Sunday, November 19, 2017

KitchenAid Mixer-A Kitchen Classic

One thing I find in most kitchens is a KitchenAid stand mixer. Sitting proudly on the counter or shoved in the back corner of a pantry, this classic has seen it all. The iconic stand mixer was introduced in 1919 and is the single most popular item on bridal registries today. In the early days, the wives of company executives were testing early mixers and one of the women exclaimed, “I don’t know what you call it, but this is the best kitchen aid I’ve ever had.” And the brand name KitchenAid was born. Their showroom in Chicago has a beautiful display of all of the mixers ever made. 

The first mixers cost nearly $200 (almost $3,000 in today’s dollars) and weighed 65 pounds. In 1937, industrial designer Egmont Arens, the art editor for Vanity Fair, created the current streamlined bullet silhouette. The mixer now comes in more than 86 colors. Some of the newest finishes are matte Avocado Cream, Black Violet, Ink Blue and Milkshake.

In 2016, KitchenAid introduced a downsized version, the first time since 1962. The new mixer is 3.5 qt, 20% smaller and 25% lighter than standard models. It is large enough for dough of 5 dozen cookies versus the 8-12 dozen cookie dough capacity of the larger mixer.  The mixer can have many attachments including vegetable slicers, ice cream makers, grain mills and pasta rollers. Discontinued accessories such as the can opener, knife sharpener, pea sheller and silver polisher still work with today’s mixer. If you find one of these at a yard sale or Grandma’s attic, you’ve found a treasure.

Is your mixer tucked in a deep dark corner of the pantry? Pull it out, polish it up and proudly display your national treasure. Maybe then you will have the opportunity to use it more often. Do you have a KitchenAid mixer? What is your favorite thing about it? I’d love to hear. Email me at

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sherwin Williams 2018 Color of the Year & Color Trends

Sherwin Williams just released their Color of the Year for 2018 and other color trends. SW6496 Oceanside is the winner! They call it a collision of rich blue with jewel-toned green, a color that is both accessible and elusive.  Oceanside's multi-dimensional, marine-inspired look can create a welcoming statement as a lively color for a front door. Its green-meets-blue tone can also boost creative thinking and clarity of thought in a home office, or invite meditation and introspection into a bedroom or reading nook. Oceanside is universal when it comes to design style from mid-century modern to Mediterranean-inspired, traditional to contemporary. I actually painted my front door this color last year!

Sherwin Williams also selected 3 other color palettes for as their predictions for 2018.

Sincerity: Less is more as we’re de-cluttering, moving more possessions into the cloud. Silence is no longer empty, but instead rare and rich with possibility. Our notions of what’s authentic are
being complicated. We’re celebrating the unfiltered, yet captivated by the artfully processed. Blending in is the new standing out. Flaws are treasured. The hushed tones of this score play out in sand, complex grays and hazy botanicals.

Unity: Nationalism and globalism are in flux, challenging terrestrial boundaries. We’re remapping our sense of community. Optimism persists in the form of boundary-breaking skyscrapers and commercial space travel. Even landlocked cities are becoming global hubs of crafts and gastronomy. We crave security and adventure in equal measure. Airbnb, car sharing
and e-learning have created a culture of everyday nomadism. The bright folklore of this story
is told in memorable pops of peacock color.

Connectivity: We’re each moving to the beat of our own algorithm. From choosing a dry cleaner to choosing a college, data powers nearly every decision we make. In Silicon Valley, Austin, Berlin and Beijing, techies are the new hippies, full of breakthrough ideas and utopian ideals. A generation is waving the flag of color freedom, and Instagramming every moment. This high-tech palette is pixelated in orange, violets, digital greens and high-def yellow.

Look for these colors not only in the homes and interiors sector but also in clothing, cosmetics and food. I really love the colors in the Unity and Sincerity palettes. How about you? How will you incorporate some of these colors into your home and life? Learn more at Email me at

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Meeting a Kitchen Design Great

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Chicago with 2 colleagues to spend some time with world renowned kitchen designer, Mick De Giulio. Mick has been designing kitchens around the world for over 40 years. He has written 2 books on kitchen design and designed many products for major kitchen and bath manufacturers. He is constantly dreaming and creating something new.

One of our stops on the trip was a recently finished appliance showroom that Mick had designed the over 11,000 square feet of kitchen spaces for. Incredible. The attention to detail and creativity was beautiful to see. After that stop, we had a chance to visit his design headquarters in Willmette, Illinois. We had the chance to sneak a peak at some new designs he is working on. Mick was so gracious to sit and talk with us about what we are seeing in the industry, what our clients are asking for, the challenges we encounter and what we are looking forward to. His humble beginnings remind me of my own journey and encourage me to keep working hard.

I’ve found it’s important to step away from the every day, get out of town, listen to someone further down the road and see something new in order to stay fresh and energized. It’s a tough and draining business and it’s important to be recharged.  I’ve come home with new ideas, more energy and a renewed thankfulness that I get to do what I do. Now, who wants a new kitchen?!?!

To learn more about Mick De Giulio, visit Questions? Email me at

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Don’t Seal Your Grout for 20 Years!!!

We’ve started using a product in our grout that has some amazing properties. It’s ProSpec ProColor Stain Guard Grout Additive. This magic liquid is mixed with the powdered grout instead of water and has some pretty great benefits. Let’s explore. Per the manufacturer it:

1.      Eliminates the need to seal the grout
2.      Creates stain, mold and mildew resistant grout
3.      Has a 20 year warranty (I actually called the manufacturer because that sounded too good to be true. They said, yes, indeed, you do not need to seal the grout again for 20 years.)

So you’ve decided to invest in this for your next tile project. What kind of special maintenance does it require? While ProColor Stain Guard Grout Additive helps repel dirt and increases the stain resistance of cement grout, routine cleaning is highly recommended. Use a pH neutral cleaner for day to day cleaning and an alkaline cleaner for grease and soap scum. Since damp mops may deposit residue in the grout joints, remove any excess water from the joint prior to drying.

This is an extra expense in the overall project cost but one that I feel is well worth it. This grout additive can be purchased from Traditions in Tile. It’s perfect for floors, showers, backsplashes and really every tiled area. Questions? Email me at

Sunday, September 24, 2017

9 Ways to Find Inspiration

People continually ask me where I find inspiration, ideas or stay current on the latest trends. There are several ways and places and things I listen to that give me that shot in the arm from time to time. Here's my go to list.

1.    Instagram-I love following up and coming designers, new manufacturers and industry leaders to see what people around the world are up to.
2.    Million Dollar Decorating podcast with James Swan-This is my newest favorite! Every day James releases a new podcast where he interviews a different designer. I love learning where others find their inspiration, learning more about their background and design aesthetic and how they decorate their own homes.
3.    Houzz-I especially love their twice a week newsletters that I always learn something from.
4.    Blogs-I'm a junkie, but this a great way to keep in contact with your favorite designers and see what new and exciting projects they are working on. And it comes to your email inbox.
5.    Travel-definitely my favorite way to learn. Different cultures, age and parts of the world have something to offer.
6.    Designer show houses-what's more fun than spending a day with girlfriends touring through the latest designer showhouse?
7.    Continuing Education Classes-always a source of new information and ideas
8.    Trade shows-manufacturers are displaying their best and brightest
9.    Magazines-yes, I still love tearing pages out of magazines.

What are your favorite ways to gain inspiration or ideas? I'd love to hear. Email me at

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Holiday Projects

            School has started, football season has begun, the weather is teasing us with fall temperatures and, yes, it is time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Only fifteen weeks left till Christmas. Yes, I really did just say that. It may seem like a long time away, but we all know that it will be here before we know it and probably before we are ready.

I am not one to rush thru the days in anticipation of the next one, but I am for planning and organizing so I can enjoy every day. Ready or not, the holidays are upon us. As this realization hits, we start to make a mental or written list of all the things we need and want to do before the holidays are actually here. Maybe you just found out that your home will be the location of this years Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration and your broken oven just wont cut it for baking those cookies.  Do you want a new kitchen or bathroom before Thanksgiving? Maybe you cant redo the entire room but want to make some small changes. Or maybe you just want to finally get the dining room repainted or new carpet in your bedroom. Now is the time to start thinking about it and making plans. If you begin now, you will have plenty of time to get your project done before Thanksgiving hits and then you can enjoy your new space all throughout the Christmas season. Its no secret that contractors are busy these days. (And if they arent, is there a reason for that?) Even more of a reason to start now in order to get something done before the holidays. First question to ask your contractor is Can you complete this before Thanksgiving/Christmas? If they cant, no sense stressing about it. Dont be surprised if they are already booked for the rest of the year.  Just get on their calendar for January or February.

Before you start to panic and hyperventilate, take a deep breath and lets take a realistic look at the calendar. Depending on the amount and magnitude of work that you want to do in your kitchen or bathroom, you can expect a remodel to take anywhere from three to six weeks from demo to final cleanup. If you start your planning and decision making now, you can realistically have a new kitchen or bathroom by Thanksgiving. Consult with the professionals who will be completing this work for you and they will be able to give you a better idea of the time needed to complete your project. Whatever you do, DO NOT plan to wrap up your remodeling project the day before company is expected to arrive. Something might be backordered or take longer than expected and then you will really be up a creek without a paddle or eating your Christmas dinner at Waffle House. The holidays are hectic enough without adding that little bit of stress.

As you consider who will be doing the work for you, make sure they have a good reputation, are doing what they say and completing projects in a timely manner. Check their references and dont let the bottom line make the decision for you. Sometimes there is a reason one person is less expensive than another. The holidays are not a time to risk having issues with a contractor. Make sure you clearly communicate your deadline to the contractors you work with to ensure an on-time project. That way there will be no surprises and everyone is on the same page.

We all know the holidays can be a stressful time. There are parties to attend or host, food to be prepared, gifts to be wrapped and memories to be made with your family and friends. Endeavor to enjoy this season and all of its wonderful food, people and events by planning ahead. Take time to slow down and remember that this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Email me at and let me know if you have any questions regarding holiday projects.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Custom Ordering: Part 2

What if you order something to be custom made and once it’s delivered you don’t like it? You have your expectations and internal image of what you are expecting and maybe it doesn’t live up to that.  What can you do keep that from happening and ensure you are clear on what will be delivered for what you are paying? Last time we discussed the proper process to go thru to order something to be custom made. Today we will explore what to do if it is delivered incorrectly.

So you’ve done your due diligence, all the details and pricing is documented and you’ve waited patiently for your custom item to be delivered or installed. Only, once it is delivered, you discover it is incorrect. You calmly contact the manufacturer and discuss how to resolve the issue. If you have the paper trail of all the details and pricing in order, it makes resolution of the mistake a much simpler matter. If all you have is your word and what you thought it was going to look like, there is not much you can stand on to dispute that what was delivered was incorrect.

Most manufacturers who have been in business for years and have a good reputation, will do everything they can to make the mistake right. If the mistake is yours, expect that they may charge you to make the changes you are requesting. If this is the case, find out how much they will charge you so you can be prepared or decide if you will live with the original item delivered.

Probably the most important element to dealing with an issue like this is to clearly understand and take responsibility of anything that is your fault or problem and not immediately jump to the conclusion that it is someone else’s problem. If it is your mistake, take full responsibility and ownership of it. If it is the manufacturer’s fault, work with them to come up with a remedy and timeframe for resolution.

Have you ever had something like this happen to you? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear. Email me at