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October 19, 2018 |

Archive for » October 19th, 2018«

Marshside Modern

When it came time to find a place to gather and connect with their three adult sons and large extended family, this Louisville, Kentucky, couple wanted to create a space that was as much a home base as a vacation destination.

Using preliminary plans drawn up by Hilton Head Island architect Michael Gentemann of G2 Design and the expertise of long-time friend and interior designer Lee Stough of Lee J. Stough Designs, they selected a prime piece of Palmetto Bluff property in Bluffton, South Carolina, bordered by the May River on one side and a salty tidal creek on the other. 

Using the Lowcountry’s unique architectural vernacular as their roadmap, Gentemann, Stough and Richard Best of Richard Best Custom Homes in Bluffton built a spectacular compound that fulfills the couple’s requirements as much as it blends into the natural landscape.

“‘Respect of place’ was our key inspiration for the interior design of the house,” says Stough. “The Lowcountry and its natural beauty were foremost in consideration of the design choices. While the furnishings, lighting and color scheme were important elements, the setting and the views were our major focus.”

With this in mind, Gentemann developed a floor plan that uses both indoor and outdoor spaces to seamlessly connect the house, finding different planes in the design to create varied elevations throughout the property. A wide open-air dogtrot serves as both an entry way and divider between the main house and the guest wing, its L-shape giving way to an elevated courtyard where agapanthus, lemon trees and other plants are kept safe from local deer. The longer stretch of the dogtrot extends to the upper level of the pool overlooking the marsh, which joins the two outdoor porches together with four stepping stones across the pool.

The main house runs parallel to the river, and the living room, kitchen, dining room and master wing are positioned around views of the marsh and water. A bank of glass-paneled doors runs along both sides of the living room, allowing guests to flow in and out of the main house and for the view of the river to be seen from the other side of the house. 

“We intentionally incorporated a lot of glass so that every room has a view,” says Gentemann. “And rooms where the view is especially great, we maxed out the glass there, which also lets in tons of natural light.” 

A detached guest house sits adjacent to the main house, giving guests both privacy and the comforts of home with a fully equipped kitchen and exterior porch.

Aesthetics were important to the owners, according to Gentemann, and though their tastes tended toward modern, they found common ground between their style and traditional Lowcountry architecture with minimalist touches. The home uses a white-and-neutral color palette as its primary color base with a contrasting slate-gray metal roof and jet-black industrial metal windows and doors. To soften these stark exterior components, Lee and Gentemann used indigenous materials like old brick for the dogtrot floors, tabby concrete on the lower portion of the exterior walls, an outdoor fireplace and an oversized outdoor chandelier made out of a wreath of oyster shells to give the home a sense of place. 


Photo by Richard Leo Johnson

“We focused on keeping the details simple, clean and modern,” Gentemann says. “But we added some touches of local aesthetics like exposed ceiling beams and tongue-and-groove board to ground the home in architecture that is right for Palmetto Bluff.”

The interiors follow suit. The expansive living room is comfortably appointed with a matching pair of Lee sofas upholstered in a stain-resistant Crypton fabric to encourage conversation without the worry of a spill. On an antique gated-leg drop-leaf table behind one of the couches sits a bowl of ostrich eggs to add a natural touch, while two antique 17th century Italian painted wooden benches flank the living room entryway. 

On far side of the living room is the modern kitchen with its stainless-steel cabinetry and built-in refrigerators offset by a multi-colored mosaic tile backsplash and honed absolute black granite countertops. The dining room sits just off the kitchen, where a round wooden table serves as the centerpiece with its hand-painted compass rose design by local artist Gwen Burke. Vintage rattan armchairs that the owner plucked from an antiques dealer in Louisville — with custom-made cushions — add a relaxed vibe to the dining room.

The master wing continues this laid-back aesthetic, incorporating different textures like the hand-woven seagrass headboard over the king bed with iron bedside lamps made from antique French andirons that the owners commissioned from a lamp maker in Louisville. The master bath’s layout is centered entirely around the stunning marshland view with two large windows framing the vista, a standalone soaking tub and an antique iron chandelier hanging above with unique palm frond accents that came from one of the owner’s parent’s homes in Louisville. 

“This house really has been a team effort,” Gentemann says. “We designed a house that is like an art gallery, where the pieces inside become the objects of focus.” 

Perhaps the pièces de résistance of the home are the three handmade exterior iron gates made by Karine and Matthew Maynard of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The husband and wife team designs and fabricates each piece. Each gate weighs an estimated 500 pounds, a metal work of art depicting different elements of the natural Lowcountry landscape like the signature live oaks and Spartina marsh grass. 

As with any home, the design is never truly finished. Gentemann is working with the owners to design another building that he calls the “clubhouse,” which will serve as another gathering place for the family and their friends with a billiards table, big-screen TV and lounge area. The Maynards are currently developing a new chandelier for the dining room, which Karine designed to look like tree branches from which delicate glass teardrops dangle. She is learning how to hand-blow glass specifically for this project from a master glass blower in Kentucky. The home projects may continue, but they won’t keep guests away — the owners already have plans to spend the holidays at their home with  many visitors, which is exactly what they wanted. 


Year built: 2017

Square footage: Main house, heated: 4,885, under roof: 6,894

Guest house, heated: 806, under roof: 998

Number of bedrooms and bathrooms:

Main House: 4 beds, 4.5 baths

Guest House: 2 beds, 2 baths (does not include loft)

Architect/planner: Michael Gentemann, G2 Design

Interior designer: Lee Stough, Lee R. Stough Interiors

Contractor/builder: Richard Best, Richard Best Custom Homes

Tile/flooring: Tile installer: Steve House, House Detailing II; tile supplier: Kellie McTyre

Hardwood floor supplier: Scott Ziel, Ziels Antique Flooring

Paint: House: Pedro Martinez, The Paint Pros of the Lowcountry; faux finishing: Chris Walker, CN Walker Designs

Windows/doors: Keith Able, Builders FirstSource supplying Loewen windows doors

Cabinets: Tom Lauderdale, Advanced Kitchen Designs 

Countertops: Ralph Chapman, Creative Stone Accessories

Landscape/Hardscape design: Cindy Cline, Wertimer + Cline

Landscape Install: Justin Martin, Martin Landscape

Hardscape install: Savannah Hardscapes

Electrician: Russ Trent, Trent Electrical Service

Audio/visual: Curt Hubner, Advanced Integrated Controls

HVAC: Gochnauer Mechanical

Furniture: Owner’s personal antiques; dining room table, Gwen Burke

Appliances: SubZero, Wolf kitchen appliances; Artisan Kamado; Joe outdoor grill equipment; Whirlpool Miele laundry supplied by Scott Livingood of Livingoods Appliances

Accessories: Upholstery, Lee Industries; decorative painting and dining table, Gwen Burke Art; light fixtures, Circa Lighting and Currey and Company; other decorative accessories: Merridian, Louisville and Nashville; Dwellings, Louisville; Mercantile, Louisville; bedding, Bedded Bliss, Louisville

Art: Anne Wehrley Bjork, B. Deemer Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky; Daniel McClendon, Asheville (commission); Sylvia Trybek, Houston; antique Piranesi engravings;  Andre Pater oil painting; Thomas Coates painting, Cross Gate Gallery, Lexington, Kentucky

Iron Gates: Matthew and Karine Maynard, Maynard Studios 

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5 Easy Ways to Give Your Kitchen a Refresh

Kitchen remodels are known to be epically pricey. A study conducted in 2016 showed that the average kitchen gut remodel costs just shy of $60,000.

A recent article on, a real estate website, asked a very intriguing question: Are home renovations really necessary?

If your kitchen needs some love, consider simple inexpensive changes that take little time and money. Then decide if that’s enough to keep you and the family happy, at least for a while.

Here are 5 ways you can give your kitchen a refresh with very little time, effort or money.

1) Go With Open Shelving/Paint or Replace Cabinet Doors

Painting cabinet doors is not as easy as it might seem, and sometimes it’s worth it to take them to a professional and have them painted in a shop. If you have standard cabinets from a big box remodel store, there’s a good chance you could easily swap in other doors. Frosted glass will give a higher-end appearance (and you only need to replace some, not all).

Another option? Remove some of the doors and display some of your nicer kitchen accessories out in the open. Or remove the cabinets altogether and replace with simple bracket shelves.

2) Add Hardware That Suits Your Personality

Consider your cabinet knobs, drawer pulls and even doorknobs. In most cases, swapping out kitchen hardware can take as little as 2 minutes and requires just a screwdriver. Knobs and pulls can vary in design as much as tile, so prepare to be slightly overwhelmed. Don’t count out looking online at sites like Etsy and eBay for vintage one-of-kind pieces.

3) Pump Up Your Pantry Door

If you are lucky enough to have a pantry, chances are that the door looks like all your other doors. Guests might even think it’s a bathroom or the entry to the garage. Changing it up could be as simple as painting it a striking color (try blackboard paint in one of the panels), adding a decal or installing a vintage or even a screen door (if you keep things neat!).

4) Add Dimmers to All Kitchen Lighting

Some designers say that adding light dimmers to any room will give you the option to completely change the look of a room in seconds. Task lighting for prepping food can become mood lighting after the meal. Consider under cabinet rope lighting that dims. These can also be hooked up to your home’s smart speaker system.

5) Give Your Backsplash a Boost

Believe it or not, it’s not that difficult to paint a tiled backsplash. Consider a vibrant color if you are looking for high impact (if the space is relatively small) or if you have an existing dark backsplash, try lightening it up. Tile painting kits are a great option and available at most remodeling stores.

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Kate Spade Launches Nolita Dinnerware

At the recent NY Tabletop Market, Lenox’s Kate Spade brand unveiled its new nolita tableware collection.

Named after the iconic New York neighborhood and defined by bold graphics and splashes of color, the nolita collection includes four-piece glazed stoneware place settings in a variety of styles.

Coordinating glass drinkware, barware and kitchen accessories, from tumblers with spade flowers and scallops to bold corkscrews, completes the line for a modern take on home entertaining.

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Why You Might Want A Chef Sink

You’re not a professional chef, but you play one at home. Preparing meals for your family and friends is a big part of your life, and something that provides a great break from your work day. You invested in a set of quality knives and pots to make cooking easier, and buy only organic produce and grass-fed meats. These are all extremely helpful in creating healthful meals in your kitchen, but what if there were an added ingredient for easier preparation, serving and cleanup afterward?

That ingredient is a chef sink. It isn’t especially new, but it’s gaining tremendous popularity in residential kitchens, especially among serious home cooks, and the pricing and selection continue to improve. The chef sink – also called a work station sink – typically includes accessories that aid in meal prep, like cutting boards, knife holders, ingredients holders and colanders.

A chef sink can make meal prep and cleanup faster and easier.Photo courtesy of Franke

It also typically includes accessories for easier cleanup, like drain boards, drying mats and sponge holders. These accessories usually slide across the single or double basin on built-in sink ledges, or secure to the side of the sink. Many of the accessories are dishwasher safe, as well, which further shortens kitchen cleanup chores.

Chef sinks can also help you entertain at home with accessories designed to turn the sink into extra counter space with double as serving boards, ice bucket stands and snack holders. This can be a serious boon to those with small kitchens. Sizes range from a compact single bowl sink to a three-person work station.

Costs are going to vary widely by features, size and brand. For example, the recently-released Franke Chef Center from the Swiss manufacturer starts at $1,885 on Ferguson’s website; there is a larger XL model, as well. Germany-based Blanco makes a suite of work station accessories for its Quatrus collection, with its Small Single Bowl R15 model priced at $421 (plus separately priced accessories) on and ideal for compact city kitchens at just 22 inches wide. There are numerous larger Quatrus sinks as well.

There are also chef sinks from off-brands available online for as little as $180, but when choosing a hard-working fixture meant to last for a decade or longer, most professionals would recommend a proven supplier.

You don’t need a large kitchen to take advantage of a chef sink’s conveniences.Photo courtesy of BLANCO

The H3 of chef sinks is probably The Galley’s Ideal Work Station 7 with its 81-1/2 inch span, nine tool culinary kit and $6,995 MSRP, but the U.S.-based manufacturer also makes more compact (and price-conscious) models. The IWS7 is available through a dealer network that can be found on the company’s site. Galley might also get credit for bringing chef sinks to the residential kitchen. Roger Shollmier, a custom kitchen designer in Tulsa, saw the need for a superior sink that could serve as the kitchen’s hub. He created one for his home, then to fulfill friend and client requests, and then created The Galley, LLC in 2011 to meet increasing demand. He sold the company in 2014, but still assists its network designers with planning Galley work stations in their client projects.

A chef sink can be a tremendous asset in entertaining at home.Photo Courtesy of The Galley

A number of popular manufacturers offer chef sinks now in everything from stainless steel to granite to fireclay. Most are under-mounted, which means a more complex replacement and installation than a builder-grade drop-in model. If you’re not remodeling, you’ll need to look for a top-mount model that will fit into your current sink space. That will definitely limit your choices, but not eliminate them entirely.

If you are considering a minor kitchen remodel to update your countertops, sink and faucet, Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value Report shows a potential 80.2% return on your investment, one of its highest rates. A quality chef sink can definitely contribute to that with its features and growing popularity. The added ROI of faster meal preparation and cleanup cannot be quantified as easily, though it can definitely be easily enjoyed.

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Chrissy Teigen Impersonates a Target Employee to Hawk Her Cookware

Chrissy Teigen isn’t afraid to get her hands a little dirty in the name of selling her stuff, posing as a Target employee to push shoppers to buy her cookware.

The model slapped on a signature red collared shirt with the store logo and paraded around the shop urging everyone inside to buy her newly-released products that range from pots and pans to spatulas and spoons.

“Today, I’ve officially become a Target team member,” Chrissy announces in the video, before hilariously almost crashing her cart into glassware.

Posing with her own employee name tag and even sporting (gasp) khakis, the mom of two races to her Cravings Collection to set up the display with the help of her mom.

You have to see Chrissy lay it on thick as people pass.

If modeling and this cookware line doesn’t work out, she always has Target.

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Chrissy Teigen Impersonates a Target Employee to Hawk Her …

Chrissy Teigen isn’t afraid to get her hands a little dirty in the name of selling her stuff, posing as a Target employee to push shoppers to buy her cookware.

The model slapped on a signature red collared shirt with the store logo and paraded around the shop urging everyone inside to buy her newly-released products that range from pots and pans to spatulas and spoons.

“Today, I’ve officially become a Target team member,” Chrissy announces in the video, before hilariously almost crashing her cart into glassware.

Posing with her own employee name tag and even sporting (gasp) khakis, the mom of two races to her Cravings Collection to set up the display with the help of her mom.

You have to see Chrissy lay it on thick as people pass.

If modeling and this cookware line doesn’t work out, she always has Target.

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Disney Fans Will Love This Mickey Holiday Dinnerware Collection

Disney is known as the happiest place on earth, and Christmas is said to be the most wonderful time of the year, so it’s only fitting that the two would overlap from time to time. The merch masterminds at Disney aim to please, and their upcoming holiday dinnerware collection means you can have a Mickey Mouse Santa grace your dinner table for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other festive celebration.

The new collection was announced this week on the Disney Parks Blog. While details are sparse for now, we know that new dinnerware, including serving dishes, dinner plates and bowls, will be coming to World of Disney stores at the end of this month.

“The designs are festive yet practical,” Roger Dressen, Merchandise Product Developer for Seasonal Merchandise at Disney Parks said on the blog. “We chose neutral colors so they can be easily incorporated into guests’ existing dinnerware collections.”

The line-up is definitely festive: There’s a serving plate that says “Happy, Jolly, Merry;” plates that read “Oh So Jolly;” and a “Merry” bowl that looks perfect for serving desserts.

The two World of Disney stores—located in Downtown Disney District at Disneyland and Disney Springs in Disney World—are reopening on October 26 and 27 after a design overhaul, and will be the first to carry the Disney Parks Holiday Collection. (Later in the season, the line will come to more Disney stores and

According to the Disney blog, the stores have been turned into “distinctly Disney retail environments that are contemporary, immersive and fun places to shop.” Aside from dinnerware, the upcoming holiday collection includes stockings, ugly sweaters, home decoration like nutcrackers and pillows, and Mickey Mouse ears.

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