What Is The New(est) in Kitchens?

bath design, color, Interior Design, kitchen design, residential designon June 26th, 2011No Comments
Thermador Steam Oven

Thermador Steam Oven

The recent Kitchen & Bath Show provided manufacturers an opportunity to roll out their new products for industry professionals to see…and, oh boy, was there a lot to see, and touch and…oh, well, see some more!  In it’s most recent issue, K+BB takes a look at the new hot trends for both kitchens and baths…but for today, let’s focus on kitchens.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love to watch The Food Network.  Each episode of any of the episodes always has a happy ending and I really like my happy endings!.  While I have learned to love cooking because of Ina, Paula and Giada, I only cook a couple of times a week because I am so busy that I have no time to do it.  I might consider entering the kitchen more often if I had some of the newest products available…the first being Thermador’s new Steam Convection Oven.  With 40 automatic food programs and 9 cooking modules, I could quickly prepare healthy, low-fat meals for the hubby with either steam or convection or a combination of both.  This is a seriously fundamental addition to the serious cook’s kitchen!  Wolf will have such an item available this summer, too.

A good kitchen sink is critical to food preparation and clean-up.  When you think of the term “farmhouse sink” one rarely thinks of contemporary…until now.  Native Trails makes a contemporary looking farmhouse-sink (named “Zuma”) that would be a beautiful addition to any contemporary kitchen with it’s hammered front, sleek lines and 10.5″ depth.  Paired with Kohler’s “Elate” pull-out faucet one would have the perfect sink-faucet set up.  The Kohler faucet features “ProMotion” technology to ensure a smooth function of the pullout sprayhead that sports features like an aerate, spray and pause option.  (Bella, the “mahuahua” puppy, would appreciate the pause option during baths…alright, I confess that it would be me to appreciate the pause option…while I am wrangling the puppy.)

Native Trails "Zuma" Farmhouse Sink

Native Trails "Zuma" Farmhouse Sink

Dacor has expanded it’s line of appliances with the Energy Star qualified Epicure 36″ freestanding French door cabinet model.  With more precise temperature controls, LED lighting and front-mounted electronic controls, this refrigerator has the optional integrated panels to blend with your kitchen cabinetry or the stainless steel look.  I can finally put a full tray of fruit in this baby for parties!

Edgewater Studio

Edgewater Studio Glass Mosaic

Finally, no kitchen is complete without some big bling and Edgewater Studio provides that in a big way with it’s beautiful non-traditional shaped art glass mosaics!  I love the mosaic pictured and the fact that I can custom color the glass makes me very happy.  This company also offers stone and coated glass collections…the little synapses in my brain are clicking fast right now.

These products are just a few of the offerings seen at the KBIS Show and more are available at kbbonline.com including the Best of Show products.  Remember your interior designer when you are contemplating a kitchen renovation or building your new kitchen.  As professionals, they can easily design the layout of your kitchen with an eye on function, beauty and especially an eye on your budget.  Maybe one of these products will be yours soon!…and maybe my husband will be eating something besides popcorn for dinner tonight.


Roses Are Red…and pink and yellow!

color, fabrics, Interior Designon May 20th, 2011No Comments

This morning I walked through the garden and said farewell to my lovely rose (and calla lily) friends.  Those seven-foot high rose bushes have provided me and my neighbors with much amusement and joy.  I know that having these friends is only a fleeting thing…three weeks ago, the fifty or so bushes were a riot of color and perfume.   Now, only a few blooms remain and the neighborhood and I are in mourning.

Each day the Arizona heat and wind have diminished the color and dried up the beauty…I know the end is near.  Within weeks the desert temperature will soar to 110 degrees and the bushes will shrivel, defying that hot, never-ending beating sun, and my lilies will literally be cremated.  So…all that I will have left are pictures to remind me that my friends will return, will be resurrected in the fall when the temperatures will return to “normal” and the sun retreats to the south giving us all relief from the heat!…it cannot come fast enough.

Roses are not only an inspiration for me in the garden but an inspiration for many in the world of interior design.  They are seen printed on fabric and wallpaper in various genres from traditional to modern.  They are borders on rugs, painted on furniture and grace beautiful botanical drawings.

Bennison Fabrics has a wonderful pattern that recalls vintage living with a “tea stained” looking ground and Lee Jofa provides some wonderful fabrics that make my heart sing! The one pictured inspired a client’s bedroom.

In Arizona, sometimes the only relief when the garden is bare of my floral friends, is to stroll through the Design Center and once again see my favorite roses…and lillies.

Hooray for Hollywood…and other places

color, fabrics, Interior Designon April 12th, 2011No Comments

I recently had the pleasure to be present when Karen Reid , a New York based rep for Bergamo, gave a bombastic presentation of the spring textile and wallpaper collections from the family of Bergamo which includes the fabric houses Rubelli, Sahco and Donghia at the Scottsdale John Brooks Showroom.  What captured my imagination right away was the beauty of the new Donghia fabric “Hollywood” and only maybe because it was sitting on the easel as we were gathering for the presentation…there it was just demanding that I love it.  I did!

This stunning silk satin fabric looked liked the most fluid metal ever with flame stitching…my favorite color line was the cheerful ochre and gold.  This named fabric collection is inspired by places dotted across the US. like Jackson, Key West and Annapolis to name a few.  Jackson is a velvet inspired geometric design that shows itself well in copper and Annapolis is the perfect military stripe constructed in wool…may I shout “Attention!?”

Sahco has some equally beautiful fabrics.  “Contura” made me covet it’s beauty and I had to order a memo sample so that I could appreciate it privately with no one watching…sigh.  Numa, a contemporary “bull’s-eye” woven in silk was also inspirational and finally, Jolie, an embroidered linen is the perfect girlie girl’s companion.

Rubelli had the most delicious cotton velvet floral print that had some designers  at the presentation thinking fashion couture, not interior design.  Malvasia, as it is named, reminded me of watercolor class in college with stunning color pairings.  A companion stripe, Frezzeria, is the epitome of formal casual striping at its very best.  Yummy!

Fabric presentations like the one I attended here are the perks of my business.  Not always will I have the opportunity to place any of these fabrics in one of the interiors I design, but that doesn’t matter to me.  Looking at these fabric gems allows my creativity to spark…and then, who knows, maybe one day “Hollywood” will come to Phoenix!

The POW, POW, Power of Color!

color, Interior Designon April 5th, 2011No Comments

Today I was faced with the decision of what I was going to “gift” others who would be attending with me, a networking luncheon later this week.  As I was meandering along the aisles of Staples looking for studio supplies, I was drawn to the packaging of “Bic Mark*it” permanent markers…the adult version of crayons…and I was immediately mesmerized with the riot of colors in the package.  It hit me instantly that I had to share with my fellow networkers one of my primary tools of the trade…COLOR!

Color impacts everyone of us every minute of every hour of every day…in places where we live, where we work and where we play.  It stimulates our senses, it empowers us, it affects our mood and can influence our health.  We may not be aware of the influences that color makes in our lives, but, let me tell you, others ARE! 

When working with a jeweler many years ago, he made it an issue that no light or pale greens were to be used in his retail store…he explained that this particular color range of green did not instill a feeling of trust in a retail situation…and so we settled on a nice, rich dark green ( like Sherwin-Williams’ SW6446 Arugula) for his establishment and complimented that color with dark mahogany wood cases.  We had captured trust in spades!  Hmmm…thinking back, maybe I should have traded services for diamonds….

Colors can evoke human physiologic reactions like the fact that red can stimulate the salivary glands, so many restaurants still use red as an influence in some way while we dine (conversely, blue has just the opposite effect) and is the first color infants see…and male babies see it first.  Greens can produce an environment that will reduce tension and can promote healing so we see it applied in many spa surroundings often coupled with tints of blue.  The book “Color Psychology and Color Therapy” by Faber Birren was (and still is) a wonderful reference for my answers in all things color and I have used since I was in design school.

As an interior designer, I get to work with color ALL the time and it continually amazes me to see client reactions to color selections…generally to the timidity of using color other than “safe builder’s beige.”  Color is good…and paint is cheap.  Welcome is the client who embraces saturated color…like Sherwin-Williams’ SW6909 Lemon Twist or Benjamin-Moore’s 2023-40 Sunburst bright yellows for a laundry room!…and that is a conversation for another day!

Feeling a Little Blue?…or Brown?..or Both?

color, fabrics, Interior Designon April 4th, 2011No Comments

One of the most successful color pairings in the recent past is the color combination of blue and brown/tan.  Visually, the palette pairing provides a soothing aesthetic for both masculine and feminine spaces alike.  Barclay Butera has successfully paired these colors himself in his new bedding line for Eastern Accents in his new “Hyland Park” collection that features paisley, stripes and solid colors.

The collection’s duvet features a strikingly bold paisley pattern in blue and tan which is offset by toss pillows in stripes of blue, brown and tan.  These are complemented by euro pillows in brown velvet and standard shams in tan velvet both trimmed with coordinating cord.  To set off the look, a smart looking velvet animal print pillow to sit front and center of the completed bed.  The whole ensemble works well in a traditional setting though can be equally at home in an urban loft setting.

The new bedding ensembles also feature additional collections including “Sag Harbor” and “Palm Canyon”.  Sag Harbor is a fresh outlook on a beach collection with blue beach striped pillows and an accent pillow featuring a blue coral pattern…Palm Canyon plays to my love of animal patterned whimsy with tailored zebra print pillows!  Each collection would be a beautiful additional to any bedroom!

Blue and brown…I’m thinking I need to call a great client to show her the new Butera collection for her teenage sons’ bedroom.  It would be perfect for them…but…maybe without the animal print accent pillow!

What Color IS White?

color, residential designon August 3rd, 2010No Comments

Many years ago I attended a color seminar that featured an expert in color theory and color trends.  His question for the participants was, “What color is the most popular or favorite color in the United States today?”  The speculation and answers to his question waxed poetic…after all we were designers who knew how to sell our colors.  As he began to nix all the answers, the enthusiastic crowd became silent..what was that favorite color?

The answer was “brown”.  Seriously??  BROWN??  Well, his answer taught me something.  The most popular color that year was “Navajo White”…which is a very, very, VERY light color tint of BROWN!  I’ve never forgotten that answer.  This memory was conjured up today as I was preparing for a meeting tomorrow regarding the selection of a color palette for a home being built for a young professional couple.  read more

10% Inspiration (FUN) vs 90% Paperwork (UGH)

residential designon August 2nd, 2010No Comments

I remember the very first day of classes to become an interior designer, my favorite instructor, Sherry Shroyer (now gone but not forgotten) uttered this phrase, ” Design is 10 % inspiration and 90% supporting that inspiration with paperwork.  If that doesn’t sound like fun to you, there is the door!”  Seriously?  What had I gotten myself into?  Frankly, I had chosen to be an interior designer because law school would take too long, in my estimation, and I was no spring chicken then.

At forty-two years young I had decided that I needed to make a living for myself  facing divorce and having been a former award-winning artist, I figured interior design was my thing….after all I had been helping all of my friends for years with advice.  Now, theoretically, I could charge a fee for what I had been giving away for years.

All these years later I can say that what Sherry spoke that day was prophetic.  For all of those out there who think that fun or glamour plays a big part in this business must know that this is business and glamour, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. read more

Oregon or Bust

hospitality designon August 1st, 2010No Comments

This morning I received a call with the most wonderful news…and Oregon may be in my future!

A former client with whom I have done both personal and previous hospitality work called to say that his clients loved the working drawings I had proposed for an old generator shed that will be remodeled into a new rental cottage…one that we shall now fondly call “The Shed”.  I had been on-site two weeks ago to meet the family developing the project and to interview with them.  Can I tell you I fell in love with scenery that defies description?…but don’t tell my son-in-law because he would love to move there in an Oregon minute and taking my grandbabies there is not up for discussion, if you know what I mean.  read more

Opportunity Knocked

Interior Designon July 31st, 20102 Comments

Throughout life most of us seek or dream for THE big opportunity. Often that opportunity passes us by because we are either unready or unwilling. I was both.

After twelve years with a much heralded interior design firm in the regional southwest, one with a fifty year reputation, the economy caught up with me and I was presented with THE opportunity in the middle of January. At first I called THE opportunity…THE lay-off. I loved what I did for a living and I loved where I did it…or so I told all my clients and friends. It was if there had been a divorce, however amicable.

Luckily I was caught up with my husband’s recent open-heart surgery and his up and down recovery. That helped to muddle the pain and the sting of the unknown opportunity. After a week of searching my soul and the classified ads (an exercise a good friend, an occupational therapist, suggested), I was certain that I was neither qualified as a software engineer or suited as a “gentlemen’s” cabaret entertainer. At least I was beginning to see what opportunities I would NOT be pursuing. So what was I to do? read more