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    December 11, 2007
    Gift Guides

    Gasl_gift_guide07_00The holiday shopping season is in full swing. Need a little gifting inspiration? Here are a few of my favorite gift guides from around the web:

    Domino Magazine’s list of 50 gifts under $50. This list is full of hand-picked items from the luxurious to the whimsical.

    Etsy has gift guides for everyone from significant others to the environmentally sound. That means hand-made gifts for everyone.

    Design*Sponge has a great wish-list for the guys on your list, created by an actual guy. And a fabulous compilation of must-haves from other bloggers.


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    November 9, 2007
    Featured Squidoo Lens: Create an Elegant Faux Finish with PaperIllusion Wallpaper

    Create You Squidoo Lens On A Shak Subject And You Could Be Featured On Shakadoo! Once you have built your lens, submit it to the group HERE.

    Create an Elegant Faux Finish with PaperIllusion Wallpaper by KimGiancaterino


    The Ultimate in Faux Finishing

    Most faux finishing projects involve paint, but with PaperIllusion wallpaper you can achieve beautiful, one-of-a-kind designer looks without the mess, fumes, and endless hours of tedious work. Faux finish wallpaper is also more durable and long-lasting than paint. Are your walls cracked or uneven? No problem. PaperIllusion covers everything right up. It’s also completely washable, but if a section becomes stained or torn, just patch over it with another piece. The paper is printed with a variety of faux finish effects, like marbleized stone, florentine marble and terra cotta. If you’re like me, you’ll want to do several rooms!

    It’s as Easy as One, Two, Three!

    Creating beautiful faux finishes on your walls has never been easier. The hardest part is picking out the paper as there are so many colors and finishes to choose from. You won’t need special tools, and you can work in small increments of time, since there is little clean up or prep time involved. People won’t believe you did this yourself, and you won’t believe how easy it is!

    Step One: Tear

    Start by tearing the paper into random, irregular shapes. I like to tear up a roll while watching television or sitting around with friends. I put torn pieces into two piles: one for those that have a straight edge, and one for those that don’t. If you want your walls to have a veined look, let the underside of the paper show once in awhile. I do a little of both, depending on the color I’m using. For example, the Tuscan Red script paper has a gray underside, which looks really pretty with the red colors. Some of the lighter colors have a white underside, which looks like grout when layered. I’ve done walls with and without the underside showing, but you need to decide before you start tearing. It looks great either way, but you’re the designer! Do a few sample pieces before you tear up an entire roll. That way you can decide what looks best for your project.

    Step Two: Dip

    When you’re ready to begin, just dip a piece of the paper into warm water for a few seconds. Some of the PaperIllusion kits include a tray like the one pictured here, but a bowl of water works just as well. I change the water every half hour or so. You can start anywhere, but I typically begin at the top of a wall and work my way down and out. If you start at the top, begin with the pieces that have a straight edge.

    Step Three: Apply

    Now for the fun part. Apply the torn wet paper in an overlapping manner to any clean, dry surface. You can even use PaperIllusion wallpaper over paneling as long as the grooves are 1/4" or less in width. Once you’ve overlapped and positioned your piece of wet paper, just use a smoothing tool to press it into place and a damp sponge to remove excess water. That’s all there is to it. Just keep applying the paper until your surface is completely covered. I usually work for an hour or so at a time, take a break, then go back to it.

    To learn everything you ever wanted to know about faux finish wallpaper, visit the entire lens by clicking: Create an Elegant Faux Finish with PaperIllusion Wallpaper

    Digg!


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    November 6, 2007
    Featured Squidoo Lens: What To Do With All Those Seashells?

    Create You Squidoo Lens On A Shak Subject And You Could Be Featured On Shakadoo! Once you have built your lens, submit it to the group HERE.

    What To Do With All Those Seashells? by GypsyPirate


    How To Decorate With Your Shells

    If you’re like me, you find it very difficult to return home from a beach vacation without at least a few shells.  And, generally I lug home way more than "a few".  And, this is all great and wonderful, I love seashells and love having them around me.  But, eventually, you’ve got to figure out something to do with all those shells.  I’ve got a few ideas that I would like to share with you.

    (And, if you’re not like me and actually resist the beach combing temptation, but still want to make some of these things – you can go buy shells at a craft store.)

    First things first:

    Once you get your shells home, and before you do anything with them, they need to be thoroughly cleaned. I usually use a very weak (10 to 1) solution of bleach in very warm water. Put your shells in a container and cover them with the warm water/bleach and let them set for about 10 minutes or so. Then rinse very thoroughly so you’re sure none of the solution is still on them. As you rinse each one, let it on a soft towel where they can be left to dry. At some point (a few hours is good) turn them over so they dry well. There is a very thorough article outlining cleaning on About.com. They advocate a much stronger bleach solution and also give detailed advice on how to clean shells with creatures still inside. (My personal philosophy is that if there is still something living in the shell, I put the shell back, but that might just be me…)

    Now what do I do?

    Now you have your nice clean shells, what are you going to do with them? You could put them in that shoebox and shove them to the back of the storage cupboard, or you could enjoy them. One of the simplest and highly effective ways to decorate with shells I ever saw was a a friends grandmother’s house. The grandmother in question had been collecting shells for decades, with one or more trips a year to the beach. She used most of the shells collected to ring a tree near her patio. By the time I saw it, the shells were an inch or two thick ringing a sizable maple for several feet. (The attached picture is not of that particular tree, but will give you the idea).

    You say you want to keep your treasures inside? Well, your possibilities are truly endless. From simply arranging in a bowl or on a shelf, or around a candle. You can fill a lamp, or make a picture frame. The most important thing to remember is to enjoy yourself. When I am making or arranging something with shells, I always try to remember the last trip to the beach. And, that will always make me smile.

    Shells and Candles

    You can get pretty glass trays and pillar candles in colors to match your room nearly anywhere these days. And, unless you actually live near the beach, you’ll want to get some craft sand. Once you have those elements,You’re ready to start. Place your candles on the tray, then put an even layer of sand around them, not too deep, you’re not looking to fill the entire tray. Now you can start placing your shells. If you have a large showpiece shell, place that one first. Other than that, just start with the larger of your shells you plan to use, going from the base of the candles outward. I will then usually fill in spots with smaller shells. You don’t want to try to pile too many on, or you will find that you are always trying to restack them. The accompanying photo shows a large tray with multiple candles, I have also made a nice small arrangement with a single pillar, positioned off center on a 6" base. One thing to note is you want to keep your glass candle holder simple, so that the eye is drawn to the shells. I usually choose clear glass, or a very muted green or light blue.

    Books About Decorating With Shells

    …available from Amazon

    These books will have additional projects and inspirations for you on how to use your beautiful seashells.

    Shell Chic: The Ultimate Guide to Decorating Your Home With Seashells

    Amazon Price: $23.10 (as of 09/22/2007)
    List Price: $35.00
    Used Price: $18.25

    Craft Workshop: Shells (Craft Workshop)

    Amazon Price: $11.21 (as of 09/22/2007)
    List Price: $14.95
    Used Price: $10.79

    Decorating with Seashells

    List Price: $27.95
    Used Price: $69.49

    Crafting on the Go: Shells (Crafting on the Go!)

    Amazon Price: $11.01 (as of 09/22/2007)
    List Price: $12.95
    Used Price: $6.48

    Shell Baskets

    One of the easiest, and in my opinion prettiest, ways to display your shells is with a small basket of them placed on a side table or a shelf. You will want to keep your basket size proportional to the size and number of shells you have to display. Start with your larger or plainer shells on the bottom to give you a base for the smaller, prettier ones to show on top. If you have a large conch shell or starfish, angle it up from the side and back of the basket so that it can still be seen. You can also do this type of arrangement with a bowl or a tray, or, any container you choose — for my desk at work, I keep shells in a glass candy dish.

    Picture Frames

    You can stay as simple or get as fancy as you like with a picture frame. For ease of completion, I would say to start with one that is already finished for your first effort. Wood is a better material for the frame to be made of, but you can go with any color or finish, but simple will look better in the end. While you might be able to use this idea with a metal or plastic frame, you will likely be much happier with the results on a wood frame. Once you have selected your frame, choose some complimentary shells that you want to attach to it. You can go all the way around it, some just at the bottom, the four corners, or however you like. Work over newspaper to protect your surface and use your hot glue gun for this project. You will be much happier with your finished product if you do a dry placement of the shells before gluing them in place. Once you know where the shells will go, begin gluing them around the frame. (BE CAREFUL: Hot glue guns can burn you, exercise caution when using one.) Even though hot glue does dry quickly, to ensure you don’t have any problems, allow your new frame to sit over night before placing on display. For your next venture you might want to consider a frame you finish or paint your self to get a truly customized look. You will be amazed at the wide selection your local craft store will have. The possibilities are limitless. You can also decorate the edges/frame of a mirror with shells.

    Make A Wreath Of Shells

    I love the look of a shell wreath, but was intimidated to try one as I was sure they were too complicated. But, it doesn’t have to be. For a project like this, more than any of the others, you should have a large number of consistently sized shells to start with. For your first wreath, go small, get an 8" or 10" foam wreath base from your craft store. Because I don’t want any white to show through, I would say to give it a quick coat of a light colored spray paint. Another necessary tool is a hot glue gun. I can’t imagine having made a wreath of any type without one. I suggest you lay out all of your shells that you want to use near your work area so you can see what you have to use. (It might also be helpful to arrange them in a circle to play with size and color placement.) Start at the top, gluing your shells in place as you go around, filling in around the circle once, then going back in for your next row. (BE CAREFUL: Hot glue guns can burn you, exercise caution when using one.) Once you have the front of your wreath filled in with shells, you’re nearly done. You can now add some ribbon all the way around the wreath, or simply an accent bow. Turn your wreath over and attach a wire hanger into the back and secure with a dab of hot glue. Even though hot glue does dry quickly, I would suggest you still let your wreath set overnight before hanging it. Now, just sit back and enjoy…and start planning your next wreath.

    Other Options For Creating A Shell Wreath

    I found these beautiful shell wreath photos on Flickr. See if any of these give you inspiration for your own creation.

    To learn everything you ever wanted to know about pumpkins, visit the entire lens by clicking: What To Do With All Those Seashells?

    Digg!


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    November 2, 2007
    Featured Squidoo Lens: Design Your Own Gothic Bedroom

    Create You Squidoo Lens On A Shak Subject And You Could Be Featured On Shakadoo! Once you have built your lens, submit it to the group HERE.

    Design Your Own Gothic Bedroom by rms


    Welcome to Gothic Bedroom Design

    Do you want to sleep in a medieval castle?  Do you love the Gothic look?  Take a scroll through my Gothic Bedroom Design page for ideas, options, and how-to advice for your own Gothic bedroom.  You’ll find links to the right bedding, color combinations, faux painting tips, decor accessories, candlabras, and books to help you get that Medieval Gothic look just right!

    Why a Gothic Bedroom?

    Bela Lugosi Inspired Me

    My love of the old Dracula movies inspired me to design my own Gothic bedroom. I so much admired the medieval looking decor that I started really looking at how those castle bedrooms were decorated.

    The first thing I noticed was the candelabras. Before electricity that was their only form of lighting. For a proper Gothic bedroom you definitely need a great candelabra.

    Color scheme is a bit difficult to detect in the old black and white movies but I’ve found that rich reds, royal purples, deep blacks,satiny golds, and all of the gem colors, work very well. Your bedding pattern must be of a regal design, stripes or crests, or simply solid colors with lots of velvet, lace, and fringe work. The large 4 post bed should be topped with a lacy canopy, or fringy drapes and have an assortment of billowy pillows on it.

    Wrought Iron adds a touch of the ancient. Crosses and over door decorations should all be made of wrought iron, or look like it is.

    Of course you will still want the modern conveniences of electricity but be sure that it doesn’t stand out too much. You can find Gothic looking lamps with scroll work on the bases and even in the upper lighted areas. You can even find lamps and ightbulbs that resemble candles.

    Your pictures and accessories should not have a modern look. Think Medieval paintings – swords, dragons, crests, Kings, and Queens. Since my room is based on Dracula, I have a great picture of a vampire, ready to sink his teeth in, at the side of my bed.

    The most important thing to remember is to have fun designing your Gothic bedroom. Watch the old movies, study the medieval designs in books and start designing your own castle hideaway!

    Vampire Decor for a Gothic Bedroom

    A Strand of Garlic

    To add to the vampiric atmosphere of my bedroom, I’ve hung a strand of (imitation) garlic from the top, right, post of my bed as a finishing touch.

    Can’t be too safe now, can we?

    Faux Painting Gothic Bedroom Walls

    How to Create Cracks and Cobwebs

    Your Gothic bedroom should have an old look and feel to it. Think dark and dusty without it actually being dirty and filled with cobwebs. Believe it or not, you can acquire this look with a new coat of paint.

    To get started you need to choose a paint color that compliments your bedding and taste. While a Gothic bedroom should be dark, black paint on the walls isn’t neccessary. I’d try to go with tones of a dusty white, sepia, or gray. Stay away from anything bright or flourescent.

    I chose to use a nuetral color with a slight golden tone to it as the back color in my bedroom, to match the gold in my bedding and curtains, and a brownish colored paint for the accent, but I believe this technique will work with any color you like.

    Once you’ve chosen your wall color, you’ll need to choose an accent color. This color should be in the same family as your chosen wall color,but a shade or two darker. You can also go with a dark gray, or if you’ve chosen a fairly dark color for your walls, you might want to use black. Test the colors to see if they go together using the paint chip samples at your local paint store.

    Once you’ve got your colors, paint the entire room with the lighter color. Depending on the type of paint you use, this usually takes two coats.

    After the paint on your walls is completely dry, comes the fun part! Using a very thin artist’s paint brush, or the edge of a folded piece of sturdy paper, paint thin, uneven lines to look like cracks onto your walls, running from the top corners (where two walls meet the ceiling) in varying lengths, no more than 1/4 of the way down the walls. In order to keep your cracks realistic looking, don’t go all the way to the floor. If a real wall cracked like that, it would crumble and cave in.

    As you paint the lines (cracks) down the walls, keep your paint brush on the dry side, and don’t re-wet your brush until you start a new line. The lines should appear darker and fuller near the ceiling and fade away as they descend down the wall, just like actual cracks do.

    Do this in all four corners of your room, but don’t make the cracks look symetrical, and keep the lines thin. Each corner should have it’s own unique look. If you like, you can paint a few "cracks" in the center of the walls, starting from the ceiling, but I don’t recommend you do too many. Sometimes, less is more and in this case less cracking will look much more realistic.

    Gothic Bedroom Design Ideas

    Throughout this page there are pictures and descriptions of Gothic and Medeval Bedrooms to help you get a good idea of what a Gothic Bedroom should, or could, look like.

    Although these pictures are limited to what the camera caught, your own Gothic bedroom ideas are limitless. Use these photos and your own imagination to create your unique interpretation of a proper Gothic bedroom.

    Have fun with it!

    Gothic Bedroom Window Treatments and Curtains

    Your Gothic bedroom window treatments should be long, full, and billowy with sheer panels of lace peeking out through satiny, or velvet, curtains. They should flow and flutter with the breeze of an open window and yet look majestic when sitting still.

    Your curtain colors should be the same rich colors as your bedding or something similar that will compliment them. Think ruby red, black, gold, or deep purples, and maroons.

    I chose liquid gold curtains with black lace and a valance that matches my comforter with black jacquard stripes over gold. I’m very pleased with the color combination and the antique look of the lace curtains. (I got my lace curtains at Big Lots, believe it or not. It’s like they say in their commercials, you never know!)

    To add to the medieval look of your Gothic bedroom windows, you might look for scrolling, or crescent shaped, wrought iron door toppers and attach them to the walls just about your curtains. I found some great scrolling door toppers at Kirklands for my own room and placed them not only above the curtains but over each of the doors too. They give the walls a taller appearance and add to the mystique and majesty of the room.

    (Lace image from www.costumes.org)

    Wrought Iron Gothic Beds

    This is a wonderful depiction of a gothic bed.

    The bed itself is made of wrought iron and is available through Thewroughtironco.com.

    I love the way the canopy works as the crowning glory of this beautiful bedroom layout. In my opinion the drape behind the bed brings everything together.

    The opposing colors of the pillows work well too.

    To learn everything you ever wanted to know about designing your own gothic bedroom, visit the entire lens by clicking: Design Your Own Gothic Bedroom

    Digg!


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    November 2, 2007
    Featured Squidoo Lens: Design Your Own Gothic Bedroom

    Create You Squidoo Lens On A Shak Subject And You Could Be Featured On Shakadoo! Once you have built your lens, submit it to the group HERE.

    Design Your Own Gothic Bedroom by rms


    Welcome to Gothic Bedroom Design

    Do you want to sleep in a medieval castle?  Do you love the Gothic look?  Take a scroll through my Gothic Bedroom Design page for ideas, options, and how-to advice for your own Gothic bedroom.  You’ll find links to the right bedding, color combinations, faux painting tips, decor accessories, candlabras, and books to help you get that Medieval Gothic look just right!

    Why a Gothic Bedroom?

    Bela Lugosi Inspired Me

    My love of the old Dracula movies inspired me to design my own Gothic bedroom. I so much admired the medieval looking decor that I started really looking at how those castle bedrooms were decorated.

    The first thing I noticed was the candelabras. Before electricity that was their only form of lighting. For a proper Gothic bedroom you definitely need a great candelabra.

    Color scheme is a bit difficult to detect in the old black and white movies but I’ve found that rich reds, royal purples, deep blacks,satiny golds, and all of the gem colors, work very well. Your bedding pattern must be of a regal design, stripes or crests, or simply solid colors with lots of velvet, lace, and fringe work. The large 4 post bed should be topped with a lacy canopy, or fringy drapes and have an assortment of billowy pillows on it.

    Wrought Iron adds a touch of the ancient. Crosses and over door decorations should all be made of wrought iron, or look like it is.

    Of course you will still want the modern conveniences of electricity but be sure that it doesn’t stand out too much. You can find Gothic looking lamps with scroll work on the bases and even in the upper lighted areas. You can even find lamps and ightbulbs that resemble candles.

    Your pictures and accessories should not have a modern look. Think Medieval paintings – swords, dragons, crests, Kings, and Queens. Since my room is based on Dracula, I have a great picture of a vampire, ready to sink his teeth in, at the side of my bed.

    The most important thing to remember is to have fun designing your Gothic bedroom. Watch the old movies, study the medieval designs in books and start designing your own castle hideaway!

    Vampire Decor for a Gothic Bedroom

    A Strand of Garlic

    To add to the vampiric atmosphere of my bedroom, I’ve hung a strand of (imitation) garlic from the top, right, post of my bed as a finishing touch.

    Can’t be too safe now, can we?

    Faux Painting Gothic Bedroom Walls

    How to Create Cracks and Cobwebs

    Your Gothic bedroom should have an old look and feel to it. Think dark and dusty without it actually being dirty and filled with cobwebs. Believe it or not, you can acquire this look with a new coat of paint.

    To get started you need to choose a paint color that compliments your bedding and taste. While a Gothic bedroom should be dark, black paint on the walls isn’t neccessary. I’d try to go with tones of a dusty white, sepia, or gray. Stay away from anything bright or flourescent.

    I chose to use a nuetral color with a slight golden tone to it as the back color in my bedroom, to match the gold in my bedding and curtains, and a brownish colored paint for the accent, but I believe this technique will work with any color you like.

    Once you’ve chosen your wall color, you’ll need to choose an accent color. This color should be in the same family as your chosen wall color,but a shade or two darker. You can also go with a dark gray, or if you’ve chosen a fairly dark color for your walls, you might want to use black. Test the colors to see if they go together using the paint chip samples at your local paint store.

    Once you’ve got your colors, paint the entire room with the lighter color. Depending on the type of paint you use, this usually takes two coats.

    After the paint on your walls is completely dry, comes the fun part! Using a very thin artist’s paint brush, or the edge of a folded piece of sturdy paper, paint thin, uneven lines to look like cracks onto your walls, running from the top corners (where two walls meet the ceiling) in varying lengths, no more than 1/4 of the way down the walls. In order to keep your cracks realistic looking, don’t go all the way to the floor. If a real wall cracked like that, it would crumble and cave in.

    As you paint the lines (cracks) down the walls, keep your paint brush on the dry side, and don’t re-wet your brush until you start a new line. The lines should appear darker and fuller near the ceiling and fade away as they descend down the wall, just like actual cracks do.

    Do this in all four corners of your room, but don’t make the cracks look symetrical, and keep the lines thin. Each corner should have it’s own unique look. If you like, you can paint a few "cracks" in the center of the walls, starting from the ceiling, but I don’t recommend you do too many. Sometimes, less is more and in this case less cracking will look much more realistic.

    Gothic Bedroom Design Ideas

    Throughout this page there are pictures and descriptions of Gothic and Medeval Bedrooms to help you get a good idea of what a Gothic Bedroom should, or could, look like.

    Although these pictures are limited to what the camera caught, your own Gothic bedroom ideas are limitless. Use these photos and your own imagination to create your unique interpretation of a proper Gothic bedroom.

    Have fun with it!

    Gothic Bedroom Window Treatments and Curtains

    Your Gothic bedroom window treatments should be long, full, and billowy with sheer panels of lace peeking out through satiny, or velvet, curtains. They should flow and flutter with the breeze of an open window and yet look majestic when sitting still.

    Your curtain colors should be the same rich colors as your bedding or something similar that will compliment them. Think ruby red, black, gold, or deep purples, and maroons.

    I chose liquid gold curtains with black lace and a valance that matches my comforter with black jacquard stripes over gold. I’m very pleased with the color combination and the antique look of the lace curtains. (I got my lace curtains at Big Lots, believe it or not. It’s like they say in their commercials, you never know!)

    To add to the medieval look of your Gothic bedroom windows, you might look for scrolling, or crescent shaped, wrought iron door toppers and attach them to the walls just about your curtains. I found some great scrolling door toppers at Kirklands for my own room and placed them not only above the curtains but over each of the doors too. They give the walls a taller appearance and add to the mystique and majesty of the room.

    (Lace image from www.costumes.org)

    Wrought Iron Gothic Beds

    This is a wonderful depiction of a gothic bed.

    The bed itself is made of wrought iron and is available through Thewroughtironco.com.

    I love the way the canopy works as the crowning glory of this beautiful bedroom layout. In my opinion the drape behind the bed brings everything together.

    The opposing colors of the pillows work well too.

    To learn everything you ever wanted to know about designing your own gothic bedroom, visit the entire lens by clicking: Design Your Own Gothic Bedroom

    Digg!


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    August 2, 2007
    Remodel without the Risk

    Black_remodel
    If you’ve remodeled or had to make major repairs to your home, you know that finding a trustworthy contractor can be a little like playing Russian Roulette. I’ve heard horror stories about, and had my own frustrations with all sorts, from roofers to painters (never believe them if they say they don’t need a drop cloth).

    The best option for getting something big done right is to get a recommendation from a friend or neighbor who’s used the contractor in their home and can show you their work. But, often times you don’t have the luxury of a personal recommendation. So what do you do?

    QualitySmith.com matches homeowners with pre-screened, reputable contractors for all sorts of projects. Simply select the type of project you are interested in, outline the details, and submit. You’ll be matched with the top 3 contractors in your area and Quality Smith will set up estimate appointments. The process takes 1 – 2 days. And it’s free!


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    June 28, 2007
    Kitchens in Color!

    Hi there, it’s me, Susan Serra, CKD from The Kitchen Designer, popping in because I just had to share something with the readers of Shak In Style. I made an audible gasp (what does that say about ME??) when I saw this post from Desire To Inspire. It’s kitchen after kitchen after kitchen, all done up in strong, lively, colors.

    Homeanddesign_2
    In some cases, in these images, colors are used as accents, and in others they tell the whole story in a fundamental way. The GOOD thing about using color as, say, paint, in a kitchen (the kitchen materials themselves being so permanently installed for decades!) is that you can, say,  "go orange" and be inspired by what’s happening in the moment, only to change your tune a year from now if desired, and go all calm and peaceful in a oyster gray sort of way.

    I see color as almost a coat around me. I have one coat that’s funky which I absolutely love to wear. Another that’s a basic tan that goes with everything and I love for that reason too, because I don’t have to THINK when I put it on, and another coat that’s all frufru luxury in a strong blue suede with black trim. The point is, I feel differently in each coat just as you feel emotions being surrounded by color…relaxed, calm, excited, happy, warm, cool, and more.

    Between paint and elements such as chairs, some of which you see in color in Desire To Inspire’s post, and accessories, take a good look at these images and see which colors and how they are used that you react to….and why. That will give you a clue as to what’s right for you! Color me content.


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    May 31, 2007
    Sleek Kitchen Sinks!

    Hi again kitchen fans! It’s been a very busy May! Susan Serra, CKD here from The Kitchen Designer. With 3 design shows to attend this month, just sorting through the piles of all the good brochures and catalogs I brought back is such a chore! Really, it’s not….it’s prime procrastinating material, getting lost in all those wonderful catalogs of products. How about some cool kitchen sinks I’ve discovered?

    Apartment Therapy talked today about undermount sinks. They definitely qualify as sleek, smooth, and sexy. AT was talking about the cleanability of them, which is one of the best reasons to go undermount.

    Julien_2
    Here are a few sinks that I admired at KBIS, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Vegas. Here’s Julien’s J7 Collection. It’s a minimalist design aesthetic in stainless steel, super functional, and even handcrafted! And, look at those super tight corners!

    Julien always outdoes itself with smart, good looking, sinks.

    Native Trails, also a very cool company, has introduced their Farmhouse Duet sink, a very popular sink in copper, now, in a gorgeous Brushed Nickel finish. Native_trails003
    It’s a double basin sink with an exposed apron front. It almost sparkles, when the light shines across its hammered surface. Overall, it is 33" wide, a very doable size for most kitchens. The inspiration for all of Native Trails products is rural Mexico and its artisan created, high quality handcrafted look.


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    April 14, 2007
    Mark Cutler Does Kitchens!

    Mark Cutler is an accomplished design professional. Truly. He’s a favored designer of some famous Hollywood notables, and has a look that is just all around wonderful. I look for soul. Mark has soul in his work. To me, that is one of the, if not the, highest compliment to give a designer. Susan Serra, CKD, here, talking kitchens…

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    I was reading Mark’s blog and was pleased to see a kitchen (I’m always pleased to see kitchens). Mark designed this kitchen and had a local LA company build the cabinetry. I think it’s great to have the point of view of an interior designer in the kitchen design process. This way, not only is scale and proportion discussed, but the next layer of decorative detailing has a special focus, which should be considered early on, rather than as an after thought. Just look at how Mark has brought in warmth. I don’t even need to tell you where….it beckons you. See more of Mark on Design Talk. Here is more of Mark’s work seen in Desire to Inspire.

    What speaks to me in this kitchen is the very interesting combination of cool surfaces, as seen in the stainless steel appliances and countertops, punctuated by the warmth, the chairs, the floor, and also in a striking way, the doors! The white serves as a neutral between these two elements, which makes for a very easy, flowing space, assisted by the light walls as well. It’s fresh!
     


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    April 11, 2007
    Inspiring Kitchen Accessories

    In December, I went to Norway to attend events surrounding the Nobel Peace Price, what a wonderful opportunity it was. Hi there, Susan Serra, CKD, here, talking kitchens. Anyway, while walking down a side street off of the main shopping street in Oslo, I came upon a fantastic clothing store, and proceeded to stay there for hours. Accessories007
    This shop also had, off to the side, some very fantastic home furnishings (clothes first, home furnishings second) and I loved every single thing I saw there! Upon my return, I found their website, Gudrun Sjoden, and promptly signed myself up for their catalogs, the spring home version which just arrived today!

    Accessories can really transform your kitchen into another time and place. You can take ANY style….whether modern or traditional, and enhance the style you already have with similar themed accessories, or you can choose to be eclectic, tone it up or down, or give it a twist in another direction. Accessories have that power. They have LOTS of power.

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    Think of accessories as its own layer. It can be a layer of color, of a "whole" comprised of parts. It can provide pattern, order, or conversely, a free form lived-in look. I recommend to my clients that they try to visualize the kitchen, and in the process, solve potential problem areas with colors and patterns, by remembering that the layer of accessories is yet to come. Accessories can fill in the gaps in a variety of ways, whether it is fabrics, decorative items, collections, and tableware is in the mix as well. And, don’t forget kitchen rugs! There are quite a few areas which could use a rug under foot, such as the sink or cooktop area. They are warm, and can add great color and texture.

    I am so excited about this company that I also did a post in my blog   on Gudrun Sjoden in relation to dining areas in the kitchen and the mood it creates. Take a look to complete the look! And, the kitchens in Desire to Inspire show many different types of accessories as well for many different looks. A good beginning guide.

    This layer is a fun, yet important part of the kitchen design!


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