Design Trend: Beige That’s Anything but Bland

Given the interest in all things natural these days, it makes sense that beige is making a comeback.

Danish design brand Ferm Living’s autumn/winter collection featured caramel-coated doors framed by bubblegum-pink walls. Even New York City designers have chosen beige for its ability to warm up interiors, and many find it reads as a natural material, not unlike marble or wood.

This East Hampton, NY home uses beige to create a serene master bedroom. Photo from Zillow listing.

We asked a couple of pro-beige designers to share their tips for working the color into interiors.

Select a luminous color

“All colors are not created equal,” says New York interior designer Glenn Gissler, who covered his art-filled room at this fall’s inaugural Brooklyn Heights Designer Showhouse with a terra-cotta stria wallpaper by Farrow & Ball.

“It’s a way to get a very soft, sophisticated background,” he says, “because the stria is a few tones of one color, so it doesn’t read as flat and dull as a beige might.”

Splurge on the paint

“If you’re going to paint, don’t cheap out on the quality of the paint,” says Gissler. “If you go for simple, inexpensive paint, the only colors you can get back are the ones that are in the paint. But if you have a complex mixture, the room will have more luminosity.”

Photo by Gross & Daley, courtesy of Glenn Gissler Design.

Choose a grayer tone

“If you choose what would be a clear beige, it may look unattractive,” warns Gissler. “Go toward the grayer end of the spectrum.” The idea is to choose something mellow that “doesn’t seem shrill when it’s first painted.”

When testing a color, don’t just paint samples on the wall, where you’ll only see that color in relation to the previous one, Gissler suggests. “It’s better if you do it on a 2-by-2 piece of wood or board so you can hold it in various corners of the room morning, noon and night to see what it does.”

Also, remember that “LED lights can look ghoulish,” Gissler says, so check your color in the context and lighting you’d normally use.

Keep it interesting

Rather than use the same neutral again and again, try to vary your palette with “an interesting mix of cool and warm neutral colors,” says Kiki Dennis, a principal of New York-based firm Deborah Berke Partners.

Photo by Catherine Tighe, courtesy of Deborah Burke Partners.

In a 1923 penthouse on the Upper East Side, for instance, Dennis kept the walls a cool shade of beige, while she warmed things up with curtains that had a beige undertone. “Having some variation” in your neutrals and beiges looks more modern, she says.

Shift into neutral

“People like to use neutrals because they’re a great foundation for making things pop,” says Dennis. They’re also a flexible backdrop for those who change their art and home accents often.

“No matter what trends are coming and going,” she says, “there’s always some underlying amount of space where designers resort to a neutral palette,” so don’t be afraid to do the same.

Think of beige as a “medium-light neutral,” offers Gissler, who gravitates toward warm, natural colors. “If you’re going to use beige, it needs to be part of a more complex set of values. You need darker things and lighter things … beige everything? That’s a big bore.”



2017’s Most Favorited Home in Every State

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Not only is it the holidays, but it’s that time when we look at the homes favorited most on Zillow (yes, we’re talking about that little heart button at the top of each listing!). In 2017, the top picks ranged from grand mountain chateaus to modest suburban homes – and even a spooky listing that went viral. Whether they earned 283 favorites in South Dakota or 7,290 favorites in California, these homes all have their selling points.

So what’s the most favorited home in your state? Scroll down to find out!


598 favorites
6605 Cedarwood Ct, Mobile, AL
Our favorite features: old-growth trees, a newly remodeled kitchen

Photo from Zillow listing.


572 favorites
L53A Whiskey Lake, AK
Why we adore this home: remote location, rustic wood interior

Photo from Zillow listing.


2,736 favorites
976 S Wanda Dr, Gilbert, AZ

Simple pleasures: a large backyard with no neighbors in sight

Photo from Zillow listing.


717 favorites
16240 Kostner Dr, Rogers, AR

Reason to adore this home: movie theater with built-in projector

Photo from Zillow listing.


7,290 favorites
924 Bel Air Rd, Los Angeles, CA

The wow factor: private helipad, two fully-stocked wine cellars

Photo from Zillow listing.


2,507 favorites
600 Chateau V, Evergreen, CO

Fun fact: modeled after the famous Biltmore Mansion in North Carolina

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,058 favorites
163 Creamery Rd, Durham, CT

Selling points: expansive windows, surrounded by nature

Photo from Zillow listing.


604 favorites
24908 Crooked Stick Way #4333, Long Neck, DE

Selling points: dog park within walking distance, solar panels on the roof

Photo from Zillow listing.


2,038 favorites
11112 Ancient Futures Dr, Tampa, FL
Reasons to call it home: arched doorways, high ceilings, hardwood floors

Photo from Zillow listing.


3,056 favorites
1055 Ada Ave NW, Atlanta, GA

What we love about it: bright hardwood floors

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,546 favorites
72 S Kalaheo Ave, Kailua, HI

Where we’d rather be: this home’s poolside bar or cabana

Photo from Zillow listing.


728 favorites
8602 W High Ridge Ln, Eagle, ID
Eye-catching feature: a bright red front door

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,897 favorites
1932 N Burling St, Chicago, IL
Windy City wow: 25,000 square feet in the heart of downtown

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,383 favorites
New Edition Floor Plan, Harrison Lakes, Fort Wayne, IN

What’s warming our hearts: the fire pit and covered patio

Photo from Zillow listing.


603 favorites
2209 E 9th St, Des Moines, IA

Things to ogle: historic character, leaded glass windows

Photo from Zillow listing.


652 favorites
11613 Barton St, Overland Park, KS

Things we love: vaulted ceilings, covered deck

Photo from Zillow listing.


832 favorites
324 Wilson Downing Rd, Lexington, KY

Why we love it: newly remodeled with hardwood floors throughout

Photo from Zillow listing.


672 favorites
1448 4th St, New Orleans, LA
Fun fact: film location for a few movies

Photo from Zillow listing.


933 favorites
35 Seafarer Cv, Whiting, ME

Standout features: private dock, fireplace

Photo from Zillow listing.


2,751 favorites
Lincoln Dr LOT 1, Jessup, MD

Why we’re mad about this MD home: 5 large bedrooms on a large lot

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,235 favorites
22 Old Colony Avenue, Pembroke, MA

Selling points: historic home with modern upgrades, access to a nearby pond

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,045 favorites
20 Peppers Trl, Montague, MI

This listing had us at: “tree house on the shores of Lake Michigan”

Photo by Roger Wade Studio.


1,827 favorites
Haverhill Apartments, 32 Spruce Pl, Minneapolis, MN

The draw: restored brownstone walking distance to downtown

Photo from Zillow listing.


543 favorites
706 W Pine St, Hattiesburg, MS

Why we love it: old-world charm, modern upgrades, a small backyard pond

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,067 favorites
597 Harper Ave, Saint Louis, MO

Reasons we fell in love: 100+ years old, located by a park and golf course

Photo by Jason Fry.


1,191 favorites
Montana’s Shelter Is, Rollins, MT
The obvious reason we love it: private-island castle

Photo from Zillow listing.


634 favorites
2114 S 46th St, Omaha, NE

Reason to ‘heart’ this Heartland home: 19th-century charm

Photo from Zillow listing.


3,611 favorites
1033 Tabor Hill Ave, Henderson, NV

Favorite feature: private backyard pool for hot desert days

Photo from Zillow listing.

New Hampshire

956 favorites
3 S Main St, Newton, NH

Why we adore it: fully remodeled in 2012

Photo from Zillow listing.

New Jersey

1,298 favorites
18 Frick Dr, Alpine, NJ

Selling point: less than 10 miles from New York City

Photo from Zillow listing.

New Mexico

562 favorites
5724 Fairfax Dr NW, Albuquerque, NM

Reason we love it: upgraded kitchen with a subway-tile backsplash

Photo from Zillow listing.

New York

1,769 favorites
635 W 42nd St #45th Floor, New York, NY

Why we love this Big Apple beauty: breathtaking river views

Photo from Zillow listing.

North Carolina

1,620 favorites
196 Bayview Dr, Stumpy Point, NC

Why we love it: historic home in a wildlife refuge

Photo from Zillow listing.

North Dakota

339 favorites
5039 Elm Tree Rd, Kindred, ND

Things to ogle: not one but two sunrooms

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,001 favorites
3903 Saint Lawrence Ave, Cincinnati, OH

What we love: historic Victorian with six fireplaces

Photo from Zillow listing.


971 favorites
707 Martin Cir, Sand Springs, OK

Why this OK home is more than okay: views of Tulsa from every floor – even the basement

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,529 favorites
1135 SW Coast Ave, Lincoln City, OR

Why we adore this home in a word: oceanfront

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,227 favorites
122 Squirrel Rd, Buck Hill Falls, PA

Reasons to ‘heart’ this home: historic log and stone structure, beautiful views

Photo from Zillow listing.

Rhode Island

611 favorites
252 Thatcher St, Rumford, RI

Fun fact: overlooks a country club

Photo from Zillow listing.

South Carolina

1,259 favorites
709 Michaelmas Ave, Cayce, SC
Why we’ve seen this home before: viral status

Photo from Zillow listing.

South Dakota

283 favorites
2613 S Van Eps Ave, Sioux Falls, SD

Fun feature: wood-paneled accent wall

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,436 favorites
2325 Golf Club Ln, Nashville, TN

Reason to sing about this Music City home: private recording studio

Photo from Zillow listing.


4,459 favorites
10711 Strait Ln, Dallas, TX

Proof everything is bigger in Texas: 10 bedrooms, a bowling alley inside

Photo from Zillow listing.


796 favorites
1886 S Geneva Rd, Orem, UT

Luxury feature: motocross course

Photo from Zillow listing.


706 favorites
1796 Cheney Rd, Lowell, VT

Reason to break out the maple syrup: classic log cabin on 20 wooded acres

Photo from Zillow listing.


1,912 favorites
2975 Desert Rd, Suffolk, VA

Why we love it: giant front yard for recreation, private sauna for relaxation

Photo from Zillow listing.


2,651 favorites
935 Deerbrush Dr SE, Olympia, WA

Our favorite feature: yellow front door

Photo from Zillow listing.

Washington, D.C.

1,184 favorites
3030 Chain Bridge Rd NW, Washington, DC

Why it caught our attention: timeless exterior, modern interior

Photo from Zillow listing.

West Virginia

755 favorites
1103 Juliana St, Parkersburg, WV

Why we love it: century-old columns

Photo from Zillow listing.


887 favorites
743 N 25th St, Milwaukee, WI

What we love: classic Queen Anne-style with a cupola

Photo from Zillow listing.


391 favorites
2005 S Crescent H Rd, Wilson, WY

Why we keep staring: floor-to-ceiling glass walls you can slide open

Photo by Josh Franer.

Top featured image by Roger Wade Studio.


4 Unique Home Trends That Ruled 2017

#Vanlife in the fast lane

The open road is calling, and so we must go! Articles about #vanlife were shared more than 400,000 times this year across social networks – that’s double last year’s number – according to online trend tracker Buzzsumo. Interest in life on the road peaked in June (summer travel, anyone?) with many of you wondering about wanderlust.

What did you love? This story about two women who left their day jobs to remodel Airstreams full-time and this vintage travel trailer on a private bluff (hello, panoramic ocean views!)

Not only did you adore stories about Airstreams, but you’re apparently buying other homes on-the-go, too: this year, RV makers reported their best sales ever. The company that makes Airstreams sold more than $2 billion in trailers and motorhomes this summer alone, adding that it can’t make RVs fast enough to keep up with the demand.

Interested in a life on the road? Here are 6 questions to ask before picking a home on wheels.

Tiny living is still big

Photo by Cape Fear Real Estate Directory.

Homeowners once again rolled out the welcome mat for the tiny home trend in 2017. Stories about tiny homes were shared nearly 1.8 million times on social networks this year, according to Buzzsumo. In fact, tiny homes are now so popular, there are starter models cheaper than some cars, along with luxury ones, too (this design comes with a jacuzzi tub!)

Beyond traditional tiny homes on wheels, tiny living came in many shapes and sizes. This beachside house was built from a recycled shipping container, while some homeowners are even taking the tiny trend to the trees. This Atlanta treehouse was one of our most popular House of the Week features of the year.

Want to test out a tiny home yourself? Here are 7 Tiny Homes For the Perfect Getaway.

Crazy about cabins

Photo by Shidume Lozada.

Whether it’s an island getaway or a mountain retreat, you were crazy about cabins this year! Cabin popularity peaked this summer, according to Google Trends, and remained hot all year.

So what’s with the spike in sharing woodsy retreats on social media? One explanation could be that more homeowners – especially young homeowners – are seeking out a space viewed as a sanctuary, said Julie Link, director of research and consumer insights at Scripps Networks Interactive.

“The world is a chaotic place right now, no matter what your views on politics are. [Millennials] really look inward and they want to control something and the easiest thing for them to control is their home,” Link said. “Their home is feeling a certain way and it’s vibing in a way that’s it’s peaceful and they can seek respite is really the mood of the country right now.”

Feeling cabin crazed? Here are 10 cozy cabins for $300,000 or less.

Madly in love with Mid-Century Modern

Photo by Susan Pickering Photography.

“Mad Men” may have ended in 2015, but the mid-century modern trend lives on. Interest in MCM homes peaked in May and October, with many of you ogling this gem in Berkeley and this LA mid-century modern manse.

Mid-century style is so hot that online retail giant Amazon even launched its own line of furniture in 2017, described as “distinctly mid-century modern” and “wouldn’t look out of place in a West Elm catalogue.” The collection features everything from metallic wall art to solutions for small spaces.

Looking for something distinctly MCM that’s still vintage? This mid-century modern time capsule hit the market for the first time in decades earlier this year. Practically untouched since it was built in the late 1950s, the 2,935-square foot house features pink polka dot paper, a working soda fountain and even an avocado-colored conversation pit.

So what will 2018 bring? Pop the bubbly and make your predictions in the comments section below!

Top photo courtesy Todd Taylor of Taylor Photography Group.


How Breaking 3 Design Rules Made Our Home Feel More Like Us

“A house is a machine for living in.”

Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier made huge contributions to Modernism, urban planning and furniture design, but among all his contributions, the one thing I keep coming back to is this quote.

The challenge we all face as homeowners is in adapting our houses to our unique lifestyles instead of worrying too much about obeying tradition, design TV shows or our neighbors. And there are so many rules!

Here are three design rules we broke when renovating the dining room in our Omaha home.

The dining room, pre-renovation.

Rule 1: Every home needs a dining room

One of the biggest pitfalls people fall into when decorating their home is being afraid to change the purpose of a room. Sure, a kitchen is always going to be a kitchen, but dining rooms, formal living rooms, and bedrooms are ripe for repurposing.

Like many folks, we don’t make much use of a dining room. While we enjoy visitors, we don’t throw many formal dinner parties, and our eat-in kitchen works just fine for daily meals. Meanwhile, our living room is lovely but not particularly spacious – a piano, fireplace and stairway limit the amount of seating we can add to the room.

Our solution was to extend the “living area” into the adjacent dining room. Suddenly, we doubled the amount of space we have for casual entertaining, while creating a spot for a flat-screen TV for watching movies. The result is a cozy, calming room that the British would call a “snug.” We think that describes the space perfectly.

This layout – and giving up a dining table to get it – may not be the right fit for every family, but it more closely aligns with our needs and could easily be switched back by the next homeowners.*

Rule 2: Dark colors make a room feel small

You’ve heard it from designers on TV. You’ve heard it from real estate agents. Neighbors. The guy working the paint counter. “A dark wall color will make a room feel smaller.”

I have two responses to that:

  1. Not necessarily.
  2. Even if it does, is that always a bad thing?

In many instances, a darker wall or ceiling color will have no effect at all on the perception of room size. Very dark colors can, counterintuitively, make walls and ceilings appear to recede from the observer, creating the illusion that the room is deeper. So, the jury remains undecided.

What dark rooms inarguably do is create an environment that is cozy, elegant or romantic. While your eye may initially perceive a space as smaller, it will not actually be any smaller. You can fit just as much furniture and as many people into the space as before. So maybe it isn’t a problem at all.

Our adjacent living room (and much of the house) has stark white walls and big windows to bring in sunlight, so we decided to paint our dining room-turned-snug in Sherwin-Williams’ Tricorn Black. Nothing subtle about that, but once we filled it with artwork and furniture, everyone commented on how big the room seemed.

Post-renovation, the snug provides plenty of seating space for entertaining.

Rule 3: Too much furniture in a space will make it cramped

As designers and furniture manufacturers, we talk with clients about furniture layouts every day, and choosing too large a sofa in their home is a recurring concern.

While it’s true that the scale of furniture matters, you can often get away with putting more into a room than you might imagine. It’s all about placement and maintaining pathways.

Our snug is a great example of this. It measures merely 13 feet by 10½ feet, and has a wide opening to our living room, a door to our kitchen and three big windows. Into the room, we fit a 10½-foot-by-8½-foot sectional sofa, a barrel chair, three small tables, a bar cart, a large wall-mounted flat-screen TV and tons of artwork. Despite squeezing in seating for a big group of people, we haven’t compromised the critical pathway running from the living room back into the kitchen.

We absolutely love our cozy, compact lounging space and don’t miss our dining room at all. Our unconventional choices may not make sense for your lifestyle, but keep them in mind as you find the best way to live in your home.

* We’re staying in our house forever, so this point is irrelevant. (See previous blog posts regarding me making my husband promise we’ll never move again.)


Deep Dive with Fathom IPA from Ballast Point

This post is written for ages 21+. If you are under 21 check out Matthew Gray Gubler’s Halloween Haunt.

We’re excited about all of the possibilities our new home has provided. Beyond the remodeling, we can’t wait to furnish our home and setup areas for play and entertaining. We truly love to entertain, so appointing our bar will be one of the first priorities. We think about beautiful bars so much that we even built a couple for the GMC DIY Challenge last year.

But no bar is complete without beer, and not just any old beer. There is a time and place for mainstream lagers, but you won’t find them at our house. We don’t like to waste money and calories on cheap/low quality drinks.

Laura is partial to dark beers and craft beers are always popular with our dinner guests. Last week, San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing Company invited us to check out their newest brew, Fathom IPA. We thought this was a great opportunity to invite a few friends over to try it out. Our crew knows their craft beer, and was very familiar with Sculpin from Ballast Point, so they couldn’t wait to try Fathom IPA, which was launched in October.

Fathom IPA was definitely a hit, and the first comments were how “crisp and clean” it tasted. Overwhelmingly our friends said that Fathom IPA was a beer that deserved to be enjoyed with a great meal. Recommended pairings from Ballast Point include, smoked mozzarella & heirloom tomato salad, seared tuna and black truffle ravioli, blue spruce ice cream, mimolette cheese and soft-shell crab sandwich.

The overall consensus was that Fathom IPA had a great “bite” to it, and could be easily enjoyed on any occasion. The six percent ABV wasn’t flooring anyone, which is a good thing, and after two beers our informal gathering felt like a party.

We’re suckers for great design and the Fathom IPA packaging won us over. Ballast Point is known for the gorgeous artwork on their cans and bottles, and this beer doesn’t disappoint. The deep-sea diver is based on an original painting by Paul Elder, and really caught our eye.

We picked up our Fathom IPA cans from our local Whole Foods and they are available nationwide in six and 12 packs, making them ideal for transporting to your next tailgate or camping adventure.

Since Fathom IPA was such a hit, we’ve decided to grab some more for our Christmas party next week, and wishful thinking is that there will be some leftover for our camping trip to the Alabama Hills after Christmas.

We’re pleased to be a Ballast Point Partner, and work with them to help introduce Fathom IPA. This post is sponsored by Ballast Point, but all opinions are 100% our own and we purchased the beer ourselves.