Just cool stuff


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KITCHEN DETAILS AND DESIGN

Ok, I am going to admit one of my greatest vices….drumroll please! I have  a “thing” for chairs.  In fact, cannot seem to pass up a cool chair of any sort which drives my husband to  distraction and is starting to clutter my barely 1900 sq foot house a bit. Maybe this is not so bad as far as vices go but I have been forbidden from ebay, auctions ( live or otherwise), flea markets, rummage sales and even of late..my fave little antique store, Blue Moon.

In fact, while shopping with a client and one of our other designers, they both had to pry me away from a darling chair that needed a little of my TLC….forcibly. I think it really is an addiction because I felt a certain withdrawal as we drove away! Seriously!

Some of my recent purchases are Phillipe Stark Victoria ghost chairs ( love them!), two Hans Wegner knock offs, and two mismatched mid century modern danish pieces. I stripped one down to original fabric seat and it is sunny yellow! I favor mid century modern but also like whimsical chairs, and delicate old chairs.

I think old chairs tell a story and have a history that emanates from them and adds personality and charm to any space! New chairs are just waiting for history to be created!

What does this have to do with kitchen or bath design? Eh, not much and yet it is all about the design!!!!

Some faves:

How cool is this???

How cool is this???

I cannot for the life of me remember where I found this pix but it is really cool….if anyone knows…please tell me! I want them! I do I do!!

My beloved Victoria! Available at Smart Furniture

My beloved Victoria! Available at Smart Furniture

Whimsical and clever!!

Whimsical and clever!!

Are these not the cutest things? Available at toxel. These cool chairs were designed by Bora Cakilkaya. This is a very, um, interesting site! Check it out!

My Wegner knock off y chair

My Wegner knock off y chair

I love this chair! This Danish Designer was just amazing. A great website for more information is Danish Furniture. This site has much info on Danish Design from abut 1925 to 1975. Great resource!

More Wegner:

Wegner Shell Chair

Wegner Shell Chair

Wegner Easy Chair

Wegner Easy Chair

Wegner Swivel Chair

Wegner Swivel Chair

Another great website for original chairs that is awesome:Lushpad…have found a few on here I really like!

British designer Charlie Davidson has just finished his latest hand made piece entitled Is this the coolest chair ever made? Made from 2mm punched steel sheet, brazed together and powder coated. Based on a prototype for a plastic chair called Duck, this limited edition piece takes over a week to fabricate and finish. Check out site: plusmood

This takes a week to make!

This takes a week to make!

Another odd but rather cool one!

Another odd but rather cool one!

Almost weightless (approx. 2.1kgs), designed by Junio Design which was established on 2007 by Jun Hashimoto.

MYchair is sweeping and expressive, it aims to be “quirky” and provocative in shape – like a sculpture in space. This is a Reddot design award winner

for 2009. I like it!! Sign me up!

MYchair

MYchair

Ok, some of these chairs are pricey I will admit…but we can dream..yes?? Here are a few that us mere mortals can afford!!

If you love the ghost chairs of Phillipe Starck, then try the vapor chair from CB2. At 179 each it is half the price of my victorias!

Vapor chair from CB2

Vapor chair from CB2

CB2 is awesome for cheap chic decor. This recycled leather chair comes in 3 colors and is a paltry 119.00!!!

Diego chair from CB2

Diego chair from CB2

Sneaking in a find!
Sneaking in a find!

This cute chair was a steal. ( And only took me 20 minutes to make!!) I bought it for 30 bucks and spray painted it chrome. My friends look at my victoria’s with barely a glance ( some even ask me why I bought the “plastic” chairs!) but this one has been a hit. The metal work is tiny flowers.

Recently I did an interview on Bathonista website. Check it out and tell me what you think! But please, no brick throwing for my unforgiving diatribe about golden oak. Just say no to Golden Oak!! Keep your friends and family away from it! Don’t walk, run.

IF you must use oak, consider white oak or a rifted white oak as seen below in a pantry we did last year. (yes, it really is just a pantry but as big as my kitchen) Thanks goes to Paul, a fellow designer who made me chuckle tonight over one of his blogs about an oak kitchen. Read it but be warned, it is not for the feint of heart!!

Paul Anater

White rifted oak...about the only oak worth having

White rifted oak...about the only oak worth having

We used sliding doors in the pantry as the island made aisles smaller so this helped with passage space

We used sliding doors in the pantry as the island made aisles smaller so this helped with passage space

Pratt Institute of Design students were given the challenge of designing something worthwhile for one dollar. Some amazing results. Check out link at Fast Company’s site   Design for a Dollar slide show.

Some of these are quite impressive and inspiring! This is so what I love about the business…the constant inspiration and new ideas. It never gets old! Congrats to these students and thank you to Inhabitat for their inspiring website!

sweater light

3rd place and HM of ours (small bath category)1st place, 3rd place and HM (small bath category)
Enjoying Kohler hospitality!

Enjoying Kohler hospitality!

With the guys from Extreme Home Makeover

With the guys from Extreme Home Makeover

Elica Hoods

Elica Hoods

We just got back from KBIS and what a whirlwind trip! We stayed at a wonderful hotel in Midtown (Atlanta) called The Georgian Terrace…was great and I highly recommend this hotel. Especially if you are game to use MARTA to get around…we did and it was cheap and efficient. It is one stop away from the Americas Mart and only a few stops away from the World Congress Center. Great location to get to restaurants also. So there you have my plug for the hotel! We really enjoyed our stay and had a great time at the Gala dining under the stars with fellow kitchen and bath folks! Laura and I even got to play celebrity stalker with Extreme Home Makeover star Paul Dimeo! He graciously allowed us to annoy him asking for photographs! Later at the show, the entire staff got in on the celebrity stalking game and we took pix with Eddie and one of the cute producers from the show. Definitely a highlight for us girls!!

The awards ceremony was nicely done by the NKBA and we are proud to say we took home a 1st place in Small bath category and a 3rd place and HM in same category! Congrats to my co-designers, Stacy Miller and Laura Lawrence! We will post winning baths in a few days. There also were many other projects that wowed us! I was very impressed by the field of winning designs..and humbled! Congrats to all the winners!

Pinnacle of Design: Jennifer Gilmer,CKD

First Place winners:

Small Kitchens: Jennifer Gilmer, CKD

Medium Kitchens: Jennifer Gilmer,CKD

Large Kitchens: Cameron M Snyder, CKD

Open Plan Kitchens: Siri Evju, CKD, CBD

Powder Room: Lori Carroll

Small Bathroom: Cheryl Kees Clendenon

Large Bathroom: Jan E. Regis, CMKBD

Master Suite/Bathrooms:Scott and Sandra Gjesdahl

Showrooms: Elina Katsioula-Beall, CKD

Other Rooms: Sandra L. Steiner-Houck, CKD

As for the show, it turned out very good..not as many vendors as last year but to be expected I suppose but I really feel a turn around happening and I will bet some of those vendors are now unhappy they did not choose to attend! We found lots of great ideas and new products and I will write a post about all this in next day or two as I gather all my pictues and notes!

Excerpt from Libby Langdon for High Point Industry Updates

About Libby Langdon:
Libby Langdon (www.libbylangdon.com) is an interior designer and expert commentator on HGTV’s hit show “Small Space, Big Style,” where she offers insights, techniques and tips to help viewers make the most of their own small space.

 

Painting Your Trim (baseboard/crown molding) A Color Darker Than Your Walls: This was a trend when people wanted to get creative with color, but were scared of it. They figured a little extra pop on the trim was only a small area to cover so how risky could it be? In actuality, it just grayed-down the room and made the space look a little more tired and older than it really was. Crisp, clean white trim is back (for some, it never left). White freshens up the look of the oldest, beat-up molding. And now, with fewer people buying new homes, more consumers will want to update what they already have. Tell them white trim is a good place to start!

 

Formal Living Rooms: It’s still all about the family room and lots of existing “formal” living rooms are being converted into game rooms, family spaces or home offices. With kids having jam-packed schedules and parents working later and longer than ever, people want to connect with family. They are willing to forgo the formal space for a “hangout” space. And some parents realize if they create an area their kids want to spend time in, their kids will have friends over and they can eek out some more quality time, as well as keep tabs on them.

 

Big Bold Patterned Wallpaper: Wallpaper is still hot; it’s just not big, bold and bright. Opt for more subtle color ways that are softer, or tone on tone. People are also using wallpaper in more controlled ways, such as an accent on just one wall, or inside door panels.

 

 

 

 

Aqua and Chocolate Brown: I’m not sure this combo will ever go away completely, once it started to hit college campuses across the country you knew it had played itself out. Chocolate paired with orange is hot, as is gray mixed with cream.


 

 

 

Collections or Collecting (Anything!): Whether moving to a smaller dwelling or just clearing out old junk, people have discovered that living with less stuff is the ultimate luxury. Unclutter!

Written by Cheryl Kees Clendenon

It seems lately when most people are dreaming of their ideal kitchen, an island is high on the wish list. Islands can be an integral part of the design layout and improve overall functionality or they can be an impediment to the flow of the work space.

Wood "island" within larger island

Wood "island" within larger island

How can you determine if your space can handle an island and if so, how to take it up a notch in design? Carefully consider your floor plan and the amount of overall space you need for an adequate sized island as well as the space around it to maneuver easily. A good island layout functions as a “traffic cop” directing traffic around the primary cook zones and should be a minimum of 30 inches wide. The length is negotiable but I would recommend at least 36 inches. If you do not have at least this amount of “heft” to the island, you risk making it look crowded and undersized at best, and at worse are creating a hip busting, aggravating obstacle to good movement around the kitchen.

Ok, let’s say an island is going to work well for your design. Now let’s move on to making it the envy of the neighborhood! Here are some suggestions for adding increased utility and original personality.

  • Think about the seating. Do you need seating? If so, how many seats. Rule of thumb is 24 inches per diner but if you have smaller bar stools or smaller diners i.e. children…then you can fudge this a little. Don’t crowd it.
High bar seating

High bar seating

  • One level or two? One level is best for entertaining and maximizing the work space. The space can double as a serving area when not used as seating. Hint: if one level works for you and you have a sink in the island, install an air switch for the disposal. This is a small flat button that is installed in the countertop and is far better than cutting into your side panels with a switch, or worse, having to open the cabinet door to turn it on.
  • Try very had to have one slab of stone, granite or other solid countertop material if one level island. Seams are a no-no. I repeat, no seams
  • If you want two levels, then that is fine, if it works. Hint: Don’t buy into the conventional idea that the 6 inches of raised bar “hides” anything. It does not. No one is fooled into thinking the kitchen…is not really a kitchen.
  • Make the island different than the rest of the kitchen. Try different cabinetry materials or different countertops, but not both. Or, think about two islands in one with two different, yet complementary materials such as the wood and copper in above picture.
Peninsula "island" that is unusual but works for this young family

Peninsula "island" that is unusual but works for this young family

  • Consider legs or feet on the island but execute it well. Legs should be sturdily connected with an apron much like a typical table. Feet can be individual feet or a furniture style arched cutout. Hint: If budget constraints do not allow for a complete remodel of your existing space, think about simply replacing the island and island tops and paint the perimeter cabinetry. This can get you much further on a smaller budget and you can have a well designed island. Replace the other cabinetry when you have additional funds.
  • Don’t be afraid to have just a working island and no seats. If you have ample seating adjacent to the kitchen space, then perhaps a working island with great targeted storage is a better option. Don’t force the seating aspect if you do not have ample room for people to pass by comfortably. Hint: If you can, mock up the island in the proposed space and “live” with it for awhile to see how well it works…or doesn’t. Islands can be a focal point of style in a kitchen as well as a gathering spot for friends and family.

This is my single favorite space to design in a kitchen! There are countless ways to creatively interpret the client’s personality and desires with extraordinary results. For more information on kitchen islands:

kitchens.com

hgtv.com

thisoldhouse.com

White kitchens are never going to fade out of view. They are crisp, clean and provide unlimited possibilities. The trick is making them look fresh and not dated. In this kitchen, note the more modern “sticks” for backsplash tile and the modern handles. These design elements add the edge to an all white beach kitchen.

Gray blue stone "sticks" are something different and edgy in this othewise traditional beach kitchen

Gray blue stone "sticks" are something different and edgy in this othewise traditional beach kitchen

Soft and Serene

Soft and Serene

Lots of pantry storage in this kitchen

Lots of pantry storage in this kitchen

Vintage...circa 2009

Vintage...circa 2009

Clever storage in a 9ft ceiling...above the tub!

Clever storage in a 9ft ceiling...above the tub!

Lights from Gingerco and Toto sink

Lights from Gingerco and Toto sink

Thanks to fellow kitchen designer, Kelly at www.kitchensync.typepad.com for great info and link to cfl light bulbs! Not all are the same! Worth reading!  Thanks Kelly!! 


 

CFLs

Today at lunch ( what’s that again?) well, the time of day usually reserved for lunch anyway…I went to return a pair of shoes at a local department store. WHAAAAAATTT? I can just tell you, there was a lot of stimulus spending in the shoe department! WHO are these people?? I mean, seriously, there were not enough sales people to handle the crowd…it was a sale but nothing earthshatteringly great. I could not even get a place to park outside. Sure gas is high, consumer confidence is down, lending is tight..BUT THERE IS A SHOE SALE AT DILLIARDS!! Priorities, right? And this is not a exclusive store…there were working women, housewives, a few husbands, some retirees…at least that is what I perceived.

Ok, so about business. Here is my pep talk. Granted, at my shop, we are busy. Can’t even keep up with the work at the moment without working into the evenings. Knock on wood, or maybe ceasarstone…but the truth is business is up 40% from last year. I may be slinging hash at Waffle House in 6 months but right now I am grateful for the busy days and (some) evenings. Some of my subs are slower…but my REALLY good ones are busy too…partly because I am busy. It seems as if the good subcontractors DO indeed stay busy. But, For what it’s worth, this has been my plan of action for past year when the media started the recession hype and fuel prices became outrageous. Since I am a small business owner it mostly applys to smaller businesses.

  • DON’T stop advertising. BUT DO evaluate each advertising dollar carefully. Make sure your staff tracks the referrals. Make this non-negotiable. You must know what is driving the customer base. Then do a report on it and really see what you are getting in return for your investment.
  • DON’T give up the marketing and PR. I am differentiating from advertising because, well, it is different! Marketing is about building your “brand”…about putting forth the image of your business. It might mean that you as the owner or manager needs to be more involved but you have to keep building your brand even in a down market. In fact, even more important to illustrate staying power in the community. Work the committees, Trade associations, neighborhood gatherings…the more the better and make sure your staff does the same. Pay for them to go to events where they can help promote your “brand”..get them out in the community as well. For my business, this means I do NOT give up submitting projects for editorial, do NOT cut the photography budget ( prof photography is key to any designer publishing their work) and keep your website up to date.
  • Cut payroll if you can but make sure key people are well taken care of…reward them for their skills and “thinking outside the box” to help promote business. Get rid of slackers. You don’t need them and they will keep you from maximizing your sales. Not only that, slackers are cancerous to the rest of the staff. Cut out the cancer. Early detection is the key.
  • Treat each potential client like they might be your last. Don’t take anything for granted. this is the secret to small business success in my opinion. I CARE. My BUSINESS cares. We try and project this to our design clients as well as the retail customers. Even if it is for a 5 dollar hinge that some scroungy guy comes in and trys to find and we spend an hour searching for….that 5 dollar hinge can represent thousands of dollars in future sales if that scroungy guy turns out to be the lead trim guy at 3 million dollar house and YOU spent the time earning his business. True story.
  • True, some people will shop you for competitive pricing on the internet. They will use and abuse you and your good nature. Stop trying to fight the internet. DO start giving people a reason to buy “local”. Work with your sales people and staff to understand how important is to support local businesses…as local businesses support the community. Many sales people don’t get this and try to fight internet pricing on THEIR level….which is simply pricing. Don’t do it. Create your USP (unique selling point) on the merits of your business relationship…and you can always, without preaching, segue into the “buy local” mantra. And practice it yourself. I only buy internet when I cannot get it local. I am religious about supporting my local businesses. I “get” it and you can help your bottom line by making sure your people “get” it too. BUY LOCAL.
  • If you are a design oriented business, invest in good looking postcards to have a “leave behind” for customers and to drop off a stack at businesses that might refer people to you. Be reciprocal too. Modern postcardshttp://www.modernpostcard.com/?cid=google_ppc_hp_post_cards is a great site if you do not have a local printer to work with on printing. Put some good shots on the cards then have someone go around and ask to put them out in places that make sense. Cheap cheap cheap. Also, make sure every single person who ventures into your business takes one with them…never know who might see it on their counter!  Yard signs are also good…and cheap.
  • PR is important..send out press releases on contests, publications ..anything newsworthy. It takes little time and again, it’s free.
  • Don’t forget your most important advertising source..existing customer base! Keep in contact! Send a note pertaining to something relative to “remind” them you are there…don’t be afraid to ASK for referrals either….people LIKE TO HELP OTHERS when it is genuine…I myself bend over backward to help someone when they ask or give me the idea they value my business enough to ask for a referral.

Just as illustration: Friday I have appointment with new client in neighboring community. The referral? One of those postcards dropped off at local appliance store. Yes, it works. I have now, with the initial visit paid for the entire run of postcards. Good ROI!!

Most importantly, try not to buy into the hype and “woe is us” environment. Of course it is tougher times but your attitude towards the business impacts your employees’ attitudes too. Get creative and get going!

Life is good! Planning to take the day tomorrow to get organized, putter around my house, play with new laptop and read some! I will be back to blogosphere next week and hope to be posting some great pix and share with everyone some wonderful new sites I have discovered. Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year’s Eve! Be safe! ….Cheryl

A quick sneak peak of a kitchen we just finished up! It is fabulous and the client is one of the nicest we have ever worked with! Great space for a great family!peakes-place-007

Island set off by beautiful Hubbardton Forge pendants.

Island set off by beautiful Hubbardton Forge pendants.

Just wanted to share a really great kitchen. This little kitchen was quite a challenge but ended up packing a lot of “wow” into a small space. High contrast and clean lines really update this space! The existing vaulted ceilings left no place for lighting or ductwork so we had to get creative. Let me know what you think!
George Kovacs "bling" chandelier!

George Kovacs"bling" chandelier!

Futuro Hood is a show stopper!

Futuro Hood is a show stopper!

Aluminum laminate used as "legs" for the cooking area

Aluminum laminate used as"legs" in cooking area

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