August 31, 2013
Give me a white kitchen with open shelving any day. I love the simplicity, the straightforwardness and the cleanliness of the combination. I’m not really interested in gimmicky back-splashes or tricky knobs and I believe that restraint is the both the most difficult in a kitchen design and the most rewarding. I don’t want to cook in a room that feels more like a den or library and I certainly don’t want to buy into the stove as trophy aesthetic that is still so prevalent in “current kitchens”. For me white base cabinets look best with paneled appliances or a white dishwasher and refrigerator, allowing them to meld into the cabinets and walls. I don’t mind a bit of stainless and wouldn’t want a white range or stove (unless it’s an Aga) but I don’t want a massive range, hood, combo that overpowers the space. Here are a few great kitchens…
I’ve been sitting on these photos for sometime, I’m sure you won’t mind the “over-share”… there were just too many to edit them down. Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you spend it with loved ones and/or friends doing something you love.
August 21, 2013
A: Creating a black bathroom.
Our house is circa 1907 and it has lovely details like leaded glass, quarter sawn oak floors, built-ins and plenty of room for the two of us and our dogs (and guests) BUT it doesn’t have 2 full baths. Who builds a 5 bedroom house and only puts in one full bathroom? Victorians I guess… it’s not working for me. The good news is that I get to be my own client and I want black. I think it’s very sexy and masculine like the above bathroom designed by Mark Sikes. I love his use of mirror to “lighten” visually where there isn’t paint but I know I want a stronger floor like this one I found on Pinterest.
Here are a few more black bathrooms I plan on using for inspiration. If you think black seems risky, my advice to you is it’s only paint. Why not take a risk on something that can be changed for under $100 and in a day (or three, black might take several coats to cover) and yet make such an impact?
Just for the record: It does bother me that I could’t get the last image to line up with the one above it.
August 9, 2013
Grey is still trending and to be honest, I like it. I am the self proclaimed king of beige but there’s no denying that grey feels young, current and fresh. BUT, I’m especially in love with it when combined with blue and white. Look at how fresh this room looks, not your mothers blue and white scheme right? the grey seems to urbanize it and make cooler, less fussy… however the room holds a traditional vibe that is timeless.
Of course, many accent colors would work with grey but I particularly like maintaining the cool color palette by using blues. Slate, Aqua, Royal all work. Many people chose yellow as the accent color to grey – I know I have – and it’s good, very good… But I love the depth of the blues and frankly because it’s less expected, newer. I usually go on and on about each picture I use in a post, but today I’m going to leave it short and sweet, let the pictures ( all pretty ) do the talking AFTER I just say… LOVE the high gloss white V groove ceiling in the picture below.
August 2, 2013
Yes, sadly it’s been some time since my last post. Don’t worry it wasn’t a tail spin created from one failed dessert… It was frankly a busy work and social schedule coupled with my discovery and love for Instagram. Far less informative, it is great for eye candy - mostly fashion, pretty people, pets, cars and destinations but there are some good designers and architects posting work… myself included). Whats not on Instagram and what I have found I miss is the dialog that goes with the images, there is no real context. Just pretty images, sometimes with a #tagline. Stick with Pinterest, Houzz and good blogs for real information, resourcing and inspiration if your planning a project that involves design.
So here is what Ive been working on… The first two images are a sunroom I designed for a client that has been coming to me and Surroundings for years. She is dedicated, open to guidance but has a good eye, willing to go the extra step and likes nice things. Suffice to say it’s a winning combination when you add in a Virgo designer. This space hasn’t even been accessorized and fluffed yet and it’s already a show stopper if you ask me. The “greige” and cream color palette is puncuated with dark woods accents and glammed-up by the dash of mercury glass. favorites of mine are the Palecek cocktail table made of petrified wood and the floor lamps designer and produced by Rich Brilliant Willing.
In recent months I also completed a summer-house for a young couple. They were a delight to work for, and a designer is always happy when clients see the vision and allow a designer to do his or her job. We chose nearly everything in 3 or 4 meetings. I love the way this house turned out, every room is polished, the vibe is fresh without feeling too trendy there is quality built to last in every piece. When it comes to furniture, you really do get what you pay for. Most if not all the upholstery is LEE, the cool banded pillows on the sofa in the lower shot are custom with fabric from one of my favorites Kelly Wearstler, i think they add a edge to the room. The cocktail table made from cut marble is as heavy as it looks and gets most of the attention, as it should. It is an amazing piece from Global Views and makes the room.
I thought I’d better post a few jobs with color so newer readers wouldn’t think I only do neutrals. All three of these rooms are for the same client, the first an apartment in Chicago, and the following two are in her home on the coast of Massachusetts. She is a favorite, I’m not going to lie. I am lucky to like most of my clients but this gal has guts, likes it bold and loves the details… thats my type of client. There are way way way too many vendors to mention, fabric designers to credit and paint colors to list, so if you want info on anything send a note.
As if all that work wasn’t enough… I helped two dear friends pull together a wedding in my back yard earlier this summer. It was a great time, everything looked great, the food was amazing and every seemed to have a really good time. Designing the wedding cake and helping with the flowers were the “work” highlights. Maybe I’ll post more pictures and details of thier wedding and my nieces wedding in the coming weeks, stay tuned! I hope you feel inspired to tackle a project, get creative, invest in some good quality furniture, hire a designer… do what ever it takes to love where you live. BB
May 21, 2013
Love it or hate it… most people feel pretty strongly about these two flavors especially combined this combination is a favorite of mine. I know it’s not really in vogue or very chic right now but maybe that’s what makes it cool. It’s more of a forgotten oldie but goodie, like the Back Street Boys (ok, maybe not) but look how good it looks in a footed glass dessert bowl. Come to think of it I’m not exactly sure when dessert was the hot thing, but I know I’d like some.
- 1 24 oz. + 1 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained but juice reserved
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 14 oz. cans of Cream of Coconut, divided
- 4 Tbs. canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut, divided
- 2 cups evaporated milk
In the bottom of a 6 qt. slow cooker that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, spread the drained pineapple to cover the bottom.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, vanilla, 2/3 cup of Cream of Coconut, 1 1/3 cups of the reserved pineapple juice, oil, and 1 cup of the shredded coconut, until well-combined. Spread the batter over the pineapple in the slow cooker.
In a small saucepan, heat the evaporated milk and all of the remaining Cream of Coconut until it is boiling. Once the mixture boils, pour the liquid over the top of the batter in the slow cooker, but do not stir.
Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours, or until the cake portion is cooked through and the edges are golden brown. (A knife inserted through the cake in the middle will come out clean of batter, but may have some sauce from the bottom of the slow cooker)
In a small skillet heated over medium heat, toast the remaining coconut, stirring frequently, until it turns a golden, toasty brown. Once coconut is toasted, remove it from the heat immediately so it does not burn.
To serve, scoop down through the cake to the pineapple/sauce layer, and spoon a portion into a serving dish. Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream and some of the toasted coconut.
Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream and toasted coconut for the top!
May 20, 2013
Hello and thanks for stopping by to see what I’m going on about these days. For me a white kitchen is always the best, most chic, timeless choice a home owner can make when remodeling, building or up-dating. It’s just fresh. And, who doesn’t want a fresh and clean kitchen to prepare food in? to spend time with friends and family in and to use as the nucleus of the home. I know I do. I know it so much that I’m not only planning for a summer-house I don’t own yet… I’m even collecting things I plan to use in said summer-house. What you might ask? How could I possibly be buying things for a house I don’t own? Well… I’m in love with this white kitchen that has antique wooden boxes as the upper cabinets. And so when I was faced with choosing things from my father’s workshop that I wanted to keep, I chose many beautiful wooden boxes, some with metal corners or trim work, that will someday grace the walls of my white kitchen in the summer-house I don’t own yet. Crazy maybe… But I’ve got a large basement, some great things to remember my father by and a vision I can execute the minute I buy the little house by the sea of my dreams.
I get that an all white kitchen can run the risk of feeling drab or uninteresting or lacking in warmth, but there is an easy way to make sure you don’t create an “operating room”or the “refrigerator interior look”… it’s simple. One merely needs to add texture and warm tones via wood floors, butcher block counters, lighting and other “warm” elements. Life enters a space once its been designed and installed, I tell clients not to rush the embellishment phase because things have a habit of simply collecting, it’s just reality. the point: you don’t need to add a decorative strip into your back-splash, because once the toaster, coffee maker, plant, spices or what have you come back to, you don’t really want or need the 1/2″ band of mosaic back there. Better to make an impact with broader strokes. Big lights, a fancy range, stylized chairs around the island… choices like those take ordinary to extraordinary.
May 19, 2013
There are a hand full of companies that produce a line of furniture that offers so much good and pretty furniture. Oly consistently delivers on quality, design and updatedness without feeling like their pieces have a history. The styles tell a story and what you choose basically creates the ending, your beautiful room. I find their pieces also mix well with many other styles, pieces add an updated and glamorous touch and depending on what you choose to mix together to possibilities are endless. You know how much I love white on white. well this livingroom grouping delivers on. The woven raffia side panels on the settees adds depth and texture, and is a good foil for the polished metallic framework on the coffee table and sideboard. They had me with that chandelier.
I’m ordering this bed for the shop. I love it. this is the type of piece you make room for. Maybe I need it in my life? someone needs to get this bed asap. I really even like the pale pink they show it with.