Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Junior League Tour of Kitchens 2015

This weekend was SUCH a rush! 
Saturday our house was on the Junior League Tour of Kitchens!

Our home was open from 10-4 and hundreds, yes HUNDREDS of people (300 +) came through to tour our space. In the midst of the tour there were two cooking demonstrations AND a Keurig representative giving out hot drinks.

Needless to say things got pretty crowded and it was surreal seeing all of the people lining up to get into our home. Everyone was so nice and patient and they were full of sweet compliments and great questions. 

Because of the way our house is situated the entire downstairs was open with the exception of our two guest bedrooms. People entered through the front door and exited from the deck, so they got to see a lot of the projects we've completed along the way, including the outdoor kitchen and our recently completed office solarium! It was cool because I was posted up in the inside kitchen to greet people and answer questions, while Brent was posted up on the deck with the outdoor kitchen waiting to do the same. Surprise, surprise, the outdoor kitchen and TV cabinet were a huge hit and gave the actual reason for the tour (the inside kitchen) a run for it's money!

As you all know our house nor our kitchen is big by any stretch of the imagination, but it is full of a lot of heart and consideration. I was excited for our house to be on the tour to represent Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios for a lot of reasons, but especially to show people that great storage and functionality is not synonymous with an abundance of space. When we began designing this kitchen I pulled every rabbit I knew of out of my hat to make each and every cabinet count. Custom cabinetry is great on a lot of levels, but for small spaces like ours it was especially useful as it allowed us to make our space the best it could be by capturing every storage possibility we could. 

While Brent and I have been very happy with the kitchen, you never know how people will react. There were definitely times in the months leading up to the tour that I worried people would be underwhelmed by our small space, but boy was I wrong. I was thrilled to find that a lot of the people that came through really connected with our smaller space and were excited to see the storage components we used and hear about our thought process. There were so many questions, comments and oohs and ahhs. It was awesome!   

It was a proud day for sure and Brent and I are SO happy we participated, but BOY do we feel a huge weight lifted off our shoulders now that it's over! The good news? This tour forced us to get our butts in gear and complete a bunch of projects in and around the house. So, get excited because I have all kinds of new projects and finished spaces to show you all in the coming weeks!

All photos by Lori Foster. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Behind the Scene: Quatrefoil Island Back

Today, I want to take you deep into the trenches of my brain behind the scenes of the quatrefoil island back I designed for this year's Luxury Living Show Kitchen.

Last August I was mid flight on my way to SubZero Wolf training in Madison, Wisconsin when I busted out my pad and started brainstorming for the Luxury Living Show. August may seem a bit early to begin thinking about a project that would debut in February, but you never know how long the design process will take. Plus, starting early can kind of take the stress off. So, I doodled and ended up with this:

It's rough, yes, and a lot of things changed from this original brainstorm sketch to the final product, BUT you may notice one thing that remained the same...the quatrefoils! Can you tell that's what those green blobs are near the top? Don't judge a doodle, I WAS ON A PLANE!!

Anyways, I'd been a long time fan of the quatrefoil. My sister, Candace introduced me to the shape years ago and I've admired the design ever since. Luckily, I acquired two pairs of quatrefoil earrings last fall, one from a little shop in Elijay and the other  from my friend Katie as a bridesmaids gift. So, when the time came for me to present Mike (my boss) with my concept for this year's show I showed him my drawings and brought in my earrings. Props always help drive a case home ;)

The idea was a hit, and we immediately began working through how to bring the concept to life. There was a lot to consider concerning proportions and scale in addition to how to make the quatrefoils out of Mahogany which is what the entire island was going to be constructed of.  With a lot of Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios team effort, specifically from our CAD designer Wanda who spent an hour bending lines to create the initial quatrefoil so I could visualize, and our engineer Richard who played and played with the scale and specific shape of the final quatrefoils, we finally got it right. Before I knew it my quatrefoil island back dreams were coming true before my eyes.

This is a shot of the island in our shop before it was stained. 

And here she is in all her glory, smack dab in the middle of the mall:

Isn't design a funny animal? One minute you're doodling on a plane, and the next you' re staring at your doodles alive and real in the middle of the mall. A designers dream for sure!

P.S. This island and the whole Luxury Living Show Kitchen will be up at Phipps Plaza the rest of the month, go by and check it out in person if you're in Atlanta!

All photos are my own.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Olivia Pope Lights

I feel like our whole turn the solarium into an office project has been dragging on FOREVER. We make progress then pause for months. Progress, pause, progress, progress, loooong pause and finally I'm back with a little progress.

Sconce lights!!!

The addition of lighting had been part of our overall office plan from the get go. While the room has a ceiling fan/light and gets great natural light, we thought sconces would be a great source of task lighting. For months I scoured the internet in search of the perfect light. It was tough. So many cool options, but our needs were sort of specific: back plate diameter no bigger than 5", reasonably affordable and aesthetically interesting, you know, not just pretty, but cool. It's a tall order to fill, but after months and months of deliberation we decided to go with the Soho Sconce from Shades of Light

You know what goes really good with new lights? Electricity. 

Unfortunately for us, the only outlet in the room was on the opposite side of the wall from where our sconce lights were intended to hang. Womp. Womp. So, step number 1 was getting an electrician out to add some outlets. 

Once we got electricity in the wall, our plan was to wire the sconce lights off the new outlets. For a low profile look we decided to recess the switches horizontally into the window sill. 

Brent began by tracing the shape of the junction box on the sill. 

Next, he used his drill to cut the outline of the box. 

Once the hole was cut out, the junction box was placed and it was time to get those lights mounted.

The plan was to mount the lights to the columns, but the columns were solid, so we ended up having to run a conduit on the side of the column to house the wire. Not ideal, but it ended up blending in pretty well. So much so I actually forgot we had conduits until I wrote this. HA!

The lights went up and the rest is history.

So, the lights are great; they add pizazz and polish to the space and I love how their installation has taken our solarium-turned-office one step closer to completion. But you know what I really, really love?! The fact that Olivia Pope, the fast talking, sharp dressed, red wine drinking rock star from the show Scandal has the same sconces in her apartment.

Photo from google search. 
Did she copy me? I mean, I would never go and say something like that per-say, but it does make me feel good to know that Olivia and I are on the same wave-length style wise. I'm even contemplating updating my resume: Courtney Shearer - Kitchen & Bath Designer, Blogger and style soul mate with Olivia Pope. Y'all can email me if you want an autograph................ :)

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Luxury Living Show 2015

While most people living in or around Atlanta scurried home last Wednesday afternoon trying to avoid the impending snowpocalypse 2.0 I headed to the mall. Priorities people, shoes don't buy themselves you know. Just kidding, I did my shoe shopping the weekend before, Wednesday I made my way to Phipps Plaza to watch as the 2015 Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle's Luxury Living Show Kitchen I designed made it's big debut.

It's not every day you get to design a kitchen that will be on display in the middle of the mall. What a cool/random/awesome/terrifying opportunity, right?! For the second year in a row my heart and soul sits in the middle of a mall for all to see and I couldn't be more excited.

For months myself and the Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios team have been working hard dreaming, scheming, designing, drawing, tweaking, building and installing this year's Luxury Living Kitchen. A Kitchen that debuted in front of design bloggers from across the country and will sit on display for 5 weeks in the middle of Phipps Plaza.

For this year's design we wanted to show something a bit more modern. Atlanta is a Traditional market, no doubt about that, but as of late there has been a growing interest in modern design. Last year the President of Bell K&B Studios, Mike Bell dubbed the phrase Southern Modern. An idea that a space could have clean lines and a sleek vibe while maintaining the warmth and elegance associated with the south. For so many, a modern aesthetic is synonymous with cold and sterile features which is sad because modern design really can be warm and layered. So, we decided to showcase what Southern Modern looked like to us. 

We kept the overall design sleek and clean with details like acrylic cabinetry, lucite hardware and a waterfall countertop around the perimeter of the kitchen. 

Mahogany accents were integrated throughout the space, around the center towers, floating shelves and on the island. Not only does the stained wood add a layer of warmth to the kitchen, but it contrasts nicely with the taupe/gray acrylic cabinetry, allowing one to pop off the other.

We wanted the island to feel very furniture like, so a more detailed drawer style (as opposed to the totally sleek slab drawers used on the perimeter) was selected. In addition I designed an all drawer look for the front of the island which became increasingly visually interesting with the addition of the knobs. The power of hardware never ceases to amaze....

Speaking of amaze, can we please talk about the back of this island? 

QUATREFOILS!!!! Nay...MAHOGANY QUATREFOILS!!!!!!! I love the detail they bring without being overpowering. When you see the kitchen as a whole they are definitely there, but more as a whisper than a shout. I have a whole post I want to do on these bad boys, but for now let's just say I have to hold myself back from stopping by the mall to pet them every day. 

And finally, no kitchen is complete without the insides of the cabinetry looking just as polished and considered as the outside. 

We stocked this space full of cool cabinetry components, like this pullout to the right of the cooktop. 

There is a space for wood spoons and utensils at the back and a knife block in the front. The cool part? The knife block is made out of a foam like material so the knifes can be placed anywhere within the area.

How about some pot/pan/lid storage action?  I don't know about you and your kitchen, but I could seriously use a drawer like this. Finding a pot with it's matching lid takes WAY longer than it should in my space. 

Projects like this are always a giant collaboration as it takes many a layer of beautiful items and finishes to bring these spaces to life! The kitchen was styled by the lovely ladies of Cloth & Kind - Tami Ramsay & Krista Nye Schwartz. The countertops are Cambria, color: Summerhill and they were done by the great folks over at Construction Resources. The appliances are Subzero- Wolf from Westye Group Southeast and the lights are from the Alexa Hampton Collection at Circa Lighting. The tile is from Renaissance Tile & Bath and was installed by Giovanni's Tile Design. All internal cabinetry components are by Rev-A-Shelf and the cabinetry hardware is by Atlas. The sink and faucet are Franke and the kitchen design and cabinetry are by Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios.

The kitchen will be on display for the whole month, stop by and pet it see it if you get a chance!

All photos are my own.