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Design Dilemma: Warming Up the Kitchen Nook

contemporary dining room uncategorized

Kitchen nooks were once a “thing.” That is, it seems that every American bungalow built between the 20s and 60s had one. It was where the family gathered for breakfast and sometimes dinner, and where the kids spread out to do their homework after school. It seems like kitchen nooks have gone by the way side in today’s newer homes, in which they are largely obsolete. In an open concept home in which the kitchen opens directly onto a dining area and family room, there is no longer the need for another separate space in addition to a dining room. Still, plenty of us are living in older homes and we still have our kitchen nooks. And sometimes we want to fix them up.

contemporary kitchen uncategorized

In this kitchen nook makeover, the homeowners have accomplished quite a lot, just with a simple change in wall paint. They swapped out yellow paint for a fresh and cheery patterned geometric print in apple green. The effect is chic and modern, amplified with the addition of a copper pendant lamp. Here’s what the before looked like:

home design uncategorized

And below, more of the after. The addition of framed children’s drawings really helps make this space feel special. The patterned wallpaper also really sets this space off as a very different environment:

contemporary dining room uncategorized

The extra storage already existed, but the homeowners refreshed things a bit with a fresh coat of white paint:

contemporary kitchen uncategorized

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Design Dilemma: Small Bathroom Makeovers

contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

You see plenty of renovations of grand master bathrooms that are so large and sumptuous they measure about the size of the average living room. But what about those of us with tiny bathrooms? Can we do a bathroom makeover that is both efficient and at least cute, if not beautiful? The answer is yes. And though you may not see too many of these bathrooms featured on home and garden television shows, they are certainly out there. Let’s take a look.

Below, a small 50’s era bathroom of about 50 square feet needed a redo. The shower leaked, the window and lighting were inadequate, and a pedestal sink meant the homeowner had no storage. A shower-tub combo was protected by a run-of-the-mill shower curtain. The blue tile was dated.

home design how to tips advice
Joila! The reveal:
contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

The owners hired Kate Dickson, who spent two months renovating their small space. She installed a new tub, shower head and glass shower doors. Keeping the shower-tub combo allowed this full bathroom (the only one in the house) to remain a place for both a bath and shower.
What makes this bathroom truly special is the patterned cement tile floor, which acts as the bathroom’s focal point. The rest of the bathroom — all white and classic, frames the floor. The sleek glass door streamlines the room, giving it a clean, modern feel.

contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

Above, a new vanity was installed with a ledge (visible in the first picture) that runs across the wall above the toilet, functioning as more countertop space and more storage. The new vanity features storage and chrome fixtures that were affordable and classic.

This relatively modest bathroom renovation underscores some important tips to consider when renovating a small bathroom.

    • In a small space, consider using a glass shower door or tub enclosure. A shower curtain breaks up the room, while glass opens up the space visually.
contemporary bathroom how to tips advice
    • Dispense with window dressings and use frosted glass. This allows more light to flood in and also helps open up the space visually.
contemporary bathroom how to tips advice
    • Consider a storage niche in the shower. Your bathroom will appear more spacious and clean without shampoo bottles clogging the corners of the tub.
traditional bathroom how to tips advice
    • Go custom. Although it will cost more to spring for a custom vanity, it’s the best way to get the most out of a space.
contemporary bathroom how to tips advice
  • Consider expanding your medicine cabinet.  In tight quarters where you need to make the most of storage, the best way of all can be expanding a medicine cabinet to stretch across the wall above the sink and toilet. The mirrors help expand the space and the extra shelves provide more storage.
contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

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Design Dilemma: What’s in for Fall 2017

victorian living room how to tips advice

It’s fall! That means we’ll be spending more and more time indoors, entertaining, relaxing, and breaking bread with family and friends. But just because life is all cozy doesn’t mean it can’t be trendy too! Here are a few 2017 interior design trends that can help boost your home’s cool factor even as the crisper weather sets in.

 

Velvet

Velvet upholstery is all the rage this year. It’s probably a reaction to the streamlined modern looks of recent years, but there is something about velvet that speaks of luxury and lushness, a bit of excess, and certainly comfort. There is nothing austere about it, although velvet is often being used on clean and modern furniture shapes. Take a look:

 

transitional living room how to tips advice

Above, a San Francisco apartment walks the line between fashionably minimalist and cozy traditional, just by placing an aquamarine sofa in an otherwise all white apartment.

Here’s another view:

transitional living room how to tips advice

And here, a velvet couch feels like something you might see in a posh private club:

traditional living room how to tips advice

And here:

midcentury living room how to tips advice

Jewel Tones

Hand in hand with the new fashionability of velvet are rich jewel tones that seem to perfectly reflect fall colors. Emerald greens, ruby reds, royal blues and regal purples are very much in style this season and probably are prominent as a reaction to the popularity of beige and gray in recent years. Certainly, they give a room much more personality!

For instance:

transitional living room how to tips advice

Or here:

transitional living room how to tips advice

Or here:

modern family room how to tips advice

And here:

farmhouse living room how to tips advice

Each of the rooms above would have felt safe and boring, were it not for the deep jewel toned sofas. The other plus about jewel tones are that they are much easier to live with than primary colors and can mix and match with other colors without a problem.

Brass accents.

We’ve heard it both ways when it comes to brass. Some say it’s back, others say it isn’t. But what is clear is that people are searching for an alternative to the brushed aluminum look that has been standard now for at least a decade. No one wants to go as far as gold, and copper has had its day, but brass is a warmer metal that earthier and less garish than some others, and which can make a statement without seeming too trendy.

For instance:

transitional kitchen how to tips advice

Or here:

transitional kitchen how to tips advice

Or here:

transitional kitchen how to tips advice

We’re even seeing it in bathrooms:

tropical bathroom how to tips advice
farmhouse bedroom how to tips advice

And in bedrooms too, as you see above and below:

eclectic bedroom how to tips advice

One thing that makes brass so appealing is its ability to combine easily with other metals. If you’re stuck with gold door knobs, for example, pairing a brass pendant lamp above isn’t going to raise any eyebrows. Same if you have a bit of copper or aluminum in the room.

Woven textiles

Nubby textures are another way to make an interior feel ready for primetime snuggling. This fall, there woven textures abound, not only on upholstery, but in rugs, wall hangings, pillows and more. They give a room depth and a sense of exoticism. For instance:

eclectic living room how to tips advice

And here:

scandinavian living room how to tips advice

And here:

contemporary living room how to tips advice

Bedroom as Restful Retreat
One last fall trend worth mentioning is the emphasis on the bedroom as a relaxing tranquil retreat. This is most often reflected in pale monochromatic colors that give a bedroom an almost spa like feel. For instance:

transitional bedroom how to tips advice

And here, in this children’s bedroom:

transitional kids how to tips advice

What else is in this fall?

  • Bone inlay furniture.
  • “Blush” or if you prefer, millennial pink.
  • Terra cotta tile.
  • Statement ceilings
  • Matte black accessories in light fixtures and accents.