Archive for 2018


Time to Renovate!

Monday, February 5th, 2018


The kitchen is typically the center of your home when entertaining guests, so shortcomings in the design may have become apparent this past holiday season. One of Renae’s talents is designing a kitchen customized to her clients’ needs.  Major renovations will take several months, so make sure your renovating plans take that into consideration when planning.  Also, consider your space and your budget.  Renovations can run the gamut from a complete gut renovation and removal of walls to simple cosmetic upgrades.  Let’s take a look at six elements of kitchen renovations: cabinetry, appliances, countertops, sink and faucets, backsplashes, and hardware. 

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There’s no such thing as too much storage!  Add more storage options to your cabinets with some innovative approaches.  Pull-out cabinets help you utilize every spare inch and can be integrated in surprising ways.  Narrow spaces and corners can be an ideal place to integrate narrow pull-outs for spices or cooking oils.  A dish drawer with movable pegs, like this one we designed for a client, can be reconfigured to store a variety of different sized dishware.  If you have enough room, you may want to consider converting an underutilized space into a butler’s pantry.  This is a useful amenity for serving food or drinks. Don’t be afraid to mix materials: white painted cabinets, wood finishes and a colored kitchen island is a great look!

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One of the most popular upgrades when undertaking kitchen renovations are the appliances.  Of course, you will need a refrigerator, double wall ovens and a cooktop.  There are many options that you may not have considered.  Consider adding a dishwasher drawer for small loads.  You may find this particularly useful when entertaining and you find you are running short on clean glassware or dishes.  Another smaller appliance that is useful when entertaining is a warming drawer that holds your food at the correct temperature until you are ready to serve it.  It can also be used to warm plates.  There is an amazing array of built-in appliances available, such as a coffee-maker.  Consider upgrading your standard microwave to one that is also a convection oven.  If you love microgreens, consider adding an in-kitchen microgreen grow station.  We designed this custom range hood for one of our clients.

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Countertops are also a popular choice when upgrading a kitchen and you can choose from many options.  Natural stones, such as marble are a beautiful option that fit with both modern and traditional kitchens.  Likewise, quartz composite counters are versatile and beautiful.  Concrete is a great material for your kitchen and it can be integrated for a seamless countertop and sink.  We have also had great success with zinc, granite and walnut countertops.  We love this hammered pewter countertop.  New technology forthcoming from ConvenientPower Systems and Formica will soon allow you to make your countertop into a charging station!

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As we have discussed in past months, brass is on-trend again and there are many great options available for cabinet hardware.  Another trend we are noticing is hardware with a black finish.  These furniture knobs are available from Buster + Punch and Rocky Mountain Hardware.

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According to a survey by Houzz, white backsplashes were the most popular option for kitchen renovations last year.  This makes sense, as there are so many beautiful options in stone, ceramic and porcelain tile.  If you wish to go a little bolder, there are many graphic options.  



Getting organized in the New Year

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Make it your New Year’s resolution to make your home more orderly! Set a goal of organizing one room or section of your home monthly and by the holidays, your entire home will be more attractive and ready for guests when the holidays roll around again.


Renae is known for her high level of organization, so she is always on the lookout for beautiful and functional items for the home.  Replace storage items that are outdated or not functional with some of these great finds from Renae.


Entry area:
Keep disorder at bay by keeping it out of your home!  Sort mail as soon as you get it, recycling what isn’t needed and filing what you need to keep, rather than allowing it to pile up.  A well-designed entry helps to keep necessities out of the way. It should feature hooks for wet scarves and jackets, an area for boots and cubbies for storing items that are used less often.  The metal coatrack hooks from Design Within Reach make a fun statement in your entry, and the copper boot tray from Williams-Sonoma will keep your floors free of melted snow.



Kitchen and Pantry:
Next, get your kitchen organized! Updated cabinetry can help you better arrange your pantry, even if you have a small space.  There are many beautiful storage options to keep your counters neat and clean. Consider these canisters and trays from Tina Frey Designs or this fruit bowl from Les Ateliers Courbet. 

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Disorder can easily take hold in your bathroom.  Clearing out old toiletries that you no longer use can go a long way to prevent this from happening.  For the items that you wish to keep, there are many great accessories available for the bathroom.  The tray is from Waterworks and the canister is from Pigeon and Poodle.


Home Office:
Keeping the paper monster at bay can be a challenge, even if you have reduced the amount of mail by switching to electronic billing.  To help instill order your home office, we found these storage boxes from Pigeon & Poodle and this beautiful letter tray from Bosca.

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One of the best ways to declutter your closets is to eliminate items you no longer need.  Once you have cleared some space, try out a new organizational system.  You can go with a closet system like Elfa from the Container Store, but you may find that it isn’t necessary once your wardrobe is pared down.  Instead, add a few new accessories, such as these sweater boxes from the Container Store for storing out-of-season items.  We helped to create a wall of storage with California Closets for one of our Manhattan clients with limited closet space.

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