Maybe it’s because Lily and I are headed out-of-town for a week of skiing in a few days (I can’t wait!!!), but all I can think about are cabins. Truth be told, I started fantasizing about them this past summer – lake cabins in particular – and the ever-so-slight departure I noticed away from the farmhouse/barn design trend of the past 5+ years. I still firmly believe in the permanence of this style and love it (obviously) but if I were to spot an aesthetic trend in interior design emerging, I would say that ‘cabin chic’ might be next. Just a prediction 🙂
On an administrative note: There are still a few tweaks, additions and modifications to the site in progress, I’m working diligently on fixing them with the help of Luke over the phone from college when he’s available, Our highly skilled and efficient tech department is on it! and you will see improvements made in the days to come. Thank you for your patience.
ps – ski trip photos will be on Instagram!
Notice the double sets of doors. I have been seeing this done quite a bit lately and think it’s just brilliant. It allows for privacy and weather protection when you want, light and openness when you prefer that.
I would love to know more about that counter piece on the left… It looks like it’s a vintage piece of furniture and melds beautifully with the other elements in the room. Sometimes clients are apprehensive about mixing woods. This is a great example of how well it works and is actually better than having all the wood match exactly. It looks like there are five wood components to this space and they’re all different.
What a nice place to read or take a nap.
I really like the gallery wall but what caught my eye is the painted shiplap. Typically we see it in white, and in cabins wood-paneled walls are often kept natural, but painting one in a rich gray to create a focal wall I think compliments all the other wood details in the space beautifully.
I want to be right here! Doesn’t this room draw you in? Especially in a vacation/second home environment where family members and friends are likely to gather, a comfortable seating arrangement to pile into is so inviting.
Stacks of blankets and pillows are decor by themselves.
The cabin essentials kit:
Faux fur blankets – can’t have enough of these lying around. From here.
Hi… I hope your new year is off to a great start! I don't typically make resolutions, but this year I did. My type-A, plan-ahead self is taking a rest. She used to think she could see the future as if she was looking into a crystal ball and be sure of how things would go… But in the case(s) where she was wrong and things didn't go as planned or worse – as she believed they would – her world and all she knew to be real, was rocked. So, this year, she is planning I am just going to see what happens…:)
I've been noticing another design trend emerging lately… blonde or bleached wood is appearing in a big way. I am loving the soft shades from milky gray to pinkish and how beautifully they compliment light colors creating an ethereal effect as well as with dark shades and metals creating a more masculine feel. Here are some images that caught my eye. Enjoy.
A tour of the Henrybuilt showroom in Mill Valley, CA.
Hi loves. I'm writing to you from bed with a whopping cold. I can't remember the last time I felt this bad. Hot water with lemon and honey and lots of rest is my plan for the day. So forgive me – I'm lite on words today…
I'm excited to share with you a modern cabinet resource that is high on style but even more important, is designed smartly and efficiently. Form follows function without any aesthetic compromise. Here is my visit to the Henrybuilt showroom in Mill Valley, CA!
First, a little aside… Janet Hall the showroom manager is an old friend of mine from my Seattle days. Our daughters went to the same teeny tiny preschool in our old neighborhood when they were 2. Janet also is one of the founders of the uber popular blog Remodelista. She is a connoisseur of great design, so I couldn't wait for her to show me around!
The showroom is in a former mechanic's garage.
All the drawers have magnetic adjustable dividers thus are adaptable to any combination of utensils.
Notice the brass pulls and how the drawer fronts are constructed to fit them perfectly. They are solid brass and made at the factory in Seattle. All hardware for Henrybuilt cabinets is made by them. Snacks not included.
Janet explained to me that Henrybuilt kitchens are a 'system' rather than just cabinets. Everything is designed around it's purpose and specialized to the owner's exact preferences.
A 1/2" countertop reveal. I spot a trend happening… Cutting boards are designed to fit snuggly on countertops and slide easily to accommodate tasks.
The attention to detail and quality of the workmanship is exceptional.
There are several finish options as well as materials to select from. You can also mix and match. I always gravitate to kitchens with a contrasting island color.
Above is a closet system. The top slides to reveal the upper drawer. The scoops are for spare change, cuff links, etc.
There are many more products and features that Henrybuilt offers. If you are considering custom cabinets and like a sleek modern look, I encourage you to explore their website. Click here.
Brass hardware and fixtures for kitchens and bathrooms
Several years ago when I first noticed brass hardware appearing in 'fashion forward' kitchens and bathrooms, I had no idea that it would become as mainstream as it has. It's often paired with gray cabinets which are a lovely compliment.
I'm currently working on a design project for an adorable young family. The project scope includes a remodel of the entire first floor – kitchen, family room, dining room, powder room and laundry as well as new furnishings, lighting, accessories, etc. I'm really excited about how it's shaping up! Here is a sneak peek at some of the kitchen selections so far…
Moroccan style crackle finish tile in creamy white for the backsplash.
Gray shaker cabinetry. We're actually using two colors – one for the perimeter wall cabinets and another for the island. There will be two different countertop materials as well. SO pretty!
A modern pull-down faucet in brushed brass.
Aren't these the most GORGEOUS brushed brass pulls?!
We use Pinterest quite a bit to swap ideas and created an online binder of what we have selected. If you are interested in following the board, click here.
Speaking of Pinterest, which I now can't imagine life without, the most pinned photo I have ever taken or had pinned from my blog is this one… There is one string that has over 2,000 repins. And lo and behold, it just happens to be brass hardware and gray cabinets! I took it over 2 years ago on my birthday weekend in wine country.
While I was sourcing kitchen faucets for my clients, I came across a few that I love, but passed on for this job. I bookmarked them for future reference. I hope I get to use them in other projects soon! In case you are on the hunt too, here they are.
Awhile ago I posted about a project I was working on for clients who wanted to completely renovate their kitchen as well as redecorate the attached family room space. The client's style preference is contemporary with a little 'glam'. I enjoyed the challenge of stepping outside my personal aesthetic and tapping into what they really wanted.
Here are photos of the kitchen 'before'.
Here are the kitchen 'afters'.
The island is painted in Benjamin Moore's Fusion.
In the family room, the biggest task was figuring out what to do with the fireplace surround, since it's the focal point. It goes up to the pitched ceiling and needed some dimension. The client did not want a rustic look, so no stone or reclaimed wood. Ultimately, the rug inspired a similar geometric pattern that was applied with 1" x 1" trim to the sheetrock.
Here are the family room 'before's'.
The raised geometric pattern being applied to the fireplace wall.
The colors for the furnishings were gray and violet. Some paint options we were considering…
We had the windows enlarged and framed all windows in both the family room and kitchen in a simple trim detail. That made a huge difference!
Here are the family room 'afters'.
The Parson's tables (one on each side of fireplace) are from Bungalow 5 and are lacquered grasscloth in white. The x-benches are from Ballard Design, with fabric we provided. They turned out great didn't they? So easy to work with them, I was really happy with the customer service. I had an actual name who knew the status of the order at all times. Would highly recommend them.
A couple of months ago I was interviewed for Luxe magazine – Pacific Northwest edition, asking me for my favorite places in Seattle. Here's the article along with a hilarious cartoon of me!
Thank you for your responses to my last post about vulnerability. I truly appreciate your comments, emails and feedback and am delighted that so many found it inspiring. I believe wholeheartedly in taking emotional risks, as I have learned first hand how magnificent the rewards can be. I am grateful you allowed me a moment to veer off topic, and to the one who gently suggested I stick to my day job — duly noted 🙂
The design decisions regarding cabinetry for the entire house needed to be made just before the holidays. I knew I wanted Shaker-style (more on that below), but besides that, there were mostly question marks. Being a full on type-A, wanting to make well informed decisions I wouldn't regret later, I first went to look at a local cabinet making facility with my contractor Steve to get ideas and see how exactly they are constructed, painted, etc.
This company specializes in a painting technique that is baked on (this is not the technical term) resulting in a very durable and chip-proof product. However to me, it almost had the appearance of Ikea furniure (nothing against Ikea), but kind of synthetic.
What I had in mind were cabinets that have a furniture like quality. Not so perfectly smooth and factory-made looking. I briefly researched local cabinet makers, but with time running out I decided to fly down our former cabinet maker from Seattle – Martin - to weigh in and see if he would be willing to construct all the cabinetry from Washington and drive them here. Luckily he was on board!!
I wish I had photos to show you of the kitchen Martin did for us in Seattle, but it was back in the day of non-digital cameras, so the photos are, for now, packed and stored. Martin doesn't have a website, but luckily I found a photo of a kitchen he did that was published in a magazine.
Martin and I collaborated on the design by first looking at images I have bookmarked over the years. Since Martin mainly does Shaker cabinets, that was where we began. Here's a good description of that style taken from HGTV.com
"The unadorned cabinet style was first produced by the Shakers around the 1790s. The Shakers were a religious group that valued simplicity and solid craftsmanship. One of the hallmarks of Shaker cabinetry is dovetailed wood joints. No glue or nails are used in corners, so that the wood swells and contracts uniformly, resulting in an extraordinarily sturdy joint.
The Shakers valued neatness and orderliness. Furniture is well-suited to its task, with multiple drawers, shelves, etc., so that there is a place for everything. Built-in furniture was popular with Shakers because it fit the space exactly and had a specific function
Ornamentation for Shaker furniture was considered unnecessary. Once the piece had reached a point of exact functioning, it was finished. Plain fronts, limited trim and simple hardware were all that was required.
With its simple, clean lines, Shaker style furniture is suited to any decor. It can be modernized with high-tech finishes and ornate hardware, or fit comfortably in a traditional home using warm woods and old-fashioned pulls."
There are many decisions that go into cabinetry design. Here is a short cheat sheet of a few of them:
1. Exposed hinges vs. invisible.
As you can see from the image below, Shaker cabinet doors can be flush mounted, meaning they are not inset in the boxes and thus have hidden hinges.
Also, notice the use of mixed metals. I love it. Often clients will ask me about whether it's ok to mix finishes and get nervous about the idea of not having all the metals be the same. I prefer a non-matchy look here (although in many cases I do!) and like combining silver and gold jewelry, so in my opinion it looks great and there are no rules!
Here is an example of inset with exposed hinges. Ours will be very similar to these.
2. How do the cabinets meet the ceiling and floor?
I really like the simple base on these cabinets for the kitchen. The contrast of the dark hardware against the light cabinets is really pretty too. It looks like the knobs are painted the same color as the doors. Since there are so many and would have looked too busy in a darker finish, I think this was really smart.
We have beams similar to these below going in the kitchen, so how to deal with how they meet with the tops of the cabinets took some attention. This image provided great inspiration.
3. Storage and practicality vs. design.
The biggest tip I can pass along to those designing a kitchen is the benefit of drawers instead of doors in the lower cabinets. Other than under the sink, cabinets are not necessary and are actually a big pain. Think of how hard it is to find an item that has been pushed to the back.
We decided not have any cabinet doors in our kitchen including in the island. We are even putting our dishes in a drawer! The only exceptions are doors that when open, reveal a drawer for spices, cookie sheets, oils and recylcling.
There are many details in this kitchen that are similar to ours. The layout with windows on each side of the range, black trim and drawers.
Another design vs. practicality decision was open shelving. I've thought about this quite a bit. I really like the look and many of the images I've saved have open shelves. In the end, I decided I'm not cut out to pull this off, nor are the habits of my family. I cook often, and despite the assurance of open shelf owners that they do not get dirty, I don't think that would be the case in our house. I had an open metro shelf in our house that was on the opposite side of the kitchen and found that I had to take everything off and clean it every few months.
The other reality is that not every plate and mug and bowl match in our house. Being a full on type A, appreciating a clean look, seeing the mismatched items would drive me nuts.
In the end we decided to have only two upper cabinets and they go from the countertop to the ceiling (no counter space between).
Once Martin and I decided on the above, the next step was to plan where everything was going to go. I compiled a list of kitchen items and wrote notes on the drawings to map out where everything would be stored.
Here are the finished drawings (hand done- Martin is old school!)
Kitchen floor plan
Desk Wall Elevation There are still a few more kitchen decisions to be made – paint color, countertop and tile selection and island wood finish (I'm leaning towards unpainted Walnut). So stayed tuned for future posts. In the meantime, if you would like to see more images I've collected, please go to my Pinterest page – here.