Trend Alert: Dark Wood Countertops

We covered the pros and cons of different butcher block countertops in 2018, but we just couldn’t help ourselves this time around. It feels like everywhere we look, we’re seeing this rustic element making a comeback in new ways. Most of all, we’re noticing butcher block countertops stained dark, a design choice that is intriguing and exciting for several reasons.

Visually, kitchens are composed mostly of cabinets. Cabinets these days are composed mostly of white or off-white colors. To bring some contrast to the kitchen, you need a centerpiece that balances out the surrounding cabinets and drawers.

Any wood countertop can bring that much-needed warmth and contrast to your space. For those with a taste for the dramatic, however, a dark wood countertop can be the perfect combination of rustic and modern.

Though it takes a step away from the “all-natural” feeling of unstained wood, a dark stain is a simple way to flair up your kitchen, no matter the style. Bright cabinets obviously benefit from the contrast of a dark wood counter. On the flip side, dark cabinets require a more subtle balance.

There is no “one size fits all” stain for your counter, though. As with most details, it depends on your personal taste. All we can tell you is a dark stained wood countertop will fit most stylistic needs, and there is a huge range of tones to choose from. A butcher block island especially serves as a great centerpiece for hosting guests, prepping food, or just looking at and thinking, “Yup, I’m glad we went with that.”

The Season for Front Porches

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The front porch is easily the most important aspect of your home’s appearance and the impression it has on the onlooker. At Ourso Designs, being natives of the south, we LOVE our front porches! There are just a few elements that make up a great front porch.

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1. Lighting

Like every interior space, exterior spaces also need a layer of lighting. General lighting is important; after all, you want to be able to see on the porch. Next, a couple sconces or a center lantern are great for accenting. Finally, task lighting is essential for highlighting important areas of the landscape, like plant arrangements, trees, or lawn fixtures.

2. Seating

The secondary purpose of the front porch (aside from it’s utility purpose to provide shelter) is to be inviting. Seating affirms that inviting impression. Another advantage is it gives you (and any guests) an opportunity to relax in an area of your home that lends a different view.

3. Plants

Also like most interior spaces, exterior spaces benefit from the addition of plants. Potted plants can act much like accessories. Like layering fabrics and patterns, its important to have plants of different shapes, sizes and textures on your porch.This will create a pleasing overall aesthetic.

4. Color

 Finally, color! Many add a pop of color by painting the front door an eye-catching color. Not a fan? That’s okay! There are other ways to incorporate color: in your plants’ pots, the plants themselves, and seating and seating accessories (pillows/cushions), just to start. Another option is to incorporate an outdoor rug. “Color” doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be bright; producing contrast among existing materials is just as effective as having a bright red door.

 

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Trending Alert: Gingham

Black and White Gingham printed fabric and patterns are showing up everywhere.  From interior design accessories to the runway.

Both Ethan Allen & Schoolhouse Electric offer furniture covered in this graphically intense and bold fabric. Apartment Therapy states:

“These distinctive checks are popping up everywhere, even in interiors that are decidedly non-country. Big checks feel bold and graphic; smaller patterns have a springtime freshness to them. Gingham is especially versatile, too — pair it with florals for a quirky, unexpected look, or use it to lighten up a dramatic interior. “

The Ethan Allen Parker Chair

The clean lines of this Ethan Allen Chair are amazing. Its a modern twist on the wing back.

We love the juxtaposition of the fabric on the camel back sofa.  The modern artwork above really makes this eclectic space interesting.
High Street Market- Big Check Throw Pillow

A throw pillow is a super easy way to bring a little of this fabric into your space without make a huge commitment. 

Chair Re-do by Vanhook & Company

Who doesn’t love a Louis XVI chair?  What I really love about this chair is that the folks over at VanHook & Co. decided to leave the wood unpainted–instead of slathering paint all over it. Its masculine but soft–very well done.

Schoolhouse Electric Jack Chair

Schoolhouse Electric is a super cool company with some pretty progressive furniture designs.  We love everything on their website.

Quilt by CB Handmade

We love this quilt and all other quilts made by the lady over at CB Handmade.  Read more about her quilts by viewing her blog.

Gingham patterned flooring designed by BHDM Design

Alternating tile colors to create the look of a gingham fabric is a fabulous idea!  Especially in a commercial setting, this floor is beautiful, interesting, cost-effective, and durable.  A great way to take a simple, affordable tile and kick it up a knotch.

Trending: Sconces Above Sofas

I LOVE wall sconces.  As a designer, I find them totally under-used.  They are an excellent way to flank a piece of art at an entry way and to bring a little ambient warmth to a space or vignette.  We spec a lot of wall mount sconces for bathrooms for adequate and flattering lighting.  Lately, however, we seeing a trend of sconces used in interesting places. See for yourself…

Take notes from this one!  Ever come across the perfect vintage fixture but there is only one–this is a simple, understated but beautiful way to use just one fixture.