Sunday, January 14, 2018

Design Trends in Iceland

If you’ve known me for any time, you know that I love to travel. And I mean love. Traveling stimulates my creativity and opens my eyes to new ideas, trends and designs. This fall I had the opportunity to travel to Iceland.

Iceland is known as Fire and Ice. Home to glaciers and volcanoes, thankfully, we only saw the ice side while we were there.  In our explorations, driving and sightseeing, I observed some interesting design trends.

1.      Monochromatic: White, black, natural wood color, dark blue/gray colors. Building exteriors & interior decorations were very monochromatic. Even the sheep, ponies and reindeer fit into this color scheme.

2.    Colorful: In the capital city of Reykjavik, we climbed to the top of the famous Hallgr√≠mskirkja Church. From the lookouts at the top the colorful houses and rooftops were a sight to behold.

3.    Glass: With such amazing views in any direction you looked, most homes had a lot of glass in them allowing the outside landscape to be part of the interior art.

4.    Simple: Many of the interior furnishings and decorations felt very Scandinavian which makes sense since that’s the next closest inhabited land mass.

It truly was a trip of a lifetime and I can’t wait to visit one spring when everything is green and I see a completely different side of this beautiful country. Have you observed any design trends on your travels? I’d love to hear!  Send me an email at

Sunday, December 17, 2017

2018 Pantone Color of the Year

The interiors and fashion worlds wait expectantly every year for Pantone’s color announcement. Pantone announced their 2018 Color of the Year as Ultra Violet. Described as a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future. This color suggests the
mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own. It also symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

“The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.” – Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute.

I’ve always wondered who gets the interesting job of choosing names for paint colors and who actually has the authority to choose the Color of the Year for the world. The entire world of fashion, automobiles and interiors takes their cue from this company. They don’t take their job lightly. The color of the year is a symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude. Thousands of hours of research and filtering are done to determine what the color of the year will be. Pantone has been the world's color authority for nearly 50 years, providing design professionals with products and services for the colorful exploration and expression of creativity. They are the provider of professional color standards for the design industries. Always a source for color inspiration, Pantone also offers paint and designer-inspired products and services for consumers.

What do you think of this color selection? Do you already have some of this shade in your home or closet? If not, will you try to incorporate it somehow? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Send me an email at

Sunday, December 3, 2017

6 ways to organize kitchen drawers

Have you seen those pictures of perfectly organized kitchens with no clutter & everything in its place? You open up the doors or drawers and everything is placed just so. This doesn’t have to be a dream world. You too can have organized drawers. All it takes is some time, drawer dividers and maybe purging some extra items. Let’s explore the different drawer organizers available.

1.      Knife block-an in drawer knife block is a wonderful use of space. Not only are you protecting your knives, you also lower the risk for cutting your hand as you reach into a drawer for a knife.

2.      Silverware dividers-whether you have one set of silverware or 5, keeping all of the parts separated and organized keeps them in better shape longer and easier to find what you need.

3.      Plate pegboards-a pegboard in a drawer that allows you to move the pegs around to perfectly nest and organize your stacks of plates and bowls. It also keeps items from sliding around when you open a drawer suddenly.

4.      Large utensil dividers-whisks, spatulas, large spoons-these are the most difficult items to store because they are all such different sizes. Some larger compartmentalized spaces in a drawer will allow them to be wrangled a little easier.

5.      Linens-maybe you want to divide a drawer up so you have one side for placemats and another side for napkins.

6.      The junk drawer-would compartments help you organize the random assortment of batteries, tape, matches, candles and pens better?

These dividers can be wood or there are many options of plastic containers meant to help organize drawers. What’s your secret for organizing drawers? I’d love to hear. Email me at

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