The exhibition Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen at the Museum of Modern Art explores the 20th century transformation of the kitchen as a pivotal point of modern thinking in family life. After WW1, kitchens long ignored by design professionals began to attract attention from domestic reformers and progressive architects. They wanted to transform the kitchen from drab, inefficient and unsanitary to something newer and family friendly. Previously the kitchen was relegated to the basement or an annex; it’s new popularity called for the reorganization of house design and a new definition of women and their place in family life.

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I am most certainly NOT a lighting expert so my comments in this category are more practical that educated. But there is one thing I know for certain; you can never have too much light in your bath for applying makeup, taking out splinters and all those other eye straining rituals. It is a great bonus if your bath has natural light.  You can enjoy the seasonal shifts from bright morning light in the spring and summer to soft evening light in the fall and winter.

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More than likely your powder bath is the smallest room in your house.  But small should have personality and be as stylish and attentively decorated as the rest of your house.  I like to think of the powder room as a place to experiment with color, pattern and texture.  This may be just the place to really live out some decorating fantasy you have been harboring.  Wallpaper, paint, ceramic tile, stone and wood are some of the options you might select for the walls.

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My friend, Joseph Polar, is a serial re-modeler.  He and his partner John have a wonderful old house in upstate New York built in 1840 with an 1892 addition. Clearly its orientation is “country house” but the decoration has evolved into an updated, fresh, and casual style great for 21st century living.  He and John spent many weekends (or is it years?) turning an ugly duckling into an incredibly smart weekend retreat for themselves and their rescue dog, Theo.

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