A powder room or half bath is one of the places frequented by your guests – they may never see your bedroom, but your living spaces and powder room, absolutely! And because this is such a small space, decorating it beautifully doesn’t need to break the bank.Read More
The much anticipated Benjamin Moore 2019 Color of the Year was announced today and it is….drumroll…Read More
Updating a kitchen is on my mind lately…I’ve had the privilege of helping many clients create their dream kitchens over the last 20 plus years. Researching new trends and gaining knowledge about the latest available options is one of my favorite pastimes. And my own kitchen saga taught me a few things early on as well.Read More
A kitchen HAS to be a functional space, but it should also bring you joy – even if you DON’T love to cook. Everybody has to eat and food lives in the kitchen so by definition, you will spend time there, regularly…it is probably one of the hardest working and most used rooms in the house. It is also one of the most expensive to remodel, so making good choices is of the utmost importance –Read More
Frustrated with her dark and dated kitchen, our client knew it was time for an overhaul. Traveling extensively for her job, and short on time, she wanted her kitchen to be a welcome retreat for cooking, not an exercise in perseverance when she was home.
The first step to change is identifying the problem, and this kitchen had severalRead More
Create your perfect bathroom while avoiding the
"design fad" trap
You might renovate your bathrooms once in the time you live in your house…maybe twice if you stay there for more than 30 years, but in any case, whatever you do will need to have staying power. Having worked on dozens of bathrooms with clients over the last 25 years, we have the benefit of much experience. We have seen many trends come and go and have learned to discern which are fads and which are new classics.
Here are some things to consider when creating your perfect bathroom:Read More
While every space is different, paying attention to the scale and placement can go a long way toward a successful design outcome. That said, here are some key measurements to keep in mind when decorating any room that will help...a "by the numbers" cheat sheet that answers some of those pesky questions about size and placement of some key elements in a room.Read More
For many of our design projects, we need to specify new lighting. Recently, we have been on the hunt for chandeliers and lanterns and wanted to share some of our finds!
Trying to avoid another fussy crystal or ubiquitous barrel stave chandelier we found these classic alternatives to be a refreshing change.Read More
One of the smartest upgrades in a house is a kitchen renovation. And one of the most common kitchen renovation projects is replacing the countertops - and when you do, the sink and faucet as well. WHAT to change your countertops TO is a subject for another day, but today we're talking about faucet choices.Read More
Low maintenance…we appreciate it in our relationships, but we adore it in our interiors! As long as we can get great style, low maintenance versions of natural materials are an enticing alternative.
I love natural materials but they require extra care – they are susceptible to staining, fading, scratching, and wear. Sometimes we just don’t have the time or patience or lifestyle (or house denizens!) to accommodate the care often required by natural products.
Luckily, technology is keeping pace and there are now products available that imitate nature well, but are MUCH easier to keep looking good.
Here are 3 of our favorites:Read More
Should I hire an interior designer?
The short answer is YES. If you want to ...
A designer should have the experience and know-how to diagnose what is bugging you about your house and come up with several possible solutions tailored exactly to your situation. OR you can spend your precious free time scouring websites and magazine articles looking for someone with your exact design dilemma who found a viable solution you like and then assessing all the options for implementing it and trying to figure out which is the best real value. The choice is yours, of course.Read More
I love going to Brimfield, and the fried dough is not the only reason! The HUGE Massachusetts outdoor antique and flea market takes place three times each year and September is usually my favorite one. This year, we managed to go on a 90-plus degree day with humidity somewhere in the stratosphere so it was less crowded than usual.
As always, it was a mix of new, antique, reclaimed, vintage, and unique finds - some of which defied description! Luckily, we snapped some photo's so here are some of the highlights from our visit...
This vendor had a terrific assortment of marine salvage with a LOT of light fixtures. We thought some of these pendants would be fabulous over a kitchen island!
If you are in the market for unusual tables, there were a fair number of options to be had.
Turned leg farmhouse, reclaimed wood on metal sawhorse brackets, and REALLY long in case you have a very large family...
And then there was this really unique metal table made from a vintage metal door - it even still has the keyhole!
Or this very funky dinette set...it would certainly make a statement, although I'm not entirely sure what that statement is...
This table with the top covered entirely in vintage hotel matchbook covers would be an interesting conversation piece in a game room
Or add a statement piece to the library with this elaborately carved walnut claw foot table
Being a complete sucker for things with lots of drawers or cubbies, I loved these vintage storage chests
This one has 124 drawers!
And we saw two of these hexagonal beauties that spin and sport triangular drawers, and a crank-rotating hardware display piece full of cubbies
Vintage signs, architectural salvage - some of which was upcycled into other things like mirrors, and painted furniture abounded...you could even buy the paint - both Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Milk Paint displays were seen.
And there were beds...from iron beds and metal beds....
to this pair of beautiful French carved and book-matched burlwood beds
If you have just the place for it...maybe a fun pool cabana house...this vintage ice cream fountain out of an old store in southern Massachusetts would be SO fun!
There were the usual suspects...tin letters (still?), metal embellishments for the Pinterest project crowd, or these fun paper flower accessories made from maps or music and buttons for those who want their craft projects already done
And this vendor with vintage dishes...he always has a fabulous assortment
And then there was this dealer who had some gorgeous hand painted Hungarian porcelain by Anna Weatherly...but alas, even at half the retail price it was still out of reach
Not old, and not particularly a bargain, but still a great look - these lamps with architectural bases and these unusual rustic cage pendants were a nice find
And finally, a couple of seats in the category of "WHY?" ...or maybe "WOW." I guess there really IS something for everyone!
Brimfield. Always entertaining, one way or another!
The 2017 show dates are: May 9-14, July 11-16, and September 5-10
Is wallpaper making a comeback? I would argue a resounding yes.
I know, I know, I can HEAR you rolling your eyes … I too have spent agonizing days with a steamer and a scraper removing old ‘cute’ floral stripes from endless bedroom walls with no wish to repeat this torturous exercise. Ever.
Until fairly recently, there has been a definite push toward paint for walls. Oh, the occasional special paint finish appeared…some finishes exquisite, like a beautiful combed strie, or a Venetian plaster, and some, not so much … we’re looking at you, sponge painting … which the do-it-yourself crowd embraced, often with the enthusiasm and skill of a 4 year old. And let’s not forget stenciling - okay yes, maybe we should try to forget that. But even decorative paint finishes gave way to clean smooth painted walls in the recent decade.
But are plain walls and simple lines starting to look ubiquitous? Are we beginning to long for ways to inject a little more PERSONALity into our spaces?
Now, new technology, and a new era have arrived on our doorstep and with it – new wallpaper options. Re-invented archived historic patterns, faux finishes, murals, textures, metallic accents, trompe l’oeil and more.
Even if you think you hate wallpaper, the new choices may just surprise you. They offer pattern, elegance, warmth, and a variety of textures.
Ready to dip a toe into the wallpaper pool? Here are some places you might consider using wallpaper without feeling overwhelmed by it:
1. Powder room
a low commitment space since it is small and used only in short intervals.
2. Dining room
often there are chair rails or wainscoting, so only a portion of the wall gets papered – and this is a great application for murals or soft patterns
again, a low commitment space, since it is a relatively small pass- through room, but wallpaper can give it a big impact and set the tome for the whole house
4. Accent wall
this is especially effective with more modern styles like mid century modern or industrial chic, or with trompe l’oeil papers.
5. Back of a bookcase or china cabinet
this can add texture and color to a room without committing to a huge amount of it, and it can provide a beautiful backdrop for the objects displayed on the shelves
In addition to real wallpaper, there are now temporary wallpapers that just peel off without leaving any mark…a perfect solution for rental property…or really swank dorm rooms...or just for the terminally indecisive!
Ready to take the plunge? We would love to help you choose a paper that is just right for you! Contact us at JRLInteriors.
Our hero has weathered the demolition phase ... dumpsters full of old cabinets and tile and TONS of brick and the supporting cinderblocks were carted away, and the framing of the new spaces is complete! Plumbing is being roughed in, and electrical and HVAC are all underway ... nothing that inspiring to photograph on the site at this point, but a lot of pretty finish selections to see!
Meanwhile, back at the studio, the homeowners are busy making the millions of decisions that will eventually add up to a beautiful space. Appliances and fixtures have been specified, cabinet styles selected and stone and tile selections are underway. Just this week, we are finalizing the stone choices so we can confirm the cabinet finishes. A recent stoneyard visit yielded the response of "I LOVE this" from the client and we knew we had the winning direction for the finish plans.
While I adore the space planning and problem solving phase at the beginning stages of a renovation, selecting the finishes is so rewarding because it is usually the part that clients get most excited about ... they can see and feel the materials and start to imagine the finished spaces better. And so begins the "fun" part of this renovation tale!
The powder room is just off the kitchen and laundry room - the kitchen will have white perimeter cabinets, a charcoal island, and grey stone countertops and the powder room will have similar finishes.
Here is the quartzite we are lusting after for the countertops:
and here is the charcoal finish for the powder room cabinets, a possibility for the sconces to flank the mirror, and the Carrera basketweave tile for the powder room floor (to be installed on the diagonal).
The Master bathroom will have countertops, tub deck, and shower seat in this amazing quartzite with wonderful movement in shades of gray and greige and even hints of a blue-green.
Some 'supporting cast' tiles to go with this standout stone have yet to be selected, but the shower walls will definitely feature this herringbone Carrera, and the cabinetry will be in this warm dark brown-black stain:
For the third bathroom, we are looking for a remnant of, most likely, brown fantasy granite for the countertops - this being an extremely popular stone at the moment, that should be a fairly simple acquisition!
Yay for progress!
Selecting stone countertops
There is nothing as beautiful as natural stone countertops – and there are almost as many options as there are kitchen renovations! Kitchen counters are one of the most important and perplexing decisions to make ... you must factor in look, feel, color and function ... and it is a decision you will likely live with for a long time.
Some things to keep in mind when selecting stone:
1. Choose a good fabricator
Most fabricators can get stone from a variety of sources for you – choose someone knowledgable who delivers good service and cares about what YOU want, not just what they need to sell.
2. Look at the actual slab(s) you are going to buy
Looking at samples in a showroom is a good start and is essential to narrow down the types of colors and ‘movement’ (how swirly, streaky, or speckled the stone is) that appeals to you. However, do not EVER plunk down your hard-earned money without seeing the actual piece of stone your counter will be made from. Stone is a product of nature and as such, the colors that are most pronounced and patterns inherent in the stone are dependent on the environment in which it was created and where in the quarry it was harvested. Every piece is unique so unless the sample came from the ground right beside the slab you are buying, it may look quite different. Uniqueness is part of the beauty of stone. If you want perfectly uniform pattern and color, either choose a more solid color stone or stop looking at stone altogether and choose a manmade product instead.
3. Consider your lifestyle and personality
Different varieties of stone have different properties and different maintenance requirements … the “patina” that a Carrera marble inevitably develops with use might be a highly desirable attribute for one personality type and a maintenance nightmare for another. There is something for just about everyone from limestone to quartzite depending on the look you want and the way you want to live with it.
4. Have someone oversee the templating
Once your stone is selected and purchased, the fabricator will come to the installation site and create templates of exactly the shape the stone will be cut. Back at the shop they arrange these templates on the slabs like a giant Tetris puzzle. If you have particular sections of the stone you wish to highlight or mitigate, be sure someone you trust is there when they decide what sections will be cut from what parts of the slab. You can buy a slab that has one place you really don’t care for in the midst of stone you love and template in such a way that the undesirable section gets removed for the sink cutout, for example.
This stone has a lot of variation and on the template shown above, these two sections were to meet at a seam on the center of the sink. The templates were laid out so that where the seams met, they would not have an obvious contrast. In addition, we were able to locate the sink cutout on an area that didn't have a part of the pattern we wanted to highlight. The installed pieces, shown below, look just beautiful!
Enjoy the beauty of natural stone, nature's artwork,
in your home every day!
Once upon a time there was a house. It was sad and neglected, but it had great potential for all it's dreams to come true. Along came a family to rescue it from obscurity and help it to live happily ever after.
And so it begins .... After a couple years of planning, our client's big renovation project is underway!
We came into this process at the very beginning - when the homeowners first purchased the house, they knew they would renovate for better flow and usability. We were able to do a few things immediately, like add an archway to open up the family living space to the dining room allowing both rooms to work better, and paint some of the dark built-ins to brighten and refresh the space, but the big projects - involving the kitchen, laundry, and all the bathrooms would require a major reorganization.
Some before pictures of the kitchen...
We began with concept sketches playing around with moving the bathroom and laundry area to a more remote spot so that the kitchen could flow better into the other living spaces.
And moving the quirky second bath and bedroom upstairs (before pictures below) so that a true master suite could be created without sacrificing a guest room.
Over the course of two years we refined the plans to include everything on the homeowners wish list: a gourmet eat-in kitchen, a separate laundry room, a first floor powder room, a hard-working home office, a reworked family space with a new fireplace, a mudroom and closet space by the garage, a master suite with a luxury bathroom, a family bath with more storage, retaining the existing laundry chute, and maintaining four bedrooms. Whew! A huge project, but the results will be spectacular!
Now the family has moved out for the 6 month project and the demolition has begun.
Check back soon for chapter two as we share the progress in this renovation tale!