Tag Archives: Kitchen

The ’90s Remodel for Millennials

With more and more Millennials reaching the home-buying stage, and a housing market that’s as competitive as ever, people are looking for that “diamond in the rough” type of home that can be fixed up.  By “rough” I mean homes that were built or remodeled in the ’80s and ’90s and seriously ready for a makeover.

Ironically, while fashion treads have placed the crop-top-stretch-pants-oversized-glasses look on a golden pedestal, the floral-valance-with-matching-wallpaper trend of the same era is being kicked to the curb.

Luckily, a lot of these homes have great bones and much of the work is in paint, flooring, lighting, and refinishing.  But, boy what a difference some fresh paint can make.

We recently completed an entire home remodel for a young family.  Check out the B & As.

Master Bedroom: So many things in this before photo made us ask, “Why?”.  Were the green marble columns really necessary?  Did swooping red velvet valences ever look good?

We decided that a stripped down, subtle palette over some rich hardwoods would set the perfect backdrop for some killer custom furniture.

The fireplace is framed out in a tile that resembles ledgestone in its soft range of colors and textures. For a more modern look, we decided to float the fireplace with no hearth underneath.  In this remodel, the fireplace is meant to provide a warm glow, not to act as the focal point of the room.

The subtlety of our palette and finishes allowed for a little bit of sparkle with our lighting choice.  One of the most common issues with ’80s and ’90s style is that there are often competing finishes within a room. In the before photo we’ve got a brass light fixture, black door hardware, and white recessed cans.  Consistency in finishes in so important for creating a cohesive space.  We narrowed it down to black/oil-rubbed bronze finishes for the lighting, fireplace, and door knobs.


Here is the room compete with furniture:



We decided to float the bed and anchor it with two perfectly sized bookcases as a divider between the bedroom and dressing room.  The stepped ceiling and central light fixture make more sense when the bed is placed in line with these features.


The fireplace is actually two-sided, with the other side facing the freestanding tub in the master bathroom.  It’s a very sweet, romantic and spa-like touch.



The living room is often where we spend most of our time.  Creating an inviting space with ample light and seating is our main goal.  Amazingly, we were able to keep the carpet–it’s in great condition–and re-design around it in a way that brings the room together.  We talked about family photos in a previous post; this B & A shot shows off the difference between accessorizing with tons of different colors and textures vs continuity in your accent pieces.


The greatest impact in remodeling often comes from the kitchen.  Starting in the ’80s and stretching well into the ’00s, honey-colored cabinets were king.  This trend is finally being squashed out, one overly-colorful kitchen at a time.  The craftsmanship of these cabinets was outstanding, so it seemed like a shame to just rip them out.  Instead, we designed around them–much like the carpet in the living room–and by toning down the countertops, walls, and backsplash, we’ve created a space that is more calming than overwhelming.  Also, again with the valences?  Yikes.

Design Tip:  This backsplash is actually 50% glossy and 50% matte.  This technique creates a look that always gets a second glance.  You can see that something is interesting about the tile, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.  It’s the way light hits the backsplash–especially with hand-crafted tile–that creates just the right amount of gleam.


Check out the rest of the house.

In our next blog, we’ll take you into the beautiful bathroom remodel and reveal the spa bathtub of your dreams.


Happy Decorating!





From the Ground Up: Phase 2

digital rendering of front porch design

Starting to come together…

Last week we took you through the preliminary design process, the part where moving a wall requires an eraser, rather than a sledgehammer.  This week it all starts to become real.  Our amazing team of contractors have been working so hard to get this house together and their efforts can finally be appreciated as we walk though this home in construction.

A big, open house like this one is such an amazing blank canvas to work with.  We’ve chosen a soft palette with light yellows, sage green, beautiful white and gray marble throughout, crisp, white trim, and creamy soft carpet.  A dark hardwood flooring throughout the first floor will set the stage for our muted palette to pop.

new home construction design architecture interior

Lighting is such an important mood-setter, especially in this home.  We’ve chosen an array of polished nickel light fixtures to add sparkle.  Hanging from the two-story vaulted foyer is one of the most impressive chandeliers I’ve ever seen with 90 crystal-clear prisms on two circular tiers.  The big reveal is sure to be full of drama!

crystal prism chandelier for foyer interior design

From the foyer, the house opens up into an impressive, light-filled, two-story great room with dark hardwood floors, and an upper balcony.

Great room design with large windows Marble tiled fireplace design

This home also has some amazing luxury features such as a wine pantry, butler’s pantry, and a two-way fireplace separating the breakfast nook from the dining room.

luxury wine storage pantry design see through fireplace two sided breakfast nook dining room

Moving into the master bathroom, we have created a marble-covered oasis with a walk-in shower, free-standing tub, two vanities, and a walk-in closet.  This gorgeous spa-like bathroom will be bathed in tons of natural light from its three windows.

master bathroom interior design walk-in shower free-standing tub  interior design of master bathroom with marble tile backsplash

The last sneak-peek we’re dishing out this week is a preview of the beautiful front porch with whitewashed brick.

digital rendering of front porch design

Stay tuned for next week’s big reveal of the finished home in all its glory!






Everything About the Kitchen Sink

Double faucet farmhouse sink kitchen remodel
Latest obsession:  The Farmhouse Sink aka Bib Sink

…aka Apron front.  Whatever you call it, we love it.  Considered by some to be the original sink, these large, utilitarian, rectangular basins were designed to do it all: chores, prepping food, washing all of the dishes, and sometimes washing children too.  Recent trends are heading towards a utilitarian look: exposed brick and hardwood, pendants with exposed bulbs, metal pipes as shelving, the list goes on and on.  Of the items on this list of trends, the farmhouse sink might be the most useful.  Who doesn’t want a sink that can fit both a saucepan and a baby?

This sink is amazing because it instantly creates ambiance in the kitchen.  When you walk in and see a farmhouse sink, you know immediately that this homeowner appreciates a classic, country look, but wants to keep up with a great, long-lasting trend.  While they can fit right in with a modern, eclectic style,  these sinks are especially appropriate for our older Portland home remodels.  Homes in Portland don’t get much older than the 1920’s and 30’s, which is the perfect era for this look.  (Side note: here is an awesome map showing the age of Portland homes) Whether your home is a country cottage, or newer construction with a post-industrial design, this sink will last a lifetime and somehow always feel fresh.

This kitchen sink doesn’t have the bib, but still has plenty of farmhouse charm.  We used black subway tile, soft blue walls, and a silver tin ceiling.  Cup pulls help tie the look together and keep it true to the home’s classic architecture.

Double faucet farmhouse sink kitchen remodel

Chrome cup pull in farmhouse kitchen remodel with farm sink design Double faucet farmhouse sink

The classic black and white kitchen.  Always a charmer, and so easily livened up with some pops of color from flowers, towels, and dishes.  The best thing about a black and white kitchen is you can really go wild with your accessories and completely update the look on a whim.

farmhouse sink bib sink in black and white vintage kitchen remodel

A more subdued, country kitchen also works well with this style of sink.  Use the colors you would find on a farm: the buttery cream of fresh milk, rustic bronze from rich soil, and cornflower blue.

Oil rubbed bronze faucet on farmhouse sink bib sink in kitchen remodel


And last, but certainly not least, our newest remodel of a home in Carlton, Oregon.  This kitchen received the star treatment remodel with all new appliances, flooring, countertops, and a mosaic tile backsplash that goes all the way to the ceiling(!).  This eclectic design combines new trends with lasting traditions.  Let us know what you think.

interior design kitchen remodel with floating shelves


What do you think of this style?  Will it last?  Would you use this sink in conjunction with a modern home?

In Progress: Park 16

allison smith design process materials for remodel

We just received some progress photos from a project near Seattle; the crew is finishing up a Rec Center for this large apartment complex.  So exciting to see a plan come to life and we’ll be sure to post some sparkling after pictures as soon as it’s done.  For now, here is a teaser showing the wall color, some flooring, and a feature wall designed by us.

Custom feature wall designed by allison smith

This feature wall is a custom design by Allison Smith.  We used varying widths of wood and stained them in Banyan Brown from Sherwin Williams to match the moulding and trim.  Once this room is put together, it’s going to be amazing.

reclaimed look feature wall in kitchen design

The feature wall is continued into a prep-kitchen.  Those cabinets will be painted a soft olive green from Benjamin Moore, Olive Branch.

Soft Olive Green from benjamin moore olive branch

allison smith design process materials for remodel

Above is a little peek into our design process.  All of the materials for the Rec Center are displayed to make sure everything works together.  The mosaic tile in the bottom right corner will be the backsplash for the kitchen.  The countertops are a beautiful, creamy CaesarStone Quartz.  With brushed nickel finishes, stainless steel appliances, and wood and stone accents, this kitchen is sophisticated and rugged.

Moving into the main lounge area, carpet tile is the perfect solution for a commercial space that is going to get a lot of foot traffic.  We found this great tile that reminds me of elevation lines on a map.  Adding to our rugged appeal, this room will feature a fireplace surround made of pebble mosaic.

Rustic lodge style lounge design for recreation center  Wavy pattern carpet tile in olive green tan

The fireplace in progress:

Mosaic made of pebbles    A work in progress in the lounge  Tile made of cross cut wood

From the floor to the mantle, and for the mantle itself, we’re using a natural pebble from OTM’s Bali Stone Collection.  Above the mantle is this very unique wood tile.  It’s cross cut white oak in two inch squares arranged in a mosaic.  So pretty.

Furniture and lighting have been carefully selected to bring the space together.  I especially love this coffee table with a pull-out tray in the center:

Reclaimed wood coffee table with pull out tray


Stay tuned for the big reveal of this rustic space.

Put Down The Glue Gun: Christmas Edition Vol. 2

Pomegranates and ornaments make a delightful centerpiece

Who says ornaments are only allowed on trees?


So the tree is decorated and presents are wrapped, but what about the rest of your house?  I say, get creative with your ornament placement!  Candles and evergreen sprigs are a great way to bring some twinkle and fragrance to the other rooms of your home; this year, why not add a few strategically placed ornaments to go with them.  In a previous post we showed you that we added some silvery globe ornaments to our mantel display, now we’re taking it one step further and giving those forgotten corners of your home a little love.  So pick your favorite ornament, and find it a new spot.


A trio of Ornaments on hooks

Normally reserved for keys, potholders, and other nicknacks, these hooks were asking to be adorned.

A buffet side table used as bar

A few sprigs of faux berries and some candles spice up this classic bar.

Holiday Ornaments on display

Some traditional holiday figurines, sprigs of berries, and vintage canisters create a second mantel display out of our kitchen window ledge.

When decorating outside of the living room, subtlety is key.  We are going for a Christmas theme that isn’t over the top.  The kitchen is a great place for decorating with colorful foods, we used pomegranates and cookies (which probably won’t last long!).


Pomegranates and ornaments make a delightful centerpiece

Last but not least, another easy way to amp up the holiday style is by filling up some of those old vases and canisters with pine cones.  We found some that were dipped in frosty white snow.

christmas decor with pine cones

Feel free to leave comments for this blog post, and others, on our Facebook or Twitter pages.  More photos can also be found on our Pinterest board, An Inspired Holiday.

Happy Holidays!

For more on holiday decorating, head over to OregonLive for an article about this project.  Holiday Decorating.

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