Stylish White Kitchen Counter Tops (But Not Marble)

White marble counter tops in a kitchen look absolutely heavenly (what’s not to love) but at this point in time they are not an option for my lively family. And isn’t that what a kitchen should be all about — meeting your practical kitchen needs.

We have a good sized, fairly new kitchen with a great floor plan. How do I update it slightly, without re-doing everything, and how do I incorporate more white/light gray (which I so crave)?

There is also a lot of (too much) granite in my kitchen and I am interested in getting rid of some — but not all of it. The kitchen island can handle a lot of “living” (major socializing, sharp pencils, my husband’s culinary adventures and small racing cars). The large granite slab on the island is strong and durable and gets to stay for now. But what about the surrounding granite counters? How can I replace them and mix with the existing granite island — and make it functional and look fresh and updated?

Well, one good thing about kitchen trends right now is that MIXING materials and colors is in. Perfectly matchy kitchens are as yesterday as matching bedroom furniture.

(Marble counter top mixed w. black soapstone).

I am ready to mix and roll and add some new: White/gray kitchen cabinets, yes. Fresh back-splash, yes. White walls, yes. Surrounding counters — not so sure…

I came across this kitchen in Elle Decor — painted concrete kitchen counter tops. Hmmm. That could work together with granite. I don’t know how functional concrete is (and heat resistant). Although I have learned that a new trend is concrete mixed with fiberglass — lightweight and extremely strong. Need to do some more research. But it sure looks fresh and good.

A few days ago I called my good and talented kitchen architect-designer friend, Anna Lovell, to discuss my dilemma. She gave me a whole list of new, carefree counter top materials — such as Cesaerstone. Here highlighted in House Beautiful’s “Kitchen of the year – 2012”.

Anna  also told me that there is a lot of industry buzz around “Silestone.” Never heard of it, I am embarrassed to say. Silestone is  a compound made up of 94% natural quartz, which make it extraordinarily hard and resilient. It also has anti-bacterial protection (apparently very rare among worktops). I think it could work well with granite.


More research is needed but as I am educating myself, I am learning that there are ton of new, durable counter top options out there. I will share with you as I go along. And PLEASE share with me and my readers too! This is all new territory to me.

Hugs to you all.

Images: No. 1 via The Zhush.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Lovely Rooms |


Happy Hearts Day!

I live in coffee central, Seattle, after all!

From my home to yours.

Sending you extra hugs and good energy on Valentine’s day.

I am happily recycling this picture of our cat Smurfie (a former shelter cat who brings tremendous joy to our household).

When I think of a pretty heart shape, I think of Smurfie’s nose!




Written by Splendid Willow in: Holidays & Celebrations |


A Home For A True Art Connoisseur

This post is written especially for my x-boyfriend, Mr. E, who has a very impressive art collection. (Still after so many years he is one of my best friends and also a close family friend). He taught me almost everything I know about art and the meaning of it.

Whether it is your “style” or not, look closely around this amazing home. It is hard to see what is wall art and what is architectural details! Look again at the doorway leading to the “yellow” dining room. (I thought it was a painting at first). Also observe the green wall/fireplace mantel in the second image. A beautiful and very well curated art collection in a home embracing each and every piece!

(The photo art of the man studying a painting should really be hanging in my home. Perhaps I can create a similar piece by photographing a family member in an art gallery I love and blow up the image myself!).

Hugs to you all. And hello to so many new readers! It is a true honor to share my inspirations with you.

Inspiration and image credit: Desire To Inspire.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Art & Antiques |


Orange And Pink For My Daughter’s “New” Bedroom

The one and only”Rothko”, sure knew what he was doing.

Full speed ahead with all my big projects and so little zero time for any domestic design fun right now. My two girls are patiently waiting for their long overdue room re-do’s and keep dreaming about how their new nests will look and feel. My eleven year old wants a “good vibe Swedish” bedroom. And my nine year old longs for a happy room with “not too much pink and absolutely no purple”! Swedish I can handle but the happy room has given me a major brain freeze. Until last week when I ran across these darling burlap pillows. I showed them to my nine year old who was weepy happy over the color combination (and that her Mom finally has started to move a little)! Yeah, I feel we have the perfect room inspiration piece!

The entire room will be designed around her existing floors and these new pillows. I think you can see where I am going with this. A happy but soothing bedroom! And just the perfect amount girlie!

Pink and Orange + (creme/white) rock together! Very “tasty sorbet”!

More Pink and Orange loveliness:


(Personally I need lots of white for these colors to work perfectly. Otherwise I feel it will be one heavy sorbet…).

Back to the pillows, I found them at World Market while looking for a great step ladder of all things. I LOVE the pattern and the fabric (they are well made and come with zippers). And they cost so little it is ridiculous. (I would have paid a lot more but don’t tell World Market!).

Speaking of lovely fabric.

My good blog-sis Donna with A Perfect Gray hit a home run with her chair makeover. She found this sad French chair for a song at a Thrift store…

… and gave it a much needed makeover (beautiful fabric and gray paint).

Lovely or what! 5 stars Ms. Donna! Hop over here for the entire post.

Hugs to you all.

Images: No. 2+3 via Splendid Willow, no. 4 via SF Girl By Bay, no. 5 via Flex Inredning, no. 6 via Tory Burch Blog, no. 8+9 via A Perfect Gray.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Home Goods & Accessories,My Home | Tags: ,


A Warm & Inviting White Room

I keep coming back to this room. I lust for more white walls in my home. But I also want to keep the warmth. These colors and textures (love those chairs!) are perfect. Add a couple of myrtle trees and this room is MINE, mine, mine!

Happy weekend to you all.

P.S I sometimes feel that a big TV screen on an easel looks way too contrived. But here it works beautifully.

Image via: here.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Lovely Rooms,White rooms |

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