November 2012

We installed a built-in window seat in our home a few months ago and we’re loving the comfort it brings, plus the bonus of additional storage below.  Built-in benches have a way of communicating to everyone “it’s time to sit and stay awhile” and they always make a home feel more welcoming. 

There are plenty of places to squeeze in a built-in bench, whether it’s one you install yourself or hire out with the service of a professional.  Either way, the end result is a cozy place to sit and get comfortable.   Here are seven different spaces to consider for including a built-in bench in your own home.  

The entry is a perfect place for a built-in – squeeze it in underneath the stairs as a place to store outerwear or as a perch for removing shoes.

bench under stairs bhg


A perfect way to start your day is curled up in a cozy bench that is built into a breakfast nook.  Pull up a table and a few chairs and the space becomes an instant gathering spot for breakfast or brunch.   

built in dining nook bench bhg


Bathrooms are another place to wedge a small built in bench for the purpose of daily grooming.


built in bathroom bench bhg


I’ve mentioned before the benefits of a multitasking mudroom.  Large or small, a built in bench is a natural fit in a space designed for transitioning from indoors to out.  


mud rom build in bench bhg


A nook with a window seat in a bedroom is desirable to most.   If space permits, consider adding a built in bench to a niche to encourage lounging and daydreaming in a bedroom retreat.


built in window seat bhg


A main living space will certainly benefit from a window seat bench where you can add decorative pillows and store reading material nearby. 


living area built in bench bhg


Last but never least, don’t forget the great outdoors!  Something as simple as stacked cinderblock can become a perch for lounging on lazy summer afternoons. 


cement block bench bhg


Do you have the good fortune of a built-in bench in your home?  Where is it and how much do you love it?


Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it’s truly one of my favorites!  Who doesn’t love a holiday centered around a savory meal and a spirit of gratitude?  In anticipation I gathered up some lovely ideas to inspire your seasonal centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table.

Fill a horn basket purchased at a craft store with pears, squash, apples, and onions for a festive cornucopia display.

horn of plenty cornucopia bhg


As an alternative to a traditional horn, substitute an antique find such as this galvanized metal scoop to display ripe fruits on seasonal linens.

antique scoop cornucopia bhg


Your everyday candlesticks and creamware makes perfect perches for pumpkins or gourds – dress them up with real berries gathered from your garden or faux versions purchased at a craft store.

pumpkins on candlesticks bhg


Mix intensely colored floral blooms with leaves and apples on stems for a vibrant and fragrant focal point.

flowers with apples centerpiece bhg


Create a natural table runner down your dining room table with pumpkins in a row embellished with satin ribbon or berry stems.

pumpkin table runner bhg

 white pumpkins and berries bhg


Wine corks inside a hurricane create easy instant ambiance when coupled with simple votive candles you can light when the sun fades.

corks in hurricane bhg


Fabric and ribbons layered with leaves, pears, and mini pumpkins make a stunning display when scattered down an autumn table.

runner with ribbons and pumpkins bhg


A ring of cornhusks layered with a bowl of bountiful fruit brings drama to a table set indoors or out.

cornhusks and fruit centerpiece bhg

A collection of apothecary jars and footed glass vessels make perfect containers for a collection of autumn nuts, pine cones, beans, and ribbons.

apothecary jar display bhg


Silver compotes are gracious containers for a similar display made up of chestnuts and walnuts.

nuts on silver stands bhg


Glue acorns to a metal or woven basket in celebration of autumn’s bounty and fill with seasonal pears, berries, twigs, or fresh flowers.

acorn basket bhg


Simplicity reigns in a display of orange, burgundy, and green floral sprigs coupled with berries in a collection of clear glass vases gathered on a tray.

tray with flowers and berries in vase bhg


A “tree” of thanks made of branches secured in an urn makes a festive centerpiece when decorated with grateful sentiments written on cards by family and friends or with cardstock embellished with leaves of different varieties.

give thanks tree bhg


manzanita branches in pot with leaves bhg


A Thanksgiving table can be an effortless task when the focus remains on combining the vessels you have with seasonal abundance.  For even more inspiration, be sure to take a peek at these fall centerpieces and inviting autumn table settings.

What are the decorative accessories or botanicals you choose for your Thanksgiving centerpiece?



There’s a new movement in kitchen design when it comes to storage and display and that is the replacement of solid upper cabinetry with open shelving, typically in the form of floating shelves or ones supported by brackets.

Many homeowners are embracing this idea in their own kitchens and the look is becoming less of a trend and more of a lifestyle choice.  Here are seven different ways you to can incorporate open shelving into your kitchen.

One way to open up without replacing upper cabinetry is to remove the cabinet doors, patch and paint any hinge holes, and experiment with your comfort level where glasses and dishware are out on constant display.

open shelving on upper cabinets bhg


Choosing beadboard as a backsplash adds traditional cottage style when installed behind open shelving designed to store everyday dishes.


open shelving near sink bhg


Carved brackets add architectural interest to kitchens with open shelving.  Paint them in a welcoming color to complement your white and colored glass collection.


painted open shelving with brackets bhg


As an alternative to high contrast paint, choose a finish on the shelving that is similar to the wall like this display of wood tone shelving against whitewashed paneling.  The blended combination allows the dishes and art to take the spotlight.


wood tone open shelving bhg



The use of stainless steel for open shelving injects a modern vibe into a kitchen space and mimics the look found in many restaurants and cafes.


stainless steel open shelves bhg


Introduce thick rustic wood planks in the form of floating shelves to add warmth and contrast against cool ceramic tile.


rustic floating shelves bhg


If your existing upper cabinetry is adjacent to a window, you also have the option of installing boards between them for open storage and to create a space for your favorite dish collection.


open shelving over window bhg


Have you upgraded your kitchen lately and included open shelving in the design plan?


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