Latest Articles in Design 101

Geothermal heating and cooling system

5 Innovative Uses for Aluminum in Modern Homes

A prohibitively expensive materials 200 years ago, aluminum is now ubiquitous in contemporary kitchens. However, as these five homes demonstrate, that isn't its only place in modern design.
November 10, 2015
wood walls and slate floor in the Marlboro College cabins

6 Slate Stone Designs in Modern Homes

From roofs to countertops to floors and more, slate is an durable and waterproof stone. Through freezing cold or baking heat, slate roofs can go centuries with little maintenance needed. Like any natural stone, it also has very low embodied energy, making it quite eco-friendly.
October 21, 2015
Modern attic playroom by the window

A Look at Cork Floors in Modern Homes

While it's been used since the 19th century in flooring, cork has recently been gaining broader recognition: cork is eco-friendly (careful harvesting of cork bark keeps the tree alive, potentially for centuries), comfortable (it stays at room temperature, so no more cold floors), durable (potentially lasting decades), noise-attenuating, and it comes in multiple colors. However, cork is soft, so heavy furniture, sharp objects, and animal claws can damage it. Prices can vary compared to other flooring options but humble cork is always worth a look.
October 20, 2015
norwegian prefab cabin exterior

22 Expert Tips and Tricks for Designing Small Dwellings

Our upcoming November 2015 Small Spaces issue explores some of the worlds best homes, all sized 970 to 55 square feet. We've asked the architects behind those houses to help us think big and design small: what were their big takeaways learned from first-hand experience?
October 10, 2015
As they open, they fold and stack flush. There was no room for a pocket door since the oven is directly next to the partitioned-off space.

7 Novel Space-Saving Designs

When we talk to architects who specialize in small space, they frequently list built-ins as an excellent way to save space. These 7 projects take that strategy to heart and add a big dash on ingenuity.
October 8, 2015
The floors, walls, and ceilings are coated in FSC-Certified laminated bleached bamboo.

6 Ways to Use Bamboo in the Modern Home

Long used in Asian architecture—skyscraper scaffolding in Hong Kong are still built with it—bamboo became popular in North American during the 1990s with the introduction of laminated bamboo flooring. As with any responsibly cultivated and harvested wood, especially one that grows this quickly, bamboo can have a positive environmental impact by acting as a carbon sink.
October 6, 2015
Island Residence Planks

8 Uses for Douglas Fir in the Modern Home

Found in everything from structural timbers to decorative accents, Douglas fir is a nearly-omnipresent material in North American architecture. Fir is a fixture of building past and present: it's frequently salvaged from old structures even as it's cultivated across Canada and the U.S. See its diverse application in these contemporary residences!
September 22, 2015
hidden in plain view desk

6 Ingenious Built-Ins

Whether you are short on space or looking to streamline your storage, these built-ins will inspire design that is both functional and stylish.
September 17, 2015
modern landscaping terrace pie deck reflecting pool granite patio

7 Ways to Use Ipe Wood

Durable and dense—so dense it doesn't float—ipe is an excellent material for outdoor settings. But how to use it? Patio decking is the most common application but just one of many. While ipe's oils and tannins make it difficult to paint, a well-maintained ipe construction can last 25 years for more. If properly dried, the wood can be used within interiors as well. Lastly, while ipe is a tropical hardwood, it's now typically farmed instead of being harvested from the wild. If you're buying ipe, make sure it's been properly certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or other watchdog organizations. Here are seven ways to use ipe that aren't plain old decking!
September 14, 2015