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The Best Light Gray Paint Colors for Walls

The other day I did a consult with a client to select paint colors for her open living room / dining room / kitchen. The home had been a builder spec home in a new development, and the client had re-painted when they moved in but felt the color, which was a very cool blue gray, wasn’t quite right.

Her instincts were right, and I could definitely see how she’d had trouble selecting the right paint color. The builder had used a pretty stone on the fireplace with warm gray undertones, tan carpeting, medium dark wood floors (not too red, which was good), espresso colored cabinets, and then granite countertops that were mostly gold with flecks of burgundy. The fixed finishes were all over the place, and the gray they’d picked was too cool to coordinate with any of them.

I brought my Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore paint decks along with loose swatches of some of my favorite colors. I also brought drafting tape and a piece of white foam core. I like to tape the loose swatches to the foam core and then move the foam core around the room. Plus, the white of the foam keeps the existing wall color from distorting the color of the swatches.

We eventually settled on three options for the living area that were all warm grays and then three options for blue greens in the kitchen and dining area. We discussed painting the cabinets ivory to better coordinate with the cottage style the client prefers.

These are my go-to warm gray paint colors and my starting point in just about any room where I know I’m not doing a color or a beige.

Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray SW 2029

Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams is definitely one of my top favorite colors for walls. It’s a warm stony color right in between true gray and beige. The undertone of the color leans more towards yellow-orange than toward green.

Domiteaux + Baggett Architects, PLLC, Dallas

Julea Reinventing Space, Palos Park

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter HC-172

I know that everyone (on Pinterest) is loving Revere Pewter these days and with good reason. This is my top contender for my client’s living room because it paired nicely with the stone in her fireplace. It’s got a little more pigment in it than the Sherwin-Williams light grays (second swatch down on the strip) and has a more yellow-green undertone.

Scavullo Design Interiors, San Francisco

Lucy McLintic, San Francisco

Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray SW 7043

Worldly Gray is cooler than Agreeable Gray with more green in the undertone. It’s a beautiful color that looks lovely with natural wood.

Unique Spaces, Ottawa

Boyer Building Corporation, Minnetonka

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray HC-173

Edgecomb Gray is right below Revere Pewter in the Benjamin Moore paint deck, but Edgecomb Gray has more yellow in it than Revere Pewter and less pigment. It’s a wonderful alternative to beige and much more versatile.

Cardea Building Co., San Francisco

Divine Custom Homes, Hudson

Sherwin Williams Useful Gray SW 7050

Useful Gray has a yellow-green undertone to it and also looks great with natural wood. It’s light and fresh feeling.

Scovell Wolfe & Associates, Inc, Kansas City

Sarah Stacey Interior Design, Austin

Benjamin Moore Stingray 1529

Stingray also has a yellow-green undertone. It’s another beautiful versatile gray that’s neither too warm (beige) or too cool.

Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders, San Francisco

Kelly Mcguill Home, Walpole

Sherwin Williams Sedate Gray SW 6169

Sedate Gray is probably my all time favorite gray. It’s definitely a green undertone, but it’s still warm. It doesn’t tend to look sagey, and it works well with all colors of natural wood. I have used most of the colors from the same paint strip and find that they are somewhat changeable with the light, looking cooler or warmer depending on the time of day. It also looks really beautiful with marble.

CM Glover, New York

T.R. Builder, Inc., New Port News

All of these grays work really well for rooms with lighter hardwood floors and for rooms with wood trim. If you prefer darker colored walls or just a little more pigment than these light grays, you can always use the third swatch down on the Sherwin-Williams paint strip or the fourth or fifth swatch on the Benjamin Moore strip (for the non HC colors). I like to use the lightest color on the strip for the ceiling instead of stark white.



Quote from The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield

I think this is a very important distinction to keep in mind whenever we’re trying to accomplish something really big or nurturing a dream way beyond our current reality. I know if I didn’t believe in this I would have given up on many goals long ago.


Friday Quotes: Gary Keller – The One Thing

Don’t let small thinking cut your life

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller is on my re-read list for 2015. It was totally inspirational and motivating. Have a fabulous week-end!


Books I Read – February 2015

In 2015, I will be sharing monthly the books I’ve read in the past month as well as the books I’m planning to read in the current month. My goal is to read or listen to 100 books in 2015. In 2014, I listened to and read approximately 60 books, so this is a stretch goal!


I finished six books in February and am halfway through a seventh book. I am hoping that my pace will pick up during the summer when I have a lot more free time and don’t have to go to bed at 9:00. I found last summer that I read for about an hour every morning, which is a big jump up from the 20 minutes I am currently reading five mornings a week. I devote the morning session to non-fiction when I have the highest levels of concentration and read fiction before bed. So, between the morning and evening as well as an audio book in the car, I am reading about three books at any given time.

I thoroughly enjoyed Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently by Caroline Arnold and was able to implement some of the strategies described in the book immediately. Arnold’s theory is similar to those we’ve heard many times before – big sweeping resolutions fail and goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. But, she goes on to say that we should reduce all of our bigger goals, like lose weight or exercise more or be on time, to a tiny small action that we can commit to doing every day. In order to be successful at larger goals, we should analyze our habits and actions and figure out exactly where we’re getting tripped up. Then we can address each of these smaller areas one at a time. I plan to share more about how I’ve used this book in my own life in another post.

If you liked The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg but struggle with how to implement new habits in your life, this book might help you make some real progress.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was a popular recommendation for readers who enjoyed Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I never read Gone Girl, but I enjoyed the movie, so I thought I would give it a try. The narrator of the story is Rachel, a divorced alcoholic who is also unemployed and possibly obsessed with her ex-husband, his new wife and their baby daughter. As she rides the train back and forth to London on her morning commute, she can see the back yards of not only her husband and his wife but other homes in the neighborhood and creates a fictional life for one couple, in particular.

I won’t give away any of the details of the story, but I will say that the ending has a twist, which I suspected about two-thirds into the book. Still, I didn’t envision just exactly how it would play out, so I found the finale to be satisfying. I did have trouble empathizing with Rachel because she seemed a touch crazy and more than a little pathetic and delusional. But, in the end, I was left wondering if this interpretation of her was colored by her interactions with the other characters and not entirely the truth.

The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust by Edith H. Beer is a memoir of the Holocaust. Beer grew up Jewish in Austria and survived the war by hiding in plain sight and assuming the identity of a Gentile friend, eventually marrying a German man. I am fascinated by all of the varying stories that have emerged from such a terrible time and appreciate each one for its uniqueness. I found this account to be written very plainly with little embellishment, but the style fit both the author and the story.

What Alice Forgot is the third book I’ve read by Liane Moriarty (also Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret). Moriarty’s writing style is lighter than I usually prefer, but I enjoy her characters and stories as well as the subtle backdrop of contemporary Australian culture. I finished this book in around three days and would have read it more quickly if I’d had a little more time to devote to it.

This particular story centered on Alice, a 39 year old stay at home mother, who hits her head during a spin class and wakes up thinking she’s 29 with no memory of the past ten years – including her children or her impending divorce. I thought that the last third of the book was by far the best as Alice begins to figure everything out, and we find out that maybe there are two sides to every story. I was less fond of the parallel story lines involving Alice’s older sister, who suffers from infertility, and her adopted grandmother.

The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck was on my Amazon recommendations list, where I typically find many of the books I read, and it was on sale. I thought that this book could have been really interesting, but in the end, I felt it was a bit boring and flat. I think I was expecting more of a thriller or just a little more mystery, but all of the mysteries were revealed in the beginning, leaving me to wonder about the point of the novel.

I started listening to the first chapter of Mastery by Robert Greene (Audio) before the holidays and finally finished it last week. I had a hard time getting into the audio, but once I did, I found it well worth it. This was the first book I’ve read by Greene, and from the Amazon reviews, it looks like I probably should have read his other works first before attempting to write a review of this one.

Mastery follows my ideal formula for non-fiction: principles illustrated with anecdotes and real world examples. For every idea Greene tries to communicate about how to achieve mastery in life, he follows through with the story of a historical figure (Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo DaVinci, Marcel Proust, Wolfgang von Goethe) or a contemporary master such as Paul Graham or Temple Grandin. I found these stories fascinating and thought that the way Greene wove together his instructional points with these anecdotes to be smooth and seamless. I will probably go back and read the Kindle version so I can highlight it and really absorb the content.

Book List for March

This list is a work in progress.

Total books read so far in 2015: 10.

Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, I may earn a very tiny bit of money.


Creating an Art Wall Behind the Sofa

Last Spring, I wrote about how our friend Mike painted a wonderful painting for us as a wedding gift, and we hung it over our fireplace. Since then, I’ve been trying to bring more of the colors in the painting into the living room and making tweaks here and there. After switching out the rug and buying some new throw pillows, I’m turning my attention to the art over the sofa.

When we first moved in, we purchased some concert posters and stuck them in some super cheap frames from Hobby Lobby, hung them up to fill the space, and forgot about them. They were fine before, but their color palette doesn’t really work anymore. I’d like to create an art wall with a combination of prints and photographs that pull the color palette from the painting over to the other side of the room to create more balance in the space.

I’m working with a color palette of yellow-greens, blues ranging from indigo to cobalt to turquoise, purples and paler yellows. I also want to bring in some rosier pinks-purples to keep it from feeling too cool. I’ve experimented with this before by buying some deep pink orchids at Trader Joe’s and putting them on the mantel, and I really like the mix.

I started shopping for artwork online at Minted.com in Minted’s Art Marketplace. I really love how I can try out the artwork in different frame styles and even see what the frame looks like if I change the size of the print. I think it’s really important to understand how the scale of the frame looks with the art.

I was especially drawn to the French farmhouse style frames in both natural and white washed, as well as the white washed herringbone frame. I think a combination of these three frames would be beautiful. I had a difficult time narrowing down my favorite prints, but these are some of my top picks. I am a huge fan of all Emily Jeffords’ work and would love to purchase a large landscape oriented print to hang over our bed as well.

My Favorite Picks from the Minted Art Marketplace

  1. Desert and Mountains by Katherine Moynagh
  2. Warm Rain by Laura Bolter Design
  3. Arm in Arm by Jennifer Bailey
  4. London Skyline by Kelsey McNatt
  5. Lunar Eclipse by Amber Barkley
  6. Subway by Lindsay Megahed
  7. Prettier in Pink by Emily Jeffords

I also noticed that Minted started carrying fabrics, which are available in a cotton weight ($32/yard) and a linen blend ($34/yard). While not inexpensive, they carry some unique designs, and one yard is more than enough to make a couple of throw pillow covers.

This post was sponsored by Minted.com but all of the opinions are my own.


Books I Read – January 2015

In 2015, I will be sharing monthly the books I’ve read in the past month as well as the books I’m planning to read in the current month. My goal is to read or listen to 100 books in 2015. In 2014, I listened to and read approximately 60 books, so this is a stretch goal!

Books I've Read - January 2015

I finished only four books in January 2015, and I read two of those on vacation. Part of the slow going was due to the fact that I spent a couple weeks re-reading a good portion of The Primal Blueprint, which I won’t count since I’ve already read it, and I haven’t finished re-reading it.

The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

I initially read The Primal Blueprint, authored by Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple, at the beginning of 2011, which lead me to immediately give up all grains and seriously cut back on sugar, dairy, legumes and alcohol. Recently, I’d fallen pretty heavily off the bandwagon (holidays, vacation, etc) and wanted a reminder of why I’d made the switch in the first place as well as inspiration to start moving more

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

I read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown late in 2013. It was the first book I chose to kick off my brand new habit of reading a little non-fiction every morning instead of watching The Today Show. I’d been meaning to read Daring Greatly ever since and finally got around to it while we were on vacation in Cozumel right after New Years. This book resonated with me more deeply than any I can remember in recent history. It provided so much insight into myself, and my relationships, even my teaching. After I finished it, I immediately started thinking about how long I should wait before reading it again. I can’t recommend it enough.

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” – Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
During the last week of January, I finished another book that had been on my list for a long while – The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande. Gawande is a surgeon, and the arc of the story centers on his efforts to develop a surgical checklist that would decrease the number of complications and fatalities as a result of surgery. The catch is that the checklist would need to be implemented in hospitals worldwide, regardless of income level, technology or number of patients. Throughout the book, Gawande explores how checklists have been used in the construction industry and aviation and describes how he used his research to help in devising the surgical checklist.

The book was thought provoking and interesting and had me wondering how I could use checklists effectively both in teaching and in business. And, how I could get my students to use checklists to make designing their studio projects easier and more efficient. We already use checklists in many ways, but rarely do we actually design them intentionally.

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Finally, I chose Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim as my fiction indulgence while we were on vacation. I read it on the day everyone else went deep sea fishing (not my thing…at all), and finished it in about three hours of complete, focused reading. I chose it because it reminded me somewhat of The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, and because I nearly always default historical fiction as my genre of choice. It was a quick read, and I enjoyed it, though maybe not as much as The Invention of Wings. There was a little twist at the end, which I always enjoy in fiction books. It’s light, easy reading, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Kitchen House or Orphan Train.

Book List for February

This list is a work in progress.

Total books read so far in 2015: 4.

Links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, I may earn a very tiny bit of money.


IKEA SEKTION Kitchens Debut in the US

IKEA cabinets – people love them or hate them. Sarah Richardson uses them in many of her homes, including her million dollar plus rehabs featured on Sarah’s House. Personally, I love them and have installed them in every house I’ve owned – that’s two full kitchens and an island in 10 years. Today, IKEA launched the US version of its brand new cabinetry system SEKTION, which replaces the AKURUM system and brand name.

IKEA SEKTION Kitchens Cabinet System

I’ve been eagerly awaiting SEKTION’s debut since late summer, when I first hear the rumors that AKURUM was being phased out. At the time, I was busy planning a client’s IKEA kitchen. We made the conscious decision to delay the remodel until the new line arrived because it promised so many new features that are perfect for creating a more custom look and maximizing a small space, which happened to be two of our top priorities. The line was available in the UK mid 2014.

IKEA SEKTION Kitchens Cabinet System

There are some new door styles, but most of the doors look pretty similar to the tried and true AKURUM favorites just updated with brand new names.

The excitement lies primarily in the new cabinet configurations. Higher end cabinet lines, particularly the European brands, have offered these cabinets for years. But, if you could only afford stock cabinets, you were stuck with less options that were less efficient. The new system is all about drawers…all kinds of drawers including drawers inside of drawers.

Some of my favorite additions include: sink cabinets with drawers for trash and recycling; cooktop cabinets with drawers for pots and pans; wall cabinets with drawers that sit on the countertop; base cabinets with glass fronts; half-height drawers for silverware and other utensils; tall cabinets with deep drawers; and many other ways of combining drawers, doors and open shelving that weren’t previously available.

IKEA SEKTION Kitchens Cabinet System

In the past, the cabinet boxes were only offered in birch or white melamine. Now, they’re also offered in a dark wood tone option so you could create a two-tone effect by using contrasting doors or just coordinate more closely with the darker door styles.

One of the other big changes from the AKURUM system is that the base cabinets are now installed using a rail mounted on the wall. This may be new to some contractors, but ultimately, it means that leveling the base cabinets is now even easier.

IKEA SEKTION Kitchens Cabinet System

The interior fittings on SEKTION are also significantly nicer than those that were offered for AKURUM, which is critical considering the shifting focus to storage in drawers instead of on shelves behind doors. Drawers are much more efficient than pull-outs or plain cabinets, and the right fittings make them easier to organize properly so you can maximize every inch. The new cabinets also offer integrated lighting options, which was a huge trend, particularly in the European cabinetry, exhibited at KBIS last month.

It looks like they’re still working out some kinks on the website, since many of the photos are missing. I’m looking forward to taking a trip to Kansas City, possibly at the end of this month, to see the new cabinets in action.

All images via the IKEA Website.



Two weeks ago, Keegan and I were fortunate enough to fly to Vegas for the 2015 Design and Construction Week. We arrived on Monday afternoon and stayed through Wednesday, visiting KBIS 2015 (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) and IBS (International Builder’s Show) on Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. On Wednesday, we went to the Las Vegas Market, which is further North near Fremont Street. Our iPhones said we walked about 13,000 steps each of the three days we were there, and I believe it. In fact, I would bet it was underestimating.

This was the first industry show I ever attended, and the best word I can use to describe it is overwhelming. On Tuesday at KBIS and IBS, we started in the South hall, wandering up and down each aisle and looking at all the vendors. We thought it was very interesting, but I remember feeling like it was a little underwhelming. Then we ventured over to the Central and North halls and omg, it was insane. The booths were bigger than life with Kohler being one of the most impressive, complete with working showers and faucets.

I didn’t take a whole ton of photos because there were just so many people to dodge and shoot around, but I did manage to snap a few here and there.

Kohler Artist Edition Sinks at KBIS 2015

I love the beautiful textures of the Artist Edition Sinks by Kohler.

Kohler Shower at KBIS Vegas

Kohler also had many new sleek shower accessories that are perfect for more contemporary bathrooms.

Pera Tile Mosaics at KBIS 2015

I want to use all of these gorgeous water jet mosaic tiles. Even better, the rep mentioned that they are customizable – you can select the pattern and stone that you want to use, so you end up with the perfect custom tile for your client. There are some definite contenders here for one of my current kitchen projects.

Metallic Ann Sacks Tile at KBIS 2015

This metallic tile by Ann Sacks was to die for. It had the most stunning patina and texture and totally reminded me of pyrite (fools gold), which is one of my favorite semi-precious stones.

Brizo Articulating Faucet at KBIS 2015

I thought these articulating faucets by Brizo were different from anything I’d seen before and really interesting…something different for clients who like the industrial look but not too industrial.

Fleurco Tubs at KBIS 2015

Freestanding tubs were a hot item at the show. These acrylic tubs are by Fleurco, and I really appreciated the variety of shapes and styles. I think both designers and homeowners are veering away from the big jacuzzis. They’re space hoggers and can also be unsanitary. You may think that a freestanding tub is more expensive, but by the time you tile the surround of a built-in tub and add a solid surface top, the cost will likely be pretty similar. I’d choose one of these beauties instead any day.


I thought it was interesting to see how many companies were offering versions of shallow floating vanity cabinets that featured integrated solid surface sinks. IKEA has been doing this for quite a while, and I’ve never really seen it as a popular option before. At 18″ deep, these sinks are total space savers and include a ton of functional storage (think drawers instead of doors). If you think you could never live with this little counter space, the key is to add a good medicine cabinet to store all of your frequently used items. You could also build in a recessed niche in between the vanity top and the medicine cabinet.

Here’s another option from Bauformat – a German brand…

KBIS Bauformat Bath 2015

Bauformat’s kitchen display was one of my favorites. We rarely see anything like this in Des Moines – huge deep drawers with integrated lighting and super sleek thin countertops.

KBIS Bauformat Kitchen 2015

I’ll wrap up with some of my favorites from the Walker Zanger booth. I am a huge fan of their current color palette and designs.

Walker Zanger Tile at KBIS 2015

Walker Zanger Tile at KBIS 2015

Walker Zanger Tile at KBIS 2015

Walker Zanger Tile at KBIS 2015

Overall, KBIS was a great time, but I don’t think it’s an every year type of thing.

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Cultivating a Habit of Gratitude Year Round

develop a gratitude habit

It’s Thanksgiving, and that means that many people are taking a moment to reflect on what they are grateful for this year and in their life in general. I’ve never really enjoyed the habit of going around the Thanksgiving table to publicly announce what we’re grateful for. I expect it had to do with being shy and introverted as a child. I didn’t want anyone to know what I was feeling, which is something that I continue to struggle with.

As an adult, I fell into a routine of thinking about everyone and everything I was grateful for before I fell asleep every night – a mental checklist. Even if I had a particularly bad day – especially if – I tried not to skip this practice. It kept me focused on the positive and eventually helped me to shift from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance. I think it was great that I focused on being grateful every night before falling asleep, but it wasn’t permeating into the rest of my life.

At the beginning of 2014, I embarked on a quest of personal improvement and development. After a particularly rough 2013, I wanted to break out of a rut and push myself to learn and grow in ways I hadn’t previously considered. I continued my nightly gratitude practice, but I knew I should be pushing myself to develop a gratitude habit that was deeper and stronger.

Then, in May, I learned about The Five Minute Journal through a podcast, and I decided to try it. The journal contains a page for each day. In the morning, you are instructed to write down three things you are grateful for and also three ways that you can make the day  “amazing.” Finally, there is a spot for journaling a personal affirmation. In the evening, you write down three “amazing” things that happened during the day and one way you could have made the day better.

I was resistant to this format at first, and I’ll admit that I never mastered the habit of journaling in the evening (I usually fill out the previous day’s spot the morning after). It is very difficult to find three brand new things to be grateful for every day, and I try really hard not to repeat the same things day after day. The idea is that you are constantly looking for new ways to be grateful every single day. I found that writing them down forced me to think carefully about what I was grateful for and not just recite a generic list by rote. As time went on, I found more and more ways to be grateful for even the smallest things and moments.

Thinking of three ways I could make each day amazing was also challenging. After a while, I realized that they didn’t have to be huge accomplishments. Taking a moment each morning to thoughtfully consider what I wanted to get out of the day ahead helped me to focus and avoid going on autopilot, especially on more routine days that seemed to hold no promise that anything amazing could happen.

But the toughest part of this practice was listing three ways the day was amazing after the day was over and all of the promise was gone. Some days are boring or routine. Some days just suck. You’re tired, you’re sick, your job is stressful or unfulfilling. You come home, eat some dinner, watch some mindless television and go to bed. It’s really hard to write down three amazing things on those kind of days.

I had a pretty rough day a couple weeks ago, and it would have been really easy to skip writing down three things I was grateful for that day and later on three ways the day was amazing. I made myself do it anyway, and I found that I was able to shift my entire mindset about what had happened. It was, as Oprah would say, an Aha Moment.

I realized that, subconsciously, my whole approach to life had subtly shifted. Whenever I would feel myself getting annoyed or stressed out, I would instinctively start listing in my head all of the good things about the situation. Boring faculty meeting during lunch time – I’m so grateful to be part of such an incredible team made up of such amazing talented people; the room we meet in is toasty warm on a freezing cold day; my lunch is tasty, healthy and filling. Stuck in traffic – I’m grateful for the time to listen to another informative podcast; time to call a friend of family member; time just to be quiet and think. Stressful situation with a client or student – I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn something new that I can use in the future.

I had to consistently work on being grateful and intentionally considering how I could make each day a positive experience for months before this mindset became a habit. Now, on Thanksgiving Day, feeling grateful isn’t a struggle…it’s natural. I could list 100 ways or more I’m grateful today and it doesn’t feel trite or shallow. It feels awesome.

If you struggle with feeling positive or seeing the good, not just in stressful or painful situations, but in your everyday life, I can’t recommend developing a daily gratitude practice enough. Start by writing down three to five things you are grateful for every morning when you first wake up. They can be as simple as being grateful for a hot cup of delicious coffee, a warm home, and a cozy bed. As you work on being grateful more and more, you’ll find that it gets easier to see ways you can be grateful that you never thought of before. Before you go to bed, challenge yourself to think of three things that happened that day that you can be grateful for. Some days it feels impossible, but I’ve found those are the days when it’s most important to complete the list.

I hope that you can use my experience to bring a little more gratitude into your life each and every day instead of waiting for the one time of year we’re supposed to feel grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!


Five Kitchens with Fabulous Details You Can Copy

I have been suffering from a bad cold for the past few days and am curled up on the sofa entertaining myself by pouring over some of my favorite kitchens on my Pinterest Kitchens board. I’m absorbing some initial inspiration for not one but two new kitchen remodels that I’ll begin working on in the next week. But, more on those later…on to some great kitchen ideas that you don’t see every day.

Incorporate Open Shelving in Moderation

Kitchen Design Ideas from The House Diaries Kitchen Remodel

The House Diaries Kitchen Remodel

Nicole, of The House Diaries, did a fabulous job remodeling her galley kitchen. There are so many details to enjoy here, but I particularly like the reclaimed wood shelves with the wrought iron brackets mounted on the backsplash. I could never do all open shelving in my own kitchen – too much dust and dog hair, and I would never clean the top shelves. But, I really like the idea of a single open shelf within easy reach for items that are used every single day (they should be pretty too). This wouldn’t be too difficult to add to an existing kitchen with the right drill bit for your backsplash material.

Add a Task Lamp in an Unexpected Place

Kitchen Design Ideas from Hecker Guthrie Kitchen with Light

Hecker Guthrie Kitchen

Melbourne based designer, Hecker Guthrie, designed this stunning black and white kitchen. Click through to view the rest of the kitchen and home. I like the idea of adding a task lamp with articulating arm at the end of the peninsula instead of the standard pendant light. You can never have too much task lighting in a kitchen, and a lamp that adjusts and swings out of the way is even better than one that just hangs from the ceiling. It doesn’t hurt that this retro modern lamp connects beautifully with the black faucet and iron legs of those gorgeous stools. This would be super easy to do if you have the right spot to mount the lamp with a plug nearby.

Add Drama with Contrasting Elements

Kitchen Design Ideas from Brian Gluckstein

Brian Gluckstein

White painted kitchens will always be classic and always be my go-to choice, but sometimes they all start to look alike. The contrasting ribbons of dark walnut in this otherwise all white design are particularly striking and make this space unique and unforgettable. Obviously this look isn’t easily replicated in an existing space, but it wouldn’t be difficult if you are remodeling. Even if you’re simply repainting your kitchen, consider how you can employ contrast somewhere in your space to add drama and create emphasis.

Add a Waterfall Edge to your Countertop

Kitchen Design Ideas from Sarah Richardson Mid-Century Modern Kitchen

Sarah Richardson

If you’re thinking about replacing old or outdated countertops, consider incorporating a waterfall edge on your island or peninsula. The countertop continues down the side of the cabinets creating a sleek modern look that adds visual weight and interest to the design. This look can be achieved with quartz, granite, marble or even butcher block. Depending on the material you’re using for your countertop, this detail can be pricey, but, in my opinion, it’s well worth it for the custom look and impact it adds.

Inject Color and Pattern with a Vintage Rug

Kitchen Design Ideas from Jean Hannotte

Jean Hannotte

I love how Jean Hannotte used this vintage Kilim rug to tie together all of the colors in this kitchen. It marries the gray cabinets with the mid-century wood chairs with the gold toned granite perfectly. And, the red is the perfect accent. Vintage Kilims come in many different shapes and sizes, and the smaller ones are particularly affordable. Consider adding one or two of these colorful rugs as a budget friendly way to inject some texture and pattern into your kitchen.

After looking at all of these beautiful spaces and talented designers’ websites, I’m feeling much better and thinking about how I can go beyond the obvious to add some fun and interesting design details in both my own kitchen and my clients as well. Do you think you could incorporate any of these ideas into your space?