Monday, December 31, 2012

We got a House, We got a House

......We got a house, HEY HEY HEY HEY!

It's true, as of December 21st Brent and I officially became homeowners!

Since we got engaged in September, Brent and I have been looking for a house. Shopping for our future home was fun... going through the whole bank process, not so much. But, we made it out alive and couldn't be more excited! 

The house is a 1940's bungalow with loads of charm, it even has the white picket fence to boot! It's located in the Peachtree Hills neighborhood here in Atlanta. Peachtree Hills is one of those really happy places filled with people running, walking their dogs, biking, pushing strollers and kids playing in their yards. From the minute we came across this neighborhood nearly four years ago, I was in love. It's in a great area that provides the best of both worlds - it is literally right in the city, minutes from shopping, restaurants, parks and museums but the homes are nestled on cozy, wide streets with tons of trees that offer privacy.

I'm obsessed with the house and the possibilities around every corner. As a designer having my own house is beyond exciting. Finally a space that is all my own to decorate, love and truly make mine. Of course, I'm lucky to be sharing this new home with Brent who is full of ideas that will enhance the space. 

Between the two of us we have several projects we want to tackle before we move in after the wedding in May, (like removing the massive Christmas tree in front of the house), but I'll save all that for another post. Over the next few months I will keep you posted (no pun intended) on our progress. It's going to be a fun process - stay tuned! 

Photo by Lori Foster. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

There's More Than One Way to Skin A Cat...

and apparently about a bazillion ways to decorate a Christmas tree. 

I love holiday decorations - the tree, the wreaths, the lights, the stockings and the list goes on. Maybe the best part of holiday decor is that while a lot of the same elements are used by many, every person has their own process and flair. Like so many things, holiday decor presents an opportunity for an individuals personality to shine bright. But before you can shine you have to identify your holiday vibe, and that's no easy task because there are so many decisions to consider - white lights or colored? Red & Green balls or Blue and White? Handmade and sentimental ornaments vs. store bought? Big and tall tree or short and fat tree? Angel at the top of the tree or star, or maybe Santa hat? There are seriously SO many options. With so many choices it's fascinating to see what people hone in on and how they bring it all together.

So, how did I become so in the know regarding Christmas Trees? Simple, I am literally in the land of Christmas trees as I write this post.  I arrived home for the holidays this weekend and let me tell you, it's like a Christmas wonderland here. My Mom is without a doubt the Christmas Tree Queen. To say she loves Christmas is an understatement and that love mixed with a flair for decorating makes her one mean lean, Christmas Tree decorating machine. There are eight Christmas trees in this house, yes you read that right...EIGHT, each in different rooms throughout the house and each with their own personality.

Sit back, relax and let me show you around.............

Foyer Tree.

Above is the first tree you see when you walk through the front door. It stands at sixteen feet tall and was decorated by my five foot one and a half inch tall Mom. Alone. I know, she's crazy and impressive, but this tree truly sets the stage for the warmth and holiday cheer you will experience as you wander throughout the house.

Dining Room Tree.
The dining room tree is a corner tree that shines with red lights. This room is more formal so the decor is a mixture of large Christmas balls, red and white flowers and small frames showcasing family pictures.

Library Tree.
 The library is home to a baby grand piano and doubles as a music room of sorts. The tree in this space is short and fat and full of music themed ornaments and a sheet music print ribbon that winds throughout the tree into a bow on the front.

Den Tree.
This is our family Christmas tree ,where we gather around to open presents, stockings, watch Christmas movies, etc...This tree is full of sentimental ornaments that my sister and I made growing up as well as ornaments we have collected as a family over the years.

Kitchen Tree.
 The kitchen tree sits behind the sink on the countertop. It's short and fat with long feathers at the top to give it height and personality.
Office Tree.
This BLACK Christmas tree sits in the office and is all decked out in University of Georgia ornaments and decor.There's even a little jolly UGA gnome that sits at the base of the tree.
Guest Room Tree.
This little tree sits in the Guest room. Every ornament on this tree was selected and collected over time to coordinate with the custom bedding in the room.
Guest Room Tree.
This is one of my favorite trees. It's a gold tree decorated with various sized red balls. There are no, lights, no tree topper and no fuss. It's simple, yet sophisticated. P.S. the lights you see behind the tree are coming from the garland on the stairs that is plugged in behind the tree.
Well, there you have it - eight trees, some big, some small, some short, some tall (I could write for Dr. Seuss). Every tree is different and every one thoughtfully decorated. None of these trees happened over night, the decor and concepts have evolved over time. It truly seems like each year, things look even more beautiful and festive than the year before. I hope you enjoyed your tour, I know some may think I'm biased but I'd say my Mom has it going on in the Christmas decorating department. Crazy thing is, these are just the trees, there's oh so much more I could show - think nutcrackers, formal dining room place settings, garland, wreaths, stockings and wrapped packages, but that's all for another day, another blog.
The Cow Spot wishes you all Happy Holidays & a very Merry Christmas!!!
All photos are from Lori Foster.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Bye Bye Tangerine Tango, Hello.......

Several big announcements have been made as of late regarding the color of the year for 2013. In January (2012) I posted about Tangerine Tango, 2012's Color of The Year. Tangerine Tango had good run, but there's a new color on the block and this one is a beauty!

Allow me to introduce...
Emerald Green

So, why did Pantone choose Emerald?

According to Pantone, “Green is the most abundant hue in nature – the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.”

Call me a psychic, genius, or whatever, but I had a feeling this color would be chosen as the next Color of the Year, in fact I blogged about it during the summer :::pats on back::: I think Pantone hit the nail on the head regarding the emerald color translating easily to both fashion and home interiors.  This color has been all over fashion this Fall. Go in any department store and you will see everything from dresses and shoes to sunglasses and jewelry sporting this hot hue.  In my opinion this years choice is more relatable than colors chosen in years past. Last years Tangerine Tango was fun, but most were not daring enough to paint a wall or agree to window treatments in this semi-bold color. Emerald green however is a different story. Many people are going to be more apt to jump right into this trend because green is a friendly, happy, beautiful color that can fit into almost any decorating style in some form.

These emerald accent pillows and curtains bring warmth and richness to this sitting area. I also love how the black and gold in the lamp play off of the emerald.
BOOM - there's a emerald front door. It's bold but not too much so. The bricks and moulding around the door make for a traditional vibe with a pop.

The green in the above photo plays well with the light yellow walls. While the chairs are traditional the fun fabrics on both the curtains and the chair add a layer of interest and a bit of funk to this space. Also, green and yellow....................whoever designed this space was ahead of their time....

OK, hold on, I'm getting ahead of myself. See, what happened was,while Pantone was busy making their announcement, Benjamin Moore dubbed their own Color of The Year. While their choice is the neighbor of Pantone's green on the color wheel, the two colors are distinct in their own right.

Allow me to introduce...

Lemon Sorbet 2019-60

Yellow. Hmhmhm.....interesting choice. I'm not sure I saw this one coming quite as much as the Emerald but I think it's got a nice airy vibe that could work in a lot of spaces.

Benjamin Moore explains their choice by stating: "This beautiful yellow harmonizes with other trending pastels in the mint, coral, pink, blue, and vanilla families. Uplifting without being overpowering, lemon sorbet (2019-60) complements almost any color palette and provides a unifying element for diverse spaces."

I agree with BM, this color has the opportunity to make a statement without being too in-your-face. Neutrals are big right now and this is an interesting play on that concept. It's a neutral and it's a color, essentially it could be the pizazz in the room or it could be the backdrop allowing other elements to shine.

Here we see the lemon sorbet light yellow hue playing nicely with the ever popular gray.

I LOVE this combination. The yellow, the gray, the's fun, it's sophisticated, it's beautiful.
Interestingly, I have a client who loves some yellow in the kitchen. This color might just be the color for her space. The lemon sorbet color is soft but has nice contrast against the white cabinets.

So, it appears we have a bit of a color battle on our hands. Green and yellow - which is your favorite? I think green is a bold yet relatable choice, while the yellow offers a new twist on the neutral trend. Colors are emotional, so remember, love it or hate it in about twelve months we will have new colors in the spotlight. In the meantime have fun incorporating these colors into your 2013!

All photos are from google search.

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Christmas Time in the City

I think it's safe to say that after my weekend in New York City I am officially in the Christmas spirit. In fact, I'm not sure how a person could not be in the holiday spirit, if you are in or around NYC this time of year. This was my third time in the city but my first time during the holiday season.

The trip was kind of completely spontaneous. My fiance's job required him to spend some time in NYC at the end of last week so we decided to go all YOLO (You Only Live Once)  and take advantage of the opportunity for a weekend in the city.  Even better - my best friend and her husband, who live in New Hampshire, were relatively easy to coerce into taking the train and joining us.

We had several holiday themed sites on our to-do list, but the first stop had to be THE tree. You know the one...

Rockefeller Center.
But, the tree wasn't the only oversized holiday accessory we found over the weekend.

We saw giant Christmas ornaments...

Massive Christmas lights......

and some humongous nutcrackers... shout out to you Mom (she loves these things)!

From the high end department stores to the street vendors, everyone had their own holiday flare out on display. 

Bergdorf Goodman.

Street Vendor. 
There's just something about the complete abundance and scale of the decor that makes you feel like a kid again. It was a great weekend full of festive sights and good times. The only downer to our time in NYC was the outcome of the SEC Championship game, but we will save that sad tale for another blog. Just writing this blog makes me want to make some hot cocoa and watch Christmas Vacation - Cheers!

All photos are my own. For more photos from my weekend adventures follow me on Instagram

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Love Lamp

Yep, I'm quoting Anchorman, but seriously I do love lamps. Lamps are so multi-functional - not only do they provide a room with light, but they tend to add a sense of warmth and coziness to a space. Today, lamps are not only being utilized beside a bed or couch, interestingly, they have made their way into the kitchen.

Lighting is so important in any room but especially the kitchen. A lot goes on in a kitchen - you need good task lighting for working and of course good ambient lighting for atmosphere.  For some time pendant lights have been the "go to" for decorative kitchen lighting. Typically pendants are seen hung over the island and provide ambient lighting in a fashionable way. Because pendants come in a slew of different shapes, sizes and finishes and they can be used in varying quantities, they are a popular choice. I love a beautiful pendant and believe they can really add style and flare to a space, however as of late, I've noticed a shift in kitchen designs where it seems that pendant lights may not always be the lighting answer...

Most kitchens have at least one focal wall, in some cases this wall has a decorative hood, while other times a window is on display. Depending on the orientation of the island, the pendant lighting can hang down and block or interfere with the view of the focal wall. This has actually been a topic I have dealt with in two of my recent kitchen designs. In both kitchens a beautiful focal wall was created around the hood. Each kitchen's island was oriented differently but the idea of hanging pendants over the island was kind of ho hum because we knew any pendant we chose would be semi-blocking the view of the focal wall. In both cases, the solution was to sit lamps on either side of the island as opposed to hanging the lighting from the ceiling.

Like pendants, lamps come in a variety of different styles, finishes and sizes making them an easy choice for kitchen lighting. Of course lamps will not be the answer for all kitchens - some islands are not big enough to support the lamp idea. If the addition of lamps will decrease valuable working space, then skip the lamps and stay with ceiling fixtures.

Below are some examples of kitchens that went the lamp route, each choosing to utilize this trend in different ways.

In this kitchen the island is centered on the hood which appears to be the focal wall. I love how these lamps really add some flare to the space without taking away from the beauty and balance of the focal wall.

I'm drawn to the fun pop of color these green glass lamp bases bring to this kitchen. The furniture style island + the lamps make for a cozy feel.

These lamps add an unexpected pop to this kitchen. The focal wall in this space is the large window and these lamps just feel right in the space. Not only would pendant lighting be blocking the view of the window but pendants in addition to the flanking columns would have made the space feel crowded.

One common question people have about the lamps is, "where do you hide the cords?" Easy - you just have your countertop fabricator core a small hole in the countertop for the cord to go down into. The lamp can cover up the hole and you're left with a seamless look. Regardless of the type of lighting you choose to use, lighting in general provides an opportunity to add a layer of personality to a space. So, take advantage and do your research to figure out what lighting style best suits you and your space.

Photos are from Houzz & Pinterest.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

O' Holiday Project Deadline

O' Holiday Project Deadline, O' Holiday Project Deadline, how terrible areeeee your limitationsssss. In case you can't tell, I'm singing. You have to read/sing the above to the tune of "O' Christmas Tree." Get it? I know, I know, I'm good - move over Taylor Swift.....

It's only 7 days into November and I can already feel the hustle and bustle of the holidays! I feel like I've seen and heard more about Christmas as of late than I usually do the entire month of December. Granted, I do realize this proclamation comes from the girl who posted about a Christmas House last week (cough, cough hypocrite.) But, so far, I've seen a lit Christmas tree in someone's front window (THE DAY BEFORE HALLOWEEN, mind you) and yesterday at lunch I drank from a crystal goblet with painted holly around the rim. Oh, and hello! Walk into countless department stores and find holiday decor for sale galore! But, in my world the most common holiday topic is:

 "If I begin my kitchen or bath remodel now, could it be completed by the holidays?"

The answer: Maybe, but at what cost?

I think there's something in the air right after Halloween that has a certain way of lighting a spark within people prompting them to hurry and complete, or in some cases start, projects before their holiday parties begin and their guests arrive. It's like all of a sudden somewhere around late October it occurs to people that their houses will be full of friends and loved ones and they want to bring out the magic wand and POOF - all projects = complete.

As on board as I am with a home being at it's best, especially during a time of such high foot traffic, I think it's important to keep in mind the holidays are stressful enough without the looming completion of giant project that has a way of taking over not only your house but your life.

If the face you see above doesn't look like something you want to be sporting this holiday season, let me recommend pumping the breaks on impending projects if they haven't started yet. As I've mentioned before, those projects that are carefully considered and thought out ALWAYS turn out the best. By beginning any project with a tight or unrealistic time frame you are literally setting yourself up for stress and half-arse results all wrapped up with a shiny red bow.

So, instead of allowing this time of year to stress you out and cause you to irrationally jump into projects ill prepared , use this time to your advantage. Think about it, you spend more time entertaining in your home and actually cooking in your kitchen during the holidays than any other time of year. And if you're not typically the host, you spend more time being entertained in the homes of others than any other time of year. So....observe, notice, critique and begin jotting down things you love, things you hate, things you would do differently if you could, etc..etc...And then after the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over you can begin the process of working on your space, on your terms.

Give yourself the greatest gift of all - choice. A kitchen or bath remodel is a fun process that deserves a lot of your attention and consideration. Don't sell yourself short.  Get what you want and take the time to figure out what that is. Then, before you know it, it will be November 7th, 2013 and you will be thrilled to showoff and utilize the space you poured so much of yourself into. And better yet, that time you spent pouring yourself into the project will not have resulted in you pulling your hair out so you will have beautiful locks and a new kitchen/bath to boot!

All photos are from google search.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

2012 Christmas House

Well, it's officially November, so I think it's about time to start talking about the holidays. And what says holiday fun better than a Christmas House?! To all of those in/near/around the Atlanta area, get out your pen and paper and jot this down!

The 2012 Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine's Christmas House opens it's doors for tours beginning November 16th through December 9th.

Photo from google search.

This years Christmas House is a new construction project through Dovetail Homes. This home is especially exciting to me because my company, Inspirations Kitchen & Bath & Bell Cabinets has been involved since it was just an idea on paper. We provided all of the cabinetry, appliances and most of the closets throughout the home. Mike Bell and I worked closely with Lyndsy Woods of L. Kae Interiors  on the cabinetry layouts, selections and finishes and have thoroughly enjoyed watching everything come together.

The home is nestled in the heart of Buckhead near Chastain park. The exterior showcases varying materials and textures creating charming curbside appeal that shouts southern chic.  The interior has an open floor plan and expansive kitchen perfect for entertaining. Each room of the house will be furnished and decorated by a different designer, so each room is guaranteed to have it's own unique style, with inspiration around every corner.

Finally, for those of you already in the Christmas spirit, the word is this home will showcase over THIRTY Christmas trees! So, if you're in the area please drop by. We would love to see you!

The home is located:

4775 Dudley Lane NW
Atlanta, GA 30327


Thursday - Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday: Noon - 5:00 PM


Tickets can be purchased for $15 before November 15th. After November 15th and at the door tickets will be $20. Children 12 and under have free admission.

Proceeds benefit the Alliance Theatre.

For more information regarding directions, hours and tickets check out The Christmas House website here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

365 Days & 51 Posts Later

......... and The Cow Spot is a year old!!!!

Today marks 365 days since the beginning of The Cow Spot Blog. Man O'man, they sure grow up fast!

Here is the ol' cow sporting a very stylish leopard birthday hat!

We've covered a lot of ground over the past year, so I thought it would be fun to do a little re-cap. Blogger offers this cool tab called "statistics" which shows the breakdown of the blog, regarding posts, comments, traffic sources, etc...Below is what it has to say of TCS' "All Time" activity.

To date (excluding today's post) there have been 51 posts and of those 51 posts the top 5 most viewed posts are....

#1:  Hardware - cabinet jewelry

#2: Mirror Mirror On The Wall

#3: The Perfect Gray - Facelift Series Part 3

#4: The Bathroom Facelift Series - Intro

#5: B L O G G I N G

Who's Reading The Cow Spot?

The Cow Spot is read worldwide!! From right here in Atlanta, GA all the way to the Philippines - pretty crazy! 

As you can see the majority of my readers (seen in dark green) are in the United States, followed by:

#2: Canada
#3: United Kingdom
#4: Russia
#5: Australia

Pageviews by Operating Systems:

Most people checking out the weekly blog posts are using Windows operating systems, while a decent amount are coming at us from Mac. Look - even the iphone/ipad has some representation - love that people are tuning in on the go!

As I've mentioned a zillion times over the past year, I really enjoy this blog. I'm so glad I randomly decided to give the whole blogging thing a whirl because it has truly become such a great creative outlet for me. It's funny, but The Cow Spot is kind of like my child. I'm always thinking about it and I get excited when other people like it. Blogging is always on or around my brain and I'm all the time jotting down new things to blog about. Because each post takes a decent amount of time, effort, and heart, I get very, very excited when I hear (or see) that other people have enjoyed or benefited from reading what I have to say. So thank you MOOcho to all of you faithful readers out there. I very much appreciate every comment, thumb (facebook "like"), follower and discussion that stems from my posts - it makes my day!

Both cow photos are from my hotel room at The Public in Chicago and the graphs and charts are from my blogger stat page.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Spy with my Little Eye...

...all things kitchen and bath related! Seriously, everywhere I go I notice, I critique and sometimes I take pictures just for proof of how wonderful or terrible something is I come across.

It's funny how our individual careers are just one more reason we all see the world so differently. Take my friend Jackie for example, she's the international sales manager for CaseMate, which is a company that designs and manufactures fashion accessories for smart phones. Everywhere we go she's noticing phone cases, ipad covers, screen protectors, etc... She can take one look at a phone and spit out the make and model. Even more, she will literally take the case off her own phone(the technological equivalent of taking the shirt off your own back) without thinking twice if she sees someone with a sub-par case. She's the real deal and she sees the world with cases on the brain. So here she is noticing phone cases, and here I am noticing cabinetry and tile, both living in our own happy bubble where we notice things we love and are passionate about.

While all design related items grab my attention it's cabinetry that really makes me look twice. To me, the cabinets really define a space, not only layout wise but style wise as well. Cabinets come in all shapes, sizes, colors and wood species, but it's the actual construction of the cabinet that I want to talk about today. There are two basic types of cabinetry construction - Framed & Frameless with the main differences between these two being aesthetics and accessibility.

So, let's dig in......

Framed Cabinetry:

Inset Cabinetry:
Inset Cabinetry is the creme' de la creme' of framed cabinetry....

This project is from the 2011 FoxHall Show House.
Cabinetry is Bell Custom.
Above is an example of inset cabinetry. Notice how the door sits within the face frame of the cabinet, creating very clean lines.

This is another shot of an inset cabinet, but this example showcases a bead around the opening of the cabinet.

Follow my ghostly white hand to the bead I'm referring to.
Inset cabinetry is the most expensive cabinetry construction. The expense comes from the skill required to build doors and drawer fronts that fit snuggly between the rails and stiles of the face frame. At the end of the day the door either fits in the opening or it doesn't, and there is very little room for adjustment, ergo the expense. This type of cabinetry construction hearkens back to the furniture craft which is what gives these cabinets that timeless look.

Overlay Cabinetry:
Overlay cabinetry is another type of framed cabinetry construction and probably what most people have in their homes.
The above cabinet is on display here in my office at Inspirations Design Studio and showcases a partial overlay cabinet ( 1/2" overlay to be exact.) Notice how the door sits on top of the cabinet box.

My ghostly white hand is back and is pointing to the cabinet box in which the door is sitting atop of. This type of cabinetry construction is referred to as a partial overlay because that 1/2" is showing on either side of the door.

This cabinet is an example of a full overlay cabinet. Full overlay is still in the framed cabinet family but is different from 1/2" overlay in that the door takes up nearly the entire face frame with very little exposed face frame on either side of the door...see below...

Full overlay cabinetry is going to give you more seamless look, where you will be seeing far more of the actual door than you will of the face frame of the cabinet box.

Framed cabinetry, regardless of the specific type (inset, partial overlay or full overlay) is a traditional American method of cabinetry construction. While the different types of framed cabinetry vary aesthetically they have accessibility in common, but let's talk more about that after we go over frameless cabinetry.
Frameless Cabinetry:

Frameless cabinetry is also known as European style cabinetry. The cabinets are constructed where the door sits directly on top of the cabinet box, creating a very sleek and seamless look as seen below.

Remember this little guy from my facelift series a few months ago?? He's frameless too!

Photo my own. 

Notice in both pictures above all that you see are the cabinet doors, there is no face frame showing. While both cabinets have a shaker style door, please know this type of cabinetry construction can be done with both traditional and contemporary door styles as well.

One of the main advantages to frameless cabinetry is the accessibility. Unlike framed cabinetry, there is no inside edge of a frame that is partially blocking the perimeter of the cabinet opening. Frameless drawers are also larger because the framed cabinet drawers have to be made smaller to fit through the face frame opening. 

Above is an example of the full access you get with frameless cabinetry. Are you acquiring an abundance of extra space? No, but every little bit counts especially in rooms where storage space is slim.

The price of frameless cabinetry can really fluctuate depending on where you purchase the cabinetry. Because a lot of American based cabinet makers have their machines set up to make framed cabinets, many of them do not offer frameless and if they do it can be expensive. However, other companies like the one I work for offer both frameless and the 1/2" overlay cabinetry and both are priced the same. 

Here is the typical  cabinetry construction price break down from highest to lowest:

  • Inset
  • Frameless/Full Overlay (Framed)
  • Partial Overlay
Well, there you have it, now you too will be noticing cabinetry construction every time you come across a cabinet! Now that you know the differences you will have to try and spot the various construction types and get your hands and eyes on them to see which construction style you prefer. I hope that your new found knowledge also helps you in future kitchen and bath endeavours. With the long list of decisions one has to make as they prepare to start a kitchen or bath project, I always suggest starting with the construction of the cabinetry. This decision will define not only the look you are going for, but also the price point.

Unless otherwise noted all photos were taken from the Inspirations Design Studio showroom.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Journey to the Wow

We are all looking for inspiration that will ignite excitement and set the wheels in motion for what we want for our own homes.

However, as happy and glossy as that ^ sounds I do realize that sometimes the wheels a turnin' are the least of our problems. Sometimes the funds are just not available. But fear not, every room's journey to the wow is going to be different. So, how does one go about improving their own space if ripping out the contents and starting over just isn't an option? Well.... I'm happy to report there are some face-lift-ish things you can do in a DIY (do-it-yourself) way to really turn your space around without breaking the bank. A few weeks ago I shared a laundry/mudroom project that was very well received. So, this week I want to show you two more laundry rooms that are equally as exciting but highlight a different journey to their individual wow results.

I think it's time to introduce you to one of my favorite blogs, which showcase a fair share of projects that are price conscious but pack a lot of punch. And no, I'm not talking about pinterest projects. I'm talking about real life laundry rooms that fellow bloggers revamped and improved in creative relatable ways.

Both laundry room projects were done by the happy couple at Young House Love. YHL is a blog written by a pair of husband and wife DIY'ers. They are uber creative, energetic and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoy reading their blog each and every day. If you visit their page you will see they've had two houses and two laundry room projects, so double the inspirations from this source! Weee!

Photo from Young House Love Blog.

Above is a before shot of the first laundry room - look familiar? I think we can all relate to this shot. The above is what happens when our laundry rooms become the catch all's catch all.

Photo from  Young House Love Blog.
And here is the after shot. What a transformation, right?! While the space did receive a new front load washer and dryer, everything else in the space is relatively inexpensive and doable for all of us. Let's start with the bamboo blinds they used to cover the open shelving. The shades act as a DIY cabinet door, but better. The unexpected use of these blinds not only adds a covering for stored items that may or may not always be in place but they add texture and interest to the space. Like the laundry room I showed you a few weeks ago, this space features a countertop over the washer and dryer but here this top is plywood that was painted! How genius! The countetop provides a perfect surface for folding laundry and because they used plywood instead of a stone surface the price tag can't be beat.

Photo from Young House Love Blog.
Above is the before shot of laundry room number two. As you can see, the space is rather drab and offers very little in terms of storage.

Photo from Young House Love Blog. 

And here is the after...I love it - so bright, so happy, so organized! As you can see the existing cabinets remained and new open shelving was added in what was the vacant space to the right of the washer/dryer units. Just like the laundry room from a few weeks ago, the use of baskets not only help organize the contents of the space, but add some flair and texture to the room. I love how they added hooks under the window to create their very own mudroom effect - the perfect place to hang little jackets, mittens and hats. The fresh coat of paint, new flooring, art work and cool lighting bring the whole space together.

So, there you have it, two laundry room face-lifts that are sure to get your wheels a turnin'. Going forward, as you make your own "to do" list for your house, keep in mind that every space is different and it doesn't always take a lot of money to turn a space around.  Sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and get creative. For more info and pics on these projects and more (oh so much more) check out the Young House Love blog here. OH... and even better, they're coming out with a book.....

It releases 4 days after my birthday............could be a great present...hint hint :)

All photos are from Young House Love's Blog.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Three Shades of White

I love colors - paint colors, nail polish colors, Prismacolor marker colors, basically if a color comes with a name I'm all over it. In truth - sometimes I fall in love with the name first and the color second, example: cinnamon toast (Prismacolor (rendering marker)) or Gray Owl (Benjamin Moore paint color), or "You Don't Know Jacques" (OPI - nail polish color), what can I say, some names just make me happy.

As fun as colors can be, they can also be tricky, especially when it comes to paint. Earlier this year I talked about my long and painful journey to find the perfect gray. During that process I quickly learned a few key things: one, not all paints are created equal and two, sometimes the most basic colors can be the most complicated.

Over the last year or so I've become increasingly color conscious due to my close workings with Bell Cabinetry. Bell Cabinetry is a custom cabinet company where all finishes are custom. Because of this I've become very aware of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to paints, but more importantly I've realized possibly the most complex color of them all is white.

White is an important color for interiors. Not only are shades of white the most popular hue of choice for house trim such as door and window casings, baseboards, house crown, etc...,but white is - has been - and will likely continue to be a hot, classic trend for cabinetry, specifically in the kitchen.

So, why is white so complicated? Easy - like most colors there are an abundance of white options, all of which differ slightly. Do you want a white-white, a gray white, a creamy white? So many options, it can make your head spin!

Above are just some of the paint samples I have around my office. All of these are in the white family. As you can see they all have a little something different going on and their difference really stand out when placed side by side.
White becomes especially complicated when it needs to marry up to something else white. This has had a tendency to be problematic because one of the hottest trends in kitchen and bath design is the forever lust worthy white cabinets with white countertop trend. So many times clients pick out their white marble and choose a white paint only to find that the white paint makes the marble look yellow, or even worse, pink... oh the tragedy!

To aid you all in your personal voyage to the perfect white for your projects I've put together a little collection of some of my favorite white options. One is my go-to ol' faithful, and two others are actually new shades recently introduced to me by clients.

Let's start with the bees knees of white paint. Not only does it marry well with most white countertops/tile but it's crisp true depth whiteness makes for a great great choice for trim as well.

White Dove - 

Benjamin Moore''s White Dove - OC-17

See it here on the cabinetry of this kitchen. Notice how it creates a nice backdrop for the Calcutta marble tops and backsplash. It's like a white dream - lovely. 

This photo is my own.

 Above is an example of the White Dove on the trim in this dining room. Notice how the color really pops against the gray/green color of Benjamin Moore's Sea Haze (I'll have to write about the journey to this color one day - another doozie!) So crisp - love it!

Shoji White -

Sherwin Williams' Shoji White - SW7042

This photo is my own.
Here is a sneak peek of my #ChattanoogaProject which showcases Shoji White on the perimeter cabinets as well as on the trim throughout the kitchen. This kitchen doesn't have it's countertops yet, but you can see this shade of white is pure with a hint of beige - no yellow, no gray.

Frostline -

Benjamin Moore's Frostline AF-5.
You may recognize this color from last weeks post. Frostline was the paint color for the mud/bench area.

This photo is my own.
Frostline has a more icy blue-green undertone which makes for a cool wintry white.

Obviously there are a bazillion other white paint options out there, but these are three that I've had success with recently. If any of you know of other great go-to options or better yet, paints that should have a skull and crossbones on the can do tell. Lord knows we can all use all the help we can get in this crazy, options galore world of paint.

Unless otherwise noted all photos are from google search.