Concrete in Interior Environments

I recently received a question from Rachel M. Wolfe who is a fantastic writer and photographer. She takes amazing photographs of different subject matter through which she captures a story, creates beautiful pieces of art and explores the world.
This time her curiosity was about concrete. She wanted to find out different uses and applications of concrete in the interior environment.

Concrete creates an industrial and modern look. It lends itself to many different applications from commercial to residential interiors.
It is very versatile since it can be molded and set in to different shapes as well as stained and sanded.
The applications of concrete include: Floor, Tiles, Countertops, Sinks, Tubs, Interior Walls, Fireplace surrounds and even Furniture.

Since concrete is a porous material in order to prevent any not wanted staining it needs to be sealed often. It is also susceptible to cracking and chipping- therefore it’s construction and application needs to be appropriate for the intended use (and even then cracking and chipping might occur).

Concrete Floor- Artistic Surfaces Inc.

Coffee table with Concrete Top- Os

Freestanding Tub- Get Real Surfaces

Concrete Double Sink- Poufolio Custom Concrete

Fireplace Surround - Advanced Concrete Enhancement

Wood Furniture 101

I often get asked questions that pertain to the quality of  wood furniture.
How can one check if a piece of furniture is a good quality and why is single piece different from another?
Why is this dresser so much more expensive from a very similar looking dresser?

Well… there are many parts that are important in making a good quality piece of furniture. A sideboard that is crafted from quality materials with all the top notch furniture making techniques, will not only be attractive addition to your interior, it may perhaps be passed on to several generations while withstanding many decades of abuse.

Here are a few tips that will help you distinguish between a good and a fabulous.
For a well constructed piece of furniture, look for the following:

*Wood- A sturdy piece of furniture will be made out of hardwood versus softwood.
Hardwood includes the following species: cherry, ash, oak, maple, walnut, teak and mahogany. These woods are usually stronger and more expensive.

*Joints- All interlocking joints on a piece of furniture should be double or triple doweled, corner blocked, glued and high-pressure stapled for support.

*Level factor- Large pieces of furniture should account for the gradual floor level difference in different homes. It should include a leveling device in the base for balance.

*Drawers & Doors- Good quality drawers will glide easily yet feel heavy and sturdy.  The interior of the drawers should be smooth.
Doors should be properly aligned when shut and also feel substantial. When opened the doors should not make any noise and glide easily.

*Dust Panels – Good quality pieces of furniture will have dust panel partitions between the drawers.

*Shelves Support –Shelves should have center supports to prevent from buckling. You can gently lean on them to check how strong they are.  If the shelves are adjustable they should be able to shift with ease and they must be placed on sturdy hardware.

*Hardware- All hardware must be strong and secure. There should be no rough edges on the hardware. The hardware ought to handle the load of the door and all the latches should function properly.

*Movement- The furniture should feel sturdy when rocked. If you get lots of movement there is a flaw in construction.

*Finish- Wood furniture should feel smooth to the touch unless it is meant to be distressed. The finish should look even and uniform with no spots, dents, lines or bubbles.

Daily Herald Article

Recently I did an interview for the Daily Herald newspaper and provided some expert design advice on barstools for their Home and Garden section.
Read along and Enjoy!


High: Designers offer tips for bar seating

Confession time. I remodeled the kitchen in my first house, and then never bought stools for the counter that opened to the dining room. I was never sure how tall they should be.
Of course, these days it is probably easy to find formulas for this question online. However, we decided it would be more fun to check in with a few area designers to give us solid information about using stools.
Adele Lampert, owner of a firm in Barrington, lays out the numbers for us.
• Traditional bar height is 42 inches high, and the seat should be 30 inches from the floor.
• Kitchen counters are 36 inches tall, and the trend of extending them for more work surface, an eating area and options for buffet serving requires a 24-inch high seat.
• And desk or table height is 30 or 31 inches, so you will want seats 18 inches high.
Here's another nagging question. Why do we have tall bars and bar-height tables, anyway? Lampert designed a great kitchen with a table at the end of an island for casual, quick dining with easy clean up and "normal" height chairs.
But Edyta Czajkowska, whose Des Plaines company carries her name (EDYTA & CO. INTERIOR DESIGN), offers an explanation:
"It's a more casual way of sitting. It brings the whole bar arena into the kitchen. The cook can prepare food, and guests can eat appetizers or drink wine and provide an audience. People like to be elevated and overlook everything."
So even though your guests might be risking ankle injuries when they hop up on their stools, it gives them a feeling of relaxation and partying, right?
Ah ha, members of the American Society of Interior Designers, like Lampert and Czajkowska, do not just combine pretty colors. They also take safety into consideration.
That's why a tall stool should have a foot rail on it, and there could be one on the bar in front of the stool, too, Czajkowska says.
That makes the whole scenario safer and more comfortable.
And the rail should go all the way around the stool for stability's sake, Lampert adds.
Here are other points to consider from our designers.
• Stools with backs are more comfortable, but the backless ones tuck under the counter better, a consideration when space is tight.
• Arms take up a lot of room, another factor to consider is space is at a premium.
•And Lampert warns that it's really annoying for your guests if the arms don't fit under the bar when they are trying to move closer or swivel.
• Swiveling stools make it easy to turn to talk with your neighbors or to get up or down.
Your designer can recommend commercial fabrics that are gorgeous, stain resistant and comfortable to cover that padding that will convince your guests to stay longer, says Czajkowska.
And you will notice your favorite stores make chairs available in different heights. Repeating the style from table to bar can unify a room, she says.
And the last words come from Lampert.
• Wood frames give a furniture look and can be enhanced with hand painting, distressing, glazing or metallic highlights.
• Leather is great for keeping clean when food and drink are involved, and faux leather can be comfortable as well as economical.
• A fabric you love can cover the back of the chair while avoiding worries about anyone spilling on it.


Having a beautiful modern and state of the art kitchen is definitely a great addition to one’s home. Kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house, where we make fantastic meals and congregate.

Poggenpohl came up with a great versatile dining solution for the kitchen. It includes all bells and whistles, so there is no need to step away from the dinner table.
“The Dining Desk expands to incorporate modular functions –from teppan yaki grill to hot and cold boxes with the help of an incorporated motorized mechanism.
There are 13 natural stone surfaces to choose from which includes an elegant Statuario Marble. It also includes additional options of five different types of wood veneers.”