California Dreamin’

Even though I’m not living in California quite yet, I’m already thinking about California style and how different it will be from quiet, cottage-y neighborhood where we live in Central Florida.   Like this stylish Napa Valley home by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects

With laid back white slip covered furniture that pops against the gorgeous wood and crisp white walls

Paired with simple details like a metal light fixture and nearly naked picnic table

In a design focused on bringing the outside in

And blending the architecture of the home with the surrounding hillside.  Whether this type of design is up your alley or not, it is an interesting perspective on blending nature and indoor/outdoor living.  (And yes, it’s definitely up my alley!)

Choosing a Kitchen Counter Surface

Choosing a new counter top in your kitchen is a big decision.  Take granite, for instance.  It’s durable, holds up to heat and is virtually maintenance free, but it’s expensive and becoming so mainstream it doesn’t always have that ‘wow’ factor.

In a kitchen like this one, it pops against the white cabinets.

And in a traditional space, it can add elegance and warmth.

But in a kitchen like this, the granite feels as dated as the cabinets and the deep burnt orange walls.

Engineered Stone comes in a variety of colors, including pure white or flat gray which are super sleek and modern.

 But despite being durable, a solid surface will show e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, so if you’re not fanatical about cleaning you might be better off with a textured look.

Wood counters can add depth and drama to a kitchen.

They are easy to clean and can be sanded and resealed over time, but they will scratch and show wear and tear if you don’t maintain them.  Often times they are used in combination with another surface, like marble. Ahhh…I adore this look – it’s heavenly.

There are lots of other counter top options from concrete to tile to stainless steel.  Experts say most renovations stay current for about seven years, so if you’re planning to be in your house long term, it doesn’t really matter what you choose, because you’ll probably have to change it before you move anyway!