If you’ve ever built or remodeled a home you are well aware of the multitude of decisions that have to be made.  Everything from paint color, to baseboard style, to kitchen cabinets.  And you become acutely aware of the most minute details….the sort of details that you’ve never even given a thought to before.  It can be a bit of a challenge and decisions are often difficult to make. 


One of those key decisions is the cabinets. 

When it comes to your kitchen cabinets – there are several factors that come to play.  What kind of cabinet style do I want?  What kind of wood?  Should I paint or stain?  Heavy grain, light grain…….raised moldings, raised arches…..?????  Decisions, decisions, decisions.


Is your overall style preference traditional, contemporary, transitional, rustic…..arts and crafts????


Do you find a dark stain with raised moldings more appealing?



Paint and glaze?


Medium tone stain with a glaze?


Added detail?


Take the time to look at magazines, peruse Houzz online, go to model homes……

And, take your time making this important decision.  This may be a time to hire an interior designer to help you out if you haven’t already.

Happy Decorating!!!



Since we’ve got a farmhouse sink (aka: apron sink) going in the model I’m working on in San Antonio I did a little research on various styles and found a great many looks and finishes that could work in just about any home in spite of the limited connotations in the name.


I especially like this marble sink……lends a little elegance and charm to the kitchen in this upscale “farmhouse” style.


But, you can go basic and simple, too, and it still creates a great look.


One of my clients was interested in this style sink until he heard it referred to as a “farmhouse” sink or “apron” sink and it so turned him off he, being a sophisticated GQ type of guy, would no longer consider it. LOL…..But, as you can see they really are more versatile than the term gives way to. This sink above could go in a variety of kitchen styles.

As well as these below:







So if you are in the midst of remodeling or considering remodeling you may want to give this style sink some consideration.

A great look with great charm and personality for almost any style – no matter what it’s called! Winking smile

Happy Decorating!

Your Dream Kitchen: The Design Is In The Details!


If you’re considering a kitchen re-do you might want to hang a gander at some of these great ideas direct from a custom cabinet showroom in San Antonio. 


Of course two of the biggest decisions when remodeling your kitchen is your cabinet stain color and the style of the door fronts.  Do you want light stain or dark stain…..do you prefer a raised panel, flat panel, an ornate design or something simple?  I happen to love the look of these cabinets above.


But, this white cabinet with a tea stain glaze is beautiful, too!   Which suits you……light or dark…..or both?   Also, think about details you’d like to incorporate overall…….like maybe a plate rack like this and a couple of shelves for displaying your “pretty things”. 


How about a snazzy vent-a-hood or wine rack……


Or super snazzy barley twist corners….


Incorporating tumbled stone in a subway pattern and glass tiles in the back splash makes a great look.


Don’t forget about the island.  Lots of attention to detail needs to put here, too.  Not only aesthetically, but from the standpoint of function.  Your island can have style and pizzazz, but still needs to accommodate your specific needs.   Make sure you think about what those needs are!


Remember to think about ALL your functional needs…..all the storage areas that will make your kitchen life smoother and easier….


More functional!


What kind of hardware do you want?


What kind of countertop material would you like?……What kind of countertop edge?  Details, details, details….


Do you like the look of feet to create a more “furniture like” look.  If so, what style suits you?



So many fun ways to express yourself and your style….



The design is in the details….and the details make all the difference.


Need a functional, organized place for spices or canned goods?


Individual drawers for storing items?



Do you like a two-tone affect?


Would you prefer light granite….


Or dark granite?


Where’s the best spot for your wine rack?  Upper cabinets. lower cabinets…..the island?


Specific drawers for a specific purpose?  Pull out style for ease and functionality?


Think these things through……


Design them into your kitchen.  Odds are this is your only shot.


Remodeling your kitchen is an expensive, stressful process.  Don’t make it even worse by rushing into it.  Make a list of everything you’d like to incorporate and make sure you take your time in the planning stages or, better yet, hire an experienced designer to help you. 

It’ll be money well spent - I assure you – to make your kitchen the space you’ve been dreaming of. 

Happy Decorating!!!

Making The Most Of Your Tiny Kitchen


A recent visit to New York and my sister-in-law’s house led to a discussion about how to redesign her tiny kitchen without it costing her a fortune.  With an upcoming wedding and kids in college money has been prioritized for other things for the time being – which doesn’t include an extensive remodel.  Maybe you can relate?


If you find yourself wanting to “re-do” that tiny kitchen of yours, but you just don’t have the money to push out walls and completely reconstruct then you have to find other ways to get the most bang for your buck. And, that calls for attention to every little detail and extreme organization.  Start a notebook on the project before you even begin.  And, start collecting pictures of kitchens, accessories, paint colors, backsplashes, etc….. Do you want white?  Light and bright?  Dark and cozy?  Remember paint is our friend!  A fresh paint job on your old dreary cabinets might be just what they need.


Think about your storage and what the most functional place for your dishes, cookware, spices, etc…..  Check with local stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond, Lowes, Home Depot, The Container Store – look for organizers that will fit into your current cabinets and drawers.   You might not be able to expand or buy all new cabinets, but maybe you can spring for a new granite countertop.  In a tiny kitchen you might be surprised at how affordable they can be.  (If you can’t afford a granite slab consider granite tiles.  A fraction of the cost it will give you the same look and grout lines are minimal because they can apply the tiles so close together.)

Like this….

Or this.


Bring in fun details by adding fun, interesting lights and new hardware.  Clean off your countertops and add some fun new containers and/accessories. If you can swing it – of course updating your appliances will do wonders for the space!


A pop of color is fun, and if you have space – create a little charm with a chair like this.  If this tiny kitchen can accommodate a chair odds are yours can, too!


Be unique!  Don’t be afraid to pull in a fun color!


Maybe you could eliminate a door and re-work a cabinet for functional storage like this one above with wine bottles and cookbooks.


If you can’t rip everything out and go modern like this kitchen above just do what you can do.  Sand down the cabinets or primer them, paint or stain them espresso brown and add new hardware.  Remove some of the doors and create a plate rack or open shelving for a new look.  Maybe you can just replace the cabinet front doors. – A cheaper alternative than replacing the entire cabinet.  There are ways to freshen up the space without going broke! 

Then later….when you can think about you…instead of everyone else….you’ll get that dream kitchen you’ve been longing for!

Happy Decorating!

Wood-Gas-Infrared Brick Ovens: Options For Indoors Or Outdoors


If you’re looking to beef up your outdoor kitchen or living area (or even your indoor kitchen) Renato Ovens offers Americans the “age-old tradition”, flavor and taste that wood-fire cooking offers.  It brings this ancient tradition up to date with it’s woodburning brick ovens, rotisseries and charbroilers merging the flavors of old with the innovative, techno savvy ingenuity of today.


  After years of his childhood spent as the errand runner and brick layer at a brick factory, founder Renato Riccio, left home at the age of 20 and immigrated to the United States with $3 in his pocket. He spent several years in the food industry here when he “caught a scent” and  began to long for his homeland cuisine.


He had no idea that his years of brick laying along with his years in the food industry would one day work together many years later to combine an Old World tradition and flavor from his hometown in Tuscany, Italy with new age technology for a “new way of cooking” here in the US. 


His is a product that can adapt to a large restaurant or a simple family kitchen – indoors …..




or out.


This flame-broiling method emphasizes healthy, nutritious foods, enhancing natural flavors without having to add artificial additives or seasonings.




A fun, healthy, innovative way of re-creating the ancient, age-old taste of Italy.

Click here for some of his amazing pizza recipes.

Happy Decorating!

The Great Many Colors and Styles Of The Kitchen Island


One of the things I’ve run into over the years for clients is the question of what to do with the kitchen island.  In fact I’m working with a client right now on this very thing – what color to paint her kitchen island.  Now obviously you can always keep the stain the same as the rest of the cabinets.  It’s safe and will always work well in the kitchen.  (Of course, it’s only as beautiful as the stain itself, but generally will will look just fine.)


But, there are a great many other fun things that can be done, too.  A very common color to change it to is black.  And, in this case above – a black distressed island.  In this particular space it matches the bottom cabinets, but notice the upper cabinets are just a regular stain.  This type of island would look great even if all the other cabinets were stained.  It gives the space personality, interest and depth.  A black island would look great with cabinets that are white, biscuit, taupe, dark stain, etc.  It’s a pretty fool proof color to use if you’re interested in doing it in a different color, but want to be on the safe side.



Red is another great alternative.  This one gives this otherwise white kitchen a fun “pop”.  This takes a braver soul, but just look at the results.  Takes a kitchen from ordinary to extraordinary.


In this space the upper cabinets are cream and the lower cabinets are the color of the island. 


Here they matched it to the wall color.


Green is fun, too.  (I especially like the distressed look- no matter what the color.)


See what I mean?



Generally I will pair the island stain color with a dark cabinet or a biscuit color cabinet, but here you see the green island with the red cabinets. Interesting and fun.


Love this dark stain with the glazed light taupe cabinets.


Blue is another really fun option if it works within your color scheme. I especially like this combination of colors – the country blue with this stain. 


Again, here it matches the cabinets, but it would look great and be a fun contrast with cream, white or dark stained cabinets, too. 


If you don’t have a built in island consider buying a free standing one.  They come in a great many colors, styles and sizes like this cream one above or these fun, bright blue or black islands below.  (By the way, notice this island is sitting on a beautiful, decorative rug. Another fun way to bring in personality and color to your kitchen.)


Notice all the different styles here.


Consider your overall color scheme of course and don’t be afraid to pull a fun color from either the fabrics, the rug, the furniture, etc. to make your island stand out and give it personality. 

Happy Decorating!

Catchy Kitchen Backsplash Designs

One of the most nerve wracking moments for a homeowner remodeling their kitchen is designing the kitchen backsplash. 

1) What color tile is best? 2) What kind of tile – porcelain, ceramic, natural stone?  3) What sort of design would look good?  4) Lots of detail, no detail?  5) How much will it cost?

Lots of nervousness and agitation in something that seems so simple.  At least until you’re picking out your own and realizing how permanent it is.  Well, semi-permanent.  It can always be changed……just at a price.  And whatever we select we want it to be something we’ll enjoy for years to come, not grow tired of in a year or two.  The best solution – (well, hire an experienced interior designer) the next best solution – look at lots and lots of pictures and kitchens to get an idea of the look and feel you are after.  Below is a broad – very broad – range of styles in different design patterns and colors.  Take a look and see what style works best for you.


Here you see neutral tones in natural stone, with a picture frame design over the cooktop using mosaic tiles for a border and etched tiles for the patterned “picture”.  Subtle, but full of impact.


A Tuscan theme with the gold’s and rusts – staggered natural stone subway tiles (that’s the 3×6 shape)  and painted tiles to create a mural.


Another look with painted tiles.


Admittedly, not for everyone, but wouldn’t this animal mural would be a conversation starter?


Natural stone on a diagonal with 2×2 inserts.  Notice the horizontal row at the bottom outside the cooktop area.


More natural stone.



Simple, elegant.


Incorporating metal tiles and accents with natural stone is always an interesting, fun look.


Glass mosaics make a striking backsplash.  They come in a multitude of colors:






Fun and interesting kitchen backsplash for the daring and fun-loving..


There’s always the new approach to good old white ceramic tiles of the past.  Very clean and timeless.


And for the more industrial or modern types check these out.


There are a multitude of styles and colors and patterns to choose from.  Your overall  design style will dictate much of it.  Are you modern, Tuscan, traditional, funky, etc….?  Kitchen remodeling can be expensive and scary so as I said your best defense is hiring an experienced interior designer.  Aside from that I would suggest you peruse magazines, books, wander through home improvement centers, tile stores and model homes – snapping as many pictures as you can to start forming your own style.  You’ll start to notice a trend in the colors, shapes, styles you are drawn to.  And, if you see a look you really like tear the picture out of a magazine or take a picture with your camera and just duplicate the exact same look for your own kitchen.  That’ll ease your mind and you’ll know what you’re getting.  No surprises.

But, take your time and be sure you know what you want.  It’s an expensive thing to fix if you make a mistake.  So take a deep breath, take your time and do your homework before you make those final decisions.  Then have fun and get excited!  You’ll soon be cooking in a new kitchen!  How exciting!

Happy Decorating!

Define Your Style: Another Look At Your Dream Kitchen


If you could plan your dream kitchen…….any style at all…..what would it be?  Would you prefer clean, sleek lines, no clutter, stainless steel and smooth rich stained cabinets (no grain showing)?

Or do you see yourself in a cozy country kitchen with different paint colors on your cabinets – maybe distressed – some bright, fun flowers, a little decorative clutter, and café curtains on the windows?

Maybe you prefer Old World, Rustic, Transitional…….how do you define you style?

Do you know what you like?  Or maybe only what you don’t like?  Take a look at the kitchens below and see what style suits you best.

Do you like the look of these contemporary kitchens?  No clutter, clean lines, rich stain?

contemporary 1


contemporary 4

contemporary 7


Maybe that’s too contemporary?  You want more stuff, more color, more curves and textures.  See if these country kitchens are what you see yourself in:

country 4

country 7

Notice the curves, the two tone cabinets, the baskets, the country hardware as opposed to the sleek style of the contemporary kitchens above?

country 6


Still yet, you may prefer the “Old World” charm.  Like the oversized farm sink, a cozy iron pot rack, the oil rubbed bronze fixtures, rich earthy colors and lots of European charm:

old world 2

old world 3

Like these rich, earthy textures, and the touches of iron?  Make sure to check out the ceiling in the picture below.

old world 5

old world 4


Maybe you prefer some  rustic touches?

rustic 6

Like this flagstone floor and stone entrance, beams on the ceiling.

rustic 1

Or the tree trunk chairs, bead board ceiling, leather and iron chairs.

rustic 4

Or these log walls.

If you’re somewhere in the middle of all these you might be dreaming of a more transitional space like these below:

transitional 4

transitional craftsman 1

transitional 3

images by BHG

So what’s your dream kitchen?  Can you define your style?

It can be a tough decision remodeling a space like this.  Remember your kitchen is one of the most important, if not the most important selling feature in your home.  So in addition to designing a space for you to enjoy with your family and friends, be sure to keep that in mind. 

If you are seriously considering a remodel do like I always suggest and start a file.  Pull tear sheets of everything you like.  Take pictures of models, restaurants, friends kitchens, etc….  You’ll start seeing some consistency there in what colors, textures and overall style you like.  It will help you immensely once the selection process begins.  Remodeling can be a very costly venture and one that you might find best done with professional guidance.

 I hope these pictures helped you to define your style!

Happy Decorating!

The Creative Kitchen: Great Idea’s For Your Home


Since October is National Kitchen and Bath Month I’m going to largely concentrate on these specific areas of your home for the next few weeks.  I will continue to blog about other things and other areas, too, but in honor of  NKABM  I will focus each week on these very important, personal spaces in particular.  Hopefully this month’s focus will give you some wonderful ideas for the kitchen and baths in your own home.  Today I want to concentrate on the kitchen.  The kitchen is probably the most important, most frequently used space in the home so giving careful attention to detail here is highly recommended.  This is not the place to skimp.  Not only is a grand, interesting, charming kitchen great for gathering with family and friends it is also an extremely important space to consider if you decide to put your house on the market. Whether you are a cook or not everyone wants a fabulous kitchen!


Blue And White Take a look at this fabulous kitchen with the incredible blue and white wall and barrel ceiling.  Consider all the interesting details here that make this such a warm, inviting space.  Notice all the textures and mix of colors?  The terra-cotta tiles, the iron stools, the stained island, the white cabinets.  All this mixing and matching is what gives this kitchen its charm.  It’s important to remember this for your own space.


Soft Blue Kitchen

How about this charming kitchen with its soft blues and whites and hardwood floors?  Notice the country charm with the farm table look for the bar and all the little country bar stools.  How cute is that?  The distressed white washed cabinets framed in the blue look wonderful as well as the glass front cabinets and row of pendant lighting.  Great look!



Okay, now…..talk about creative and cozy!  Check out the unique details in this space.  The shaped tiles on the floor, the interesting island, the busy, colorful backsplash, the soft green cabinets.  And, of course that amazing ceiling!  Wonderful, warm, unique and inviting.


This interesting, eclectic kitchen has a multitude of unusual elements.  The rather simple cabinetry and rustic island paired with the rather ornate, colorful backsplash.  The somewhat modern looking barstool with the country details on the island and simple pot rack hanging above gives the space character.  And the diagonal wood and marble floor lend a fun, unexpected twist.


This wonderful kitchen is ultra charming with it’s French flair.  The large space with it’s incredible vent-a-hood, huge urn filled with flowers and unique island exudes interest, warmth and charm.  Again, take notice of all the textures they’ve used in this space….the iron, the tin hood, the hardwood floors, etc.  All of these elements evoke charm, charm and more charm. 

white-brown-kitchenI think this brown and white kitchen is a vibrant, fun, “happy” space.  I love the checkerboard floor turned on a diagonal.  The chocolate walls with the stark white cabinets are hip and “happening!” and give a country kitchen a very modern, updated vibe.  Notice the backs of the chairs are monogrammed and the brown banding with the simple white shades give the windows punch. 


4-kitchen-otm-0508-xlg This eclectic space combines country charm with modern elements.  The wood floors, the distressed, rustic cabinetry and country table paired with the modern chairs is the perfect blend of the two distinctly different styles.  The clean, bare windows give off a modern vibe and the rustic lighting helps anchor the space’s modern country atmosphere.

If you are in the market or mood to re-model or enhance your kitchen take careful time to consider what “style” and colors you would like to see in your home.  Take the time to peruse magazines and books (and my blog!) and compile all your pictures and notes in your decorating file.  I suggest calling a professional for help with this tricky space as it can be a bit challenging.  Be brave and daring and don’t hold back.  Make this space as detailed, interesting, charming and creative as you can afford for it to be.  You and your family and friends will enjoy it for years to come and when it’s time to sell you have a wonderful, inviting focal point and great selling feature for your home. 

Images by House Beautiful

Happy Decorating!


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