Design Services Now Open!

I'm baaaaacccckkkkk! I've finally caught up on finishing my properties, design projects and some relaxation. So, I'm opening my design services back up to everyone! I'm considering this a re-launch of sorts. I've updated my services page to better explain the optons. I've also posted about each service explaining the entire process. "Design" is such a general term sometimes and I wanted to make it easier to understand what exactly you'll get when working with me from start to finish. Click through below to learn more. 

If you're ready and raring to go, click here to start the design questionnaire.

I look forward to working with you!

Before & After: Client Retro @Rnchhouse

Hygge & West Justina Blakeney Wallpaper and Floating Shelves in a white kitchen

Oh. My. Gosh. This kitchen. It was right up my alley. Well, I knew it was going to be the minute I walked in their door and saw all of their mid-century modern and boho treasures. SO MUCH YES. I was so excited when Client Retro @Rnchhouse gave me the go ahead to plan away. Here was their initial request:

Describe Your Project: We just bought a 1957 fixer in Central Phoenix. The kitchen got a mini-facelift in 1986. It's been untouched since then. It's a great space but feels cramped due to a peninsula. It's a full gut and will require reconfiguring.

Wish List: Clean lines mixed with boho touches (wood, color, textiles). An industrial-style range. Some open shelving without sacrificing too much storage. I really want a kitchen that reflects my personality while complimenting the character of the home. I'm not afraid to take risks with design but I don't want it to be dated quickly.

Here's what we were working with. I mean it sure was retro but not in a cool way. Also, does anyone else think this feels like a cabinet jail cell?

Before Kitchen Retro
Retro Peninsula

 My client wanted just what I wanted. It was a match made in heaven. A couple after my own heart! They wanted a nice clean, bright kitchen with fun and funky boho, retro and mid-century modern accents. We got right to it. First with the floor plan.

Obviously we were going to remove the cabinets hanging down over the peninsula. That alone would make this kitchen so much more open. We also expanded the footprint of the cabinetry a bit. Below the window (where the arrow is pointing), there was nothing but a few feet of empty space. The walkway to the exterior door was here but it didn't need to be that wide. 

Expand the Peninsula

Expanding toward the door allowed us to move the dishwasher to the right side of the sink to accommodate a lazy susan and cabinet on the left side. We could also add an overhang for seating at the peninsula. Another tweak was rearranging the other appliances to make more sense. I like the tall things to all be together if possible, so we stole a little bit of extra space from the hall to accommodate a new counter depth fridge and pantry cabinet. Removing the pantry and fridge from the current wall allowed us to have a longer more symmetrical cabinet layout that could highlight a range and chimney hood.

REtro kitchen with appliances in all the wrong places

Here's the new floor plan:

Even with removing the cabinets hanging over the peninsula and on the window wall, there is still way more storage in this kitchen than before. Client Retro @Rnchhouse still have empty cabinets they have't filled yet. Goes to show how making an efficiently laid out kitchen is so important.

And of course the new design: 

*Links to these items at the bottom. Some may include affiliate links

I wanted the one empty wall by the exterior door to be an accent wall. My client was obsessed with Justina Blakeney's Cosmic Desert wallpaper from Hygge & West. So that was easy. Done. We balanced the awesomeness of the wallpaper with a more classic style kitchen. Having a more traditional cabinet and simple subway backsplash helped to not compete with the wallpaper, as well as tick that box of having a kitchen that wouldn't date itself too quickly. It would be simple and bright in this kitchen with punches of fun in the wallpaper, lighting and my client's awesome and ever changing collection of vintage items. We allowed for one area to be open shelving for her to place these special pieces.

Floating Shelves, White shaker kitchen with marble and Hygge & West Justina Blakeney Cosmic Desert Wallpaper.jpg
Retro White Shaker Kitchen with Black and Stainless Appliances, floating shelves, mid century modern lighting and long subway tile backsplash

Some things did change during the process, though. In the original design we had the same tile but in gray. This is one of those things that can wait toward the end to really commit to since it's one of the last thing to be installed. In the end we opted for the white version. The tile has a little wonkiness to its edges so that helped in making it a little less formal and a little more boho. I like how it maintains the nice bright atmosphere, but adds a little texture to the walls.

The appliance color also changed. The white Kitchenaid appliances looked super cool and we loved the idea of them, but with no floor samples to look at and Kitchenaid not offering any sample chips, we decided to be safe and get the stainless versions. We weren't sure if the white appliances would clash with the other whites in the room. Unfortunately, the white hood did a little. It came in damaged so when replacing it my client swapped it out for the black version. This really helped tie in the wallpaper on the opposite side of the room.

As you can see by the decor, my @rnchhouse client has great taste and had a lot of input in this design from the get go. My role was to help them decide which items would work and which ones to let go (cement tile). With some very fun picks like the lighting and wallpaper, we needed to make sure we let those things stand out while keeping a more neutral backdrop. This is very common that a big portion of my job is centered around the decision making. My clients often have many ideas great ideas flowing that they need help sorting through them all and be able to visualize the end result. 

Sometimes my role is to "give permission" to use certain things...like marble countertops. We're all told that it wears over time and that it will stain. "We don't recommend it" THEY say. HOGWASH. So long as you know what you're in for, then go for it. I've never met an old stained marble I didn't like. So, I am unafraid to use it in a kitchen. If stains will bother you, then you know what to do. Don't use it. Simple as that. They went for marble. I secretly fist pumped. YESSSSSS.

And here are the all to popular before and after shots. My fave! The now much more open, way less cabinet jail feeling kitchen.

And a punch wallpapered accent wall to turn it up a notch.

And a much more symmetrical cooking area more pleasing to the eye and the chef.  

I had so much fun with this one and I know Client Retro @Rnchhouse is loving their new kitchen. Check out the rest of their house projects on Instagram!

Check out all of the finishes we used (and didn't use) in this kitchen listed below.


Colors:

Door: Dunn Edwards Barrier Reef

Door: Dunn Edwards Barrier Reef

Walls: Behr Ultra Pure White

Walls: Behr Ultra Pure White


Shop This Kitchen:


Schoolhouse Kitchen Design

I LOVE SMALL KITCHENS. 

LOVE THEM.

The wonderful thing about them is that there's hardly any room to spend a lot of money. So, the challenge becomes geometry more than anything. What's even better is starting from scratch. Tear it all out, put the water and electric where you want it and make an entirely reconfigured space. This kitchen started from this:

Luckily the slate was wiped clean. Almost everything was torn out including that door to the right. There was already another exit to the back deck so we didn't need the one in the kitchen. Fewer obstructions like windows and doors = so much room for activities! Here's the blank slate floor plan in which you can see the other doorway to the back deck (and basement) on the right. The original kitchen exit door was in the top wall on the rendering.

I went to work first on the layout.  This was one of the trickiest floor plans. The most obvious and frankly, the best possible scenario would have been to have a peninsula parallel the dining room (which is at the bottom of the rendering, out of the picture). However, this would mean either jamming the range and fridge together on the back wall (top of the rendering), or having the range in the peninsula.

Me no likey.

Putting the range in the peninsula would mean having a hood smack dab in the middle. I don't like that either. It blocks the view and clutters things up. Clutter is dumb. What to do!?!? I had to stop myself and demand that I think outside the box. Think of a different shape. Think of a different way. And then the clouds parted and the new layout was born. 

Like I said, it's not the ideal. The ideal would've been a nice bar area alongside the dining room, but that wasn't happening. In this new plan we get bar seating and space between all of the appliances. In order to have the bar next to the basement stairs and not feel like you were blocking the pathway, we used 12" wall cabinets that the contractor built up onto a base instead of using standard 24" base cabinets. Now the stools could slide under and out of the way. If you are sitting at the peninsula, you are 12" closer to the kitchen (further from the basement stairwell) than if you used standard base cabinets. 

Next was putting together a look. That was not so difficult. The schoolhouse-industrial vibe is big in Cincinnati, so I went with what the people (and I) like. I also wanted to make sure the small kitchen felt clean and spacious. So, I kept the color palette to black and white. Once you have a direction in your mind, it's a matter of plucking all the pieces that will make it happen.

Side note:

I knew Nicole at Revival Designs was going to be staging the home. I knew her stuff would look excellent in this space. Keep the appropriate decor and furnishings in mind! All kitchen designs can feel sterile if you don't consider the decor. I usually include items such as plants, kitchen gadgets and artwork in my designs so people can see how it will come together. Had I left out the cutting board, stool and the photo with the styled countertop, my client might not have been impressed. Design is not just tile and cabinets. You must be able to see the big picture.

The design turned out exactly as I had hoped. 

The floors under the layers of grossness were actually salvageable! I love how they run diagonally and much more interest than any tile could have provided.

This layout provides easy access to the kitchen from the dining room without having to walk around a peninsula. It also provides seating for three. Another bar stool can be added there on the end. Another perk of this design is the cost of the materials. You just can't get any less expensive than subway tile and black granite. Ok, you can, that's a lie. But, seriously these materials are both good quality AND classic design. There's always the allure of fancy tiles and higher end slabs, but usually it is unnecessary. 

And the ever popular before and after photo...

I love the simplicity of this design. Every detail from top to bottom was considered. It must've worked because this house, a house flip in Cincinnati, was under contract in 2 days! Did I mention I live in Phoenix? Long distance design is a thing. Design services for your space, wherever you may be, are available starting at $250. Click here for more info. More details about this kitchen are in the design board below. Click through to get info on each item.

Renovation Design Capsule 2: Spring 2016

Last time I wrote about a design capsule, I wasn't sure I'd ever do so again. After all, it was supposed to be a tried and true template. It was meant to be classic. It was meant to never need changing. This theory lives on, the Renovation Design Capsule of Winter 2016 is still tried and true.  It works! However, I did consider in the back of my head that I would someday want to change it. I do that sort of thing. Often. And so, it's true I wanted more. Let's not call this a change. Let's call it the second capsule in a series . After all, just because one exists doesn't mean another can't as well. I'm convinced that design styles change simply because designers get bored. Plus, variety is the spice of life, amiright? 

So, RDS 2 was born. Winter is over. Spring and almost summer is in the air. Let's punch this up a notch. 

Renovation Design Capsule 2: Spring 2016

Renovation Design Capsule 2: Spring 2016

What's new about this one is the brighter colors added. I just love the colors of nature, so we have some deep blue and bright green to brighten up the place. Here's a recent design for an investor client's flip using that delicious green color. 

 

The finishes are the same, but check out some of the new fixture styles I'm loving. I'm also digging some plays on the classic patterns. Sure we've got the hex and subway tile in there but these versions are elongated. Planks are still going strong and I threw some penny rounds in there for shits and gigs. The part I really want to implement going forward is some geometric pattern whether it's like this modern wainscoting or tossing around some X's in barn doors or capping off island ends. This could really get fun and ridiculous. 

Finally, the material section. I'm still loving the ceramic tile, marble and natural wood obvs. Guys, I still dig me some granite. It is just so random and delicious. The variations are wonderful. It's a natural product. I love it.

Now, let's talk about the quartz. People are all over this stuff here in Phoenix. Did I mention I moved? I say people are obsessed with it from the perspective of a person that has been looking for and talking houses here for 1 week...K. Clearly I don't have that much research under my belt. I'm not sold on quartz. It's a natural material-ish. Supposedly, in my 5.3 seconds of Googling, quartz counters are 96% crushed quartz jammed together with a resin. Scientifically speaking. Resin ain't real, people. Sometimes they throw glass in there. I don't like sparkly specks. I don't like glass in my counters. I like real. Maybe I'm just a quartz newb and don't know what I'm talking about. They say it's easier to maintain and more durable. I've had granite for YEARS and have never had an issue. It's not like it's going to melt away. Or, maybe like me, people just got bored with the same thing. That's possible. My answer to that is to stop using Uba freakin' Tuba. Unless it's leathered Uba Tuba. That's cool. 

What was I talking about again?

Let's end this post right here. Shall we?

 

Bathroom Remodel for Under $6,000

Look at my client's bathroom in all its brass and carpeted glory. Brass is actually making it's come back....but not like this. Luckily, this is BEFORE. Before it became kick-ass for only $6,000. 

carpeted bathroom

So, what's amazing about this bathroom is the team effort. Last year, Keith came to me with questions on what to do to his bathroom, but on a budget. This is when my client design business was born. I've been flipping houses for 9 years now but had never really branched out into working with clients.

We started with him sending me photos of his bathroom in the current state, in addition, he sent me photos of things he liked. I ran with it. A short while later I sent him back a design board showing him everything he could use in his bathroom, a spreadsheet with the costs and location of each item and a total budget for all of the finish materials. Here is his design board. 

gray bathroom design board

Next it was his turn. Like I said, he was on a tight budget. He ran the project, hiring a contractor and making sure the contractor was responsible for all building materials. Then, he used the design board and spreadsheet and used them as a jumping off point. He was able to find a vanity similar to the one in the inspiration board on sale at Home Depot, saving him several hundred dollars. Along the way, though, he fell in love with marble tile. So, he used those savings to splurge on higher end shower tile instead of the more budget friendly white ceramic subway tile. To save some more money, he reused the jacuzzi tub and shower pan that were both still in good condition. In the end, he was able to completely flip his bathroom from carpeted 70's cave to bright, fresh, clean place to .....get clean for just under $6,000! Check it out...

marble bathroom gray

Don't mind the gold overflow cover. Nothing to see there. Rome wasn't built in a day people. It may or may not still be gold 9 months later. Anywhoooo, Keith LOVES his new bathroom. Not only is it decked out with his favorite, marble, but it didn't cost him an arm and a leg. 

"Wendy made it easy with the spreadsheet because I was able to keep track of everything I needed to buy with an estimated price so I wasn't shocked about anything in the end"

I'll take that to the bank. 

If you're interested in doing something similar to your space but need a little nudge in the right direction, get your own design and spreadsheet budget. Contact me for more details or check out the different options on the design page button below!