Sunday, February 17, 2019

My Modern Kitchen Design Plan

Well, the time has finally come. Or has it? Kitchen renovation is so overwhelming and stressful that I've been putting it off for as long as I can. Our home kitchen is perfectly functional, not aesthetically pleasing or current, but functional. When we moved into our house 10 years ago, we chose the-then popularity theme: dark solid maple cabinet doors in shaker style, natural granite counter and a whole lot of stainless steel appliances. My love for this kitchen quickly dried up as my design style evolves. I know I am probably only going to renovate this kitchen once, a gut job, so I am thinking something more nature-inspired, more modern and clean-lined, and can stand the test of time. 

Below is my home kitchen design board. I haven't decided yet whether I should hire a designer to help me along the way. White cabinetry is a must-have. Adding some blonde wood cabinetry in the island wrapped around by waterfall counter, or in the pantry, would create visual interest and enhance the modern aesthetics. 



Below is our kitchen's current layout. 
And this is the new layout I am thinking: extending the pantry (no-brainer!) and moving the orientation of the island sink to face the stove. With that, I can get a much longer island (more seating) out of the space. I will probably have to go for a narrower island than 48" so there's more room away from the pantry wall. 
The picture below pretty much summed up my dream kitchen must-haves. Most of the appliances, especially fridge, would be hidden behind cabinetry doors. 

And below is the design board for our kitchen diner. 

As you could see from the layouts above, kitchen and diner are essentially one big open space, so I combine the design boards below to show you how they look together. 


If you remember back in December we just gave our kitchen diner a mini makeover. I am keeping most of the stuff except for the round dining table. 

This Ikea Fjalkinge shelving unit will definitely stay. 

I don't know when I can work up the courage for this project yet - it surely going to be very disruptive to our daily routine, and routine is very important to me. I am hoping early fall before it gets cold, so we can still do some cooking and eating in our backyard. Stay tuned! I will share a source list in my future posts. For now, here are the two items I already ordered: 

Emmett 6-Light Chandelier from Wayfair. 

Edessa Tribal Medallion runner rug from RugsUSA. 







Monday, February 11, 2019

Environmentally Friendly Home Designs

~ This is a featured post. ~

For many, a home is a safe haven and a way to escape from the world. It’s your personal space, and for this reason, you want it to be as comfortable as possible. In this day and age of promoting green practices, people are looking for ways to make their homes green, and one approach is to infuse this need it into your home designs. If you aren’t familiar with the ways you can design your home in a way that benefits the environment, you may not know where to start. Keep reading to find out how you can make your home design environmentally friendly.

Use Indoor Plants 
When designing your interior, include indoor plants in your plan. These can do wonders for your home as well as for the environment, too. If you didn’t know, one of the benefits of indoor plants is that they breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. They’re also capable of absorbing other harmful chemicals like benzene or formaldehyde which are typically found in household products. A few examples of indoor plants to buy are asparagus fern, fiddle leaf fig, or the Chinese money plant.

Use Solar Energy 
Another method for designing an environmentally friendly home is using solar energy. Solar energy is so beneficial to the environment because it’s energy that’s renewable. It also has low maintenance costs and can help reduce your electricity bill, which is often an incentive for many.

If you don’t know much about home solar systems, it’s advisable that you soak in as much information as possible using platforms like Going Solar. The first step would typically be to get solar panels installed so that the energy from the sunlight can be converted into electricity.

Choose Durable Materials 
For those who happen to be reconstructing any part of their home or building it for the first time, use durable materials. Bamboo, for instance, is one of the best eco-friendly materials that you can find. It is said to be exceptionally durable, lightweight, as well as less energy-incentive,  to transport.  Other materials to try are cork, which is another fast-growing resource, or recycled wood and metal.

Compost 
If you have the luxury of having a garden in your home, you should explore the idea of composting. You can leave a space in your garden for this as it’s a fantastic way of managing your kitchen scraps and improving the environment too, as compostable materials cannot degrade effectively when sent to landfill.

Here are a few steps regarding how to compost if you’ve never done so before.
  • Combine Materials: Make a pile at least three feet deep of green and brown materials. If you find your compost pile is too wet and smells, add more brown. On the other hand, if you find it’s brown and dry, add green and a little bit of water to make it more moist.
  • Water the Pile: Your compost pile should have the same consistency as a wet sponge, so watering it regularly is a must. However, don’t add too much water as it could result in your pile drowning.
  • Stir the Pile: In order to give your pile oxygen, resolve to use a garden fork to turn it once a week. This should help it cool faster and prevent a smell from developing.
  • Feed Your Pile: Once your pile is dry, brown and crumbly, it’s fully cooked and you can use it to feed your garden.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Budget Bathroom Makeover Checklist

~ This is a featured post. ~

With the new year here, it might be about time to consider giving your bathroom a quick makeover. Doing a full remodel is expensive, time consuming, and ultimately unrealistic for the average person. However, there are quick, cheap, and easy ways to breathe new life into your bathroom, even if you’re renting!

If you go through this easy bathroom makeover checklist, you’ll find plenty of ideas that are budget friendly and relatively simple to utilize in your bathroom. Throughout this checklist, we tried to follow some of the most popular bathroom design trends of 2019 so that you’re not wasting your time with anything that's out of style.

Walls

The bathroom walls are a great place to start when it comes to upgrading your bathroom on a budget. There are some different options based on the amount of money you want to spend, how much work you want to put in, and if you own your place or not.

Painting your walls is an amazing tactic to upgrading your bathroom. Paint is relatively cheap, and you don’t need to paint every wall. Having a fun pop of color on one wall acts as a great focal point for your bathroom. A trendy new design choice is to paint one wall black if you’re feeling especially adventurous.

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of being able to paint their walls whenever they feel like it. Landlords can be strict and you might want to pick your battles. Instead, you can go with a fun wallpaper that’s easy to put up and then remove when you decide to leave. Modern prints are popular right now. Wallpaper on one wall, like paint, is a great way to add an interesting focal point to any bathroom.

Finally, if you want the least amount of work or you have a small bathroom, you can hang and additional mirror. Adding in a mirror has a way of making small bathrooms feel more spacious. They trick your eye into making your bathroom feel bigger than it is, which is always a plus!

New Fixtures

You’ll often see people who want to give their kitchen a quick update switch out their cabinet handles/knobs. The same idea works well in bathrooms! If you’re dealing with old or outdated bathroom fixtures, they’re relatively cheap and easy to replace with something new. A popular trend right now is going with matte black fixtures. They are fun, bold, and definitely more interesting than the standard chrome you’ve been seeing in bathrooms for years. If you don’t want to deal with the sink or shower head, you can always go for switching out cabinet handles for your bathroom vanity.

Backsplash

The area between your sink and your mirror is often neglected. It’s an uninteresting space that people will forget about because they have no idea what do with it. This is where you have a chance to shine! Purchasing a simple stick on backsplash will do wonders for your bathroom. Although it’s a small area, your eyes will immediately be drawn to that spot if there is something interesting to look at.

You could always tile that area, but we’re on a budget! Stick on backsplashes are less than $20 and if you go with a high quality option, it’s hard to tell the difference between a stick on and real tile.

Storage

Storage and shelving are two aspects of your bathroom that might not be the most interesting, but can make the biggest difference. Having a cluttered bathroom is going to lead to stress and unhappiness. The last thing you want to see when you go to the bathroom in the morning is the mess that’s been lingering for days. An easy way to get better about keeping your vanity area clean and maximizing space is by installing floating shelves.

Floating shelves look amazing and don’t have to be expensive. Since they’re often not supporting too much weight, they’re cheaper than other shelving options. Another great feature about floating shelves, they’re easy to make yourself!

Another upgrade that’s worth thinking about is switching to a floating vanity. Floating vanities are the absolute best option if you’re dealing with a small bathroom. A large, bulky bathroom vanity is going to make your bathroom feel even smaller than it already is. A floating vanity allows you to utilize the space under the sink for additional storage.

These are just a few of the options when it comes to a budget bathroom makeover. You can also add art, buy a new bathroom mat, upgrade your towels and towel rack, you name it. Creating and maintaining a beautiful bathroom doesn’t need to be hard or expensive, just start small!

About the Author:
Thomas is a lead content producer for Trade Winds Imports, a company that has 10 years of experience in bathroom design and an unbeatable knowledge of bathroom vanities.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Natural Light and Interior Design

~ This is a featured post. ~

There is no true right and wrong when it comes to interior design. Like fashion, it is entirely personal (it is, after all, your home). If you absolutely love a certain type of quirky design that others don’t understand, then that’s their problem. You love it, it works. Not everything you love, however, will translate well. This is because every single one of us needs a healthy environment in order to thrive. You therefore must adhere to a few design rules, like letting in as much natural light as possible.

The Power of Natural Light 
There are so many benefits to natural light. For one, it can help regulate your circadian cycle. What this cycle does is it helps you be alert and awake during the day time and then get your body ready for sleep by bedtime. Plenty of light is also great for improving mental health, helping you stay calm, and of course can that finishing touch to any room’s interior design. 

How to Control Natural Light in Your Home 
Knowing how to control natural light in your home is necessary if you want to improve your interior design. Your bedroom needs light, yes, but it also needs privacy. Then there are ways to dress windows to add beautiful shadow play. Other ways to add sharp lines and a modern touch. There are many ways to take control of the natural light in your home, and here are the top four:  

1. Add Custom Window Dressings 
It is a mistake to assume you always want to let in as much light as possible. Perhaps a window gets direct sunlight in the summer, and you want to keep your home as cool as possible, or perhaps you want more privacy. By getting custom window dressings like the best plantation shutters Charleston can offer, you can be in full control of how much light you want to let in and can customize it to match your interior design. 

2. Use Mirrors 
If a room gets little natural light or sunlight, then you can brighten the room by using reflective surfaces. Mirrors, glass, and even wax finished furniture can all help reflect the natural light, brightening the whole room even if the original source is minimal. 

3. Use Light Coloured Walls or Textiles 
If you have a room full of windows, you can use darker colors to your hearts content. If you only have a small window or one window to deal with it is often better to use lighter toned elements to again reflect the light and make the room appear brighter. 

4. Don’t Block the Windows with Furniture
Furniture should never be backed right up against a window. Instead, pull furniture away. A metre is a good approach, but it will depend on the size of your room and what you can get away with. Similarly, if using drapes, you don’t want to block the windows, and instead use a larger curtain rod so you can rest the drapes on the side of the wall next to the window. 

Natural light must always be part of your interior design consideration. How to increase the amount of light you get, how to control it, how to make more use of it – always consider how your design is impacted by the lighting conditions and work with what you have.  

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Kitchen Diner Makeover

Do you have a corner or two in your home you purposely avoid every time you take an interior photo? My kitchen and kitchen diner was one of them. I know one day I am going to need to gut our kitchen. But I also know a kitchen project is extremely disruptive to our routine and daily life, and I am still yet to work up that courage to pull the trigger. Before that, I thought I would do a mini makeover to modernize this space. Below is the design plan I put together. I called it modern rustic, nature-inspired but also refined. 

The MCM style Andresen console table from All Modern was the jumping-off point for the room. Now I have a perfect window spot to sip a cup of tea while catching up on some quick reading. The drawers provide extra storage which makes this stylish console table not just a pretty face. 

The most satisfying addition in our kitchen diner had to be the Ikea Fjalkinge shelving unit. The mid-century turned leg standing planter to the left in the picture below is from West Elm. It was my birthday present from my brother and sister-in-law. They surely knew what to get their crazy plant lady sista. 


Below was the Before of the same corner. The brown display case was from EQ3 from our old house. I always told myself I needed to replace that every time I walked by (which means a few times every day), but my procrastination kept it there for almost 10 years! 

I've been eyeing Ikea Fjalkinge shelving unit for a long time. I was going to use it for our cottage loft, but it was out of stock for the longest time, and a tad too tall. I finally found a perfect spot at home for it. Installing it wasn't difficult - Mr. was able to complete it all by himself within an hour. 

It looks amazing once assembled, not to say it's super functional. But the quality was a bit inconsistent, see the picture below. It still puzzled me why there was sharpie marking on this post. Fortunately we were able to face this side towards the wall so the flaw was completely concealed. 

The two drawers are super roomy. Did you see the two cake stands on the left in the picture below? Yes, cake stands fit in there! This shelving unit now holds most of my hosting supplies. 

Of late I am a bit fan of open shelves. Not only do they provide storage, they also inspire (or dare I say discipline) you to be clutter-free. After all, who would want to display their mess, right? I was very motivated to style it pretty. Nature-inspired was my decor theme for 2019, so I picked up this "Plant Style: How to Greenify Your Space" book by by Alana Langan and Jacqui Vidal.

First order was to add a few plants of different shapes and forms to the shelves. This "Strings of Banana" succulent plant looks so chic on the top shelf. To me, plants bring warmth and texture to a space. They give an otherwise utilitarian and mundane nook its heart beat. 

My beloved Pilea is sitting pretty on the middle shelf. I also used dish holder rack to hold cheese boards and display books. 



So this was my kitchen diner makeover. It's functional, grounded, modern and happy. It's very me


Sources:
3-light chandelier: West Elm Bolete Chander. 
Shelving unit: Ikea Fjalkinge. 
Vintage basket with handle on top shelf: JKC Vintage via Instagram. 
Woven baskets, black/white stoneware canisters: HM Home. 
MCM standing planter: West Elm. 
Black and white cowhide rug: Decor Hut. 
"Strings of Banana" succulent plant: Sheridan Nurseries.
Andresen mid-century console table: All Modern. 
Matte black ceramic French press: Neocasa via Amazon. 
Blue grey vase: EQ3. 

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