Our Favorite Luxury Kitchen Features

Today’s luxury kitchen features combine function and beauty to create breathtaking results. Not only do they look great, but they’ll give you the resources to be a home chef, make your family more comfortable, and much more.

In this month’s post, we’ll go over some of our favorite appliances, materials, and layout designs for a beautiful luxury kitchen remodel.

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Write On It!


Often we do not encourage our kids or family members or friends to write on our walls, but what if they could?  You may be familiar with chalkboard paint that has been circulating in the housing design market for the last few years, but there is a new product on the market that may soon overtake chalkboard paint in versatility and creativity!  That product is Dry Erase Coating!

While walking through the booths of NeoCon (a design and product showcase in Chicago) last year , Monika and I came across several different brands of this new product and were intrigued by its possibilities.  Some brands offer the product in a base color of white or black, but the most popular application is a clear coat finish over any base color you want.  This one step clear coat creates worlds of possibilities for application, color and creativity.   The product has two components, a base can that you add a catalyst into, to create a chemical reaction that creates a hard dry erase surface once applied to the wall (or other surface) and allowed to cure.  Simply prime and base paint your walls to whatever color you choose or use an existing wall color or surface, just make sure it is clean and free of dust.  Then mix the two part product together, roll it on the desired areas and let cure.  While the product does dry to the touch, depending on the brand there is a 4 to 10 day curing process before you can write on your walls.  If you change your mind and no longer want a dry erase surface, simply sand the finish of the wall lightly, prime and repaint. Read More

How to use Houzz.com

Are you a follower on Houzz.com? You may be familiar with Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but did you know that Houzz.com gives you direct access to pre-filtered design tools. Whether you are looking for ideas for a new house or for updating your current house, Houzz.com has great resources for you to use. In addition to providing you with idea resources, Houzz.com also keeps you organized with their Ideabooks.

For those unfamiliar with Houzz.com, I suggest you take a few minutes to check out the site and see it for yourself. You can browse the main site without signing up to see what it is all about. Houzz.com focuses on three major search options depending on what you are looking for.

Get Inspired

There are thousands of architects, designers, and builders on Houzz.com who have uploaded photos of their work to inspire you and show you the possibilities of designs. There are also bloggers who take these photos and put together How To’s or See What’s New ideas for you to look at.

See Products

All photos have a tagging option, like tagging a person in a Facebook picture, but on the products used to achieve a certain look. These products are usually named and described and often link to the manufacturer’s website or at least offer a product to search for. Various Ideabooks are also available for ideas on major overhaul projects down to do-it-yourself projects you can get at your local depot. Read More

Holiday Decorating Ideas for Fall!

So… before you start thinking about Christmas and the end of the year holidays, stop to give Thanksgiving a chance and spruce up you house for the autumn season.  The leaves are starting to fall and the weather is turning cold, Halloween has passed, so lets focus on some fall inspiration.

There are such great colors during the autumn season that add warmth and life to your home.  It is all about the warm  earthy tones and bringing the outdoors inside.  Try out a few of these simple seasonal decorating ideas to bring the season to your home.

Pumpkins are the standard decor for the fall season, but don’t always mean you have to go orange.  There are so many different kinds and color of pumpkins, gourds, and squash that can add color to your decor.  Orange is just the beginning.  Yellow, green, white and black also available.  And if the natural colors are not what you are looking for, there is always paint.  Many people carve pumpkins for Halloween, but painting them offers a different look all together.  Gold paint in particular adds glitz and color to your fall decor. Read More

Last Minute Holiday Decorating Ideas


Holiday decorating can be overwhelming, especially when it gets this close to Christmas. Here are some ideas to help create a cohesive Christmas decor and ways to use some of those left over decorations you just don’t know what to do with.


Focus the colors of  your decorations to create a room (or house) where all the decorations work together. Many different pieces can go together is they are in a similar color group.  You can focus on one accent color or a pairing of colors to create a distinct look.  Try White and Metallic for a sophisticated and clean look.  Blue and White create a winter wonderland feel that is reminiscent of ice and snow.  A Black and White theme with Red accents and natural greens is a more contemporary take on the traditional Red and Green.

Tie all your decorations together by using similar pieces in different locations throughout your house.  Using the same ornaments on your tree, mantle, and in a bowl for a table decoration can spread that color throughout your room.  Using the same decorations as a garland, a mantle cover, a centerpiece and a wreath throughout the house carries a consistent decor theme that looks pulled together and purposeful. Read More

Ideas for Labor Day Weekend

So today’s blog is going to be short, sweet and to the point.  We are fast approaching the holiday weekend and all you can think about is kicking back, putting your feet up and enjoying some time off.  But, in case you want to labor a little over your labor day weekend, I have a few quick project ideas that you can finish in a weekend or less.

– Re-arrange your furniture to give any room a fresh look and a new feel.

– Paint an accent wall your favorite color and add a bright splash to a room.

– Create your own art!  Buy a canvas or two and some acrylic paints and brushes at your local art store and create a one of a kind art piece for your home.

– Create a beautiful fall floral arrangement using either fresh or silk flowers to welcome the coming season. Read More

Refinished & Reused, Part 2- Home Furnishings & Decor

Every once in a while, you get the desire to change things up a bit, move around the furniture, change the drapery, paint the walls.  Changing up your home decor offers the feeling of a space being new without having to go out and buy all new items.  However, there are times when that old piece of furniture just is not making the cut anymore.  Maybe it has scratches, or chips in the paint, or the color no longer coordinates with the new color you painted the room, and it is time for a bigger change than just rearranging the furniture.  Or you find a great furniture piece at a garage sale or re-sale shop but it is in definite need of some TLC.  Or you are just in need of a unique home decorating idea, well let you imagination run wild and see what you can come up with.  With the creative juices flowing, the sky is the limit for what you can refinish and reuse to make your home furnishings and decor pop with a new and unique look. Read More

Refinished & Reused, Part 1- The Great Outdoors

Are you tired of your old outdoor furniture or do you have a great piece that is just not in the best of condition. No matter if it is an old bench, patio set, fire pit, or picnic table, there are many ways to freshen up and make those old treasures sparkle like new. Here’s how…

Now I am not the one to say take the easy way out, but sometimes it works. I recently have been working on some projects around my house both inside and out, and have come to find that spray paint is my new best friend when it comes to making my old rugged pieces seem new. While it is not a fix all (like some believe duct tape to be), it does a great job of giving a face-lift to those old tired pieces of furniture.

1) Lets start with the metals. Are your metal patio chairs getting a little old and rusted out from the rain, or is your porch swing frame getting a little orange looking? Try a Rustoleum spray paint, designed to adhere to metal and eliminate your rusty spots. Remember this is just to cover surface rust, always check the strength of rusty metal items to make sure the rust has not damaged the structural integrity of your piece. I do not want you sitting down and your chair or swing falling apart because it rusted through.  You can also make your fire pit or charcoal grill look good as new.  Especially if you allow your fire pit to weather the elements, it may have rust damage from rain and continued use.  Make sure you purchase a special spray paints designed for high heat that can remedy your rust problems with a new layer that will make your fire pit or grill look good as new.  Use a metal wire brush to clean off as much rust as possible before applying a even coat of paint to the entire bowl.  Make sure to coat both the interior and exterior to cover all the rust.  You can even spray your cover if that needs a new look as well. Read More

Specialty Rooms: The Backyard

Outdoor living is becoming a growing trend throughout the country.  Even if you live in a climate like ours here in Chicago, there are still enough nice days, that having a relaxing place outside to spend a few hours of your day or throw a barbecue party for your friends is something we all enjoy.  Whether you have a modest patio or an extravagant tiered deck, pool and outdoor kitchen, a designed outdoor space is an amenity to any home.  I realize many of you reading this may already have a designed backyard space, that’s great.  Maybe you can pick out a few ideas to spruce up your design to enhance your outdoor experience.  For the rest of you who may be starting from scratch or want to tear down what you have and start over, below are some ideas on the foundations of backyard design and some extras that make each outdoor experience unique.

The Patio versus the Deck

There are different options to choose from when you are looking into designing your backyard.  Maybe the first one to address is the patio versus the deck.  Each has their own design qualities for similar functions, so which one do you choose?  The patio is typically lower to the ground, made of a hard surface material, such as concrete, pavers or stone, and integrates more into the landscape of the yard.  The deck is typically elevated off the ground (does not have to be by much), made out of a wood or composite decking material, and defined as a more separate space from the rest of the yard usually through transitions created by railings and stairs.  Your best option… what fits into your space and overall design goals.  Sometimes the two can even be used together to create a layered complex design that offers variety and versatility of the space. Read More

Specialty Rooms: The Front Porch

The Front Porch is the gateway to your home.  It is the face to the neighborhood, the connection between the public space of the street and the private space of your home.  It creates a semi-private space outside your home to interact with your neighbors, to entertain and to enjoy the great outdoors in a protected environment.  Though not all houses have a front porch, it is becoming a popular design trend for new homes as well as renovation and additions.  Whether it is large or small the front porch offers many beneficial features and creates a welcoming entry sequence into your home.

If your home already has a front porch, keep reading, I will talk about some ways to spruce up a new or existing space.  But first lets discuss porch design on a larger scale, I will call it the bones of the project.  Your porch should fit the design of your home.  If you are designing new, this is an easier process.  For those who are integrating the front porch as a renovation or addition, analyze the style and size of your home.  Make sure the porch you are designing fits the home, since one that is too small or too large could end up looking out of place rather than improve the overall character.  If you are thinking of tackling this project yourself, consider doing some research on porch design.  There are many books available that can help you determine what is a good size and style porch for your home.  A quick search online or at your local library will provide you with instant ideas.  If your project seems larger than you want to tackle, I would suggest contacting a local builder or architect to get you started with some design ideas tailored to your home and move forward from there.  There are so many different styles of homes, from Craftsman to Cape Cod to Georgian to name a few, that you want to make sure your porch remains true to the characteristics of your home. Read More