Purveyors of Good Taste

Kitchen Design: What Can White do for Your Kitchen?

A classic kitchen design that should not be overlooked: white kitchens. Opting for white cabinets over a kitchen cabinet stain in your new construction kitchen or kitchen remodel can fullfill a variety of needs. 

white kitchen cabinets

Image: Elledecor.com

White naturally reflects light, having a kitchen that has white will make the space seem brighter and more open, even if you don’t have windows within the immediate room. Another way to further achieve this effect is to have white glass kitchen cabinets

White kitchen cabinets

Image: elledecor.com

If you are lucky enough to have a kitchen with windows, white is a great complement to the natural light.  A white kitchen with windows really pops!

White Open kitchen design

Image: Elledecor.com

Whether your kitchen is totally white or simply has white kitchen cabinets, white is a timeless color that meshes with many interior kitchen design schemes. 

Gibson design group recently did a kitchen design with white cabinets and black granite countertops. A classic kitchen design combination.

White Kitchen cabinetsImage: www.decorpad.com

Even if traditional kitchen design is not your style. White works with modern kitchen design as well. 

Modern White Kitchen design

Image: elledecor.com

White is also a great way to accent a specific characteristic of your kitchen. In the picture below the highlighted beamed ceiling kitchen doesn’t compete with the white/light colors of the rest of the kitchen. 

beamed ceiling kitchen

Image: http://www.designshuffle.com 

Above all, white is not a trendy color. If your kitchen is traditionally designed in white it will never go out of style. 

What do you think of white kitchens?

Kitchen Design: Choosing The Perfect Kitchen Table

A great kitchen table is the linchpin of any beautiful kitchen design and the centerpiece of all at-home entertainment. Choosing the perfect kitchen table will give family and friends a wonderful space to gather around, a comfortable and elegant setting to enjoy delicious food and wonderful fellowship.

When choosing a kitchen table, you should consider the proportions of your space, the overall design of your room, and the setting that you are trying to achieve. To get you started, we have listed three types of kitchen tables and the kitchen designs that they work well with.

Classic Rectangle Kitchen Table

A long wooden table has long been the favored centerpiece of kitchen design, and it’s tough to beat the classics. This versatile design works everywhere from a farmhouse kitchen to an elegant dining room, depending on the style of wood that you choose.

kitchen table Photo: Apartment Therapy

The simple stone top and rough wooden beams lend a rustic elegance to this spacious country kitchen. When using a rectangle table, there is room to get creative with your seating. Cover chairs in leather or plush fabric will give your table a more luxurious feel, while painted picnic benches would promote a more casual atmosphere.

The Round Kitchen Table

Round tables are a great way to make the most of smaller spaces and create comfortable, intimate seating. Once again, the look depends a lot on the material that you use. If you want to inject a note of formality into your dining space, go for dark, rich woods and ornamental bases. If you want to keep your kitchen open and light, consider choosing a glass table top with a simple metal or wrought iron base.

kitchen tablePhoto: Austrailian Vogue Living, Richard Powers

Here, the table’s rich dark wood complements the formal elegance of antique chairs and provides a strong focal point within the room’s white paneling.


Banquette seating is a great way to add both storage and seating to your kitchen. Banquettes are best used in more casual kitchen and breakfast nooks, rather than formal dining rooms.

kitchen tablePhoto: casugar.com

Banquette seating is a great way to inject a playful note in your kitchen design. Here, fabric and pillows add color and pattern the kitchen’s design, while the simple, elegant glass table balances everything out.

3 Tips for Elegant Outdoor Living Areas

Elegant outdoor living areas add a warm and gracious touch to any home, opening up so many possibilities for entertaining and family fun. With some careful planning and a healthy dose of creativity, you can create a comfortable, elegant outdoor living area where your family will enjoy everything from quiet fall evenings to large summer barbecues. Check out our tips and get started on designing your own elegant outdoor living area.

Divide your outdoor living space into smaller areas

Use different groupings of furniture to make a large outdoor space feel more intimate and cozy. Designate one area for dining, one for cooking, and another for casual seating. Position furniture or plants to create subtle divides without entirely blocking off each section.

Elegant outdoor living areaPhoto: Gibson Design Group

Here, bamboo partitions subtly and beautifully divide the dining and seating areas while still allowing the space to feel open and airy.

Anchor your space with fire

A dramatic fireplace is a great way to anchor your outdoor living area while also boosting its capability. A roaring fire will help keep your space warm even during colder months, ensuring that you get as much use out of your outdoor living area as possible.

Elegant Outdoor Living AreasPhoto: Architectural Digest via www.theenchantedhome.blogspot.com

If a stone fireplace is rather out of your price range, consider adding a large firepit. Open firepits give off a lot of warmth, and they are usually a hit with any smores-loving children.

Dont’ Be Afraid of Using Fabric

Pretty fabrics do not have to be confined to the indoors. As outdoor living areas have grown more and more popular, manufacturers are churning out fabric that can stand up to moisture and humidity. Using abundant fabric in your outdoor living area instantly makes the space feel more luxurious and comfortable.

Elegant Outdoor Living AreasPhoto: www.experienceoutdoorliving.com

Kitchen Cabinet Design: 3 Cabinet Stains for Kitchen Design

As we pointed out in last week’s post about glass cabinets, the style and texture of your kitchen cabinets can define your kitchen design. Different cabinet stains and colors can give an entirely different feel to your room, transforming your kitchen design with a few coats of paint or stain.

To take your kitchen cabinet design in a different direction, check out these three stains and the kitchen designs that they go well with.

3 Cabinet Stains for Kitchen Design

Kitchen Design: Rustic Elegance

Cabinet Stain: Cherry or darker wood

Richly colored woods such as cherry or mahogany add warmth to a rustic-style kitchen. These woods are best paired with warm, earthy colors, such as deep reds or golden yellows.

Kitchen Cabinet DesignPhoto: www.cabinets.com

Complete the rustic look with thoughtful details. Wrought iron cabinet pulls, gleaming copper pots, and brick accents are a great way to add small touches of rustic elegance.

Kitchen Design: Streamlined Contemporary

Cabinet Stain: Gray or Black

Dark gray or black cabinets create clean, well-defined lines in your kitchen, making the overall space appear neatly contemporary. For black or gray cabinets, you can choose between a very dark stain or a semi-gloss or gloss paint. Paint creates a smooth, uniform finish, while stain allows some of the wood’s original grain to show through.

Kitchen Cabinet DesignPhoto: Flickr, The Estate of Things

Gleaming silver and white hardware completes the contemporary look. Make sure to enliven the more minimalist design with a few well-chosen accents, such as pretty storage jars, open dish shelving, or distinctive table centerpieces.

Kitchen Design: Light and Airy

Cabinet Stain: Light Oak or Maple

While darker stains risk overwhelming a small kitchen, lighter cabinet stains immediately open up a kitchen design scheme. Light oak or maple stains are extremely versatile and can be paired with a variety of paint colors or counters.

Kitchen Cabinet DesignPhoto: www.home.howstuffworks.com

Make sure to anchor lighter cabinets with other darker accents, such as black appliances, darker counters, or rich paint colors.


Cabinet Design Tips: Glass Cabinets for Kitchen Design

Glass cabinets are a great way to ensure an organized kitchen design. Transparent glass cabinet doors force you to prioritize neatness on your kitchen shelves, since every item on them will be clearly visible.

In addition to this forced organization, glass cabinets provide a light, airy alternative to traditional wooden cabinet doors, immediately opening up a small place and adding subtle texture and shine.

The style of your glass cabinet doors should be chosen to match the overall design of the room. For example, if you are envisioning a charming country kitchen, you could choose windowpane-style glass cabinets in lighter paint colors.

glass cabinetsPhoto: bhg.com

Painting the back of your cabinets or covering them with fabric is a great way to tie your cabinet design to your room’s color scheme. The painted blue boards in the above cabinets complement the neatly stacked blue and white dishes and enliven the neutral white of the cabinet doors.

If your room’s aesthetic is more modern, you might want to consider single panel glass cabinet doors. The uninterrupted stretch of glass would fit right in with a sleek, contemporary design scheme. Here, tinted glass cabinets offer clean lines and a stark black and white color scheme, complementing the room’s spare, minimalist design.

glass cabinet designPhoto: arritalcucine.com

Whether your kitchen is traditional or contemporary, country or whimsical, glass cabinets are a great way to enhance your design scheme while also displaying your favorite dishes. This relatively simple change can transform your room and add the final touch to the design that you have been envisioning.

Unique Gift Wrapping from Our Virginia Interior Design Office

Every year for Christmas I try to be a little creative with my gift wrapping.  It started a few years ago with investing in nice ribbon and has recently become more outlandish. 


Last year, I wrapped everything in the Wall Street Journal as a tongue-n-cheek homage to the financial crisis.  I might have thought it was much more clever than my gift receivers judging from their responses.  They probably thought I was being cheap!


unique gift wrapping


This year, I wanted to do something creative with the paper again so I ended up using old wallcovering samples from the Gibson Design Group office library.  I think that they turned out well, although it was not an easy task. 

If you struggle with wrapping using normal wrapping paper, this may give you fits, but if you’re okay with corners and edges not being perfect you should try this application.

A few things I learned:


  • Wallcovering is obviously thick so cut the pieces allowing for very little extra to be on your packages.  This reduces bulk in your folds.
  • Tape does not affix to walllpaper as it does to wrapping paper.  You can fix this by using hot glue or, like I did, add some reinforcement to the seams with the ribbons and bows.
  • Pay attention to the repeat on the wallcovering and center your gift to show the patterned parts of the paper.  In a couple of cases, when using paper that had a small pattern on a large amount of field (field is the background color on any paper), I ended up not seeing the design as well. 
  • Don’t be a perfectionist.  This will be frustrating if you try to make each part perfect.  Your gift recipient will be looking more at the creativity of your wrapping and not at every edge so don’t sweat it.

You can see more shots of the wallcovering wrapped presents in our Flickr album.


What have you used that was out of the ordinary for wrapping gifts?

9 Spillworthy Drink Tables for Elegant Interiors

In any elegant room (and any functional room!), a chair that is a far reach from the cocktail table must have a small drink table or surface.  A drink table does not have to be a typical side table but should be somewhere that you can set something small.

In my living room, I even have a wooden step stool from my childhood with books stacked on top that serves as a drink table for one of my side chairs.


This week’s design must-have was a piece of jewelry for your living room–a hammered silver finish drink stool–that inspired me to show some beautiful drink tables to make your living room more luxurious.

9 great drink tables


1. antique brass finish on a twisted metal drink table

2. acrylic “I” accent table

3. metal grid cylinder table with glass top

4. 1920s handpainted hexagonal Moroccan table

5. gold finish “stump” table

6. U-shaped herringbone wood table

7. hammered silver finish drink stool

8. black ceramic garden stool with circular design

9. metal Z design accent table

All information on drink tables is posted on my board on Pinterest.



Virginia Exterior Paint Colors

Please note that the colors appear on your monitor much different than in the paint deck.  Always paint a swatch on the house before embarking on the whole project.

Finding an exterior paint color is no easy task. When you want to deviate from the classic black and white combination it’s hard to know what colors will mesh well. Alexandra took a drive around her neighborhood in Charlottesville and took some pictures of homes that had unexpected, and beautiful, exterior paint color combinations.

Below are several examples of homes in Charlottesville, VA and their color combinations from Benjamin Moore

Exterior color combinations

hunter green

1 Standish White



This first house uses a classic combination, near black and white but not quite the same. The dark color is actually a dark green mixed with the white that is actually much closer to a pale yellow. The Hunter Green (2041-10) shutters serve as a stark contrast to the Standish White (HC-32) house. 



3 Jack and the Beanstalk 3 Monterey White





 This is another great non-traditional color combination. The light green, minty hue of Jack and the Beanstalk (442) shutters coordinates brilliantly with the cream color of Monterey White (HC-27). 



2 Wickham gray

2_newbury port blue

Blues can be tough but this next house is a great example of using the color for vibrancy while remaining classic. The bluish tint to the Wickham Gray (HC-171) serves as a great canvas for the Newburyport Blue (HC-155) shutters to pop. 

Also note how the above house has a red door that doesn’t match the color of the shutters.  This is what we recommend!  No matchy-matchy please.

One color from Benjamin Moore to try for this same effect is Umbria Red (1316). 

4_Umbria Red



4 Fairview Taupe shutters


 Front door and shutters don’t need to be the same color and, in my opinion, shouldn’t. Complementary colors work best. For example, Fairview Taupe (HC-85) would look great with Umbria Red (1316) as well because they provide a nice contrast. 

6 spring purple front door


 5 Santo Domingo Cream



You could also try a lavender door for something softer (the purple looks much brighter on my screen than on the paint deck so don’t be scared away). An unexpected door color that complements the main color and shutters of a house, makes a statement. Try Spring Purple (2070-40) with a Santo Domingo Cream (274) for an impressionable combination. 


What exterior color combination have you used?  What color is your front door?