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Although sometimes sporatic I do my best you up to speed on the ever-changing world of design! Come back often to see new products, suggestions, and completed client projects.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Adding an Arch


When my husband and I first moved into our home last summer the kitchen was the one space that I felt needed the least amount of change. There was only one issue that was truly an eye sore and that was a small rectangular opening between the kitchen and living room. The opening was approximately 40" high by 50" wide and it is located directly in front of the kitchen sink. When you look through the opening you can see our living room space and past that, you see through the patio door into the backyard. On the living room side of this opening there is a small granite bar where people can sit and use a lap top computer or eat a casual meal.
I told my husband that we needed to arch that opening and he agreed that it might look a little bit better but he couldn't understand the full reason that I wanted the opening arched. One challenge that I noticed straight away is that our kitchen has a ceiling height of 9'0" while the living room ceiling height is 12'0" -- a difference of three feet! So, with this low opening it often felt that the kitchen was a small cave compared to the living room. I knew that opening up the space with a soft arch would alleviate that visual issue and it would make the transition from the kitchen to the living room more smooth and visually pleasing. I knew the change would also FEEL better.
Even I was surprised by the massive difference this small change made in not only our kitchen but also our living room. As neighbors came to visit and see the new arch they too were blown away. My husband instantly became a believer in small changes making a huge difference in the aesthetics and comfort of a space.
In an effort to add more lighting to our living room we added wall-mounted sconces to each side of the arch on the living room side. These sconces are on a dimmer and we often have just those lights on late at night to create a relaxing, soft, and sometimes romantic atmosphere.
When we first moved into our home every single wall in the entire house was painted a simple yellow beige color that is actually not an unattractive color but in this house it blends almost seamlessly with the mill work and therefore there is no contrast between cabinetry and the walls which results in a very monotonous look. When the arch was added we painted the kitchen a dark copper red hue so that there would be more contrast from the wall color to the cabinetry and the result is a cozy, warm environment for not only cooking but also eating casual meals.
The living room will be painted entirely (someday!) but for the now only the wall with the arch has been painted a rich ashy brown, this is still a somewhat neutral color selection but most importantly it allows the viewer to clearly see the boundaries from walls to mill work and built-in cabinetry.
So, what's next on the project list? Well, we just finished our master bathroom so I will be posting that next week and we also hired a closet designer for our master closet -- photos and comments to come...
As always, questions and comments are much appreciated and always welcome!






Exclusive Design Seminar: COLOR


On Thursday, June 25th, ABD will be hosting a Design Seminar, "How to select paint colors for your home" at Cravings Wine Bar located in Woodbury, MN. The seminar will begin promptly at 6:00pm and will end at 7:00pm. As an attendee you can expect to gain insight into the process of selecting paint colors as well as information on how to select paint finishes and brands. You will leave the seminar with increased confidence in your ability to chose paint colors for your home. We will be serving wine and other beverages as well as appetizers from Cravings. This event is complimentary but registration is required as space is very limited. To register please contact Annie at 612-746-5519 or e-mail annie@annieballantine.com. We hope to see you there!




Cravings is located at:


755 Bielenberg Drive


Woodbury, MN 55125


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Seeing Red







A few weekends ago my husband and I decided to up the sweat equity in our house and stain the exterior cedar ourselves. FUN -- not! Actually, it went much faster than expected as we had extra help (thank goodness for parents).



As the stain dried my reaction was one of shock as the color looked nothing like the sample chips I had selected from. It turns out that after I had collected my sample chips and before we bought the stain Cabot Stain was purchased by Valspar and their formulas were changed. That would have been nice to know up front as the colors are not what we anticipated. We were told to wait several weeks as the highly saturated colors (reds) fade quite a bit in the first two weeks. Although we have noticed a lot of fading the colors aren't quite as mellow as I'd like but I am willing to live with it for now.



Our next task on the front exterior is to paint the front door and garage doors. Once that is complete we will be adding some shrubs and plants to the front yard. At this point we have decided to leave the back yard as-is (with the exception of adding a deck) until next year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

UNIQUE PRODUCT: Kilim Remnants


One purpose for this blog is to alert my readers of unique, interesting, or one-of-a-kind products that I happen upon. I have attached a photo of a Turkish Kilim rug remnant that has been sewn onto a neutral linen. If you're not familiar with Kilim rugs they are traditional, flat-weave rugs from Turkey or Afghanistan. Typically these rugs are made from wool and the patterns are usually geometric in form. Rich colors are the standard for these types of rugs as vegetable dyes are used on the wool fibers. Wool takes dye very well.

It is difficult to find antique Kilims that are in perfect condition. I loved the idea of preserving the beauty of the rug by saving just a small piece and having it framed to hang on the wall. Unique pieces like this are interesting and are far different than traditional art prints, so typical to many homes.

I had the opportunity to purchase three pieces that I am offering to my clients. If you are intersted please contact my office for pricing information.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

ABD Open House











2009 has brought several changes to ABD, LLC. The most exciting change has been the move to our new space at International Market Square (IMS). We moved into suite 568 (just down the hall from our old space) at the end of January. We began this new adventure with one shared desk but as we've settled in we are now set with our design studio in the back of the office with our conference and show space in the front. From our design studio we see the new Twins' Stadium and the downtown Minneapolis skyline -- stunning!
On May 21st we celebrated the new space with our clients and vendors. Thanks to many local vendors (Floral Logic, Cocoa and Fig, One Simple Plan...) we were able to have a beautiful event with great sweets and tasty drinks. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend; your support means to world to us!
Coming up this summer and fall look for our new E-Newsletter, Designer Seminar Series, and more! We look forward to growing, stretching our boundaries, and most importantly, designing with you, our clients.