Design Elements {Kitchen Wall}

kitchen office workspace interior design

There are still a few tasks pending from the kitchen renovation, one of which includes doing something with the wall behind the kitchen island.

making a kitchen office workspace

There is 57 inches of space between the island and the wall - which leaves ample room (including walk space) to turn it into something special.  My plan is to add something interesting AND functional without overwhelming the area with "too much".  Here's a look at some of the design elements that I envision for the wall:

kitchen home office interior design

A.  Open Shelving

Open shelving will allow me to display some personal photos and treasures, as well as force me to store any paperwork (see C below) in a neat and orderly fashion.  Reclaimed wood or DIY wood shelving is on the wishlist.  Floating shelves (instead of closed upper cabinets) will also help keep the area feeling airy and open.

B.  Warm Woods

I want to inject some warmth and texture, via wood elements, into the kitchen.  Wood will be incorporated through the open shelving, but I am also considering the possibility of adding a long floating wood surface to serve as a workspace (see next item).

C.  Household Workspace

My  "office" (it's really just an empty room with a desk in it) will soon become my older son's bedroom/study/hang out space.  To prepare for the transition, I want to create a workspace in the kitchen for me to pay bills, manage schedules/household, blog, design, etc.  I am actually looking forward to the permanent new "office" space since I prefer working in there.  The kitchen gets flooded with natural light, which makes it a bright and motivating space to work.  My youngest can also use the area to do homework as an alternative workspace to the kitchen island.

D.  Family Command Center

We need a centralized family command center to keep track of our individual and family schedules.  Now more than ever, with my boys off to different schools and having various extracurricular activities, this aging mama needs more and more visual reminders for just about everything.  It is NOT easy remembering multiple school dismissal times and what each kid is up to on any given day!  My kids are also in sports and other activities, which means lots of practices and after school activities to juggle.  A cork, chalk, magnetic, or combo surface on this wall will help provide a place for us to keep a centralized family calendar (and space to post papers/reminders) that everyone can visually access.

E.  Black & White + Lighting

CAD INTERIORS dining room renovation

Since this wall lands on the opposite side of the dining area, I want to somehow tie in the mostly black and white dining room wallpaper to the kitchen wall.  Task lighting will also be added for practical use.

So, that's the plan as of now for the kitchen wall!  As always, since projects around our home happen in real time, the design plan is pretty fluid.

First Day Back

Happy August 29th, which also happens to be the first day of school for both of my kiddos!  We are sad to have the slow mornings, idle summer days, late bedtimes, and fun vacation memories behind us, but it will be good to get back to some resemblance of a structured daily routine.

This school year marks the beginning of when my boys officially go to school on different campuses until they reach high school together.  It will definitely be a year of transition in our household, especially logistically.  My youngest is off to tackle third grade, and my oldest starts sixth grade at the middle school campus.  To capture this special time in our family, I wanted to share a little poem that I wrote to them as we kick off the school year...

back to school poem quote encouragement blessings

For those of you who also have school-aged children, here's wishing them a year filled with wonderful experiences and positive growth!

I'll be back with the usual design-related postings this week, including the design plan for the kitchen wall.

Around the Web

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An absolutely breathtaking before and "finished-ish" tour of a designer's house that was completely remodeled in LESS THAN ONE YEAR!  I wish we had that kind of budget. :)  It's up for sale, if you happen to be house hunting.

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From bland and boring beige, THIS "Scandi Sanctuary" bedroom will WOW YOU and your budget!!!

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The ingenuity of projects that this talented and creative duo undertake is beyond amazing.  Love following all of their home renovation projects!

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Love this deck.  Now I'm re-thinking whether we should install REAL wood instead of low-maintenance composite decking in our backyard?!

Three Easy and Budget-Friendly Ways to Update Your Kitchen

Nothing about the kitchen we inherited from the prior (and original!) owners of our beloved fixer upper was salvageable, at least from a cost/benefit perspective.  Unfortunately for our wallets, we had to completely start anew and renovate our kitchen from top to bottom.

classic modern farmhouse kitchen interior design black and white

BUT if you're fortunate enough to have a kitchen with a good starting foundation but it may just be a bit outdated, here are three easy and affordable ways to breathe fresh life into it:


You hear this one time and time again, but paint is truly your economical best friend.  Paint is one of the most effective and budget-friendly ways to change the look of anything.  Try painting dated or dingy cabinets to instantly update a kitchen's appearance.  If the frames and cabinet doors are in good shape, consider having them professionally sprayed to achieve a nice even finish (or do it yourself if you have the skills).  A fresh coat of paint (try a new color!) on the walls and ceiling can also refresh a kitchen's general appearance.


Cabinet hardware, specifically lack thereof, is something that I notice (and look for) in every kitchen I step foot in.  Now my secret is out... :)

aged bronze cabinet hardware shaker kitchen cabinets interior design

Make sure your kitchen cabinets are sporting some hardware.  These detailed touches go a long way.  Basic builder newer-construction homes seem to be especially guilty of skimping on cabinetry hardware.  Why is that?  I consider hardware to be the finishing touch on cabinets.  Make sure you buy hardware that is "solid" (not hollow feeling or flimsy/plated looking).  Quality hardware can give your cabinets an upgraded appearance.

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I chose a mix of beveled-edged knobs and drawer pulls in a dark oil-rubbed bronze finish for our kitchen.  They are extremely solid and durable... and so awesome in person!  They were purchased from here.


Do you know how you can divert attention away from a ratty old sink?  Switch out an old faucet.

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I can't tell you how this single change can significantly update the appearance AND functionality of your sink area.  Installing a new faucet can instantly add a modern element to a dated sink.  (Psst... We use the side dispenser to hold dishwashing soap.  Total space saver!)

There are certainly more cost-effective ways to spruce up your kitchen (like updating the backsplash and lighting), but these specific tips really don't take much time to implement.  They can also give you some major bang for your buck!

designer design tips interior kitchen design

P.S. Sorry for the more prolonged blog silence as of late.  If you follow me on IG, then you know I've had good reason.

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Summer + A Home Project in the Pipeline...

This summer has been all sorts of crazy with my kids on summer break.  I'm sure any parent with school-aged kids can relate.  I love seeing their sweet faces throughout the day, but driving them everywhere, playing referee to their inevitable spats, and constantly feeding their growing bodies has been a non-stop affair.  Sure, I could stick them in several camps, but then again, it would just add to my Uber duties. :)  Boredom (for them!) definitely strikes more often than not, but I think that being under-scheduled forces them to learn how to be creative with their time when they don't have activities or plans.  Making them think for themselves and managing their time = building necessary life skills, right?  How's YOUR summer going?!

Anyway, now that I've whined about the non-routine that has been summer around here (ha!), you can only imagine the productivity level on the house front (more like lack thereof).  I had planned to work on a couple home projects this summer, but who was I kidding?

BUT once school is back in session and everyone (including myself!) is settled back into a routine, I'm finally going to start tackling a project that has been on my punch list...


remodel renovation interior design black and white kitchen
Pendant lights WILL be hung above the island!

You see that empty white wall behind the kitchen island?!  Well, it's finally going to get some attention!  Despite the temptation to do something anything with it when I revealed the newly renovated kitchen, I left it alone.  Nonetheless, the intention of turning it into a practical and functional part of the kitchen has always been there.  Stay tuned for the design plan.

Another project on my agenda is our hallway (which I will show you soon).  It is the most overlooked area in our home, despite constantly walking through it every day.  This high-traffic corridor leads to the master bedroom, kids' room, main bathroom, and laundry space.  Right now, it has zero style, and it is begging for some design love!

Thank you all so much for bearing with me through the lack of home renovation and improvement project updates this summer.  Unlike last year, it has been quite refreshing to NOT have contractors going in/out of the house.  It's actually the first summer since we've lived here that we have not had any major reno projects in process during the summer months.  I should enjoy it now, because it will be short-lived when we kick off the next big project... the exterior!

Contemporary Living Room Conceptual Design Project

interior design decorating e-design mood board modern transitional

A couple weeks ago, I shared an example of an e-design project, complete with mood boards and floor plans.  There are occasions, however, when clients just want what I refer to as "mini e-designs".  These clients are mainly seeking design guidance on a more limited scale, i.e. conceptual design and space layout ideas.  Here is an example...


This client requested design help to create a contemporary living/family room.  Their room was a hodgepodge of furnishings and accent pieces, and they needed help making the room feel/look more current and cohesive.  The space is where the family hangs out and watches television, so a TV was necessary.  They also wanted a fireplace!  The sectional was the only furniture piece they asked to keep in the design.

*Client-provided images*

client before photo contemporary living room interior design project

client before living room interior design decorating

client interior design decorating contemporary family room project


Three things immediately stood out to me: 1) the room was dark and heavy, 2) it was overcrowded (combination of over-scaled furniture and too many pieces), and 3) everything was against the walls.  It was obvious just from the client's photos that the sectional overpowered the room - not to mention that there was another sofa on the opposing wall.  The dated, bulky television and existing window treatments didn't help matters either.


To maximize space and address room constraints, I suggested a new room layout (flipping the sectional to the other side of the room), as well as a wall of built-ins to house an electric fireplace, flat-screen television, and display/storage (built-ins would go on wall where mirror is).  I also edited the furnishings, recommended lighting, and injected color, pattern, depth, and texture in a fresh, contemporary color pallet.  New window coverings were also suggested.


interior design e-design modern transitional decorating family room

The mood board above factors in a sectional, as requested.  But I also suggested that they consider a sofa that would be better suited to the room size-wise (mood board below).  In both cases, I recommended having only one sofa/sectional, plus accent chairs for a more intimate and flexible grouping.

interior design board transitional modern e-design decorating family room
Sources are not provided out of respect to this client.

Considering design assistance?  Feel free to e-mail me at for a quote!

Blue & White Accessories

Blue and white is an all-time favorite color combination of mine.  It's classic and works with any design style.  One of the best ways to easily incorporate the color duo into a space is through accessories.

Here are just a few blue and white pieces from One Kings Lane that I'm loving at the moment:

decorative accessories interior decorating design one kings lane

I have found that One Kings Lane is an especially great resource for quality-made blue and white jars.  They offer an assortment of jars at various price points (depending on size and design).  I incorporated blue and white ginger jars into my own home...  showing how something seemingly traditional can work with any decor style!

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I also added some blue and white accents on the built-in bookcase in our family room!

*Affiliate links used.