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Patti Cowger

Anyone who receives my newsletter, Abuzz, may be wondering if I’ve taken early retirement. Although it’s a monthly newsletter, many have passed since I last sent one.

I don’t want to clutter your inbox unless I have something worthy to say or show. While I do have things up my sleeve, I’m waiting for them to be completed before featuring them in a newsletter. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few ideas that may be of interest to anyone in the midst of home improvement.

In the hardware category (plumbing and lighting fixtures, and cabinet and door hardware), clients have mostly been selecting rose, champagne, or antique brass, matte black, or polished chrome. I’ve been strategically blending finishes but keeping the chromes, nickels, and pewters separate from the brasses and bronzes. Black and the new interpretations of brass have become popular and polished chrome is enjoying a new appreciation.

Speaking of finishes, one client chose matte, slate kitchen appliances. They are beautiful. Take a look at GE’s website to see what they look like with red cabinets. The advantage of this finish is that it goes with any style and any color scheme. It also hides fingerprints and is easy to clean.

In this vein, I’m often specifying Blanco’s Siligranit sinks because they are also easy to clean and look clean even when they aren’t.

Two clients, who are building their kitchens from scratch, are incorporating coffee bars into the design of their cabinetry. By the way, while researching appliances, I came across Perlick’s Martini Refrigeration Bar. Images of old Rat Pack movies first came to mind but were then replaced with questions of practicality and function. Good news. This small unit, with pullout vinyl-coated racks and shelves for bottles and glassware, easily fits inside a kitchen island. Cheers to that.

Staying in the kitchen, but also applicable to bathrooms and rooms with countertops, I’ve been suggesting pop-up electrical outlets. They are installed under countertops instead of walls.

They lie flat and when you want to use, you just press and they pop up.

They come in various finishes to match your plumbing fixtures. This invention keeps backsplash tile uninterrupted and eliminates dangling cords. They even have units with smart chips and USB portals so you can charge your phone and other electronics.

Clients have become more receptive to my bolder and crazier ideas. I don’t know why, really. Could be that they have already installed martini bars and have been partaking before our meetings. Or, it could be their exposure to HGTV and the Internet has given them confidence in my less conventional solutions.

I’m using more pigmented colors on walls and ceilings. And, just yesterday, my idea for either mustard-gold or indigo-blue window mullions, muntins, and casings was welcomed without hesitiation. This client also agreed to another design option I’ve been eyeing for months. Patterned floor tiles. Not tiles that are set in a pattern but tiles with designs on them and, when laid with companion tiles, form a pattern.

This house was built in 1900 in historic downtown Napa. It’s being brought back to life in a modern way but still respecting its original roots. The patterned floor will be in the kitchen and extend to the back entrance. The pattern, itself, suits the era of the house. Otherwise, this approach would be just an out-of-place trend soon to go out of fashion. Because it will be a significant focal point, we are carefully making the rest of the space calm and simple. Sure to be featured in a future Abuzz!

Next week, I’ll be sharing more ideas in the works. If you’d like to receive my monthly (more or less) newsletter, send me an email with “newsletter” on the subject line.

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Patti L. Cowger is a credentialed, award-winning Napa-based interior designer and owner of PLC Interiors. For more information about her design services, visit her website at plcinteriors.com call (707) 322-6522; or email plcinteriors@sbcglobal.net.