Inspiring Kitchens!

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Oct 20, 2011 | 7 Comments | Category: Design Inspiration, Kitchens

I mean, really?! I could die. I LOVE this kitchen. Anyone know who designed it? I found it via Pinterest.

From the Portfolio of Leslie Sinclair of Segreto Finishes

Love the mirror insert on the island side panels
Could you have a full-out Dining Room in the middle of your kitchen? I have to say I’ve designed a lot of kitchens, but haven’t done this one yet. It sure looks pretty!
A study in contrasts…I also really like the stainless steel accent on the hood.

Dark and moody – just how I like ’em!

Lighting is everything. These pendants are like the fabulous turquoise earrings that you wear with everything.
Another “Eat-In” kitchen. I say, why not? As long as you aren’t a two-cook kitchen and you have ample prep space. For me, personally, I pretty much destroy the kitchen when I cook, so I don’t think I’d want to look at the mess I just made while I ate! Thoughts??

Mixing Metals in the Kitchen

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Nov 15, 2010 | 9 Comments | Category: Kitchens

{Steven Gambrel}

As a kitchen designer, I get asked constantly about mixing metal finishes in the kitchen.  People tend to get a little matchy when it comes to their appliances, decorative hardware, plumbing fixtures, lighting, and even decorative metal hoods.  I’m here to say that it doesn’t have to match!  In fact, I usually prefer it not.  Steven Gambrel mixed warm gold decorative hardware (very bravely I might add – not an easy sell) with stainless steel appliances.

In “The Holiday” kitchen, stainless steel appliances and decorative hardware works with darker toned light fixtures. 

{Kitchen from Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles}

This traditional white kitchen features polished nickel faucet plumbing fixtures (my favorite) with silver toned decorative hardware (can’t quite tell if the finish is brushed or polished) and a black light fixture. 

{Kitchen via Caesarstone website}

The kitchens in the photos above and below make the case for matching your decorative hardware, plumbing fixtures, and appliances.  The look is clean and fuss-free.

{Canadian House & Home}

{Courtney Hill}

I love the polished nickel pulls and plumbing fixtures that make this otherwise simple kitchen sparkle.

{Cynthia Ziegler via Things that Inspire}


{Elaine Griffin Interiors}

Copper and stainless steel – yes, you can mix those two finishes!

{Emily J Followill via Late Check In}

{Steve Giannetti}

All matching stainless/brushed finishes

{via Full House}

Katie Lee (formerly Joel’s) Hamptons kitchen – I LOVE this mix of stainless and gold! 

Not too Shabby…

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Oct 11, 2010 | 3 Comments | Category: Kitchens

The soft industrial vibe of this kitchen is very appealing to me…Would you be surprised if I told you I found it here?

The “Unfitted” Kitchen

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Jan 11, 2010 | 11 Comments | Category: Kitchens

itscomplicated kitchen

{It’s Complicated Kitchen via Cote de Texas}

Although I painstakingly design kitchens to maximize every possible square inch, I do love the look of an “unfitted kitchen.”  To me, “unfitted,” literally means that the cabinets are not fitted between walls.  This was the manner in which kitchens were once installed in homes before the German cabinet company, SieMatic, introduced the worlds first “fitted” kitchen. 

While the images I have assembled may not be a literal translation, they embody the same principles of the kitchens of the early 20th century.  These kitchens recall a time before sippy cups and loose Tupperware, before steam ovens, built-in coffee makers, warming drawers, and 15″ wide ice makers.  These kitchens’ imperfect charm still inspire designers and homeowners today.  Fortunately technology today makes it easier than ever to show the appliances we want to see, and hide the ones we don’t!

southern accents kitchen


{Southern Accents}

newlyweddiaries kitchen

{Newlywed Diaries}

jill sharp brinson

{Jill Sharp Brinson}

steven gambrel kitchen

{Steven Gambrel }


{P. Joe Shaffer}

martha stewart living kitchen via newlywed

{Martha Stewart Living}

martha-bedford-stable-kitchen-eddie-ross via newlywed diaries

{Martha Stewart Living}

plain english kitchen via newlywed diaries

{Plain English Cabinetry via Newlywed Diaries}

plain english23

{Plain English}

plain english

{Plain English}

the holiday kitchen - iris

{Iris’ Kitchen from The Holiday}


kent lineberger

{Kent Lineberger}

chris novak berry

{Chris Novak Berry}

amanda holiday kitchen

{Amanda’s kitchen from The Holiday}

steven gambrel sea captain

{Steven Gambrel}

Kitchen Favorites -Part Two

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Oct 21, 2009 | 4 Comments | Category: Kitchens

After my last post on my favorite kitchen products, I decided I needed a follow up post on a few items I realized I left off! 




I love Everpure’s “Exubera” system.  It allows you to get instant chilled still or carbonated water on demand.  The “fizzy” water is fabulous for entertaining – mix in fruit syrups or wine for spritzers!  I drink a lot of water during the day, so I get a lot of use out of the chilled “still” water feature. 


The “Avado” Undermount Sink by Elkay is a favorite of mine.  I’m a big believer in large, single bowl sinks.  If you are a little reluctant about transitioning from double bowl to a single one, this Avado option with the shelf (as seen below) is great for balancing that cookie sheet while you wash it off. 

avado 2

Avado Undermount Sink w/ Shelf


I just love, love, love this kitchen by architect Steve Giannetti (Brooke, of Velvet & Linen’s husband).  One of my favorite features is the vent hood.  

zinc hood


I love zinc and pewter in a kitchen.  They are a cool color but still warm.  They will patina like crazy, so use with caution!  Handcrafted Metal in Austin has great Zinc Hoods and countertops.



Once you have an ice maker, it’s hard to imagine living without one!  People ask for “Sonic Ice,” all the time, but as far as I know you can not get a machine that produces that type of ice in your kitchen (most units are commercial and have to go in a garage, etc).  A good, solid, clear cube is really best for keeping your drinks cool!  The clearer the cube, the better.  The Sub-Zero ice-maker is one of the only ones on the market with a zero-clearance hinge that can be truly “built in”  or integrated with a wood front panel (trust me, I learned the hard way). 

















Miele Fully Integrated Dishwashers are my favorite, and my clients seem to agree!  I rarely hear a complaint about these.  They integrate nicely and are SOOOO quiet!

I’m sure I’ll think of products I left off the list, but in the mean time, are there any products you’d like to see included?

Kitchen Favorites

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Oct 15, 2009 | 23 Comments | Category: Kitchens

mark maresca kitchen

 {Mark Maresca Kitchen}

I feel like I’m a little light on my kitchen posts, and seeing as how I design kitchens everyday, I decided to dedicate this post to my favorite kitchen products.  I know I’m probably leaving out a lot, but these are my favorite “work-horse” products.  Not only do they look great, they are the best functioning products out there. 




Refrigerators: Sub-Zeros are the best, period.  My favorite model is the Pro48 w/ glass door.  I love the industrial look, and this is the ONLY refrigerator that looks best not “built in”.  Please note that it is still the integrated depth.  I could do an entire post on refrigerators, but I’ll keep this one simple. 


Sub-Zero Pro 48

My other choice are the Sub-Zero 700 series – the first truly integrated models.  This armorie below actually houses two of them!

 KBIS 2008 006


Wolf 36″ Induction Cooktop

 The latest and greatest in cooking appliances is the Induction cook-top (I prefer the one by Wolf).  While most serious cooks prefer gas, this is a great option if gas in not an option.  I love it because it boils water is 60 seconds or less! 




 Probably my favorite appliance – the Miele Coffee System.  I made the most amazing pumpkin latte on this puppy yesterday!  I will tell you this appliance is very high maintenance – constant rinse and cleaning is necessary to keep it functioning properly.  We have the whole-bean system in our office, but you can also choose a model that uses Nespresso pods. 


Miele Steam Oven – SO many uses for this appliance. I would use it to replace a microwave because it reheats the food by returning the moisture.  Those left-over steaks will taste just as good as new! 



 Ahhh, my dream range – LaCornue.  What can I say, it’s a work of art! 

 Plumbing Fixtures:

My taste in plumbing fixtures are polar opposite – I either like very traditional, vintage styling OR very contemporary and streamlined.  Rarely anything in between. 

shaw sink

Shaw farm sink by Rohl – I’d LOVE one of these one day.  I specify A LOT of stainless steel sinks, but I personally love the beauty and function of fireclay. 

marble farm sink via cote

{Photo via Cote de Texas}

I recently designed two marble farm sinks for a client – GORGEOUS! 


{photo via Urban Grace}

Perrin and Rowe’s Bridge Faucet is so gorgeous! 


 I’d say the majority of my clients really want a pull-down faucet.  My favorite is by Dornbracht.  The Tara Ultra faucet (on the left) is another favorite of mine. 



Okay, for the unglamorous first: the newest in undercabinet lighting (not “undercounter” as many people accidently say), LED undercabinet light fixtures.  Pricey? Yes. Worth it?  I think so. 


amydmorris_090316_151final_thumb[1] via things that inspire

{Amy Morris via Things That Inspire}

I love lantern fixtures, and I especially love a pair over an island. 

amanda nisbet kitchen

{Amanda Nisbet}

I remember seeing this kitchen in O at Home and I was immediately smitten with the pendant fixtures and barstools!



via alkmie

{Via Alkemie}

I love a whimsical crystal chandelier.  Even in a contemporary space – it really gives this kitchen personality. 

ingram-kitchen-l via a lifes design

{Via A Life’s Design}

Another trend I’ve seen is woven basket pendants.  I love them! 



Industrial Pendants are still very hot!  I love them in bronze and polished nickel finishes.   



My favorite cabinetry right now is the Beaux Arts line by SieMatic.  Designed by American designer, Mick deGiulio for the German cabinet line, it fuses traditional elements in a very clean, fresh way.  I also happen to sell it 🙂

Backsplash Material: 

antiqued mirror backsplash

Mirror with antiqued patina.  Yes, I STILL love this stuff.  Gorgeous (and practical) on a kitchen backsplash. 

7-windsor-smith-xlg-78343434 via pink wallpaper

{Windsor Smith via Pink Wallpaper}

Two things I love – black cabinetry and white marble.  I really like the marble shelf on this backsplash. 

mixed up mosaics

Mixed Up Mosaics is an amazing company out of NYC that specializes in custom mosaic tile.  The niche in the photo above is all glass mosaic. 

burnham kitchen

This kitchen by Betsy Burnham proves that backsplash tile can make the kitchen! 


ktichen 2 via tti


All time favorite barstool by Lee Industries.


angie h kitchen via paloma


I also LOVE these in Angie Hranowsky’s kitchen.  My friend Katherine has a pair almost exactly like them, and she may be selling them – email if you are interested. 

I know I breezed through these items pretty quickly, feel free to email me if you have a specific question about anything I featured.  I promise to post more kitchen and bath related items!

LeAnn’s Dreamy White Kitchen

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Jul 27, 2009 | 8 Comments | Category: Celebs, Kitchens



Though I might not be fond of her recent antics, LeAnn Rimes and husband have a pretty sweet kitchen.  What’s not to love about the hood, Wolf range, open shelving, marble island, Sub-Zero Pro 48, linear crystal chandie, and velvet barstools! ?!   Looks like their home is on the market…for a cool 7.45 million this could be your kitchen!  Call me – I can do your kitchen for a little less than that 🙂

Could Ya Do It?

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Jun 29, 2009 | 7 Comments | Category: Kitchens




{Blueprint Bliss}


{Southern Accents}






{Above 5 pictures via Newlywed Diaries}

Could you live with a kitchen *sans* wall cabinets?

I’m fresh off a trip to Sub-Zero’s fabulous Westye F. Bakke Training Center in Fitchburg, Wisconsin for a Designer Pow-Wow.  I thought I’d share a few photos because the center really is very inspiring.  Jamie Drake and famed Kitchen Designer Mick deGiulio were instrumental in the creating surroundings that are difficult to forget.  In the picture above you can see a Chihuly glass installation.  Each piece of glass was wrapped and shipped individually.  Two  Artisans flew in to actually create and install the pieces.  Below is another Chihuly installation, this time in Mick deGiulio’s “East Meets West” concept kitchen…

I really love the East Meets West kitchen.  Old World materials like calcutta are mixed with stainless and espresso cabinetry for a sleek, yet classic kitchen (my favorite kind).  Oh, and I cooked right there on that marble island…

Butcher Block table…can I just say that I’m a sucker for a beautiful butcher block (especially walnut).

Innovative sink idea.  It looks as if Mick wrapped the sides of a Franke sink in granite…there was much debate as to how this was accomplished.  I’ll be trying it out on an upcoming project.

The above picture shows the interest to the “La Grande” kitchen, the “East Meets West” kitchen is just on the other side.  Emily, I knew you would love the floor.  This is Mick’s take on Old World kitchen design.  He scoured the globe for found objects that would pull together this collected look.

Now THAT’S how you integrate two Sub-Zeros!

I really like the stainless drawer banks on either side of range #1.

I LOVVVVEEEDDD all the vintage Sub-Zeros in their museum!!!  I so think they need to do a retro line!

LOVED this crest shown on the refrigerator below.

The outdoor patio that was attached to the Main Dining Room (great place for cocktails).

Jamie Drake’s sitting area of the”Fire and Ice” Dining Room…get it?? Wolf is the “fire” and Sub-Zero is the “ice.” He’s a clever one, that Jamie Drake.  Apparently, Jim Bakke, the President/CEO about flipped out when he saw the red striped venetian plaster walls with nothing else in the room (you really can’t tell from the picture how MUCH red there really is). Jamie Drake pulled through and now Mr. Bakke uses him on his personal residences.

The Bar!

It was a great trip, I had a blast, learned a lot, and met some really fun and talented designers/architects!