Design Inspiration: The Colors of the Mediterranean

Deep blue seas, terracotta tiles, golden sun yellow, olive green, rich ochre—these are the colors we think of when we think of Mediterranean style.  These rich, vibrant colors take their inspiration from the sea, land and sky around the Mediterranean Sea.  Found throughout countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Morocco, the colors of the Mediterranean can be incorporated into your home for a beautiful color palette.

Terracotta flooring is great in a Tuscan or Spanish inspired kitchen. These warm reddish brown tiles can be paired with white or wood cabinets.  Terracotta tile can also be used in entryways and bathrooms. Moroccan tiles that are typically colorful with bold patterns are another choice for flooring or backsplashes inspired by the colors of the Mediterranean.

Plaster walls tinted with a hint of yellow ochre are also wonderful ways to bring in a bit of the Mediterranean to kitchens, bathrooms, living or dining rooms.  Ochre is a warm, golden yellow that looks amazing paired with deep blues and olive greens.

For more Mediterranean color inspiration, look to the textiles of these Mediterranean countries. Provencal fabrics from the south of France offer great color pairings and inspiration for walls, floors and furniture colors.

You can be inspired by the colors of the Mediterranean even if your style is not Mediterranean. Accents in these vibrant colors can work with most styles of decorating. Use these colors as a jumping off point for your own style décor and the result will be colorful and cheerful.

Professional Kitchen Designers

For a full down to the studs kitchen remodel or an update, working with a professional kitchen designer can be a great idea. Professional kitchen designers can help you design your dream kitchen or choose new countertops for a quick update.


Flooring, counters, back-splashes, cabinets, appliances and lighting can each change the look and feel of a kitchen. On their own they can update the kitchen; together they will give your kitchen a whole new look. Selecting a single one of these to work with your existing kitchen can be tricky. Choosing a combination of new counters, cabinets and flooring can be downright daunting. Enter the kitchen designer.


Kitchen designers can help you select a stone backsplash that coordinates with granite counter tops that also work with your existing cabinetry. Larger guts and remodels can be planned by a kitchen designer to change not only the look of your kitchen but its functionality.  These designers can recommend changes to floor plans that can up the function of your kitchen without expanding the floor plan.  For major projects an in home consultation to take measurements is a must.  Even for surface changes, a home appointment should be done for measurements and color samples.


To hire a kitchen designer you can begin by asking friends and neighbors for recommendations who have recently remodeled their kitchens. If there is a local kitchen showroom, visit and ask for a consultation. Get several estimates before deciding to make sure you find the right kitchen designer for your home and budget.

Home Tips – Realtor Staging Tricks

The smell of fresh baked cookies invokes the comforts of home. Realtors have used this trick to make an open house seem more inviting to potential buyers. Scenting the air with rich chocolate or spices can create a sense of home and encourage the fantasy of what life would be like living in that house.  Along with the scents of home, realtors often encourage the seller to hire a home stager who can optimize the home décor for the best presentation of the home.


Taking a cure from the home stager can make our own homes feel more polished and presentable. Some tricks like using smaller scale furniture to make a room feel bigger might not work for everyday living. Others like clearing out the clutter should be embraced by all.


The point of home staging is to maximize the home’s assets.  Opening windows and blinds to let the light in is an easy trick. Keeping clutter contained and out of sight is another. Clean homes show a pride of ownership. Neatly vacuumed carpets and fresh wood floors show off the other elements in the space rather than draw attention to themselves.


Removing too much stuff from a space will instantly make the space feel larger. Look around the rooms in your home and see what areas feel too crowded. Less photographs on a wall or fewer knickknacks on a mantle can change the look and feel of the space, giving your room a fresher feeling.


Home Storage Solutions – Vintage Schoolhouse

For mudrooms and playrooms, vintage schoolhouse style storage can be a great option for stylish storage. Storage containers such as lockers and cubbies can make charming storage in the home as well as the school room. Vintage style metal lockers are great for corralling coats and backpacks in a mudroom or casual entry. Cubbies that hold cloth bins or baskets can be used for everything from shoes to art supplies, and recycling to toys.


Older homes and homes in colder climates tend to have mudrooms. These are small rooms off of a kitchen entry or side door that allow you to shed coats and wet boots before entering the rest of the home. Some older homes have mudrooms or vestibules at the front door before you enter the foyer. These spaces tend to be more casual than formal with rows of pegs for coats and a place for umbrellas and shoes.


If the mudroom is large enough a narrow locker or set of lockers, like seen here, they can hide the clutter of coats and keep shoes off the mudroom floor. Wet shoes and should be kept on trays to prevent puddles on stone or wood mudroom floors.


Lockers and cubbies are also great for playroom storage. Colorfully painted lockers can brighten up the space as well as provide much needed organized storage. Cube bookcases can be used instead of school cubbies. Fill them with baskets and cloth boxes to keep small items for spilling over. Cubes can be painted or left natural.

Trend Spotting: Grown Up Dollhouses

Many girls play with dollhouses when they are young. Dollhouses for little girls are less about the decorating of each room than they are about creative play and using their imaginations. Recently we’ve spotted dollhouses for grownups on several design blogs. These dollhouses are all about the decorating. The dollhouse is a mini show house with each room perfectly decorated. The completed miniature show house can be proudly displayed on the shelf of your home office or design studio.


Playing with these dollhouses can be like designing the perfect home… on a much smaller budget. Everything from flooring to wallpaper to lighting and furniture can be done in miniature for these dollhouses. Scaled down accessories and furniture can be found that replicates everything from traditional to contemporary decorating styles. Carpet, area rugs and even wood floors can be found for dollhouses. What can’t be purchased can be made by you. Wallpaper and fabric swatches can be used to decorate walls and windows.


Dollhouses for grownups are a fun way to play designer. Each room can be a different theme or style. These dollhouses are a great way to experiment with color, pattern and texture. Designing a room in miniature is a nice way to stretch your designing skills before investing in designing an entire room in your own home. It’s easier to change the look of a dollhouse room than a room in your home. If you’ve finished decorating your own home, a dollhouse is a wonderful way to keep decorating.


Tips for Adding Glamour to Bathrooms

Adding a little glamour to a bathroom, master bathroom or powder room can be done with a few simple and easy additions. If you want a more glamorous bathroom, you don’t have to start from scratch.  After quick changes and a few additions you’ll have a more glamorous bathroom.


One of the easiest ways to add glamour to the bathroom is to add a beautiful mirror. In this bathroom, a Venetian style mirror is hung above the free standing soaking tub.  The mirror adds sparkle and brings in additional light to the space. Adding molding around a wall mounted mirror or replacing the builders’ standard with two smaller mirrors can add a glamorous touch as well.


Luxurious materials like marble and crystal can instantly give a touch of glamour to the bathroom. While marble floors and counters would be gorgeous, if you aren’t renovating the bathroom you can still add luxurious touches. Thick bath towels and bath mats can add texture and soften the straight lines of the bathroom. Monogramming the towels with your initials personalizes them as well as adds a touch of glamour.


Reflective surfaces can also add sparkle and glamour. The soaking tub in this bathroom has a rich metallic finish on the exterior. Chrome and shiny nickel on fixtures are good choice for extra glamour. Add a bit of crystal in a chandelier or wall sconce. Sparkling glass and silver containers for bathroom necessities can add glamour to the counter top.  A small nosegay of flowers is the finishing touch of glamour for the bathroom.

Today’s Laminate Counters

Laminate counter tops have come a long way in the past few years. With so much focus in the design world on stone and solid surface counter top materials, laminates have needed to update their look to keep up with the current trends. Today’s laminates come in a wide array of colors and patterns. These laminate counter tops make a budget friendly option for a kitchen remodel or update.


This picture is an example of the variety of colors and patterns available in laminate counters today. There are solid color laminates as well as vintage inspired patterned options. Among the most popular are the patterns that imitate natural stone like granite and marble. Photo realistic technology has improved the look of these faux stone patterns. From a distance they may be indistinguishable from real stone.


Installing a laminate counter with a deeper edge can also help convince the eye that the faux stone laminate is real stone. A thicker edge will give the counter more weight and volume, more like real stone counters.


Along with faux stone patterns laminate counters come in wood patterns. These faux wood patterns can be selected to match the wood floors in a kitchen or capture the look of butcher block counters.


Take another look at laminate for counters. This is a budget friendly option that can give you the look of wood or stone without the higher cost of the real thing. Laminate counters can be used in the kitchen, bathroom or powder room—anywhere you need a counter top material.

Decor – Accent Wall

The accent wall has been a favorite of designers and home owners for a while now. Some designers are big advocates of creating a focal wall with color while others prefer to have color encompass the entire room. One wall that is colorful, as this predominately white dining room, is the norm. Having more than one wall painted in an accent color can divide the space and begin to feel busy.


This dining room is a gorgeous example of how an accent wall can anchor a space, elevating it to feel more than ordinary. The soft blue grey paint of the accent wall is a nice contrast to the warmer wood tones of the floor and blonde wood table.  Orange upholstery on the chairs, another warm color, pops against the cool tones of the grey wall.


This contemporary dining room is typically minimalist.  There are no flourishes on the furniture or lighting, nor is there ornament on the accent wall.  The blank wall becomes like a large color field painting in the space.  The trapezoidal shades on the light fixture appear more sculptural against the grey wall. The off white shades would be lost against a white wall.  A neutral area rug beneath the table works with both the colors of the floor and table as well as both the orange and grey.


Keeping the furniture lines and color palette very simple gives more weight to the accent wall. Because this is a contemporary space, leaving the wall bare is an option that works.

Floor To Ceiling Storage in the Kitchen

Every design evolves over the years and decades. Kitchen design is continually evolving as trends and styles come in and out of fashion.  For many years soffits between the top of the upper cabinets and ceiling were popular design elements in kitchens. Unless there is a venting issue, most kitchen design today does away with soffits, replacing them with additional storage.


The number of kitchen cabinet options has grown over the years. Yes there are still standard heights for upper and lower cabinets but upper cabinets can now have two levels. The height of lower cabinets is more standard to accommodate a counter work surface. Upper cabinet heights can vary to accommodate different ceiling heights as well as storage needs.


This kitchen shows that you can put storage from the floor to the ceiling, even in a kitchen with a small footprint.  Cabinets above the standard row of upper cabinets can be used to store less often used items. A stylish footstool can be used to reach these tall cabinets. Keeping the cabinets light like the tile floor helps the room feel light and airy, rather than overwhelmed by cabinetry.


Kitchen islands are another place for additional storage in the kitchen.  Drawers and cupboards in a kitchen island provide more places to store kitchen essentials. Heavier items like big pots and slow cookers can be stored below the island. Peninsulas are also perfect for adding more storage if an island doesn’t work in your layout.


No matter your kitchen’s size, maximize storage by going from floor to ceiling with your cabinets.


Decor – Taking Advantage of Vertical Wall Space

Now that televisions can be mounted to the wall, furniture layouts in living and family rooms have changed. Gone are the days where the television and entertainment centers took up a large bit of floor space. Along with changing the layout of the rooms, wall mounted televisions have changed how we approach vertical wall space.


Flat screens mounted on the wall draw the eye to the wall and therefore the vertical space surrounding the TV. Taking advantage of this space can mean adding extra storage, as seen here, or creating a focal wall with the television at the center.  Framing a flat screen with a shelving unit or bookcase like this one also helps the flat screen blend into the space better. A wall unit or built-in bookcase can be done in a wood to coordinate with your furniture or floors, or painted to match the wall or molding color.


Vertical storage space can be used for books, movies, CDS, games and other family room entertainment essentials. Games and toys can be stored in baskets that fit into the storage unit or bookshelf.  Moving storage up off the floor and onto the wall frees up the space for the furniture and better flow in the room. Decluttering the floor and keeping small items in boxes and baskets is a good way to get organized.


Taking advantage of vertical space is especially useful in smaller rooms and apartments. When floor space is at a premium, placing the television on the wall and surrounding it with storage can make the space more organized and functional.