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Color Palettes that Appeal

Monday, April 23, 2007

When it comes to finding a color pallet that speaks to you for your kitchen, step out of the kitchen and look to furniture and textile manufacturers for inspiring color pallets. Scroll the images that follow and see what inspires you.

Kitchen cabinetry finishes that complement this classic design pallet shown above: You can't go wrong with cabinetry in White or Black paint, Cherry Woods, Knotty Alder, Distressed finishes, Glazed Finishes. Classic raised panel doors, or recessed doors, less ornate detail, simple clean lines.

We all dream about great antique finds. Take a closer look, could be these pairings are old pieces being rescued... at estate sales, in attics, and from old barns. We thrill at the discovery of found treasures and look forward with anticipation to the special place these pieces will have within our hearts and homes.

Go for kitchen cabinetry finishes that have a sense of history. Cabinetry that starts off with an aged appearance. Distressed finishes. Matte finishes. Aged ivory, walnut stain, amaretto stain, dusty sage, English pine.

People will ask where you made these wonderful finds, so tell them... at an estate sale, in your grandmother's attic, out in a barn. Only you and your furniture will know the truth.






Contemporary decor requires sleek, unbroken expanses of space and surfaces bare of distracting clutter.

Go for kitchen cabinetry that carries through with this theme with spare details. Deep truffle stain on Cherry, Exotic woods such as Wenge, Pomele sapele, Honduran Crotch Mahogany or Lace wood. Or go for reverse color scheme with blond wood tones with satin sheens. Anigre,
Quilted Maple, or Curly Maple Veneers.













Warm, modern comfort.
Smooth, sleek, dark glossy wood provides a rich backdrop for brighter notes: an accent of gleaming brushed nickel...or a snowy expanse of white cushions. Curious, isn't it, how modern design can be so welcoming?
Picture your kitchen in complementary maple wood stained a straw or honey color. Notice the accent chair in a straw tone next to the dark armoire? See how they complement each other.

My choice for the kitchen in this home, I would keep the dark wood limited to accent pieces in a dining table, or a smaller element in the kitchen, to prevent the dark wood from overpowering the cheeriness of this warm modern palette.







Modernity: take the chill off. Warm up a modern pallet with wood and glass. Select simple slab style doors. In a large kitchen, a bold use of dark wood would be a handsome fit. Accent with a a cool back painted glass back splash and light color counter surfaces. Accent the monochromatic color scheme with a flash of color. It could be a single wall painted a bold color, or the color could be from a subtler source such as the dinnerware on display all in one color.

Or, once again, white Shaker style doors would suit the kitchen in this monochromatic home. I see three colors here: shades of white, deep wood tones, green in the foliage. Well, actually four: the shiny surface of glass and brushed nickel serve as a useful hard surface counterpoint.







A great room gets a room divider.
The simplicity of the panels and it's deep rich tones on the mahogany room divider with clear glass panels is what anchors this bright and light open space. The kitchen that will relate to this space may have a very similar pallet. Choose cabinetry in bright white with wall cabinets routed for clear glass to show off a collection of bright glazed dinnerware. Anchor the kitchen cabinets with a Mahogany stained wood island.







Sophistication Meets Warmth.
The curvy credenza dressed in a rich, aged, hand-decorated ivory finish, brings wonderfully inviting warmth to even the loneliest alcove or corner. For the kitchen palette, select handed wiped glaze finishes on paint.
A romantic painted color palette is required here. Colors such as Cappuccino Glaze, Amaretto Glaze will provide the softness this design requires. Cabinet details with curves, decorative elements, mitered raised panel doors suit this design style.











Redefining Cozy.
Cozy isn't always small and quaint. As you can see, a spacious room with lots of light can also fit the bill. Arrange plush, cushiony upholstery (dressed in warm spicy colors) around a big, bold statement-making cocktail table. Build a roaring fire, sip an apple brandy cocktail, and settle in for a ...yes, cozy evening.

Take this theme and make it work for your large kitchen. Warm up the walls with muted plaster colors. Warm wood tones of alder, oak, hickory or medium toned maple sets the stage. Crown the whole room with matching moldings stained to match the cabinets. Do add textural elements of stone floors or back splashes, pewter or wrought iron cabinet hardware, paneled appliance doors for the dishwasher or refrigerator. Add a comfortable seating arrangement with upholstered chairs around a table or a banquet in the kitchen and this room will be where you will want to start and end your day.


Photos courtesy of Ethan Allen and Century Furniture.

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Kitchen Backsplash Tile Wall Murals

Sunday, April 15, 2007



Looking for a unique back splash for your Tuscan or Province inspired kitchen design?
American artist Linda Paul will produce a tile mural sized specifically for your project.

Click here to visit her web site, Linda Paul Studio.

Not to be overlooked, the outdoor kitchen is a wonderful opportunity to add a Mediterranean style mural to make your dining alfresco complete.


The above pizza oven exhibits a scenic tile mural as a focal point, painted by Linda Paul. Imagine if the mural wasn't there. It would be nondescript without it.

If whimsy is more your style how about a rooster taking flight over the cook top?

Rooster designed and sold through Studio Tiles.

Design Tip: notice the placement of the murals placed proportionately behind the cook tops. If you have a splash guard attached to your range top or a free standing range, these splash guards will disguise the beauty of the mural. Plan the height carefully so that your mural is not obscurred by the cook top or the hood.

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Loft Living In LA

Friday, April 13, 2007


Biscuit Lofts Tour is now open.
The emergence of loft living in downtown Los Angeles is now a reality, with several updated building to select from. The newest renovated downtown factory building, situated in the Arts District, the Nabisco Biscuit Factory, has been transformed into the latest downtown hip place to call home. Click here to link to Los Angeles Magazine, a sponsor of DesignLofts 2007: Biscuit Lofts Tour

TOUR UNIQUE VISIONS OF LOFT LIVING BY L.A.’S HOTTEST DESIGNERS PLUS A "SUPER LOFT" GALLERY FILLED WITH ART BY TODAY'S MOST INNOVATIVE EMERGING TALENT.

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Getting Organized

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Where do you begin? Take stock of your kitchen. What worked for the previous homeowner may not work for you. Kitchens are a personal space. If it doesn't suit your cooking or entertaining style, designing a generic kitchen with new boxes on the wall and new counter tops can be a waste of good money. Editing your needs on paper is the first step in understanding what's important to you and paramount for communicating your needs to your kitchen designer. I have created a design questionnaire to help my clients take inventory of their needs and wants. Feel free to print and take with you to your kitchen design appointment. So let's get started! Start collecting your notes and magazine pictures in a file folder.
And for those really serious about getting ready to remodel: I advise starting a notebook to keep everything together. Grab a notebook binder and fill out the 8 tabs (Cabinets, Appliances, Counters/Splashes, Floors, Lighting, Construction Bids, Contracts, Punch List.)

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Improving or Moving

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I was recently asked, "How much should I invest in my kitchen remodel to get the best return on my investment?" That is an excellent question. How do you know where to stop? Should you buy that new Viking Range you have been ogling? Should you spring for a new built in refrigerator? Where do you draw the line? I say start with a plan. What are your goals for this house? Are you moving in 5 years or is this the family homestead where you will raise your kids, have the family gatherings, and the only way you plan to leave is feet first? You can gauge how much of your own personality and pocket book you want to invest in your remodel if you know you are planting roots.

For short term goals where return on investment is a major consideration, then plunking down too much may mean being upside down on your remodel investment. Check with your Realtor. Find out what comparable houses in your neighborhood are selling for. Given the current market conditions as of Spring 2007, we witnessed a slow down in new home sales in 2006, and thus a 20% reduction in returns on remodeling projects compared to 2005. Follow the link to Realtor.Org for a comprehensive cost verses value report covering 25 popular remodeling projects performed in 60 US cities. 19th annual cost vs. value report

The report shows that you can expect a 75.8% return on your investment for an upscale (major) Kitchen Remodel, 80.4% return for a (major) midrange kitchen remodel, and 85.2% return on a (minor) Kitchen remodel. For a downloadable report by city, click here. Not ready to tackle your kitchen yet? James and Morris Carey recently published a great article on "modest" repairs and "safety upgrades". They did reiterate of all the possible remodels, Kitchens and Master Baths, are still ranked on the top of their list.

Remodeling will always be a good investment, but a little research in advance goes a long way. I've walked through plenty of Realtor open houses and wondered what the homeowner was thinking building an "ode to marble", over building in an neighborhood that does not warrant a mega mansion. Remodeling choices should take into consideration the integrity of the neighborhood and style of the house. Style can be achieved on all budget levels. Style does not mean buying the most expensive fixtures and finish materials. On the flip side, I have witnessed some atrociously cheap kitchen remodels in estate style homes that screamed "rip out and replace" and wondered how much of a buyer's credit will be negotiated. A good return on your investment does mean good planning, functional layouts, well-built cabinets, updated appliances and fixtures and most importantly the finished remodel should show that it was professionally installed. Lifting tiles, lipping, cracked grout, poor lighting, peeling paint, painted shut cabinet doors or windows, missing crown molding or baseboards are signs of the "do-it-your-self" weekend warrior who never finished the project. If you can't tackle it from start to finish - don't start.

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Whats Old Is New Again

Sunday, April 8, 2007


Have you ever been to a place and feel as if you were transported back in time? Here is a wonderful source for finding reclaimed materials for your project. Historic Tile Company and La Voy Construction at 4524 Brazil Street - Los Angeles, California 90039, specializes in the reclaimed tile and stone. Take a look at their web site to see how wonderful reclaimed architectural salvaged materials can be in new construction.

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What's in your junk drawer?

Saturday, April 7, 2007


Here is a fun link to Chow.
I swore when I moved, I would not have a junk drawer ever again. Alas, I needed a place for the miscellaneous stuff that gets shoved in there such as coupons, dead bolts, unoccupied key rings I can't throw away.

What's in your junk drawer?
For those of you suffering from "junkdraweritus", please visit "Organizing A Junk Drawer".

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It's All Custom


Regardless if the cabinet budget calls for stock, semi-custom or custom, each kitchen cabinet order takes the same proper planning, time, & patience. Your cabinet order goes through several hands before it is delivered to your home. Starting with the preliminary dimensions for the order, we have an estimator who measures your kitchen for all the details we need. There will be several design consultations with me; some where I meet you at your home, some at my showroom. How many design appointments depends on several factors: how decisive the client is, or at what stage I am hired with respect to engineered blueprints; are the blue prints preliminary before plan check and permits? Or has construction begun and the job is now in framing? (At what stage you hire a kitchen designer I will leave for another topic). Once the dimensions are confirmed, I design and prepare the drawings for your signature approval. Then the drawings get sent to our construction department for installation verification. A second measure is conducted to verify the dimensions. Then the cabinet purchase order is generated and faxed to the cabinet manufacturer. The manufacturer processes the order in "order entry". The manufacturer has another person review the order, calls me if there are questions and then faxes back an acknowledgment to me. I check it and have my design associate double check it. I fax back an approval and once in production the people making your cabinetry interpret the order. Then it gets shipped and delivered.

So when you thought you had just a simple stock order, we still must give it the same attention to detail because in reality every kitchen is built to order.

At each step there's a potential for error. We try very hard to avoid all errors on our end and to work with cabinet manufacturers who make the fewest possible errors, and help to fix the ones that happen. I worry when a client is in a rush, being pressured by their contractor, waiting till the last minute to order cabinets because fast tracking an order can lead to errors. You don't want to rush through a cabinet order like a check out line at the market. When planning your kitchen allow your self plenty of time to make decisions at your pace.

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Inspirational backsplashes







Here are some back splashes I came across today at Inspirational Backsplashes. Great source for looking at several styles all in one place. If glass is more your thing take a look at what Moondani Glass Design is up to. WoW!

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Spring Cleaning


Now that you are waiting for the demolition date, this is a perfect opportunity to consider getting rid of items that you don't use any more. One persons trash is another persons treasure. Before you decide to discard your bulky item, please consider reuse and/or recycling options. Review the links to the County’s "Thrift and Consignment Directory" and "The Recycling Guide" on Ventura County's Government Resources web site.

Did you know that as of 2000, 18 states have enacted landfill bans for appliances, meaning that they will need to be recycled. The purpose of these bans is to extend the life of the nation’s landfills and encourage private industry and public sector to implement recycling of these goods. Mars Ventura offers a service that enables the customer to rid themselves of unwanted appliances. It also appeals to the environmental conscience customer by offering them an alternative to recycle instead of disposing them in the landfill. A recycling source for your unwanted appliances. Who knew?

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What's in your drawers?

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Once a client decides to hire me, I go through a programming stage that helps me determine the best way to organize the layout. When I visit your existing kitchen, I look for clues. I like to think that my job is a little like being your cabinet doctor. Are your drawers over flowing with multiples of cooking utensils that makes it hard to find the one you need at the moment you need it? Are cooking utensils contained in a large round ceramic container on the counter collecting dust? Do you have every conceivable gadget but can never find the carrot peeler? Are your oils in a cabinet above the hood and hard to reach? There was a recent article in Kitchen and Bath News that indicated women buyers, more so than men, place a higher value with internal components that make a kitchen more efficient. Kitchens that are organized to suit your family's needs will add efficiency and changes the way you work in your kitchen. Any one who is trying to get a meal prepared for a family can testify to this! Here are some of my favorites from Blum, Rev-A-Shelf, Kessebohmer.






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Is a white kitchen in your future?

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Considering white cabinets: read one homeowner's journal note, on Garden Web.com, who ordered the fashionable white cabinets with soapstone counter tops.

I don't think anyone could complain about a pretty white kitchen when viewed on the cover of a magazine, until they get one installed in their own home. Painted White Kitchens will always be classic. In one recent movie, the painted white kitchen was the "star" of that movie. Clients were buying the DVD to show their designer exactly what they wanted. Anyone who fell in love with that Kitchen in "Something's Gotta Give" with the soapstone counters will want to see first hand what a painted kitchen looks like.
The dark side of painted finishes is that they are just not forgiving. All flaws are magnified on white. I always go through a disclaimer process with clients to let them know about hairline cracks on paint and so on. A touch up on a wood stained cabinet blends in. A touch up on white just looks like a touch up on white. When attaching crown molding, the nail holes, even when touched up, will be slightly visible. Also, keep in mind, not all whites match. I had an installation where the crown molding was slightly a shade off from the cabinets. After a 2 shipments and much angst for the client, we were able to replace the molding to get a closer match. White is not for the faint of heart. If you think you will be upset seeing dings on your cabinets, consider going back to wood stained cabinets. If you are still loving white, consider adding a brown glaze wash on paint, or a distressed finish that will disguise the inevitable flaws to come. Personally, I love white cabinets. I know that sounds funny after hearing about all the problems that can go wrong with white. I would rather have you place your order for a painted kitchen being fully aware of what to expect. There are alternatives. Thermofoil– a vinyl-like material –is a prefinished, easy-care alternative, with doors and drawer fronts made from a single piece, manufactured from high quality MDF and computer routed to a selected profile. However, most homeowners don't like the "fake plastic" look of thermfoil. With that said, if you still have an emotional connection to white cabinets, learn to look beyond the flaws of paint, own the flaws as a reflection of good meals served and time memorials of happy and eventful family gatherings.

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Don't try this at home

This gives a whole new meaning to Tempura

Japanese goldfish live in (and clean) a deep fryer

What will they think of next. Who knew!

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Vibration Free Wine Captain


160-Bottle Capacity Wine Cellar
When you hear "Electrolux" what is the first thing that comes to mind? Vacuum Cleaners. Well while Americans are just getting re-acquainted with the brand, Europeans have known about the advances in this line for years.

Not only do they have a gorgeous collection of appliances, I am happy to report that they have introduced an Exclusive Absorption Cooling System for Wine Storage.

The absorption principle is a chemical process. It requires no motor or compressor so operation is completely silent and vibration free. Any oenophile knows that vibration and heat is the kiss of death to a good bottle of wine. My client has an extensive and shall I say expensive wine collection. For years he rented space from an off site wine storage facility . This is a man who takes his wine collection seriously. Now while we didn't have the space to add a wine cellar on to the house, we made room in the kitchen design for a 24" wide unit that holds 160 bottles.
A wine cellar without a motor or compressor? Who knew!

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Kitchen-exchange: Should Government BAN Incandescent Light Bulbs?

From time to time I will add "HOT TOPIC" links to other Kitchen Designers throughout the United States. Here is one from Peggy Dera's, a Kitchen Designer in San Francisco.
Kitchen-exchange: Should Government BAN Incandescent Light Bulbs?

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