The Marble Backsplash

Hi There.

I just wrote about the amazing details Lisa Sherry incorporated at a mutual client's Myers Park home. One of the things I noticed in the home was the kitchen back splash and the antique brass fixtures.  So pretty.  While I am in the process of re-doing both of the bathrooms in my home and looking for ideas, I came across this image.  This back splash design has a similar cut and style I saw in that home and I absolutely love it.  I am adding it to my memory bank. 

Another thing I am loving is marble, have for a while, and it's hugely popular right now.  While looking at slabs with a client recently I was educated on what is available these days. But Carrara and Calacatta are my favorite. What's the difference?

People often mix the two up.  Both of these Italian  marbles are very similar in appearance: white with grey veining.  To add to the confusion, much of Calacatta comes from Cararra Italy !  The main difference:  Cararra has more grey with softer veining and Calacatta is white with more dramatic veining.  A few more things to pay attention to . . .

Bianco Carrara - a white and grey (vary grey at the moment)
Statuary - a "sister" marble to Carrara (tends to have a brighter white background, with veining in grey
Calacatta (grey and subtle gold veining with a white background)
Calacatta Oro or Calacatta Gold) (large flakes, subtle goldish brown veins
Calacatta Gold Extra (white, greys and light gold ribbon veining)

In an all white kitchen or bath, Calacatta would be my marble of choice. I just like the sharper, more defined veining.   Can you tell the difference?

The biggest appeal to an all white (and of course a little black) kitchen would have to be the clean look. 

When working on your kitchen re-do think full slab on counter tops and back splash. 

Designer Sarah Sherman Samuels has been blogging about her kitchen update (here) I love the simplicity of this design and I love the antique brass hardware !

Another great option, as oppose to the slab are tiles.  My go to vendor for Calacatta tiles offer both grey and gold veining.  These tiles are 8 x 35 inches.  

 When tightly lined up with a narrow grout line, you get the beauty of a big ole slab.  Take a look at this project I completed last year with a new floor to ceiling Calacatta tile fireplace.  I love the sleekness.

photo by mekenzie france

So did you catch that mention of brass - all over the brass hardware and fixtures mixed with the Calcatta for both kitchens and baths.  Check it out.

While in NYC not too long ago, the Kips Bay Designer House had one of the most beautiful kitchens ever with all it's brass hardware glory.

If you want to jump on board . . . check out a few hardware options I came across.

Be happy to source both tile and hardware (or help with your kitchen for that matter), give us a call !


Shout Out to Lisa Sherry !

Hi . . . 

I have to give a shot out to Designer, Lisa Sherry.  I recently installed the bedrooms of three sisters and from the moment I stepped in my client's home I knew she had worked with Lisa Sherry on a few of the rooms downstairs.  Gorgeous !  Lisa's signature look was apparent and the lighting and details that I saw were perfect for this newly built home.  Mekenzie shot a few of my favorite details, which I shared back with Lisa.  So so pretty ! Take a look . . .

Gorgeous table and vintage chairs

Ceiling mount lights can be so blah, this one . .  so good.

I think this was my favorite thing of all.  What I thought was just a large pieces of cool art, was actually a framed out door to a small hidden powder room.

Painted complete in a navy lacquer - it was a stunner !

And this fixture in the dining room . . . wow.  I actually chose the same one for an upcoming job.  Loved seeing how it will really look !

photos by mekenzie france

So so pretty Lisa Sherry !

Follow Lisa's blog Luxe Life, I do.  It's filled with beautiful things, and while you are at it - see if there are any spots left at her Luxe Life Camp.  I'm going along with Windy O'Connor and a client or two!

Un Used Real-Estate . . . Living Room Turned Office

Hi There . . .

I warn clients about a slippery slope, and this is No. 2.   It will kill ya if you are on a roll and the main area of your place is done but the entry to that room isn't, or the library just off that room isn't.   With a new, virtually empty home and the upcoming holidays suddenly appearing on her radar, my client Lisa Hicks is thinking that tackling her front foyer and front office / sofa-bed (guest room) needs to be addressed at the same time as the back family room, dining room and kitchen we have already started.   Good idea and we have time to accomplish it, if we hurry. I worked on creating a plan quickly that complimented what I came up with for the back of the house to create a cohesive look that was equally interesting and fun.  Like I said, something is in the water !

Being that I just finished installing another front living room - turned casual office this week, I am in that frame of mind.  Losing the "formal" front room and turning it into a more casual, usable space has been something I am doing a lot more these days (see just that here, here and here).  It's a great idea and why not use the sometimes ignored real-estate in the front of your home that often is never used ?  

This room, just off the foyer was probably built as a formal living room.  The first thing I did was decide on a color scheme.  I am using the peacock blue from the family room (in the way of accent chairs and curtains)  as a strong wall color.  The red enters the picture too and was pulled from a rug I am using in the back of the house.  This will add cohesiveness throughout the house.

Being that the wall color in the entire house is grey and all the pop colors are in the furniture and fabrics, I chose to bring one of those pop colors on the walls in this room.  Don't be afraid of such a saturated color.  What will open it up is simple, large scale art and light rug -  as well as good lighting. Lighting is really important !

We needed to incorporate a large desk.  After really talking about it, we are pulling her existing 7 foot dining table in the office and getting a new dining table that is larger.  Great solution.  This table will face into the room as oppose to slammed up against a wall (a huge pet peeve of mine)   Without drawers or storage it is key to bring pieces in that will house the unavoidable office stuff.  An easy spin around from the desk and you have 8 small drawers to house pens, tape, staples, paper.. things like that.  Most of us have or want to ditch the big computer with the ugly tower that goes along with it . . so this lap top will be looking clean on this desk (thank you Apple).

On the opposite wall sits the sofa ... bed, a queen.  Simple, sleek and in a neutral.  Behind it, all the largely matted art I was taking about to add brightness to those dark walls.  I love the idea of these nesting coffee tables.  Can be easily moved around (to pull out the bed) as well as pulled between the chairs, next to the desk for extra work, etc.  Perfect.

This large 82" cabinet with mirror font will reflect the light around and house files and not so pretty stuff.  Another large piece of art.  I am suggesting a piece by Chaz Walker and will be visiting my favorite Gallery - Hidell Brooks - to show my client up close and personal.  Hopping to float a piece of his on a large white upholstered board to make it appear larger.

Recovering her existing wing back chairs in this more modern, very patterned fabric, and adding a great fixture overhead with arms that will highlight the art, the desk and generally add pops of light around the room.

The Foyer

Now the foyer, just off this new office is a long, narrow space that opens into the family room, will be the first thing you see walking in.  I kept the grey palette but used a busy paper with a reflective touch.  With the strong color in the office I wanted pattern as oppose to more color in the foyer.

Adding two large mirrors will reflect those peacock blue walls in the office . . bonus, and pretty !  A simple, yet custom wood and lucite bench and a big pop of red in the runner.  This all should tie together no nicely with the back of the house !!!

Pretty excited . . .  First floor . . done.

Well, almost . . . Master is next.

There is a lot to orchestrate . . . stay tuned for a full photo shoot this fall !!!

Spotlight: Artist, Aviva Stanoff

Hey . . .

Thought I would spotlight Aviva Stanoff, I was so so happy with the piece I ordered for the Crowder installation.  It was so gorgeous and perfect in the room.  Now,  I am not a huge fan of art in a Triptych, but I love these.  

Let me explain her process because as cool as these pictures are, they are nothing like the actual pieces in person.  Aviva's studio is in Brooklyn New York, and I came across her way back in 2009, I believe at a show in the City.  Her collection of textiles celebrates nature, exotic surfaces and delicate luxury.  She presses real objects into fabric by hand, one at at time.  No two are alike.  They mix small dye amounts, choose each leaf, blossom, feather and fan and print.  You can feel how each object is engraved deep in the fabric.  They are then hand sewn, silk lined and back in silk dupioni.

Take a look at her fabrics in wall art form and pillow form !

all available at www.lucyandcompany.com - call us !

I love that she pressed undies !

So pretty !

One Thing Leads to Another !

Hey There . . 

Slippery Slope No. 1.  Something is in the water.  I am working with several clients who want to turn their front living rooms into home offices, pretty ones, comfortable ones.  It's a great idea for a space that doesn't get much attention as a "formal" living room.  Recently contacted by the Crowder's to do just that, but all of a sudden, the foyer needed some attention, then the dining room needed an update, then the kitchen was looking a little . .  dated . . . and while we were at it, let's tackle the great room and give the powder room a new look.  Hum . . love it.  While we are done with the original job, I am waiting to take Mekenzie over to photography all of it after it's all completed, for a full vision.   Working to give the first floor a cohesive, fresh look.  My colors, grey, gold, teal and a touch of purple. A am so looking forward to seeing it all done.  

When cutting through your front living room to the rest of the house, why not make it a space you can actually live in.  With a computer in there, TV maybe, some comfortable chairs.  The days of the "desk built into the kitchen cabinets" is over.  I don't know about you, but I could get more done in a room that wasn't the busiest in the house !  This space is pretty enough to entertain party overflow, sit with a book and a fire, or play on the Internet in quite, peaceful surroundings.  Take a look for what we designed. 

New grass cloth on all the walls for texture, new window treatments to soften, more updated furniture, mixing a little traditional with a little urban vibe, and new lighting.

Art was key to in this space, and any space !  Found this amazing triptych piece at market.  Up close you will see how the elephant ear leaves are actually raised textiles, hand-dyed and etched.  I have always been a fan of Aviva Stanoff's work and how she celebrates botanicals.  All one of a kind, all different.  Amazing (and stay tuned for a spotlight with more of her beautiful work)

The slippery slope I was taking about . . . the view into the foyer and powder room, really need to be updated and jive color wise . .  

I love the mix of gold, brown, purple and a little teal.

So in the new powder room we added wall paper, a new sink base and sconces, continuing to tie the colors together.

And while we were at it, we wall papered the front foyer and stairwell with a very graphic, yet tone on tone paper.  With the intro of that paper, I wanted a splash piece of art to introduce you to all the colors were were incorporating on the first floor.  Score with this piece from Hidell Brooks, by Windy O'Connor.

The adjacent dining space was already painted chocolate brown with these graphic curtains.  I just added new furniture, lighting  and a rug.

We all loved this new fabric from Harlequin.  A delicious cut velvet with taupe and purple.  We are using it on the back of two new head chairs.

And this fixture . . . gorgeous.  With a new rectangular dining table, this rectangular fixture suited the space much better and the light color of the oyster shells will stand out from the chocolate walls.

On to the great room, why not, we were on a roll.  It needed it.  I continued with my palette of grey, gold, teal and purple in this more lively combination.  A new sectional for Dad (to really get comfortable watching that new TV), in a neutral grey.  I know, I know . . my sofa color of choice, it just goes with everything.  A large, large 15 foot area rug from a new vendor of ours, a teal upholstered 36" ottoman, and simple, comfortable chairs

We loved this fabric.  It's an embroidered pattern in a large, large scale.  Adds a little fun and whimsy to a big vaulted wall.

Pillows with a touch of gold to bring the front of the house colors to the back.

And a few more pillows for that large sectional which combines all our colors.

Kitchen . . .  The cabinets, appliances and layout were all fine, but the dated gold-ish, glazed cabinets and fixtures, we weren't loving.  Faux finished kitchen cabinets had their day, but they should go away now !  A fresh coat of white on all the cabinets.  New white subway pattern tile on the back splash and new clean, chrome lighting.  I drew my inspiration from this functional, clean kitchen image in my pinterest files.

The last element we want to add is a new banquet, table and chairs in the breakfast area.  Much like this look, I am having my fabulous upholster make for me and Josh Utsey is working on a new custom table, so it fits the space perfectly !

I love a banquet.  Comfortable, streamlined and clean.  Just getting all your measurements correct is the most important part.  You don't want to have to shimmy into it or bump your knees on the legs.  We are doing a metal, pedestal base to avoid that issue completely.

Lastly, new lighting to add to the clean, white and stainless kitchen look.

Wow, how this came about so fast . .  like I said, slippery slope.  I am just as guilty.