Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Holiday Home Depot Style Challenge

Giving thanks for so so many blessings this Thanksgiving holiday. Persevering through some personal challenges, getting a clean bill of health from my first mammogram, and being fortunate to see the continued growth of our design business, which allowed us to hire another assistant.

And this year, for the first time ever, my home is already fully reflective of the holiday season thanks to my participation in The Home Depot Style Challenge    

For the challenge, I was asked to incorporate specific holiday decor items sent by The Home Depot, into my dining room and to include a few DIY projects where possible. I'm no DIY queen, so I kept it simple with some clever DIY items like spray painting these hurricane vases in gold, using paint chips as place cards and scribbling personal notes inside a thank you card for guests.

Go see all the details on The Home Depot blog and be sure to share your thoughts and your own ideas we can all use. Huge thanks as well to our friends at the Home Depot for inviting us to do this challenge. It certainly pushed me outside my comfort zone to finally decorate my home, albeit in 90 degree weather! Have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving Day!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Decorative Tile Backsplash For Your Kitchen Masterpiece

Photo Via: WSJ
Since kitchen renovations are the core part of our business, we are always on the lookout for new trends to help make our kitchen designs as stunning as we can for our clients. So our course we are swooning over ourselves with some of the new trend in backsplash options presented by our sponsor Rustico Tile and Stone, a leading online retailer of natural stone tiles, at wholesale prices to boot. Brace yourself.

A growing trend in kitchen home décor is decorative tile used as backsplashes – bold, colorful, metallic, and beautiful!  Gone are the days of boring, monochromatic stone or ceramic blends.  Kitchens are making artistic statements with the use of colorful Cement Tiles, metallic Copper design tiles, and hand-painted Talavera tiles.  Rules are made to be broken and that’s easy to do with these fun backsplash ideas!
Cement Tile Photo: HGTV
You might ask - Why do I need a backsplash?  The wall in your kitchen behind the stove and along the counters needs to be covered with a protective barrier so it doesn’t get stained from spills and splatters.  A “good” backsplash serves as a prime ingredient into the mix of your kitchen décor and functions to protect your walls from damage.
Cement Tile Photo: Hooked on Houses
Form meets functions with Cement Tile.  Made from mineral pigmented cement, the options are endless with the ability to customize cement tile designs.  Each tile is hand-crafted, so if you don’t see the color scheme in a design that fits your needs, you can have it created in colors of your choice.  It’s really simple – as long as you have some time to wait for cement tiles be to custom produced, you can get exactly what you want.  There are designs to accommodate many home décor styles including modern, Mediterranean, vintage, and traditional.  A typical cement tile comes in an 8x8-inch size.  When installed, four tiles create a pattern measuring 16x16 inches.  Cement tiles come in a variety of sizes for backsplashes and are relatively easy to install.

Patchwork Cement Tile Photo: Rustico Tile and Stone

Patchwork Cement Tile Photo: Ideas For Interior
This patchwork cement tile pattern is a mixture of random tiles in a cohesive color palette.  Patchwork tiles are a growing trend in interior design.  Not only does cement tile add beauty to a kitchen, but it also provides a durable surface barrier to the wall.  Since cement tile can be sealed (recommended), it will withstand those unsightly splatters and is easy to clean.   

Photo: Rustico Tile and Stone
Consider adding some bling to your kitchen by mixing in metallic materials.  Whether you’re renovating a hacienda-style home or tweaking a Tuscan country estate, add a copper tile backsplash for a classical display.  Copper is also easily cleaned, very durable, and comes in several patina finishes.  And it ages like a fine wine!  The natural patina color of copper evolves as it is exposed to oxygen and ages.  If you don’t want the copper patina color to change, it can be waxed periodically or coated in epoxy.  Copper also heals itself.  If you accidentally scratch the tile, the components in this metal will repair the surface with time. 

Copper tile photo:
Check out hammered copper for an old-world style home or mix copper with stainless steel appliances for a more modern look.  Pair a copper tile backsplash with a fabulous hammered copper farmhouse sink, and add inserts into the floor for an overall effect.  And just like cement tile, copper tiles come in a variety of sizes and options of design.  You’re sure to find a design and patina color that will be perfect for your backsplash.
Talavera Tile Photo: Remodelista
A kitchen backsplash doesn’t have to be created with square and rectangular shapes only.  Check out some decorative tiles shapes for an added touch of artistry in painted Talavera tiles.  This Cross pattern in Talavera embellishes a traditional style home and keeps things light and bright with the sunshine yellow colors.  Geometric shapes like hexagon or colonial are great for modern and upscale areas.  Or why not try some painted talavera tiles to create a mosaic pattern?  This bright talavera below is 4x4 inch in size and pairs well with the antique saltillo tile flooring and cantera stone counters and accents.  In contrast with the light colored walls and cabinets, the overall aesthetic is modern vintage.  Talavera tiles clean up easily with a quick wipe and since the paint is usually a gloss finish, there is no need to seal the tiles, only the grout lines.
Talavera Tile Photo: Rustico Tile and Stone

Once you’ve selected the perfect tile for your space, make sure to order 15-20% overage for waste, cuts and borders.  Small spaces like backsplashes use up waste in precise cuts.  Grout choices are endless and the grout color is just as important as your tile selection.  Choose a contrasting grout color to accentuate single tiles.  Or opt for a grout color similar to your tile color for a blended look.

What great inspiration and tile tips for your next kitchen project from the folks at Rustico Tile and Stone
Happy tile shopping as you tackle your kitchen project. Please feel free to share updates/photos of tiles purchased for your own project so we can feature them here or over on our Instagram page. Cheers to a great weekend everyone!

Monday, October 12, 2015

At Last. My Kitchen Reveal!

Hooray! At last, we took some professional pictures of our kitchen, which is arguably the favorite space to hang out in our house, and where Xavier has decided he's a little chef. 
Lord Jesus, where do we begin with this kitchen? How about at the very beginning? As in this is the kitchen I walked into when my heart told me last summer that this was the house for our little family. 
Fun fact: Our Realtor Benny gave me the thumbs down sign when we first saw this house, for many many reasons, including the fact that there was a gaping hole in the living room ceiling from obvious water damage.
For me, a renovation nut, that gaping hole and this horrible kitchen were a dream come through. The possibilities were endless.


It was a challenging space for many reasons:

1. It was at the front of the house which I didn't really care for but I could live with that.
2. I'd wanted a kitchen with a large island so the hubs, who loves to cook, could have a major prep, space but the powder room is right next to the kitchen which means I could not gut the whole space to achieve that island. Oh, there was also a load bearing wall. Sigh. Double sigh.
3. I am fanatic about kitchen sinks being under a window. As you can see here, the view from the sink was a wall. Yes, a wall to look at as you washed dishes. Great.
But guess what? It had a gas range. Say what now? A gas cooktop was a huge dream of ours so despite the laundry list of challenges, this little kitchen was a winner in my eyes.

These were my initial plans. Gut the pantry and create a wrap around countertop with a small island with seating for three.

Or no wrap around counters, but a larger island instead of a peninsula  because I wanted a waterfall edge on both sides. 
Those plans were derailed when we discovered a load bearing column (it's where we now have Xavier's growth chart).
I was devastated. Translation: I bawled like a baby! But it all worked out because we now have a kitchen we love. 

Priority number one was to relocate the sink to the window, not a cheap thing to do, but thankfully I got the family discount from my plumber.

The existing window was also too low for a sink, so we had to raise the wall up and install a new window. Again, no simple feat but there was no way I was gonna spend my years in this house looking at that wall as a view! PS, fresh flowers always make my day and are a weekly splurge. 

We did manage to squeeze in a large peninsula with enough prep space to cook, something I really wanted for the hubby. We did so by relocating the refrigerator to the wall with the slide in range. This just made much more sense, as the previous location blocked the view of the kitchen from the family room.

A single pantry next to the refrigerator added enough extra storage. 

 If you know me well, then you know that a glass of wine is dietary staple so a wine/beverage station was a must have. 

We could not fully connect the family room with the kitchen because of the existing powder room, so we created matching cut outs through the adjoining wall to offer some connectivity and for easy passing of a drink or two to guests. You'll get a better view of that pesky issue here in a photo of the hubs created our first Thanksgiving meal here last year.

And yes, that pretty much sums up how I feel about wine.  

   The adjoining wall next to the beverage area, has become a great space to display Xavier's artwork. 

Let's talk about these floors shall we? I've long been obsessed with a herringbone tile pattern, and knew I wanted it in the kitchen. They remain a fave after a year of living here. And hats off to my installer Luis, for his flawless efforts which we chronicled here and here.

 My heart sings when I see this backsplash. That selection was another challenge as we needed something simple, yet dramatic to play well with the veins of the granite, chosen here by you guys!

One of the greatest joys in creating this space, is to watch the little man develop a passion for cooking. He fancies himself a chef and rushes for his little stool to help whenever he sees us getting ready to prepare a meal. 

And I think it's pretty clear that orange is my favorite color hence the pops of color seen throughout this kitchen. 

Photos by Mark of Sublime Photos.
And there you have it folks. Thanks for waiting patiently for this long overdue reveal. Running our insanely busy design business has made it difficult to pause to share all the photos and details from most projects these days, but I do miss connecting here often. 
Do know that you can follow us over on Instagram for more frequent snippets about our projects and my life in general.
Hats off to the NWD team who worked tirelessly at night and on weekends to help us get this kitchen done, all while working on our many other projects. Hats off as well to the little brother Shomari who flew in from Jamaica for two weeks to help as well. This space was a true labor of love and we are eternally thankful.

Shop the Look:
Paint Color - Sherwin Williams - Serious Grey
Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen Faucet
Back Splash
Bar Stools
Orange Dish Towels

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Renovation Filled With Old World Charm - Part Two

Yay. Here we are finally sharing part two as promised of this project we completed earlier this year. In addition to transforming the living and dining rooms, we updated the guest bathroom and master bedroom.


The guest bathroom was pretty in pink, and yes I know, it was loaded with major vintage charm, but our clients simply couldn't embrace the pink or the awkward features like a door that opened right up against the tub. PS that tub is the real deal and weighed maybe a 1000 pounds. This home is in Miami Shores, one of Miami's most desired neighborhood, but with older homes that also often means very small bathrooms, bedrooms and closets.

We decided to pay homage to the bathroom's vintage charm by starting things off with an updated subway tile in champagne, gold mirror, patterned tile, and brass and black sconces (the sconces went on back order so we shifted gears and went with white and gold sconces instead.

We replaced the pedestal sink with a vanity with storage, a critical requirement in a bathroom that will get heavy usage from family and friends who will visit often.

Door opening into tub? Not cool. We re-oriented the door to open to the left, instead of into the tub as it had previously. We also added a glass panel, instead of a bulky shower curtain, to give the illusion of a larger space.

 And yes, it's okay to mix metals. We do it all the time. Chrome faucet, chrome vanity hardware, gold mirror and sconces.

The master bathroom was already renovated when our clients purchased their home, but the bedroom was in need of some style wattage. It's a pretty small bedroom for a master (the norm with older homes in this neighborhood) but that didn't mean we couldn't make it large with style. 

We wanted an accent wall with wallpaper to add some fun, texture and charm. We needed slender nightstands which meant not much room for bedside lamps, so wall sconces were the perfect solution. 

If you read the previous post, you will know that Brie is the scene stealer though she did share the limelight with Amanda in this pic.  

Though slender, the nightstands have ample storage with two drawers and can fit a basket below to toss reading material and some of Brie's toys.We chose one with a pop of color to add a color to room's neutral tones. 
And there you have it. A full peek at the very first renovation project we started this year. Thanks again to our awesome clients, Laura, Kyle and Brie. They were such a joy to work with and we can't wait to tackle future projects with them.

Get the Look
Vanity: Similar here or here
Sconce: Similar here or here
Mirror: Similar here or here 
Wall Tiles: Home Depot; similar here
Faucet: Home Depot; similar here 

Master Bedroom
Bed: Similar here or here
Night Stands: Similar here or here
Bedding: Target; similar here 
Sconce: Similar here or here 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Renovation Filled with Old World Charm, and a Pup Who Stole Our Hearts...

This adorable pup Brie, and living room, belongs to the very first clients to contact us this year. Literally. They emailed me on January 1, in desperate need of a design/renovation team to make their new home move-in ready by mid-February. 
Yikes for a tight deadline. But if you've followed us over the years you know we love that kinda pressure..
This is where we started. Try to ignore our clients Kyle and Laura and moi (I'd sprained my ankle just days before this consultation).....

They had purchased a charming older home in Miami Shores, one of Miami's most coveted neighborhoods, and needed some urgent changes: refinish and paint all the walls (old plastered walls, which have a very rough unfinished texture, are common in these homes),  renovate a guest bathroom and add new furnishings for the main rooms and master bedroom. 
  Here's what they have today...The hardwood floors were already in great shape so we designed the rooms to pay homage to the rich tones of the wood. We also lighted all the walls with an off white color.

We chose an apartment sized sofa to offer great seating without overwhelming the living room. The curved lines of the sofa also added a soft touch, a demure nod to the home's charm. And the navy blue pillows added a subtle dose of color. Let's just say that this kinda became Brie's favorite spot...

A small end table offers a resting place for a few books from our clients extensive collection. I think Brie is also impressed with the autographed baseball. 

Posted up and waiting for her parents to see the reveal for themselves.

Yes! There are real fireplaces in some Miami homes. This one had lots of charm. But we added some new tiles around the surround and added a fresh coat of paint.

To the left of the fireplace, is a small area perfect for a small breakfast nook area (the kitchen is directly across from this area). These were custom with blue velvet fabric and brass nailheads for added detail. A small table with a marble top completed the area. We opted to leave this window bare since there was enough foliage outside for privacy. 

It allows great light to filter in as our clients enjoy some morning coffee, tea or mangoes.

With no formal dining room, but a need to have a dedicated space for large family dinners, we chose a narrow yet sizable walnut dining table to fit snugly in this area. Selecting the perfect dining chairs was a challenge and was the one decision that proved the most debatable for our clients, who made all other decisions with record breaking speed..

We used their existing art for this gallery wall. 

This built-in niche area was a strange corner with some old doors, with no clearly defined purpose. We removed the doors, added some molding detail on the shelves to showcase some more books and mementos they'd collected over the years. We also added wine racks to keep wine flowing freely as they entertained.

We styled the dining table with our clients old vintage coke bottles, and some mercury simple yet fun candle sticks.

All photos by Mark of Sublime Photos
We paid our final homage to Brie with this ceramic French Bulldog Amanda scored as we shopped for accessories. We also used more books from their  collection, and a wedding photo, to add the most personal of touches.
Let me just say, we've been blessed with amazing clients over the years but working with Laura and Kyle was akin to hitting the client lottery. They are as sweet, thoughtful, patient and kind as could be in a process that can sometimes be insanely stressful, especially when living through the dust and chaos of a renovation project. They have an especially warm spot for our contractor Roy, because he took such great care of Brie each day as he worked. Let's just say it was a very emotional day when he had to say goodbye. A huge thanks again to our clients for trusting us to transform this charming home. We'll reveal the master bedroom and guest bathroom next. Brace yourselves.

Get the look
Blue High Back chairs: Similar here, here or for an industrial vibe here
Small Table: Similar here, here or here
Cowhide rug: Similar here, here or here
Dining Table: Similar here or here
Dining Chairs: Similar here, here or here
Chandelier: Similar here, here or here
Sofa: Similar here, here or leather version here
Area Rug: Similar here, here or here
Entry Table: Similar here, here or here
End Table: Similar here, here or here

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