Monday, January 23, 2012

Our Kitchen Redesign

Do you give any thought to the style of the home’s exterior when you are planning to design an interior space? 

When I think of how I would like to redesign my kitchen,  I envision a Provencal style home in the south of France.  The interior design style of this home would  have all the dreamy European elements,  seventeenth century cobblestone floors, aged architectural elements, steel windows and doors, farmhouse sink, etc.  to go along with it. sigh

Back to reality. We reside in a suburban So-CA home. The elements and features have appropriately been referred to as “cookie cutter.”  With that in mind, we’re planning to keep our  kitchen somewhat in sync with our builder’s design layout. I plan to use a few design ideas from Tyler Florence’s Kitchen of the Year at Rockefeller Center. 

We moderately redesigned our small space kitchen 10 years ago and as a designer that seems like an eternity. At that time we replaced the existing tile on the island with a “Sahara Green” granite slab, backsplash with 4”x4” tumbled travertine tile, counter surfaces with travertine slab. Stainless cook top and hood, faucet, dishwasher, hardware. The floor is also travertine. Okay, yep I can honestly say I’m seriously travertined out !!!


Here are a few of my inspiration photos for our kitchen redesign:

I was immediately drawn to the dramatic black island, Who knew? I fell in love with it!!!

I’ve always been inspired by copper elements and often incorporate them into my designs. I dig the open shelf concept on the side of the island.

Tyler Florence’s Kitchen of the Year!

We plan to remove our tumbled travertine backsplash and replace with subway tiles. Seen below Tyler chose to use more of a vanilla color subway tile,  which gives more of an aged look to his kitchen. {Caliper series subway tile in Warm Candle by Ann Sacks.} Although you cannot really see the subway tile in this image. :-(

I heart these French library wall lamps from Circa Lighting.

I’d like,   to use a pair of these lanterns from {South of Market} above the Island “ be still my beating heart.”

I’d love to hear from y’all,  if anyone could recommend where we could purchase two vintage inspired lanterns for above our island. This one is a skosh over our budget at $4950 each.


Our moderate redesign we will be focusing on the millwork. We’re planning to upgrade the existing kitchen island and cabinets with beadboard and fancy crown molding. Always evolving, I envision  sprucing up the white cabinets and refinishing the Island in black. Yikes, I know what your thinking, gutsy ha? But if you know me at all I can be fearless at times.  Keeping in mind it’s only paint and can easily be changed.

Our Kitchen before redesign

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Surround the frig  with millwork, so that it has a built-in appearance. We love the clean lines of the cabinet depth KitchenAid frig,  no more bulky frig sides to get in the way. YaY!

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Our Nine foot Island makes a statement as soon as you enter in the room.

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We plan to use 4’ x 8’ beadboard paneling to cover this side of the island and in several other locations. It’s cost affective and easy to work with.

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We will also use the beadboard paneling on the cabinet door fronts,  for a more updated look.

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Proposed baseboard and island crown molding.

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My husband will have two assistants on board for this project, myself and our English Labrador, Titus! Doesn't he look like a puppy??? He is eight years old,  I think his Botox is working! lol


May the games begin!!

After cutting our paneling to fit, with a circular saw Robert applies adhesive to adhere our paneling.

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Island with our first two newly installed beadboard panels.

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This image ( seen below) you are looking down, we used 1'” x 4” lumber as backing behind the baseboards for a more beefy profile.

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The finer details in life . . .

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Inexpensive casings on top of the paneling.  To give the beadboard a more finished look.

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Fill joints with wood caulking.

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Fill any nail holes with caulking.

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Sand all joints, AaaAaAaahhhhhchooooooo!

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I found a old pair of cycling gloves to use for sanding. They were supposed to be used for all that cycling,  we planned to do together, NOT . . .

The inside corners weren't fun,  and neither were Robert’s raw fingers, he didn’t think about using gloves,  such a guy thing. :-)

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She’s coming together,  can’t wait to paint!!!

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It’s a wrap for this weekend. Bob has a master’s race Sunday, and he will be going into “the hurt locker.” lol


That’s my hunk in the red helmet.

Come back next week for more kitchen beautification ideas!!!




For design inquiries, write to Laurie at

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eclectic Anyone???

Have you visited the Etsy Decor Blog? It’s da bomb . . . I hope you enjoy this interview blog post below. . . .

This week is inspired by the incredible Los Angeles apartment designed by Jared Frank and Sam Jacober, the stylists, interior designers and art directors behind Topsy Design and the Etsy vintage shop of the same name.

The Mediterranean-style apartment complex was built in 1929 and was once called home by James Dean and Rock Hudson. Since this Silver Lake apartment is fully furnished, Jared uses the guest room as bait to lure East Coast friends to the Left Coast.

Get the Look Decor: Antique Eclectic

Photo by TopsyDesign

Describe your home decorating style.
Antique eclectic. Buying vintage is both a moral and aesthetic choice. We waste enough in this society; home is the one place you can control, so living in a more sustainable way is very important to me. However, this isn’t health food, it’s real food: vintage and antique objects made before the industrialization of home furnishings were constructed so much better than the contemporary alternatives. The organic materials of wood and metal last and can take damage without looking worse for wear. Old objects tell a story, and I love surrounding myself with things that have depth. I often think about my furniture’s past lives.

That said, the last thing I’m interested in is living in a home that’s like a museum dedicated to a particular period. I like to mix styles from different eras. When you do this, you find that pieces have underlying philosophies that make them go well together. In the kitchen nook, I have an Arts and Crafts chair for my military field table. Even though their makers’ backgrounds differ enormously, they were both intended to function with utilitarian simplicity and constructed from materials designed to last.

Did you decide to decorate in this style or was there an evolution to your decorating process?
There has definitely been an evolution to my decorating process. I used to be primarily attracted to simple, masculine objects, but over time I grew bored. I became inspired by nature, and my female partner Sam encouraged me to open up my personal style and bring in feminine, delicate, curvaceous, ornate objects. In the study there is a metal table with a Victorian wicker chair in front of it. I love how the curvy lines of the chair play against the hard ninety-degree angles of the table.


Where are your favorite places to shop for home items?
My favorite places to shop are the flea markets of Los Angeles; the big ones are Long Beach, Rosebowl, and PCC. However, these experiences can be overwhelming for the uninitiated, and it takes a trained eye to make off with the good stuff at the right price. I work as an interior decorator and personal shopper for those seeking vintage and antique pieces for their home.

What inspires you when it comes to decorating?
I am most inspired by the needs of the rooms and my lifestyle. It should be possible to both work and chill in every room of the house. I never want friends to come over and not know where to sit. I want my life to flow seamlessly from contemplation, to production, to play.

What is your favorite part about your home?
The southern-style deck that overlooks Sunset Drive. If Sunset was a river and not a street, I’d stay in this apartment forever.

Does your home hold any strong memories?
The strongest memories this home holds are those I share with my business partner, Sam. We moved here and decorated the home together. We’ve recently parted ways, but we still work together. This home still holds our love and our history. If it wasn’t for her, it wouldn’t look the way it does, and it’s a constant reminder of our enduring relationship.


Have a beautiful week everyone, I am thankful for you.

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    For design inquiries, write to Laurie at