Thinking of a kitchen remodel?

I would love to help with your project!  Did you know kitchens stay at the top of the list when it comes to most popular room to renovate?  Kitchens are the heartbeat of the home, the center of attention, and a worthy investment.  It's a big job, so before you start demo, there are some important things to consider.  Check out these beginner tips if you want to remodel a kitchen.

Set A Realistic Budget.

  • Do your research. Talk to professionals and visit home stores to learn about the cost of items and then figure out what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. Set a budget and then add another 10% for unplanned expenses.
  • Consider "hidden" costs. Remember to factor in the cost of labor and materials, as well as taxes and any shipping or delivery costs that might come up. These add up very quickly, so it's important to consider them when you're setting the budget.
  • Quality is #1.  Always buy the best you can afford. When it comes to kitchen renovations, you want to have high-quality, functional items because they are being used daily.
  • Be practical and don't buy unnecessary items. It is tempting to buy gadgets and fancy appliances, but it's better to go with the reliable basics that you know you'll use and get your money's worth out of.

Product Selection.

Knowing what is available in the market can be daunting!  I sell several different lines of cabinetry because not every manufacturer fits every project.  Hiring a professional to help with selections of cabinetry, appliances, and stone materials will help make your remodel enjoyable.

  • Cabinetry.  Talking to a designer about types of cabinetry available will help you decide which product is best for you and your budget.  Cabinetry is available in various price ranges and quality levels.
  • Appliances.  Appliances come in a multitude of finishes, sizes, and performance levels.  Do your research, compile a list of wants & needs and then talk to your designer about working those into your budget and design.
  • Tile & Slabs.  A back splash and counter top can make or break a beautiful kitchen.  Be sure to visit lots of showrooms before making a final decision.  Never select a counter top based on a sample - take the time to view the entire slab!
  • Lighting & Hardware.  I consider these to be the "jewelry of the kitchen".  You can easily change the look of a simple white kitchen with the addition of a modern metal chandelier or a rustic iron fixture.

Smart Space Planning.

A good designer will make sure things are laid out properly to ensure safety and convenience. Here are a few basics to remember:

  • Counters: Plan to have at least 36" of counter space for food preparation, with 24" on each side of the sink. If you can fit more, do it!
  • Appliances: Leave adequate floor space in front of appliances so the doors can be opened and you can still walk in front of them. 36" to 48" should be sufficient.
  • Walkways: Leave enough room for traffic flow.  There should be 42" between the counters and the island (if there is one) so that people can easily pass by. 

Once you know what you want, and what you can afford, you can hire a contractor and get started!  Be sure to ask friends for referrals and don't be afraid to ask questions!  You will be working with your contractor and designer for a few months, so having a good working relationship is the key to success!

Try your best to stick to your plan and try not get caught up in the excitement!  There will be lots of ups and downs along the way, so prepare yourself mentally for some setbacks.  Remember, in the end, it WILL be worth it!  

New Digs!

About 18 months ago, we decided it was time to sell our home of ten years and look for a home we liked, in a neighborhood we loved.  November was a busy month for us, as offers to purchase were flying left and right... we finally settled on numbers and simultaneously sold and bought our old and new homes.  Since November, I have been busy erasing a lot of 1994 from the new house.  Still so much work to do, but happy to be settling back into a more "normal" schedule of work, school, and play.  Thank you to EMC Premier Painters and FLOOR for all your beautiful work!

The mud stops here.

Mud and laundry rooms are one of the utilized spaces in a home, yet are often neglected during the design phase.  If you are building a new house or renovating a home, don't forget to pay attention to this space!  

Things to think about:

  • LIGHTING.  Who wants to fold clothes in a small, dark space? Add a skylight if there isn't a window or, at least, install plenty of overhead LED lighting to make the space bright. I use Aspect recessed LED in my projects.
  • ROUTINES.  Who uses this space?  Are you hanging school bags and sports equipment?  What about mom's tennis gear?  Don't forget pets - dog food storage and a feeding area could help keep Fido organized too!
  • STORAGE, STORAGE, STORAGE.  Install cabinets of various depths to keep vacuum hoses from tangling, towels stacked, and shoes tidy in cubbies.   
  • WATER.  If you can, put a sink!  Having a space to wash & rinse away dirt just may save your life.  This Blanco undermount is one of my favorites.
  • FLOORING.  Make sure you put a durable product on the floor.  Tile is the No. 1 choice, but be creative and use an interesting pattern or texture.  Tile comes in finishes that look like natural stone, wood and even brick!  What I wouldn't give for a herringbone brick floor in my mud room!

The light, for less.

Recently I've been on the hunt for new lighting to update our breakfast room.  I have had the same matching light fixtures hanging over the table and sink since we reno'd the house in 2006.  In my search, I've found some great "get the look for less" items .  Check out the lighting below that is currently offered at World Market and Anthropologie... you may be surprised to find which is the better deal!

Where didya get that?!

I have a problem with just saying "thank you" instead of shouting out the discounted price of a seemingly pricey item.  

Girlfriend: OMG.  That rug is amazing!  Is it new? Where didya get that?
Me: YES!! Isnt' it great!?  You won't believe - I got it at XYZ for less than $300!! 

Who doesn't love the look of a highly styled room!?  It's the designer price tag that gets us all choked up.  My friends and clients are amazed at the great interior accessories, art, carpets, lighting and furniture I find.

My husband loves the rock-bottom prices.  

I've decided to offer Personal Buying to my services.  Let me do the digging for you! I will scour antique stores, thrift shops, local HomeGoods (Oh, how I love HomeGoods!), and Round Top Antique Fair so you don't have to!  Give me a call, send me your Pinterest board, and let me start hunting for some treasures to get your home on-trend and in style! 

Black Friday

I'm getting in the holiday spirit and offering my own Black Friday special!!  I'm giving two hours of design consulting with every local in-home design consultation (a $200 value) OR I will refund 100% of your in-home consultation fee when you purchase cabinetry (a $300 value).  You pick.  Message me before Nov 28!!


Tapestry Beige

"Tapestry Beige?  Yes or No?!  Should it take three days to respond to this question?" ranted a friend, completely frustrated with the responsiveness of the designer she hired to help with her soon-to-be-stunning Tanglewood renovation.    

I have two girlfriends suffering from designer issues.  Julia's large Memorial renovation began over a year ago and I'm not certain it's actually completed to her satisfaction.  [Sigh.] Elizabeth has a more manageable scope of work, but a tight deadline to get moved in.

Both girls hired professional interior designers and both girls called me with the same flustered conversation and asking for confirmation that terminating services was the right move.  My heart sinks as I empathize with their frustration and disappointment over color choices, material pricing, and general lack of professionalism.  After listening, I have to agree it's time to move on.

I have a very short soap box to shout from because I am not a full-service designer.  I specialize in floor plans, cabinetry and kitchens because those are what I'm really good at!   I do not accept jobs that I do not have time for or that I do not have the capability to execute with excellence. Ladies and Gents, please be mindful and realistic when you hire any professional to assist with your home projects.  Ask for references.  Ask for pictures of their work.  Ask what you get as a client.  Make sure your expectations clear so everyone is on the same page!  

I hope these tips help you in deciding on which designer to hire!  In the end, listen to your instincts, they're usually right.

Back-To-School Blues?

If you're like me, you're anxious about getting the kids (and yourself) back into the school swing.  Every mom is chattering about demanding homework schedules, after-school activities, and school expenses.  What can you do to make this year better?  Think about some organization and space planning for your kids rooms, play areas, and homework / craft centers.  Send me a photo of the space you want to transform and I will give you some design suggestions.  I may even feature the before/after here!!

Here are some great examples of kid-friendly spaces to inspire learning and productivity!  Setting aside a special place for studies or reading.  This lets your child know that schoolwork is a priority!  Clearing  a corner of the cluttered breakfast bar probably isn't going to encourage concentration.  Give your child his own table with colorful containers full of pencils and bins for materials needed to get his work done.  

Being organized and ready to tackle the task at hand will alleviate everyone's stress and get you closer to baths, bedtime, and that well-deserved glass of wine.


11" of Rain in Houston

Houston is under water and the rain continues to fall, locking our soaked city in fear of more damage.  My heart breaks as friends post images of their homes, wrecked from water damage.


I would like to extend my help to friends and clients in need of quick quotes for insurance claims. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or requests for advice. | 832.528.3909

Ciao, Italia!

Put down your coffee... I just returned from a gorgeous nine days in Tuscany.  Doesn't that sound glamorous?  My best friend from childhood and her little sis arranged a vacation for twelve friends in an outstanding villa outside Cortona, Italy.  

I was most intrigued by the villa we stayed in - the owners are from Houston and purchased the 1760 era property in 1999.  It had not been lived in since 1970 and the renovation took seven years to complete!  I'm pretty industrious, but a seven year endeavor seemed exhausting to even think about.  Here are a few highlights...

If you are interested, I would say the pricing is rather reasonable.  Check it out here.

Bathroom Design

Are you still stressing about that bathroom renovation?  There's no shame in asking for help.  A specialty designer can help you simplify the process and communicate with your subcontractors and installers to be sure you get exactly what you want.  Nobody likes an "uh-oh moment" after the grout has set.

Classic Bath Design

If your bathroom is on its last leg and you're dreading the remodel, you're not alone!  Nobody loves the idea of tearing into walls, smashing tile, and yanking out those leaky pipes.  First the mess, then the stress.  There are so many choices out there - it can be mind boggling.  You can simplify the process by creating mood boards and browsing the tile shops.  I tend to stay away from anything too specific, and stick with classic finishes and colors.  There are a lot of elements in a bathroom that are costly and not easily replaced: tile, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, & countertops.

Remember, you can always add a fun paint color to the walls, buy fresh towels, change hardware, and accessorize with art and fabrics to change up the look. 

 If your guest bath plays double duty as the kids bath, this is a smart choice!  My daughter would die to have a super girly pink bathroom, but I prefer to buy loads of pink towels than install pink tile that nobody over the age of 5 will enjoy.