Color update

We’ve had a lot of clients in the past few years who requested to update their colors from the red, gold and green palate to the cooler grays, taupes, blues and greens.  For this Garnet Valley home’s breakfast area we … Continue reading

Open Concept Space Planning 

Are you thinking about renovating?  Do you want to tear down your walls and create an open concept design? Before you do, it is essential to think about how you use a space and what problems you are trying to … Continue reading

Classic, updated kitchen

 

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Kitchen renovations are a great investment for resale value, but lately, our clients are wanting to update their kitchens so that they can enjoy this much-used room themselves.  It makes sense, as this is usually an expensive project, and tends to look dated in about ten years or so.  In order to make the look last as long as possible, we recommend a timeless and classic design that doesn’t follow the trends too closely, especially on the more permanent items such as the cabinets and flooring.  Light fixtures and hardware can be changed out more easily, so if you want to be a little trendy, it makes more sense to do so with these items or with the wall color.

In this West Chester kitchen, we wanted to take advantage of the 9 foot ceilings and remove the existing soffit.  This eliminated the horizontal band, making the room look taller and feel larger.  It also provided extra storage and display space for distinctive pottery, glass, or decorative collectibles.

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The appliances that are available these days are amazing.  They do almost everything and homeowners can pick and choose from many features, based on their budget and their families’ needs. This client requested that we put a full refrigerator and a full freezer side by side, creating large amounts of cold storage right in the kitchen where it’s convenient to access.  We loved this idea, and luckily there was a long wall available to put them on.  Additionally, there is a small beverage refrigerator with a glass door for easy access to drinks for every day and when entertaining.  The extensive, 6-burner gas range with a center griddle is a chef’s dream. A drawer microwave built into the island is easily accessible while not taking up countertop space.

 

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The simple design of the farmhouse sink is as functional as it is beautiful.  The minimal aesthetic complements design styles from rustic to modern.  With the extra deep double basins, there is plenty of space for both prep and washing.  This hardworking sink is an excellent choice for busy families.

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The earth-toned colors of the accent tile behind the range expresses the homeowners’ tastes and adds color to the space while creating a beautiful and unique focal point.  Painting the trim on the bay window updated the look and allowed it to blend seamlessly with the cabinets.  Natural stone subway tile adds a bit of texture and pattern to the monochromatic theme of the perimeter.  Rich, distressed black island cabinets are contrasted by the polished white stone top– another focal point that grounds the entire layout.  The oil rubbed bronze plumbing fixtures and cabinet hardware add a rich contrast to the creamy walls, cabinets, and floor.  Four classic, X-back stools are comfortable, casual, and welcoming, making the island an inviting place to gather.  The stone-look tile floor is a neutral, classic and durable choice.

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Clever, fun and functional features were added to make this kitchen unique.  A well-appointed center for both hot and cold beverages comes complete with a sink.  The base cabinet next to the stove is home to all essential utensils, keeping the countertops clear.  Lots of other cabinets were custom-fitted for smart and highly personalized storage solutions.  Finally, there’s a hidden paper towel holder.  Can you see or guess where it is (answer in pictures below)?

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Rustic Master Bath remodel

We were recently asked to redesign a 1990s master bath in West Chester.  Like many of the “newer” homes in this area, this one featured a large soaking tub that was rarely used, a small dark shower, and a cramped … Continue reading

A Fresh Traditional Look

 

 

Fresh traditional

Want to try something new and traditional?  This might seem contradictory but think again. Traditional style elements include dated (not to be confused with outdated) period pieces, along with architectural moldings that frame the elegant symmetry of a room.  While a traditional color pallet usually showcases rich darker colors, it can also feature lighter, fresh, vibrant colors like this powder room renovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lively colors and pattern of the wallpaper add movement and excitement.  The client especially loved the touch of gold color on the ceiling.  A traditional deep red window treatment pops against the colorful wallpaper. Golden hues of the brass lighting and plumbing fixtures are bright, playful, and trending.  Pure white porcelain fixtures, with their traditional styling, complement the crisp white classic crown and baseboard molding that perfectly frames this updated fresh traditional décor. Everything old is new again with a fresh take on the timeless aesthetic of traditional décor.

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In search of a good night’s sleep and a quality mattress–do they exist?

My husband and I just celebrated our 24th anniversary.  In those 24 years we have had 3 or 4 mattresses—so many I’ve lost count!  This doesn’t include the early Tempurpedic we tried and sent back within the month.  That means the mattresses lasted on average about 6 years, but each one started getting body impressions well within the first year.  They would get worse and worse, I’d live with it for a while, and then I’d finally get tired of the “rolling hills” of my mattress, sore back and neck, tossing and turning all night, and buy a new one.  Full disclosure—my husband could sleep on a rock, so every time I’d start complaining he would just roll his eyes.  None of the mattresses we bought were cheap, either.  All were in the $2000.-$2700. range, generally the innerspring, pillow-top variety.  Our last venture was an all-natural latex mattress.  While the concept of sleeping on a natural product that won’t off-gas bad chemicals was appealing to me, the fact that there were no springs was a big mistake.  This one lasted not quite 7 years, but again, my back has been bothering me for a while.  

My research, experience, and knowledge of furniture (and now mattresses) led me to want a good quality innerspring mattress with a topper that could be added or replaced.  The company I found had a local showroom where I could go test all of their mattresses.  Their base models were pretty well rated in Consumer Reports, which is how I started looking at them.  All of their base mattresses are the same, and they just offer differently configured toppers.  All of the toppers are removable and replaceable.  Of course, the salesman recommended the most expensive one, which has two layers of smaller springs in the topper.  I laid on it for a while and it was very comfortable.  It evenly supported my back and was also comfortable lying on my side, more so than their other mattresses.  The coils in the base are supposedly stronger so hopefully, they’ll last longer.  All of the mattresses have a 25-year warranty—much higher than most.  They’re assembled in the US, and the materials are “natural” but I don’t think they are “organic”.  They use Talalay Latex in the topper (a product derived from the rubber plant).  The cost of this mattress was much less than the cost of comparable mattresses sold in department stores, which I also tried.  It is a thick mattress (15”) so it sits higher than what I’m used to.  

I just slept on it for the first time last night, and definitely got a better night’s sleep.  All that tossing and turning meant that I wasn’t getting enough REM sleep, but last night I did.  I didn’t have to set my alarm this morning and was surprised that I woke up after 8:00.  Usually, I’m so uncomfortable that I wake up around 6 or 6:30 and have to get out of bed just to get comfortable and stretch my back. 

I really hope this is the last mattress I’ll ever have to buy (or at least second-to-last).  The real test is whether or not it starts to sag after 3 years or so.  Let’s hope not!  But, what makes me feel good about this purchase is not only the warranty (the usual 1-1/2” sag factor applies here, too) but the fact that the company is a smaller company that cares about their reputation and wants to please their customers.  If the topper becomes uncomfortable after so many years of use, I can get another one without replacing the entire mattress.  

The takeaway from this: make sure you consider what position you like to sleep in, do your research (including laying on it for a while), and make sure you’re not spending good money on a mattress that won’t last more than 5 or 6 years.  Wishing you all a better night’s sleep!!!

Note: it is not my intention for this to be a promotional piece for this company which is why I omitted the name, but if you would like more information, please feel free to email me:  krista@mcgrathinteriors.com

“Game of Thrones” in your Kingdom?

Adding furniture and decor further envelops you in the world of a time gone by.   Inviting you into the space is a hand carved, wood and metal name plaque. A rustic built-in banquette and pub table have handmade inlayed tile. The … Continue reading

A fresh, new look

  Gray has been a popular neutral color for decorating as of late, and if a sleek, cool and contemporary look is what you’re after, then using various shades of gray is a no-brainer.   But, if you want to … Continue reading

Choosing exterior colors

When redoing the exterior of a home, there are lots of great choices in materials, and when painting, you have your choice of any color you wish.  But, oftentimes you are working with existing stone, brick or roof color.  So, where to begin?

For this charming home in town, the clients wanted to start over with a new color palette, and really liked the idea of using shingles somewhere.  As the shingles are more of an accent, we put them on the upper dormer, chose a medium blue to paint the brick on the bottom, selected a creamy yellow siding, and kept the trim white so the colors popped.  The shutters on the side of the house were custom-stained to work with the shingle color and front door color, then we added a bit of burgundy and red as an accent to the side metal roof, cushions on the porch and flowers.  Eliminating the shutters on the front helped to simplify the look, and other details like new lighting, add a nice finishing touch.  (See below for details).

Exterior Before

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Exterior After

Front View-After

After Side view

Side View-After

This next house had a nice, “hunt country” theme to it, but the owners wanted a slightly different, more classic look.  We chose a lighter beige siding and went with black shutters.  Not super-exciting, but that’s the point.  A home’s exterior should relate to it’s surroundings, and not necessarily jump out at you.  If you do use color, consider using bolder colors in smaller doses (on the front door, for example).  A little bit goes a long way.  The last consideration is how much color you’ll have from flowers and plants.  If you have a beautiful garden, then keep the house relatively simple so that the focus is on the garden.  However, if you would rather have the house itself make a statement, then by all means, jazz it up a little.

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Before Photo

Kennedy After

After Photo

 

Color selection and vendor notes for first house:

Siding color: Desert Tan, Paint: SW6249 Storm Cloud, Cedar: Cedar Impressions-Blend.

Painter: Hi-Tek Painting, West Chester PA

Siding and trim: Certitude, Malvern PA