Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rolling Ladders

As ceiling heights in homes grow taller and people are interested in maximizing their storage space, one item that is helpful in accessing storage space near the ceiling is a rolling ladder. We used to only see these in library spaces, but now we are using them in closets, bunk rooms, kitchens, mudrooms and garages. There are many styles and finishes that can be used and they can also make a great aesthetic statement.

Rolling ladders can be made out of any wood species, powder coated aluminum or a myriad of metals. The wood ladders can be stained or painted to match or contrast the surrounding cabinetry and trim work. Often times an aluminum ladder is chosen because it weighs less and is easier to move around if needed. While a rolling ladder is very functional it can also add a really lovely design detail to a space.

Some options for rolling ladders are if you want handrails, do you want it to roll on wheels at the top or do you want it to hook on the rail at the top, allowing you to take it off and move it around, do you want a traditional wheel pattern or a more contemporary wheel pattern.

While adding a rolling ladder is not inexpensive, it sure beats dragging out a stepstool when you need to get to something at the top of your cabinets. Add a rolling ladder to your “To Consider” list. Do you have any ideas for places to use a rolling ladder? Email me at

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Charging Electronics

Do you have phone chargers scattered across your kitchen counters? Where do you charge your fitness tracker, Laptop, ipad, and the myriad of other devices that have to be charged these days? Below are several of the ways we have hidden away charging devices that allow you to reclaim your counter space.

1.      Put an outlet inside a cabinet. This allows you to plug in chargers while also shutting the door.
2.      Do you have open shelves on the end of your island? Consider putting an outlet in one of those shelves and keeping a basket on the shelf to wrangle electronics.
3.      Install a Docking Drawer inside a drawer. Specifically made to function with opening and closing drawers, this is perfect and an item we are starting to put in most kitchens. It’s also perfect for offices and in bathrooms for hair dryers and electronic razors.

When you are considering adding outlets specifically for charging electronics, consider if you need to use a regular outlet or if you should use a combo usb and outlet device. So many things charge with a usb port these days that that helps maximize the usage of an outlet space. What are your tricks for wrangling electronics? I’d love to hear! Email me at

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Where To Start: Bathroom Edition


One of the questions I encounter the most each week is from clients or friends asking “Where do you start in making decisions on a bathroom remodel? Here are my best tips.


  1. Tile. The largest mass of material in a bathroom, pick a tile that you love.
  2. Cabinets. Do you want something to blend in with the tile or be a contrast?
  3. Countertop. How does this relate with the tile?
  4. Plumbing fixtures. This is an important design element. Choose the style and finish that either blends in or is the design statement depending on the tile you have selected.
  5. Tub. This is often a focal point. If you don’t have a tub, will the shower be a focal point? What design details are you incorporating into the shower design?
  6. Wall Color. Often not a lot of wall space is left once cabinets, mirrors, doors and tile are added. You can go with a dramatic color or something that blends all of the other elements together.
  7. Mirror, light fixtures, cabinet hardware. The jewelry and final elements of the room. Will they relate more with the plumbing fixtures or blend more with the cabinets?


Usually making the decision on one element of the room will make all of the other elements easier. If there is one item you are dead set on, then use that as your jumping off point. I’ve walked thru this process with many clients and have found it easier for them to make decisions. I hope this information is helpful for you. Are there any elements I left out? Email me at

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Where To Start: Kitchen Edition

One of the questions I encounter the most each week is from clients or friends asking “Where do you start in making decisions on a kitchen remodel? Here are my best tips.

1.      Take stock of the surrounding spaces. Is your kitchen open to other rooms? Are there wall or flooring transitions? What is the style and colors of the surrounding spaces?
2.      Flooring. What floor is in the adjoining spaces? Does it make sense to continue the same wood floors into the kitchen space? Or do you have some natural transitions in order to change the floor material? One way to make the kitchen look larger and more seamless with other spaces, is to continue the same flooring thru the kitchen that is in the neighboring spaces.
3.      Countertops. Normally the next largest visual surface with least choices, select your countertops. Paint colors and cabinet colors can be tweaked around a countertop you fall in love with. Also if you fall in love with a wild or very unique countertop, you may want to consider toning down the other elements of the kitchen.
4.      Cabinets. Once countertops are selected , then the cabinets can be finalized.
5.      Backsplash. The backsplash pulls the cabinets and countertops together. Make sure you bring a sample of your cabinet and countertop when you go to select a tile backsplash.
6.      Hardware-lights, cabinet hardware, faucets. These elements are the jewelry of the room.

Usually making the decision on one element of the room will make all of the other elements easier. If there is one item you are dead set on, then use that as your jumping off point. I’ve walked thru this process with many clients and have found it easier for them to make decisions. I hope this information is helpful for you. Are there any elements I left out? Email me at

Sunday, May 21, 2017

How to Clean Wood Cutting Boards

A butcher block cutting board or countertop has a presence in most kitchens. Like a cast iron pan, it acquires seasoning the same way. A wood cutting board is gentle on your knives and can be refinished unlike many other types of cutting boards. Well taken care of, a great butcher block cutting board can become an heirloom piece similar to a cast iron pan. Unlike other wood furniture, wood cutting boards are finished with oils free of harsh substances since it comes into direct contact with food. These food safe finishes are typically less durable. Combine a less durable finish with frequent exposure to moisture and knives, you can end up with a dry, grainy board that absorbs moisture. Here’s some tips to keep your cutting board in tip top shape.

1.      Keep it clean. Wood captures moisture and stains more easily than a stone cutting board. Regularly remove all wood particles and scrub it with a mild soap then towel off to remove any excess moisture.
2.      Sanitize. Using strong chemical cleaners can leave a residue and contaminate your food. Spray the cutting board with undiluted white vinegar which acts as a discenfectant, ridding the board of dangerous bacteria’s.
3.      Stain Removal. Sprinkle table salt over the stain. Slice a lemon and half and using the cut end, thoroughly rub the salt into the stain. Let sit overnight and then clean of with a damp sponge. This is also great for removing odors and flavors from onions or garlic.
4.      Refinish. Thoroughly clean the surface then liberally apply mineral oil or tung oil with a rag, wiping off any excess after an hour. Make sure to give attention to the all sides and edges of the cutting board. Do not use vegetable or cooking oils as they can turn rancid.

What’s your tips for keeping your wood cutting board in good shape? I’d love to hear. Email me at

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Granite vs. Quartz but what is Quartzite?

One of the most common questions I am asked is Which is better, quartz or granite? Pick a favorite. Tell me what I should use. Which one is the best?” These are comments I hear all the time when clients are trying to decide between quartz or granite countertops. Often times my answer is “It depends.” I know, I know. Not very helpful, right? Well, let’s talk through it.

Color: If you are looking for a more solid color, less variation or consistent pattern, quartz may be the product for you. If you like the natural pattern of granite and want something that truly acts as a piece of art in your space, granite may be the one for you.

Maintenance: If you are a set-it-and-forget-about-it type of person, quartz may be the better solution for you. Granite is recommended to be sealed once a year. Don’t be dismayed! This is not a difficult process and can be done by even the most regular Joe.

Durability: Both products are very durable and you would be hard pressed to really hurt them unless you like cooking with a blowtorch or banging cast iron skillets around. Any product can chip if hit with the right thing in the right spot.

For many applications, I lean more towards granite for it’s natural beauty. You just can’t beat the unique character found in a slab of granite. It’s amazing that something that beautiful comes out of the ground! Some pieces I believe could be hung on the wall and called art. But, I also love and utilize quartz for different applications. Like I said, it all comes down to personal preference.

You may have heard of one of the newest players in the countertop world-Quartzite. But what is quartzite and should you pay attention to it? The long and short of it is "Yes!"Quartzite is a very hard metamorphic rock that originates as sandstone. Through a process of high heating and pressurization sandstone is transformed into Quartzite. When heated, individual quartz pieces recrystallize giving it a beautiful and decorative sparkling pattern. Quartzites offer a range of colors, veining and movement and can look like granite, marble, or a hybrid of both. Most Quartzites come from Brazil.

Quartzite is naturally strong, resists heat, is hard to stain and is harder than quartz. On the Mohs scale of hardness (1-10), with 10 the hardest, granite measures between 6 and 6.5; whereas quartzite measures around 7.There is a chance for etching to occur on its surface but can be minimized with regular sealing. Quartzite is considered an exceptional material for use in countertops. The difference in price for the material in either slabs or tiles will be reflected through the availability of colors and location. Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though quartzite often occur in various shades of pink and red. Other colors, such as yellow and orange, are due to other mineral impurities.

So do you like quartz over granite? Or is quartzite more your speed? What do you like or dislike? Shoot me an email and share your thoughts at

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wood Countertops

A very popular trend today is to have wood countertops in your kitchen or on your island. Some people are apprehensive about using wood and afraid of what the maintenance or care might be. There are several different types of wood that can be used as a counter surface and several different ways to finish it. Let’s dive in.

Salvaged Wood: Maybe you have an old family barn that you can salvage some wood from and reuse. Or maybe your old tire swing tree has died. Or maybe an iconic building is being torn down and you want a piece of that history in your home. Whatever the case, salvaged woods tops can definitely add richness and personality to a space. Cost: Varies

Butcher Block or Plank Style: made up of smaller pieces of wood or wider planks, many different wood species are available. Maple butcher block countertops are common but we are also seeing a lot of walnut and heart pine being used today. Cost: $30 to $125 per square foot for the material only

Bamboo: Bamboo's best green feature is that it's a rapidly renewable resource, plus it's naturally stronger and harder than most other hardwoods. Be aware that most commercial bamboo comes from China, so a lot of energy goes into transporting the product to the United States. Cost: $30 to $40 per square foot for the material only.

Regardless of which wood you choose, remember, wood is more susceptible to damage by water and heat, so it's best located away from the sink, dishwasher and range. An island or bar top is a good option. It’s best to use Waterlox’s modified tung oil finish, which seals the pores of your wood countertop meaning water can’t soak in. Water and other liquids just sit on the surface and “bead up”. You never want to use bleach or ammonia on your wood tops. Know that wood tops will not look perfect forever and can look beautiful when worn over time.

Do you have experience with wood tops in your kitchen? What are your secrets for keeping it looking great? Email me at