Ask Kim! Kitchen Update

Hi Kim,

We had some water damage in our kitchen and need to replace the tile, a few cabinets, and to repaint the kitchen/cabinets. We would prefer non-white floor tile and non-white cabinets. We love Scandinavian and mid-century modern design however, we recognize that it isn’t for everyone and we want to make sure the home is eventually something we can sell. 

We are keeping the doors to the cabinets, which are a shaker style. The backsplash will be the same blue glass tile and the granite will be the same. We really dislike white for cabinetry and tiles. It’s been very hard to keep clean.we gravitate towards bright colors and particularly like navy blue/other blues and yellows. As far as the tiles go, we like the idea of having colorful tiles mixed with a darker hexagonal tile. The appliances have been switched out and are stainless. Below is a picture of our current kitchen and then an inspirational picture I found. 

Thanks! Allie 


Hi Allie, 

I love to see that you are not afraid of color and I love the Scandinavian/modern designs you are drawn to!  Because your current style cabinet leans more transitional then modern I looked for choices that will blend these two styles together.

One of the tricks of the trade for making cabinet’s look and feel more expensive is to paint them a darker color. With that thought in mind I think it is necessary to remove the navy backsplash. If you have darker cabinets, back splash and countertop… the entire kitchen starts to feel extremely dark.  Replacing a kitchen backsplash is a relatively low cost project.  It can be completed in a day for around $500 including materials (depending on which tile you choose).

My recommendation would be to keep the solid black countertops, add a white/off white hex shaped or other more modern shaped white tile, paint the cabinets a pretty navy or emerald green and add a black and white Scandinavian patterned floor.  This will give you that touch of Scandinavian/modern feel while adding some color and still appealing to the masses.  It also works with your existing cabinets.

For your cabinets I would suggest Sherwin Williams color Kale Green or even the color Isle of Pines are great dark emerald green options.  You can also try navy or another pop of color of your choosing. It’s important to you know, the cabinet color will appear lighter than the actual sample will appear in a smaller scale. (I don’t know why, it’s just a weird thing that happens, and through almost 2 decades of experience  I would err on the darker side than the lighter side.). 

I hope this helps with a visual guidance and direction.  Thanks so much for sending in your question!  If you move forward with the concept, I'd love to see pictures after you are done!

Here are some pictures for inspiration and here are some tiles I would recommend.

I hope all is well, and you and your family are safe! - Kim

          Tile 1 - Nolita Matte Porcelain - The Tile Shop

Tile 2 - Villa White Hexagon Tile - Floor and Decor 

Tile 3 - Canvas White Double Hexagon - Floor and Decor



Ask Kim! Fireplace Dilemma


Dear Kim,

Can you help me with this awkward white brick fireplace?

Thank you!


Thanks so much for your question about your fireplace dilemma.  The best way to unity this area of your home and make it feel more cohesive is by visually combining the fireplace area with the television.  Right now, this area is a monolithic brick mass with a dis-conjointed TV stand.  But no worries!  I have a solution for you design dilemma.

The first thing you need to do is unity these two functions, the tv and the fireplace.  I will accomplish this with millwork and sheetrock and blending these two areas in my design plan.  Please see my CAD drawings to visualize what I am doing.  The first order of business is to build cabinet to house all of your TV equipet.  I want to tie this cabinet in with the fireplace so I have designed a mantel and mantel "legs which transition the cabinet piece from the fireplace.  By using the same materials, but utilizing different depths of each section, this will visually combine the areas, but provide functionality for each section.  For above the mantel and also above the built in TV canit, I would sheetrock and paint this area to match your existing room.  I would also wrap sheetrock and paint this area to match your existing room.  I would also wrap the sheetrock around the side of the fireplace where the brick turns and goes back to the kitchen.  Work with your carpenter to the best ways to transition the sheetrock to the side o the mantel legs and then transition the sheetrock to the brick hearth.  I would suggest painting all the millwork white and painting the sheetrock the color of the rest of the walls in your room.  


The above article is featured in the May issue of Lake Highlands Life - because I only have limited space in the magazine, I have added additional information below!

When I was designing this solution, I did a little research online to get some inspiration and I applied element of these ideas into the custom design I drew up. In addition, I have added some photos to further visualize the solution.

Photo 1 - I love how the bookshelves integrated with the fireplace mantel and design.  The brick hearth was a similar situation to Janet' and I really liked the mantel legs.  They provided a fluid unity between the bookshelf built-in and the fireplace.  As a side note, the inside edge of the mantel legs should be constructed out of a non-combustible material.  You can do this through some of the following options:

1 - You could use a white tile such as Thassos.

2 - You could use cement board that your contractor floats smooth and you paint just as you would wood.

3 - You extend the inside face with brick and paint as you have the rest of the brick.  You would transition this by turning the stile of the mantle leg on th inside (over the brick) the same width that the stile is on the face of the mantle leg. 


Photo 2 - i liked the lower base cabinets because if we followed the height of the mantel teh TV might not fit and it would be at a level that could not be comfortable for viewing.  The difference in this photo though is the build in cabinets are recessed past the depth of the fireplace.  So I designed the cabinet to be shorter like the second photo, but come out in front of the fireplace facade like the first photo.


As you can see, searching online for ideas for your solutions is great.  But more thank likely your situation will not be exactly like the set-up is from your inspirational room.  So, it is the knowledge of being in business for almost 20 years, that helps to custom a design plan that can solve all your design dilemmas.  I hope you enjoyed this further explanation and you can follow my "Ask Kim" article by following Lake Highlands Life

Ask Kim!  How much of an accent color is too much?

 Dear Kim,

How much of an accent color is ok to use before you go overboard with it?


Peacock Blue Has Swallowed My Living Room

Thank you for your question!

Ideally, an accent color is nice repeated 3-5 times throughout a room.  For instance, if you love Peacock Blue then a nice way to incorporate that is with a pair of peacock blue drapes, pillows, some artwork with a peacock blue accent and maybe an area rug.  Also, if your only accent color is Peacock blue, it might feel a little cold and flat.  By introducing other colors, you can balance the blue and create harmony.  Warmer colors such as pink and chartreuse go great with Peacock blue.  Even if you just add a pop of a complimentary solid color, something as simple as a pillow and a throw blanket, it will go a long way in creating this balance.

If you have gone the route of painting an accent wall or all the walls a dominant color, then it is safe if you layer the rest of the room with neutrals.

This picture is a room from our Galveston beach rental.  As you can see, the walls are a robust navy blue, which could be overpowering if not properly balanced.  In order to create harmony with the intense wall color I have layered the room in off-white and cream neutrals.  I am doing two things with this lighter accent, I am creating high-drama with the stark contrast of the light and dark color and I am also layering a neutral, which balances out the strong navy. 

Once the foundation of the room was set with the bold strong navy walls, the large cream headboard, white coverlet, and white drapes - I then placed my navy color in varying forms of scale and pattern throughout the room to create interest.  This resulted a room that makes a great impact on guests without being overpowering. 

So feel inspired to use that peacock blue!  Just make sure you include neutrals and accent colors to balance it out!  To see more details on how this blue bedroom was accented in Navy and balanced by the neutrals, you can check it out on VRBO 1837646!

 Do you have a question for Kim?  Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and your question could be featured in a column of Lake Highlands Life Magazine!



Hill Country Travel

Sometimes I need to leave Dallas to find the perfect piece for a home. I am currently working on a large project in Austin, TX that requires old beams and doors with character. One of the places I visited to look for reclaimed beams and doors was Fredericksburg. I found some wonderful beams that will add a dimension to the home that will make it really special.

While I was in the heart of the hill country, I took some time to check out the old Sunday Homes. The character these homes have is so indigenous to the area and I can’t wait to incorporate the vernacular architecture to this extraordinary project.


The next week after I visited Fredericksburg, I also ventured down to Round Top, TX trade days. My main mission was to locate some antique doors that we would use for the front façade of the renovation. The trip was a success. Although we didn’t purchase any old doors for the project, I was immensely inspired by the character and style of the antiques we did see. The builder is going to create a custom door that I drew, based on the inspiration from an old French door from the late 1800’s!


Spotlight on Design
Pantone Color of the Year 2017: Greenery

Every year since 2000, Pantone has chosen a color that reflects the current cultural climate. This year, they chose a greenish-yellow hue named Greenery.

I must say that green has always been one of my favorite colors. So much so, that when I was three years old, and my mom told me that I was going to be a big sister, she asked me if I would rather have little brother or sister…. My response was, “I don’t care as long as they are green!” I was really into the Incredible Hulk at the time, but either way, Green and I have a very long history of admiration. So Pantone’s announcement of Greenery, made me want to share some projects that will make you Green with envy!

  1. Book Shelves – In these bookshelves, I used a beautiful green grass cloth to line the backs of these shelves. This added depth to the shelf, which highlighted the client’s accessories.
  2. Laundry Room – In this laundry room, I used green two ways. The cabinets as well as a floral patterned material for the farm sink skirt and window treatment.
  3. Living Room – This fresh green area rug anchored the room and gave it a year-round spring vibe.



Backyard Update

Last post, I promised photos of my completed outdoor living area. Well here they are!

The area is everything I hoped for and we’ve spent countless hours outside having family meals (including Thanksgiving), watching football and entertaining friends and family. Oh, and did I mention I have an outdoor shower?!

One of my favorite parts of the living area is my custom table. Custom is not relegated to indoor pieces! My challenge was to find a tall table that wasn’t bar height. I didn’t want the table to interfere with the flow. Thus, I went custom. I had the table slab custom made to my measurements and had custom legs crafted. When it came to the chairs, I found bar height chairs I loved so all I had to do was have them cut to the correct size and add custom upholstered cushions. Viola! I got exactly what I wanted without breaking the bank. There is usually a solution to most design issues if you think outside the box and find a good craftsman who can get the job done. 

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, I always make sure my designs are functional. We can sit close to 15 people in this area at any given time and the console below the television provides us with storage space for plates, utensils, dish clothes and outdoor serving pieces. It’s been a labor of love but the amount of family time we spend outdoors sure made it worth it! 


Personal Projects

Over the last three months I have been my own client. We decided to do some exterior work to our home including painting the outside and adding a backyard living area.

 I took the time to pick out the perfect color paint and made the decision to move forward. Then I questioned my choice and questioned it and questioned it. In fact the paintwork was done while we were on vacation so I asked my assistant to send me pictures. Daily.

When I got home and saw the house, that still had the brown paper in the windows, I STILL questioned if I’d made the right decision. But then, the paper came down, the trim was painted and the final product was evident. And guess what? I. Love. It. It was the perfect color and it has transformed our home in an amazing way. I think this happens sometimes in design. A client gets nervous about choices but in the end, they love it and the transformations are exactly what they were hoping for. It was good for me to be in my client’s shoes for a few months!

Here is a before and after picture of our home. Look for pictures of our backyard transformation soon!

Spotlight on Custom Design

Even though I have wide variety of looks in my portfolio, I’m most known for my colorfully eclectic aesthetic. Color gives me energy and I feel it gives a home energy. We all need good happy energy to keep us going in life.

It is also important for me to have unique one-of-a-kind pieces in a home. It adds an eclectic quality that is unique to my clients. I like to create pieces that you can’t find in stores and have a story behind them. One instance of this is a Mid-century Modern bench I recently designed for a client’s lake house.


Most pieces begin with an inspiration. In this case, it was a serape rug I found in Round Top. I knew the rug would go great in the guest bedroom, but I wanted to incorporate it in a different way. My creative juices started flowing; I started sketching and designed a bench to go at the end of the bed. This bench is now a focal point of the room and adds an interesting piece that you can’t buy in a store.

This is the type of creativity I bring to all projects. I like to challenge myself to come up with something designed especially for that client and their individual home. Here is how the rug looked in the store and how it looked as a bench!