Choosing a Kitchen Counter

Written by admin. Posted in Interior Decorating, Interior Design, News

Your kitchen counter tops are what you use the most and the first thing you notice when you enter the room. When choosing new counters its critical to make the right decision not only from a usability and design perspective but one that also meets your budget as well. With so many options it can be quite confusing to confidently know which direction to go. I consult with my Fairfield County clients on design choices and often handle the entire kitchen renovation. Here is some of the information that I share with them.
kitchen counter 1

The steps in the process involve choosing your material, obtaining an estimate, setting up an appointment for a professional to take measurements , then templating the stone and finally, waiting for your custom-cut counters to arrive and be professionally installed. Before the template can be created you’ll need to pick out all of your fixtures including your sink, faucet, range or cooktop and options like soap & hot water dispensers, a prep sink, refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave.

So lets talk about choosing your material. First make a list of criteria that are important to you specifically: aesthetics, usability, maintenance and budget. From a design standpoint do you want light or dark, solid or multiple colors, large or small grains.In terms of usability, consider how long and hard you will be using the counters. If you cook with a lot with heavy pots you may want to opt for a hard substance and if you are renovating to sell you might want to go with on-trend marble.
kitchen counter 3

Marble has a timeless, elegant and sophisticated look. Despite its luxurious appearance, there are some downfalls when it comes to durability in that it is a soft stone that chips and scratches easily. Rounded corners can help prevent chips and using knives on cutting boards will protect the surface. Acidic substances such as lemon juice and certain cleaners may dull the finish, so marble counters should be sealed and polished to keep them looking their best. Marble is heat resistant however not meant to withstand high heat and is a classic choice that’s been used in European kitchens for ages. Today it is one of the most popular choices for Fairfield County Kitchen renovations.

Granite is a high-grade stone that is quarried from different sites around the world. It is highly durable as it is scratch resistant and can withstand the heat of hot pots. However, it does have its limits and like all stone can chip from the strong impact of something heavy and should be sealed to prevent against staining. Typically slabs are priced via a grading system based on the overall uniqueness and rareness of the stone in color and variance as well as surface finish. Granite is a very popular choice as it is relatively reasonably priced and comes in an array of colors and unique patterns to compliment a wide variety of design styles.
kitchen counter 4
Quartz can be misleading as it is named after a natural stone, however, it is actually a composite material made from approximately 90% quartz chips and 10% acrylic resin. It is non-porous substance that does not require sealants or polishing to retain it’s luster and is also scratch, chip, stain and bacteria resistant. You will notice the engineered look and repeat of the pattern which is most noticeable in larger surfaces. An important thing to note is that quartz is heat resistant but not heat proof. It is, therefore, recommended that you do not place hot pots, pans and bakeware think about window placement and size, when considering quartz, as it can fade when exposed to continuous direct light. Engineered quartz has a more uniform look than stone slabs. Overall it is a flexible design choice offering more than a hundred colors and patterns.

Quartzite
Quartzite is often confused with quartz but differs in that it is not engineered but is a natural stone. It goes through quite a process, originating as sandstone and through high heating and pressurization by tectonic plate compression in the earth’s crust it is transformed into Quartzite. When heated, individual quartz pieces recrystalize giving it a beautiful and decorative sparking pattern. It rivals granite in terms of hardness and durability but like all natural stones must be sealed periodically to protect it again stains. Quartzite comes in different shades and is a great option for someone who wants a marble-like look with the strength and durability of granite. Honing this product helps it to be stronger and more durable.

SoapstoneSoapstone is a natural stone which has some interesting attributes and haracteristics. While it is softer than marble, scratches can be easily repaired with a quick sanding and a coat of mineral oil. Soapstone is heat resistant and does not need to be sealed as it is impervious to staining. It does have a limited color palette and typically develops as a gray-scale stone that darkens naturally and when oiled. Soapstone is a good choice for rustic, contemporary and modern kitchens and for someone who prefers something out of the ordinary.

ConcreteConcrete counters are also for someone who wants something unique, a high-end appearance and heat resistant. Instead of purchasing a slab, they are built on site in custom shapes, sizes and thickness and can be easily personalized with subtle textures. Concrete is a porous substance susceptible to knife marks and stains and should be sealed regularly. These countertops work with many design styles and are an excellent choice for a modern setting.

There are so many considerations when it comes to choosing a kitchen counter, some of which are beyond the scope of the article. Some of them include additional materials not mentioned here, picking a different stone for your island from the rest of your counter tops, what kind of edge to choose, and of course pricing. Whatever you decide, with the Kitchen being the hearth of the Fairfield County home and the counters taking center stage I always recommend making a practical choice to suit your lifestyle and one that you will love for years to come.

templating

Houzz Pro Spotlight: Design Your Home for the Way You Live

Written by admin. Posted in Interior Decorating, Interior Design, News

Who: Kelly Sohigian of kellydesigns
Where: Fairfield, Connecticut
In her own words: “Homeowners don’t always know their style and can get overwhelmed with where to begin a design project.”

Midcentury modern, traditional, transitional … there are many design styles, and endless ways to decorate your space. A redesign can be intimidating, but with the right start, you won’t have any difficulty creating a beautiful room that reflects you. “I always begin by having my clients find photos or inspirational pieces that excite them so we can create a space that they love,” says Kelly Sohigian, interior designer and founder of kellydesigns in Fairfield.

Transitional Living Room by kellydesigns

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Creating an Inspiring Front Porch

Written by admin. Posted in Interior Decorating, Interior Design, News

fontportch

image from interiorish.com

Before TV and A/C, homeowners spent a lot of time on their front porch. Today, the front porch has seen a revival and more people are using them as outdoor rooms not just for relaxing but dining and entertaining as well. A front porch does not have to be a big space nor does it require a big budget to be usable. All it takes is some practical styling techniques to make it a warm and welcoming space for family, guest and pets.

Cleaning
Before decorating, the first thing you should do is make sure your porch is in the best possible condition. Invest a little time scrubbing it down using something like TSP (Trisodium Phosphate compound) that is formulated for heavy duty cleaning. TSP will remove deposits of greasy grime, dirt and mildew. You can get it at your hardware store but remember to always test a small area first. Don’t forget to wash the windows. If it’s not time to call in a window-washer, to do your whole house, check out my Quirky Tip below to easily get them sparkling clean.

Maintenance
Next you should examine all aspects of your porch to make sure everything is in good condition and working order. Peeling paint and door mats are obvious ones but items often overlooked are wood rot on columns, light fixtures, your door’s hardware and your doorbell. Most of these items are inexpensive to fix or replace and it will go a long way in giving your porch a polished look which you can now start to decorate.

frontporch2

image from gcastd.org

porchswingUpholstery & Furniture

If you are starting from scratch and purchasing furniture consider you
your decision. For maximum flexibility it is best to upholster in solid colors and accessorize with patterns and color. Blue is the natural choice for a nautical setting. For a country setting consider more rustic finishings such as wood and metal. For a pop of color go with brighter shades and for a more relaxed and serene setting choose more subdued tones. Always appropriate are shades of green and bright colors to reflect the color of flowers, such as purple or red. Comfy swings are always a hit and if you have the space consider one the size of a twin bed with a lot of pillows for lounging.

Pillows
The great thing about pillows is that you can change the look and feel of your space for relatively little expense. If you have classic white wicker and want to create a modern upbeat look, add pillows in striking colors. For a more nature inspired look, mirror your outdoor environment with earthy tones for tree-lined settings and blue and white for sea-side and beach settings. But remember, there are no rules. Decorate with pillows to reflect whatever mood you want to create.

smallporches

image from houzz.

Small porches
If your porch is too small for a dining table or sofa, you can still create a functional sitting area. Just define it with a rug, use neutral colors, upright chairs and an end table and/or a cocktail table to hold ice teas and cocktails. Hanging plants can also save space. Classic rocking chairs are always charming to look at and a relaxing place to sit.

plantsPlants
Speaking of plants, no porch is complete without colorful blooming flowers. Using containers in varying sizes can create a garden-like setting. Consider plants that repel mosquitos such as lavender which is also low maintenance. If you like to cook, consider growing an herb garden on your porch, specifically basil that also repels mosquitos. If it is pretty and wow you want then remember the … first the thrill, then the spill, and and lastly the fill!

porch ceiling

image from hgtv.com


Porch Ceilings
Have you noticed that many porch ceilings are painted blue? ‘Haint Blue’ has been popular in the South for centuries and has an interesting backstory. While some believe it wards off evil spirits, others believe it helps banish mosquitos. From a decorators standpoint, blue is perfect for an outdoor space as it emulates the sky and has a very calming effect overall.

Finishing Touches
Add candles for warmth and citronella to repel bugs. Consider ceiling fans to add a cool breeze and finally for maximum coziness add throws but remember to bring them inside when it rains or buy a throw that is made of sunbrella or crypton yarns!

Your front porch is part of the first impression of your home and is a big factor in overall curb appeal. Done right, it can make your home feel warm and welcoming and be one of the most used spaces of your home during the warm summer months.

front porch ideas

images from front-porch-ideas-and-more.com and coastal living

What works. Mixing metals in your home.

Written by admin. Posted in Interior Decorating, Interior Design, News

One of the most popular questions I get asked as an Interior Designer, here in Fairfield, CT, is “What are the rules for mixing different metal finishes in a room?” So I’ll start by saying that there are no rules, just guidelines. Most importantly, you should do whatever makes you the happiest living in your home.

sadieandstella
Image from sadieandstella.com

In terms of trend, in the past, people did tend to have all the same finishes in each of their rooms and matching hardware on all their doors. Today, however, just as people mix silver and gold jewelry, its more than acceptable to mix metals in the home too. Mixing metals tastefully is fun and can make your home look current and chic.

Here are some tips and considerations when mixing and matching metallic finishes in your CT home.

Chandelier

chandelier from circa lighting

Iron is a neutral metal. It serves well as a base and it doesn’t clash with gold or silver. Look at the wall and/or main furniture color? Is it a warm or cool color? Think about whether you want to add more warmth or coolness. Add warmth by adding gold and brass tones. Add coolness by adding chrome, nickel or silver tones. If you like the way it looks having only one metal in your room you can do that and still add depth. For this just use different finishes of the same metal. Try mixing shiny and matte or mixing vintage with newer gold tones. Maybe an overall neutral look suits your fancy? If this is the case, consider adding contrasting metal as an accent tone. An example would be a particularly beautiful light fixture that stands out and makes a statement.

Kelly Designs of CT Staging Project in Fairfield Beach, FairfieldKelly Designs of CT Staging Project in Fairfield Beach, Fairfield

If your style is eclectic don’t limit yourself. You can mix metal finishes as you like to create an interesting look. Just make sure not to let one dominate. Instead they should all blend together. When mixing different metal pieces, depending on your home decor you may want to keep them to a similar style and/or separate them in the room. This way they will compliment each other vs. compete with one another.

Kitchens and bathrooms are a fun place to mix metals. Try adding some warmth to a stainless and white marble Kitchen with a row of gleaming copper pots or add gold / brass handles for a fresh new trendy look.

I hope these tips on how to mix metals, in your CT home, has helped you with your interior design. Remember there is no need to limit your metals to just nickel, stainless, gold and brass. There are so many wonderful options to choose from. Mixing metals, when done correctly, will make your space unique and make it feel like your special home.

Choosing a show stopping rug…choosing the right size…

Written by admin. Posted in Interior Decorating, Interior Design, News

An area rug not only cushions bare floors, but it also provides artistic value to a room’s design and serves as a centerpiece for your decor. Since choosing the right area rug is such an important decision, it’s no wonder that homeowners are concerned about making the right choice when it comes to style, color, and size. Then after these decisions are made, the rug must be placed correctly in your space in relation to your furniture. So if you have ever struggled with this, read on for some tips on how to get started choosing the ideal rug for your room. One of my pet peeves is walking into a room, and there is tiny rug floating in the middle or worse, askew!

Library in the home of Juliana & Bill RancicLibrary in the home of Juliana & Bill Rancic

A rug should be the invitation to the dance, all the participants (the furniture in the room ) should be invited to the dance (the rug!) When designing a room from scratch some people start with the area rug first, others choose it last. Either way, the characteristics should reflect the rooms intended style (i.e. traditional vs. modern) as well as your personal taste. Once the rug is chosen, pick out several of the colors and carry them through into your wall coverings (paint and wallpaper), fabrics for furniture, drapes and throw pillows and accessories to complete the decor. If you choose the rug last you will do this conversely, that is, make sure the rug has some of the important colors from your walls, furniture, and accents in the design. These colors do not have to match exactly but should be complimentary.

Living Room

As a general rule of thumb, the area rug should be a minimum of six inches and no more than two feet away from the wall. When you take into consideration the different uses, shapes, and design preferences, other factors weigh in as well, such as the size of furniture and traffic patterns. A carefully placed rug will anchor your space and define an area, especially in an open floor plan where furniture can appear to be floating. Create a cohesive look between rooms with rugs that complement rather than match exactly.

For the dining roomPlacing a colorful rug beneath dining furniture creates a dramatic space for entertaining. In general, you want to choose a rug that’s large enough so guests can push back their chairs without sliding off about 2-3″ from the table.

For a cozy bedroom consider a rug with a deep soft plush pile in soothing colors for a calming effect. Create a perimeter around the lower two-thirds of your bed leaving 18-24″ on the outside.

For the Living Room choose a rug that fills most of the space leaving the front legs resting on the rug.
In the world of rugs, there are so many new fibers being introduced that have better longevity and wear. Most of the indoor/outdoor rugs with polypropylene or nylon are virtually stain and wear resistant. While they are not as plush as wool, they offer smart looking designs, for less money and better wear for active families, especially those with pets!

Your area rug sets the tone for the entire room so whether you choose something neutral, geometric, a sisal, stripes or Persian make sure you spend the time to pick out just the right rug for your space and that it is something that you truly love.

For the living room For the bedroom

To Paper or not to paper? That is the question…

Written by admin. Posted in Interior Decorating, Interior Design, News

Faux painting move over. Wallpaper is making a comeback in a big way. But today’s wallpaper is different from what your mom grew up with in her house. Instead of mostly flowery patterns that were often looked like foil paper and extremely bold, today’s wallpaper is sophisticated in design and compliments a rooms décor. Used correctly, wallpaper can be the finishing touch that makes a room feel well put together.

Wallpaper

Wallpaper dates back to the 13th century and originally had images of religious icons. Its primary purpose was to bring cheer to the homes of the poor until the 16th century when the middle class used wallpaper that replicated designs found on tapestries of the nobles. This was the birth wallpaper as we know it today with two-dimensional symmetrical patterns that it repeat itself frequently.

The past few years, wallpaper has grown in popularity. Modern wallpaper can have bold colorful imagery that is also sophisticated and demure patterns for a timeless look. Wallpaper with a more muted and current design can give any room with modest finishings an instant upgrade.

One of my favorite sources of wallpaper is Philip Jeffries for its wide selection of textured coverings that give any room interest and depth. I also like to create accent walls with subtle and classic patterns that help bring focus to a wall’s architectural details. My other go-to manufacturers are ABA, Thibaut and Farrow and Ball.

Grasscloth

Any type of grasscloth can be used in powder room, but not in any areas that get too much moisture. There are vinyl alternatives that look just great for full bathrooms. That said, if you fall in love with any paper that you want to use in a full bath that is not vinyl simply add a clear coat varnish over the paper to protect it from the moisture and wear and tear.

wallcoveringTruthfully, any kind of wallcovering can be a great way to change it up and add a little interest in your home decor. This entry parlor looks great and fresh with this soft blue paper and large scale print.

Metallic GrassclothWe added a navy and silver metallic grasscloth to accent this wall in this clients’ dining room. As they are natural fibers you will see some “strands” and variations and unless its a seamless version there will be seams, but that all adds to the beauty of this sensational wallcovering.

Geometric patterns like these below can really make a non-interesting room a wow factor! Best used in smaller doses like powder rooms, entry ways, or accent walls. Need help selecting a wallpaper for your home? Call me, I would be happy to help you find a wallpaper suitable for your home.

New Year…New Projects… RElove your home

Written by admin. Posted in Interior Decorating, Interior Design, News

If you are like me there is always a new project formulating in the back of your mind. Whether its new pillows, new paint, new rugs, new bath…the wheels are always turning! It never ends!(as my husband can attest to!)
At this time of year as we pack away the holiday decor and put our everyday things back out, they suddenly start to feel old, boring and dated. So why not freshen it up a bit? It’s time to RElove your home!

living room

Start with wall color, one of the easiest ways to change the whole feel of a room, is through paint. The elegant living room above uses Gray owl on the walls. Why not change to something more subtle, soft and soothing? Gray Owl OC-52, one of my favorite shades throws a cast of blue while remaining gray and soothing.

officepaint colorTired of those red walls? How about trying a beautiful coral shade like Tropical Fruit CSP-1115, everyone looks beautiful against the warm glow of pink shades, great for dining rooms! Or try Passion Fruit by Benjamin Moore 2171-40, it works well with naturals and neutral like shades of gray and brown.

Color trends for this year are shades of white, yes there are millions of shades of white, some favorites are Simply White OC-117 and Mascarpone AF-20, both create a soft, warm and inviting atmosphere.

backdoorchairWarm whites can be a perfect back drop for wood tones, nature, and any lovely objects that you would like to display.

Other clients both had pine tables from Prince of Wales. We had the table top painted as well as the base to give a gray washed look. Take a peek below.

Lastly, lighting can really transform a room. Switch out your lamps, chandelier,or sconces. There should always be at least three sources of light in the room, overhead, task and ambient. Check out some of these stunning new products and envision how they can light up your life!

Falling… for new trends

Written by admin. Posted in Fall, Interior Decorating, Interior Design, News

As the leaves fall, days get shorter, air is crisper (okay, it’s cold!) we begin to nestle in our homes. As we start spending more time indoors, we begin to notice our surroundings and take note of the things we like or dislike about where we call home. It is often a time for many to spruce up their space with some of the most current ideas that are in home decor.

Lighting for me is always a critical factor in updating a home.

Whether it’s a new flush mount, like this gilded gold bamboo look from Circa…

Why use an Interior Designer?..things you should know

Written by admin. Posted in News

I often receive calls from clients and the first words they say are: “I have never done this before. How does this work?”

Living RoomGetting help to design, renovate, or just spruce up your home may seem intimidating but it can save you money and time. Having a designer can help can steer you clear of making costly mistakes.When most people think about hiring an interior designer, they zero in on aesthetics: wall colors, window treatments, pillow patterns. But that’s just scratching the surface of what a designer can add to a home. A designer envisions, plans spaces in a way that makes them both beautiful and functional.