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As a kitchen and bath designer I am constantly assaulted with images of products that are truly “drool-worthy”, if I may coin that expression.  I am seduced by originality, great function and sometimes simply an undefinable- irrational- attraction (kinda like how I found my husband).  Anyway here’s what I’m lovin today.

Siderna Faucet by Brizo

Everyone knows I’ve been a big Brizo fan ever since becoming a member of the exclusive Blogger 19 (2.0) last year.  Their Siderna bathroom faucet is simply sublime.  I love the glass handles and I love the shiny chrome.  I know that the popular taste, at the moment, is for brushed nickel but I have to stray from the pack for chrome.  The nice thing is, frequently, shiny chrome costs less than the more popular brushed finishes.

Sharp Microwave Drawer

I think the best microwave I ever owned was an over-the-range model by Sharp.  Now they offer a microwave drawer which I love for many reasons.   Although infinitely useful, who wants to look at a microwave?  The microwave drawer is unobtrusively located below the counter.  It’s safer and accessible for the junior chefs in your family.  They come in 24″ or 30″ models which are installed into a base cabinet.


Mosaics by Hot Knobs

Hot Knobs is a product of Portland Oregon based Aquila Art Glass.    Producing Art Glass Knobs and Pulls was a natural extension for this company known for the production of a variety of hand crafted art glass plates, bowls candle holders,  etc.   What a great piece of bling this would be for any cabinet.  Knobs as well as pulls (handles) are available.






The Green River Stone Company

Despite the serial killerish name, this is an awesome product.  I just love fossils.  There’s something about all that antiquity in something you can actually see and feel. This is the ultimate in unique.  The Green River Stone Company offers the finest in natural art fossil fish and stone products. The material actually is fossil-rich calcium carbonate shale from their private quarry in Southwestern Wyoming. From this stone, deposited 50 million years ago as sediment in a large freshwater lake, they produce individual fossil specimens, artistic fossil murals, and other stone products for museums, private collectors, interior designers and architects.

Aqua & Lime Anyone?


Check this out!  Brendan was doing a little modification on these antique doors which I believe belong to an armoire.  Since they were done and awaiting delivery,  he propped them up in our very cool new greenish design studio and voila’!  It’s like the chocolate and the peanut butter.  They just go together. Wish we could keep them.  Now we’re looking to steal some doors off of another armoire.  I think we may be on to something.  Hmmmm




I write about a lot of varied things on this blog.   Today I’m going to open my  mind to you so you can step inside the creative (or whatever you want to call what goes on in there) process, as it pertains to cabinet design.  The thing about designing kitchens and baths is that it  doesn’t  only require vision in the aesthetic sense but also in the functional sense.  We have to be creative in terms of the space constraints while being very aware of  function.


Yikes! I prefer to believe they left in a hurry. The pressure's on with all those doll eyes upon me.


This is a nursery equipped to serve the nanny.  She’s got an under the counter refrigerator to store bottles, baby food and wine whatever she wishes for herself.  In addition there is a small sink and a microwave.  There is also storage and counter top work space (underneath all the debris).  That’s a lot of function packed into less that six lineal feet!  The lucky owners of this oceanfront abode are away for the summer, as is the custom in Palm Beach.


I have been asked to replace this set up but to keep the same foot print and function.  The cabinets are to be more in keeping for this  traditionally styled beach house.


The backsplash (area between counter and upper cabinets) is really high, about 22″.  Not only does this mean less cabinet space but it’s a bit of a stretch unless you’re a very tall nanny.  In addition, there is nothing tying the upper cabinets to the lower cabinets and since they do not go wall to wall it looks as if the uppers are just hanging out, hovering over the base cabinets, not a great look.  In general the layout is off kilter.  The microwave requires a deeper cabinet and it sticks out unattractively on the left.


The appliances are old and will appear even older surrounded by new cabinets.  Remember that if you are investing in a new kitchen it’s penny wise and pound foolish to try to build your new cabinets around your older appliances.   I will suggest that we replace the microwave with a small built-in model in stainless steel.   For this I know I must use a minimum of 24″ out of the 70″ I have available.  The refrigerator is important too.  This one is old and it’s an odd size, about 19″.  The new one will have to be 24″ and I will reccommend that we build it in for a more custom look and to unify the small space.  These types of built-in panel- accepting- under- the- counter refrigerators are either 15″ wide or 24″ wide.  I certainly can’t detract from the function by going smaller so I will give them more refrigerator space by going with 24″ wide.  Now that I know what I’m doing with the appliances I will work the cabinet layout around that.

Testing the waters...


Here’s phase one showing the larger ref, a built-in micro and an attempt to even things up and connect the uppers to the bases but it’s still not quite there yet.  I usually draw a free-hand sketch to work out my initial thoughts.  The final solution (I drew it using Chief Architect) is to use 42″ upper side cabinets instead of the existing 30″ uppers.  Then since the microwave needs a deeper cabinet (15″), I moved it to the middle and raised it up to create some design interest and to take advantage of the tall ceiling.  I made the side backsplashes 16″ high with the center at 19″.  I centered the 24″ upper microwave over a 21″ wide sink cabinet which allows the bigger refrigerator on the right and does not lessen the size of the existing drawers on the left.  I’ll need a minimum of 3/4″ panel to the right of the ref.  That makes a total of 24 3/4″ with ref and panel.  I will duplicate that on the left making the 4 drawer cabinet 24 3/4″ wide as well.  This allows the upper side cabinets to be equal at 23 1/4″ each.  Last but not least, I am going to suggest using matching wood beadboard above the 4″ backsplash to tie the uppers to the lowers and add a small crown moulding on the top to finish it off.

There you have it!


Here are the goods and why I picked them:

Kholer faucet K7342 in brushed nickel finish– It’s a traditional faucet in a finish that will blend with the stainless steel of the microwave.  The height makes it user friendly yet it will fit perfectly in the space.

If you have your hands full the handles are easy to turn on and off.

Kohler undermount entertainment sink K5848– I love the shape of this sink.  I double checked the size and it fits in our 21″ wide cabinet.  It’s a more updated undermount model but it’s still cast iron.  I’m specifying Biscuit to go with the cabinets but I will also suggest a stainless option which would also work.

SHARP R1214OVER THE COUNTER MICROWAVE– This model fits into our 24″ wide space.  It requires a 15″ deep cabinet, check.  It has a light below and I happen to know that Sharp makes a kick-ass microwave.

CABINETS BY HOLIDAY KITCHENS– flat panel with applied moulding. Finish, selected by designer, to be Snowdrift paint with Mink Wash.  I chose Holiday cabinets because we have some custom size requirements and I can order Holiday in fractional increments.  They also offer a wide array of finishes and door styles which is important in a higher end application.

Cabinets are something like this.

U-Line Under the counter refrigerator – This model offers an overlay trim kit option which will allow us to apply a door panel to match the cabinets.

What do you think?  You see there’s no mystery behind the magic of design.  Those are the steps in a nutshell.  I would love to walk you through the steps of your own potential magic.  It’s really a lot of fun when it all comes together, kind of like solving a puzzle AND you get to continue to enjoy it everyday!





Samsung four door refrigerator


It seems like the refrigerator is one kitchen appliance that is always changing and evolving.  After all, it has risen from being a literal “ice box” to an electronic device that can be temperature controlled by area for your unique needs.  The latest innovation is the four door model.  Sounds like a car but it’s a fridge.  They look like the popular French door models but with an extra drawer.  Consumer Reports recently reviewed three models, by Samsung, Kenmore and LG.  The highest rated model was the Samsung which is also the priciest of the three retailing at $2,600.  They liked the functionality of the extra drawer which has something called a FlexZone.  It can be temperature adjusted for meat, drinks, kids’ snacks etc. The Kenmore model rated highly too with its most appealing feature being an outside water/ice  dispenser and a built-in filtration system.  The Kenmore model retails for $2,400.  The LG model did not fare as well as it has the least usable space and is the least energy efficient.  It is however, the least expensive starting at $2,200.00.  Incidentally Consumer Reports does reccommend several French (3 door) models at $1,000 or less.



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