Trend Alert: Smart Lights

The “smart home” is a quick term to describe something that’s quite complex. Smart home systems allow you more control, comfort and security from your home appliances. You can see who rang your doorbell, dim your lights, or control the speakers in every room simultaneously.

This is overwhelming at first, and you might be reluctant to allow a phone app complete control over your home’s security functions. It’s a good idea to start small. Super small. Lightbulb small.

Smart lights are a great way to start upgrading your home into a smart home. Most products allow you complete control over the color and intensity of your light fixtures, while more advanced products allow you to sync your lights up with your music or video. 
Perhaps the most advanced smart lights available are from Nanoleaf, who manufacture highly customizable lighting panels, giving you creative freedom over your design. They can also sync up with your music. On the other hand, starter-level bulbs are great if you just want to dim or change colors. Just as an example, these bulbs can be installed in any compatible lamp or hanging light. 
While it may not seem like a big deal at first, control over your lighting is a simple and cheap way to improve your health and comfort significantly. Ketra manufactures lights that can replicate the natural progression of the sun indoors, better for sleep patterns and keeping track of time. 
So if you’re looking to make your home a little more smart, look to the lights. It’s a great first step into the world of smart home technology. Just by changing one lightbulb, you can change the way you live. 

Raising the Bar: Home Bars


Home design is, firstly, all about how the user operates their space on a daily basis. Secondly, home design is all about how the user operates their space when they entertain. The home bar has steadily become a standard component found in homes today.


Features often found in a home bar include: an under counter fridge for wine and beverages, an ice maker, a small sink, lockable liquor drawers, and visible shelving.


Hospitality, especially in the south, is valuable as well as influential. And having a space that caters to this is imperative. Secondary spaces, like the home bar, keeps your kitchen reserved for cooking, while guests can mingle in other areas reserved for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. 


Home bars don’t have to be very big, and have been known to be retrofitted from closets and even under the stairs. They can always be visible or close off when not in use. They also create more storage for glasses and dishes.

We are raising the bar on home standards everyday!







Trend Alert: Waterfall Island Countertops

A traditional countertop design extends the lip of the countertop just a few inches beyond the edge of the actual counter. A waterfall countertop continues the past the edge of the counter, vertically down to the floor, extending the material to all sides of the island.

What seemed like a temporary trend at first is becoming a staple in modern kitchens. By far the most popular material used is stone, but we are also seeing wood and concrete countertops getting the waterfall treatment. 
As with most concept and trends, people are finding ways to challenge the classic method. We are seeing partial, offset and live edge waterfalls becoming more common as well.

New Year, New Colors

A new year means out with the old and in with the new color. With 2019’s announcement of these leading design companies color of the year reports, its time to get painting! Pantone’s “Living Coral”, Benjamin Moore’s “Metropolitan”, and Sherwin William’s “Cavern Clay” will bring warmth and vibrancy to any drab space.

1. Pantone


Living Coral

“Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.
In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.
Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.”





1. Benjamin Moore



“Calm, composed and effortlessly sophisticated, Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year 2019, Metropolitan AF-690, exudes glamour, beauty and balance.”





3. Sherwin Williams


Cavern Clay

“A warm terracotta color with ancient, elemental roots, Cavern Clay SW 7701, is our 2019 Color of the Year. Cavern Clay is a nod to midcentury modern style, but with the soul of the American Southwest, which together creates a desert modern aesthetic.
This warm, earthy hue is both casual and refined. It can be the backdrop of a playful, welcoming dining room or kitchen when paired with bright tiles, warm stone and sculptural greenery. Complementary materials include leather, simple woodgrains and indigenous cacti in contemporary, sleek gardening planters.
Cavern Clay is an easy way to bring the warmth of the outdoors in. Envision beaches, canyons and deserts, and sun-washed late summer afternoons—all of this embodied in one color.”





Trend Alert: Monochrome

One of the first design concepts you learn is contrast. Complementary colors are located on opposing sides of the color wheel. Finding colors that go together but create contrast is a key step in designing a space. Therefore it may seem counterintuitive to do it with only one color. However, we are seeing more and more rooms that play on variations of a single color. These spaces are immersive, moody and shocking.

Monochromatic rooms set the mood immediately and without question. That mood, depending on the color, can range anywhere from bright and whimsical to sleek ultramodern. Monochrome also brings the added benefit of allowing your accents and fixtures to stand out where they might otherwise go unnoticed.


Your Countertop Guide: Butcher Block

Lumber Liquidators 1 1/2
Last month, it was stone. This month, we’re back, taking you through the ins and outs of butcher block countertops. These naturally beautiful wood countertops have a lot going for them: they are eco-friendly, anti-microbial, and even citrus resistant (unlike granite and some stone countertops). It’s easy to see why these countertops are so popular.

What are Butcher Block Countertops? 

Butcher block is one of the oldest materials used for countertops. Its use evolved very naturally; kitchen chefs would use thick slabs of wood as for cutting and chopping in their kitchens. Eventually, instead of just having a slab, kitchen designers thought to use long, thick planks of wood as countertop material.
Today’s butcher block countertops are made of long, thin pieces of wood fused together. This method gives you, the consumer, more control over the configuration of your countertop, as well as better quality material. You don’t have to follow the natural grain of the wood or include imperfections in your design. 

The four most popular types of butcher block countertops are made from maple, oak, bamboo, and antique pine. Each type of wood has its own pros and cons. Learning about each will help you make a more informed decision when you are thinking about adding butcher block countertops to your next new build, renovation, or remodeling project.

Maple Countertops

This most popular butcher block material today is maple. This hardwood is a natural choice for a couple of reasons. First, this wood has a simple, straight grain, which gives off an overall appearance of elegance. It also a beautiful blond to light-brown coloration, which goes well with many styles. Staining tends to bring out the spectrum of this wood’s coloration, making it an eye-catcher in any setting. 

These maple countertops from Lumber Liquidators would be perfect in our laundry room and the desk area we'll build in the kitchen.

Oak Countertops

My DIY kitchen oak cabinets painted Annie Sloan pure white chalk paint, ikea domsjo farm sink, butcherblock countertops sealed with waterlox, and white matte subway tile with oyster grey grout.

Oak countertops aren’t quite as durable as maple, but they do have their own perks. Oak gives you the greatest range of color variation, thanks to the numerous species of oak that can be used. You can have from rich dark honey tones of a red oak all the way to the subtle corn and hay tones in a white oak.

Bamboo Countertops

How to Create a Custom Bamboo Countertop in a Bathroom : How-To : DIY Network

You might have heard that wood countertops are impossible to sanitize. This is a myth. Most wood countertops naturally kill bacteria. Germs like salmonella and listeria need water to grow; wood binds up water, making it difficult for bacteria to grow. Wood consistently outperforms materials like plastic when it comes to controlling the spread of bacteria.And of the wood countertops, bamboo countertops are the most bacteria resistant.

 Eco-friendly Kitchen Countertops - endgrain bamboo counter

Bamboo is also a great choice if you’re looking for an eco-friendly wood option. Bamboo takes only a few years to reach full maturity, making it a sustainable resource.

Antique Pine Countertops

Last but not least are antique pine countertops. These countertops have a unique look, thanks to their 100+ years of maturation. This gives the wood a close-grained texture and a super hard, durable surface. It also makes the wood more stable than young woods. The color will not change over the years as dramatically as with  other woods.

Reclaimed White Pine Kitchen Island Counter - yes please! In love! Not super fond of the white though.

Antique pine countertops are easy to clean and maintain.

Goodbye, 2018. Hello, New Year!

With less than a month left in 2018, we thought this would be a great opportunity to look at all that made this year merry and bright. It is, after all, that time of year! Take a look at the best of 2018, and get a sneak peek at what we think will be big in the New Year.

Top Posts of 2018

What was trendy in 2018, you ask? Small pools and ombre interiors, among other things. Click the links to reread this year’s best blog posts.

Small Pools

You don’t need to go Olympic-sized to have a great escape from the summer heat. These tiny pools give you relief while working with the size of your yard.

Divide & Conquer: Partition Walls

Sometimes, you want lots of space. Sometimes, you want to feel cozy. Partition walls help you have the best of both worlds.

Let There Be Skylight

Let the light shine on you.

Trend Alert: Ombre Interiors

Love them, hate them, ombre interiors made a big splash this year.

2019 Predictions 

We’re already looking ahead to 2019. This is what we think will be hot in interior design in the year to come.


Last year was all about spice: fiery Caliente and bold Ultra Violet were the top colors. This year, though, major companies are going for a more subdued, sophisticated look in their paint choices.

Behr’s top pick for the year is Blueprint S470-5, an approachable cool blue color that compliments pretty much any other color. Benjamin Moore went with Metropolitan, a stylish off-white with rich grey tones, reminiscent of Eggshell. And among Pantone’s picks for the year are Soybean – a subtle, buttery white – and Brown Granite – an earthy grey-brown tone.

The Verdict: Stick to tried-and-true neutrals for walls, carpets, and ceilings. If you’re all about that pop of color, work it in with accessories or furniture. You want you home to feel clean, calm, and modern. 


For the last several years, mid-century modern has been king. While the clean lines and natural influences of mid-century modern will continue to be important, we think that 2019 will be a little funkier. 
If you take a look at Boho style, you’ll notice a few familiar things: clean lines, natural materials, a blend of form and function. Yes, it is a lot like mid-century modern. Where the two styles differ is in boldness. Boho favors brighter colors, fun patterns, and rich textures. Also, you can’t go Boho without at least one sheepskin piece. 
Also on the fun side – this new trend of subtle 70s style. Hello, velvet and floral patterns! 
Lots of manufacturers are looking to make more sustainable products by making changes to their materials, sourcing, and manufacturing processes. We love this eco-friendly trend; what’s good for your design scheme can also be good for the earth. 
Last but not least, more and more people are looking for their rooms, and furniture, to do double duty. Manufacturers are welcoming these desires by creating pieces that are both beautiful and multifunctional. These pieces make the best use of your space; if you’re on the tiny house trend, or if you’re just into downsizing, this trend is for you!Your coffee table doesn’t just have to hold books and drinks; it can also convert to a desk for those nights when you have to take work home. 

The Verdict: We love mid-century modern, but maybe it is time to leave in the last century.  


2019’s biggest accessories will be a mixture of old and new. Old: terrazzo. Yes, that 30s staple is back. Advances in manufacturing have given buyers a wider selection of looks and finishes, from positively kitschy to on-par-with-granite elegance. Also, geometric patterns, which have been a staple in the design world for many years, continue to be popular. New: artisanal fixtures. Bold metal accents, blown glass features, and hand made accessories will elevate the look of light fixtures in 2019.

The Verdict: Your options may be unlimited, but it is never a bad thing to stick with what you know. 

What do you think is going to be big in 2019? Share your opinion on our Facebook page. Include the tag #2019forecast.

Trend Alert: Black Accents


Someone recently told me “Every room needs something black in it;” a rule that, I realized, is an inherent practice that, as a designer, I most always tend to follow. Ultimately, every room needs a bit of contrast. When a palette is becoming too monochromatic, that’s when its time to pull in the black. “Something black” could mean tile, or paint; but it can also come in the form of furniture or decor or even artwork. The subtle, yet impressive black accents in these interiors really complete the spaces.

This black fireplace adds just the right amount of depth to an otherwise light-and-airy room. Source

The black elements in the central ibis painting play off the black toilet seat and floor tile. Source

Subtle black accents on art and furniture play off this room’s dark wood flooring. Source

Black pendant lights are a great compromise of the popular all-white kitchen. Source

In a room with a busy palette, black adds elegance and refinement. Source


Your Countertop Guide: Stone

If you’re thinking about building a kitchen in a new home, or renovating a kitchen in an existing home, there is one question that is sure to come up: what countertops should you get? There are plenty of options out there, from tried-and-true marble to high-tech quartz, each type with its own pros and cons. If you don’t want to sweat the small stuff (and who does?), it’s best to compare all three before making a decision. Here’s a breakdown of the three most popular stone countertop materials.

What are Quartz, Marble, and Granite?

Quartz, marble, and granite are all stone materials that are often used to make kitchen countertops. Marble and granite are natural stone – these are mined from a quarry, where huge pieces of stone are cut into manageable slabs, which are then further cut to fit on your kitchen countertop. Marble and granite both have beautiful, natural patterns that are unique to each piece. 
These marble countertops are unlike any other.

Quartz isn’t technically a pure stone, at least not in the form you will use for a countertop. It is mined like marble and granite, but the raw stone is they crushed into a powder then mixed with resin and pigment to create a single, smooth surface. Sometimes, it is referred to as an “engineered stone.” 

These lovely quartz countertops were the centerpiece in a recent renovation. 

Quartz vs. Marble vs. Granite


Quartz, marble, and granite are all extremely durable materials. There’s a reason stone is so often used to construct monuments and statues! They’re also all heat-resistant, which makes them great for baking. 
These marble countertops are beautiful AND perfect for breadmaking! 

Scratch Resistance

Marble is, by far, the softest of all three materials, which means that it can be scratched or chipped the most easily. Granite is the much harder than marble, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the durability and scratch-resistance of quartz. Quartz’ added resin makes it extremely hard to scratch or nick.


To some, an engineered product like quartz is a plus – the added processes involved in creating the stone in turn makes it more durable than natural stone. But, to others, “natural” can be a sticking point. Ask yourself if you would choose laminate floors over hardwood floors. If the answer is no, marble or quartz might be the better option.
These quartz counte
rtops are beautiful but not “natural.” 

Stains & Hygiene

Granite and marble are both porous materials. This means that spilled liquids can potentially seep into the countertops, causing stains. Marble countertops are especially susceptible to stains from acidic liquids, like orange juice, coffee, or wine. Their porous nature also makes these stones more difficult to clean, which can lead to harmful bacteria and germs staying on your counters long after you want them to.  
Engineered quartz, though, is not porous. It is extremely difficult to stain, and bacteria have a much more difficult time adhering to the material’s smooth surface.


If you’re set on having granite or marble in your kitchen, prepare for the maintenance. Both stones need to be sealed at installation, which helps prevent stains, and about once every year for the life of the countertops. They also need to be cleaned regularly with soap and water. Beware chemical cleaning products – some can cause stains. 
Image result for quartz countertops
These quartz countertops lend natural elegance to this modern kitchen. 

Because quartz isn’t porous, it doesn’t need nearly as much maintenance. Most quartz blends can be safely cleaned with most household cleaning products.

Unique Look

Because marble and granite are natural stone, mined from deposits around the world, every slab is unique. You’ll never have to worry about walking into a friend’s kitchen and seeing the same countertops on their island.
Image result for black granite countertops
These black granite countertops give this kitchen a very modern feel. 
Quartz, on the other hand, is engineered. Although most manufacturers work hard to have a great deal of variety in quartz slabs, inevitably, some slabs will look similar. Quartz also doesn’t have quite the “natural” look that granite or marble has.


While every granite and marble slab is unique, they often have a similar feel because they’re formed in a certain way and mined from only a few places in the world. And while there are many different colors and types of granite and marble available, the variety isn’t endless.

Quartz, on the other hand, can be mixed with a huge variety of pigments, giving you an endless selection of colors, hues, and vein patterns.


Costs for stone materials can vary wildly from place to place and can even vary based on the time of year. However, if you want quality counters, do not cut corners.  Stone countertops aren’t inexpensive, but they are worth the investment.
On the low end of the spectrum is granite. Where the granite is sourced from, or highly-prized patterns or colors, will make this stone a little more expensive.

Quartz tends to be in the middle, price wise. For quartz, part of the cost comes down to the manufacturing process. Adding unique colors or asking for specialty veining can drive the price up even more.

But, the king of stone countertop materials is marble. Marble has long been prized for its beauty, enhanced by the subtle veining. Marble is mined at several places around the world, but Italian marble, particularly Carrara, is considered the finest. Expect to pay top dollar for marble pieces from  Italy.

So what’s the best material for your countertops?

There’s no one stone countertop material that works for all clients. What your decision often comes down to is what material works best for your major concerns.

In most markets, quartz is the most affordable option. Other perks of this engineered stone are its ease of maintenance and durability.  But it simply does not have the natural beauty and high-end look that marble, or even granite, has.

Granite is usually more expensive than quartz but less expensive than marble. It’s also more durable than marble. But the coloration might not be as consistent, and it can’t match the luxurious look of a marble slab.
In the end, marble is marble, and if you’re set on the look of marble, there’s no substitute. It might be a bit more expensive, but if you’re set on marble and it matches your kitchen or bathroom, it’s worth it for your countertop.

The Olde Mill’s Engineered Beams

The floor at the GHBA Product Expo. 

This week has been a busy week for me and my team. Yesterday, I attended the Greater Houston Builders Association Product Expo, where I met some really outstanding builders, contractors and designers. It was such a great experience for me and a great way to expand my network in Texas. I’m really looking forward to working with some of my new contacts on some future projects. 

Today, I’m on my way back to Louisiana!

For this month’s post, I thought I’d take a moment to share my latest video. If you’re not familiar with the pieces that I make through my company, The Olde Mill, then this is a great introduction.

If you are familiar, I’d appreciate it if you shared it with others in the industry who might be able to use a product like our engineered beams. The light weight of these beams makes them easy to install at any stage in the construction process.

Thanks for your continued support!