Archive for the ‘Interior Design, Decor’ Category

How to Modernize Your Outdated Kitchen

Whether your kitchen is a true fixer-upper from decades ago or your once-trendy laminate countertop and linoleum flooring fell out of style fast, it may be time to modernize your outdated kitchen. With new design trends showcasing creative uses of colors, modern appliances, and functional design, there are endless ways to bring your kitchen into the present day.

Whether you are trying to sell your home, or if you plan on staying in your space for generations to come – these ideas can help you transform your kitchen into the cooking space of your dreams.

Here are 10 creative ways to make your dull, outdated kitchen feel new and inviting once again.

1. Upgrade your metals

Outdated kitchens were made with materials that were popular decades ago, including metals used for kitchen hardware. With manufacturer’s releasing innovative materials and design trends following suit, it may be time to rethink your drawer pulls and lighting fixtures.

Metals going modern in kitchen design include matte aluminum, stainless steel, brushed gold, and copper – try these materials out in your cabinetry hardware, pendant lighting, and range hood options.

2. Swap out your flooring

Flooring is an area of your kitchen that is often forgotten, and yet plays a major role your entire kitchen. If your flooring is keeping you in the past, try switching from your traditional rolled vinyl or linoleum flooring to a more resilient, timeless material — we’re talking wood, tile, or stone.

These materials will last longer as well as boost the value of your home. In recent years, ceramic tile that mimics the look of hardwood has become popular, as well as travertine and slate.

3. Consider removing your upper cabinetry

Many outdated kitchens were built to include walls and walls of upper cabinetry to house dishes and cookware. Often times, these cabinets consume the eye and make the kitchen feel crowded. If you’re looking to open up the space of your kitchen and don’t have and room to grow outwards, consider removing the upper cabinets. This frees up the wall, allowing for modern open shelving with a few decorative items and dishware.


Image: Kimball Starr

4.  Modernize your countertops

Your countertops also get a large portion of real estate in your kitchen. While outdated kitchens may have the inconvenient tile-and-grout or cheap vinyl for workspace, the variety of countertop surfaces options out there today are endless. Foom solid surfacing varieties that consist of resin and polymers to natural stone varieties such as marble and granite, there’s an option for everyone’s style and budget.

Over the last few years, designers are becoming increasingly creative and are using heavy-duty structural materials for countertops. So add concrete, brick, tile, to your list, too.

5. Give people a place to sit

Your kitchen is most likely the busiest area of your home, and the place people are most likely to congregate in. Modern kitchens embrace this by adding seating to the kitchen. Whether you choose countertop stools and seats at a breakfast bar, or you opt for a banquette or bench at a window side table, seating can make your kitchen have a whole new appeal. Busy families with children doing homework to parents entertaining friends while cooking make seating essential in your modern kitchen.

6. Get energy efficient with your appliances

We’re all trying to lessen our carbon footprint, and your outdated kitchen appliances are a great place to start. If an appliance upgrade is in your future, be sure to make it energy efficient! You’ll get a modern look while saving water and energy — good for the earth and your bills.

Consider replacing plumbing fixtures as well, as low-flow kitchen faucets save a lot of water. Updating your kitchen shouldn’t only be for aesthetics; it should also help save you money and the Earth’s resources.

7. Paint your existing cabinetry

New cabinets not in the cards for you? Painting and staining your kitchen’s existing cabinetry is a great option for homeowners on a budget. You could choose a vibrant and bold blue, or a dark, modern black finish to cover up outdated wood and dingy colored cabinets of yesteryear. From distressing doors to paint glazes and stains, you will be surprised how your elbow grease and some additional color will transform your old cabinetry into new.

kitchen lighting ideas

Image: Design Brainy

8.  Install new lighting options

Once you have modernized the major components of your kitchen, don’t forget the lighting! While kitchen lighting can sometimes be an afterthought, it is essential for safety, ambiance, and versatility of your kitchen. If your kitchen solely contains one overhead ambient lighting fixture, look into recessed lighting for a modern illumination source.

Consider installing a dimmer switch for versatility while entertaining, cooking, or just relaxing for a midnight snack! Pendant lighting over a kitchen island, under cabinet lighting to illuminate countertops, and chandeliers are all becoming great options for updated lighting sources.


9. Add decorative elements

While you may not think about it, your kitchen is a great place to add decorative elements that bring a sense of you and your lifestyle into your kitchen. For many homeowners, plant shelves on top of cabinets allow room for plants, artwork, and other decorative items.

Built-in display shelves below your kitchen island can showcase your prized kitchenware, your favorite cookbooks, or display an heirloom set of china passed down through generations. Add a vase of flowers, and a fresh bowl of lemons for a shot of color.


Image: James Dixon

10. Take down walls

The compartmentalized and boxed-in feeling of outdated kitchens built generations ago is very common. If you’re looking to open up your kitchen and share the view with an adjacent dining room or living room – consider knocking down some partitions! This method works well for non load-bearing walls that don’t carry any structural value. Your kitchen can grow in size or it can just get opened up to other areas of your home.

While your kitchen could look fabulous as-is, what would it look like without that bothersome wall? If you’re unsure if this is possible – consult a structural engineer or architect to see what possibilities there are for your kitchen.

From updating finishes and materials to bringing in color, illumination, and space – the options abound for your outdated kitchen. While you may not use all 10 of these ideas, see which ones are perfect for your lifestyle, budget, and family. We can’t wait to see what you’ll do with your space!

Any tips or tricks we missed? Reach out to us in the comments below, or on our social media pages!

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Edwardian Extension Gets a Bold Look


Poly Studio completed this home extension on an Edwardian weatherboard house in Melbourne, Australia. Located in the suburb of Balaclava, the house inhabits a corner lot, giving it multiple front angles and first impressions from the street.


The home is divided into three quarters: the original Edwardian structure houses the parents’ zone, completed with master bedroom, bathroom and study. The ground floor of the extension hosts a living and dining room, connected with kitchen and laundry, opening out into the garden. The second floor of the extension has the children’s bedrooms, and a balcony overlooking the garden.


The extension was intended to complement the original structure without overpowering it. The original home was finished in weatherboard cladding, which had been painted white. To complement this, the extension was clad in Silvertop Ash, a hardwood, then stained black to contrast the original building. The extension is pushed down on the southern side to avoid visually overcrowding the original building.

This 240-square-meter extension was built in 2016.


















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15 Home Design Trends That Rocked 2016

2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year, to say the least. Yet like any other, it brought new home trends that we saw go from the homes of prominent designers to our own abodes. From modern metals to quirky accent pieces, we gathered up a list of the things we saw the most in over the past 12 months on blogs, in stores, and all over our Pinterest boards.

Here’s a look back at all of the trends we saw influencing our own homes and design styles in 2016.

Fish Scale Tiles

So many of the eclectic bathrooms we saw this year featured fish scale tiles. This Moroccan-based, scalloped pattern is often found in a brilliant shade of turquoise. It’s about as far from the minimalist subway tile look as you can get, and offers a welcome opportunity to make any bathroom feel just a bit closer to the sea. Perfect for interior design lovers and mermaids alike.

freshome 2016 home trends13

Image: Rikki Snyder

Artisan Pieces

It’s not just about what the decor piece is anymore – it’s also about where it’s from. In 2016, we’ve seen artisan pieces and “maker” products go mainstream, with companies like West Elm collaborating with small design shops and furniture makers. Think of it as a follow-up to farm-to-table cuisine in restaurants.

freshome 2016 home trends12

Image: LEX Furniture

Geometric Patterns

Geometric patterns have been popular for decades, but this year’s popular prints took on a modern, Scandinavian-inspired look. Black and white checks and tessellated designs showed up on artwork, textiles, even walls. And you know everyone had that IKEA pillow.


TLC’s Fixer Upper featured a storybook southern couple, Chip and Joanna, whose jaw-dropping renovations had everyone feeling the farmhouse-chic vibes this year. And so interior design saw a huge uptick in the popularity of Joanna’s favorite feature: Shiplap. Although many argue about what it actually is, there’s no doubt that this horizontal, white-washed paneling became the home design buzzword in 2016.

freshome 2016 home trends10

Image: Natalie Myers

Tech-free Living Spaces

Prominent interior designers and home influencers took a step back from technology this year, and we began to see living and bedrooms sans televisions. Even on Freshome, you noticed — commenting “where’s the TV?” in rooms without a dedicated spot for the tube.

freshome 2016 home trends9

Image: Callwey


Or faux fur, mostly. Taking a note from nordic design, we saw small throws of the fuzzy stuff tossed over the back of chairs or made into chic pillowcases. Regardless of how you feel about it from an ethics standpoint, it does add texture to those minimally-style rooms that can err on the colder side.

Bulky, Low Furniture

Channeling the laid-back, relaxed furniture styles of the ‘70s, we saw a rise in bulky furniture over the past year. When adapting it to your own home, splurge for high-quality fabrics and square arms. Because bean bag chairs still aren’t back in style yet.

freshome 2016 home trends8

Image: Pottery Barn


Following the modern bohemian trend, shibori showed up on just about every textile imaginable. This Japanese tie-dye style features indigo and white and is a more muted version of the technicolor madness we’re used to with classic tie-dye. Check out our own list of DIY shibori projects for your own home.

Two-Toned Cabinetry

The modern kitchen is changing. This year, a lot of that change came with the popularity of two-toned kitchen cabinetry. Sounds loud, but can actually be much easier on the eye than single-toned cabinets when done right — think black lower cabinets with white uppers. Varying grays or bold and neutral are also favorites.

Mid-Century Lighting

We’re pretty convinced that mid-century design will never go out of style. So the permanence and investment in a brass, eclectic lighting fixture shouldn’t be as scary as it seems. We’re seeing these spindly chandeliers pop up everywhere in homes: kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms — even entryways.


There’s no denying that there’s something magical about geodes. These mesmerizing rocks split open to showcase brilliant crystals at their core. In home design, they make stunning bookends, coasters, even lamps. Rock on.

freshome 2016 home trends4

Image: Blakes London

Matte Finishes

On the opposite end of the sparkle spectrum, matte finishes saw a rise in popularity this past year. The understated beauty and sophistication of this flat finish brought it to walls, countertops, and appliances. We think this is just the beginning of homeowners opting for smoothness instead of shine.

Marble Accessories

It was a big year for marble. Jumping out of its usual role on countertops and flooring, marble, and specifically, Carrera marble, found it’s way into every decor piece imaginable. Accent tables, serve ware, even the phone case of the girl sitting next to me as I type this.

Warm Metals

Gold and brass used to signify gaudy ‘90s fixtures, but warm metals have certainly made a comeback in the past year. Copper and rose gold also made their mainstream debuts. To avoid looking tacky, designers are opting for brushed and matte versions of warm metals.

Mixed Metals

Feeling nervous about going all gold everything? Luckily, this past year was the year to mix metals of all hues and finishes in the same space. To pull this off, start small, and get creative with which accents that are metal. So if your wallpaper has a touch of silver, try a brass lamp.

What was your favorite home design trend of 2016? Are there any we missed? We’d love to hear from you, so reach out to us over social media or in the comment section below!

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Bold Linear Shapes Form this Canadian Ski-In Lodge

Ski-in Ski-out Lodge

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson completed this modern ski-in / ski-out lodge called Kicking Horse Residence for its location in British Columbia.  The owners wanted a weekend property capable of housing plenty of guests.  With that in mind, the design incorporates ladders leading up to bonus, lofted sleeping area with maple bunk beds.

This home includes two distinct volumes.  It nestles the sleeping and bath spaces above the garage and below a slanted ceiling.  The black-stained cedar cantilevered roof creates a striking look — a nod to modern Scandinavian design.  For its part, the garage includes a custom cedar bi-fold door.

Cantilevered Roof

The second volume houses a central kitchen for entertaining and an open dining and living room, complete with a cozy fireplace.  The design team oriented this space toward the mountain peaks.  Meanwhile, an adjacent ski trail invites residents and guests to get out and enjoy the slopes.

Such easy access fluidly connects the home to the nearby ski resort.  Moreover, the Douglas fir and cedar planks used inside and out add rustic, ski chalet charm.  These site-specific touches reflect deep consideration for the elements that make these slopes unique.  As part of that, the design works to protect evergreen trees at the south end of the property.  (Photography by Nic Lehoux and Matthew Millman and courtesy of Residential Architect.  Information courtesy of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson)

Back Patio

Living Room

Two Volumes





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Two Muted-Tone, Exposed-Brick Pads for Young Families

Young families and contemporary interiors are not always the best of friends. Kids mean playtime – cooking, drawing, running around – and invariably, a mess that just won’t fit with your new white couch. Avoid crayoned white walls and large stains on your shagpile by using easy-to-clean, industrial materials – like these two family homes in the Ukraine and Belarus. Dreamy mushrooms and muted beiges meet black and white, exposed brick and subtle pastels in spaces that look luxurious – and remain that way. A blue couch here, and teal bathroom tiling there, allow interesting colour combinations that are near impossible to ruin. Flick through for two family-friendly designs to inspire your interior.

Visualizer: K BAND  

Measuring a mere 72sqm, this home in Kiev, Ukraine needed a smarter design to house a young family. Centred around the idea of freedom – of thinking, movement and personal style – the space’s open plan structure, light tones and wooden frames keep in the warmth while avoiding clutter. The lounge starts off the space with a breezy window letting in light, alongside grey walls and simple artwork. Mid-wood flooring makes the space larger, providing a clean background for a rug to segment. Exposed grey brick winds around to the dining room, complemented by fine white features and a sprig of yellow florals.

The simple lines of the living room are viewed towards the TV, as its grey brick blends into charcoal cabinetry. Long, white lines allow a cacti ornament to dominate. Standing further back, the silver of above-TV cabinetry reflects silver lighting in the dining room.

Making a space of its own, the dining room shows off in simple wooden furniture accented by steel accessories. A silver chandelier plays notes, marking a spot for eating; steel table legs mirror a white stencil frame behind; long drawer handles in the kitchen mirror them both. Two kitchen panels provide more room by blending in wooden shades. The look is light and airy, making the most of an otherwise-tight space.

Through a cranny beside the main kitchen bench, grey brick winds around to another delight: the bedroom. Ivy clings to the other side of the wall, adding serenity. As in the living room, a wooden panel frames the taupe, grey and beige bedding, later emboldened in different textures. A grey wall and mat allow a little extra room for a teal bedframe and leaning blue abstract. The other side of the partition reveals a simple office space, an illusion of space in the same wooden shade. A set of drawers, vanity area and leaning wooden frames play the same trick.

Towards the left, a light grey door beckons into a nursery and playroom. Mustard curtains and teal tones add a softness to walls designed for children to scribble on. Housed in the same light wooden shades, the walls, cabinetry, bed frame, bookcase and floors carry the fresh feeling throughout the space. A large bonzai and telescope add personality.

On the other side of the room, playful aspects make themselves known. A teal feature wall dominates the space, holding a white glass case out of reach from the kids. To the right, a jungle gym is framed in stylish simplicity, an innovative answer to a kid’s toy. The mottled central rug ties the themes together, leading to a seated area and wooden wall decorated with coloured ornaments.

The bathroom carries on the teal theme in a large-tiled feature. Carrying a wooden sink cabinet and storage within its frame, a central sink plank and wooden shelf link it to the rest of the interior. White tiles and a laddered heated-towel rail extend the space, as grey-patterned tiles both link the designs and hide a bath. A feature light stretches out to the sink, while more muted LED lights allow no darkness in the smaller, tighter spaces.

Visualizer: VAE Design Group  

Our second family home in Minsk, Belarus, is a more comfortable 190sqm. Featuring more dramatic instances of black, white and taupe, its feel is more contemporary chic – but with clever, easy-to-clean surfaces that stand the test of playtime. The main living space exudes spaciousness with a wide-paned window and open-plan living area. Also featuring grey exposed brick and a black matte feature wall, the lounge furniture forms a set of low-lying cubes. Two strips of black lighting add subtle flavour, while a hovering lamp takes the stage. A patchwork mat blends it all together on a simple stone-coloured floor.

A shiny marble inlet catches the eye towards the kitchen. Black cabinetry frames the central panel, as a trio of white lights dangle eloquently beneath.

Further extending the space, the floor leads towards a monochromatic dining room, alternating in black-and-white chairs and two hanging lamps. Featuring the same white-chiffon-clad open panes as the lounge, a zen-style bookcase hugs the wall. A look around the room shows the abundance of space in each area, creating a vibe minimalistic, sophisticated and clean.

A move into the office shows the kitchen’s sleek, shiny surfaces adapted for work. Black curtains and carpet beside a light grey bookcase create the illusion of room. A simple monochrome table and black chairs sit underneath an LED-stick chandelier, an artistic addition to a popular workspace. Chrome details provide the finishing touch.

The kids’ room shows a similar style of desk, bathed in white. Set upon a low-maintenance wooden floor, the same black curtains background a simple brown-and-beige bed. White walls and an inbuilt bookcase create a light feel, while a blue circular rug and beanbag mark a space for playtime. The playful yet adult themes of the room carry the youngster from early years to adulthood.

The master bedroom finishes off the space in an array of white and beige elements. Taking the LED-stick lights from the office and turning them white, black-and-beige bedding is complemented by a zigzag painting on a feature panel wall. Two lines of taupe curtains close off the area for dreamtime, opening them for a quick workout or steamy shower.

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