My Pendant Picks for the Kitchen!

As promised, here are a few pendant fixtures I’m considering to hang over our corner kitchen table.  I love modern fixtures as well as industrial style and glass.  I also love a good shade.  Decisions, Decisions.  Below the pictures, I share my considerations and criteria.

light style 1

PB Teen

PB Teen

Ballard Designs

Ballard Designs

Love this, not sure of the source, but would like in dark bronze!

Love this, not sure of the source, but would like in dark bronze!

West Elm

West Elm

West Elm 3-Jar Light

West Elm 3-Jar Light

 Some things to consider in the space when choosing our fixture:

  • The window-pane mirror on the wall.  I’m not sure yet if this will be white or stained to match the door beside it.  Either way, a light will reflect in it and might be better if it’s on the simple side.
  • Hardware is dark bronze, trim is white, and door is stained – could coordinate with any of these.
  • If a color, I’m avoiding green, grey, and yellow.
  • Wood door is stained – so we could choose a wood globe.
  • Hanging height; we have bench seating around the table so it can’t be too low.
  • Scale: is it substantial enough?  I’m thinking 12-16″ diameter is appropriate for our space.
  • I don’t know if I want to see the light bulb (like some of the options below), so a shade might be nice.
  • Amount of light? Is there enough? Is it warm? We know it will be on a dimmer, but at it’s brightest, we should see well!

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Kitchen Renovation: Our finishes!

Now for the fun part.  I don’t much love the before pictures, but these finish photos make me super happy. Here’s a refresher of what’s in the kitchen now:


  • Paint: Persimmon, Pumpkin Orange (changing, minty sage)
  • Floor: Black & White Vinyl Checkerboard (changing, midnight copper tile)
  • Cabinets: Snowbound White (keeping, improving)
  • Counter: Brown Granite-look Laminate (changing, Black-granite look)
  • Sink+Fixtures: Stainless Steel, chrome (changing faucet and adding disposal!!)
  • Hardware: Dark Bronze (keeping)
  • Lighting: Brushed nickel/laminate (changing to white can lights and dark bronze pendant to match hardware)
  • Large Appliances: White (love white, keeping)
  • Small Appliances: Black (microwave oven was a gift, coffee maker to match)
  • Other accent colors and tools to consider: Red Mixer, Wooden Bowls, colorful dish towels and a fun rug
  • Decor: paint-dipped spoons like these, I’d love to make!; a DIY similar to this mirror; hanging lodge skillets, and some herb water colors like these, perhaps!

This photo shows our paint color, trim color, new flooring, counter laminate, and back-splash tile.



We considered two others, which I’ll show next, but chose this one because it keeps the room feeling light, adds richness and shimmer, and once installed/grouted, the mint of the glass tiles really comes to life and coordinates with the wall color.  The linear direction also helps add length to our only cabinet wall.  I can’t wait to see it illuminated with the halogen undercabinet lighting.

Our other considerations:


Pretty, right?  Though, not quite perfect for this room.  The darker one appears too dark and too busy.  The installed example at Lowe’s is even darker, so we ruled this one out, however it coordinates nicely with the floor.  The Carrara marble-y tile also works, but when held below our while cabinets, it was just too much white for us.  Andrew uses the word: “bathroomy” sometimes with tile.  We both agreed this could be considered “bathroomy” or it could work well in a kitchen, but just not ours sadly.

And just for fun, this is the mosaic tile that we installed in the powder room and were planning to use.  What changed our mind?  When we realized we needed new counters, together the laminate and tile were much too busy.  Alas, I LOVE our final selection!


Now onto lighting… I’ve collected some great images of lighting I’m considering.  Will share soon!

PS.  Our dining room rug which I mentioned in this post, looks just like the rug in these pictures but a little more sage green!  Fun fact?

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Kitchen Reno: Demo, Drywall, and Our Plans

We’re (eee! finally!) diving into our kitchen renovation.  It involves the usual dust, drywall, and a fair amount of Gatorade and Landshark.  When we bought our house, the paint color was not my favorite and it hasn’t grown on me.  It’s dark, seasonal (pumpkin!), and too dark for the size of the space.

We get a ton of compliments on the floor.  Like a weird amount for how much I don’t like it.  As we’ve lived with it for 3.5 years, t’s hard to miss that its worn vinyl tile (not shiny porcelain) and the white squares are discolored.  While many of our family and friends are sad that we’re changing it –meanwhile we’re jumping for joy!– we promise the new floor will be pretty(er).  Below I’m sharing photos, progress, and our plans.

Here’s what our kitchen looked like when we bought our house in 2009:

Kitchen BEFORE

And here she is today… We really got far, huh?  But really, look closely and you’ll see we’ve done some things: painted the unfinished cabinet doors, painted shelving, added a “built-in” looking bench, replaced the window, and painted baseboard.  This is one of the last rooms we’re tackling.  So far we’ve renovated the living room, dining room, mudroom, basement, our bedroom, one of the guest rooms, and of course (our biggest projects) the exterior of our house and the yard.  Now… for our most anticipated renovation!


Ha.. notice our naked dining room floor yonder?  I removed the area rug as we have a new one in the mail. 😉


This was once a window looking into the former mudroom.  Now it’s a dry-wall and spackle art feature.


These were once framed with trim which was a little poorly installed – all touching and smushed in place, had odd cuts, and 31 coats of paint.  Now there will be new doors and smaller-profile trim with painted wall in between.


Our only window – again with the trim.  Yes, that drywall was once all trim.  Way overkill!  This kitchen was previously renovated with drywall applied over plaster walls and CUT AROUND THE TRIM.  Gasp. This might have been a quick fix for whoever did it, but it was done poorly and has left us with extra work.

What we’re planning:

  • Above the range Adding (1) tall 12″ wide cabinet on left + (1) 30″ wide short cabinet w/ microwave/range hood below centered + 8″ wide custom spice pull-out cabinet (built by Andrew!) on the right
  • New 15-pane (glorious light!) door stained dark to match our front door between kitchen and mudroom
  • Adding 4 down lights, 1 chandelier over the table, and undercabinet lighting
  • Re-trim and paint entire room to match adjacent minty mudroom/powder/laundry room
  • New counters (we were resistant at first, but we can’t avoid destroying it with other fixes)
  • New flooring also to match our midnight slate copper mudroom tile
  • Added tile back-splash (see next post sharing what we chose!) not matching the mosaic tile in the powder room, which was the original plan to create uniformity
  • New pedestal base table/chairs and a window-mirror above the “built-in-look” bench to make the space feel bigger
  • New pendant light over the table
  • Shift pantry/fridge about 2′ to the left making more room for trash can and basement door to open (sounds easy, but we need to move HVAC to accomplish this. Boo.)
  • Making a useful tech/mail/storage hub out of the awkward little triangle closet (this includes a phone charging station, a tack-board, and a light! Whoa!)

Stay tuned for progress photos and updates!

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Quick Paper Art: A DIY

Hello design friends,

Today I found some leftover  scrapbook paper from a bunting flag project I did about a month ago for a coworker’s (and friend!) bridal shower.  I grabbed 3 white Ikea frames holding 4×6 photos (I’ll find them new homes!) and got to work… Below you’ll see my supplies, finished product, and some suggestions for hanging or displaying frames, one of which includes my hand with dirty finger nails and a sad little blister from gardening.

My suppies (A 5x7 is shown, but I used 4x6; you can use any size you like so long as your scrapbook paper fits!)

My supplies (A 5×7 frame is shown, but I used 4×6; you can use any size you like so long as your scrapbook paper fits!)

This project is not only simple, it’s mega budget-friendly. 4×6 Ribba frames at Ikea are $5 each and include a mat.  Scrapbook paper at a craft store like Michael’s is typically $1 per sheet for patterns and 50 cents for solids.


Voila! 3 Pretty new pieces of art!

To dress up the more simple patterns, I’d recommend stenciling the letter of your first or last name!  Or a heart with your state’s initials below.  We heart PA!


Shhh.. I already have hooks here, but here’s how they’d look on a wall.


A little better on the brick wall, but maybe best on a darker grey-brown or even grey wall.


A little display on a console table (Oh, yes, there are some of my corks!)


Displayed in a grouping of 3.


And rounding up my post with a happy detail shot!

Happy Framing!

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West Elm, KOP Grand Opening!

If you know me, you know I’m obsessed with the following: my husband, avocados, champagne, my cats, Nashville, the beach, buying baskets, and West Elm.  Of course, you also know this is a seriously pared down list.  Alas, West Elm.  Just opened.  3 minutes from my work in King of Prussia mall!  Queue happy dance!  I won’t be too chatty as the following images speak for themselves, but this event was super fun and it included both baskets and champagne.  *Please note: I will share links to items as I find them provided on the website, however, not all are there just yet.

West Elm Finds_Montage 3

The wall behind the cash-wrap is made of reclaimed wood from an old warehouse in Camden (I believe!) and is complimented by West Elm’s signature rustic furniture as well as soft, hand-made-looking duvets and hand towels.  I’m a major advocate of  “variety” so this bottom left juxtaposition of yellow glass, wood, and soft, stripey fabric makes my designer heart go pitter-patter!


Yellow/Chartreuse Stripe Duvet paired with grey. Rhyme! *Click Image for Link

West Elm Finds_Montage 1One of the reasons I’m personally drawn to West Elm (which falls under the William-Sonoma brand along with Pottery Barn) is it’s youth, clean lines, eco-friendly construction & materials, freshness, and accents with a cultural vibe.  These hurricanes, candles, and seemingly hand-made containers above are definitely on my wish list!


Pretty, reclaimed, texture-rich Stria Collection *Click for link

Oh my, these lights are gorgeous, but not on the site yet!

Oh my, these pendants are gorgeous, but not on the site yet!

A variety of soft, rustic, and hand-made accessories!

A variety of soft, rustic, and hand-made accessories!

While I was milling around to hip beats with a champagne cocktail in one hand and my camera in the other, I was discovering fun treasures like the Dune vases and drift-wood-esque candle holders (sorry, no link!).  I brought home pretty letter-hand towels and the pretty minty bowls shown bottom right.  The bowls match my powder room paint perfectly and with a feature post coming soon, I promise you’ll see for yourself!

Alas, behold my dream collection: Bliss

Alas, behold my dream collection: Bliss *Click for Link

Now, the highlight of my visit: the opportunity to sit in the Bliss sofa and chair & a half.  I’ve been dreaming of this collection for weeks and scheming ways to get it into my living room.

I hope you’re as excited as I am about this not-so-far-as-center-city-or-princeton store opening!  Maybe I’ll see you there!  …sadly, without the champagne, photographers, tuna tartare spring rolls, and awesome DJ.  Thanks for a great night West Elm KOP!

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Pretty Food Art

My friend, Jen, posted a super healthy and appealing status last night after a day at her local farmer’s market (hi, Jenny!).  She counted over 20 fruits and veggies in her fridge and then proceeded to describe what she planned to make with them when asked.  The list was not only mouth-watering, the pictures in my mind were so pretty and colorful!  Can I come visit for the week!?

farmers market by karen wise

photo by Karen Wise

In a separate moment, I stumbled across a talented artist on Etsy this morning in search of a small piece for my dining room picture wall (I’m re-doing the whole thing!).  As I enjoyed each watercolor – a radish, a halved avocado, pears, spring onions, and blood oranges – I thought again of Jen’s new food loot.  And I thought, “She should have art for her new apartment’s kitchen.” …  And I should have a print for the empty frame in my picture wall!  And my kitchen’s under renovation… And my mom would love these..

So I’m featuring my favorite vegetable art today.  I haven’t decided which pieces I’m ordering just yet, but narrowing them down to share with you is a good start!

Figs by Yael Berger | The Joy of Color

the joy of color _ green avocado

Avocadoes by Yael Berger | The Joy of Color

the joy of color _ tangerine tango

Tangerine Tango by Yael Berger | The Joy of Color

Tomatoes in Mint Bowl by Yael Berger | The Joy of C olor

Tomatoes in Mint Bowl by Yael Berger | The Joy of Color

the joy of color _ utensils

Kitchen Utensils by Yael Berger | The Joy of Color

joy of color mint and lemon verbena

Mint in Tin Pot and Lemon Verbena by Yael Berger | The Joy of Color

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