It’s about time for an update

Hello again, I’m back after a long break from blogging! I have been kept very busy in the last almost 7 months with my new job at Signature Kitchens. I’ve been designing cabinetry for new homes all around Northern Virginia – Great Falls, Falls Church, Purcellville, McLean, Arlington, Fairfax and Lorton. I’ve also been working on new homes in Bethesda, Clarksville and Annapolis, Maryland. If that isn’t enough, I’ve also done some remodeling work in Reston, Fairfax Station, Falls Church and Potomac. I’ve learned quite a bit about the “DMV” area as it’s referred to here, short for “DC – Maryland – Virginia.”

Designing cabinetry for a whole house and waiting for the house to be built (especially in a very snowy winter like this year) takes time so I have a number of projects that are very close to being completed but not quite ready to be photographed. I would like to share some photos in the meantime of some things that are in progress, take a look…

This is a remodel I did in Falls Church, it’s a small, simple white shaker kitchen with honed black granite, stainless steel appliances and pewter hardware.


This is a kitchen remodel in Fairfax Station where the client wanted a Contemporary/Asian aesthetic. This was achieved with a solid natural cherry slab door accented with polished black granite and soft green tile (coming soon).

photo 2

This kitchen also features shaker mullion doors that look more Asian and less Craftsman with the help of frosted glass (coming soon) and Asian influenced stainless steel pulls.

photo 3

Here is another kitchen in Clarksville Maryland. I wrote a little about this kitchen back in November. The clients selected a contrasting custom navy blue color for their island cabinetry that I think turned out really cool.

photo 2 copy 2

I have also been working on a very large home in Great Falls. This fall this kitchen will be a very impressive place, although you can’t tell just yet 😉

photo 3 copy 2

I have also been busy making selections for the new displays that are going into our Haymarket location showroom. Our new Hagerstown Kitchens display will feature London Gray Caesarstone countertops with a 3″ x 6″ glass tile, herringbone set for the backsplash. I think we’ve landed on feather white but stay tuned.

photo 2 copy 3

I’m also very excited about another Hagerstown Kitchens display in the works with this gorgeous custom natural walnut door.

photo 1

So now you know a little bit of what I’ve been up to and why I’ve been MIA. The other reason I’ve been preoccupied in my free time is that I’m expecting this fall! I’ve been engrossed in everything baby planning as I prepare for the birth of my first child (a boy) in mid-September.


Teenage Girl’s Room

Teenage Girl's Room

Over the summer I worked with a fantastic young client and her mother to restyle her bedroom in their Los Angeles home using some existing pieces and mostly new pieces. The sparkly bronze wallpaper on the bed wall, the capiz shell pendants, the vintage aqua typewriter and rotary phone, bronze fox dresser hardware and the flokati rug give an otherwise sophisticated room some young fun flair. She has a rather large room so we were able to incorporate a small desk area, sitting area and piano/music corner as well as her dresser and bed. I’m so excited to see how everything turns out!

Starphire Glass

I recently finished a bathroom project which I’ve referred to as “(bath)room with a view.” I’m hoping to get pictures of the finished project soon but in the meantime I wanted to share some insight on glass options that we decided on during the design process. In designing and specifying the frameless shower enclosure, I informed my client that he had an option between “starphire” and regular glass. Starphire glass is a lead free, low iron product that although not clear enough to be called “crystal” is much less green than regular glass. This clarity comes at a premium but for some like my client who have already invested in gorgeous marble for the shower walls, it’s worth it. See the difference for yourself below (photos courtesy of google).


Daisy, one of my client’s dogs clearly prefers the starphire. She’s pictured here with the starphire that’s just been installed, (the duct tape is temporary!). Another option to consider is the “clamps” as shown here vs. channels to hold the glass in place. I feel that the clamps help with the “frameless look” so I prefer them.

daisyWe choose a shower door pull with a very square look to coordinate with the rest of our “Italian modern” aesthetic including square style hardware from Top Knobs (shown below). The shower door handle is combined with a towel bar since this bath is mostly windows with little wall space for towel bars.


What would you choose? Do you think it’s worth paying extra for the starphire?

Where have I been, where am I going?

Big questions I know but here’s the simple answer – it’s been just over a month since my last post and a lot is happening. I am preparing to move to Northern Virginia in just under 6 weeks. I’ve been traveling a lot – visiting family including my new niece in Michigan, house hunting in Virginia and sightseeing in the Eastern Sierras. Here’s a short recap of what I’ve been up to design wise as well.

We at HSK have been working on some interesting projects this month including, a “color” display for one of our cabinetry manufacturer’s Quality Custom Cabinetry that will debut in Pennsylvania where they are located in October. Below are some of the finishes we’re considering, the objective is to work with a palette of new “hot” colors that have been forecasted for 2014. Since we’re the “west coast” design firm that’s participating along with other designers in Chicago and New Jersey we wanted our design to feel “California cool.” We’ve chosen a palette of cool toned colors and beachy feeling materials that create a subtle richness and sophistication inspired by elements that are popular here in LA. The deep blue countertop material is “dumortierite,” a semi-precious stone called “Concetto” made by Caesarstone. The cabinetry shown is a wire brushed rift cut oak, along with porcelain tile that looks like driftwood and a Knoll wallcovering.

IMG_6133We’re also working on a Spanish meets Glam kitchen in Bel Air. The perimeter cabinets will be in the off-white painted finish with glazing and brush strokes shown below by Crystal Cabinets. The island and peninsula will be in a stained cherry with a black glaze accented with pewter hardware and countertops. The perimeter will feature antique mirror inserts, circle mullion accent doors and the new piatra grey marble look-a-like countertops by Caesarstone.

IMG_5983Peter and I stopped by a jobsite yesterday in the Hollywood Hills to decide the best look for a built-in wood and gas pizza oven in a kitchen we designed. While there I took some photos of a gorgeous ceiling design in the client’s living room and metal passage doors throughout the first floor. Since this is new construction the clients are working with an architect and interior designer as well as their contractor and HSK. The house has European, Mediterranean and Moroccan influences.


Below on the left are the main entry doors into the kitchen. The doors left and right of the range wall lead into the wine cellar on the right and the pantry on the left. The butler’s pantry we also designed is on the far left across the hall. To the right is the breakfast room which will get a custom designed hand carved hutch. The picture on the right shows the large skylight over where the island will be.

IMG_6128 IMG_6129

I am very excited to see these projects finished, but I’m afraid with my move I won’t be able to see them in person. I am sad that after many many months of working on projects like these I won’t be able to see them to completion. I have loved working at Hollywood Sierra Kitchens for the past seven years and will be very sad to leave my clients, family and friends. I look forward though to the opportunities and challenges that living and designing in Northern Virginia will bring 🙂


“Looking Glass” Kitchen

I wanted to share a few photos of a kitchen that’s almost done being installed in the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills. The kitchen is in a very unique mid-century modern home with terrazzo floors. Here is Peter from HSK with two of the installers hard at work.


The large island has a waterfall edge detail on both sides and an overhang at the back for seating. The countertops are “Pure White” Caesarstone. The island features a Wolf microwave drawer, shown below as well as a pull-out trash, sink, paneled dishwasher and drawer storage.


The back wall features lots of wall cabinets and drawer storage. Centered is a Wolf pro style range and stainless steel hood. The backsplash tile is a textured white porcelain from Porcelanosa. The industrial looking pull-down faucet is one of my favorites, the “Tara Ultra” from Dornbracht.


One of the really interesting features of this kitchen is the hidden pantry. The corner of the room has an angled dropped ceiling which broke up the clean lines of the space. We designed a door front assembly and a tall storage cabinet that when installed sideways would hide a small walk-in pantry as well as the obstruction. Below are the false doors to the right of the 48″ built-in series Subzero. When the same decorative hardware as the rest of the kitchen is installed on these doors they will resemble standard tall cabinetry.


This is with the doors open, exposing the integrated storage cabinet on the right and the entry into the walk-in pantry.


I love this photo, which shows the pool in the front of the house and also just how “high gloss” these cabinet really are! They are done in a custom gray by Dunn Edwards called, “looking glass.” We chose that color because it tied in well with the gray fireplace in the adjoining family room and the floors. The name is a bit ironic though since the 90% sheen is so reflective it’s almost like looking at glass.


What do you think of this gray kitchen?


A (bath)room with a view – Update

My bathroom project in the Hollywood Hills has been coming together nicely, I first mentioned this project a month ago here. Since then the composite wenge cabinetry and plumbing rough-ins were installed as well as the roughtop for the countertop. The contractor built the framing for the Jacuzzi tub and installed LED lighting below the vanity cabinet and above and below a built-out for a “floating” mirror above the vanity. Then our fabricator came to template for the under-mount tub deck, shower walls and vanity countertop with waterfall edge detail.

IMG_4564 IMG_4567

Last week the countertops were installed including the tub deck and marble slab shower wall. The slab was selected by my client and I from a stoneyard in Van Nuys. It is a statuary marble and the veining is incredible, like a work of art. The dark grey veining will tie in with the honed basalt tile that’s going on the bathroom and sunken shower floor as well as the vanity and side window wall. The white background of the stone coordinates with the Pure White Caesarstone we selected for the vanity and tub deck.

2013-04-26 11.23.532013-04-26 12.00.36

I helped my client decide the best positioning for the tub filler, hot and cold handles, hand shower and diverter control in the tub deck so the fabricator would know the exact locations for the drillings.

2013-04-26 10.54.452013-04-26 10.51.29

The tub deck was fabricated with four separate pieces of Pure White Caesarstone to create a “box” installation for the under-mounted tub. Our fabricator did a fantastic job, the corner is so square and barely rounded so that the seam is completely invisible.

2013-04-26 16.09.16IMG_4987

The waterfall edge detail was installed last, the next step is to install the decorative hardware on the cabinets, the Caesarstone pieces into the shower and tub window, the basalt tile on the floor and two of the walls, the plumbing fixtures and the “floating” mirror. I’m so excited to see the room finished!

2013-04-26 17.15.562013-04-26 17.16.33

A (bath)room with a view

I have been working on a bathroom project in the Hollywood Hills, the home like a lot of homes in the hills is literally built into the hill. The back faces Laurel Canyon Blvd. giving it a great view of Downtown LA and beyond.


The new master bathroom space used to be a utility room with a obstruction in it from the hillside slope. The client had the room excavated and re-framed to create the new bathroom space. Here is a picture of the vanity wall in the framing stage. (I love a good before and after) The vanity will have an asymmetrical design with a tall linen storage cabinet on the left and the vanity to the right with a waterfall edge detail at the end to finish the run and make the cabinets appear as if they are floating.


The shower pan is going to be recessed into the floor so we don’t need to have a traditional threshold. The tub will be under-mounted in a “Pure White” Caesarstone 4 sided box, which is created by mitering pieces of the 3/4″ thick material to create a seamless structure. The top piece will have the cutout for the bathtub which will be centered under the one of the windows. The shower wall will be clad in a slab of statuary marble and the other two walls of the room and floor will be tiled with honed basalt tile.


I am also designing a storage cabinet and countertop for underneath the tv in the bedroom. The countertop will be double stacked to create a shelf to hold a wireless speaker made by Sonos. Here is the area last week, I randomly caught the tv with the caption, “Why hasn’t Kelly come forward?” which is a little creepy.


The plumbing, the shower pan and tub deck framing are all being worked on now. Later this week the cabinets will be installed, the decorative hardware, the Caesarstone, the tile, plumbing fixtures and then the barn door into the room. Can’t wait to see it when it’s finished!