Inspiration Album

Living room

Living room

Dear AT,. OK - I'm doing some labor intensive, cost sensitive kitchen remodeling, starting with my cabinets. Do you think it's too much to have black cabinets in a 'Real life' kitchen? I have a typical Chicago kitchen and the cabinets are now white. Do you think I could do black at the bottom and white on top? I'd really appreciate the feedback. In our apartment, years ago, we had black cabinets on one side of the kitchen while the others were white. The black ones were on the bottom, and we thought the look worked well in our 'Real life' kitchen. I think the question is, do you have enough light in your kitchen to go the dark route? As with dark paint colors, a set of black cabinets will certainly change the mood. We've never seen any other kitchen solutions in person with black cabinets, but we're sure there are some good ones out there.

TV unit green

3

Living room

Christian and her husband decided to make a beautiful cathedral window quilt the focus and inspiration for their daughter's nursery. In addition to using the quilt's colors throughout the room, Christian's husband made this incredible wood wall art as a perfect compliment and counterpoint to the quilt. While one is soft and the other hard and the color comprises the diamond shapes in one and the petal shapes in the other - we think you'll have to agree that these items are both fantastic on their own and especially stunning together. You can read a bit about how this wood wall hanging was made on Christian's blog, ModObject at Home, as well as more about how this room went from a room for a son to a room for a daughter.

Contemporary living room

3

Fireplace

I love how good design can transform something humble - like a bathroom sink - into something breathtaking. I first spotted this sink by Gore Design Co on Design Milk years ago, and I've been in love with it ever since. A gorgeous modern sink from Jamie Hayon's collection for Bisazza. There's something so appealing about the simplicity of this square black stone vessel sink. You've probably realized by now that I have a bit of a thing for marble sinks. Who knew a sink in a humble material like concrete could be such a showstopper? It's all in the execution - the deep basin, the wall-mounted faucet, that nifty shelf thing on the back of the sink. Finally, from architect Oziel Contreras via Archilovers, a sink that's as counfounding as it is beautiful. Obviously the water exits the cantilevered sink on the right side, which connects to the wall, but where does it come from? We're guessing the the pipes that support the mirror also supply the water.

Modern tv unit

Apartment hunting is never easy, but searching for your dream home across state lines can feel more like a nightmare. Here are some key survival tips for searching, viewing and signing a lease on an apartment when you can't just hop in the car and meet a broker or landlord, without spending a ton of money. There's always Craigslist, but you might also find that there are highly useful apartment listing sites in your new city that have verified listings-finding one apartment you like could also lead you to a no-fee broker who can let you know about other apartments you might love as well. If you can take a trip to your new city, it's worth it to visit and view some apartments in person, so you can really get a feel for the space and the neighborhood. If you have your heart set on one apartment and that's the only one you set up an appointment for, you might hate it and not have enough time to set up more, sending you back to square one. If you have close friends or family members you trust in the city you're moving to, it might be worth it to ask them to help you with your apartment search. Apartment hunting in the city you already live in is hard enough, let alone finding one in a completely different part of the country. You might find your dream apartment in one go, but you also might not be able to find one that feels perfect right away, and either way, it'll be okay. You might find an apartment that's good enough for a temporary stay, so plan to stay for a year until your lease is up, and then the apartment hunt will be a lot less challenging. Have you survived a big move to a far away place? Do you have any tips for long-distance apartment hunting?

Living room with fireplace

While you might not guess it from photos, Emma of The Marion House Book blog spent a long time living in a bedroom that she found too trendy and not quite right. After a few months of careful planning, she has lightened up and overhauled the space. AT readers, other contributors, and I can sympathize with the struggle to put the bedroom first; for some reason, it's easy to divert your energy to other rooms. I think it looks great in both photos, but Emma's transformed bedroom is almost unrecognizable. In addition to bringing in new bedding and accessories, she painted over the deep gray walls, switched out her four-poster bed frame, and repositioned the bed. The result is relaxed but refined - a look that Emma's blog proves she is adept at achieving. For details and more photos, check out The Marion House Book.

Living room with large sofa and chairs

3

Living room tv unit

Inspired by yesterday's ColorTherapy post on Christmas Red #2, we thought long and hard about the fact that a) we love a range of reds, including that post's most vibrant one and b) we don't know if we could live with walls like that. We pulled a few pieces from across the web that would add a fantastic, heart-melting punch to any room. Misregistered linen/cotton pillows from John Robshaw, $75-$125. 'Beads' rug in tomato from Room & Board, $249-$999. Regency Bamboo Canterbury magazine rack from Source Perrier, $195. Sapporo plexiglass doors from DWR, $88 for one pair. Red lacquered tray from Target, $7.49 on sale.

Living room

3

Living room

We're about to undertake the task of redoing our dining room to make it function better as an office and instead of showing you a before and after and then being frustrated by great suggestions once we've already done the work, we thought we'd solicit some opinion for AT readers before we got started. Our dining room currently serves as somewhat of a catchall, and in the end doesn't get used very much. There's a desk tucked into the corner, but it's used mainly as storage for piles of paper and we end up working at the dining room table. While we eat most meals on the sofa we throw relatively regular dinner parties and need to keep the dining table available for that. The biggest adjustment that needs to be made is to make this into a functional workspace for two people working together - we're thinking we'll use the dining table as a large desk but keep all paperwork/office supplies off of it when not in use. We obviously need to find a better storage solution to replace the three small pieces on this wall. We're planning on painting the walls a more vivid color, possibly a deep blue, and would like to also paint the table - we're thinking gloss white, but are open to other suggestions. We know that right now there is too much art and too many knickknacks, so we'd like to streamline the accessories while possibly adding a large bulletin board.

Living room

Q: I am redoing my living room/dining room, it's a large room but long and narrow. I don't need a dining area and I'm at a loss for how to make the two rooms into one cohesive space. Right now it's two separate rooms which isn't really working for us. My dream floor plan would have this entire room working as one living area with little nooks for my child's toys and art and significant floor space to run around. Editor: Let Emilie know what you would do in the comments - thanks! Got a question? Email yours with pic attachments here.

Living room

3

Living room with gray rug

3

TV unit

At least I'm assuming that's why you would want a leather keyboard. While I appreciate the feel and quality of a fine leather portfolio, can't say that this really evokes the same sort of feeling. An ode to Japanese simplicity or utter stupidity? What do you say?

Library

Windows over sinks tend to draw the eye, which means that this small area in your kitchen has a lot of visual responsibility. Taking some time to dress it up - even a little bit - can change the entire look and feel of the room, and reward you tenfold. Erin of Francoise et Moi painted the window frame a pretty blue to make it stand out, and topped it off with brass hardware. Elizabeth and Jeremy have plant vines trained around the perimeter of the window, which is both a beautifully organic and unusual decorating decision. A cornice box really finished off a window and, in the case of this kitchen from A Beautiful Mess, provides a little dab of hot pink. Two sconces on either side of sink from House & Home frame the window nicely and call your attention to the view outside. Sometimes it's as simple as adding a single pendant light to add movement and give the window some personality. This kitchen makeover from My Domaine involved a classic roman shade which added color and pattern to the all-white kitchen. This decorative door hanging looks great hanging on a window instead, and fits this Bohemian home seen on Design Sponge. Jennifer Rizzo's kitchen window is framed by a couple of wooden brackets, which dress it up without needing a curtain.