06 March 2012

Sensible Style - Finding Inspiration for your Kitchen or Bath Project

How do you find inspirations for your kitchen or bath remodeling project? Sometimes, magazine pictures just don’t do the trick. You want something that speaks to your heart, as well as your brain and budget. Inspiration is everywhere… You just need to know where to look!

Special events

Home shows, builder showcases, local Realtor open houses and home tours are great inspiration sources. If you’re planning an addition or remodel this season, spend some time exploring all of these options.

If you live in or near San Diego, Cal. Please come see one of the kitchens I designed on the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Kitchen & Bath Tour on Saturday, March 10. Ticket sales benefit the Veteran’s Village of San Diego.

It’s important to consider which of these styles and technologies will translate well to your home, your neighborhood, your lifestyle and your budget. Looking at remodels in your own area can be particularly helpful, because recent improvements in a nearby home can indicate what will benefit your future resale.

Travel and leisure

A vacation can easily inspire a bath remodel. It’s not uncommon to have my clients share photos from their recent spa resort or B&B getaway. If you crave performance showering or a romantic space, these can be great inspirations.

The Sensible Style approach is to integrate the elements that best fit your master suite. Take cues from the major furnishings in the bedroom for the styles and finishes on your bath cabinetry, to create a cohesive space. If you’re redoing your master bedroom at the same time, look for furniture pieces that tie into your new bathroom’s look. While master suites are private and don’t need to match the public areas of your home – in fact, they should enjoy the best appointments – I believe a comfortable home is one that’s generally cohesive.

Another great inspiration source for redoing your kitchen or bath is your favorite café or after-hours spot. Is there a great tile design you can adapt to your floor? Are the bar stools or banquette perfect for your kitchen? Do you adore the faucets or countertop material in the washroom? There’s nothing wrong in bringing some fun into your project, as long as it makes sense for your home.

I get dozens of hotel bath shots from clients. This photo is from the New Orleans Marriott Metaire at Lakeway.

Gardens and great outdoors

One of the prime joys of living in the Sunbelt is our indoor-outdoor lifestyle. More meals are enjoyed here on our decks, surrounded by native plants, than in our dining rooms surrounded by four walls.

Let your love of nature inspire coastal, desert, prairie or mountain color schemes, depending on your location and preferences. It’s easy today to find low maintenance, high performance cabinetry, countertop and flooring materials that will work with any of these looks.

I’m particularly intrigued by the durable new porcelain slab counters that are starting to arrive on American shores from Spain and Italy. Their subtle texture lends itself perfectly to a contemporary nature-inspired palette.

I love these new porcelain slab countertops from Tile of Spain member, The Size!

When I was on a Tile of Spain press tour earlier this month to Valencia’s Cevisama expo where I saw the top above, I also saw fabulous new porcelain tiles that offer both easy-maintenance and non-slip finishes, letting you create a seamless flow between your indoor and outdoor kitchens. These will be arriving in local showrooms in the coming months.

Read all about it!

Keeping up with blogs like this one and the ones linked from the side column is a great strategy. So is following design magazines, especially local ones, and design sites. Pinterest and Houzz.com may be new names to you, but both are red-hot sites for home inspiration, including kitchens and baths.

Again, it’s important to keep your head while your heart goes aflutter. What works in a downtown Houston loft may not work in your Utah ski cabin. Be inspired sensibly while you’re being seduced stylishly!

(This post is adapted from my February 2012 San Diego Union-Tribune column.)


  1. Traveling is really a one of the best way to get an idea for renovating your kitchen or bathroom.You really have an experience on it.Cool.

  2. Thanks, Tytti. I agree, especially having had the opportunity to travel to Europe on two recent trips.


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