Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Kitchen as the Happy Place

It’s a jungle out there

Whether you go there to fuel up or cool down, that kitchen has to be there for you. Everything in it you get to do to your liking.
making a snadwich

Avocado? Check.

Mayo? Check.

Lettuce & tomato? Check.

Turkey? Got it.

Ixnay on the onions, olives and cheese this round.

Whole wheat bread & cukes liven it up, too.

It’s YOUR sandwich.

You can even take it with you into whatever battles you’re enduring.

always keep a bottleLet’s not forget the drink. The one you don’t have to drive anywhere for. The one you can take to the TV room with you. The one you can play guitar to. The one you can have with your sandwich you just made.

The special occasion could also be, for example – Monday.

You’re in the driver’s seat

You’re also at the cutting board, pouring a beverage, drying your hands on that awesome tea towel you picked up at the flea market last spring.

camping tea towels -

Bottom line: we all want a bit of control in our lives over something – doesn’t have to be big, or all the time. And our kitchens are the perfect canvas to exercise your decision & choice muscles!

Forget the traffic, the news, take a load off and revel in your space! And if the space isn’t quite up to snuff, change it. That’s what we’re here for. :D

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Kitchen Design Tip: Gain wall cabinet space by closing up a door

newspaper door testDoors: love/hate relationship

Let’s say you have limited wall space available to put wall cabinets, or even just open shelving in the kitchen. Let’s also say there are multiple ways into & out of the kitchen.

That pesky door hogging both wall and base cabinet area is the solution, not the problem. So get rid of it.

Not sure about closing up an existing door?

Cover it up with newspaper & don’t use that doorway for a few days. Is losing it a dealbreaker? Or is it something worth eliminating to reclaim precious wall storage space?

We do this little exercise routinely with our clients who are attached to their doors & windows, but recognize they compromise their storage opportunity.

Not everyone opts to close in existing doors. But the newspaper test is a low risk way to find out what the real design priorities are.

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

More Real Things My Clients Say

WOW. I just got this email from a former client a couple of years ago in Kansas City:

We just sold our house in order to move cross country. Becky designed
the kitchen a few years ago and we did the work. We did other
remodeling as well but the kitchen totally helped sell the house. Tons
of positive feedback from buyers and realtors. Her work definitely
added value to the house well beyond her reasonable fees.

That was an unsolicited email. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Mid Century Modern Kitchen Project

1978 wanted its kitchen back

These awesome clients tapped me to modernize the original kitchen in this NC Modernist House for them this summer. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.


1978 kitchen - before, range side


1978 kitchen - before, sink side


Being a cool little slightly post MCM house in need of updating, we brought it back into the 21st century by opening up the space into the dining area, & leaving the main kitchen open, but with a nice bartop zone. The open area in the kitchen was perfect for a high chair zone – easy to clean, & the little one can stay where the action is & fling cheerios & mushed bananas with glee.


after - fridge & range zone


after- sink & opening to dining




And a few extra goodies.

range corner closeup  sink-closeup  apple bowl


  • cabinets: IKEA ADEL white shaker style, VINNA pull hardware
  • granite countertops
  • design by Eco-Modernism, Inc.
  • installation by Punch Worx, LLC
  • photos by Anita Normanly


Monday, July 8th, 2013

In progress: new kitchen island layout

Yes – they need a new one. We’re working on it.

New island layout

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Office Breakroom Cabinets!

This one we put in a dentist’s office. We do not claim responsibility for the hideous shade of wallpaper.

Cabs are high gloss green & white, single basin farm sink. Behold!

breakroom kitchen

breakroom kitchen

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Perfect material for the bar side of a kitchen island: Reclaimed wood.

reclaimed wood - backside

Reclaimed, weathered wood is perfect for the backside of an island or peninsula! It’s a surface that gets kicked a lot, so it’d stand up to it. It’s a natural & textured material that compliments smoother modern touches like slab doors & countertops.

I can’t wait to use this idea on a project!

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Wall cabinet height: what works?

Zero to 24 inches+

For our modular cabinet line, Besh, I’ve been playing with uniform wall cabinet heights – even above a sink.

This example shows all wall cabinets aligned at the bottom and top. There’s no staggered height with a bigger gap between the faucet & the bottom of the wall cabinet above it.

My guess is that this is a 30″ clearance, since the cooktop is gas & most hood manufacturers require that much over a gas cooking surface.

It works. It looks good. There are no clearance issues. I’m not a huge fan of soffits, but in this case, it really boosts the built in look.


The only thing I’d change in this one would be to shift the window framing to line up with the bottom &  top of the wall cabinets. I can’t help it. I’m a designer.

Also? Love the table, stools & tile. And the black pendant lights.

Friday, February 8th, 2013

How to successfully get an IKEA kitchen*

*without going insane or broke.

We get a LOT of calls from people who are excitedly planning to buy their kitchen from IKEA.  Fortunately, most of them contact us during the early stages and we’re able to guide them to the most painless solutions possible.

Too many times, we’ve seen the excitement give way to frustration, anxiety and anger. And you know what? Every bit of it can be avoided. Every. Single. Bit.

Do not use if left handed. Do not use if right handed.

How do you know if you should design your own kitchen or not?

It’s very simple. If it feels like you are using the wrong scissors, get help. Do not continue to bludgeon your way through the exercise with equipment that doesn’t feel like it fits you. Because guess what? The discomfort will progressively increase the deeper you get into the project.

Do not become a frustrated, anxious and angry statistic. There are successful kitchens out there waiting to be born.

It’s not about the money.

If all you focus on is that tantalizing pricetag IKEA waves in your face, you are not prepared to undertake an IKEA kitchen project. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Cabinets (which don’t assemble & install themselves, by the way) are but a single ingredient that goes into a kitchen!  There’s also plumbing, lighting, drywall, tiling, flooring, countertops, appliances. And labor. Lots and lots of labor. And all of it costs money.

The trick is, how do you make it cost only the money it should cost, and not pile on extra costs incurred from things like dimensional and order errors?

It’s a valid question. And most people who manage their own money would like to know the answer.

It’s about the design.

Most people who manage their own money also value their time, which more than likely is consumed by normal life, like work and family.

IKEA wants you to design your own kitchen. On the surface, it’s fun to play with the planner tool & plop down cabinets & see it grow on the screen into your dream kitchen. & that’s great – if you have time., and are comfortable with it.

Sooner or later, though, the rubber meets the road, and making it all work in 3 dimensions is a very different animal from pushing it around on paper.

There’s a reason people design & install kitchens for other people: it’s a full time job!  The good news is, we’ve seen what works & what doesn’t in enough scenarios that we can quickly generate solutions that work.

Our design solutions avoid the pile on of extra costs.

We don’t know of too many people who wouldn’t agree that it’s very much worth spending $500 designing to prevent spending another $1500 (or more) during installation.

We are more than happy to let you guys handle the Software programming. And the prescription filling. And the history professing. And the lawyering. And the dentistry. And the technical writing. And the photography. And the teaching.

In exchange, let us handle the kitchening for you. From soup to nuts.

THAT is how to get an IKEA kitchen successfully!


Saturday, October 6th, 2012

What we get, & what we don’t.

NO turned legs or other frou frouSimple, clean, no frou frou

We’ve seen an uptick, thankfully, in the number of folks looking for modern, straight line, slab door kitchens. Not minimal to the point of stark. Minimal as in just enough to be the canvas for what happens in the space. And minimal as in maintenance.

Would you rather clean all the grooves & curves in a raised panel door, or get it done in one wipe across a single surface?

And would you rather focus on the details of the kitchen or the conversation & meal creation that goes on within it?

Are you judicious with your money, but not micromanagerial with it?

If you prefer the latter in those questions, we’re the right designers for you.

We’ll leave the turned legs & chair rails to someone else.

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