A Kitchen in Woodstock | Before

This kitchen has been so much fun to work on. Not only is the client great, but the house is great! From the architecture through to the client’s style, I’ve loved working on this project.

I’m excited to share more on this one as progress continues because compared to most of the projects around here, it isn’t a full gut! We are taking the space and using a lot of existing elements to change the overall look without changing everything. The kitchen has a lot of natural light pouring into it as you can see in the photos above of the existing space, which is great. It is a really great size and everything is in relatively good shape.

So, what’s the plan? (Images Below: left, existing floor plan; top right, proposed new floor plan; bottom right, new window wall elevation with shelving and molding details.) We are stripping and painting the cabinets, replacing the island with something that fits the space a little bit better and offers a bit more function, replacing the countertops, sinks, faucets and backsplash. Then to elevate things we are raising the upper cabinets, adding some floating shelves to the space and opening up the pass through window to make the space flow better. Sounds like a lot? Well it’s a lot of carpentry work that will add up to make a huge impact on the space, without gutting the space completely.

What are we keeping exactly? All of the perimeter cabinets, base and uppers (with the exception of the kitchen sink base which was shot), all of the appliances-including the built in grill in the island, all of the shelving in the space is staying (cookbook storage and art storage above cabinets now) and actually we are adding more around the rest of the kitchen, lighting will remain as is since the kitchen is so bright already, and most importantly we are keeping the flooring which continues throughout the first floor and is original to the home.

What do I love most about this project? When I first started design school, when I was still in Washington (state not DC), my second semester I took an environmental design class learning about all the ways interior design adds to landfills and how to use better products and re-use what you can to help limit or prevent this. After that class I actually dropped out and switched majors for a while to environmental science. I realized that there wasn’t really a career path I could see myself in that would fall under that new major, so then I quit altogether and did some living and some soul searching. After a few years, I finally decided to follow my passion of interior design and go back to school, promising myself I’d do my best to encourage ‘green’ choices when I could. This project totally speaks to that!! And I can’t wait to share with you all how beautiful it can be, after we get it all wrapped up, to renovate this way!

Maybe it’s the location, but this project is really bringing me back to my Pacific Northwest tree-hugging roots in the best way possible and I’m loving every minute of it. And if you made it all the way through this wordy post, I appreciate you hanging in there! I’m going to be up at this jobsite next week and I’m hoping to get some pictures for an in-progress post to share with you all then!

Do you think you’d be a fan of keeping some of your existing pieces and only refacing cabinets and updating some of the details to make a change instead of doing a full gut renovation? I’m interested to hear what you think of the concept and see how you will feel when you see the completed space–maybe I can convert some of you!

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Project Update: 1893

Summer is my busiest season with my workload and the whole work-life balance. Things have been moving right along and I have a few projects underway right now, a few of them that should be wrapping up soon(ish). And I wanted to give you guys an updated look at the progress on the 1893 House!

The tile work is done in the bathrooms, the new wood floors have gone in where needed, all the windows are in and we are only waiting on the custom french doors leading out from the kitchen. The cabinetry started to go in over the last week or so and the counters have all been templated. We have selected paint colors and had the guys swatch them on the walls for us and we will be meeting at the house on Monday to review and finalize so they can paint. All in all, good progress has been made and I am starting to really see the light at the end of this one! And if you ask me, it is looking pretty bright!

How has your summer been so far? I hope it’s going well, filled with a lot of competed projects and fun adventures on your end too! More updates to come… Happy Friday!

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Complete Destruction | ORC Week 3

Welcome to week three of our One Room Challenge, where we are guest participating in a challenge to transform a room in 6 (or really 5) short weeks! If you missed our previous posts, see what our room looked like before and our plans/progress here.

Last week after I read through a good chunk of the other ORC Guest Participant posts, I started experiencing maximum anxiety about my time frame for this project. Having been away for 5 days took a lot of my progress time away and after seeing the strides everyone was making I was like oh crap I need to get down to business.

So, as soon as I got home from the office last Thursday (and finished snuggling with #BrantleyBub) I started ripping out the telephone wire I pointed out in last week’s post. I sent out a snap of the progress I was making and immediately got a text from the hubs, like “what in God’s name have you done?!” Well it wasn’t that dramatic, but he was a little nervous curious and the text did come through pretty quick.

Over the weekend, we began taking the old moldings out. We very quickly realized that we weren’t going to be able to get off so many layers of poorly applied (and like lead) paint, so we cautiously began removing them, with much concern for the plaster walls… we did not need those crumbling down on us. We plan to replace them with period appropriate moldings. It was so fun though to see the history of colors that have been on our walls from shades of green to blue to pink and white.

Remember last week when I said we might do the floors, pending budget and availability of scheduling someone? Well yesterday we had the guy come out to give us the quote, because after removing the molding and revealing the edging, it quickly became apparent that it needs to be done. So we are pinching pennies and cutting from some areas of the budget where we can to make room for the floors. They will be repaired and refinished and the soonest we can get on their schedule for is May 2nd. That’s cutting it awfully close to the reveal week, but ya know what? It’ll have to do.

So, flooring aside, we successfully removed all of the trim ourselves (with the exception of the window trim), and for my hubby who has never really been all that handy, and for myself who grew up in a DIY family but hasn’t ever undertaken serious projects at home (everything I plan with my clients, someone else executes), I am insanely proud of us! So right now we are in the “complete destruction” phase of the project, where nothing looks pretty and we are lucky if there isn’t still demo dust scattered around the living room (and the rest of the condo). Hopefully soon, things will start looking a lot prettier!

We also swatched paint to decide on our color change. I narrowed it down to 5 choices, which do you like the best? (The colors are as follows–all Benjamin Moore: 1., White Satin. 2., Breath of Fresh Air. 3., Jet Stream. 4., Heaven on Earth. 5., Silvery Blue.)

I’m planning to paint the base molding and the ceilings white, and the walls, door and window trims and doors themselves all the same as the wall color. Because our room is so small, and there are a lot of doors/doorways/windows for the small space, I want to eliminate the illusion of the space being broken up so much. I feel that if the color is consistent on all of the details with just the top and bottom framing out the wall color with crisp white, then the room will feel a lot more expansive. That said, I’m catching a lot of flack so far from the few people I’ve discussed it with, but I think we are going to move forward with this plan anyway. Since I can’t shake the idea, I decided to dig up some images of rooms where others have embraced the concept and rocked it! Here’s a look at some rooms where they’ve done some version of this:

[Paint Inspo Images: Martha Stewart’s Pink Guest Suite, Latitude Lane Den by Angie Hranowsky, AB Chao’s Moody Bedroom as featured on Apartment Therapy’s post here, Eclectic Dining Room by Suzanne Kasler and Kim Winkler as featured on Carla Aaston’s blog here.]

What do you think? Are you a fan of unifying the space by painting everything including moldings the same as the wall color?

This weekend our goals are to finish removing the last bit of trim, tend to the radiator, and start working on patching and priming the walls. I’d love to say we will paint, but if there is anything I’ve learned from doing the molding it’s that everything takes longer than you think, and I do not want to rush the paint! We also have an appointment for the window treatments to finalize our fabric selections and get our install scheduled. So all in all, I feel we have made great strides this week (even if it only does equal one thing off the list).

Here’s a look at our list:

  • Remove old moldings
  • Install new moldings
  • light fixture/ceiling medallion
  • Radiator-clean up and/or cover
  • Gallery Wall
  • DIY Art Project
  • Refinish Wood Floors
  • Paint
  • Window Treatments

One Room Challenge, One Room Challenge Spring 2016, One Room Challenge Guest Participant, ORC Spring 2016, ORC Guest participant

Be sure to pop over and scroll through the featured designers progress updates here, and jump to the Calling It Home blog for the guest participant link up to see everyone else’s spaces as well! I hope you are having fun following along with this challenge!

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Spring Inspiration

It’s a late post tonight, but on that I wanted to make sure to post. I came down with a bit of a cold last week and am just finally recovering from the last straggling remnants. BrantleyBub turned two yesterday and we had a sweet little neighborhood puppy party for him. There was fresh fluffy white stuff in the grass this morning and the air was so cold…With the cold and the snow and the fun things on the horizon, I’m so ready for Spring!!

Now that it is officially Spring (white weather this morning aside), I’m ready to be inspired by this new season, and this quote is perfect! “Inspiration is the seed, design but the flower.” Michael Langham’s words on a bright red background reminiscent of poppies (Benjamin Moore’s Ravishing Red) perfectly describe design no matter the time of year.

Inspiration is the seed Design is the flower, Spring Inspiration, INspiration, Motivation Monday, Quote, QOTD, Monday mantra, Interior Design Quotes, Design Quotes, DBKwords
Design is the pretty that you see when all of the hard work, sunshine, food and water has been put in to let it blossom from just the seed. All of the work that goes into deigning a beautiful space build from our experiences and the things that inspire us no matter how big or how small. We take the experiences of our lives with us and call on them to inspire us as we create rooms that bloom into beautiful spaces.

And if you know me at all, you know how much I love flowers, so any space of my design that could be described as such would bring me so much joy. How does the change in seasons inspire you?

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The 1893 House

This suburban New Jersey project has been under way for us for about 6 months now, with DBK involved for a little over 2 months. They found the home last summer and immediately started seeking out contractors and an architect and I didn’t step onto the project until the architects plans were complete and the crew was about to break down the walls.

I love this project. I love this old home, the clients, the character in the details, the things we are able to salvage and retain and the things we are working so hard to incorporate to get it back to it’s hay-day style. (The pictures above are from the real estate listing which didn’t share photographer information, but since I came on board late there was already a bit of debris around the house so I wanted to share something so you could at least envision the space before it became a construction zone.)

I love being able to walk in and envision film reels of this house’s glory days. I can’t wait for this couple to be able to enjoy their own glory days in the homes renewed beauty when we are done with it.

That said, when I first walked in and walked through with the client, I was awe struck. The details truly are magnificent and they really don’t make homes like this anymore. However, upon seeing the architects plans for the house, I had to proceed with making a few adjustments, and without hesitation, I brought up my concerns with the client.

Basically I had concerns with the layout of the master suite, and the flow of the kitchen. There were some minor issues with the hall bath that we caught and addressed before they would become an issue, and we have more recently been combing through the electrical plan and making sure the lighting is enough and that we have our proper layers of light in each space. (The lighting I will have to share more on another day, because I get so excited just mentioning it… I can’t wait until it’s actually all in place.)

For the Master Suite (first five images in this photo group), the changes were made but didn’t get to the construction crew in time, and because of this, we had to re-frame the master suite (relocating closet space and bathroom space). It was extremely frustrating for the crew and I’m pretty sure the GC is still upset with me, but honestly, these are the details we need to make sure are done with 100% accuracy so that when move in date comes and the client is using the space, they are moving through it with complete ease.

Good design of a space isn’t just fitting it all in. It is making sure there is good function and flow… making sure that the end user can function well and thrive in their new environment. I truly believe that is key to any successful design project.

So, the changes were made. The space is really beginning to take shape and the home is opening up beautifully. (The last picture in the lower grouping is of the kitchen space opened up now into the dining room area… I can’t wait to see how the light and space feels when framing is complete!)

I will share more progress as we move through and make more progress. All of the photos here are obviously rough and in the works as the construction team has been working through all the rough work. Hopefully I can give you an update next month that is a little more resembling of a place you would actually enjoy spending time.

What do you think so far of this project? Would you be brave enough to buy a 100+ year old home and take on it’s restoration? I have been sharing a lot of in process images from this space over on my Instagram and you can follow along with the hashtag #dbkproject1893 to see some updates and selections along the way.

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Simplifying a Bathroom

This project is the type of project that is so fun! No major plumbing or electrical changes are taking place, but the transformation is so HUGE! The work is in progress now, hopefully will be done soon so that I can share a reveal with you but on the phone last night she said to me that already the bathroom is “one hundred and fifty seven thousand times better!”
I love that, and I have to agree. The old space was outdated with burgundy 4″ tiles everywhere with the exception of a one piece tub surround unit that felt cheap and dingy in the space, a vanity that was dis-proportioned to the space and visually felt bulky with the details and finish, and an overall yellow tone in the space that didn’t feel right.


The goals for this space were to maximize the functionality and the storage while making the space feel clean and bright and more open.


Here’s what we are doing:

First things first, the vanity that is existing is 42″x 21″ and with a long narrow bathroom like this one, we want to make sure the vanity protrudes into the space too much. We decided to order the vanity to be 60″ wide with a reduced depth of 18″ to allow more storage in the length, while running the cabinetry more flush against the wall.

Due to the position of the door, we can’t run the vanity all the way to the door, so we positioned it as close to the commode as we could according to the code regulations, leaving a 20″ space between the entry wall and the vanity unit… perfect spacing to accommodate a decorative hamper or waste-basket, or just leave it open, either way, the space is left feeling elongated and open.

We changed the vanity finish from dark wood to a painted white finish and from a dark granite top to a gray and white top.

The other main thing that we changed that will make a huge impact is the tile. On the floors we removed the old dated mini burgundy tiles from the floor and replaced them with a large 10″ gray hexagon, and on the walls, we used a large white tile, staggered just like a standard subway tile would be, but in the large scale, it makes the space feel so open and the white is so refreshing compared to the old dark tile that was there before. Instead of using a standard bull-nose tile to finish the ends, we capped it all off with a sleek chrome trim. (Some in progress shots below.)

Basically the re-design is a simple change in the scale and tone of the details to really simplify and freshen up the space. Hopefully I will have more details to share soon… be sure to follow along on Instagram to see any updates that may come along.

What do you think? Are there any little things you can do to simplify your bathroom? (Or any room in your home?)

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Words for the New Year

Hey Friends, I know it has been a month since I last blogged, December was crazy and I needed a little reset and to take one thing off my plate for a little while. But, I’m back!

Jersey Shore, Beach, January at the Beach, Coast, East Coast, Serene, Open Beach, Empty Beach,Jersey Shore, Beach, January at the Beach, Coast, East Coast, Serene, Open Beach, Empty Beach,

I’m so excited to see what this new year has to offer for our life, family and for our design ventures. DBK is busy with clients in such a good way. I am learning a better work life balance and not to be busy with projects all the time, I am starting to be more selective with the projects and clients I do take on and I am learning to ask for help when I need it. To say the least, things are already starting to feel amazing in the New Year! I thought these were particulary wise words, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life,” well said Socrates (on a background of Majestic Violet by Benjamin Moore).

quote, words, dbkwords, beware the barrenness of a busy life, socrates,

We spent the holidays with my family on vacation and it was so great to have Christmas with my mama (and of course my step dad, sister and hubby)! We didn’t work at all while we were away and for that I am so grateful, even P took a complete break and really soaked up the downtime!  I finished a book, worked on some knitting, did a puzzle, played games with the fam, lounged by the pool and in the best hammock ever and soaked up the time with my family.

Hammock, Christmas, Florida, Holiday, Relax, Relaxation, Rest, Restful, Bare Feet,

New Years we spent the weekend at the new jersey shore. Had an amazing morning at the beach, had some delicious meals and more great time to just reset and think about what we want from 2016.

Golden Retriever, Sully Boy, Brantley Bub, Wheaten Terrier, Beach Dogs, Beach Puppy, Puppies at the Beach, Dogs at the beach, Playful puppies, ocean, January at the beach, Winter Beach.

We have decided that we want to take this year and really build some amazing memories. P had said that compared to the year we had in 2014 (we bought our condo, brought home #BrantleyBub, got married and had the most incredibly honeymoon), 2015 really didn’t live up. I think it was sort of a year of balance last year. With 2014 being as awesome as it was, we needed a year that had a little less going on.

For DBK it was still an incredible year last year with so many amazing projects. I spent some of the last month taking inventory of our year in design projects and last year was something special to say the least. So from a business/design side of things, I’m so thrilled to see the beautiful spaces we put together this year.

New Year, New Mantra, Less Stuff, More Moments, Make Memories, DBK Words, Less is More, quote

And personally, we are putting a big push on making some incredible memories. We are planning some great trips, some updates to the condo and a whole lot of elimination of stuff. I shared our new mantra on Instagram over the weekend, “less stuff, more moments,” and I think even just the idea of that makes me feel light and happy. Commence excitement for all of the above!!

What are you most looking forward to in the new year? Do you have any big plans, or any plans to keep it simple? Any New Years Resolutions or like us maybe a new mantra?

Either way, we wish you all the best for 2016 and can’t wait to share in more projects and adventures with our blogging community!

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Updating to a Classic Look | Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation In Process

TGIF y’all!! I wanted to celebrate that we made it through the week by sharing a bit about one of my current projects!

I started working with this client on their space several months ago (back when there was still snow on the ground). We sorted through all of the details of their space, worked out a plan, and started selecting our materials.

Farmhouse Bath Floor Plans

Orders were placed around March or April and then we waited. This is not that uncommon in the world of renovations. You have to wait for your contractor to fit you into their schedule, the town to approve your permits, and the materials to all arrive. All that said, we were ready to go in June, but couldn’t start until a few weeks ago due to many variables.

You can take a look at the planning process in this post (the first image shows me working through this space planning). And the plan above is the one that we ultimately went with. The idea was to bring in some more classic farmhouse elements to be true to the home’s character while not creating something that would easily feel dated.

We decided to choose materials that represented that classic farmhouse feeling with the wood look tile on the main floor, white subway on the walls (in an updated scale and finish), and accents of Carrera marble in the counters, shower floor and saddle pieces.

We went with a claw-foot tub centered in the bathroom space with a beautiful and classic tub filler to finish it off. This detail was the one sticking point for this client, we had to find a way to make a claw-foot fit in the space in addition to the shower, and ideally make it stand out as a centerpiece.

Farmhouse Bathroom Storage Cabinet Linen Tower Custom Amish Dining Room Hutch

For the cabinetry, we went with a simple style and a classic valance base that nods towards an Amish farm style cabinetry detail. The plan is to carry this theme through with custom corner cabinets to flank the tub and add storage in the space (we had to knock out the linen closet in the hallway to make everything fit in the space that we wanted). The corner cabinets would be a painted white finish with a valance base that would match that of the vanity cabinet, but for now they won’t be added due to budgeting restrictions (also very common in renovations), however they are all planned and ready to go whenever we are ready to add them. The vanity cabinet itself is a really pretty chestnut brown finish, which is a nice rich tone without the reddish undertones.

I can’t wait to see how this whole space comes together! Hopefully I can share more soon! Are you working on any projects at home? What renovations are on your list currently and what types of renovations do you want to see me share more of here?

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Traditional | Warm | White | Kitchen

This kitchen renovation took a lot of planning, but it was so worth it. You can see what it looked like before and in process here, but let’s take a look at all that storage and counter space in the after below!
Warm White Kitchen 1

One of the things that I really love about this new space is the new windows. Both of the windows in the kitchen space were replaced, the one over the sink was moved (it’s worth checking the before post to see the old window placement). The previous window was close to the corner of the room nearest the front door, it was large and low and took up a bulk of the usable space. For a kitchen though it is so nice to have natural light streaming in, it was better in this kitchen to recover that space for storage and counters and upgrade to a smaller window centered over the sink.

We centered the window in the interior space, so if you look closely at the exterior shots, you will notice it is slightly off centered between the door and the edge of the home, but it isn’t super obvious and the bigger concern was that it would look puny compared to the large window on the living room side of the home. Once we applied the siding and shutters it seemed to really blend in and balance out on the front of the house, and there are always landscaping tricks you can do if this is something that ends up changing in your space as well.

The other thing we did to help make this space feel larger was open it up to the formal living room. We weren’t able to open it up completely due to structural requirements and budget constraints, but we opened it as much as possible, extending the counters through to the living room side of the column to create a breakfast nook and keep the sight lines as expansive as possible.

Lastly, we grouped all of the food storage together anchoring the far corner of the room creating ample storage while still leaving the eat-in kitchen capabilities.

Another favorite feature of this kitchen is the white sink. Believe it or not, it is a white granite composite sink, and the homeowner has reported that it is holding up very well and they are quite pleased with it. With the cabinets and sink being white, we balanced it out with a warm counter, paint and flooring to really get a warm feeling in the space overall. This is also why we steered clear of stainless appliances. The white appliances keep the space feeling more open and don’t add the cool stainless feeling to the overall warm space. All of the hardware is in a brushed nickel which is also a very warm finish.

What do you think of this finished space? A lot of people right now are doing all white kitchens with white details on everything except for the appliances and hardware, so I’m interested to see what the feedback will be on this space with the white balancing out with warmer, softer details, but at the end of the day and at the end of the design what matters most is the homeowner and it is safe to say that they are really pleased with not only the visual of the space, but also with the new functionality they have here!

Halfway There on a Home Redesign

I wanted to share a photo post of a space in progress. I shared a little bit about this project on this post with the before, and here is a look at the first install day trying to get as much done as possible before the family hosted a big event at the house. 
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We are still waiting on most of the furnishings for both kids’ rooms, the headboards alone will make a world of difference. And for the living room, we still need the chairs that were on back-order (I brought my living room chairs to fill in while they wait), and all of the accent tables, art work, window treatments, etc., but I have to say that the place has already made such a huge transformation on 2 weeks notice before the party! I can’t wait until the rest of the pieces arrive and I can get this job wrapped up and photographed so I can share it with y’all! This project has been a favorite so far!

What do you think? Do I look like a crazy person in these photos running around trying to get all the details in place? What little transformations have you been making to your home lately?