Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Maria Killam’s 10 of my Favourite Posts

Maria Killam is a Colour Designer. She is a member of the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers.  She teaches Colour Theory at the Vancouver Community College. 

Her blog Colour Me Happy is one of my favorite blogs which is listed on my blogroll. You can check it out by clicking here.

Her recent post is titled 10 of my Favourite Posts, click here to read it.  I was thrilled to learn that  my blog, Designing Your Dream Home, was one of her 10 favourite. Thank you Maria!  I am honored that my blog made your list and is included with many blogs that I follow and admire.  I am also pleased to be introduced to some new blogs which are on your list.  Blessings!

To view the series of posts on Staircase Railings, click on each one listed below.

Staircase Railings: Part One Iron

Staircase Railings: Part Two Iron with wooden handrails

Staircase Railings: Part Three wooden railing and handrails

Staircase Railings: Part Four newel posts & other design elements

Staircase Railings: Part Five Mistakes to Avoid

Monday, June 29, 2009

Kitchen Office/Desk Area: Mistakes to Avoid

As a follow up to my post on Kitchen Office/Desk Area which you can review by clicking here, is a list of mistakes to avoid when designing your dream kitchen office/desk area.

Mistakes to Avoid

1. Depth of the top of the desk-  a  common mistake is for the desk top to be too shallow. However, if the desk top is an extension of the kitchen counter, (see photo below) in order to look aesthetically pleasing, it will need to be the same depth as the counter.


If the desk area is located on a separate wall as shown in the photo below, then you have more flexibility in the depth.  ^Source of photo unknown


^Source of photo unknown

2. Distance between the desk top and the shelves or cabinets above-  make sure there is enough vertical height between the desk top and the bottom of the upper cabinets or shelves so the items you plan to place on your desk top will fit.  Typical items include a computer monitor, lamp, wall mounted bulletin board, blackboard, message board, or vase for flowers. In my opinion, in the photo below there should be more vertical distance separating the desk top and the bottom of the upper cabinet. 


^Traditional Home March 2008


3. Backing in the wall above the desk top- during framing of your home, it is wise to add backing between the studs above the desk top so that bulletin boards, blackboards, and any other item which needs to be mounted on that wall can be mounted into the wood backing vs drywall for better stability. If you want to read a previous post on backing, click here.

4. Height and width of the knee hole-  if you are planning for a pull out keyboard, make sure you have adequate height for a person to sit at the desk and not scrape their knees.

5. Easily accessible outlets for items that you will be plugging in and out-  identify those items needing the ability to plug in and out such as a laptop computer, cell phone charger, lamp, pencil sharpener, cordless phone base, and Ipod station. Make sure the outlet(s) are aesthetically placed.  In the photo below, the outlet would have been less noticeable and still easily accessible had it been place in the upper back corner of the knee hole.  Don’t forget to have a hole cut in the top of desk for the electrical cords to pass through. Take time to think through the location of this hole. In the photo below I see a hole cut in the top of the desk that is unused perhaps due to the fact the computer monitor is on the left of the knee hole and the hole cut is on the right side. Is a surge protector necessary?IMG_0003

^Source of photo unknown

6. Location of light switches-  identify which light fixtures and outlets will need light switches. Make sure the light switches are aesthetically placed yet functional. In the photo above, there is a combination outlet and light switch mounted on the wall. It appears the light switch turns on the under cabinet lights. I do not think the outlet is necessary since there is a hole cut in the desk top with an outlet below. I would have preferred the light switch to have been on the far left side of the desk near the door as it is a bit of an eyesore in its present location.

6. Adequate number and proper location of outlets for those items needing electricity-  identify those items which will need an outlet such as computer hard drive, printer, fax, router, paper shredder, etc.  Will some of this equipment be stored in a pullout drawer or pullout shelf (see photo below)? If so, the outlet needs to be located in the back of that drawer or pullout shelf. Will any outlets need a surge protector or will you use a surge protector strip?


^Southern Living July 2009

7. Adequate amount of hanging file space and correct size-    two common mistakes are having more files than storage space and only being able to use letter size files and not legal size.

8. Phone jack  cable internet accessibility- identify whether or not you need a phone jack for a fax machine or access to the cable for your router. Make sure these are aesthetically placed and accessible.

9. Proper configuration of cabinets, drawers, and shelves-   make a list of all items you want to store in your office/desk area. These might include office equipment such as a printer, hard drive, paper shredder, fax, router, adding machine, label machine, cookbooks, books, hanging files, office supplies, pencil sharpener, paper cutter, etc.  A well designed and functional desk will have a “home” for each object.

10. Adequate space and ventilation for all office equipment-   if you will place a hard drive behind cabinet doors or a printer in a pull out drawer, discuss ventilation with your cabinet maker.

11. Drawer locks- will you be storing personal or sensitive information in your files? If so, discuss options for locking those drawers.

12. Proper selection of drawer runners/glides- don’t skimp on the quality of drawer runner/glides especially on file drawers or pullout drawers holding heavy office equipment.    

13. Adequate lighting- identify what type of lighting you will need for the desk area: recessed spot or flood lights, lamp, lighting from underneath the upper cabinet, or other.

14. Where will you put your waste paper basket?  Every desk needs a waste paper basket. Often they are located in the knee hole area. An alternative is to have a pullout drawer that would hold the waste paper basket or have a hole cut in the desk top with a waste paper basket located in a cabinet underneath the hole. Don’t forget to think about recycling.

15. Aesthetics from outside-  if your desk area will be located under a window, take into account what will be seen from the outside looking in.

It is my hope that by reading this list of mistakes to avoid and I have stimulated your thought process and your kitchen office/desk area will be functional, aesthetically beautiful, and meet all of your needs.  Blessings.  …susan

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Little Setback

Hi! Please forgive me for being slow at publishing posts on my blog.  Also, forgive me for not replying to those who have left comments.  I ended up being admitted to the hospital on Tuesday due to the ear issue I mentioned in my last Spiritual & Inspirational Sunday post. I had been on an oral high strength antibiotic since Sunday. Saw my doctor on Monday and he inserted a needle to extract the infection. That night, for some reason the infection grew with a vengeance. Tuesday, I returned to my doctor and he immediately admitted me to the hospital. I was administered several days of high potent IV antibiotics, morphine, valium, narcotic pain meds, etc. trying to get the infection and pain under control which finally happened 18 hours later.  I am not one who likes to put meds in my body but I was at a point I would have tried anything! The pain was horrendous, plus fever and nausea. My doctor decided to do surgery yesterday to clean out the infection and put in a drain. He unstitched the drain and removed it this morning and I was discharged.

I am due to write the mistakes to avoid post related to the kitchen office/desk area that I published over a week ago.  Additionally, I need to prepare for the Spiritual & Inspirational Sunday post which I hope to be able to do.   I have some great topics with lots of photos to post soon. 

Please keep checking back… I will be getting back into the swing of things. Just had to deal with this little setback.  Blessings. …susan

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spiritual & Inspirational Sunday June 21, 2009

Welcome to my Spiritual & Inspirational Sunday post. Each Sunday I want to share with you some of the quotes or scripture that I have collected over the past twenty-five years. My hope is that after reading the quote or scripture I share below, you take a moment to pause and reflect. Perhaps you will share it with someone who is in need of reading this very quote or scripture. 

In the past few weeks I have been forced out of my comfort zone, the one I call peace and serenity. You know how it is when it rains, it pours! For me, when lots of things happen at once, I submerge myself into whatever it is that is happening and sometimes find myself forgetting to ask God to come along. Then, I realize it is my faith in God that I need. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few quotes I have dealing with faith.

Getting out of my comfort zone began with my daughter having  leg/vein surgery. You know that feeling of nervousness that creeps in when our children have any sort of health issue or other issue for that matter. Fortunately, there were no complications and she tolerated the pain and discomfort well. A bonus, I got to spend some time with two of my precious grandbabies.

Soon after returning home I found myself dealing with a reoccurring ear issue called a preauricular pit. Something I was born with and never knew the medical term until last August when it became infected. If you have ever seen a tiny hole in the upper part of a person’s ear, it was probably a preauriclar pit.  I was asked on many occasions if that was a hole from getting my ear pierced.  This was way before body piercing was popular. I have met nine people who have these including my surgeon.  (To see a photo, click on this link. http://www.doctorhoffman.com/xpit.htm   I share this information so if perhaps you know of someone who has one of these or one on each ear as I do, you can tell them what it is called. If they have ever had trouble with “the pit”, you can tell them there is a surgical solution, something I wish I had known years ago.) My first infection surfaced last August and I was told if it occurred again they would operate and remove the pit.  Fortunately, this is not inner ear and does not affect my hearing.  I went to see my surgeon who scheduled my operation on his next surgery day which was the day after the Memorial Day holiday. Unfortunately, infection set in two days prior to surgery and the surgery had to be postponed indefinitely. Later that week, using syringes, the surgeon drained the infected and inflamed area around my ear, temple and cheekbone. Imagine an area so inflamed and tender that feeling the air blowing from a fan hurts and he is going to put needles into it. Yikes! Talk about painful, I wanted to lose my last meal right then and there! Fortunately, my sweet friend Laurie went with me and she held my head tightly against her chest as instinctively I was trying to move away.

So after almost two weeks of dealing with my ear, I was getting back to a full nights sleep and  my peace and serenity. Then came the news of the death of two friends, three days apart which I mentioned in my last Spiritual & Inspirational Sunday post. Of course both of them are still in my mind and heavy on my heart but each day is better. My peace and serenity was beginning to return until last night.

After going to bed, my other ear felt tender. As I went to sleep, I thought to myself, there is no way the same thing is happening to that ear. Well, it is. Ugh! I called one of my best friends who is an internist and ran by his home this morning. He put me on an antibiotic which hopefully will prevent infection.  I plan to call my surgeon tomorrow and see if he can see me. He operates on Tuesdays, so hopefully he can fit me in. I am putting my faith in God and turning all of this over to him. Letting go and letting God!  Blessings. …susan

Where the footprints of God lead you, the grace of God can keep you.

God is not going to give me anything I cannot handle.

Faith is not like gasoline in danger of running out if we go too far, it is more like a  muscle that strengthens and grows from practice and use.

God is with me, God is helping me, God is guiding me.

Faith…in God, in ourselves, in other people and in the natural order and destiny of things in this world.

The source of these quotes are unknown. If you know the source and contact me, I will give credit.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kitchen Office/Desk Area

If you are like me, I always tend to gather in the kitchen whether it is in my home or at a friend’s. In fact, as I type this post, I am sitting at my kitchen island. The kitchen is where the action is and I tend to like action.  The kitchen is appropriately called “Grand Central Station” or “Mission Control” because someone always seems to be coming or going to and from the kitchen or hanging out in the kitchen. Hmm, could it be because there’s food and beverage in there?

We all lead busy lives and those with children still at home are even busier. In order to get it all done, or almost all of it (does anyone ever get it ALL done?), we know what multi-taskers women have become…therefore, with a desk in your kitchen you can pay bills, answer emails, or make lists in between cooking and doing laundry. Makes sense to me!

Using the photos below, I am sharing with you ideas regarding the design of your kitchen office/desk area as well as pointing out various functional components. Although these photos are of a kitchen office/desk the same design and function ideas could be incorporated in a desk in your child’s room, a desk in the playroom, or a built-in desk in a separate room in your home used for an office.

I am joining Julia’s Hooked on Friday blog party because I am Hooked on Kitchen Office/Desks. Click here to check out her party.


^Notice in the photo above is a file drawer on the far left of the knee hole with two narrow drawers above. There is a vertical cabinet for the hard drive to left of the knee hole, a drawer or what could be a keyboard pullout above the knee hole, and a pair of cabinet doors to the right of the knee hole. There is one wide shallow drawer above the cabinet doors which would be a good place for pens, pencils, paper clips, stapler, three-hole punch, etc.  Based on looking at the photo,  I would incorporate the design shown below in the area where the two cabinet doors are located to the right of the knee hole to hold the printer.  I like using a fake cabinet door front on a pullout shelf as shown in the photo below instead of having cabinet doors because the doors become cumbersome for the person sitting at the desk trying to reach around the cabinet door to use the printer. There is a blackboard on the wall above the desk for messages. The fact that the knee hole is wide enough for the chair to fit as well as a waste paper basket is good. A common mistake is having no place for a waste paper basket.


^Southern Living July 2009


^Though the look of this desk is attractive, the seven small drawers on the left are too small to be very functional in the overall scheme of things. So much of the space is taken up by the rails and styles that form the drawers. I like the vertical cubby holes for mail and such, blackboard for messages, pencil drawer above the knee hole, two smaller drawers above the knee hole, having a lamp, and the bottom drawer to left of knee hole which appears to be a file drawer.

^Source of photo unknown

IMG_0005^In this photo is an interesting desk area tucked away in the corner of the kitchen with a great window. From what is shown in this photo, there is not much file storage or a computer.  Though this post is not about floors, don’t you think that is an unusual design and choice for a floor in front of the stove?

^Source of photo unknown


^There are four file drawers in this compact desk area in this kitchen. Also a keyboard pullout, cabinets above and bookcases to the right. No smaller drawers for pens, pencils, paper clips, etc.  I imagine in this particular home or condominium there is a lot of depth which is why this kitchen counter is so long. I can see the box of Cook’s Illustrated magazines which is one of my favorites.

^Source of photo unknown


This built-in desk is a great look with great potential but I immediately see some problems. Where would you put the hard drive for your computer?  If the wide drawer above the knee hole is for a keyboard, you still need a pencil drawer. It could be the angel of the photograph, but it seems the upper cabinets are too low. I find the upper cabinet door pulls located in the lower center of the door to be awkward. When is the waste paper basket?

What I do like are what appears to be four file drawers. I like the blackboard for messages. I like the large monthly calendar and bulletin boards on the wall between the desk top and the upper cabinets. I like the fact that phone cords and electrical cords and outlets are hidden from sight.

^Traditional Home  March 2008


^In this photo, I like the upper cabinet components having cubby holes, open bookcase, and cabinet doors. I like the file drawer and two smaller drawers above. I don’t like seeing the phone, electric, or internet cable connections in the knee hole. 

^Source of photo unknown


^This desk area blends nicely with the kitchen. However, according to Murphy’s Law, with the refrigerator right next to the desk, someone will place a beverage or food and it will spill on the laptop or important papers. important. No file drawers which I think are a must for a kitchen desk area to hold warranties, instructions, etc.

^Source of photo unknown


^Though unable to tell in this photo, because of the ladder, I think it is correct to assume the ceilings are quite high and there are at least two rows of shelves or cabinets above the desk.  I like what appears to be a framed burlap bulletin board on the wall in front of the desk. I like the size of it.  File drawers to the right of the knee hole make me smile. However, no keyboard pullout or pencil drawers is a negative. The two drawers on the desk top directly in front of the knee hole look nice but are not functional as to open them, you have to clear whatever is on the desk.  Nice looking desk chair don’t you think?

^Source of photo unknown



^Source of photo unknown


^Source of  photo unknown


^When designing your kitchen office/desk area, one decision you need to make is whether you want it desk high or bar stool high. This is a not A right or wrong decision but a personal preference. Also, is having a window important to you?  Though this desk area does not have a pencil drawer, you can see a pencil carousel on the counter. Some people like a clean counter with minimal items, others like lots of clutter. Both the pencil carousel and the pencil drawer work, it is a personal preference regarding which way to go.  I don’t know about you but I seem to have lots to file so for me the two tiers of horizontal file drawers are a big plus.

^Source of photo unknown

IMG_0010^The kitchen/desk area in this kitchen has two functions. It can serve as a desk but when cleared off, it can be used as a kitchen counter.  I like the knee hole extending to cover both counters. I also like the two file drawers. A swivel bar stool would be a better choice.



Though the photo does not show it, there are two grooves cut into the wood towards the back of the drawer. There are two metal bar sthat the hanging files are hooked on for 8 1/2 X 11 size files. Towards the back of the drawer which is showing up all white in this photo are two groove cut into the side of the drawer. The back metal bar can be lifted and moved to the back of the drawer and slid into these two grooves which then allows for hanging legal size files.  I worked this design out with my carpenter.


^Depending on what you might file in your desk drawers, consider adding locks for security.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope what I have shared regarding kitchen office/desks has been inspiring and educational. Please consider leaving me a comment as hearing from people gives me a sometimes needed boost. In a few days I will be following up this post with my related Mistakes to Avoid post.  Blessings.  …susan

Monday, June 15, 2009

Spiritual & Inspirational Sunday June 14, 2009

Welcome to my Spiritual & Inspirational Sunday post…one day late. It is my hope that what you read will cause you to stop and reflect. Perhaps you will share it with a friend who is in need of reading this very scripture or quote.

The past nine days have almost bankrupted me emotionally. A wonderful friend of mine here in Nashville died after a courageous battle with cancer. I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to visit with him four days before he passed away. He was able to converse and laugh. Two days later when I stopped by again, it was a totally different situation. He was unable to keep anything down and his discomfort was heartbreaking.

In between the two visits with my Nashville friend, I learned that someone I knew well in Texas had taken his own life. I was stunned. As details emerged, I was overwhelmed with sadness. I found myself trying to get into his mind and imagine the pain he was feeling over the past few weeks which led to this decision. As his despair mounted, I wondered what those final days, hours, and minutes were like for him. I thought of his elementary age son he adored, his wife, and his mother. His death led me to talk to people I had not spoken with since moving to Nashville as together we tried to make sense out of it all.

Ironically, both were laid to rest on the same day at the same time. While I was attending the funeral in Nashville, my heart and mind were also in Texas. Following the funeral, I headed to the town of Monterey, a town mentioned in a previous post on my blog showing floral design. I worked along side a very special friend of mine in her flower and vegetable garden all weekend. This was just what I needed!

I have decided for this post I will list some quotes or statements that deal with pain as well as some quotes that remind us to live life to the fullest.  I hope you will find some inspiration. Blessings  …susan

Quotes on pain and having hope:

“Birds sing after a storm, why shouldn’t we?” Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

“When it gets dark enough, you can see the stars”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tomorrow WILL come

God refines us through difficult situations

When you come to the end of your rope, God is there to take over

On living life to the fullest:

“Better to wear out than to rust out” Shakespeare

“Don’t die before you die”  John Hoad

Don’t leave myself out of my own life

Nothing is worth more than today

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Decorative Screens

Welcome!  I am so excited about this post because of the diverse array of decorative screen photos I have accumulated and I am sharing with you! Although decorative screens do have a functional purpose when used for privacy to  “screen” out an area in the home, or as a headboard in a bedroom, or used as a bulletin or photo board, more often than not they are used for aesthetic purposes only.  They make a great statement when hung on a wall as a piece of art. I also love when they are used as an accent piece in the corner of a room. 

Screens are wonderful design piece because of their versatility. They can be tall or short, solid or see-thru, two panels or many panels, narrow panels or wide panels, fabric covered, iron, mirrored, or wood that is painted or stained.  Their versatility also extends in their uses and mobility. 

Please scroll on down and enjoy looking at the screens!


I put this one first because it is my favorite, though I must admit there are many other screens that I adore.

^House Beautiful


I cannot tell if this is a dark piece of wood or a piece of leather (I would really like it in leatherinset into a beautiful wood frame). Don’t you think it makes a grand statement against the light colored walls?  I love how the solid dark color serves as a background to accentuates the floor lamp and floral design.

^Source unknown


I find the fabric and the tacks used to create the design on the fabric to be a great look . I adore what looks like piano hinges because they look like a design element in themselves.

^Veranda May-June 2008


This screen is simple yet it provides another dimension to the room.

^Veranda July-August 2007


This mirrored screen will greatly enhances the size of this room and is a perfect accent piece.

^Veranda July-August 2007


My taste tends to go toward the more handsome look so I absolutely adore this screen. It fits in so well with the masculine decor. It looks like some elk antlers on the other side of the screen.

^Veranda April 2008


^Villa Decor by Betty Lou Phillips


The ability to see directly through this screen totally contradicts the original purpose for a screen however, it subtly defines one room from the other.

^Source unknown


This screen is purely a design element as is the one below.

^Source unknown


^Source unknown


The next five photos show different types of screen used as a back drop behind a sofa. Each screen contributes to the interior design of the room in a unique way.

^Veranda October 2007


^Nancy Corzine Advertisement


Don’t you think the pillows on the sofa work so well with the screen?

^Source unknown


^Book- Spectacular Homes of Texas by Jolie Carpenter


It is very interesting how there is art hung on the screen behind the sofa in the photo above.

^-June 2008Southern Accents May


^ Book- Spectacular Homes of Texas by Jolie Carpenter


Above is an example of how a screen can be hung on a wall as a piece of art.

^Veranda March 2008


The use of this screen creates an intimate dining setting. The fact that it can be moved gives versatility to this area if hosting a party.

^Book- Southern Style by Mark Mayfield


I find hanging the portrait of the dog on this screen to be so interesting.

^Veranda March-April  date unknown


Above and in several photos below are some ideas for using screens in bedrooms.

^Southern Accents May-June 2007


^Source unknown


^Southern Accents May-June 2008


^Southern Accents September-October 2008


^Veranda March-April date unknown


A screen is a wonderful solution for teens who have many photos of friends and families and other mementos they want to display in their room.  I also think a screen is great in a home office to hold invitations, children’s artwork, and miscellaneous information. 

^Provencal Interiors by Betty Lou Phillips


Isn’t using a screen on a patio so cool! I just love this idea!

^Niermann Weeks  Advertisement


^Veranda October 2007

The next few photos below are examples of various types of screens representing different textures and design. .


^Source unknown


^Source unknownIMG_0026

^Veranda September 2008

Did you have a favorite screen?  Do you have unique use for a screen that was not shown or mentioned?  I would love to read a comment from you!  Blessings.  …susan