Home Improvement

Kate

Marble in the Bathroom

The use of marble in interior design has a long history, dating back as far as Ancient Rome. Marble has been used over the centuries to embellish everything from iconic architectural structures to modern day kitchens and bathrooms. Sculptures as famous as Michelangelo’s David have been carved from this prized stone and it has always held its appeal throughout the years.

Marble is a luxurious choice and is often more expensive than other solid surfaces, but is worth the investment since it’s unquestionably elegant and forever timeless. There are two varieties of Italian marble that are similar in appearance, both milky white with gray veining, and they are Carrara and Calacatta. Carrara has more delicate, lighter veining; Calacatta is a rarer, pricier stone and has bolder more defined strokes, yet both are a desirable luxury stone.

white vanity marble tile bhg

 

Slabs are the most expensive but smaller scale tile patterns tend to be more affordable per square foot. The mixture of small and medium scale motifs add interest to any bathroom space from petite herringbone to offset brick pattern tile.

marble tile shower

 

Calacatta marble appears on the walls in this bathroom, adding drama and one-of-a-kind pattern. One thing is true about slab marble, it doesn’t need embellishment of any kind. Marble has earned its beauty and is best left with its stunning and unique veining on display.

calacatta marble bathroom

 

Instead of slab on the floors or walls, look for large scale marble tiles that will give the same look, but broken up into smaller sections.

 

marble tile on wall

 

marble tile floor bhg

 

Or consider a marble basket weave tile for a decorative inset pattern that is both intricate and exquisite.

marble walls basket weave marble tile

 

One of the most popular ways to add marble to the bathroom is with slab countertops. Mix it up with tile or wallpaper in the same gray and white palette to bring additional pattern to your bathroom space.

carrara marble flooring and countertop

 

marble wrapped tub surround

 

marble countertop in bathroom

  

Looking for the ultimate in luxury?  How amazing is this retro inspired vanity washbasin with spectacular Lucite legs – stunning!

marble vanity

 

Whichever way you choose to use it, from tile on the floor to slabs on the walls to the simplicity of a countertop, you can never ever go wrong with marble in the bathroom.  Carrara and Calacatta marble are surfaces that hold a rare title, they have stood the test of time for not just decades, but centuries!

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Kate

Patterned Backsplashes in Kitchens

When I remodeled my kitchen, I chose a classic white brick pattern ceramic tile, however whenever I spy an incredible patterned kitchen backsplash I pause to admire it for its striking effect. Opting for a bold pattern in a kitchen takes commitment and courage, but the risk is rewarding given the stunning result.

geometric backsplash bhg

Mesh mosaic or brick pattern tiles in neutrals or pale hues are common choices in many remodels, but there is a bolder and braver alternative – an intricate ceramic tile installed high up on the wall so the pattern becomes a focal point that demands attention. 

patterned backsplash behind window bhg

 

We’re fortunate in modern times to have countless tile options available and in various colorways, and there is always an opportunity for creativity such as combining neutral and colorful 3 x 6” tiles in a herringbone pattern.

colorful herringbone backsplash bhg

 

If you love the idea of pattern but want less of it, minimize the impact of the repeat by keeping it contained only to the section of wall between lower and upper cabinetry.

patterned backsplash bhg

 

Perhaps you’ve fallen in love with a patterned ceramic tile or exotic motif  – why not pull a color from it and repeat it on the cabinetry?

yellow patterened backsplash bhg

 

For those less inclined to use patterned tiles for an entire kitchen backsplash surround, incorporate a smaller section behind the range to satisfy your craving and to also add a dash of color in one contained spot. 

blue lattice backsplash bhg

 

A white backsplash is a timeless choice and complements any cabinetry color, but there is always the alternative of a unique or unexpected shape. Consider a white Moroccan inspired motif which satisfies a desire for clean, light and bright, but still includes an pattern with character and movement.

moroccan inspired backsplash bhg

 

What style of backsplash do you have in your kitchen?  Have you opted for something simple or do you also crave something with pattern or detail?

 

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Kate

10 Ways to Increase Curb Appeal

With spring’s arrival and fair weather on the way, now is the time to think about sprucing up your home’s exterior and increasing its curb appeal. Whether you’re staying put or planning on selling, there are several ways to beautify your home with weekend DIY projects and investments that add value. Here are ten ways to spruce up your casa so that it shines bright in the neighborhood.     

1. Paint Your Front Door.  In a sea of standard white front doors, make yours stand out by painting it a hue that complements your home, an easy weekend  DIY project if you follow these simple steps.  

green front door bhg

painted front door bhg

   

2.  Create a Welcoming Path.  If cement is underfoot on the path to your door, consider upgrading to a wide stone, brick, or curved cobblestone, or adding a hardscape in a tiled design to welcome visitors to your door.    stone walkway bhg

tiled doorstep bhg

 

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Kate

Kitchen Trends Worth Embracing

Many millions of dollars are spent each year in campaigns to direct your attention to what’s new and noteworthy in kitchen design, and there are entire conferences dedicated to the topic. Kitchen trends come and go, some may fit your style, some may not, but take a peek at these design choices worth considering that may prove more timeless than trendy in the years to come.     

1. Multiple Cabinet Finishes.  A growing trend in kitchen design is ignoring the “every cabinet should match” philosophy of past decades and embracing a two or even three tone color scheme combining both paint and stain finishes. It’s a look that adds interest and keeps the eye moving around the space.

multiple colored cabinetry bhg

 

2.  Painting the Cabinet Interiors.  If you’re hesitant to resurface or paint the exterior of your cabinets, consider the interiors as an alternative. A bold blue adds a welcome dose of color to an all white kitchen and highlights the decorative and daily use dishes housed within.

blue painted interior in cabinets bhg

 

3.  Tiling Up to the Ceiling. Tile no longer stands alone on a backsplash or behind a range, these days it’s taking center stage as a wall treatment, wrapping around windows and upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling for a dramatic effect.

black tile to ceiling bhg

 

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Kate

The Warmth of Wood Countertops

I love to read up on what’s happening in remodeling, and while trends come and go, one choice that is consistent among homeowners over the years is the use of wood as a countertop in kitchens.  I’ve always loved the look myself and we opted for a wood kitchen island countertop years ago. 

Hard woods of all kinds can be used in a kitchen – walnut, cherry, and alder among others, and chefs love a giant slab of butcher block for its convenience in food prep.

kitchen countertops in wood bhg

 

Choosing wood as a countertop brings warmth to a kitchen space in contrast with the common cooler materials used in kitchens such as glass tile, ceramic sinks, or stainless steel appliances.

dark wood kitchen countertops bhg

 

Wood countertops are also an affordable option in comparison with pricier solid surface choices, and retailers like IKEA sell slabs of butcher block that can be stained darker or even routed with an ogee edge. 

wood kitchen countertops bhg

 

Wood countertops have a reputation for being a higher maintenance surface than granite or marble, but if sealed properly they’re virtually waterproof.  The one thing homeowners must avoid is the placement of anything too hot on the wood, but trivets and pot pads within arms reach will prevent any accidental burns.

 

The use of wood in any space brings character to your home and when cared for properly, wood countertops will remain useful and beautiful for years.

wood kitchen countertops around sink

 

Other helpful articles from the archives:

Wood Countertop Guide

Wood Basics for Kitchens & Baths

Wood Countertop Ideas

 

Have you installed wood countertops in your kitchen?  Share your thoughts and maintenance tips!

 

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Kate

Painted Kitchen Islands

A couple of months ago a friend and I were discussing painting her oak kitchen cabinets and one thing I recommended was to (at a minimum) paint her kitchen island.  Kitchens with both painted and wood surround will benefit from the modern look of an island painted in a completely different color.   

Galley or small space kitchens don’t allow for a work island, but for those where space permits, a kitchen island is a handy surface and storage area for cooking preparation and also casual meals when counter stools are factored into the design.  

Your style of your cabinetry and personal color preferences should always be considered when opting to paint your kitchen island a different color.  Often homeowners choose a serene shade of blue or green they’ll enjoy for years to come. 

cornflower blue island bhg

painted pale blue island bhg

painted blue island bhg

seafoam green island bhg

    

Since the kitchen is the space where you start your day, consider making your island a focal point in a sunshine yellow or other fresh citrus shade of lime green or tangerine.

sunny yellow island bhg

citrus island bhg

green kitchen island bhg

 

Neutral choices are wonderful too and guaranteed to be soothing.  Think of taupes and grays or classic black as sophisticated choices for bringing contrast to your kitchen cabinets. 

taupe island bhg

neutral gray island bhg

black painted kitchen island bhg

 

If you’re thinking of painting your kitchen island the steps are doable and can be completed in a weekend, just follow these steps to paint your cabinets.  A really good bonding primer is key and also a high quality paint that will stand the test of time.  I prefer the modern water based enamel paints for a harder finish, the ones that mimic oil based paint.  Always be sure to test a few sample colors too before you commit to the final choice!

Happy home improvement!

 

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