Gorgeous Black Woodgrain Kitchens

Are you ready for this? Black kitchen cabs have been the talk for awhile but most of the time it’s black painted cabinets, not woodgrain. This kitchen does the whole black thing but dials it back just a tad by letting the wood show through. I love it!


polygon homes on flickr

This whole thing just works for me. It’s not too dark thanks to the beautiful white counters, which appear to be something along the lines of a Silestone White Platinum.

Silestone White Platinum Counter

It really doesn’t end there. I’m liking a ton about this kitchen:

  • The layout is nice and easy – great for real life
  • I like the big island with nothing (like a sink or cooktop) in the way
  • Even though I thought I was over stainless appliances, they work here
  • I know it’s strange, but I like the little metal nailheads on the stool covers!
  • The white on white crown molding…goood

The only thing I’m not sure of is the floor. Another color would have been better.

Onyx Stain on Quartersawn Oak

Here’s another one:


I’m in love with the black stain thing. I was kind of into the whole black painted cabinet thing. I even wrote a post about spray painting your cabinets black a couple of years ago, but something about it just didn’t totally jive with me.

This jives. I guess it’s the woodgrain. Especially the “quartersawn” oak which has a much different grain than what you usually think of when you think of oak. This is very linear, no big color variations. Usually just vertical grain in two alternating shades: dark, light, dark, light, dark, light…

The image above is from Kraftmaid

So what about you? You dig? You can see the top kitchen in a white color scheme and vote on your favorite at Black vs. White on Remodeling Guy.

6 Styles of Beautiful Wood Ceilings

Is your ceiling getting boring? Feeling a little, er, flat? Here’s an idea that’s really not too hard to do and could make a stunning difference. Cover your ceiling with wood planks.

Wood Plank Ceilings in Every Style


Rustic is easy and fast. No painting and no tight finish work.

Rustic is easy and fast. No painting and no tight finish work. This ceiling looks like 1×8 pine that has been naturally weathered, such as when a pile of wood goes unsold at a lumberyard for too long. Buy the whole pile for half price when it looks like this!



Painted wood and open beams are made for each other!

First of all, a sky blue ceiling is always cool, even if it’s just drywall. But when it’s beat up old wood planks over real exposed rafters you’ve got the makings of a perfect cottage room.


Island Style


If the previous ceiling in blue is still too boring and you need real color, then maybe this picture will inspire you. If this is a little much for your taste, check out this next one…

Image: RemodelingGuy.net via CoastalLiving.com


Only the natural color of the wood is needed here in a modern kitchen.

It’s funny how tastes change. Years ago I wouldn’t have given this a second look. But today, right now, I’m looking.

This is a stunning example of clean modern design. I love the smooth and naturally finished wood. You could use a design like this to cover-up ductwork or other utility lines in a no-attic situation.

image: Best of Remodeling


Ceiling, floors, view, and not much more

While the urban look is growing on me, I’m not there yet on the minimalist. The above design is ceiling, floor, view and not much more. It looks great, but I’d make a mess of it so fast!

Image: zeospot.com



Industrial design includes some pretty neat aspects like exposed ductwork and major structural components like columns and beams without additional covering.

I’d like a closer look at that three pendant light fixture which is hanging from a beautiful example of an authentic (and probably original) narrow T&G wood ceiling.

Image: Windermere Real Estate

Some Easier Than Others

Ok, so maybe I strayed a little from the “easy to do” thought… it happens. Sometimes you just have to go for it. Your ceiling will thank you.

What’s your favorite style of wood ceiling? If you could have one in your house, where would it be?

Have a Breakfast Nook You Can Be Proud Of!

ImageEverybody luuurrrvves a great breakfast nook!

They have the potential to be one of the most comfortable and cozy spaces in any home.

Here are a few inspiring photos and tips to help you transform your nook into your own little slice of heaven!

This little nook to the right is a great example of creatively imagining a space that is both functional and beautiful!

The use of horizontal wood boards as wall paneling and then painting that an accent color is brilliant!

While it may be a little bit pink for me personally, it’s really a great space that looks like an inspiring spot to start the day!

Connect Built-In Seating and Storage


Built-in seating, commonly referred to as banquettes, is a great way to save space while gaining big in terms of liveability!

Nobody loves the feeling of having more empty chairs around the table than full ones. If you’re like me, it just makes you miss your kids wherever they may be at the moment.

The cool set-up above works comfortably for two without seeming empty yet is easily expanded to seat up to five for a larger gathering.

When It Comes to Windows, Think Outside the Box


These windows make this space sing! Designs like this are getting easier and easier to come by so don’t give-up too quickly! Modern woodworking machines are bringing the costs down and the result of something like this is breathtaking!

The simple chandalier, bright white walls, and unobtrusive open beam ceilings are all ideas you could incorporate into your perfect sun-kissed corner.

A Cleaner Approach


If you’re more comfortable surrounded by clean lines and soft, warm tones, then maybe the highly customized dining area shown above is up your ally.

Top-of-the-line cabinetry and custom cushions work together with just the right shade of paint and some fantastic looking interior brickwork to create a space that is elegant, functional, and very, very comfortable.

The wall-mounted lighting makes that corner look like a great place to kick back with a book or a magazine. Is this one your dream spot?

What About a Simple Splash of Color?


Sometimes the difference between “blah” and “bam!” is as simple as a little bit of color! Find a table at Goodwill or Habitat and hit it with some sandpaper and paint and you’ll soon be greeting each day with a smile!

A close look reveals some attention to detail has gone into the space shown above. The assortment of pillows perfectly ties the table with the window shade and wall colors.

Very nice!

No Breakfast Nook?

Don’t fret, just do a bump-out addition! Take a close look at this one:


I love color, so it’s sometimes tough for me to get into very subdued designs, but this really looks fantastic. The way the table and benches cantilever out with no support really look neat.

The cool thing about this space is that the whole entire thing could be added to any home as a bump-out addition. It’s less expensive than you might think and the added space can be invaluable!

I wrote a post about Bump-Out additions over at RemodelingGuy if you want to read more about that.


Well there you have it. A few ideas that you can use to create a breakfast nook you can be proud of!


~ Tim


Photo sources: Ashley Anderson,  CentsationalGirl, bhg.com, Olivia Kiraly, 28media


Outdoor Fireplaces, Oh My!

With the beautiful days of spring approaching now might be a good time to start thinking about outdoor living spaces once more!

Thank heavens, the days of a plain and bare porch are gone.

The new porch is a living space all its own, complete with comfortable sofas, area lighting, inviting floor coverings, and, if you’re lucky, an outdoor fireplace!


Beautiful and Functional

The visual impact of an outdoor fireplace can be extraordinary.  The photo above shows that the results can be, well, wow!

Outdoor rooms often have the enviable benefit of abundant space available.

The lack of walls open up design opportunities that don’t exist inside.  The ways to make an outdoor fireplace beautiful are virtually unlimited.



But the examples shown here are much, much more than a pretty face!  The functionality is undeniable.  Outdoor fireplaces provide more than you might think!

Fireplaces can:

  • Confine the space – This can be a good thing making an otherwise wide-open area feel cozy and comfortable.
  • Block undesired views – Have a neighbor you don’t want to look at?  Fireplaces, especially with chimneys, are great for this.
  • Create a focal point – Focal points outside can play a huge role in the feel of interior spaces. Use a fireplace to make a great one!
  • Hide structural components – Is there a post right where you don’t want it?  What if it was a beautiful fireplace?

More Options Outdoors

Interior fireplaces have lots of building codes related to chimneys, gas lines, and distances from various “combustible” building components!

Understandably so!  Outdoor fireplaces are much more open to design flexibility.

Notice how the beautiful brick fireplace below is able to stop short at just over head-height.  The short chimney gets smoke high enough to avoid it being in the space, but keeps the sky visually uncluttered and is less expensive to build!


You also get to choose from a wider range of materials outside.  The amazing and massive fireplace below uses the same exterior finish as the rest of the house walls.  The result is a fireplace that looks incredible, blends with the overall design, and is designed to withstand the elements.


Add Space, Create Warmth, Enjoy Outdoors!

Outdoor living spaces are wonderful in so many ways.  Time with friends and family can transform into an unforgettable experience when you turn up the heat a little!

Here’s to an endless supply of beautiful springtime evenings enjoying outdoor living in your home!  Cheers!

Photo source: CoastalLiving.com

Modern Outdoor Fire Pits are Hot!

What is it about fire? Fire, in many forms, provides an effect on the moods of people that no other form of light or heat can match. Candles, torches (I prefer the “Tiki” style myself), and fireplaces are all on the menu when looking at ways to add a little “spark” to your home.  One particular form of fire has really been seeing an increase in popularity and use. Hello outdoor fire pit.


Of course with increased use comes competition and good old fashioned one-upsmanship which leads to some incredible backyard firepit designs such as the one above found at sunset.com.  This whole patio looks wonderful and inviting, but I have to wonder how comfortable it would be to sit on those hard benches.  I bet they do warm-up nice on cold evenings though.


While the design in the first picture is most likely a gas outdoor fire pit, it’s possible to create a built-in look using a portable fire pit.  The image above from hgtv.com shows an arrangement of loose stones stacked around a metal fire basket.  That idea could easily be applied to any portable unit.  Still not excited about the seating…


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just feel the urge to walk on hot coals.  It reminds me of Tony Robbins, which reminds me to think positive, which makes me feel happy. At least for a second.  This cool corner fire pit from trendytraveler.tumblr.com would make that whole process so much less work. Right?

A quick aside: How awesome is the green grassy mossy garnish-ey stuff!?  It looks great and if you need to finish off a fine gourmet dish you can just run out and grab a bit of it.


Finally, soft seating!  This place looks too cool to be true.  Kim found the picture at gretita.tumblr.com and I’m thinking it’s pretty sharp in an ultra-modern, make sure you’re fully dressed at all times, sort of way.  During the rainy season, this one doubles as a goldfish pond.


This picture from thefancy.com includes a really cool looking modern metal fire pit that is recessed beneath the floor level.  Judging by the abundance of firewood in the awesome custom storage areas to each side of the stairs, this one appears to be an old fashioned wood burning fire pit.

One more look at the picture to take note of the incredible panels of glass that are, if your these folks, your back doors.  Nice.

It’s the fire pit time of year.  I’d love to see some of your fire pit pictures.  You can include one link in a comment, let’s see them.  (two or more links won’t publish due to spam issues)