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The Secret to Transitional Style

Jan 19, 2018 11:38:17 AM


These days, “transitional” style interior decorating seems to be a very popular but what exactly is transitional style? The word “transition” means moving from one place to another but how does that apply to interior design?


Transitional is a modern, cohesive design mix of classic and contemporary styles. You achieve all of the warmth of traditional style with the clean lines and understated appeal of contemporary. The result is a timeless elegance.


The transitional space should feel restful without relying heavily on color but, instead, on texture. Tone on tone, restful color palettes are popular choices and so are layers of various materials with tactile appeal such as glass, metal, wood, leather, sisal, burlap, chenille, rattan and more. Excessive use of accessories is not recommended to achieve this style. Sleek is essential so large statement pieces are well suited to transitional decor.


Recently, my sister embarked on remodeling her formally traditional kitchen (think red cabinets and dark granite countertops) in the transitional style. The kitchen remodel evolved into a first floor remodel. Because transitional style should seamlessly flow from one space to the next, inviting you to stroll throughout the home, it was imperative the whole first floor be remodeled, not just a few rooms. The results are gorgeous!


The blue color palette (pictured below) she selected provides a great deal of synergy without looking contrived. The same color, second from the top (60), was used on the walls in the kitchen and family room which is essentially one space. For the dining room, which adjoins to the kitchen, the color third from the top (50) was selected. The foyer, which also connects to the living room, boasts the darkest shade selected (30) with crisp, Dove White walls and another statement pendant light.


Note the distinctly transitional style aspects of the remodel:


  • Statement pendant lighting

  • Subway tiles in both a herringbone and traditional pattern

  • Countertops are both marble and soapstone

  • Flooring is both traditional dark hardwood and a brick herringbone

  • Restful blue/gray color palette

  • Clean lines

  • Minimal accessories

  • Texture galore


Posted By Julie Banner

Organic, Bold & Moody

Jan 14, 2018 12:49:00 PM


The easiest and least expensive way to transform your kitchen is with paint. That being said, I have been contemplating, okay, obsessing over, the color of my kitchen for the past two months, okay, I admit it, two years (since we moved in). I would never have selected the current color, which is reddish and dated (two strikes out-see image below). It does, however, happen to go well with the granite countertops and the oakleaf hydrangea outside.



In an effort to select a color I have asked everyone under the sun for their opinion and still have yet to decide. The most common answer I got was to paint the kitchen gray. For someone who really likes color, I don’t think gray is the answer for which I am looking. I have made a promise to myself that by the time I have finished writing this blog I will have selected a color.


I really thought I had narrowed the color down to something in either the blue or green family but everything looked either too blue or too green. Where was I going wrong?


I considered the following important factors when selecting a color: 

Granite counter colors
Color of the stacked stone in the kitchen
Tons of natural light
Western exposure
Cabinet color (which is not changing yet)
Paint color in other rooms (no one likes their house to look like a bowl of Fruit Loops) 

Finally, success! In a photo on Houzz, I finally found a color with which I fell in love (see below).


Upon further investigation (of the color) I realized what I was missing-more red in the color. As you know, red and blue make purple and I have to admit, I have a not-so-secret aversion to purple. The prospect of purple undertones was just plain scary.  It turns out I had no reason to worry. This amazing color, Ebony Slate (Benjamin Moore), was my dream color. It is bold yet organic and worked beautifully. Benjamin Moore describes it as “An earthy, organic shade, this very deep purple is infused with black to achieve its subtle grace.” In addition, the colors with which I plan to pair Ebony Slate just happen to be some of my favorites.



Everyone suggested trendy light colors but I know myself and was married to a bold, moody color. Because I have so much natural light in my kitchen, it enhanced the deep color giving the room an intriguing mood ring effect. The purple hues respond more like a neutral color under the influence of natural light. As the day passes, the color gets deeper and more intense.


The moral of the story is, if you don’t have the luxury of a Decorator, consider all of your options carefully, stay true to your style and keep an open mind.


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Posted By Julie Banner

Stuffing Time!

Nov 19, 2017 10:29:00 AM

Thanksgiving is a great time of the year to spend with family and friends. It also happens to be my favorite meal of the year. What would Thanksgiving be without stuffing? This year, try one of my two favorite recipes. Better, yet, try both!

Spice It Up Cornbread Stuffing


  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 6 slices bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 medium jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 3⁄4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 1⁄2 cups cubed cornbread, lightly toasted


  1. Heat oven to 375°.
  2. Butter a 2-qt. baking dish and set aside.
  3. Heat bacon in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a bowl.
  4. Add onion to pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add jalapeños and celery; cook until softened, 2–3 minutes more. Stir in reserved bacon, along with parsley and stock; bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
  6. Stir in cornbread and toss to coat.
  7. Transfer to prepared baking dish and bake until top is crisp and golden brown, 25–30 minutes.

Serves 4-6 guests

Traditional Stuffing


  • 15 tbsp. butter
  • 6 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped sage
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped marjoram
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped savory
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped thyme
  • 1⁄2 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 10 cups crust less, toasted, and 1⁄2"-cubed white bread
  • 1⁄2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 eggs, beaten


  1. Heat oven to 400°.
  2. Grease a 15-cup baking dish with 1 tbsp. of the butter; set aside.
  3. Heat 10 tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add celery, onions, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste; cook until golden brown, 18–20 minutes.
  5. Add sage, marjoram, savory, thyme, and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
  6. Transfer onion mixture to a large bowl. Add bread, parsley, and chicken stock and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add eggs and mix. Transfer mixture to prepared dish, press down, and dot with remaining 4 tbsp. of butter.
  8. Cover with foil; bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Uncover and continue baking until deep golden brown on top, about 20 minutes more.

Enjoy your stuffing and have a happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Posted By Outside & Garden

Creative Thanksgiving Table Settings

Nov 12, 2017 10:43:07 AM

I love Thanksgiving. It's a great time to gather around the table and enjoy time with your family and friends. It's also a great time to show off your creativity. The kitchen is not the only place to let your creativity shine. This year, get creative with your table setting too. Need inspiration? Here are some of my absolute favorite Thanksgiving table settings that are sure to impress your guests!

Which is your favorite?

Happy almost Thanksgiving!

Posted By Outside & Garden

November: Prepare to Relax!

Nov 5, 2017 11:00:16 AM

Thanksgiving is almost here and the air is getting crisp which means winter is on the way. It’s hard to believe but the winter holiday season is right around and so are your guests. This year, instead of waiting to the very last minute, prepare in advance so you can relax and make the most of the season and your guests.

  • Are your outdoor paths, stairs, and railings safe? Good outdoor footing is always important but especially as the snow and ice start to arrive. Take a walk around your home’s exterior, pay special attention to walkways, stairs and railings, and make repairs as needed.
  • Do you need to replace floor protectors on chairs? Your hardwood floors will suffer if your chairs do not have floor protecting pads. Check the feet on your chairs then, if needed, add or replace floor-protecting pads. Protective felt pads come in self-adhesive and nail-in varieties; if you’re using the self-adhesive type, be sure to clean the base of each chair foot thoroughly and allow it to dry before applying.

  • Do your bathrooms need a deep-clean? Waiting until the day before your guests arrive to clean the bathrooms can be stressful. Instead, aim to schedule a deep cleaning of the bathrooms a week before you plan to entertain so a quick surface wipe-down will be all you’ll need to get things looking spotless again on the big day.
  • Have you checked your bathtubs to see if they need caulk? While you are cleaning the bathrooms, inspect the condition of the caulk around the tubs. If the caulk is cracked or worn out then have it repaired as soon as possible. You don’t want water to seep into the frame of your home.
  1. Want to get a jump on your holiday prep? If you are hosting guests for the holiday season spend some time to prepare now. Here are three easy ways to get ahead and avoid stress:
  2. Locate, wash and iron your fancy linens (roll up freshly ironed linens on old wrapping paper tubes to prevent wrinkles).
  3. Check your kitchen knives to see if they need to be sharpened.
  4. Break out the silver polish. Chances are your silver needs to be polished.
  • Are the fall leaves still lingering around? Before the first snow make sure all of your leaves are raked up and your gutters are clean.

  • Do you need to fix any plumbing issues before the holiday season? Do you have a slow drain, broken garbage disposal or toilet that runs? Fix it now. Don’t wait until the hectic holiday season, when a full house will put more pressure on your drains and finding a plumber will be much more difficult.

Now, sit back and enjoy this holiday season!

Posted By Outside & Garden

Not everyone has the luxury of having a palatial kitchen but everyone has the ability to make their space feel larger. By balancing style, long sight lines, and organization, you can achieve a spacious feel in almost any kitchen. Here are some easy tips on creating the illusion of extra room in your kitchen:

1. Do you really need a double sink? If you are willing to consider a single sink (or even a one-and-a-half sink with a slim second bowl), it will give you more storage options and counter space.

2. Shallow cabinets are a great option. Using slim lower cabinets can make a big difference in a small kitchen. There is no rule that all of your lower cabinets must be the standard 24-inch depth. Many cabinet lines (even stock cabinets from big box stores) also come in a 12- or 15-inch depth usually used for upper cabinets.

3. Remove your hardware. Consider using cabinet doors with touch-activated latches or integrated reach-in pulls. This will reinforce the clean lines of your kitchen making it appear more spacious.

4. Small refrigerators make a big difference. Select a more slim refrigerator (28-30 inches) and you will have more space for other things. The larger refrigerator models, 36-inches-and-up, often end up full of clutter or simply remain half empty.

5. A compact dishwasher saves space. Standard dishwashers generally come in a 24-inch width, but consider a compact dishwasher (18-inch width) instead.

6. Install glass doors on your cabinets. This is another way to visually lighten your uppers without compromising your storage space. The glass provides a lighter, more airy feel. You can use these cabinets to display attractive drink ware or plates. 7. Mirror your backsplash. Using a mirror for your backsplash will open up your sight lines, making the room feel much bigger, especially from close up.

8. Install lighting in your cabinets. Good lighting is essential in any kitchen but especially in a smaller space. Consider adding lighting under, above and even inside the cabinets to make the room feel brighter and bigger. Dark shadows around the cabinets visually shrink the space. Add plug-in LED strip fixtures or battery-powered tap lights under the cabinets for extra brightness and a quick fix.

Voila! You are on your way to having the spacious kitchen you always wanted.

Posted By Outside & Garden

I have the most fabulous space for my home office but currently it is piled up with random things that have yet to find a home. It needs to change ASAP. I started by moving everything out of the space and making a plan for a fabulous home office.

Whether you work from home all the time or on occasion, your home office is an important space. It should be well organized and stylish so that you feel inspired and motivated to make the most of your time.

Let's get started! Here are some simple steps for designing your dream home office:

1. Select your space.

Maybe you have a designated room for your office but, if not, there are plenty of other places to use. Don't hesitate to get creative. Think about spaces such as the basement, attic or a nook under the stairs to set up.

2. Find the perfect desk.

Your desk should be functional for the your type of work and reflect your personal style.

3. Pick a chair for your desk.

Like the desk, your chair should be be functional (re: comfortable). Think about the amount of time you plan to spend sitting in it. In addition, it should pair nicely with your desk. It doesn't have to match (in fact, it shouldn't) but but it should coordinate nicely.

4. Organize.

Incorporate organizational methods that are conducive to your work. This may include book shelves, filing cabinets or storage space.

5. Decorate.

The decor in your office should be inviting so that it is nothing but a pleasure to spend time in the space. It should make you more creative and productive. This goes for the color palette and the artwork you select.

6. Accessorize.

The accessories make your space unique. Select items you love and add a commonality or theme throughout your decor.

Posted By Outside & Garden

Seriously Sensational Statement Walls

Oct 15, 2017 12:17:42 PM


The moving trucks pulled out of my driveway a year and a half ago and I have yet to do any painting. The walls remain the same, drab off white color they were the day we moved in. All of them. I have recently diagnosed myself with "Paint Phobia". While I love the idea of color, I have been paralyzed by the process of selecting and committing to colors. Finally, I am ready to take the plunge and have decided to start with an accent or statement wall. It's a great way to make a visually stimulating, bold statement. If you are considering the same idea, here are some of my thoughts on selecting the perfect wall to paint. While there are always exceptions, the accent wall should not have any doors or windows. The wall will be the focal point of the room so you want to make sure none of the other walls in the room compete for attention with your accent wall. It should be the first thing that grabs your eye when you walk into a room. Now, when it comes to selecting the color, I firmly believe you should NOT go with the latest trend. Select a color that you love and will make you happy. Here are some of my personal favorites.


2017 Color of the Year, Greenery


Classic Navy


Deep Green


Dark Teal


Black Flame


There are no right or wrong answers. While you're at it, add some texture too.


So get that paint brush out and paint!


After all, I keep telling myself, it's only paint.

Posted By Outside & Garden

With the beautiful fall season comes some of my favorite accouterments-coats, boots, scarves and hats. The only downside to wearing so many fabulous accessories is keeping them organized and not strewn all over the house. Now, should you have roommates (aka other family members) you may need to keep them in check too. Enter, the mudroom. When it comes to this space, chic, clean and uncluttered are the goals.

In theory, the purpose of the mudroom is to keep all the mud and clutter from taking over the rest of your home. That being said, you also want to make sure your mudroom doesn’t become a dumping ground (been there, done that). As with most things, this is easier said than done without a plan. Now is time to give your mudroom a proper makeover to make sure it’s ready for winter. Here’s what you will need...

A BENCH is the nexus of your organized space. It not only provides a place to sit down to take your shoes off but a convenient place to rest your bags.

WALL HOOKS are perfect for hanging coats, hats, scarves, etc. They help to organize the room without taking up valuable floor space.

Never wonder where you put your keys with a MAGNETIC KEY HOLDER. You will stick (literally) to this routine and never search for your keys again.

DRAWERS are important. Everyone in the family should have at least one drawer, if not more, for storage. This way, their personal items are easy to find and within reach as you walk through the door.

STORAGE BINS are another great way to organize similar items. The bins don’t all have to be the same size but multiples of the same basket provide a coordinated look. Opaque baskets are good so if they are a bit messy inside isn't visible. Keep the mud from your shoes and boots in the BOOT TRAY and not everywhere else. An UMBRELLA STAND keeps your umbrellas together and off the floor. For your friends with four legs, my favorite FANCY FEATURE is a dog spa! What better place to give your puppy a bath than in your mudroom?

You are ready for the fun of fall! Enjoy your mudroom.

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Fabulous Fall Containers

Boo-tiful Pumpkins

Posted By Outside & Garden

Boo-tiful Pumpkins!

Oct 1, 2017 12:47:21 PM

You know fall is here when you begin to see pumpkins everywhere. In the United States, pumpkins are synonymous with both fall and Halloween. Did you ever wonder why? The tradition goes back hundreds of years to the Irish festival Samhain. This festival celebrated the summer harvest season to the dark of winter. Originally, jack-o’-lanterns were carved, with simple faces, out of turnips or potatoes. They certainly had plenty in Ireland. Then, the jack-o’-lanterns would be placed along the road and next to gates, to both light the way for travelers and caution any passing fairies from invading. The jack-o’-lanterns were also designed to keep spirits from settling into houses and farms. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants arrived in America, and discovered the pumpkin, that the new Halloween tradition involving a pumpkin was born.

Did you know?

  • Pumpkins are indigenous to the western hemisphere. They have been grown in North America for five thousand years.
  • Pumpkin seeds should be planted between the last week of May and the middle of June. The seeds take between 90 and 120 days to grow and can be picked in October when they are bright orange in color. Seeds can be saved to grow new pumpkins the next year.
  • The heaviest pumpkin weighed 1,810 lb 8 oz and was presented by Chris Stevens at the Stillwater Harvest Fest in Stillwater, Minnesota, in October 2010.
  • Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini. These plants are native to Central America and Mexico, but now grow on six continents.
  • In 1584, after French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region of North America, he reported finding “gros melons.” The name was translated into English as “pompions,” which has since evolved into the modern “pumpkin.”

Enjoy this beautiful time of the year!

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8 Illuminating Ideas to Light the Way

Posted By Outside & Garden

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