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 by Linda Spence

In all your rooms, select wall colors to complement furnishings and consider color changes wherever floor materials vary. Seek paints with ecological qualities and no off-gassing. Sleekness and freshness in your backdrop, contrasted with furniture textures, will give your home a modern edge.

Choose white sinks and chromed retro-style faucets and fixtures in the kitchens and bath. Hang Roman-style reed shades over windows to control glare. Decorate with large interior plants that help air quality.

By ROBYN FRIEDMAN

Most developers incorporate a basic automation system into their units and allow buyers to upgrade as they desire. Mr. DeClemente has created systems with 16 zones of distributed audio, full lighting, and shading packages that control multiple shades on each window and extensive lighting controls. He's also installed high-end components such as Krell Evolution amplifiers and $18,000 Aviamo televisions for his clients. Despite the complexity and cost of these systems, they're intuitive and easy to use.

by Mary Ellen Slayter 

Sometimes curtains just aren't enough.

If you need to block light from a window that is taller than it is wide, the usual choice is horizontal blinds. Material is the primary driver of price; options include premium hardwoods, a blend of hardwoods and composite materials, or aluminum. Other aspects that can add to the cost include ultraviolet-light protection, soundproofing and additional childproofing features. Some manufacturers offer a greater choice of colors.

by Broderick Perkins

To help foresee what the future may offer as a more visible robotic creature, CEA asked a group of consumers to list their most despised chores.

In the order of least liked chores to less least liked chores consumers said they most despised cleaning the kitchen, bathroom and dishes; dusting; doing the laundry; mowing; vacuuming; taking out the trash; cooking; adjusting windows and window treatments; choosing what to watch; turning lights on and off; adjusting the temperature and selecting music.

According to 20-year professional Lydia Costa, of Lydia Costa Interiors in Seekonk, Mass., fall is also busiest because people want to create a warm feeling in their homes with new textured fabrics for their bedding, window coverings or sofa and chair upholstering.

"Silk-textured fabrics, throws or shawls to drape over chairs and sofas can be the best way to get comfortable on chilly nights," she said.

According to Ms. Santopietro, the trend of designing is mixing different styles to create a "contemporary edge."

ADD CURVESIn the living room, he designed a walnut panel that runs along the ceiling and curves seamlessly down the wall to become the base for the plasma television and audio system. Both the shape and the warm hues of the wood designate the space as the lounging area.
MAKE IT COMFY ” Underfoot, a thick, loopy noodle carpet is a delight visually and to the touch. In contrast with the low table, best accessed when sitting on the carpet, are the large, blue sofas that give the space boundaries. 

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