Posted in Back splashes, cabinet hardware, Cabinets, Counter tops, Kitchen Trends, Kitchens, Kitchens Don'ts, Maple Cabinets, Oak Cabinets, Paint, Resale Value, Return on Investment, Traditional Kitchens, Trends in Tile, White Kitchens

Musings on when to paint your cabinets

So your house is not selling. It’s sitting on the market without offers while other houses in the neighborhood are selling while your home continues to linger. Feedback from your realtor says that potential buyers don’t like the kitchen. Realtors advise depersonalizing your home, (remove family photos and personal “clutter”), so buyers can get a better sense for how this home would fit their lifestyle.  But how do you depersonalize your dated kitchen? Your father may have built or installed these cabinets or you may have selected your favorite maple wood stain but does that matter to the buyer?  Remember, they are not buying for sentimental value.

Do you dig in and wait for the buyer who likes your taste to come along months down the line or do you appeal to more home buyers who desire the current trends and get your house sold quicker?

Kitchen Circa 1990’s. Floors Circa 2015. Fresh coat of paint, hardware, new counter tops and splash and this kitchen would be charming!

A former client was shocked that their house is still sitting on the market with really insulting low ball offers while the cheaply renovated neighbors house sold in 10 days. This is a sad case of letting your personal style getting in the way of selling your home. It doesn’t pay to be annoyed that your dated cabinets are better quality than your neighbor’s cheap but cute “ok-Ikea” kitchen. If it’s dated, even though it was in style when you remodeled 10, 20 or 30 years ago, facts are facts: out of style kitchens are a big fat negative for the buyer who wants a move-in ready home.

Are you ready to drop $100,000 or more off of your asking price so you can sell your house? Ready for a change?  Or for a modest investment in paint, cabinet hardware and new counter tops, you can update for kitchen for a quicker sale.

Let’s get started:  Consider what’s fresh and timeless versus what home-buyers consider dated and dreary.

# 1: Consider painting your wood cabinets, (yes I said it, paint your wood cabinets!). It’s ok to paint wood. Hire a professional painter to get the job done fast and efficiently.

Bright white and wood look charcoal plank tile floors as shown in a model home at the Oaks at Portola Hills.

Take a tour of model homes in your area to get a sense of what is trending in your town.

# 2: For a bit more elbow grease, route out the door panels and add clear glass for a vibrant change in your wall cabinets.

# 3: Add cabinet hardware to your cabinets. It’s the jewelry in the kitchen. Brushed nickel or polished chrome knobs and pulls add a nice touch.


Caesarstone Shitake Counter tops, Brookhaven by Wood-Mode Cabinetry

#4: Are your wood stained cabinets in good shape but the counters are Uba Tuba or Baltic Brown granite? Rip out the counters and splash! Install new counter tops in a light quartz. Back splashes with a little pizzazz becomes a focal point in the kitchen.

Cherry wood with Mosaic stone and glass tile for the splash and quartz counter top.
Paint White Cabinets, mosaic & subway backsplash, quartzite slab, polished chrome pulls

Pick up any kitchen magazine and you’ll find a majority of the covers show kitchens with quartz or quartzite counters. Dark & busy counter tops appeal to fewer people.

Even the quartz manufacturer’s weed out dated colors. I just threw out 10 sample blocks from one of my vendors that discontinued colors that were popular 4 years ago but not today. Edit out what doesn’t work.

Solid color quartz counter tops or marble and “marble-like” are in high demand for most of my clients.


3 x 6 white subway tile and honed quartz counter top.

And finally tip # 5: The most popular back splash today: Subway tile! Painted kitchens and subway tile are always a classic winner! A client came to us after seeing our fabulous contemporary display in an appliance showroom, but once they saw our classic white display with subway tile, the decision was done. This style evokes immediate love for classic good looks.

Update the back splash with a classic white subway tile! It is timeless and one of the more affordable back splash tiles available. Paired with new counter tops, paint white cabinets, new hardware, a new faucet and stainless steel sink will transform a kitchen into an appealing space for a home buyer to consider.

And if you are in the Orange County area and need help with your dated kitchen, please give me a call for an estimate. 949.448.9627.





Posted in Alternative Backsplash Materials, Bath tubs, Bathroom Organization, Bathrooms, Trends in Tile

Cool looks, new finds or what I love today.

Always on the hunt for fabulous finds, check out what is catching my eye. 
I discovered a great new kitchen website called Beautiful Kitchens where I first found this funky glass back splash designed with red circles. It is from
Heath Ceramics, dimensional tile was just what this kitchen needed.
The tile pattern wakes up an austere kitchen with flat one dimensional surfaces.
Here is the same pattern by Heath Ceramics, shown in a matte brown. I have always loved this pattern.
Installation by Ann Sacks at KBIS in Matte Brown using oval shaped tiles. Photo: © Ann Sacks 

The same tile takes on a whole new appearance with a theatrical look. Almost as if a curtain is rising, using 3×9 shaped oval tiles in a custom color. Photo: © Annie Schlechter
This is in the Maritime Hotel, (Matsuri Restaurant), New York City in the Meat Packing District.  
The clean contemporary lines of The Cube collection appear to have no visible seams. 
Found at

Are you ready to submerge? As in, get ready to get your body submerged in a deep tub. 
The BC09 from the Cube Collection is 30″ wide, 60″ in length and 24″ deep. 67 gallons. Comes with a Wenge tray.    A drop in tub available in a 1, 2 or 3 wall configuration. Glossy or matte finish.  
Designer note: I do not recommend this as a tub/shower application.  A 24″ depth is awkward to climb in and out of for a shower, especially for people with mobility problems or small children. 

The BC11, from The Cube Collection. 
10 possible configurations available. 
60″ x 32″ x 17 3/4″, 70 gallons.

The BOV02, from The Ove Collection from Wetstyle. 
It’s great that it has a wider ledge to lean sit on and swing your legs over and into the tub. 
72″ x 36″, 65 Gallon capacity to overflow. 

S 1978 Also from the Niche Collection from Wetstyle. 
Clever storage ideas for the tub collections.

Posted in Art for the Kitchen, Back splashes, Trends in Tile

Interior and Paint Color Trends 2010 by artist Linda Paul

This year I would like to open up the blog with guest contributors, talented artisans and experts that are only too generous to share their expertise, knowledge and design ideas from their point of view. To get the conversation started, I am delighted to introduce Linda Paul, an internationally recognized American Artist and owner of Linda Paul Studio in Colorado. Without further ado, I welcome Linda as a guest contributor to Kitchen Design Notes.  

As an artist I am profoundly influenced by color and culture. I love studying color trends and  am always trying to predict and influence color.  Color trends are fascinating because they are a sociological barometer of the desires going on in our culture right now. Color is important in our lives because of the way it makes you feel.

Copper farmhouse sinks, copper tiles and stamped ceilings are a fabulous design  trend in kitchens.

Picture left: Check out this copper sink. Copper mosaic tiles run through the center of the backsplash and around the entire kitchen.

Picture at left shows a bit of the copper ceiling and my Tuscan Kitchen tile backsplash mural

click pictures to see larger images

Here are a couple of fabulous wall paint color ideas and samples.

Copper in Art:  In my new painting of autumn falling leaves (underway here) I am using pure copper and 23 karat gold as an underlay for my egg tempera paint.  The glints of copper reflect light beautifully.  It is almost finished

Here an example of how I have used natural metals in my art
I have backed the beveled glass of this heron artwork in pure copper, gold and silver. The center mirror reflects the view out my studio window.

   more info about this artwork

Purple as well as yellow are trendy colors for 2010, but use them sparingly in accents etc.  Pantone favors turquoise  for 2010, but its should only be used as an accent color, not as an interior paint color.

Here is a great quote from Henri Matisse: “Colour helps to express light, not the physical phenomenon, but the only light that really exists, that in the artist’s brain.” 



This is the story of Linda Paul’s artistic journey: Linda Paul was an urban planner and developer in Ontario, Canada. She married and immigrated to the United States in the early 1990’s and found herself without a green card. With boundless time on her hands, she spent many hours walking the beaches in the San Francisco bay area. She would pick up pieces of dried seaweed and examine their shape. Deciding the sea plants looked like people, she decided to haul some home and paint faces on them. If this sounds very childlike, it was! Having painted the faces, she needed something to stick the seaweed people in. Some plaster should do it. Then needing to paint the plaster, she bought some basic kindergarten powder in dark blue, and voila, her first piece of art was born. It really looked like something a six year old child had created,  but it was exactly this innocence and complete freedom that led her on.  Liking the texture of her first “creation” , her brain thought, “I wonder what some plaster carrots would look like on a board. Off to the lumber yard for plaster and the grocery store for carrots!  Her second piece was called “Flying Carrots” (see below) Something in her mind just opened up like a tidal wave and she was smitten with creating. Liking the vegetable theme, she created three more sculpted vegetable pieces and boldly entered them in an art juried art show in Burbank , California. She knew right there that this was to be her new path in life.
15 years later, Linda Paul is now an internationally recognized and collected bas-relief and egg tempera painter. 

Linda Paul Studio, 1613 Centaur Circle, Lafayette, Colorado  USA   80026    phone: 303-604-9958

Posted in Alternative Backsplash Materials, Back splashes, Trends in Tile

How about a little "Relief"

I am talking “art relief”. Here is a product I stumbled on today that I like called Hardwick Home Decor. These pieces are designed to be inlayed into kitchen backsplashes, indoor and outdoor fireplaces. However, you can use the pieces anyway you wish. Hanging on a wall or simply leaning against a backsplash or a mantel. The website is The web site does not say what material theses are made out of, so I am assuming they are bronze.

Posted in CARB Compliant, floors, Recycling, Sustainable Design, Trends in Tile, Universal Design

Designing with Leather and Cork

New product watch: I saw this product at my local flooring store and had to do a double take. Torlys launch was in October 2008. New to my town at the insistance of a very bright salesperson who insisted his store bring in the line! Thank you Rich!

This is TORLYS Leather Tile. Shown is Novara Black Tile, this pattern has a distinctive and rich graining. It has a cork backing- environmental cushioning improves acoustics and precludes the need for an underlay in most circumstances.

Made from 100% recycled leather, Torlys Leather Floors ensures a cycle of material re-use, where leather would otherwise be wasted.

CARB Compliant: No Harmful VOC emissions, no added formaldyhyde.

What is so unique about Torlys Leather Floor is that this leather is incredibly durable. The first thing I had to do when I saw it was put it to the test. I tried to dent and scratch a sample. Now granted, I am standing in my local hardwood flooring store trying not to draw attention to my self as I slide my car keys across the surface. (Shhh…don’t tell). I could not scratch it. The material is very hard. For skeptics thinking leather is not durable, Torlys carries a 25 year residential wear warranty and a lifetime structural warranty. However, if there is a problem, an act of God or another type of household disaster, the manufacturer says it can be repaired without damage to the other tiles. They have a tool called a bulldog that allows any plank, even in the center of the floor to be replaced, without damaging the rest. This is why it is unique and considered a “smart floor”. Not even tile and hardwood cannot be replaced as easily.

Also another favorite of mine is their Cork Flooring. Beautiful colors. Durable. Comfortable underfoot. A good insulator. All reasons to consider cork as an option for your floors. Torlys has done a wonderful job on the color selections available.

Eco-friendly note: Cork is an entirely renewable resource. Cork bark is carefully harvested once every nine years in a centuries-old tradition with hand tools- without destroying a single tree.

Check out their website,, for more information. They have a great interactive tool for you to preview floor tiles, planks, colors in different room settings. Beautiful!

Torlys Cork, shown in Florence Plank.
Posted in Alternative Backsplash Materials, Art for Living Spaces, Art for the Kitchen, Canvas Prints, Decorative Cushions, Glamour, Glass Backsplash, Kitchen Trends, New Products, Quirky Design Details, Trends in Tile

Teo Jasmin

Teo Jasmin: for the largest choice of canvas prints and decorative cushions.
When your design calls for a bold splash of color or eclectic whimsy start your search with Teo Jasmin.

This next photo caught my eye, (enlarge the magnified image below). Using alternative methods: canvas print sandwiched between glass will make a bold and “splashy”statement to your otherwise plain backsplash. The kitchen backsplash shown below becomes a space for artwork. (although this photo looks to be just canvas-which I do not recommend for practical reasons). GFI Outlet locations can be cut into the glass or opt for a plug mold power strip located under cabinet can be used instead for an uninterrupted appearance. (Check your local code requirements first). I love glass backsplashes.

For more information on the canvas prints, contact TEO JASMIN.

Posted in Historical Influence, Old World European, Trends in Tile, Tuscan

European Old World Kitchens

There is nothing quite as beautiful as European old world hand crafted cabinetry.
A trip through European Kitchen Design blog takes you through some of the most beautiful kitchens.

If you are looking for new ideas and interested in thinking outside the box, consider bending the tradition on American designed kitchens.

Here are a few photos for your enjoyment. Work displayed below as shown at
Notice the extraordinary design details showing the individual cases built into the walls and masonry, the absence of “wall to wall” cabinetry Americans are so accustomed to. A great departure from what is in fashion in the states: standard overlay doors and exposed hinges. Although what I would not be able to do with out is more drawers. There seems to be so few drawers in these designs.

Favorite details: The arched and plaster openings. Open shelves in place of wall cabinets.

If this was in America, I guarantee there would be a corner base lazy susan and the walls would be filled with cabinets, end to end. This is so much more charming. The exposed beams, the plaster hood. Ahhh!

Exposed hinges and standard overlay doors. Trey chic in this setting.

Textures, color, lack of uniformity. So beautiful.

For more information please visit,