Materials 232 Stories

Every now and then I like to zoom in on houses and the materials they are made of. This ideabook explores the textures that can be expressed through concrete, stone, wood, metal and even rammed earth. The examples...
Add Gorgeous Sparkle With Rock Quartz Crystal
Though it’s the most common mineral found on Earth, there is something about crystal in its raw state that is so luxurious. Whether this semiprecious gem is hanging from a chandelier, decorating a mantel or taking a table...
Seeking a Quiet, Relaxed Spot? Try Upholstering Your Walls
There’s something extraordinary about a room with upholstered walls — and it’s not just the visual stimulation. When you walk in, you can immediately notice the difference in sound, too, or rather lack of it. Footsteps don’t resonate, speech is...
Bathroom Workbook: 7 Natural Stones With Enduring Beauty
There’s no other material quite like natural stone. No two pieces are exactly alike, and nothing else adds the same organic warmth and texture to a bathroom. Not to mention the longevity. If they’re well maintained, your stone surfaces can last...
Make Your Floors Terrific With Terrazzo
The popularity of terrazzo flooring peaked in the 1950s and 1960s as an economical option for slab construction houses in quickly developing Sunbelt states. But this versatile, durable, customizable and easy-to-maintain material deserves...
Are Stone Floors Right for Your Home?
Stone floors are beautiful, sturdy and extremely long lasting — and they can work in just about any room in the house. In fact, they are one of the only flooring materials (aside from perhaps concrete) that can be used both indoors and out with ease....
How Brick Fits Into Today’s Gardens
Leaning against a brick garden wall warmed by the autumn sun, I pondered whether this ancient building material has a place in contemporary garden design. Is it a relic of traditional gardens? Brick has been a favorite material for gardens for centuries,...
Use Wicker and Rattan for a Tropical Flavor All Year Round
Think you know the difference between wicker and rattan? Well, the truth is, they often are one and the same. Rattan is a plant material harvested from palm fronds to create a grassy, classic design essential. Wicker is a woven material made from natural...
Insulation Basics: Natural and Recycled Materials
Natural insulation materials, like wood fiber, expanded cork and sheep’s wool, tend to be more expensive than their more commonly used counterparts, such as fiberglass, polystyrene and rock wool. But they have a couple of advantages over synthetic...
Insulation Basics: Designing for Temperature Extremes in Any Season
When it comes to insulation, more is more. The more insulation you’ve got, the more efficient your house will be — not just in winter but all year. This year’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere was a bit tricky to characterize. Thanks to a return...
Mesquite: The Brawny Beauty for All Over the Home
It can be a hardscrabble life for a mesquite tree growing up in the American West. Nature hits it with everything she’s got, from the good — plenty of sunshine — to the harsh. Punishing sandstorms, monsoon deluges, winter frost and sometimes snow,...
The Right Stone for Your Garden Design
Stone has always been a cost-effective hardscape material for all garden styles. In gravel form it has been used in landscapes from the raked Zen...
Materials Workshop: Channel Glass Finds Its Groove in Homes
Heavy commercial and industrial projects often provide fodder for my residential work, especially when it comes to materials. Channel glass is one material that carries over well. It’s an eminently robust material whose translucency lends a soft and...
Yes, You Can Use Brick in the Kitchen
Houzzers, I get the feeling from some Comments sections that many of you are afraid of using brick in the kitchen, and that’s a shame. Brick can lend a wonderful historic look, warm up a kitchen or make you feel like you’re in an urban loft. On the...
Bring on the Garden Bling With Artful Stainless Steel
The best gardens are those that intentionally engage visitors by offering an element of surprise. The appropriate use of sculpture is an effective way to achieve this. We have all seen the usual array of concrete Asian lanterns, frogs and umbrella-toting...
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