Author Archives: Chrissy Taylor

About Chrissy Taylor

Chrissy Taylor is a food and travel blogger, managing the Taylor House Blog which is full of family-fun recipes and ideas.

Creating a Functional Kitchen with Charm

When it comes to planning a new kitchen for a new house, it can be challenging. With a remodel, you have a defined space (most likely) of where the kitchen is, the size of it, necessary walls, and so on. Here, you can work with an existing space, but when it comes to a new kitchen, you have a blank slate. This can be both exciting and overwhelming- this is why I’m sharing my tips on creating a functional kitchen with charm!

Start with your house plan, it likely has an already defined kitchen space. The first thing that I do is lay out the dimensions of the kitchen so I can have a feel for the size. I then compare it to my current kitchen and make adjustments as needed. It’s hard for me to imagine what the space feels like when I look at numbers on a paper, so I use painters tape to measure the dimensions out on my floor to get a true feel for the space.

If having an island is important to you like it was for me, make sure to consider the amount of space that you need to walk around the island. Ask yourself- can the dishwasher open and a person walk around it? What about the refrigerator? Plan ahead to avoid problems down the road.

Think about the surface of your island- actually all the countertops in the kitchen. When is comes to a kitchen island, you likely want it to increase either dining or prep space. Both require a sturdy countertop that will hold up over time. I decided to go with Caesarstone Quartz for a few reasons, but the number one is quality. When I spoke with the kitchen designer, they told me quartz would last longer than the life of the house. That’s a huge plus for me, and with the kitchen being the most used room in the house, I knew it was the right choice for our home.

Caesarstone has so many different colors and options for countertops that they will be the perfect "diamond" in the kitchen and add instant charm and beauty to your space.

Another piece of the kitchen that can add instant charm is the faucet, a lot of people gloss over this part and just grab the cheapest one. Next to the countertops, it’s going to get the most use so take your time with picking one. We went with oil rubbed bronze for our faucets, cabinet and drawer pulls, as well as light fixtures. With our rustic farmhouse décor, these were perfect.

Something else that we splurged on was the touch faucet. To be honest, I didn't think that I was going to love it as much as I do, but it makes turning on the faucet with dirty hands a breeze. There's no going back to a traditional faucet now that I've had this one!

White cabinets give the kitchen a bright and fresh feeling.  There's nothing I love more than working in this beautiful space. It's not just pretty, but an inspirational space where I can create meals for my family, help my kids with homework and entertain friends.

Add one fluffy, white puppy to match your white kitchen!  Just kidding- but if you are a pet owner it does make sense to think about where you will store and feed your fur baby.  It may be worth dedicating a drawer or cabinet for their food, treats and toys. Also think about where you will put their food dish- is there a place that's tucked out of the way from walking traffic so it doesn't get bumped and dumped?

When it comes to decorating a kitchen, less is more.  Especially if you have gorgeous, new Caesarstone countertops, you don't want to cover them all up.  I like to find a few pieces of décor that are eye catching and fit the theme of the kitchen, like the white rooster on my island.  It fits the space perfectly with our farmhouse decorating.

Something I always wanted in a new home was a butler’s pantry- a space off of the kitchen that stores plates, food, utensils, or whatever overflow I have. I remember back to my Grandma’s old house and her little butler’s pantry and wanting to add one to my own home.

If you have the space, this is one of the most useful spaces in the house and I'd recommend adding it.  If you can and want to, why not add another refrigerator and sink too! This makes a great place to keep food and "messes" when you're entertaining friends and family.

The kitchen truly is the heart of the home, so when it comes to planning a new one, putting the extra time, effort and money into the space will make it a place people want to be in for years to come.

For more kitchen inspiration: Moodboard: Sophisticated Country Kitchen | New Trend: Blue Kitchens

10 Tips For Working From Home

These days there are a lot of people who work from home, whether it's for themselves, like me, or for their employer, like my husband. It’s become more and more common everyday and works really well for most people. That means, though, that having an inspiring and organized work space is very important. Let's be honest, working from the couch is not very productive. Having a dedicated office space is a must if you're going to work from home.  Here are ten tips for creating a space you will want to work in every single day!

Bright and Beautiful is Best Having an office with natural light coming in is a huge plus- you just feel better when things are bright.  In fact, my desk has a beautiful Caesarstone quartz top and white cabinets above and below.  It's like a breath of fresh air every time I walk into the room! It's a space that I don't feel locked away in to do my work but enjoy the beauty of the room every time I'm in it.

Remember the Essentials There are a few things that make working at home easier. You must have all the "tools" that you need like your computer, desk lamp, planner, markers, and let’s be honest the most important thing - the coffee! Great things happen when you've had coffee! Remember the essentials when you're building or planning your home office.

Pick the Right Planner A lot of people are very digital and have their calendars and entire lives on the computer.  Even though I work in the digital space, I prefer a paper planner. I like to be able to check things off when they're done and write my list of things to do every evening for the next day.  It took a while to find the planner that worked best for me but the Day Designer has ended up being a planner that I can't live without. It helps keep me organized when it comes to both work and family.

Comfy Chairs Are a Must You're going to be sitting in it all day working, so invest in a comfortable chair that promotes good posture. Maybe have a foot stool under your desk to elevate your feet from time to time too.

Keep Your Space Tidy There's nothing less motivating than walking into a room and having to clean it up before you can start working. Put away notepads and pencils after you use them, file papers after you sign them, and don't eat in your office.  These are all tips that will help keep your space tidy and more inviting to work in.

You Never Have Enough Storage With papers to file, cords, office supplies and more, you never can have too much storage. Extra filing cabinets that match your desk are a great idea for keeping papers organized and off your desk. Ikea makes a great rolling cabinet that allows you to keep supplies off your work space but within easy access of using.

Decor that Matters Don't forget to make your office beautiful! Most of us aren't blessed with a ton of space in our offices so the little we do have we want to decorate with pieces we love. Maybe it's pictures of your kids, your favorite flowers, a saying that means something to you, etc.  Whatever it is, you will love the space even more if it's decorated with things that matter or make you happy!

Set Office Hours & Stick to Them Just because you work from home now doesn't mean you have to be strapped to your computer all the time. Set hours that you're "in the office" and stick to them.  Make time for your family in the evening and weekends. The more organized you are throughout your day, the easier it will be to stick to your office hours.

Take Breaks Just like scheduling office hours, make sure that you schedule time for lunch and breaks throughout the day. Leave open time slots that you don't fill with meetings and take a ten- minute walk to get some fresh air so you're ready to tackle the rest of the day.

Keep Healthy Snacks Close By We all get those afternoon munchies- I like to keep granola bars and fresh fruit in the drawer next to me so I can grab a quick snack. This helps me from wandering to the kitchen and finding my kids’ chocolates too! Working from home is such a blessing for most people, but it can be overwhelming and turn your home into work. These tips will help keep the two separate when working from home. Having a defined working space and keeping these ideas in mind will help work and home "work together".

For more lifestyle posts: Open-Floor Layouts: A Double-Edged Sword Carving Design TrendsHow to Have an Efficient Kitchen with No Uppers