Kitchen Finishes – Glossy or Matte?

When it comes to kitchen finishes, you often hear the words “shiny” and “sleek,” but there’s an alternative to a glossy finish you might want to consider: matte.

kitchen countertop

Certain materials, such as this striking slate countertop above, are available in a matte finish – which is also called “honed.” While they may not shimmer in the sunlight, matte finishes tend to contribute some character all their own.

Kitchen Countertops

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Voice Your Choice: Painted Ceilings

It’s time for you to punch in, folks! I’d love to hear your thoughts on a design element a client of mine has been contemplating for a while: the painted ceiling.

Painted Ceiling


Painting your ceiling can be a very dramatic way to change a room’s tone and feel. The deep purple ceiling above provides an unexpected pop of color in an unexpected place. It is labor intensive, however, so it’s not something to be done on a whim. Check out some ceilings and let let me know what you think. Read more…

Are you a Patio Person or a Deck Dweller?

Do you have a big backyard that you’ve been itching to use more? If this is the year you’ve decided to sink some money into your outdoor space, you might be wondering:

Am I a patio person or a deck dweller?

patio or deck

Patio photo courtesy of Joanne Kostecky; deck photo courtesy of Trex

Weighty Matters: If you’re planning on adding a big hot tub, stone fireplace, cast-iron dining set and 12 chaise lounges, a patio might make more sense for you. While decks can be built to support almost anything these days, it becomes a lot more expensive to meet the safety requirements needed for heavy furniture and big crowds. If you decide to go with a deck, consider safety first: Always use a licensed contractor and stay up to date on maintenance.

patio design ideas

Location: When planning a party platform, it’s important to consider your view and the view of your neighbors. Will your neighbors get more of an eyeful if you’re up on a deck or down on a patio? Which option gives you better proximity to the house and kitchen? Also, do you plan to worship the sun or chill in the shade? Just like in real estate, when it comes to developing your outdoor space, location is everything.

Read more at HGTV here.

Bath Tub vs. Shower Stall

I’m going to broach a polarizing topic:

Would you rather have a shower or tub?

While the question might seem harmless enough, this discussion can get pretty heated. Sure, having a tub somewhere in the house makes sense in terms of resale value and your home’s versatility, but in terms of your own personal bathroom haven, would you rather have a super soaker or a terrific tub?

gray spa-like bathroom

Photo courtesy of CEDIA

Beautiful Bathtubs + Showy Showers

5 Funky Faucets for the Kitchen and Bathroom

Okay, weird confession time. One of the many reasons I love trying new restaurants is so that I can explore new bathrooms and look at new faucets. Restaurants tend to take bigger risks with their décor than most of us do in our homes. But why not put that style in a doggie bag? Check out these unique and quirky faucets guaranteed to get your dinner guest talking and your kids to wash their hands.

If you’ve got a retro kitchen, here’s a super-cool replica inspired by a top of the line 1948 Dishmaster, complete with an aerator brush wand. It dispenses delightfully soapy sudsy water and rinses clean, too!

Photo: RetroRenovations, Very Vintage Vegas

More Quirky Faucet Designs

Cool Colors for Kiddos

When it comes to choosing colors for kids’ rooms, pink and blue are always going to be popular, but what if you’re looking for something a little more versatile?

There are many vivid, welcoming and modern color schemes you can consider if you’re going to wait to find out your baby’s gender, if your very different kids will be sharing one room or if you know you’re likely to move family members to different rooms within the next few years and don’t want to be stuck repainting so soon.

Take a look at these contemporary twists on nursery decor.

Insanely Serene

Kids Room decor Laurie March HGTV House Counselor

Design by Nancy Twomey of Finnian’s Moon Interiors; photography by by Angie Seckinger

I can’t think of a room that stands to benefit from some cozy, calm colors more than a nursery. Sure, it’s a little outside the box, but why not use the same soothing neutrals you’d see in the spa in the design of your little one’s retreat? These tones are as cool as they are comforting.

See More Kiddo Inspiration

Great Green Backsplashes

We hear a lot of talk about going green these days, but it can be a tricky color to use in the design of your home.

While green is one of the most popular colors in home design, it is not traditionally thought of as a “kitchen color.” Used correctly and sparingly as a backsplash, however, green creates a feeling of balance and harmony you can really sink your teeth into…

Environmentally Entertaining

Green Backsplash Laurie March

Photo (c) HGTV, Kim Ammie

When paired with natural toned wood, subtle greens bring in outdoors in and provide serenity in the space. This backsplash is cool and fresh with a hint of garden glamour. This square tile has a simple, reflective quality that lends a timeless appeal, especially when paired with a more traditional cabinetry color.

More Kitchen Design Ideas

Pool Yourself Together

Ready to take a dip? It won’t be long until it’s that time of year again, when everybody’s thinking about hanging by a pool.

Find your swimming hole’s style, whether you’re building your dream swimming station in reality or just imagining it in your mind. There are many kinds and features that can customize a swimming pool to cater to your personal tastes.

Keep it Natural

Cool Pool Style Laurie March

Design by Claudia Schmutzler

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Not Your Grandma’s Wall Paneling

Photo (c) Stikwood

One of the best things about my line of work is finding out about all kinds of innovative, clever and easy to use new products. I love finding small businesses that solve big problems with great ideas. When I was first introduced to Stikwood, I was pretty sure I’d found another winner.


This ingenious product is made from real wood, available in many colors and can be used to beautify all kinds of places in your home or office. It can make industrial spaces look rustic, dated spaces look modern and it can make any space more interesting. I mean, look at these finished projects.

More Wood Paneling Design

The Cold War: Temperature Control

In my line of work, I get to peek inside many different households. I get to know amazing people who live together, love each other and support one another tirelessly. I’m privileged enough to get to help these families work in sync to improve their homes and their daily lives. And then I sit back and watch as these beautiful, caring beings settle into their new spaces and ruthlessly battle each other over the thermostat for all the rest of their days.

Thermostat Wars,, The Year Without A Santa Claus
Thermostat Wars! Photo courtesy from “The Year Without A Santa Claus”

The struggle between people who feel too hot and people who feel too cold can get ugly pretty quickly. A shivering woman ninja crawls down the hallway, noiselessly turning up the heat a few degrees. In response, her husband opens all of the upstairs windows in the middle of February. Over the sound of winds whirling and snow blowing, he hears someone defiantly lighting the woodstove and war wages on.

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Outdoor Room-inations

Every year around this time, I start thinking Spring and on warmer days I spend as much time outside as possible. I take the dog for longer walks, I work in the garden regularly, and I even take baby steps to the mailbox when I’m feeling desperate. So I’ve decided to drag even more of my indoor life outside. I’ve come to realize there is almost no task or activity that can’t be done (weather permitting) in the great outdoors.

Here are some simple tips to getting the most bang for your upcoming summer months.

Linda Woodrum Design HGTV

Linda Woodrum Design (c)HGTV

Make Room

First thing’s furniture. Outdoor furniture has come a long way from picnic tables and folding chairs. There are now stylish and substantial couch, armchair and ottoman options meant for open-air living. And because you can’t depend on walls to define your new outdoor living space, there are also many amazing, eco-friendly outdoor rugs available. If you’re a fireplace fan, consider adding a fire pit to your new quarters. Lastly, think about lighting. These days there are floor lamps, chandeliers and even candelabras to light up your new outdoor living room.

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Hip Hotel Tips for a Bold Bathroom

white hotel bathroom style tips

Candace Olsen design (c) HGTV

On the road again… but unlike Willie Nelson, I don’t have my own tour bus. So, it’s hotels for me.

There’s nothing like sinking into a freshly made bed with a chocolate mint on the pillow at the end of a long trek, but I must say… it’s hotel bathrooms that are especially inspiring to me. I’m impressed by the simplicity and efficiency of them. At a glance they may seem ho-hum, but you know what? There’s actually a lot more than meets the eye.

Hotel-Inspired Bathroom Design

Sexy Bedroom Feng Shui

feng shui bedroom sexy

No monsters under this bed! Photo courtesy IKEA (at HGTV)

When people think of Feng Shui (the Chinese art of spatial arrangement in relation to the flow of the earth’s energy), it’s usually in connection with health. Cue the Marvin Gaye playlist, because I’m going to help you get your bedroom into a foxier place, feng shui style.

Read More on Sexy Bedroom Design Tips

Live Like A Rock Star: How to Amp Up Your Interior Style

While home recording studios and grotto pools are probably out of the question for most of us, there are subtle ways to ‘amp up’ your home’s décor – from your entertainment center rocker to your front door knocker.

Sit in Style

You don’t have to perch on a throne or a piano bench to channel rock royalty. Consider a classic: You can rock it out literally in a stylish leather-clad rocking chair. You might be amazed at the array. They’re not just for old ladies anymore!

stylish rocking chair, leather, designer

Whiten Up

Rock stars seem to love white. White carpets, white walls, white-painted brick fireplaces. You see it everywhere in their homes. Pictured below is Jon Bon Jovi’s man cave. Even in their instruments, from John Lennon’s “Imagine” piano, to John Mayer’s Signature Stratocaster in Olympic White. Add touches of this crisp, clean look to more practical items, such as bedspreads, table cloths, and stain-resistant sofas and chair sets.

Bon Jovi Living Room, White decor, Rock star homes

Jon Bon Jovi’s Home on Cool Houses Daily

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