Kitchen renovations on a budget: painted cabinets, why that counter probably needs to go and what you need to know for a successful {and good looking} budget refresh

Painting kitchen cabinets has become the go-to quick {and cheap} fix for a dated kitchen. No matter what your kitchen looks like, just paint those cabinets white and ~ voila! ~ you can say the space is updated, and won’t everyone just be racing over? Maybe… not. Here are two kitchen renovations. Both painted existing cabinets, one stopped there, and the other made some additional updates. Personally I think the space on the right looks far better than the one on the left {and so should everyone else who isn’t blind}. The short cheap squatty ‘backsplash’, the stark contrast between…

Bathroom Inspiration ~ the patterned floor tile trend

One new bathroom trend I am really loving right now is patterned floor tile. The new super cool look is Spanish influenced tiles that are fairly ornate. And while I do think this is one element that can be done very well and look timeless in it’s own way for a long time, it can also easily be overly trendy and look bad after jut a few years, depending on what you select. I feel like it can be hard to put in words what makes a good patterned tile and what is ‘bad’ or too trendy, that will look…

The 411 on New Construction

Of all of the dream houses I might have, the one type of property that’s never really on my wish list is new construction. It’s not because there’s anything wrong with new construction, it can be a great option, I’m just the type of person who will always want to be doing the updating myself. I’m pretty particular for one, and I just love the design process, and to be the one transforming a space. It’s a thrill and complete joy for me. But what’s the 411 on new construction? What are the pro’s, what are the cons, and what…

At the end of the day, it’s not ‘ours’… and what that feels like

I’m talking about our apartment. Lately we’ve been in a wee bit of a rut my manfriend and I… one of us, I won’t say who {totally him} is a bit way more messy than the other, and it’s caused some friction, to say the least. While we might only be in this space for a shorter time, I still want to make it nice and have it feel as much like ‘home’ as we can. My manfriend is more of the mindset that it’s just a temporary space so what does it matter if it’s messy? And as we’ve trudged…

Design 101: Listening to the language of your house

So how do you create a great design? There are many many rules of thumb and practical tips… and you can always pay lots of money to go and get a formal education to have all of the official answers for yourself… But maybe one of the most basic things that everyone should remember, and one of the most helpful, above {and before} everything else is to listen to the language of your house. What does that even mean anyway… A while back we helped a couple buy a mid 90’s frame house that was a contemporary style. Pretty clean lines,…

Recipe for a Spectacular Outdoor Space

Happy Holiday week! Hopefully you have some time off this week to enjoy the summer weather and some good company. Maybe you’ve got a bbq on a great rooftop planned? We’re going to be heading out for a lazy rooftop morning on Wednesday before we head out to the suburbs to spend the afternoon celebrating with friends… Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about great outdoor space, mainly how much I miss it and want it! It’s been a long time since I’ve had anything close to amazing outdoor space and man, am I seriously longing for it lately. In Chicago…

Bye bye subway backsplash… a new trend is in town.

Subway tiles are classic, and ~ if done right ~ are timeless. But they’ve been so popular for enough years now that even these are starting to feel a little tired and overdone. I’ll always love them, but I will admit, there’s another approach to backsplashes that’s been a rare sighting for a long time, but is getting a little more attention these days, and I couldn’t be more excited. The slab as backsplash. Personally I’ve been head over heels in love with this look for a long time. It doesn’t really get more sophisticated than this. And if anything is more…

Where have all the medicine cabinets gone?!

As I pack up, and purge, and daydream about our ‘forever’ {for a reno at least} home… I randomly starting thinking about the strangest part of a house ~ medicine cabinets. Has anyone else noticed that medicine cabinets seem to be disappearing from bathrooms everywhere? what. the. heck?! Does it really even matter if there’s a medicine cabinet in the bathroom? Am I just getting stuck in old thinking about storage and being practical? I don’t have a medicine cabinet in my bathroom now, or any other {built-in} storage for that matter. And maybe that’s why this is weirdly on…

Sofa Dreams

Since we’re doing this sublet through the end of the year that means no big designing and no big furniture purchases for about nine more months, until we find our permanent place. But that hasn’t stopped me from becoming really pre-occupied with what sofa I want in our next living room. I haven’t even really started imagining too specifically what our next space will look like design-wise overall, because we want to be open to different types of spaces and buildings that could work as far as fixer-uppers. I think once we get moved into our immediate next space I’ll…

Logan Square Cottage gets a big facelift!

Yesterday was picture day at Carla and Andrew’s sweet Logan Square house, as we get ready to go on the market there soon. {if you want to see more about how they transformed the interior, click here} While they did a lot of work on the interior of their house, one of the simplest, but biggest impact, projects they did was replacing the siding on the exterior. The house looked okay with it’s original grey siding, but didn’t really stand out. And when you got closer than just looking at a photograph, you could tell that it had ‘been around…