California Cool

by Lauren Setum

Monday has arrived; hope everyone (affected by this silly Polar Vortex) is staying as toasty as possible on this frigid morning. I’d like to contribute whatever warmth I can by sharing a story from California for today’s blog post. You may recall my entry from last July, outlining my experience with the custom art that hangs in my bedroom. Well, today, I’m showcasing artwork by that same artist, but this time, the piece is a bit larger in scale.


This mural, by Jimmy Danko, was done especially for Santa Monica’s Converse store. See it come together in the video below.

Converse opened a new flagship retail store on the 3rd St Promenade in Santa Monica. Behind the cashstand is an 11ft x 16ft wall where every six months they will feature a new L.A. artist. I was selected to be the featured artist for the grand opening of the store and this is the mural I brought to life. -Jimmy Danko

Seamless Shimmer

by Lauren Setum

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve shared design ideas for the Master Bedroom and Kitchen (complete with a custom cabinet) in a friend’s new home. From those posts, you might have gathered that the dining room is semi-open to the kitchen. This means that whatever is done in the dining room will need to acknowledge and flow seamlessly from the kitchen.


The Dining Room (and staircase to the basement) is just behind this (in progress) wall. Goodbye, green!

That being said, the existing layout infers that the Dining Room is still a ‘special place’. It is a destination; the area in which guests will dine and the homeowners will entertain. The design of the space should convey this. So, with that in mind, I present you with this shimmery Schumacher wall covering. Oooo…Ahhh…


The wall covering in this colorway works with the Kitchen paint color but still serves to distinguish the dining area as a separate destination. The shimmery design would read as more of a texture than a pattern so it would provide a nice backdrop for other wall hangings without stealing the show. Plus, my friend had pointed out to me that she liked the subtle gold shimmer in curtains that the old homeowners had left behind; this wall covering speaks to that aesthetic preference. Check out the other fabulous colorways that this wall covering comes in…




Not Just Any Cabinet

by Lauren Setum

Today, I’m jumping back in to the kitchen design I posted a few days back. As I’d mentioned, a custom cabinet could be a great solution to the needs for more storage and an aesthetically pleasing view from the dining room. While purchasing an existing cabinet and refinishing it could also be an option, there are a few reasons why going custom might be more desirable:

  • Going custom allows you to to specify the exact size of a piece. This is especially useful when you have a slightly awkward space; the spot where this cabinet is placed falls under that category (although there is some wiggle room if the homeowners decided to go with an existing piece).
  • While the nuances of vintage finds can be charming, the lines of that existing piece might not be exactly what you’re looking for. With a custom design, you can ensure that features will be in keeping with your aesthetic concept.
  • A kitchen for true cooks will likely require storage space for larger and more specific tools (i.e. stand mixer, wok, etc.). Custom pieces, like this cabinet, allow you to design a space specifically for those pieces. You’ll notice in the concept sketches below that I notated roll-out shelves for items such as these, making them more accessible. Before submitting a final cabinet design, I would be sure to measure the items the homeowners would like to store in the cabinet.

The board below shows a couple concept sketches for a custom cabinet that would work well in this particular kitchen. Also, check out the paint progress; the new kitchen color is looking fabulous so far!


You’ll notice in the perspective drawing below that the cabinet features a geometric cut-out design. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see that this shape is used in the entry way as well. Repeating shapes and forms throughout the spaces in a home serves to unify them and (dare I sound like a broken record) make them feel cohesive.

Also, I love the idea of removing the existing cabinet hardware from the current cabinetry and using it on the custom cabinet. The piece is designed to look like a separate piece of furniture, not a built in or extension of the current kitchen cabinets; using different hardware will make it feel even more special.


Counter space is precious in this kitchen so getting the microwave into a place of its own is key in getting the kitchen to function to the best of its ability. This is where a custom design comes in handy! I included a spot for it in the lower half of the piece. You’ll notice in the CAD drawing below that I adjusted the design of the upper half of the cabinet from the original sketch. Once I put the drawing in the computer and got it to scale, I preferred just two cabinet doors on top with no cubbies for baskets; sometimes simpler is better.


Let’s Get Cookin’

by Lauren Setum

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone is enjoying 2014 thus far. Today, Salt & Pippa is kicking off the new year with a kitchen design. You might remember the Master Bedroom design I posted last month; this kitchen is in the same home and in need of a little updating. Let’s start with the paint color my friend and I selected for the space. It is…



Sundial by Benjamin Moore

We chose this color for a couple of reasons. First, there is an existing, exposed brick wall in the kitchen. Since it will be staying, the color needed to embrace and compliment it. Second, my friend wanted the space to feel a little more open and fresh. A lighter color selection does the trick. Finally, this color works perfectly with the Living Room paint color (to be debuted in an upcoming post). Since the Living Room is right off the kitchen, this was a must.

Now on to the space plan. The two floor plans below are essentially the same, as existing cabinetry will be refinished rather than replaced (for the most part…keep reading!). There was some deliberation as to where the refrigerator should go, but in the end, I think it’s best to leave it where it originally was; this is what’s shown on the plans. Though the doors will partially block the doorway to the living room when open, traffic flow disruption will be minimal since the fridge isn’t left open for long periods of time. Plus, you can also enter the space through the dining room, which is on the other side of the wall with the refrigerator and stove.

You’ll also notice that there is a free-standing custom cabinet drawn in on the plan to the right of the dishwasher. This piece gives the homeowners extra storage space…a welcome addition to smaller kitchens! Not only is the piece functional, but it’s also aesthetically pleasing. Who doesn’t love to gaze at an original piece of furniture?! It’s placement in the space is quite intentional as it is what you see when looking into the kitchen from the dining room; definitely important that this be considered when space planning.

Last but not least, the large window at the end of the room offers a lovely view of the back yard. Unfortunately, the low sill height prevents any sort of built-in breakfast nook. But never fear, there are still options for seating!

OPTION 1: An upholstered lounge chair and small side table offers a place to perch and enjoy a cup of coffee.



OPTION 2: A custom table with butcher block top would offer additional workspace when needed but could also double as an informal dining area for quick meals.


Moving on to material and finish selections…


Rug: This runner from Surya fits the bill for multiple reasons. Besides fitting into the aesthetic concept my friend and I discussed, it is also functional for a kitchen. Since it’s a flat weave rug, it will be easy to simply take outside and ‘shake out’ when needed; no thick, plush pile rugs for a kitchen, thank you very much.

Accent color: This color will provide just the right amount of ‘pop’; I picture it on the custom cabinet. My next post will go into its design more in depth.

Cabinet finish: This finish is called Honey Walnut. I’d suggest a warm brown stain color like this one as it will effectively update the space without feeling like someone ‘tried too hard’.

Cabinet hardware: This pull from Amerock is available at Brass Handle in Edina (for all you Minnesotans).The finish is the perfect golden color…subtle and pretty. I have an alternate plan for the existing cabinet hardware (think custom cabinet!).

Countertop: This quartz countertop can be found at Home Depot. Quartz is a great product. It’s less porous than granite so it resists stains better. Plus, it’s extremely low-maintenance. I chose a countertop with minimal texture and pattern because it will be right next to the brick wall, which has a lot of texture and multiple colors.

Backsplash tile: I currently have a kitchen of my own that I would like to redo. Until then, I’m going without backsplash tile, and let me tell you…my walls have some food on them. I definitely recommend investing in some tile. Product doesn’t have to be expensive. I like 1 x 1 tiles from Daltile (available at Home Depot) for this kitchen. Check out the drawing below for install details.

Pendant light: This pendant light from Rejuvenation would look fabulous above the kitchen sink. Great price, too!



This elevation shows the basic idea for the custom cabinet. It is also the wall with the brick, as seen in the photo below.




Now for the more major cabinet change I’m recommending. The photo above shows existing upper cabinetry on the wall with the refrigerator and stove. To make the space seem larger and more open, I’d suggest taking them out, tiling the entire wall and installing open/floating shelves as seen in the elevation below. The shelves can be used for displaying nice dish ware, or, if it’s preferable to hide certain items, decorative baskets and bins can be used. Add a new stainless steel vent above the stove for proper ventilation, and the cooking can begin!


The tile color, as seen on the materials board above, closely resembles that of the paint selection so as to not overwhelm or clutter the space. In order for a space to be successful, not everything can be a focal point. The neutral color tile blends in and serves to open up the space and make cleaning easier. It does not compete for attention but rather ensures cohesiveness.

Why I Have Faith In Doubt

by Lauren Setum

A few weeks ago, knowing that I was about to turn 26, a co-worker asked me (half jokingly, half seriously) if I’d gotten through my quarter life crisis yet. I told her (half jokingly, half seriously) that I was ‘about 75% of the way through it.’ Why doesn’t anyone warn you about this post-college phenomenon? I’ve wondered that more than once over the last year or so, and I posed the (somewhat) rhetorical question to my co-worker during our conversation. Her reply: ‘I think it’s something that’s new and somewhat unique to our generation.’ According to this Washington Post article, she’s spot on…ok, maybe there were some good folks out there trying to give today’s 20-somethings a head’s up. Anyhow, this thing we often jokingly refer to as a ‘quarter-life crisis’ is a totally real thing that pops up about 20 years sooner than the ‘mid-life crisis’ sometimes associated with our parents’ generation. Apparently, feeling like nothing feels right is totally normal. How’s that for an oxymoron?

This past year and a half or so, well, let’s just say I would probably have been a great poster child for the aforementioned concept. Everything from work to personal relationships felt amiss. Post-college graduation, I had pretty concrete ideas about the path I was going to take and what life was going to be like; so when my current situation (at the time) started going against the grain of my ‘picture’, I got frustrated. Still, I figured that ‘this is just what it takes, this is what you have to deal with.’ Looking back, I think that the idea of not following through on these ‘things’ I had dedicated my education and time to made me feel guilty. I had created this really ‘cool idea’ of what I would be doing, and deciding to ditch it and try a new path felt, well, ‘uncool’. For quite some time, ditching out was simply not an option.

Some of us are lucky (yes, lucky) enough to be pushed out of our funk and into something different and more fitting (like the woman in the Post article); some of us are not. Carrie Cunnington is a talent and success coach here in the Twin Cities, and this particular weekly newsletter (excerpt below) from a couple weeks ago entitled, “I’m a Quitter” really resonated with me.


While individuals who have been ‘shoved’ might feel like the unluckiest person in the world in the moment, I actually think it’s those who feel askew and aren’t being pushed in one direction or another who have it harder. Being stuck in the rut of, ‘I can’t change what I’m doing anymore, it’s too late’ is difficult (and a risky way of thinking!). Handling doubt in terms of major life decisions takes initiative and openness. It’s easy to remain in the ‘comfort and security’ of a current situation and hope something happens that will suddenly make everything work like a well-oiled machine. But, as Carrie points out in the excerpt above, that can take a looooooong time. More often than not, the sense of well-being that we search for comes from within. Instead of trying to ward off feelings of doubt with external things, try changing how you think about and approach a set of circumstances. You might find something you hadn’t expected.

Until recently, I struggled with the idea of doubt and thought it was a completely negative, bad thing. It was synonymous with being confused and lost. I expressed this to a friend who shook her head and said that all it really means is that you care and are self-aware enough to question things. She totally changed my perception. If you think about it, doubt is how we come to have the beliefs we have…if we didn’t question things (whether it be relationships, work, religion, etc) how would we ever see the big picture? We wouldn’t. Doubt, when utilized in the right way, can be a positive thing.

For my 26th birthday, I decided to get myself a present that would basically ‘commemorate’ my 25th year and kick off the upcoming year on a positive note. Bondye Bon by Britney is run by local Minneapolis artist, Britney Daniel. Not only are her custom sterling-silver rings incredibly charming, but all profits go towards her mission efforts; any profit above and beyond that is donated directly to long-term missionaries or organizations working for world change. How awesome is that?! I ordered three rings, and they read: FAITH, LUCKY 13, DOUBT. The ‘faith’ and ‘doubt’ rings seem to contradict each other, but as I’ve already explained, they’re actually two peas in a pod. ‘Lucky 13’ references the calendar year 2013 (aka my 25th year) and is sort of a play on words when it comes to the stereotype of the number 13. Was it a lucky year? Depends how you look at it. I feel pretty lucky that I learned to stop trying to make everything perfect right now…turns out what you really want to do is be at peace with where things are headed.