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Naturally Neutral Palettes that are not Boring.

by jessica 0 Comments

Look beyond ‘builders beige’ for your neutral color palette inspiration. Here are a warm and cool option that is anything but boring, ready to be jazzed up by some fun colorful accents.

The key to keeping it interesting is to mix up your textures. Both examples below give you a mix of paint, stone and woodgrains to keep everything from looking too ‘matchy’ or over coordinated.

Sailor hues in whites and blues

by jessica 0 Comments

There is something timeless about classic white cabinets, but sometimes what is timeless in theory can become boring in practice. That is why this spring we are in love with combinations of blue and white. The below sample board is inspired by my neighbors current project, and I’m excited to see if this blue makes an appearance in her new kitchen. Creamy countertops with subtle hues of greys and black tie the white back into the overall palette, and rich walnut floors add warmth and contrast.

This color palette is also a great solution for updating a builders basic white shaker kitchen. Just paint the island or base cabinets a hue of blue to add an instant color pop!

To play up the nautical feel, substitute brass hardware for the chrome, and dress it up with some industrial ship-inspired lighting.
V2 Sutherland Kitchen

JBD Sample Board B copy

Designer Showhome- Modern Shaker Kitchen

by jessica 0 Comments
Designer Showhome- Modern Shaker Kitchen

This project was for local builder, Denim homes. We worked together with their interior designer to create a dramatic space full of modern conveniences.  what are my favorite features in this kitchen?

  1. Built-in microwave trim kit- This is a great way to install a microwave in the lower cabinets, and keep it looking neat and tidy.
  2. Pull out pantry units- These are great for storing canned, boxed and bottle foods.
  3. Full size fridge and Freezer- These were installed with a built-in trim kit. they are both counter-depth, giving you easily accessible shelving and cubic footage in the fridge.
  4. Island that doubles as a casual dining area
  5. bar/sideboard leading into the dining room- this is great for serving drinks outside of the kitchen.

Finding Inspiration: Pinterest on-line pinboard

by jessica 0 Comments
Finding Inspiration: Pinterest on-line pinboard

My new favorite tool for finding inspiration and storing ideas is Pinterest.

Here is how it works;

You go to the website and ask for an invitation to join Pinterest. You will receive an email with steps on setting up your account and installing a button on your browser tool-bar.

Once your set-up, its simple.

When you see an image on a webpage that you want to save to your virtual ‘pinboard’, you press the ‘Pin It’ button on your toolbar, and select your image. From there, you can enter comments and tweet or view your post.

Pinterest 1.JPGPinterest 2.JPGPinterest 3.JPG

This is a great way to sort your ideas and share them with your friends and other designers.

You can also “follow’ other peoples posts. to follow my kitchen posts, go to and ‘follow’ individual pages, to be updated when I add new images or inspirations.

How to avoid a Renovation Nightmare: Contractors

by jessica 0 Comments
How to avoid a Renovation Nightmare: Contractors

If you have already decided to renovate your space, you’ve already jumped the biggest hurdle. Now you need to start deciding how to spend your money. I’m going to weigh hiring a contractor, vs. doing the work yourself.

If you are doing a simple renovation, just replacing the flooring, cabinets, counter top and a few light fixtures, without moving any appliance or plumbing locations, and are relatively handy, you can probably do the bulk of the work yourself. If you are not handy, you are still in luck. If your kitchen is in good shape, you can usually sell it to someone on for anywhere from $0.00 to $5000.00. The Habitat for Humanity RE-STORE  will also come in and remove the cabinets (call them to double check individual chapers policy in regards to this) and issue you a tax receipt for your donation. Your flooring supplier has installers who will remove the old flooring and lay the new flooring, and the cabinet company will install their own cabinetry. All that is required of you is a little bit of scheduling and coordination.

If your renovation is more complicated than this, and you are less than handy, or are not in a position to take a great deal of time from your 9-5 job, consider hiring a Renovation Contractor. If you are talking to your friends and colleagues about their renovation exeriences, they likely have a few nightmare stories of their experience. If you have ever watched Holmes on Homes on HGTV, you will no doubt be wary of bringing a contractor into the picture.  Here are some tips for avoiding a nightmare situation.

  1. Ask for referrals from friends/colleagues who have had good experiences with renovating their spaces.
  2. Ask potential contractors for recent references from clients they are not related to
  3. Be specific in your interview of references and referrals. Was the work completed on-time? Was everything documented in writing? Were the sub trades professional? Were there unbudgeted extras that should have been part of the original contract.
  4. Get it in writing. Once you have chosen a contractor, get everything in writing. If it is not confirmed on the contract or written change order, do not assume it is included.
  5. Offer to supply your own flooring, cabinetry and plumbing fixtures. The salespeople for all of these products will have much more time and energy to put into helping you make these selections, and the contractor will not have to deal with tracking them down, and having you approve samples, which may equal a lower price for the job.
  6. Make sure that the sub-trades are qualified. Often flooring surfaces and cabinetry are not fully warrantied unless installed by a professional installer designated and insured by the supplier. Confirm all warranties in writing. Your contractors word is not worth much in way of a warranty if you can’t find him two years from now.
  7. Whenever there is an overage, refer back to your original contract to verify that it is an legitimate extra expense. The only way the cost of the project should go up, is if you make a decision on the fly that impacts the design, or materials, or if something completely unavoidable comes up, such as rotting floor joists, or mold behind walls.
  8. If you are not 100% satisfied, do not pay the full balance owed. Make sure that you have included the right to a hold-back in lieu of work to be completed, or repaired, in your contract. This goes for all suppliers of materials and your contractor. For example if you are missing a cabinet door, your would do a hold back for your kitchen supplier, but your flooring and general contractor would be paid in full. If the contractor didn’t do something on his contract such as  wire for new pot-lights, you would hold back a percentage of the contract price from him until the pot-lights were installed.
  9. If your contractor is doing a good job, let him know. If you see something you don’t like, let him know.
  10. Block the renovated area off from the rest of the house. If there is no doorway to block the space off, use plastic sheeting or canvas to help keep the dust out of the rest of the house, and the prying eyes of sub-trades.


Lighting in the Kitchen: Think Layers of light

by jessica 0 Comments
Lighting in the Kitchen: Think Layers of light

Years ago, it was still acceptable to light a small 10×10 kitchen with a single fixture that held two 60W bulbs (commonly referred to as a ‘boob-light’).

Things have changed. Kitchens are no longer constrained by four walls, they have doubled in size and they contain numerous chefs at any one time. The kitchen has become a sophisticated space, where cooking is not just done out of necessity, but out of the the sheer joy and entertainment of the task. Lighting of newly defined kitchen space must be efficient, flexible and attractive.

The layers of lighting:

  1. Task Lighting- This is the light that is cast over your work surface. It is important there be no obstruction between the light and the surface, for maximum efficiency. The task lighting on your perimeter counters would be your under-cabinet lighting. Various options for this include; Linear Fluorescent light, Halogen or Xenon Strip or Puck lights, and newer LED Strip light technology. The task lighting over a peninsula, island or sink would be a pendant or island fixture.
  2. Ambient Lighting- This is the general light in the space. It is most commonly the boob light in the ceiling, though modern versions are much more attractive. Other lights in the space could double as ambient light as well, depending on the style of fixture and source.
  3. Accent Lighting- This is most commonly seen as Recessed or Track lighting.  The most common lighting question I get is “where do I put my pot lights”. There are two effects that can be achieved with Recessed and track lighting; one is to flood the space with light, the other is to accent what you want the eye to be drawn to and softly bounce the light back into the room. The latter is usually preferable, as using a directional source to light a large space can be quite glaring and unflattering.

Let it all out! Traditional meets Modern with open shelving

by jessica 0 Comments
Let it all out! Traditional meets Modern with open shelving

I’m exploring open shelving as research for my personal kitchen (, and thought I’d might as well share some of the idea’s I’m playing with. My thought is that it makes sense to have the day to day dishes within easy reach of the sink and dishwasher. This look can be traditional, or modern.

There are two takes on this… neat and orderly, for everything it’s place. Or just let everything fall where it may and embrace the spontaneity? check out the renoramma blog in a few weeks to see what I decided on.