Monthly Archives: June 2013

Outdoor Living

Being outdoors so often throughout the year is a luxury we tend to take for granted here in South Florida. Outdoor living is a huge way of life for many people and is a great entertaining advantage. There are a wide variety of options and today I want to share some of the outdoor kitchens I have found.

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One great option is to add a pizza oven. This is a great addition to any outdoor space. It can be added to an existing kitchen or just a standalone feature. I personally like the more rustic looking oven, but there are many options to choose from when it comes to these wood burning ovens, like choosing natural stone, granite, reclaimed stone and brick, etc…

stand alone pizza oven

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If you really like to entertain and plan on spending more to invest in your outdoor space you may want to consider having all the extras. Besides the basics you could also get a range/oven, dishwasher, microwave, fridge (small and possibly hidden). Using natural stone, marble and granite are great outdoor choices and have loads of color options when building this extra living space.

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Seating is an additional consideration when planning your outdoor remodel or addition. I like unusual things which can add conversation pieces to the area. Using up cycled items you can make a variety of seating like the bench below or a tee pee hammock!

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Blog post written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com

Luxury vs. Necessity

If something makes your life easier and happens to be pretty does it mean it’s a luxury or a necessity? I want to buy something that makes me happy and make my life easier at the end of the day. Yes I will need to consider the cost, but if it’s more than I had planned then I need to figure out what I can cut back on in order to afford it. I will make a list of pros and cons and search vehemently online trying to find reviews and cost comparisons.

When it comes to choosing countertops, flooring, accent pieces is it a luxury to get a higher end product or a necessity? What is your reasoning for choosing the product you choose? For me the granite was a necessity. I wanted to have a countertop that was easy to clean, heat resistant and won’t show dirt as quickly (yes I am still fastidious about cleaning.. but still.. you know what I mean!). It also will help with the resale value of our home.

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Recently I had my first art show where I was featuring my glass art.  As I was sitting there greeting potential customers I was abuzz with the desire to share the process of my work and have it be owned by someone who would truly love it and be as amazed at the beauty as I was. When someone did buy something I had a feeling like my child was being sent off and it was at once exhilarating and a bit sad. Knowing I wouldn’t see that item again but knowing it was going to a good place.

Being at that show also made me start thinking about what makes someone buy an item. I’ve gone to many art & craft shows and am mostly unimpressed. One reason is the most of the items are overpriced, nothing stands out, many times these are items that I see at all art shows. Another reason is because the person selling the items (most times the actual artisan) do not have people skills.  Even when you try to start a conversation with the artisan, there is no desire on their end to talk, which is a shame.

However last year I went to an Indie art show and was blown away. The products were quirky and cool, the artisans truly loved what they did and wanted to tell you about it even if you had no idea what you would use it for. How an item will make you feel is many times the main reason why you buy something.

With my own art I want someone to feel beautiful and cool wearing it, or to smile when they see it. I also want them to show it off to everyone they know, thus giving me free salespeople for my product!

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Later that weekend I was at home reading through some magazines and I read this article from Sarah Jenkinson of Kitchen & Bath Design News. She talked about how emotions are the key to selling luxury. However she also talked about what defines luxury. Her favorite response was:

A woman whose “luxury” is a down comforter she uses to snuggle with her two dogs on Sunday mornings. This is the only day this comforter is brought out, as it’s the only day she can truly enjoy it. She and the dogs bundle up together while she does The New York Times crossword puzzle.

“What makes it a luxury?” I asked?

Her reply was, “Everything: The feel of the comforter, the love of the dogs, the entertainment of the crossword puzzle and the time to enjoy them all.”

This suggests that luxury is as much about a feeling as it is about an actual product.

luxury2Items that are priced high are not an automatic luxury. You may need a high end countertop for functionality as well as beauty. Granite offers a wide range of color, textural looks as well as price points.. so you can still feel luxurious when you need to buy something that is a necessity. You may need that touch faucet because your hands are constantly dirty or sticky with something and you don’t want to have to clean that up too when you finish washing your hands.

So tell me, what is the most luxurious thing you have bought and why?

Blog post written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com

Inlays

Flooring inlays continue to be popular in renovations and new construction.  New technology allows homeowners and designers to be able to create intricate designs that were never available before. 

I personally love the way inlays look, but have only seen a few like the ones shown below. The basic framing around the main floor area is a great way to frame out and section an area. Medallions are a great way to add a focal point to a room, especially an entryway.

These can be beautiful in their own right and there are quite a bit of options to choose from, however I wanted to think outside the box when it came to this post. So while perusing Pinterest I came across some really cool options.

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Why not mix materials? If you like the wood floor look but need something more utilitarian for a specific area that gets more traffic, why not add a marble inlay? Using a herringbone pattern like the one below is a great choice.

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If you want to get more artsy you can draw something up or bring in an artistic idea to the sales staff at Real Stone & Granite and let them know the colors you would like to use. The sky really is the limit.

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Is price no limit? Choose to have something that is really multi colored and will make your guests rave about your amazing floor!

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Inlays are not just for floors either! You can get them for your walls as well. This one is going from the floor up the wall, however you can also get an accent piece like The Bathers that Real Stone & Granite did for one of their customers.

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Have you thought about doing an inlay? Was it for decorative or utilitarian reasons? What type of surface do you think you’ll use, or will you mix them?

Blog post written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com