My Design Dilemma. And your's too!

Today is sharing day and I just pray that I'm not sharing too much.  If you feel the same way I do or deal with this in your own world of design - please say hi and be my little support system.  Or tell me to take this crap down because I've taken a nosedive into TMI.  Either would be helpful!  Thanks <3

Meridian Abbey Interiors - Indianapolis, IN - Interior Designer, Kitchen and Bath Designer

I love high-end, jaw-dropping, heart-swelling, lust-inducing design.  You see it in Architectural Digest and Dwell and, well, you know where to find it.  I love that.  I love looking at that and I love designing that.  There are at least a couple of issues here, though.  The first one being that the typical (and wonderful) client does not have the budget for an Elle Decor worthy home.  The second being that I can't post personal images of my home that look like this because although I can design it, I personally cannot afford it, either.  It is a humbling thing and painfully frustrating to desire a master bath dipped in marble and dripping with nickel, and realize that I will not have that in my life (for the next few years, anyway.  I have long term goals).  

So how do I deal with this without feeling like a fraud?  A limited budget always stretches those creativity muscles, but at times I become stagnant with the thought that if I just wait a little longer... I will be able to buy those window treatments that would imbue the living room with texture and diffuse the ample afternoon light to an inviting glow.  

Meridian Abbey Interiors - Indianapolis Interior Designer, Kitchen & Bath Design

So far, I've pushed that purchase off a good six months.  

In other instances, I procrastinate even doing the little things - like hanging artwork - because it isn't exactly what I want up on my walls.  The 60" square painting I want by Amy Kirchner that would finish the wall brilliantly will have to wait, and in the meantime I guess I'd rather live with blank walls.

Examples of Amy Kirchner's work from her Instagram account.

I did feel remarkably improved once I purchased my sofa in cream with clean lines and soft, perfectly lounge-able cushions, and the 80" long by 30" deep dining table I had made to gather around with clients or family.  I was able to sell or pitch the random pieces I had been using for these items before.  Now I could invite people over without feeling self-conscious to the point that I couldn't relax and enjoy the company.  Still, I would feel even better if I could rip out my fireplace and start from scratch there.  Or - my ultimate desire - widen the doorway to my kitchen and gut that thing completely.  

So how do I cope?  I try very, very hard to be nice to myself.  Gentle and supporting.  Because no one is as hard on me as me.   High standards and expectations are as much a part of me as my sarcasm and work ethic.  I remind myself that even if I could afford to do all of the things I desire, my family and friends wouldn't change their opinions of me.  I don't have meetings in the dining room yet as I plan to, but living in the simple and simply beautiful home I have created is a pleasure I have waited years to experience.  I try to find solace in my simplicity by adopting not a minimalist lifestyle - which I admire, but realize I am not 100% able to commit to without the budget to make it beautiful (vanity in minimalism.  Hmm...) - but by living in hygge.  

Meridian Abbey Interiors - Indianapolis Interior Designer, Kitchen and Bath Designer

Pronounced “HUE-gah”

So far, the best description I have come across for this word is this: "A fundamental quality of Danish culture, [it] cannot be translated using a single word.  Rather, it includes many of the pleasures we associate with everyday living - relaxing with friends, enjoying good food, and creating a cozy evening by lighting a candle or two."  Thank you Skagen, a Danish website, for the description!

It isn't going to keep me from dreaming of my lavish master bath or extended deck and lush gardens, but it does help me to recognize the beauty in simplicity.

And that is what I will hold onto until the time that my home is covering the pages of House Beautiful! ;)

Now - PLEASE - share your design dilemma with me and how you overcome it.  Or tell me to shut up and take this post down as soon as I am able.  I know you have an opinion, and I really want to hear it!  Thanks :)


Have a great weekend,

Meridian Abbey Interiors - Indianapolis, IN Interior Designer, Kitchen and Bath Designer


Warning: Hygge has hit the states and I predict it is going to be trendy as hell.  Remember - its a quality of living - not a style.  Don't buy something because its marketed as "hygge".  That is literally the opposite of the whole dang thing!

 A great blog by the adorable Alex Beauchamp you may want to check out is HyggeHouse.  She is Danish and shares of her perfect hygge house and the joys she has found in it.


On The House (its free!): Ethnic Chic Kitchen Concept

It started with the mosaic.  Then I stumbled upon the hexagon tile.  That was all it took.  I dropped my bag and coat, quickly pulled a great cabinet door from the displays (oh, I forgot to mention that I was out shopping for a client at one of the trade resources in town.  I made myself at home with all of their goodies), and hunted for the largest piece of white marble I could get my hands on to represent the countertop.  I would probably go for Thassos in real life - polished or brushed, I can't decide.  Or a white body quartz for durability.  This large carrara tile was the best I could do at the time, and for an on-the-fly conceptual presentation, it does the trick.  Anyway - this the just to get you started on your own Ethnic Chic kitchen design!

Click to enlarge.

How comfortable are these spaces?  And interesting and inviting and so very livable.  No worries about having a dog.  Or kids, for that matter!  Invite people over and they may not want to leave.  You wouldn't have to stress about it until you got sick of them in your house.  Understandably, that may not take very long, so keep that in mind before doling out invitations. ;) 


I can't get enough of that mosaic.  Natural and organic but with a little flare.  And I really just mean a little.  Silver and I go all the way back to my toddler years and pierced ears, but too much bling makes me squirm.  This has just the right amount and is balanced even more with the otherwise rough texture, and the medium-dark stained wood cabinets.  

I have the hardware, lighting, barstools, and accessories all selected.  Need the dining and living rooms pulled together?  Ok!  I have that, too!  Unfortunately though, that isn't on the house.  A girl's gotta make a living, but if you're interested in a mood board or a shopping list for these things to make your own home Ethnic Chic - email me.  That is what my E-Design service is all about. :)


Have a great weekend,

Meridian Abbey Interiors - Indianapolis, IN - Interior and Kitchen Designer

Kitchen Remodel Lust-List: The 5 Fabulous Things You Need

We are less than a week away from the new year and all of those well-planned and regrettably short lived resolutions.  Got yours?  I got mine!  The biggest reason those plans fail - we ALL know this - is it takes SO much time to be good.  The grocery shopping and food prep and work-outs.  It takes for-e-ver!  Especially when your kitchen makes you work ten times harder than you should have to!

If 2016 is the year of the kitchen remodel, or you're taking the plunge and building (congrats!) I have five brilliant additions you will want to plan around.  They are amazing.  I promise.  AND they will make keeping your resolutions SO much easier.

This one's a freebie - a galley floorplan makes for the most efficient layout in any kitchen. Don't get me wrong, there are others that are good too.  But for a space where you entertain, have more than one person working or people just passing through to grab a nibble, and aren't getting ALL of your steps in by preparing just one meal, a galley is my go-to. 


The other great thing about galley kitchens?  They are just as great for open concept homes as they are for traditional tighter spaces.  I have designed galleys for small condos that I would live in for the rest of my life.  I love them!



So, what are The 5 Fabulous Things You Need for your new kitchen?  I'll start off with my favorite...

No. 1: Gaggenau's Combi-Steam Oven


Oh my goodness.  This really is my favorite thing ever.  I LOVE this appliance.  The website explains that their 24 and 30 inch model...

"has a permanent water supply connection and outlet. With five humidity levels that can be combined with temperatures of up to 450°F, these ovens can do everything: steaming, baking, simmering, braising, regenerating, extracting juice, as well as grilling and broiling."

All of that is great copy, but I can tell you from experience that it is even better in real life.  I have hard-boiled eggs and roasted cauliflower and a turkey.  You can steam fish and veggies at the same time in separate trays.  You can take a frozen ball of dough, thaw it, proof it, bake it, and let it cool without ever taking it out - unless you just want to.  You can do ALL of your canning with this one beautiful machine.  I'm barely skimming the surface of its capabilities.  The only thing the combi-steam oven can't do that a microwave can is re-heat your coffee and pop bagged popcorn.  So if living microwave free is a goal of yours, just keep your coffee maker handy and pop that popcorn stovetop style.  It tastes better anyway!

Other manufacturers have created similar variations on the steam oven, but the other little detail that sets Gaggenau's apart from the masses is the permanent water supply and drain.  You don't have to worry about the tank running out of water right in the middle of cooking something, or cleaning out a well in the oven's floor.  A quick wipe-down at the end of the day is all it needs.  


No. 2: The Galley Sink


The Galley Sink comes in just under the steam oven.  This is one of the greatest inventions ever!  Standard sizes are available in one foot increments from two to seven feet, and custom sizes can be ordered.  These sinks make food and meal prep 100x easier.  Two tiers allow you to slide colanders or bowls under cutting boards to catch whatever you're chopping.  Dividers separate ice for shrimp or wine from other food.  Build your own pasta bowl meals are a breeze!  One person cooks while the other can clean.  The list goes on and on...

An over-sized sink in a small space may seem counter-intuitive, but the Galley increases your usable work space.  I have designed a five to seven foot Galley Sink into even the smallest kitchens, including my own!  Locate the cooktop just next to the sink, and you won't have to dance around your kitchen or turn your back on your family while you prepare dinner.  They are wonderful!


No. 3: KitchenAid's Warming Drawer

It's also a slow cooker and bread maker.  I mean - come on!  This thing is brilliant.  Have you ever used one?  This is a relatively new appliance on the market, but I've worked others into client's kitchens, and either one of two things will happen: they use it all the time and love it to death OR they forget they even have it.  Which is so unfortunate!  They are not just for the caterers, people.  These little babies are great for dinner with the family and warming anything that could possibly need it - including tortillas which I love.  And with this model - how easy it would be to throw the Mexican Quinoa and Black Beans recipe together in the morning and come home to an easy to clean, tasty taco meal?!  Sign. Me. Up.


No. 4: Smart Refrigeration


I am not saying SubZero is the only name in good refrigeration, but you can't tell me that isn't one sexy beast of a refrigerator.  Manufacturers with quality options are `SubZero, Gaggenau, Thermador, Bosch, Fisher Paykel, and others.  Any company that puts serious effort with proven results on extending your food's shelf life is making a smart refrigerator.  You spend a lot of money on good produce.  It should last as long as possible and our refrigerators have a LOT to do with that.  Research before selecting your refrigerator.  Go talk to the salespeople at the best appliance store in town - they tend to be the most informed.  They can explain what to look for and why it's so great.  


No. 5: Gaggenau's Ventilation


Seriously?  Ventilation?  Who gets lusty over a range hood???  I know - it seems ludicrous. But hear me out...

The party is off to a great start and you're ready to pan-sear that New York Strip before you put them in the oven.  It smells ah-mazing, but do you really want to smell like seared meat all night long?  Do your guests want to smell it all night?  I doubt it.

That is where an unparalleled ventilation system becomes a fabulous thing.  The two best features of Gaggenau's 200 series are the two most important - it is crazy powerful and whisper quiet.  You won't even know it's on.  Your conversations will remain at their normal decibel level and the music won't be drowned out.  

I used to help host cooking demonstrations by professional chefs.  It was a small venue and no microphone system was used.  One night we had Rob Suhanosky in from Sfoglia in Manhattan to promote his and his wife's then new cookbook Pasta Sfoglia.  We had a full house.  He tackled rabbit and orzo (or was it risotto - darn it, I can't remember. Sorry, Ron).  I didn't know this about rabbit, but it's a pungent protein.  I mean intensely pungent.  We had not had the hood going prior to him cooking, which would have been the thing to do, but it helped clear out the fumes in record time.  On top of that, no one in the audience even realized the hood was on.  Since that experience I was sold and I tell everyone about it that I possibly can.  

So, what I'm saying is I'm the one that gets lusty over a range hood.


Can't you see yourself at that sink?  Using that steam oven?  I daydream myself with these things everyday!  

The lust-list only talks about 5 fabulous things.  There are SO many more.  If you're remodeling or building and need some advice, give me a ring.  I can help you keep your New Year's resolutions! ;)


                                ~ Abigail