Thursday, October 25, 2012

365 Days & 51 Posts Later

......... and The Cow Spot is a year old!!!!

Today marks 365 days since the beginning of The Cow Spot Blog. Man O'man, they sure grow up fast!

Here is the ol' cow sporting a very stylish leopard birthday hat!

We've covered a lot of ground over the past year, so I thought it would be fun to do a little re-cap. Blogger offers this cool tab called "statistics" which shows the breakdown of the blog, regarding posts, comments, traffic sources, etc...Below is what it has to say of TCS' "All Time" activity.

To date (excluding today's post) there have been 51 posts and of those 51 posts the top 5 most viewed posts are....

#1:  Hardware - cabinet jewelry

#2: Mirror Mirror On The Wall

#3: The Perfect Gray - Facelift Series Part 3

#4: The Bathroom Facelift Series - Intro

#5: B L O G G I N G

Who's Reading The Cow Spot?

The Cow Spot is read worldwide!! From right here in Atlanta, GA all the way to the Philippines - pretty crazy! 

As you can see the majority of my readers (seen in dark green) are in the United States, followed by:

#2: Canada
#3: United Kingdom
#4: Russia
#5: Australia

Pageviews by Operating Systems:

Most people checking out the weekly blog posts are using Windows operating systems, while a decent amount are coming at us from Mac. Look - even the iphone/ipad has some representation - love that people are tuning in on the go!

As I've mentioned a zillion times over the past year, I really enjoy this blog. I'm so glad I randomly decided to give the whole blogging thing a whirl because it has truly become such a great creative outlet for me. It's funny, but The Cow Spot is kind of like my child. I'm always thinking about it and I get excited when other people like it. Blogging is always on or around my brain and I'm all the time jotting down new things to blog about. Because each post takes a decent amount of time, effort, and heart, I get very, very excited when I hear (or see) that other people have enjoyed or benefited from reading what I have to say. So thank you MOOcho to all of you faithful readers out there. I very much appreciate every comment, thumb (facebook "like"), follower and discussion that stems from my posts - it makes my day!

Both cow photos are from my hotel room at The Public in Chicago and the graphs and charts are from my blogger stat page.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Spy with my Little Eye...

...all things kitchen and bath related! Seriously, everywhere I go I notice, I critique and sometimes I take pictures just for proof of how wonderful or terrible something is I come across.

It's funny how our individual careers are just one more reason we all see the world so differently. Take my friend Jackie for example, she's the international sales manager for CaseMate, which is a company that designs and manufactures fashion accessories for smart phones. Everywhere we go she's noticing phone cases, ipad covers, screen protectors, etc... She can take one look at a phone and spit out the make and model. Even more, she will literally take the case off her own phone(the technological equivalent of taking the shirt off your own back) without thinking twice if she sees someone with a sub-par case. She's the real deal and she sees the world with cases on the brain. So here she is noticing phone cases, and here I am noticing cabinetry and tile, both living in our own happy bubble where we notice things we love and are passionate about.

While all design related items grab my attention it's cabinetry that really makes me look twice. To me, the cabinets really define a space, not only layout wise but style wise as well. Cabinets come in all shapes, sizes, colors and wood species, but it's the actual construction of the cabinet that I want to talk about today. There are two basic types of cabinetry construction - Framed & Frameless with the main differences between these two being aesthetics and accessibility.

So, let's dig in......

Framed Cabinetry:

Inset Cabinetry:
Inset Cabinetry is the creme' de la creme' of framed cabinetry....

This project is from the 2011 FoxHall Show House.
Cabinetry is Bell Custom.
Above is an example of inset cabinetry. Notice how the door sits within the face frame of the cabinet, creating very clean lines.

This is another shot of an inset cabinet, but this example showcases a bead around the opening of the cabinet.

Follow my ghostly white hand to the bead I'm referring to.
Inset cabinetry is the most expensive cabinetry construction. The expense comes from the skill required to build doors and drawer fronts that fit snuggly between the rails and stiles of the face frame. At the end of the day the door either fits in the opening or it doesn't, and there is very little room for adjustment, ergo the expense. This type of cabinetry construction hearkens back to the furniture craft which is what gives these cabinets that timeless look.

Overlay Cabinetry:
Overlay cabinetry is another type of framed cabinetry construction and probably what most people have in their homes.
The above cabinet is on display here in my office at Inspirations Design Studio and showcases a partial overlay cabinet ( 1/2" overlay to be exact.) Notice how the door sits on top of the cabinet box.

My ghostly white hand is back and is pointing to the cabinet box in which the door is sitting atop of. This type of cabinetry construction is referred to as a partial overlay because that 1/2" is showing on either side of the door.

This cabinet is an example of a full overlay cabinet. Full overlay is still in the framed cabinet family but is different from 1/2" overlay in that the door takes up nearly the entire face frame with very little exposed face frame on either side of the door...see below...

Full overlay cabinetry is going to give you more seamless look, where you will be seeing far more of the actual door than you will of the face frame of the cabinet box.

Framed cabinetry, regardless of the specific type (inset, partial overlay or full overlay) is a traditional American method of cabinetry construction. While the different types of framed cabinetry vary aesthetically they have accessibility in common, but let's talk more about that after we go over frameless cabinetry.
Frameless Cabinetry:

Frameless cabinetry is also known as European style cabinetry. The cabinets are constructed where the door sits directly on top of the cabinet box, creating a very sleek and seamless look as seen below.

Remember this little guy from my facelift series a few months ago?? He's frameless too!

Photo my own. 

Notice in both pictures above all that you see are the cabinet doors, there is no face frame showing. While both cabinets have a shaker style door, please know this type of cabinetry construction can be done with both traditional and contemporary door styles as well.

One of the main advantages to frameless cabinetry is the accessibility. Unlike framed cabinetry, there is no inside edge of a frame that is partially blocking the perimeter of the cabinet opening. Frameless drawers are also larger because the framed cabinet drawers have to be made smaller to fit through the face frame opening. 

Above is an example of the full access you get with frameless cabinetry. Are you acquiring an abundance of extra space? No, but every little bit counts especially in rooms where storage space is slim.

The price of frameless cabinetry can really fluctuate depending on where you purchase the cabinetry. Because a lot of American based cabinet makers have their machines set up to make framed cabinets, many of them do not offer frameless and if they do it can be expensive. However, other companies like the one I work for offer both frameless and the 1/2" overlay cabinetry and both are priced the same. 

Here is the typical  cabinetry construction price break down from highest to lowest:

  • Inset
  • Frameless/Full Overlay (Framed)
  • Partial Overlay
Well, there you have it, now you too will be noticing cabinetry construction every time you come across a cabinet! Now that you know the differences you will have to try and spot the various construction types and get your hands and eyes on them to see which construction style you prefer. I hope that your new found knowledge also helps you in future kitchen and bath endeavours. With the long list of decisions one has to make as they prepare to start a kitchen or bath project, I always suggest starting with the construction of the cabinetry. This decision will define not only the look you are going for, but also the price point.

Unless otherwise noted all photos were taken from the Inspirations Design Studio showroom.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Journey to the Wow

We are all looking for inspiration that will ignite excitement and set the wheels in motion for what we want for our own homes.

However, as happy and glossy as that ^ sounds I do realize that sometimes the wheels a turnin' are the least of our problems. Sometimes the funds are just not available. But fear not, every room's journey to the wow is going to be different. So, how does one go about improving their own space if ripping out the contents and starting over just isn't an option? Well.... I'm happy to report there are some face-lift-ish things you can do in a DIY (do-it-yourself) way to really turn your space around without breaking the bank. A few weeks ago I shared a laundry/mudroom project that was very well received. So, this week I want to show you two more laundry rooms that are equally as exciting but highlight a different journey to their individual wow results.

I think it's time to introduce you to one of my favorite blogs, which showcase a fair share of projects that are price conscious but pack a lot of punch. And no, I'm not talking about pinterest projects. I'm talking about real life laundry rooms that fellow bloggers revamped and improved in creative relatable ways.

Both laundry room projects were done by the happy couple at Young House Love. YHL is a blog written by a pair of husband and wife DIY'ers. They are uber creative, energetic and entertaining. I thoroughly enjoy reading their blog each and every day. If you visit their page you will see they've had two houses and two laundry room projects, so double the inspirations from this source! Weee!

Photo from Young House Love Blog.

Above is a before shot of the first laundry room - look familiar? I think we can all relate to this shot. The above is what happens when our laundry rooms become the catch all's catch all.

Photo from  Young House Love Blog.
And here is the after shot. What a transformation, right?! While the space did receive a new front load washer and dryer, everything else in the space is relatively inexpensive and doable for all of us. Let's start with the bamboo blinds they used to cover the open shelving. The shades act as a DIY cabinet door, but better. The unexpected use of these blinds not only adds a covering for stored items that may or may not always be in place but they add texture and interest to the space. Like the laundry room I showed you a few weeks ago, this space features a countertop over the washer and dryer but here this top is plywood that was painted! How genius! The countetop provides a perfect surface for folding laundry and because they used plywood instead of a stone surface the price tag can't be beat.

Photo from Young House Love Blog.
Above is the before shot of laundry room number two. As you can see, the space is rather drab and offers very little in terms of storage.

Photo from Young House Love Blog. 

And here is the after...I love it - so bright, so happy, so organized! As you can see the existing cabinets remained and new open shelving was added in what was the vacant space to the right of the washer/dryer units. Just like the laundry room from a few weeks ago, the use of baskets not only help organize the contents of the space, but add some flair and texture to the room. I love how they added hooks under the window to create their very own mudroom effect - the perfect place to hang little jackets, mittens and hats. The fresh coat of paint, new flooring, art work and cool lighting bring the whole space together.

So, there you have it, two laundry room face-lifts that are sure to get your wheels a turnin'. Going forward, as you make your own "to do" list for your house, keep in mind that every space is different and it doesn't always take a lot of money to turn a space around.  Sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and get creative. For more info and pics on these projects and more (oh so much more) check out the Young House Love blog here. OH... and even better, they're coming out with a book.....

It releases 4 days after my birthday............could be a great present...hint hint :)

All photos are from Young House Love's Blog.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Three Shades of White

I love colors - paint colors, nail polish colors, Prismacolor marker colors, basically if a color comes with a name I'm all over it. In truth - sometimes I fall in love with the name first and the color second, example: cinnamon toast (Prismacolor (rendering marker)) or Gray Owl (Benjamin Moore paint color), or "You Don't Know Jacques" (OPI - nail polish color), what can I say, some names just make me happy.

As fun as colors can be, they can also be tricky, especially when it comes to paint. Earlier this year I talked about my long and painful journey to find the perfect gray. During that process I quickly learned a few key things: one, not all paints are created equal and two, sometimes the most basic colors can be the most complicated.

Over the last year or so I've become increasingly color conscious due to my close workings with Bell Cabinetry. Bell Cabinetry is a custom cabinet company where all finishes are custom. Because of this I've become very aware of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to paints, but more importantly I've realized possibly the most complex color of them all is white.

White is an important color for interiors. Not only are shades of white the most popular hue of choice for house trim such as door and window casings, baseboards, house crown, etc...,but white is - has been - and will likely continue to be a hot, classic trend for cabinetry, specifically in the kitchen.

So, why is white so complicated? Easy - like most colors there are an abundance of white options, all of which differ slightly. Do you want a white-white, a gray white, a creamy white? So many options, it can make your head spin!

Above are just some of the paint samples I have around my office. All of these are in the white family. As you can see they all have a little something different going on and their difference really stand out when placed side by side.
White becomes especially complicated when it needs to marry up to something else white. This has had a tendency to be problematic because one of the hottest trends in kitchen and bath design is the forever lust worthy white cabinets with white countertop trend. So many times clients pick out their white marble and choose a white paint only to find that the white paint makes the marble look yellow, or even worse, pink... oh the tragedy!

To aid you all in your personal voyage to the perfect white for your projects I've put together a little collection of some of my favorite white options. One is my go-to ol' faithful, and two others are actually new shades recently introduced to me by clients.

Let's start with the bees knees of white paint. Not only does it marry well with most white countertops/tile but it's crisp true depth whiteness makes for a great great choice for trim as well.

White Dove - 

Benjamin Moore''s White Dove - OC-17

See it here on the cabinetry of this kitchen. Notice how it creates a nice backdrop for the Calcutta marble tops and backsplash. It's like a white dream - lovely. 

This photo is my own.

 Above is an example of the White Dove on the trim in this dining room. Notice how the color really pops against the gray/green color of Benjamin Moore's Sea Haze (I'll have to write about the journey to this color one day - another doozie!) So crisp - love it!

Shoji White -

Sherwin Williams' Shoji White - SW7042

This photo is my own.
Here is a sneak peek of my #ChattanoogaProject which showcases Shoji White on the perimeter cabinets as well as on the trim throughout the kitchen. This kitchen doesn't have it's countertops yet, but you can see this shade of white is pure with a hint of beige - no yellow, no gray.

Frostline -

Benjamin Moore's Frostline AF-5.
You may recognize this color from last weeks post. Frostline was the paint color for the mud/bench area.

This photo is my own.
Frostline has a more icy blue-green undertone which makes for a cool wintry white.

Obviously there are a bazillion other white paint options out there, but these are three that I've had success with recently. If any of you know of other great go-to options or better yet, paints that should have a skull and crossbones on the can do tell. Lord knows we can all use all the help we can get in this crazy, options galore world of paint.

Unless otherwise noted all photos are from google search.