Monthly Archives

September 2006


decor8 Reader Questions: Advice for Heather’s Countertop?

September 7, 2006

decor8 Reader Questions: Advice for Heather's Countertop?
decor8 reader Heather is a graphic designer from Ocean Springs, Mississippi. She worked alongside her husband, an architect, to build their dream home six years ago. When it came down to completing it, they ran out of time, energy, and of course, cash. As a result, many things were finished quickly and cheaply, their countertops being one of those things, which is where Heather is stuck and could use our help. Heathers writes:

We stained and polyurethaned some birch plywood and that’s been it for years. Now, we are ready for real countertops and we know we want quartz composite (engineered stone) like Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria and others. After that choice, we are stuck, we can’t decide Light vs. Dark, Color vs. Neutral, Big Chunks vs. Small Grains or Solid.

decor8 Reader Questions: Advice for Heather's Countertop?We like a Cobalt selection a few companies carry that has little sparkly bits of mirror and plan to use that in our breakfast area on a new oval pedestal table. My picture shows a table with a blue top that’s a trial run to see if we like a bright blue surface (we do!). We think the blue is great, but don’t want to overdo it on all the other counters.

decor8 Reader Questions: Advice for Heather's Countertop?The butcher block top island will stay. The cabinets are a natural cherry, nickel pulls, stainless range, white fridge and dishwasher, will soon install a new stainless single bowl sink (the way cool Kohler Poise or BlancoPrecision) and a new faucet.

decor8 Reader Questions: Advice for Heather's Countertop?The walls are a yellow orange I had planned to rub with a pumpkin glaze and the ceiling is a steely blue metallic from Ralph Lauren Duchesse Satin. The pantry doors are cypress architectural salvage from New Orleans with clear glass panels, the floors are pecan and white oak wide plank with a medium stain, lots of wood everywhere, maybe too much.

The next project after the counters will probably be to finally install the shaker style crown mold over the cabinets and mosaic tile the backsplash, possibly a cream glass tile palette with some shimmer.

I would love some opinions on the countertop issue. I like a balanced look and I’m leaning slightly towards the lighter neutrals, to offset all the color. My husband and I are used to making design and color choices quickly and confidently, but we are stumped on this one! Advice, opinions, suggestions, fresh ideas, all are welcome and appreciated! The photo of samples were some we have considered, we liked how some picked up on the cabinet color.

Holly, I’m thrilled you and your readers will take a stab at solving my problem. If it is any incentive, I am tired of putting off the counters and am ready to do them NOW, I promise to update you with what we decide and will send photos of installed counters. Will you have any other “before + after” type posts? I’m curious to see what Courtney did about her kitchen curtains.

Advice anyone?

After reading that you want to do a mosiac tile backsplash (lovely!), I must stress the importance of choosing your focal point because you don’t want the countertop and the backsplash both competing for attention because they each have outstanding features (flecks, shine, etc.). Select which one you’d like in the spotlight. Given the details you’ve provided above about the space, I’d say go with a colorful mosiac tile background and the darker gray-blue countertop (I’m not a fan of the cobalt because I think it will look dated over time and if you ever want to sell the house, it’s something to consider). The tile shown in the top row, second position, in your photo looks great. I scoured the web to try to locate something visual so you could get a sense of the outcome, and came across this photo. I wouldn’t go with such large tiles for the backsplash, but I love the mix of colors. See what you think.

(photos from heather for use on decor8)


coffee + cre8tive {sept 7 ’06}

September 7, 2006

In my opinion, wallpaper is only as amazing as the person installing it. If good taste isn’t exercised, it can induce vomiting and scare the children. If you want to wallpaper but don’t know where to begin, refer to a trusty friend with great design sense, or hire someone with exceptional style for a quick and painless consultation.
coffee + cre8tive {sept 7 '06}Many decorators and designers are happy to spend a day helping you locate the best supplier, pattern, and installation crew for the job. Most importantly, they can also help you with placement and color. The thought of sugar coating an entire wall with something beautiful, like these beech leaves from House Couturier, totally thrills me. Most other Americans aren’t sold on the trend yet, many complain that we spent the entire 1990’s to get rid of it, and to see it return somewhat defeats the purpose. Given the popular selections of times past, I can see why they’re moaning. Some of it was insane.

The most common complaint from readers and clients pertains to the actual removal of it more than the installation process or costs involved. Others struggle to see past images of oversized cabbage roses or folksy prints with roosters or jumping dolphins on bathroom borders. Flashbacks of tacky 1970’s paper in their childhood home is incentive enough to step away from the wallpaper trend.

We had wallpaper in our home but my mother was smart enough to hire an interior designer when she got stuck on paper selection. The designer, an Italian with exquisite taste, transformed several rooms in our home into a papered paradise. The rooms could have graced the pages of any design magazine back in the day, at least a 1970’s magazine with all it’s gold, orange, green, yellow, blue and white splendor. My great-grandparents on the other hand, that’s another story. They had wallpaper that would induce nightmares. Flowers so bold and out of scale that you envisioned they’d jump out and eat you in the night. Their gigantic floral wallpaper combined with floral linoleum floors (that ultra thick kind), huge oriental carpets and mahogany antiques embellished with lion’s heads and paw feet supporting hand-carved credenzas, was way over the top for a Rhode Island farmhouse. Gladly, I didn’t inherit any of their design genes and I have not once ever slept over at their home. I preferred my grandmothers flower-free abode across the street. She had subtle wallpaper, the kind that won’t eat you in your sleep.

Next enter the renters, those who would consider wallpaper but are prohibited by the landlord to install it. That is where I see myself.

Renters and haters and traumatized children aside, there exist others that can and do wallpaper their homes, taking delight in using decorative papers to breathe fresh life into their space.

Where do you stand? To paper or not to paper, that is the question.

note: fabulous wallpaper link via print + pattern

coffee + cre8tive {sept 7 '06}

(images from house couturier)


Garnet Hill Fall 2006

September 6, 2006

Garnet Hill Fall 2006
Just in! Whether you’re looking for that perfect Hungarian baby bathtub (!) or a perky Autumn-themed doormat, Garnet Hill has lots of newbies that you’re certain to enjoy this season. I’d like to curl up with a good book and wrap myself in this fisherman cable throw, doesn’t it look so inviting? This would be a great present – this throw combined with a book and a box of your favorite tea – perfect for the man in your life. Not shown, but something worth a peek, the monkeypod twist stool is another favorite, very sculptural, organic, functional… Carved from a single piece of kiln-dried monkeypod wood!

Garnet Hill Fall 2006
Garnet Hill now carries Eileen Fisher bedding, which looks so sophisticated and comfortable, doesn’t it? Eileen is known for being luxurious yet unpretentious, straightforward yet informal, spare without being austere. It’s no surprise that her bedding reflects her fashion sense.

Garnet Hill Fall 2006

(images from garnet hill)


Brocade Home – Sneak Peek!

September 6, 2006

Brocade Home - Sneak Peek!The premiere issue of Brocade Home arrived today, and if it had a flavor, it would be raspberry dark chocolate cake. It’s melt-in-your mouth velvety sweetness, with lots of sensual curves from chair legs to seductive sconces and carved headboards. The catalog is 63 pages of delicious furniture, lighting, rugs, accessories, and anything else you need for plumping your nest. Fusing the past with the present, Brocade Home delivers wonderfully feminine design using reproductions of the past. It’s luxury without the hefty price tag, in fact a hand-carved armchair with a coffee finish and jacquard upholstery is $349, swirly scroll ledge shelfing is $39-69, ornate crystal chandeliers are $199-599, and their plusher-than-thou chenille rugs (yes, chenille!) range from $169-699. You can’t help but think that maybe you can actually afford the lifestyle you crave. You can live like a queen in your own kingdom, whether it’s a studio apartment in the Boston or a home in the ‘burbs.

Brocade Home - Sneak Peek!Overall, the catalog layout and typefaces are impressive, you can quickly locate prices, descriptions are thorough, and most items are shown in actual rooms so you can get a sense of scale (vs. basic product shots), and the photography is stunning. It’s Anthropologie, Elle Decor UK, and posh London flat rolled into one. The overall feel is dark, rich, warm, decadent, sexy.

Brocade Home - Sneak Peek!If you want a slice of this posh feminine living, visit Brocade Home online and sign up for their catalog – it’s dessert of the non-caloric kind. :)

View their complete catalog online or request a catalog.

Brocade Home - Sneak Peek!
(photos from decor8)


Living Etc Home Collection

September 6, 2006

Living Etc Home Collection
In addition to their fantastic magazine, Living Etc now has an online store offering thier exclusive collection of homewares. I really like this ceramic hand holder for rings, sunglasses, keys… The graceful elegant shape is very feminine and also very modern, available in high-gloss white or satin aubergine finish. Their embroidered chrysanthemum bedding is lovely too, don’t you think? Simple, clean, crisp. I can almost smell that ‘fresh from the clothes line’ scent just looking at it… I’d love to see the bed shown below against a deep navy blue wall, keeping the rest of the wall space white. That would really bring out the color of these blooming chrysanthemums.

Living Etc Home Collection
(images snapped by decor8 from the sept 06 issue of living etc)

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