My First Love-Kitchens

I love decorating any room, but my first love is kitchens.  Kitchens are the heart of the home.  Your kitchen should not only be functional, but a beautiful representation of your style. I love a light, bright happy space.  There are some extraordinary kitchens out there, and I want to share a few of my favorites with you!

Karlavagen76 5

This grey is lovely.  The white marble on the backsplash and countertops along with the white walls keep it light and open.

I love how different this kitchen is.  It’s rustic and raw.  Again with the white marble to keep it fresh.  So different!
Angela Free design out of San Francisco.  This color is gorgeous!  So rich.  I love the patterned backsplash.  Looks like it has some sort of quartz on the countertops.  Instead of white, they used cream to keep it light (notice the floors).
This greenish grey is so pretty.  Notice how cabinets go all the way the ceiling.  Gorgeous green backsplash with white counters.
FGY Architects in California.  Traditional cream kitchen with wood floors.  Lovely and rich.  Beautiful marble splash and detail above the window.
Victoria Hagan design.  This color is like a light mocha.  So creamy and delicious.  It’s difficult to tell what the countertops are made of.  The dark hardware stands out and makes a statement.
Soft and gorgeous.  This kitchen is rustic with the beams, but has a contemporary feel with the simple cabinetry and lighting.
Mary Ross Design in the Woodlands, TX.  Love this simple white kitchen.  It’s so homey.  The lights add a sophisticated, modern feel.
This is a butler’s pantry!  Beautiful mushroom grey with soapstone counters and white backsplash.
I love the layout of this kitchen.  Looks a little too big for my taste.  But the layout perfect.  I love how it opens into the family room.
This kitchen is so beautiful and European to me.  I love open cabinetry.  Why hide your lovely dishes and pottery?  Show it off and enjoy it as art!
Do you have a favorite?  As you can see I tend to lean toward a painted kitchen.  I do love stained kitchens, but sometimes they seem one dimensional and too brown.  Your kitchen should reflect you.  If you have any questions or need help remodeling or designing your kitchen, I would love to help!  It’s my first love!

Keeping Focused

Sometimes I feel like half my job is keeping a client focused on the ultimate goal.  It’s so easy to get distracted by all of the beautiful things out there in the design world.  And there are so many aspects to design that you must consider.  Sometimes you just want to do the easy thing: It’s easy to become enamored by some shiny object.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the functionality of something and loose sight of the beauty.  It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the cost of things.  It’s easy to desire whatever your BFF or neighbor has in her house.

Here is what I say to that:  State a goal at the beginning of the project.  For example, my favorite colors are red and green.  We do not live a formal lifestyle: therefore, the rooms need to feel cozy and livable.  I like Asian inspired pieces and big compfy furniture.  The hardware in my whole house is a dark brass. Decide whether you’re going to use white or cream (I’ll talk about this later). Come up with a budget.

Work with a friend or decorator.  Someone who can have an objective opinion.  Someone who will tell you the truth.  Someone who keeps on or ahead of trends.  And really your decorator should be a friend.  Someone you love working with and bouncing ideas off of.

You want your house to look and (key word: feel) cohesive.  It should flow nicely from one end to the other and from top to bottom. Your master bath shouldn’t be French country and your kitchen midcentury modern.  It’s confusing and unsettling.  The feel part of design is equally important as the practicality.  Every piece you put in that space should contribute to the overall look.  If one piece is out of sync, it throws everything off.  That piece stands out.  Basically, it can ruin all of your hard work.  No good!

Here are some rooms in which I think the designer did a great time incorporating functionality and staying on track with the design look and feel.  I’ll explain why as we go.  I love breaking things down!

Let’s look at this bedroom first.  It is neutral, but there’s so much more going on to make it feel three dimensional.  The cream curtains frame each window. They add softness and elegance.  The headboard is upholstered with a stripe, that adds softness and pattern.  There’s a chair in velvet that adds luxury.  The floral pattern rug breaks up the space in a whimsical way.  The metal furniture add shine and a hard quality that breaks up all of the softness in the room.  The light adds that contemporary touch to the room.  None of the pieces are a set.  This gives it that collected, expensive, designer look.

Let’s look at this kitchen.  They stuck to feel on this kitchen without sacrificing practicality.  This wood looks so rich with the white molding.  The tile creates a beautiful pattern. It has that hand created look that adds softness.  The tiles are not perfect.  Looks like maybe they did caesar stone or marble on the counter.  They did that because of all the pattern with the tile.  You can’t have pattern (like with a granite) on the countertop and pattern on the backsplash too. Everything from the pulls to the faucet to the beaded glass adds to this look.  Even what’s in the cabinets gives it a more modern but homey feel.  FEEL is so important!
Now let’s look at a mast bathroom. This is perfection in design.  She placed her pattern on the floor.  Therefore, the windows and walls had to be solid.  You really have to pick one or the other.  This light blends, but it also is the right color and size.  The art is just the right color and size for the space.  Every little detail makes this room feel peaceful and luxurious.
Let’s look at dining room.  I would say the two big things in a dining room are lighting and variation of furniture.  Both of these things add depth.  Lighting is HUGE to me.  It can change the feel of a room.  Look past the finishes in this room and look at each individual piece.  You might have thought: Red curtains?  Ugh.  Bookcases in the dining room?  Weird.  Frosty chandelier?  What.  Patterned floors and chairs?  Crazy.  But it works!  It’s so interesting.  Every detail makes a difference.
I  love breaking things down.  It helps me as a designer to go back and look at these things.  Gives me new passion to stay on track. It’s okay if your vision doesn’t come to live in a year or even two.  Keep focused, save your money.  Gradually buy those pieces that work in your home and are a reflection of your personality and how you want your home to feel.  Don’t buy anything just because you feel like time is of the essence.  Make sure it fits into the grand scheme and look of your entire house.

Feminine and Formal

I saw this Stroheim advertisement a couple of months ago, and it really is the best thing I’ve seen a long time.  I love everything about this room:  gold, grey walls, curtain fabric, pillows, and ottoman.  I like to study pillow arrangements. And this is a great assortment they put together.  Yes, it’s feminine.  Yes, it’s formal.  But I think that’s why I like it so much!

New Stroheim advertisement


Caught My Eye

I saw this picture on Pinterest tonight.  It caught my attention.  Sometimes it seems like everything looks the same.  I love the classic architectural features and traditional furniture, but there’s a twist.  The color choices really make this room.  Crazy how something so simple can change the look of a room.  Hope you’re having a fun long weekend!  I’m excited to spend time my family and friends over the next few days!

Alexandra Wentworth and George Stephanopolus' home

Alexandra Wentworth and George Stephanopolus’ home in Elle Decor

Would You Stay Here in London?

There was a great article in my Veranda magazine this month about London in lieu of the upcoming summer Olympics.  One of the hotels mentioned really caught my attention.  Fox and Anchor is a gastro pub and boutique hotel.  It is quintessentially English.  When we go to London, I definitely want to stay here.  The bathtubs are the best!  Would you stay here?  What are some of your favorite hotels?



Fox & Anchor, Smithfield