Linda Snyder–Designing the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace

Linda Snyder and project designers
Photograph provided by Linda Snyder

In the world of hotel design, I imagine it’s easy to fall into the trap of familiar layouts, where a hotel in Florida is no different than one in Colorado. But for Linda Snyder, it’s imperative that the hotels she designs are familiar reflections of their cities. Using the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, Linda and I discussed her process and how she approached visualizing the space.

Hilton Madison Monona Terrace–A Reflection of Wisconsin Culture

The Audrey Kitchen + Bar
Photograph by Eric Tadsen

It wasn’t long ago that hotels felt like places favoring function over aesthetics. You need a place to sleep? Here’s a bed. It’ll feel like home because we put a painting of a flower over the headrest. For maximum comfort, enjoy our television. We have HBO. You’re hungry? Bagel and coffee—it’s continental. Then all the facilities felt like they came out of the drab motel-like nursing home in Bubba Ho-Tep. Actually, in some places this hasn’t changed.

Northside Planning Council–Fostering a Stronger Northside Community

Excess produce is collected from farms, then cleaned and repackaged at FEED Kitchens for distribution to food pantries and neighborhoods all over Madison.
Photograph by Chris Brockel

The Northside Planning Council (NPC), an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), has advocated quality-of-life improvements for Madison’s 22,000 north side residents and fostered equity through community organizing and economic development since 1993. The formerly known northeast or east side lacked its own identity, so NPC’s first order of business was to brand it as Northside. The neighborhood faced the same demographics and challenges as the rest of Madison, but because of a higher concentration of affordable homes for working families, there was a greater need to advance racial and economic equity and to transform the area’s challenges into assets.

Dispelling First-Time Homebuying Myths

Family walking up to new home
Photograph provided by UW Credit Union

Buying a home can be intimidating. There are fun parts, like rifling through the latest listings, hitting the open houses, and plotting makeovers that will turn a nice house into a dream house, but these high points can be overshadowed by the uncertainty and worry that often accompany the first-time homebuying process.

Bakeware Trends

muffin tins
Photograph provided by Orange Tree Imports

While the holidays are a popular time for cookies and other sweets, bread baking is a year-round staple for many. Artisan loaves are at the top of the list. Bakers looking for professional results can let their dough rise in a banneton (proofing basket) before baking it on an Emile Henry baking stone or in a cloche, which is a baking stone covered with a bell-shaped domed lid that traps steam for better rise and a crisper crust.

Holiday Lighting

Holiday Lights
Photograph provided by The Bruce Company

As the days begin to noticeably shorten, many of us try to beat back the dark with festive twinkling lights. I spend my fall decorating the Garden Center for the holidays, and as those days draw closer, I relish the drive home when house after house lights up with their own version of Christmas sparkle. I love it all, from traditional white fairy lights to trendier multicolored icicles.

The Home Entertainment Experience

items from Pieces Unimagined
Photograph provided by Pieces Unimagined

Holiday parties can be more than eating and drinking. If you’re the host, you can make them an extension of yourself with the experience you create for your guests. I know a couple who uses their midcentury decorating penchant to give their guests a lively experience by inviting 17 aluminum Christmas trees to the party. Everyone remembers every moment, and I look forward to each year's invitation.

Kid's Closets

custom kid's closets
Photograph by ORG Home

There’s nothing quite like having kids in your life. A newborn’s reliance turns into unbridled love, and before you know it, they’re resentful teenagers ready to take on the world with overconfidence and a blog. Through it all, their organizational needs will change, and being able to adapt to those needs is much easier when we incorporate versatility into the spaces our kids interact with on a daily basis.

Sleep Allergy Free

Down comforter, sheets and pillow
Photograph by Barbara Wilson

It’s estimated that 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children in the United States suffer from allergies. That’s more than 50 million Americans, ranking allergies as the sixth leading chronic disease in our country. Over 35 percent of people living with allergies report disturbed sleep.

Houseplants–Natural Air Purifiers

The dramatic, variegated foliage of dracaena makes a statement in any room.

Many people don’t realize the amount of toxins in indoor environments. It’s quite unnerving considering an average human spends most of their time inside. In fact, indoor air pollution is one of the greatest public health risks. A few pollutants that may reside in your home include paint, furniture, cleaning products, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Poorly ventilated areas are even more susceptible to indoor air pollution. Don’t fret—houseplants are the perfect natural remedy for reducing these toxins.

Current Design Trends Help Reclaim a Kitchen

A kitchen renovation creating a feeling of spaciousness
Photograph by Molly Mo Photography

The homeowner wanted to bring their kitchen into the 21st century with a lighter, more open kitchen design. Creating a feeling of spaciousness while remaining connected to the other rooms in the home accomplished this goal. The room now feels rustic, yet modern, incorporating the perfect combination of earthy details and contemporary finishes.

No Space Ignored–Basement Rec Rooms

Basement remodel
Photograph provided by Dream House Dream Kitchens

Ever been to a friend’s basement or had people over to your own to hang out, watch the game, and have a few drinks only to find everyone crammed in a corner trying to get a good seat on the L-shaped sofa so they could have the optimal viewing angle, an end table to set their drink on, and are within arm’s reach of the coffee table for potato chip access? It doesn’t sound so bad. Then you realize nobody is at the recently installed bar or using the pool table, and you wonder why so much money went into something that only amounts to a showpiece.

Sustainable Living–Smart Homes Save Energy and Money

Smart living room
Photograph provided by MGE

The touch of a screen, swipe of your finger, and sound of your voice have never been more powerful. In today's smart home, that's all it takes to turn on the lights or adjust the temperature.