Inspiration in the Studio

Highlights from Orlando. KBIS and IBS.

Last week, our design team made a quick trip to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and International Builders Show (IBS) in Orlando.

It was so worth the trip! We found incredible inspiration for the ultimate bath from the designers of the DXV Design Panel.

There were so many new introductions and technologies to explore. We loved the color in these appliances from Smeg.

It appears we can no longer complain about not being able to find the perfect finish. Kohler managed to cover them all!

And, we absolutely loved these organically shaped sinks from Ronbow.

Some incredible countertop options, including these beautiful quartz introductions.

Oh, and did we mention the amazing windows and doors?  We were drooling.

This is just a sampling from our overflowing camera roll! The options. The details. The inspiration. The possibilities. We can’t wait to use them all!

Southern Studio in Vegas! Design and Construction Week!

What a week!  Martha and I traveled to Las Vegas and enjoyed a few days of design inspiration. This year, the NAHB International Builders Show (IBS) combined efforts with the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) for what is now known as Design and Construction Week!  Let’s just say that it was a feast for the eyes….and we’re happy to share our highlights!


The possibilities in cabinetry today are endless and we were excited to see the creativity flowing from some of our favorite lines.  Open shelving, glass details, functional storage, painted finishes in a variety of colors (Martha loved the yellow island), and designs for specialty spaces are the trends we noticed.


The new pumice finish (a beautiful warm gray stain) from Dynasty Cabinetry was a favorite find! It’s available in several wood species….love it.


We always make sure to focus on function before we begin the aesthetics of any design. Well, the functional options we now have in bathroom cabinetry should make everyone happy!  Check out the fabulous new cabinetry and storage options from the new Jacquard Collection by Kohler (I promise the configuration options, finish selections, and attention to detail are unbelievable….even electric outlets on roll-out shelves)!  We were really excited to see the new “medicine cabinet” by Decora too (notice the slide-out feature).


Countertops continue to evolve with beautiful new finishes. We loved the Ocean finish from Silestone! Caesarstone had some unique countertops options too.  The embossed texture of the Motivo Collection has endless possibilities! The Concetto Collection was amazing….imagine the character of semi-precious stones blended into a luxury stone surface (beware, it does come with a price tag but it would be worth the splurge to make a serious design statement).


We loved the variety of ways we found LED lighting being used. Check out the glass countertop lit with LED.  And the beautiful glow created in the back of these wine cubbies!


Our favorite sinks were a “sustainable blend of natural materials” (think jute and concrete) to make the perfect lightweight concrete vessels for the kitchen and bath. The NativeStone Collection by Native Trails was amazing.


We were thrilled with the natural textures of the new introductions by Daltile.


All types of hardware (door hardware, cabinet hardware, bath hardware) become the jewelry of every house. We can’t wait to use the many new options from Emtek. The crystal is seriously stunning!


We were so impressed by the many architectural grill options available. The creative ideas were flowing on how we could incorporate these unique details into kitchens, wall screens, outdoor spaces, and kids rooms….lots of brainstorming happening!


We also enjoyed the many new options in building materials….especially windows and doors. My favorite are the sliding and stackable doors like these from NanaWall and Kolbe. With outdoor living so popular in our culture, these doors join our indoor living spaces with the outdoors beautifully (but, once again, a definite splurge)!


With so much cultured stone being used in construction now, there are many possibilities.  We noticed a definite shift to the cleaner lines and smaller profiles of rough-cut stacked stone.


We spent a bit of time exploring the over-the-top design of the many casinos….travel is always a great source of inspiration! We especially want to thank a few of the fantastic people who helped make the trip extra special….our Delta and Brizo Faucet rep (Brizo is one of my all-time favorite faucet lines) and the team at Houzz (this site is amazing for anyone building or remodeling and we were so thankful to spend time with them).


As the saying goes, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas!” We hope that this does not hold true for our experience….we can’t wait to bring our favorite finds back to our clients!


Favorite Finds :: Everything but the Kitchen Sink!

The kitchen sink is one of those things that gets used and abused by our families every day! We’ve been spending a lot of time designing kitchens lately and sadly, the sink is one item that just doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves. The size and shape of the sink needs to work hard for your family, but it can also be a design statement. Here are a few of our favorites:

(A) Classic fireclay farmhouse sink from the Shaw Collection by Rohl.

(B)  The Lakefield enamled cast iron high/low double bowl sink by Kohler (and available in 17 beautiful colors).

(C) The ultra-durable Silgranit sink by Blanco, available in seven colors and 23 shapes.

(D) A gorgeous hand-hammered Bistro sink in brushed nickel by Native Trails.

(E)  The transitional (with a bit of a twist) stainless Avado undermount sink by Elkay.

(F)  Another beautiful hand-hammered copper sink in a farmhouse style by Native Trails.

(G)  The Crevasse trough sink by Kohler is available in three lengths and has a unique rinsing system for easy clean-up. It’s the perfect secondary prep sink and does double-duty as a beverage center filled with ice and drinks when entertaining.

(H)  A favorite classic stainless bowl sink with a unique design is the large, single, D-bowl by Kohler.

(I)  For a charming sink that makes a unique statement, the Country Kitchen Sink by American Standard is absolutely perfect for any cottage design.

(J)  The Jonathan Adler collection by Kohler comes in four very happy colors, which would surely make the daily chore of washing dishes a fun experience!

Beautiful Spaces and Places...Bathrooms

The bathroom is the one space that we use every day that should serve as a sanctuary from the stresses of daily life. Last weekend, I got into a discussion regarding the highly-debated topic Bath vs. Shower. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground on this topic…you’re either a bath person or a shower person. Either way, there are so many luxurious options available.

I love this calming bath with free-standing tub, substantial vessel sinks and gorgeous chandelier.

All That Sparkles

A great walk-in shower!


Another soaking tub just waiting to be used.

Master Bathroom

This over-sized shower has multiple shower heads and a rain can shower.


This spa-like bath would be the perfect spot to soak after a long, hard day

So, what is your choice….shower or bath?  For me, my favorite is a simple outdoor shower after a long, hot day on the beach!

Images from Southern Accents, Elle Decor, Southern Living, Traditional Home.

The Role of an Interior Designer!

Last week, an article in the New York Times titled Interior Designers Help Homeowners Discover Styles, focused on the benefit of hiring an interior designer. It made me realize how confusing our industry can be. No wonder people have a hard time figuring it out! This article had some great tips for working with a designer.

The American Society of Interior Designers requires its members to meet strict education and work experience requirements. There is a great section on the website that explains the benefits of working with an interior designer.  It says, “When you hire an interior designer, you get the benefit of an experienced professional who can solve problems, help you avoid costly mistakes and, most importantly, create an attractive, affordable space designed specifically to meet your lifestyle needs.”

Last year, I documented the interior design process when I participated in the ASID Carolinas Showhouse.  When I started the project, it was an empty space with rough-ins for plumbing and electrical.


There were so many decisions to be made very quickly, including cabinetry layout and design, appliances, countertops, lighting, plumbing fixtures, tile design, wall finishes, furnishings, accessories….oh, and did I mention the budget? Great design is all in the details, so I began putting together the plan.


After a few months of diligent effort, here’s the end result (which hopefully demonstrates how a professional interior designer can contribute expertise and experience to a project).

080507vic-Raleigh ASID Showhouse

I absolutely love what I do every day. How many people are so fortunate? But, I’m constantly challenging myself to push the limits of design, manage budgets creatively, and help clients meet their unique lifestyle needs. I create beautiful homes every day, but I always try to remember that my clients only have one chance to get their project right!