We are adding a new series into our blog, Insider’s Insight,where we are sharing thoughts, tips and trends from some of the top thought leaders in the design industry.
Barbara Sallick is co-founder of Waterworks, one of the world’s most prestigious makers of luxury design goods. I personally love the quality and craftsmanship found throughout the Waterworks’ plumbing line, and I am amazed at all Barbara has accomplished over her lifetime.
Enjoy below, as Barbara shares some practical advice for creating a kitchen you will love and appreciate for years to come.
You have one of the most admired kitchen and bath brands in the industry. What’s the secret?
The secret to staying in business for 40 years and maintaining brand leadership is to consistently deliver innovative and authentic product, outstanding experiences, and impeccable service.
I am familiar with the rigor that goes into designing, engineering and manufacturing all of our products. There is such a high level of integrity and craftsmanship in creating things that are timeless and meant to last a lifetime.
What is your most important piece of advice when renovating a kitchen?
Plan carefully. Do your research long before you set foot in a kitchen showroom or talk to a cabinetmaker. Only thoughtful preparation will allow you achieve the results you have dreamt about.
What’s the trick to creating a timeless kitchen?
You need to pay close attention to function and style. Your kitchen layout must flow easily. The design should be both practical and personal.
You should use the finest, most honest materials you can afford—things that will only become more beautiful with age.
But(and here’s the trick), you must first look back and think about the kitchens you’ve loved and were happiest in during your life.
Remember how you felt in those rooms and think about how their design contributed to that feeling. Then, through your design choices, try to recreate that emotion in your own new kitchen.
In your opinion, what should people splurge on in their kitchen?
First, use amazing hardware, it is the jewelry of the kitchen.
Next, select a high-grade sturdy sink and faucet together; they are the hardest working appliance in the kitchen.
Finally, do something special on your backsplash. Please don’t follow the trend and use white 3 x 6 tile.
What 3 things should every kitchen have?
Every kitchen should have a faucet that is comfortable to use. You will turn it on/off multiple times a day. This is the practical must-have.
The room should have a beautiful backsplash. This is the decorative must-have.
Your kitchen also requires a range of lighting choices, including general illumination, decorative accents, and—most important—task lighting. The way you layer lighting plays a big part in creating a kitchen that is personal and brings you joy.
What color palettes are you loving for kitchens and baths at the moment?
I am seeing lots of dark blue and, most especially, I see a mix of two colors. Either the top cabinets are light and the bottom are dark or the perimeter cabinets are all one color and the island is something different.
In my own kitchen, I used a mix of Waterworks paint colors—pale whisper gray on the upper cabinets to make the space feel wider, and navy for the lower cabinets.
What do you love most about your kitchen?
I love that my sink is in the island placing me squarely in the middle of the kitchen. I am, therefore, in the center of all activity—cooking, visiting, and looking out at my beautiful terrace.
Even though it is a small space, it has the kind of charm and functionality that make it the perfect classic and timeless kitchen.
What is one thing you absolutely can’t live without?
I never thought this was important, but having all of the cabinet interiors with pull-out trays is essential. There is no digging around and everything I have is visible. And, natural light is essential.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with our Industry Insider, Barbara Sallick. I particularly enjoyed how she emphasized to buy the finest materials you can afford as they will only become more beautiful over time.
To learn more, pick up Barbara’s book, The Perfect Kitchen.
Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your insight. Cheers, friends, to creating your perfect kitchen.
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One of my favorite clients reach out recently; we helped she and her husband build a beautiful home a few years ago and she emailed saying they are looking to build a second home.
I couldn’t help but smile knowing she enjoyed the process and wants to do it again. They put together a great team who worked hard to build a beautiful home, and I thought it might be helpful to share a few pieces of advice so you can do the same.
Tips for making the building process successful:
1. Put together a talented team
I can’t stress enough how important it is to hire a builder, designer and architect that are known for what you are trying to achieve. It isn’t enough to hire who your neighbor used- look at their past work, check their references, and search them online.
Your team should increase the value of your project while saving your sanity. Again- they should make your life easier and be good stewards of your money.
2. Make sure the aesthetic of your designer and architect appeal to you
Even creatives with a well-versed portfolio still have a certain look and tendencies (including me). In the end, you have to feel comfortable in the home.
Just as important, make sure you like their personality and can trust them. They are going to be dealing with your money and you need to be okay sharing details about how you live.
3. Wait to break ground on your home until your plans are finished
Do Not start the building process until the plans are finished. If you don’t wait, I can promise the demo will go fast but it will come to a screeching halt. Be prepared as it takes time to draw detailed plans.
4.Quality takes time
Quality takes time- there is a reason the room with custom cabinetry, draperies and millwork looks so good. Details customize a home, but they don’t happen overnight or through the internet.
Prepare yourself now- there will be a setback somewhere in the building process that will delay the project. The weather won’t cooperate, you will hit rock when excavating, etc…
5. Talk budget early on
No one enjoys sharing their personal business, but it is important to have a budget in mind or a realistic expectation of what your project will cost.
Know your building budget (and furnishings’ budget) at the beginning and be realistic about what it can afford you.
Talk to your builder about the exact finishes the allowances will buy you, and see what is realistic for what you are building. Also, the more finishes and specifics you can finalize during the bidding process (know exactly the type of countertop you want to use, what line of plumbing fixtures, etc…), the more it will save you with add-ons at the end.
6. Details make a home
Not all architects, builders and designers are equal and there is a reason everyone doesn’t charge the same. If detail is important to you, make sure you hire a team where it is important to them.
7. Let your home building team do their job
You hired your team for a reason, so let them do their job. If you can’t visualize a detail, trust that they can. This means trusting their judgment over your friend’s, your mom’s, etc….
8. Save enough money to furnish the home and be realistic as to how far that furnishing budget will go
The last thing you want to do is build a beautiful, brand new home and for it to echo because you are not able to furnish it properly.
I hope these eight tips are helpful and make the building process more enjoyable and fun.
If you are interested in learning about the design services we can offer you when building, email us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear more about your project.
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There’s one thing every home should have, and that is function.
We’ve recently been working on a home that is spacious and stately, but the layout wasn’t great.
This is the forever home for the family, and they were ready to make this home more functional for how they live.
We began with the front of the house because they couldn’t fit a sofa into their family room, and this is the room the family LIVES in.
With the help of architect Jason Robb, we took out a few columns, added some custom millwork, and the space already feels so much better (it now allows for not one, but two large sofas and several chairs).
The front of the house is finished- done- complete- and we are now moving onto Phase Two. We are addressing the choppiness in the back of the home by moving walls and reworking the kitchen, back hall, laundry and office.
We’ve given the kitchen as much storage and workspace as possible. It will be drop dead gorgeous, but that is just a given when you have custom details throughout.
We’ve ordered a La Cornue range and hood, and the custom cabinetry will be a mix of painted and waxed cabinetry. There is also a beautiful new butler’s pantry, along with an office, to organize the family.
A few renovation progress shots:
I am so excited to see this one complete, so follow along my Instagram stories as I share the progress. It’s going to be pretty incredible, and more importantly, highly functional for them to enjoy for years to come.
Have a great day,
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With two of my girls off at college and my last one leaving soon, I find my house starting to feel a little too big.
I love my location in Mountain Brook, AL, and my home that I put so much of myself into, but I hate the idea of unused space. I realize this is probably not my last house.
And like my empty nest clients, my next home will be one that will need to carry us through the final stage of life. Yet, I realize my needs as an empty nester will be different than those of someone with children living at home. So if you find yourself thinking like me, here are
Five Tips Every Empty Nester Should Know When Downsizing:
1. Not all of your furniture will fit in a scaled down home
This is a great time to think about the pieces your truly love and have meaning to you. Practice living well in this new home by simplifying, downsizing and surrounding yourself only with things you love and use.
2. Your children may not want your discards
Newsflash….When you are cleaning out, chances are that if you don’t want Aunt Susie’s favorite chair, your children may not either. Give them the gift of deciding what they would like to bring into their home without the pressure of keeping a family piece. When it is time, savor the memories and let go.
3. Customize the home to you
Life is short and life is meant for living well. If you have always wanted a large storage closet for your china and silver, build it. Surround yourself and customize your home to what brings you joy.
And while your space may be smaller, this is a great time to upgrade your finishes and details. Thought out touches add value to your home and to your life.
For instance, the home below was for my empty nest clients. They did not want a breakfast room because they like to eat everyday meals around an island. I wanted them to really enjoy their kitchen and especially their island, so we focused on making the space unique and extra special for them.
4. Create dual purpose rooms
While you may not have children and grandchildren visit every day, you want them to feel welcome when they do. If your new home doesn’t allow for enough extra bedrooms, think dual rooms, such as an office or sitting room with a bed or pullout sofa in it.
For instance, we turned this garage into a playroom because my clients needed extra space for watching tv when all of their grown children are home. We added an extra long sofa that has a pullout sofa for family visits.
Just because you give up square footage when downsizing does not mean you should ever give up entertaining or hosting overnight guests.
5. Think Long Term
While you may be healthy now and still running marathons every few months, your forever home may need to transition one day to the later stages of life.
What will that mean for you? It may mean a master on the main or an elevator for upstairs’ access, limited stairs where possible, and a shower and tub that are easy to get in and out.
So here’s to living well in your home and making it unique to you. Life is about surrounding yourself with people and memories you love and enjoy.
If we can help you create the home of your dreams, call us at 205-938-4848 or email us here. I’d love to discuss with you.
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