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A Dreamer’s Kitchen

Do you ever catch yourself staring at your kitchen, dreaming about the possibilities, wondering what it would be like given you had the (fill in the blank) to redesign or renovate it?

Two years ago we bought a 1940s Colonial that has a quaint farmhouse feel but needs a looot of work, so this is something I do a lot (the standing and staring). 

HBS Home, a kitchen & bath showroom here in Bucks County, PA is a stunning custom cabinet shop right around the corner from us in Newtown. They asked me to create a conceptual kitchen design to display on the gallery wall in their showroom. Typically busy with our clients’ projects, my own are usually  shoved to the bottom of the list (don’t ask me about the sheets hanging over my bedroom windows). Since I don’t have a client on this project, I took the opportunity to dream up a plan for myself. It was exciting in that I finally set aside time to think about what I would actually like some of our renovations to look like one day. Not only has that been a nice distraction during the Covid quarantine, but it enables me to consider our priorities, construct a budget, and assess the next projects in our home in an informed manner.

Below I’ll walk you through the design, which highlights my detailed selections and a peek into our design planning process.

To start, we partnered with Countryside Gallery on State St and I selected a watercolor by local artist Judy La Torreat to set the tone for our design direction. It reminded me of some of the old barns we see while walking in Tyler State Park so was an easy choice.

Robert Kramer from HBS helped me with the cabinet plans and I selected all the materials needed for a Kitchen with an adjacent mud room, butler’s pantry, and powder room. I like to start projects by asking how we want to feel in the space when it’s completed.  In my own future Kitchen, I’d like the design of the space to evoke an effortless vibe that’s chic, bright, airy, and classic (also organization is key for creating a sense of calm. Read: storage, storage, more storage). While we want to make some broad updates to our home, we won’t ever gut renovate it. I’d want an updated kitchen that is not only pretty, but enhances the existing architecture. Our Kitchen & Breakfast Room area are right inside our front door so it’s the first thing you see when entering our house; it should set the tone for the overall look & feel of our home.

Prioritizing selections that are little traditional mixed with a few clean lined pieces keep the overall design of the space classic while not getting too fussy. This approach fits the design of our little Colonial farmhouse well.

Below is the Kitchen rendering from Robert. There’s wrap around cabinetry, a window over the kitchen sink, and a generous island. I mentioned storage, so I’d opt for upper cabinetry around the full perimeter. One could swap out upper cabinets for floating white oak shelves here if you wanted a lighter look and had less to store.


Here’s the design plan with my selected materials:



Color Crush: Pale Pink


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Philadelphia “Love Notes” designed for our firm’s new home

We designers often get asked where we find inspiration for a new project. Typically, we start with color. I’ve never been one of those gals who could name a favorite color off the tip of her tongue. There are many I like (most shades of blue, chartreuse, coral, neutrals) only a few I don’t, but rarely can I say I have a favorite. Our current crush: pale pink. Can I call it that? Pantone called it Rose Quartz and named it color of the year in 2016. I know it’s since been deemed “millennial pink”, but that’s always felt a bit narrow to me.

I don’t discriminate among pale pinks. I’m drawn to everything from barely blush to apricot. Quickly becoming a new neutral, I often incorporate pale pinks into projects because they’re so complimentary with other colors and materials. They’re at home with whites, linen, and light neutrals; a bit edgier paired up with brass, tortoise, or black; sweeter with shades of green.

Why pale pink? There’s something simple about it. It’s soothing, happy and makes me smile. It’s charming, romantic, and thought provoking. It’s flattering and suddenly more gender neutral. Unlike other pinks, pale pink is entirely liveable and pleasing. Like dots and animal prints, this organic hue is often found in nature. Think: the best summer sunsets, spring peonies, and fluffy dahlias.

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This is a cozy den corner from one of our projects. We love the tiny dose of pale pink in our Tulu Textiles pillows paired up with this beautiful tortoise lamp and repurposed brass end table. We paired it with a neutral wool sisal rug (not shown) and a yummy pale blue grasscloth from Phillip Jeffries. You can see a few more of our in progress pics of this house here.


Photos by Bren Photography

I love this color so much that I incorporated it into our Fall wedding last year. It fit right in our natural setting and successfully helped add a bit of romance to our summer camp venue, even for an October wedding. Those are my bestie gal pals above and my nieces here. In all likelihood, the one above on the left is laughing at her own joke.

Architectural Digest / Photo by Michelle Arcila

Thomas O’Brian, a numero uno design idol, painted his new offices for Aero Studios in NY Benjamin Moore’s Tissue Pink. This man does no wrong! I love how they paired their pink with chalky whites and other shades of blush and apricot. Their use of vintage, handmade, leather and contrasting materials makes the color a chic backdrop that doesn’t come across as too sweet.

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Source: Architectural Digest / Interior Design by Jeffrey Billhuber

Jeffrey Billhuber painted this ceiling in a renovated 1908 Seattle Colonial in Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster. The color gives the otherwise quiet room a subtle lift, adding to the airy feel of the space. This house is stunning, no surprise. Read the full story here.

Farrow & Ball “Setting Plaster”

Another use of Setting Plaster, via Farrow & Ball’s website. I love the color here with those big moldings and otherwise eclectic decor. It feels like a neutral wall, but more optimistic.

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Source: Mini Mode


A vintage armoire gets a facelift via Farrow & Ball’s Cinder Rose. I love how it’s the only pink in the space and is unexpected next to those fuzzy animal paintings.

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Design by Elsie Larson / Photo by Amber Ulmer

What a statement! Would you ever be so brave? I love the combo of this vintage pink paired with natural stone and natural brass hardware.

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Interior Design by Melissa Lenox / Photos by Katie Charlotte


Two ultra charming spaces from designer Melissa Lenox’s Modern Farmhouse project in Charleston incorporate pale pink. In the master bedroom, Simple solid shams plus a textural lamp contribute a warm dose of color to an otherwise white space. And let me file that nursery under future baby girl room inspo. So sweet. I often think of rugby stripes as a bit too preppy, but not here.

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Source: @asimplerdesign

This painter, @asimplerdesign, updated a pair of faux bamboo nightstands with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Antoinette. I’d love to put a big patterned headboard in between these with neutral bedding.

No color love post would be complete without our favorite pale pink paint colors. Here are the ones currently topping our list.


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We’re loving all the pale pink we’re seeing in interiors lately. It’s a welcome breath of fresh air, like we’re not taking ourselves too seriously, and I think most of us could use that. I’ve been using it mostly as a small dose of color here and there in our projects, but I’d love to try it soon as a neutral wall color or to update a vintage case piece. Tell me how you’ve been using pale pink lately in the comments below.

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My unabashed favoritism for patterns with dots

 I have this thing with dots.

They’re the ideal small scale pattern, a perfect way to introduce a little something without going overboard or being too plain. They’re cute, happy, and fresh, but there’s a range of course.

Keep in mind, I ain’t talkin polka; think little dots, or abstract ones. The more irregular the better. Maybe it’s because they seem hand drawn, or remind me of something you might find in nature, like an animal skin.

Below is a roundup of some of my favorites out there and where they come from. Enjoy!

Photo: Stephanie Buchman   Source: My Domaine

I’m currently coveting Schumacher’s Queen of Spain wallpaper. It looks super sharp here as the backdrop in this black & white bathroom dream come true. A pattern like this offers a grittiness to an otherwise very pretty space, like adding something a little tough with sweeter elements. I find it keeps things edgy, like wearing an old baseball tee with the perfect pair of Italian leather pumps.


The Urban Farmhouse


Meet Meridith: a super-mom who’s as busy as she is badass  — and easily my favorite overachiever. She slays her office job and comes home to an equally high-octane family life.

We share a love for city living with farmhouse aspirations. There’s a vegetable garden in the backyard, a black cat, and a floppy eared rabbit named Rocky. There has been a mobile chicken coop and a colony of bees in the backyard. At one point they even had a pregnant hedgehog on their hands, which in this house, was nothing short of normal. 

Between gardening, entertaining, and helping with homework, Meridith has zero time for interior design. Spending several days a week in New York for work, she has a limited amount of time at home with her family. My goal was to let her make the most of it by taking her design projects off her to do list and let her get back to her family (and rabbit).

I wanted her to spend her weekends at her son’s baseball games, not shopping for sofas.

That’s my cue!


The Updated Traditional


Meet Kim: a partner in a downtown law firm. We don’t need to tell that her spare time is limited. In the rare event she has a free moment, she wants to spend it with her kids, not fussing over home decor.

That’s my cue!