Monday, August 30, 2010

Son, Were You Born in a Barn?

If you were born and raised in or around the South, it's not unlikely that you've heard the above phrase. Still to this day I think it when someone comes in my front door and leaves it standing open- why do we not instinctively want to close the door? I know it isn't just a boy thing... I tested that out a long time ago. What's really funny, is to ask someone that has never darkened the door of a barn if they were born in one and watch the wave of shock and offense come across their face. You get to explain the saying and then next time they're out the door they don't let what little bit of cool air we still have inside outside.

I have a soft spot for barns- as a kid, I think we may have spent more time in the barns than we did in the house. There is something mysterious and adventurous about a barn as a child, and now that I'm just slightly older barns take me to a slower time where each nail and plank have a story to tell.

So that's where we are- Now how do we bring that same rustic feel in to our homes(without the varmints and weather)?
Is there anything better than a red barn door? Notice the sliding hardware at the top- each of these doors are on a sliding track, essentially an exposed pocket door. The above hardware is a Horseshoe style and as with any other kind of door, there are many different ways to accomplish the same result. The best resource for Barn Door Hardware that I've found is BarnDoor Hardware(imagine that).

Should we stick with red?
How about yellow?
Sometimes barn doors look best just as you found them. Everyone knows that I am a HUGE fan of reclaimed and repurposed items.
Other times, a traditional white or whitewash is all one needs to finish that perfect barn door and compliment the space around it.

Now, those rooms just scream, "Slow down and enjoy the moment!" Because many of us are moving toward not only a slower home but a smaller home as well, a barn-mount door may just be that designer trick to help give your space the character it's missing with a standard interior door. Because traditional interior doors eat floor square footage and pocket doors are often "lost" in the door frame, a sliding barn door offers the best of both worlds!

Lots of photo credits: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

True Colors with Pennington and Bailes

With football season right around the corner, I have already started getting out the football gear. Thursday night will kick off the football season for us, and I'm so ready I'd just about turn the grill on today.

If you live near a college campus that has a substantial "preppy" faction, you're probably familiar with Pennington and Bailes.
Pennington and Bailes is a fine clothier producing tailgate and collegiate apparel. Of course, I think they only make one really nice color combination...
Yes they do make other teams, but I try not to clutter up my post with all sorts of colors. *grin*

Besides polos and embroidered pants they make shorts for the guys, as well as lots of options for gals and even the little ones.
It really is a very high quality line of apparel that helps continue and encourage the pageantry and tradition of a big-time college football game(especially here in the South).

Since my birthday is not too far away, I think a pair of these pants will be high-high on the wish list!

You too can have these campus gems... Purchase online here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tennessee Orange Dream

With football starting up next week, I have already brought out all of my orange garb and am ready to cheer on my Volunteers to a season of big wins.

Perhaps my favorite part of Tennessee athletics is the brilliant orange that paints the eastern half of the state of Tennessee each year. While it serves as a thing of beauty for me, it is an immediate indication to rivals that the opposition is among them(As a Tennessee fan in Alabama, trust me... I know all about it). The orange hue that was chosen for the university was selected by one of the first football players at Tennessee- his inspiration was a variety of American Daisy that grew abundantly on the Hill(where in the early 1900's, most of the classes were held).

Tennessee Orange technically, is:

Spot Color: PMS 151
CMYK: 0/48/100/0
HEX: #f77f00

On a given autumn Saturday, Neyland Stadium turns in to a big orange mix of raucus awesomeness. It's perhaps the best place in America to watch a football game, and the tailgating outside and on the river is unrivaled.

Tennessee orange isn't limited to stadium wear- Bruce Pearl, the very animated basketball coach for the Volunteers, breaks out the orange blazer for rivalry games with Kentucky and Vanderbilt. 

Even when one's days of cheering for Tennessee have ended, you can have one last Big Orange hurrah.

So there is my orange happiness. If you see me around this fall(especially on Saturdays) it's likely that I'll be decked out in my orange, shaker in hand cheering on the VOLS!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stare at this Firefly Lighting Ad!

Sometimes we all need a break from our work doldrums... Here is our zen moment of the day. I love smart advertising and anything that makes you look all over a single ad is genius. Loving this from Firefly Lighting- Takes me back to the days of searching for Waldo!

Nick's Notes: Experience Trumps Everything

What in the world have I gotten myself in to? The new phenomenon sweeping the twitterverse and blogosphere is the "blog-off". What innocently started as a couple bloggers comparing opinions on a given topic has blossomed in to an exceptionally organized event(see awesome-cool button above). The given topic for today was a fairly straight forward one- "Are today's college graduates ready for the working world?"

So while I should play by the rules and just give me opinion, it just isn't going to happen. I'd rather talk about experience- it'll play along with the topic, and perhaps even answer the aforementioned question. 

More people than not have seen "experience preferred" on a job posting. The bigger question in my mind is just exactly what is experience? Every day I experience something new; a new situation should present itself to you each and every day. There are never days where I have to make no decisions about a particular subject, not just professionally but personally. In a service industry like ours, our personal take on many things effect our professional opinions and decisions. Professional experience is always valuable. To any size business, a previously skilled employee is one that requires minimal training, saving time and money. The argument may also be made that an inexperienced worker can be trained to fit the particular system that you operate, perhaps creating an employee that will operate with less resistance. 

So what is better? A fresh graduate or a seasoned veteran?

I'm honestly not sure.

A quick story and some advice and I'm done: While I was away at school, I had a friend who had never mowed a lawn. Now, I know there are plenty of people that live in urban areas that simply don't have lawns, and that's fine... he didn't. Growing up at our house, the day we could reach the pedals on the lawnmower that job became part of what we were expected to do(not always voluntarily). After I showed him how to crank a simple pushmower, you'd thought I had started the earth in motion. Let's just put it this way... I didn't cut a blade of grass that year.

Super nice guy- hadn't experienced the world yet. 

*By the way, my answer to the big question? Sure, some of them are and some are not... that's why we have job interviews, ya know?

Want to read more? Check out these posts by friends of ours:

Rufus Dogg(@dogwalkblog)             
Veronika Miller(@Modenus)
Paul Anater(@Paul_Anater)
Becky Shankle(@ecomod)
Bob Borson(@bobborson)
Bonnie Harris(@waxgirl333)
Tim Elmore(@timelmore)
Tamara Dalton(@tammyjdalton)
Sean Lintow, Sr.(@SLSConstruction)
Amy Good(@SplinterGirl)
Richard Holschuh(@concretedetail)
Cindy Frewenwuellner(@Urbanverse)
Tim Bogan(@TimBogan)
Hollie Holcombe(@GreenRascal)
Steve Mouzon(@stevemouzon)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kitchen Dilemma: What do I do with the trash can?

A commonly addressed piece of the kitchen design puzzle is the trash can. More often than not, homeowners are concerned with major appliances that the waste bins seem to slip their minds. Obviously, having a good kitchen designer in your corner helps on keeping tabs of those seemingly forgettable but very important details.

When planning your new kitchen, advise your kitchen designer of your trashy habits... Not the swearing and the junk food, but how you throw away waste. Do you recycle? Plastic, glass, and compost? Just aluminum? What about dry waste? Yikes- didn't realize trash was such a complicated deal!

Now that you think about it... that separate bin that sits out in your kitchen with aluminum cans is an eyesore, right? Hate looking at it?

One of the primary principles of Feng Shui(if you aren't familiar, it isn't some radical design religion. It is however, a guide with some pretty basic steps to making your home a pleasant, aesthetic place to be) is to have the waste bin out of view. Pretty simple, eh? I suppose that out of view would mean in the garage or laundry room, but who wants to walk out of the room to deposit some trash?

The bin system above is perhaps my favorite- a top mount, double bin(standard 13-gallon) on a solid(you want this- think about how much you use the trashcan) dovetail platform with soft-close. KraftMaid introduced this model as part of their 2011 launch that has me in all sorts of good spirits. The addition to the standard operation is the soft-close mechanism that is so popular on the KraftMaid drawer. 

A question that I get a lot is, "I've seen a trashcan cabinet with a drawer over it... Can I have that?" Sure, it's available. BUT.... (You knew there was a but) think about what you are going to have in the bottom of that cabinet and figure out what you'd want to put in a drawer that will be in the same cabinet as your kitchen waste. If you don't have trash that smells bad then go for it- personally, I like the single door, top-mount. Even brings the trash can up a bit higher so that when I am acting like an NBA pro throwing trash away I have a better chance at making the toss from downtown(wink, wink). In all seriousness, the drawer on top option is good for a place to store your trash bags and that's about it, in my opinion. 

Not everyone is putting in a new kitchen right now, but there are still options to get that waste bin out of the corner. Talk with your local designer(or us, of course) about solutions that will work with your existing space.

Now, doesn't your kitchen look better without that unsightly trash/recycle bin sitting out?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Find - Matali Lobby Sofa

The orange leather and rounded edges of this lobby sofa put it squarely on my wish list. Available at Domeau and Peres, the furniture offers seating in the simplest form, leaving nothing to the imagination with its thick upholstered pad and exposed frame.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bake-N-Blog! Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

About a month ago, a good friend on Twitter (Staci Edwards) suggested that we have a Bake-N-Blog with the cupcake recipes from Ming's Cupcakes. Each participant was encouraged to select their own and then give some commentary about the experience.

I selected the Guinness Chocolate Cupcake. I don't usually shy away from unique flavor combinations so it seemed like a good fit!

So there's what I was aiming for, along with Ming's recipe.

Firstly, I am not a baker. My mother is, my sister is, and both my grandmothers can make a dessert to satisfy the sweetest of sweet tooth. The fact that I can make Ghiradelli brownies from the box doesn't qualify me to bake anything(Enter rant from Paul Anater about box brownies).

While I say I'm not a baker, I do like to cook and the last time I checked, my meals turn out pretty good. I can follow a recipe and as long as the power doesn't go off and the oven go bonkers, I can manage a cupcake... I think.

The recipe(above) really is easy. Actually, it's almost startlingly easy. In no time, I had my batter ready and in the oven. Because I have no faith in my ability to tell when it was actually done, I anxiously waited the allotted 20 minutes, making sure  to not open the oven door even once... no matter how much I wanted to. Mom has always done the toothpick test and because the 20 minutes is perfect timing the toothpick came out clean as a whistle. After some time on the cooling rack and throwing together the cream cheese icing, this is what I ended up with.

Not a baker... Ha!

The cupcake is a decadent, chocolaty dose of fantastic-ness. If you like dark beer, dark chocolate, dark comedy... You'll love this one. Right as you bite in to it, the lively flavor of the cream cheese is quickly dismissed by a nutty chocolate note. While these taste really good, the smell while cooking is intoxicating. I could just about make them to smell them.

So now that I'm a pro at baking I am anxious to try my next feat, a yet unnamed project. Even though I knew that I would share, the final verdict would come once the head judge(Mom) made her ruling. As of today, still haven't heard whether it was good or bad(in her eyes). The longer I've thought about it though... seems like she would've called and let me know pretty quick what she thought.

Then again... I sent them home with Dad to share with Mom. Five bucks says they never made it to the house.

*Thanks Staci for letting me play along and be part of the group... When I have a link where you can view everyone's creations, I'll post it up.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Maria Yasko- Movin' to Moomin Valley

Just one day after a fantastic Interior Design Chat(#IntDesignerChat) on Twitter that focused entirely on color, my head is still spinning! I thought this would be a perfect time to share a VERY colorful set of designs from the very talented Russian designer, Maria Yasko.

Each day we draw inspiration from the world around us, whether it be from a colorful dessert(my favorite), books we read, flowers and trees, on and on. Yasko used the Moomin Valley series of children's books written and illustrated by Swedish-speaking, Finnish author Tove Jannson. 

The space is a children's recreation center and Yasko creates a space that is delightfully other-worldly. Check her use of color!

Wild, huh!?

After seeing this I did a bit more research wondering just how Yasko could transform a home... Equally impressive.

Very refreshing spaces on a day filled with color! 

Monday, August 16, 2010

KraftMaid - NEW for 2011

It's no secret that the Cupboards family is quite smitten with KraftMaid. After working with such a great company and watching their product development for years, it was no surprise that when a new product launch came around the results were stellar.

Here are a FEW of the new things in the vast KraftMaid offering. As always, we are glad to share with anyone who has some questions. Feel free to stop by the showroom and we'll give you the full offering of what's new!

This is KraftMaid's Kendrick Maple door style in the Parchment finish. Both the door style and finish are new this year. You will notice that the Kendrick door has a sweeping, curved frame door that adds a totally new dimensional effect not seen in many other door styles. The Parchment finish is the "refreshed whitewash" and is right at home in a modern farmhouse. Kendrick is available in a variety of finishes on both maple and cherry.

The distinctively modern Brockton door style(shown above in natural cherry) is a quartersawn door style available in cherry, maple and oak. By using a vertical grain veneer on a slab door, the depth of the wood grain shines.

Applied moulding doors never cease to impress, and the Harlowe door style fits the bill! An elegant and stately look, this maple(shown) or cherry door style features a five-piece drawer front and works in an traditional, or traditional with-a-twist, setting. KraftMaid has expanded the Onyx finish from accessories to cabinetry and the stunning black finish looks great paired with virtually any color palette. In the above photo, Onyx is paired with Vintage Cardinal with Onyx glaze, another new finish in the KraftMaid offering and one of six new painted with glaze finishes.

One of KraftMaid's finest attributes is their ability to listen to their dealers and then put that information to work. Fox Chase is the product of the KraftMaid dealer network asking and receiving. A classic, cost-effective cherry door style makes a grand addition to the KraftMaid line-up. Here, Fox Chase is featured in the Rye finish, a new red-toned brown stain that showcases the grain of whatever wood species one chooses.

Both cherry and maple on the new Richland door style are shown above. Also an applied moulding door, Richland adds a stepped edge profile that further defines a furniture appeal in the kitchen. The cherry above is in the Rye with Onyx Glaze finish and the maple is shown in Sage with Onyx glaze, both additions to the stain with glaze finish options.

Clean lines make the Garrison door style an instant favorite. Available on both cherry and maple, Garrison takes a traditional farmhouse feel and gives it a modern, new feel. The large outside bead of the door and drawer profile mimics the look of an inset door. New painted finishes Mushroom and Sage(shown above on Maple) add new dynamics to the KraftMaid paint line.

Coastal style isn't something just on the coast! KraftMaid's Seton door style on cherry(shown) and maple works perfect in an casual and comfy space, and we think it's perfect for the lake, too. A recessed v-groove panel on both the door and drawer takes us right to the waterfront. The Seton kitchen above is finished in Vintage Dove White and Burnished Rye, both heirloom looks.

So there's the tip of the iceberg! We hope that you'll come by and see the tons of new cabinet options, finishes and doorstyles that KraftMaid offers. It's easy to achieve that dream kitchen or bathroom when working with the finest cabinetry available!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Find - Wave by Royal Botania

It's still summer-time for sure in East Alabama, and the Wave by Royal Botania would be a welcome sight on a Friday afternoon once 5pm rolls around.

The Wave is the product of a pair of Belgian designers who have been riding a pretty good wave of positive press after their nearly hammock/sun chair/parasol has received countless positive reviews and awards. Standing on a single base, the Wave can rotate 90 degrees around assuring the best spot in the sun. Along with black, white and cappuccino, the turquoise option is my favorite.

Can't live without it? Order one online here.

Check it out... Catch the Wave!

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