Why We Love It: No matter the season, you can enjoy your morning coffee and casual meals in a snug, intimate atmosphere.
How To Get It: If you crave comfort and a private cranny to call your own, try working in a breakfast nook on the sunny side of the kitchen. Since this cozy little space is all about letting the sunshine in, energy efficient windows—and lots of them—should be on the top of your design checklist. Look for windows marked with the Energy Star label. You’ll want windows with an air-leakage (AL) rating of 0.3 or less to curb drafts. And select windows with a high visible transmittance (VT) rating to minimize glare and maximize visibility.
Why We Love It: For the musically inclined, practice space no longer has to be relegated to the garage. You can show off your instruments and your musical chops in a dedicated interior space instead.
How To Get It:If acoustics are a priority, it’s much easier to build it into your design rather than to fix sound problems, such as a noisy HVAC unit, later. To find an acoustics professional to work with your designer, check with the National Council of Acoustical Consultants (www.ncac.com).
And don’t feel like you have to be boxed in by four walls—if containing your musical prowess isn’t an issue, lofts can provide great acoustics. Also, you can increase the sound quality even more by installing cork flooring in your music room or using sound-proof wall coverings developed to let your talent truly sing.
Why We Love It: A gazebo is one of home design’s most versatile additions. Besides increasing a home’s curb appeal, it also bridges the gap between indoor and outdoor spaces.
How To Get It:One of the greatest things about this special space is that it can be added on years after your log home is constructed. But to maximize a gazebo’s functionality, it’s wise to decide if you want one as you’re planning your home. That way, if you want to wire it for a ceiling fan, outdoor stereo system or TV, you can run electrical circuits from the house to the gazebo easily. Likewise, if you intend to convert the space to an outdoor kitchen, pre-fitting it with gas lines, electrical wiring and plumbing systems will save you money down the road. As for style, this is one place you can let your imagination run wild, because when it comes to outdoor living, there are no boundaries.
Why We Love It: A throwback to simpler times, a sleeping porch embodies all that is summertime while serving as a multifunctional bonus room for guests.
How To Get It:Whether it’s on the first or second level of your home, any screened-in porch can double as a whimsical sleeping porch. For furniture, consider trundle or day beds, which also can serve as sofas during the day. Remember: The furniture will be outside, making it important to cover materials with preservatives or weatherproof treatments that will resist mold and water damage. Also, think about purchasing furnishings made from UV-resistant materials to ensure they won’t fade. And, on warmer days and nights, a ceiling fan (or two) will help air circulation while giving you a decorative element overhead.
Why We Love It: Whether you’re a true connoisseur or simply a grape nut, a wine cellar not only stores your favorite bottles at the proper temp, it’s a fantastic place to host intimate wine-tasting events and dinner parties.
How To Get It:If you have the space and budget, you can dedicate an entire room to your favorite vintages, but you don’t have to. A walkin-closet-turned-wine-cellar will do the trick just as well. The key is to maintain temperature control. Invest in an air-conditioning unit specifically designed for wine cellars (a normal AC unit can’t maintain the 55-degree chill factor needed for wine storage without icing up). And be sure to create a tight vapor barrier. Without proper humidity, corks can dry up, enabling air to leak into the bottles and turn vino into vinegar.