Sunday, May 31, 2015 - May Recap

I can't believe this is the last day of May! Time is going by so fast, we are officially half way through 2015...crazy! It's been a busy month for me and some of my postings have been a bit sporadic. For whatever reason I didn't post at ALL the first week of May (bad idea), so I've been hustling to get all of my articles out. In fact I just posted my 8th and final article of the month about an hour ago. There's nothing like cutting it close...eek. But, I got it done and I'm pretty happy with this months articles. If you haven't gotten a chance check them out, the topics are all over the place, but of course centered around the best room in the house....the kitchen!

After writing about my experience designing cabinets for animals in this blog post, I decided to do  some research so I could show off additional ways you can integrate pet storage into your kitchen. All options are not only functional but so fun!

The opening picture to this article is a group of naked trolls with colorful hair. Do I really need to say more to encourage you to read?? OK fine....I'm talking color in the kitchen and my ideas don't involve being naked or dying your hair radical colors, so you should check them out!

3. Cabinetry Construction Styles 

The subject of cabinetry can be downright confusing and overwhelming, but you've gotta start somewhere right? In this article I explained the different cabinetry construction styles. Sounds boring and blah, but it's actually one of the most important things you can understand before you set out to design your dream kitchen. 

4. New Kitchen Must Haves

When I design a kitchen there are 4 items that rarely don't make their way into my designs. This article talks about these items and why myself AND clients love them so much!

5. Touch Faucet Love

Our touch faucet is truly one of our favorite features in our kitchen. In this article I'm sharing the reason I truly believe the Touch Faucet is worth every penny and will instantly become a kitchen favorite for any one who has one installed in their space.

For Memorial Day I posted a special article all about how to add a little patriotic flair to your kitchen! Lucky for us, American colors are classic and pretty and when done right a patriotic kitchen can be down right elegant! 

A little food for thought....This is the Brazilian Flag: 

While their futbol teams are unparalleled, their colors are a little harder to decorate around ;)

7. Outdoor Kitchens

I know you all know this outdoor kitchen of mine pretty well. In this article I talked not only about my own outdoor kitchen, but showed off some other really cool outdoor kitchens as a way to pay homage to the kick off of summer!

8. Meet the LeMans Corner Pullout

Corners in the kitchen can be a beast! The LeMans corner pullout is an accessory I put in so many of my kitchen designs. This article talks all about the many benefits of the LeMans pullout. 

As I always I would very much appreciate any feedback regarding topics I should post about. I'm all literally, my ears....their kind of Yoda like. It's cool, I'm OK with it. :)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

DIY Irrigation System

I've decided 3 day weekends are my jam. They are right up there with cheese dip and shoe shopping. Just down-right satisfying and good for the soul. While Brent and I took full advantage and did a whole lot of resting and relaxing last weekend, we also had time to fit in one very simple and super affordable DIY...

We installed our own irrigation system!

We got really lucky with our yard because the people that lived here before us definitely had a green thumb and we inherited some great plants, shrubs and trees. Over the past two years we have spent a lot of time, money and effort planting additional plants and trying to keep our yard up. However, while our yard is not huge by any means, we have constantly struggled with upkeep. We've got the whole "get inspired and go buy a bunch of stuff, spend a lot of time planting it and then don't touch it again until you notice it's dead" thing down pat. In order to even water our plants or our yard we had to drag out the hose, hook it up to the sprinkler, place it in the yard and then remember to come out and turn it off after a certain amount of time. Sounds simple enough, I guess, but the reality is it rarely happened and was always just too much of an effort. Terrible, I know...

With summer planting upon us we knew we didn't want to go down the same old road again so we did some research on installing our own irrigation system. And by research I mean we went to Home Depot, stood in the irrigation isle and randomly started piecing together what we thought would work. Let me start by saying I didn't even know this type of thing was possible to do yourself (DIY). In my mind I thought installing an irrigation system would require professional installation, major disruption to our yard and a lot of money. I was blown away to find that you can definitely DIY your own irrigation system and Home Depot has a whole isle dedicated to the parts and pieces necessary to make your DIY sprinkler dreams come true!

So, here is what we ended up with:

We began by hooking up the timer and hose to the water spout on the front of the house. We had to get the hose across the stone path into the flower bed, so we pulled up one of the stones and dug a small trench underneath. 

Then, we placed the hose in the trench and covered the whole thing back up with the stone.  Brent used mulch to cover up any exposed hose so the whole transition is completely seamless.

Once we made it to the flower bed we continued our trench digging and snaked the hose through the flower bed, around various shrubs and bushes.

We continued the hose up the whole right side of our yard (if you're looking at our house from the street) under the picket fence to the beds along the street, and back to the large flower bed island in the middle of the yard (where the Christmas Tree used to sit).

Once we got the main hose situated we ran the 1/4" hose to where we wanted each sprinkler to be located.

Then, we hooked up the sprinkler lines into the main hose.

And voilia! 

All of the parts and pieces we used are Rain Bird and there are a wide range of sprinkler head and hose options available. We went with 360 degree sprays everywhere except in front of the fence, where we opted for the 180 degree version. Each sprinkler head is adjustable, so you can alter the pressure and range of the spray to ensure you hit your desired plants. It's great because you can literally customize each head to suit your specific flower bed. We turned the sprinklers on and walked around adjusting various heads until every plant was getting touched. 

Speaking of customization, the timer has to be the best part. It allows you to set the specific time and duration of each watering cycle, meaning we basically do nothing, but sit around and watch our yard flourish. It's a dream really.

I'd say this whole installation took us about a day and cost around $150. Totally painless and 100% worth the effort. We definitely went into the project unsure, but hopeful, and I'm happy to report we are very pleased with the end results! I'm convinced my thumb is already looking greener....I just know this sprinkler system is going to make us look good and keep our greenery investments nourished and happy!

P.S. Wanna read more from me? Check out my articles over on this week! 

I've written about How to create a Patriotic Kitchen and The Beauty of an Outdoor Kitchen. Still need to think of my last topic of the month, only 3 more days until June!

All photos are my own, logo from Google Search. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hallway Makeover

You know that Alanis Morissette song - Ironic where she says "it's like 10,000 spoon when all you need is a knife"? Well that pretty much summed up our life back in March, as the weeks drew nearer to the Junior League Tour of Kitchens. Brent and I were definitely feeling the pressure. It's like one minute it was September and we had all the time in the world to get our lives together and the next, it was March 20th and we were one week out from show time and the smallest space in our house was giving us the most grief. The hallway.

Getting the new stair runner installed was a huge first step for the hallway, but we still needed to add more life. We had always talked about doing some kind of ceiling treatment, and went back and forth considering everything from wallpaper, to a cool wood trim installation to just painting it. We stayed on the wallpaper train a long time and looked and looked at wallpaper options but just never could find anything that blew us away. The wood trim concept was our next focus, and as cool as we thought it could be, we feared if we opened that can of worms so late in the game it could get expensive and time consuming quickly. So, we decided to go the painting route.

On a whim we decided to try this faux denim effect from Ralph Lauren. 

This process requires you to paint a layer of the glaze (which is what comes in the can above) atop a white ceiling. You select your glaze color at the store and they mix it in just like paint. Then, before the glaze can dry you take a special brush and drag it along the paint to create the denim striations. The process sounded simple enough, but we knew we had to be fast for it to work. So, Brent created a homemade scaffold using three ladders and some wood planks he had in the basement.

(I apologize in advance for this awful photo, but we had to take the ceiling lights down so we had to hang a work light which was REALLY BRIGHT and makes for hideous lighting.)

This little set up allowed us to move quickly and smoothly by simply dragging our brush or roller along the ceiling while walking on top of the planks. Brent's Mom Cindy was in town (lucky her) and was along for the whole painful ride. The plan was for her to paint along the edges with a brush while I painted the center section with a roller. Then, Brent would follow behind me, dragging the special brush along the wet paint to create our desired look.  

Here was the finished product:

We loved the color, but the texture was WAY off. You can see how the process worked in some areas and how it definitely did NOT in others. First of all we realized we should not of gone along the edges with the brush. This approach created a darker frame along the perimeter of the hall which we couldn't lighten with the textured brush. We also figured out we should of done a small section at a time. Even with our homemade scaffold, the glaze was too dry by the time Brent got to it in some areas. And finally, because the glaze was just a glaze and not a paint, it caught weirdly in some areas, like the circle that's showing through above. We are guessing at one point someone who had lived here previously had some circular thing (fire alarm?) mounted there and for whatever reason, the glaze covered it differently than everything else. It was our own fault. We should of tested it out on a small section or on a piece of cardboard. But we are do it and figure it out along the way kind of people which kind of bit us in the butt this time. Oh well, we went back to Home Depot and asked them to mix us up some paint in the glaze color and then proceeded to paint the entire ceiling a solid coat of what turned out to be a dark green.

While the hallway has no windows it gets surprisingly good natural light from the kitchen, den, bathroom and master sitting room window.  The natural lighting is great because the green is so dark it can definitely read black when the sun goes down. Regardless, the ceiling color definitely adds some much needed drama to the hall and plays nicely with the floor runner we got at Scott's Antique last year. 

With the ceiling complete we were able to hang our new semi-flush lights from Cedar & Moss. They are SUCH an improvement from the blah "boob lights" that were there before. 

And finally, the last piece of our hall puzzle was our travel wall installation. Literally DAYS before the Kitchen Tour we hung these cool frames we found at World Market. We bough pretty much every gold-rimmed version of the frame they had in 3 sizes and filled each frame with black and white photos from our world travels over the past five years. 

We've had some great adventures and it's so cool to see some of those memories on display every day. Like I said, we bought every frame we could find in the Atlanta area, so we have some that we haven't filled yet ready to go for future trips!

Here's one final shot of the hall, looking into the den. As you can see the wall across from the frames houses a phone niche, which is original to the house. We don't have a house phone so I put a bust covered in colorful beads in there instead. 

We definitely went the long and painful route with certain parts of this project, but we are really happy with how everything turned out. And while there was probably still drill dust on the frames as the people toured our home that Saturday, we got a lot of positive feedback on all things hallway, but especially on the travel wall!

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Designing Cabinets for Animals

Designing cabinetry for humans is cool and all, but designing cabinetry for animals.... THAT is just down right satisfying and rewarding. Last summer/fall fellow Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios designer Keri Perry and I were in the thick of working on designs for a huge remodeling project, when we found ourselves with some unique clientele to consider...two dogs and a cat.

This remodel was big and much of the first floor of the home was re-designed. As we worked through designing the various areas of the home, we had one very clear goal in mind. Make it beautiful, but make it explode with functionality.  As we dug into the details and began determining where various items would be housed we quickly realized there were certain 4-legged family members who had a fair amount of gear themselves and that gear needed to be organized just like everything else. Now I don't know how many pets you know, but pets, no matter how big or small, have stuff...lots of it.

When we first met this project the cat's food dish and water dispenser were sitting on the countertop in the kitchen, so as to keep it out of the dogs' reach. The dog bowls were sitting by the end of the island and the cat's litter box was housed behind a cabinet door in the laundry room with a small hole for access. It was functional, but far from pretty.

The truth is, if you have a cat, there really is no getting around having a litter box. So it came down to improving the housing of said litter box to blend seamlessly with the pretty that was the rest of the room/house. In general, I liked the concept of the litter box being housed behind doors, because really, who wants to look at that? So, we started playing with some ideas with our engineer Richard; one thing led to another and before we knew it we had dreamed up this:

Which then turned into this....

and finally....THIS:

Photo by Barbara Brown.
The whiskers! The tail! Can you even deal with the cuteness? 

Photo by Barbara Brown.
Now, not only does the cat have a chic' home for his litter box, but the entire set-up is easily accessible for both cat and human. Even better, now the LITTER BOX cabinet is the "cool kid in school" in this Laundry Room. 

As for the animal food and gear, we designed an entire area right outside the kitchen that we called THE PET STATION. 

Photo by Barbara Brown.
The pet station includes 3 dog bowls, 2 for food and 1 for water. These bowls were custom built to fit snugly in the base of the center cabinet with granite installed atop to ensure any splishing or splashing while drinking wouldn't harm the wood. As for the cat, another bowl was designed to sit on it's own ledge, high above the dogs, so the animals could eat together without bothering each other. A pullout was installed on each side of the dog bowls to house dry food.  The small drawers above the dog bowls were designed to hold leashes, collars and other small necessities. As for the rest of the space, behind each wall cabinet is a series of adjustable shelves so anything from wet food to treats and toys can easily be stored and organized, but out of sight.

Two of the animals were gracious enough to model for us during this shoot. The cat was reluctant to show off the litter box (understandably, everyone needs some privacy) but both the dog and the cat were more than happy to show the world how nice and functional their dream space is. It's always so nice to see a satisfied customer! ;)

All cabinetry is from Bell Kitchen & Bath Studios Signature Collection. The pet station is walnut and the laundry room is maple with a painted finish.

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own.