Sunday, April 22, 2018

Where Does Color Come From?

Have you ever wondered where color comes from? Who is in charge? And who gets to name all of the colors? I wonder this all of the time when I am looking at paint colors and all of the interesting names they are called.  Well, today we are going to find out.

Begun in the early 20th century by Edward Waldo Forbes, director of the Fogg Art Museum, the Forbes Pigment Collection is housed under the greater umbrella of The Straus Center for Conservation and Technical studies at Harvard Art Museums — the United States’ oldest fine arts research, training, and conservation facility. Forbes would collect his samples from his travels all over the world, bringing back pigments from excavated sites at Pompeii to rare lapis lazuli found in Afghanistan.

By the 1920s, Forbes had amassed containers of deep blues, rich purples, vibrant yellows, and myriad other colors from his travels to Europe and the Far East. Through the years, word of mouth helped the collection to grow as other art lovers and experts donated their own pigments.

Though growing all the time, today’s Forbes Pigment Collection comprises a technicolor array of 2,500 samples, arranged most pleasingly by color. Displayed in little jars, the pigments mimic artists’ color wheels in 3D, morphing from purple to red to yellow to blue and back to purple again along the cases’ shelves.

If you can’t make it to the floor-to-ceiling display of pigments in Cambridge, you can see an electronic directory of these materials through the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s Conservation & Art Materials Encyclopedia Online (CAMEO) database. Next time you are in Boston, stop by and take a look.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Linear Shower Drains

Why have a drain in the middle of your shower floor when you can have in against the wall? This newest drain style is my favorite!! A linear drain is just what is says. A 2” wide x 20” to 72” in length drain that can be placed adjacent to walls or at intermediate locations. The floor can be sloped on a single plane to the drain, which enables the use of large format tiles and creates interesting design opportunities.

A linear drain consists of a formed stainless steel channel body and grate assembly. There are 3 grate options: closed design stainless steel, stainless grate with perforations and a stainless steel plate that can be tiled to match your floor. When the grate it tiled, it is almost undetectable in the floor.

One of the pros of having the drain against the wall is that you are not standing on the drain or in the way of water draining from the shower. The ability to slope the floor away from the furthest point of the door allows you to have a zero threshold shower that makes accessibility for people of all ages easier.

Every client we have installed a linear drain for has loved it. Have you seen one of these in person? Do you have one or wish you could have one? I’d love to hear about your experience. Email me at

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Concrete Tile

One of the newest trends in tile is concrete tile. And boy is it beautiful! These tiles produce floors, walls and backsplashes that are a throwback to centuries old floors found throughout Europe and the Middle East. Concrete tile has been around for centuries known as encaustic tile.  Encaustic tile was traditionally made from colored clay. Since clay wears down over use and foot traffic, the tiles have morphed to be made from concrete and pigmented cement. The industry has taken an old method and improved it.  Concrete tile is a timeless work of art making huge strides in commercial and residential spaces alike. Manufacturing has progressed over the years and companies are jumping at the chance to create custom floor designs for any homeowner.

While some people install solid color concrete tile flooring, most people are drawn to concrete tiles for it’s the functionality and decorative attributes.  Flooring/Walls/Backsplashes are artwork, after all.  Designers love to coordinate surrounding decor around the colors displayed in concrete tiles.  Got a busy concrete tile design?  Pair it with simpler, clean lines of surrounding decor.  Got a busy room of decor?  Pair it with simple designs of concrete tile flooring.  The options are limitless and really let you show off your creativity and personal style.

Concrete tile needs to be sealed with quality floor sealer after it’s installed.  Choose one that is long-lasting.  It adds a coat of abrasion resistance, UV protection and is great for sealing your grout lines.  The end result for you is a concrete floor that requires little-to-no maintenance for many years. The tiles are typically thicker than other tile and most have slightly irregular edges. Many tiles are hand painted, giving you a one of a kind look.

Have you used concrete tiles or do you dream of using them? Do you have a favorite color scheme or pattern? I’d love to hear. Email me at

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Best of Houzz 2018

This year we were honored to be awarded the 2018 award from Houzz for best in Customer Service. You may say "Who cares and what does it have to do with me?"

First, what is Houzz? Houzz is an online platform for new home building, home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo.

Second, what are the awards? The Best Of Houzz awards are given in three categories: Design, Customer Satisfaction and Photography. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2017. Winners will receive a Best Of Houzz 2018 badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professionals work to learn even more about that business popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community.  Best of Houzz awards are only awarded to 3% of the professionals on Houzz.

If you haven't discovered Houzz yet, I highly recommend checking it out.  One of my favorite ways to use it is as a search engine for design. Say Im looking for a picture of a white subway tile backsplash with grey grout. Type it in the search bar and thousands of pictures will pop up. Its a great way to gain a visual of how you want something to turn out. Its helpful to share pictures of what you expect the end product of your project to look like with your contractor. It helps eliminate any confusion and helps translate the vision that is in your head. Any questions? Email me at

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Maximizing your space efficiency

Storage space is a precious thing. We all have too much stuff and not enough space to store it. It is important to maximize your space efficiency.  Here a few tips & tricks.

1.      Pullouts-being able to pull out what is inside a cabinet and see it clearly is by far a better use of space than the unknown dark recessed of a cabinet.

2.      Cabinets to the ceiling-instead of having a soffit or putting decorative things on top, extend your cabinets up to the ceiling and give yourself another shelf or two. You also cut down on the amount of cleaning you have to do. 

3.      Miniature turntables-found at Target or the Container Store, these small plastic turntables allow you to easily organize and access items inside your cabinets. I love this for spices, especially!

4.      Tray dividers-standing cookie sheets, baking pans and cutting boards up is a far better use of space than stacking them inside a cabinet.

5.      Cabinets under the overhang-instead of having a blank panel on the backside of your island, do you have room for some shallow storage cabinets?

What are some ways you maximize your space? I’d love to hear. Email me at

Monday, February 5, 2018

What is an Air Bath?

One of the most exciting items new to the market is the air bath technology in bathtubs. The days of black gunk swirling in your whirlpool are over. Welcome to a cleaner, easier bathing experience. So what is air bath technology?

Sometimes referred to as “bubblers”, the technical name is thermo-air massage and is the newest technology in whirlpool bathtubs. Air baths utilize a blower that generates millions of tiny air bubbles through very small air jets in the bottom of the tub. These bubbles caress the body as they move toward the surface of the water and revitalize the bather with a light, full-body massage. Because they provide a gentler massage than whirlpools, aging adults can also enjoy and benefit from this form of hydrotherapy. Generally air baths are cleaner because they do not circulate water in pipes within the tub.

Typically controlled with a keypad, you can control the speed and intensity of the bubbles. Plastic air jet nozzles and housings prevent water and residue from reaching the fiberglass backing of the bath. Built-in check valves are designed to allow the air produced by the blower out but prevent any water from coming in. An automatic purge cycle activates 7 minutes after the water has drained out of the tub. The blower turns on and blows air through the air lines, removing any water that may be in the top portion of the jet nozzle. The check valve has already prevented any water from entering the air line. Do not be alarmed. It sounds like a jet plane is taking off in your bathroom, but it will only last for a minute.

There are several manufacturers that make tubs like this-MTI, Kohler and American Standard to name a few. If you are considering replacing your tub, an air bath tub is seriously worth considering. Have you had the opportunity to experience an air bath tub?
I’d love to hear about your experience. Email me at

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Custom of Off the Shelf?

One question I am often asked is what is the difference between a custom cabinet and a cabinet off the shelf or “box” cabinet.  Personally, I am partial to custom cabinets, because that is what we build. J But, personal feelings aside, let’s explore the differences.  Disclaimer: While none of these characteristics are hard and fast, they are a pretty close generalization. Bottom line-do your own homework before making a decision.

Off the shelf or “box” cabinets are readily available, whether at a local home improvement store, a local dealer or even online. You are limited in the styles and finishes available and interior organizational opportunities. The biggest difference is size limitations. Off the shelf cabinets come in 3” increments, needing fillers to make up the difference in your space.  Some brands can be custom ordered in exact sizes, but that drives the cost and delivery time up. Many of the off the shelf cabinets are made with particle board, a lower quality material, that does not hold up as well long term as a solid wood and plywood cabinet. Most of the time when you buy a premade cabinet, you have to assemble and install it yourself or hire an installer to install them for you.

Custom cabinets are a whole different ball game. The sky is the limit-or rather your budget and space is the limit. Anything you can dream up or see in a magazine can become a reality.  Local shops vary in size and professionalism and ability.  Cabinets are able to be built down to the 1/16th of an inch, allowing you to maximize the space you have. Any finish, style or interior organization idea is a possibility. Many custom shops build their cabinets with solid wood and plywood. Installation is normally included in the cost of custom cabinets.

Surprisingly, sometimes there is not much cost difference between off the shelf and custom cabinets. Style, finish and detail play a role, but before you sign on the dotted line, check out both options. What’s your experience with custom and off the shelf cabinets? Any further advice you have to add? I’d love to hear. Email me at