February 2015 Posts

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Home & Add Value: Lesson 2 – Make the Kitchen Really Cook!

By: Verena Dalati Salmé

Your kitchen is the heart of your home. As a gathering place for family and friends, it deserves to look its best. But whether you’re planning a complete renovation or just want to spruce up what you’ve got, there’s a few things to keep in mind to make sure you’ll love it forever.

1. Open it up, spread it out.

The days of hiding that avalanche of pots and pans behind walls and cabinet doors are over. Open plan kitchens allow a spacious, more collaborative cooking environment. If tearing down entire walls is not an option, consider removing sections to visually connect the kitchen to the living area. Worried about losing that valuable counter and cabinet space? Don’t be. An island can solve that problem, and now you’ve got enough room for one.

Photos courtesy of Remodelaholic and House to Home.

Photos courtesy of Remodelaholic and House to Home.

2.  Say goodbye to upper cabinets.

If opening up your kitchen space sounds like a dream come true, taking out upper cabinets can make a big difference. Open shelving is practical and beautiful, and can be achieved using a variety of materials: wood, metal, glass, you name it. If totally naked shelves aren’t your thing, just removing the doors on your cabinets can make a big impact. Paint them a complimentary color, or wallpaper the back panel. 

Photos courtesy of Apartment Therapy and The Black Workshop

Photos courtesy of Apartment Therapy and The Black Workshop

3.  Upgrade that countertop.

While you can’t really go wrong with a natural stone countertop, there’s plenty of newcomers that are worth a look. You’d be amazed how easy wooden countertops can be to maintain. They come in a variety of grain types and finishes that allow them to work with different looks and styles. If you like a more industrial look, the concrete obsession has shifted from floors to countertops. Don’t forget stainless steel—perfect for your inner Top Chef. 

Photos courtesy of Pinterest and Casa.com

Photos courtesy of Rue Daily and Casa.com

4.  Go minimal with the backsplash.

Busy backsplashes with different shaped tiles, grout lines, and overly designed installation patterns can cause visual clutter. Keep it simple by continuning the material of the countertop up the wall. This creates a seamless and integrated look, and makes cleaning so much easier! Subway and other rectangular shapes are the new standard for tile. Stagger the tiles or stack them vertically, and have a little fun when choosing the grout color. You can go bold and contrast the grout with your tile in small spaces, or be discrete and go tone on tone.


5.  Change up those jewels.

Cabinetry hardware may seem like a minute detail, but don’t underestimate the power of subtle changes. By simply switching out a few knobs and pulls, your kitchen can have a completely new look. Here’s some hardware eye candy:

When you’re trying to update and upgrade your home, taking a critical look at the kitchen is a no-brainer. Maybe it needs a total overhaul, or maybe just a few little changes is all it needs. 

Need We Say More? Jonathan Adler’s Jacques Bench.

By: Elisabeth Paulson



Need we say more? Lucite, brass, and grey velvet. Jonathan Adler, you’re my hero. This makes me want to clear out the whole house and just install this bench, in front of a window, overlooking the beach. (Fine, the street will do until I finalize that beach house.)


Days of Our Lives: My Kitchen Renovation, Episode 3

By: Stephanie Andrews

Original renderings by Balance Design

Original renderings by Balance Design

Just like any good soap opera, the plot thickens in my personal kitchen renovation! The plan was to start this large project in March, but then something remarkable happened. A fantastic, beautiful retail space in my favorite part of town became available for lease. The dream of having a brick and mortar working studio and gallery for Balance Design has been ten years in the making. However, we have only been actively looking for a space in the last two years. After many stops and starts, full of places that were too expensive and needed too much work, we finally found the perfect match. It’s right around the corner from my house and in the heart of the Candler Park neighborhood in Atlanta. A dream come true.

So here’s the dilemma: could I manage my remodel, the opening of a new studio, and still continue to give our clients the time and attention their projects deserve? Probably not. Something had to give. After talking with my husband, we decided to wait until fall to proceed with our remodel and push full steam ahead with the new Balance Design studio.

Most of the new studio is for our team to design, create, and work with clients, including a conference area and desks designed for collaboration. There will also be a library for fabrics, tile samples, wallpaper, and millwork. But the front area is what we’re really excited about. It’s a bit of a different concept for Atlanta — a gallery space at the front of a working studio. Consisting of two windows and about 200 square feet, it will be our “Artists We Believe In” spotlight. This showcase of curated combinations of local artists, furniture makers, lighting designers, and artisans will rotate quarterly. Only three to five artists will be featured at a time so that we can tell their stories and display their work prominently.  Our biggest hope is that the gallery will bring awareness to the community’s cutting edge, supremely talented makers.  

We’ll be keeping clients and readers in the loop throughout this exciting process through Facebook and Instagram. You can count on a big opening event. Perhaps in April? Stay tuned! Thank you so much for your continued support, we absolutely could not do this without you.

Five Throws to Warm You Through Winter

By: Danielle Cornely

The groundhog has spoken: we’re looking at six more weeks of winter. If this news makes you want to crawl under the covers and hibernate for the next couple of months, let us at least recommend some quality throws for you to use.


Classic and cozy, this faux fur throw from Pottery Barn is one versatile blanket. Whether your look is rustic, glam, or anywhere in between, this throw will keep the cold at bay in style.


Maybe a little bit of Southwestern influence will help warm you up. The Spine Quilt by designer Meg Callahan is a modern take on traditional Navajo patterns.


Wishing your favorite sweater was about ten times bigger so you could wrap your whole body in it? Try this knitted throw. It’s your dream come true.


If you want a throw that makes a statement in a room, the bold, Art Nouveau pattern of the Beautiful Machine Throw is for you. Don’t worry, it’s 100% fleece so there’s no sacrificing comfort here.


What’s the best thing about this banded throw from Alicia Adams? The unexpected color combinations? The clean lines? How about that it’s made from absurdly soft alpaca fur? Yeah, that last one.

Bundle up!