7 Tricks to Maximize Your Kitchen Counter Space

Miles and miles of kitchen counter space (don’t even get me started on an island) are where dreams are made, well, my dreams anyways, but we don’t all have the luxury of a large kitchen, now do we? Counter space in the kitchen is some of the most precious real estate in your entire house. Not only do you need room to cook, but you need room to store everyday ingredients and tools. Whether you own or rent your home, there are definitely solutions that will help get the most out of your kitchen. Here are a few tips to make every inch of your kitchen work for you, while creating a space that look stylish, too.

Install floating shelves. Make use of the empty space above your cabinets, fridge, or kitchen opening to give yourself more storage.

Make that backsplash work a little harder. Along with blocking spills, your backsplash is a great place to store everyday use items like knives, cooking utensils along with pots and pans.

Put a cutting board or butcher block over your stove. If you don’t need to use all your burners, this is a great solution to give yourself a bit more space to work and your chopped veggies are that much closer to the pan.

Corral oils, spices and utensils. There will probably be a few things that just need to have a permanent home on the counter, so keep them organized by placing them in a tray or basket. You’ll instantly have a neatly decorated space.

Hang a basket or two. Store your goods from the farmer’s market off the counter with a few hanging baskets.

Group like items in pretty canisters. Sure, you can store your non-perishables in their original packaging, but it will end up looking cluttered. Store your sugars, flours and grains in glass jars and you’ll have cohesive and tidy pantry.

Leave no surface unturned. The side of your cabinets can easily house some extra kitchen essentials, think towel bar or picture ledge.

Images via here

Powder Room Roundup

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Powder rooms are the perfect opportunity to wow your guests. As a huge fan of wallpaper, I love taking the opportunity to paper a powder room. They are usually small, so you don’t need that much wallpaper and it’s a space where you can go wild with paper and not get sick of it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I love clean and minimal powder as well. What can I say, I’m a total Gemini.

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Images via here

Coffee Shop Inspiration

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There’s a fun consulting project I’ve been working on located in Sintra, Portugal. My clients are a couple who are opening up a small coffee shop that will be connected to a new museum that is opening up in the Spring. Being one that loves coffee and design, this project has kinda been ideal. Will keep you posted on the progress. But first, coffee…and some inspo.

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Images via here

Before & After: Panhandle Facelift

I had the pleasure of working with a very nice couple in SF to update their condo, which they had lived in a few years as renters and then as homeowners. As renters, they didn’t want to invest too much time or money into the place, something which I can understand, but never abide by for myself. They lived with Easter egg yellow walls with random accents of red for longer than I would have been able to. Once they became owners, their mentality totally changed and they now wanted to have their condo really feel like theirs by updating a few things.

The simplest thing you can ever do to update your home is paint! The walls were a serious yellow before, but we updated the entire home with a taupe-y grey paint that felt much more contemporary. In the living room and dining room, we also treated the windows with new woven shades that provided privacy from the busy street, but had the top down/bottom up capability so that they could still let in light and greenery without totally closing up the windows. A new light fixture was also installed over the dining table.

The couple really wanted a mantle over their fireplace. A dinky ledge did exist, but it barely held a thing and most certainly could not hold any family photos or holiday decorations. The fireplace was also a bit smokey due to it not being properly ventilated when in use, but we got that all fixed and cleaned up. Some simple millwork really brought this fireplace to life.

The kitchen was probably the biggest transformation. The cabinets were in a cherry finish (my favorite…actually not my favorite and my least favorite finish ever). We refinished the cabinetry in a crisp white, added a new wall of cabinetry to give the couple more needed storage (and a wine fridge), and also replaced the tile floor, bringing in the same wood floor in the rest of the home.

The wood floors were a light maple finish before, but we decided to refinish them in a more medium tone to add more warmth throughout.

The master bath had this terrible checkered floor and marble counter before. The wife was not a fan, so we updated the floors with a more contemporary floor tile and brought in a grey limestone on the countertops with a cleaner edge profile.

We updated a few other specifications throughout the home, as well as replacing a few of the light fixtures. Although, the condo was under construction for a few weeks, these updates really gave this home a facelift that was much needed.

Office Chair Roundup

It has finally happened…I’ve arrived at the point where I’m ready to purchase a big girl office chair. I’ve put off this moment for so long, mostly due to budget but more due to the fact that I like good-looking chairs. Good-looking chairs look nice in photos (see above), but they are not so friendly on my aging body. Per my acupuncturist’s suggestion, I’m ergo-ing up my workspace. After many years of owning vintage chairs and design knockoffs, I’m saying no to Pinterest-worthy chairs and yes to improving my posture, posterior, and overall body health.

This will probably be the least exciting round up ever, but I scoured the internet and user reviews for the best office chairs that will not completely break the bank and aren’t totally scary looking. The king of all chairs seems to still be Herman Miller’s Aeron chair. Along with having a permanent place in the Museum of Modern Art, it has all the bells and whistles I’m looking for (adjustable everything and mesh…Ojai summer is a ways away but it is coming). My second favorite option is also from Herman Miller, the Sayl chair and is a more affordable chair from this iconic brand. I love the design of this chair, but will be heavily weighing all the below options…which ones do you like?

Images: office, sayl, regeneration, aeron, zody, leap, diffrient world

Introducing E-Design by Mend

Dwellstudio Chair Rug

Design advice and designer resources have become more and more accessible with technology and the world wide web. From a designer who has been working in the “traditional” design world for over ten years, all the information and access out there was a bit annoying at first, but then I learned to embrace this new type of client that was willing to put in a little elbow grease. We receive a lot of inquiries regarding our design services, but not everyone has the budget for full-service interior design or they want to work with Mend, but live in another state (country even!).

In addition to traditional full-service interior design, Mend now offers design packages that can be purchased per room/space. Clients share photos, measurements, and inspirational images over the web and email, and all the work is completed via telephone and e-mail. Whether you call it e-design, remote design, or virtual design, these services are for a design-savvy client working on a budget who is willing to do all the purchasing and installation themselves.

E-design by Mend is an affordable alternative to traditional interior design. We believe your home should be a direct reflection of your personal style and regardless of where you live or your budget, our e-design packages allow us to help you do just that. Purchase a design package here and let’s have some fun!

Josef Frank Inspiration

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I’m working on a project on the East Coast and my clients LOVE them some Josef Frank textiles (as do I). I think if it were up to the husband, the entire house would be covered in J. Frank patterns (kind of all about that). But as much as the wife loves the whimsical patterns, she’s more drawn to a neutral and traditional backdrop, so I’m helping marry their two styles.

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Surprise Bedroom Makeover

Wallpaper Bedroom Makeover

Design projects can sometimes be quite the process. Months to years can go by before you see the final result, so when a client asked if I would give her master bedroom a makeover as a surprise gift to her husband (and within a month), I was completely up for the challenge. Having worked with these clients before, I was mostly concerned with time and the fact that the husband can be quite particular, but the Mrs. made decisions quickly and we stayed away from any options that might be too “wild”. We pulled off the design without a hitch, installed the bedroom the morning of the Mr.’s birthday and he was very surprised (and he loved it!). Here’s a little sneak peek, but stay tuned for the full reveal…

5 Easy Ways to Refresh Your Home

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After every new year, all I want to do is get rid of any unnecessities accumulated over the past year, clean the house from top to bottom, and add in a few new items that will refresh my home. Anything new coming in means something old must go. This has become a cardinal room in my house because a marriage between two collectors does not always a happy home make. I’m very much about keeping things that only “spark joy” via Ms. Kondo and slowly (very slowly), but surely am becoming a minimalist.

Purge like there’s no tomorrow. It may be hard, and it may be messy, but the uncluttered-ness you’re left with will be a serious breath of fresh air. You’ll feel lighter in so many ways and you’ll have made room for the things that are really important.

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Rearrange your furniture. Depending on your space, this may or may not be possible, but moving one chair to the opposite corner or switching lamps from one space to another will give your room a new perspective.

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Spruce up the bookshelves. This has actually been on my to-do list for too long now, but I’m going to take my own advice. Moving books around, reorganizing your objects, taking away things can really give your space a new feel.

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Add some life with greenery. This might be the easiest tip of all, but adding some plants will literally bring life into your space.

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Accessorize with pillows. Pillows can become a problem in that you can collect too many (guilty!). But if you remember the cardinal rule (see above), you’ll be just fine. They add color, pattern or texture and will give your sofa or bed an instant new look. The array of pillows available at every price point makes this refresh easy peasy.

Color of the Year

Pantone’s colors of the year are Rose Quartz and Serenity, a truly calming combination and one I’m quite drawn to for this new year. After all the fuss of the holidays (which I completely love), it’s nice to get back to the basics, reset intentions, and look forward to life’s next adventures.

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