Does Your Kitchen’s Functionality Need Tweaking?

For a kitchen to function well, things must be stored efficiently.

Kitchens are the heart of the home. How is yours working for you? Is there anything you can do to make your current space more efficient? During the holidays, we spend an abundance of time in the kitchen, cooking, eating, and cleaning. It’s a great time to tweak things, so your kitchen functions as well as possible. Below are some ideas for quick fixes, along with suggestions to keep in mind future improvements.

How well are the contents in your kitchen arranged?

Some kitchen items can be decorative while not being used
  • Are the dishes and glasses that you use every day in a spot to be easily put away when emptying the dishwasher and dish drainer? Ideally, it would be best if you did not have to take steps to complete this task.
  • On the other hand, it makes sense to have the flatware, including serving pieces, near the table, if possible. When emptying the dishwasher, you can take the whole silverware caddy over to the drawer to put the utensils away, and you won’t end up walking back and forth.
  • If you like to bake, are all your baking needs—including bowls, and common ingredients like flour, sugar, baking powder, salt—within easy reach of each other?
  • Are the cooking utensils and pots and pans that you use regularly stored next to the stove? And are they organized a way such that you can quickly retrieve the one you need?
  • If you have a collection of herbs and spices, are they stored close to the stove? Are they organized so you can immediately find the one you want?
  • Do you have potholders stored next to the oven?
  • Are there utensils, implements, gadgets that you use only occasionally taking up room and cluttering up your core storage locations? Could they be relocated to a less central location to free up central space?
  • Is the trashcan located next to, underneath, or within easy reach of the sink?
kitchen with pots on shelves
Shelving can add additional storage.

Some suggestions on kitchen storage:

  • Within a cabinet, try to group things that are the same height on the same shelf—like cups and mugs, for instance. Then, if you tighten up space above, you may be able to add an extra shelf.
  • Add decorative storage baskets above cabinets to store things used infrequently.
  • Retrofit an antique hutch to look like a built-in cabinet to add storage.
  • Seek out vertical wall storage systems that could organize kitchen utensils and gadgets.
  • Or use a utensil crock/holder on the counter next to the stove to hold your most often used cook’s tools—it’s almost like a chef’s bouquet!
  • Put a two-tiered lazy susan inside your cabinet to hold herbs and spices. Lazy susans make them easier to find and keep less frequently used spices from getting lost in the back. 
  • Add a wire rack suspended from an upper shelf to hold a platter or two and free up shelf space.
  • Do you have numerous platters and trays piled on top of one another? Stacking the boxes that they came in, if sturdy—or obtaining suitable flat ones—opened on one edge, allows you to easily slide any of them out, even from the bottom of the pile, without chipping them.

Suggestions for future kitchen function improvements

More suggestions to improve a kitchen’s functionality:

  • Install recessed, pendant, and under-the-counter lighting.
  • Install outlet strips to make sure there is an outlet where you need it.
  • Install a swan neck faucet to make your sink able to accommodate large pots and pans.
  • Use a kitchen cart to create a coffee bar to free up room on the counter.
  • Create a built-in dining nook with storage drawers under the seats.
  • If your kitchen has a door to the outside, consider replacing it with an all-glass door to let more light in, and make sure it has a screen.
  • Buy things that require little maintenance. Don’t waste your time with dishes that are not able to go into the dishwasher. Your time is better spent doing things that make you happy!

The Container Store is a great source for ideas on how to organize specific parts of your kitchen. They have ideas for utensil drawers, spices, pantries, junk drawers and more.

I hope you found the time to read my lastest posts: Sherwin Williams Color Forecast for 2020 is a Homerun , What to expect in luxury home decor fabrics for 2020 from the Robert Allen and Duralee Group, and The Gary Mead Gallery. Coming soon will be a post about furniture trends for 2020. If you enjoy keeping up on trends and can use some ideas for making your home perfect for you, please subsribe.

Email Address


The Gary Mead Gallery: Furniture that is Art

Last weekend, in the Catskills, I dragged my husband to the Gary Mead Gallery at Fruitful Furnishings, which had been on my list to check out. I am always looking for new sources, and I love to find talented people who can make custom pieces.

welcome sign at studio saying to let yourself in

It is a bit off the main road, but numerous signs led us there. A sign on the door says to let yourself in, have a look around and make sure to sign the guestbook. So we did. We browsed the gallery and its selection of beautifully crafted, one-of-a-kind furniture made from a variety of different woods. Quickly my husband and I realized that we were looking at more than furniture; it was art.

gary mead studio

We signed the guest book and were on our way out when Gary Mead came driving up. With a warm greeting, he asked if we saw everything, including the back room. What backroom?

With that we went back in, and I am so glad we did. Gary took us on tour and proudly educated us about each piece. His passion for trees, his craft, and design came through loud and clear. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to him speak about his furniture, different woods, and the hours it took to complete each piece. Our appreciation grew as we learned the story of each piece.

Dining Table at the Gary Mead Gallery

Gary explained that the shape of the tree inspired the design of the table in the picture. He crafted from Cherry, Wormy Soft Maple and Walnut. The grain of the wood and curvature of the table are stunning.

Kitchen Pantry

kitchen pantry made from a tree
Kitchen Pantry
kitchen pantry made from a hollow tree
Kitchen Pantry

When we toured the gallery by ourselves, we saw a tall tree-shaped structure but never opened it. We thought it was a unique piece and figured it was a type of stand-alone building because of the hinged doors, but we didn’t know what it was exactly. When Gary took us back in to show us around, we learned it was a kitchen pantry, titled Mother and Child. We were amazed to see an over-sized working lazy-susan made entirely of wood. The inside of the doors had shelves composed with grapevine. This piece was not only beautiful, but it was incredibly functional.

Honey Bee Tree Table

He also showed us some round pub like tables he composed from a honey bee tree. Gary explained the bees hollow out the tree, and he uses them as the table base. When you sit at the table, you could see down inside the log.

bee tree table
Honey Bee Tree Tables

Cider Press Table

In the back room Gary showed us an impressive table composed out of an old 50 ton cider press base in service from  1939-2007. He explained how the table has iron rods going through it to keep the table together. The bolts on the ends can be loosened and tightened when the wood expands and contracts. It also allows for the table to be taken apart to transport, which otherwise would be difficult because of its size and weight.

big wood table

“From the Forest” Sculpture

woodland creatures chainsaw carvings

Out the backdoor, Gary has a sculpture titled “From the Forest” that he collaborated with chainsaw artist Hoppy Quick to complete. The piece is vast and impressive. I asked Gary who he would market this piece to. His answer was admirable. He said he would not sell this piece to a private owner. It needs to be in a public space so that it can be enjoyed by many.

carved tree forest animals

If you are in the Catskills, I encourage you to visit the gallery. Call before you go to make an appointment with Gary for a personal tour. When you meet Gary, I guarantee you will fall in love with trees and his craft. His enthusiasm is 100% contagious.

Gary also has written several educational books for children about our environment:“MY FIRST TREE BOOK, SWEET SAP, MY SECOND TREE BOOK, and LOOK UP” Follow the link to check them out.

Contact information for the Gallery :  Phone 845-586-3638 email-

I hope you found the time to read my last two posts: Sherwin Williams Color Forecast for 2020 is a Homerun and What to expect in luxury home decor fabrics for 2020 from the Robert Allen and Duralee Group. Coming next will be a post about furniture trends for 2020. If you enjoy keeping up on trends and can use some ideas for making your home perfect for you, please subsribe.

green and blue living room furniture

What to expect to see in Luxury Home Decor Fabrics for 2020 From The Robert Allen Duralee Group

This week I attended an excellent presentation at The Robert Allen Duralee Group’s newly renovated Long Island showroom, introducing their new collection of home decor fabrics. It was refreshing to see the direction their fabrics are taking for 2020. With Robert Allen and Duralee’s merger, they promised innovative, beautiful products, and with these new collections, they delivered!

Expect Bold Color in Home Decor Fabrics

The Robert Allen Duralee Group felt the world was ready for bold color. Specifically, the colors they named, Tomato, Azure, and Aqua. Bold color is quite a contrast to past trends that we have become accustomed to.

How did we go from gray, beige, and white to highly saturated bold colors? The Robert Allen Duralee Group looks to fashion, social media, and travel trends for inspiration. People are traveling to places that they have not gone to traditionally, such as South and Central America. The bold colors and prints are a direct influence of these travel spots.
The color Tomato was inspired by henna and saffron. Azure is a color that came from the cobalt blues found in South American pottery. Lagoons and serenity inspired the color Agua.

One of the beautiful vignettes at the Long Island Showroom showcasing RADG’s fabrics and furniture

Expect Lively Prints in Home Decor Fabrics

The new fabric collections contain a variety of brightly colored large-scale prints. These prints, like the new color palette, are inspired by Central and South American design, another result of recent travel trends. Interior Design had become so serious for a while. It is refreshing to see a shift towards playful and whimsy decor.

chair with colorful fabric
Photo taken at RADG’s Long Island Showroom

Expect to see More Texture in Fabrics

The Robert Allen Duralee Group payed attention to how fabrics feel in addition to how they look. Recognizing the importance of the tactile sense of touch, the new collections offer a variety of textures. Texture adds dimension to a room. Incorporating different textures makes a room more interesting.

fabric inspired by menswear
menswear inspired fabric

Expect to see Menswear Inspired Fabrics

Highland Court’s new collection “Sula” was inspired by menswear. This luxury outdoor fabric collection has Faux wool, and faux mohair in Menswear inspired fabrics.

Expect to see Outdoor Fabrics Made in Indoor Color Palettes

Fabrics made to be used outside are very durable. They are fade resistant and liquids bead up and roll off them making the fabrics stain resistant. Because of their durability designers have been using them for indoor furniture too. Recognizing this trend, RADG has introduced outdoor fabrics made in indoor colors. There is even velvet in this collection!

black sofa with pink pillows
Blush pillows on sofa displayed at the Long Island Showroom

The new fabric collections have something for everyone. Traditional, transitional, and contemporary design styles are all well represented. Soft neutrals for those who prefer a quiet palette are still in abundance. However, those who are looking to liven things up will be ecstatic with the newly introduced fabrics boasting bold color and lively prints.

upholstered headboard, glamour bedroom
Breathtaking and stunning display at The Robert Allen Duralee Groups’ Long Island Showroom


What to expect in 2020 in home decor fabrics

  • bold colors
  • lively prints inspired by South and Central America
  • lots of texture
  • heavier fabrics, even cotton and linen fabrics have substantial weight to them
  • embroidered fabrics
  • fabrics that feel good to the touch
  • fabrics inspired by menswear
  • Big selection of high-performance fabrics for durability

I hope you were able to read last week’s blog on the 2020 Color Forcast by Sherwin Williams. Be sure not to miss a blog on furniture trends for 2020, coming soon. If you are enjoying keeping up on decorating trends please subscribe.

Sherwin-Williams’ 2020 Color Forecast is a “Home-run”

2020 Colormix ® Forecast by Sherwin-Williams

The color forecast by Sherwin-Williams, known in the industry as the Colormix® Forecast, is an event I look forward to attending every year. This year’s color forecast was, by far, my favorite one. Sherwin-Williams introduced “Color in Balance” and emphasized that Interior Designers should not only care about aesthetics but how a space makes a person feel. If you read my blog Design To Be Happy, What Does That Mean?, you are aware that this is in line with my design philosophy.

I am thrilled that Sherwin-Williams recognizes that our home environment is a tool that can be used to assist with our well-being. This theory is very timely, considering the fast pace and stress modern-day life throws at us. More than ever, our home should be our sanctuary.

One reason I feel Sherwin-Williams Colormix® Forecast is a “Home-run” (PUN INTENDED) is that I love their message. But, I am also excited about the color palettes. Honestly, I am in awe and obsessed with their 2020 color palettes. I can identify with all of them (first time) and believe that most people will connect with a few.

Colormix Forecast 2020

The forecast introduces 45 great up and coming colors and groups them into five color palettes. Each addresses a different emotional need. Sherwin-Williams says the palettes “bring joy, serenity, and focus to the mind, body, and spirit. 

Below is an introduction to the 2020 Colormix® Forecast Palettes by Sherwin-Williams. Be sure to read my thoughts and summary afterward.

Color Forecast Palette “Alive”

Sherwin-Williams Color Forecast Palette Alive

The 2020 Colormix® Forecast Palette “Alive” is about living in the moment and enjoying all the wonderful things life has to offer. Sherwin-Williams says that this palette was influenced by Optimism, Authenticity, Globalization, and New Local. They say this palette says to “be present.” The deep navy and olive green are the colors that keep you grounded and focused. Their cool tones are supported with warm neutrals, creating balance, which is essential for wellness.

Color Forecast Palette “Mantra”

Sherwin-Williams Color Forecast Palette Mantra

The 2020 Colormix® palette “Mantra” introduces soft muted colors in a well-balanced mix of both warm and cool colors. These colors are a perfect representation of what influenced them, Minimalism, Serenity, Scandinese, and Sanctuary. Sherwin-Williams says this palette is where the styles of East and West meet.

Color Forecast Palette “Play”

The 2020 Colormix® palette “Play” boasts a collection of fun and lively colors. Sherwin-Williams says the colors were influenced by Escapism, Humor, Joy, and Energy. The colors Pure White and Caviar are perfect companions to the other bright colors in the palette. They allow you to enjoy fun colors and at the same time, keep them from becoming overbearing. We all need more Play in our life!

Color Forecast Palette “Haven”

Sherwin-Williams Color Forecast Palette Haven

The Colormix® palette “Haven” is connected to nature. The colors are shades of the sky, sand, forest, and sea. Sherwin-Williams says the colors were influenced by Simplicity, Wabi-Sabi, Conservation, and Material Health. The shades in this palette are subdued, easy to live with, and create a warm, welcoming environment.

Color Forecast Palette “Heart”

The 2020 Colormix® palette “Heart” is comprised of corals, cocoas, and pinkish beiges. This palette was influenced by Bauhaus, Bohemian, Fusion, and Humanity. These soft, muted colors are earthy with a romantic edge.

My Thoughts about the 2020 Trend Colors

  • Many of the colors have been de-saturated and muted to the point where they can be used as neutrals when decorating.
  • The color palettes that lean towards low contrast, making the addition of textures important.
  • Soft muted colors are being used to translate tranquility, order and sanctuary.
  • Clearer colors are being used to solicit focus, balance, and happiness.
  • The new grays and whites are warm-toned.
  • Beige’s have a pink undertone.
  • Mustard, clay, and cocoa are our new earthy colors.
  • Reds are pink-toned resulting in shades like Juneberry and Erics Pink.
  • Navy and dark green have become neutrals, that work well as a grounding color as black has been used traditionally.
  • There is some harmony between palettes.

Special thanks to Sherwin-Williams for allowing me to use their marketing material to share these great new color palettes with you. Visit their website for more information on their products. If you would like to learn more about their Colormix® Forecast click here.

If you enjoy keeping up on trends, and receiving ideas on how to create the perfect home for you, enter your email below to subscribe.