Greenery as Art

By Kate Riley January 19, 2017

Hey everyone, thanks so much for the kind words on my last post. I’m so proud of that kitchen remodel! I stated I pulled out one upper cabinet to leave room for a wall of tile but I wanted to add a small piece of art there to balance with the window and add a dash of color.

Botanicals are no fail art solutions, everybody loves them and in addition to real plants, botanical art helps to bring the outdoors in. I also used leaf prints in this powder room makeover for the same reasons.

In the kitchen I featured this week I hung a simple leaf print. I downloaded it from Epherica Art on Etsy, and printed it for $1.50 at my local Fed Ex/Kinkos, then framed it and hung it on the wall (there’s a small screw in the grout).



Tropical plants are everywhere in interior decor, so is that bohemian vibe created with groupings of leafy plants. In addition to plants, layer your home with greenery as art too! Some favorites below:




from top left: cactus 1 / eucalyptus / fiddle leaf fig / bursting / palm leaf blush background / exotic jungle leaves / watercolor banana leaf / palm leaves / cactus 2 / spring branch / botanical leaves / jungle vibes / tropical leaves / botanical with blue background


Budget Kitchen Makeover

By Kate Riley January 17, 2017

I’m so happy to be sharing this kitchen makeover today! Several months ago I toured this house before a crew came in to give it a makeover. This is another transitional house managed by my local Committee on the Shelterless and this one is for veterans.

I shared the family room last week, and today I’m excited to show you changes in the kitchen. I designed the new look on a tight budget and love how it turned out. It’s amazing what new tile, countertops, light fixtures, and hardware can do!


Below is how the kitchen looked when we started. This is a small L shaped kitchen with a peninsula that had room for two counter stools. You’ll notice we kept the original cabinets which saved a ton of money. I did pull out the one upper cabinet next to the hood because I wanted to make the space feel less cramped and also add a feature wall of tile.


This gorgeous gray tile is my favorite new addition, it’s perfect in shape, scale, and hue!

Once that upper cabinet came out I had room to create a feature wall of tile. Notice the addition of new crown molding which finishes the top of the cabinets and adds a few inches of height.


I asked a few brands to donate products since the non-profit I designed this kitchen for had a very small budget. Several pitched in to help me give this space a makeover.

Floor & Decor generously donated the backsplash tile. I shopped my local store a few months ago, and opted for this elongated gray porcelain hexagon mosaic. This is the Villa Elongated Hexagon in Pewter, it’s also available in several more colors. The white grout really shows off the geometric pattern.




I repeated the same technique in this kitchen that I did several years ago in this space, wrapping the tile around the window – this makes it a focal point and allows the tile to take the spotlight.


Instead of nickel or brass, I chose to add smaller doses of black to this kitchen with a new oil rubbed bronze faucet, knobs and bin pulls, and the new gooseneck light over the sink.

I love the contrast black adds to all white cabinets. The new refrigerator is gently used, but it has a black handle (yay!) and the plaid rug adds another touch of black.


Laminate is an excellent choice for countertops for anyone remodeling on a budget. The modern approach to installation is to not include a laminate backsplash. Instead have the countertop fabricated so that it stops at the wall (like with stone) and use the tile to create the backsplash.

The old countertops were a rust colored laminate that had not been cared for and they also had some peeling and burn marks. The new laminate is far more contemporary with its marble pattern, this is Carrara Bianco by Formica in a matte finish with a modern tempo rolled edge. Thank you Formica for the very generous donation for this project!



Below is another “before” and “after” shot. I swapped the fixture over the sink for a black gooseneck style, it’s actually an outdoor light (yes you can use them indoors!). The counter stools are also from Lamps Plus, but both are currently unavailable right now.



I’m so pleased with the result! New tile, countertops, and hardware go a long way in freshening any kitchen space!



*Tile was donated by Floor & Decor, countertops were donated by Formica, and the light fixture and counter stools were donated by Lamps Plus. Sending out a huge thank you to these brands for their generous donations to this makeover for a non-profit! All opinions are mine.