Friday, September 18, 2009

Master bath ideas

Treat yourself to a luxurious master bath make-over. Start with relaxing, spa-like colors on the walls, such as this soft sage green. Upgrade the tile with accents of travertine and glass tiles in a mosaic border. Change out old plumbing fixtures, and replace the faucets with new finishes like this oil–rubbed bronze. Try a faux finish to give an aged patina to the cabinets. Hang new, framed mirrors to replace old sheet mirrors over the vanities. Bring in some sparkle with light fixtures highlighted by crystal. Finish off the space with accessories that play up these new elements, and enjoy.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Light bulbs - making artful changes

Using a higher watt light bulb in some fixtures can highlight special items with light that is brighter than the surrounding area, giving them importance. Recessed can light fixtures that are located in proximity to artwork or decorative objects, can be retrofitted with a directional trim kit or directional light bulb that will refocus the light from shining straight down to beaming onto a specific location.

Another way to make recessed cans more interesting is to change some of them from flood lights to spot lights, just by changing the light bulbs, to create accents of bright and shadow. This light play gives a more rhythmic flow to your space. You can even highlight a particular furniture piece, if it is located beneath a can with a spot in it. The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas used this treatment in their lobby to great effect. They had a spotlight above the floral center piece on the table in the center of the lobby. And, they highlighted a beautiful round ottoman in their sitting area, that was upholstered in a really special fabric. Using light, they drew your eye to these lovely accent pieces. Spotlights are also very effective down a long hallway. They create pools of light that lead you down the path like stepping stones, making a boring hall space more interesting.

Everything you need to update your light bulbs and refit your recessed can fixtures can be found at local lighting showrooms like and It is a very inexpensive way to bring high-end interior design to your home decorating.

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Bathroom mirrors

Mirrors with frames are the upscale trend for bathroom vanities. Most commonly done in wood or metal, framing the mirror has become the expectation for bathrooms in new or renovated homes. Adding a framed mirror can instantly update a bath in an older home. This photo shows an interesting alternative to wood or metal, using a tile border to frame the mirror.

The tile frame in the photo is made of 4” x 4” tumbled marble in “Noche” that is also used as accents on the shower walls. This bathroom is in a builder spec home that had to remain neutral, in order to appeal to a broad range of buyers. But, when selling the home is not the immediate goal, the design can be more personalized. There are nearly an unlimited variety of tile options and combinations available. Pattern, texture, and color can be coordinated to tie in with other bathrooms finishes and create a one-of-a-kind look.

Creating a frame of tile around this mirror highlights the distinctive architectural feature of the arched inset surrounding the vanity. Using a single row of tile, as shown, can be a lot less expensive than a wood framed mirror, but gives a high-end designer touch. Wood frame mirrors can limit the size of the mirrored surface. Tile surrounds allow the entire wall above the sink to be mirrored, expanding a small space. Tile borders allow for customizing the frame to fit unusual shapes like this eyebrow arch that could not accommodate a straight lined wood frame mirror. The tile is installed in the shape and size desired, then the mirror is custom made to fit into the opening inside the tile design.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kitchen design

It is surprising how easy and affordable it is to bring custom elements into your home decorating. Using unique, one-of-a-kind finishes adds value to your property and enriches your experience living in the space. This copper hood gives a dramatic, old word touch to this kitchen design, but did not come from a high-end kitchen resource. It was made for this client for a fraction of the price at a sheet metal shop.

The accent tiles used in this kitchen backsplash are from Color Bakery, a company that creates hand painted tile designs on a selection of bases ranging from tumbled stone to glass tile. They have a variety of designs to choose from, or you can have something new created from your artwork for a very reasonable price. Using just a few specialty tiles mixed in with an affordable background field of ceramic tile, travertine, or even glass tile can give a custom, designer look without the upscale cost. Find them at

Check back for more ideas on how to use specialty materials and finishes in your interior decorating.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Fireplace ideas



When it comes to fireplaces, think outside the box, literally. This fireplace began as a large, uninteresting rectangular mass of old red brick. When it was redesigned into stone, instead of going back in the same shape, I created the stepped back sides and the stepped up top giving it a more interesting silhouette with strong lines and bold impact. Adding the sculptural light fixtures tied in the large scale art work and dark accessories. It was important to include a mantel that was massive, solid, and in scale with the grandness of this stone fireplace. The step back profile of the corbels repeats the stone detail above the mantle.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Custom copper panels on cabinets

Embossed metal panels were applied to these traditional raised-panel cabinet doors. This treatment not only breaks up a long wall of built-ins, but also adds an old vintage charm to this modern utility room. This same treatment could be used on a flea market cabinet to give it more style and interest. The panels are available from home restoration suppliers, and come in a variety of metals, including tin, brass, and copper. The tin panels can be left natural or painted. The copper and brass can be sealed to stay bright and shiny or allowed to oxidize over time. We chose not to seal the copper panels on these cabinets so they will eventually darken with age and acquire the soft green patina of weathered copper pipes, blending with the new washer and dryer that are in an Aspen Green color.

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Vintage mirror

I use vintage looks whenever they suit a project. This master bathroom photo is of a newly remodeled home where we added a entire second story, utilizing 2,000 square feet of wasted attic space. This home sits on an 80-acre ranch south of Dallas where old west vintage d├ęcor fit the setting. In order to make the best use of the space dictated by the existing roof lines, we nestled this vanity under the sloped ceilings, giving the room character. To maximize the look, I wanted an old hinged three-piece dressing table mirror for this spot, that I would not be able to find new. But, whatever I used needed to blend with the two new matching mirrors that we were putting over the his and hers sink areas. I found this great old mirror buried at the back of an antique store in McKinney. It was a bright, shiny, and gold, but I loved the lines, the bevel, and the size, which was perfect for the space. My refinisher was able to make it match the new mirrors, and the client was thrilled with the results of mixing old with new. Read more!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Outdoor fireplace style

An outdoor fireplace is a great place to gather and entertain. We heated up the style on this one by bringing in some special elements. Using two different types of stone colors allowed us to create the sunburst design around the opening and to highlight the mantle and hearth. The Texas motif accessories emphasize this great ranch setting. Furthering this theme, the custom-made lanterns have a warm, rustic look that evokes images of cowboys, campfires, and the old west.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ceramic tile bathroom mirror

On a shopping mission at the Ann Sacks tile showroom, and my client, a ranch owner, fell in love with this cow face. This custom made piece was so unique and special to her, we designed this ceramic tile frame for the bathroom mirror so that she could work this cow head into her decor. The border of 4" x 4" ceramic tiles is a random mix of all the colors you see on a ranch, hues of terra cotta, earth, hay, and denim. At the top of the frame, like a keystone, we placed the only animal head you'll ever see mounted on a wall at this animal lover's ranch.

For more details on this tile go to
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