Vito Knows Flooring

Meet Vito, the newest member of the design team.

Don’t let his age (nine weeks this week) fool you – Vito knows flooring. This English Mastiff from Summersville, West Virginia, spends a lot of time on the ground, especially since he can’t climb stairs yet.

When he’s full grown, he’ll weigh as much as an adult human (between 140 and 200 pounds), so materials of substance are a big deal to Vito. So is color. He’s particularly fond of fawn, apricot and brindle (the colors of his breed) and is interested in creating his own paint line, but more on that later.

Vito’s first piece of flooring advice to share: consider vinyl plank flooring. Take a look at the following photos – one is vinyl, the other is wood. Can you tell which is which?

If you guessed the top one is wood, you’d be wrong. And if you guessed the bottom one is wood, you’d also be wrong. Ha! They’re both luxury vinyl plank flooring – really.

Gone is the time when vinyl was relegated to kitchens, bathrooms and other spaces that trap water, dirt and other gross stuff. Today’s vinyls are known for their durability, flexibility and water resistence, and they’re also easier to install. We use the term “luxury vinyl” to describe tiles or planks that mimic the look of wood or stone, including marble, slate and the the oh-so-revered travertine.

On the down side, it will show your floor’s imperfections because of how thin it is.

Confused?

Give me a call, and we’ll take a trip to The Floor Club, one of my favorite design haunts and the latest entry in our Modern Omaha Directory. (Vito has to wait until he’s potty trained.) The Floor Club is a wholesale floor covering and window fashion showroom that caters to industry trade professionals only (that would be me). It’s got a vast selection of name brand products at wholesale pricing – I love taking my clients there when it’s time to talk floors:

Vivero from Armstrong Flooring

Messenia Travertine in Antiquity - I mean, come on!
Messenia Travertine in Antiquity – I mean, come on!

COREtec from US Floors

boardwalk-oak
Boardwalk Oak from COREtec is one of Vito’s favorites.

Luxury vinyl sheets from Mannington Residential

Majesty "slate" in Dark Forest - dreamy!
Majesty “slate” in Dark Forest – dreamy!

Let’s go flooring!

Until next time, Vito and I will be keeping an eye on design for you.

– EM

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don’t fear your basement

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I feel sorry for basements.

In film after film, they’re the place where horrible things happen to good (and sometimes stupid) people. Most homeowners don’t give them much thought unless they need to seek shelter during a tornado warning. And when it comes to cleaning, they tend to fall into the once-a-year category (imagine if you treated your kitchen or bathroom that way).

It’s time to stop the madness, people, and start thinking about the potential our basements possess. That’s why I was super excited when Jamie and Susan Towles called with a request to transform their “basementy” space into a modern, bright environment that would accommodate a multitude of simultaneous activities. Their wants:

  • A tv/game area for adults
  • Conversational seating for board games and adult gatherings
  • A large island/bar area to accommodate food and drink for social events
  • An office
  • A space for guests to stay
  • A guest bathroom with a shower

I started with a completely empty basement and two windows. The only existing walls surrounded the stairway. In addition to feeling super “basementy,” the long, narrow space was divided by stairs, and the HVAC ran through the center of the ceiling space in an irregular pattern. How was I going to create an office space that didn’t feel like a prison cell and pull together the modern vibe that ran throughout the rest of their home?

Since adding more windows wasn’t an option, I brought light in with reflective finishes, using products that could take a spill and clean up nicely. I also created gloss white wall and ceiling details to add visual interest and break up the large, narrow space without closing things in.

Jamie and Susan didn’t want the bar area to feel like a full-size kitchen, so I eliminated the upper cabinets and used reclaimed lumber from Ludlow Barnwood to cover the wall and create a floating shelf with help from the incredible Dan Casey at Creative Concepts Custom Cabinets. We topped the bar’s sleek wall cabinet with a clean and classic Quartz countertop with help from our friends at Martin’s Countertops.

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In the bathroom space, the couple wanted an upscale look without the cost of tiling all the way to the ceiling. I used an accent tile in vertical strips by the mirror, then repeated this motif along the shower walls to create an ultra custom look at an affordable price (I’m always thinking about your wallet, people).

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My favorite design feature – using glass panels between the studs covered in drywall in two areas: around the stairs and along the exterior office wall. We wanted to open up the stairway and office without restructuring the home’s supports (way too much $$$$$) and sacrificing the privacy an office provides.

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Jamie and Susan, who had never worked with a designer before, encourage those about to embark on a renovation to keep an open mind while staying true to their likes. I asked them to describe the end result in three words. Their response? “Useful, modern, wow.”

Awwwwww, thanks, guys!

Until next time, I’ll be keeping an eye on design for you.

– EM

 

 

 

vibe your business environment

There are lots of things I love about what I do. Close to the top of the list is the variety of environments I work in (someone once told me you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition – feel free to discuss).

Grab some coffee and take a seat so I can tell you about a particularly inspiring one – Lark Blow Dry Studio.

Owner Sara Slimp wanted to create a fresh, modern vibe that reflected her style and business philosophy. She was inspired by businesses on both coasts – Dreamdry in Los Angeles and drybar in New York City.

The first thing I do after my initial meeting with a new client is begin my research process. I ask myself, “Elizabeth – do you need to make structural changes to the space? What pieces will work in the new design, and where will you find them? What service partners will you need to create the overall vibe you’re going for?” (There I go with that preposition thing again.)

In this case, I headed east to check out Sara’s NYC inspiration and came back with a plan – a classic look featuring furniture pieces for each styling station and modern details in both the front desk and shampoo areas.

For me, the front counter – one of the first things you see when you enter the studio – sums up the place’s design vibe. In order to achieve it, I reached out to Dan Casey, who built the custom cabinetry, and Martin’s Countertops, the latest addition to our Modern Design Directory. The raised portion of the piece is an incredibly beautiful Soapstone, and the lower portions are topped with Carrera marble. The combination of the two surfaces is clean, classic, high end and timeless.

The cool thing is, you can check out my work the next time you need a blow dry.

A bit more about my peeps at Martin’s…the company was founded in 1980 by Richard (Dick) Martin and is currently run by the second generation of the family. They approach every job as if it were for their own personal use.

Hey, Martin’s – welcome to M.O.D.!

– EM

introducing m.o.d.

I know it’s not very “Nebraska” of me to say this, but I’m great at what I do. Part of it’s because I love it, part of it’s because I had great training via the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Interior Design/Interior Architecture Program, and part of it’s because I work with great resources and the people behind them.

I can’t tell you how important it is to have great resources at your disposal, especially if your passion is modern design and you work in the Cornhusker state (which I love, by the way, except for the recent license plate thing, but that’s another story). That got me thinking – why don’t I share these resources with you, along with other local people and places who get that it’s more than okay to think, live and love modern in the Midwest?

That’s the story behind the Modern Omaha Directory, or M.O.D. for short. I’m starting M.O.D. (which is free, by the way) to showcase local makers, movers and modern design shakers – resources you can enjoy and share with others.

Got someone or some place I should list on M.O.D.? Shoot an email with the particulars to em@elizabethmonicaldesign.com. If you send me a resource I end up listing, you’ll become a member of my M.O.D. Squad (perks to be announced later).

So, without further blathering, below is my first M.O.D. listing – Creative Concepts Custom Cabinetry, LLC.

dan casey
dan casey

Dan Casey launched Creative Concepts in 2012, which focuses on European style cabinets for residential and commercial projects. His vision is that ordinary is never acceptable. This is super important to a designer, because each client has different needs. A customer specific cabinet design can be a real problem solver.

I’ve worked with Dan on a number of projects over the years, and he’s become one of my go-to guys. He’s:

  • open to innovation
  • understands the importance of the most minute detail
  • gets the Midwest modern design vibe
  • is extremely respectful to clients and other contractors on the job
  • creates detailed CAD drawings before starting any project so everything can be planned accordingly

Clients are always blown away by the quality of Dan’s work, because he builds custom cabinets like they should be built – he doesn’t cut corners by using cheap materials (you get what you pay for, people).

Take a look:

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Hey, Dan – welcome to M.O.D.!

– EM