amalfi architecture

“We call our work ‘site-specific portraits of clients,’” says architect Carl Pickering, who with fellow architect Claudio Lazzarini owns Rome-based Lazzarini Pickering Architetti. With projects spanning across Europe, Australia, and the Middle East, the phrase “site specific” takes on added significance. “We believe that building on the Amalfi Coast is different from building in Beirut or Paris or New York,” says Pickering. “One should draw from the architectural and artisan traditions that connect to the area.”
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No matter where you live, sometimes, the only way to make a house feel like home is to design it with your personality in mind. Take this property decorated for Irrfan Khan, a member of India’s glamorous Bollywood elite, and his family.

“The directive for this Mumbai home was to be a reflection of the personalities and mindsets of the creative people living in it,” says Shabnam Gupta, founder and principal designer at Mumbai, India-based design firm The Orange Lane. The fifth-floor residence, which overlooks the surrounding lush green mangroves feels ultra loft-like, thanks to its sweeping 3,670-square-foot floor plan with four bedrooms and five baths. “This space is aimed at bringing people in while keeping the hustle-bustle of the Mumbai life at bay. The Khans wanted to create a world of their own within the city.”
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stir it up

Stir-fry recipes can be as simple or complicated as you make them. By combining fresh ingredients and exciting flavors in a wok or skillet, you get a one-pot dish that’s a party for your palate.


Although the ingredient list looks long, this tasty recipe pulls together quickly for an amazing flavor-filled meal.
Serves 4
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce
⅓ cup fish sauce
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
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Creative Conservation — A Dublin, Ireland Property Gets a Second Chance at a First Impression

Though Roisin Lafferty, creative director of Dublin, Ireland-based Kingston Lafferty Design (KLD), considers this project their most challenging to date, the end result shows no sign of its original condition. The setting of this mid-terrace, Georgian townhouse was ideal—Mountpleasant Square in Ranelagh, a leafy South Dublin city with a lovely village—the property was another story. Before the creative team could select finishes and paint colors, they had to address foundational issues. The structurally-unsound conservation project with highly restricted access had been neglected for years, which proved detrimental to its structural integrity. Extensive work was required to support the existing and proposed structures and to retain the neighboring properties.
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island hideaway

When Jodi Cooper first visited Nusa Lembongan, an island located southeast of Bali, Indonesia, in 2012, she felt as if she’d entered a wholly different world. “The mainland had lost its appeal due to tourism and overcrowding, so when I first visited Lembongan it was like being in a time warp,” says the Australia-based designer. “It was so beautiful and unspoiled by tourism.” It had been a dream for Cooper for some time to have her own piece of paradise in Bali, but it wasn’t until visiting Nusa Lembongan that she realized this was where she was meant to be. Just eight weeks after visiting the island, Cooper purchased the land where she would build one of the most significant projects in her portfolio to date.
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Sonoma County Strong: Santa Rosa, California

The vineyards of Sonoma County beckon visitors with breathtaking vistas.
RIGHT: The Astro delivers midcentury-modern charm. Bird & the Bottle serves up fantastic local fare. Russian River Brewing Co. displays their current tap list on a changeable chalkboard.


In October 2017, the most destructive wildfire in California’s history (at that time) put the North Bay city of Santa Rosa in the spotlight. It was a complete shock for the area, which was already renowned for premium wine and craft beer, farm-to-table dining, unique accommodations, and gorgeous state parks. Although the rebuild is still underway, new and remodeled businesses are rebounding with a community that is stronger than ever, and they are ready to share the riches of the region.

To experience all Santa Rosa has to offer, you’ll want to set up shop. Lodging options range from the hip, economy Sandman Hotel to the contemporary Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country. Nestled near downtown in the funky, up-and-coming SOFA Art District is The Astro, a recently remodeled ’60s motor lodge with kitsch to spare. This thirty-four-room midcentury modern piece of nostalgia offers a modern vibe and cozy rooms and is truly a masterclass in the Five Rs (refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle). The neighborhood is home to approximately thirty artist studios, along with galleries and restaurants. For a closer look at the local landscape, rent a bike on-site at The Astro and hop on the Santa Rosa Creek Trail.

Wineries in Sonoma County range from simple and rustic tasting rooms to fairy-tale castles. Around here, the small, family-owned gems are always favorites. In the local winery region of Olivet Road, don’t miss the turn for Sunce Winery, where owners Janae and Frane Franicevic welcome guests to taste the juice and partake in fun pairings with food such as kimchi hot dogs. Pick up a mystery brown bag of wine to take back to the hotel, then relax and enjoy a game of bocce ball on the deck with Frane the winemaker. Carol Shelton Wines—an eponymous label—has been a cult favorite of locals for years, with its tasting room and winery hidden away in an industrial park in North Santa Rosa for over a decade. Shelton can often be found pouring wine in the tasting room.

From grapes to hops, craft beer is now a substantial part of Sonoma County’s identity, thanks in large part to the Russian River Brewing Company. There’s almost always a line at the in-demand downtown spot, where you can find the highly sought Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig IPAs on the menu daily. With wine-country roots, this might be the only craft brewery where you can also order up a glass of local Korbel bubbly. You’re here for the beer (and bubbles), but you’ll definitely want to order the Pliny Bites—crisp bites of pizza dough topped with melted cheddar and jalapenos. A couple of new breweries on the block worth visiting are Fogbelt Brewing and Cooperage Brewing. Fogbelt offers up local favorites such as Zephyr Gose and Del Norte IPA, while Cooperage keeps imbibers entertained with televised sports on the big screens, bar games, and board games while enjoying classic west coast IPAs and pale ales.

There’s no shortage of fresh farm-to-table food in Santa Rosa. The Spinster Sisters is regularly voted best in Santa Rosa for its variety of dishes in a style that can only be called Sonoma County Cuisine. Located in the SOFA Art District, favorites include Kimchi Deviled Eggs and Wilted Kale Salad, though you can’t go wrong with any menu item here. Nearby, the venerable Dierk’s Parkside Café is a classic diner-style joint known for its hearty breakfast plates of Country Benedict and Corned Beef Hash.

New to town is the hip yet cozy Bird and the Bottle, featuring Asian, Southern, and Jewish flavors. The move here is pretty craft cocktails paired with tasty shareable plates like Fried Chicken Sliders and Fried Oyster Lettuce Wraps. The nightly happy hour encourages experimentation with the well-curated cocktail menu. For extra-special occasions, locals love the celebratory feel of a meal at La Gare French Restaurant, where specialties like classic Beef Wellington and Crab Cakes are served with reliable finesse.

For a daytrip of breathtaking coastal scenery, take River Road from Santa Rosa to Jenner, where you’ll follow the Russian River all the way out to the Pacific Ocean. Stop in Guerneville along the way to visit Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, where you can hike along East Trail Ridge through and above the majestic Redwoods. In Jenner, Sonoma Coast State Park is a showcase of crashing waves, sea lions sunning on the beach, and mind-blowing sunsets. From Jenner, hop on Highway 1 and head south along the coastline to Bodega Bay, legendary filming location for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic The Birds. Grab a bag of saltwater taffy along the way and take a drive through Sonoma Coast State Beach, where common sightings include sea lions and gray whales.

Having risen from the ashes and moved through restoration to renewal, Santa Rosa once again beckons visitors to savor the bounty that is the heartbeat of Sonoma County.

A Family Affair – A Room That Epitomizes Form and Function

Jo Alcorn’s clients had a problem. The Ontario-based designer behind Alcorn Home—a brand of housewares including lighting, furniture, and easily washable dog beds—could see their family’s TV room wasn’t doing them any favors, emotionally or comfort-wise. “It was just kind of lackluster,” says Alcorn. “We had finished the other rooms in the house, and this became the eyesore that stood out. It had a builder fireplace and a three-seater sofa on one wall that wasn’t conducive to cuddling with family to watch TV properly.” Her directive: make it a showstopping lounge area all ages could love.

She began by doing what, until recently, would have been a bit cringe-inducing to many members of the design cognoscenti: she added an electric fireplace by Dimplex. “I’m all about changing out gas fireplaces now, because you can only use them for a certain amount of time out of the year,” she says. “With electric, you can enjoy the ambience all year round because you can turn off the heat. They’re easy to install, and now come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors. They’ve come a long way.” Another reason to go electric is that they are entirely low maintenance (no dealing with ashes, soot, or lugging of logs).

The fireplace mantel was tailored specifically for modern family life. The TV is on a swiveling mount arm from Wayfair so it can pull toward the kitchen, where these parents can keep an eye on their son and daughter during meal prep. Built-in benches on either side of the hearth contain necessary secret storage by Metrie—a boon for parents of toy-obsessed kids. “Drawers are limited, so the storage is actually a mini door that folds down for full access,” says Alcorn. “The family stores electrical stuff, games, and blankets inside.”

Alcorn derived the room’s color scheme of blues and grays from the family itself—an unbeatable source. “Using their favorite colors means they’ll enjoy their space all the more,” she says, noting that it also has continuity with the rest of the home. “You don’t want to be too trendy. Select hues you’re going to love for a long, long time.” Because it’s a family home with young kids, Alcorn chose hard-wearing, durable fabrics for pillows and upholstery. “I try to find fabrics that have polyester in them for washability,” she says. “Natural fabrics, you’re going to be worried about. With kids or if you’re a frequent entertainer, you want to focus on 100 percent polyester with a high rub count. You can get it in velvet, micro suede, cruelty-free leathers—they can mimic anything nowadays. My collection is 100 percent polyester and fully washable. Like electric fireplaces, these fabrics have [come] a long way.”

Her sofa choice itself is a no-brainer for larger clans: the extra-large L-shaped sectional by Structube in gunmetal gray, softened with the addition of a circular coffee table. “You’re able to utilize a room’s space better for more seating with a sectional,” she says. “Now, everyone can sit together on one sofa and truly enjoy it.” Alcorn added personality in a big way with the sculptural side chair—and even a plush rocking chair with a modern, streamlined silhouette. “I always wanted to tie in a modern rocking chair for reading,” says Alcorn. “Now the seating is functional but also fashionable.”

The art she chose for the walls is personal, but far from cliché. “Because it is a family room, it’s fun to bring in family photos, but I’m not a huge fan of the typical family wall.” Alcorn’s solution: abstract images taken by the family and printed via Posterjack, an online photo printing company. “We went with candid, artsy photos of the family that don’t scream ‘family photo!’, and they can always change them over time as the kids get older into something else they love.” A transforming, transformative family room you can grow into . . . what could be better?

Get Multifunctional

“You have to think about storage,” says Alcorn, who recommends investing in furniture pieces with hidden agendas, such as benches or ottomans with concealed compartments.

Match Your Fabric to Your Lifestyle. Of course, durable polyester fabrics are a wise choice. But even beyond that, it’s important to think about how you use your home. “I try to match interiors to your dog’s color [if applicable] so you always look like a better housekeeper,” says Alcorn. “I have white dogs, so my whole house is white!”

Be Not Afraid. “I can’t stand when people don’t have coffee tables because they’re afraid,” says the designer. “If you have younger kids, just opt for rounded edges that kids are less likely to injure themselves with.”

Bring the Outdoors In. If you’re worried about staining the rugs, Alcorn has the panacea. “There are stunning outdoor carpets now you can bring inside. There are certain things worth spending money on, but don’t buy an expensive rug—it’s going to be switched up over time.”


austin aesthetic – Simple Details Create Abundant Beauty

Gravel crunches under your tires as you travel up the drive. Old oaks and elms cast long shadows on a tin roof. Texas limestone shapes a two-story-tall chimney. These are the sights and sounds that greet you on approach to this farmhouse that seems deep-rooted to the place but also new somehow. It’s the work of Tim Cuppett and his eponymous architecture and interior design firm located in Austin, Texas. “If you asked a kid to draw a house, it would have a big gable, windows, a door—very simple elements. That’s the direction we wanted for this house, to keep it fundamental,” explains Cuppett.

Built for a young couple with two small children, this Austin-area home is close to town but still feels rural. An old home was removed from the lot, and the new home was sited among mature trees, leaving an adjacent meadow of native grasses undisturbed. The homeowners made few requests of the architect. They wanted the kitchen to be central to the home and they defined the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they needed, but mostly left the aesthetics in Cuppett’s hands. “By looking at things they liked, I knew they had conventional tastes. We pushed them just a bit beyond their comfort zone to create a house that was a little more modern,” he says. “We always try to push clients a little further to create a more dramatic experience. In the end, they love it.”

For these homeowners, part of that push was convincing them to allow an interior window at the stairwell. “Because the living room and kitchen come together with a stair in the middle, that could potentially make the living room dark,” says Cuppett. “By putting a large window in the stair landing, we were able to fill the middle of the house with daylight.” .

When pushing limits and conventions, how does an architect gain trust from a client? “When I meet a client, I say, ‘I’m going to show you things that you are not comfortable with. I’m going to tell you that I know what I’m doing and expect you to trust me,’” he says. Cuppett’s experience and portfolio are sufficient for that approach to work, yet he’s never a bully. “Of course, the clients make the final decisions. I’m never going to get mad and quit because the homeowners don’t go along with my plan. I tell my clients what I think, give them the facts as I see them, but they ultimately get to decide.” Choosing to follow their architect’s plan was a smart move for this couple as, in this design, capturing light is both aesthetic and practical. This layout means the homeowners rarely have to turn lights on during the day.

Cuppett’s firm performed both architecture and interior design for these clients. “I’m thrilled when we get to do both,” he says. As part of the architectural services, Cuppett’s firm chose paint, tile, and countertops, while the design services extended to choosing plumbing and light fixtures, as well as furnishings, window coverings, and rugs. “We give clients as much help as they want. We try to help them do the whole thing,” he says.

Inside and out, the home’s palette is mostly white and black with shades of gray. The parallel lines of the Hardie siding and tin roof continue indoors with glossy-white shiplap used to accent the stairwell, and ceilings in the dining room, master bedroom, and kids’ playroom. Judicious touches of color stand out against the neutrals. The exterior entry door is bright teal, while the interior uses gold and ochre on furniture pieces, drapes, accessories, and accent walls.

“It helps when the architecture and interior design work together,” says Cuppett. “I think it makes for a more successful project because in the end the house is really designed to support the way the family lives.”

Making the Old New Again

Architect Tim Cuppett values the simplicity of older homes. “Old houses were stupid simple. Basic geometric forms, simple building skins, simple window patterns—uncomplicated. We really try to make all of our houses that way. I think it makes for a better house,” he says. He incorporates lessons learned from older homes into his design work.

Capture light from two sides. “The best rooms in old houses are corner rooms with daylight coming in on two sides. In homes we design, we try to get balanced light into every room,” says Cuppett.

Embrace squares and rectangles. Some new homes are overdesigned with too many angles and embellishments. Simple clean lines provide a more modern look.

Bigger isn’t always better. “Houses today are so much bigger than they used to be. There’s a trend of ten-foot ceilings on every floor. That makes a house gigantic. Old houses weren’t that way. They were more compact,” he explains.

Article by home by design magazine.
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Emotional Energy: How to Reclaim Your Space After a Major Life Event

Mina Fies is all about making the shift. Over the last twenty years, the remodeling expert has watched hundreds of clients stay in their houses unchanged even though it desperately needs a makeover. “People are simply afraid of the remodeling process,” she says. So Fies has made it her purpose in life to not only show clients the possibilities with renovations but also explain why it’s important for the health of their mind, body, and spirit. “Our spaces have an emotional effect on us,” says the entrepreneur and public speaker. “We spend so much time thinking about the environment around us such as what restaurant we want to eat at or what school our kids go to. But when it comes to where we live and where we spend the majority of our time, we don’t think about it much.”

Fies is especially keen on changing up your home after a major life change such as becoming empty nesters, going through a divorce, or even the loss of a loved one such as a parent you may have been caring for in your home. “It’s really about making the home yours again,” she explains. This can mean different things for different people, but the premise, says Fies, is the same: you’re shifting the energy to focus on the new moment in your life rather than relishing in the old.

For empty nesters, Fies recommends repurposing a child’s room into a place where you can relax, take advantage of a hobby you’ve always wanted to try, or simply convert it to the home office you never had. “People get so stuck on the idea that they have to keep things the same, especially with a child’s bedroom,” she says. “You first need to give yourself the permission to repurpose the room. Once you recreate the room, you’ll subconsciously shift the energy in a positive direction. The important thing is that it doesn’t have to be the space it once was. Just by repurposing that room by repainting it or changing a bed into a daybed for seating reclaims the space and makes it yours. This process makes the transition easier.”

New parents are in the same boat, says Fies. “When you’re a new parent, your home doesn’t feel like it’s yours anymore. There are toys everywhere [and] baby accessories. Kids can literally take over your entire living space.” Fies recommends thinking ahead by incorporating storage and ways to “clean up the mess” seamlessly to keep your living areas an adult space. “Your whole house doesn’t have to be about your kids. In fact, you need a space that’s totally yours, free of kids’ stuff,” she says. Fies suggests creating a toy storage system where it hides everything such as using furniture like ottomans or benches that open and serve as toy boxes. And as kids get older, consider a drop zone where they can hang their book bags, put away their shoes, and leave their jackets. “Containing your kids’ stuff relieves the stress off of you because you don’t have to see it each day,” says Fies.

But when it comes to a life change such as a death or divorce, sometimes repurposing a space isn’t enough. When this happens, Fies recommends her clients do a space clearing. “If a parent passes or a divorce occurs, or something has happened and you want to turn over a new leaf, a space clearing is a fantastic place to start,” she says. Space clearing is simply shifting the energy of a space by releasing the existing energy, which can be accomplished in a few different ways. “Sometimes we stand at the front door with the homeowner and they say a prayer or, depending on the client’s comfort level, we’ll burn sage or ring a bell to vibrate and clear the energy. It’s a practice or ritual of saying this moment in our lives happened, we were brought together for a reason, it didn’t work out, and I’m ready to release this relationship and bring whatever is good to me.”

Fies says clients are amazed at how simple changes in their homes can impact their energy and emotions so much after transitioning through a major life experience. “It doesn’t take much to create a space that energetically fits where you want to be in your life today and ten years from now,” she says.

Collected Cottage: From a Dated Renovation to an Updated Cottage

The project was right in Jamie Keskin’s wheelhouse. The Boston-based interior designer’s style can best be described as a modern take on cottage chic. Which is exactly why when her clients reached out to her about updating their cedar-shingle, Nantucket-style home she was excited about the opportunity. “There was beautiful craftsmanship everywhere,” she says of the remodeled stunner. “They didn’t skimp on any details during the remodel.”

The architectural details laid the foundation for Keskin’s redesign, which aimed to brighten the space by taking advantage of the home’s ample natural light as well as modernizing it with playful fabrics and finishes. Having known the clients for several years—they met at a local antique marketplace—Keskin was in tune with their personal style. “They love a good mix of traditional with a cottage feel,” she says. “I’d say they were traditional but in a casual, comfortable way so I knew that was the direction I would go in. Nothing midcentury or contemporary or over the top. We just really wanted to stay true to the style of the home.” 

The homeowners enlisted Keskin to help rework their master bedroom, living room, dining room, and mudroom as the adjacent kitchen had recently been updated with the renovation. But Keskin wasn’t starting with a blank slate. Like many of her clients, they wanted to utilize existing pieces—namely furniture and antiques they’d collected over the years—into the home’s interior design while also incorporating furniture, fabrics, and textures to infuse new life into the space. “I love when clients have existing pieces that they want to include in the home’s design, especially heirloom pieces because they make the home feel more personal, it tells a story,” she explains.

Keskin drew inspiration from the kitchen, which boasts shiplap walls, exposed reclaimed wood beams, mahogany, and honed granite countertops, Carrara-marble subway tiles, and a touch of color via a light gray blue for the base of the island. “It’s such a welcoming space and we wanted to capture that in the living areas,” she says.

The living room is where the homeowners do the bulk of their day-to-day living and entertaining, so it was important that it be comfortable and inviting. A coffee table—a small antique boat outfitted with a glass top—along with the area rug were two of the clients’ existing pieces that Keskin built her design around. The rug with its pops of tomato red and celadon blue served as color inspiration and led Keskin to keep the furniture and walls simple and neutral. She layered throw pillows and draperies to bring color and texture into the room.

The draperies by GP & J Baker set the stage with the same hues as the rug, while a pair of adjacent chairs swathed in a playful but more neutral ocelot-print fabric by Cowtan & Tout offset the colorful draperies and custom throw pillows by Jane Churchill, Scalamandre, and Kerry Joyce Textiles. “It was all about balance in this space. So, mixing tiny, bold fabrics with neutrals really allows everything to blend together,” says Keskin. The ample natural light also played a role in the interior design as it highlights the organic texture of the existing coffee table while also brightening the colorful prints and patterns.

In the dining room, Keskin applied the same tactic of using the homeowners’ existing pieces as the base—the dining room table and chairs, for example, were the clients’ own prior to enlisting Keskin—as a base. A stunning blue grass cloth wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries in the room immediately adds a dose of modernity amongst the ultra-traditional furniture. Likewise, draperies also by Phillip Jeffries in a geometric pattern feel playful yet sophisticated in the traditional setting.

While Keskin loved reworking the living and dining areas for her clients, she is especially fond of the mudroom. “It was a fun, small space [where] we could really push the envelope a little bit,” she says. With minimal wall space to add color to, Keskin suggested a fun wallpaper in lieu of paint. “There wasn’t a ton of wall with the wainscoting, so I convinced her to go bold with the wallpaper,” says Keskin of the Galbraith & Paul paper, which complemented the bluestone flooring. “It made the room feel bigger. Some clients are afraid to commit to wallpaper but it’s easier to commit to it in a smaller space. She wanted something different in that room and this hit the mark.” To add more pattern to the space, Keskin also added a custom cushion for the bench swathed in Thibaut fabric, which Keskin had vinylized to prevent staining.

Though the clients are still tweaking rooms here and there, Keskin knows her clients love the final product. “It feels like you stepped out to a farm on acres of land,” she says. “It’s gorgeous.”