Friday, July 5, 2013

Transcending Transitional

Choices, Choices...
In a world that moves so quickly, design trends can be hard to nail down. Making decisions on a kitchen remodel that you want to last more than the next strong wind of change isn't easy.

There's Traditional, Contemporary, Budget, Custom and everything in between.

Showcasing a recent remodel in Columbia MD, this lovely space feels like a breath of fresh air. Clean lines, Shaker style doors in a natural maple, appliances that are stylish and functional and while keeping everything up off the countertops are a few notes that give the space an updated appeal.

When staying with the existing appliances it can be a challenge to reinvent a space. In this project,  we worked from it's original footprint which helped to reduce the overall investment for the client. Smart choices such as adding an ample single bowl stainless sink, coordinated pulls on all doors and drawers and a place to prep and interact invigorated the design and gave the room a facThe island was now designated storage space for small appliances, utensils and linens. Counters topped with engineered stone - a quartz composite product that is non porous - keeps clean up to a minimum.

 Drawers were used throughout the kitchen for easy reach and to maximize functionality. Pots and pans are stored near the stove, a hidden recycle and waste can keep it organized and a base corner Lazy Susan lets canned goods be in easy reach. No more crawling into that cabinet with a flash light...a quick spin is all it takes to find that magic ingredient for the next great meal.

High variation of color in a porcelain slate-look tile opens up the room. The tile is a large format, the feel is very natural. Without the clefting on the tile that a natural slate would carry -  and not very friendly to bare feet - the smooth porcelain allows for an easy care, pop of color warms the room. A biscuit color subway tile backsplash adds it's quiet presence in a soft tone that won't go out of style.

 Recessed lights, pendants and coordinated light for the dining area pull the rooms together. Seating for six is now possible, the lines of communication become part of the flow.
Design isn't all about making a pretty space. It should touch all the senses and invite one to stay. To linger. To slow down and invest in the moments that matter most.

In a world where we speak in 140 characters and our photos disappear in :30, isn't it nice to transcend time and make it hold still for just a little while?
Patricia L. Caulfield, LLC

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The City of Light

New Orleans is a lot of things to a lot of people. I think it's safe to say it has quickly become one of my favorite places to just be. Real, raw jazz, cuisine beyond compare, raucous Bourbon St in the French Quarter, antiques, art, architecture and trolley cars.

But the perception of New Orleans doesn't prepare you for the light. It seems to be the city of chandeliers.

They're everywhere. 
Much like the city itself these treasures show themselves in unexpected locales. And they are stunning in the variety of shape, size and sparkle - in hotels, bars and restaurants, on Royal St. and in obscure little alley cafes. 
The light of the city is not relegated to the
electrical fixtures - it radiates from the smallest of spaces.
It radiates in the glow that falls onto the sidewalk in the form of a trumpet note that is held onto forever. It's the feel of the city that sinks into your soul.

It's in the sheer talent at Maison on Frenchmen St in the form of the young firm dancers that move together as if choreographed into a harmonious explosion of life.They celebrate the art of the dance with exuberance and evident joy. Changing partners with  frenzied footwork - slowing down to feel the beat - the stylized rhythm of their moves comes from the life blood of the streets themselves.
 But the true heart, the true center of New Orleans comes from the inhabitants that stood by her in oil spills, hurricanes and seemingly insurmountable loss. The buildings show their scars in all their beauty - proudly and in defiance of what the world has cast upon them.
Showing their light from within that they are alive, living, breathing in every moment, celebrating life with it's good, bad and all that's in between.
The true heart lies in the people of New Orleans. In their resilience, fortitude and grace. There is a silent understanding of loss in the fervent desire to come back. Back to the beauty that is New Orleans. I learned a lot in my brief visit to the city. I witnessed a light that came from many sources to create a visual sound. The sound of color, the feel of music, the warm air that envelopes your skin and fills your pores with the simple joy of taking in each breath.

 Now that is living truly. And truly living each day.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Observations Part Two

Part we go...

6.  Solid surfaces are THE surface. At the start of solid surface trend on countertops in the home, acrylics were all the rage. As this material began to take hold some inherent qualities began to show - such as resting a hot pot on the surface would damage it, and overall maintenance on this surface was time consuming. This material still has its place in the home - it can be used a seamless shower wall, as a countertop it can be underlit to cast a glow in a room, it can be cut to any shape, layered, embedded and color matched as well. It's a dream for commercial projects and is widely used in the healthcare, education and hospitality arenas. But know what it can and can't do - like any surface you choose before you make that commitment.
This thing called granite  began nipping at its heels, and engineered stone began nipping at granite. Then along came marble after thousands of years of use in statuary and building design - it's still the "to die for" surface - but is not without it's own inherent properties. It's porous, can stain and requires care.  Do your homework, choose what works for your lifestyle. Just know the choices are endless in color, pattern and material. 

7. Color and pattern work together in design. Patterns are mixed, fabrics go bold or subtle. Stripes still rule and paint can be subtle or scream. Use your palette wisely, but let it reflect your personality. Our homes should be ours - our refuge, our safe haven. Memories are made in many a kitchen, make sure the space says its truly yours.

8.  Pendants are giving way to single lamps. Yes. They still have a place in design and can be used in a number of innovative ways. Group them, stagger them, line them up -allow them to show their stuff. Light fixtures with shades, fabric or glass are sneaking up on the pendants. Why? As the kitchen moves into the living room, so does the look of the kitchen. Shades soften the appearance of the kitchen and allow it to play dress up - your kitchen island becomes your dining destination.

9. Tile wonderful tile. I love it. Love the hardwood looks, love the full height glass on the backsplash. Love the metals - keep an eye on gunmetal - you saw it adorn the women of the red carpet on Oscars night, I predict this color will show up in home design pretty soon.

10. Don that apron. Often when the economy takes a turn south restaurant traffic slows up. While the economy is on an upward trend (oh thank heavens) we learned along the way that cooking at home is not only economical - it's fun! Prep areas, cutting boards, knife storage and pots and pans all need a place to go. Whether you're involved in a full out remodel or retrofit -
everything should have a place. If you cook in your kitchen like I do, spatulas, sauce or sautee pans need to be where you need them when you need them. 

Storage solutions are endless, but require thought on the front end of how you use your space. Make "ease of use" your motto - I know it's mine - give  it some thought and get cooking! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Part I

As I work with clients I tend to notice similarities within projects. Below is Part I of my Top Ten that keep popping up in the remodeling and design world.  I am sure that in my market we'll continue to see these trends.

Top Ten Local trends:

1. The space stays the same. No add-ons in square footage, but the existing space must be reorganized to maximize the storage, the function and how the homeowners use that space for multiple purposes. 

2. Transitional appeal. The mood is one of a contemporary and yet traditional fusion, especially in the kitchen. Clean lines, Shaker style doors, stained wood or white paint - are paired with contemporary light fixtures or a punch of bright wall color. The result is clean, fresh and modern.

3.  The Gathering Room - the kitchen, family room and dining room are becoming one space.  The walls are coming down, the flow from one space to the next intersects.  Interactions are instant, "real time" has become tangible in the home environment.  With families on the go, checking in with each other becomes easier without the walls.

4.  The Old Standby gets a facelift.  Whirlpool is upping its' game by introducing sleek appliances in an "Ice" finish. Matt black or a soft white finish with stainless handles give the work horse of the industry a designer appeal. The all stainless line also boasts counter depth refrigerators, induction cooktops, contemporary styled hoods and wall ovens.  Even the old faithfuls have now entered into the  design arena.  If you want to stay in the game you need to stay ahead of the game.

5.  It's all about the design.  HOUZZ, Pintrest, Dwell, HGTV and special interest publications have all piqued the interest of homeowners - men and women alike.  Whether you're a DIYer or hire a designer chances are you have formed opinions based on web searches and have gained some product knowledge. Just a reminder, if you've never done a remodel and you're not sporting those battle scars from things gone awry, it may be best to bring in a professional.  Before you begin, collect photos to determine the look you want. Chances are they will all be similar. Start with function. Anybody can make a space pretty, but if it doesn't suit your storage needs or adds ease of use to a space, what's the point? Design is an investment in time, knowledge and hard work. Sweat equity is one aspect that gets over looked as the project begins ...but pays off in dividends when it's all said and done.

Stay tuned for Part II. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Core of the Kitchen: The Final Frontier

The Core of the Kitchen: The Final Frontier: Space. How to get it, how to use it. Storage solutions seem to be everywhere. Tubs and containers, stackable and retractable. But where and...

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Final Frontier

Space. How to get it, how to use it. Storage solutions seem to be everywhere. Tubs and containers, stackable and retractable. But where and how do you even begin?

1. Start with the clothes. If it doesn't fit, pitch it. Styles change, hips change and the cut of clothing changes. That pretty sequined dress you wore on New Years Eve in 1999 is as dated as the song. Party over on those clothes that are just place holders in your closet and your mind.

2. If you've stored it in a box at the bottom of the closet, chances are you don't know what's in that box. Let it go, move on, move it out.

3. The Linen Closet should hold linens. Ones that you actually use. Not the ones you plan on using as drop cloths and then remember them after you finished painting the room.

4. The Junk Drawer. Yes, that's all it is. Sort it, save what you really need ( maybe the thread and needles with the REALLY BIG EYE). Goodbye to everything else. Yes, it really is junk.

5. Pots & Pans that you never use in the back of that blind corner cabinet need to be given away. I am sure they're still good. Give them to someone that can really use them.

6. The Home Office....that's where my concentration is now. I have only one word. Purge. Purge. Purge some more. No one really wants to be buried in paper.

7. Remember this phrase at all times "Have nothing in your home that you do not consider to be useful or beautiful". William Morris. My favorite design words to incorporate into daily living.

Now if only getting rid of those extra holiday pounds could be this easy.

Resist the urge to fill up those empty spaces. Enjoy the room. Allow yourself to breath. Then get back up and get started purging some more. Not only will your living space be more organized, imagine all that baggage that just left your life. You should feel ten pounds lighter already.