2014 Ten Kitchen Trends to Try

When kitchen and cooking prowess were sprinkled to us humans, I was probably in seclusion under a rock. It’s really a tragedy that I can’t cook; but I know just like everything else…all I have to do is try and practice, practice, practice. One thing I love doing though is looking for innovations on how to make a kitchen be both design-savvy and extremely functional.

While perusing the May issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I came across lots of ideas and kitchen trends to check out. While I won’t wait to have all of these in order to have an ounce of culinary skills; I think for all of you where the kitchen and dining room is the family hub, these kitchen trends are a must to check out!

1. Touchless faucet. Isn’t it just a hassle to move from one food prep to another and smear your faucet with bits of chicken meat then some parsley after? Yuck! So, with touchless faucets, you can just improve your cooking flow and get things done with less mess.

touchless faucet

Kohler Sensate Kitchen Faucet

2. Sliding Barn Door to the Pantry. Sleek and functional and sort of unexpected. It’s like the parting of the Red Sea when you open these doors to reveal canisters of flour and sugar and a wide array of seasonings.

3. Peek-Through Pantry. Isn’t it obvious yet? I get a thrill from looking at pantry items. A little peek just adds more to the excitement!
via BHG
4. Quartz Countertops. Move over granite, you are just so yesterday. The new thing in kitchen countertops is quartz. It looks like marble but not as expensive as marble. It’s also arguably the most durable option for kitchens.  Their primary ingredient is ground quartz combined with polyester resins to bind it and pigments to give it color. They are counters stain and scratch resistant and nonporous, so they never need to be sealed. Hoe’s that for convenience and style?


5. Mechanized Kitchen Drawers. Because everything should be automatic and opens and closes with just a simple nudge.
6. Eat-in Kitchens. So, this idea may not be new and most families have been doing this since time immemorial. If you’re like me, I don’t need a formal dining room. I want one that’s casual and can be a dining room, nook for paying bills and homework central for the kids. Whether you have banquette seating or a long table within the kitchen, eat-in kitchens are a must for every home.
7. USB cable receptacles. The word innovate and technology just goes hand in hand. From USB cable receptacles, to wireless printers and paperless tracking of the household’s financial planning should be within reach and available in the kitchen.
8. Apron-Front Sink. Ok, I must admit, I’m a bit partial to the farmhouse feel. But farmhouse and apron-front sinks are not just for farmhouse designs, it can also be for the modern, eclectic and traditional styles. The apron front look just gives the space a different look and since this area gets a lot of water; it just makes sense that it should be made of a material that can withstand this element.
9. Vinyl Tiling. While marble or wooden floors is my absolute dream; vinyl tiling makes a grand entrance in the world of kitchen floors. Why? Because it’s tacky look is gone. Vinyl tiling can now both look sophisticated and luxurious. And nobody can even tell what’s the real deal and what’s not.
10. Fireplace in the Kitchen. This is one of those things where what’s old is new again. A long time ago; before the birth of the oven, there was only fire housed by a canopy of bricks or stones. You can have the real deal or one of those flameless fireplaces and both are made with extensive safety features. How about make some smores or a real brick oven pizza from just across your kitchen sink?
So many great ideas…thank you Better Homes and Gardens!
Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

A Quick Trip to San Antonio

One thing that me and my husband always try to do is going somewhere new and fun. Well, with an upcoming addition to our family we’ve been slowing down with traveling. But really, we are so lucky to live in Austin where there are tons of things to do and places to go to. I must admit, we have been bad in appreciating this, thinking that unless we go somewhere far then it’s no big deal. Aside from in-town attractions, the adorable towns of Fredericksburg, Gruene and New Braunfels is just a little more than an hour away. And so is San Antonio, where The Alamo stands. And yes, it’s also where the Spurs are playing in the playoffs {and yes killed the Dallas Mavericks & now the OKC Thunder}. My husband is a fanatic and graciously gets us front row tickets. Now, I’m not one to splurge on game tickets, my task is booking our hotel.

the menger lobby

We stayed at The Menger this time which was gorgeous and brought us back in time circa 1859. And thank you to Expedia, we got VIP treatment with an upgrade to The Sidney Lanier suite and a welcome fruit basket. I mean everybody needs grapes and strawberries after a long drive.

maureen and jason

My husband’s honorary grandpa took this picture of us before the game and captioned it, “Wolfman and Lady.” Yes! It’s spot on. And of course I have to have a pic at the riverwalk, which is gorgeous day or night.

San Antonio the Menger A few snaps of the hotel; the garden, gorgeous tiling and hallways and I am also loving the wall moldings at the stairs.

maureen stevens pregnant

And finally, a quick snap of how the baby bump is coming along. I’m almost 5 months and feeling so much better than the first 3 months. Happy Friday everyone and have the best of the weekend!

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

Life | , ,
Leave a comment  |   Share

Interior Define | Luxury Sofas at Affordable Price

I love shopping for furnishings and decor! Shocker, right? It’s one of my favorite things to do and “sourcing” or finding things both for me, family, friends and of course, clients is one of my daily tasks both for fun and work. As a designer, I get to see “what’s new” in the market from newsletters, press releases, trade mags & events that I pass on to my clients, of course! If you’re like me, I go for the luxurious but with a great price; I am the champagne on a beer budget gal {although don’t get me wrong — there are pieces that I would totally say, go for the real deal and top of the line}.

There’s a new “seating” option out there, an online source for sectionals, sofas and chairs. Interior Define offers well-crafted pieces at a fraction of the price of mainstream luxury brands. They do this by bypassing unnecessary middlemen and markups. Here are my faves:

interior define sofas 1/ Asher sofa 2/ Wesley Chair 3/ Pritchard Sectional 4/ Taylor Chair

modern sofa modern traditional sofas You will be floored when you see their pricing! Here’s a little bit more about them and with a 365 day return policy plus a concierge service, you can’t go wrong. They also have really great advisory board, with Andy Dunn of Bonobos and Joel Peterson, chairman of Jetblue. I just got my fabric, felt and leather swatches & they are sweet! Getting a sectional for a client soon!

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

Grand Entrance | In Color or Neutrals

As you can tell I’m having a front door fetish lately. Well, a lot of friends and clients have been looking to spruce up their grand entrance. And I say, nothing says “grand” than glossy lacquer for the front door. I’m swooning over the new paint by Benjamin Moore, Grand Entrance. It’s lush, it’s so European and frankly, you can’t go wrong with any color you choose.

COLORFUL FRONT DOORSLoving the front door in color? How about scarlet red? Cheery Orange or yellow, luxurious greens and electric blues, exciting indigo or royal violet? Yup, the colors of the rainbow shouts boldness and sass.

neutral front doorsOr maybe, you’re more into the classic ….simple, understated yet boldly beautiful all at the same time? Fall in love with glamorous blacks, grays and whites. I say go on, change the color of that door and create a grand entrance!

Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

Birch Lane

When people ask what my design style is, I do try to veer away from the word “eclectic,” because really this word can take on a myriad of meanings. I say mine is more an updated classic or new traditional, neotrad. More on the “trad” side than the “new” side. That’s why I’m so happy when one of my favorite decor shopping sites, Wayfair, launched a new website that’s dedicated to all things traditional, quality furnishings and inspired decor. It’s called Birch Lane.

I have been perusing their website in the past hour and already thought of different schemes that can be done with their selections. One that is British Colonial — English classic with dark woods and neutral fabrics, and French Country — white on white and distressed woods. Both traditional yet comfortable and cozy at the same time. Check it out:
birch lane Selections for British Colonial: 1. Landry Sofa 2. Barton Wing Chair 3. Harwich Storage Trunk 4. Brooklyn Chandelier 5. Shaw Floor Mirror

Selections for French Country: 1. Montgomery Loveseat 2. Montgomery Armchair 3. Grafton Console Table 4. Brighton Chandelier 5. Frances Floor Mirror

What do you think? Wee, more wonderful shopping sites for me! Of course, I always check out their partner sites regularly as well; AllModern and Dwell Studio. Their customer service is impeccable!

Happy amazing Wednesday friends!

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

Ramblings and a Garden Shed

So, it seems I’ve been hibernating lately…even from the blog world! Tsk! Tsk! I haven’t made a post in almost two weeks. Bad Maureen! Bad Maureen….ha!ha! I have been somewhat busy behind the virtual world though. Collaborations and more design work are on the horizon and I’ll share them with you as they unfold.

Anywho, so if you don’t know it yet; I’m pregnant. And I’m really finding out I’m a grumpy preggo lady. My energy is slowly coming back since I’m about 4 1/2 mos now though. I’m doing some run/walk activity and light aerobics a few days a week and finally admitted that my pants cannot fit me anymore. I also realized that most maternity clothes are hideous! Really, all I want to wear are outfits from Hatch but why is a shirt $250 or so?

I hope all of you have a happy weekend and today I leave you with this image of a gorgeous garden shed. Seriously, I’ll serve brunch and dinner here and have a reading nook in the corner!


Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

Design & Decor, Life |
Leave a comment  |   Share

My House Tour on Apartment Therapy

Happy Monday folks! A few weeks back, my house was shot by the uber talented Adrienne Breaux for Apartment Therapy. I must admit, I’ve been at times hesitant showing our personal space. Well, because it’s personal and I know the online audience can be brutal and the adage; “If you don’t have anything good to say; don’t say it;” does not really apply. I was so grateful to see glimpses of our casa in the premiere issue of Make it Over magazine by the makers of Cottages & Bungalows and Romantic Homes but I must say, online features gives further more instant gratification but it comes with a double-edged sword with a handful of less than pleasant comments. See the tour at Apartment Therapy and the Facebook post. Here’s some of my favorite shots…

I must say the comments were not bad at all and some were even downright funny, like branches not being cat-friendly or it’s the ultimate eye poker {it’s Spring people and blossoming branches are the shiznits!}; or it’s stiffly styled {I guess it feels & looks different in real-life} and that my shoes are horrible and I shouldn’t wear heels with shorts {maybe I just couldn’t rock the outfit very well and it looks better in standing, but really; I was mostly scared that I’ll look pudgy; well aside from eating too much lately, I’m also 3 months pregnant here.

Thank you so, so much Apartment Therapy for the feature!

Images by Adrienne Breaux

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

A Pink, Blue and Gold Easter Table

Easter is this weekend everyone, are you ready? Easter egg hunting is on everybody’s mind and everything pastel-hued. For us grown-ups, how about something more elegant? Art de Fete shared with me this gorgeous Easter table filled with Spring’s glorious pink branches, luxurious gold and silver and the mystic of cobalt blues — all amazingly put and styled together. You know I adore styling so I’m sure you can get an inspiration or two {or lots} from these images.

pink and blue easter table pink and gold easter food easter table pink gold blue pink easter branches What do you think? Art de Fete truly lives up to it’s name of sharing ways on creating artful celebrations and events.

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

10 Ways to Refashion Your Furniture

It’s Spring everyone and for most of us, it spells a blooming change. In the April issue of Influential Magazine, I wrote about ways to beautify your old furniture and give them a new lease on life! Read on…

Giving your outfits a little makeover is as easy as putting on a few accessories or donning a bolero or sweater and layer away! Giving your furniture and decor a makeover may not be as fast and easy to do but just spend a few hours and a little elbow grease can give that ho-hum, tired furniture a new lease on life. Whether it’s a piece you’ve had for a long time (Bachelor pad or college days ring a bell?) or it’s a yard sale find with good bones; here are ideas to restore, revamp and yes, refashion your furniture:

1.Paint It. It may sound like a no-brainer but changing the color of a furniture or decor piece can totally change the look and feel of it. How about painting a wooden piece antique white for a refreshing coastal or shabby chic feel? Or emerald green to exude hollywood glam?

2. Stenciling. From Moroccan to damask, geometric to floral….your options for stencils are endless. Stencil the whole piece or just a part of it and you’re in for giving that furniture a new statement. It can be as easy as putting a bird on it to add quirk to an otherwise boring piece.

3. Change the Hardware. Maybe you’re tired of the faux brass finish and want to go for the polished nickel look, then all you’ll need is a screwdriver to take out the old & bolt in the new fittings.

4. Lacquer. It’s not new news, the glossy, shiny, sparkling and gleaming is back again. The clear or colored wood finish that gives furniture that hard, durable shiny finish can transform a stale piece into a glamorous and sophisticated one.

5. Distressing or Aging. A new furniture can exude more character with distressing techniques. Aging a furniture is just like as it sounds, making it look older. Distressing and techniques can range from using chisels and a hammer to add cracks to the piece, a wire brush or other abrasives to create scratches or better yet antique finish paint and glazes are also available.

6. Gilding or Gilting. The decorative technique of gold leafing or coating a piece with material that simulates gold is alive and well in the 21st century. I am not suggesting to gild a whole table but how about just a portion of it’s legs for a dipped gold leaf look?

7. Use appliques or Overlays. Like three-dimensional ornaments, appliques or overlays comes in a wide array of designs as well. Fretwork panels are great for simple, modern furnishings while appliques such as escutcheons and rose swags will be amazing for a girl’s bedroom furniture for a French-inspired design.

8. Wallpaper. Yes, you are not reading it wrong. Wallpaper can also be installed in small pieces such as a dresser or nightstand. Choose furniture with clean lines, no curves or crevices for a polished look.

9. Stain. This may be the easiest way to update a furniture piece. It’s really as easy as 1-2-3. One, prepare the piece; Two, stain and Three, finish the surface.

10. Repurpose. Giving a piece a new function or a new purpose and moving it to a different part of the house is both clever and ingenious, all you have to do is tickle your creativity. A discarded butcher block kitchen island can be your new home office desk or a bar cart as your new night stand — wine bottles not included.

So, the next time you’re thinking of tossing that furniture piece; think again. A list of creative options are out there.

Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

Patrick Dempsey’s McDreamy Malibu Home

Ok, so I did succumb to using the “McDreamy” word. I was never a fan of Grey’s Anatomy but long before he was the dream of women in scrubs all over; I was swooning over him in his earlier movies like “Happy Together” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” But alas, I do think he gets better with age.

I just got my issue of the latest Architectural Digest and there is a whole spread of his Malibu home he shares with his wife and three adorable kids. It’s one of Frank Gehry’s earliest houses. The decor is laid back yet polished. A little bit rustic yet well appointed. Here’s a few of my favorite snaps!

open space livng room banquet seating dining area bedroom swing kitchen patrick dempsey malibu home patrick dempsey outdoors outdoor dining rustic Tin Guest House They even have a tin guest house, an airstream and chicken coop! What do you think?

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>