Tag Archives | design

a little bit of architecture

i went for a site visit the other day to one of my most interesting projects. just thought i’d share a few interesting points of view since i can’t take all of my friends and family to visit my work! 🙂

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dreaming in kitchens

Kitchens are dancing in my dreams for some reason. Maybe it’s because I am working on a couple of kitchens at work or maybe it’s because I’m even working on a kitchen for my Aunt, or maybe i’m just crazy. Ideas are just rattling around inside my mind like sugar-plum fairies.

well. maybe not like sugar-plum fairies.

but you know.

here are a couple of examples of pretty kitchens from Country Living. (so all these pictures are from Country Living’s website if you want to learn more!)

Things to note from this design:

  • open upper cabinets
  • wood counter tops! Wow!
  • beadboard bottom cabinets for a “country” look
  • it also looks like the cabinets were painted white with some type of glaze to give it more dimension.

Things to note from this design:

  • beautiful wood floors complement the dark wood cabinets
  • the two sinks aren’t overwhelming the space.
  • good storage for cookbooks! It’s important to remember that!
  • even though it’s a dark color, the effect is very light because of all the windows. the dark colors ground all the windows for a very nice effect!

Things to note from this design:

  • natural or “knotty” wood cabinets give this more modern design a softness
  • multiple types of surfaces and finishes (steel, wood, tile, white counter) complement each other
  • very clean & simple design!
  • notice the tile flooring with the wood cbts. It is sometimes easier to match wood cabinets with tile flooring instead of wood and wood, although i have seen a lot of examples that can make it work, it’s just not always as easy.

Things to note from this design:

  • the pantry & fridge make a feature wall by all matching.
  • this weathered look is beautiful and trendy right now. Look at Restoration Hardware’s latest line!
  • the fridge is set back into the wall to create a smooth look
  • again, the floor.

Things to note from this design:

  • a mix of painted and stained wood on the cabinets gives it balance. i like to see these kind of complementary finish choices a lot, it gives the kitchen more personalization and character.
  • the featured stove top is not overwhelming
  • the lights over the island are awesome!

Things to note from this design:

  • tin backsplash is totally different from tile: beautiful and country
  • there are two “features” on this wall: the farmhouse sink under the window & the range
  • the wood island complements the painted look
  • to make this more contemporary you could just change the backsplash to tile and it would instantly be a different kitchen.
  • the painted floor! i’ve seen this in stain and paint: very cool!

a close up on the tin backsplash 🙂

Things to note from this design:

  •  the multiple colors and wood cabinets. -i think this might be a little overboard, but if you have a very country house it can be very fun!
  • another tin backsplash. what?!
  • the flooring is gorgeous.
  • No upper cabinets, just shelves …could you live with that? I’m not sure I could.

Things to note from this design:

  •  this design is supposed to have a lot of green aspects to it
  • the cork flooring! it can be a very interesting choice of flooring, very cost-effective, soft on your feet, and of course a renewable resource

Things to note from this design:

  • no upper cabinets (at least from this view) makes it appear very light and open
  • the range is on the island
  • the painted cabinets with the wood floor.
  • this can be a contemporary or a traditional design, that’s why i love it.

note: I do look at other places for kitchen inspiration. i don’t want all my kitchens to look too country! 🙂 but it’s a good start huh?

If you want to be inspired by beautiful cabinetry, check out Christopher Peacock.  Simply beautiful. I had no idea that so much beauty and thought could go into cabinets until I started working at a residential architecture firm! It’s crazy and so much fun!

There’s just so much that goes into kitchens!

Sinks! do you like undercounter, on-top of counter, or farmhouse? 

Countertops! – we have to talk about countertops sometime. These countertop ideas from Country Living and Pioneer Woman gives her comparison as well.

 Flooring is a hard choice as well.  Appliances, plumbing fixtures, tile, on-and-on-and-on! Oh! I feel like I’m Alice falling into the Wonderland tunnel! There are so many things to talk about just from my little daydreaming about kitchens.

Too bad I’m renting for the forseeable future and can only dream for others. But there’s a reason to love some of what I do for a living! 🙂 I get to dream for you!

So, what about you, do any of these stand out to you? Which kitchens do you like or not? Anyone out there?

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SO… I guess it’s time I get right down into it. Down and dirty as they say… 🙂 You don’t know it, but my in-laws gave me this awesome project at Christmas. I’m just NOW getting around to thinking about it! O my. “Lazy butt” – did you just you say? geez. give me a break. It’s been a crazy couple of months. BUT. I can’t believe it’s MARCH already! Holy cow! And time change on Sunday? What?! We’re just starting to see the sun before I leave for work in the morning! I’m so bummed that it’s going to be dark again next week! …now you’re saying “come on Kim…remember that the reason we’re changing time is because summer is coming!” i know i know… but i’m so addicted to the sunshine…especially waking up with it. Don’t you just love lying in bed and feeling the sun streaming through the curtains and hear the birds singing? Well… if it’s dark on monday morning when i have to get up for work there ain’t gonna be no birds singing and no Kimmy singing either. hah.

again i digress. geez. i’m good at that. anyway! back to the point of this blog.

My new little project I’m going to share with you! 🙂

When I start a project I start with a list of goals of what I want the project to accomplish. I also start with looking at the context. So we’ll get to that. Let’s look at goals first.


So… the story: My In-laws, Doug and Pam,

live in the beautiful city of Seattle. Since their two sons have moved out of the house (mostly) the needs of the family for the house have changed. Pam has always wanted an art studio but has managed until now with sharing the office space with Doug.  Their desire is to add an addition to their house of 25 years or to move into a new place.  They have a lot of property and are not sure they want to keep taking care of it. They like the location but they could move closer to a city center which would be really fun but they might loose some space.

My job is to come up with an idea that will help them live the way they want to in their current house but also to add value to the home. It’s important for everyone to realize that sometimes the best idea is to just sell the house and find another one that has what you need. But sometimes it does wonders to just add a couple spaces to an existing home. I hope that together we can figure out the best solution.

So here are the goals that I have come up with:

(please Pam and Doug, let me know if there is anything else I can add! )

  • Art Studio Addition over the garage
  • Connection to the Studio from stairs or 2nd floor hall
  • Optional redo of Master Bath
  • To create a beautiful light filled space
  • Within a budget
  • LOTS of table space and LOTS of storage
  • Don’t overwhelm the front facade which is very cute and well proportioned.


you can see the outline of their property in the dark green. (i know it’s kind of hard to see, but i wanted to get the surrounding context as well as their property) I covered up the address for all of our safety.

Things to notice:

they have a long driveway, so they are away from a busy street. This is very nice!

The house is close to a lake.

It has a beautiful, large backyard and side property.

It faces northeast.

There is a lot of shade on their property.

Images + Ideas of existing House:

the existing front facade

so: as you can see, the house is adorable. I don’t want my design to compete with it. My first idea is to match the existing roof line of the 2nd story. The red arrows show that i want the connection to the new space to be from the 2nd or stair. I want lots of windows for lots of daylight which is what I’m trying to explain with the yellow arrow and sun.:)

The existing back facade of the house. I LOVE This view. It’s so romantic! 🙂

So this shows my idea for the studio over the garage from the back. You wouldn’t see much of it because it would be better to keep most of the new space in the front of the house. I like the roof lines in the back so I don’t really want to bother them! I love the cute little gable on the left in this image. That is another way I could design the studio space, but I’m afraid that it would conflict in the front.


So. There you go. It took me this long to give you this much information. Can you believe it? Anyway. Hope you get an idea what I’m thinking, especially Pam and Doug. O wait. This is basically what you said you wanted. 🙂 ha. Now I’ll get started on the floor plans. I have to put the existing drawings into my computer to be able to understand it enough to add the new design. I need to get on that asap! 🙂

Let me know if you have any brilliant ideas for this plan! What do you think of my ideas? All comments are constructive and helpful, so don’t be afraid to comment!

xoxo -kimberly renee

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preview: a new design adventure

I AM an architect intern. I design. I use the design process to come up with ideas, dream about possibilities, and create into reality.

My field is one that everyone seems to know all about but nobody really knows about it. Ha. How to explain this i wonder…


When you hear the word architect” what do you think? Some lofty picture of some modern man in a fancy suit who can draw and who can work construction.  OR these pictures which came up on my google image search. Hilarious! But nope.

You all pictured a man didn’t you?! Man, (no pun intended- seriously)  my boss gets SO freaking mad when she gets a resume or letter that says “Dear Sir, …” because for some reason, everyone, even architects looking for a job, assumes that an architect must be male.

But that’s a side note.

But do you see what I mean? Everyone has these ideas of what an architect is and what an architect does. And I want to clear that muddy water up. It’s going to be slow going though.

It’s harder to explain than:

  1. I go to work 8-5 BUT am expected to work more, sometimes on weekends, because architects are notorious for lack of time management and there are deadlines. (btw- i believe i’m the only recent architecture grad WITH good time management thank you very much. except philip O. he did too)
  2. come up with ideas of a design
  3. then get down into the details so the thing can actually be built.

what a cute little door! it makes me think of an alice and wonderland type door...even though i can see that there's nothing behind it, will i find something else if i open it?

Architecture is a profession that is compared to a doctor or a lawyer! But no one except architects and lawyers realize that. Architects know this because they have so much professional responsibility and our scheme of work is so all encompassing. They have to go to school to get a “professional” degree just like doctors and lawyers, then they have years of interning to get in enough hours before they can call themselves an architect, a lot like a doctor’s residency.

Lawyers understand the comparison because they usually have to defend for architects when they get sued. Which is like all the time. Weird huh? No one realizes how much responsibility architects really have!  This blew my mind at my first job. My first boss was practically a part time lawyer on top of his job of running an architecture firm because he was good at defending other architects.

Some of the reasons architects get sued are obvious. One case we learned about in school stated that the architect forgot to put a handrail on a stair in an apartment building. No one noticed until some person in a hurry reached to grab the rail and fell. – I understand why the person who fell got mad- but why is it just the architect’s fault? Wasn’t there a contractor? Wasn’t there a building inspector? Don’t people check these things?

Yes, but for some reason everyone understands that nobody is perfect, but everyone expects an architect’s designs to be perfect. It should be pretty darn close- don’t get me wrong- but who in their right mind can claim that they’ve made something “perfect”? without any sort of blemish or fault? We can’t because we ourselves are not perfect so how can we create something that is?… but then so many architects do claim that their design is perfect which drives me out of my mind… ack!

Anyway, again, I digress. But interesting—no?

aahh the serenity of an old back porch... what does this make you think about?

The point of this blog is as follows:

It’s hard to show my family and friends what exactly I do since I work in a firm and can’t go around showing everyone all of our design ideas and “secrets” but can show them the finished project. :-p  Sometimes my husband says that my boss works “magic” to make it so beautiful in the end when he has no idea what i do! 🙂 haha.

Just think about how it’s hard to find an artist who will show you their work and then show how they made it… at least it WAS until I met the blog world of artists who are so generous with their ideas. SO. It is my goal to do just that. Show you my ideas whenever i get a chance.

I have a design project all of my own, not through my firm, but for my in-laws. My plan is to (slowly remind you- I do have a day job) go through the project with you so you can understand what it is I do. And… so I can show my in-laws the progress on their beautiful house! (that’s the real reason for doing all this… not for all you other people who made it through this far of the rambling… geez… do you have a life?)

This way, I can show you, rather than explain to you what it is I do, which is just a fraction what an architect in a big firm does. This way my friends and family will at least understand what the heck it is i do everyday…

SO! Enjoy the journey my friends! So much of design is the journey— that will hopefully end in a finished, functional, beautiful space that should encourage productivity and life –not take away from it.

this picture is soooo random. stairs and ladders going nowhere 🙂 typical

(btw… all these pictures come from that cool house i told you about a while ago…)


be prepared for the design process to follow for:


___________________an artist’s studio_______

(note:  who knows when i’ll get to the rest of this though…

i do have good time management… i do. i do! )

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a little bit of design… a question for you!

ok… so these are just sketches… don’t judge too harshly here. :-p

 But here’s the dilemma.

On one of my projects we are trying to decide which would be better: the shed roof or the half circle dormer type clear-story windows.  I personally think the shed roof upper windows would allow in more daylight and it has more of an open feeling. But someone else really likes the idea of the half circle cute little windows…

So we’re looking up at the window above the kitchen sink. Do you see it? Other then that the two sketches should be really close to the same.

Which one do YOU like better?

notice half circle dormer window


notice shed roof type dormer

 and please don’t pay attention to the fact that the bottom picture is a little crooked. I’m still working on my scanner abilities here… forgive me for being a slow learner…

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a little bit of design

This is a sketchup model that I made to show the clients what their kitchen could potentially look like! It’s going to be fun, with beautiful skylights, the island got a little wider since we talked with them and there’s going to be cove lights and a couple beautiful chandiliers! This is the fun part of my job! I love how easy to use and versitile sketchup is. It may not get the best, most realistic images, but it reveals to the client exactly how their product will look in 3d.  I wish I could have made a model of the pantry because i’m really excited about how cute that is going to be too. It’s going to have chicken wire in the upper cabinets and cute little shelves all around. You get to the pantry through that pocket door you can see by the fridge. I really like the blue appliances. 🙂 It spices things up a bit in this old colonial home.   large view 1

large view 2

large view 3

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