Archive | October, 2012

Hidden Ideas for Kitchen Islands

hidden kitchen island electrical outlet

Kitchen islands that include handy hidden features.

No matter the size of the kitchen, convenience is key and space is always at a premium.  Squeezing in “one more thing” can end up looking a mess, but with a little customization, a kitchen island can provide convenience and still look good.  The island ends are often overlooked, with the attention focused on the two longer sides.  An under the counter mini fridge was installed in this kitchen, allowing the detailed trim on the side to shine.

A push-to-open latch conceals shelves for cookbook storage in the column of this raised eating area.… Continue Reading


A Living Space

A Living Space, by Kit Kemp

Meet British hotel designer Kit Kemp via a new book full of color, objects and luxe ideas.

As we seek comfort and small luxuries wherever we go, hotel design and home decor are moving closer together. That makes the work of a designer like Kit Kemp and her new book A Living Space (Hardie Grant Books, $49.95) more relevant than it would have been a decade ago. Today, people want  hotel looks in their own homes and, because Ms. Kemp is responsible for décor in the Firmdale boutique hostelries she and her husband Tim own and operate (seven in London and one in New York), a big picture book documents her penchant for details and personal vision that makes those spaces so modern.… Continue Reading


Tartan’s in the House

white contemporary bedroom with tartan print accent wall

Classic plaid inspires upholstery, wallpaper and even tile.

Before you yawn and think “too preppy,” “too Ralph” or “too retro” take another look at the modern ways dark tartans (official Scottish clan patterns) and other plaids are being used. As unexpected as it is stunning, the plaid accent wall in a contemporary Swedish bedroom [top] looks so crisp to me.

Navy plaid also creates a lively ambiance in an otherwise traditional white bathroom. The Ranold tartan wallpaper in blue from fabricandpapers can give you this look in a day of DIY paper hanging.

Plaid on the back of a super-traditional side chair looks clubby with the leather seat.… Continue Reading


Gift Ideas 2

set of three lined tin storage baskets by Creative Co-op

More gift-giving suggestions for the holidays.

My quest to get a head start on holiday shopping began last week with Sustainable Gift Ideas.  Like many, I’m on the look out year round for items I think my family and friends will enjoy receiving.  My youngest daughter recently purchased the larger two of these lined metal baskets to use for children’s toy storage.  Her older sister immediately snapped a picture to send to a friend who was looking for something to hold dog toys.  Baskets are generously sized and are perfect to keep toys, kindling, firewood, throws and more close by. … Continue Reading


Interior Firewood Storage

modern living room with firewood shelves

Creative ideas that keep firewood handy inside.

Winter is on its way, which means cozy fireside evenings are ahead.  Nothing beats a real fire, but many install natural gas logs to avoid unsightly firewood storage.  These examples are better than a plain basket or small stack on the floor, and each add uniqueness to their space.  Floor to ceiling shelves [top] highlight the vaulted ceiling and inject symmetry.  The logs add natural texture to this monochromatic room.

The same idea was used in a winter vacation home, and features a crossbuck design for added architectural interest.

If you like the idea, but don’t want a head on view of the wood, create storage at the end. … Continue Reading


Aspects of Gray Kitchens

white kitchen with gray and white tent-stripe upholstered double bar bench

Gray became kitchen-chic after Martha Stewart’s Bedford house kitchen photos were published.

Now, half a decade later, gray has overtaken the all-white or black-and-white “Something’s Gotta Give” movie kitchen that caused such a sensation in 2003. One thing that continues to push gray forward after all this time is the wide range of hues — from light to dark. What’s more, stainless steel – the default appliance finish over the past decade — fits right in. Also highly compatible are zinc and nickel hardware finishes, poured concrete, and color veins in popular marbles like Carrara and Calacatta so highly prized for countertops.… Continue Reading