Remodel Mode

February 6, 2018


Well, we are in full remodel mode around my house.  I wish I could say it’s well planed and that we are ready with decisions, contractors, and a bank roll but, were not.  And yet we are already in deep in demolition so you can imagine I’m “designing” as fast as I can.  I do have a spreadsheet ( I love google sheets) going so I can track and estimate exactly how much I’m going to overspend. But i think I might be a bit ahead of myself…

In early January our little house on the cape took on a significant amount of sea water, so we are forced to open and dry out walls, replace ruined floors and repair damaged systems and woodwork.  I’m a little (ok a lot) heartbroken, but trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.    That light looks like a garbage disposal, a dining are that seats more than four, and maybe… just maybe a washing machine and dryer.  The picture on the left is whats left of the kitchen, and the right is a deVOL kitchen I’m using as inspiration.  Those little cabinet doors vent holes are too cute, and I’m going brass with the hardware but the truth is I’m not sure if I’ll commit to grey of just do a classic white kitchen.

IMG_1413The bathroom will be Painted Simply White with white subway tiles in the shower – with light grey grout – and this pretty palette on the floor.  The tiles are from Heath Ceramics, I’m picking a 4″ hexagon mixed in these three colors.  Currently our plan is to use a washstand and basin from Duravit and a toilet from Duravit – designed by Philippe Starck – that I really like.  I think the tile colors will mix well with Carrara curbs and thresholds.

We might end up moving the kitchen to the room we currently use as a dining room, this would allow us to have larger dinner parties and the dining space would be directly off the living space making for one larger entertaining space. I think I like the sounds of that, but I have to make sure all the charm and the old-timey vibe is not lost.  This will require special attention to the millwork; chair rails, paneled walls, cabinets and the like.


White kitchens are pretty… and the brass looks sweet against it.


And I think thew white against these Carlisle Wide Plank floors would look pretty fresh. Carlisle-Eastern-White-Pine-Flooring-Banner-310


SUMMER (house)

May 19, 2014

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Believe it or not it’s finally time… Memorial Day is fast approaching and the season is beginning!  Its time to paint the shutters, clean up the yard and air out the house. Roll up rugs if thats your thing. I’m thinking that the sand from the beach will be easier to get up with out the rugs in the way. Plus I love the look of the bare floors so I’m going naked (floors of course). I just finished painting the shutters Chrome Green (Ben Moore) the color is so old-timey/wasp/preppy… to be honest I might not have picked it, but it’s the color they have always been, so it suits me.

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This tiny guest room recently got a fresh coat of paint. in fact it went from dark taupe walls and wall to wall carpeting to simply white (Ben Moore) everywhere.  The walls are flat, trim satin and floors high gloss.  I’m not going to lie, the carpet came up easy, and those wide board floors were there, so a simple rough sanding was all it took for the painter to get the finished look you see there.  I tried to paint this room and the color was so dark, I gave up during the 3rd coat!  Some things are better done a pro.  The look certainly captures the spirit of an old beach house and looks chic mixed with the “unintentional” look of family cast-offs, “temporary” furniture that never got replaced  and nautical kitsch collected for generations sprinkled in.

photo 3There are still gallons and gallons of paint left to go, but this little house at the end of the road is quickly becoming a charming little beach house that is sure to see plenty of fun, laughter, relaxed days and maybe a few rowdy nights for years to come.  The dogs certainly love running leash-free on the sand and going on walks (something they do do much of at home) so everybody gets a change of pace – not just me.  Below are some inspirational images of rooms I like the look of… maybe some of these details will find their way into this little house.


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Trophys of culinary design, stainless steel appliances still reign supreme, but the trend in kitchens seems to walk a fine line between hiding appliances behind cabinetry and celebrating them.  These days I lean toward minimizing them without hiding them.  I  do like a refrigerator behind paneled doors but choose to leave my range, dishwasher and hoods exposed… a dishwasher can sometimes be hard to find when hidden too well and when did we all get so busy hiding everything that is so essential in a kitchen anyway?  It’s a kitchen!  I do think about sight-lines from doorways, banquette and other rooms and try to place attractive cabinets in highly visible areas vs. a trash compactor or dishwasher.  But, come on… we all have kitchens, we all need appliances… do kitchens really have to look like dens?

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What I do covet and hope to use on a small project coming up shortly are stainless countertops.  I am over marble and granite.  I want to do something that feels less fancy, less expected and frankly more industrial and user-friendly.  I will combine butcher block and stainless in my next kitchen renovation.  White cabinets and walls and maybe even floors, but no granite for this guy.  I would rather have an integrated sink and back-splash all made from stainless steel.

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I am still a fan of  restaurant style tables and fixtures… for me a kitchen is a kitchen.  It doesn’t need faux painting, it doesn’t need carved grape leaf corbels and mahogany hood covers.  Gosford Park, Downton Abbey, The Breakers… these great old houses and many, many others got it right.  Their kitchens are utility driven, simple, clean and efficient.  It’s not as thought there isn’t still a “look”.  The images I’ve posted show a kitchen can still chic without trying to fool people into thinking they aren’t in a kitchen.

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White and stainless is nothing new, it has become a classic that can be used in unlimited ways to suit space, style, budget and project.  it feels effortless, easy and unfussed.  I love a clean simple space – with some exuberance injected, I’m still a designer after all – that allows the function of the space drive the aesthetic.   what do you think?

A Dash of Brass

January 25, 2014

I thought I’d make my point by posting this the day after I suggested brass if you’re thinking about going grey…


The timelessness of a white kitchen is not lost on me, it’s something that will NEVER feels dated, or a relic of a time-capsule from days (or years ) gone by.  Brass on the other hand has had its heyday and has been out of favor for some time.. but “it’s back”!  The younger set who didn’t live through the last go around have discovered the warmth and beauty of brass and other warm finish metals are showing up everywhere. Show here with White and Grey, the brass is the perfect complement to the cool crisp aesthetic these kitchens possess.  And, yeah… sure, brass could fall out of fashion again too, but remember it’s a lot easier and cheaper to change than countertops, cabinets and other major kitchen items.

acc2e44594088a0d4f185be7004d5271 Fearful of taking the plunge but love the look?  Add some accessories to your countertops or swap out a light fixture to update your kitchens look.  Mixed metals is OK, trust me.  Gone are the days of matching dining room sets, and matching metals… you just have to do it in a way that feels thought out, designed.


I’ll be honest it took me a while to get on this train.  I have disliked brass for many, many years… but to be honest now that the market is so oversaturated with nickel, pewter, stainless and chrome a dash of brass really feels special.



(mostly) White Kitchens

August 31, 2013

d653f05c1315457a497acbcf64bec6ccGive 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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hello Again

May 6, 2013

It’s been a while.  I’m sorry.

I’ve been distracted by, I’ll admit it, Instagram.  It’s so narcissistic and a bit voyeuresque… but for a kid with a little ADD, it’s great.  I still troll design sites, blogs, retailers, vendors, and manufacturers of blog worthy design.  I have a desktop full of images I had intended to say something about over the course of time I have been neglecting this blog.  So here is a deposit of chic white rooms, with black and natural wood tones dominating the aesthetic.

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tumblr_mggi3uuakE1rk7lm8o1_500 tumblr_mhd7khOLAY1r94dw8o1_500 malibu carbon beach house for sale open concept floor plan white living room great room shag rug floating shelves cococozy

I do love a clean and serene environment but damn if I don’t fill up every table top with birds nests, twigs, stones form trips to beautiful beaches and do-dads I pick up along the way.  These rooms for the most part have a un-designed design to them, intentionally “thrown together” creating an environment that is comfortable, feels organic, and is beautiful to experience.

 pf_1carinaolanderpf_11carinaolanderI should mention two things: There is not really anything new about black and white in design with the exception that it seems to go along with the quirky anti-design design and feels current and clean and edgy.  2. Black and White was the strongest trend to come out of High Point ( the furniture and lighting and home show in North Carolina).


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The rooms shown here are curated, found objects, collections… each item chosen for it’s color, texture, shape value and  visual weight.  A balanced room dosen’t feel like a museum, or shed for that matter.  Don’t over do the amount you decide to display or live with.  Less is typically more (unless however, the pieces used in the simpleset of vingettes must be of stellar quality beauty and form.  Put your best feet forward kids!