Kerlin Kitchen Project

Well, it’s been an 8-month process, but I am SUPER excited to announce that the kitchen renovation I started in February is complete!



When I first met with my client, she knew exactly what she wanted — a bright, functional white and gray kitchen. I love a woman who knows what she wants.

I knew right away that white shaker style cabinets, gray subway tile, and satin nickel knobs were a must. My client’s other must-haves were ample lighting, more storage space, and more countertop prep space (she’s quite the cook and baker). The entire kitchen, except for the faucet and appliances, had to go.

After measuring and planning the space, I came up with a design that offered exactly what my client wanted and needed. The extra storage and counter space was achieved by adding a peninsula and a custom pantry. I added a breakfast bar at her window, creating additional seating. I made a spot for her cookbooks, too, eliminating the need for the bookcase, which added too much clutter.





We discussed and selected new vinyl flooring, a beautiful farmhouse sink, smokey gray glass backsplash tile, quartz countertop, custom cabinets, a smokey gray paint, recessed lighting, and the satin nickel hardware. Of course, a rendering was developed so my client could see our vision for her new kitchen laid out before beginning the renovation.



Because this is an older house, we had to keep all existing walls in tact. That’s okay; I still was able to provide the functionality that was needed. If you know anything about older houses, you know that there’s a lot of ground settling over the years. This, at times, causes shifting of the floors and walls, which in turn gave the contractor a run for his money. He hung in there like a true champ and got the job done, and I must say, he did an amazing job with the installation. The kitchen is beautiful. My client is pleased and so am I. I really love how much bigger and brighter the kitchen is, now.

And now, the AFTER...











Would you like to know where we sourced a few of the items for this kitchen renovation? There are links below…

1. Cabinets: Custom/Local 2. Wall Paint:  Tin Lizzie by Sherwin Williams  3. Houzer Sink:  4. Cortec Vinyl Flooring:  Avalon  5. Crystal Knobs: Included with cabinetry 6. Satin Nickel Cup Pulls: Included with cabinetry 7. Ocean Gray Glass Tile:  Builder Depot  8. Calacatta Lincoln Quartz Countertop: Local Vendor

1. Cabinets: Custom/Local 2. Wall Paint: Tin Lizzie by Sherwin Williams 3. Houzer Sink: 4. Cortec Vinyl Flooring: Avalon 5. Crystal Knobs: Included with cabinetry 6. Satin Nickel Cup Pulls: Included with cabinetry 7. Ocean Gray Glass Tile: Builder Depot 8. Calacatta Lincoln Quartz Countertop: Local Vendor

A Nightmare on MY Street

“A Nightmare on Elm Street”

“A Nightmare on Elm Street”

I made a huge mistake when I hired a “friend” as my contractor. Things seemed to be going as planned in the beginning, but as time moved on, the renovation process did not. I’ve known Chris* for years; we’ve done work together in the past, as I’ve done renderings for his flips. He was in the process of remodeling my mother’s powder room and had just taken up the carpet on the first floor, when the the fire happened (see previous post) So, I asked him to be my contractor, to help me restore my mother’s house.

The first red flag was when I noticed that Chris didn’t reach out to me to keep me in the loop on his progress. I always had to check in with him. I’d ask him how things were going, what had been done, and about the overall process. He would tell me one thing, then do another, or things just weren’t getting done at all. When I pressed him about it, he would give me excuse after excuse. I asked for receipts many times; he never sent them. I asked him for permits. I never received those, either. I later learned that the permits were never acquired. Yes, Chris had been lying to me the entire time about having the permits needed to work on my mother’s house. Smh.

After making my way through all of Chris’s fraudulence, I had to call the structural adjuster to take a look at the house and assess how off track things were. He was disappointed and shocked by the state of the house. It was so serious, he was able to get an additional month’s stay in our temporary housing approved. Thank God for that!

Recent video of framework, after my new contractor took over the renovation.

Thanks to my friend and fellow designer Lauren White, I was able to get a new contractor on board who’s moving right along with the renovation. He’s completed more work in three weeks than Chris had in about five months. Unfortunately, my family and I will have to live through the last of the construction once we move back in at the end of September, but at least now I know we’ll be in a habitable home before the year is over.

I trusted Chris as a paying client and a friend, to do the job he agreed to do, which is to restore my mother’s house for my family and I AND to get it done in a timely fashion.

As if things haven’t been stressful enough since my mother passed, having to deal with a contractor who is unreliable, dishonest, and not worth my time or money has been a complete nightmare. I gave Chris money that I will probably have to go to court to get back and the friendship we once had has been ruined by his shady business practices. But, through the mistake of choosing the wrong contractor I’ve learned a few lessons that I must share for anyone who is about to begin a major renovation...

  1. Do your research!

    Ask the contractor for referrals or find online reviews to assist you in making an informed decision. This will save you time and money in the long run.

  2. Confirm your dates before you start.

    Before getting started, ensure that you have a hard date for when your contractor will begin working and a reasonable estimate of time for when everything will be complete, and get it in writing.

  3. Expect daily updates and do unexpected pop ups.

    Your contractor should be communicating with you at all times. You should not have to stalk your contractor to get answers to your questions. Also, visit the property a few days a week. This will help you keep a watchful eye on the progress of the renovation.

  4. Make sure your contractor has a payment schedule.

You should know at all times what your money is being spent on—labor, electrical, plumbing, etc. and get receipts for all money transactions.

For the love of credenza

  • Midcentury Modern: A style of design (in architecture and furniture) from about the 1930s through the mid-1960s. The main characteristics are clean lines, organic and streamlined forms, and lack of embellishment.

I have really grown to love and appreciate furnishings from the Midcentury Modern period.

From restaurants to hospital waiting rooms, and all through the pages of the top interior design magazines, you can’t go anywhere without seeing midcentury modern influences. If you know where to look, you can find authentic midcentury modern coffee tables, dressers, and armchairs in great condition.The beauty of these pieces is in the minimalism and the clean lines. These characteristics make midcentury modern the perfect style for incorporating pops of color to a design that are not overwhelming.

My favorite midcentury modern piece is the credenza. West Elm, France and Son, and Joybird are my recommended retailers for finding stylish midcentury modern furnishings at a reasonable price. I also recommend your local antique or thrift stores. They usually have the best quality finds and the prices are almost always negotiable. Just be prepared to give those thrift pieces a little TLC. Recently, I managed to find a beautiful credenza for only $200 at


Credenzas work well in the dining room—where I plan on using my new beauty—or in the family room. They offer tons of storage for dishes and linens, and make a perfect media console, keeping your electronics, movies, and games organized and hidden.

Should you find a midcentury modern gem at a great price, but in need of a little TLC, refinishing or painting can be a fun DIY project. Get inspired by this chic credenza I found on Etsy (sold), painted white with modern brass pulls.


Room to Grow

room compliments of Studio mcgee

room compliments of Studio mcgee

Designing a bedroom for kids can be tricky and costly, but it can definitely be fun if you approach it the right way. Think neutrals that will allow you to design the space with sturdy furnishings that will outlive growth spurts and, of course, plenty of storage!

Here are a few tips to help you get started on your next kids’ room project:

1. Choose a neutral foundation.

We love color in a kid’s room, but I suggest choosing something in the white or gray family for the walls. The versatility of neutrals allows you to have fun with color and texture through artwork, bedding, textiles, and other decor.

2. Go with furniture that grows.

There’s no guarantee your child will like something next month or even next week. He may love the movie Cars today and be completely obsessed with Spider Man tomorrow, so choose classic furniture over trendy. Instead of buying the Cars bed shaped like Lightning McQueen, invest in pieces that grow with your little ones and accessorize with themed bedding and toys that can easily be replaced as they get older. This will save you money, time, and future decorating stress.

3. Remember, storage is everything.

To keep clutter in check, ensure the kiddies have plenty of storage. It is a must! Add shelving, hooks, baskets, boxes and a bookcase or two to keep toys, games and art supplies orderly. Remember to utilize valuable storage space under the bed.

*These Ikea boxes are only $9.99, they fit perfectly under the bed, fold in the middle which allows you to pull out half the box to reach things, and they work great for storing clothes off season, toys, etc.

4. Make it easy to clean.

If your kids are anything like my boys—especially my youngest—they attract mess wherever they go. Invest in decor that can hold up in the mess and is easy to clean.

Side note: I recently stumbled across a line of washable, non-toxic, sustainable rugs that come in a number of colors and prints for children. The company responsible is called Ruggable and I cannot wait to try this product!

I look forward to this part of the renovation and can’t wait until everything is in place for my boys. Stay tuned for updates, including my review on my Ruggable finds.



Back to Life...


My mommy, Shelia, was my “main girl” (in my step dad's voice). Never in my wildest nightmares would I have imagined that I'd lose her in a house fire, yet on the morning of November 19, 2017, I woke up to find our family home filled with dark, thick smoke.

I heard my mother's faint scream—the last sound I would ever hear from her. It's actually what woke up me and my husband, none of us smelled the smoke. The fire started in the basement and had apparently been burning for some time while my mother, husband, oldest son and I slept upstairs. The smoke had made it to the second floor leaving me little time to account for my loved ones and get the fire department on the phone. As my husband, son, and I made our way to the safest exit, I wanted to search for my mother, but wasn't allowed near the house once I was able to make it out.

Mom must’ve panicked, thought she could outrun the heat and smoke and make it out the front door. After a long search, firemen found my mother’s body by the front door with third-degree burns. She was rushed to the hospital, in critical condition. When we arrived to the ER, we found out that she didn't make it. The cause of her death was smoke inhalation. I couldn't believe what the doctors had just told us. My heart broke into a million pieces that morning.


So many thoughts and feelings about that morning run through my mind almost daily. I deal with guilt over the fact that my boys and I made it out of the house and my mother did not. I didn't realize how much of a "mommy's girl" I was until my mother passed. I miss her more than words can describe. She was so supportive and proud of everything I had accomplished. I can’t think of a better way to honor her memory than to restore our family home.

This project is not an easy one for me. With each decision I make about this restoration, I am overcome with emotion, both good and bad. I want to make my mother proud and create a space she would love to call home. I have much work to do to restore this house, but I'm up for the challenge. I am redesigning the house from top to bottom and invite you to take this bittersweet journey with me as I breathe life back into my main girl’s house.

Why so blue?

Blue- the color of loyalty, confidence, intelligence, strength, and wisdom. Blue is soothing, the color of the sky and the sea. My mommy embodied all of the qualities above. When thinking about what I wanted the tone of my mom's house to be, the first thought that came to mind was the color blue. Blue was my mother's favorite color. She was partial to shades that reminded her of the ocean or her favorite beaches. So, it's a must that I use different shades throughout this redesign, with my mommy and the beauty of the ocean as my inspiration. 

For the kitchen, I'm doing a navy blue island and navy tile backsplash. I think I compared about ten different shades of navy until I narrowed it down to the top three, all by Sherwin Williams: In the Navy, Indigo Batik, and Naval.

The winner is... In the Navy.

After choosing the perfect shade of navy, I selected the tile, finishes, and lighting, and decided to go with a flat panel cabinet style. I still needed to see the visual of what was going on in my head, so I created a rendering of what the finished job will look like if all goes according to plan.


Blue, brass, and simple beauty.

Mommy's Kitchen- Render 3.jpg

I'm not sure how badly other designers struggle with making decisions, but I am the worst at times. Lol! I don't know how many times I have changed my mind. I really want this house—my mommy's house—to be the perfect combination of modern simplicity and chic design. No decisions will be rushed when it comes to the details.

What decision-making struggles have you had to overcome when working on an important home project?