Friday, November 27, 2015


Katherine Yaphe, as seen in Canadian House and Home
I apologize for the brief hiatus last week. Health issues took precedence over, well everything! But enough about my surgery woes, let's get on with some great design!

Black can take a room places no other color can. Used on a ceiling, it gives the illusion of a night sky, raising the ceiling without raising a hammer.

Black Painted Basement Ceiling,
See how elegant black paint can make an unfinished basement ceiling?

Black brings instant sophistication to a door. I have a pretty standard builder grade door which was painted a pretty standard builder grade white. Painting it black instantly increased the sophistication of the foyer.

With no other changes, painting the doors black improved the look of the foyer dramatically.

Hope you are having a Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ready Mixed Whites: China White

Benjamin Moore's China White is one of Tom Filicia's go to neutrals. It is a pale shade of yellow but just barely, having nearly equal proportions of red, yellow and blue. It has just enough yellow to make this color warm.

The soapstone countertops, farm sink, bead board backsplash and bridge faucet all combine to create a classic country style kitchen. Don't you just love the honed soapstone? Notice that the front of the dishwasher panel matches the cabinets, providing a seamless look to the cabinets. White kitchen cabinets show no signs of dropping out of the top five preferred kitchen styles!

Another view of this kitchen shows the stainless steel range top to the immediate right of the dishwasher. Paneling the dishwasher allowed these two appliances to be so close to each other without creating an overly industrial look.

China White Walls, White Dove Cabinets
Duffy Design Group

You can see from the photo above that China White is a bit deeper intensity and pairs well with White Dove, another Benjamin Moore classic white.

Does China White have a place in your home?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Is Black the New Black?

For a very long time, stainless steel has been the standard for kitchens. It is the appliance color of choice for selling a home quickly.
Kitchen Aid Black Stainless Sponsored Post on Dwell
Now, a few manufacturers, KitchenAid, LG, and Samsung, are introducing black stainless steel. The claim is that it mixes with stainless and is poised to knock stainless steel of the throne. 

I am not so sure that a mix of appliance colors will make a kitchen work. 
Avocado, Black and Almond Appliances,
Pre-renovation kitchen Knife and Fork blog

At all. Will using black stainless make a kitchen with mixed appliances look more cohesive? 

Carbonated TV

Or will it just look more like when your blacks don't match? 

What do you think? Is black the new black? Or, more precisely, is black the new stainless?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Bathroom Floors

Small & Chic

Freckles Chick blog

Last post, I discussed the gray cabinet paint colors. While that decision is ongoing, I am working on a floor tile.

Originally, this marble tile was on the table, so to speak. Though our children are older and this floor works well for them, it isn't likely to be make a family with young children happy. That is, should we sell, though I have been here for quite a while and expect to be here even longer, I am always sweatin' the resale. Also, at $10 a foot for a bathroom tile, it makes sense to look for alternatives.  
Home Depot Montagna Dapple Gray
This tile is the right size, but, a bit more pattern than I wanted. 
Crossville Co, Lead

The Crossville Lead, used in the top picture, has the right amount of subtle pattern and is the dimension that I want. But, from Freckles Chic website, it still at least $10 a foot. Not to mention that Great Indoors has gone away, :-( and, though the maker shows it on their site, it is not showing up on the local Crossville Co distributors site.
Tone on Tone, Basement

Back to looking for alternatives, I wanted to like the faux travertine tiles at Home Depot, which Tone on Tone used in their basement, above. It just didn't work for me, at least not those in the store.

Travisano Trevi, Home Depot

Metro Gris, Home Depot
Bottom line, the Metro Gris is still the front runner.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Gray Cabinets

Fieldstone Sally Wheat' s Kitchen  via Cote de Texas

The main bath of our house is in need of an update. When we bought the house, we planned to replace certain things which we could not spec with the builder. So, in went the basic cabinets, because glazed cabinets were not available as an "optional upgrade."

Vapor Trails Casa Verde Design

Those are my two least favorite words in the vernacular of regional builders.

The bathroom upstairs was decked out in a neutral colored vinyl. It gave the appearance of tile, similar to this. But with that all important forgiving nature that vinyl has when young hands drop, well anything!

Now that those young hands have matured, it is time for an "upgrade". 

One of the first things to go was the shower curtain, while not all the way to Disney, was still a bit too juvenile. We chose the Striped Shower Curtain in Dusty Navy.

After making this choice, the paint could be chosen, based on what coordinated best with the white in the shower curtain. We auditioned quite a few colors, and settled on...
AF 15 Steam

AF-15, Steam. We are now in the process of choosing a tile, the marble mosaic tile made the room a bit too white, we felt as though we'd gone snow blind. The tile below is the current favorite. The look is similar to the tile in the second picture above.
Metro Gris

We are planning on painting the vanity.  Pigeon Gray, Fieldstone Gray and Vapor Trails are current favorites. 

Segreto Finishes
Have to admit that a glazed finish keeps giving me a siren call. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ready Mixed Whites: Atrium White

Massucco Warner Miller via Decorpad

One of my very first forays into the world of the Ready Mixed whites was Atrium White. I planned a custom paint, armed with my color choice, I walked into my Benjamin Moore paint dealer, who luckily recognized it as a ready mixed paint. This meant that I paid a bit less. 

At the time, it was a jarring transition from dark beige whites  which were in the home I was redoing. Much of the trim paint was Berber White, 955, the difference was remarkable.

Atrium White is on the far right of the Benjamin Moore Whites color gallery.

It has some slight pink undertones, which worked well with the wallpaper I planned to use above it.  It is super crisp!

Mamaroneck Kitchen & Bath Designers
Traditional Kitchen Studio Dearborn

Edgecomb Gray & Atrium White
Scavullo Design 

Though it has pink undertones, it is not a pinky-beige paint and will not have all the problems that entails. It is stunning with Edgecomb Gray as in this bath. 

However, it does pair well with some more pink cast off white colors, such as Pratt and Lambert's Soapstone from their old fan deck. I tried to find an image of this paint, but no luck!
Benjamin Moore Chocolate Candy Brown, 2107-10

Atrium white works for walls and trim. For those who crave something moodier, another great pairing is with Chocolate Candy Brown, 2107-10.

Phoebe Howard
Trim is Atrium White
Mrs Howard Personal Shopper
Tom Scheerer
The Peak of Chic

Chocolate browns also have a significant red base. So it really is an inspired combination.

What do you think? Is there a place for Atrium White in your home?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Simply White

Benjamin Moore has announced their color of the year for 2016. It is OC-117 Simply White. 

Huestis Tucker Architects, LLC, Woodland Park House

The color of the year is often selected by what is seen on the runway. 

Red Feathers, Design Inspiration

For example, Merlot was selected by Pantone for this reason.

Benjamin Moore takes a similar tack, drawing on many shows to determine what, in their opinion, will be the color of the year.


White has certainly been the color of the year for kitchens for quite a few years now.

Graystone Custom Builders, Oceanfront
The Real House Life

Simply White falls somewhere between White Dove and Snowfall White.

White Dove OC-17
Simply White OC-117
Snowfall White OC-118

It is warmer than Snowfall, and a bit lighter than White Dove, the latter an architects and designer favorite.

What do you think? Is Simply White going to be your new go to white?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I want that hall!

Sweet Dreams Wallpaper Blackish ABC
I am seriously in love with the ABC comedy Blackish. Not only do I love the series and the cast and the characters they play, I love the house. Production Designer Maxine Shepard has done a super job of creating this house. The house is truly another character in the show and a big part of visually defining the Johnson family as a hip, upper middle class family. Though Bow and Dre probably make a good amount of money, they are raising four children. Therefore the decor is not super high end, but still classic and refined with a contemporary slant.

Blackish ABC
One of my biggest favorites spaces is the upstairs hall. Yup, the hall. There are so many aspects to this hallway to love, not the least of which is the expansive space! 

Blackish ABC

Seriously, does anyone else have a hallway wide enough for two people to walk side by side? With space between them, no less? If we tried that in my house, somebodies dyin' from falling down the stairs! Of course, I rarely have camera crews in my hall.

Though space is definitely part of design, my focus is on the decorative surfaces. Mainly because there is nothing I can do to widen the hallway without throwing a lot of money at it. Blow it up, start it over again, amount of money! And I. Want. This. Hallway. Or at least something close to it!

This space strikes a balance between contemporary and traditional. Everything in the space, the damask wallpaper, the subdued lighting, the chair rail, the beautiful wood flooring, the base molding and the neutral color are all traditional. Yet, each has a modern spin. 

Sweet Dreams Candice Olson, York Wallcoverings
For example, the wallpaper used here has a contemporary look. This is Sweet Dreams by Candice Olson produced by York Wallcoverings. It took me the better part of a day to find this pattern! I am blaming it on my search terms, which were not so successful to begin with. I am still not entirely sure which colorway was used.

Sweet Dreams Candice Olson York Wallcoverings
Jeld-Wen Doors HomeDepot

The bedroom doors are paneled and an upgrade from a plain slab door. The number and the shape of the panels creates a more contemporary appearance. They are square, rather than round and there are only two, not six. Either of the two doors on the left and right, above, would work, but the square panels lend a more contemporary vibe to the space. Fascinatingly, all of these doors are the same price yet the two left and right doors above look so much more luxe.

The door handles are a blunt rectangular lever style with a square backplate, repeating the square elements of the door panels. They look similar to the Kwikset Vedani, to me. I believe they used a passage door knob, rather a privacy knob, as nobody needs privacy on an actual set bedroom and the privacy knob / lever has a rather sizable hole for the 'key.'

The niche with the seat, reminiscent of a window seat, is a charming and homey touch. Another feature which is not practical for a redo in my house, again, unless my daughter gives up her closet, not happening!

Anundria, Lamps Plus

The lights, again, repeat the squares. These fixtures are similar. The one above is a plug in, the one below is hard wired.

Possini Euro Design Wall Sconce, Lamps Plus

The mouldings are likely compound, that is multiple mouldings combined to create the strong architectural statement that this moulding gives. For a smaller space than this hall, a moulding with a lower profile is appropriate. 

I found a similar moulding at 

House of Fara Molding, Home Depot

and another at Home Depot. The set has what looks like a beveled quarter or half round atop the moulding, again, a compound creation.

Moulding Home Depot

The baseboard looks like it is a compound moulding, as well. Highly likely that the space between the top and bottom of the moulding is the wall. The top may be as simple as the moulding above, then wall space, and what looks like another chair rail at the bottom, it has a higher profile than most base mouldings, with a quarter round to finish it. Notice that the mouldings are all painted, that is, there is no cherry stained shoe moulding where the flooring meets the wall. This makes the wall look taller rather than making the floor look wider.

Cherry Stained Maple flooring, York Supplies

The floors may be a black walnut  or cherry stained maple or oak. These hardwoods have a more uniform appearance than actual Cherry. Every board has a consistent color, no board being significantly darker or lighter than another. 

Cherry wood floors, notice the variation in color, Houzz
Cherry wood has variations in color, which can be very distracting.

Black Oak Laminate Flooring, York Supplies

Of course, this is the smoke and mirrors magic of television, and laminate could be used which would take the traffic of cameras and equipment over the floors.

The wallpaper samples are on their way, out for delivery as I post! After they arrive, the paint choices are next.