Form and Function in Home Design

A preview of the artisans, tips, and trends in this month’s issue.

Design rules our lives, especially the furniture and décor that fill our homes. Imagine if you could outfit your surroundings with one-of-a-kind designs that felt more like works of art, replacing a scratched up rocking chair with a sleek, simple stool or whimsical bench. Wouldn’t daily life be just a little better?

With that in mind, our issue this month looks at Home & Design from multiple perspectives. Inspired by a remarkable installation and collection of home décor at Impact Hub Oakland, we first wanted to round up interesting indie craftspeople who make lovely, functional, inspired things for residential and commercial settings. Alameda-based contributor Karen Granados, who has a discerning eye for design, was up for the task and selected five East Bay artisans for the honors. Not surprisingly, a theme emerged: their penchant for giving extraordinary characteristics to everyday items, from gates, lights, and doors to cabinets, jewelry boxes, and lamps. Nature, color, line, detail, and simplicity are among the characteristics these talented seek to exploit. They mix, match, and meld materials in ways as unique as their individual fingerprints.

To better show off all these home décor treasures, freelancer Jeanne Storck sought advice on illumination options, tricks, and trends from Bay Area experts whose simple, sensible tips can make a critical difference in brightening, or softening, interior ambiance at the mere flick of a switch.
Additionally, interior designer Sarah Coombs, our regular Shelter writer and an Alameda interior decorator, pulls together a piece for instant, achievable outdoor living as the time for patio parties-September and October-reaches the East Bay.

Which indirectly brings us to kitchen renovation, likely the largest home improvement project you’ll ever undertake or consider. Are you unhappy with your kitchen? Are you sick of the outdated tile and the oven with the door that hangs ajar? Maybe you can’t decide whether touching up or going down to the studs makes the most sense. Coombs has advice for you on this topic, too, as well as the lowdown on the hottest trends going in current kitchen design.

It’s all just our way of making the daunting trek into home improvement land that much easier to manage.

This article appears in the September 2014 issue of Alameda Magazine
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