Posts tagged with "home"

Elevate Your Space

Tired of staring at the same four walls? Or has something about your home bothered you persistently? Even if you’re not ready to commit to time and money, there are many little tricks and changes you can DIY that can have a significant impact on the look and feel of your home interior design.

Here’s a list of inexpensive ideas you can try to elevate your indoor space and tips on how you can change your home’s atmosphere.

  • Plants

Live plants, faux plants, emotional support plants! There are so many options to choose from.
If you have the space and light for live plants, they are able to change the overall appearance of a space, and they have also been shown to boost moods, increase productivity and concentration, reduce stress, and eliminate air pollutants. This makes for a healthier, happier interior space that looks good and makes us feel good, too. In fact, there are many studies on how having plants encourages self care.

However, artificial plants are also great for those who want them just for decorative purposes. They never outgrow their pots, the leaves will never droop, and there’s no need to worry about watering them. Pet-safe and child-safe, perfect for those who travel a lot.

  • Pets

Nothing compares to the unconditional love from a pet that keeps you company. Pets, especially dogs and cats, have been proven that they can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and improve your overall health. While caring for an animal can help children grow emotional and social skills, pets also provide valuable companionship for adults. Other benefits include comfort and support, as dogs are very present and they know how to sit there and be loving.

  • Sponge an Old Door

A few decades ago, sponging an entire room or hallway was a major trend. With today’s color technology, one can paint doors in tight or small hallways to add texture and drama to a once drab space.

While traditional sponging only used 2 to 3 colors, with 4 to 6 colors, this same technique can inherit or take on characteristics of rusted copper, stone or marble – depending on your color choice and technique used. Sponge painting is a technique that can create a beautiful array of ombre color effects, one color blending into another. While this might sound complicated, it involves nothing more than applying a base coat of color, then using sponges to dab on another color so that the underlying color shows through.

  • Epoxy Countertop

An epoxy coating will last longer than pretty much any other type of coating and epoxy coating by itself is scratch resistant due to the composition of its ingredients. When done right, epoxy countertops provide a long-lasting and durable surface. Their non-porous nature also means that they’re resistant to moisture and have other characteristics such as compactness and good leak resistance. While epoxy countertops provide a glossy look that can make cheap materials look more luxurious, you will still need to use common sense and not place hot pots and pans on it as they are not the most heat resistant.

  • Refresh Old Fixtures With Edison Bulbs and LIFX Lights

A really simple way to add character to your interior design is by changing the light bulbs that you use.
Edison Bulbs exceeds the warmth of an incandescent bulb, making your environment warm and cozy while adding detail. However, keep in mind that they are not the best at lighting the entire room.

If you’ve been anywhere on the Internet in the past few years, you’ve probably seen those color-changing bulbs and wanted them. Not only do they change colors, LIFX lights can also be accessed away from home and are energy-efficient, though their main selling point is their colors.

  • Hang Skateboard

When it comes to interior design, hanging a skateboard deck on the wall probably isn’t the first thing you would think of doing.

However, this has become one of the latest trends in recent years and has grown so much that it now holds a spot in the modern art world. Skateboard deck wall art gives personal touch and could also potentially become a hobby (though it might be expensive) – and a complete freedom of expression.

  • Build or Fabricate An Installation

An easy fix to an empty space is building or adding an installation, such as a wall mural or wall art to dress your space up. A really popular one is faux ivy leaves dangling from your shelves or walls.

As cryptocurrency has started to take a huge presence in the media world, it’s not surprising that people also want to show off their digital art, and digital art display systems such as Token Frames has made it possible for you to display your NFT art in your home, office, or anywhere else you wish.

  • Install Floating Shelves

Floating shelves offer minimalistic support – barely visible to the eye but giving extra storage and glamor. It seems futuristic in nature and has a “suspended in mid-air” vibe.

Additionally, the floating shelf can be used for an array of things: jars, plants, books, lamps, and more. You can choose the design or color you’d like them to come in and be creative with it.

  • Buy and Use Multi-functional Furniture

Multi-functional furniture reduces clutter and helps to save space – sometimes even providing extra storage. This helps to keep your interior tidy and make the area feel inviting. Such examples include storage tools or ottomans that can also be used as seating or a side table, folding chairs that can easily be compacted and kept away, or sofa beds that can easily be unfolded for a spot for guests to sleep on. There are many other options and furniture that provide multi-functions.

  • Hang a Light Box Painting or Design One With Rechargeable LED Lights

Light has always been used in a plethora of artistic works. Neon lights, backlight, sculptural light, and in most recent years, LED lights. These lights have been used for store signage and in malls for the longest time, and it has been a trend to also use them as a decorative piece in your homes today. Not to mention, they can be easily DIY-ed with purchasing a few strips of LED lights. They’re great because there are no visible wires and they won’t put holes in your walls as they are magnetic.

  • Create a Gallery Wall

You’ve probably seen amazing images of gallery walls online and wished that you could get the look in your home. Good news: creating a beautiful look with wall art is simpler than you think! You don’t need to be a pro interior designer to create a breathtaking gallery wall. Follow Desenio’s step-by-step guide full of gallery wall ideas to get an insta-worthy look in your home.

  • Resurface Old Platforms

While a full-fledgedvrenovation is not always on the table, resurfacing old platforms or surfaces can always be a fun full day project to do (depending on the scale of the project and what is used). Countertops, walkways, doors, and so on. Benjamin Moore sells a glitter paint that brings a touch of shimmer and adds character to any room. This is ideal for an accent wall of even a piece of furniture.

Resurfacing is a cost-effective alternative and a low-cost investment that could potentially last for years to come.

  • Create One-Of-A-Kind Pieces

A modern and artistic piece of furniture is unique, but the price tag isn’t always the most inviting. However, there are many thrift store options available for you to pick up an old piece of (broken) furniture and refurbish it to look like a one of a kind item.

Many people throw out perfectly usable table tops when some of the legs are worn out, and you can always cut off the legs and replace them with something else – a traditional table could look really special with hairpin legs.
Another hot item that has made a comeback is the modern style glass standing desks, a simple and elegant design that you could purchase for $2000, or simply pick up materials from a hardware store and DIY it for less than a tenth of that price.

  • Install Dimmable Switches

There are many good reasons to install dimmer switches around your house. Instead of just turning lights on or off, you get a wide range of variety by installing a dimmer switch. Additionally, when the lights aren’t functioning at full capacity, they use less energy and save bulb life. Dimming lights can also make a room more comfortable and create a lovely ambiance for a party or event. Most dimmers are designed to fit a standard wall box opening, which makes it easy to replace the switch for any incandescent or halogen light with a dimmer.

  • Paint Dingy Walls

Walls that have collected dust and dirt over the years? You can always paint over a dirty, chipping and flaking surface, but the trick for new paint to stick is to clean the surface and sand them down to be free of dust that could interfere with your paint ability to adhere to walls.

illustration for Alex Bogdan for use by 360 magazine

  • Collectibles

Collectibles like wine, music albums, records, posters and concert tickets are for enjoyment and fun, while some other figurine collections like KAWS or Tenacious Toys might be a little more expensive. Whether it’s a family tradition or an investment, collectibles often add character to someone’s home with personal touch.

  • iHome Technologies

Today’s advancement in technology enables you to have an automated home, one that is intelligent enough to understand your needs and lifestyle. With the touch of a button, what you want is executed immediately. iHome now offers full lines of alarm clocks, portable speakers, Bluetooth vanity mirrors, sleep therapy wellness products, and a licensed line of smartphone, tablet, and smart home products.

  • Changing Your Locks

Sick of losing or forgetting your keys? If you’ve misplaced your keys one too many times, you might be considering a keyless door lock system for your home.

Aside from never having to carry a key around again, a keyless lock would also mean you don’t have to worry about making keys for extended family and friends, and everyone who has the code can get in without fuss. Additionally, locks like the Nest Yale allows for several passcodes that you can add and delete as and when needed.

By: Armon Hayes, Kai Yeo, Justin Lowery × Vaughn Lowery

Five Reasons Solar Energy Could Save You Money 

Are you thinking of switching to solar? There are tons of benefits for your wallet, your family and the planet. 

However, time is running out if you want to get the most bang for your buck. Here are five reasons why solar energy could save you money — especially if you act quickly. 

1. Earn Tax Benefits 

The tax credits you can get for switching to solar are set to expire in 2024 unless Congress acts to renew them. The more rapidly you convert, the more you can save. Systems installed in 2020 through 2022 are eligible for a 26% credit. Those who wait until 2023 can only claim 22%. 

You must own the solar panel system, not rent it from a conglomerate, and locate it at your primary or secondary U.S. residence to qualify for the tax credit. You can’t install it on your vacation home in the Bahamas.

You might also be eligible for state and local tax credits, depending on where you live. These could also put hundreds of dollars back in your pocket come tax time. You can look these up in an online directory or contact your state government offices to learn more. 

2. Collect Credits and Reduce Payments 

Many homeowners ask how solar panels can save you money on your monthly utility bills. Some property owners reduce their electric bills to zero. How does the magic work? 

When you install solar panels, they convert photons from sunlight into direct current. This energy then flows to your inverter, which translates the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) and sends it to your electric box to power your home. 

If your home is on the grid, you have an electric meter somewhere outside that measures the electricity you use. However, your system will use the stored energy from your solar power before renting it from your provider. The less power you use from grid sources, the lower your monthly bill. 

In months when you generate more power than you use, you build up credits that work to lower your bill through a process called net metering. These credits are applied to future bills to make up for months when you might use more than you produce — such as during winter. Therefore, your solar system works to lower your utility bills all year, not only during the summer heat. 

You might ask whether you can reduce your monthly bills to zero. The answer is yes. If you’re accustomed to paying $200 or more a month for power, switching to solar can put some serious green back in your pocket while protecting the planet. 

3. Reduce Reliance on Nonrenewable Energy Sources

Have you noticed gas prices lately? They’ve more than tripled in the last 18 months, and they don’t look like they’re going to fall anytime soon. When they go up, so does the cost of heating oil for your home, and at the risk of sounding like Ned Stark from “Game of Thrones,” winter is coming. 

Switching to solar energy can save you money now and in the future by reducing your reliance on nonrenewable energy sources. The reality of climate change coupled with the natural expiration date of such resources means that sooner or later, everyone will have to make the switch or get left behind. 

Scientists estimate that humankind will run out of oil by 2060 if the pumps continue running at current rates. Fracking causes a host of environmental problems, contaminating groundwater supplies that human beings rely upon to live. Why not get ahead of the curve and save money with solar today — while preparing for tomorrow? 

4. Enjoy Increased Reliability 

Are you hesitant to switch to solar power because you fear outages? Quite the opposite is true. While you might run out of your backup supply if you go off the grid, you have no such fears when you remain connected. 

You’re probably in a better position than your neighbors if rolling blackouts or other outages strike your neighborhood. Since your home will draw on the power from your panels first, you’ll keep your lights on while everyone else goes dark. 

5. Enhance Your Home’s Resale Value 

Solar energy can put significant extra cash in your pocket when it comes time to sell your home. Today’s buyers look for energy-saving features as one of the topmost desirable qualities when choosing a new home. Why wouldn’t they? They also want to prepare for America’s energy future while saving money on monthly utility bills. 

A recent comparative analysis by Zillow bears out this logic. Homebuyers shelled out nearly an extra $10,000 for properties with solar panels versus those without this feature. Your investment will pay for itself in increased resale price alone, let alone all the money you’ll save on tax credits and monthly utility bills. 

Today’s panels offer more attractive options than ever before. The next generation of solar panels uses photovoltaic (PV) cells instead of bulky panels. These integrate with the rest of your home or roof design instead of standing out for all passersby. 

Solar shingles combine thin PV cells with molecules on a flexible copper/indium/gallium diselenide base. Today’s versions are three times more powerful than the first generation, allowing you to generate even more power. They integrate flush with concrete/asphalt shingles, creating a uniform look for your roof. 

While not yet readily available, manufacturers are now investigating solar window technology. Once perfected, these panes will take advantage of the sun’s rays to generate electricity without changing the exterior appearance of your building. 

If you’re still unsure about converting to full solar, why not investigate portable panels? This option also offers promise to renters who want to reduce their monthly energy costs without discussing extensive remodels with their landlords. 

Solar Energy Could Save You Money 

There’s never been a better time to invest in a greener future for your home. Solar energy could save you significant money — why not convert today?

Desenio Illustration by Reb Czukoski for use by 360 Magazine

Desenio AW21 Collection

Interior design group, Desenio, has launched four trend collections for autumn and winter this year, AW21. Each collection has a distinct color scheme and vibe, so no matter your taste, there is a fit for everyone. Easily match prints together to create a beautiful gallery wall and find your favorites in all of their palettes.

WOODLAND RETREAT

The Woodland Retreat trend invites you to imagine taking time to experience the purity of nature. Walk through dewy forests filled with birdsong, breathe in the cool, pure air, and take time for yourself.

“Sustainability and natural materials continue to be a huge trend in interior design. The Woodland Retreat trend ties together rustic elegance with an eco-friendly approach to design,” says Annica Wallin, Executive Creative Director at Desenio.

If you feel at your calmest when surrounded by nature, this is the trend for you. Complete the look by adding luscious plants and cozy textures to a room that features the Woodland Retreat collection of wall art.

CLASSIC CONTRASTS

The Classic Contrasts trend is all about juxtaposing shapes and textures for the ultimate elegant touch. Mix soft beige shades with defining darker tones for a balanced, classic finish.

“The Classic Contrasts collection hones into one of the key interior trends we’re seeing for AW21. Timeless elegance takes a modern twist to bring about a refreshing take on the monochromatic look,” says Annica Wallin.

If you’re someone who prefers to choose statement pieces rather than gravitate towards the latest styles, the Classic Contrasts collection is the perfect choice. After choosing your favorite prints, add the  monochromatic accessories to your home to achieve a sophisticated look.

ROMANTIC REBELLION

The Romantic Rebellion collection enables you to bring your personality to life in your home by choosing art that’s as bold as you are. Whether you want to create a beautiful thematic experience in your dining room or add radiant pinks to your bedroom, it’s time to get creative and reimagine your walls.

“The Romantic Rebellion trend is a chance to embrace glamour and opulence within your interiors. Baroque imagery is remixed with a modern and edgy twist to create a playful vibe,” says Annica Wallin.

The Romantic Rebellion collection is the choice for you if you want to make your home feel glamorous and feminine with a hint of edginess. Pinks, purples, and hints of gold is the way to embrace this to its fullest. Alternatively, you can go for a more pared-back look by choosing prints as statement pieces in a more minimalistic room.

SOFT MOMENTS

The Soft Moments trend is about breathing into the present and resetting your space with warm tones and relaxing neutral prints. Sink into soft blankets with a hot drink and a good book because the world can wait.

“The Soft Moments trend collection celebrates elegance and serenity through a curated and clean nordic style with a Japanese touch. Natural browns and shadow grays come together to create a comforting, natural, and modern space where one can be at peace,” says Annica Wallin.

Choose the Soft Moments collection if you crave a calming space to retreat to after a hectic day. The quotation prints from get you in the right headspace and you can style your room with neutrally-toned accessories for the ultimate zen.

Photo by Desenio for Use by 360 Magazine
Photo by Desenio for Use by 360 Magazine
Photo by Desenio for Use by 360 Magazine
illustration by Anh Hoang use by 360 Magazine

E·Z Breathe Offers 20% Off

E-Z BREATHE VENTILATION SYSTEM MARKS 20 YEARS OF PROVIDING IMPROVED AIR QUALITY TO CUSTOMERS NATIONWIDE

E·Z Breathe Ventilation System to offer customers 20% off for 20-years in business during National Indoor Air Quality Awareness Month through October.

Investing in indoor air quality has never been more important than it is in 2021. With households around the country and beyond spending more than 90% of their time indoors, the conversation around the health and safety of indoor air quality has become top of mind for many. The rise of time spent indoors since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation coupled with colder winter months approach has made E·Z Breathe Ventilation System a necessity to transform the entire home into a healthy living environment and to keep families safe from poor air quality, excess moisture, molds, toxins, allergens, and more. To commemorate 20 years of providing customers with improved indoor air quality, E·Z Breathe Ventilation System will offer 20% off during National Indoor Air Quality Awareness Month, observed annually in October.

“We have been dedicated to building on our commitment to helping people improve their indoor air quality since we installed the first prototype of our ventilation system 20 years ago,” said E·Z Breathe President Erika Lacroix. “Everyone deserves a safe and healthy home, and we are proud to continue not only evolving our product, but expanding and sharing our knowledge around the relationship between our home and our health, the importance of our indoor air quality, and the challenges our modern-day practices pose to the quality of the air we breathe in our homes.”

Having sold approximately 200,000 ventilation systems since its inception, E·Z Breathe Ventilation System continues to be a leader in fresh air systems nationwide. Providing complete home air exchange solutions, the system improves indoor air quality, reduces indoor humidity, and lowers allergen and pollutant levels. Air polluted with mold, allergens, pathogens and other toxins and odor-causing pollutants are vented at the lowest level of the home to the outside in a revolutionary way, introducing and circulating fresher, cleaner air throughout the home.

The E·Z Breathe Ventilation System can improve the indoor air quality with up to an 85% reduction in airborne particulates and common indoor air pollutants. This ventilation system has the ability to help alleviate many common homeowner concerns such as mildew odors, mold growth, pet dander, dust mites, humidity and moisture, pollen, chemical smells, leaving homes feeling fresh and allergen-free.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, reports that the air in the average American home is a minimum of five times and, in some cases, up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air, and building science experts agree that more than 20 gallons of water vapor are absorbed into the average home through basements and/or crawl spaces every single day. Even though it is installed in one room, E·Z Breathe achieves whole-home air exchanges six to ten times daily by gently drawing air throughout the home to replace the stale, polluted air being exhausted.

E·Z Breathe products work for up to 7,000 square feet of living space, and operate efficiently at only $2 to $4 a month; the same as a 40-watt light bulb. Known as a set it, then forget it product, E·Z Breathe systems are low maintenance and do not require extra attention after installation. Now offering self-installation kits for all DIY homeowners, as home improvement has skyrocketed this past year, those who would feel more comfortable setting up the E·Z Breath on their own have the ability to now do so.

For more information on E·Z Breathe and their product benefits, call 1.866.822.7328 or visit HERE.

Image via Elektra Music Group for 360 Magazine

Livingston – Message in a Bottle

LIVINGSTON DEBUTS NEW SINGLE MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

NEW EP AN UNLIKELY ORIGIN STORY

AVAILABLE NOW

Fresh off the release of his EP, An Unlikely Origin Story, Elektra Records artist Livingston has debuted new single Message In A Bottle. The track is available now on all streaming platforms.

Livingston elaborated on the single, adding, There are times when I waste so much potential thinking about what could have been, what I could have changed, what I would have said differently. I wanted to write a song about what it would feel like to let that go, to say one statement of closure and make peace with the change.

Earlier this summer, Livingston shared new EP An Unlikely Origin Story and made his live performance debut, supporting Fitz and the Tantrums on select dates. The EP was heralded by singles The Giver, Hercules, and Superkid. Hercules, a song about fearing change and embracing vulnerability, was co-produced by Jorgen Odegard (Justin Bieber, Yungblud, Quinn XCII, Imagine Dragons) and co-written by Odegard and Chloe George. The track followed December single Superkid, which is accompanied by a powerful visual written and directed by Livingston himself. Livingston has racked up over 40 million streams on DSPs and nearly 2 million followers on Tik Tok in only a year, cementing his status as an artist on the rise. An Unlikely Origin Story EP is available now on all streaming platforms.

Last year, the self-taught singer, songwriter, producer and engineer shared his debut EP Lighthouse, praised as uplifting and inspiring by PopularTV and earning Livingston the title of pop star in the making from Ones To Watch. The eight-track collection is available now at all DSPs via Elektra Records and features standout track Carnival in addition to singles Home, Say The Word, and Fairytale, the latter of which was shared by Billboard alongside the artist’s Elektra Records signing announcement.

Growing up in Denton, Texas, Livingston was faced with bullying, anxiety, and relentless self-doubt. Throughout his childhood, he struggled to fit in and faced a constant battle to find his place in the world, finally finding the connection and understanding he sought when he poured his feelings of loneliness, isolation and inadequacy into song. Drawing inspiration for his orchestral cinematic pop from a wide range of artists in pop, hip hop and film scores, Livingston combines instantly memorable melodies with sweeping orchestral compositions and is first and foremost driven by honest storytelling.

Livingston’s Message In A Bottle AVAILABLE NOW

Connect with Livingston via his website, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Heather Skovlund Graham & Brown illustration for 360 Magazine

Interview With Graham and Brown

Graham & Brown was founded by Harold Graham and Henry Brown in 1946 during a paper shortage. Today, they sell wallpaper that spices up spaces and and helps people turn houses into homes. I spoke with Paula Taylor, Graham & Brown’s Color & Trend Specialist about what Graham & Brown does, and what trends we expect from them going forward.

Does Graham & Brown do custom designs for homes or individuals?

Yes, both.

Where can someone find/purchase Graham and Brown?

On this website.

When will the next Graham & Brown collection or design be released? Can you give us any hints as to what it will look like?

Graham & Brown will release their next Color of the Year and Wallpaper of Year in September 2021–stay tuned!

Where do you find inspiration for new designs?

We have a vast 30,000-piece archive that we often look back to for inspiration for future pieces. It is really great for understanding how trends have changed and will continue to change moving forward. We also do extensive trend research and have various stories that we work to refresh and update every four to six months. [By] keep[ing] them as relevant and forward thinking as possible, [it] helps us capture any satellite trends that emerge.

What are some of the most popular designs Graham & Brown has created?

Boreas has been a popular design choice, tapping into the botanical look that has always been prevalent, but has taken on a new lease of life in recent months. This [popularity] has been highlighted through the biophilia trend of bringing the outside in. Other customer favorites are geometrics such as Palais–elegantly simple with a nod to the Art Deco, rounded styling we are seeing more of.

Can you tell us what styles and trends are popping up for the summer?

Whilst there has been a growing trend for feature walls, we are also seeing more people wallpapering all four walls to make a real statement. organThe latest trend is for the ceiling to be wallpapered too, furthering that statement look. By papering the ceiling, the edges of the room appear to blur, and you create a cozy feel that appears limitless.

We are also seeing trends that can help reduce stress, such as balance and geometry, [due to] a need to create order in these uncertain times. Simplified structures and architectural references with a repetitive pattern will calm the senses and bring order to the chaos, [as] comfort is found in the routine.

The biophilia trend will remain key for summer as we see organic imagery taking over. It brings the outside in and connects us with natural elements. This connection is of ever-increasing importance to our health and wellbeing in urban society. Research has shown that even indirect elements of nature help reduce stress, blood pressure and heart rates, as well as promote wellbeing.

Next time you are looking to re-do your home, office, apartment, or even dorm room, think of Graham & Brown and check out their website!

interior design illustration via Kaelen Felix for use by 360 Magazine

Home Decor Inspiration

Evesome’s Fall/Winter 2021 2022 Collection

Evesome’s Fall/Winter 2021 2022 collection features eye-catching decorations that are sure to compliment any space. The French boutique brand is designed in Paris and produced by artisans with an eye for detail. This lavish company invites luxury into your life with their newest look book. The colorful collection of both home goods and accessories makes for a vibrant, boho chic home display.

When entertaining, guests are sure to love lounging with Evesome’s ornamental tweed pillow. Dress up for the occasion with an elegant tweed coat, fuschia pink wrap scarf, or stylish pom-pom beanie. For everyday use, the company’s versatile totes and clutches are perfect for easy transport. To view all of Evesome’s products, please visit their website.

Evesome Fall Winter 2021 2022 look book featuring tweed pillow. Image via Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine

Viridian Bay Coastal Decor

Viridian Bay, an online home and garden decor company, celebrates coastal decor trends below that will give your home that beachy vibe. From candleholders and lanterns, to wind chimes and torches, there are so many ocean-themed decor options for both indoors and out. These laid-back, summertime interior design options will transform your home into an oceanic oasis.

Viridian Bay offers coastal creatures décor, featuring different creatures from the sea including octopuses, fish, sea urchins and starfish. The home and garden company also has ocean-themed lighting décor, such as a sandpiper lantern and seashell oil torches are a perfect way to add a soft glow to your outdoor living space. Not only sea-themed, but also useful and practical home details, try a pair of flip flop beach towel hooks, floating jellyfish bookends, or a shell-inspired hose holder.

Viridian Bay coastal decor image via Sharyn Frankel for use by 360 Magazine
Filmstrip illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Best Places to Live × Work

The Best Places to Live and Work Abroad in 2021—InternationalLiving.com

While just about every country is willing to provide a tourist visa that lets visitors hang around for a few months, most will not grant permission to live and work within their borders without a job offer from a local employer. Some offer long-term residence visas that let expats legally live in the country, but they don’t typically allow for work. A new report from the editors at International Living highlights four countries where it’s possible to find easy access to a residence visa—and the permits that allow for work as well.

Source: International Living

It’s clear that an increasing number of Americans want a different life and are looking for countries where they can live and work legally. But the options are limited without a local employer willing to provide a job.

Expats able to earn from anywhere do have a few good options, however, according to International Living’s report. While a small collection of countries welcomes outsiders, who can qualify for the necessary visas, four in Latin America and Europe stand out as the best options in terms of cost, ease, and timing.

Panama

If your goal is to live and work remotely overseas, but remain close to U.S. borders, Panama is your best bet. Direct flights land in Panama City from at least nine U.S. cities and take between three and seven hours, depending on where you’re coming from.

Beyond proximity, Panama offers what it calls the Panama Friendly Nations Visa, a special program whereby nationals of certain countries (including the U.S. and Canada) can apply for permanent residence, which comes with a Panamanian cédula, the local ID card. That cédula is permanent, allowing holders to come and go as they please, as would a born-and-bred Panamanian. Separately, the program also allows holders to request a work permit through the Ministry of Labor, though that’s part of a different process.

Obtaining a temporary cédula takes about eight days. It will take another two days to obtain a multiple-entry visa that’s necessary so an individual can come and go as they wait out the roughly five-month process for the government to issue a permanent cédula. Once a cédula has been obtained, a person can then apply for a work permit from the Ministry of Labor, which will take about a month.

To start the cédula process, you’ll need basic documents—passport, proof from the FBI that there is no criminal record—and $5,000 in a Panamanian bank account, plus $2,000 for each dependent. And to obtain a work permit, then you’ll need to set up a Panamanian corporation (which can be disbanded after a year).

Uruguay

If speed is more important, then Uruguay is a great choice. Here, expats can land at the airport with the correct collection of documents, and if they already have a pre-scheduled filing date with the immigration office that day, they can file their paperwork and have a temporary cédula that afternoon or the next day. All that’s required is a birth certificate and an apostilled police record (meaning it has been authenticated and is acceptable across international borders). They will also need to show that they have the financial means to support themselves with a provable stream of income from anywhere in the world.

With a temporary cédula, they will also have immediate access to the state healthcare system, or they can immediately buy access with a local, private healthcare plan, which will cost about $70 to $350 a month, depending on the bell and whistles they want.

To manage the process themselves, expect to pay about $600 to $700. But they will also need to have a proficient level of Spanish, as none of the paperwork is in English. Otherwise, hire an attorney. It will be quicker and more efficient and will cost between $1,000 and $2,000.

­Portugal

Portugal has two visas that would apply to someone wanting to live and work on the Iberian Peninsula: D2 and D7. Technically, the D2 is for independent workers and entrepreneurs, while the D7 is for those who are retired or earning passive income. In practical terms, the D7 will make sense for most people, even if they’re not retired, because it’s based on income. The D2 requires proof that an expat can support themselves as a freelancer and can begin issuing Portuguese invoices on which the business will be taxed, though the tax rate is fixed at 20% for 10 years.

With the D7, instead, a person will need only to show that they have €8,000 (about $9,700) per person in a Portuguese bank account and that they have the equivalent of €30,000 ($36,400) in a bank account back in their home country.

To apply for either a D2 or D7 visa, an expat must enroll in the Portuguese tax system and become a tax resident. That requires obtaining a Portuguese tax number before they can even apply for a visa. And for that, they will need a sponsor, which can be a law office, accounting office, or migration office.

For that reason, they’ll need to hire a pro to walk them through the process and be their sponsor for the tax number. All in, that will cost you between €1,000 and €2,500 (about $1,200 to $3,000). The process will require two to four months to complete.

As a freelancer, an expat will also want to apply for Non-Habitual Resident status, or NHR, which is issued to people who’ve never lived in Portugal before and move to the country. With NHR status, income earned outside the country is exempt from taxes. They will have to file a Portuguese tax return and declare the income, though they’ll owe no taxes on it. The other benefit of this is that it shows Uncle Sam they’re a tax resident of another country, which then helps trigger their eligibility for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

A person is eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship and a passport after five years of residence, though they have to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language.

Czech Republic

It’s a two-step process in Czech Republic. First step: apply to join the živnostensky (zivno) list. This isn’t specifically for foreigners. It’s a trade license for any Czech resident who works independently, be that a plumber, masseuse, artist, or whoever. That will take a week at most. Zivno in hand, they can then apply for a one-year, temporary residence visa.

They must apply for a residence visa at a Czech embassy outside of the Czech Republic, show they have housing (a notarized lease agreement) for the full-length of the visa they seek, up to one year. That means they’ll need to visit the Czech Republic to arrange that. Some expats will move to Prague, obtain their housing and zivno, then take the train to nearby embassies in Berlin, Vienna, or Bratislava and complete their application.

They will need a signed letter from their bank stating that they have the equivalent of 125,000 Czech crowns on deposit (about $5,700). That will need to be translated into Czech, which a visa agency can handle. Be sure the account has a debit card, which must be presented at the application meeting at the Czech embassy, because officials will want to see it—it’s proof that a person can access the account.

An FBI criminal background check is required, though as an American an expat can also go to the U.S. embassy in Prague and sign an affidavit attesting to their criminal-free background. Along with a passport and an application form, that’s pretty much all the documents an applicant needs.

To hire a local agency to help with the process, it should cost less than 15,000 crowns (about $685) for everything. The embassy fee is a separate 5,000 crowns (about $230).

Once the temporary visa expires after a year, it can easily be traded in for a renewable, two-year long-term residence visa. After five years as a legal resident, a person is eligible to apply for Czech citizenship and a Czech passport, which like the Portuguese passport, is an EU passport and thus gives them free rein to live and work anywhere in the EU.

The full report on the best places to live and work in 2021, including more information for immigration experts in each of the countries mentioned, can be found at: The Best Places to Live and Work Abroad in 2021.

International Living has launched its new “Work From Anywhere” resource, devoted to coverage of innovative money-making strategies, ways to build a portable income, tips for boosting health and well-being, methods to maximize Social Security, and so much more. More information can be found, here.

Lauren Rottet courtesy of Sarah Fletcher for use by 360 Magazine

Rottet Studio Acquires Houston Headquarters

Houston architect and interior designer Lauren Rottet, closes on property for a new Houston headquarters, Rottet’s plan includes designs for new construction along with restoration of an historic building

Lauren Rottet, FAIA, FIIDA, internationally celebrated architect, designer and founding principal/president of Rottet Studio, has closed on two adjacent properties totaling 1.72 acre located in the Briar Hollow neighborhood, which encompasses a house by iconic Houston architect Howard Barnstone built in 1960. Noted for his modernist style, Barnstone’s clients included Houstonians John and Dominique de Menil, who funded the Rothko Chapel, which was also designed by Barnstone with Eugene Aubry and Philip Johnson.

Houston’s population has grown exponentially in the past decade, as noted in the recent 2020 census and Rottet’s investment in her hometown is no coincidence. During the pandemic she decided to take steps in the development of her own property and purchased these unique lots with plans to restore the Barnstone structure as well as build an adjacent office. “We don’t want our new building to look like we’re trying to match a mid-century modernist style,” says Rottet about her concept for the new build, adding, “We want it to be constructed of glass because the site is so beautiful.” The remodeling of the Barnstone-designed three-story house, which was modeled on Mies Van Der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, will include a space that will serve as a showroom and accommodate furniture and accessories from the Rottet Collection. The new building is being envisioned as a new iteration of a hybrid office and will also include space for Rottet Studios’ design team and administrative staff. While Rottet does not anticipate everyone coming into the office every single day, “We need a desk for everybody, as well as a parking space,” she states. Detailed plans for the property are pending. Purchase price undisclosed.

About Lauren Rottet/Rottet Studio

Lauren Rottet is the Founding Principal and President of Rottet Studio, an international architecture and interior design firm, recognized as one of the Top 3 Most Admired Design Firms in the World. Their extensive portfolio of residential, hospitality, corporate and maritime projects for the world’s leading companies and brands, includes: Goldman Sachs, Disney, BGC3, New York Stock Exchange, Target, Four Seasons, Langham, Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Belmond, Viking Ocean Cruises and more. “Rottet is facile whether it’s a client’s private home or a million-square-foot project. I am not sure I have seen someone who is as skilled in such a wide vernacular of design styles from contemporary minimal to elegantly traditional in such an authentic manner.”– from Authentic Design, Paul Goldberger.  Rottet’s product designs have received many accolades, including Interior Design’s Best of Year, four gold medals for Best of NeoCon and four Chicago Athenaeum Awards.  She serves on the board of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Learn more about Lauren and Rottet Studio by checking out their website here.

home improvement illustration via Kaelen Felix for use by 360 Magazine

Popular Wall Art Types to Display in Your Home

By: Paul Williamson

Walls are the perfect way to harmoniously unite your interior while transforming the entire feel and tone of your home.

However, one issue many homeowners struggle with when it comes to decorating their walls is choosing the perfect wall art decoration. This is mainly because there are so many types, which makes people feel uncertain about which one will best fit into their decor.

To help you make the right decision, here is a brief list of the five most popular wall art types you can display in your home.

Canvas prints

If your home is decorated following a modern or traditional interior design style, canvas prints are an excellent choice. They are very versatile as they come in many sizes, colors and designs. You can easily match or contrast your canvas prints with the rest of your decor. You can hang canvas prints above the living room sofa or your bed to make them the focal point in the room.

Wall mirrors

Wall mirrors have recently become a very popular wall art decoration. A major reason is because they have the ability to reflect light, which helps increase brightness in the living space and widen even the smallest, darkest rooms in the house. They also come in many sizes, shapes and designs, and can be flawlessly incorporated into every room of your home.

Tapestries

If you are looking for an original wall art decoration, then tapestries are the perfect option for you. One of the reasons why people choose them to refresh their interior is because they can add art and color to a room without having to paint the walls. They are also available in any size and shape, and can be hung in many creative ways.

Hanging plants

If you want to avoid hanging traditional pieces of art, you have the option of decorating your walls with hanging plants. The best thing about this wall art type is that you can be innovative. You can make your own art display using plants and various colored flowers. You can also opt for multicolored plant pots to hang from rope or a wooden branch.

Lighting fixtures

Another less traditional wall art type you can opt for are lighting fixtures. You can find them in many sizes, shapes and styles. You can place lighting fixtures either next to or above another wall art decoration to illuminate it’s presence. Wall sconces are among the most popular types of lighting fixtures, of which you can easily incorporate into a living room gallery wall.

Final thoughts

Having a well-decorated wall is the perfect way to provide a homey finishing to your living space. It gives you the opportunity to make your home both polished and functional at the same time. In case you need inspiration, you can use our post as a reference to choose the most suitable wall art decoration for your interior.

interior design image by Kaelen Felix for use by 360 Magazine