Round Foyer Tables

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Happy Tuesday! I’m on the hunt for a 30-something inch round table this month. I’m not going to use it in a foyer, but I do need something smaller than the average round dining table. I’ve been looking at local flea markets and antique malls, but I’ve also been scouring the web. Here are my…

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The post Round Foyer Tables appeared first on The Lettered Cottage.

Azulejos Tiles of Portugal

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I just returned from my whirlwind trip to Portugal, I saw *so much* in the nine days I spent there, and I’ll do a recap post in the coming weeks of this magical country!

As you know, I’m always inspired by traveling to new cities and countries, for me the best thing in life is the intersection of travel and design. There was no shortage of ceramic tile inspiration in Portugal, in fact it’s one of the primary reasons I journeyed there, to witness it in real life and I was completely mesmerized by it. Every town I visited had its share of buildings covered in azulejos tile in incredible patterns, it filled me with such happiness seeing such beautiful tile around every corner.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, azulejos depicted religious or historical scenes, I saw many of them at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon and in churches and historical places. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Portuguese began using azulejos tiles in repeating motifs on buildings, and today they dominate the exteriors of small towns and larger cities. Azulejos tiles embellish not just the residences of Portugal but also churches, restaurants, fountains, and railway stations.

I captured dozens of tile images for my own inspiration files, here are some of the pictures I took as I strolled the streets that showcase the beauty of azulejos tiles on exteriors around Portugal. Notice the differences in the motifs, some are more modern geometrics, others are more intricate and old world, but all unique.


Beautiful aren’t they??

I had such a fantastic experience in this country, walking the streets of smaller towns like Albufeira and Aveiro and larger cities like Lisbon and Porto. The food, the wine, the people, the cafes, the vistas, they were all incredible! I’ll do a recap of my favorite experiences soon. 🙂

Penthouse Apartment Redevelopment – With A Slide!

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On the top floor of a building that was erected in 1917, in Ukraine, a 212 square metre two level apartment has undergone a complete redevelopment. The interior overhaul involved the relocation of the staircase, in order to reconfigure an underused upper floor. Also, to increase the fun factor of the family home, a large metal slide was installed during the relinking of the first and second floors. This unusual design feature, which was painstakingly tailored to the interior structure by Ki Design, fits with other characterful elements of the unique design scheme. In comparison, the home palette is mild mannered in warm white, soft grey, graphite, and oak, with few intermittent spikes of aqua blue.

The homeowners conveyed their wishes to the design team: “We have enough activities and problems away from home, at home we rest. However, the apartment design shouldn’t absolutely be dull or boring in a year or so, it must contain some special catchy and ‘wow’ elements we’d admire for couple of months and then we’d hear “wows” from our guests. At the same time it should be calm and sweet inside.”

The slide arrangement proved to be a challenge for both the designers and the team of builders. Since the ceiling between the floors was load-bearing, there was a threat to the integrity of the entire building structure should there be removal of even a small part of it. The redevelopment team found themselves tightly limited for places that would accommodate this element. Long-term experiments were conducted, including the creation of full sized mockups. Finally, the optimal form and location for the fun feature slide was accomplished, and the chief wow factor element in the home was achieved.

The interior slide delivers family members to a set of custom built window seats that span two thirds of the living room wall.

A blue comfortable reading chair fills up the final corner of space next to the window seats, along with a matching footstool, and a tripod floor reading lamp.

The slide wraps a wall column clad in wood panelling, which interlocks in a beautiful arrangement. This divides the living room from the kitchen and a dining room.

A chrome arc floor lamp stretches high over the metal slide, to light the walkway behind the back of the sofa.

Geometric and graphic print scatter cushions make the wooden window seats more cosy.

Cross shaped cutouts add interest to the oak window seats.

A rustic small side table serves the modern sofa, in front of a roaring fireplace.

The modern fireplace sits within a whitewashed brick chimney breast. A cut log store towers at one side, and a bookcase climbs the other.

The entry into the kitchen–and the dining room situated off to the right in this image–is a vision of natural greenery thanks to the introduction of a vertical garden.

The living wall works to interlink a mezzanine landing with the lower floor, and marks the descent of the slide’s chute. Unique kitchen pendant lights dangle from the lofty ceiling of the double height space.

An aqua blue dining set nestles in a light box of windows.

All of the aqua blue color accents present in the scheme come in the form of textiles: upholstered dining chairs, the comfortable reading chair, bedroom sets and cushions.

One wall of the kitchen cabinetry is tucked beneath the staircase.

Because of the relocation of the staircase, the kitchen is no longer separated from the living room as it was in the old apartment layout. The new layout now means that the lower floor has is a sociable area with freeflow between the living room, kitchen and dining area. It’s also future-proofed with additional children’s rooms.

The benefit of being on the top floor of the building is that the apartment is able to have many skylights to provide copious amounts of natural light. An internal window lets the daylight flow between the landing and a home office.

The cluster of kitchen pendant lights also illuminate the upper floor.

Inside the home workspace, a bespoke desk has a cool angular design.

A bench seat underlines the internal window.

Also on the second floor is the master bedroom, with an adjoining dressing room and spacious shower room, plus an additional guest bedroom and a private bathroom.

Aqua blue colours the bed comforters in both the master and guest bedrooms. The same black modern wall sconce design punctuates the walls.

The bathrooms follow a more neutral palette.

A backlit vanity mirror crosses the wall above a natural toned vanity unit with a black vessel basin.

The second bathroom is freshened by a living wall installation.

The vertical planters attach to a wood panel above a built-in bathtub.

Hexagonal mirrors make a geometric statement piece above a modern pedestal basin.

The greenery makes a stunning pairing with the natural wood elements in the room.

A smaller bathroom is shaded with a grey-blue accent wall.

The home also contains technical rooms. There is a boiler room with heating and purifying equipment, a laundry room with a washing machine, tumble dryer and the ironing board. The equipment for the ‘smart home’ system is located in the dressing room.

Open risers on the staircase design keep the installation looking light and unobtrusive in the airy living space.

Decorative wall hooks cross the home entryway. A small monochrome pouf sits beneath.

Hexagonal tiles cover the floor.

Enjoy slides in penthouses? Do check out: Skyhouse: An New York Penthouse With Climbing Column & Slide!

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Look Into Our Crystal Ball and You Might Just Discover the Royal Baby’s Name

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Well, it’s official: Meghan Markle has given birth to a healthy baby boy at home in Frogmore Cottage. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed the birth on their Instagram, and Harry spoke to the press, expressing his admiration for his wife and his joy about becoming a father. Now, there’s one thing that are anxiously anticipating  with bated breath: the announcement of the baby’s name.

In traditional royal fashion, the newborn’s name wasn’t revealed in his birth announcement. Rather, the whole family will make their public debut in two days (mark your calendar), and announce the new royal baby’s name. After all, as Harry noted, they’re still mulling over a few options, but since the baby was a bit overdue, they’ve “had a little bit of time to think about it.” We won’t know for sure until Wednesday…but we have some good guesses what the little one’s name may be.

According to U.K. betting site Ladbrokes, the top runner with a 5/1 likelihood is Arthur, which is a middle name of both Prince Charles and Prince William (and also the first name of Pippa Middleton’s son). Next is Alexander with 6/1 odds, and Albert with 8/1 odds. Rounding out the top five are James and Philip.

Now, these are all quite traditional names for the royal family, but Meghan and Harry have strayed from tradition in the past—so who’s to say they won’t now? Also listed on Ladbrokes are a few more wildcard options, including Bradley, Barack, and Ross—though admittedly, the odds for those names are quite low.

Only time will tell, but for now we know that Baby Sussex will surely have a name as cool and polished as his parents. No matter what his initials end up being, we think these monogrammable picks could add just the right dose of personalization to his nursery.

A yellow tote and pouch set is perfect for keeping baby’s essentials perfectly organized.

This sweet gingham romper is just the thing for the English countryside.

A light green throw makes for extra-dreamy swaddling.

See more Meghan & Harry:
The Royal Baby Has Arrived—Here’s Everything We Know So Fa

Meghan and Harry Stayed in a Dreamy Farmhouse for Their Babymoon—Peek Insid
The Vegan Paint Brand Meghan Markle Will Be Using in Her Nursery

Dino & Heidi’s Flip

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Happy weekend friends! I’ve been spending this week in Portugal, tasting the food and seeing the sights of small towns in the Algarve, and the capital city of Lisbon. Portugal is *filled* with inspiration, check out my Insta stories today with pictures of tile on the buildings around Lisbon and at the Tile Museum. Today I’m in Aveiro, and tomorrow we’re off to Porto where we end our trip.

A few days ago a friend of mine sent me some pictures of her flip house project and I was so impressed I asked to share them! Remember when I featured Dino and Heidi’s kitchen remodel a couple years ago? Well this talented couple is at it once more, they flipped a small home in Santa Rosa, California and what a transformation!

You can see how much exterior work had to be done. They also scraped popcorn ceilings, reframed the opening from the kitchen to the living room, gave the bathrooms a floor to ceiling makeover, and modernized the eat in kitchen. Take a look!

Living Room:









Rear Yard:



Exterior Front:

Beautifully done, right? I love all the modern touches (the fireplace tile!) and the black shutters and fresh white paint on the exterior, what a difference!

I asked Heidi to round up sources for me, so if you see anything in particular you like, let me know in the comments and I’ll get that information for you!

Houston’s La Lucha Pairs Fighting Good Seafood With Spunky Design

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For James Beard Award–winning restaurateur and chef Ford Fry, his newest concept, La Lucha, in Houston, Texas, brings back fond childhood memories: Noshing on the over-the-top fried chicken and Gulf seafood platters at the now-shuttered San Jacinto Inn. While the restaurant closed in the mid-1980s, San Jacinto Inn is, in a way, revived at this newly opened Houston hangout.

Fry’s eclectic yet homey La Lucha, Spanish for “the fight,” pays homage to the storied past of this beloved institution. Beyond serving up Southern classics, the restaurant provides a similar neighborhood experience the San Jacinto Inn once did inside a building seemingly untouched by time. Designed in collaboration with the Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, Fry envisioned a space that was not only stylish but approachable.

“We wanted to create something that had the familiarity of someone’s living room,” says Michael Hsu partner Maija Kreishman. Ahead, the designers share their top five tips for creating a comfortable environment that’s ripe for casual entertaining.

Set the Tone

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Photo by Chase Daniel

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Photo by Chase Daniel

For the lounge, Kreishman, lead designer Lysa Janssen and interior designer Chelsea Fanning selected an eclectic mix of furniture from a variety of time periods. Paired with the reclaimed wooden floors, plaster-washed brick walls, wood-burning fireplaces, and vintage artwork, a noticeable “sit down and stay a while” vibe begins to emerge.

Arguably, the main focal point of La Lucha is its bar. Further emphasizing the comfortability factor, it’s pieced together from vintage wooden cabinetry and a grandfather clock. “It’s something that really felt like it could be in someone’s home but with the grandeur of a bigger bar,” Kreishman says.

Curate the Right Mix

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Photo by Chase Daniel

To outfit the main dining room, the team of designers looked to a multitude of sources. “We went with [Fry] to Round Top to find inspiration and track down some pieces through vendors we had met there,” Janssen recalls. “A lot of it was finding things locally and coming up with all these eclectic moments.” To make the space feel timeless, it was also key for the team to mix both traditional and modern elements.

Add Nostalgic Notes

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Photo by Chase Daniel

While Fry was a child of the 1970s, the idea of bringing pieces from the era into La Lucha, like the British pub chairs, was more for effect. “The 1970s influence isn’t very overt, but there’s something about the air of that period that everyone can relate to even if they weren’t alive then,” Kreishman says.

In addition to using lots of wood and inherently comfortable building materials, the team decided on a color palette of rich reds, blues, and oranges, which can also be found in the funky artwork and vintage Turkish rugs. The team chose lush velour and rich leathers that had been worn over time that work toward creating a comfortable neighborhood gathering place. “By starting to see some of that wear, it feels like you can mess it up a bit,” Kreishman says. “We also have these nostalgic cane chairs that make it feel like you can just linger there.”

Introduce Playful Details

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Like with many a space, the beauty is in the details. In one corner, there’s a record player where patrons can play their own music. In the kitchen, the team designed a small cutout window in the oyster-shucking room to not only provide entertainment but to further keep La Lucha connected with its coastal roots.

For the walls, the team chose quirky art. “Some of the pieces were vintage, but we found pieces that had an edge to them,” Janssen says. “We wanted to create some visual interest and be more playful.” There are traditional portraits and nautical prints but also truly unexpected pieces. “My favorite is a piece called Cotton Balls,” Kreishman says. “It’s wooden and it actually lights up in the evening.”

Pay Homage to History

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While the interior design is definitely noteworthy, it would be a shame not to talk about La Lucha’s outdoor areas. “The building was designed so that it’s really centered around the courtyard,” Kreishman says. “There’s a live oak tree and vintage furnishings out there. The side yard lawn also has these faux cranes, which are a nod back to the Gulf. We just really wanted it to be a spot where you could have fun.”

See more restaurants we love:
Whole Foods’ First Restaurant Is Here, and People Love It
Viral Cafes That Channel Wes Anderson–Worthy Vibes
15 Farm-to-Table Restaurants to Visit on Your Midwest Road Trip

Second hand range cookers – how and where to buy them

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Cast-iron ranges are built to last a lifetime, so if you can’t afford a brand-new model, you can always rely on the roaring trade in reconditioned second-hand range cookers.

There is something about a range cooker that gives a kitchen personality. It adds the character that you simply can’t achieve with a built-in cooker. The only problem? Ranges don’t come cheap, which is why many people turn to the second-hand market.

Plan everything properly and get the right results with our kitchen ideas

And no wonder. Provided you know your stuff and stick with a reputable supplier, you can find the range of your dreams for a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Where do I start?


Image credit: David Parmiter

First off, consider what type of cooker you require. Will be electric or gas or oil powered? An AGA or an Esse? The most popular tend to be electric models like the Dual or Total Control AGA, where you’re able to turn the hobs or ovens on and off separately, reducing running costs.

Gas or oil-fired cookers can be cheap to run, too, but require a flue system and annual servicing.

How much cheaper is a preowned range cooker?

Potentially, you could save thousands of pounds. Classy Cookers recently offered a three-oven, 13 AMP electric AGA for £5,499. A starting price for this model new is £11,040.

Should any types of used range be avoided?

‘It is a very bad idea to buy a secondhand Rayburn,’ says Rose Norman of Twyford Cookers. ‘They tend to be installed originally as a cooker and central heating system, and are generally on their last legs when removed. If you want a Rayburn, always buy new.’

Can I change the colour of my used range cooker?


Image credit: Rachael Smith

You might think you can just repaint your cooker – however, even if you use specialist high-temperature paint, you’re unlikely to get a good finish. Instead, you will need to contact a specialist to shot-blast and re-enamel your range for you. Blake & Bull charges £2,860 + VAT to recolour a typical two-oven cooker.

How do I collect and install a second-hand range cooker?

While a freestanding range oven is easy to remove, a solid cast-iron range or AGA will need to be dismantled, transported and refitted by an expert. This is not only because cast-iron cookers are extremely heavy, but also since if anything is lost or damaged in the move, the range could be rendered worthless.

‘Trying to move an Aga as a whole unit is also not a good idea,’ says Classy Cookers’ Anthony Harrison. ‘The way in which the cooker is built means that moving it as a whole can easily break internal seals or at worse stress fracture the cast iron.’

Do second-hand cookers come with a warranty?


Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Buy a pre-owned or fully reconditioned Aga cooker from a business, and you should expect at least a statutory guarantee – not something you’ll get if you buy privately. You might also be able to take advantage of finance packages, for example, paying in instalments and interest-free credit.

‘Buying from an AGA-registered dealer will guarantee that you will get a purpose-built Aga and not bits and pieces of many AGA cookers put together,’ says Rose Norman, marketing director at Twyford Cookers.

Where to buy a second-hand range cooker

Image credit: Polly Eltes

Best for Installation – Classy Cookers

Classy Cookers has a huge stock of pre-owned ranges. Once the sale goes through, it will dismantle the range in its current home and reassemble it in your kitchen.

Best for AGAs – Twyford Cookers

Twyford Cookers is an authorized AGA specialist that has a limited stock of reconditioned models. Cookers come with a five-year warranty and the option of interest-free credit

Best for the perfect colour – Blake & Bull

Independent Blake & Bull converts, re-enamels and refurbishes Aga range cookers. You can choose from more than 30 shades, from aubergine to light grey to Wedgwood blue.

The post Second hand range cookers – how and where to buy them appeared first on Ideal Home.