Archive for January, 2012

Not Your Typical Kitchen Ideas

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Kitchen and Bath

So many of today’s big design trends are all about personalization of spaces. For most people, gone are the days when you had one style for your entire home that could easily be labeled as Traditional or Modern. Today’s interior design and decorating is more about a mix of styles. You may be Farmhouse with a touch of Contemporary or Traditional but with a Global or Ethnic edge. Kitchen designs should also reflect your own quirks.

Let’s look at the designs of this kitchen. This isn’t your standard builder kitchen design. In fact, most of what we can see is anything but typical. Colored cabinets in a pale blue are the foundation of this kitchen’s unique style. Having only lower cabinets opens up the space above the counter. Rod storage allows you to keep spices and cooking implements off the counter.

The counter and sink are not your standard granite and double sink. Instead this kitchen has wood countertops and a pair of round sinks. The sinks are under mounted, which is a big trend right now. The single gooseneck faucet can easily reach both sinks. Round sinks are more typical in a bathroom than in a kitchen.

The backsplash is a grid of square tiles in warm neutral beige. The color adds a bit of warmth to complement the wood of the countertop and the grid pattern feels modern. The simple square tiles are a break from traditional subway tiles or the popular mosaic tiles seen in many current kitchen designs.

Using Stone in the Shower

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Bathroom, Tile and Natural Stone

Stone’s natural beauty and durability make it a smart choice for the bathroom. Stone can be used throughout the bathroom on the floor, counter, wall and in the shower. Stone in the shower is a beautiful design element whether large slabs or smaller tiles of stone are used. We’ve even seen river rock used on shower floors for an organic look.

Most types of stone can be used in the bathroom, including the shower. Slabs of marble can give both a traditional and contemporary look to a shower surround depending on the style of fixtures used. One inch square tiles made from stone can be used in a mosaic pattern or border. Both tumbled and polished stone can be used in combination for a border or pattern on either the floor or walls of the shower.

The slick surface of polished or honed stone is not ideal for the floor in a wet area as these surfaces can become slippery when wet. For floors tumbled stone that has a little bit of grip is a better choice. Tumble stone can be found in a number of different tile sizes. The smaller the tile, the more grout lines you’ll have, which can aid in making a surface less slippery. Mixing the finishes of the same type of stone in the shower will give you more visual and textural interest while maintaining a unified design in the small space. Just remember to take into consideration how slippery the stone might be when wet, both inside and outside the shower.

Parquet and Herringbone Wood Floors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood

Our love affair with wood floors is here to stay. While most of us think of boards and plank size when we think of wood floor options, there are two older options that are making a comeback with designers: herringbone and parquet. Parquet wood floors are composed of small squares that are made up of smaller pieces in a diamond pattern. Herringbone is a zig-zag pattern made up of narrow boards. Both add a lot of texture and pattern to a wood floor.

It seems parquet wood floors have gotten a little bit of a bad rap. Perhaps their use in city apartments and condos has had an effect on their popularity for homeowners. Parquet can be a less expensive option for wood floors but this doesn’t mean it lacks style. Parque flooring in an entry adds visual interest in a small space without encroaching on precious floor space.

Herringbone patterns are wildly popular right now in both fashion and home décor. Zig-zag mania and a love of chevron patterned anything have been hot trends on the runways and in homes this year. However, herringbone floors are anything but trendy. These wood floors recall French chateaus and English libraries. Beautiful antique herringbone floors have a gorgeous patina that highlights the pattern of the floor. New herringbone floors can be installed with narrow or wider planks depending on whether you want a traditional or contemporary looking floor.

The saying about what is old is new again definitely applies to these two patterned wood floors.

Tile Floors for Indoor/Outdoor Spaces

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Tile and Natural Stone

More and more homes today have outdoor living space and indoor living space with the lines blurred between the two. Older homes may have a sunroom, screened porch or lanai. Newer homes have decks and patios with large glass doors dividing the outdoor space from the home’s interior. This blurring of lines between indoor and outdoor has given rise to a new generation of products for outdoor living. Included in these new indoor/outdoor products are weather resistant materials, carpets and furniture that can work both inside and outside the home. Among these new products are time tested and traditional materials like teak wood, wicker and tile that are home both indoors and out.

Tile is a wonderful material for a room that is more outdoors than indoors, like the sunroom in this picture. Stone or ceramic tiles are great for rooms that get a lot of traffic. Tile is durable, doesn’t fade in the sun like wood or laminate floors and comes in an almost infinite array of colors, patterns and sizes. This sunroom features marble tiles done in a traditional pattern inspired by the Mediterranean. Extending the same type of flooring from a porch or sunroom out onto the patio can make the two spaces feel like one.

As with flooring, rooms that blur the lines between indoor and outdoor can have the best of both worlds when it comes to furniture. If the space is protected from the elements, indoor furniture as well as outdoor furniture can be used to decorate.

Improvising with Design

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints, Tips and Advice, Uncategorized

A cardboard dressing table is probably not something most of us have in our homes. This picture illustrates what many of us do when we don’t have just the right piece of furniture or lighting for the space: we improvise. Now, we’re not saying go out to the garage and gather the cardboard boxes to make a table. Instead, think outside the box to come up with solutions for your decorating dilemmas.

Reinventing and renovating what we already have can save the piggy bank. Paint can perform miracles on not only furniture but fabric and even area rugs. Solid colored area rugs can be painted with textile paint with the hottest patterns and designs. Plain curtains can be transformed into the latest style with a little creativity and inexpensive trim. Nicked and scratched furniture can be given another life with a few coats of paint or stain.

If you do have to use a cardboard box as a table base as you save up for a real table, be creative. Cover it with a few yards of pretty fabric, a table cloth or even a sheet. Add trim and an inexpensive wood top to make it look like stylish. This can be done with an old door and a sawhorse—voila! A new table.

Shop your own house for pieces that might work to solve your design problem before you hit the stores. With a little creativity you might be surprised at what you can find and create within your own home.

Kid Friendly Kitchen Floors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood, Kitchen and Bath, Tile and Natural Stone, Tips and Advice

Kids and pets can be harder on our homes than the adults in some cases. Spilled juice on the carpet, sticky handprints on the walls, crayon art on anything but paper. Durable and safe products are a must for homes with small children. This is especially true when it comes to flooring. Today we’re focusing on kid friendly kitchen floor options that are durable but also safe for little feet.

If you have babies and toddlers, you’ll want to provide them with crawling and walking surfaces that are friendly to little knees and feet. Spending time in the kitchen while mom cooks means they’ll be toddling around underfoot. Stone and tile floors are very hard and can be cold if you don’t have in floor heating. The grout and uneven surface of stone floors make them not the top choice for kid friendly kitchen floors.

Hardwood is a better option, especially with in-floor heat. Hardwood and laminate flooring is not as hard as ceramic tile or stone so it will be easier on little knees. It has no grout lines and a smooth surface that makes it easier to clean up spills and dirt.

Linoleum, marmoleum and cork are other kid friendly options because they feel softer underfoot. Ultra hard surfaces like stone and tile can lead to more breakage if something is dropped—a nightmare if you have little fingers picking things up off the floor.

Kid friendly floors are easy on the feet and easy to keep clean. Talk with your flooring retailer about the best flooring option for your kitchen and your kids.

Flooring Options for Around the Fireplace

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood, Tile and Natural Stone, Tips and Advice

If you have a wood burning fireplace, wood stove, or a gas fireplace that puts out strong heat, you’ll want to protect your wood floors with a heat proof or resistant hearth. If your fireplace is not set right on the floor, but higher up you may be okay with having carpet or wood right up to the wall. The point of the hearth is to provide a safe surface in case of embers, sparks or hot ash leaving the firebox and hitting the floor.

This lovely stone and wood floor is a nice example of incorporating the hearth material into the rest of the room’s style. Natural stone blends into the warm wood. The stone’s pattern is a nice complement to the wood grain. A thin border piece separates the two elements and creates a frame around the tiles. The small mosaic square in the corners is a nice design detail that makes the design feel well thought out and special.

Other materials besides stone that are typically used around a wood stove or fireplace are marble and tile. In some Craftsman style homes the original Arts & Crafts tile can still be found on both the hearth and fireplace surround. Brick is also typically used in both the firebox and on the hearth because it resists heat.

If your hearth or surround are stained with smoke and ash, they can be cleaned with a little bit of elbow grease to remove the black soot. Decorate the hearth with a beautiful box or basket for firewood to draw attention to the hearth and fireplace.

Decor – A Little Bit of Him and Her

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints, Tips and Advice

In design like in fashion there are feminine and masculine styles. These gender specific design elements tend to be most obvious when decorating a nursery for a baby, but they do continue throughout our lives. Pink and flowers are considered to be feminine. Blue and stripes are considered to be masculine. For most rooms in the home, excluding the nursery, kids’ rooms and man caves, these gender specific designs are going to mix together. And since women do most of the decorating in the home, it is up to them to balance the feminine with the masculine.

Finding a balance between masculine and feminine may be why many couples end up with neutral living spaces and bedrooms. Pink is too feminine; green is too masculine. So the compromise is beige and brown on the walls, furniture, and floors. This doesn’t have to be the solution. Rather than ending up in the neutral zone, try to find a balance between what she loves and he loves.

Feminine touches like curved lines on a sofa or floral patterned fabrics on curtains and upholstery can be balanced with more masculine forms and patterns. A curved settee like this one could be covered in a menswear inspired fabric. Or paired with a pinstriped rug. Feminine touches in the form of a modern floral accent rug could be paired with a more masculine leather sofa.

It’s about finding balance between masculine and feminine, and not compromising until neither is represented. A little bit of her, a little bit of him and you’ll have a room you both can enjoy.

Cozy Living Room Layout

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints, Tips and Advice, Uncategorized

Newer homes seem to have smaller living rooms in favor of larger family rooms. Older homes may have smaller living rooms because they have a smaller overall square footage. Whether your home is new or old, you might have a less than large living room to decorate. Smaller doesn’t have to mean you can’t create a beautiful living room. Smaller might mean more cozy, but this doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

This living room does not have a large footprint yet manages to have all the bells and whistles you would want in a living room. There is plenty of seating on the sofa, loveseat and chair, with additional seating possible on the ottoman style coffee table. There is an array of lighting provided by a floor lamp, table lamp and, though not pictured, overhead lighting. Hardwood floors and an area rug make up the flooring. A fireplace is a beautiful architectural focal point. Despite its small footprint, the room is charming and well decorated.

Creating a cozy layout means creating a tighter seating arrangement. Floating the sofa in the middle of the room and placing the loveseat perpendicular to it, creates an L-shape seating area that faces the fireplace. The arm chair in the corner could be brought forward for better conversation, but makes a nice place to read next to the floor lamp.

The seating arrangement doesn’t feel too tight or constricted because there is flow around the furniture. Creating flow allows the room to feel bigger than it is.