Kitchen Remodel ~ Change is Good

This kitchen remodel took place over the course of 4 weeks, from start to finish.  The update and change began by removing the old kitchen cabinetry, countertops, backsplash tile and those awful kitchen soffits.  

The layout remained basically the same with the following exceptions ~ the upper cabinets went from 30" high to 42" high, the new pantry cabinet is larger and has interior roll-outs, the island is now one large surface instead of the raised high bar and a pull out trash bin was added.  In addition the new granite countertops look great with the new undermount sink and the new smart touch faucet. 

By removing the soffits, this kitchen feels much more spacious and it gives great height to the space.  And removing the high-bar countertop and making the island one large countertop makes for a fabulous work space and opens the kitchen up to the adjoining rooms.

I cried in Memphis…. St. Jude | Brizo | Blogger19

This summer I had the honor and pleasure of traveling to Memphis Tennessee as part of the Brizo, Blogger19 Reunion.  Rooted in the fashion and design communities, the Brizo brand is the primary sponsor of fashion Designer Jason Wu’s fashion shows, and is the first national sponsor of the St. Jude Dream Home® Giveaway.  Named for a Greek goddess who appeared in the dreams of mariners, Brizo products are available exclusively at Brizo Impressions Showrooms. 


Blogger19 represents an elite group of designers, architects and influencers.  Established in 2010, this self-named group has since grown to include nearly 130 leaders in their fields from all over the globe. While diverse in their aesthetic, the Blogger19 ‘s are all united by a shared experience at New York Fashion Week, hosted by the premium faucet brand Brizo. A primary sponsor of fashion designer Jason Wu, Brizo believes high-style applies not just to the clothes we wear but is a lifestyle that extends to our aesthetic at home.  

I am proud to be a part of this amazing new family of friends and call myself a Brizo Blogger19 Alumni…. you can read more about my trip here...

Ok so blah blah blah blah….I could go on and on about the wonderful amazingness of being part of Blogger19 and you can read more about my trip to Fashion week in the links above,  but I would first like to share with you the importance of why Brizo brought us all to Memphis of all places.  


I have to admit that when I think of luxury plumbing fixtures Memphis isn’t the first city that comes to mind.  But in fact Memphis is where the magic of the Brizo Brand comes to life and wait until you hear about the amazing connection to St. Jude Hospital because that really is where the story is.  

Having created Blogger19, Brizo decided to invite this elite group of Blogger19 Alumni, from across the globe to be their guest in Memphis Tennessee for a Blogger19 Reunion.  Brizo wanted to bring all of us together in one place to connect in person, give us a tour of one of their factories and to share with us their involvement with St. Jude and the Dream Home Giveaway. 

During the reunion trip we were able to reconnect with our fellow alumni and meet in person those from the other groups; it was reminiscent of a big family reunion.  And let me just point out that it was a family reunion like no other which included luxury accommodations at The Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis.  Brizo really is first class all the way.  Our itinerary included some really fabulous social time events where we were able to just truly spend time together, we also attended several hands on presentations about Brizo’s latest and greatest product development, we were thrilled to get a factory tour of the Jackson Plant where we got to see where and how the Brizo product is made.   Though for me, hands down the highlight of the trip was seeing Brizo’s connection to St. Jude hospital and our amazing tour of St. Jude.

ST. JUDE HOSPITAL   {...this was where I laughed, where I cried….}

So what does St. Jude have to do with Brizo?  St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is one of the world's leading pediatric cancer research organizations and relies heavily on charities, donations and philanthropic campaigns, such as the Dream Home Giveaway, to help raise money and awareness for its mission.   Formed in 1991, the program allows for newly built homes to be raffled off with all proceeds directly benefitting St. Jude. It has raised more than $224 million for the hospital and awarded 280 homes over the past 20 years.  In 2010, the Brizo brand became the foundation's first national sponsor and has since contributed over $1.5 million in products and donations to St. Jude. 

Bravo Brizo!!

I remember a time when cancer was not so common place, and now I don’t know too many people who haven’t been touched by cancer in one way or another.  I, like many, have seen cancer up close and personal through my dad’s cancer battle. 
Me and my Dad ~ Albert Alton Christensen  Jan.1941 - Sept.2004
Knowing in advance that my trip to Memphis would include a visit to St. Jude hospital, I was worried about how I would handle this emotional subject when faced with children who were having the same fight.  Having experienced cancer first hand through my dad’s cancer journey…I was unsure about how I would react being in a “Cancer” place again.  In retrospect I can say as worried as I was to bring up the memories of my father and his struggle with cancer I now know what a wonderful amazing place St. Jude is. 

I really don’t know where to begin.  Besides the fact that St. Jude provides free (yes free) care for all patients and accommodates the patient families in their onsite residential living facilities, the one thing that really just awed me was the fact that they treat patients and do research to find a cure.  Here is a quick video and a glance into St. Jude....

The doctors that work at St. Jude are not given limitations to their research.  They are not governed by the restrictions of a patient’s health insurance coverage.  They are free to treat their patients without the burden of what someone can afford or what type of insurance they have.  They treat patients to save lives, research and fine cures.... 

More importantly, the cancer research that is done at St. Jude is open to be shared with other researchers across the globe. They are not holding onto their discoveries to win fame or fortune, they are sharing and collaborating with the sole purpose to save lives and find cures.      

Other amazing things that St. Jude is doing that stand out in my mind are:

        -  The whole hospital is run and maintained completely on donations

        -  The whole St. Jude campus is designed with thoughtfulness to the children
            and  families that spend months, sometimes years there going thru treatment.

        -  They have amazing survival rates, that means cure for short! Here are a few 
            of their statistics 

chart image credit ~

We spent a day touring St. Jude, learning about what they do, how they do it and seeing and meeting some of the children.   I had moments of joy, sadness, laughter and crying.  It was an emotional day filled with excitement for the children who were getting this amazing care and sadness thinking about the many people including my father who lost the their battle with cancer.   St. Jude is helping people because that is their goal; they reach out and have made it their mission to find cures purely for the sake of saving lives.  They are amazing!!   Imagine a world with no cancer….St. Jude is working towards exactly that and are willing to share what they know, imagine if everyone felt that way!

If there is ever a time that you are looking for a place to donate or make a contribution this is the place!  


What would a trip to visit with Brizo be without an opportunity to learn about what makes their product so wonderful?  We got to see up close and personal some new and upcoming technology (no photos allowed on the top secret stuff) and learn about some of the latest and greatest Brizo products.  Complete with a water technology show and tell....


I think taking a factory tour and seeing exactly how something is manufactured is the single best way to understand the quality of a product.  We arrived at the Jackson Plant, were given a pair of stylish safety glasses and we got the VIP factory tour.  We got to see the nuts and bolts of how Brizo produces and assembles their products from start to finish.   With over 600,000 square feet and nearly 800 dedicated employees this factory and distribution center was pretty impressive.  It was a very clean, organized and efficient facility and the employees we met were so friendly, knowledgeable and it was evident they are dedicated and proud of where they work. 

CONNECTING AND SOCIAL TIME  {...this was where I laughed, where I cried again….}

Brizo knows how to throw a party!  I think the photos speak for themselves!  They are first class all the way!  Right down to the champagne and cookie that was left with departing wishes in each of our rooms the last night of our stay at the Peabody.

Thank you Brizo for another amazing experience!
Visit or call 877-345-BRIZO (2749) for more information and to locate a Brizo
Impressions Showroom.

Sandra Espinet | The Well-Traveled Home | Book Review

I recently received a copy of Sandra Espinet's new book The Well-Traveled Home.  From the moment I opened it I was drawn in by the beautifully curated collection of Sandra's design talent.  Having a personal love of travel I felt an instant connection to Sandra and her love of travel and how it has influenced and shaped her passion for interior design.

It is evident with every turn of the page that Sandra has mastered the skill of expressing her clients love of travel and how it can be represented in their home.  It is a wonderful representation of how your travels mold who you are and how this can be incorporated into your home.

Sandra says... 

  "I suppose I would say that the essence of my interior design work seeks to reflect the evolving interplay of the domestic and the international, while reaming true to my intent to create alluring family living spaces and home environments". 

Well said and this book is a beautiful reflection of exactly how Sandra has achieved that through her own travel experiences and those of her clients.
The book is stunning and shows how Sandra has become proficient in melding the travelers treasures in different ways throughout a home and is evident and eloquently illustrated by the images of Sandra's work throughout the book.  
I really enjoyed how the book is divided into distinct sections so that you can see the process of how Sandra builds off her travel inspiration ~ Travel and Design, Adventure and Artifact, Domesticating the Exotic, Beautiful and Useful, Imports and Inspiration.  Each insight gives a clear understanding of how your travels and adventures can be a part of your home and reflect how travel has and is influencing your home and interior design. 


ASID LA | Dwell Labs Designer Tour

As part of Dwell on Design, in Los Angeles, in conjunction with ASID Los Angeles and LA Design Magazine, I was invited to attend a VIP Tour of Dwell Labs LA.  I was amongst a very talented group of bloggers and our private tour took us inside two separate prestigious building locations.  Our first stop took us to Met Lofts in the heart of downtown LA where we toured four spectacular residences overlooking downtown LA.  We then traveled to 1600 Vine to view four more amazing residences in Hollywood's hot new neighborhood in the center of the Hollywood scene. 

In each location we were allowed to tour each residence, meet the interior designers and discover how they brought their vision to life.  Each interior designer designed their space with a specific client in mind.  There was a story to each space and a specific style to accommodate the given parameters of each proposed resident. 

Here is a glimpse of each residence, the interior designer who designed the space and the resident style that each was designed for.

MET LOFTS Unit #205 / Interior Designer Lauri Howell, ASID
As soon as you walked into this space you got an imediate sense that this was a very hip, sophistcated space.  There were great laser cut panels that gave a separation from the living and sleeping space.  Even though this was basically a one room apartment space, there was great care to detail given to make each area feel individual and have multiple functions.  It had a sort of industrial chic vibe and the vibrant teal accent color against the warm wood tones of the built in bed/loft gave the space a really nice comfortable feel.  I especially loved the Salt and Pepper shaker chess set....very clever! (picture upper left corner)

MET LOFTS Unit #207 / Interior Designer Deborah J. Davis, ASID
The floating wood panel that framed the chandelier over the round glass dining room table was a very refreshing new idea and made a great focal point as your walked into this unit.  The warm tones used throughout gave the space a really peaceful and serene feel and was a wonderful contrast to the raw cement walls and ceilings.  From the cozy chair in the den where I could imagine sitting down to enjoy a good book to the collection of art work arranged in the living room, this was a space many would be happy to call home.

MET LOFTS Unit #414 / Interior Designer Rachel Winokur, Allied ASID
If I were a fashion student I would love living in this apartment.  The simple clean lines of the furnishings, the fabulous reclaimed stylish wood island in the kitchen and a four poster bed tucked away and surrounded by a floor to ceiling transparent curtain so as not to make the space feel smaller but the fabric gives great height and space to this unit.  I really liked the combination of a contemporary vibe with a wink of tradition .....I loved the over sized gold floor lamp with black shade. 

MET LOFTS Unit #423 / Interior Designer Frank A. Slesinski, Allied ASID
When I saw the four flat screen televisions on the wall, I knew right away this was a sports lovers dream.  The multi purpose desk/storage unit in the living room is a brilliant use of the space and when it is not in use everything can be tucked away.  This was a very sophisticated masculine space that had an elegance about it.

1600 Vine Unit #1109 / Interior Designer Laura D. Schwartz-Muller, Allied ASID
This two story unit was an unexpected surprise....the living room with the two story ceiling had this very clever asymmetrical bookcase with a sliding library ladder that gave this space great presence.  The bold artwork throughout the unit really brought the place to life, I really loved the triptych horse piece over the master bed and the vibrant color in the portrait located in the office was just stunning.  I just loved the custom bike rack!

1600 Vine Unit #734 / Interior Designer Suzanne Furst, ASID
Elegant and fashion forward is exactly how I would describe this really fabulous space.  The fairly mono-chromatic pallette is a great canvas for the pops of color like the Lucite clear and lime green foyer table.  It was a combination of textures, colors and finishes that really unified this space.  The textured wallpaper circle pattern was duplicated in frosted glass panels that separated the living and bedroom spaces.  The glass and chrome worked really well with the beautiful warm tone of the floors. 

1600 Vine Unit #813 / Interior Designer Darra Bishop, Allied ASID
This would be the perfect space for a student to live.  The very stylized furniture selections with a sort of mid-century feel was a great combination and a really happy living space.  The bed was a bookcase by day and a bed by night (top center picture) it was fantastic and allowed for the living space to feel so much larger.  The chain-link woven shower curtain was a buzz of conversation during our tour and it was fabulous!  

1600 Vine Unit #856 / Designer's Cynthia Lambakis & Samatha Williams, Allied ASID
From top to bottom front to back this unit had a beautiful surprise around every corner.  This large two story unit had a master bedroom suite larger than many homes (center top and bottom).  The dual living rooms on the main floor were beautifully appointed and the whole space was brought to life with some truly amazing artwork.  The special treat in this home was the custom glass light fixtures in the living room and dining room by Seth Parks...they were stunning.

As a professional ASID member I was honored to have been invited and was so exciting to able preview the work of my peers.   To all of the ASID Dwell Lab Designers I would like to extend my congratulations to you all on a job well done!  Bravo!

Kitchen Desperate For Change

This Kitchen was stuck and in desperate need of change...

Stuck in a bit of a time warp, with the original hinge exposed faceframe cabinetry, linoleum floors, laminate countertops and a swing door that closed the room off from the rest of the home, this kitchen was screaming out for help.  Located on the 9th floor of an older condominium building there were multiple restrictions and limitations that needed to be taken into consideration during the design process.  Through careful planning and creative design an amazing new functional kitchen design evolved based on the needs and requirements of the homeowner.   
The new design changed the location of the entrance into the kitchen to a more central location to the left of the new refrigerator location.  This then gave way for additional new countertop space to the left of the slide in range and microwave exhaust hood location.  

The original ceiling, a dropped dome ceiling with florescent lights and plastic light diffusers, was removed to give way to new taller upper cabinets and a crown molding detail to the new ceiling height.  In addition to the increased storage space in the upper cabinets another big change to the kitchen is the addition of drawer space.  The old kitchen had a total of 3 top drawers and the new kitchen design boasts 16 new drawers. 
The relocation of the refrigerator allowed a space to create pantry storage, a built in dining area, glass door display storage, open shelf display storage and 9 of the 16 drawers.  The new recessed can, decorative light and under cabinet  light fixtures allows for various lighting options in the new kitchen.  

The new solid white wood cabinetry with raised panel door and drawer fronts with a creamy white painted finish compliment the new granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, glass tile backsplash and a beautiful new wallpaper .....all of this and more helped  bring this kitchen up to date and create a functioning kitchen that will be enjoyed for years to come.

Friday Kitchen Find | Wine on Demand

What wine lover wouldn't love this four bottle wine dispensing and preservation system for their home?  No more pouring out unused wine, no more having to choose red or white.  This unique and ready to use wine dispenser allows you to select and dispense exactly what and how much wine you want on demand.   
photo credit
The restaurant quality WineStation's proprietary argon gas preservation system allows you to open and enjoy a variety of wines and vintages for up to 60 days without the need to discard or consume unused portions.  The environmentally-friendly and energy efficient Thermo-Electric Cooling System sets the ideal temperature for either red or white wine without the use or need of hazardous pollutants or refrigerants.