Style Picks

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

Now + Next

One of the features in the January issue in Better Homes & Gardens is a focus on trends in home design, specifically looking at what is hot right now and also forecasting what’s coming next.  I was asked by the editors to share my two cents on the topic this month, here what I think based on what’s trending in magazines and on Pinterest too.  

Three Trends That Are Hot Right Now:

1.  Plank Walls.  Remember all of those wood paneled walls from the 1970s?  They’re back!  It’s a thought that makes many people cringe, but no need to fret!  This time, they’ve been turned horizontally and given a coat of white paint.  These large scale planks bring a cottage feel and fresh backdrop to any space from a bathroom to a kitchen nook to a family room. 

plank wall bathroom bhg

 

2.  Recycled & Repurposed Finds.  One of the most environmentally friendly movements in recent years is the one which has folks reusing things from the past but in new and interesting ways.  These green choices bring character indoors with one-of-a-kind goods that can be found at flea markets and antique fairs.

repurposed crate bhg

 

3.  Globe Pendants.  Lighting has come so far in recent years, and we can now find so many options for the modern glass globe pendants that you can drop down anywhere to instantly add contemporary flair.  Where do you fancy them, above your kitchen island or your reading nook?  Consider large scale versions or multiples in a dining space, office, or bedroom, they complement every style!    

globe lights bhg

 

What’s Next?   My three predictions!   

 

1.  Everyday Mixed Metals.   Matchy matchy metals are now a thing of the past.  Interior designers have been mixing metallic sheens with abandon for a few years and at last it’s a growing trend among homeowners as well as magazines and retailers continue to model the look.  The rule is to not go overboard, two are ideal but keep your metal sheens to no more than three in a room.  Take a cue from this stunning entry which features a gold leaf focal point mirror, a modern antique brass pendant, and brushed nickel hardware on the entry doors.  

mixed gold and silver bhg

   

2.  Messy Zig Zags.  Graphic prints have been popular for a long while and chevron has reigned supreme for at least a year.  We’ve seen chevron everywhere from wall treatments to fabrics, but thankfully there’s a new kid in town in the form of messy and more fluid zig zag patterns.  Look for them to make it big on the design stage in 2013!

new zig zag shapes bhg

  

3.  Mixed Materials.   Another “mixing” trend!   I love seeing so many people confidently blending rustic with sleek, or patina with polished, and breaking down any notion that spaces must stay true to a particular design style – staying true to your personal style is really what matters.

mixed materials in bathroom bhg

 

 
And now for a quick “Trend Q&A” between me and the BH&G Editors:

1.  Trend I’d Lose :  Taxidermy heads as focal points, they work in a mountain lodge but not in a city townhome.  However, I do love the ceramic versions in the right spaces, even urban ones.

2.  Blog I’m Loving:  DustJacket Attic, Debra collects and features the best in interiors from around the world, and a little fashion and food inspiration as well. 

3.  Person I’m Following:  Tobi Fairley, she’s a fabulous interior designer and inspirational life coach for others too.  

4.  Show I’m Watching:  Downton Abbey – for the early 20th century interiors, the drama among the upstairs and downstairs residents, and the one liners of the Dowager Countess.

5.  Store I’m Shopping:   C Wonder – just a few boutiques scattered around the country, but always open online, C Wonder has some of the freshest dishes and accessories you can find for your bookshelf or tabletop. 

6.  Color I’m Coveting:   Glossy navy with touches of raspberry and antique brass, the combination is so sophisticated and chic.

7.  Accessories I’m Adding:  Handmade bowls found on my recent travels – I like to buy something unique for my home when I adventure to a new place. 

 

Here’s another interesting article I featured last week on Design Trends of 2012 including my thoughts and those of four fantastic design bloggers, be sure to weigh in with your insight. 

 

What trends in design are you loving right now or incorporating into your home? 

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Kate

Glass Tiled Bathrooms

We’re adding a wall of glass blue tile to our hall bathroom in the next few weeks as part of an ongoing remodel and so I’ve got glass tile on my mind.  It’s been popular for a decade now for its cool texture and watery reflective qualities.

There’s something so stunning about a bathroom covered in gorgeous glass tile from ceiling to floor, the look is one incredible design statement!

blue glass tile bathroom bh

 

Whether you choose a mesh mosaic or larger pieces installed in an offset pattern, glass tile wrapped around bathroom walls is visually striking and brings gorgeous contrast when paired with warm wood.

blue glass wall tile bhg

 

Making a stylish statement with glass tile doesn’t require tiling all the walls.  Just an accent wall or backsplash behind the vanity is equally beautiful and more affordable since you’re covering a smaller area.

glass mosaic tile bhg

 

glass tile vanity backsplash bhg

 

Consider the shower stall as another place to use glass tile to add color and pattern to your bathroom space.

green glass bathroom tile bhg

 

Mix complementary patterns in varied scale to add texture and color.  Make the medley more interesting by using different tile from the same manufacturer’s palette and installing the mesh tiles in various patterns around the space.

glass tile border in bathroom bhg

 

Glass tile also mixes beautifully with other tile products including ceramic, porcelain, stone, and marble.  Accenting more traditional tile with a strip of modern glass is yet another way to add contemporary flair with glass tile and preserve a bathroom’s timeless style.

white tile and cabinets bhg

 

If you’re looking to spruce up your bathroom with a fabulous glass tile accent, here are 12 favorites!

glass mosaic tile

 

From top left:   Neutral Blend by AKDO; Blue Mirage by Ann Sacks; Matchstick Twilight at Glass Tile Store; Escape Blend, Oceanside Glass Tile; Loft Ice Cave Circles at Glass Tile Store; Epoch Glass Blend, Home Depot  Vicenza Hand Cut Glass in Verde at Cooltiles; South Beach Frosted blend by AKDO; Lume Sticks in Amber, Ann Sacks; Epoch Contempo Black Mosaic at Home Depot; Pearl Glass by Vidrepur; Offset Glass Tile in Spring Green

 

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Kate

Still Hot: Geometric Rugs

It’s hard to ignore the impact that geometry has had on interior design over the past few years.  Geometric patterns are appearing everywhere from faceted lighting to home accessories to furniture, and in another essential element at home: the area rug. 

dash and albert green rug bhg

 

Geometric rugs typically include triangles, circles, quadrilaterals, or hexagons in a predictable repeating pattern, but sometimes they include the repetition of more organic patterns inspired by nature such as leaves or petals.

dark geometric rug bhg

 

A great geometric rug can either blend with the existing furnishings or take the lead and establish the color palette for any space from the family room to the bedroom. 

yellow bedroom and geometric rug bhg

 

I’ve incorporated a few geometric rugs into my own home too, similar to the one below.   Many manufacturers now offer the combination indoor/outdoor rug, and most are comfortable, affordable, and extremely practical in homes with kids and pets.

morrocan style rug bhg

 

Often you’ll see abstract patterns in geometric rugs that are not shapes per se but predictable flowing lines that make mathematical sense.

gray geometric rug dining room bhg

 

Geometric rugs most often incorporate the traditional shapes mentioned above but they can also include motifs inspired by Ikats or Kilims or traditional Moroccan lattice and trellis designs. 

In the market for a geometric style rug for your home? 

Here are a dozen great ones!

geometric rugs bhg

From top left:  6 x 9’ Stockholm rug, Ikea $299; 8 x 10’ Marrakesh trellis, Overstock, $368; 8 x 10’ Navy Inspire rug, Rugs USA, $679; 6 x 9’ Sprout Rug, Dash & Albert, $298; 5 x 8’ Zuel Rug, Zinc Door, $480; 6 x 9’ Edison rug, Rugs USA, $559; 5 x 8’ Odeon Rug, Z Gallerie, $250; 8 x 10’ Ksara rug, Crate + Barrel, $699; 5 x 8’ Chelsea Rug, Dwell Studio, $495; 8 x 10’ Kite Kilim, West Elm, $549; 6 x 9’ Indigo Safavieh, Floors USA, $297; 5 x 8’ Capel Rug, Layla Grace, $628

 

Which one is your favorite? 

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Kate

Best of: Mirrored Chests and Nightstands

When there’s a need for glamour in a bedroom space, a mirrored bedside chest or nightstand will certainly do the trick!  A reflective surface is another layer to consider when designing a sophisticated master or guest bedroom.  A mirrored piece of furniture guarantees modern flair, and like all mirrors, will pull more light into the room.

mirrored bedroom dresser bhg

Some pieces are designed with full overlay, with every surface covered in mirror while others possess surrounding painted frames, silver or gold leaf trim, and even fretwork detail.

mirrored dresser bhg

 

A pair of mirrored nightstands on opposite ends of the bed will always make a style statement and bring elegance into a chic bedroom space.

mirrored nightstands bhg

On the hunt for a mirrored beauty for a bedroom or entry?  Here are twelve of my favorite chests and nightstands from inexpensive to splurge.

mirrored chests bhg

From top left:  Bowfront Chest, High Fashion Home, $689; Accent Table, Target, $90; Antiqued Mirror Sideboard, Interior Homescapes, $1,971; Mirrored End Table, West Elm, $319; Rhine Cabinet, Wayfair, $978; Wayborn Black Cabinet, Wayfair, $389;  Distressed Vintage Chest, Overstock, $563; Versailles Chest, JC Penney, $300; Omni Chest, Z Gallerie, $799; Gray Wash Chest, Layla Grace, $1,368; Park Bedside Chest, Pottery Barn, $399; Borghese 3 Drawer Chest, Z Gallerie, $899;

Are you a fan of mirrored bedside chests or furniture?

Which pick is your favorite?

 

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Kate

Gorgeous Grasscloth!

I love paint’s ability to completely transform a space with a new hue, and patterned wallpaper is equally divine for bringing the wow factor into your home.  For me, grasscloth wallpaper is the love story between both, with the added bonus of texture!

 

taupe grasscloth wallpaper bhg

 

Grasscloth wallpaper is available in various neutrals, in colors, and even metallic sheens.  Chocolate brown grasscloth wallpaper envelops this luxurious bedroom where rich contrast is played up between equal parts of light and dark. 

 

chocolate grasscloth wallpaper bhg

 

Grasscloth wallpaper is also available in variegated shades which incorporate fibers of different colors into the woven pattern. 

 

variegated textured grasscloth in bedroom bhg

 

And how pretty is looks when used like a wainscot wall treatment with a chair rail or molding used to border the top. 

 

variegated grasscloth wallpaper bhg

 

Installing grasscloth wallpaper is challenging and hiring a professional is recommended for precise application.  Grasscloth is surprisingly heavy so it requires extra adhesive!  But being the incurable do-it-yourselfer that I am I attempted installation myself a few years ago with an unconventional technique, but three years later (after some recent furnishing upgrades) I’m still loving it! 

One must be prepared for the subtle but visible lines that appear between the panels, but the texture of grasscloth wallpaper is always warm and inviting.   

 

grasscloth wallpaper in living room bhg

 

Grasscloth is just as versatile as patterned wallpaper, filling spaces all around the home with chic style, from the dining room to the bathroom.   

 

blue grasscloth in dining room bhg

 

grasscloth in the bathroom bhg

 

Here are some sources for rolls of grasscloth when shopping for your home:

 

York Wallcoverings

Thibaut

Phillip Jeffries

Decorator Grasscloth from American Blinds

Discount Wallcoverings

 

Have you installed grasscloth wallpaper in any of your spaces? 

 

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