When my wonderful cabinetmaker/carpenter/can-do-anything-with-wood expert began hinting about "retiring", I did what any wise interior designer would do . . . I went into straight denial mode. Phil Stapp is my renaissance woodsmith meets free-spirited musician with a love of motorcycles and the road. He comes from a background of graphic art, as well. When blessed with the combination of a creative someone who can make stunning cabinet pieces and then finish trimming out the room with sanded and pre-primed millwork, well, you can understand why my hands would cup over my ears with "no-no-no" being uttered under breath.
Somehow, I had managed to convince Phil to squeeze in a few more projects but the one which kept landing on the proverbial back burner was the Horton kitchen. Ever the "take care of clients first" kind of designer that I am, I was in a bit of added denial about how much TLC our own abode could stand to receive. We had also been sitting on the fence about to move or not to move so that certainly didn't help with any decision-making. Either way, an update had been nagging away, while dreading the upheaval a kitchen remodel can cause. I am there to hold clients' hands but who would be holding mine? (Okay, Roger would interject he's upfront and present but it's different when you're the designer of your own project. Can I get an "amen" from my colleagues?) This is going to take some deep breathing!
Meanwhile, back to the point. There's nothing like your go-to guy's retirement announcement lighting a fire to make things happen! Designers will also tell you they are their worst clients and decision-makers, for many reasons. Where oh where to begin? I'll give you a hint: A cupboard - or two - filled with a collection. Some may call it an addiction. ;)
On a side note: I've had wood, stained cabinets for as long as I can remember. I actually love the warmth and patina it can bring to a kitchen but like many of my clients, I want to create a fresher, crisper space. White is always a classic approach and I tend to enjoy classic interiors with the option of taking it to traditional or transitional leanings. I'm also a nature-inspired person who loves organic touches. I don't want to replicate a Pinterest 'pin' or a Houzz 'save' where the trend is all about a white kitchen with marble counters. No offense meant to anyone as I do think it's a GORGEOUS look but it doesn't fit my personal aesthetic or lifestyle.
Even though I love color, I also enjoy creating a neutral canvas on which to paint those strokes. I debated, for a while, about going with hardwoods but with a heavy traffic flow from a side door, three dachshunds scampering underfoot, and wanting easy maintenance, I opted for a lighter porcelain tile with both gray and a fleck of brown to bring in some warmth. The counters will be in quartz and the hubby's request was to go a little darker than before. (I doubt I'll share before pictures because no designer wants to lose their "cool points". Y'all have way too many expectations of our homes being visions of perfection!)
Now, back to the inspiration . . . As I was sorting through some samples from a new build project, my eyes kept going back to a red cabinet sample we're using in their laundry room. Something familiar, comforting, and also invigorating came to mind about this particular piece. Suddenly, I had an "aha moment" as I looked into the cupboard, pictured above, and realized it matched my transferware perfectly! Red may be a bit much to apply to the entire kitchen but oh it would make my heart sing to see it on the island. I immediately put together the visual reference and viola! Perfection for our home.
It's always nice to get a little side affirmation on our selections. Interior designers are human, too! I found examples from a builder and designer who used this infusion of color in their work and the results are quite lovely.
I have to say, I'm forever grateful for having Phil as part of our team for so many years. I'm also very happy to say he's not totally hanging up his tools. We're going to be working on some custom furniture pieces in the future. Yes, he's got mad skills in that category, too! He'll just be able to work at a different pace and save his back from so much heavy lifting.
Somehow, I feel this is the best way to say, "Thanks for everything, Phil." And thank you for working on one more very important project!