I can think of no other place that makes me as happy as the one above. I often tell people that I re-gain my personality in the summer. Lazy days at the beach, reading or knitting – or just chatting with friends and family with toes in the sand looking out at the ocean are how I truly relax. Book group friends might laugh that I count books among those things that I bring along with me to unwind at the beach, since during the school year I never seem capable of finishing any of the books that we read before the discussion! But for me, summer is for catching-up on all of the books I had hoped to get to during the year. It’s for finishing up all of the knitting projects that I began while watching my kids play sports on weekends and after school. Summer is when I re-charge my battery so that, with hope, in September I can come back home refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.
On a professional note, another thing that makes me happy is the day of the photoshoot that I schedule at the end of a completed design project. I am so grateful to have found a fantastic group of clients who have entrusted me with their beautiful homes and allowed me to help them to reimagine and transform their kitchens and other spaces. And somehow I’ve been fortunate enough to have found a professional photographer who makes every job that I do look even better in pictures! So, when those photos arrive in my inbox and I can see just how a space that we have been working on for months has come together, I’m particularly excited to enjoy the finished product and to proudly add the pictures to my website. So, when you’re enjoying your own lazy days of summer, please click here and check out the new photos that I’ve added to my website. As everyone knows, relaxing and enjoying vacations is only possible when your work is finished! courtneyzanelli.com/portfolio.html
It’s been entirely too long since my last post. My excuse is simply that life has gotten in the way. Funny how one of my many jobs as a parent is to teach my children the important life skill of time management. Perhaps I haven’t been modeling good behavior lately as I’ve quite literally been burning the candle at both ends, and a few things have inadvertently fallen through the cracks. September is one of the busiest months of the year, and most moms often ask one another “What’s worse: September….or June?” Endless meetings for school, requests to shuttle children to sports events, daily household chores and the launch of my kitchen & bath business have swallowed-up the month of September. And it all came to a head today when I learned that I had forgotten my mother-in-law’s birthday yesterday. Ah yes, the wheels appear to have come off the wagon. Happily, October begins tomorrow, and with that I suspect a more normal routine of sorts will ensue. By October we are generally in a rhythm – the kids with school and sports, and me with work and other commitments. So, rather than feeling as though my family is spinning out of control, I am hopeful that the chaos of September is behind us, and that we will all start fresh in October!
Lately I have been spending time in tile showrooms sourcing backsplash tile. I had the great fortune to visit the Walker Zanger showroom and I was so impressed by their beautiful selection. I have written about tile in previous blog posts, as I’m a believer that tile is a great way to make a statement in both the kitchen and the bathroom. What struck me during this most recent visit to Walker Zanger was the incredible variety of tile that is available today, and the countless ways these exquisite tiles can be used. In the kitchen above, designed by Drawing Dept. of Cincinnati, Ohio, the tile choice is so fresh and modern and makes quite a statement behind the sink. At first it looks like custom millwork, doesn’t it?
In this bathroom designed by Tatum Brown Custom Homes in Dallas, Texas, tile is used behind the sink in lieu of wallpaper. What a fantastic way to add both color and texture to arguably the most important wall in the powder room? Who wouldn’t notice this bold statement when standing at the sink?
While a traditional 3″ x 6″ subway tile is a classic shape for a kitchen backsplash, the use of hand painted ceramic tile with its depth and variety of color makes this classic shape appear much more current. This kitchen designed by California-based Fiorella Design demonstrates that subtle color variation can add just the right amount of interest to the backsplash.
So, here’s to a fresh start to fall and to a renewed enthusiasm for making a beautiful design statement in your own home.
I’ve had bathrooms on my mind lately, and coincidentally came across this photo that gave me some much-needed inspiration. I took this picture at the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse in New York simply because it was so utterly unexpected. Stepping out onto the terrace of a Manhattan townhouse only to find a beautiful, sculptural free-standing bathtub in a zen-like setting took me completely by surprise. Daring design such as this by West Chin Architect clearly makes a statement. I’m quite certain that the experience of taking a hot bath outside on a starry night in the fresh air would be a similar experience to a summer outdoor shower. And if you are a regular reader of this blog you know how I feel about outdoor showers!
Now, let’s not quibble about the fact that this lovely, serene setting offers zero privacy. With summer fast-approaching, I’m personally concerned about the prospect of putting on a bathing suit at the beach, so you can imagine how I might feel about soaking in a tub in my birthday suit on my not-so-very-private rooftop garden! So, let’s suspend reality for a moment and imagine how delightful it truly would be (with the proper privacy screen, of course) to soak in that beautiful bathtub outside in the fresh air! If you’ve heard me say it once, then you’ve certainly heard me say it twice…good, functional design can (and should) be beautiful. Sometimes it takes an unexpected design such as this to remind us to be creative with our own spaces. Instead of viewing your bathtub as a utilitarian fixture in your bathroom, why not consider it as a piece of sculpture that is an integral part of the overall design? After all, while bathrooms certainly serve a purpose, they can absolutely be beautiful at the same time!
There are so many ways to make a bathroom fun and interesting. This bathroom, which was designed for the 2012 San Francisco Decorator Showcase by Tineke Triggs, exemplifies some of the many creative ways to design a unique bathroom. Even if you have a space that is completely lacking in character and architectural details, you can easily create visual interest by jazzing up some of the basic elements of the space:
- Pick a statement wallpaper or follow the lead of the bathroom above by stencilling the walls with a favorite pattern
- Install a fabulous vanity with great hardware, such as the custom-made vanity above
- If you don’t love the hardware on your vanity, change it up and use something really special
- Select terrific light fixtures, both on the wall and on the ceiling (if your space permits)
- Place a statement mirror over the vanity
- Carefully select a faucet that represents the overall look that you’re trying to achieve
- Create visual interest by installing a beautiful, patterned tile on the floor
- Select a great countertop material such as the natural stone top in the bathroom above, which coordinates perfectly with the stone on the floor
- If your space is lacking in architectural detail, then by all means add it! Think about installing interesting woodwork such as raised-panel wainscoting, picture molding, crown and baseboard molding or a chair rail.
If you have a bathroom that just doesn’t seem very special, then consider adding some interest by employing some of the ideas above. You’ll be surprised when you see the impact that some carefully selected design elements can achieve!
I continue to be amazed at how frequently barn doors are appearing in interior design. This is a trend that simply has not gone away. Today designers are coming up with more and more creative uses for interior barn doors — and some are even making bold statements with color. Barn doors aren’t just being used as room dividers any more.
Barn doors are being used to hide kitchens…
Barn doors are being used to hide bathrooms…
Barn doors are being used to hide mudrooms…
Barn doors are being used to hide laundry rooms…
And barn doors don’t even have to look like barn doors anymore. Reclaimed doors mounted with barn door hardware can make a great statement in any space.
One of the most appealing aspects of interior barn doors is that they are not difficult to install. Taking up less floor space than a traditional swinging door, and requiring less interior wall manipulation when installing than a more traditional pocket door, the barn door simply glides along a track that’s mounted to the wall above the door opening. A barn door in an interior can also add a rustic or industrial feel to an otherwise traditional space. Installing an interior barn door is a great example of the type of unexpected design element that can add interest to any space. Have you ever considered adding one to your home?
Indulge me…yes, it’s February, and if you live in the greater Metropolitan area, the temperature is in the 20s…but today I’m thinking about summer. This morning I was flipping through the current issue of Coastal Living, and I came across a piece on one of my favorite little luxuries of summer – the outdoor shower. I realize that this is one of those pleasures that some people enjoy and others simply cannot understand. I am clearly in the former group, and if I had my way (and if I had a home at the beach), I would take every summer shower outdoors – yes, even on warm rainy days! There’s just something about the feeling of the steam being lifted up and away by a gentle breeze on a warm summer day that makes me smile.
Several summers ago my family rented a house with an outdoor shower – in previous summers I had to rely on the kindness of good friends, who allowed me to use their outdoor showers. Yes, I admit, I’m a bit obsessed. I would literally walk down the street in our cozy little neighborhood in my robe, with a tote bag filled with shampoo, body wash and a towel, just to take an outdoor shower. So, at first during that summer with my own outdoor shower, my husband and I were the only ones to use it. My boys thought I was crazy to traipse outside in my robe to take a shower – who would ever do that? Yet, as summer progressed, I noticed that one by one, they each gave it a try. And once they tried the outdoor shower, they were hooked, and they never went back inside! Imagine how clean our bathroom was.
The writers at Coastal Living gave some great tips if you plan to build your own outdoor shower.
- Carefully select your materials. Consider pressure-treated wood or a synthetic decking material for their durability and ability to withstand the elements.
- Try to mimic the style of your home when constructing your outdoor shower so it looks like it belongs. Pay attention to architectural details, especially if it’s a stand-alone shower away from the house.
- Mount plenty of hooks for wet bathing suits and towels.
- Be sure to consider all local building codes, including those for drainage.
- Consider adding a bench if you have the room.
So, while summer may seem far off, it’s never too soon to start dreaming about warm days ahead, and those little summer pleasures that put a smile on your face. And if you’ve never tried an outdoor shower, why not throw caution to the wind this summer and give it a try — you just might become a believer like me!
My last post was all about making your kitchen unique, so how about your bathroom? I was inspired to write today’s post after I saw a photo of this beautiful bathroom, found in “Colorado Homes and Lifestyles” 2010 Home of the Year. This image proves that bathrooms don’t need to be sterile or cold. On the contrary, they can be cozy and inviting, and representative of your own personal style. Designer Andrea Schumacher of O Interior Design used her clients’ love of travel as inspiration for the space, and Moroccan-themed tiles from Waterworks set the tone. Elements such as the wooden linen closet, and the herringbone-patterned walnut floor topped with an oriental rug contribute to the warmth and character that exude from this bathroom. As in any space, carefully selected elements that reflect your own personal style can make any space in your home unique.