June, 2010

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Top Advice on Choosing a Kitchen Countertop

Friday, June 25th, 2010

I am so excited that I am starting a new project with a client who wants me to help redesign her kitchen into a beautiful new white kitchen!

white kitchen

A white kitchen is my very favorite  kitchen design which I previously wrote about  here in my previous post,  Beautiful White Kitchens.   Since my husband is still giving me a hard time about painting over our maple cabinets, I will live out my fantasy through her kitchen for now.


So where to start?  In the kitchen, the most costly project will be the cabinets, which she has decided to keep and repaint, saving herself quite a bit of money.  The next choice should be the countertops because it  is also a large expense and has a large presence in the room. Let’s look at a few options(courtesy of BHG):

Laminate Counter

Laminate countertops are inexpensive, easy to clean, and available in the widest range of colors, textures, and patterns. You can even give laminate an upscale look with a sculpted edge treatment such as a classic ogee or sleek beveled edges.

— Versatile and cost-effective counter choice
— Easy soap-and-water cleanup
— Resistant to heat, stains, and scratches

— Susceptible to damage from sharp knives and hot pans
— Deep scratches are difficult to repair
— Cannot be repaired if scorched

Granite Counter

Stone works for serious cooks because it’s durable, colorfast, and resists scorching. Plus, each piece is unique and boasts enduring good looks. The most popular choices include granite and marble. Though it’s the most expensive countertop material, you can cut the cost and add texture by using tiles instead of a single slab.

— Hard and resistant to heat and scratches
— Easy to clean if sealed (although marble is susceptible to stains)

— Well-constructed cabinetry needed to hold this heavy material
— Requires frequent resealing for porous stones such as marble or limestone
— Expensive

Solid-Surfacing Counter

Solid-surfacing countertops mimic the look of granite, glass, or other stones and boast a softer, warmer feel. This low-maintenance material can also resist damage from heat, moisture, and fading.

— Wide variety of colors and design possibilities
— Can be molded into sinks
— Nonporous and resists scorching
— Scratches and stains can be sanded and buffed out

— It’s almost as expensive as real stone
— Can discolor if hot pots and pans are left in place
— Softer than stone so sharp knives can damage

Quartz-Surfacing Counter

Quartz-surfacing countertops are made of 93 percent crushed quartz blended with color pigments and plastic resins. Quartz- surfacing can stand in for stone without all the maintenance. Its nonporous surface requires no sealing.

— Available in a larger range of colors than traditional stone countertops
— Resistant to heat, stains, and scratches
— Never needs to be refinished

— It’s almost as expensive as real stone
— Not quite as natural-looking as real stone

concrete countertop w/ barstools

Concrete: Don’t be afraid to move concrete indoors. Concrete is an extremely versatile countertop material. It can take on many different colors, shading, patterns, and sheens to suit any kitchen style. Concrete countertops can be poured in place or fabricated off-site and installed later.

— Can be stained a variety of shades and fashioned to resemble various kinds of stone
— Heat- and scratch-resistant
— It’s an extremely durable material

— Highly acidic liquids can damage the surface if it’s not cleaned immediately after spills
— Requires periodic sealing

Ceramic Tile Counter

Ceramic tile is a popular choice for kitchen countertops because it’s water- stain- and heat-resistant. Ceramic tiles also comes in variety of styles and colors and can easily mesh with traditional and contemporary styles.

— Available in a wide variety of colors and styles
— Glazed ceramic tiles are extremely resistant to heat, scratches, and stains
— Easy to keep clean

— Can be labor-intensive to install
— Grout can stain or collect food particles so grout lines require periodic cleaning, bleaching, sealing, or regrouting
— Tiles can crack or chip

Glass Counter

Glass countertops are durable, versatile, and gaining popularity. Install just a clear top layer to match any color scheme or install two layers — a clear top layer and a textured bottom layer — to help mask scratches. Give a glass countertop added interest with a decorative edge.

— Heat- and stain-resistant
— Easy to clean, just use a window cleaner
— Recycled-glass options are eco-friendly

— Can chip or break with heavy impact and may scratch
— Requires frequent cleaning
— Could be better used as an accent countertop than as a work surface.

Wood Counter

Wood: Although it’s uncommon to see wood countertops — besides butcher block — run throughout a kitchen, a wood-topped island or baking center is popular. Using wood countertops for these prep stations adds instant warmth and charm to a kitchen.

— Can be made from reclaimed wood for an eco-friendly option
— Surface can be renewed by power sanding
— Long-lasting

— Vulnerable to moisture and heat
— Some raw meat or high alkaline fruit and vegetables (e.g. beets, papaya) can cause stains after extended exposure
— Requires a food-friendly sealing that must be reapplied periodically
— Could be better used as an accent countertop than as a work surface

Stainless Steel Counter

Stainless-steel countertops can be found in kitchens ranging from traditional to contemporary style. Stainless steel can complement any kitchen because it matches many common kitchen appliances. It’s perfect around cooktops and ranges where hot pots and pans often land.

— Tough; impervious to stains and high temperatures
— Won’t oxidize and develop a patina like other metals
— Doesn’t need to be coated with a finish

— Shows nicks and scratches; avoid scouring powders
— Needs a solid, firm underlayment or it will dent

So, those are a few good top choices for countertops.  I will keep you updated on which option for countertops my client has chosen.  I actually am going to post each step as we are redesigning the room and next time I will post before pictures so you can see the amazing transformation take place!  Comments or questions regarding countertops?  Do you love white kitchens?

If you want to make your home comfortable and happy, please call me at 401.765.6446 or email isredesign@cox.net

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House Beautiful’s Color Bookazine

Friday, June 18th, 2010

I subscribe to quite a few decorating magazines, but I have to admit my very favorite is House Beautiful.  And one of those reasons I love HB, is the  designer color column.  I love how they put it all together in one resource.

hb500 cover

With special insider advice from top designers, and a directory of actual paint swatches, for $9.99 it is a great resource for both pros and novices.

Ben Moore Bittersweet Chocolate

Ben Moore Bittersweet Chocolate

I have found most people need visuals to imagine how colors will actually look in a room.  This bookazine has a lot of great eye-candy pictures.  Below is an example of a Best Bedroom Color from designer Mario Buatta.

Misty Lilac 2071-70 from Benjamin Moore

Misty Lilac 2071-70 from Benjamin Moore

Individual chapters help you explore colors families, colors by rooms, neutrals, room by mood, natural colors, bold colors, and problem solving with color.

Michael Ostrow's Best Blue

                                          Michael Ostrow’s Best Blue

I think this book is well worth the investment of $9.99.  I am definitely suggesting it on my decorating favorites book list.  Have you purchased yet?  What is your favorite new color you found?


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Home Decorating Basic Measurements

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

For years I have wished I had a list together, in one place, where I could look up the basic measurements of pillows, mattresses, tablecloths, and ready-made drapery panels.  It seems I am always scrambling to find at the last minute when I am running out the door to shop.


So, I have finally put them all together and am going to share with you to keep.  (I know you really want/need this list!)

Mattress Sizes:

Twin- 39” x 75”

Full-  54” x 75”

Queen- 60” x 80”

Dual- 76” x 80”

California King- 72” x 84”

Day Bed- 39” x 75”

Crib Mattress- 27” x 52”

Bed Pillow Sizes:

Standard 20” x 26”

Queen- 20” x 30”

King- 20” x 36”


Bedspread Sizes:

Twin- 81” X 110”

Full- 96” x 110”

Queen- 102” x 115”

King- 120” x 115”

California King- 120” x 115”

Comforter sizes:

Twin- 69” x 90”

Full- 84” x 90”

Queen- 90” x 95”

King- 106” x 98”


52” x 52”

52” x 70”

60” x 84”

60” x 102”

60” x 120”

60” x 144”

70” Round

90” Round


Dinner- 16” Square

Luncheon- 14” Square

Cocktail- 12” Square

Ready-Made Drapery Sizes:

48” x 63”

48” x 84”

48” x 96”

48” x 108”

You will never know when you need those napkin sizes. :)  I think  the measurements most useful to you will be the ready made drapery sizes and tablecloth sizes.  Feel free to print out and mark on as needed.  If you have any friends or family that might like to keep a list, please forward to them.  Any other measurements you would like to see?  Comments?

If you are interested in making your home updated and happy, please call me at 401.765.6446 or email at kellybernierdersigns.com. 

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Best of Kelly’s Colors, part 1

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Warm neutrals I would use throughout my home:

Shaker Beige HC-45 is a contemporary color that is fresh and clean.  I especially love this color with dark brown furniture and flooring.

Monroe Bisque HC-26 is also a favorite of many because of the effect of a nice, soft background.

Philadelphia Cream HC-30 is a soft yellow.  It works well in entryways with many different types of lighting.

Benjamin Moore HC-30 Philadelphia Cream        Philadelphia Cream HC-30

I also love Powell Buff HC-35 and would use throughout my entire home.

Benjamin Moore HC-35 Powell Buff Powell Buff HC-35

(On-screen color representations may vary from the actual paint colors. This is due to a variety of factors, not least would be that the online color is not the actual paint, it is just a computer representation of the paint color. And every single computer monitor will display these colors differently. )

There is a reason many paint experts and designers go straight to the Benjamin Moore Historical Color Chart to choose colors.  It is a good starting point looking for colors because most of the colors are neutrals that will give you that soft background color.

I always recommend testing paint colors because the lighting in your home is different from the paint store’s, so the color will look different. Also, all beiges have undertones of either yellow, red or green that become prominent when placed next to another color. You want to test at home with your woodwork, carpeting, fireplace and furnishings. Please do not skip this step!

Would anyone like to add to this neutral list?  There are so many great colors out there!

If you need help picking colors for your home, call me 401-765-6446 or visit me at kellybernierdesigns.com.

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