Saturday, May 30, 2015

Making Important Design Decisions


New England look . love everything

In purchasing a new home I am already being challenged to come up with design solutions. 

When we purchased our last home over 37 years ago, if you wanted to change anything you paid a small fee, and put in for the change. THAT is not how it works now.

We have discovered that most of the standard choices were not to our liking even though they were much more budget friendly than upgrading. 

Ultimately we wound up doing upgrades to areas that we did not want to tear out or re-do after moving in.


Unfortunately all the design decisions for the base of the homes interior, and exterior had to be chosen the week of our move. I DO NOT recommend doing it like this if it is at all preventable.

As tired as I was I put on my designer hat, and chose what we thought would be the best for our overall look.

great rug
The first thing I had to keep telling myself was some very good advice from a dear friend when she told me... 

“ You have already designed your old home, now you have a new home to design!” 

She was so wise to say that to me because this home will have a  bit different vibe  than our last home.

As you all know I am all about designing a home that is true to what you love, not to what is the latest trend, unless you happen to like that trend, before, during, and after it’s arrival and departure.

I have spent years analyzing my own design aesthetics, as well as my clients in order to create a welcoming environment.

One of the most important aspects of design in my opinion, is to create a home that has a certain feeling, or vibe. One with a personality.

Since this new home is different in it’s layout I am going for a bit more casual look.

one of my all time favs

Trying to attain a casual  look dictated some of the surface choices that I made in flooring and in counters. 

I had to keep cognoscente of the overall look and needed to try not to get bogged down with one detail at  a time.  

It is important to always keep the overall feel look in mind. So remember what your overall look and feel are at all times when making any design decision.

If it does not fit into your criteria, DO NOT try to make it fit!!

This is why it is important to write down how you want your home to feel.

Become very familiar with the adjectives that you would use to describe the over all feeling, and look of your home. 

This is where it is really important to be honest with yourself, and not to be swayed with all of the trends, or offerings that await you in the decision making process. 

Trust me there are so many elements out there to choose from. Since my offerings were chosen by the builder I was a bit more limited.


Here are the adjectives, or BUZZ words that I would use to describe what overall look and feel I want to achieve in my new home…….
Casual and Inviting



Light and bright


Clean lines 

Fresh and Crisp

Simple and uncomplicated


Now comes the hard part!!

If money were no object and if every option out there was available my job would have been easy, BUT, in the real world it does not work that way.

So what is a girl to do?

First and foremost, Do NOT waiver in the feeling you are trying to achieve for  your home. 

Remember there is more than one way to look at any design so be willing to adjust, and make compromises where needed.

When making compromises always make sure  that they will work with the overall look and feeling you are trying to achieve. 

source: Torre Construction & Development  Glamorous kitchen with glossy white box beams, creamy white shaker kitchen cabinets & kitchen island with marble countertops, small sink in kitchen island, subway tiles backsplash, range hood, farmhouse sink, white valances with green ribbon trim and white roman shades with green ribbon trim.
Concentrate on the most important features in the main part of the home. The rooms where you live, your central core.

In our new home, the kitchen and the great room are at the center of our homes core, so this is where the feeling will be set. 

I know that my existing furniture will remain the same so my color scheme has already been decided.

(For those of you who are wishing to make a change in your home, look at your base first. What permanent surfaces do you need to work around and consider in your color selections.)
I knew that the flooring and the counter tops would dictate many of my other selections. In this particular home the kitchen counter top is at the center of the overall design so I had a pretty good idea going in what I would choose for a counter top.

(sorry for the poor quality, but I took this pict. off of the builders website. I wanted to give you all a better idea of what the kitchen and great room will look like.)
The kitchen island is a Helipad, seriously! It is huge, over 9 ft long and 4ft deep. 

You can tell it is a major focal point in that area of the home. The decision on my counter tops felt as if it was going to be easy. That is, until I saw the offerings and really HAD to make a final decision.
It is so easy to say what you THINK you want until you HAVE to make that commitment. 
Having just sold a home with Carrera countertops, it was pretty hard to choose.

 (my previous home’s kitchen)

Carrera was not offered, so I had to remember my overall look and feel of the home and go from there.

Take a look back at my list of  Buzz words. I bet you all can almost predict what I chose.
Marcus Design: {a glamorously rustic kitchen ...}

First it had to be light and airy. I will admit I did play around with the idea of a black counter, but when I saw the actual dimensions of the counter top I knew that would be way too much black for me. 
clean, classic style in the kitchen
I looked back at my history on how I have used black in the past, and it is always been used as an outline or contrast with white in small amounts such as framing, but always is small amounts, never in a solid mass.
Dome KItchen Hood, Traditional, kitchen, Torre Construction & Development
Most of the builders offerings were granite, and the standard choices were three selections of granite, none of them had a light and airy feel to them. 
I know granite has been a favorite by many, but I have never wanted it for my own home, not even when it became so popular years ago. 

I actually love white tile. (I am convinced I am the only girl alive that still likes white tile )
white kitchen, white & gold pendants

I had two ideas in mind:
1. White quartz with a white on white fleck and a Carrera marble subway backsplash.
2. White quartz with a bit of veining and a white subway backsplash.
Both of these offerings were available and doable so how do I decide?
Wall of windows. Perfect
I had to keep in mind a couple of things. The VERY large island, and the layout of the kitchen. I needed to keep in mind  what did I want my eye to see as I looked into the kitchen.

The deciding factors were a few of my buzz words:
Light and airy
Simple and uncomplicated
Ultimately it was the size of the island that made the choice for me. 
#lighting, #kitchen, #kitchen-island, #pendant-light    Read More:
Personally I felt with that large of a space there needed to be some movement to break it up.

A solid looking white would have created a white wall so I chose a quartz product with some movement that fit all of my criteria.
Before making the final decision we did go to the warehouse and look at a solid slab of the quartz.
Black and White Kitchens-42-1 Kindesign
When we chose our marble for our last home we did look at many solid surface quartz in full slabs in San Francisco so I was very familiar with the looks that are available out there.
However our builder was using a new company that I had not seen, and I have to say of all of the surfaces that are trying to mimic Carrera this one was the best that I have seen for my purposes.
Let me stop here, and say this……
There is NOTHING manmade that will LOOK  like Carrera, However there are many that will give the light, clean FEEL of marble.
I was very impressed with this, new-to-me, product. It is sold by Arizona Tile and it is called Lyskmann…

This is just a small section taken from their website. What you can not see in a picture,is  you can not pick up on any pattern repeat, the veining is very random as found in natural marble.

The veining is a very soft gray and the background is white, and it gives it a very clean, airy feeling.

This image looks shinier than the actual surface looks in person. It actually has more of a satin finish, not quite honed but definitely not a high polished look.
Here is one of the pictures we took at the warehouse. Keep in mind the back ground is white, not gray like it looks in the picture…….

You can see the veining patterns look very natural and have a nice flow. The decision has been made and after we move in we will hire a tile man to install the backsplash in the same subway tiles we used in our last home.

The subway tiles are by Sonoma tile, and they are handmade so they vary ever so slightly, but the finish has a glow, and translucency to them that gives them more depth to my eye than a flat white subway tile. It is all about the glow, right ladies?

Now that the main star of the room has been chosen it was time for the supporting actors, cabinetry and flooring. I will talk more about that subject in my upcoming post.

My goal in going through my decision making process here on my blog is to hopefully help you out in blogland in making any of your own design decisions in the future.

What is the overall FEEL or VIBE you want your home to have!!!

If you keep that in mind in all of your decisions you will ultimately achieve your desired look at the end of the process.

Until next time I am going to continue to:


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Our Journey Continues


P1150168 (800x600)
A bitter/sweet moment. The last picture we will ever take on our front porch. This was taken right after we turned over our keys to the new buyer's realtor.

Moving sure can take it out of you! Whew! We are beyond tired, but by golly we did it, and lived to tell the story.

If you have read any of my previous post you know we just moved out of our family home of 37 years. To say it was an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement.

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So many of our family members, and close friends were a bit saddened by this move as well, but like us, they knew it was a good move, and time for us to start a new adventure.


I know everyone was so curious about the WHERE and the WHEN of our move. I was not trying to be secretive, but I did not want to say anything until I knew for sure that our home would sell.


Boy did it sell, and very, very quickly at that. We were very fortunate to have 7 over asking bids. We chose the right bid for our situation, and the rest is history.


While we were getting ready for the selling of our home we were also looking for a new place to purchase as our next home. 


We are pretty logical people, maybe I should clarify that, my husband is beyond logical. 

He is the one that had researched, and punched the numbers to makes sure this was all doable before he showed me a house he thought we would like.


He might take a long time to process all the angles of a situation, but once he has done that he is ready to jump forward. 


So literally one day he told me he had found a home he thought we both might like, and he was ready to go and look at it.

Even though we had talked about moving for over 4 years, I was still in shock because this time was different. He was READY to make the move. 

I immediately started asking questions, and doing the back stroke. He was more than ready so we went to look at the home, and needless to say we decided to sign on the dotted line.

We had our list of priorities, and at the very top of the list was to stay close to family. We will be living about 20 min. closer to our family, the second priority was to be in a gated community with an HOA. Of course there were other things on our list, but these were the most important to us.

So I am purging my existing home, packing, and signing very important documents all at the same time. 

Our home sold within the very first weekend so this was a definite GOOOOOO!!!

Our brand new home is in a beautiful little community. It is in an over 55 community, but they like to refer to it as an, "Active Lifestyle Community."

The area is surrounded by hills, and grape vineyards, very peaceful, and beautifully planned. 

We are still pinching ourselves, and can’t believe we will be spending the rest of our retirement years there.

Here is a little video link of the community, if you are interested in seeing what it looks like…….

We are downsizing just a bit to 1590 sq. ft. home, and we found a floor plan that will work well for the way we live, and for when our family visits….


What we loved about this model was how the kitchen and great room related to each other. 

The kitchen has always been the hub of our home. I like seeing my family when I am in the kitchen, and I also like to have a view of the backyard while in the kitchen so this model fulfilled all the criteria for our needs, and most of our wants.

There are three different elevation choices……

Mallorca C_large mediterranean
The Mediterranean

Mallorca B_large vineyard cottage
The Vineyard Cottage

Mallorca elevation Napa
The Napa

Since this community is surrounded by hills, Oak trees and grape vineyards it has a California wine country feel so the homes are aptly named, and the elevations reflect that style.

You all know by now I am a cottage loving gal so we chose The Napa

Our home will be flipped so the garage is on the right. The paint color, and roof will also be different than in the picture. 

You get to choose from 5 choices of combinations of house, trim, door and roof color. 

I felt very, very lucky because the one I wanted was offered for the elevation we chose.

We had driven around the existing homes, and I kept pointing out one color combination that I loved, and it was offered with the elevation we chose.

Here is the color combination that we chose for our new home …….

P1150199 (609x800)

I know all monitors will read it a bit differently, but it is a grayed/blue/green color The roof will be a gray……

P1150200 (800x456)

We chose our lot……..

P1150177 (800x600)
We are now the proud owners of DIRT!!!

You can see the vineyards on the hills behind our home, of course once the other homes are built we will not be able to see them from our yard, but on our walks we will get to see their beauty.

So for now we are residing in a very nice 1,200 sq. ft. apartment for the next 6 months while our new home is being built. We settled in very quickly and feel very comfortable here.

To say it has been a fast, crazy month would be an understatement.

This past week while moving I was also having to make ALL of the interior and exterior design choices. 

I would NOT recommend doing it this way. I was so mentally, and physically exhausted, and I had all my design meetings the week of the move.

Decisions did not come easily due to the available elements to choose from (am I the only one in the world that does not live with earth tones?), but I think we made the best decisions for us, or at least I hope we did.

We are going to take this next week to catch up with you all in blogland, and rest my body and my brain.

We now have the time to truly get excited about this new adventure. 

I hope you are ready to take a ride with me on the journey to a new lifestyle, and the designing process of our new home. 

Oh and just one more thing!! Trilogy has a blog and guess what the name of the blog is??? Coincidence? I will let you be the judge!



to be cont
And I am determined to …….