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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)

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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)

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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)

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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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coffee + cre8tive {sept 6 ’06}

September 6, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {sept 6 '06}From prehistoric cave drawings to cleverly designed Starbucks cards, graphic artists are some of the world’s greatest story tellers. Whether it’s through contemporary methods (enhancing their drawings via the computer, or using a graphics program from start to finish), or traditional methods (pen and ink, oil painting, pastels, wood-engraving, etc.), these artists touch our lives and stir in us our own creativity. So often we find ourselves relating to works without the ability to pinpoint why, we’re just deeply inspired without explanation. Books, greeting cards, posters, original drawings, there are so many ways to bring illustration into the home. You can even explore drawing for yourself. Have you heard of Illustration Friday by Penelope Dullaghan? Penelope runs the site for artists of all skill levels, the goal is to stretch your mind, challenge yourself, and grow as a visual storyteller (Penelope has a blog and her own website, too). Wouldn’t you enjoy creating your own stories to display in your space? You can start small, and build from there. The goal is to start and from there, to be consistent and press forward. The more you give, the more you’re going to grow and develop your skills. Your self esteem will begin to soar. Being able to point to something that you fully devoted yourself to is an amazing experience. If you haven’t progressed beyond stick figures, that’s okay, everyone has a starting point. Maybe Illustration Friday can be yours.

coffee + cre8tive {sept 6 '06}Have you visited Lilla Rogers lately for creative fuel? Browsing the works of so many talents on their website is bound to spark some ideas – maybe you will find yourself drawn towards a particular artist. Consider why, what is it that you like, what feelings do you have when you look at it, etc. Start taking inventory, either online via a site like StyleFeeder or StyleHive, or via a handwritten journal. Everytime you see an illustration that you like, save it online in your feeder or hive, or print it out in color and paste it into a journal. Give the illustration words, your thoughts about it, why you love it. Over time, you’ll start to see a trend, you’ll discover your own style. Once you have defined your own style, you can start drawing and exploring things for yourself.

Are you a graphic artist? Any tips on how to get started that you’d like to share?

coffee + cre8tive {sept 6 '06}

(images top: penelope dullaghan middle/bottom: lilla rogers)

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