The Benefits of Natural Stone

Stonewhy01We love telling you about the advantages of this product because we know how much you value the true and the genuine in life.

Natural stone is the real deal. Strong, solid and stable to live with (be still our heart), this is the world’s oldest building material. It was the material of choice for Egypt’s pyramids, Grecian temples and splish-splashing in Rome’s ancient baths. (Imagine you in a marble bath in your home!)

Natural stone is beauty solidified. From granite, the hardest, most dense stone, to luxurious marble, from soft limestone to “touch me” travertine, natural stone exudes elegance, transforms your home – speaks to your soul.

Natural stone has a unique personality. Quarried from Mother Earth, natural stone’s “complexion” is impacted by temperature, pressure, minerals and underground springs. Each slab cut from this environment is one-of-a-kind. You’re not imitation. Why should the “face” of your home be?

Natural stone invented variety. You only need to walk a seashore, lakeside or riverbed to experience the variety of stone. Colors, patterns, finishes and textures beyond imagination – all available for the walkways of your home.

Natural stone can be affordable. (Now we’ve really got your attention.) Today’s stone quarrying and processing technology is more efficient than ever before. Automated equipment cuts the stone in thinner slabs for less cost and, being lighter, it’s cheaper to transport. You’re the solid winner.

For the joy of you list lovers, here are ALL THE BENEFITS OF NATURAL STONE FLOOR COVERING:

• Natural stone is genuine, timeless and authentic

• Natural stone embodies beauty and rich character

• Natural stone is singular, exclusive, one-of-a-kind

• Natural stone offers variety, choice, imagination

• Natural stone has become more cost conscious

• Natural stone virtually always adds resale value

• Natural stone is ideal for radiant heat applications

Feel free to call me for more information or to ask a question.

And don’t hesitate to leave a comment here – we’d love to hear from you!

Ways to Organize Your Family

Do find yourself getting overwhelmed and disorganized? Does your mind sometimes feel like the wall behind this man?

You can use a wall to get yourself organized and remember appointments and activities for you and your family. Here are a few tips to keep yourself from ending up with a messy wall.

Create a chalkboard door. If you have a smooth kitchen door or place on the wall, consider painting one side of it with either chalkboard or whiteboard paint. You can create sections for every family member, with notes, appointments, homework, chores, or other events and responsibilities. Position a shelf with chalk or dry-erase makers, and an eraser. Develop a check-off system to ensure that everything on the board gets done. It’s pretty hard to ignore a list that’s right in front of you every time you go for a snack.

Use personal corkboards. Have a combination of corkboard posted on the door of your children’s bedroom, with their to-do lists, chores, and homework assignments. The corkboard provides a place to pin assignment sheets, permission slips, or any other related paperwork. Once again, have everyone check off items as they are completed. Parents can have their own version in the kitchen.

Provide a place to file things for every family member. These can be used to store class notes, project instructions, completed papers, and materials needed to study for final exams. Parents can store product manuals and warranties, paid bills, and tax materials.

Post a large monthly calendar for family activities. The best location for this is a hall or space that everyone passes by during the day. It could be in the garage or a mudroom. Make it every family member’s responsibility to post their activities and cross them out when they are done.

Use a computer program to log family appointments. Many calendar packages allow multiple people to interact, and provide visual and audible reminders before something is scheduled. If your family uses the computer frequently, this may be your best method for keeping things organized.

These are just some helpful hints and don’t feel obligated to use all of these methods.  It may require experimenting with several tools before finding the best choice for you and your family. In the meantime, hide the post-its.

Kitchen Backsplash Design Ideas

continental_slate_600_600The full backsplash is often forgotten because people think they have the backsplash covered with the 4″ splash that generally accompanies the countertop. A tile backsplash not only serves the functional purpose of protecting the wall, but it also serves as a design element that can tie your whole kitchen together. Why not do all you can to decorate with your backsplash in addition to using it for wall protection?

In this kitchen example, Dal Tile does a great job of coordinating the floor tile with the wall tile. The floor tile and the wall tile are actually from the same collection, they are just different sizes used in different patterns. Note that the floor is one pattern while the field of the backsplash is another pattern with the accent behind the stove an additional pattern.

Let’s focus on the accent design behind the cook top. They used a few simple elements to create a dramatic and stylish focal point for this kitchen. As already mentioned, the tile used here is the same as the floor and the field tile of the backsplash, but is used in a diagonal installation in the center behind the cooktop. Taking the diagonal installation one step further, dots were placed in the intersections of the tile to coordinate with the countertop.

To make the area stand out even more, the diagonal tiles are framed with a chair rail creating dimension and depth in this area. The introduction of the additional color does a great job of drawing attention to the picture frame as well as providing a tie in to the cabinets.

To keep everything from being a solid color in the kitchen, Dal used a mosaic to create an additional border around the chair rail or picture frame. This makes the whole area behind the stove feel larger and brings in multiple additional colors that can be used for coordination of other decorative items in the kitchen such as dish towers, artwork, dishes or fabric.

This design is artful, timeless and a great example of how to use multiple tiles in multiple sizes to create a beautiful kitchen tile design.

This photo features Continental Slate Brazilian Green 18 x 18 , 12″ x 18″, 12 x 12 , 6 x 6 field tile with 4 x 12 border and Fashion Accents Antique Pewter chair rail. Modified Hopscotch (Cont. Slate) pattern shown on floor, but many other tiles can be used with the same idea in mind.

Call anytime to set an appointment to create some designs for your home!

Organizing and Cleaning Your Shower

14420915_SYou just completed a beautiful remodel of your bathroom. You have heated floors, subway tile, plate glass shower doors, toothbrush holders, towel storage and lots of cabinet space. But your shower floor is littered with shampoo bottles, shaving supplies and body wash. It’s time for a bit of shower organization. And just for good measure we’ll also talk about how to keep your plate glass looking clean and sparkling.

If you were really thinking ahead you would have had shower shelves or niches built into your shower walls. If you’ve already completed your remodel or you have inherited a shower without such features, fear not.

You can use caddies to store everything from shampoo and conditioner bottles to shaving supplies to toothbrushes and bath toys. Look for deep pockets and baskets to keep knickknacks from slipping out of the caddies and getting underfoot. A wire mesh or large drainage holes are required for proper drainage. A number of racks will hold bottles upside-down like ketchup so you can easily get that last squirt of shampoo or conditioner.

There is even a shaving pedestal that can be mounted two feet off the floor of the shower to help women shave their legs. Other products combine mirrors with storage racks for razors and shaving cream. Mounted soft soap and shampoo dispensers put those products at your fingertips, and covered bar soap dishes can keep the bars from melting. Brilliant!

To keep those glass shower doors sparkling clean plan on mixing one cup of white vinegar and one cup of dishwasher soap together. Use a scrubby and wipe down the glass. Rinse with water. This should do the trick but if there are a few stubborn spots use a good glass cleaner.

Now not only do you have a beautifully organized and functional shower but a clean one as well!

Trend Spotting: Flat Weave Rugs

11381999_SBlogs are a wonderful resource for inspiration and spotting the latest trends in design. We’re seeing a trend for flat woven area rugs in magazines and in stores.  Flat woven rugs do not have pile, which is typical of carpet. Flat woven rugs can be plain, but the trend right now is for flat woven rugs in bold patterns.

One of the most popular flat woven rugs is the Kilim rug.  These rugs typically have a graphic pattern in a mutlicolored palette that can range from pastels to earth tones. Versions of the Kilim rug can be found from the Balkans to Persia to Pakistan. Turkey is a source for contemporary Kilims. These graphic rugs can work with a number of styles from contemporary to rustic, traditional to modern.

Along with these traditional flat woven rugs, manufacturers are making flat woven rugs in a number of patterns that include stripes and lattice.  Fretwork pattern, another big design trend, works well in the flat woven rug style.

Flat woven rugs can be found in wool, which is traditional, or cotton. Antique and traditional flat weave rugs like Kilims are often colored with vegetable dyes that have a different look than modern dyes.

Flat woven rugs can work in an entry, bedroom, living room or dining room. The lack of pile gives these rugs a more casual feeling that works really well in modern décor.  The lack of pile also makes these rugs work over wall to wall carpet.

Wallpaper in the Kitchen

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 2.24.59 PMThere is a current design trend for wallpaper throughout the home. Wallpaper was once thought to be old fashioned and outdated, but not anymore. The patterns and colors of today’s wallpapers are anything but the wallpaper your mother or grandmother had.  Beautiful colors, historic and vintage patterns, and new materials mean that wallpaper is one trend that will be with us for a while.

Because of the popularity of wallpaper, we are seeing it used throughout the home; from bathrooms to hallways and every room in between.  There is a wallpaper design that can work for any room.  Some wallpaper is subtler than others in their color and patterns.  We are even seeing wallpaper used in kitchens.

The kitchen pictured here has a subtle diamond patterned wallpaper design throughout.  If you choose to use wallpaper as a way to add color to a backsplash, consider covering the paper with glass for protection.  However, some wallpaper can be wiped with a moist cloth. These are probably a good choice for the kitchen with all of the splashes and spills.

When adding any color or pattern to a kitchen or any room always take into consideration your flooring. If you have a tile or patterned floor, also consider the color and scale of the floor pattern when choosing a pattern for the walls.  The same is true for stone or wood floors. Choose a wallpaper design that will coordinate with your floor, cabinets, and hardware for a cohesive looking kitchen.

Shutters Create Soft Mood

Shutters

Window coverings can be one of the most challenging design choices in a home. Balancing light access, privacy, cost and design benefits can be complex. In the meantime, you may be living with sheets tacked to the walls with painter’s tape.

This space shows some of the advantages of shutters. The look is clean and inviting, and light is completely under your control. A simple adjustment of the louvers allows you to let in plenty of daylight without compromising privacy. And the light provided is soft and appealing.

This corner feels like a perfect place to settle on a summer Saturday morning. The white-on-white style is well suited to the filtered sunlight, and yellow-green accents keep the space feeling cool and clean. You can curl up and read a book – the light is just right – or talk with the person sitting in the matching chair on the other side of you.

Notice that there are just a couple of features in other colors. The dull silver of the labels is a good foil to the green, and the little turquoise-colored box on the top shelf pops gently in comparison to the other hues. Someone spent some time planning this corner, and the shutters provide just the right background for this design.

If you’re planning your window coverings, why not consider shutters? They can be custom-made to suit any size or shape of window, and provide a wealth of options in terms of color and materials. They make a great companion to almost any design, and can be a major contributor to the overall look and feel of a space, as this corner shows.

The Versatile Parsons Table

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 3.00.11 PMCan something that is almost eighty years old be considered a hot new trend? Yes, if you are talking about the Parsons table. The Parsons table feels perpetually modern with its clean lines and flush mounted legs. Originally designed by Jean Michel Frank in the 30s, the Parsons table is a modernist ideal. Lacking any ornament or flourish these tables can blend in with modern and contemporary furnishings as well as transitional and even more traditional interiors.

Parsons tables can be found in small versions that work well as vanities and desks, and larger versions that can be sleek dining tables.  They can make a console table for a foyer as seen in this picture. The desk version of the Parsons table often has two drawers that seamlessly blend into the front.

In a foyer a Parsons table with its hidden drawers can hold keys, mail and other things you need as you come in and leave the home. A stool or two can be tucked under the table, turning it into a desk or vanity. Hanging a sleek mirror above the table works to turn it into a vanity as well.

The clean lines of the Parsons table are nicely complemented by geometric patterns on the walls and floors. A modern geometric print area rug would work well with the minimalist style of the Parsons table.

Parsons tables can be painted, lacquered, papered and decorated any number of ways to customize them. The great design bones make it versatile and perpetually stylish.

Colorful Doors Inside the Home

14055707_SIn The Netherlands and other European countries there is a tradition to paint the front door a bright, rich color. This helps the door stand out in a row of identical houses, and also allows the homeowner to show a bit of personality. This tradition can also be found here in the States where more traditional style homes can sport front doors that range from crimson red, to forest green, to deep purple.  The concept of painting doors in colors can also be found inside the home.

Painting trim, molding and doors white or leaving them natural wood has been the standard for many years.  Today, we are seeing more trim and doors being painted colors instead of the classic white.  Sometimes the trim will be left white and only the door will be painted. Doors can be painted white on one side and a color on the other to match a specific room design.

Door colors can range from subtle shades that are tinted with the wall color, to contrasting colors on both the doors and trim.  Painting a door a coordinating color to the walls creates a softer overall look to the room.  When choosing a door color, take into account the floor color in the room. Choose a color that will take the floor into consideration as well as the wall color for the most unified look.