Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Today I want to talk countertops.

White marble is still one of the most popular countertop selections in the kitchen and bath market despite the fact that it is porous and does require upkeep and maintenance. Over the years countless companies have come out with  man-made options some of which I have talked about here on the blog, however when it came time to pick the countertops for my first kitchen, what did I choose? Marble. But maybe not next time for me...why? Well, there is a new (to me) kid on the block and he is putting all of the other options to shame. His name: Neolith.

This name may ring a bell as I talked a lot about it during a few instastories surrounding my  Luxury Living Show Bath at Phipps Plaza earlier this year. I selected the Calacatta Gold for the shower walls and was blown away by the finished results.

Photo by David Christensen for Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine
Can you believe this is not real marble? I had seen the marble - esque slabs in person at Stone Center, but seeing the product installed in this shower application just blew me away. It really looks like marble. The veining, the colors, even the feel..... 

Photo by David Christensen for Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine
It's a looker that's for sure, bur even more importantly, it is virtually indestructible.

Yes you read that right, this product is....
  • UV Resistant - making it great for outdoor applications.
  • Waterproof - No etching!!!
  • Freeze/Thaw resistant - another great attribute for an outdoor surface
  • Hygienic - meaning it is suitable for food contact. In fact it's just as good as stainless steel.
  • Easy to Clean - No household material will hurt it. 
  • Heat resistant up to 500 degrees celsius
  • Stain Resistant
To prove the last two points Leo Chuahy, owner of Stone Center brought a few props into our showroom last week to showcase the toughness of this stone. Up first - a blow torch.....yes, a BLOW TORCH. 

A lot of quartz surfaces say you can put hot plates and pans right out of the oven on their surfaces, but most of them can only withstand up to 350 - 390 degrees. Neolith is heat resistant up to 500 degrees celsius (932 degrees farenheight!), so there is nothing you could cook in your kitchen that would be hot enough to hurt these countertops.

Next he pulled out a sharpie and a can of spray paint. He let me write on the stone with the sharpie and then wiped it right off with rubbing alcohol.

Next, he sprayed this smiley face on the stone using spray paint.....


..... let it dry and again, it wiped right up. For me, this is so cool because I think of all the activities that happen on our countertops, specifically our island. While you can get (and I did) natural stone surfaces like marble sealed against food and beverage stains, I would of never feel comfortable enough to let Croix color with sharpies or Brent paint something on my old marble countertops. They were just too fragile in my mind. It would be really cool to have a surface that not only looks the way you want it to, but is care-free enough you can actually use it and enjoy it worry free.

Ok, ok, you get it..Neolith is cool, but what exactly is Neolith? Neolith is a sintered compact surface made with 100% natural material. Quartz, silicon and clay are mixed together and brought to solid form using high pressure, high temperatures or both, which is exactly how the earth makes natural stones like granite or marble. It is a 100% recyclable material that comes in a lot of different patterns and finishes, from matte to polished and a few in between. One of the coolest things about this product is it's size. It's light weight and can get as small as 1/8"(3mm) thick which is what you would use for cabinet cladding. The next size up is 1/4" (6mm), perfect for walls and flooring (this is the size we used for the walls of the shower in the photos above). And finally 1/2" (12mm) which is the size used for the countertops. The shower wall application is especially nice because you will be able to create drama and beauty with no grout!

As you can see, Neolith has a lot of good points, however, like anything, it has it's limitations. It is not chip resistant. No stone countertop is, but there can be the misconception that because this stone is SO easy to care for and worry free that it is indestructible. But this not true, like any stone, it can crack or chip if it's hit at the right angle with the right pressure. The good news.... chips and cracks can be repaired.

As I think about my next kitchen remodel, it excites me that there is finally a product like Neolith that will allow me to get the look I want without sacrificing my sanity down the road.  It's funny because when we bought our first house, the kitchen was the very first thing we tackled, but now that I'm a Mom, I'm thankful almost every day that I do not have a brand new kitchen in this house as I watch Croix slam into cabinets and spill anything and everything on the countertops. Kids change things and while I know he will grow out of this specific phase, he is going to live here, eat here, play here, do homework here, etc. for the next 16 1/2 years, so the idea of having a surface in the most used room of my house that he can actually use without me worrying sounds pretty good.

So yeah, I'm a fan....can you blame me? 

If you are in the Atlanta area and you are interested in hearing more or would like to see the stone for yourself, Stone Center in Norcross is the place for you. Click this link here for their info. 

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Musical Chairs

So, the funniest thing happened. I literally shopped my own home for the answer to a long time hunt for our dining room - chairs!

OK, so after we got the mantle all painted up, the space was feeling good, which made us even more eager to keep the ball rolling. The room definitely had/has a ways to go but one obvious element that was missing was chairs.  Ever since we had the table made and purchased the blue wing back chairs last summer we have been on a quiet hunt for dining room chairs but could never find anything just right.

Then a few weeks ago, my Aunt Janis offered us a set of dining room chairs from a house she is selling. They are a more traditional style antique (ish) stained wooden chair with an upholstered seat. While the current state of the chair would not work with the aesthetic of the room we were optimistic we could sand them down and reupholster the seats to make them jive. We hadn't had the chair 24 hours when Brent started sanding the finish down on one side of the chair and we immediately began the conversation about what color we would paint them. But, with every idea we threw around, it became more and more obvious to me that painted chairs would not work in this space. The table was stained, the wing back chairs were a blue upholstered fabric, painted dining chairs with another fabric on the seats just seemed like way too much going on. I knew the chairs needed to be stained in medium color similar to the table. And then it hit me.....I have chairs like that. Sitting just a few rooms over in our breakfast room were the chairs I needed.

Do you guys remember these chairs from our first house

They came with us when we moved and had been sitting around our breakfast room table. We had 6 of them and they were a wedding gift from my parents. We could only fit 4 around our little table in the first house, but needed 10 to fit around our much larger breakfast table at the new house. Unfortunately  they stopped making this exact chair so we ended up purchasing these other chairs from World Market and mixed the two styles around the table. It has looked good for the past 18 months, but in a flash I knew I needed those 6 upholstered chairs in the dining room stat....and guess what?

I was right. 

They are PERFECT and instantly felt right in the room. So now, all I need is 6 more of the "X" back bistro chairs to fill in the gap in the breakfast room and I'm back in business.

 I have to say it's pretty exhilarating making pretty things happen and spending zero dollars. I'm sure Brent would be thrilled if I started making a habit of this new shopping style. #eyeroll

All photos are my own. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Gates Nursery Reveal

On June 8th our family welcomed it's newest member - Gates!

I'm so excited to be an Aunt and I'm even more excited that Croix and Gates are so close together in age. Cousins are THE BEST and I love that they will get to grow up together.

Today I want to show you all his nursery. Let me start by saying I had literally zero to do with this space. My sister, Candace, who could totally be an interior designer herself, (hello, remember her home office?) + her husband Jimmy get all the credit here, I just love how happy it is. Plus, I know spaces like this only make the world a better place, visually at least ;) and need to be shared.

Ok, let me show you around.....

They bought a new house earlier this year and got started on the nursery right away by having the walls painted Shoreline by Benjamin Moore. They wanted a crisp and clean color to act as the backdrop for all the pops of fun decor and furniture. 

Speaking of fun decor.....umm..... H E L L O adorable little friends....

On the other side of the room sits the changing table with a closet full of teeny tiny little boy clothes beyond. I love how they elevated the look of the Ikea dresser with some new cool brass hardware! 

One of my favorite elements in the room are the framed words to the song "Little Boy Blue" flanking each side of the window that Candace had commissioned from Journey Joyful on Etsy. Our Grandma used to sing that song to us all when we were little and I think it was so sweet to bring a piece of her (Gates' namesake!) into this space. 

Pretty stinking' happy right?!  I'd totally lay here, all wrapped up in my swaddle like a burrito, enjoying the sites.  Gates is definitely a lucky little guy! Plus, it's cool to think it won't be long until Gates is crawling on that cute rug and reading stories with his Mom and Dad in the rocker and likely ripping all the beautifully styled items off that bookshelf (Croix will teach him that part :) )

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Finishing Our Antique Mantle

We finally pulled the trigger on a finishing treatment for our 100+ year old fireplace surround in our dining room!

If you have been following along (here and here) you know we were torn on how to treat the finish of this jewel. As much as we loved the existing dark stained look, the overall finish was in rough shape and we knew it would have to be addressed.

To make matters more complicated the piece is pretty fragile.  There are a lot of delicate details throughout, which is what makes it so beautiful,but it also makes it susceptible to chipping so we knew a huge amount of sanding or messing with the piece in general would not be ideal. So, we decided painting was the way to go.

We taped off around the mantle, and more importantly around the new marble surround.

Then we pushed the dining room table back and created a Dexter-esque room with floor to ceiling plastic to ensure no paint or paint dust would make it's way to the rest of the room/house. 

With everything prepped we were ready to paint. We decided on Stone Hearth by Benjamin Moore, a nice creamy taupe in a gloss finish. We felt like the taupe would bring the elegance while the glossy finish would accentuate all of the beautiful detailing throughout this piece. We loaded up our trusty paint gun and got to work. 

Brent sprayed the entire piece with one thick coat of paint and we let it dry for a few days. Once dry we were extremely happy with the color but noticed we had a lot of caulking to do. The lighter color definitely covered up some of the missing wood chunks, but it also brought out all of the cracks and imperfections. 

We filled in all of the holes.....

... and then sprayed on another coat. 

 Next, we got out the sand paper and sanded down any imperfections/runs in the paint and then applied our final coat of paint. 

Once that paint was dry I could not pull that plastic covering down fast enough.


What do you guys think? Did we do the mantle justice? We are loving it and can't wait to build the whole room around this statement piece. 

The next step? We plan to add walnut trim around the fireplace to fill all of the open holes from the previous mantle. If you follow me on Instagram you know that Brent and I popped into an awesome wood shop the other day and came home with some great wood. Here is a little sneak peek of what's to come......

All photos are my own.