Monday, March 14

Color Picks for Spring 2016

Here are my picks for Spring 2016.  Soft and muted hues are sure to brighten your space.  They can be used in any combination, and come from the Sherwin Williams "Vintage Chic" collection paint colors.  This collection includes: 
  • Sea Salt, SW6204, a soft green 
  • Alabaster, SW7008, an off white
  • Ponder, SW7079, from the purple family
  • Ancient Marble, another green
The rest of the collection is an great spring inspired pallet that coordinates well together in part or in full.

SW6204 Sea Salt
SW7008 Alabaster
SW7079 Ponder
SW6162 Ancient Marble

Monday, March 7

5 Spring Decor Idea's

Spring is coming,  and it is time to start dusting off the glue gun and get your spring decor on. Here is a collection of some of my favorite spring interiors with links to products and D-I-Y's for obtaining the same looks in your own home. One of the things I love most about Spring, is how easy it is to decorate for.
I am in love with these soft blue vases with pink tulips. Tulips are a spring essential, and I love how they look.  They add color, and brighten up a space.  Tulips are also available in a wide variety of colors, so you have quite a few options to coordinate with your space.  Yellow, white, pink, even orange, purple, or red.  You can mix and match colors or go with all the same colors.  

Now to create this look.  I found similar vases here, here,  and here. You can purchase tulips at your local grocery store.  I don't recommend buying flowers online, but if you must, you can find them here.  This is a quick and simple arrangement that can be done on a mantle, hearth, entry table, or anywhere else in the house.  This is a low skill project that doesn't require any special equipment (like that glue gun!)  Just a few simple notes: I typically like doing these arrangements in odd numbers, three or five vases, etc. Also, you don't have to fill all the vases with flowers. Note how this arrangement has two of the four vases filled with flowers.
This next image, much like the first one, is easy and obtainable in many areas of your home.  From the mantle to the entry table, even the front porch.  This vignette features a few items: 

This vignette is easy to make look great. Notice again, there are three vases, (I love them in odd numbers!).  Two one one side, and one on the other.  The bunny helps even out the vignette with the centered greenery in a tin planter, the chalk board, and the antique window. 

Dreamy Whites
This lovely table setting is perfect for Spring. The white ceramics are beautiful, and the lilac's are even better. Here are some of the items you will need to duplicate this space:
This table setting is very easy to duplicate. I have always believed that when you don't force a table setting, it looks natural. Less can definitely be more, and don't try to force it.  If you notice this setting, there is room to breathe.  There isn't so much on the table that you can still actually see the table.  Fill those mason jars with lemon aid, and your ready for a Sunday Spring Brunch.  Add some macaroons or petite fours, and your golden!
Now for the DIY's. 

One spring item that I love, is this amazing DIY tulip wreath that is not only easy to put together, but inexpensive, and will brighten up and liven up your front door.  Some of the item's you will need for this tutorial are: 

Follow along with the tutorial, and you will have a great wreathe to grace the front door and welcome your guests.  (Including the Easter Bunny!)  If you don't want to use only tulips, then shop around Michael's or Hobby Lobby and find a spring assortment that will make you happy. Hydrangeas, lilac's, lilies, any spring bloom will look great. 

This next DIY is fabulous. It includes Mason Jars.  How can you go wrong with Mason Jars? Painted Mason Jars are a big trend right now.  Forth this DIY, you will need the following: 
Now, be sure to follow along the tutorial.  This tutorial has you paint the interior of the mason jar, but you can also paint the exterior and sand some areas for a more shabby chic distressed look. If you go that route, I would recommend Chalk Paint

Happy Spring and Happy Decorating!

Monday, December 7

The Golden Revision

Many of us who have a 1980's and 1990's house have the same thing. Outdated and ugly brass fixtures.  We all have them, we all hate them, and we all want to replace them.  Especially now that they are probably showing their age with tarnishing and deteriorating finishes, leaks, and oxidation.  It's ok, we should all know we aren't alone.

Today's finishes aren't limited to Chrome and Brushed Nickel.  For those of you that still love the warmth and class that Brass once showed, there is still something perfect for you.  There are still golden finishes that are gaining in popularity. (I guess everything does come back around at some point!)  Here are some of my favorite finishes that are perfect for people who love the gold finishes, or who are on top of the fashion game!

This faucet is Brushed Bronze.  Similar finishes are available from many well named brands, including Kohler, Delta, Brizo, Newport Brass, Altman's, and many more.  This finish is available in both kitchen and bath. Brushed Bronze is a darker version of a golden finish.  It is warm, and goes well with cream colored finishes.

Here it is again in a kitchen faucet.  This particular faucet is the Kohler Karbon Articulating Faucet, which list at around $1500.  This finish is truly a way to make a statement.  It hasn't grown widespread like Brass did in the 80's and 90's, and like Brushed Nickel has in the 2000's and 2010's.  Because of so many finish offerings today, I don't think it will be come so widespread, so you can really make a statement and have something unique.

This Polished Copper faucet by Newport Brass is called the Metropole. I very popular design, in a unique finish to Newport Brass.  It looks just like a shiny new penny. This faucet is priced from around $1207. Many of Newport Brass's faucet offerings are available in this finish, which is again, a warm and unique finish.  One thing I dislike about chrome is that it can be so cold.

Newport Brass has the largest selection of gold finishes including Polished Copper, Brushed Bronze, French Gold, Polished Brass, Brushed Brass, and so much more. Newport Brass also has a wide variety of faucet designs, and nearly all faucets are available in all 27 finishes.  They are typically made to order, which makes them the best way to customize your faucet.  They have a full array of faucets including bath, kitchen, shower, and accessories to coordinate your whole home.

Delta Trinsic Floor Mount Tub Filler in Champagne Bronze
And this last faucet is the Delta Trinsic Floor Mount Tub Filler in Champagne Bronze. I love the mix of Traditional finishes with contemporary faucet design.  This is a great way to create a custom space.  Why stick to the same old boring Brushed Nickel if you don't want to. Like Newport Brass, Delta has a full variety of coordinating faucets and accessories to match your whole home.

Most people can't wait to get rid of their outdated gold faucets.  Some people still love the gold, if that's you, rest assured, you will find something to fit your taste.  Traditional, contemporary, and transitional styles are available in these fun new finishes.  And if you shop with the major brands, you can create a whole suite of fixtures and accessories to make a complete space.

Monday, October 19

6 Gorgeous Fall Porches

The air is getting cooler, and the pumpkin spice latte's are plentiful.  So what does that mean for your house? Whether you are decorating for Halloween, or fall in general, here are some absolutely gorgeous porches to get you inspired.

Simple with a splasg of color.
By Seaside Interiors

Lovely vignette,simple and clean.

Another chic vignette

Simply Elegant 

Lovely seating area

Eclectic Fall Decor
by EASYdesigns

Wednesday, October 14

Buying Guide: Kitchen Sink's

Since writing my Electronic Faucet Buying Guide, I have been asked to follow up with a Kitchen Sink Buying Guide to go along with it.  There are many kitchen sink option available in today's market.  Not only with size and design, but also materials of kitchen sinks.

I personally believe that the Faucet and Kitchen Sink are the two hardest working products in your entire home.  They need to be treated, and selected, as such.  Don't get a $99 sink/faucet set from Home Depot and then get mad when it's broken less than a year later.

When selecting a sink, your style of cooking and cleaning really need to be evaluated by you and your house hold.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Who does the dishes?  Don't get a sink too deep to cause back discomfort. Try them out.  
  • What's your dish washing style? Dishwashers use 1/6th the amount of water, and should be doing most if not all the washing.  Your dishwashing style will determine the number and configuration of bowls.
  • Is it for looks, or is it for function?  If you are an empty nester who eat out 5 times a week, your sink needs will be different than a family who always eats at home and has a house full of kids. 
  • What finishes are you looking for? Color, something that blends in with the counter?  The color you want will help determine the material.  
So, these are just a few questions to ask yourself.  When thinking about a kitchen sink, BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. You are just doing yourself an injustice if you can't be honest about your needs and wants. Also, your needs need to come before your wants.  I shouldn't have to state this, but if your need is for something as indestructible as possible, but you want stainless to match your appliances, ditch the stainless, you will be disappointed. 

Now for the materials. I will say, I am a little biased and opinionated on the matter, but after selling sinks for 11 years, and hearing the complaints, my opinions are more about experience than anything.  
Franke Peak PKX11028 

Stainless Steel. Yes, they look good, but I hate them. I absolutely hate them.  To get a good stainless steel sink you should expect to pay around $750 and up. If you decide to go this route there are a few things you need to know.
  • They Scratch. No matter how much you spend, is going to scratch.  (Unless your my mom!) 
  • Get grids. If the sink doesn't include protective grids, buy them. They are generally $100 per grid. They will help protect the bottom of the sink. 
  • Gauge. First of all, gauge is the actual thickness of the steel, and the smaller the number the thicker the steel. I recommend getting a 16 or 18 gauge sink. 
  • How is it made? In addition to the gauge, this is the most important thing.  There are stamped sinks, where they take a giant sheet of steel and press them into the shape of the sink.  Think about that Salt Water Taffy. What happens when you stretch it?  It get's thinner. Some sinks are folded and soldered. These are the ones you want.  
  • The next is the noise.  Sound deadening pads and under coating will make the sink quieter when the disposal is on, and when the water is on. 
Rohl Shaws Original Casement Edge Sink

Fireclay. Fireclay sinks are popular with the apron front style sinks.  These super durable sinks are great. Beautiful, as well as durable.  They are just as durable as a Cast Iron sink, yet feature thinner walls, often allowing for a larger basin.  Like Stainless, you get what you pay for. Because of the nature of this material, every sink is different. Don't ever cut a cabinet or countertop based on a template. Only use the actual sink. 1/8th of an inch can ruin your kitchen!  Here are some questions:
  • Is it hand made or machine made?  Generally the price will tell you. If it's under $1000 assume its made by a machine. If it's hand made, it will be more costly.
  • Hand made typically have more of a chance of size variations. Meaning it could be up to 1/4"smaller or larger than the display. 
  • Ask about pooling, and do your research.  Some fireclay sinks have unlevel bottom's, which can result in liquids pooling in the bottom of the sink. Some people, myself included, could careless, but if this will bug you, make sure there aren't a lot of complaints online and through the showroom. 

Blanco Diamond Super Single
Composite Granite. These are my own personal favorite. These sinks are a true work horse.  Scratch resistant, stain resistant, heat resistant, the whole deal. There are great shapes and designs available, and quite a few colors.  Most people opt for colors that blend in with their countertop, but contrasting the counter surface creates a great look as well. Like all sinks, you do get what you pay for. There are many brands of Composite Granite sinks, but in my opinion, Blanco's Silgranite is the one who has mastered the technology. 
  • First,when purchasing a composite granite (or any kitchen sink), be sure to inspect the sink for any cracks chips or damage before you even schedule your counter template. 
  • If you get a light color, I suggest getting a grid to protect the bottom of the sink.  Some pans, specifically cast iron, can transfer black marks.  They will come out, but why scrub if you don't have to. 
  • Some of the darker colors can also show water spots. If you have dark colors and hard water, simply dry out the sink after each use to avoid spots. It takes 2 seconds, it's easy, and good practice for any sink. 

Cast Iron. The traditional work horse. These sinks have been around for 50 years, and when taken care of, still look brand new.  Kohler is the major manufacturer of Cast Iron sinks.  There are many colors and shapes available. These sinks are cast iron, covered in an enamel.  They can chip, but the amount of force it takes to chip the enamel would ruin any sink on the market.  I typically warn people to be careful of the center divide if they get a double bowl. 
  • Like Composite Granite, if you get a lighter colored sink, get a grid to protect the bottom of the sink.  
  • Do Not Ever clean the sink with an abrasive cleaner like Ajax or Comet. It can scratch the glaze and you will never be able to keep the sink clean. (In fact, if you own some of these cleaners, throw them out for good!) 
  • Also, dark colors can get ruined by hard water, so be sure to wipe them dry when your done. 

So these are some of the major competitors for kitchen sinks.  Hopefully this gives you some criteria for a future sink and some ideas on what to look for when selecting your next sink.  Like a faucet, you get what you pay for, and you really need to invest in the best possible sink you can afford, which ever style you prefer.