Just in time for the scariest of holidays, here’s a list of hair-raising design “don’ts” that strike panic in my heart! I’ve listed them here with alternatives you may want to consider when you plan your kitchen or bath.
“Cabin Fever” Shower Rooms
While it’s a great idea to repurpose a conveniently located closet or small alcove as a shower room or extra bath, too much tile can be, well—claustrophobic and institutional.
Instead, tile to about 3” above the shower head rough-in. Cap the wall tile with bullnose trim and paint the remaining wall space and ceiling with paint for damp locations, such as Benjamin Moore’s Aura Bath and Spa Paint, or Valspar Reserve.
Or, consider breaking the unending vista of white tile with a contrasting colored border or an application of listello tile. Here’s an example of how simple black and white tile pattern adds interest.
Knives on a Counter or Exposed on a Magnetic Rack
Knives on parade are a pet peeve of mine. Store them in drawers, away from little fingers…or Chucky.
Other kitchen tools and small appliances should be stored out of sight, too. For more counter space, use cabinet garages for blenders and toasters, and mixer lifts that disappear into base cabinets, like those shown here.
Backsplashes…from the Crypt
I used to have one of these…one could only imagine the black lagoon creatures living in the grout, which I seldom found time to replace. My clients say the same thing. So we choose a solid surface backsplash in patterns, ranging from the classic to the contemporary, depending on the cabinet style.
Stone or quartz, there are no grout lines to reseal, re-grout or scrub with a toothbrush. With an approved surface cleaner, grease and kitchen soil wipe clean. And the surface, uninterrupted by vertical and horizontal lines, permits the backsplash to take center stage, adding texture to the kitchen design.
For example, Dekton’s “Orix”, part of the “Pure Street Style Industrial Collection”, calls to mind a ferrous finish with blue/gray/green shades. The color combination creates movement and interest without relying on traditional patterns that imitate stone.
Microwaves over a Range or “Double, Double Toil and Trouble …”
Microwaves over a range are known as the “Contractor Special” for their prevalence in tract homes. The advent of drawer microwaves that can be located in a run of base cabinets or an island makes this arrangement unnecessary.
Who wants to reach above a hot range to place or retrieve one or more boiling pots or casserole dishes? And, most fans in these microwaves recirculate stale air through the kitchen because they are seldom vented to the outside.
Drawer microwaves, especially newer ones with touchless features or hidden controls are easier to maneuver and clean. Since microwaves are among the first appliances children learn to use, placing them in a base cabinet is safer than over the range.
Corner Whirlpool Bathtubs on Steps…Nevermore
What could be more dramatic than steps leading up to a relaxing whirlpool? How about slipping on a wet surface and getting injured? What a nightmare!
Most of my clients want the large bathtubs removed and replaced with a shower, or with a bathtub flush to a wall.
One of my favorite options is Kohler’s “Tea for Two” series. This two-person tub is available as a drop-in or under mount, in sizes ranging from 60” x 32” to 72” x 36”. Depending on the model, features include whirlpool, zone-controlled bubble massage, built-in heater, and chromatherapy.
Safety, convenience, easy maintenance and elegance are the marks of the storage solutions, finishes and appliances I’ve recommended here.
Keeping these three features top of mind as you work with your designer to plan your kitchen or bath will guarantee that your new space will bring you satisfaction, instead of howls of disappointment.
Shower with Tiled Border
Drawer Knife Storage:
Small Appliance Garage:
One of the most challenging, yet rewarding, aspects of design is wall colors. I think it’s harder to select paint than wallpaper. One has to consider the room’s orientation to the sun and how to complement the coolness (northern exposure) or warmth (southern exposure).
Especially in open plan homes, it’s important to keep the color intensity consistent across rooms or functional spaces, or you risk one color dominating the rest. Here are a few color combinations I’ve recently used in client projects that complement each other beautifully. Hats off to Benjamin Moore Paints.
Elegant and Enduring…
These are colors your never tire of. Safari is one of my go-to colors; it introduces a warm, soothing yellow that really complements a room with a Northern exposure. It is not a brassy yellow and it works well with the purple finishes and furnishings, which seem to be in demand these days.
When I cut Grasshopper back to 50 percent, it loses a lot of its gray tone, and moves towards a pastel green with depth. Old Prairie is an effervescent gray, which I’ve used to good effect with green and navy blue furnishings and finishes.
Old Prairie, 2143-50
Easy Does It…
I used the following color for clients who were changing from the previous owner’s intense hues. My clients wanted touches of color, not imposing shades or dramatic tones. Theses paints add warmth and interest, yet are fairly neutral.
Ivory White, 925
I admit it, the “Girl in the Pearl Earring” movie and now, “The Miniaturist” on PBS, are inspirations for these rich and dramatic paint combinations. They are reminiscent of the deep pigmented hues seen in Renaissance paintings from the Low Countries like The Netherlands and Belgium.
You can accessorize these colors with brushed chrome furniture and accessories for a Contemporary look, or with rich wood for a more traditional approach.
Deep Sea Green, 735
Golden Retriever, 2165-30
Short of painting these colors on your wall, test paint colors by applying them to large pieces of watercolor paper. I usually have several pieces of each color that I move around the room, so I can see how the paint behaves in the day’s different lights.
For more information on how you can choose the optimal paint color for your home, contact me at 215-860-5059, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.