Purveyors of Good Taste

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!

How to Make a Small Space Appear Larger

Can’t afford to upgrade to a larger home or apartment? No problem! Here are some easy ways you can enlarge the appearance of your home without demolishing walls or breaking the bank.



1.  Enlarge the appearance of your windows

You can make a room appear larger by raising and extending your curtain rods past the height and length of your windows.

You will want the curtains to surpass the length of the window by a few inches, and hang several inches above the window casing.  Oh, and be sure to pick a curtain length that reaches all the way to the floor!


Here is an image that demonstrates this idea:

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2.  Purchase the right size furniture


Even I am guilty of purchasing furniture that is too large for a space. It is very important that you choose furniture that is to scale; choosing furniture that is too large for a room will just make the space appear smaller.

Also, if you’re really tight on space you could consider purchasing multifunctional or extendable furniture to eliminate clutter!

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3. Choose a light paint color for your walls


Dark colored walls absorb light, which can cause a space to feel smaller than it really is.

Light colored walls, however, are more reflective so they have the ability to make a space feel more open or airy.

By choosing paint colors that are lighter in the color spectrum (such as light blues, greys and creams) one can inexpensively change the way a room feels.


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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!


Picture 4 copyJmlifestyles.com

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

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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 younghouselove.com

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.

Newest Wallcovering, This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Wallpaper

Geometric print is the newest trend from furniture to accent pillows, so why not incorporate it in your wallpaper as well? From bedroom design to living room design, an accent wall with a geometric print will make any room more interesting!

Geometric Print Jeff Lewis

Image: http://www.houzz.com

The idea for this amazing accent wall came from the wallpaper in Jeff Lewis’s office on Flipping Out, his Bravo show. Here are some similar geometric wallpaper finds!

Brewster Wallcoverings offers a variety of geometric printed wallpaper, including the one below!

Brewster Geometric wallpaper sample

Image: brewsterwallcovering.com

The Wallpaper Company also provides some cool geometric print wallcovering options as well other modern wallpaper choices. Check out the vertical striped wallcovering below. How perfect would this be in any nautical themed room?!

The Wallcovering Company vertical stripe wallpaper

Image: homedepot.com

Another trend is textured wallcovering. What a great way to add depth to any room! Total Wallcovering has an awesome selection of grasscloth wallcovering in a variety of colors! Check out this Norwall sample in Natural Grasscloth:

Natural grasscloth wallcovering

Image: totalwallcovering.com

Whatever you choose to do on your wall don’t dismiss the interesting prints and textures you can achieve with wallpaper! The newest wallcovering options transform what you previously thought of wallpaper!

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

Image: http://apartmentsilike.wordpress.com

 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

Image: lillypulitzeroutlet.net

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

Image: dupontregistry.com

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

Image: Oomphonline.com

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

Image: PotteryBarn.com

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

Image: www.trendir.com

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

Image: www.123rf.com

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

Image: www.shop.ferguson.com

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: overstock.com


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) | Fabric.com

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.