Crowd-Pleasing Paint Colors for Staging Your Home

When prepping your home for sale, one of the most important tasks is giving your walls a fresh coat of paint. The standard advice from most real estate professionals is to keep them neutral with shades of white. But as a home stager and an interior designer, I prefer to take a more stylish approach.
Remember, the overall goal of home staging is to make each room feel fresh, inviting and neutral enough so that prospective buyers can imagine themselves living there. That doesn’t have to translate, however, to bland, boring and devoid of style. Sometimes white can work, but a greater concern is making sure the room doesn’t look too stark. These elegant, crowd-pleasing neutral paint colors can help you stage your home to perfection.
Please contact me for more free staging ideas!

What’s the Difference Between Quartzite and Quartz?

The subtle differences between quartzite and quartz seem to befuddle everyone from design-savvy clients to industry experts. Some people even use the names interchangeably, which is a huge mistake because it only adds to the confusion. Each material has its pros and cons, so educating yourself on the facts is important, especially if you are considering either of these beauties for your home improvement project. A quartz versus quartzite showdown is well overdue, so let’s dive in.

Your February Home Checklist

February is a time of year to indulge in home comforts like cooking big-batch meals, reading in the afternoon and watching movies with the family. Here are a dozen ideas to add to your to-do list this month, from the necessary (clearing sidewalks of snow and ice, say) to the just-for-fun (treating yourself to weekly flowers).

11 New Kitchen Cabinet Ideas You’ll See More of This Year

If you’re looking to update your kitchen style for the new year with something different, you might consider reworking your cabinets. These new cabinet ideas will likely be showing up more in 2018, but I’m betting you’ll be seeing them around for years to come.

While black is hardly new, we do find more and more clients being bold and asking to include some elements of black to bring a stately appeal to their kitchen, especially when used as part of a two-tone look.

Using black on the lower cabinets, or a pantry area, paired with black entry doors and even some modern black fixtures gives a room an effortless, fashionable look.



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The 10 Most Popular New Kitchen Photos of 2017

End-of-island storage, dual barn doors and in-drawer charging stations are among the stars of this year’s top kitchens

The trend toward kitchens featuring colored cabinets and islands is gaining steam, but the appreciation for the classic white-and-wood look is hardly on fumes. The most popular kitchens cover a mix of traditional, contemporary and rustic styles, but no matter the look, smart storage solutions and functional layouts were definite crowd pleasers. Counting down, here’s a look at the most popular kitchens uploaded in 2017, as measured by how many Houzz users saved them to their ideabooks.

1. Take charge. Designer Tracey Stephens was tasked with creating a retro-style kitchen that features vintage furniture and checkerboard floors for a New Jersey family of four. But the requirements of the technology age were not lost on the design. The kitchen includes a drawer with a built-in charger, complete with regular and USB outlets. “It’s so nice not to have all of those devices out and dealing with cords all the time,” homeowner Jody Suden says.

Drawer charging station: Docking Drawer 18


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12 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look and Feel Bigger

Try these clever design moves to get more storage and create a roomier feel

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A kitchen of any size can feel roomy if you know a few tricks. Sticking to white cabinets and walls is a good start, but there are many other ways to create extra room in your kitchen, or create the illusion of a bigger space than you have, all without sacrificing a sense of personality. Here are 12 of my favorite ways to balance storage, style and long sightlines to get a functional layout with a spacious vibe.

8 Narrow Kitchen Islands With Function to Spare

Islands are workhorses in the kitchen. They offer an additional surface area, apart from the perimeter counter tops, that can be used for food prep, serving or as a place to perch and hang out with family and friends. Those with space-challenged kitchens often think there’s no way they can squeeze in an island, but you’d be surprised at just how compact you can go.
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9 Bold and Beautiful Back splash Designs That Will Transform Your Kitchen

Backsplash—it’s the design detail that can take your kitchen from blah to beautiful.

Of course, at its core, a backsplash is meant to be functional—a protective backboard to catch spills and prevent stains behind your stove or sink. But it’s also a blank canvas just waiting for your personal stamp. And boy, are homeowners having fun with it. Gone are the days of square beige tiles. Today, you have a whole host of backsplash design choices—each one brighter, funkier, and more impressive than the last.

If you’re looking for a way to make a statement and elevate the heart of your home, a new backsplash could be the answer. We’ve pulled together nine of the hottest design trends for you to swoon over.

1. Oversized tile

“One of the hottest looks for kitchen backsplashes is the emphasis on larger-scale materials, rather than smaller mosaics and subway tiles that had been commonly seen before,” says Gale Sitomer of G Sitomer Designin New York City. Installing big glass tiles, for example, means fewer grout lines to scrub, so the look is clean and the maintenance is much lower.

2. Single slab

A uniform look—using one type of stone or slate over the length of your kitchen’s surfaces and up the backsplash—is also hot in kitchen decor right now, Sitomer says. If your material has veining, it can even have an enlarging effect on the room, making your kitchen appear more spacious.

Of course, to get this look you’d have to change out your countertops, too. It’s definitely not a cheap endeavor, but it’s a kitchen renovation that will pay off if you have the means to take it on.

3. Black glass

Sheet glass, particularly in black, is making its way into kitchens. Not only does it look sleek, it’s also very functional, says Larry Patterson, owner of Glass Doctor in Dallas.

“A glass backsplash positioned across from a window will reflect natural light, plus it doesn’t mold or stain and is cheaper than a lot of materials, including marble,” Patterson points out. Dark shades and black are chic in the kitchen, especially when paired with white subway tile and stainless-steel appliances.

4. Reclaimed wood

Wood is warm and homey—and gaining fast in popularity, especially when it’s reclaimed from an old barn or floor, says Bee Heinemann, a decorating expert at Vant Wall Panels. “Repurposed wood has a very distinct look, though it may not be the best material for a high-use kitchen,” she cautions.

That’s because wood is less durable than tile or ceramic; it can nick easily (say, if you knock it with a heavy pot or cooking utensils); and it can show water stains if it isn’t sealed properly. Consider this rustic detail for a backsplash in a less trafficked spot such as the butler’s pantry or a wet bar.

5. Tin sheets

If you’re looking for a durable, easy-to-clean backsplash with fabulous patina and texture, give tin a try. Plus, upcyling something vintage is eco-friendly and on trend.

“When this material is reclaimed from those classic old ceilings, you can bring the same kind of beauty into your kitchen,” Heinemann says.

To find this coveted material, search estate sales, antiques shops, and flea markets. “And if you can’t locate it there, new tin plates are available with some of the similar feel of yesteryear,” she adds.

6. Chalkboard

Who doesn’t love to grab a fat piece of neon-pink chalk and doodle? You can do this all day long with a chalk backsplash behind your cooktop or kitchen sink.

“Chalkboard is a great trend to try, especially if you’re artistic or have kids,” Heinemann says.

And if you’re not really into drawing, you can write up the evening menu, keep a running shopping list, or spell out a recipe for your teen cook in training. Or just motivate/annoy the family with a new inspirational saying each day.

7. Brick pavers

Exposed brick walls are all the rage, but most homes don’t sport this feature. Don’t feel left out! Instead, try brick pavers on your kitchen backsplash.

Jenna Sue of Jenna Sue Design Co. re-created an entire cottage with a farmhouse feel—and bricks played a starring role.

“I used them in a herringbone pattern above the stove,” she notes. Just keep in mind that brick is fairly porous (water can seep in). So if you’re hoping to install them, speak with your contractor about applying a sealant to protect against moisture and debris.

8. Linear mosaic

Whether you choose stone, glass, or marble, a linear pattern is a more modern take on traditional mosaic backsplashes, according to Monica Mangin, host of Lowe’s DYI series The Weekender.

“This look is thin and sleek—and the multihues help to add texture,” she notes. Seek out specific tile lines with this type of pattern (allen + roth has one) or create your own by mixing and matching tones you like.

9. Wallpaper

“Wallpaper is definitely making a comeback,” Heinemann says. “It’s an inexpensive way to add color and pattern to the kitchen or bar area.”

To protect your design, choose durable self-adhesive panels or paper that can withstand some scrubbing. You’ll also want to buy a little extra to replace the strips that gets the most wear and tear. Or consider tile or marble on the lower portion of the backsplash, and save the paper for above.

3 Ways to Balance a White Kitchen

White continues — and will continue — to be the overwhelmingly popular choice for kitchen cabinets. Some 42 percent of homeowners will choose white cabinets this year, according to a recent Houzz study on kitchen trends. But the choices you make in addition to the white cabinets will make the difference between having a comfortable, bright space and an icy lair reminiscent of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. The following kitchens with white cabinets show how to introduce color, contrast and warmth.

Five Items That Are Important For Baby Boomers

  1. Rethink the laundry room. After the kids move out, many home owners spend less time in the laundry room, but that doesn’t mean they want to ditch it entirely. As the house becomes less chore-centric, home owners are more prone to focus on fun. Try carving out a space for crafts or pet care if a huge laundry room feels like a waste of space to buyers.
  2. Boost the light. As people age, the lens of the eye thickens and lets in less light. This means a 60-year-old needs six times as much light as a 20-year-old. Look for inexpensive ways to add light in unexpected places, such as inside drawers and cabinets.
  3. Be subtle about accessible features. Everyone wants to be able to age in place, but few want to think of a time when they’ll be physically limited. Thankfully, many features that make a home more navigable and safer for those with mobility issues aren’t very obvious, such as even, level surfaces that make it easier for those using wheelchairs, canes, or walkers. Many bathroom product manufacturers are now making grab bars that look more like shelves and towel racks than institutional-style safety features.
  4. Point out low-maintenance features. One of the first things that comes to mind when people are looking for a low-maintenance home is the size of the lawn, but there’s much more to taking care of a home than that. “I want you to think beyond yard maintenance. Stain-resistant quartz countertops and roofs that don’t have nooks where leaves can collect can be important qualities of a property.
  5. Examine where the stairs lead. Steps can be problematic for those with mobility issues, but they aren’t an automatic no-no for communities targeted at older buyers. It just depends on what’s at the top of the staircase. A bunk room for the grandkids or an exercise room is a much better use for second- and third-floor space than a master bedroom or another place the primary resident might have to visit frequently. Also, landings and railings are both safety musts. “Stairs are the number one reason people go to the emergency room, and not just those over 55.”