All posts by kim

Three Types of Eco-Friendly Flooring

Are you looking to take the sustainable route on your next project? If so, here are three flooring options that will leave you feeling good, and not guilty about your flooring choices!



1. Cork Flooring

Cork flooring is a great sustainable alternative to wood. Cork is essentially just bark from the cork oak tree, after removing the bark, it grows back within 9 years!

Aside from its eco-friendliness, cork is known to be durable, easy to clean, soft on your feet, and a wonderful absorber of sound. say good-bye to your creaky floorboards!


2. Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo flooring is not only stylish and inexpensive but it also grows abundantly and quickly.

Bamboo can grow up to twenty feet in a single year; this is amazing considering that it takes other hardwood trees decades to grow to a harvestable point.


3.  Coconut Palm Tree Flooring

Coconut palm trees grow very rapidly; reaching maturity in just 5-6 years! Their rapid growth classifies them as a renewable and sustainable resource. Generally, coconut palms are not harvested for their timber until they have stopped producing fruit, which generally isn’t for 60 to 70 years. Once they have become senile, they are cut down and replanted. Rather than discarding all of the timber, they are now using it to create sustainable flooring. Local communities in countries such as Indonesia can then benefit from this resource and improve their livelihood! I don’t know about you, but this sounds wonderful! Not to mention, coconut palm tree flooring has a beautiful and exotic pattern and has competitive prices.


And Just for Fun:




Vintage leather belts repurposed to make beautiful and intricate flooring!



Three Twists on the Traditional Bunk Bed

As a child, I hated sharing a room with my sibling. Our room always felt dark, cramped and unorganized. Here I’ve provided 3 spaces that are open and refreshing; just as a children’s room should be!


1. Floating Bunk Beds

Here, by eliminating the bunk bed frames, the designer was able to achieve a more open floor plan. Suspending the beds with cables and rope is a nice alternative to those chunky frames, no?


2. Built-in Bunk Beds

Pushing the beds against the walls and creating an alcove allows the space to appear cleaner and more open. I love the added storage beneath the bed, perfect for extra blankets or pillows during a sleepover.


3. Something They Can Grow Into

I love that they used both twin and regular sized beds here. The fact that they appear to be built into the space and are not free standing makes the space seem less juvenile. Is this a children’s room? The space is so clean and sophisticated; I can’t tell! This is a great idea if you plan on staying in your home long-term; it is a timeless design and will need little to no adjustments as the children grow.

Three Unique Pairings of Materials

These three products are guaranteed conversation starters!


Crockery by Misa Tanaka

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I’ve never seen anything like these! Designer Misa Tanaka won 2nd place at the 2009 Takaoka Crafts Competition in Japan. What a beautiful fusion of ceramic and glass; I would love to see these displayed in a kitchen.



Wood castings by Hilla Shamia


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These benches and side tables are incredible!

Here wood is paired with aluminum to create these beautiful industrial looking pieces.



Vases by Karl Oskar Karlsson


Karlsson has seamlessly combined glass and wood in the design of these stunning vases.  I love the reflection of the glass paired with the warmth of the wood; makes me wish they were in production!

Three Alternatives to Granite Countertops







Here are some interesting alternatives to conventional kitchen countertops! Homeowners are now looking at materials such as concrete, aluminum and wood to set their homes apart from the norm!


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Concrete is a trendy and new alternative to granite. It has become popular in kitchens due to its wide versatility.  You can apply many different stains and textures to concrete. Here is an example of a concrete countertop that has been stained and “stamped” with a wooden texture!


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Pretty amazing, huh? Concrete is also extremely durable! Homeowners rarely have to worry about chips or breakage.

Recycled  aluminum

eleekaluminumcountertop copy

If you desire a contemporary kitchen with a commercial appearance then you may want to consider recycled aluminum for your countertops!

Recycled aluminum is an eco friendly alternative to stainless steel and is more economical.
These Eleekinc counters contain 90% recycled material and are very durable.



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Wooden Ikea countertops via

Wooden countertops are in my opinion, the most beautiful. They come in a wide variety of species and stains, and can be cut to show an array of different wood grains. You even have the option of using reclaimed wood if you are looking to take the sustainable route.

There’s no denying that wood has a beautiful appearance, however, homeowners need to remember that wooden countertops require more care and maintenance than countertops made of granite or linoleum.Wooden countertops require special food-safe finishes and water-resistant sealants.

Add Some Color to your Life, Choose a Bright Bedroom Design!

Your bedroom interior design says a lot about who you are, so why not make it say I’m fun, bold, and lively!? By adding color to the room you see everyday, your bedroom will be instantly energized. Here are some ways to kick-start your bedroom color:

Colorful Bedroom


 Many people shy away from color because they think it will overwhelm their space. The apartment above shows how just a couple pops of color on a white or nearly white room really stands out and serves to brighten the space! Add your favorite color in easy-to-change accents like draperies or a bedspread! 

Lilly Pulitzer Home Collection


We talked about how bright furniture pieces can add a lot to living room design, this is also true for bedroom design. Lilly Pulitzer Home Collection is a great source for tasteful, bright furniture and fun, bold bedspreads

Lilly Pulitzer Home Collection Chair


Oomph, a website discovered earlier in the year at the High Point Furniture Market is another great source for bright furniture. Their side tables are to-die-for!

Oomph side table


The key with using color is to either use complementary colors or a single-color, color scheme. Below is one of my favorite color combinations, blue and yellow!

blue and yellow bedroom design


Remember that a few simple pieces can really boost your color, but the amount of color is up to you! Use colors that you like and can live with on a daily basis. May your life be brightened by your new colorful bedroom!

Best Bathroom Faucet Design

What faucet should you choose for your new or renovated bathroom? We talked before about the best kitchen faucet design, but the function of bathroom faucets are different than kitchen faucets. What type of bathroom are you choosing a faucet for: a half bath or full bath?

Half Bath Faucet Design

Hall bathrooms or half baths are used less often. The faucet you choose can be more decorative and less functional because this bathroom sink isn’t used for more than washing your hands!

Wall mount faucet and basin bowl


A really cool bathroom faucet to consider is a wall mounted faucet. Paired with a colorful bowl or large basin the combination can really define your half bath! 

wall mounted faucet and basin bowl


Full Bath Faucet Design

Full baths or bedroom baths are used much more frequently and for much more than washing your hands! Gels, creams, and other pastes are sure to get on the sink and faucet so make sure both are easy to clean.

chrome bathroom faucet


A chrome finish is the easiest to clean, this is probably the best bet for a frequently used faucet. The downside to the wall mount faucet discussed before is that you’re probably going to be getting the wall dirty and cleaning the wall as well as the faucet. This is a downside to this style faucet design. The basin look can still be achieved without a wall mount faucet, however. 

Glass Basin Bathroom SinkImage:


Bathroom faucets can be functional and trendy. You just need to consider what you will be using the faucet for and make sure it facilitates those activities!

3 Tips for Tasteful and Functional Beach House Interior Design

It’s summertime again! Think watermelon, warm weather, and tans! Many families travel to the beach at least once during the summer and some are even lucky enough to own a beach house. A challenge for beach house or condo owners is how to make a functional and tasteful beach house. Here are some tips to help you design your beach house!

Light colored living room

Image: ElleDecor

1. Easy Clean Fabric

You need an easy-clean, low maintenance condo or house! Be realistic, this is a place where sand is tracked in all the time! DO NOT use a fabric that is hard to clean. Think about using kid-friendly fabrics! Outdoor fabrics work best and are easy to whip off without ruining the fabric! Check out this nautical outdoor fabric design:

Premier Prints Cadence Deep Blue

Premier Prints, Cadence Deep Blue (UK-067) |

2. Waterproof Flooring

Many condos have tile throughout. While this is a great option to provide the waterproof beach house floor that is a neccessity, there are other waterproof options. Wood laminate floor is a great option for a more classic look. Make sure it is 100% waterproof!

3. Don’t Go Shell Crazy!

Many beach condos go overboard with the “beach theme”. To avoid looking cheesy, try a more toned down nautical theme. Try using a blue/navy color scheme or classic nautical accessories: anchors, sailboats, coral, etc.

Elle Decor Living Room Blue

Image: ElleDecor

In the screened porch we designed for the Charlottesville Design House we used some shell accessories. Use accessories like these and combine them with diversified nautical accessories to achieve a more timeless nautical living area in your beach house or condo!

Charlottesville Design House

Sunroom in the Charlottesville Design House

Traveling to Key West? Don’t Miss The Best Key West Spots!

After designing a cottage in Key West and having the furnishings installed, I spent some time on the island.  At 4 mi long and 2 mi wide, Key West is home to just over 25,000 people.  

Key West Island

A half day trip to the national park of Dry Tortuga was very special.  We took a seaplane the 70 miles to the island with Fort Jefferson on it and spent several hours exploring the Fort and the surrounding waters.

Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson, Key West

Fort Jefferson, Key West


National Park Dry Tortuga

Another morning, a kayak trip was two hours of pretty heavy paddling through mangrove water paths where we saw sea cucumbers, fish and star fish.

Dry Tortuga, Fort Jefferson
We went to some of the best key west restaurants were places like 7 Fish and Cafe Sole for dinner and Camille’s, Sarabeth and Blackfin Bistro for lunch.

Southernmost, Key West
The best Key West hotel I think is the Southernmost on the Beach.  It has beautiful rooms, view and a great staff including concierge extraordinaire Jules! Certainly much different from the Washington D.C. hotels I’m used to, but fun all the same!

Key West ship


Best Key West shopping is at the very eclectic Besame Mucho in Bahama Village.

There is very distinctive key west architecture that is very much of the island.

Take Trendy Kitchen Design to the Next Level, Retro Refrigerators

Old is new again with the newest trend in kitchen interior design: retro refirgerators. Think bright colored refrigerators reminescent of the 1950s.

Big Chill Retro refrigerator


The iconic 1950s look doesn’t mean it has to function like a refrigerator from 60 years ago! Big Chill offers retro style refrigerators and a range of other appliances that have the amenities of today’s refrigerators. Choose from a variety of colors and size combinations!

Northstar also carries a line of retro refrigerators in a variety of colors.

Northstar retro refrigerators Image:

A 50s refrigerator adds a punch of color into a modern kitchen. They’re even perfect for a small space because you can get them fairly small as well. What a perfect addition to a studio apartment?

Retro Refrigerator, modern kitchen


The refrigerators don’t have to be bright either! Check out the below picture with a black, 50s style refrigerator.


vintage appliance kitchen


Get vinage appliances to match the refrigerator. The above kitchen is a great example of incorporating retro appliances into a modern kitchen. If you’re remodeling a kitchen with out-dated appliance, embrace an older stove by complimenting it with a retro refrigerator! It looks like the kitchen above may have done this, look at the amazing vintage stove top and oven!

What do you think about the new trend towards retro kitchen design?

5 Questions to Ask to Choose the Best Kitchen Faucet Design

When choosing a kitchen design, kitchen faucet design may seem like an afterthought. But depending on the functions of the sink, this can change the type of faucet you choose. Here’s a guide to choosing a functional kitchen faucet:

What Kitchen Faucet Finish should you choose?

Depending on what you think is more important for your particular kitchen, scratches or ease of cleaning, this should dictate the finish you choose. 

Delta Chrome Kitchen Faucet


A chrome finished kitchen faucet holds up best to a variety of household cleaners. If you plan to use tough cleaners on your kitchen faucet this is probably the best finish to choose.

brushed nickel kitchen faucetImage:

A brushed finished kitchen faucet, on the other hand, doesn’t scratch as easily (  The brushed finish can come in a variety of colors, above is brushed nickel finish.

How many handles will your sink have?

This is of particular concern if you’re doing a kitchen redesign. How many holes do you have to fill in your existing countertop? You can opt for the standard two handle controlled sink, but here are some other options to consider:

single handle kitchen faucetImage:

A one handle kitchen faucet is popular, but this can be hard to use. Also, if you have a backsplash, you want to be sure the handle won’t interfere with the backsplash. 

High tech Aquabrass kitchen faucet


Another option is the newest technology kitchen faucet, with no handles. This faucet has digital temperature controls.

Delta touch technology kitchen sink


Another new technology is a no-hassle faucet ideal for the frequent cook and baker. No need to dirty your kitchen faucet with the easy touch technology design. It is important to note these faucets can be a little on the expensive side, howerever.  

Where is the kitchen faucet?

This question can answer many of the quesitons above, if you keep in mind what the sink is used for this can help determine the type of faucet you want. Fixture design can vary drastically depending on the location of the sink: indoor kitchen faucet design will differ a lot from outdoor kitchen faucet design. Also a bar kitchen faucet should have much different functional demands compared to the kitchen faucet in your main kitchen. Don’t spend mega bucks on the bar sink!

How often do you use the faucet and what do you use it for?

How often you use the will determine how hardy you need the kitchen faucet to be. What you use it for will determine how much swing you need. Swing is how far the faucet goes around, a faucet can be anywhere from limited stationary swing to a full unlimited swing ( How the sink functions will also determine if you need a faucet with shower capability or not. Are you washing dishes in the sink? If so, you should probably opt for the shower head capability faucet. 

What price point should you choose?

If you’re on a budget not to worry! Consumer Reports says these days all but the cheapest faucets have better valves. Most manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty that covers leaks and stains” ( Interior kitchen faucet design is pretty standard quality across the board so no need to feel like you need to spend an arm and a leg for a kitchen faucet!