The Custom Furniture Business: Creating Beautiful and Timeless Designs
Small businesses are the soul of America

More people are interested in buying locally made products than ever before. You can capitalize on many consumers’ return to local shopping by emphasizing that all components of your furniture are made in the United States, or in your town or area. The same applies to handmade goods. Individuals who are tired of mass-produced goods are often the same people who are interested in buying locally. Given this climate, it is a good time to start a handmade furniture business.
An exterior view of a shingled house called Wildmoor where Jackie Kennedy summered. The home has white trim and dormer windows. There is grass in front of the house. Photos by Rise Media, courtesy of Paula Butler of Sotheby’s International Realty

Wildmoor is a shingled East Hamptons estate a few blocks from the ocean

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis has spent many a summer in the Hamptons, and one of the homes she visited as a child just hit the market. Called Wildmoor, the 4,291-square-foot residence belonged to Onassis’s grandfather, John Vernou Bouvier Jr., in the 1900s; in 1925, Bouvier also purchased a larger Hamptons estate known as Lasata.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Onassis and her family spent summers at the modestly sized Wildmoor house—not far from her grandfather and Lasata—in the 1930s and lived the rest of the time on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The home is located just a few blocks from the ocean, and sports a gabled roof, dormer windows, wraparound porch, and a large second-floor terrace.

An enclosed dining area with a wood table and white trimmed windows and skylights.
Eating in the solarium-inspired dining room feels like dining al fresco thanks to abundant skylights.

Many original details remain in the 1865 house, like wood paneling, an antique claw foot tub, and a fireplace with colorful patterned tile. There are six bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms, and one of the most impressive...

The LIFE Picture Collection via

Dividing life from work has always been a challenge, especially if your home office doesn’t include walls

As a kid growing up in Hawai‘i, Megan Lehn would buzz her parents on their intercom system when she got home from school every day, to say hi and to tell them what she was eating for a snack. They’d reply from the third floor, where they shared an office. Working from home afforded Lehn’s parents the flexibility to take her to school and soccer practice, but they instituted clear boundaries when they were on the clock. As Lehn explains it: “Just because I’m home doesn’t mean you can bring up your Oreos and ask me a bunch of questions about Oreos.”

When Lehn bought a house in California a few years ago and started working for a company with an entirely remote staff, she found herself adopting her parents’ attitude toward separating work and life. One room became her work space, which she set up to look like “any other office”: dual screens, filing cabinets, wireless mouse, ergonomic everything. (She did take the liberty of painting one wall purple, filling the space with plants, and putting up photos from her travels to look at when she...

Illustration of a house on red background. Natalie Nelson

Everybody needs a little help sometimes

Embarking on a home renovation project is no easy feat, but thanks to today’s advances in internet technology, there is probably a stellar app out there ready to assist with every part of the process.

Below, we rounded up 18 standouts across three categories—plan, design, and expert help—available on iOS and/or Android, many of which are free to download. And if you need to declutter first, check out our roundup of the best apps and sites for selling old stuff around the house.

Apps that help you plan

Home Design 3D.

1. Home Design 3D: For drawing rooms, testing out furniture all in one app (some features like saving designs and 3D-viewing require upgrades.)

Free on iOS, Android

2. Roomscan Pro: For creating floor plans just by touching your phone to each wall or by scanning the floor with your phone camera.

Free on iOS

3. Magicplan: For creating floor plans from photos of a room.

Free on iOS, Android

The interior of a living area. There are measurements of the walls and other surfaces on the image along with a box with the words: Access to garden.
Photo Measures

4. Photo Measures: For saving measurements directly on your own photos.

$6.99 on iOS, $4.99 on Android

Apps that help you design your space

5. Paint Tester: For visualizing paint colors (from major...

People sit in circles meant to encourage social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic in Domino Park along the East River on May 18, 2020 in the Williamsburg neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough in New York City. Public spaces are reopening—but governed by new rules. | Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

This moment should be about reassessing our broken cities

The sidewalks have been converted into bustling restaurants, with families on bikes roaming the open streets, inhaling the cleanest air they’ve breathed in decades—through properly fitted masks, of course. Is this what your city will look like in post-pandemic America? For many, COVID-19 is a life-or-death crisis where your ZIP code determines if you physically and financially survive. For others, it’s the dawn of an urban utopia.

Even before the staggering impact of the novel coronavirus had been fully revealed, the people who write and think about cities were busy writing prescriptions for their recovery. But instead of bearing witness to mass death as a moment of reflection, many urban advocates are using the coronavirus as an opportunity to accelerate their pre-pandemic agendas—agendas which ignore the issues that made COVID-19 more catastrophic than it should have been.

If I hear one more white person in my planning profession say (because ZERO fellow Black and Brown colleagues saying this), "Well, the COVID-19...

A bridge with glass walls sits high above the ocean. There are panoramic views and trees next to a house.Photos by Kodiak Greenwood

It’s like walking on the edge of the world

Big Sur, California, has no shortage of epic ocean views, and one of our favorite pastimes is ogling the picturesque real estate perched on the region’s iconic cliffs. One of the most impressive homes currently on the market is a three-bedroom, three-bath stunner—called Terra Mar—that recently underwent a $400,000 price drop.

The 2,679-square-foot house was built in 1998 by Mickey Muennig, the famed NorCal architect behind Big Sur staples like the Post Ranch Inn, a luxury eco hotel. Muennig has lived on this section of rugged coastline since the early 1970s, helping to craft California’s take on the organic architecture movement by building everything from underground houses to residences inspired by airplanes.

In this Muennig design, guests are welcomed to the property through a private garden area with an outdoor fire pit before entering the free-flowing house. Like in much of Muennig’s work, there are no right angles in the home—you’ll instead find swooping lines, curved walls, and exposed wood.

A curving home on a cliff at sunset. There are decks and paths on the home, and the ocean spreads out on the left.
The home sits perched on a cliff for jaw-dropping sunsets.

The living room features floor-to-ceiling...

A young woman standing at the door frame of a residential bathroom intending to walk in. Illustration.

When I was a teenager, it was the most dangerous room in the house. Today, it’s where I feel most like myself

Sometime between the ages of 10 and 12, I stopped being able to recognize myself in the mirror. I would position myself in front of the glass and look for all the things that were wrong and out of place, which is to say, I would look at everything. In trying to fix what I was looking at, I inadvertently made my bathroom mirror both the site of my pain and a point of curiosity, a way to study myself and keep track of what was changing.

My house was built in the mid-’90s, during the first expansion of what would become Silicon Valley, and I shared the hallway bathroom with my sister. Behind the six-panel hollow-core door, painted white and scuffed around the handle, we each had our own sink, hers on the left and mine on the right. The drawers in the wooden cabinets were stained from tubes and bottles of various toiletries, and the handles came unscrewed every so often. My dad installed a water filter in the bathroom when I was about 9 so that my sister and I wouldn’t have to go downstairs in the middle of the night if we were thirsty.

While I was privileged to have a...

An arial view of single family houses.Getty Images

COVID-19 has caused volatility in seemingly everything but housing

More than 38 million Americans have lost their jobs since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay-at-home orders have ground much of the economy to a halt, prompting trillions in stimulus spending by the federal government in hopes of keeping industries afloat.

But anyone hoping a silver lining to the economic chaos would be deals in the housing market have thus far been disappointed; for the week ending May 9, the median listing price in the United States was up 1.4 percent year-over-year, according to Existing home sales in April fell by almost 18 percent, but prices rose 7.4 percent compared to a year ago.

Why isn’t the tanking economy bringing home prices down with it? It’s a reasonable question given that so much of the economy moves in lockstep, and the last economic crisis in 2008 sent the housing market into free fall.

So what’s different this time around? Let’s break it down. The price of anything is a function of the relationship between supply and demand. Generally, home prices have been pushed up over the last 5 years by high demand created by a then-booming economy...

An aerial view of a resort-type pool, with palm trees and a blue and white lighthouse surrounding the water. Photos by Andre Van Rensburg for Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty

It’s got waterslides and fountains, cabanas and lounge chairs

Memorial Day weekend is usually the kickoff to pool season in the U.S., but amid the novel coronavirus pandemic it’s unclear whether many city pools will open this summer. Let’s cope with this disheartening reality by ogling a home with one of the most impressive pool setups we’ve ever seen.

Located in Key Largo, Florida, just south of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, this six-bedroom, seven-bath property just hit the market with 1.62 acres of resort-style amenities, including a striking white and blue lighthouse that towers over the pool area.

It’s true that the main home’s decor feels slightly out of place with a ranch-inspired theme, sliding barn doors, and chandeliers, while the guest cottages are done up in kitschy ocean accents. But let’s face it, you buy this property for the outdoor space.

A resort-style pool area with rocks, palm trees, and a suspension bridge that leads to a lighthouse.
The pool area features waterfalls, elaborate rock facades, and a suspension bridge that leads to a slide.

Tiki huts provide shade from the Florida sun, multiple outdoor kitchens (and an outdoor pizza oven!) give you a place to prep food, and...

A boxy modern office shed on a platform.Courtesy of Studio Shed

It’s an easy way to add a home office, yoga studio, or guest room to your property

With modern looks and efficient construction, prefab continues to be an alluring option for building a new home. But if you already have a house, adding a backyard structure made from components produced off-site can be an easy and practical way to make the most of your property.

Compact prefab sheds often won’t require a permit to install and their potential uses can go way beyond simple storage or workshop space—think a home office, yoga studio, writing retreat, guest house, music room, and so on.

Below, we’ve rounded up five rad prefab shed lines that you can order from right now. The estimated price ranges do not include costs associated with any permits, shipping, foundation, and installation, unless otherwise noted.

Signature Series by Studio Shed

A shed with overhanging roof and small front porch.Studio Shed

Size: 64 to 240 square feet

Cost: $9,529 to $17,286 (base costs)

Key features: Weatherproof wall panels, tapered roof rafters, double pane windows, fiberglass door, brushed aluminum trim and hardware, one-year warranty, professional installation available.

Modern Kwik Room by Kanga Room Systems

A light blue and orange shed with large deck.

A black wire outdoor furniture couch with white pillows sits in front of a fire pit and a pool.The Breton Black Metal Sofa from CB2 ($799) is a sleek option for patio furniture. | Courtesy of CB2

Savor the outdoors in style

Outdoor spaces in our stay-at-home world are more important than ever before. Whether you have a small balcony or a sprawling backyard, a bit of fresh air is key to fighting quarantine fatigue.

For many of us, sprucing up our outdoor areas is at the top of the home projects to-do list, but picking out quality furniture can be daunting. In the past, we offered five tips for finding top-flight outdoor furniture. Now, we’re breaking down the best outdoor furniture by material—wood, metal, plastic, fabric, and wicker.

While it’s true that some outdoor furniture can be astronomically expensive—running into thousands of dollars—don’t despair! There are plenty of options for budget-conscious patio dwellers, too. Need even more picks? Don’t miss our favorite affordable outdoor sofas and budget-minded dining sets.

Review our advice and get shopping—the outdoors are calling.

Wood outdoor furniture

Wooden patio furniture is sturdy, long-lasting (if well cared for), and often feels the most like having real furniture outside. It can also be expensive....

You want to make sure your home is protected at all costs. Aside from it being the most expensive purchase, you are likely to make in your lifetime, the security of yourself and your family will no doubt be of utmost importance. You want to feel safe in your home and know that you are...

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We often see stories about natural disasters on the news or read tales in magazines about families that have lost everything as a result of fires or floods. In truth, most of us probably assume that we will never be in this situation. The trouble is that life has a habit of throwing out curveballs,...

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Hi everyone, I hope you are enjoying the start of your week! We spent the weekend cleaning up from our home office project and also did a bit of gardening. This week I am working on a great chest of drawers. You can see here how gorgeous the wood drawers are. This piece belongs to...

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The office makeover is still in progress but here is a quick update. We first painted all the paneling in Behr Red Pepper. This took two coats and a ton of edge work. I also cleaned and painted the windows in Benjamin Moore Cloud White (to match the rest of our home interior trim). The...

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This sweet chest of drawers is all finished! Its original gorgeous burled wood drawers plus Annie Sloan Duck Egg chalk paint and gold details make this a stunner! Here is the process! I first needed to sand back the top because at some point half of it had been painted white. I didn’t need to...

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Front facade of all white houseSandi Baratama and Niko Adiatma

Talk about curb appeal

Here’s a house that knows how to make the most of the lot it’s got. Designed by Indonesian studio Semiotic Arsitek, the UR House in Jakarta, Indonesia, is sandwiched between two existing homes on a small site.

Working with a tight budget, the architects went big on curb appeal with a striking white facade comprising two gables. The family home is split in two—both aesthetically and thematically.

Living room facing wall of large windowsSandi Baratama and Niko Adiatma

The entrance, with a small terrace on the way, leads up to a volume clad in semi-opaque glass. Inside, the living room and dining room are joined in one large, open-plan space that was as much about functionality as it was about budget; the architects say they cut down on budget by simply cutting down on the walls.

While this common area is more open and airy, the second volume is more opaque, jutting over the driveway to create enough space for three bedrooms.

Living room with sectional couch facing TVSandi Baratama and Niko Adiatma
Plants sitting on concrete terrace Sandi Baratama and Niko Adiatma

View of concrete housing units.Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

Samuel Gonçalves’s Gomos System builds adaptable spaces from concrete modules

The promise of prefab construction is that it’s faster, cheaper, and more sustainable. How designers go about achieving those goals can take myriad forms. One of the more inventive efforts lately comes from Samuel Gonçalves of Summary Architects, whose Gomos System uses precast concrete modules to build expandable, adaptable buildings.

First seen as a prototype at the Venice Biennale in 2016, the system has been refined to the point where it’s now used to build actual, habitable structures—for instance, this new housing project in Vale de Cambra, Portugal.

Gonçalves explains that the public-facing bottom floor of the mixed-use building is shaped by structural panels and prefabricated concrete slabs that can be one open space or compartmentalized as needed.

On top of the ground floor sits six modular homes, each measuring 484 square feet and made of precast concrete. These units are modest, with their most striking features being the angled roof and glass wall on one end. But with modesty comes efficiency.

The modules are fabricated in a factory and then constructed on...

Photos by Ren Nickson

The facade will age and “develop a patina that reflects time through material changes”

Located in Hillsdale, New York, this four-bedroom, three-bath house is an eye-catching take on the boxy contemporary. Designed and built by Bernheimer Architecture in 2007, the home is clad almost entirely in corrugated copper siding and a mixture of flat-seam and standing seam copper roofing.

The goal of the unusual siding, according to the architect, is to create a facade that will age and “develop a patina that reflects time through material changes.” It also looks pretty dang cool. It helps, of course, that the home is tucked away in the forest on six acres in an upstate hamlet that’s known as a second-home oasis and gateway to the Berkshires.

Inside, the dark, geometric exterior gives way to an airy and minimalist space, with sculpted south-facing skylights that bathe the home in light. An eight-foot tall, 30-foot-long, open bookshelf system runs the length of the ground floor and divides the main living spaces, and the kitchen gleams in stainless steel.

Two of the bedrooms and an office are downstairs while the master is upstairs, but all of the bedrooms...

Two faces, a man and woman, peek out from below a set of stairs that descend to a basement level of a city buidling. A woman’s legs are visible walking by at street level. Illustration.

After the breakup, we created a second bedroom by assembling an Ikea bed in the kitchen

It took several tries to settle upon the basement apartment that my girlfriend Abby and I would move into after graduating from Oberlin College in 2011.

I had wanted to live in the suburbs of Bethesda, a short bus ride from my internship at the National Institutes of Health. For me, the apartment would be a temporary shelter while I applied to graduate schools in other parts of the country. In contrast, Abby wanted to live 10 miles away in Washington, D.C., to make a home in the cramped heat of the city. She had found college too abstract and aimless, and was excited to enter the real world.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I just wanted to get a job. To work in a coffee shop,” she told me shortly before graduation.

Because Abby spent the summer harvesting strawberries on a farm in Oregon with limited internet access, the apartment search had largely fallen on my shoulders. Each morning, I would rise from my childhood bedroom in central New Jersey and stumble down to the kitchen. When my parents left for work, I prepared a bowl of cereal and opened the laptop.

I began by evaluating the...

A collage of five book covers. The first has an image of Charles and Ray Eames on the cover, the second has a close-up image of a Slinky, the third is a pattern of different shades of blue and brown, the fourth has a photograph of a skyscraper, the fifth has orange lettering on itIllustration by Alyssa Nassner

The era contains multitudes. Get the lay of the land from these historian-approved tomes

The clean-lined, Mad Men-esque aesthetic of sunken living rooms, swanky furniture, and Sputnik chandeliers has become stylistic shorthand for midcentury modernism. But the depth and complexity of design emanating from the postwar era is goes beyond molded plywood furniture and a “less is more” mantra. Thankfully, there are countless books about how designers and architects around the world created work during a time of great experimentation.

Midcentury modernism is more a school of thought that privileged new manufacturing techniques, new materials, and affordability rather than a cookie-cutter aesthetic (as some of today’s derivative furniture collections would lead you to believe). We asked curators, historians, and archivists to recommend their favorite titles. While this is far from an exhaustive list about the movement, the books below are starting points for you to discover the exciting world of midcentury design.

Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guides

by Sam Lubell and Darren Bradley (Phaidon 2016)

“Before the pandemic, I would have...

A rendering of a vibrant cityscape on a waterfront with people boating and sitting at outdoor cafes.Sidewalk Labs conducted 18 months of public engagement for the Quayside project, which was first proposed in 2017. | Sidewalk Labs

The Google company has abandoned its plan to remake Toronto’s waterfront

Less than a year ago, the Alphabet company Sidewalk Labs unveiled plans to test fantastical urban innovations across a 12-acre swath of Toronto’s waterfront—high-rise timber towers, a pneumatic trash collection system, and heated streets that melted snow. Now, the most ambitious project from Google’s urban-planning arm has been called off.

Sidewalk Toronto is the latest megaproject spearheaded by a tech giant that’s been quashed by a faltering economy, second thoughts from local officials, or dogged opposition from advocates. In the case of Sidewalk Toronto, it’s likely all of the above. Like Amazon’s failed attempt to woo New York City, cities might extend generous tax breaks to lure the tech companies in, but the people who live in the neighborhoods to be ‘revitalized’ are increasingly uniting to lock tech companies out.

The genesis of Sidewalk Labs goes back at least five years to a time when venture capital-flush CEOs envisioned building self-contained technotopias to...

An urban neighbourhood taken from an aerial perspective. Image taken from hot air balloon. Cityscape depicts typical urban development pattern, including city layout styles, lots, streets, and grid layout.Getty Images

It’s hard to make sense of recent housing market data

As the United States enters its third month under the COVID-19 pandemic, glimmers of hope have emerged in the housing market that suggest that after the pandemic passes, a housing market recovery won’t be too far behind.

Listings platforms like Redfin and Zillow highlight normalizing web traffic to their sites as hints that buyers are ready to shop once again. A jump in weekly mortgage applications goes even further, suggesting shoppers are already prepared to buy.

A number of recent headlines have hinted that the housing recovery is already underway, powered by press releases from companies like Redfin (which have an incentive to keep investor sentiment positive). But cherry picking individual or even a handful of data can lead to spurious conclusions about the current state of the housing market. Housing data as a whole is decidedly mixed and practically impossible to string together into a clear narrative.

“No matter what narrative you have you can support that story with data,” says academic and real estate consultant Mike DelPrete. “You can find data to support any story you want, whether it’s everything...

An exterior view of a home built in the French chateaux style with stairs in front that lead down to a large green grass.Photos courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence

This Loire Valley-inspired chateau has a room for everything

Located in Stamford, Connecticut, just about an hour north of Manhattan, this nine-bedroom, eight-bath home was built to resemble a French castle, complete with a ballroom.

Designed by noted New York-based architects Hunt & Hunt and completed in 1913, the home was built for American movie pioneer, Frank Marion. Since then, only four owners have lived in the sprawling 8,140-square-foot residence.

Hunt & Hunt popularized the neo-French Renaissance style on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and similar slate roofs, copper crestings, and dormer windows with high pediments adorn this lavish home. The property’s double or triple windows with diamond-light casements harken back to the Loire Valley. The architects also ensured that the largest windows and terraces face the sea for optimal breezes and views.

Inside, a maze of long hallways, double door entrances, and 30 distinct rooms celebrate peak castle living. There may not be much use for a chauffeur’s waiting room, sewing room, darkroom, or coatcheck room these days, but this house has them. It also boasts wrought-iron wall sconces...

A man stands among a sea of different kinds of chairs.Chair Times / Vitra

You better sit down for this

For the design obsessed, few objects generate as much attention and conversation as the chair, often shorthand for a design ethos.

“Chairs are important witnesses of their time,” says Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman emeritus of renowned Swiss furniture company Vitra. “They are portraits of their users and reflections of the production methods from which they emerge.”

Fehlbaum is one of the talking heads in Chair Times, a documentary from director Heinz Bütler that charts the history and significance of seating design. Currently available to stream for free, the film spotlights 125 objects culled from Vitra Design Museum’s vast collection, starting from circa-1807 seating to the first Thonet and tubular steel chairs to the 3D-printed designs of today. The documentary also features designers like Hella Jongerius, Antonio Citterio, and Ronan Bouroullec.

Like Helvetica, a popular documentary on the famous typeface, Chair Times is an opportunity to meditate on design and ubiquity—and a fun way to spend an hour and a half this weekend.

Siobhan Gallagher

Finding a roommate amid coronavirus requires asking some new—and very personal—questions

Sarah, 33, had just moved into a four-bedroom house in Portland, Oregon, in February when the pandemic became a serious concern. “The roommate who was on the lease got laid off in March and immediately took off,” says Sarah, who asked that her last name not be used for privacy reasons. Sarah took over the lease and began the process of finding a roommate for herself and the two other people who still lived there. “I’ve looked for roommates before and usually things are frantic—you get so many responses.” In March, Sarah only got one “viable response” from a woman who, luckily, turned out to be a good fit. Soon afterward, another roommate whose income was impacted by COVID-19 decided to move to a yurt with her partner.

There’s always a certain amount of risk involved in inviting a stranger to live with you. But never has that risk been clearer than in the last six months, as people in many states are under stay-at-home orders to flatten the curve. If a potential roommate is lucky enough to have a job (as of late April, there have been over 30 million unemployment...

Pixabay CC0 License These days, there are all sorts of different appliances on the market designed to help you have a more comfortable and efficient experience of everyday life in your home. There are smart devices that can be controlled remotely, or on an automatic schedule, from your smartphone – and there are more labour...

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I am currently working on a pretty interesting piece. It’s a vintage bar that my friend found for $20 at a thrift store. I spent this morning sanding back its top to see what was under the old finish. It is beautiful! I also spent a very long time scrubbing all of the old brass...

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Let’s start this rambling post with such an interesting find! My friend grabbed it while out shopping at a thrift store. It’s an old bar and I have never seen one like it before. She plans on putting it in her dining room. The bar is solid wood with an ice box dropped into the...

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Are you thinking about selling your home? If so, then you will have two main goals. You will want to sell your home fast and you’ll want to sell it for the right price. Well, if you take the right steps and put the right measures in place, then you will find it easy to...

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More people are taking strides to increase how ex-friendly their home is. Increasing how often they recycle and their recycling capabilities and getting the whole family involved. Looking at other options when it comes to energy supplies are even installing energy efficient wood blinds.  Becoming more eco-friendly isn’t only great for you; it makes a...

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An exterior view of a stone house on a green lawn in front of a light blue pool. Photos by Mark Madonna, courtesy of Madonna Phillips Group at Sotheby’s Realty

The two-story home features original stone walls and a cantilevered staircase that leads to a reflection pool

Last year marked the 100-year celebration of Bauhaus, the influential German design school launched by modernist Walter Gropius. One of the movements most important architects—Marcel Breuer, designed this three-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath masterpiece called Gagarin I (1956-1957). Nestled into the hillside on a 1.7-acre lot, the two-story Connecticut home features bluestone terraces, original stone walls, sun-shading overhangs, and a cantilevered staircase that leads to a reflection pool.

Inside, the main level boasts a 35 foot by 52 foot glass-walled living room that looks out onto a bluestone rock deck. The focal point of the room is a bush-hammered concrete fireplace, while across the open space is a colorful kitchen. The angled entrance area, the hallway leading to the master bedroom wing, and a part of the living room are paved with brick; the rest of the flooring is reclaimed teakwood.

Other amenities include textured Portuguese cork ceilings, a gas fireplace in the master...

A close up on two residential, city fire escapes set with supplies like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. Illustration.

The pandemic has challenged my urbanist beliefs, but buildings aren’t responsible for human problems

There is a certain formula for what constitutes good urbanism that is so set it has become a meme: density, walkability, and good, equitable transit. From the New Urbanist dogmas of the 1990s, which brought us the marriage of postmodern architecture with planned communities featuring walkable downtowns, to the newer, more online hotspots like the Facebook group New Urbanist Memes for Transit Oriented Teens, there is a consensus that densely developed cities with multimodal transportation are right for our planet. Almost all urbanists believe in combating sprawl and its undesirable effects, such as car dependency, isolation, and the explicit segregation of communities by income.

This belief has long had opponents, particularly NIMBYs, groups of local urban homeowners who see increased density as a threat to their property values, parking, and “neighborhood character.” These groups have seen an opportunity to make their case during the COVID-19 pandemic. One anti-density op-ed blamed close apartment-building living quarters for the spread of the coronavirus in Minneapolis. Writer...

Leaves in various colors on a beige background. In the center are the words: 101 ways to fight climate change. This is an illustration.

Even the smallest contributions can counter a global challenge

On Wednesday, April 22, people from around the world will celebrate Earth Day. The day marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in April 1970, when 20 million Americans took to the streets to demand a healthy, sustainable environment.

In today’s social-distanced world, Earth Day 2020 is going digital. Despite the novel coronavirus, it’s still possible to join the fight against climate change—even if you have to start at home.

The challenges can’t be understated. Since 2015, the United States has left the Paris accord and reports from around the world show that countries are not moving fast enough to hit those targets. The situation may seem bleak, but there’s still hope. More than ever before, individual actions—including mobilizing for political transformation—can make a difference.

Curbed searched communities across the country and around the world, consulted experts and advocates, and pulled from our voluminous coverage on sustainable cities to create a go-to guide for climate action. Our goal is to provide practical, implementable advice on an individual level, as well as...

Lights in empty hotel rooms are turned on to create a heart in a large stucco building.In the face of a deadly pandemic, vacant California hotels light up empty rooms that could be used to keep the state’s 150,000 homeless residents alive. | Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

Leaders have the authority to commandeer vacant hotels—but they aren’t using it

Listening to the radio in his car earlier this month, Joe heard California Gov. Gavin Newsom announce a new statewide program that would move homeless residents into hotel rooms to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Everyone seemed really concerned,” he says. “Even on the radio, people were saying, ‘Watch out as soon as this hits the homeless community.’” Joe was concerned, too, as he’d been living in his car since he was evicted from his Los Angeles apartment last August.

Joe—who didn’t want his last name to be shared—couldn't find more information online about the governor’s announcement. But last year, he had given his phone number to an outreach team at St. Joseph’s Center, a homeless service provider that has worked in LA neighborhoods for 40 years. In mid-April, he got a call back: Joe’s age—he just turned 72—made him eligible for the program, and there was a hotel room ready for him.

Now Joe has...

An arial view of a suburban subdivision, filled with single-family houses.Getty Images

Reports suggest home prices are unlikely to move

The economic fallout from the spread of COVID-19 has put the housing market in the United States on pause.

New home listings have dropped precipitously. Mortgage lending has gotten even more strict, making it harder to get a home loan. In March, home sales dropped 9 percent nationwide compared to the previous month, according to Redfin. The drop in April is certain to be even more dramatic.

But what will the housing market recovery look like once the pandemic passes and the economy reaches its new state of normal? A number of new reports explore how it might play out.

Academic and real estate consultant Mike DelPrete looked a new home listings data for five markets in varying stages of sheltering in place—New York City, Portland, Austin, Seattle, and California’s East Bay, which includes Oakland and Berkeley. He concludes that new home listings bottom out after just a week of sheltering in place, and stay at that bottom for 3 to 4 weeks before gradually starting to rise.

This suggests that the housing market recovery on a graph would be shaped like a checkmark—a sharp immediate decline to a bottom and then a slow...

Blue tiny house with round windows at one end.Paradise Tiny Homes

Savvy design choices help the 260-square-foot-home live large in Hawaii

This tiny home on Hawaii’s Big Island is influenced by its lush surroundings, and it’s easy to see why. Built among vibrant trees and plants, the blue cottage was designed to embrace natural light and temperate weather.

Ellie and Dan Madsen, the sister-brother duo behind the aptly named Paradise Tiny Homes, built the 260-square-foot tiny home as to look bigger than it actually is, thanks to a series of clever design moves.

A bright living space with two rectangular windows and one round window.Paradise Tiny Homes

In the living room and kitchen, the ceiling stretches into a lofty pitched roof, while a curved roof over the lofted bedroom creates extra space.

Windows are designed to bring in maximum light. Two half-moon windows and a clerestory window shower light into the front of the house. The sides of the living room also feature two large sliding windows, while a series of smaller openings help brighten up the staircase and bedroom loft.

But the home’s coolest amenity has to be the operable windows in the kitchen, one side of which opens up to the deck where you can saddle up like its an indoor-outdoor bar.

Interior of a tiny house with narrow staircase and a lofted bed over a kitchen. Paradise Tiny Homes
Kitchen counters has windows that open out. Paradise Tiny...

Back view of concrete house featuring infinity pool.Daniela Mac Adden

Party in the back

There’s nothing unassuming about the front of this concrete beauty from Argentine architect Luciano Kruk, but the real drama happens out back. Kruk designed the house in Belén de Escobar, Argentina, for a young couple who wanted a weekend retreat fit for family living.

The front of the home is wrapped in concrete wrapped in strips of glass that provide just a peek into the home’s ultra-modern interior. The main floor centers around a cavernous living and dining area, which features a double height ceiling, exposed raw concrete, and sweeping golf course views out back.

Back view of concrete house featuring infinity pool.Daniela Mac Adden

An all-concrete kitchen is elevated on one side of this main living space while a master bedroom is elevated on the other (with two smaller bedrooms positioned underneath). And per the clients’ request, sliding glass doors open onto a semi-covered terrace, which directly connects to a glimmering pool with three cantilevered sides, a floating mirror designed to reflect the sky.

Living room built from concrete with glass wall overlooking pool.Daniela Mac Adden
Dimly lit concrete kitchen.Daniela Mac Adden
Bedroom with concrete floor and sheepskin rug.Daniela Mac Adden

The Brunswick’s ugliness once mortified me, but now I appreciate its utopian roots

Last summer, I flew to Marseille to spend a night, alone, in the hotel that occupies two floors of Le Corbusier’s La Cité Radieuse. I had plans to meet friends in the city the following day, but this part was a solo pilgrimage: I wanted an afternoon to see the perfectly preserved Brutalist masterpiece up close. For architecture nerds, this decision requires no further explanation. For my mother—to whom I texted a photo while watching the sunset from the building’s iconic rooftop—it was a source of amusement. She brought me up in a landmark Brutalist council estate in London inspired by the very building where I was now a paying guest—and I had hated it.

Spreadeagled in the center of leafy Bloomsbury, the Brunswick Centre is a monolithic residential and shopping development, notorious for the love-hate response it tends to evoke. Designed by British architect Patrick Hodgkinson in the mid-1960s, it began as Hodgkinson’s fourth-year student project at London’s venerated Architecture Association in 1953, a proposal inspired by the opening of Le Corbusier’s first Unité d’Habitation in Marseille just...

An exterior view of a Victorian house painted in many shades of purple. Photos by Joe Scattergood

The home was constructed in 1890 by a local New Hampshire businessman

Located in Epsom, New Hampshire, a small town a little over an hour north of Boston, this four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath house catches your eye from the road. The bright purple Victorian Painted Lady was constructed in 1890 by Charles Sumner Hall, a local businessman. When Hall purchased the property it came with an existing barn, and he added the house onto the barn to make a long and expansive front facade.

A renovation in 2010 added the home’s signature color with five different shades of purple. Inside, you’ll find tin ceilings on the first floor, restored wood floors, and several fireplaces. Each bedroom has its own ensuite bath, and the kitchen features a large island with light green accents.

The house most recently served as a residence with an attached Airbnb and boutique shop in the heated barn space, and the listing also sits on 3.78 acres. Interested? 1740 Dover Road is on the market now for $435,000.

A living room has a white fireplace, yellow walls, a chandelier, and yellow couches.
The living room features high ceilings, a fireplace, and walls in a yellow cream.
A kitchen with a large center island, wood floors, white and green cabinets.
The kitchen features restored wood floors and a large island.
A dining room with large wood table, chandelier, and windows.
The dining room...

Image credit – Pixabay Your home is one of the most important parts of your life – especially now, when people across the world are spending more time at home than ever. Inside your home is your family, your treasured items, and a host of memories from across the years. The last thing you ever...

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The post How to Safeguard Your Home appeared first on .

Your day to day life might be vastly different from the life that you were living just a few months ago. It might have changed beyond all recognition as you try to stay at home as much as possible, protecting yourself and others by reducing social contact and staying away from busy places. If you...

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The post Simple Ways to Stay Safe These Days appeared first on .

Hello, hello! I hope this finds you well and not going too stir crazy at home! I’m sharing this art deco sewing table today. This belonged to my friend’s grandmother and she is handing it down to her daughter, who also loves to sew. Very sweet! It needs a ton of TLC – I’ll keep...

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The post Art Deco Vintage Sewing Table Before… appeared first on .

Decluttering your home is something that’s definitely worth doing. With so much free time to spare, it’s worth giving your property a deep clean so that it has a fresh start for the summer. Here are some tips to help declutter your home. Image Source Work As A Household Firstly, it’s important to work as...

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We all love doing DIY projects at home, tackling remodel jobs, renovations, spring-cleaning, rearranging, and fixer-uppers. A quick glance at anyone’s Pinterest Board or Instagram feed (or the roster of home improvement shows on Netflix) will show you that doing home projects is a passion project for millions and millions of people. It’s fun and...

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The post Home Damage: When It’s Time to Hire a Pro appeared first on .

Various artworks hang on a wall, along with a hat.Sara Freund

Rearranging, repurposing, and making it work

Like many of you, the Curbed staff has been working from home and staying inside as much as possible to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. During this extended time indoors, a number of us have started rearranging our spaces to make them feel more organized, practical, and joyful.

Below, a look at some of the home projects and tweaks we’ve done lately. (Spoiler: Plants and people alike have been yearning to move closer to windows for some light and connection to the outdoors.) Have you made some changes of your own? Tell us about them in the comments—and do check out the rest of our guide to loving the space you have right now.

Plants near a window.Diana Budds

Diana Budds

Senior story producer

I’m kind of obsessed with my houseplants. I’ve got nearly 30 in my apartment—including an anthurium, asparagus fern, rubber tree, rex begonia, coral cactus, ZZ plant, and prayer plants. (I’ll stop there.) Being at home all the time has made me much more attuned to and obsessed with their wellbeing. Maybe this is a result of seeing so much shitty pandemic stuff that’s out of my control. At least I can help my plants thrive.


Exterior shot of house lit up at night with a huge staircase running through a glass facade.Takumi Ota

Part art, part function

A staircase is typically a utilitarian feature. It take you from one place to another, often with little fanfare. The stairs on this Tokyo house by the prolific Japanese studio Nendo are just the opposite. They beg for attention (and they get it) thanks to their unmissable placement in the center of the house.

Named the Stairway House for obvious reasons, the residence features a glassy facade through which a concrete staircase cuts like an oversized zipper. The staircase stretches from the exterior, through the doorway, and diagonally through the home, connecting the three floors before rising into an impossible incline.

Steep concrete staircase cutting through houseTakumi Ota

Intended to house two families, the design employs the hulking staircase as a way to subtly connect an older couple living on the ground floor and the young family living on the second and floor floors.

Shown in these photos as a show-stopping plant stand, the staircase obscures an additional function: Hidden within the oversized stairway are the bathrooms and another set of stairs for actually navigating the home.

Interior staircase painted blackTakumi Ota
Table and chair on staircaseTakumi Ota
Dining room next to large concrete staircaseTakumi Ota
Bright room with wooden platform bed. Takumi Ota
Empty room with a bench and glass walls.Takumi Ota

An illustration of people looking inside houses.Paige Mehrer

“I won’t be showing homes until it is safe for everybody,” says Beth Lowe

Beth Lowe is a real estate agent based in Smithtown, New York, who has been selling houses on Long Island and in parts of New York City for the past 10 years with Exit Realty. She currently serves as chair of the political action committee for the Long Island Board of Realtors, a nonprofit professional organization with over 28,000 members.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo initially deemed real estate a nonessential business under the state’s stay-at-home order, PAUSE, but issued new guidance on April 1 categorizing it as essential, with the caveat that showings must be virtual.

Curbed spoke with Lowe—who doesn’t believe real estate agents should be showing homes right now—about the categorization of real estate as essential and what it’s like to work in the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This as-told-to has been edited and condensed for clarity.

When the state made us essential last week, I was very vocal that I would not be showing homes. I won’t be showing homes until it is safe for everybody. While I am young and healthy, that doesn’t mean I can’t be a carrier. [The state] isn’t...

A maid in rubber gloves and a facemask waits patiently as a single coin bounces down a champagne fountain. Illustration.

The spread of COVID-19 has exposed divides between second-home owners and year-round residents

I could hear the traffic from my backyard. Ten days before New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the March 22 stay-at-home mandate, flocks of New York City residents were relocating to the Hamptons, to second homes and early-season rentals, where they were, before the seriousness of the coronavirus crisis was exposed, partying at bars and restaurants, and emptying stores of everything they carried.

The Hamptons has one hospital for approximately 120 square miles of real estate, too few beds and personnel to accommodate a widespread health crisis if we’re at high-season numbers. What began as a medical problem has become a problem of real estate, too. Even year-round Hamptons residents depend, in many ways, on wealth—people in the construction industry build homes for the wealthy, and landscapers make the bulk of their income from tending to properties owned by second-home owners. (My own husband has spent his career working as an estate manager and chief of staff for high-net-worth families.) But the spread of COVID-19 has exposed and heightened tensions between wealthy homeowners and...

Aerial view of rows of houses.Getty Images

Mortgage payments are on pause because of coronavirus, but the resulting domino effect of that could be disastrous

The financial crisis of 2008 was caused by homeowners defaulting on their mortgages en mass thanks to risky loan products that were destined to fail. The bonds those mortgages were bundled into collapsed in value as a result, and it brought the entire financial system down with it.

With the stock market tanking and unemployment skyrocketing, is the economic fallout of COVID-19 about to cause history to repeat?

Earlier in March, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates mortgage facilitators Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed mortgage servicers of Fannie and Freddie mortgages to offer mortgage forbearance or reduced payments to homeowners impacted by the novel coronavirus.

While a separate directive from the FHFA put a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions of homeowners whose mortgages are owned by Fannie or Freddie, the potential fallout in financial system has not yet been patched. Mortgage bonds are still disbursed to hedge funds, pension funds, and elsewhere.

What happens this time when mortgage payments stop flowing into...

Finding an attractive, affordable, and eco-conscious rug was no easy task

After moving 11 times in eight years, I vowed to live out the rest of my 20s in one place. But when I finally found that place, and hauled all my stuff up dozens of stairs into the two-bedroom apartment, I still couldn’t believe that some sequence of events wouldn’t send me packing again.

I knew I had to do something about this uneasiness I feel at home, where, as a freelancer, I would spend most of my time. I couldn’t fix the misaligned cupboards or shatter the smoke alarm that screams every time I turn on the oven, so I turned my attention to the empty wood floors in my bedroom. Laying down a rug wouldn’t erase the scratches left behind by decades of young tenants moving in and out, but it could mask them and make the space feel a little more like mine.

The hunt for an attractive, affordable, sustainably made sweater for my floors was on. I spent weeks scrolling through gorgeous textiles on Etsy that didn’t speak to me and looking longingly at Matisse-inspired rugs with up to four-digit price tags.

Synthetic rugs are more budget-friendly, but the chemicals and materials that go into making them can...

Give your business a name. Name your business something that indicates what you sell. This will come in handy later on, when you are marketing your business and want people to associate your business name with handmade furniture.
File a DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” at your local county clerk’s office. You may want to do a search to ensure that no other business in your town is operating under the same name. If you live in a large metropolitan area, a search is a necessity.
Create a line of furniture. You’ll need to have models of each piece of furniture that you intend to sell, so that customers can easily visualize what you have to offer. Add to your furniture line each year so that your stock stays fresh and on-trend.