Happy Friday! There’s nothing quite like an awesome interior design “before and after”, don’t you think? This is especially true when the makeover consists of only a few clever changes. New paint, hardware and light fixtures, new window treatments and re-stained floors – that’s all that was needed in this Boston kitchen redesigned by Nina Farmer. No knocking down walls, no tearing out appliances or cabinets, yet the result couldn’t be more astonishing.

Cafe Design | Nina Farmer | After

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… the highs and the lows. Homeowners who at one point or another have gone through a kitchen renovation know that choosing the right countertop material is a major decision. A decision that will affect the entire look, feel and functionality of your kitchen, not to mention your budget!

The good news is that the choices available out there are endless.  From 100% naturally occurring stones like granite and marble, to engineered stones like quartz produced in a variety of colors and finishes, to wood, concrete, steel, even laminates – there is something for any need and budget. So I thought that it would be helpful for you (and fun for me) to start a blog series on countertops and their distinctive pros and cons.

So here goes, marble first. My absolute favorite. One of the most beautiful materials known to mankind, marble is a symbol of classic elegance and luxury. It may come with a higher price tag but it will add a lot of equity to your home. Marble has been used for millennia in all decorative arts. Michelangelo’s David is carved in Carrara marble. Marble is soft enough to be carved yet resilient to cracking and shattering, which makes it the perfect material for statuary. Marble was also loved by the Ancient Romans and Greeks, who used it in masonry and in the construction of temples and official buildings.

Fast forward a few thousand years and marble still fascinates many. In contemporary interior design, it is most used in kitchens and bathrooms, as well as a flooring material in formal interiors.

Cafe Design | Marble 21

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Now that the colder days are (finally) here, we’re all thinking warm colors and cozy decor. I’m way behind with my pumpkins and mums this year, not to mention I can’t find our Halloween props, so instead today’s fall design inspiration comes from an 1850s farmhouse in upstate New York, decorated by the talented duo of Tilton Fenwick. This project was recently published in House Beautiful and it has a little bit of everything- color, enveloping prints, fun fabrics that work all year-long, but are particularly fitted for the colder months. Like this living room below, with an orange velvet sofa that would keep me hostage for weeks. With a good book, a warm  cup of tea and the roaring fire… ahh, the good life!

Cafe Design | Tilton Fenwick | Living Room Sofa

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It’s no secret that Sarah Bartholomew is one my favorite ladies in design. I admire her style and her Nashville home in particular, which is superb. I’m sure many of you are familiar with her work so for today’s post I thought it would be fun to dissect the details of her…laundry room! It’s one of the many great rooms in her home and the most stylish laundry space I’ve ever seen published.

Cafe Design | Dream laundry

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Blogging is a luxury for me these days. I am recovering from a cold and my little one has been home with me, sick as well…  This rarely happens with our busy schedules so we took full advantage of our time together. We baked, we planned for our Halloween costumes, read spooky stories, and had a lovely time watching (and re-watching) The Secret Life of Pets. It’s our new favorite feel-good movie! Have you seen it?

Turning on the news is painful… our thoughts and prayers go out to those that have lost everything during the aggressive Northern California fires, to the brave men and women that have been risking their lives trying to contain the fires. The amount of destruction in the beautiful Napa Valley is heartbreaking. Hundreds of homes, wineries and hotels are nothing but ashes… Please reach out and help in any way that you can!

The Sonoma home of textile designer Susan Snyder is in the middle of wine country and came to my mind these days…The images of how the home once stood is a countrepoint to the horror of what it is now. I can’t help but feel grateful and guilty  at the same time for having the comforts of our home, a warm and  familiar shelter at a time when so many have lost so much. But if anything, together we become stronger and with support all that is lost will be rebuilt. Lives are most precious, everything else can be replaced.

Cafe Design | Susan Snyder 0

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