cavdesign's Profile

Display Name: cavdesign
Member Since: 4/22/09

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I think creating a mockup with cardboard, chalk, or painters tape is a great way to test out spacing (along with consulting NKBA guidelines as sarajanie suggested). Once you have the design in place, there are a number of ways to streamline the actual renovation and install. The Design Coach Guide to Kitchens( has great info on layout and materials, as well as printable templates and checklists to lead you through a step by step. And yes, be prepared for surprises -- no matter how well you plan, there will always be an unexpected challenge.

Faith's Kitchen Renovation: How We Planned Out the Kitchen Renovation Diary: Faith's Budget Luxe Kitchen
2/14/13 03:51 PM

I've recently run into a couple of other important things to check regarding toilets (this sure is the glamorous side of interior design!): I just did a reno in an apartment that had a rear-outlet toilet. That means the waste exited out the back into a waste line in the wall instead of straight down. Some toilets are designed for this and some can be adapted -- but not all so check the specs before you buy a replacement. Another thing to look for in the specs is the recommended location for the shutoff valve. I really like easy-to-clean skirted dual-flush toilets like the Kohler Persuade and the Toto Aquia, and these both have a 'skirt' which goes close to the wall. Make sure your shutoff will clear it (measured from the center of the toilet, while you're down there looking at the rough in) to save a plumber's bill for moving it.

Renovating Basics: Buying a New Toilet
2/12/13 10:20 PM

What a great re-cap! Tina, Creative Mornings, A/T Design evenings and everything discussed in this post is a great reminder of why blazing a new trail, making things you like, and collaborating with like-minds is so important. Thanks -- this one gets bookmarked (or in my case, Evernoted) for those days I lose my way.

Interview with Tina Roth Eisenberg, Creator of Swissmiss
Apartment Therapy Design Evenings

5/29/12 03:54 PM

One additional thing: If you can get a double sink the second bowl can be used as a dish drainer, keeping the counter clear. I love undermount sinks but have had to do some extra homework to find good ones for smaller sink cabinets. I posted the results of my 'research' on
As for the butcher block installation, it's not recommended. I think the wood is too porous on the endgrain where the cut would be -- tough to seal well. Not impossible, but definitely a mold and moisture risk. Maybe a marine varnish on that exposed edge could do the trick?

All About: Undermount Kitchen Sinks
Sink Spotlight

2/16/12 04:08 PM

Since it's a bit of an awkward space for backsplash (with the shelves at the end, plus the stove at a different level --where/how does the backsplash start/finish?) I think you should paint a contrasting color up to the top of the cabinets and carry that across the window and stove area at the same height. alternately, you could use a durable wallpaper in the same area. Where it breaks on the window wall, you could add a small wall moulding to conceal the division which would give it a nicely finished feel. This is also much easier than it sounds and quite easy to take down later.
The problem with putting in a backsplash is if you want to change everything later you probably won't be able to keep it, so it's time and money down the drain.
Also, adding a string of lighting on top of the cabinets would be an easy way to add interest (as mentioned in the last post). Changing the hardware is also a quick, non-invasive way to change things up, and color can be added there too. I wouldn't paint the cabinets -- sounds easy but is quite labor-intensive (just did it on a job and it's definitely not a "quick-fix"!).

What Next For This Move-in-Ready Kitchen?
Good Questions

2/8/12 03:24 PM

My biggest obstacle to decluttering is the actual getting rid of the stuff. What I mean is, taking it to the appropriate place like a charity, a recycling place, bagging it as trash, etc. Even putting things on craigslist is time consuming. I'd probably be more likely to get rid of stuff if it was easier!

How To Declutter Your Home
10/30/11 03:27 PM

Great post, great ideas. I have to say it's important to mix in other found pieces and stuff with a patina to make it NOT feel like a bad version of the IKEA catalog. Look at the cool wooden ladder used as a magazine rack on the cover, the chair-as-shelf (this might actually be an IKEA chair, but great idea!) in the bedroom, and the artwork and printer's sorting tray in the gray living room. Mix it up and it can really tip the scales on a great room.

IKEA 2012 Preview: Stylists' Design Ideas Worth Stealing
7/24/11 10:37 AM

You could make stencils (birds, flowers, butterflies) using window film that looks like sandblasted glass. I've had success with Gila window film. Or, use low tack paper (contac paper) to cut stencils or a fun temporary frame. ( also suggest you mix in some tall pieces to raise the eye -- thinking big wooden candlesticks.
While I love the DIY frame idea and have posted a how-to on It can't be done because the bottom is sitting on the mantel. Have fun with it!

What To Do With Mirror Above Fireplace?
Good Questions

6/7/11 12:14 PM

I'm ashamed, very ashamed. I couldn't stop watching, and I will continue to watch. Between Kathryn Ireland's tippling housekeeper, Martyn's naughty vocal inflection, and the shower scene with the topless blond boyfriend/assistant-- I think I've found my 'housewives'.

Are You Watching Million Dollar Decorators on Bravo?
6/1/11 08:36 PM

I like the dark grout too. Just a word of caution: make sure you don't let the grout line on the inside corners get to wide as it won't look great! Also, careful tile trimming and tidiness is a must as any inconsistencies will be made more obvious by the grout lines.

Subway Tile In The Bathroom
5/6/11 12:49 PM

The banquette and the large scale pendant (relative to the small space) caught my eye and I think it does a good job of defining the area. The TV on an easel idea I have seen, I just think this particular easel really IS too big. You could fit the same TV on a much smaller, less beefy easel.

A Study in Multi-Use Space
4/20/11 09:46 AM

I've used inexpensive zinc barn door hardware and a simple slab to great effect, with very little expense! This little powder room was in Apartment Therapy:
and here barn doors were used to create interest on an otherwise plain wall with two doors:

Space-Saving Sliding Barn Doors

4/19/11 07:04 PM

I used Gila frosted window film from lowes on my entry doors, and it worked well. It has been up for a few years and in spite of being in a well-used vestibule has only shown a few scratches. I recommend doing the install with a friend, since handling a larger piece can be tricky!

4 Ways to Get Frosted Glass in Your Home
4/8/11 09:45 AM

Ditto above comments on wallpaper, vintage pieces, and bar. And it looks so organically pulled together in only 5 months -- like you've lived there for a couple of years! Great job.

Small Cool 2010: Alexandra's Open Plan Little Division #19 | Apartment Therapy New York
4/17/10 06:37 PM

Assuming you don't want to invest in new countertop, I think painting could get you the biggest bang for your buck. Take a look at Benjamin Moore Brookside moss. It's rich but has character. You can also add an inexpensive set of string lights ABOVE the cabinets which would create a 'sexy' glow. Both Home Depot and IKEA have these. Add a set of curtains with a mid-century pattern hung with grommets to give it a contemporary flair. installing FLOR tiles which pick up on the brown, olive palette and you're good to go. When you're ready, replace the countertop and install a backsplash. I do not recommend putting up a tile backsplash until you're ready to do the counter! Good luck and enjoy your new place.

Decorating Inspiration for a Blah Kitchen? Good Questions | Apartment Therapy New York
3/16/10 10:57 AM

I agree with the comments regarding the comfort. I'd also add that you should test the fabric itself for stain resistance and durability. I just take a swatch and drop some water, milk, wine, rub a little chocolate (!) whatever suits your lifestyle. Also, look at it with light behind to see how tight the weave is. The tighter the less likely it will stretch and eventually look less tailored. With a tight couch like this that is important. Both brands are of good quality. The Reese is a little more classic and would fit in an apartment that is more "Domino" and eclectic, and the Murray is definitely mid-century, so consider your style and existing pieces too.

What's Important in Sofa Cushion Construction? Good Questions | Apartment Therapy New York
3/10/10 09:58 AM

I am always sad to see a small well, curated store close, as I was when my local store Hasker closed on Smith Street. These are the places that give the city its character and keep New York from becoming a homogenized 'anytown'.

auto. Closes Store Closing | Apartment Therapy New York
2/11/10 05:06 PM

I love my little sheepskin from IKEA -- stepping on something that soft and luxurious definitely makes it easier to get out of bed!
At $40 you can get one for each side of the bed and not break the bank.

Bedside Rugs | Apartment Therapy New York
1/26/10 10:13 AM

Thanks for the comments -- to answer a couple of questions: The paint color on the walls is Benjamin Moore bird's egg in a matte finish. And I painted that piano a glossy red and moved it to another spot. It took a couple of days but was worth it! Sand lightly, use a good primer like Zinsser 1-2-3 and oil-based paint.

Apartment Therapy New York | Jennifer's DIY Workspace Home Office Before After
9/25/09 09:03 AM

I think there are too many ‘solid’ things in the room, and I would mix it up more, as well as editing the furniture, which is a bit oversize for the space.
As for the layout, I would do the following:
1. Edit out the TV stand altogether.
2. Center the couch on the wall, and wall mount the TV between the two windows (even if there is overlap)
3. Place the chairs symmetrically on either side of the new TV location, with the small round table between them
4. Replace the coffee table with a smaller one, perhaps oval, glass, or plexi.
5. use the chest of drawers against the wall between the closet door and entry with a table lamp. Create a picture grouping above.
6. Finally and for the most radical option, replace the drapes with a ‘ripplefold’ type drape that goes across the entire wall, with a center draw. This will conceal the TV when you want, and create a beautiful backdrop for your new furniture layout.
7. Leave the mirror over the couch or replace with a larger mirror – anything but rectangular. Move the pix over for your new picture grouping area and add to that.

The room is leaning toward a little bit of ‘glam’ and I would expand on that with glass, plexi, mirror, and a couple of pops of color. I think the blue-gray and chocolate is a great combo, but maybe you could add in some pillows and artwork that will bring in one more color. (pink, salmon, brick, gold etc.).

Apartment Therapy New York | A Room to Cure: Megan R's Living Room New York Design Meetup
9/15/09 11:49 AM