Are you a wine aficionado? Do you have bottles tucked into cabinets and boxes all over your house? Would you love to see your collection organized and beautifully displayed? Then read on!
Wine is perishable, so wine storage is crucial in maintaining its delicate bouquet and flavors. If you have the luxury of building a wine cellar, by all means, do that! However, lots of people in the San Francisco Bay Area don’t have the space or ability to dig. If that’s you, create the perfect environment right in your home by following these pointers.
Ultraviolet light hurts wine, especially those in light-colored or clear glass bottles, so store your wine away from direct sunlight. Also avoid fluorescent lighting, which can give off ultraviolet light that our eyes can’t see. LED lights are preferable because they don’t heat up like traditional tungsten bulbs, plus you have many beautiful color options. Installing a timer will turn the lights off if you forget when you leave the space, and give you added sustainability points for saving energy.
Temperature and Humidity Control
Heat and humidity will change the notes of your wine. If you intend to store the wine for longer term, temperatures of 40° to 65°F (4° to 18°C) are recommended. White wines benefit from cool temperatures because the fruity character — known as esters — disappear more rapidly when warm. You can allow wines to rest at room temperature if you want to consume them right away, but if there’s any doubt, go for a refrigerated or cooled space, and make sure there’s a humidity meter also.
Clever Rack Storage
The angle at which a bottle of wine is stored is important.
Fortified wines and sparkling wines should be stored upright. However, most
bottles should be stored on their side, to keep the cork seal fresh.
Dampen small vibrations and sway from urban traffic with a
wooden rack, anchored to the wall. Woods like mahogany, redwood, maple, and beech
are good choices for wine racks because they respond well to a cool, moist
environment. These woods also don’t off-gas negative odor that may be absorbed
into the bottle as the wine ages.
Finding a place for your wine storage might be a challenge. Under the stairs is a clever solution! In the kitchen, undercounter space might also be suitable, or in a walk-in pantry. You could also modify a built-in bookshelf.
Beauty and Convenience
Above is a before-and-after wine storage solution we created in a San Francisco condo’s open plan dining area. The owners wanted something contemporary and sleek, while still welcoming and convenient. We sunk the wine storage into the wall for a clean look, with slide-out racks. Beside it, a built-in credenza makes it easy to serve a flight of wines for tasting, with hors d’oeuvres. Above that, custom artwork ties in colors from their beloved vacation destination of Guatemala, so our retired couple can enjoy a glass of wine and share happy memories for many years to come.
Kimball Starr Interior Design creates wine storage in homes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Nevada, and she can for you, too. Contact her today for a consultation by phone, video chat or in-person with social distancing!
In a quarantine world, we’ve been spending a lot more days indoors. This gives some people time to return to traditional handicrafts like knitting, sewing, and woodworking. Now there’s a resurgence of hand-made products and goods with a handcrafted feel for your home and health. Let’s take a look at this re-emerging trend.
Furniture with Woven Finishes
Furniture and goods for the home and office are appearing in the marketplace with an emphasis on woven and textural finishes. Materials like cane, rattan, wool, and bamboo are being used to creating a comforting, cozy yet still stylish environment.
Warp and Weft Fabrics
Warp and weft refers to the pattern of threads used to
create fabrics. Warp runs vertically and weft runs horizontally. Patterns such
as checks, gingham, tartan and stripes show off warp and weft to full
Etsy Crafters, Creators, and Artists
One of the best places to find hand-made home goods is on Etsy.com. There you’ll discover handcrafted rugs, ceramics, tiles, table-runners, placemats, oil paintings and art, décor of all kinds. Even better, you’re frequently purchasing these items direct from the artist or craftsperson, helping to support small businesses in these crazy Coronavirus times. Don’t forget to pick up some handmade face masks while you’re there!
Dream about a hand-crafted interior design in YOUR home? Kimball Starr is available for consultations by phone, video chat, or in person with social distancing, so get in touch!
I’ve been fascinated by dollhouses and miniatures for years. Tiny houses are like dollhouses in real life!
Above is my own tiny house project, a San Francisco condo of just 596 square feet with multiple custom furniture designs like a storage banquette and adjustable-height glass table. You can read more about that project on Houzz.com
Right now, let me introduce you to three of my favorite creators from around the web, to inspire your tiny house dreams!
Want something unique, traditionally crafted, yet engineered in a forward-thinking way? Zyl Vardos’ beautiful, flowing forms display elements inspired by woodland fairies, cathedrals, and the traveling circus.
Living Big in a Tiny House
Captivating videos of tiny houses, tree houses and more! Presenter Bryce Langston is a New Zealand-based environmentalist who travels the globe exploring the small housing movement as creator and host of the popular online web series Living Big in a Tiny House. This project is one he built himself, in cooperation with Tiny House Chattanooga.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
Founded in 1999 by Jay Shafer, known as the father of the modern tiny house movement, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company’s website features floor plans, 3D models, a lifestyle blog, and more. Choose your floor plan, select finishes and get a quote to realize your tiny house dreams.
Want to design YOUR dream tiny house interior? Kimball Starr is available for consultations by phone, video chat or in person with social distancing, so get in touch!
Now more than ever, a home office is necessary for modern life. But how do you find space for a home office in your already-packed-to-the-gills city apartment or condo? I’ll show you how!
The first place to consider, if you have a multi-level home, is under your stairs! It can be as simple as placing a desk with drawers or storage and a chair at the highest end, or you can create a full built-in workspace.
The next-best place to uncover space is in your living area. Bonus points if you have an open-plan living/dining room, like my client’s San Francisco condo.
By creating a wall of custom cabinetry, we tamed storage and organization into a beautiful, single unit with a built-in desk.
Open shelving allows frequent-use items to stay within reach, while displaying beloved memories near her corner desk. The key is to edit by rotating collectibles, instead of adding to the ones already on display.
Another not-so-secret place for a home office is your guest bedroom, or even a main bedroom, depending on your room use. In my client’s SF bay area condo, we needed space for a bed and a second desk, but not at the same time.
Again the solution was custom cabinetry, this time creating a convertible bed and fold-down desk, plus open shelving for this guestroom/home office. There’s even a fold-down bedside table to help guests feel at home, doubling as concealing storage when in use as a home office. Easy, smart and beautiful!
Kimball Starr Interior Design creates space for home offices throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Nevada, and she can for you, too. Contact her today for a consultation!
Even though many shelter-in-place orders are lifting, it’s still not the best idea to be traveling for leisure just yet. Here are some ideas for a safe, quarantine vacation at home.
Have a Theme Staycation
Many people don’t have funds or time available for a long trip, even outside of the pandemic situation, so the idea of a “staycation” isn’t new, but definitely worthwhile.
Create the feeling of being on vacation at home by decorating for a theme! Hawaiian leis and grass skirts, Mexican fiesta paper garlands with a piñata, tropical drinks and finger-foods all give the illusion of being on holiday. This is a great opportunity to get out your fancy china and cocktail glasses, and try out some new recipes!
Take an Online Tour
Many tourist destinations are pivoting to create online virtual tours of their sites. Visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose through their 360-degree virtual tour. If you want to go further from home, the Queen of Jordan will guide you around the ancient city of Petra through Google Street View, or you can see Machu Picchu in Peru through YouVisit.com using a virtual reality headset.
Another idea is remotely visiting museums: See the Vatican in Rome, the Louvre in Paris, or the British Museum in London, all from the safety of your home.
Videochat with Friends
If you’re missing that connection with your community, or really just want to hang out with all your friends and relatives, video conferencing is a great way to both see and hear each other in real time. There are so many ways to videochat now: Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Google Duo, and Facetime are some free options, and all have paid versions as well. Discord has made their service free in response to the pandemic, and will transition back to paid service soon. So take advantage of the time and technology available to reconnect with friends and loved ones on your quarantine staycation.
Take Virtual Vacation Photos
Share vacation photos with friends and
family! Use virtual backdrops to create the impression that you’re someplace
else. Zoom has multiple custom backdrops to choose from in both static and
video formats, or you can upload your own. Apple Photobooth has custom
backdrops, too, and Instagram has filters, so there’s no reason to skip the vacay
slideshow, even on staycation.
Want to show off a corner of your real home or garden on video, or talk with an interior designer about creating your dream space at home? Kimball Starr is available for consultations by phone or videochat, so get in touch!