The Evolution Of A Kitchen


When I first started working with Lisa her kitchen had the bland, generic look that was (and still is in some cases)  so common in new homes.  Not much in the way of personality, but when a young family is moving into their new home many times there just isn’t a lot of money for upgrades and beautiful detail work.

Phase 1


So it was light beige walls, light beige countertops, light beige back splash, light beige floor tiles and plain light golden oak stained cabinets.   Generic colors that didn’t limit her as far as adding color in her accessories, but also didn’t contribute much in the way of personality to the space either. 




 So years ago she called me to do some re-decorating in other parts of the house and help ramp things up a notch in the kitchen, but on a very limited budget.   To cozy up the space I had the kitchen painted red and added some interesting accessories to the top of the cabinets and countertop.   Not a lot – just a little touch to cozy up the space.

Phase 2


Pardon all the junk on the countertops! – I didn’t actually take these pictures until I went back to completely gut and remodel the kitchen entirely so it’s not exactly “staged”.  But this is basically what it looked like for a few years (minus my purse, portfolio, papers and junk!) - just a bit warmer with color and accessories,  until they could afford to really get the kitchen of their dreams.


As they (and their children) got older they toyed with the idea of moving into a bigger, newer home and spent considerable time looking around.  In the end they decided they really liked their house and their neighborhood and made the decision to stay put. 

They were now in a position financially to really make some serious changes.  And with David, her hubby, currently going back to school to be a chef (wives out there – can you imagine how wonderful that would be?!!) - a state of the art kitchen was definitely in order.


So out went the boring cabinets, the boring back splash, the boring countertops and the boring floor.  In came a state of the art “chef’s” six burner stove and oven, surrounded by this beautiful cabinetry,  Santa Cecilia granite, tumbled stone back splash with metal accents, and hardwood floors.  We extended the depth of the upper countertop in order to add an eating area for the kiddo’s with these saddle seat bar stools.


The red walls gave way to textured walls with a faux finish in paint and glaze.  New updated window treatments replaced the old.  (Sorry you can’t see them very well.  They are beautiful.)


I had them combine two stain colors, the cream and the dark stain to create interest and make their incredible cook top area stand out as it should.  All new hardware was added to the cabinets.


Stainless steel appliances replaced the old white ones and rich gorgeous hard wood floors replaced the insignificant beige tiles.  I recycled some of the old accessories and incorporated some new ones for the cabinet tops.

After years of waiting this precious family finally has the kitchen of their dreams, fit for a king and perfectly suited for a “chef”.

So much fun!

Happy Decorating!


Tuscan Style: A Kitchen Brimming With Cozy And Chic


 Could you have a love of all things Tuscan buried deep inside you, but never new how to define it?  Tuscan style is rich and warm with color and texture.  Think fall colors – shades of rust, reds, yellows, greens, plums – all mixed together and working with each other to create a warm, harmonious, inviting ambiance.  Dark heavy baskets,  iron work,  distressed wood, lots of fruit, wine, roosters…..all of these things create that magical Tuscan warmth that makes a kitchen so cozy and inviting.  Accents of Salado has a wonderful selection of Tuscan accents to create just this look. 


 Baskets and fruit always make for a cozy Tuscan kitchen.




 Fall colors are used throughout the space to create the Tuscan theme.


Combining textures is common. 




 Lots of distressed wood and iron embellishments fill the Tuscan kitchen.


Detail work and wonderful curves in the woodwork is common in traditional Tuscan decorating.

onlinetipsorg1This oil painting says it all – wine, fruit, iron, texture and lots of fall color. 


rialto_IronCandleHolder Iron candle holders always add Tuscan flavor to a space.


 Pot racks and roosters – very common in the Tuscan kitchen. 




Love this colorful, interesting, fun vent-a-hood and backsplash.   Rich in fall colors and texture.  You don’t have to be overly serious about everything.  Bring in some whimsy and fun!

                                                                                       Images by Accents of Salado

  The Tuscan kitchen with its warm, welcoming ambiance is the heartbeat of the home….like the warm and cozy comfort of  a fireplace in the winter.  So break out that bottle of wine, peruse some Tuscan decorating magazines and books (and my blog, of course) and think about creating this same inviting look in your own kitchen.


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… 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!

Enhancing The Interior Of Your Home With The Warmth Of Exterior Stone


Using stone (and I mean rugged natural outdoor stone) to enhance the interior of a home is one of those things that not everyone is willing to do simply because of the expense.  And, no doubt it can be pricey.  But, as they say – OMG! – what a difference a dollop of stone can make.  It creates such a unique personality and character to a space and adds instant warmth to any room .  This home is a Whitestone Model Home in San Antonio I designed and decorated with my friend and fellow designer, Diane, for a local design studio.  


We wanted the Hill Country vibe so common in San Antonio and chose to use as much natural stone as we were given the thumbs up by the builder to do.  Notice the warmth in this kitchen just by virtue of the stone.  Cool, huh?

Kitchen 3

The stone is also placed on the wall behind the cabinets, and used on the back splash down to the granite countertop.  This combination of granite, the natural stone and the staggered brick pattern in the slate floor creates a kitchen that is full of charm and interest. 

Coffee Bar

This little area above is a coffee bar with the granite counter top and distressed cabinets in a black finish for even more texture.  Isn’t it cute?

Cabinets and Vent-a-Hood


Entry Hall

We bordered this entrance to the kitchen with hardwood encasing the slate tile.  We had the tile placed at a 45 degree angle to add a twist in the detail.  Notice the slate pattern changes to the brick pattern in the kitchen.  The slate floor compliments all the natural stone beautifully.

Stone Entrance

This cool stone doorway is off the dining room.  I love the way the arch here mimic’s the arch behind it leading into the kitchen and allows just a peek at the stone in the kitchen as well.


In the dining room we designed a stone wall with a wine shelf to fit just inside the stone casing.   This gives the dining room a “stately” wine cellar feel which is, of course what we were shooting for. PS:  We had fun collecting all the wine bottles for display!  (They had to be empty in order to leave them here – but, no worries – they were “emptied” over an extended period of time – and some were given to us by friends and restaurants.)

Stone Dining Room Wall

So if you are in the market for a new home or in the throws of planning a remodel consider the use of stone.  Yes, it does cost you a penny or two (well, okay, more than that), but it’s one of those details that just can’t be beat.  When compiling your list of priorities for your home, maybe stone can replace some other detail you can live without.  It’s worth checking into and pricing out. I have found that so often it’s the things you don’t do that were on the “wish list” verses the things you opt to do that causes more regrets.  Is it your dream home?  Is it your once in a lifetime remodel?  Think it through……you might just find you can swing it after all.  And, personally, I think you will be very glad you did. 

Kitchen Re-do: From Dated And Cramped To Divine And Classy!

The best thing about my job is seeing the amazing transformation in a particular space from beginning to end.  Well, that and working with wonderful clients like my client, Griffin.   Griffin has been one the most enjoyable clients I’ve ever worked with: Fun, funny, great taste, willingness to think outside the box and best of all – willing to put his trust in me.  He has a great little gated lake home with a large front yard and an amazing view of the lake that you can see from the circular drive the minute you pull up to the house.  The dining room windows are uncovered during the day so you can see through the dining room and out the wall of windows across the back of the house.   It’s breathtaking!  (You immediately just want to wander out back, plop down on a chaise and sip on a glass of wine.)  

This amazing view is the reason he purchased the home in the first place and it is, understandably, of the utmost importance to Griffin.  He knew when he moved in that some day he wanted to change his cramped little dated kitchen into something more modern that would enable him to see the lake from anywhere he stood.   In addition to this requirement he desperately needed it to be more functional.  After interviewing different contractors he chose Chris, with Archistructure.  (If you have read any of my previous posts his name will be familiar.)  So after my initial design plans were drawn up the three of us began to work together on the final design.  We planned and tweaked ….and planned some more.  Then we tweaked and tweaked and tweaked till we created a space that was both functional and beautiful encompassing everything Griffin wanted.  He now has an updated, highly functional, not to mention gorgeous space.  And best of all he has a lake view from every spot in the kitchen!  Here are the “Before and After” pictures:


BEFORE:  This is the original view of the kitchen entrance from the pass through area.  The pass through was big enough for a small bowling alley!  Lots of wasted space, but it gave us plenty of room to work with in expanding the kitchen.

View Of The Kitchen Entrance


AFTER: We removed the entire wall, raised the ceiling and the same space above now looks like this!  We used stacked slate for the face of the bar, hung blown glass pendants from the vaulted ceiling and added four bar stools.  Perfect for entertaining.  The stacked slate bar front is durable, stunning and compliments the granite perfectly.

Removed Wall For Bar




BEFORE: This view is of the front left corner of the kitchen facing the front yard.  You can see how tiny, cramped and unappealing it is.

Original Front Left Kitchen Corner



AFTER:  This same corner now looks like this.  A corner cook top with a granite backsplash.  Notice the raised ceiling, added canned lighting and cool light fixture, too!

New Kitchen Corner


BEFORE: The opposite corner of the kitchen had a sink and dishwasher.  No personality, no style and no space.

The Sink Area And Right Kitchen Corner



AFTER:  We replaced the window with a much larger, crank style window.  We centered the sink on the new granite countertop.  And to the far right (you can barely see it) what was once a dishwasher is now a doorway leading out to the hall for much easier access to and from the kitchen from Griffin’s office and side entrance.  We replaced the shutters with these rich, cherry woven woods.  

The New Sink, Window And Doorway



BEFORE:  The original fridge and counter space.  Again, not much in the way of personality.

Original Refrigerator



AFTER:  Class, character, elegance and space to move and work.

New Refrigerator



AFTER:  Another view of the fridge, oven and microwave. 

Another View Of The Fridge



BEFORE:  The original kitchen had a peninsula with the stove top sticking out in the middle of the space that hindered mobility.

Original Peninsula


AFTER:  The new kitchen has a spacious, functional island with a granite top, wine fridge, warming drawers, cabinets and shelving for plenty of storage.  Take a look at the slate look tile floor (we found it on clearance!) in a staggered brick pattern.

New Spacious Island



BEFORE:   This is the wall of cabinets blocking the view of the lake that had to go.  We moved the oven and microwave next to the new fridge and opened up this entire space for a spacious bar.

Original Wall Facing Lake



AFTER:  With the removal of the wall he now has an amazing view of the lake and a great place for friends and family to land when entertaining.

New Bar With The Lake View


As you can see what was once a cramped, uninteresting, dated kitchen with low ceilings (that made you feel as if you were in a cave) is now an open, spacious, updated work space.  Griffin has a large family and loves to have holiday parties at his house.  Now his kitchen provides the perfect atmosphere…..and the perfect view!


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