Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Well it's official...

My dog has flunked Obedience Training 101. Flunked with a very loud Ker-plunk. Eight weeks of classes, constant instruction at home and out of six final tests he failed four. Well OK he passed two. And I thought he was doing well. We went to the pet store before class and everyone commented on what a wonderful puppy he was. Maybe I overshot and used up all of that polite decorum he displayed at Pet Smart only to flounder on THE BIG TEST.

"Compliance, subordination, submission and conformity. A bending to the authority or control of another". That is the Official Webster's Dictionary definition of Obedience. When I read it I had to laugh a little ruefully at myself. These are all the things I have fought against for most of my life. Why wouldn't I be attracted to a pup who shares those same sentiments? 

In his ten months here on this earth he has managed to wiggle himself into my heart. Even the six year old Dal begrudgingly accepts that he is here to stay. He walks well on the leash, loves the car, does a hell of a sit-stay. And he smiles. With every tooth in his spotted head.

So we won't make the Eukenuba championships this year. But he is becoming proficient at catching a Frisbee. I always wanted a dog that did that. Already I've made the decision to re-enroll him in "pre-school" this fall. Along the way I found that I love to work with dogs - side by side. The folks at the 4-H Club are amazing. Conscious, strict yet kind - the trainers truly care about a quality outcome for your pet.

The ego sting may have resulted from that memory of failing algebra in the 8th grade. That aside, I did learn to do the math and became a pretty decent designer in spite of the stumble. Maybe there's hope for the boy yet. After all - who wants an Auto-tron dog when they can have one with a sense of enthusiasm and adventure? A sense of exploration and verve? A sense of ....well maybe - how about good blend of all of those qualities, including just a little bit of obedience.

And maybe the ability to stay away from my shoes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The great impostor

Lately I've fallen in love with a few things...long summer days, polka dot dogs that won't pay attention and design trends that make sense. The commonality among these things is that they possess a certain resilience, unmitigated beauty and qualities unique unto them. Each one different, each with their own allure.  

The design trend recently spotted was the use of the wood-look porcelain tile in residential application. These tiles range in cost, size and quality just like everything else. A porcelain tile is a through-body tile. The body of the tile is clay, not ceramic and is far more durable. Porcelain holds it's color and doesn't have the screened-on pixilation that is sometimes prominent in a ceramic tile. 

The wood-looks were most often seen in commercial applications such as hotels or restaurants. That they have come into home use is largely due to the functionality aspect - and their appearance has greatly improved. The tiles can be purchased in 12"x12" squares or 6"x24" planks. Colors mimic the real thing - Wenge, Maple, Cherry, Oak. While they will show a grout line, the application is important, as is the pattern.  Mixing them as a border is an option - with a porcelain tile rug in the center. Or run them like planks for a seamless effect. 

The texture helps in the slippery factor - or coefficient of friction. All tiles are rated for this factor - how slick they become when wet. Kind of  like getting your hands on a wet puppy that only wants to play. Check the back of the tile board for the rating to see where it stacks up.

Some tiles are available for LEED points and are made of recycled materials. In a residential application, these tiles are best paired with a floor warming system such as Warmly Yours or Nu-Heat. This is always a winning combination with any floor tile.

These great impostors won't let you down. They will continue to delight you on their own merits. They have the longevity of a summer day and will reside happily in your home with their steadfast performance and unabashed charm for many years to come. Like that spotted pup you are hoping will one day graduate from obedience class.

For further information please contact me directly at

Monday, June 6, 2011


In the pink, the pink slip, a pink elephant in the room, your pinky, a pinko, pretty in pink.

That four letter word can conjure up a lot of different emotions or state of being. This is the first time that I have used it relating to the color of a kitchen. And I do mean pink. Anigre veneer was stained with a pink dye to produce the panels that created  the cabinets. Anigre being the exotic wood species - somewhat of a pale yellow wood with a faint ribbon-like grain running horizontally through it, this wood takes a dye or stain well with consistancy. The cabinets are frameless, a clean contemporary style of construction with a long stainless steel pulls used for the hardware. A honed black granite countertop tied in the black appliances while accent elements were allowed to state their presence. 

And how could you miss that backsplash? A white porcelain tile with slices of natural agate in the center of the free form circles was incorporated as a modern art statement. Custom stainless lighting curves down from the celing in a space age bent and the faucets and fixures complete the circular motif. The clients' enthusiam for all things swirly showed up in the fabric of the verrrrry comfortable counter height chairs - black and white with a free-form pattern on a black frame.

A gorgeous grey marble flowed from the island, and another elevation was topped with Corian from the Illumination series in (what else?) Strawberry Ice. Underlit with WAC LED lighting tape, this surface can create a challenge in design. If underlit the seams will show, and it is preferable to use one entire slab omitting the seam entirely. The Illumination Series is certified to the highest level for food contact and the surface does not promote mold, mildew, or bacteria.

While all the elements create certainly a unique space that the clients are, well, tickeld pink with - it also functions flawlessly. A true work triangle with an added prep sink, hidden storage for spice racks and baking trays, ample full extension pantry drawers for pots and pans, dishes and utensils all add up to a kitchen that is high design - and a well planned space for ease of use all at the same time. Storage is a snap, prep has its' place and all evoke the element of fun, sometimes one element that can be missed in a design. 

A room to create in, a room to entertain in, a room with the energy and the genuine warmth of my clients - this is certainly one to put a bright spot in the day. Color it pink - and you're on the right track. 

For any additional information please contact me directly at

Thursday, June 2, 2011

That Certain Something: The Icing on the Cabinet

That Certain Something: The Icing on the Cabinet: "The bling on the drawer box, the pull on the door. Cabinet hardware has become the icing, the statement, the finishing touch on kitchen and ..."

That Certain Something: The Icing on the Cabinet

That Certain Something: The Icing on the Cabinet: "The bling on the drawer box, the pull on the door. Cabinet hardware has become the icing, the statement, the finishing touch on kitchen and ..."

The Icing on the Cabinet

The bling on the drawer box, the pull on the door. Cabinet hardware has become the icing, the statement, the finishing touch on kitchen and bath cabinetry. Hardware is not just functional it can add a touch of whimsy, individualism, a pop of color or texture and everything in between.

However - here's one tip to consider when selecting hardware. Try it on. That's right. Try it on. Hardware is produced from all over the world and varies in length, depth and the height of the stand offs. Stands offs are not what happens at the OK Corral at midnight - but the metal, leather, wood or stainless material that fastens the pull to the face front of the drawer or door on your cabinets. The depth is what gives the comfort in the everyday use, something you may not have ever thought about.

Keep in mind you will be using the hardware on your cabinets everyday. Be certain that it feels good in your hand. That there is ease of use as well as attractiveness. We hate to admit it but as we age, flexibility in the hands becomes affected by arthritis among other conditions. Even a paper cut can hinder the simple act of opening a drawer.

 Order a sample - try it on. Try it on your cabinets, try it on for function first. And then if you fall in love with the style, the feel and the bling that adds that certain something to your space - you know you've made a choice you can live with.