Friday, April 13, 2012

Basement Kitchen Transformation

Back in February we starting working with new clients who just moved to Utah from California and needed to update their new house. One of the many projects for their new home was turning the basement kitchenette into a full blown kitchen for their daughter who was moving in with them. Before we met with them a contractor had already laid out the new kitchen plan and they didn't think they needed us to layout the kitchen.  Unfortunately, his play seriously lacked functionality in its layout, use of space and all over design.   Often times clients think interior designers only work on furniture and accessories, but one of the perks of hiring a professional interior designer is to space plan not only furniture, but kitchen layouts as well.  Luckily we catch things like this, and even luckier in this situation we were able to to review the plans and fix them before they were built, saving our clients considerable money.  We created a new and improved kitchen design for them and yesterday we were able to see the finished product!
The kitchen plan their contractor came up with.
Unfortunately this was a poor layout and did not meet their needs.
Our floor plan we created for them - a full kitchen design, just what they wanted!
Elevation of the west kitchen wall

 The plan the contractor came up with was only a kitchenette where their daughter really needed a full kitchen, plus having a full functional kitchen helps the resale value of their home as well as the fact that they can now market it as a full basement apartment.
Close up of the cabinets and laminate

We saved on cost by using simple, but beautiful, shaker cabinets and laminate countertops. Adding the crown molding and valance really dress up the cabinets and add elegance to the space. The bathroom door was squared off and we extended the hallway with an angled wall, making these changes gave us the space we needed to give them such a function kitchen. 

It is a huge transformation and our clients are very happy with the results, and to quote them "We came just in the nick of time!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cork! How…Where…Why

We are currently working on a sunroom remodel and our clients have chosen to use cork for their flooring. I'm so excited that they went that direction!  Cork is an eco-friendly renewable resource, it is soft underfoot, helps with acoustics and provides a unique look unlike other flooring products.

While I was at the flooring store selecting samples to bring to my client I was able to look at some actual pieces of Cork Oak bark, which is where cork comes from.

The Cork Oak tree grows in countries that run along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea; some of these include Portugal, Spain, Morocco, France & Italy.

Cork Oak tree after the cork bark has been harvested, you can see the layers of cork from past harvests. Photo courtesy of

Cork is eco-friendly because of how it is harvested and used.  The cork bark is harvested every 10 years from the Cork Oak, and it is only removed from the main trunk and lower branches so it won't hurt the tree.  It is first used for wine bottle stoppers, afterwards the scraps are ground up, molded and baked in ovens to make other cork products, such as flooring.  Little to none of this product is wasted!

The benefits to using cork:

  • Renewable Resource - need I say more
  • Excellent sound absorption - for floor or wall application
  • Soft under foot - great cushion especially for elderly people or young children
  • Long lasting & easy to clean. It can be cleaned with a vacuum or a broom, the finish it comes with keeps it protected for many years. However it is not advised to clean with a wet mop, special cleaning products can be used for stain/soiled areas.
  • Anti-Allergenic & it has natural insect repellent qualities
  • Variety - cork comes in numerous patterns, shades, colors and sizes
Cork flooring in a wood plank pattern.
Photo courtesy of
Solid cork flooring in this kitchen, this is similar to the look my clients floor will have.
Photo courtesy of
Love the rich color in this flooring!
Photo courtesy of 
Check out the awesome checkerboard floor made from cork tiles.
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Now here's an idea… renew old cork wine bottle stoppers into fun art!
Another way to reuse this renewable-resource.
Photo courtesy of (check out the blog to see how to make this)!