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Soap stone countertop

As the granite countertop trend continues to slowly ebb in high-end homes, other alternatives are starting to pick up in popularity. Soapstone is a natural material, a metamorphic rock that is composed primarily of talc with varying amounts of chlorite, micas, amphiboles, carbonates and other minerals. It has been known for centuries for its ability to retain heat (for example, all of our original hearthstones in the farmhouse are made of soapstone).

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Since it is nonporous it is naturally antibacterial and stain resistant.  It is an inert material that is impervious to chemicals, acids, and heat. Soapstone is the only natural stone that does not need a chemical sealer since it is siliceous, meaning it is unaffected and unharmed by acids in things like lemon juice, wine, vinegar, etc.  It does not “etch” like marble.  It is easy to clean, needing no special cleaning products.

soap stone 2018

Like granite and marble, soapstone is very durable, but since it is a softer stone it has the tendency to scratch and chip more easily. So many Sales people will try to talk you out of Soapstone or Marble.. I say DO YOUR RESEARCH!! If you want a product read all the positives and negatives.

 

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Remember soapstone has been used for over a hundred years in the kitchen.  I love it, and have used it in homes locally because of its historical New England reference and the fact that I know it will stand the test of time and not be a trend. Know the maintenance and upkeep if you decide this or any product is something that you really want and are willing to live with the maintenance. Knowing the pros and cons of everything you want for your home helps you make wise decisions. I’d like to remind our clients “Know what you want and don’t let anyone dissuade you from your vision!”

 

As always Stay Tuned For More Adventures In Styleland…

XOXO

M

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color blocking kitchen cabinets pexels for curtis lumberAs we lean closer to closing out 2017 and look forward to welcoming 2018, the cliche’ that a house is never finished comes to mind. The trick is to find a way to put it all together so it feels complete.

 

Painted Cabinetry 

While open floor plans are still working in most new builds, I’ve definitely witnessed the coming and going of many trends and period styles from English Country to Midcentury Modern. But I feel we’re post trend now. I think current design allows us the freedom to incorporate history in an unfussy contemporary way. When choosing kitchen cabinets, the easiest way to accomplish this is to mix finishes. Choose a lighter color for the perimeter cabinets and another darker color for your center island. Your eye is naturally drawn to the darker cabinet finish, while the lighter shade cabinets against the walls will make the room appear larger.

merillat maple mist

Always in-style are painted white cabinets, they have dominated kitchen design for easily the last 5 to 10 years.  Many homeowners considered it to be an easy choice.  White kitchen cabinets have a certain timeless quality and always brighten up the space. As a neutral color, white cabinets also played equally well with cooler walls. And while we will never see painted white cabinets go out of style, a couple of new color trends have started to pick up steam in 2017.

Merilatte Shale

First, we have started to see a slight shift away from white, and moving toward gray.  Gray shares many of the properties that people love about white, but in a slightly more subdued tone.  While lighter shades of gray will never brighten up kitchen in the same way that white cabinets do, many come close, like Merillat Classic LaBelle in Maple Shale.  As a naturally neutral color, gray will also look good alongside warm or cool accent colors.

merliatt urban industrial

In the past few years we’ve seen former warehouse carts being cleanup and re-purposed as coffee tables across suburbia.  Just like other rooms of the home, more and more elements of both traditional and industrial design will enter the home kitchens space.  A coming together of the best of both worlds!  We’re already seeing this trend of traditional shaker cabinetry, being topped with concrete counters, combined with a farm sinks, and topped off with a tall, goose-neck faucet that would be at home in any kitchen…Elements like brick along with wrought iron stools help accomplish this industrial look, while the Merillat cabinetry: Sutton Cliffs in Hickory gives this kitchen elements of traditional style.

Talk with a kitchen and bath designer about how to create a unique space in your home! What styles have you seen start to emerge this year, or which do you think will start to really take off in 2018?  Tell us in the comments!

 

As always stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

 

XOXO

Michele Conti

I really, really try to avoid being “trendy” in my designs.  Trust me, there was a time in my life where every weekend I was popping in and out of Home Goods or Marshalls for some great new accessories to decorate for a gathering or dinner party … I was, regrettably, a home decor addict. Now that I’m older and wiser I think I have a pretty good eye for determining what styles will stick and which will be as regretful as the dreaded lava lamp. Now when I’m retail shopping (which I’m doing less and less of these day as my vendor list changes and grows more refined) I make sure to pick items that will become classics, and not a passing trend, something I know won’t be out of style in a year (or a week).

2017 Trends

Accessorizing and styling a room is just as important as designing and decorating it. No matter how perfect the layout, the furniture and the fabric, a space is not complete until it is styled. Styling adds dimension and personality to any space. It’s also a great way to add unexpected pops of color and texture by adding “trending” pieces. Although we always love to incorporate items that are meaningful to each individual client.

2017 trend greek key trim1

 

Personalize window treatments with decorative embellishments. It’s fun using trim to create custom-designed treatments with store-bought pieces. These fabulous panels are dressed up with Greek Key Tape trim,  aren’t they just stunning? We used  M&J Triming greek key jacquard 2 3/8 tape on these gorgeous store bought panels. Below is a Roman Shade adorned the same trim…

2017 trend greek key trim2017 trending Pillows

 

 

 

Tape trims or ribbons are really trending and becoming more and more popular. Adding ribbon trim to pillows is an easy way to embellish a home décor item making something ordinary…extraordinary!

2017 trend understated-textiles-non color textures

 

Clean aesthetics and understated design is a new trend that allows us to switch off from our surroundings and enjoy personal time. The patterns are simple with a focus on 3-D texture. The simplicity through non-color and texture is a calming way to introduce design into your home in a subtle yet sophisticated way.

2017 trends woven shades with sheer panels

Organic materials are bringing nature indoors. This year it’s all about nature-inspired and eco-friendly materials and designs. It’s no longer a trend, but more of a philosophy in the evolution of design. Bamboo, matchstick blinds and natural woven shades layered with simple sheer linen panels create an elegant yet earthy sophistication in any space.

Back in vogue is lace! Spring 2017 style alert,  I have a feeling, lace will be around for a while. Now, I’m no lace expert but after surfing the net, trying to figure out what types of lace I kept seeing everywhere…I think these three types are most popular…crochet, venise and guipure type lace. These laces featured here have an almost cotton-like quality (although most are polyester) with great weight and drape.

2017 trending beach boho

Depending how it’s styled and designed, these types of lace can take on a 70’s bohemian vibe or utilized in a more structured shape it looks modern and fresh.

 I love the mixture of different materials! Hope you enjoyed my choice of trends for 2017…

 

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland!

 

XOXO

M

Oh, Goodwill! Just when I’m ready to break up with you , you surprise me with something cool..head board bench 5

Throw out the notion that good design is expensive, or must be carried out by a head board benchprofessional and can only be bought in a fancy store. I live in a real home on a thrift store budget. A great look is affordable and attainable to anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and dive in. So, get ready to go junking, tune up the sewing machine, and buy a good paint brush. Your home’s potential is waiting to be realized and you’re the one who’s going to discover it.

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Remember these two gems for $5 each!!

I transformed these thrift store chairs into Ballard Design Chairs…  see the ad from Ballard Designs below. I used a canvas drop cloth for the upholstery, $9

Total $14.00

Ballard design Louis xv Salon Chair

 

 

 

How about some art for your walls? My favorite Garage Sale find was this landscape piece of art for $5 the solid wood frame is Stunning! (See it hung on my wall in the picture above the Recycled Chairs!)

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Best Yard Sale find $5.00

 

 

clock table

A clock style top gives this table an original look while a distressed finish keeps the design country. This would fit in a Joanna and Chip’s Fixer Upper design!!! Learn more at scavengerchic.com on this transformation.

Garage-Sale

When spring time comes around, homeowners across the country take the opportunity to make a big push towards organization and cleanliness. One of the best ways to get rid of all that clutter after the big cleaning is to host a garage sale,  which is why spring is the best time of the year for avid bargain hunters, too. If you’re looking for the bargain of a lifetime or that rare find, goodwill, garage sales and thrift stores are full of great bargains!

 

XOXO

 

M

When I dream of relaxing in my home the place that comes to mind is an exquisite room, with a collection of furnishings, art and accessories that resemble who I am… A place to rest and read or gather and gab with friends and family.

A whole experience, with pieces linked together through an array of elements that establish a new transitional feel. This linen high back sofa would be perfectly stunning in my dream living room. The Baxter sofa is from Arhaus, the classic design takes full advantage of the Nailhead trim which plays a transitional part in this otherwise retro style…

arhause-baxter-88-upholstered-sofa-taranto-linen

Other pieces I would include in this enchanting space would be equally striking and exhibit stylist influences from different eras. I would blend styles with bold geometrical structure and mix them with small accents that resemble the industrial era. Additionally I would add eye catching accents with art, lighting and pillows to bring a sophistication through out my room…

arhuas

I love the combination of elements and texture in this room, the metal accents are like jewelry. The fluid outline of the pieces, and the gorgeous white ash burl face on the console… I could honestly go on and on about the space. But I will end here, what would your dream space be? What items would describe your lifestyle?

I can’t wait to share more with you in my next post!!

As Always, stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

XOXO

M

 

 

 

 

Holiday Shopping has started, well it’s really in full swing! Looking for the perfect gift for friends and relatives this year? Gift giving is a tricky task, especially for friends. With so many ideas on what to get, I thought we would give you a few ideas to get your holiday shopping started, and Santa a run for his money.

holiday-shopping

Share some happiness – Surprise them with a family day or evening out, purchase tickets to a local show or concert. Admission to the Museum or Ice skating. Locally we have the Times Union Center or the Palace Theater, Proctors… you’ll be giving a memory that will last much longer than that sweater or pair of boots.

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Light Up Their Holiday – Candles are always a great gift for anyone, the ambiance created by candles makes a home warm and welcoming for holiday. Candles also promote a feeling of relaxation during the stressful holiday season. Seven out of 10 households use candles as a focal point for their home décor, says The National Candle Association, and candles inspire aromatherapy-like relaxation and stress reduction. Who can’t use that this time of the year?

holiday-candle

Size, Shmize – Skip the sizeable items this year. Not only does receiving the wrong size gift mean an annoying trip back to the mall to exchange it, you can also end up hurting someone’s feelings. Wrap up a pretty Scarf around some movie tickets for your BFF!movie-tickets-in-scarf-wrapping

When it comes to gift giving, it really is the thought that counts. So this season, be thoughtful. Reflect on the past year and what your friends and family need, what will make them happy, and the sort of thing that will make their lives easier.

home-made-christmas-gifts

If you’re really drawing a blank, do something homemade. Lottery tickets in a clear Christmas ball…Cookies, candies.. homemade wine???  Homemade gifts that are sure to put a smile on someone’s face, and actually tend to be the biggest hit.

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I hope these ideas will help you get your holiday shopping/baking started…hmmm…I can smell the cookies!

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland.

 

XOXO

M

 

Hi, it’s Michele here with two design makeovers for fireplaces this holiday season. Below are some fun before and after photos I wanted to share with you!fireplace-before-makeover

The cold weather is here and families love to gather around a warm fireplace, especially for the holidays. In this before photo, the homeowner’s added a beautiful reclaimed wood wall in their family room and now feel that the fireplace looks too busy. The stone facade competes with the newly installed wood wall. The couple also wanted to make the fireplace more transitional to fit the decor in the rest of their home by changing from wood burning, to a linear gas fireplace.

At Matchless Stove and Chimney, we found a great option for this room offering a sleek, elegant heating solution for this family. The Slayton direct vent gas fireplace offers a more modern style without being too contemporary. Updating the façade with white wood horizontal paneling, floating wood mantel and sconces, keeping the hearth in tack.

fireplace-after-makeover

The crisp white fireplace wall contrasts nicely with the existing wood paneled wall. We recommended the floating wood mantel, taking this design in a stunning direction. They selected black transitional sconces for both design, and to add some personality and interest to the white shiplap wall.

Our next fireplace redo is a red brick fireplace that was feeling old and dated. Keeping it wood burning and just changing the facade helped keep this project on budget for this client.

fireplace-makeover-before

Living in upstate New York, quartz stone just seemed to be the direction to take this fireplace from past to present in a more transitional style. Lowes Dessert Quartz Ledgestone was used in this application and the results were amazing!

fireplace-makeover

Lowes Leonia Porcelain Floor Tile used on the hearth finished this homeowner’s makeover beautifully. Pleased and looking forward to Christmas, She wanted to share her Christmas mantle with you. (Are you smiling?)

fireplace-christmas-mantel

Tis’ the season, for warm thoughts and wishes! Are you ready for a new fireplace or facade makeover? Matchless Stove and Chimney and Lowes are at The Times Union Home Expo Starting February 10-12th!  Come and see me at booth 328. Bring your ideas and let me help you with your next project. Thanks for stopping by and make sure you stop by again for more amazing Adventures.

Stay Tuned!!

XOXO

M

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