Archive for March, 2012

March 30th, 2012

Modern Kitchen

Part One

Blue Accent Kitchen courtesy of www.thekitchendesigner.org

 

Perusing design magazines the other day, I dreamt up a recipe for creating the perfect modern kitchen. Whether you want to renovate your existing kitchen or design one from scratch, it is common to feel overwhelmed with the sheer array of possibilities. From cabinets and counter tops to flooring and textiles, building your dream kitchen can become a maelstrom of design elements. Step away from the chaos! Breathe. Once you purge the chaos, sit quietly and close your eyes. Try to imagine how you want your kitchen to feel and create your own recipe for a perfect modern kitchen!

 

The modern kitchen, like the one pictured above from thekitchendesigner.org, contains several elements which you will, at some point, need to address and consider. Ask yourself at each crossroad whether your choice will fulfill the style dream you have determined for you space.

 

Kitchen Architecture

 

Architecture can make or break a space depending on how the space is designed. Crown moldings will add a finishing detail especially if you consider the details of the cabinetry when choosing a style. The colour you choose to paint the crown moldings will alter the look as well. Other architectural elements to think about include built-ins, window casings, paneling and wainscoting. Ideas for built-ins include bench seating, a desk, and shelving. Unify the look of the kitchen and finish all your projects with the same trim and colour scheme. Wainscoting and paneling can be used throughout the kitchen or you can use this architectural feature to define an unused area.

 

Natural Elements in the Kitchen

 

Stone and wood offer warmth and distinction to any kitchen design. For a dark masculine look, choose medium to dark wooden cabinets with black or chocolate granite counter tops. Or lighten the look and choose white cabinets with granite or quartz counters in a soft colour like white or beige. Quartz counter tops come in a wide range of colours. Experiment with samples of lime green quartz, white quartz with mirror flecks and other vibrant colours. Choose the most beautiful counter top you can find and afford as it is a fixed element you will likely be living with for many years to come.

 

Modern Kitchen Colours

 

Modern kitchens often include a pop of bold, fresh colour. The good news is that any colour goes. Current colour choices include Kelly green, cerulean, oxblood red, lemon and tangerine. One idea is to paint a single wall in your chosen hue, even a wall with limited surface space, as the colour is sure to make a statement in any dose. Tie the colour into the room elsewhere with accessories, appliances, textiles, dishware and personal items like knick-knacks. Paint the rest of the room in a complementary neutral colour with bright white trim. Or, introduce some colour with a feature wall in a graphic wallpaper print.

 

Another idea is to flip the colour scheme inside out and paint only the trim, crown moldings and window casings in your colour of choice. Think cherry red in an all white color scheme, for instance. You can always add more of this juicy shade into the mix with a vase of red dahlias, some red and white damask chair cushions and a series of red drum pendants hanging above the island or table.

 

Glass Accents

 

Glass can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen to add sparkle. Used as an insert for kitchen cabinets, glass choices are numerous and a wonderful way to add delicate detail. Bubbled glass, crackled glass, reeded glass and many other designs are available. With properly positioned lighting, glass is a detail that will provide elegance. Imitate the glass in your choice of glassware. Another idea is to create a glass partition to divide one space from another.

 

Next week I will conclude with the final elements required to create a modern kitchen. Stay tuned!

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March 20th, 2012

Spring Decor Ideas

Ranunculus Bloom

Rananuculus photograph courtesy of Mr. Phil Price

Hooray for the first day of spring! As gray as it is, the dry streets are heavy with the scent of rain. How happy is that? This time of year I like to take stock of everything in the main living areas to see what I can change or update in the coming weeks to make way for spring and summer living.

 

Away with the heavy carpets meant for holding boots and wintry debris. Away with the heavy wool throw on the sofa. Away with any indication that winter was ever here!

 

I want to introduce vibrant energy and at the same time choose items that don’t need a whole lot of upkeep. The back of the house gets pure sun in the summer, presently a thick-slatted blind hangs with a valance I made from fabric bought at Ikea. A new valance in a summery pattern to change the look, is in order this year. The kitchen is very red, as red as red can be, I believe the shade was called ‘Daredevil’ which means I need to find a fabric with a pattern that can stand up to such a bold colour. I might even pair the valance with a sheer curtain to soften the look of the blinds.

 

As for the back entrance, a small rectangular carpet will do the trick for warmer months. Now, if only I could come up with a solution to deal with all the sand from little shoes which ends up in the porch!

 

Another way to lighten the mood in your home and incorporate spring decor, is to reposition mirrors to reflect more light. Not all of them, of course, but try moving one and see what happens. Update wintry patterns and cozy prints with airy fabrics you can use in areas around the home. Break out the flowing cotton curtains, linen throw pillows and pack up the wool!

 

Spring decor would not be complete if you didn’t arm yourself with supplies and develop a game plan for spring cleaning. Depending on your climate, the indoors and the outdoors will need some love, and by love I mean a scrubbing! Windows, screens, door frames, closets and more will do well with a major haul over. With the onset of winter, things tend to accumulate. Now is the time to release them and make way for the new.

 

Another sure way to introduce spring décor into the home is fresh cut flowers! Whether it be tulips, white lilies, anemones or my absolute favourite ranunculus, fresh flowers add instant spring appeal to any type of décor.

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March 14th, 2012

Monochromatic Design Ideas

Elegant, white monochromatic room.

From Burrs and Berries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monochromatic decor is a commitment to use one colour to decorate an entire space. The choice you make for your colour will depend on several factors. Consider the space and its daily usage to determine whether you wish to create a vibrant energized space or a serene oasis. Also consider the time of day the room is most frequented. Dining rooms, for instance, tend to be used in the evening and can hold saturated colours well as they create the sought-after cozy factor. Colour looks different in daylight than it does by lamp light.

 

A strict approach to monochromatic design ideas makes use of one colour only, and incorporates a range of hues in it’s palette. A casual approach to monochromatic decor means you can choose one main colour and accent it with white, silver, black, gold or wood tones. Either approach is chic and visually appealing when planned well.

 

Apartment Therapy showcases an assortment of both casual and strict monochromatic designs which you can see in this post. Check out A Summer White Villa (pictured above) courtesy of Burrs and Berries.

 

If monochromatic decorating is a new concept to you, experiment with decorating a small space like a foyer or a bathroom. The key to any successful design is texture, but this is especially evident for monochromatic rooms. If texture is not worked into the room, the result is a flat swathe of endless colour. Instead, bring original pieces of furniture, art, textiles and accessories into the room for both their shape and texture. Don’t be afraid to alter your finds. A fresh coat of paint in your chosen palette will create new options.

 

Use the hallways in your home to bridge the space colour-wise between monochromatic areas. Litter pops of the colour from the monochromatic room down the hall and away from the room like a trail of eclectic bread crumbs. This will prevent a choppy and potentially jarring atmosphere, especially if your monochromatic room is a bold or bright one.

 

Ideas for calming colours include white, beige, soft blues and greens and gray. Amp up the colour factor for a vibrant space with colours like red, pink, purple, indigo, blue and green. Whatever colour you choose, monochromatic decor is addictive, have fun with it!

 

 

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March 1st, 2012

Broccoli Lentil Salad

I concocted this broccoli lentil salad to welcome March, and encourage it with a little green to tempt the spring. Mixed greens and spinach are my go-to for a quick salad fix, but some days you want a salad with substance. And this salad is exactly that, as broccoli and lentils are both super healthy and packed with vitamins. In like a lion, out like a lamb? I’m not sure yet, although it is colder than it has been of late. Here’s to an early spring!

Make this salad as-is and pack it up for a quick work lunch. You could also make it on the weekend and serve it with bread. I would serve it with bruschetta or crusty baguette and dip. Spinach dip, bean dip, artichoke dip or hummus!

 

Broccoli Lentil Salad Serves 4:

 

1 head of broccoli

1 can of lentils

1/4 cup of dried cherries

1/4 cup of chopped green onion

1 carrot shredded

1/4 cup of feta

2 tablespoons of Parmesan

 

  1. Chop one head of broccoli into 1-inch florets. Boil or steam the florets for 2-3 minutes, until barely tender. Immerse the broccoli in a water bath (to keep the vibrant green hue) and place in bowl.
  2. Rinse lentils and add them to the florets.
  3. Place the rest of the ingredients into the bowl.

 

White Wine Vinaigrette:

 

1/4 cup of white wine vinegar

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Whisk the vinegar and olive oil together until combined. Add cumin, salt and pepper and whisk again.
  2. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

 

Enjoy this salad as a main course lunch salad or as a side salad served with chicken or salmon. For a decorative presentation, serve the salad in colourful, halved bell peppers, in a purple cabbage leaf or in vintage dishware. Broccoli lentil salad makes a great potluck dish and is a great salad to take on a picnic.