An Interior Designer Trick for Adding Architectural Pizazz To A Dull Room
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An Interior Designer Trick for Adding Architectural Pizazz To A Dull Room

Why settle for safe, predictable wood wainscoting when you can tile a half-wall and choose from a candy-store variety of hard-wearing patterns?

By Alice Welsh Doyle
Fri, Apr 8, 2022 1:21pmGrey Clock 3 min

WOOD WAINSCOTING, whether painted or not, inarguably adds architectural interest to a wall, but—unlike tile—rarely does it jolt a room with energy. “Tile wainscoting adds character to a space that’s a bit unexpected, and it’s stood the design test of time,” said Los Angeles designer Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design, noting that the technique has been used for centuries in regions such as Portugal and Mexico. Not all tiles are created equal, however, so we’ve put together this guide.

The Appeal

Among designers’ rationales for running tiles up a wall, practicality tops the list. In bathrooms and kitchens the technique guards drywall from, respectively, splashing water and errant olive oil. And when chairs are pulled back too exuberantly in dining rooms, the durable material won’t get scuffed. New York City architect Alexandra Barker defaults to tile for heavily trafficked areas, such as this Brooklyn brownstone vestibule. The large cement hexagons she chose not only safeguard the floor and lower wall, but their yellow-and-white pattern gives the entry its own vibe.

Why apply blandly safe, low-impact wood wainscotting when you could choose from a vast array of personable tile patterns? A tiled half wall “adds a decorative architectural detail to a space, especially welcome when you are working with a white-box room,” said Ms. Murray.

The Tips

You might need to commit to a scheme with just a tile or two in hand, so carefully visualize how a pattern will look when it’s repeated. “Some large or busy patterns may be too jarring and dizzying for small spaces,” warned Ms. Murray.

For the bathroom of a client’s home, Ms. Murray clad half a wall in small black hexagonal tiles, a low-cost designer favourite. On the floor, she set 5-inch squares of blue and white cement tiles in an elaborate pattern of octagons. If you introduce two tile designs in a space, she said, you want them to duet not duel. “While the pairing of blue and black is a bit surprising,” she said, “both patterns are geometric, so in a classic design sense they play well together.”

Encaustic cement tiles, though the rage of late, are not for everyone. “Cement takes on a worn, aged appearance over time, which some people prefer, but if you like things pristine, porcelain is a better choice,” said Ms. Murray.

We won’t advise on glossy versus matte finishes. That’s a personal preference, as is grout colour, though Ms. Murray cautions that white grout on floors will muddy and need upkeep.

The transition where the material ends and wall begins requires judicious thought. Ms. Murray topped her hex-tile wainscoting with a single row of solid black, traditional bullnose subway tile for a punctuating finish, while Ms. Barker tacked simple wood trim painted the same sapphire blue as the wall above, for an edge that disappears.

The Caveats

Painting the wall is a lower commitment than any wainscoting, of course. And masonry doesn’t come cheap. Ms. Barker estimates that installation will set you back $13 to $20 a square foot. But Ms. Murray notes you can curtail the budget when it comes to tile. While Zellige tiles from Clé Tiles in San Rafael, Calif., run almost $44 a square foot, porcelain penny and hexagon designs are affordable and look great on a wall or floor, she said. In solid colours, these shapes start at $45a square foot. And don’t tile a banquet hall: “Remember, a little tile can really make a statement, so it’s a great option for smaller spaces,” she said.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: April 7, 2022.



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Anger Does a Lot More Damage to Your Body Than You Realise

We all get mad now and then. But too much anger can cause problems.

By SUMATHI REDDY
Fri, May 24, 2024 3 min

Anger is bad for your health in more ways than you think.

Getting angry doesn’t just hurt our mental health , it’s also damaging to our hearts, brains and gastrointestinal systems, according to doctors and recent research. Of course, it’s a normal emotion that everyone feels—few of us stay serene when a driver cuts us off or a boss makes us stay late. But getting mad too often or for too long can cause problems.

There are ways to keep your anger from doing too much damage. Techniques like meditation can help, as can learning to express your anger in healthier ways.

One recent study looked at anger’s effects on the heart. It found that anger can raise the risk of heart attacks because it impairs the functioning of blood vessels, according to a May study in the Journal of the American Heart Association .

Researchers examined the impact of three different emotions on the heart: anger, anxiety and sadness. One participant group did a task that made them angry, another did a task that made them anxious, while a third did an exercise designed to induce sadness.

The scientists then tested the functioning of the blood vessels in each participant, using a blood pressure cuff to squeeze and release the blood flow in the arm. Those in the angry group had worse blood flow than those in the others; their blood vessels didn’t dilate as much.

“We speculate over time if you’re getting these chronic insults to your arteries because you get angry a lot, that will leave you at risk for having heart disease ,” says Dr. Daichi Shimbo, a professor of medicine at Columbia University and lead author of the study.

Your gastrointestinal system

Doctors are also gaining a better understanding of how anger affects your GI system.

When someone becomes angry, the body produces numerous proteins and hormones that increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can raise your risk of many diseases.

The body’s sympathetic nervous system—or “fight or flight” system—is also activated, which shunts blood away from the gut to major muscles, says Stephen Lupe, director of behavioural medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s department of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. This slows down movement in the GI tract, which can lead to problems like constipation.

In addition, the space in between cells in the lining of the intestines opens up, which allows more food and waste to go in those gaps, creating more inflammation that can fuel symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating or constipation.

Your brain

Anger can harm our cognitive functioning, says Joyce Tam, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. It involves the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, the front area of our brain that can affect attention, cognitive control and our ability to regulate emotions.

Anger can trigger the body to release stress hormones into the bloodstream. High levels of stress hormones can damage nerve cells in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, says Tam.

Damage in the prefrontal cortex can affect decision-making, attention and executive function, she adds.

The hippocampus, meanwhile, is the main part of the brain used in memory. So when neurons are damaged, that can disrupt the ability to learn and retain information, says Tam.

What you can do about it

First, figure out if you’re angry too much or too often. There’s no hard and fast rule. But you may have cause for concern if you’re angry for more days than not, or for large portions of the day, says Antonia Seligowski, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who studies the brain-heart connection.

Getting mad briefly is different than experiencing chronic anger, she says.

“If you have an angry conversation every now and again or you get upset every now and again, that’s within the normal human experience,” she says. “When a negative emotion is prolonged, when you’re really having a lot more of it and maybe more intensely, that’s where it’s bad for your health.”

Try mental-health exercises. Her group is looking at whether mental-health treatments, like certain types of talk therapy or breathing exercises, may also be able to improve some of the physical problems caused by anger.

Other doctors recommend anger-management strategies. Hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness can help, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Lupe. So too can changing the way you respond to anger.

Slow down your reactions. Try to notice how you feel and slow down your response, and then learn to express it. You also want to make sure you’re not suppressing the feeling, as that can backfire and exacerbate the emotion.

Instead of yelling at a family member when you’re angry or slamming something down, say, “I am angry because X, Y and Z, and therefore I don’t feel like eating with you or I need a hug or support,” suggests Lupe.

“Slow the process down,” he says.

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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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