Posts tagged: Kansas City Interior Design

A Few of Our Favorite Things


Each year at market, we get a first look at pieces for the season ahead. We love seeing reinvented classics and completely new ideas. After a few days of walking the floor, we get a clear idea of which trends are emerging for the new season and begin imagining how they’d look in our clients’ homes.


If this season had a motto, it would be “more is more.” Opulence reigned, as beautifully decadent pieces took center stage. The lines of furniture pieces stayed relatively clean, but shine and texture created a dressed up look.


If you’re looking for new ways to make your home feel special, consider some of our favorite finds from market:

  • Bone, jade and mother of pearl inlaid pieces
  • Marble
  • Patterned mirrors
  • Gold and brass
  • Fur and leathers
  • Tufted sofas in rich fabrics
  • Ornate hardware
  • Extravagant wall coverings


While this season’s pieces made a statement, we can’t say what we saw was much of surprise. Ornate items have been slowly making their way into designer showrooms for several years. The biggest change is that they are everywhere now. And, we couldn’t be happier.


Keeping up with trends helps keep spaces from feeling stale, but being a slave to them can make you feel like a stranger in your home. Strike the right balance for your aesthetic. With attention grabbing pieces like this, you can either layer on the luxe extras or choose a few key pieces to add interest to your room. Adding ornate hardware to a favorite piece is one easy way to introduce this trend into your home.


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Take Your Velvet from Shabby to Chic


Velvet adds a bit of luxury to any room. It has the unique ability to absorb light making spaces feel sumptuous and rich. Although we like to use velvet, it can become crushed or matted over time. This can happen when it has been pressed down repeatedly. Over the years, we’ve developed a few techniques to keep your velvet looking luxe. Follow these easy steps to bring your velvet back to life.


Before you begin, test our technique on your fabric. You can use the underside of a skirt, the bottom of cushions or the back of a sofa. Please be aware these solutions may NOT work on all velvets.

First, try steaming the fabric. Afterwards, use a fine tooth comb to brush the nap or pile of the fabric. If steaming doesn’t work, you can use a fine mist spray bottle to apply a small amount of water to the fabric. Then, take a comb or even your hand to wipe the fabric, lifting the fibers up as you go. This will give them the opportunity to return to their original position.


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One Easy Way to Warm Up Your Home

This Sunday, we were featured in the House + Home section of the Kansas City Star, discussing a fabulous home accessory – throws! We love adding one to the end of a bed, over the back of a couch or piled into a basket.


Throws are a great way to add interest to a room, while being the perfect ingredient to movie night. Adding throws to a space can provide texture, color, pattern and softness, making your home feel like a cozy retreat. Over the next few months, you’ll find them at a number of stores. Think of picking one up for a great gift or have one custom made into the perfect size. You can even add extra lining for warmth.


However, we will issue a word of warning. Pay attention to the trim. It can really tickle.

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Make Your Chandelier Sparkle in 10 Easy Steps


Every autumn, we roll up our sleeves and clean our chandeliers. Much like placing your diamonds in jewelry cleaner, cleaning your chandelier will add some sparkle to your home.


We tackle this project in the fall to begin getting our house ready for holiday entertaining. When the weather turns cold, we spend more time indoors, and it’s nice to have something beautiful to look at while we’re sipping hot chocolate.


Bringing your chandeliers back to life can seem like an impossible task, but trust me it’s actually very simple. Channel your inner Martha Stewart and use our 10 proven steps. Read more »

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Soaring Spaces: Tips for Playing Up Vaulted Ceilings

This Sunday, we were featured in the House + Home section of the Kansas City Star. In the article, we discuss some of the design challenges that come with vaulted ceilings. We have developed a few tricks over the years for making the most of this dramatic architectural feature.

Here, we included some photos from our portfolio, along with advice on how to best highlight vaulted ceilings. Read more »

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Inside the Studio: A Behind the Scenes Look at a Living Room & Kitchen Remodel

Patterson Living Room

This month, one of our projects was featured in KC Home & Garden Magazine. We’re so excited to be included in this issue and wanted to share more details about the project. So, today we’re pulling back the curtain and giving you a look at what goes on behind the scenes in our design studio.

kitchen final 10inch

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Which Sink? Don’t Get Left Dry

Choosing the right sink from among the myriad of sinks that are available requires that you know just a little bit about the “technical details”. Once you have that down, you can pair that knowledge with whatever aesthetic and style choices you want to make.

There are three important details to keep in mind so that you’ll choose the right sink for your lifestyle.

  • Installation - how the sink is installed in your countertop or vanity (sometimes described as the “type” of sink)
  • Configuration - its design relative to faucet compatibility, etc.
  • Material - what material it’s made from

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Types of Installation


These sinks offer a clean, modern look.  They free up usable counter space, and since there is no rim to catch debris, they’re also the easiest type of sink to keep clean.

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Above Counter/Vessel
Above-counter sinks rise above the countertop, or sit directly on the countertop. This means that they stand taller than other types of sinks, which can make washing ones hands and face in them more difficult.  Another thing to consider when selecting them is what type of faucet to use.  The faucet will need to be a wall mounted or a taller deck-mounted faucet.

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These sinks, also known as drop-ins and self-rimming, fit into a variety of countertops. Their self-rimming nature makes them the simplest type of sink to install. Countertop sinks are the style most commonly found in high-traffic family bathrooms.

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Integral Countertop
These sinks combine a countertop and sink together. Their one piece, seamless design allows for a clean, sleek look. Since there are no crevices they are also one of the easiest styles to keep clean.

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A good choice for powder rooms and guest baths where storage is less important and space is limited. Their sleek, sophisticated lines can visually enlarge a room, while also enhancing its appearance. Pedestal sinks come in a variety of styles and shapes.

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These sinks are attached directly to the wall and can be a good solution in small bathrooms, allowing for usable space below the sink. Even if there’s only room for a wastebasket, the space that it offers will make the room appear larger and more open.   Some wall mounted bath sinks offer an apron or decorative cover to disguise some of the plumbing and drain pipe.

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When selecting a sink it is important to take into account the type of faucet you want and it’s compatibility with your sink.  There are single hole mount electronic faucets, single lever, 2-hole and center set, 3-hole faucets and wall mount faucets.  It is also important to consider the height of the lip of the faucet in relation to your sink.   You want to make sure the two are compatible.  Consider washing your face and hair…washing a large bowl or filling a vase.

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Glass is one of the primary materials used for vessel sinks. There are endless ways in which glass vessel sinks can be colored and decorated, for an endless number of

style possibilities.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s
Unique                                                                       Shows water spots
Many color,style & design options                           Prone to cracking, scratches

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Concrete sinks can be custom-fabricated or bought pre-made. Concrete is porous and should be sealed to protect it from staining. Concrete sinks can be made in virtually any color.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Modern look                                                              Heavy

Sustainable, green material                                     Require sealing


Stain resistant

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Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at TuesdayMar 512.51

Wood / Bamboo
One of the more exotic types of bathroom sink materials includes wood and bamboo.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Expensive                                                                  Require oil treatment or sealer

Unique                                                                       Soft and subject to denting/nicking

Sustainable, green material                                     Darken with age

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Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at TuesdayMar 512.21

Stainless Steel

Things to consider when selecting stainless steel are the guage of the material for dent resistance and durability and the sound deadening capabilities

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Most popular, claims 57% market                          Prone to scratching

Economical                                                                Can look dirty

Resistance to peeling, chipping & cracking

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Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at TuesdayMar 512.26


These sinks are available in either cast iron or enamel over stainless steel and have been around for decades.  If you have an older kitchen that has not been through a remodel, chances are you have a cast iron sink.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Array of available colors                                           Chip easily

Stain resistant                                                           Subject to rusting

Resistant to heat damage                                         Heavy and difficult to install

Limited under-mount options

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Solid Surface

These sinks have been growing in popularity over the past several years due to seamless look.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Integrated appearance                                            Not heat resistant

Unlimited shape options                                         Subject to scratching

Easy to maintain

Resistant to mold & bacteria

Easily repairable

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Fireclay has been around for quite some time but has become one of the newest trends in kitchen fixtures.  Made by pouring liquid clay into a mold, then removed form the mold and sponged to a slick finish, fireclay sinks are then allowed to air dry. Later they’re sprayed with a ceramic finish and fired in a kiln.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Durable                                                                      Limited sizes and colors

Glossy finish                                                              Can chip easily

Low maintenance                                                     Hard on dishes


Environmentally friendly

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Is a soft, light grey rock consisting primarily of talc, a type of metamorphic rock.  The light grey rock darkens with age.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Smooth texture                                                         Expensive

Custom look                                                               Can scratch

Retains heat well

Good for hot pots

Fairly easy to maintain

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Quartz / Granite

These sinks can be made in one of two different ways:  they can be carved from a single block of granite or can be constructed out of multiple granite pieces or slabs that are bonded together and later sealed to ensure that the sink doesn’t leak.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Natural look                                                               Heavy and require reinforcement

Unique and different                                               Can stain

Can be cut to any size                                               Food can get caught in corners

Work with any sized faucet

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Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at WednesdayMar 62.09

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at WednesdayMar 62.12


Copper is a unique and glamorous sink finish option.  These can be shaped into a variety of sizes and can be made smooth or finished in a variety of textures and designs.

Pro’s                                                                           Con’s

Distinctive                                                                 Expensive

Antimicrobial properties                                         High maintenance to keep shiny

Variety of copper tones                                            Stain easily

Anti-rusting properties                                            Darken over time

Can be damaged by acidic foods

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Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at ThursdayFeb 283.33


The bottom line?  Consider cleaning, use, beauty and budget when making your choices.  Now, if only picking countertops were as easy…


Make it fabulous,


Jill Tran and Carmen Thomas


VIDEOS: Time lapse, Behind the scenes, How to’s, “Before” and “After”


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Tran + Thomas Design Studio creates beautiful, custom residential and commercial interiors for clients in Kansas City and around the country.








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Ugly Office Re-Design From KC Business Mag

It was so fun to get a shout from KC Business Magazine to help them with a project.  They asked us to redesign the an existing “Ugly Office” in the back of a Relax the Back store in Overland Park, KS for the owner/manager.

You can see the “BEFORE” shots here as the two shots on the far left. The two shots on the right are another firm’s solution to the same office.



Our solution is above. What can’t be seen here is the storage closet overflowing with efficient storage. See our floor plan below.


What can be seen in the lower right corner here is the storage closet to hide all the large and unusually shaped boxes. Notice, the doors are lined up so other employees could enter and bother the office area less and easily take large boxes in and out.


Artist’s rendering of the finished space. Clean, neat, lots of natural light with options to control it, etc. Our interview was great with manager and led to many concepts here that he is excited about. Of course, it has a wonderful Relax The Back chair to top it all off.


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Master Suites – IV

After showing you a week’s worth of sexy suites, we invite you to take a look at one last design solution. In this show-stopping room…even the dog looks fancy.

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Master Suites – III

silvermans, ny, 2-10

So far, we’ve shown you some glammed up versions of master suites, but today, we wanted to share a softer side. Bathed in yellow, this sunny room is the perfect retreat for cold winter days. Read more »

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