Once known as the somber, serious color of the decorating world, black now holds top rank in any room you put it in. Black goes with everything and the days of rules are over. With HGTV as my guide or a magazine I’m paging through, you can easily get the idea how this wonderful shade will whisper “classic” when used to puncuate a room. When you use a black lampshade, a simple picture frame or the fabric on a pillow it will help to ground the room. That black and white checkered floor in an entry just says country estate. Visions of owning a horse ranch (haven’t been on a horse in 20 years) and living that lifestyle comes to life in my mind and cooking in a kitchen that has a huge black island urges me to get in touch with my inner Julia Childs! With our special rubbed off finish it will give age and character. Kind of like you just found this amazing piece of cabinetry in an old country store. Only you didn’t, it’s a Stone Creek piece.
Just look around your home. Add a touch of black in a small way and the visual impact will surprise you. If you do this throughout the house it will feel united in a very subtle way. Chanel didn’t choose black for the classic little dress for nothing.
If it’s a kitchen or bath that you’re dreaming of , my complimentary 2 hour service can show you how to bring a touch of black into your new space. It will be so subtle, that your friends will wonder how you made this space look so incredible.
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It’s a lazy Saturday morning (for me anyway!) and I’m feeling a litle bit melancoly. My Mom called from Lancaster, Pa. and just had to tell me about the huge armful of juicy ripe tomatoes my Dad just brought in from the garden. To you tomatoes might be those red things at the grocery store that almost always taste like cardboard. But for me it’s a childhood of summertime goodness when we could eat BLT’s till the cows came home or you got an ulcer on the inside of your cheek, whichever came first!
Then the e-mail from my niece, Tiffany who’s starting her newly married life in a town so small it doesn’t have a Target. How would one survive? She’s scouring Enid, OK. with her sister who is visiting for the next few days. It will be a blur of flea markets, secondhand shops, garage sales and maybe a special find that some unsuspecting neighbor put on the curb thinking the junk man wouldn’t even want. Those two nieces will take that little “something” left on the curb, throw some paint on it and call it an accent piece. Oh how I wish I were there. Someone needs to teach them the “thrill of the hunt”!
I’ve lived away from my hometown since the early 80’s. With stopovers in Nashville and Houston, I call Phoenix home. It’s this time of the year when I get the nostalgic pull of the East Coast. That wonderful smell of burning leaves and the crispness in the air when you take a morning walk. It will be months before we feel anything that comes close to a cool breeze here in Phoenix. However, this time of year always gets my creative juices flowing and thoughts of new beginnings and fresh surroundings to my interiors is what keeps me from jumping on a plane to visit my hometown.
This week I was meeting with a kitchen client and what I heard them say was, “We want a new beginning” . With their grown children gone, they had just scored a short sale property and what a find it was. A decorating utopia. A blank slate and an enormous opportunity to make this house not only a home but a beautiful one at that. One hitch… the kitchen needed re-done. Since we’re in the kitchen business I could help to make this space the new beginning they were after and satisfy my need for fresh surroundings even if it wasn’t in my own home. Scooping up samples of tile, granite, paint swatches and finishes for cabinetry I was armed and ready to bring this grown-up zone into the entertaining mecca they craved. With my arsenal of “stuff” I presented this charming couple what I thought would satisfy their design tastes and create an individualized kitchen that had their personalities written all over it. What I heard from both of their mouths was not something decorators hear every day but wish we did. I heard both husband and wife say…”This is exactly what we wanted??!! How did you know?” At this point I could have gone home and been satisfied with my days work. However, when you hear those words it just catipults you into the next design dilemma…. Another new beginning ,whether it’s mine or not!
If you know exactly what you want or even if you don’t , give me a chance to bring a new beginning to your kitchen or bath. I’ll give 2 hours of free service to get started.
Mom, those tomatoes would make it to Phoenix intact if packed with styrofoam noodles!!
Ahh… the smell of exhaust from a yellow school bus. What Mom doesn’t love that smell!!! After 10 weeks of summer vacation, countless trips to the mall, expensive water parks, tons of movies and a few side trips to cooler elevations, the sight of that bus last Monday was like an angel.
Maybe it’s just me, but that’s my signal to purge, organize and refresh. When I was a kid my Mom called it Fall cleaning. We don’t actually call it that anymore. Maybe it’s because Phoenix doesn’t have distinct season changes. That’s beside the point. Getting into my car on the day the kids went back to school, a note dropped out of my daytimer. (yes I still schedule my life from a daytimer!) It was my torn and wrinkled Spring cleaning list and the things that needed to be done around the house. The only thing that wasn’t crossed off the list was *clean out the pantry. Ugh! What’s wrong with finding a can of soup behind the brownie mix anyway. I’ll tell you what’s wrong. You can’t find it when you want it.
So after dinner that night I started clearing off every shelf. I got rid of small appliances (at the time of purchase I couldn’t think of a life without them) whose purpose still eludes me. All the “use by dates” were checked and anything out of code went bye bye. I then organized by category. All cereal and breakfast foods together, snack food in an easy to get to spot for the kids. Then all pasta and rice items. Since I bake at least once a week, I need 2 shelves for all the baking items. With lots of tall canisters for sugar and flour I had the perfect behind the scenes hiding spot to put that huge bag of chocolate morsels that my husband swears is one of the four food groups. He’ll never look there . Getting rid of all the “junk” made room for all my cookbooks and the bulk purchases of paper goods. I realized that if organized properly, you don’t need a huge pantry. You can design an efficient one right along with your new Stone Creek kitchen. With pull out shelves, easy to clean surfaces and bells and whistles to simplify your life , you’ll have just enough space to hide your midnight snack!
If a new kitchen and pantry is in your future, let me help. My 2 hours of complimentary design service will get us started.
When my husband and I started a family many years ago we both agreed on the importance of dinner around the table. Now that the kids are teenagers we still rely on that family time to talk about our day and debate many topics. The landscape of the table has changed. Our daughters boyfriend, Will, might be there ( that boy can eat!!!) or a friend of our sons might join us. The important thing is that we are sharing a meal around the same table.
Last week I was engrossed in3 Stone Creek kitchen projects. All were very different in feel and style. The table was littered with a colorfest of glossy glass tiles in a beautiful mosaic pattern in several colorways. The classic lines of a ceramic subway tile and the ever popular tumbled stone. Included in this mix was a variety of stain finishes that we offer on our cabinets and touches like paint samples and granite so beautiful that it makes the hair on your arm stand up.
Fast forward to dinner time. I ask the kids to set the table. Then I glanced at the table and saw how much time and effort it would take to move all of it and how much more time it would take to pair everything up again before doing my drawings for my clients. So I just asked the kids if we could drag out the 80’s T.V. trays. You would have thought I ask them to tear off their arm and chew on it. “It’s just this one time I said.” ” But Mom, what about sitting around the table together. Isn’t that what you say is so important around here. ” Can you believe that. All those years of preaching and it actually sunk in!
Needless to say, I get excited about every project I do. Big or small, each carries the same importance to me. I like walking past that table and thinking about how a certain space would make me feel if I lived there. Getting up the next morning, I look at that kitchen table and how I paired up certain elements to see if I like them as much as the day before. Most times I do, but other times I’ll pull an idea from one clients kitchen design and pair it with another for a totally different look. So if I’m helping you with a kitchen or bathroom design, chances are it will land on my kitchen table for a day or two. It’s like taking your kitchen for a test drive.
If your kitchen or bath needs a little sprucing up, I would love to help make it a reality. Fill out the form to get started.
Maybe it’s fabric swatches or paint chips that puts the chaos in your decorating mind. It stops you like a train and going forward seems daunting. Much like trying to decide on a flavor at Yogurtland without actually ending up with every topping in the store, and getting to the register with a $12.00 cup of yogurt. It seemed good while you were filling the cup but in the end is it really edible? And now you have to pay for it!
Sometimes I forget that my clients have never undergone a remodel of any sort. This past week I actually felt like the teacher in front of the classroom with a pointer showing all the wonderful choices. Some clients are all over the board . Sharing every exotic idea that comes to mind, or a certain look they saw on vacation. Then other clients have that glazed over look and I know to hold their hand a little tighter during this process. Then I show both, realistic choices that will stand the test of time (good design never goes out of style) and they get it. The lightbulb goes off and they see the warmth coming from their cabinet finish and how texture in a backsplash and tones from their granite slab really pulls it all together. Add in some stainless steel appliances and “poof” we have a kitchen.
Let me help you through this process and we’ll find the right touches to make your kitchen (or bath) your favorite spot in the house. Toppings included.
I just returned from a few days out of town with the kids. The 73 degree temps of Park City, Utah felt like a gift and each morning while mulling over the real estate listings, I was trying to figure out how to make a 2 bedroom, 1 bath cottage,(total gut job) work for a family of four. When I mentioned to my husband, on the phone that night, that the location was amazing and the pricetag was only 2.3 million, he told me to get back to Phoenix . So here I am back in 112 degree heat.
You wonder why I mention the trip at all. Well, everytime I venture out past the city limits of Phoenix, Az. it refreshes my design sense and helps me to interject different styles into my projects right here in the Valley of the Sun. I saw a mirror surrounded with twigs that was so chic. Hung above a Stone Creek console in an entry with a sisal rug underfoot you have instant comfort and a welcoming feel for your home. Top that console with a great lamp on one side, a fresh topiary on the other and maybe an old silver bowl to throw keys and mail. Instant charm.
Mirrors can be an inexpensive way to add space and bounce light around the room. I have a huge mirror in my entry way. It measures 5’x7′ and I have it propped against the wall, loft style. I found it in a second hand shop and besides a little touch up with a brown crayon it comes off as very expensive. It makes the entry feel special and for a few hundred dollars it’s a piece I’ll never get rid of. It sits opposite a window and the reflection is magic.
My girlfriend wanted to lighten up her dark kitchen and dining area and I thought the solution would be to mirror the backsplash in a huge rustic buffet. The juxtaposition of heavy worn wood with an elegant mirrored backsplash was the exact element it needed. She loved it …and that’s all that matters.
I used small round mirrors in various sizes in my daughters room. We hung them in a random pattern. It actually looks good against her apple green wall color . It reflects off the crystal lamp and other chrome accents in the room. P.S. That wall color is the first thing to go when she’s off to college!
When hanging a mirror be mindful of what it is reflecting. If it’s a window that shows off those beautiful trees in your backyard…bingo you have a winner. If it reflects your refrigerator please try another wall.
Another tip…The smaller the room the bigger the mirror. I had the opportunity to decorate my friends pint size 7’x9′ for Mom only space. The mirror seemed huge but once hung, it reflected the outdoors and gave a sense of space. It turned out to be a jewel box of a room and the only place in the house that doesn’t have golf clubs, strewn boxer shorts or shoot em’ up video games.
Now back to my husband. I come in the house from the trip. He runs to get his new passport picture and he’s not happy. Seems the mirror in our bathroom shows he has more hair than he actually does. When he got the passport photo back he thought he looked like a 54 year old middle aged guy with thinning hair. Maybe mirrors do have magic.
I can help add sparkle to your home. A little or alot. Classic or contemporary. Fill out the form and we’ll find ways to add visual vibrancy and life to your home.
The ceiling is the most overlooked area of decorating. Maybe it’s because it takes so darn long to decide on a wall color, that you are completely exhausted by the time you get to the ceiling. Of course the easy thing to do is paint it white. But wait a minute…….the ceiling is the 5th, forgotten wall. For years I’ve been throwing out the idea to clients that the ceiling needs the same attention as the walls. Sometimes they have an aha moment and other times I just get the look. The one that says “My husband will not paint the ceiling!”. I had stopped pushing the issue when just last week I decided I would start recommending it again.
I was back east and I was on one of those old fashioned gliders on my parents front porch. I looked up and there it was. That famous blue on the porch ceiling that I grew up with. What a special touch. A little surprise for your eyes on a hot summer day. The logic behind it was that bees wouldn’t build hives because they think it’s the sky. Not sure if that’s true but it sure sounds good. So I’m back to telling all my clients that the ceiling is just part of the paint job. Cutting the wall color by 50-75% works beautifully. You could even use a pearlized paint on the bathroom ceiling. It will add a litle shimmer and make all the fixtures sing. In a masculine den (with Stone Creek bookcases) you could put a rich chocolate color on the walls and include the ceiling. A very clubby, guys only kind of space. The right shade of yellow in your Stone Creek kitchen will feel like you’re inside a sunflower if you include the ceiling. And I can’t forget the ceiling that has a hint (and I mean just a hint) of pink. Sort of a flesh tone that makes us all look good. It softens those fine lines and makes us all think we’re 25 again. That would be pushing it ,but if the ceiling can add so much to the room why not just tell your husband to get out the ladder and you’ll get the drop cloths.
Helping with the paint is just part of the decorating puzzle when we re-do a room. If kitchen cabinets, an entertainment center, or office will freshen your home fill out the form and I’ll include the daunting task of helping with the right paint color.
Anyone that knows me well, will hear me say, “Simple pleasures are the best”. I can’t tell you what joy I find in getting up early on a Saturday morning, before the rest of the house is awake , and enjoying some time alone in my kitchen. Seems like the sunlight is perfect, the birds are chirpping at the right decibel level and the fresh air when I swing open the french doors is sublime. I start the coffee, pick up the newspaper in the driveway and decide if I want a a full blown omelet or just a simple bagel with cream cheese. Perfection. My kitchen is perfect for one…me!
Around 11:00 Katie pops in and we sit at the island pouring over camp brochures for the kids and take care of neighborhood gossip in one fell swoop. My kitchen works for two.
By now the kids (teenagers) are up and I hear them talking with friends and whose house they will hang out at tonight. Turns out it’s ours. That can only mean lots a girl drama and enough testosterone to go around the city of Phoenix. Add to that a ton of greasy teen food and you have a party. My kitchen works for tons of teens.
And at least once a month we try to host a small dinner party with close friends. You guessed it. We are all hanging out in the kitchen. Either perched at the island with a glass of wine or someone helping with the salad, this kitchen cooks. Recently, I watched my husband put the finishing touches on the bruschetta. He’s pretty much a grill kind of guy but watching him in our kitchen brought the whole marriage thing to a new level. This kitchen works for adults too.
By now you get the point. When you design your Stone Creek kitchen, think about how you will use the space. Make your kitchen really cook for one or one hundred.
I would love to help make your kitchen cook. Fill out the form and we’ll get started.
The words cheap, inexpensive, and frugal have come up alot this week. I think a homeowner used the term champagne on a beer budget but I prefer to call it budget savvy. I’m finding that after the dust has settled and our clients are enjoying their Stone Creek kitchens, they look into the Master bath and it comes off a little tired if you know what I mean. We all know you get a lot of bang for your buck when redoing this space so I have a few tips up my sleeve to keep it budget friendly.
I’ve seen everything from a postage stamp size bath to some that are bigger than my first apartment. No matter what the square footage there are ways to make this space live large and stay on budget. Your Master Bath should be hardworking morning and night and we can find ways to make it functional, beautiful and budget friendly.
1. The obvious is choosing the right cabinet style. I like to add as many drawers as the budget will allow. We girls have alot of stuff and we need to be able to find it during the morning rush . If we are trying to find the perfect shade of eyeshadow, while watching over our shoulder to make sure his tie actually “goes with the shirt” time is lost and once again you are out the door behind schedule. Get the drawers.
2. Add beautiful hooks for bath towels. You can match the finish to your faucet or cabinet hardware. The towel bar takes up too much wall space and you’re never going to get him to fold it the right way anyway!! The hooks will aid faster dry time and it looks like a retreat. Hang one next to the shower for your robe.
3. If you are re-doing the tile floor go ahead and create a tile rug just by outlining a rectangle on the floor and running the material a different direction to create the look of an area rug. This looks very custom and will make the space feel special .
4. Use your studs! Have your remodeler carve out unused space between the studs for your jars of bath salts and rolled towels. Glass shelves look especially great here since light reflection will make the space seem even larger. Photographs and artwork have found their way into the bath since ventilation is so much better than years past. Personalize the space to make it your own. Do the same between the studs in the shower area. Can’t tell you how many times this gets overlooked and the myriad bottles of shampoo and conditioner are now sitting on the new shower floor. Make sure it’s at a slight angle for water run-off.
5. Mirror, mirror on the wall. We can match your cabinet finish and style and design a mirror. Hung above the vanity sinks it will reflect light and bounce light around the room.
Got to run. A bathroom client is meeting me to pick out tile for her jewel box space of a bathroom and I want to really make it sparkle. Speaking of sparkle…put all the light fixtures on dimmers. Can’t preach this one enough!
Fill out the form. We’ll bring life to your bath and keep the budget in tact.
With todays economy, it is rare that folks are moving to a larger homestead. Most are downsizing and are asking that several rooms deliver multiple functions. We are squeezing every ounce of activity into rooms that once held only a single function. With downsizing comes the dreaded “purge” that is so difficult for many homeowners to handle. When I am assisting in a downsize, my mantra is:
1. If you love it and it works with the new space you can keep it.
2. Is it useful? Yes, coffee mugs are useful but you don’t need 30 of them no matter how cute . I have to keep reminding clients that they are downsizing, not craming everything they once owned into a smaller space.
3. Get rid of the clutter. Many parents can’t rid themselves of craft projects that their kids did in first grade!! The kids don’t want them (by now the kids are in their 20’s and 30’s) so my suggestion is to take a photogragh of the item put it in an album and then get rid of the item. Many gentle reminders later, and some” Mom” looks of how a clutter free environment will make them feel better and free them up for other things , a golf game, a relaxing lunch with friends , or simply entertaining in your new home. If you don’t have to rummage through 8 cookie sheets to get to the one you use all the time, you will feel like the kitchen is even larger. Speaking of the kitchen. Yes, it will be smaller in your new space but think how much less it will cost to make it your dream kitchen.
With 24 finishes to choose from and a myriad of door styles it can be the downsized dream of your life. Throw in my 2 hour complimentary design service and we’ll create a backsplash and choose granite that will make your new Stone Creek kitchen a peaceful, soul soothing environment. The form is to your right. Your kitchen can be the cozy hub of your new downsized lifestyle.