American Family Insurance will funnel $105 million over five years to organizations and businesses seeking solutions to equity gaps under its Free to Dream initiative.
Through the initiative, announced Tuesday, nonprofits and some municipal projects around the country would receive funding through the American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation — a total of $53 million. The rest of the money would be used to invest in startups with focuses on positive social or environmental change through the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact.
Read the full story on the Wisconsin State Journalhere.
Kraken is in talks to raise new funding in a move that would more than double the cryptocurrency exchange’s valuation to more than $10 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The San Francisco-based company, founded by Chief Executive Officer Jesse Powell in 2011, is in discussions with firms including Fidelity, Tribe Capital and General Atlantic, said people familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity because the talks are private. Terms, including lead investors, aren’t final, but Kraken’s valuation could surpass $20 billion depending on demand, one of the people said.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is shutting its private banking business in Mexico, according to people with knowledge of the matter, as wealthy clients in some of Latin America’s largest economies move their money to international financial capitals.
The biggest U.S. bank signed an agreement to refer local business to BBVA Mexico, the local unit of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, said one of the people. Still, the New York-based firm will continue to serve clients from Mexico through its platform outside of the country, one of the people said.
Window treatments in Houndstooth complement Sheila Bridges’ colorful living room.
Window treatment makeover, anyone? The Shade Store just announced a collaboration with celebrated designer Sheila Bridges, whose iconicHarlem Toile de Jouy was unveiled among the joyful patterns. Available in light-filtering or blackout roller shades, additional designs include Houndstooth, IKAT, Porringer, and Florentine, all in curated shades bound to work with a wide range of interiors.
“So much of what makes a room interesting has to do with layering,” says Bridges, whose collection will also be available in Roman shades and drapery options later this year. ”I believe that rooms look unfinished until there is some kind of pattern or color on the windows.”
We caught up with Bridges ahead of the launch to talk about the collection, offered at The Shade store’s 95-plus showrooms nationwide.
The Harlem Toile roller shade is installed in a bathroom designed by Bridges.
The Harlem Toile roller shade is installed in a bathroom designed by Bridges.
A guest bedroom in Bridges’ own home features the Porringer design.
A guest bedroom in Bridges’ own home features the Porringer design.
A close up look at IKAT.
A close up look at IKAT.
There’s a nice range of styles represented here—how did you land on this grouping?
I tried to represent a range of things that I am constantly inspired by including fashion, the decorative arts and nature, and in my mind a collection I designed would be incomplete if it didn’t include my Harlem Toile De Jouy pattern.
How has the Harlem Toile evolved since its debut in 2006?
It’s evolved in all sorts of ways and crossed lots of product categories as it started with wallpaper and fabric and has now been on several products including umbrellas, plates, glassware, bedding, clothing, speakers, sneakers and now roller shades!
Aside from window treatments, what’s another design element that really completes a room?
In my opinion, a room looks half-dressed without a beautiful carpet or rug and window treatments.
How are you incorporating these window treatments in your own home?
I already have the Houndstooth in Cargo in my guest house living/dining space and the Harlem Toile Multi-White (light-filtering) shade is installed in my bathroom.
Something lovingly old, something whimsically new is the theme behind a collection of redesigned guest rooms at The Brazilian Court in Palm Beach.
While they still embrace traditional dark wood floors and crown molding, Lauren Hastings of LSI Designs installed lush green velvet headboards and sofas, and added splashes of lavender. The standout feature: dreamy wisteria-upholstered wall panels. “In early design development we were pulling color inspirations that are strong enough to carry the weight of the room but that are also tranquil and contemporary,” explains Hastings. “Wisteria, with its varying tones of lavenders, blues, greens and yellows, was a perfect fit.”
Artist Austin Kerr created the artwork, and Frameworks printed the image on silk-like fabric. Renovations will continue, with special touches like custom art using Pierre Frey patterns and one-of-a-kind pieces from Keller Palm Beach.
In 1928, architect Burnham Hoyt—a Denver native—designed a storybook brick Tudor in what is now a historic neighborhood in his hometown. One of five notable architects contributing to Denver’s City Beautiful movement of that era, Hoyt incorporated Jacobean, English Norman and French Provincial elements into the home’s design. Nearly a century later, a modern-day couple with three kids fell in love with the home’s history, style and location—but not its 1970s addition.
That expansion had left the home with some troublesome quirks the new occupants wanted to address. “The family room didn’t relate to the house and backyard, and there were many unnecessary little rooms,” says architect Steve Ekman, who worked with designer Peggy Robbins Bender and general contractor Doug Canady to restore and renovate the residence. “The new owners wanted to make this home their urban oasis.” They also wanted to preserve its historic details, which thrilled Ekman, a former trustee for Historic Denver. His team dug up the original architectural plans and photos at the Denver Public Library. “I have a historian on staff and he loves to do research,” Ekman says. “It’s sort of like archaeology for a house.”
General contractor Doug Canady restored the home’s exterior—and many interior elements—to its former glory. “There was so much work to be done—we cleaned the stone and the brick to bring out the old details,” says Ekman. “Doug did a great job of making the exterior sing.” Inside, the original living room, dining room and hallways were preserved but the additions at the rear of the house were removed to start fresh with more spacious, functional rooms.
Ekman’s team worked with Bender—one of their many collaborations—to create livable spaces that would accommodate contemporary furnishings. When styling the interiors, Bender let the home’s finishes lead the way. “The beautiful thing about a Tudor is the texture,” she says. “The palette is about rough-hewn timbers, stone and wood. There is a lot of warmth in the wood, and blue is a nice foil—so we pulled a lot of blues in with fabrics.”
Bender also incorporated playful patterns and splashes of color. In the entryway—where classic timbers, plaster and brickwork abound—she placed an elegant armchair upholstered with a head-turning fuchsia print. A few coats of soft gray paint freshened up the dark and dated wood-paneled dining room while at the same time helping to create a visual transition between the original part of the house and the new addition. “We found this great antique Jacobean-style sideboard that really adds detail to the room,” Bender says. In the living room, the timbers remain as they were, giving the room a cozy feel. With three kids and the family’s St. Bernard, Rufus, running around, the room offers an “away” space for the couple, with a drawing room feel. “It has the only original wood-burning fireplace,” Bender says.
The new great room is the family gathering spot. At one end, a Marvin accordion door folds back to link the space to the yard. Bender says the challenge with historic renovations is thoughtfully updating a home to make it functional. “A folding door—such a modern notion—seems like an unlikely fit for a Tudor great room, but it works,” she says. That door plus a host of new windows lend the formerly inward-facing home a strong connection to the outdoors. “The landscape is a huge part of this project,” Bender says. “You can’t have everything opening out without having something fabulous to open up to.”
Landscape designer Paul Wrona delivered by creating a lush, soothing garden. “We planted roses as the foreground for ornamental grasses,” he says. “We wanted wisteria to grow up the pergola and used a lot of grasses and a mix of perennial colors so there’s something blooming at all times.” Wrona also custom designed a swimming pool, as well as an outdoor dining area and a lounging spot. A 12-foot privacy wall was added to screen a new office building behind the property, and gently bubbling water features mask any traffic noise while also being lovely to look at.
The once labyrinthian home now suits the needs of the family while maintaining its old-world Tudor elegance. Ekman says: “The homeowner tells us that it functions so well, they are entertaining a lot more—they even had the husband’s company Christmas party here. It’s opened up their world.”
Tucked into the craggy red rocks of Camelback Mountain in Arizona is a minimalist limestone, steel and glass house that’s at once a contrast and a complement to its rugged setting. “We wanted a clean, linear facade, because the geometry of the rock behind it is so dynamic,” notes architect Cavin Costello, who collaborated with his wife, designer Claire Costello, on the renovation. “And we saw the limestone as almost a line or a vein that’s a layer in a sedimentary rock.”
The residence, which today seems so at ease with its site, had once been an awkward fit. “The previous incarnation of the house had a Spanish Colonial Revival style,” Cavin says. “There were thick columns, heavy wood beams and clay tile roofs. It wasn’t taking in any of the views.”
The homeowners wanted to change that. Andrew Bridge, a lawyer and the author of the best-selling memoir Hope’s Boy, and Scott Young, a radiologist and architecture buff with a particular love for Case Study Houses, had bought the home with an eye to remodeling. “You’re so elevated from this vantage point that the city is spread out like a sort of green carpet, which is unexpected in Phoenix,” Scott explains. “We wanted to take advantage of that.” Andy was onboard. “Having a peaceful space and these kinds of views to look out to is helpful to me as a writer.
“Scott’s appreciation for fat roofs and an uncluttered aesthetic was the starting point for the new design. Working with general contractor Erik Koss, the team removed all gingerbread from the existing structure, paring it down to its simplest form: a two-story stucco-clad rectangular box. Cavin then stretched the footprint, adding a bedroom wing to the west and an entrance to the east, and gave it a new facade with unhoned, vein-cut Veracruz travertine, black steel and foor-to-ceiling windows. “This was by far the steepest site we’ve ever worked on,” says Koss, who had the herculean task of moving materials up and down the mountainside. “At one point we had to close the street and use a crane to bring up the steel.”
The house’s minimalist aesthetic is punctuated by a singular decorative element: a bi-folding steel-cut screen with a gradient geometric pattern that shades the upper-level terrace. “It filters the sun and allows in breezes.”
Claire notes. Inspired by Moroccan prints and midcentury forms, the hexagonal pattern is more open in the middle and dense at the top, adds Cavin, “so when you’re seated, you’re shaded, but you still have a perfect eye-level view of the Phoenix skyline and South Mountain.” The pattern also allows for the dramatic play of light and shadow on the decking and walls.
Inside, Cavin removed walls and relocated the staircase to allow for sight lines through the house to the valley beyond, while Claire worked with Andy and Scott to dress the interior architecture and select finishes. “It’s a simple, neutral palette,” she says. “Subtle materials keep the attention focused outward.” Polished concrete floors extend throughout the first-floor living area, dining area and kitchen, as does built-in white cabinetry. For the stucco fire surround, Claire chose shiny mosaic tiles that resemble sunlit stone. On the upper level, she incorporated warmth and texture in the form of wide-plank maple flooring and a cantilevered walnut vanity in the master bath, where an expansive window is up-close to the rock. “The use of natural materials here creates consistency and seamlessness,” she says.
Furniture includes modern pieces the couple had collected over time, such as a pair of Mies van der Rohe-designed Barcelona chairs in the living area and an Eames aluminum desk chair in the office. New wood credenzas and plush sofas provide texture and counter the sleek finishes in many of the rooms. “We like things with clean lines that still have warmth,” Scott says. Also among the new items is the living room’s Italian light fixture, which is composed of three aluminum rings and reinforces the overall minimalist fair.
The renovation includes 2,000 square feet of shaded deck and patio space, as well as a new pool surrounded by a limestone patio that steps down the mountain. Outdoor walkways throughout are flanked by built-in limestone planters and beds filled with indigenous vegetation by landscape architect Charlie Ray.
With each design they create–or recreate–the Costellos aim to connect people to the world around them, and this house is the perfect expression of that goal. “The desert landscape and this site are dynamic and unique,” Cavin says. “Scott and Andy are able to use the house as a vessel to explore and experience all that surrounds it.”
Welcoming vacationers since July 15, the new Compass by Margaritaville hotel has settled fittingly into the serene landscape of Anna Maria Sound. Delivering a slice of the trademark relaxation lifestyle Margaritaville resorts have long supplied, this property overlooks a marina and offers a pool, a daily cocktail hour and its own seaside-inspired restaurant. Each of the 123 rooms features a water view, Margaritaville bedding and oversize bathrooms with rainfall showerheads, while complimentary daily breakfast, a lounge stocked with books and board games, and a snack-laden Welcome Cabana promote a laid-back itinerary—Jimmy Buffett-approved. compasshotel.com/annamariasound
Many designers would be overwhelmed at the thought of outfitting a home in just a few short months. But when designer Mally Skok was tasked with creating a tranquil Palm Beach, Florida, vacation property with a modern, global vibe, she was able to quickly begin implementing her concept. “I’m continually looking, exploring and watching what other designers and artists are doing,” she says. “When it comes time to do a project, I usually have an immediate idea in my mind of furniture placement and the end vision.”
Owning a primary residence in Boston, the clients wanted an uncomplicated retreat where their friends, adult children and grandchildren could gather. The single-level abode by Dailey Janssen Architects in the north end of Palm Beach had been the first property they toured when house hunting. They found themselves instantly attracted to its bright spaces and open floor plan, which conjured a carefree air of being on perpetual holiday. “What I love about the house is the sort of casual-living, Malibu vibe,” the wife says. “You walk in the front door, and the first thing you see is the outside and the pool. It instantly feels relaxing.” The Turkish stone flooring contributes to the mood, as do the soaring beamed ceilings and simple white and gray kitchen.
While the layout of the newly constructed dwelling appealed to the owners, the interior paint colors and light fixtures did not. Skok updated both and then set about curating a diverse selection of artwork, fabrics and rugs, incorporating not just her own creations but also those of her industry friends, to produce a layered, lived-in look. “There’s so much talent out there, and I love back-and- forth collaboration and integrating other designers’ work into my projects,” she says. “Personally, I think it’s boring to only use your own fabrics.”
Born and raised in South Africa, Skok lived in London for several years and brings an international sensibility to her projects through her use of eclectic fabrics and daring combination of bold patterns and rich textures. Elements of a Skok design are easy to identify, as in this residence: In the foyer is a settee she upholstered in a graphic Zulu-inspired material. Opposite is a dramatic braided ra a mirror, and on a nearby wall are painted ceramic plates by an emerging South African artist she discovered.
Just past the foyer are the living and dining areas, where Skok kept the furnishings neutral to employ her trademark mix. Pillows in graphic red and blue prints top the cream-colored sofa. Striking abstract art enlivens the dining area. And a trio of South African basket lids decorate a hallway leading to the master bedroom, where a tufted yellow bed and tropical window treatments add a youthful note. Down the hall, an explosion of unexpected patterns of Skok’s own design infuses the wife’s office with whimsy.
Throughout the home, the designer emphasized an informal Palm Beach vibe by sourcing accessories from Antique Row shops and other local vintage stores. A framed Japanese print discovered nearby hangs in the guest bedroom, and perched on the living area’s replace mantel is a growing flock of porcelain parrots–cheeky findings Skok calls her “wink to Palm Beach.”
Yet the essence of the locale is best captured in the home’s outdoor gathering spots. The U-shaped structure wraps around the pool, yielding a private backyard as well as an extra-deep loggia. That space–a key attraction for the couple, as the wife loves spending time outside–allowed Skok to form an exterior dining spot and a living area, outfitted with a large sectional. Continuing the strategy from inside, she kept the furnishings white and introduced color through pillows clad in wildly printed fabrics.
Despite the home’s lived-in feel, Skok completed the job swiftly and effortlessly by heeding her own design advice: “‘Enjoy yourself’ is what I tell clients. There is a lot of serendipity in each project, and sometimes you just have to follow that instead of the rules. Decorate, and then get on with your life.”