Wednesday, July 27, 2011

8 Secret Ingredients to Creating a Tuscan Style Kitchen

Is it the peaceful, rolling hills of the Italian countryside, the quant cobblestone streets, the rich taste of wine straight from the vineyard, or the robust flavors and aroma of Tuscan cuisine?  It’s hard to put into words the charm and allure of Tuscany, but it’s something we often try to emulate in our cooking, building, and decorating.  If you’re looking to bring a little piece of Tuscany into your home, creating a Tuscan style kitchen may be the perfect way to do so.  Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:
-Color: Use varying shades of yellow and orange, like gold and burnt terracotta, as the cornerstone of your design, especially on the walls.  But don’t be afraid to use pops of color, like flaming red, luminous blue, and emerald green in your accent pieces.
-Walls: Intricately layered walls will give your kitchen that Old World charm.  To create this effect, try a painting technique, such as sponging or antiquing.  If you aren’t familiar with these forms of painting, you may want to hire a professional for optimal results.  If you decide to take on the challenge yourself, home improvement stores have books and specialty paint and utensils to help you master these techniques.
-Cabinets: Rich, dark tones are best suited for your cabinetry.  Also, you’ll often find cabinets without doors in a Tuscan themed kitchen, in which you can display your kitchen accessories (see Accessories below).
-Backsplash: The kitchen backsplash is often regarded as the heart and soul of a Tuscan kitchen, and it can make a big splash in your room.  Rust, gold, cream, and green are popular color choices for the backsplash.  You may also want to consider a mural made of tumbled stone tiles to bring out the iconic Tuscan spirit in the space.
-Counters: Stone counters, such as granite, slate, and travertine, are essential to your Tuscan inspired kitchen.
-Floors: For your flooring, stone or quarry tiles in earthy shades will capture the essence of the Tuscan décor.  These flooring choices will make you and your visitors feel like you are standing in the heart of a Tuscan villa.
-Furniture:  Dining with the family continues to be a symbol of Italian tradition and culture, so a large kitchen table holds a great deal of significance.  Luxurious table linens and chair cushions in sultry shades can add extra interest and style to your table.   In addition, an island is another integral part of a Tuscan themed kitchen.
-Accessories: Displaying actual kitchen items is the best way to accessorize your cooking space.  Rustic dinnerware, urns, spices in glass jars, pots and pans on metal racks, copper and pewter vessels, potted herbs, wine accessories, wrought iron candle holders-- all are perfect finishing touches to your Tuscan kitchen.
With these suggestions (and a little help from your friends at Pizazz Floors), you’ll be on your way to creating a true Italian kitchen.  Then instead of dreaming of that little café in Tuscany, just grab some family, friends, food, (and of course the vino) and enjoy your own Tuscan inspired kitchen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Choosing the Right Color Carpet for Your Home

As a kid, if you know Roy G. Biv, you know color.  But as you get older, color isn’t quite so simple anymore, especially when it comes to decorating your home.  In fact, the human eye can distinguish over 6 million different hues!  Oatmeal, Bagel, French Vanilla…no we’re not talking about breakfast items, but color swatches, all of which may appear remarkably similar.   Color can affect the mood, tone, and function of a room, and is usually the most important element in a decorating scheme.  And because color is so important, we want to give you a few pointers that may help in your color selection process, especially when choosing carpet.

First, it’s important to touch on the three general color areas- warm, cool, and neutral.  Warm colors, like orange and red, create a more lively, exciting feeling and emotional response.  Family rooms, kitchens, and casual entertaining areas are the more popular areas to display these colors.  Cool colors, like pale greens and blues, elicit a more restful, serene aura, and are often used in more formal rooms and bedrooms.  Neutral colors, like beige and taupe, actually work both ways because they compliment the other colors in a room, making them an appropriate carpet choice for any room in the house.

When considering the color of carpeting, it is important to look at the room structure itself.  Small, narrow rooms will appear more spacious with a neutral carpet that subtly blends with the wall.  Lighter carpets will also capture more light, adding airiness to the room.  Likewise, a large or disproportioned room can become cozier with a strong color that contrasts the wall.  A well-planned carpet color can enhance the positive features of your room and even make up for some architectural limitations

Now that you have considered your room structure and determined the mood you want your room to set, here are a few tips when selecting your carpet:

  • Always examine carpet samples in different lighting.  What may look like a soft cream in fluorescent lighting may look more like a sandy beige in a hallway with a small amount of natural light.  Bring your carpet sample into the room(s) you are having carpeted and examine it in the center of the room, in a dark corner, and against a window.  Also, be sure to view the color in the daytime and at night to get an accurate sense of how the carpet will look under all lighting conditions.
  • Avoid matching colors.  A successful decorating plan more often blends colors and tones rather than directly matching them.  Wheat colored carpet, putty colored walls, and antique white ceilings will produce a more visually pleasing flow than having all surfaces the same color beige.
  • Be careful with manufacturers’ names for carpet colors.  One manufacturer’s name for a carpet may be substantially different from another manufacturer’s same color name.  Your best bet is to choose a color based on your eye, not the manufacturer’s name for the carpet. 
  • Try to think “long-term” when selecting your carpet.  Consider how your preferences may change over time, and ask whether your carpet selection will work with your developing taste in the future.  An impulsive carpet choice can haunt you down the road, while a carefully selected carpet can delight you for years to come.

The selection of carpet color is an integral part of your home’s design strategy.  If color is still a little overwhelming, fear not!   Your Pizazz design consultant can help navigate you through the color selection process and collaborate with you to create a design plan you’ll love.  Visit Pizazz Floors Website for more design advice and ideas.