The Best Material For Your Kitchen Countertop

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There are many options when it comes to countertop material options including some of my favorites:

 

  • Granite

  • Marble

  • Travertine

  • Terrazzo

  • Quartzite

  • Limestone

  • Onyx

 

Most countertop materials are made of a natural stone, however there are some Quartz (composite materials) that are made to look like the real stone but hold up to wear and tear much better than a natural stone. For example:

  • ColorQuartz

  • Caesarstone

  • Cambria

  • Silestone

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The Best Dimensions for Your Kitchen

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To ensure your kitchen  is functional, comfortable, and safe, use the following dimensions - all of which are suggested minimums unless otherwise noted.

Countertops: 36" Height, 25" Depth

Drawers: 4+" Height, 22" Depth

Vanity Base: 32-34.5" Height, 18-21" Depth

Medicine Cabinet: 30" Height, 4" Depth

Lower Cabinets (kitchen): 34.5" Height, 24" Depth

Upper Cabinets: 30-42" Height, 12" Depth

Space Between Countertop and Upper Cabinets: 18"


You may have heard of the “perfect triangle” in a kitchen, where your appliances are located at each point of a triangle within your kitchen. For instance, look at the diagram on the right. Each space should be approximately 4-9 feet.

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Interior Trim Tips from a Professional Interior Designer

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  • The best baseboard size is usually 6” tall, but can range from 4”-8”.

  • Windows that have casing often frame a window nicely, especially if you don’t have window treatments. So if you have the option to trim your windows, I suggest that you do.

  • When picking your door casing I suggest to use the same casing as the window if possible so that you have consistency.

  • Adding crown moulding can make a room feel more elegant, but keep in mind if you are on a budget, it can be very costly.  

Want to learn more? CLICK HERE and sign up for my e-course "Everything You Need to Know about Interior Design". 

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How to Choose the Best Wood Flooring for Your Home

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There are many types of wood flooring options that come in many different sizes, shapes, and variations. Wood is durable, and can help absorb sound.

Hardwood comes in many different types of species, board widths, colors, textures, hardness, finish. Hardwood typically costs $3- $10 a square foot. The following are some of the most common wood floor species:

  • Ash

  • Beech

  • Birch

  • Cherry

  • Maple

  • Walnut

  • Teak

  • Oak

  • Pine

  • Cork

  • Bamboo (is actually a grass, not wood, but is often categorized as wood flooring).


You can paint wood floors using traditional oil-based enamel wood paint, or latex enamel wood paint. Try get a paint that contains polyurethane. This chemical adds strength and is great for slightly humid environments. If you can’t find one, you can always apply a coat of polyurethane afterwards so don’t worry about it. There are four levels of sheen for wood paint and each has a different reflective quality defined by the percentages below. Starting from the shiniest, they are glossy (75%), semi-gloss (55%), satin (40%) and matte (20%).

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The 10 Best Websites to Buy Art

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Some of my favorite places to buy art online are the following:

1. etsy.com. Etsy is one of my favorite websites for art, accessories, and even furniture! Its a great site that puts you in direct contact with small business owners. 

2. art.com has some of the biggest selection of artwork and at good prices. 

3. society6.com. Society 6 is a community of great artists who sell originals and prints, perfect for any home looking for unique pieces! 

4. minted.com is alot like art.com and society6.com where there is an artist community selling a wide variety of work.  

5. 20x200.com which has a wide variety of art at an affordable price.

6. EyesonWalls.com which hosts a great range of limited artworks.  

7. Artfullywalls.com has some great affordable pieces of artwork. 

8. Purephoto.com has some amazing photography. 

9. ugallery.com is great if you are in the market for a custom piece of artwork.

Bonus: One of my personal favorites to shop at is urbanoutfitters.com (and sister company anthropologie.com). Both Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie might be better know for their clothing, but they have developed a really great apartment home section and it has some really great and unique art finds there! As well as some of my favorite artists works. I also love Restoration Hardwares baby & child department for their adorable watercolors and animal artwork for nurseries.  

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The 5 Best Ways to Display Art In Your Home

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Below is a list of the 5 best ways to display art in your home.   

Art Wall Display’s are one of the easiest ways to display multiple artworks together on one wall. I suggest starting an art wall display on your largest wall. This could be in your living room or dining room. You could put it in your bedroom, but usually art walls are meant to be shown and are best in more public spaces. When you start to layout your art wall start with the largest piece that you have and place it in the center around your eye’s view (usually this is about 5’-5” above the floor) and layout your frames so the space between each frame is approximately the same distance. Try to keep the vertical and horizontal edges of these frames lined up as best you can.  

Art Wall Display’s are one of the easiest ways to display multiple artworks together on one wall. I suggest starting an art wall display on your largest wall. This could be in your living room or dining room. You could put it in your bedroom, but usually art walls are meant to be shown and are best in more public spaces.

When you start to layout your art wall start with the largest piece that you have and place it in the center around your eye’s view (usually this is about 5’-5” above the floor) and layout your frames so the space between each frame is approximately the same distance.

Try to keep the vertical and horizontal edges of these frames lined up as best you can.  

Displaying three large photos together, called a triptych, is a great way to create rhythm and repetition. It also can create a great focal point. This display often looks great above a sofa or bed, or even in a hallway or entry way.     Sometimes these three images are different images that relate to one another, or sometimes these three images are three sections of one larger image.

Displaying three large photos together, called a triptych, is a great way to create rhythm and repetition. It also can create a great focal point.

This display often looks great above a sofa or bed, or even in a hallway or entry way.    

Sometimes these three images are different images that relate to one another, or sometimes these three images are three sections of one larger image.

Art Wall Display’s are often used with staircases one of the easiest ways to display multiple artworks together on one wall. When you start to layout your art wall start with the largest piece that you have and place it in the center of your staircase (stand on this middle stair and place the artwork at eye sight on the wall) and continue to layout your frames as you walk up your stairs. Try to allow for equal space between each frame. Try to keep the vertical edges of these frames lined up as best you can.    

Art Wall Display’s are often used with staircases one of the easiest ways to display multiple artworks together on one wall.

When you start to layout your art wall start with the largest piece that you have and place it in the center of your staircase (stand on this middle stair and place the artwork at eye sight on the wall) and continue to layout your frames as you walk up your stairs.

Try to allow for equal space between each frame.

Try to keep the vertical edges of these frames lined up as best you can.    

Floating art shelves are also a great way to display multiple pieces of art together, This is one of my favorite displays since you can change out the art easily depending on the season. I suggest displaying 5 frames per shelf varying in size for the best balance. Your shelves also don’t have to be stacked, they could be offset, but make sure your shelves overlap by at least one third.  

Floating art shelves are also a great way to display multiple pieces of art together, This is one of my favorite displays since you can change out the art easily depending on the season. I suggest displaying 5 frames per shelf varying in size for the best balance.

Your shelves also don’t have to be stacked, they could be offset, but make sure your shelves overlap by at least one third.  

Displaying six art pieces of the same size on one wall is also a great way to cover a hall or an entry, or even behind a large sofa. These pictures could all be different, or perhaps they are all the same subject, color, medium, etc. this will create repetition and balance. I suggest that you purchase all the same picture frames from one location and if the frame comes with a matte as well, decide if you will use it.    

Displaying six art pieces of the same size on one wall is also a great way to cover a hall or an entry, or even behind a large sofa. These pictures could all be different, or perhaps they are all the same subject, color, medium, etc. this will create repetition and balance.

I suggest that you purchase all the same picture frames from one location and if the frame comes with a matte as well, decide if you will use it.    

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The Best Size Pillows for Your Home

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The best pillow arrangement for your Livingroom sofa will all depend on how large your sofa is.

If you have a settee try an 18x18 and a 12x20 pillow at one end of the sofa.

If you have a sectional try three pillows at the corner unit in a range of sizes: 22"x22", 20"x20", and 18"x18". At each end of the section try one 22"x22" and one 20"x20".

If you have a sofa try one 22"x22" and one 20"x20" at each end of your sofa.

If you have a club chair, try a 12"x20" lumbar pillow.    

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The Two Types of Shower Systems To Consider in Your Bathroom

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There are two types of Shower systems: Electric and Thermostatic Mixers.

Electric Showers take water from the main cold water line and heats the water. This option is best for households with families or where there is a limited hot water supply.

Thermostatic Mixer Showers require no pump and have a faster flow of water and provides the safest shower system.

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The Best Height to Hang Window Drapes in Your Home

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You want to mount your drapery rod as high on the wall as you can, but under neath any crown moulding. If your ceilings are taller than 10 feet, you will most likely need custom drapery since most sizes available only reach up to 10 feet in length. You want the bottom of your drapes to gently graze your flooring, so if you are going to change your flooring, be sure to do this before installing your drapery.   

Designer Tip: My personal go-to style is a full tab back panel linen or sheer drapery depending on how much privacy is needed. 

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9 Interior Carpentry Ideas to Consider for Your Home

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A fun (and cheap) way to dress up your walls is to treat them with a carpentry finish.

There are a lot of carpentry wall treatment options including the following:

  • Shiplap

  • Tongue and Groove

  • Rustic Channel

  • Rustic Vee

  • Board and Battan (pictured)

  • Plywood

  • Bevel

  • Dolly Varden

  • Clapboard

 

And there are a variety of ways you can use these treatments in your home. One of the most common ways to use this treatment is to create a wainscot around the room, which means that the carpentry is applied to the walls usually around eye sight height (roughly 4 ½ -5 ½ feet) from the floor.  

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How to Choose the Best Type of Rug for Your Home

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Excluding natural materials, nylon, polyester, and olefin are the mostly widely used fibers in carpet manufacturing, and each offers qualities useful in specific applications. Even though nylon is the most expensive type of fiber, it is also soft and resilient, which makes it great for any room in your home. Polyester is less durable than nylon, but quite cost efficient – offering a high level of resistance to stains, which makes it an ideal choice for areas such as dining rooms. Olefin is solution dyed, which results in a highly resistant stain carpet that can be cleaned easily without color loss. Unlike many other fibers, olefin is fade and mould resistant, which results in a carpet that works well both indoors or out. Often times carpet requires pads for added cushion that go under your carpet as well.

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What Thread Count Really Means

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When it comes to buying bedding there are mainly two types of weaves when it comes to bedding.

The way in which fabric is woven also has a major effect on its feel. Percale is woven in a basic criss cross weave (one-over, one-under) and has a thread count higher than 200. It tends to be more crisp and cool, like a classic button down shirt. Cotton Satin fabric is made using a satin weave structure (four over and one under), which gives the fabric a sheen and silkier feel. But that doesn’t mean satin is better than percale, they each provide their own unique experience.

Though most consumers think thread count is the way to choose quality bed linens, the truth is, it is the quality of the cotton and where and how it is woven, that matters most.

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Everything You Need to Know About Bathroom Tile

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There are so many options when it comes to choosing the right material for your bathroom including the following:

 

Ceramic Tile: made of clay

Glass Tile: made of glass and often made in a mosaic (small tiles) which are usually sold on a sheet

Stone Tile: Natural material quarried from the earth

Porcelain Tile: Porcelain is a manufactured material made of a composite of natural stones

 

Average Pricing:

Flooring: $9.25/sf

Wall Tile: $5.90/sf

 

There are so many options when it comes to tile layouts, here are just a few common ones:

  • Offset (½ or in ⅓’s)

  • Straight set (aka: stacked or grid pattern)

  • Herringbone

  • Chevron

  • Basket Weave

  • Soldier Course

Designer Tip: I highly suggest hiring a professional tile installer! You would not believe how many times I have seen homeowners in tears because they spent a fortune on their tile, only to have to rip it all out and start over because they tried to install the tile themselves without knowing what was best for their home. If you plan on installing the tile yourself make sure you use the correct thinset or mastic so that the tile doesn’t “slip” down the wall, and talk to a professional about your installation options.  

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Types of Window Shades to Consider for Your Home

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There are many types of window treatments available ranging from drapery to shades and shutters.

Below is a list of style options for shades:

  • Roman

  • Venetian & Mini-Venetian

  • Matchstick or Slat

  • Roller

  • Tie-up

Shutters are usually come in a standard “plantation style”. Vinyl shutters are great for wet areas like around the kitchen sink and bathroom.  

When it comes to the fabrication of drapery there are many different options, however many styles are outdated.

My personal go-to style is a matchstick shade.  

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How to Pick the Best Paint Color For your Home

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What colors do you feel comfortable surrounding yourself with?

You might really like colorful accent walls in other people's houses but you wouldn't feel comfortable living with that. Or you might love the look of all white walls but you might need color to feel cozy. Think about what colors you might enjoy seeing everyday. When it comes to paint I suggest sticking to three colors throughout your house. One finish for your trim; , one color for the majority of your walls in dry areas, and color on walls that you want to draw attention to (wall at the end of a hall or your fireplace, etc).

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How to Choose the Best Tile Flooring for Your Home

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Tile comes in many different sizes, shapes, variation, grout, and accents and it it durable, scratch resistant, and water resistant- perfect for wet areas.

Ceramic Tile. Crafted from a mix of clays. Because the material is porous, it is finished with a protective glaze. Ceramic tile is slightly more prone to wear, cracking, and chipping than porcelain tile.

Porcelain Tile. Made by firing finely ground clays and minerals at extremely high temperatures, is harder and denser than ceramic. Porcelain is better at resisting water and stains and is often used outdoors as it won't crack in cold temperatures. However, it is harder to install than ceramic tile.

Natural Stone Tile. Usually made from travertine, limestone, marble, granite, or slate. Stone is the most durable, improves with ages and lasts a lifetime. However, it is the most expensive option.

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The Best Yardage Guide for Reupholstering your Furniture

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The Best Size Furniture in Your Home

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The most common sizes of furniture are the following:

  • Sofa (3 seater): 78-90” W x 34-38” D x 30”H (with an 18” Seat Height)

  • Love Seat (2 seater): 56-68” W x 34-38” D x 30”H (with an 18” Seat Height)

  • Chaise Lounge Chair: 72-90” W x 30-36” D x 30” H (with an 18” Seat Height)

  • Club Chair: 30-36” W x 30-36” D x 30” H (with an 18” Seat Height)

  • Dining Chair (with arms): 22-24” W x 16-24” D x 30” H (with an 18” Seat Height)

  • Dining Chair (without arms): 18-22” W x 16-24” D x 30” H (with an 18” Seat Height)

  • Coffee Table (square): 24-48” W x 24-48” D x 18” H

  • Coffee Table (rectangle): 24-48” W x 16-28” D x 18” H

  • Cocktail Table (Round Coffee Table): 18-32” D x 18” H
  • Ottoman: 22-46” W x 22-46” D x 18” H

  • End Table: 14-24” W x 14-24” D x 24-30” H

  • Rectangular Dining Table: 36-48” W x 36-48” D x 30” H

  • Round Dining Table: 36-60” D x 30” H

  • Drop Leaf Table: 36-72”W x 31-63” (with leaves) x 30” H

  • Console Table: 48-72” W x 15-20” D x 30”H

  • Desk: 28-48” W x 24-30” D x 30”H

  • Buffet: 48-72” W x 16-26” D x 24-30” H

  • Armoire: 36-60” W x 30-30”D x 48-60”H

  • Dresser: 30-74” W x 20-24” D x 30”H

  • Nightstand: 14-24” W x 14-24” D x 24-30”H

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The Best Dimensions for Your Bathroom

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To ensure your bath  is functional, comfortable, and safe, use the following dimensions - all of which are suggested minimums unless otherwise noted.

Doorway: 32" Wide

Walkways: at least 36" Wide

Shower: 34"x34" Wide (36"x36" is better)

Tub Controls: 30-34" above the bottom of the tub

Shower Controls: 77-81" from the shower floor

Height of Shower Seat: 17”-19”

Depth of Shower Seat: 15”

Height of Grab Bars (in a shower): 33”-36”

Robe Hook: 60" Height

Vanity Sconces: 60”-72” Height

Distance between sconces (for optimal lighting): 36"-40" Wide

Vanity Height: 30-32" is average , but if you a tall person 34-42" might be better suited for you needs.

Sinks: 15-18" from the center of the sink to the side wall, 36" is best (center to center) from one sink to another sink, and 8" from the edge of a sink and the end of the counter for landing space.

Backsplash: Allow 8" or more from the top of the countertop and the bottom of the medicine cabinet or mirror.

Pedestal Sink: 32-36" Height

Toilet Paper Holder: 26” Height

Distance from Toilet to TP Holder: 8” - 12”from edge to edge

Toilet: 16" from the center of the toilet to an obstruction (cabinet/fixture, etc). Toilet seats are usually 17"-19” above the floor.

Towel Bar: 36" Wide Space, 48" above the floor.

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Types of Light Bulbs to Consider using in Your Home

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Bulb Shapes:

Silver Bowl: Metallic finish on the top half of the bulb softens the light. A great solution for overheads with exposed bulbs especially if there isn't a dimmer.

Soft Pink: Emits a gorgeous rosy glow, perfect for mood lighting since its coloring looks great on your skin.

Round Chandelier: These bulbs look great in an open chandelier.

Edison Bulb: Visible Filament bulbs give a soft warm glow since they are low wattage and look great hung on their own.

 

Bulb Types:

Incandescent: White Light, Low Voltage (12-24), and they require transformers.

Fluorescent: (CFL's) greater energy and longer life than incandescent. These also come in rope lighting and cove lighting which are great for under the cabinet lighting.

Halogen: Offer bright white light which is good for task or accent lighting. These are usually low voltage, but do put off some heat.

 

Best Wattage for each situation:

40-50W: Reading

50-70W: Staring at a Computer

70-80W: Putting on Makeup

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