. Those who feel that an accent wall in green or décor are not your thing can still add the color by placing a couple of potted plants to fill up those empty corners. It is an easy, eco-friendly and healthy choice to turn to that will instantly alter the mood in the bedroom.

 Contemporary Garden Room Built on a Strict Budget by Capital A Architecture

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Garden Room is a project designed by Capital A Architecture in Edinburgh, a house extension requested by the owner, when extra space was needed. Envisioned as a secondary living room, the Garden Room brings light and luminosity to the house and it establishes a better connection with the outdoors. It offers great views of the garden and it creates an enchanting ambience, especially during fall when the season changes its colours.
“The room is 4.5m square, with two walls of glass providing an uninterrupted view of the garden, like massive HD televisions. The roof overhang works several ways; drawing the eye down, towards the garden and away from the sky, when viewed from inside. By providing a sheltered, intermediate zone on the outside, it also caps off the garden room, making it appear larger, framing an elegant, horizontal proportion.” The Garden Room, which was built from scratch, has a steel frame structure, glass instead of walls and a cut out in the ceiling, letting the place breathe. It’s an excellent spot for reading and it favours contemplation. Inspiring peacefulness and elegantly decorated, the impeccable house-extension was built on a strict budget: less than £30,000. 
 

 Life on Water: Modular Aqua Floathome in Germany

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How do you feel about life on water? This modular Aqua Floathome was designed by Steeltec37 and is located in Lusatian Lake District in Germany. The residence has a unique appearance and welcomes all the comfort of modern living. Here is the idea behind the project, as stated by the architects: “On a floating home you can experience the feeling of freedom, combined with a maritime flair – a feeling of life which everyone has always dreamed of. Inspired by transparency, surrounded with nature and harmony. An unsinkable pontoon offers security and provides the basis for the dream – water living“. Aqua Floathome features steel rectangular tubes for support, a vaulted roof to give it that sailboat appeal, an innovative air-vapor barrier membrane and quality thermal insulation. The interior design is highly modern, with tasteful arrangements and floor to ceiling windows for unobstructed lake views…

 Original Family Home Extension in Australia, Built on an Artificial Hill

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Australian architect Andrew Maynard completed the design for a modern home extension, entitled Hill House and located near Melbourne. The project sits on an artificial hill and was built for a family of five. Here is more from the architects: “Melbourne is predominantly flat. Could this be why Melbourne’s architecture is adventurous? There is no landscape to confine therefore building is free to become landscape. Hill House is a response to this possibility. Melbourne is flat. If one is to explore the possibility of cantilevering off a cliff (a desire of many architects) one is forced to manufacture that landscape. A monolithic form is unsheathed from the hill and placed atop. A celebration of the synthetic, the manufactured. A simulacrum of both an undulating landscape and the pure architectural form.
The new structure faces the original house. The backyard is now the centre of the house activated by the built form around it. Beyond solar gain, the benefit of the new structure being in the backyard is that it borrows landscaping from its neighbours’ gardens. The high windows about the entertainment cabinetry and the dining area are enveloped in trees. Internally one gets the sense that Hill House is enveloped by bush rather than part of the suburban mix“. How would you comment on this ubiquitous modern box addition?

 toddler spaceship bed

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There are a few specific styles and themes which come alive in the bedroom with the addition of a green tinge. The first that comes to mind is here is the exotic tropical style. Whether you wish to combine a hint of tropical charm with modern aesthetics or want to create a guest bedroom that is full of tropical flair, green is the color to turn to. A splash of bright or mossy green can turn your boring bedroom into a fun and playful space that reminds of your recent holiday trip to a stunning tropical getaway. Another look that revels in green is the beach style and you can replace the traditional white and blue blend with white, green and a hint of orange to create a unique and exquisite bedroom.

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