Raleigh interior designer

A kitchen update that shows personal style and looks great!



A Kitchen update doesn't have to include tearing out cabinets and replacing appliances.  Let's look at this recent project.

Above is the "Before" of Jody's kitchen.  She wanted to make it feel fresh and a little artsy and she didn't want to rip out the wood cabinets nor take down the coppery mosaic tile backsplash.  Jody does want to replace the white formica countertop with butcher block and she would love to see a piece of stone at the end of the counter.  She saw that idea online and thought it was pretty cool.  Her designer (that would be me) was worried that adding a detail to the end of the counter in a small kitchen would stop the eye and make it appear even smaller.  Jody persisted, won me over and we got it done.




Here's the "After!"  Isn't the Carrera marble at the end of the counter some kind of wonderful?  Jody was right!  It's a cool idea!

We specified White Oak counters with a clear, catalyzed conversion finish.  Signature Custom Woodworking in King, North Carolina made and installed them and they're absolutely gorgeous!  We removed the old formica backsplash, replacing it with very affordable brick tile (64 cents per piece!) and a not-so-affordable copper pencil tile on top to transition nicely with the older mosaic tile.  A very successful transition!




Another photo of the "After." Jody had the painter give the white cabinets a fresh coat after everything was in.  Now this kitchen reflects her personal style which is warm, interesting and fun.




We wanted to use a farmhouse sink in this project, but they weigh A LOT more than other sinks and would have required adding serious support in the existing base cabinet.  Jody didn't want to lose that much storage space, so we switched gears and chose this fabulous Blanco Granit sink.  It's a great choice.  It doesn't have a shiny white finish like porcelain.  It's faintly speckled.  




We took down the heavy woven woods valance over the kitchen sink and replaced the dated track light with a pretty multi-colored glass pendant that adds some nice sparkle. A new oil rubbed bronze faucet and soap dispenser add more warm tones.  And isn't that sweet pig painting by local artist Ana Peralta an awesome addition to this kitchen?  I'm calling him Wilbur (not very original, but it fits).




Sean, our super duper handyman did the demolition work on the old counter and sink.  It was his idea to router out the space for the marble piece so it could sit level with the counter.  Genius!  We were all very excited by that idea.




Wanting to keep the artsy vibe going with splashes of color, we added this sassy little rug by Company C at the sink.  Isn't this kitchen SO pretty now?  Nice update, right?





The kitchen table is right next to the new counters and in a lovely bay window, overlooking a spectacular back yard (think trees, flowers, fire pit, eating and grilling space).  All we needed to do here was to replace the light fixture.  




The new fixture is by Dailey and blends oil rubbed bronze with mercury glass lamps brilliantly.  Sparkle and texture baby!




THEN, we moved into the next space, adding two wood beams to the ceiling and updating the ceiling fan.  The world is filled with bulky old ceiling fans and I'm making it my personal duty to draw attention to them and replace them with new ones that are more modern and visually lighter!




The way these rustic beams from AZ Faux Beams work with Jody's woven wood blinds is simply awesome.  I didn't get a very clear picture of the beams.  Let's try another one:




The beams are stained Fall Leaf Brown.  They add so much character to a room and you would never know that they're made out of high density polystyrene!  Sean has installed beams on several projects now and he says they cut like butter.  He always does a fantastic job.  Attention to detail makes all the difference.




Not every project has a huge budget - this one probably cost less than $10,000, with the biggest chunk going to the wood counters (and worth every penny).  However, every project has a homeowner with a personality and a desire to create a beautiful home that makes walking in the door at the end of the day a pleasure.  Jody didn't want a space like everyone else has.  She wanted to update her kitchen and end up with a space that looks like Jody lives there. 

Now we're moving on to the front of the house to make some changes there.  I'll show you what we do when it's done!



Affordable Ways To Get Awesome Artwork In Your Home

  Last weekend was great at Casa DeCocco.  The days are getting longer, the sun was out in full force and temps were in the 60's.  I spent a little time in the garden!  In February!

My favorite accomplishment was getting some new artwork framed and up on the walls.  I'd rather have new art than new furniture, any day. What you put on your shelves and hang on your walls makes it your home.  And it has nothing to do with provenance or monetary value.  Wait, I take that back.  Provenance is everything.  Where you got it, who created it and why you display it tells the story of your life.

The endless supply of original art that kids bring home from school is a favorite source.  Grandboy did this one.  Obviously in the style of Picasso, in his cubist period (his art teacher is brilliant--exploring all the greats).  For DIY framing, I buy the needed materials at Michael's--on sale or with a coupon, of course!

This is where I hung it - at the top of the stairs.  When you come in the front door and look up, there it is.  Made Grandboy very proud to see it there (score for this Mimi).

Then this amazing photograph, taken by Jim Fenton, arrived yesterday -- a birthday gift from a childhood friend.  I dropped what I was doing and headed right out to get a frame for it!

I used a craft store frame and "glass," but since it's hung in a hallway with no natural light hitting it,  it should be safe from fading. If it gets moved to a room with windows, I'll take it to the framer.

Not to be a snoot, but there are two kinds of important art.  Above is the perfect example. The piece on the left is an oil on paper by Gary Bowling.  He's an established artist and I paid real money for this beauty and to have it professionally framed--including using museum quality glass so that it's protected from the sun.  The piece on the right was created, again, by Grandboy in celebration of Dias De Los Muertos.  The camera cannot catch the sparkly glitter and vibrant markers used to create that skull, but I feel both are safe under the craft store frame with cheap glass.   Both pieces are important, both are framed, both look great.  But Mr. Glitter will fade over the years because Mr. Sunshine visits frequently.

I look for original art everywhere I go.  This was found at Grandaddy's Antique Mall in Burlington, NC many years ago.  I paid under $100, it's just a wrapped canvas and is unsigned.  That scene evokes sweet childhood memories for a lot of people (as does a piano--chopsticks anyone?).

A closer view.  Love it.

Here's another example of combining the "free" art (nothing about kids is really free, is it?). The Vietri pottery fits right in with those masterpieces from art class.  We used plate hangers for the pottery and good ol' wasabi tape for the paper pieces.  By using the wasabi tape, I can color coordinate with the painting!  Look closely at the ones on the right.  You'll see the influence of Andy Warhol at the top and Vincent Van Gogh on the bottom.  Not sure about the influences of the flying baseball in the middle.

These sweet faces are in the Living Room, reminding us all not to take life too seriously.  Raleigh artist Ana Peralta paints all kinds of subjects, but her animals (and her colors) are my favorites.

There are many other works hanging around the house, but we all need to get back to work.   I created a Houzz Project folder based on this post, with lots of additonal pieces, some by artist friends. If you have friends who are artists, definitely buy their work!  You can see that Houzz folder by clicking here. 



The dog as decor.


bay window, Raleigh interior designer, Chapel Hill interior designer, decorator


It's a sunny Sunday and this made me smile as I walked through the room, so I took a picture.  A little later I walked through again...


Raleigh decorating, transitional design, traditional interior design, Durham decorators


Someone else liked this spot, and put that sunshine to good use!


I hope you notice and enjoy the sunny spots in your home.