Architectural Elements: Sliding Barn Doors

We revisit a perennial favorite: traditional sliding barn doors.

Whether they’re new or reclaimed, the doors lend their rustic, practical sensibility to a space. They save room but are not tucked away like pocket doors, making a virtue out of their rugged beams and industrious hardware.

A San Francisco entryway by Feldman Architecture.

A black barn door in the entry hall of a TriBeCa Loft by Schappacher White Architects. Photograph by Jason Lindberg.

A black barn door in the entry hall of a TriBeCa Loft by Schappacher White Architects. Photograph by Jason Lindberg.

Photograph by Aaron Farley for Paper Magazine.

A bright red door by Los Angeles architect Barbara Bestor. Photograph by Aaron Farley for Paper Magazine.

A rustic barn door in a lake house designed by Birmingham, Alabama–based Studio C Architecture.

A rustic barn door in a lake house designed by Birmingham, Alabama–based Studio C Architecture.

With a simple Shaker sensibility, this sliding barn door divides the dining and play spaces at the Seesaw Cafe in San Francisco.

With a simple Shaker sensibility, this sliding barn door divides the dining and play spaces at the Seesaw Cafe in San Francisco.

A leather handle used on a sliding barn door by Alchemy Architects.

A leather handle used on a sliding barn door by Alchemy Architects.

An oversized reclaimed door in a studio by Patrick Davis Design.

An oversized reclaimed door in a studio by Patrick Davis Design.

Barn doors in the Vermont home of the founder of Oughton Limited Bags.

Barn doors in the Vermont home of the founder of Oughton Limited Bags.

The door of this bathroom by the Brooklyn Home Company was sourced from a New Hampshire sheep barn.

The door of this bathroom by the Brooklyn Home Company was sourced from a New Hampshire sheep barn.

A sliding barn door conceals a home office in a project by Greene Partners.

A sliding barn door conceals a home office in a project by Greene Partners.

The door to a bedroom in a Mill Valley, California, home by Artistic Designs for Living.

The door to a bedroom in a Mill Valley, California, home by Artistic Designs for Living.

Furniture maker Cliff Spencer crafts barn doors from reclaimed wine-barrel oak.

Furniture maker Cliff Spencer crafts barn doors from reclaimed wine-barrel oak.

This article courtesy of, a one-stop sourcebook for the considered home, guiding readers through the design and renovation process with features such as Steal This Look, 10 Easy Pieces, and Architect Visits. The aesthetic favors classic and livable over trendy and transient, well-edited interiors over cluttered environments, and thoughtfully designed products over mass-market, disposable goods.


10 Energy (And Money!) Saving Tips For Renters

Not every apartment, condo or townhouse rental includes free utilities, so for many renters, it is important to use energy efficiently. Reducing energy consumption saving money, and by adopting a few efficient practices in your apartment, you can keep your money where you want it: your wallet.

10 Energy (And Money!) Saving Tips For RentersThis utilities advice will guide you on best practices and other energy-efficient methods aimed at saving you money. Most of these tips are things renters can do on their own. However, if you have questions or need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to your apartment manager or landlord.

1) Low-Flow Showerhead
Temper your hot water usage and the amount of water you use by installing an energy-efficient low-flow showerhead in your shower. If you can’t install one yourself, talk to your landlord or apartment manager about having one installed.

2) Water Collection
When you run your faucet or shower until cold or hot water comes out, you are essentially wasting a good deal of water and sending money down the drain. Consider using a bucket or pitcher to collect water until the desired hot or cold temperature is achieved. You can then use that collected water to manually flush a toilet, water plants or wash things around the house.

3) Full Loads
Instead of washing a handful of clothing at a time, save energy and money by washing full loads. This can also be applied to using a dishwasher. More loads equates to more energy spent and money out of your pocket.

4) Window Covers and Solar Shades
Keep windows that receive direct sunlight throughout the day covered to keep the inside of your apartment cooler throughout the day. In desert climates such as Arizona, consider having solar shades installed to deflect sunlight.

5) Air Circulation
Open your windows to promote cross-circulation in the mornings and when there is a breeze. This can help keep temperature down throughout the day and, in turn, lower A/C usage.

6) Furniture Obstruction
If your couch is positioned over your air vent, it reduces the amount of air flow, which means your A/C or furnace is working that much harder. By positioning your furniture to promote airflow, your apartment will heat and cool faster, thus saving you money on your electric or gas bill.

7) Thermostat Setting
Consider turning off the thermostat or adjusting it for when you are not home. You can save energy and money by only running you A/C or furnace when you are home.

8) Timers
Leaving the lights on all day long can be a big energy drain. Instead of leaving the lights on, buy timers to program a custom light schedule for throughout the day.

9) Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use far less energy and last far longer than traditional light bulbs, and they are relatively cheap! Swap out your standard bulbs for fluorescent ones to reduce energy costs.

10) Unplug Appliances and Electronics
Even if they are not on, appliances and electronics still draw electricity when plugged in. Consider unplugging seldom-used appliances and electronics when not in use. You can also buy a power strip to control multiple electronics and appliances at the same time.

This article was originally published by Neal J. Leitereg on To see the original article, click here.

How Much is a Midsize Home Around the Country?

When shopping for a car, it’s common to focus on the size you want, such as a midsize sedan, and then see what different makes and models are going to cost you. Home shopping can be the same. To help you get started, we’ve found homes for sale measuring close to the median U.S. home size of 1,598 square feet. Check out these real estate makes and models to find the right price and location for you.

New York triplex

242 E 7th St APT 5, New York, NY
For sale: $2.375 million
Square feet: 1,600

from Zillow

from Zillow

With luxurious homes and historical appeal, Manhattan’s East Village is the Cadillac of real estate. Originally a synagogue, this converted triplex shows off early 1900s architecture and contemporary updates. The final product isn’t cheap, however. Compared with the national median value per square foot of $102, the median New York home is currently valued at $292 per square foot.

Los Angeles bungalow

912 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA
For sale: $995,000
Square feet: 1,606

from Zillow

from Zillow

With close proximity to Sunset Junction and Silver Lake, this home is in a prime Los Angeles neighborhood with a median home value of $758,600. The 1,606-square-foot bungalow has 4 bedrooms, a den and 2.5 baths for an asking price of $995,000. Using Zillow’s mortgage calculator, this would mean a monthly payment around $3,834, assuming 20 percent down on a 30-year fixed mortgage.

Chicago apartment

3314 N Lake Shore Dr APT 7A, Chicago, IL
For sale: $565,000
Square feet: 1,600

from Zillow

from Zillow

In Chicago, you’ll find the architectural charm of New York City without the Big Apple price tag. For $565,000, a 1,600-square-foot apartment is for sale in a Belmont Harbor beaux-arts building. With aWalk Score® of 92/100 and sweeping views of Lake Michigan, this 2-bedroom home is ideal for an urban dweller.

Seattle craftsman

330 NE 55th St, Seattle, WA
For sale: $529,999
Square feet: 1,600

from Zillow

from Zillow

With close proximity to Green Lake and local restaurants, Wallingford is a highly sought-after Seattle neighborhood. A midsize craftsman measuring 1,600 square feet is on the market for $529,999, which is below the Wallingford median home value of $571,500. If you’re after the same size home for a little less in Seattle, neighborhoods farther north such as Greenwood are good places to look.

Houston town house

1624 W 25th St UNIT D, Houston, TX
For sale: $299,000
Square feet: 1,586

from Zillow

from Zillow

A town home in The Heights is on the market for $299,000, which is more than the area’s median home value but significantly less than a similarly sized home in Los Angeles or Seattle. Built in 2004, the home is a newer construction with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a balcony over the garage.

Nashville colonial

1232 Brenner Dr, Nashville, TN
For sale: $194,000
Square feet: 1,612

from Zillow

from Zillow

In the South, you can find large lots for a fraction of what it costs to live in Northeast metros. This South Hampton-area property spans a third of an acre and is currently priced at $194,000. Compared with Nashville home values as a whole, this is more than the median, but the home is in a good location on a quiet tree-lined street with top-rated schools nearby.

This article was originally published by Catherine Sherman on Zillow Blog. See the original article here.

5 Ways to Warm Up an Older House

Older homes certainly have their charm, but they’re not usually the most energy efficient or the easiest to keep warm. About one-third of our nation’s energy consumption comes from the residential sector, and about 70 percent of this can be attributed to homes built before 1983, according to a study by ConSol, a building and energy consulting firm in California. But living in an older home doesn’t mean you have to put up with drafty doors and cold nights huddled around the fire. There are several smart ways to work with your home’s existing structure to improve its efficiency, and make it as warm and comfortable as an old sweater.

No. 1: Do an energy audit

You’ve no doubt heard that knowledge is power. Well, in this case, knowledge can actually save you power. An energy audit is a great place to start when you’re seeking to retrofit an older home to make it warmer, because it will show you exactly where most of your warm air is escaping and cold air is entering. Some utility companies offer energy audits for free, so check with your providers first to see if this is a possibility. If not, you may wish to hire a professional energy auditor who will go beyond pointing out the obvious sources of heat loss and give you a comprehensive plan for warming up your home. If you find a professional too costly, you can do a basic energy audit yourself by finding leaks with the smoke from a stick of incense. On a windy day, simply wave the smoke from the incense near windows, doors and anywhere else there might be a gap to the outdoors. The smoke will blow inwards where you have gaps that let outside air in, and it will get sucked toward heat-depleting leaks. In both cases, you’ll want to close up the gaps with caulk or insulation.

No. 2: Check windows & doors

Did you know that a one-eighth-inch gap beneath a 36-inch door has the same effect on your home as a 2.4-inch-wide hole in the wall? Sealing gaps around doors and windows is one of the easiest, cheapest and most effective ways to warm up your older home. Place weather stripping around loose doors and windows, and caulk obvious holes around window sashes. You can also seal windows for the winter using a plastic sheeting kit from your local-home center or hardware store. Even drapes and blinds can help retain heat in the colder months. If you still notice a draft beneath your door after you’ve installed weather stripping, a rolled up towel or “door snake” can further block drafts.

No. 3: Insulate

Older homes tend to be insulation challenged. They did not always receive the benefit of this energy-regulating material or the vapor barriers that often accompany its installation. If your home is insulation free — or just lacks adequate insulation — you can retrofit it by hiring trained installers to inject a nonflammable foam resin into existing walls. This means there’s no need to remove either exterior or interior walls and, according to the manufacturers, the installation can take less than a day for a whole house. The foam is filled with tiny air bubbles that increase its heating and cooling properties.

Before insulating an older home, however, be aware of the fact that you need to maintain some airflow. Old homes were designed to “breathe,” and if you seal them up too tightly, you might experience issues with moisture buildup. Talk with your energy auditor to make sure that you’ll continue to have adequate airflow once your home has been retrofitted with insulation.

No. 4: Install a programmable thermostat

A thermostat that acts like the brain of your heating system might seem like something compatible with only newer high-tech homes, but replacing an old thermostat with a newer model is a relatively straightforward affair that can be done by most DIYers in homes of any age. You can buy a programmable thermostat that can create different heating schedules for every day of the week, or one that has a set schedule for weekdays and another for weekends. By operating your home’s heating system through a “smart” thermostat, you can make sure the house stays warm and toasty when occupied and saves you money on heating fuel when vacant. For maximum efficiency, thermostats of all kinds should be installed away from heating and cooling vents, open windows and direct sun, and should be set to remain at steady temperatures for long periods of time rather than spike up and down throughout the day.



No. 5: Install radiant floor heating

Unlike electric baseboard units or forced hot-air systems that constantly spike the temperature and then kick on again when the house cools down, radiant floor heating provides a quiet, constant warm glow throughout your house. You can retrofit radiant floor heating beneath the floors, in effect warming the actual structure of your home. Not only is this a very energy-efficient way to heat your home; it’s also very pleasant. Imagine never again having to step on a frigid floor on a cold winter’s morning.

These days, most radiant floor systems are being installed in new homes and would be difficult to add to an older home. That’s not the case, however, with a newer product called Warmboard. Warmboard-R is a subfloor panel designed specifically for remodels. These radiant panels transfer heat quickly from the water in the system’s tubing to the inside of your home. The radiant panels actually increase the rigidity of existing subfloor panels in old homes as well as provide a flatter and smoother subfloor surface for finished flooring. The thick aluminum coating on the Warmboard-R panels can also save you money because the panels transfer heat to your home more quickly than other radiant options while requiring less hot water to reach the desired temperature in your home.

By Michael Franco | Zillow Blog


Negotiating the Sale of Your House

Home sellers who’ve chosen the right Realtor, prepared their home for sale and priced it right are strongly positioned for a smooth real estate transaction, but perhaps the most complex moment in the sales process comes when you get an offer for your home. Whether you have one offer or several to consider, you should take a moment to congratulate yourself that you’ve got a buyer interested in purchasing your home.

Negotiate a Real Estate Offer

How to Evaluate Purchase Offers

Ideally, your buyer or buyers have offered you full price or more, along with the perfect terms for the sale. However, the reality is that not every offer will be immediately acceptable. You’ll need to carefully evaluate each offer and begin a negotiation with the buyers and their agent.

Your Realtor should be your partner and educate you on the terms of the offer and help you understand the offer in the context of the housing market in your area. You’ll need to know whether you’re in a balanced market with equal numbers of buyers and sellers or one in which buyers or sellers have the upper hand. You’ll also need to estimate whether home prices are rising or falling in your community.

Before you begin to analyze any purchase offer, the most important step is to determine whether the buyer can fulfill the terms of the contract with financing. Your Realtor can check on the preapproval letter that should be included with any offer by consulting with the buyer’s agent and the buyer’s lender.

What Factors Should You Consider in a Purchase Offer?

Once you know the buyer can legitimately qualify for a loan, you should begin to evaluate the offer by looking at these factors:

  • How close is the offer to your asking price?
  • Will your home appraise for the contract price?
  • How large is the earnest money deposit that accompanied the offer?
  •  Has the buyer asked for assistance with closing costs?
  •  Has the buyer asked you to make repairs or to give a credit for home improvements?
  •  Is the requested settlement date appropriate for your needs?

If you’re not immediately satisfied with the offer or are uncertain about whether to accept it, consider your options.

  • Are there other offers?
  • Can you wait for more offers to come in?
  • How will you handle it if no other offers come in after a particular deadline?

Making a Counteroffer

As a seller, you have the option of accepting the offer as is, declining the offer, or making a counteroffer. Your Realtor can give you specific advice about your negotiating stance based on your home and your market, but generally you’ll need to be prepared to compromise on some aspect of your home sale.

Your negotiations can go more smoothly if you have a clear sense of your own priorities, such as a particular settlement date, the ability to rent-back your home from your buyers, or a minimum price that you need to achieve to meet your financial goals. Your Realtor should have prepared a document showing you net proceeds at different sales prices that can make it easier to understand the value of different offers.

Negotiations proceed best when both you and your buyers respect each other’s needs and interests and come to an appropriate compromise with the help of your Realtors.

This article was originally published on To see the original article, click here.

8 Priceless Tips for Moving Your Valuables

The books can be tossed pell-mell into small boxes, the clothes hung in a wardrobe box, but what do you do with Grandma’s china and that big painting over the couch so that they get to your new digs unscathed?

If you don’t have the cash to pay movers to box everything for you, or your moving crew consists of your cousin and a rental truck, a few key steps while packing, and even before you start rounding up boxes, can save a lot of headache on the unpacking end — and, hopefully, save your crystal.

Here are some key tips from the pros:

1. Create an Inventory

Documenting every book you have may not be worth your time, but making notes and taking photographs of your more meaningful possessions can help, should anything go wrong. It’s easier to make a claim against your homeowner’s insurance, or the moving company’s, if you have documentation of the original state. This should fit in easily with your pre-move organizing.

2. Get Insurance

For anything that goes on a truck, make sure it’s covered by insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover a move. Some moving companies might offer extra insurance. The federal government has a surprisingly good overview of your rights when it comes to damaged goods and your movers.

3. Big Stuff Needs Help

Todd McDermott used to move pianos, chandeliers and 500-pound gun safes in Texas. He now works with the Popeye Moving and Storage Co. in Los Angeles, which offers specialty services to interior designers, among other clients. Heavy items need special dollies and wooden crates, he said. Many movers will contract out that work to specialists. These are not items to trifle with or move by yourself, he said. And take the time to choose a moving company carefully.

4. Small Stuff Goes With You

The movers don’t want your jewelry or important paperwork damaged any more than you do, McDermott said. He even tells high-end clients to keep their valuables with them in their vehicles during moves. “It’s safer,” he said. “And that way we’re not as liable. You packed it.”

5. Invest in the Right Boxes

Special flat-screen TV boxes have padding to keep the screen safe. The $20 or so might seem expensive for a box, but that’s cheaper than buying a new $1,000 television. The same goes for stemware, McDermott said, which is particularly hard to pack. There are specialty boxes for all sorts of items.

6. Dishes Side-by-Side

Pack dishes in several layers of paper, and fit them in the box on the edge — not flat-side down. They’re less likely to shatter if something bumps the edge.

7Tape Paintings

Put  a big X with masking or painter’s tape on anything under glass — like you see in photographs of shop windows during hurricane preparations. The tape helps keep glass from shattering.

8. Box It Up Right

With any box, but especially one containing fragile things, gently shake it as you pack to make sure the contents don’t move. If they do, add more padding. Also, don’t just fold over the box tops — tape them. And make sure to fill the box so the top can’t cave in. See more tips for packing properly.

This article was originally published by Anne Miller on To see the original article, click here.

Creating the Rustic Barn Look in Your Home

You may not find a wraparound porch or stalls with hay, but newly constructed homes and remodeled properties around the country are getting the barn treatment.

Tall windows weren’t commonly found in barns, but by adding overhead beams, Locati Architects made this space architecturally believable.

Designed by Locati Architects

“Everyone wants something like going home to grandma,” explained Christopher Travis, an architect and designer specializing in restoration projects and high-end remodels in rural communities. “The inspiration at the heart of it are things that remind them of their own experience or a period in history.”

In the early 1900s, American barns were purchased as kits from companies such as Sears Roebuck. Travis says crosshatch doors and other classic barn features were added because they were easy and cheap at the time, but now you have to make them from scratch.

As a result, today’s barn-home style is less about building an exact replica than embodying the rustic look and feel.

“It’s a flavor of rustic architecture,” Travis said. “People are drawn to it not because of aesthetics but because it’s comforting — it speaks of a time when things were simpler.”

Locati Architects built this home to look like a farm with the barn and outbuildings slowly added over time.

Modern amenities, rustic accessories

To create the look in your home, designer Anita Oates says you don’t have to have make your space old fashioned. In fact, she says it’s crucial to first design for your lifestyle.

A sliding barn door, barn-wood table and antique chandeliers give this contemporary kitchen a rustic feel without being dated. Designed by Anita Oates of Otrada LLC.

“Don’t have so many rules — it limits the creative process,” she said. “And, it all depends on how you choose to live. Do you have sit-down dinners or just grab breakfast and go?”

Once you’ve determined how you are going to use your space, don’t be afraid to bring in stainless steel appliances or other modern amenities. Just hide outlets, cords and remotes, if possible.

Christopher Travis shows how you can achieve the look and save money by mixing and matching dining room chairs.

Then try to be unconventional with the surrounding furniture and accessories. Consider bringing in a few antiques to create that lived-in feel.

“There are so many different ways to bring in six to 10 dining room chairs,” Oates said. ” Personally, I would put folding chairs under a barn-wood table.”

Interior designer and real estate agent Dotty Hopkins designed her kitchen with vintage-inspired, modern fixtures and appliances.

Travis suggests using an apron sink and curtains instead of cabinet doors. Here are a few other barn-inspired elements you could use to balance a contemporary space:

  • Crosshatched or barn doors
  • Riding boots
  • Embroidered initials
  • Wheelbarrow side table
  • Wheat or crop centerpieces
  • Burlap or canvas

Natural woods & metals

From barn-wood coffee tables to industrial light fixtures, barn-style furniture shows off two key materials: natural wood and metal. And, it’s not just the furniture; these materials can also be woven into the architecture of your space.

The key, Travis says, is to select items that are believable.

“You never see sheetrock in a farmhouse or barn-style building,” he said. “It’s always a plank wall. It has an emotional connection for people because that’s what they had in actual barns.”

Jordan Design Studios combines plank walls and vintage accessories for a historic barn look.

To give a new guest cabin a historic look and feel, Locati Architects‘ Greg Dennee experimented with industrial, reclaimed metal.

Locati Architects uses industrial metal on the walls of this bedroom to embody an old farm outbuilding.

“Our main strategy was to eliminate drywall because it didn’t exist 100 years ago,” he explained. “Nothing gives it away because it’s metal from end to end.”

Recycled materials in small doses

While authenticity is key, designers advise taking a less-is-more approach with bringing in recycled barn materials. Not only are they expensive, but they can also lose their appeal if used in abundance.

Dennee recently designed a barn-style home with large windows to show off the view of a nearby mountain range.

“The homeowners needed tall windows, but they were not historically accurate,” he said. “We had to find the right balance there, so I used recycled timber trusses to keep the scale manageable and believable but also create a large open space the homeowners wanted.”

Locati Architects purposely mixed materials in this man cave, creating a light space with architectural interest.

In a game room redesign, Dennee used barn-wood planking, tin countertops and backsplash, and a white wall to keep the room from feeling too heavy.

“You would never find white drywall in a barn, but we wanted it to feel light and bright,” he said. “Also, it doesn’t compete with other things in the room.”

The overall goal, according to Travis, is to avoid anything that connotes a completely contemporary or manufactured building.

“You want it to look like someone bought old antiques at an antique show,” he said. “Pick the pieces that are really special and speak to you emotionally, and have your designer build them into your space.”

This article was originally published by Catherine Sherman on Zillow Blog. See the original article here.