PART 01: Professional Tips for knowing when its time to repair or replace!

For years, friends and family members ask the same questions time and time again:

How long will my appliances last? 

I have compiled a list below showing data from many sources showing the life expectancy of various home appliances. Please note: these are averages based on consumer data. The lowest age on the list may simply be the first time you will need to call the repair man out to fix something. However, sometimes ages can prove to show when it is time to replace an item. 


  • Gas Range: 15-25 Years

  • Electric Range: 13-18 Years

  • Dryers: 13-16 Years

  • Refrigerator: 13-18 Years

  • Clothes washers: 10-12 years

  • Dish Washer: 9-15 Years

  • Compactors: 6 Years

  • Microwaves: 9-11 Years

  • Air Conditioners: 9-11 Years

  • Garbage Disposals: 9-14 Years

...Next week we will cover plumbing fixtures!

Five of my favorite light fixtures

One: Dining Room

I just love this fixture from Circa Lighting:   


I like it for a few reasons:

Transitional, it can work in a older home, or a more contemporary home.  

It comes in 2 sizes, which is great if you have a smaller dining area. 

I love the finish choices it comes in. It can be played up to become a focal point, or down played to blend into a space. 

If you were so bold, you could even swap out the shades to fit the mood.  


Two: Wall light #1  

The Loopy from Urban Electric Company

As far as size and scale goes, this one is a winner in my book. UE's metal finishes are amazing. It is also a very versatile sconce, as you could put it in a dining room, hallway or a powder bathroom. 



Three:  Wall light #2

Not that I am all about sconces, but I sort of am:  

Here is my favorite wall mounted swing arm!  I use it often (I even mount them on headboards). 

Classic Swing Arm

This is my Value Price Leader as far as lamps go!


It comes in 5 finishes, and the shade comes with a defuser, so you get nice even light when reading. Not to mention one of my favorite inventions: Built-in dimmer!


Four: Floor Lamps

This was the hardest for me to select for this blog, so I thought I would post a lamp that is on my personal wish list.  

I am obsessed with the BTC lighting Company out of England. I have ordered their pendants in the past, and was truly thrilled with the quality of craftsmanship.  

It also comes in so many colors! Woo Hoo! And at around $450, it won't break the bank.



FIVE!   I really wanted to put the table version of the BTC lamp, but I opted to give you my readers, another choice. 

So this is a total statement piece, it is beyond my price point right now in my life, but a girl can dream!  

I'd recommend making this lamp a focal point in the room, as it is sculptural.

It reminds me of a the Noguchi coffee table. 


Here is the link: 


Love to hear what you think. 

Until next time,


5 Helpful Hints when picking new paint colors

1. Big Room = Light and Neutral colors; Small Room = Saturated colors

Contrary to popular belief, small rooms handle bold colors better than big rooms. I am a big fan of choosing deep saturated colors for bathrooms, pantries, closets; I also love using bold wallpapers in those spaces as well. I recommend that you try painting or papering the ceiling to match the walls in those smaller spaces.  It can truly open up a space and make it feel larger. 

Big Rooms, in my opinion, should feel big and spacious, so keep it neutral with your paint color selection. I always recommend that clients use furniture and accessories for pops of color in those spaces. 


2. Orientation of a room

I am a firm believer in choosing the warmth or coolness of a particular color based on the orientation of the space. If the windows in a space are facing south or west, I highly recommend going with a cooler version of the color you are thinking of using. On the contrary, if you are facing North or east, try a warmer version of that color.  The natural light coming in the windows will even out the color temperature in the paint. 


3. Trim Colors: 

I typically recommend that clients pick one trim color for their entire home. This is for two reasons: One, it keeps the color palate throughout your home consistent, i.e. every room color you choose needs to work with that trim color. This allows you to plan how the colors blend together overall in your home. Two, when you have to do touch-ups down the road because you slammed your vacuum one to many times at a particular corner(s), you don't need to go looking for a particular can of paint; you can simply have one can of paint waiting for all of your touch up needs!


4. Color selection in a room: Samples on the wall

I prefer to guide clients though a saturation selection of colors if they are unsure of how a color will look on their walls. For example, a client really likes a particular shade of brown, and I am concerned it is too dark for the space. I will have the paint shop mix that color, one shade darker and one shade lighter (sometimes even 2 shades lighter). Then we put a 3' by 3' square on all of the walls in that room. This allows the eye to understand how the various shades look in a space. Then take a look at the samples over the next 24 hours, this allows one to select a color based on how it looks through out the day and night. It may surprise you to see how much a color can change from natural daylight to incandescent in the evening and night. 


5. At least 2 Coats!!!! 

Now that you have selected those colors and trim and finish, it is time to get to work. Professional painters will always paint the trim first, then run the color around the room adjacent to the trim, then roll on the color. This process needs to be repeated at least one time, i.e. two coats.  


Side Note: 

I am not a fan of paints that are advertised as a one coat paint, this means it is a paint and primer in one can. I have never had success with these products, nor have any of my professional painters, with whom I work. 


Good Luck!  


5 things to think about when designing your kitchen

Often times when talking to friends and clients I come across giving advise about various areas in ones home. This blog spot will focus on the kitchen, as I feel it is one of the most important spaces in the home.

The kitchen has become in recent decades the space where we convene to discuss topics of the day or the goings on in life. It is the center of the home during parties and when you simply want that drink after a long day. A really well designed kitchen can really change your life. When it comes to layouts I create for clients or myself, I have a few ideas that I always keep in mind. 

So I have focused on 5 things I feel are very important when thinking about a kitchen design or re-design.... 

ONE: Your use

Spend a bit of time thinking about how you use your kitchen. Here are some questions I like to ask my clients: Are you formal or are you casual? Are you a serious cook, i.e. will you use the space every day, three or more times a day or are you a take out and catering type of host or hostess? Do you like to eat in the kitchen? All of these questions help one decide on the materials you may use. For example, if you are a take out maven, you may want to use a white marble; if not you may want to look at a quartz composite materials for the counter-top. You may not need a lot of storage for pots and pans and small appliances. You may simply want to keep your microwave and dishwasher in a prominent location. 

IF on the other hand you are not like the person listed above and heavily use your kitchen: here are a few chic tips to get you thinking about materials etc. Try a Caesar Stone or other quartz composite; I like Caesar stone because of the color ways they have available. Use a simple back splash: back-painted glass, ceramic or glass tile with a  dark grout. Use heavy duty drawer glides and hinges with soft close. Finish the cabinets with a shop spray or stain that is durable and easy to clean. 

TWO: Resale

I know, I said it, but think about how long you plan on living in your home, if this is a five to 10 year home, stay neutral with the design and selection of materials and colors. Pick colors and materials that please 99% of the population. Chances are you are one in a million and so are most buyers. Helpful hint: most people like white or stained wood cabinets and stainless appliances. You can always ask a local realtor what they seem to see more of in a specific area and do people lean towards specific finishes. I know one realtor I know said she said that the white traditional kitchen was the sure fire way to sell a house in her specific county. 

If you are planning on sticking around for a while, you can keep things neutral and still add some personalizations. Remember, painting the walls is the easiest way of updating a space.  


THREE: Proportion

If you plan on tackling this re-design further without the professional help of an architect or designer, spend a bit of time thinking about the size of the room. The key to any successful space is scale and proportion. The average american kitchen size is scaled to fit a 30" range, a 30" wide refrigerator and a 24" wide sink. If your kitchen is larger than this feel free to go bigger with any of these items, also think about adding a wine fridge or a second dishwasher. Spend some time thinking about exactly how much storage you need. Do you have a lot of small appliances or do you like having loads of counter space? I always recommend that clients make an inventory of their small appliances, dishes, glasses, cookware and typical food needs. 

FOUR: Hardware and Fixtures

My number one recomendation to all of my clients: buy the best faucet you can afford. this is the single most used item in the kitchen on a daily basis and it typically can be the first thing that needs adjustment. I highly recommend going to a plumbing supply show room and trying them out. The internet is helpful sometimes, but you really need to handle the faucet. I can't tell you how many times I have walked into my plumbing vendor with a client thinking they know what they want, and them completely changing their decision once they are there. 

My other useful advise: think about if you want a hot tap and or water filter, if you can afford it, I always tell clients to get one!

FIVE: Design customizations

Here are a few options to make your kitchen look like it was professionally designed: 

Buy cabinets that go to the ceiling, or filler strips that can get you there. 

Buy a crown moulding in the style of the cabinets and your home. 

Think about drawers in your base cabinets, rather than doors.  

Add those organizational solutions to the drawers and cabinets.  I like to specify products from a company called Rev-a-Shelf. They sell everything you need to organize each cabinet.

Look around on the internet for knobs and pulls, google is your friend! I use TopKnobs a lot; is also handy.