Category Archives: interiors

kitchen color palette

forsyte saga interiorI was watching The Forsyte Saga on Netflix (the English and their smack talk!) when I was struck by this room. It’s very formal and fancy, but the combination of a steely blue and goldenrod yellow felt so modern. It’s also happily relevant, because one of the colors of linoleum I’m considering for the kitchen floor is yellow. And god, am I starting to feel pangs of longing toward damask again?

So then I got to scheming, and this whole business happened:kitchen color palettes

Really and truly I like them all.

Some colors are safer for resale though. With the Marmoleum floor colors, for instance, most people seem to have strong feelings about yellow. And while blue (I think?) is inoffensive, certainly most buyers would pout at a vivid blue. Yes, I could get color on the floor with a rug, but I don’t have my own washing machine–if I had a kitchen rug, it’d be a filthy kitchen rug. So maybe vintage blue or rosemary are safest, if I care about future buyers.

All of the paint colors are from Farrow & Ball. I’m partial to blue and green color palettes, but I’m telling you, the blue-gray and chartreuse-y gold combo is growing on me. Which now that I think about it is just another permutation of blue and green. I’m either in a rut or very, very consistent!

For countertops, all of the options are various styles of quartz. Calacatta Nuvo and London Gray are from Caesarstone, who offer both honed and polished quartz. Torquay comes from Cambria, and Silestone makes Helix. (Here’s Helix in action at last year’s Kips Bay Show House). I feel a slight qualm about using a material that’s pretending to be something else, but these patterns are pretty subtle and convincing. Plus quartz is just so dang durable.

Because it’s recommended Ikea cabinets sit on your finished floor, picking a Marmoleum color can’t really be a last-minute decision. I like the yellow the most because it’s unexpected and cheerful, but vintage blue would work perfectly well too. To further divide things, I think my husband is partial to petrol or rosemary. At this point I’d probably consult some fabrics for ideas, but I’m keeping the windows simple with the existing matchstick blinds, which is really the only spot to introduce fabric. And most of my dishes are white, with a smattering of blue spatterware, so that doesn’t eliminate anything either.

So what do you think? Keep the floor muted and limit color to accessories, for the sake of resale? Or just do what I want because everything else –the cabinets, backsplash, and counters– will be some shade of white?

favorites from kips bay 2014

young huhNo, you didn’t fall through some standing stones* and land back in May 2014; I am, in fact, just now sharing a few pictures from last year’s Kips Bay Show House. The designers for this year’s Decorator Show House were recently announced, which sent me scrolling through my phone for images of last year’s house. Which I am sharing today. So topical and relevant!alexa hampton

When I was a kid I desperately wanted my mom to buy a chaise for the house. Do you ever grow out of wanting such a thing? It’s one of those pieces of furniture infused with so much aspiration; what the typewriter represents to aspiring writers, the chaise represents to aspiring ladies of leisure.

animal prints

Did you all read that article about millennials living uncluttered lives? Meanwhile I am all things on things please, particularly animal prints. Really rebellious.

mendelson group

There were topiaries and a gallery wall. Of course I took the picture.

peony tablescape

This one is just blogger bingo: peonies + black & white objects.

And that concludes my coverage of a thing that happened a year ago!

*Outlander is back and I am very excited about this.

kitchen renovation notebook: butcher block

Earlier this year we went into Manhattan and way, way downtown to Green Depot to look at the linoleum samples in person, and ended up looking at countertops as well. As the store’s name suggests, they focus on renewable and sustainable design, so their countertop selection consisted of composite materials like quartz, and butcher block. I’ll admit, I automatically gravitated to the marble-like quartz options, but my husband really loved the butcher block.

You might think that butcher block is substantially cheaper than stone counters, but it’s not, unless you go the pre-cut route at a store like Ikea. According this Remodelista post, custom butcher block counters run between $75 to $150 per square foot. But the warmth of the countertops is undeniable and definitely evokes a country kitchen.

My only concern with butcher block is having it near the sink. Some articles indicate that unsealed butcher block near a sink will get discolored. I’m okay with an even patina, but not straight-up rotting sections of counter. So do you have butcher block counters and if so, how is the maintenance? Any issues near the sink?

kitchen renovation notebook: linoleum

After much budget crunching, wine drinking, and Pinterest stalking, we’ve decided to go ahead with our kitchen remodel this year. We’re going to attempt to do as much as we can ourselves (with the help of my electrician dad), and then fill in with the pros where needed. We’ll be on a tight schedule with my dad, so the goal over the next few months is to make design decisions, start working on orders with long lead times, and basically try to have everything on site at the start of the project. (You can cackle at my naivete now).

I have a clear idea for the cabinets, counters, and the backsplash. Floors, however, leave me a bit stumped. Currently we have ceramic tile, which can be a hard thing to stand on for long periods. Not to mention the fact the tile is at least an inch higher than the rest of the apartment floors. New thing I learned: old homes typically have hardwood subfloors, except in the kitchens, where it’s probably plywood. So you need thin flooring if you want everything flush. Not tile.

That leaves us with vinyl or… linoleum.

Yes, linoleum. Period-appropriate, durable, eco-friendly, and affordable. I always associated linoleum with vinyl flooring, but I’ve learned they are two vastly different categories. Linoleum is made from renewable resources, is biodegradable, and it’s been in use in homes since the late 19th century. A sheet of plastic, it is not.

The cool thing about linoleum is it comes in planks, squares, and sheets. With that kind of flexibility, you can create graphic patterns or just do a mega-dose of solid color, like the orange linoleum in the above room of a working horse ranch, no doubt meant to remind you of Hermes orange.

For our utilitarian galley kitchen, linoleum makes a fairly compelling case. Any other linoleum lovers out there, or at least linoleum-curious?

behind the scenes with ruthie sommers

Do you remember this colorful home in House Beautiful, designed by Ruthie Sommers? I started following Ruthie on Pinterest, where I then discovered she started a blog. She recently posted about the above living room and its origins, and I was so very excited to get some of the behind-the-scenes details. I particularly loved her description of the design:

Lets make this feel like a preppy 80′s house that Mark Hampton may have designed so we never have to decorate again and we smile when we walk in the rooms.

Isn’t that wonderful? I also just love hearing designers and decorators talk. Sometimes seeing rooms in print, you get this distinct feeling that decorators are a little self-serious. But honestly, after making rounds at the Kips Bay show house this year, the overwhelming impression left by designers is they just really, really love this stuff. I mean, when I interviewed Miles Redd he talked about his Frydaddy. Decorators, they’re just like us with deep-frying mishaps and a love for good preppy houses.

As far as news around these parts goes, I have things to share–dining chairs came! living room painted! the purchase of a pair of slipper chairs! curtains!–just lacking the wherewithal to write it all up. I have a feeling once I buy my first bouquet of the season (don’t judge: my neighborhood seriously lacks good flower selection!), I’ll take a bunch of photos and be basically obligated to blog them. It’s some sort of blogger commandment, I think.