The opportunity of a new year gives us time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the opportunities 2015 will bring. For many, 2014 was a turning point in the home building industry with substantial increases in business, and for many a return to profitability. Our hope for you is growing business opportunities and much success in 2015.
At Florida Designer Homes January always kicks off the year with the big annual kitchen issue. This year boasts the largest issue to date showcasing some of the very best Kitchen Design Ideas For 2015. From super contemporary to popular transitional designs we span the spectrum that also includes traditional and old world kitchens.
On the cover is a contemporary kitchen from Cambridge Construction that is the centerpiece of a luxury condominium renovation in West Palm Beach. The bold colors and striking design sets the bar for a style that is growing in popularity. Expect to see more fresh bold designs on the horizon.
We wish to thank our growing readership for the success we have achieved in more than four years of online publication. Wishing you the very best in 2015.
By Andrew Huang, Intern Associate Editor
Here a simple design idea to bring a little of the holiday joy to your cottage or home. Inspired by the
warm hues of the evergreens, this color scheme is a great complement with the holiday decorations.
The color breakdown consists of green white, foggy green, cape palliser, olive, and fern green.1 The
combination of brown and green gives the interior an earthly tone, giving a strong sense of relaxation.
After all, green is the color of balance.2 Though, to maintain the color harmony, the green shades should
be used as accents with the lighter tone color. Preferably, you may want to break away from the cliche
of red and green.
The living room design in Figure 1 utilizes the natural tone, mimicking the outdoor environment.3
This is achieved by the colors of the material used in the interior. The green from the plant, the brown
shades from wood and braided-leather, and the beige-white fabric are all creating the environment of
a snowy forest. Combining with the natural light filtering through the floor-to-ceiling windows, the
arrangement of space is cozy and warm, perfect for the winter season. There are many other way to
bring out the holiday spirit. You may even simplify the color scheme to a two- or three-color
combination, creating a minimalistic look. Here are some other holiday interiors for inspiration.
Figure 1. Image taken from Jaipupdate’s website.4
Figure 2. Image taken from Family Holiday’s website.5
Figure 3. Image taken from Accent of Design’s website.6
Figure 4. Green white, foggy gray, cape palliser, olive, and fern green.7
1. “Color Combo 184,” Color Combos, Date accessed on 21, Dec. 2014, http://www.colorcombos.com/colorschemes/
2. “Psychological Properties of Colours,” Colour Affects, Date accessed on 21, Dec. 2014, http://www.colouraffects.
3. “Amazing Christmas with Beautiful Home Decoration Ideas,” Jaipupdate, 14, Jun. 2014, http://jaipupdate.com/amazingchristmas-
5. “Amazing Home Interior Designing for Wonderful Christmas Holiday,” Family Holiday, Date accessed on 22, Dec. 2014,
6. “Interior Design—Designer Tips for Easy Stylish Christmas Decorating,” Accent on Design, 16, Dec. 2011,
7. “Color Combo 184,” Color Combos, Date accessed on 21, Dec. 2014, http://www.colorcombos.com/colorschemes/
By Andrew Huang, Intern Associate Editor
Contemporary designers are looking at different way to change the experiences of comfort
living. Some designers are exploring away from conventional materials in order to achieve this
goal. For instance, corten steel is gaining some attentions in the residential design—away from
commercial use. It is also known as weathering steel.1 It is an unique property of steel that
weathers and corrodes over time. The nature of its corroding property allows the steel to
produce its natural protective coating, which can actually prolong its lifespan.2 The protective
coating also give the steel a rustic looks. Because of its aesthetic, corten steel is a great
material to use for exterior and landscape design.
Although the steel is corroded, its structure integrity is actually quite strong. In fact, due to its
durability and its self-protective property, corten steel is ideal for bridges—for example, the New
River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia.3 Thus, corten steel is a great material for
retaining wall for landscape design.4 In fact, corten steel may be a better alternative for
residential landscape design. Wood material has a short lifespan because as the material
decomposes, the structural support will weaken.5 Stone wall may be difficult to maintain, and
depend on how the stone erode, stone wall may provide homes for weeds and rodent.6
But, corten has some disadvantages as well. Its rustic aesthetic is hard to maintain if the
steel was vandalized. To remove the vandalized layer will remove the protective shell as well.
Aside from this issue, another major disadvantage of this material is the extreme exposure to
the humid weather, especially where places have high amount of salt in the environment.7
In the article above, we took a look at Corten steel and how the material can add a rustic aesthetic
in your backyard and landscape design. Here is another unusual material that is making its
way into vernacular design—rammed earth.
Rammed earth is a construction material made from rammed mixture of gravel, sand, silt,
clay, and a small amount of concrete. The style was made popular by Michael 1 Reynolds in
his signature Earthship design.2 Although this is contemporary style, the practice of using
natural earth materials had been practiced in our historical past, from great monument like
The Great Wall of China to temples to adobe; it is not until in the 21st century when this
technique became popular.3
The material is praised more than just its sustainable property. Its aesthetic also brings a
warm atmosphere into the environment. Because of its earthly mixtures and its construction
method, rammed earth has a layered, contoured pattern in its finish—as if the building was
carved out of the natural earth itself. This is what makes the material unique. It is also flexible
to accommodate personal preference. Depend on how the earths are mixed, each rammed
earth construction has different textures and colors. There are many different colors and
shades.4 Therefore, it is possible to choose a tint color closer to white. In doing so, the
environment will be sustainable, while, at the same time, provide a modern, clean, and simple
aesthetic in the environment.
1 “Rammed Earth,” Your Home, 2013, http://www.yourhome.gov.au/materials/rammedearth
2 “Earthship,” Wikipedia, Date last modified on 03, Nov. 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthship
3 Dillon Dise, “Rammed Earth,” The Evergreen State College, Date accessed on 223, Nov. 2014,
4 “Rammed Earth Picture,” Rammed Earth, Date accessed on 23, Nov. 2014,
Corten Steel References:
1 “Weathering Steel,” Wikipedia, Date last modified on 30, Oct. 2014.
http :/ / en . wikipedia . org / wik i / Weathering steel
2 “What are Corten Steel Panels?” Deco Panel, Date accessed on 09, Nov. 2014,
http :/ / decopaneldesigns . com . au / resources / corten – stee l – panels /
3 “Ever Wonder Why the New River Gorge Bridge Looks Rusty?” Bridge Days, Date accessed on 09,
Nov. 2014, http :/ / officialbridgeday . com / new – river – gorge – bridge – looks – rusty – stee l/
4 ABK InnoVent, “Modern Landscape Corten retaining wall,” Pinterest, Date accessed on 09, Nov. 2014.
http :/ / www . pinterest . com / pin /529595237402605197/ 11/09/14
5 “What is a Retaining Wall?” Allan Block, Date accessed on 09, Nov. 2014,
http :/ / www . allanblock . com / wha t – is – a – retaining – wal l . aspx # retaining – wall 11/09/14
7 Rick Howard, “The Aesthetic of Rust: Weathering Steel,” Buildipedia, 03, Feb. 2010,
http :/ / buildipedia . com / aec – pros / construction – materials – and – methods / the – aesthetic – o f – rus t – weathering – steel
increases the corrosion process and can create pocket of hole in the steel, which will greatly
weaken its structure.
Corten steel is appreciated by designers for its monumentality and contrast.8 It is also
appreciated by the steel’s warm hue.9 It give the backyard a warm atmosphere. It is a great
material because of it durability and low maintenance property.
Image 1: This is the waterfall in the backyard of the Quaker Smith Point Residence.
Shelburne, Vermont. Photo was taken from Wagner Hodgson’s website. 10
Image 2: This is a backyard design by Erin Lau. Photo was taken from his architectural
Image 3: Photo was taken from ABK Outdoor’s website.12
Image 4: Photo was taken from Lump’s website.13
8 “The New Age Steel,” Design Today, Aug. 2011, http :// www . archidose . org / writings / corten .html
9 Bill Marken, “Using Corten Steel,” Garden Design, Date accessed on 09, Nov. 2014,
http :/ / www . gardendesign . com / hardscape / using – corten – steel 11/09/14
10 “Quaker Smith Point Residence,” Wagner Hodgson, Date accessed on 09, Nov. 2014,
11 “Recent Install: Front Yard Retreat in North Seattle,” Erin Lau Design, Date accessed on 09, Nov. 2014,
http :/ / erinlaudesign . com / tag / corten – stee l/
12 “Retaining Wall Corten,” ABK Outdoor, Date accessed on 09, Nov. 2014, http :// www . abk –
outdoor . com / en /680- products /676- retaining – wal l – corten
13 “Corten Steel Cladding,” Lump Sculpture Studio, 22, Mar. 2012,
http :/ / cortensculpture . blogspo t . com /2012/03 / corten – stee l – cladding .html
By Andrew Huang, Intern Associate Editor
In the Western culture, interior design focuses more on the occupants’ physical wellness. The
Eastern culture, on the other hand, the human scale focuses on the spiritual wellness. This
approach harmonizes the relationship between the occupants and the environment, by aligning
the elements with the positive energy of the natural world. This harmony is feng shui.
Feng shui is an ancient Taoist philosophy, originated in China. With the growing trend of
sustainable practice, human experiences were integrated as one of core concepts of healthy
living. Some designers look at feng shui as inspiration, to enhance their understandings of
wellness in a human level—like Sarah McAllister, the founder of Feng Shui Angency Chue Style
Like the different styles of art or the different genres of literature, there are different
interpretations of feng shui. But, regardless of practices, their foundations are based from
either one of these two schools: form and compass.2 The compass school is the most preferred.
The school utilizes a spiritual compass called bagua. The modern version of bagua is a nine
quadrants map. (See figure 1.) Each quadrant is assigned with an element, a color, and a
fortune. The map is placed over the floor plan, either of the room or of the whole building.
Then, the designers will determine the proper placement of colors, materials, and spatial
arrangement to allow the positive energy to navigate through the environment. Each floor
should be adjusted accordingly.
1. “Creating a Happy, Healthy & Harmonious Home Using Feng Shui Interior Design,” freshome, Accessed on 16,
Sep. 2014, http://freshome.com/2012/02/08/creating-a-happy-healthy-harmonious-home-using-feng-shuiinterior-
2. Howard Choy, “Feng Shui Schools,” Feng Shui Tradition, Accessed on 06, Oct. 2014,
Figure 1.3 The traditional bagua map is octagonal. The color scheme—going clockwise—is
consisted of white, grey, black, blue, green, purple, red, and pink.
Figure 2.4 The modern bagua map is an nine quadrant square. The career quadrant in the
second square on the third row is aligned against the opening of the room, in this case a
door. This will allow the designers to make arrangement to help direct the energy flow to
that particular room.
3. nfsarquitectura, “The Feng Shui BAGUA MAP,” Home and Feng Shui, 29, Mar. 2013,
4. Sally Adams, “Understanding the Feng Shui Bauga Map,” Take5Moment, Accessed on 12, Oct. 2014,
By Andrew Huang, Intern Associate Editor
Living room, patio, deck, and kitchen are spaces with high volume of social interaction.
Therefore, those areas should be designed to enhance the occupants’ social experiences. In this
blog, we will take a look at space planning, because how well the space is arranged can have a
psychological effect on the occupants’ behaviors. By organizing the space well, we can create a
positive living environment.
According to Manfred Max-Neef’s Fundamental Human Needs, one of the basic human
needs is participation or inclusiveness.1 Once this need is satisfied, the environment will
encourage positive well-being. For example, there was a classroom study done at a nursing
home.2 To promote wellness, furniture was arranged in small grouping, instead of being placed
against the walls. The effect showed that this arrangement encouraged active communication
and therapeutic collaboration.
This concept can also be applied to home design, in area like living room where it is a shared
environment. Furniture grouped around a table will create an environment to build our
interpersonal skills—especially if the couches are angled in a way that allow our eyes to meet.
Thus, in space planning—interior design—is more than just the aesthetic or artistic. It is an
organization of many elements to enhance human connection. It is about bridging the
environment with its occupants.
Here are two sketches of floor plan with the applied concept.
Figure 1. Here is a floor plan where the a sofa and two chairs are around the table in the
center. The configuration brings occupants closer to a personal level where they can actively
1. “Max-Neef on Human Needs and Human-scale Development,” Rainforest Information, Accessed on 26, Sep.
2. “THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DESIGN: SPACE PANNING,” Opal Design Group, 2011,
Figure 2. In the second configuration, the furniture is spread apart. Unlike the first
configuration, the organization keeps individuals away, rather than bringing them closer.
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