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Doing Black Cabinetry the Right Way

Every once in a while, a client asks JASON BALL interiors to design a kitchen with some real drama. This is nothing against most of the other kitchens I've done, but some people just really want to push the design envelope to the limit. I'm working on one such kitchen. We, the clients and myself, set out to design a kitchen all the right details, backsplash, cabinet hardware, counter top and especially the cabinetry. Our design choice was to use cabinetry in a deep black paint color with a higher level of glossiness than usual. Different than most kitchens, this particular kitchen can handle the idea of dark cabinetry because of the quality and quantity of light available. Large windows in the adjacent breakfast nook (with an amazing view, by the way) and an abundance of overhead lighting makes it easier to ensure a light-filled space despite the cabinetry tone.

But, how can you incorporate dark cabinetry in a setting without all of these particular advantages. If the idea of black cabinetry is something that interests you, then this article will guide you through the selection process of how best to use black cabinetry in your kitchen.

Start Small. One of the easiest ways to get a darker tone in your kitchen it to only use it in one or two selective locations. An island or bar area are perfect locations for beautiful black cabinetry and a great way to introduce black into your space.

Black island and built-in china cabinet: Design by Sarah Davison Interior Design

Black island and built-in china cabinet: Design by Sarah Davison Interior Design

Balance with light surfaces all around. Using black cabinetry in your kitchen is all about balance. The easiest way to balance out the black cabinetry is to make sure you have sufficient light in the room. Recessed lights, pendants, in-cabinet lighting are all crucial in creating a light filled room

Lights abound in this kitchen - Photography by Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Lights abound in this kitchen - Photography by Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Reflective surfaces are your friend. If you're daring enough to go all out and put in a full set of black cabinetry, use metal finishes, glass and other reflective surfaces to help "lighten" the space. These shiny surfaces are important ways to push the light around the space and provide little glints of light against the dark cabinetry. 

Chrome pendants and cabinet hardware are the jewelry in this kitchen - Design by Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. 

Chrome pendants and cabinet hardware are the jewelry in this kitchen - Design by Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. 

Go all out for pure drama. If you're really bold, why not pull out all the stops? This amazing kitchen has everything going for it - an amazing ceiling, gorgeous cabinetry and a floor that builds on the overall look. One design element to make note of. The farm table plays an incredibly important role in the space. It adds warmth and age to space, a great add.

Black cabinetry with checkerboard floor and antique farmhouse table - Design by Alonso and Associates

Black cabinetry with checkerboard floor and antique farmhouse table - Design by Alonso and Associates

Here are a couple of instances in which I've used black cabinetry. In one kitchen, we did black on all the cabinetry. In the other one, just the island and built-in buffet area got special treatment.

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I can't wait to show you the kitchen JBi has recently been working on. I'm pretty sure it's going to be really show stopper. And, one last word, don't let black cabinetry get in the way of creating your dream kitchen. Go bold or go home, right?! 

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Designer Notebook: Drapery Pleat Styles Done the Right Way

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Designer Notebook: Drapery Pleat Styles Done the Right Way

 

From a designer's perspective, drapery is one of those key elements in any rooms that helps the room feel finished. Their presence in a room can dramatically change a room to either be formal or informal, or contemporary or traditional. Often times it is the type of pleat used that plays the crucial role in determining the finished style of the drapery.

Yes, you'll notice that I left out the fabric in the above paragraph. That was completely intentional. There are millions of fabric options and the style of the room often dictates the type of fabric selected for the room. Fabric content, pattern, etc. will all come into play when selecting drapery fabric that fits the particular style of your room.

Moving on the pleat styles...open up any drapery design book and you'll see a huge range of pleat styles and looks, from incredibly ornate to simple, contemporary forms. While every pleat style has its place, we at JBi definitely have our favorites - pinch pleats (euro or regular style), grommets and ripple-fold to name a few. I'll throw in one extra style for good measure, something for the more traditionally minded folks.

The pinch pleat is probably the most well known pleat style. The pleat is made by gathering fabric together at regular intervals along the top of the fabric panel. The number of gathers in the pleat are called "fingers." A two-fingered pleat has two gathers, a three-fingered pleat has three and so on. If the pleat is made by gathering the fabric some distance down from the top of the panel (usually about 2 inches), this is called a pinch pleat. When the pleat is gathered at the top of the panel, the pleat is known as a Euro pleat. 

Two fingered Euro pleat - design by Karen Houghton Interiors

Two fingered Euro pleat - design by Karen Houghton Interiors

Pinch pleat - design by Alluring Window NYC

Pinch pleat - design by Alluring Window NYC

For a distinctly contemporary look, many use either a grommeted look or ripple-fold. These have similar looks but use different methods to create the look. A grommeted panel has large metal rimmed holes punched in the top of the panel through which a rod or taut wire is run. The fabric simply creates an "S" shape along the hanging mechanism. Ripple-fold drapery has the same "S" shape but is created by using a special connection from the top of the drapery to ripple-fold track. The track allows the drapery to easily be moved across the length. A measured string is used inside the track to keep the "ripples" at equal distances along the hardware, thus the name ripple-fold.

Grommeted panels - Design by Tineke Triggs, Artistic Designs For Living

Grommeted panels - Design by Tineke Triggs, Artistic Designs For Living

Ripplefold drapery - Design by Heather Williamson

Ripplefold drapery - Design by Heather Williamson

For good measure, let's look at one more pleat style, something on the more traditional side of things. The reverse box pleat is one of my favorite styles for a more traditional look. Think a pleat but in reverse - the part of the pleat that normally is in the back comes out to the front of the panel and are then connected. Sometimes a button or other decoration is used to connect the pleats in reverse. This type of pleat style is best used for fixed panels.

Box pleat with button detail - Design by RLH Studio

Box pleat with button detail - Design by RLH Studio

I hope this quick primer gives you some ideas on what to do with your next drapery project. Happy drapery-ing! 

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Before & After: New Laundry Room Layout for an Active Family

As a follow up to the Before & After entry from a couple of weeks ago, let's look at what happened in the laundry room of this project. As I mentioned before, this house is so typical of many suburban homes built in the 1980s and 1990s. And, when it comes to the laundry room, they clearly didn't have an interior designer help them with the space planning of the room. The standard layout was a large closet with bi-fold, louvered doors on one end, a small laundry room sink and the washer and dryer crammed into the other side. This really is the epitome of an inefficient use of space.

So, what if we get the chance to reconfigure the space for today's lifestyle? What layout changes make sense? And, how can we improve on the traditional, less than optimal layout? Well, let's use this one as a case study and look at the before picture to see what we were dealing with. A poorly designed storage area, an less than optimal laundry area had to be dealt with in a way to not only improved the space, but also was set up for an active family.

As you can see from the "after" picture below, we not only gave the family more functional spaces to work with, but also brought some great style into a room that is usually forgotten. A great two-tone herringbone tile floor, white quartz counters and clean white cabinetry make this a place anyone would want to spend some time working.

ABOUT JASON BALL interiors. Jason is an interior designer based in Portland, Oregon serving residential and commercial clients throughout Oregon and Washington, and beyond. To see examples of his design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at jason@jasonballinteriors.com.

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Designing a Kid's Bathroom That Ages With Your Kid

For interior designers, there is nothing more fun that creating a special space just for the kids. We spend hours and thousands of dollars to design fantastic bathrooms for the parents, so why not spend the same energy level on the bathrooms for younger members of the family?

JASON BALL interiors has recently completed a number of projects involving bathrooms designed for children. I think parents are hesitant to design kid-specific bathrooms because they're worried their children will go out of style or might decide they don't like the look in a few years. So, how do you design a bathroom that will either stand the test of time or grow with your child?

Here are the ways in which I design a bathroom that can grow as your kid gets older.

Start with classic elements, layer on the details. Start with the basic design elements like cabinetry, lighting, etc., to create a solid foundation. Cabinetry with simple details, or finished in a classic color or stain color allows you to work with the other design elements to create a fun, playful bathroom. In the bathroom below, we started with a classic inset vanity and solid color counter top, and then paired them with nautical-inspired lighting and mirrors, and a beautiful wood wall for a bathroom fitting for two boys. 

Use wall color in smart ways. In this girl's bathroom, we wanted a room that was young, playful and appropriately girly. The classically-styled vanity with crystal knobs and princess-like mirrors lay the foundation. But, it's the pink wall color that really makes the statement. We didn't want just a nice, pretty pink, but a pink that had presence. And, since it's paint, it can easily be changed if the daughter decides she doesn't like pink in a few years.  

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Accent tile is your friend. Many homeowners shy away from using tile that's too specific to a certain look. However, with some thoughtful planning, using an accent tile to create a special look can be switched out down the road fairly easily (by a professional of course). This boy's bathroom is about the playful green wall color and the glass circle tiles in the shower.  If green is no longer a favorite color, change the wall color and change the accent tile. Of course, this takes a little more effort and money, but it's still less expensive than changes out the entire bathroom.

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I hope these bathrooms give you inspiration to bring some style to the bathrooms of your youngest family members. I would love to hear your stories too.

ABOUT JASON BALL interiors. Jason is an interior designer based in Portland, Oregon serving residential clients throughout Oregon and Washington and beyond. To see examples of his design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at jason@jasonballinteriors.com.

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