<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/6729759/?claim=p9u3v94p9hk”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>
One thing I love about design is that eventually, everything does make a re-appearance, and when it does, it’s better than ever! One very classic kitchen fixture that has burst back onto the design scheme is the Apron Sink. Also called “The Farmer’s Sink” or the “Skirted Sink”, this white enameled sink was found in many kitchens in the early 1900′s (as seen featured in this advertisement by Kohler)
Always on the fashion-forward edge, Kohler has been savvy enough to bring back this old classic, but in a haute couture version. The new Kohler apron sink, called the ” ” also has a glossy enameled finish, but is offered in a number of designer colours.
Franke not only offers the traditional enameled version, but also offer an Apron sink in stainless steel, which gives a more modern minimalist look. In the same minimalist spirit, Blanco offers a stainless skirted sink as well.
A couple of things to keep in mind when incorporating an apron sink into your kitchen design:
- the sink base must be custom made for the apron sink
- each manufacturer designs their apron sinks differently, and your cabinet maker must have these sinks on hand to determine the best construction for the sink chosen
- the enameled sinks are very heavy, requiring additional structural support for the weight (some, when filled with water, can weigh up to 300 lbs!) and require at least 2 people to mount and install the sink.
- counter top fabricators must pay close attention to the design as well, as some have an under-mount installation on the back and sides of the sink, with the front exposed.
Apron sinks offer a beautiful decorative accent to a kitchen design, so pay attention to the line of sight to the sink area in your design. A bit more attention and thought is required when incorporating an apron sink, but the finished look is well worth the effort!
Wine. It’s the latest trend, the latest “thing”. Know your wine, serve your wine, display your wine. There’s a whole lot of wining going on right now, so how does all this “fit” into kitchen design?
Well, there’s two approaches: ”The Non-Committal” or “The All-In” approach. ”Non-committal” being the temporary wine display. ”All-in” being the wine display that is incorporated into your built in millwork or cabinets. It’s such a big trend right now, I really don’t think you can lose either way, but here are some examples of wine displays that you can incorporate into your home:
In the end: it is just a trend, but why not have a bit of fun with all that wine?
Here’s a tantalizing recipe for you to try this weekend from CBC’s In The Kitchen with Stefano Faita. This gorgeous dish tastes even better than it looks! It’s easy to make, and great for entertaining. Find the recipe here.
Have you ever noticed how opinionated people are when you mention that you plan to do a little updating in your home? All of the sudden everyone you know is a seasoned designer, full of advise and direction….even going so far as to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do in your home. What is up with that? After all, it’s your home, your space. Shouldn’t it be as unique as you are?
Our homes are a unique reflection of ourselves and those we live with. Often echoing our past experiences, our heritage, interests and things that we passionate about, it makes perfect sense that no two homes should be identical. If you consider that even an opinion about art or wine is very subjective and personal,then how much more so should your personal home and space be?
So what about the opinionated friends and family members, and more importantly, how do you avoid being bullied or pressured into making decisions you don’t want to. You know what I’m talking about….being talked out of a colour that you love “because it won’t be good for resale” or being talked into a material you’re not really sold on because “everyone is going with that look right now” Consider this: you wouldn’t necessarily shop for clothes where your opinionated relative or friend does, so why would you want your home’s decor to be infused with their tastes and not your own? It doesn’t make sense, does it?
The first thing you can do for yourself is expect to receive lots of uninvited opinions and criticisms about your design plans….and then recognize it for what it is….just a difference of opinion. Don’t let someone else’s tastes cast doubt on your own ideas! Let me let you in on a trade secret: If you invite 6 designers into a room and ask what they would do with it, you will likely get 6 completely different ideas and concepts! And you know what? That’s perfectly fine because it shows you that 6 creative individuals will interpret one space 6 different ways! Make your space your own! If you need assistance, hire a designer who’s goal is to reflect your ideas, lifestyle and tastes….not their own!
Secondly, empower yourself by giving yourself a clear picture of what you are wanting to do. Gather images that reflect concepts, ideas, designs, materials and colours that you like and put them into a project folder or binder. This will not only give you confidence through clarity, but will also arm you with a great response to the doubters and the nay-sayers. If you hear a comment such as, “well I’m not sure how that will look” simply pull out your folder full of images, and show them that,in fact, your idea will look good. When you hear a comment like, “That’s not what I would do.” you just need to laugh and agree that of course you’re going to do your own thing!
Remember, just because someone would approach a space differently than you would does not make your ideas wrong. Agree to disagree because it usually boils down to artistic interpretation, and it’s completely subjective. Your personal space is your own canvas, painted in your own pallet, and it really should be a refection of your own lifestyle and tastes. If you simply cannot visualize, then don’t let your friends implement their own vision for your space, just hire a designer to help you through the process! In the end, you will be the most pleased with a home that feels like it’s your personal reflection.
Even something as simple as a nightstand can be interpreted and styled very differently. Designer Emily Henderson of HGTV, who also writes for her blog Style By Emily Henderson, used her bed side table to show off three very different looks, reminding us there are infinite ways to decorate the same space!
If there’s ever a room in the house that you can make a big design splash with, it’s the powder room. If you think about it, it is the room that all of your guests will see at some point during a visit. Being a smaller, somewhat secondary room in the house, you can dare to be a bit more fearless with the design scheme and colour.
An Artist client of mine once mused that “I want my powder room to amuse my guests….to surprise them with how boldly I’ve decorated it, and I want it to leave them talking about it!” From that point on, I was sold on the concept of making the powder room a whimsical design statement….even a cheeky one at that!
Powder rooms are one room where you can sacrifice function for fashion! The vanity does not need to hold alot of items, but you should make sure that guests can easily find spare rolls of toilet paper (everyone’s fear….to use a restroom and discover the dispenser is empty!) a discrete waste bin, and extra hand towels. It’s a room where you can splurge and add luxury hand soap, lotion and room deodorizer to let your guests feel special.
Since it’s a small room, it’s not such a stretch to be fearless with theme or colour. After all, it’s a small room….not that difficult or time consuming to change. Theme or colour, you can go bold with either! It can be a reflection of a passion, a trip, a hobby…you name it!
If you saw a colour or surface that really caught your eye, but you thought it would be “too much” for the kitchen or main bathroom, why not use it in the powder room? Smaller doses of bold colour or texture, viewed for short spurts of time are actually quite engaging!
Unless this is a bathroom that is also used daily for getting ready in the morning, the lighting can be dimmer than you would put in a main bathroom or ensuite. In fact, that “candle light” dimmed effect can create quite a wonderful effect.
Your bold statement can come from the wall colour (or wallpaper), light fixture, sink & taps, vanity or hardware. Of course, wall colour and hardware are the easiest to change, but if the budget allows, take a bold step to the dramatic side with the vanity design! Be dramatic and make a statement with your powder room!
Here are a few powder rooms that we’ve done over the past couple of years that I particularly like:
A kitchen with an island or peninsula offers a unique opportunity to give a kitchen a bit more personality or style by adding pendant lighting. Pendant lighting is like accessorizing an outfit with a piece of jewelry. Depending on the style chosen, it can be a bold fashion statement or solidify a design concept by accentuating the theme (be it Vintage, Modern, Arts & Crafts or another look)
There was about a decade or so where honestly, the lighting selection had become boring and predictable. However, things have really changed in the design world, with a number of looks “in style” at the same time. In the last couple of years, design has become less inhibited and designers have become alot more fearless. After all, in the big picture, a light fixture can be a relatively small investment so commiting to a trendier style for a couple of years is not such a big deal. I think that’s a big part of the artistic liberty clients are enjoying now.
2012 offered a great selection of pendant lighting styles, and I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my favorites!
School House Pendant:
This vintage look works in both traditional as well as transitional designs.
Farmhouse Adjustable Pendant:
This wonderful vintage style looks fabulous in an oil rubbed bronze finish. The adjustable height is fabulously versatile!
Chicken Wire & Glass Pendant:
This whimsical style combines the rustic country look of chicken wire with a wire framed glass shade and an edison bulb for a truly vintage farmhouse look!
Oval Glass Adjustable Pendant:
This glass pendant has a silvery mercury glass finish. The oval shaped glass gives it a definite “front and back” so attention is required when hanging it. The height is adjustable so you could have then hung at different heights. The overall look is modern and this is a very cool fixture!
Marine Light Pendant:
This metal fixture has a vintage industrial look, giving it the versatility to work in a vintage farmhouse kitchen, or a modern warehouse loft look. I especially like this fixture in an aged bronze finish.
Hammered Metal Pendant:
A great way to bring texture into the room, this centuries old look is given a modern twist, and your eye can’t help but be drawn to the light dancing off the hammered metal surface.
Glass Cube Pendant:
Glamorous in the way that it sparkles, yet organic in the imperfect details of the glass.
Steel Drum Pendant:
The light peaks through the artfully scattered linear design of this stylishly modern fixture. There are so many fun designs available, from geometric shapes to crystal adorned, this pendant is a style chameleon!
Double Drum Metal Over Glass Pendant:
Taking the metal drum concept a step further by adding the glass cylinder really adds depth and interest to this pendant, and it changes the mood of the light. The light glows through the frosted glass and metal drum design – so dreamy!
Organza Drum Pendant:
So simple, yet so elegant! This black organza shade lends drama to any room, but these shades come in so many different colours. Adding a punch of colour is an easy way to instantly change the mood of a space.
Organza Drum with Jewels:
Taking the organza drum shade a step further by adding jewels definitely ups the wow factor! One word: showstopping.
Glass sleeve pendant:
No embellishment needed here, the clean, simple lines and soft light of the glass pendant are just the perfect amount of understated beauty. A testament to the “less is more” school of thought.
Ultra-feminine, it’s hard to not love this sparkly pendant. Perfect if you want to add a little “bling” to your space, this pendant is guaranteed to get compliments.
Hand-blown Glass Pendant:
Hand-blown glass pendants are great because each one looks so unique. The variations of colour and design in each light make each one look like a piece of art, which they really are in their own right. It adds an eclectic feel while still looking very contemporary.
For those who love the New York Loft styled modern look, this industrial look pendant is perfect! It’s available in different sizes, so it can be scaled to the size of the room, the height of the ceiling, and the size of the island or peninsula.
Mason Jar Cluster Pendant:
I first saw this light fixture being used in a pantry, and it was love at first sight! What a cute idea: simple mason jars with edison bulbs on a simple electrical cord, clustered into a single pendant light! Brilliant!
I’m a big fan of celebrating pretty much anything the yearly calendar has to offer with some sort of themed dinner. I have to be honest though, Robbie Burn’s Day has been a tough one for me! Not for lack of trying. With a bit of Scottish heritage on my mother’s side, I’ve honestly tried to embrace the traditional cuisine from the British Isles…honestly! As this January rolled around, I once again started to seek out a good recipe to make for Robbie Burn’s Day, and to my delight, Beef Wellington was a name that came up!
Beef Wellington Recipe
How to make beef Wellington
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/ gas mark 6.
2. Heat some oil in a large pan and quickly fry the seasoned beef all over until it’s brown. Remove and allow to cool. The point of this is simply to sear the beef and seal all those juices in, you don’t want to cook the meat at this stage. Allow to cool and brush generously with the mustard.
3. Roughly chop the mushrooms and blend in a food processor to form a puree. Scrape the mixture into a hot, dry pan and allow the water to evaporate. When sufficiently dry (the mixture should be sticking together easily), set aside and cool.
4. Roll out a generous length of cling film, lay out the four slices of Parma ham, each one slightly overlapping the last. With a pallet knife spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the ham.
5. Place the beef fillet in the middle and keeping a tight hold of the cling film from the outside edge, neatly roll the parma ham and mushrooms over the beef into a tight barrel shape. Twist the ends to secure the clingfilm. Refrigerate for 10 -15 minutes, this allows the Wellington to set and helps keep the shape.
6. Roll out the pastry quite thinly to a size which will cover your beef. Unwrap the meat from the cling film. Egg wash the edge of the pastry and place the beef in the middle. Roll up the pastry, cut any excess off the ends and fold neatly to the ‘underside’. Turnover and egg wash over the top. Chill again to let the pastry cool, approximately 5 minutes. Egg wash again before baking at 200c for 35 – 40 minutes. Rest 8 -10 minutes before slicing.
7. Par boil the potatoes in salted water. Quarter them and leave the skin on. Sauté in olive oil and butter with the garlic and thyme, until browned and cooked through. Season. Remove the thyme and garlic before serving.
8. Separate the outside leaves of the baby gem (leaving the smaller inner ones for salads) and very quickly sauté them in a pan of olive oil with a little salt and pepper – just enough to wilt them.
9. Serve hearty slices of the Wellington alongside the sautéed potatoes and wilted baby gems. A classic mustard vinaigrette makes a great dressing.
Copyright © Gordon Ramsay
Enjoy, and a happy (belated) Robbie Burn’s Day!
(recipe & photo source: www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/chefs/gordon-ramsay/beef-wellington-07-12-21 )
Special events: Weddings, anniversaries, holidays such as Christmas or Easter…We love them! We eagerly anticipate them, planning out every detail so that the day is perfect. All of that planning and anticipation comes with a great deal of stress!
Now I’m not really sure what people are thinking when they decide to incorporate a renovation into the stressful timeline leading to a special event…I only know that when the idea strikes them, it seems like a perfect way to make that special event even more…perfect…and special! What is often not considered, is the added stress that the renovation will bring.
The bold move of embarking on a renovation(or building a new home) while planning for a special event is not for the faint of heart. It requires a strict schedule, which has the project’s completion date at least 6 weeks ahead of the special event, and a clear contingency plan if the renovation is somehow derailed and runs late. Let’s face it, life happens and when it comes to renovations, there are many unforseen circumstances that can occur which could cause a project to run behind schedule.
From the targeted completion date, plan backwards from there, making clear deadlines for decisions to be made. Always keep in mind that “changes” to plans that are in place, equals “time delay”…the more you add or change, once a plan is in place, the farther behind your project will likely become. Try to be as decisive as possible when making your selections and choices. Avoid being swayed by the many opinions you will inevitably hear from friends and family. First instincts are usually the best, so be confident in your choices.
Having your home look spectacular for your special event creates a perfect setting, and can even add to the excitement. When it goes as planned, it can be incredibly satisfying. Just remember, it will take considerable time and effort in the planning stages of both events to ensure that they go off without (much of ) a hitch. Allow for back-up plans in the event the renovation runs behind schedule. Plan, plan and plan, and then stick to your decisions. Remember, undertaking both things at the same time is going to be exhausting, so plan for some way to keep your stress level down. Hiring a designer to coach you through the renovation is a good idea and will very likely alleviate a lot of the potential stress.
Here are a couple of pictures from projects that we’ve done around special events:
This home renovation was done just in time for the family to enjoy Christmas.
This new home was completed just 2 weeks before a wedding was hosted on the grounds of the home!
This kitchen renovation was finished just two weeks before Christmas!
Well, if there is a space in the home that’s truly coming into it’s own, it’s the closet! The very term, “closet” implies that you are hiding something….but the long and the short of it is that closets are just mini storage units for stuff, each assigned with it’s own purpose: A broom closet, a coat closet, a bedroom closet and the ultimate: The walk in closet.
Let’s face it. We’re intrigued by “The closet”….in fact, I think deep down, we’re a bit obsessed about closets: the ultimate broom closet; the ultimate walk in closet…tell me you haven’t thought of either these as you’re stretching to reach an item crammed onto the single high shelf in a standard closet!
So many ideas out there, so many shelving and storage options…which is right for you? Well, there is no “right answer” for everyone. We all have different purposes for our closets. Different careers, hobbies, sports, lifestyles, interests and physical needs will require different storage spaces. In other words, the perfect design for each closet within your home, is a direct reflection on what your storage needs are. The perfect closet organizer for you, will be uniquely customized to you!
Assess each closet: Don’t start with every single closet in your home, but prioritize which are the most important, and are in the greatest need for improvement. Then take an inventory of what you keep in that closet. This is the time to push aside the desire to keep everything “just in case.” Be brutally honest if it is something you have not used in the past year…and consider that someone else could be using it…when you recycle the items that you are not using by taking them to a local thrift store you are doing two things: helping the community and un-cluttering you life. Two good things in one move!
Take stock: Inventory what needs to go into that space, then give some thought about the most efficient and effective way of storing that item. Does it require a shelf? Can the object hang? Would it best be stored in a bin with a lid that can be stacked? Sketch out a few options and play with it a bit.
Scope out storage options: Often, we have items around the house that can be used to assist with storage (for example, stackable milk crates or rubbermaid containers…perhaps a shelf that no longer being used and is just shoved into a corner of the basement) Failing that, head to the store and check out some storage options for shelving and stackable storage.
Some storage requires sturdier built-in units to hold heavier objects. Drawers are also very efficient for organizing and storing smaller items.
Here are some images of closet organizing, from basic “do-it-yourself” to built-in. Remember, you can always do a “for now” solution, while planning and saving for your big storage solution!
Whether you have a lot or just a little space, there are definitely ways to creatively and beautifully store your things. I’m going to use it as inspiration for a little bit of spring cleaning.