8 Perfect Places for Cutout Designs

Looking for breathtaking drama or simple creative flair? Punched-out panels and meshes are a solid choice.

Remember the paper snowflakes you created as a child? You folded a piece of white paper into a square and cut jagged shapes in it, then unwrapped it to reveal a surprisingly beautiful pattern. The juxtaposition of positive and negative space generated a dramatic play between solid and transparent, open and closed.

While the paper snowflakes likely embellished your second-grade classroom, a more grown-up version can be used in the architecture of your home.

Staircases, exterior skin, ceilings and doors are just a few of the architectural elements that can integrate cutout patterning. Bold or unobtrusive, large or small, ready made or custom designed, the patterning choices are many.

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Heavy Metal: Warm is Now ‘Cool’

Pacific Heights project by Randy Thueme Design

Pacific Heights project by Randy Thueme Design

Ushering in a new fall season, warm-toned metals have made their way back into design after a decade long dominance of cool stainless steels, chromes and nickels.  Copper, brass and gold are appearing as feature architectural materials, as well as key finishes in furniture, lighting and decorative accessories.

Offering a more earthy presence compared to its cooler counterparts, warm-toned metals enhance both contemporary and traditional spaces. Cool metals, stainless steel in particular, have typically been associated with a more modern, contemporary aesthetic.

Memorial Park kitchen by Laura U Interior Design

Memorial Park kitchen by Laura U Interior Design

It doesn’t need to be exclusively one way the other; mixing warm and cool metals is a great choice. The contrast between the metals create the added benefit of a focal point, or visual pop. The Tom Dixon copper light shades in the kitchen by Laura U Interior Design (left) wouldn’t have the same punch if not surrounded by the frosty aura of white and stainless steel.

On the other hand, use warm-toned metals sparingly. Gold, for example, can go a long way in a room, and too much is just that – too much.

Here are some favorite pieces and applications:

Oly San Francisco Shelf, Coco Republic

Oly San Francisco Shelf, Coco Republic

Copper bath by Diamond Spas at Kukio Estate, Hawaii by Saint Dizier Design

Copper bath by Diamond Spas at Kukio Estate, Hawaii by Saint Dizier Design

Copper fireplace wall by Four Corners Construction

Copper fireplace wall by Four Corners Construction

Steampunk bathroom design by Andre Rothblatt

Steampunk bathroom design by Andre Rothblatt

Tower House, NYC by PMW Architects

Tower House Kitchen, NYC by PMW Architects

Polyedres by Hubert Le Gall, © photo Bruno SIMON

Polyedres by Hubert le Gall, © photo Bruno SIMON

Copper wall in San Francisco residence Game Room by The Wiseman Group

Copper wall in San Francisco residence media room by The Wiseman Group

Pythagoras Table Lamp by Mary McDonald - available through Robert Abbey

Pythagoras Table Lamp by Mary McDonald, made by Robert Abbey

D'Or Vase by Ayers

D’or Vase by Ayers Collection

Copper 1x1 3D Block by Daltile

Copper 1×1 3D Block by Daltile

Glam Grass Wallcovering Collection by Phillip Jeffries

Glam Grass Wallcovering Collection by Phillip Jeffries

Source links:

Randy Thueme Design via Houzz

Laura U Interior Design

 Coco Republic

Andre Rothblatt Architecture via Houzz

Saint Dizier Design via Houzz

Four Corners Construction via Houzz

PMW Architects via Houzz

The Wiseman Group via Houzz

Hubert le Gall via 1stdibs

Pythagoras Table Lamp by Mary McDonald via Lightopia

Ayers via Houzz

Glam Grass Collection by Phillip Jeffries

The Fireplace: From Necessity to Nostalgia?

via CWB Architects

As Christmas quickly approaches, I daydream of spending a blustery winter evening roasting marshmallows in a toasty fireplace.  Despite living in a Middle Eastern desert with balmy winter weather and turquoise water, the nostalgia for a garland-trimmed fireplace at Christmastime tugs at my heart strings.   I’m not alone.  A fireplace is often a “must” for homebuyers.  Even Cicero quoted sometime in the first century BC, “There is no place more delightful than one’s own fireplace”.

While the fireplace has primarily become an aesthetic fixture from which Christmas stockings are hung and family photos showcased, this wasn’t always the case.   The popularity of centrally heated ranch-style houses surged in the 1940s and 50s, displacing the fireplace as a supplementary ornament instead of a primary source of heat.

Let’s be thankful we didn’t live a thousand years ago.  From antiquity to the 1200s, open indoor fire pits were positioned in the middle of the room and vented by a hole in the roof.  Think of camping…but inside.  A technological leap in the 13th century shifted the fireplace from the center of the house to an exterior wall. An outdoor chimney clumsily vented smoke away from the building, enabling second stories to be built where previously not possible.

In 1796, a physicist named Count Rumsford designed a new fireplace where a tall, shallow firebox reflected more heat and streamlined exhaust.  This combination allowed the chimney to be incorporated into the wall of the home rather than attached to the exterior.  Rumford’s design has lasted, with modifications, ever since.   Mantels, which projected to catch escaping smoke, evolved from large looming hoods in medieval times to the decorative framework and shelf we know today.

Yet, for a so-called “accessory”, the fireplace still garners a lot of design attention.  Traditionally centered on a wall or in a corner, seating is typically arranged oriented with a command central focus towards the fireplace, even though it may be rarely (or ever) used.  Many fireboxes in old homes have been bricked up to prevent heat loss but are architecturally and functionally still the focus of the room. Contemporary settings tend to integrate the fireplace more asymmetrically in the space, but it still remains the visual highlight.

Worth noting, in recent years more homeowners are opting to heat their homes fully or partially with specialized wood or pellet stoves  in an effort to combat rising oil and gas prices….perhaps an interesting turnabout?

Nonetheless, man’s innate allure to fire and his ability to build has culminated in the creation of some delightful fireplaces.  For the simplicity of making us feel warm, both physically and emotionally, fireplaces make our houses homes. Here are a few favorites:

via Tracery Interiors

via lovely jolie

via Metalfire

via Lew French

via Debey Zito Design

via Bo Bendana

via Lewin Wertheimer Architect

via Schwartz and Architecture

Riad Farnatchi via Kiwi Collection

via Fine Woodworking

via CWB Architects

Source links:

Bo Bendana

CWB Architects

Debey Zito Design

Fine Woodworking

Kiwi Collection

Lew French

Lewin Wertheimer Architect

lovely jolie


Schwarts and Architecture

Tracery Interiors


Thank you to Fireplaces Magazine for some historical information on fireplaces.