Thursday, June 26, 2014

Spotted - Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine July 2014

Well, speak of the devil. Just last week I was filling you in on the behind the scenes details of the herringbone hood from the Luxury Living Show and now that same kitchen is featured in the July issue of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles!

Photo from Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle's website.
It's always a bit of a "pinch me moment" to see a space you've worked so hard on grace the pages of a magazine. This project in particular was so fun and really allowed me to flex my creativity muscles. I beamed a little when I first saw the pictures of the kitchen all glossy and pretty in the spread.

Photo from Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle's website.
This week marks my 6th year as Kitchen & Bath Designer! Six years seems impossible, it feels as if it was only yesterday that I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to complete my final designs for graduation. I guess time flies when you're having fun! The last six years have been a sweet mixture of challenging and rewarding experiences and projects like this one have made the journey that much sweeter.

Be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine, on stands now!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Behind the Scene: Herringbone Hood

We all love to look at the pretty picture. The pretty picture of the kitchen, of the flower, of the outfit, etc...But do you ever stop and think about how that pretty picture came to be? For Kitchen & Bath Design there are a LOT of behind the scenes happenings that take place before an idea can become a reality. With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to start a new series where I pick a "pretty" that I designed and tell the story of how it came to be.

Today's story is all about the herringbone hood I designed for the Luxury Living Show 2014.

Late last year I was doodling around when the concept for a herringbone hood hit me like a ton of bricks. At the time I was in the thick of working on designs for the Luxury Living Show and  I thought "ding, ding" - this hood concept could be perfect. I quickly started sketching out the vision, all the while smiling to myself because I just had this gut feeling this was going to be awesome.

One of the many perks to working for a custom cabinetry shop is when one has such ideas there are people that can make those dreams ideas a reality. Here at Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios the design possibilities are endless.  Our mantra - if you can think it (and we can draw it) we can make it. This has been wildly exciting to me from day one. I'm constantly trying to think of out-of-the-box ideas that only someone with custom capabilities could make happen and this herringbone hood was just that. 

Before we were ready to bring the sketch to life we had some details to work out; the first of which was the proportions of the hood. We had a good grasp on the overall length and height but we played around with the width of the planks as well as the angle of the herringbone pattern. Various sized planks were cut and we laid the hood out on the floor and tweaked and tweaked until it felt right. Once we got all of those details nailed down we focused on the material and the finish. We went back and forth  between painting and staining. Both were intriguing options, but after much discussion we decided to go with a stained knotty walnut with a natural finish. Walnut is such a beautiful wood with varying colors so we felt it would really accentuate the herringbone pattern, not take away from it.

With  the species and the color nailed down, it was time to start assembling. The guys in the shop cut a piece of  plywood  and drew out the herring bone pattern. Then they cut the pieces of walnut and we began playing with the layout. We wanted a random mix of light and dark pieces as well as a random mix of knotty and smooth. It was like a puzzle, moving pieces from here to there until we were satisfied.

We also wanted the hood to look old and not too "perfect", so we had the guys in the shop sand down the corners of certain pieces so the hood had depth and didn't lay completely flat.

Because this hood was going in the Luxury Living Show, the whole thing was assembled so countertops could be templated, which allowed me a mini-preview of the final results. 

It was definitely in the rough stage with no finish, but the proportions felt right and even sitting there all unfinished and raw it was cool, which made me that much more excited to see the finished product.

It wasn't long before the kitchen was installed and the hood was hanging smack dab in the middle of Phipps Plaza in the Luxury Living Kitchen

Photo by Barbara Brown Architectural Photography.
And here is a close up of the hood with all of the details we spent hours deliberating and discussing. I was so happy with the final results, it was everything I had envisioned and more!

As a designer, creative concepts are plentiful, but there is usually a circumstance or a person standing by ready to pop your "I'm-so-excited" bubble. I feel so fortunate to work for a company where our creative thoughts have a fighting chance and most of the time a future. It's a true thrill to watch as an idea becomes a sketch and a sketch becomes a reality and the reality becomes a fixture hanging in a kitchen that real life people can enjoy every single day. What a rush!

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Top Taupes

Taupe is the Pharrell Williams of paint colors. It's hot on the charts right now and oh, so happy! 

When I think of taupe, I think of the color that is formed when coffee is mixed with milk. 

Photo from Google.
Taupe is a whisper of a color - soft and warm and very much chameleon like in nature. It offers color without being too heavy or dark and offers sleekness without being too cold and sterile. It's a happy color that brings a touch of softness and elegance to a space. Of course like all things, there are many versions of taupe. Like grays, taupes can be tricky and the road to the perfect taupe can be a painful one. The undertones play a big part in how pink/yellow/brown the taupe you choose comes out.  I've dabbled a lot in the taupe world as of late so I thought I would share my favorites with you.

Photo by Barbara Brown Architectural Photography
Indian River was the cabinetry color in my Homes of Distinction Tour Kitchen. This color is everything taupe was meant to be and more. It possesses the perfect amount of gray in the undertones which keeps the color light and airy but enough brown to darken it up just enough to add a touch of warmth. I love how this taupe contrasts beautifully with the white backsplash as well as the brown hardwoods. So, so good.

Photo by Barbara Brown Architectural Photography
We used York Gray for the perimeter cabinetry in the 2013 Holiday House Kitchen. While the word gray is in the name of this color, I'm still filing this color under taupe. A very light taupe, but taupe nonetheless. This color is about as close as you can get to having a white kitchen without in fact having a white kitchen. There is just enough color - created with very light yellow/brown undertones.

Out of all the taupe's I've played around with, this one is probably my favorite. Smokey Taupe is just a really good color. I've used it numerous times including the wet bar pictured above, which was part of my #Northcliff Kitchen, and I've never been disappointed.  I call this color a whisper, because it's just so elegant and soft.

Photo by Jen Wunderlich Photography.
Here it is again at one of my more recent kitchen remodel's - Bridgett Court. I love how this color instantly becomes so much more present when used next to white. It just pops. There are slightly red undertones in Smokey Taupe so depending on the light it can have a very light pink hue which you can see a little bit if you compare the base cabinets in the photo above with the wet bar shot. However, it's never overpowering thanks to the also present light brown undertones.

Colors are always fun to explore and I've really been digging the way our taupe selections have turned out. There are some others I've come across that I haven't tried yet like Sherwin William's Balanced Beige which looks like it might be nice. What about you guys, any favorite taupes to pass along? I'd love to add to my list!

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Nesbit Lakes Basement Bar

Welcome to every sports fanatics dream - a basement remodel complete with a beautifully stocked bar, SIX televisions, a pool table and loads of sports memorabilia adorning the walls. 

Speaking of sports memorabilia - check out the fun stadium seating from the old Braves the pop of red!

Chris Pfahl of Dreamweaver Building & Remodeling gave this entire basement an overhaul and invited me to the remodeling party to design the bar.

Bars can be tricky little devils to design. Often times bars have a lot of the same components as kitchens - appliances, sink/faucet and cabinetry. So it's important to focus on creating a space that feels more "Bar" and less Kitchenette. There are several ways to go about this, starting with the appliances. Nothing screams kitchenette like appliances, especially full sized units. So, we kept the appliances, all FIVE of them under counter and panelized everything we could.

From the get go we knew this space would play host to hungry, thirsty, sports crazed friends and family, so it was important that it pack a lot of functionality. As I said, there are five appliances in this bar including a microwave, under counter refrigerator, dishwasher, under counter wine unit and ice machine.  All of that in addition to a trash pullout, sink base and roll outs offer plenty of space to store bar ware, liquor, wine, beer, coozies, napkins, snacks and other bar necessities. 

For the back wall I designed open shelving flanked by wall cabinetry to the countertops. Antique mirror was installed for the backsplash and on the wall cabinets. The cabinetry to the ceiling in addition to the mirror gives the room height and depth and the open shelving provides the perfect place to store and display liquor bottles.

The clients really wanted the bar to be a place you could "belly up" and hang out. To create this vibe a bar rail was added to the wood top and a brass foot rail was installed along the bottom, both of which  create a bold visual and a comfortable space to have a drink and relax.

Every angle of this bar is relevant because depending on which way you enter the basement this bar is always in sight. For the back of the bar, which you see upon entering the basement from the upstairs, I designed deep dish panels to be installed along with posts and large corbels. These types of beefy details are a bar's best friend.

 I'm so pleased with how this space transformed and I could definitely see myself enjoying the ambiance and relaxing with a cold drink - especially around football season! Again, a huge shout-out to Chris Pfahl of Dreamweaver Building & Remodeling who was responsible for all of the ins and outs of this project, once again he delivers an exceptional experience and product to his clients! All cabinetry is by Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios and the photography is by Jen Wunderlich Photography

Cheers to great clients and a beautiful space!

Photography by Jen Wunderlich Photography.