Monday, November 24, 2014

HOW TO UPDATE YOUR KITCHEN WITH STYLE: 8 EASY KITCHEN UPDATES THAT MAKE A HUGE IMPACT

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Today’s kitchens are multi-functional spaces and in many households, are the hub of family activity. The kitchen is not only where meals are prepared and served, it’s also where weekly calendars are posted, mail and recyclables are sorted, homework is done, and where families gather to recap the events of the day. 

As a busy mom of five, I know how easy it is for the kitchen to become a bit of a mess with all of the activity that occurs there.  Having a messy kitchen can affect your cooking mojo and make you not want to cook at all.  A kitchen that is well organized, inviting, efficient, and pleasing to your eye will inspire you to spend more time there, help you maintain your cooking mojo and perhaps even motivate you to cook new and exciting dishes.

You don’t need to install expensive restaurant quality appliances to pull off a stylish and functional kitchen revamp. Here are some ideas for small changes that can make a huge difference.


Increase Space for Food Prep by Adding an Island
Incorporating an island into your kitchen’s design provides you with additional storage, a gathering place for dining as well as added work space. There are great inexpensive options on the market today that offer both function (island on wheels) and style (from butcher block to stainless steel).
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Add a Little Bling
Instead of completely replacing your cabinet hardware, spray paint the existing pulls and knobs with metallic spray paint for a fresh new look. Try a brushed brass finish to create a timeless and elegant feel.
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Update Your Cabinets
Increase the sense of space in your kitchen by removing cabinet doors to create open shelving. Have fun styling your selves with your favorite dishes, vintage ceramic collection, baskets or even plants, as seen here. 
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Stencil a New Backsplash
Not ready to take the plunge on tile for your backsplash? Breathe life into your kitchen by stenciling a new backsplash. Stencils are easy to use, cost effective,  and come in an array of patterns to match any d├ęcor.
 
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Add Under Cabinet Lighting
Adding task lighting in the kitchen brightens the typically dark spaces by putting the light right where you need it, it also highlights and brings attention to your backsplash and countertops.
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Use Creative Storage and Organization to Make Your Kitchen More Efficient
Help maintain your sanity by using handy drawer organizers, slide out cabinet shelves, and creative storage options. In this picture, kitchen supplies are hung from a wall mounted rolling pin. How creative!
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Use a Rug to Add Interest
Add a layer of style, warmth, color and pattern to your cooking space simply by adding a rug. Use the rug to tie together existing colors in the room or to inject new colors into the space. Indoor/outdoor rugs are perfect for kitchens because they are super easy to clean and are designed to stand up to lots of wear and tear.
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Customize Your Kitchen With Art
Art in the kitchen adds a cozy feel and gives the space more character. Artwork in the kitchen provides a sense of sophistication usually reserved for bedrooms, living rooms and other areas of the house where art is more commonly displayed. Showcase everything from vintage food advertisement posters, framed recipe cards, or your favorite canvases.


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Monday, November 17, 2014

'TIS THE SEASON : 5 WAYS TO DECORATE WITH THROW BLANKETS

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The season for sipping hot cocoa and snuggling under quilts or throw blankets has finally arrived here in Maryland! 

When the first snow flurries of the season fell last week, I couldn't wait to make a cup of hot cocoa and curl up on the sofa under my favorite throw. Like throw pillows, a throw blanket can add pattern, texture and color to a space.  They also provide warmth on chilly days. I love throw blankets because they are both decorative and functional. Throw blankets come in a variety of textures and fabrics (ie. cotton, wool, chenille, and even cashmere). The house can get a bit chilly so we tend to use our throws alot more this time of year.  I like to make sure the throws are easily accessible but also compliment our home's decor.

Here are 5 ways you can decorate with throw blankets in your own home:

1. PLACE and tuck a folded throw down the front of a sofa.

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2. LAYER a throw at the foot or the edge of a bed.  Try using a faux fur throw blanket to add a touch of luxury to your room's look.  

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3. DRAPE a throw over the sofa or chair arm.  A draped throw blanket is a casual and effortless way to make the sofa or chair look cozy and inviting.  

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4. TUCK a throw neatly down the front of a chair or sofa and into it's seat cushion to add crisp contrast.  Top with a printed pillow for an fun twist.

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5. HANG a throw from a blanket ladder as a unique way to display your throw blankets.

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Here are a few of my favorite throws this season:

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Ready to get cozy? Do any of these throw blankets catch your eye?  Which one is your favorite?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

NEW PROJECT: MILLER'S COURT - AN URBAN OASIS OFFICE SPACE

A few weeks ago I began working on an exciting new design project at Miller's Court in Baltimore. Built at the turn of the 20th century (late 1800s), Miller's Court served as the headquarters of H.F. Miller and Sons, a tin box manufacturing company.   Miller’s Court now houses both urban loft style apartments and smart office space for educational nonprofit organizations, like my new clients .



The building is great example of late-19th century industrial architecture in Baltimore. Miller’s Court is located near Johns Hopkins University and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.


"Much of the buildings original architectural elements remains, including massive wooden trusses, brick pilasters, and the original cupola."


The property sat vacant for nearly 20 years before receiving its massive renovation but now is the perfect creative combination historic meets modern elegance.


The opportunity to work in a space that is over 100 year old is a dream project for a designer and history-lover like myself.  I really admire and am impressed with the level of effort and creativity architects and engineers have put into breathing new life into this historic space. 


 Here are some amazing before and after photos of the restorative work that was done at Miller's Court.

MILLER'S COURT OUTDOOR COURTYARD "BEFORE"

MILLER'S COURT OUTDOOR COURTYARD "AFTE"
MILLER'S COURT INSIDE "BEFORE"
MILLER'S COURT INSIDE "BEFORE"

MILLER'S COURT INSIDE "AFTER"
MILLER'S COURT INSIDE "AFTER"
I'm excited to help to make a mark on a piece of Baltimore's history and  can't wait to show you my plans for helping my clients personalize their new office space at Miller's Court!

Friday, November 7, 2014

CULTURALLY INSPIRED DESIGN: FEEL GOOD FURNISHINGS WITH AN AFRICAN TWIST



Happy Friday!! Today I wanted to share another Instagram gem I recently came across.  Bespoke Binny  is a London-based shop owned and operated by Natalie Yaa Obenewa Thompson. Born in North London, of Ghanaian descent, Natalie was inspired by her West African roots to design a line of home furnishings that are both culturally inspired and fashion forward.  All of her product are handmade using a mixture of vibrant wax prints and cotton twills. 

Natalie says that her company offers "feel good furnishings with an African twist."  

 
Bespoke Binny is also committed to supporting FAIR FOR ALL, a non profit charity that supports women who have been victims of forced marriage, human trafficking or domestic violence. A portion of each cushion sale goes towards supporting FAIR FOR ALL.
 
With their vibrant and bold colors, her pieces are reminiscent of a colorful African marketplace.I was very impressed and inspired by this company and excited when Natalie sent over a few pillows for me to share with you.

The inviting warm ochre colored wall, bright green and red pillows create a global flair and go perfectly with the inspirational and tribal print pillows from Bespoke Binny. Her pieces added just the right tough to this global inspired cozy reading nook.

 As you can see, the pillows feature not only color and pattern,  but some even feature inspirational and uplifting African proverbs. 

Bespoke Binny offers pillows, lampshades, table runners and even passport covers in a beautiful array of bright colors and patterns. 

If you'd like to add a touch of culture, color and vibrancy to your space, check out the Bespoke Binny collection here.  You can also follow Natalie's journey and see more of the collection on her Instagram fee here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

GREAT NEWS: I'VE BEEN FEATURED AT APHROCHIC!

When I received an email from Jeanine Hays, co-founder of AphroChic (the leading content creator in the area of interior design and global decor) asking to feature my design work on their website I nearly fell out. 

Let me explain.  Husband and wife team, Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason are nothing short of amazing.  Not only are they founders of the popular decor brand and blog AphroChic, they are also the authors of  the best seller book REMIX: Decorating with Culture, Objects and Soul. AphroChic's mission is to show design from a diverse perspective. With a design philosophy that embraces a global aesthetic, AphroChic does not treat culture as a trend.  Instead, by creating and showcasing beautiful soulful spaces, it proves that global culture can effortlessly go hand in hand with the luxurious and the contemporary.
 

The AphroChic team chose to feature a design project that is near and dear to my heart - my daughters' bedroom.  The project was truly a labor of love. I used a mix of vintage and modern elements as well as global pieces to create a space that reflects not only the girls' personalities, but also reflects our family's story and culture.  


Thank you for the feature AphroChic! I am humbled and thrilled that the team chose to feature my work.  Please click here to read my full feature and see photos of the space!