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Archive for Trends

Jan 07 2016

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Seven 2016 Trends to Watch from Houzz

Houzz_Living Space-esque Bathroom

All photos from Houzz

Bathrooms that Feel More Like Living Spaces

Graphic wallpaper, ornate chandeliers and furniture-like pieces turn sterile spaces into feeling more like home, as shown in the photo above.

Colored Stainless Steel Appliances

Black stainless steel is making a buzz on Houzz. In a poll, nearly two-thirds of Houzzers say they would consider the dark alternative to shiny metal. Not into the darkness? Head to the light with Whirlpool’s Sunset Bronze finish.

Outdoor Fabric Used Inside

Outdoor fabrics are becoming increasingly harder to distinguish from traditional indoor fabrics, and many Houzzers are bringing them indoors, where their durability make them perfect for high-traffic living room and dining furniture.


Fireplaces and Fire Features

New advances mean you can have all the ambience without the smell, pollution or hassle of traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Plus, fireplaces are making a comeback as living room focal points in lieu of the dark void of a TV screen.

Statement Mirrors in Bathrooms

So long medicine cabinets; hello, statement mirrors. Think large, wood-framed beauties, backlit modern marvels and ornate vintage gems that take style to another level in a bathroom.


The Rise of the Bidet

Manufacturers are creating bidets more catered to American markets – and they’re taking off. According to Houzz data, bidets are included in five percent of renovated master bathrooms.

Modern Material Mix In the Kitchen

Houzzers looking for something a little livelier than white cabinets and granite countertops mix several modern materials, finishes and colors. Try stainless steel perimeter countertops with creamy white quartz island countertops and painted blue glass-fronted perimeter cabinets with painted white glass island cabinets. Toss in some reclaimed wood shelves or ceiling beams, and you’re on your way to an eclectic, upbeat space.

Dec 16 2015

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Revamped, Repurposed Condo Bath


The 12-in. by 12-in. floor tile color is Gray Penny
Porcelain Mosaic from Floor & Décor.

I went to my friend Chandler Brown’s house last weekend for a holiday open house, but I think he really wanted to show off his newly remodeled bathroom, which is awesome. I do not have a “before” picture, but believe me, there is a huge difference in the adjustments he chose to make to the space. My iPhone pictures do not do the space justice.

“The bathroom was very dated with original, apartment-style finishes,” said Brown, “and I wanted a new, updated look with more functionality.”


Another issue was the 30-in. vanity, which he had to lean down to use because most are a 36-in. standard height. He decided to have the entire space gutted from floor to ceiling and made the following improvements:

  • – The laminate floors were replaced with tile.
  • – The built-in vanity was replaced with a taller unit with legs for a more furniture-style look.
  • – The pre-fab garden tub is now a floor-to-ceiling, spa-like, glass-enclosed shower.

Close up of one tile

Brown purchased the shower and
wall tiles from Home Depot.

“My contractor was amazing and helped me choose materials that would be functional, long lasting and modern,” said Brown. “Working with him, I selected tiles that were aesthetically pleasing and were in keeping with the other design elements in my home.”

Brown had a budget to renovate one room in his condo – the kitchen or the bathroom – another decision the contractor helped him make.

“We ultimately went with bathroom because it was in need of better functionality, whereas the kitchen was more aesthetics,” he said. “Once we decided on the room, the contractor recommended we do the entire bathroom, including flooring, painting, new baseboards, new toilet…to have consistency among finishes while staying on budget.”

Shower Floor Tile


Nov 11 2015

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What’s New in Today’s Smart Kitchen

If you’re a Millennial, chances are you saw the 1999 Disney film “Smart House” and daydreamed about having a TV screen for a wall and the exact meal you wanted appearing on the kitchen counter when you asked. From attending the Smart Kitchen Summit in Seattle last week, I learned that we still have a ways to go to instant home cooking, but we’re well on our way to better, more efficient kitchen spaces.

Here are some of my takeaways from the Summit:

– Technology in the kitchen will get people to start cooking more if it makes cooking easier and quicker.

– We’re still missing a new innovative tool for the kitchen – the microwave was the last to hit the mainstream market that changed the way we cooked.

– Consumers are looking for an opportunity to bring together their appliances digitally.

– The iPhone plays a huge part in the kitchen where people use it to look up recipes. We are still missing an app that knows where the user is in the recipe and can follow along.

– The replacement cycle on large appliances varies so much that innovation may slow as a result – another opening for innovation.

I also had the opportunity to meet with inventors and manufacturers who are working on solving these problems. Here are some of my finds:

  1. The Orange Chef Countertop – To help users make better nutritional decisions, the device has a smart board that can weigh and track ingredients, plus an app that recommends recipes and tracks nutritional intake. It can also integrate with fitness wearables.countertop
  2. Amazon Echo – Launching in time for the holidays, this smart speaker could help in the kitchen because of hands-free voice control. The smart assistant, Alexa, can offer information like alarms, lists, recipes, reviews and weather.amazon-echo
  3. Electrolux’s Oven Camera – Mounted inside a steam oven, the camera takes photos of food and sends them to a smartphone app. Users can then check on the contents even while entertaining.AEG-ProCombi-Plus-Smart-001
  4. Table for Living – IKEA’s smart table is still in the works, but if/when it launches there will be a camera-equipped projector that shows recipes on its surface and recognizes ingredients. The table could also double as a stove or a charging station.ikea-concept-kitchen-2025
  5. CounterCrop – Following the trend for farm-to-table, this self-contained miniature garden has its own watering setup and LED lights that mimic sunrise, sunset and seasonal shifts in nature.countercrop
  6. Perfect Bake and Perfect Drink – I tried this one out myself. This app-controlled system connects with an app and measures all ingredients by weight. That way, recipes can be followed exactly or altered if an ingredient is missing.
    374647-brookstone-perfect-bakeAll of the speakers and attendees agreed on one point – the smart kitchen still has a while to go until everyone is on board. Users are likely to gradually integrate smart features into their kitchen as appliances age, but until then manufacturers are working on perfecting their products. Still have my fingers crossed for that self-serving countertop!


Nov 06 2015

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Adventures in Asia

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to LG’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea in preparation for the launch of the TWIN Wash laundry machine in the U.S. With a little over a week’s notice, I found myself on a 16-hour flight to a continent I had never been to.

DSC_6763                                       My arrival in Seoul

Intending to learn and bring back to you the differences between the massive Asian market and ours, I got even more than I expected. Korean culture is known for its sincere hospitality, cleanliness and admirable respectability – all of which I experienced on my first trip across the Pacific.

“Kam-sa-mi-da” was the only word I learned – it means “thank you” – and I used it a lot. Thank you for greeting me at the airport and not laughing too hard when I accidentally fell asleep on your shoulder (it was 4 a.m. in Atlanta, and 5 p.m. in Seoul when I landed); thank you for giving me a high-tech shower and bath that I could lounge in and not worry about pushing the wrong button; and thank you for offering a complimentary breakfast with recognizable American food and not caring that I took bananas back to my room with me, just in case I didn’t like the food. It’s the small things that matter when you travel abroad.


While exploring LG’s massive headquarters, the other journalists and I saw first hand how Koreans cook, clean and live differently from us. After wondering over the use of the kimchi refrigerators, I tried kimchi for the first time (extra hot and spicy, if you like that flavor). When we drooled over the LG Styler, one journalist asked to put his coat in. In it went, and out came a fresh, wrinkle-free piece of clothing. Then when I stared with confusion at the cordless vacuum cleaners (still not launched in the U.S.) I got to take it around and watch the heavy bottom part simply follow me around so I didn’t have to ever lift it. I made a lot of hints about wanting that one soon in the States.
DSC_7189                           Kimchi and bulgogi

Though I was only there a short while, the South Korean people and their capital showed me great kindness, despite my lack of knowledge about them or my lack of Korean. Four high schoolers stopped me in the market place one day, telling me they were doing a project for their English class and wanting to interview me.

Being one of three American women in a couple mile radius, I stood out. I told them my name and one girl cried, “Erin is my English name too!”

They all gasped in astonishment at the coincidence and took my picture, and I walked away feeling a little like a celebrity. That was my biggest take away – whether through their products, designs or culture, these people try their very best to make you feel important, comfortable and above all else, appreciated.

DSC_7276                                    Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul