From Simple to Daring, Try Concrete Staining

The commonly-chosen approach for concrete floors is to find something to cover them with – engineered wood flooring, carpeting with a nice thick pad, or ceramic tile. But with today’s acid-staining options, you may want to take advantage of concrete’s versatility. For less than a cover-up you can create a unique and intriguing floor either inside or outside your home.

Concrete staining allows you to turn your concrete patio from its traditional greyish white to rich terracotta, or maybe you want to take a real design leap with a choice like the one above in your rec room. Acid staining using coloring salts provides an appealing variety of colors and tones with almost no limit to your pattern choices. Skilled artisans can turn your simple floor to something that completely changes the feel of a space.

Cracks and discolorations can be hidden with a layer of thinset concrete, and then the palette is limited only by your imagination. Concrete can be colored to look like stone or tile, or you can create something that is only possible with concrete options. The final finish can shine like this one or stay matte, depending upon your approach and preference.

Check out our website at for some more examples of what you can do with concrete, or schedule a visit at one of our design centers and we can show you some more ideas for turning concrete into sophisticated and appealing flooring for anywhere in your home.

Explore our “What I Like” Quiz

Are you ready for a new look for your home but not sure what direction to take? Or maybe you like a lot of different styles but can’t narrow down your choices. You might want to take a few minutes to try out our What I Like Quiz.

Created by our design and decorating experts, this interactive quiz consists of ten questions that ask you to choose your favorites from photos of various rooms and accessories. In a few minutes you will learn more about your home decor preferences. Every style has its own appeal, so there are no wrong answers.

Are you drawn to modern furniture? You may prefer the Urban Chic style. Accessories are minimized and furnishings have clean lines and an almost industrial feel. You may want your home to reflect the style of a city loft or include some Art Deco elements. Check out our style description for more insights.

Maybe you like a more traditional, formal approach. Consider the Stately Elegance style. Classic lines and a focus on refined luxury work together to create a look that is timeless and tasteful. You are drawn to the furnishings and accessories of the past, with rich colors and warm wood tones.

Would you like your home to echo a European heritage? Do you love Mediterranean furniture with distressed wood? If you prefer brocades and tapestries and want your home to reflect a warm casual elegance, then the Italian Impressions style may be for you.

Are you in love with the ocean? If you want your home to feel like you’re living on the beach, you may want to take a look at the Seaside Simplicity style, born in New England, where weathered homes stayed simple and airy. Outdoor and indoor spaces mesh, with porches and patios part of the total home. Whites and sun-washed colors make up the color palette.

If your secret dream is a home in the woods and you are drawn to anything that resembles natural elements, you may be connected to the Rustic Reflections style. Linked to the Arts and Crafts movement, you have a desire to bring the outdoors inside with organic materials. Natural stone, turned wood bowls and pottery join various unique handmade finds to build the accessories for your home.

Take a few minutes and check out the quiz, available on our website at Let us help you determine which style, or combination of styles, appeals to you the most. And then come in for a visit and let our designers help you make your style dreams come true.

Home Decor – White Kitchens

White kitchens look so clean and crisp. In any style white cabinets look fresh in a kitchen. You can pair them with light counter tops for a very airy space or ground them with darker counter tops and floors.  White cabinets can be paired with a number of counter top materials and flooring for innumerable design options in the kitchen. Think of white kitchens as blank pages waiting for your personal touches.


The brightness of white cabinets can be balanced with a darker counter top as seen in this transitional kitchen. The darker stone counter tops stand out against the expanse of white cabinetry, drawing the eye to the island.  Stainless steel appliances work with the darker counter tops to ground the predominately white kitchen.


The neutral nature of white cabinets mean you can bring in your own personality in accessories, counter stools, and accents. While the cabinets and island in this kitchen lean more toward transitional style, the stools at the island are contemporary. Adding another personal touch is the collection of chickens that perch atop the cabinets.  Both of these personal design features could easily be switched out and the room would feel very different.


Adding a few pops of color can also keep a white kitchen from feeling too sterile. In this kitchen, the chickens add color and pattern. A bowl of citrus or fresh flowers in a vase could also be used to bring in color. Even a colorful striped runner between the island and cabinets would add pattern and interest.

Let Us Help you Make the Right Choices

We want you to have the perfect look for your new or renovated space, and we know there’s more to the decision than what you see on the surface. Issues such as durability, easy maintenance and potential resale value are part of every choice you make for your home.

To make this process easier and to help your designer understand your unique needs, we developed a simple tool: the How I Live Interview.  This series of 15 straightforward questions has a direct impact on the choices you want to make.

One good example is children and pets. No matter how careful you are spills and accidents are going to be part of life. That’s not a problem if you pre-plan for this with your choice of flooring. For example tile can be a good choice, but it is particularly important to seal the grout. If you want carpeting, it costs a bit more to buy a stain-proof option, but it will pay off over the years when your carpet still looks good.

Another important issue is accessibility. If you have a family member who lives with you or visits regularly with limited mobility, bathroom design, door width and carpeting with a texture that can take the constant rolling of a wheelchair without creating lines should be considered.

Finally, issues such as the mood you want to create, your furniture choices and your overall style have an impact on your selections. By taking the time to fill out our How I Live Interview before coming to one of our design centers, you provide a good start to selecting not just what looks right, but what will work well in your home for years to come.

Master Bedroom – Blue and White Decor

Blue and white is a lovely color combination for a master bedroom. The blue offers a masculine touch in what can sometimes end up being a feminine room despite being shared by both sexes. Adding in white to balance the blue along with curving shapes can create a classic color combination that works for both people.


This blue and white master bedroom is a great example of laying color and pattern to create an interesting design with only two colors. The blue and white toile pattern, which originated in France, gives the room a classic, traditional design style. Toile patterns can be used on fabrics and wallpapers, as seen here, as well as lampshades and even china or pottery.


Carrying the same fabric from the duvet up onto the headboard wraps the bed in a cohesive style. The brighter blue paint of the headboard frame helps the headboard to pop against a similar pattern on the wall. The headboard frame could also be painted white but would not stand out as much against the mostly white bed linens and wallpaper.


Blue and white can be continued onto the floor as well with a blue and white area rug, or blue or white carpeting.  Even solid blue or white area rugs would look lovely against wood floors in this French inspired bedroom.


Accessories and other furniture in the room could be done in white, which makes changing accent colors easier. Keeping the main pieces simple shapes in solid colors won’t compete with the patterns.

Floor To Ceiling Storage in the Kitchen

Every design evolves over the years and decades. Kitchen design is continually evolving as trends and styles come in and out of fashion.  For many years soffits between the top of the upper cabinets and ceiling were popular design elements in kitchens. Unless there is a venting issue, most kitchen design today does away with soffits, replacing them with additional storage.


The number of kitchen cabinet options has grown over the years. Yes there are still standard heights for upper and lower cabinets but upper cabinets can now have two levels. The height of lower cabinets is more standard to accommodate a counter work surface. Upper cabinet heights can vary to accommodate different ceiling heights as well as storage needs.


This kitchen shows that you can put storage from the floor to the ceiling, even in a kitchen with a small footprint.  Cabinets above the standard row of upper cabinets can be used to store less often used items. A stylish footstool can be used to reach these tall cabinets. Keeping the cabinets light like the tile floor helps the room feel light and airy, rather than overwhelmed by cabinetry.


Kitchen islands are another place for additional storage in the kitchen.  Drawers and cupboards in a kitchen island provide more places to store kitchen essentials. Heavier items like big pots and slow cookers can be stored below the island. Peninsulas are also perfect for adding more storage if an island doesn’t work in your layout.


No matter your kitchen’s size, maximize storage by going from floor to ceiling with your cabinets.

The Right Approach Creates Unique Bathroom

Most guest bathrooms have a standard look – some tile, an inset sink, and typical bath faucet in shiny chrome. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want your guest bath to grab the attention of your visitors, how about taking some design chances?

We recently installed this bathroom and were pleased enough with the final look to post this photo on our website’s gallery. Let’s dissect what choices blend to create this inviting space.

Sink: Bowl sinks have been gaining in popularity. This choice is hand-thrown and glazed pottery in a mix of blues. By avoiding pastels and choosing colors that are soft but still significant, the sink becomes the focal point of the bath. Notice how the top edge moves from curved to straighter. This helps the sink stay relatively splash-proof if someone gets carried away with the water, a good design element.

Countertop: The unusual shape and dimensional colors of the stone chosen for this counter top complement the sink. The natural and variegated stone plays well against the rustic pottery bowl. The darker shades in the stone pick up the darker blues in the sink also. Notice that the stone’s darker colors are more focused as the sink nears, helping to support its stand-out position in the bathroom.

Faucet: A standard bathroom faucet doesn’t have the clearance for this high sink. Common choices include wall-mounted faucets or a more old-fashioned option such as this one that resembles an old pump. Given the style of the room, rustic is a good choice. The oil-rubbed bronze also creates the feel of past days.

A wood-framed mirror that matches the cabinetry and a few black-and-white photos complete this bathroom’s design. And instead of a stock look when people walk into this restroom, they will see a bath developed with careful thought that reflects the taste of its owner.

Kitchen Decor Options

For kitchen surfaces like counters, cabinets and floors, you can go with matte or glossy finishes. Both matte and glossy surface work in a kitchen. Which you choose is a matter of personal choice and style. Some surfaces work better with certain design styles than others, but in general surface finish is up to you.


For cabinets, smooth glossy cabinets lend themselves to modern and contemporary designs. Matte finished wood or painted cabinets work well with traditional and country style kitchens. Metal or wood cabinets can be painted with either matte or glossy paints to change the look of the cabinets.


Floors tend to be matte in a kitchen. Stone, vinyl and linoleum all tend to have matte surfaces. Wood floors can be sealed with polyurethane in a range of glosses, including matte, satin and high gloss. Glossy surfaces tend to be slicker so keep this in mind when choosing a finish for your floor.


Counter tops in stone can be honed to a matte finish or polished for a glossy surface. Other materials like laminate tend to be matte. Tile can be done in both shiny and dull surfaces for the backsplash. In the kitchen pictured here, a high gloss surface makes up the backsplash and is reflected in the glossy counter.


The popularity of stainless steel appliances means these appliances will have matte surfaces. Adding in glossy cabinets and/or counters can break up the look of matte appliances. Having a variation in surfaces makes for a more interesting kitchen design.

Decor – Beautiful Entry Halls

An entry hall is one of the few rooms you can decorate with nothing more than lighting and wall decoration. Hallways are often overlooked when it comes to designing the rooms of our homes. If you have an entry hall rather than a large foyer, you may be guilty of ignoring this space. A few simple additions and tricks can make these narrow spaces feel finished.


This entry hall is a good example of the basics of decorating a hallway.  A beautiful light fixture adds sparkle as well as illuminates the space. The light is reflected on the rich, dark floors that are finished with a gorgeous shine.  The wall color is a warm inviting cream that is neutral enough to let the floors and banister be the stars.  A few prints decorate the wall flanking the front door.


Beautiful lighting, pretty floors, color on the walls and artwork are all you need to turn a hallway or entry hall into something lovely.  Lighting can be a small chandelier or pendant depending on ceiling height. If you don’t have beautifully polished wood floors, a pretty runner or large mat by the door can add style.  Pick up the colors of the hall walls for a coordinated look.


Near a front door you might want to add a place to gather keys and mail. A small console table or shelf can be the perfect addition in a narrow space where there is not a great deal of width for a full size table.

Designing for Large Rooms

Large scale rooms are great selling points for homes, but can be just as difficult to decorate as smaller rooms.  These big scale living rooms and great rooms can also have multiple focal points like fireplaces and large windows.  Choosing which focal point to make the main focal point can make decorating these large rooms more difficult. And of course in a jumbo sized room, you’ll need more furniture to fill the space.  All of these points aside, a large room with a beautiful window and a gorgeous fireplace is nothing to complain about.


This room has a big footprint, a large window and stone fireplace. Along with these two focal points, there is also an angled wall.  These competing design features make the room challenging to layout and decorate. The room is currently divided into three seating zones: a reading chair next to the fireplace; a seat area angled off the feature wall; and a third seating area behind the sofas.  While breaking up a large room into multiple seating areas, this layout doesn’t maximize either the fireplace or window.


Placing the television next to the fireplace does allow the focus to remain on the beautiful stone fireplace.  However, the main seating area seems too far away from these features. The comfortable chairs and sofas would be better positioned closer to the main focal points of the room.  Centering an area rug off of the fireplace would be a great place to start the furniture layout.  Building on the area rug, furniture should be arranged to take in the fireplace, TV and view from the wall of windows.