When shiny and bright will not do

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Here is wonderful picture of a very old and original German silver sink. The homeowner was able to preserve the original sink from the butler's pantry.

The homeowners were updating a 100 year plus home in Maine. It is quite an accomplishment when you can remodel by adding modern day conveniences and still maintain the character of the home. For the full article please see House Beautiful online article, Kitchen of the Month.


Pillow Talk

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Now that spring is before us, we look around our homes for a fresh approach.
Short on cash and big on ideas does not mean you are limited for a fresh look.

Human beings have an innate desire for change. We want to try out the newest restaurants, see the latest movies, we change our clothes to fit the season, we change our hairstyle to lift our spirits and remain current, why not freshen up our furnishings to welcome the new seasons?

Fresh flowers are temporary, paint is a weekend project, slipcovers are costly.
Pillows are the answer. Pillows are one of the few items you can count on that is easy on the budget and delightful in your space to bring in a fresh design statement. Pillows in the kitchen? Well, but of course!

Feel free to try something new. Do you have a banquette that could use a little more comfort? Add two or three toss pillows for cushy back support.

Has anyone been able to sit in a Ladder Back or Windsor chair and can say without wincing that they are comfortable for more than 15 minutes? A little back support goes a long way on a Sunday morning while reading The Sunday Times from cover to cover. I added a new toss pillow for my desk chair at home last month and love the extra comfort level and like looking at a cheerful new pattern. Will I keep that pillow forever? No! They are so inexpensive, I bought mine for under $20. I will toss when I am tired of the look and select another.

The pillows shown here are from a lovely web store called Pillow Decor. I am impressed with the multitude of colors, patterns and shapes. Great store. Have a visit and see for yourself.


Go ahead, Write on the Walls

Monday, May 26, 2008

I came across the product that can have some kitchen applications too. Cover a pantry door panel. Cover the side of a wall cabinet, add to a plain painted backsplash.

Write a grocery list, write a message, let your kids draw their art.

Each kit contains 4, 19”x24½” chalkboard panels that can be used separately or combined for a large 38”x38” chalkboard writing surface.

For more information contact Wall Candy Arts.


Kitchen Sociology and Home Tours

Yesterday I took my Mom out to the Pasadena Highlands Home Tour in Pasadena, CA.
Home Tours are a lot of fun, a chance for homeowners to show off their flair for home keeping and their remodeling savvy and a chance for the general public at large to take a peek at how others keep a home, what taste they have and of course taking note of ideas they can use for their own homes.

We had a great time touring through other people's homes and laughing with a little guilt that that we have a lot of organizing to do before we would dare let anyone tour our own homes. We fell in love with the color schemes, the architecture, the gorgeous tree lined streets. And finally, we gained a new appreciation for our circa 1980's tract homes. Albeit, our newer homes can never compare to the charm of the historic Pasadena homes, we have to content ourselves with the fact that our cookie cutter tract homes have bigger closets and wider hallways. As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side until you get there. So yes, we will have to wait for our trees to grow to full maturity and yes we will have to add the details in to get the good bone structure the builders omitted, we are still house proud for what we do have and love touring others homes for planning what we want to add to our homes.

The homes on tour, in the historic Highlands neighborhood in Pasadena draw from a diverse style of architecture in the neighborhood. What is clearly self evident in the Highlands neighborhood is the dedication each homeowner displays to the craftsmanship of the home. The dedication in restoring the homes to their original beauty and also the care taken to make certain that any addition to the home is in keeping with the original style.

Society has a natural inclination to know about Home Keeping. There have been thousands of books written on the Home, on Kitchen Design, on Entertaining, and on Home Keeping. There are entire television networks devoted to the subject of the Home.

What is it that makes the Home a popular topic? The answer is simple. We are interested in making our houses a home. We naturally want to know how other families keep a home and in particular, the kitchen is always a popular topic. The kitchen, the heart of the home, is where we nourish body, mind and soul. The kitchen is where many pinnacle events take place in our lives. The kitchen is not just about food preparation and meals. We share stories with family at the kitchen table. We celebrate, we mourn, we play cards, we doodle while on the phone, we pay the bills, we help with homework, we wrap gifts, we fold clothes, we make grocery lists and plan major events from our kitchen table. No matter what your lifestyle, we live a majority of our lives in the kitchen.

Many people are looking for solutions on how to keep a better kitchen in the same space where major renovations are not an option. Not everyone has the opportunity to have large scale exhibition style kitchens.

So here it is, a compilation of new sources on real living kitchens from real people just like yourself. Have fun and have a peek into other's living kitchens. Enjoy! This is Kitchen Sociology at it's best.

By the way, Electrolux is looking for 90 homeowners throughout Europe to be included in the Electrolux Kitchen Stars photo exhibition, an online gallery and a book. What a fun idea! A chance to have you and your kitchen immortalized forever. Why you may ask? Electrolux is gearing up for celebrating it's 90th anniversary in 2009.

This is Cristian, at the Electrolux Blog.

Electrolux is spreading the word to our American audience. No doubt we have all caught the cute Kelly Rippa commercials showing off the glamorous side of Electrolux appliances. But that is not all. I love Electrolux's idea of making you the superstar! “Consumer Insight forms the basis of all product creation and development at Electrolux. We go into peoples home and study how they live and interact with their appliances. In this way we understand how lifestyles, eating habits and design preferences reflect how consumers select and uses our products” says Ulrich Gartner, Vice-President Communications at Electrolux.
Gartner continues, “For many consumers the kitchen is a dynamic area: efficient and functional during the week; welcoming and entertaining at the weekend. The kitchen has also become the hub of the home, a place where we eat, sleep, work, and even make love. To celebrate our history, we want to celebrate our consumers and their kitchens – what better way than to have
them tells us about their kitchen star moments?”

How to become a Kitchen Star? Send a photograph of yourself in your kitchen with a short description of a “kitchen star moment” – perhaps a perfectly cooked meal on a date, or when
you redecorated your kitchen, gave birth on the kitchen floor, proposed to your wife at the breakfast table, or just cooked that very special meal for a very special person. The selected 90 Kitchen Stars will all receive the iconic Electrolux ErgoRapido in addition to being featured in the online gallery, the photo exhibition as well as the book and any other material developed
around the Electrolux anniversary celebrations. To become an Electrolux Kitchen Star or to find out more information about the competition, please go to

Below are more kitchens homeowners have submitted on line at different web sites. I prefer the pictures where people and pets appear in them. They don't appear so cold. Don't be afraid to appear in your pictures.

The following pictures and additional information can be found at
Apartment Therapy Home Tours.

The New Kitchen Paradigm: The Open Kitchen: Inspirational open space kitchen in California. For full article go to Apartment Therapy

For more information: visit The Eichler Network
For more information visit Home Galleries at the Garden Web.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I apologize if you haven't seen anything new from me about kitchens or baths for a while.
Life has been ridiculously busy, chaotic, new, fun, exciting, challenging, enlightening, and continues to be more so everyday.

This post is really simple and short. It is about gratitude for the people who enter into my life. As I reach out to people in my community I learn more about myself. Maybe it's old age, maybe the cavalier attitude of youth has shed it's shell on me, but whatever it is, I am grateful.


Seminar was a success!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Whew, what a blast! I am coming off the thrill from a very successful seminar I gave on Kitchen and Bath trends for 2008.

The design/build firm I work at began holding seminars, a different remodeling topic each month, open to the public. Each one of the sales people, including our fearless leader, has a turn at bat to lead a seminar. This month was my turn. The fun part about this seminar is that I get to speak to a captive audience about topics I am passionate about. I can convey that energy and enthusiasm to people who want to hear about kitchen and bath trends. It's sort of like our own remodeling mixer, we can meet and greet people in an informal and fun gathering, and perhaps may even become a client in the near future.

In speaking to a couple of people about shopping for materials, they mentioned how astonished they are at the nonchalant service they receive in the plumbing and tile showrooms. Unfortunately, it is true, there are sales people who are bench warmers, and more sad to say for the owners that employ them. As one client said,

"I come with my check book ready to lay down my money to buy from a store, why do they act like they could care less about my business?"

This is a sad comment for the company that offers bad service. Who can say why the owner will not address bad service. When you hire a designer, contractor or architect you have an inside track on the best connections for plumbing, tile and appliance sources.

I found that despite a weakened economy, people are still remodeling, they are still buying and still building and they are hungry for information. What's on their mind? Baths, baths and more baths. Tile, faucets, lighting, counters, this is where it's at for the moment.


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