The Wilson House

Laminate seems to have become a dirty word in the world of countertops, but I want to convince you otherwise. I had the privilege of touring The Wilson House last year, in Temple, TX. From their website:

Wilson built his house to serve three purposes: First, the house was his private residence where he lived from 1959 until his death in 1972. Second, it served as a model home for his then-fledgling laminate company. Finally, the house served as a test-lab of sorts, where he could personally test the quality and durability of the products his company manufactured.

Now, let’s look at some pictures!!! I’ll point out some of the more interesting things that I liked and learned in the captions.

What looks like white painted paneling on the left is actually laminate. The floor is actually not laminate, and is also not original. If I remember correctly, the original flooring was carpet, but it wasn’t wearing very well with constant tours.
I made sure to take a picture of this sink because under-mounting in laminate is only recently something we think of as possible.

Now that I’ve shown you some cool old laminate, let’s bring the conversation into the 21st century. Technology has helped this versatile material come a very long way. I’ll show you some examples.

I’m not usually one to want something “fake”, but this faux marble is convincing. And what’s that? And under-mount sink!

This is where I start to get pretty excited about laminate. Wilsonart by you is custom designed… by YOU! You can create any design you want and have it put into laminate form. Above is a wall in a high school, and it kinda reminds me of a certain wall in The Wilson House.

This one is another custom job done in laminate.

It’s just insane how many options there are. Above you’ll see a screen grab of just a portion of their color and pattern options. I’m definitely keeping laminate on my mind for every remodel from now on.

If you’re looking to remodel and would like to chat about it, just fill out the form below!

Swedish interiors

If you follow me on instagram, you know that I just went on a two week trip to Sweden to visit our host daughter and meet her family for the first time.  It was an amazing trip that reinforced my opinion that you can’t really experience a culture unless you know someone there.  We had the incredible privilege of staying in our Swedish family’s homes and eating food lovingly prepared by them.  They hosted a Midsommar celebration (a week or two after the real one) and a crayfish party (at least a month before they are actually in season) just for us.  One day, in a few years, I want to return the favor and host the entire Nylen family here in Texas (And I mean that, Swedes!).

Now on to the beautiful interiors of Sweden!

We’ll start with Klara’s (our host daughter) own home.  A floating house on one of the many freshwater lakes that make up the archipelago of Stockholm and eventually connect to the Baltic Sea.44163146-BB28-4FE1-8459-9FF3776D490B

Helena and Robert (Klara’s parents) just moved into this house a couple of years ago.  They left an older, larger house with a big yard in favor of a simpler, maintenance free lifestyle.  This home was almost the same square footage as my own, yet it packed in so much more function.


The house is 3 floors with the middle being split into two levels

Their kitchen, in terms of square footage, was smaller than my own, but again, it packed in so much more function.  Bigger does not equal better.  Efficiency and ease of use is the where you find the quality.

This entire living room was so cozy.  I can only imagine how wonderful it is when the lake freezes over, and you have a fire roaring in this little stove.

additional seating tucked away when not in use.

Light is welcomed from every angle.

The toe kicks are drawers too!

Have I ever mentioned that I really don’t like huge built in pantries?  Stuff just gets lost in the back.  Ergo, bigger is not better.  When this pantry door opens, one rack stays mounted to the door, and the other one pulls forward.  It is possible that I have more items in my own pantry… but it’s things like 7 half used boxes of Panco bread crumbs because they’re hidden in the back and I keep buying more because I have no idea what is actually there.

I may do an entire blog post about this induction cooktop set into the granite.  It was my favorite feature in the kitchen.

It was fun to talk with them about how they designed their kitchen.  Remember, this house is floating.  They don’t keep plates and glassware, and other heavy items in the wall cabinets as they would all fall out in heavy winds when the house would rock the most.  Also, they laughed when telling me that their contractor encountered a bit of a problem when realizing that he couldn’t use a level to install the cabinets as the house is always moving.

Next up, the family’s 200 year old lake house.

Fun fact: If you drive the Swedish countryside, you will see house after house that looks just like this one.  They’re all pretty old, and they’re all red.  “The pigment historically originated from mines at Falun, in the province of Dalarna. It was a side product of calcination of copper ore. Mixed with linseed oil and rye flour, it was found to form an excellent anti-weathering paint.”

The date stamp on this fireplace was 1779.

The home was at one point a school house, where classes were held upstairs and the teacher lived downstairs.

I love a home filled with pictures of family through the years.

I also love a home filled with art.

The original kitchen.

Dala horses!!! I came back with one of my own that is just like the smaller ones here.

I also came home with one of these table tapestry things.  Guys, I got to celebrate a Swedish Midsommar here, the most Swedish house I could have ever imagined.

The outhouse is still in use and is adorable, lol.

A small act of Swedish rebellion is to hang the King’s photo in the outhouse.

This family lake house is more than just the house itself.  You probably have a place in your life that is similar, and it’s probably your grandma’s house in some rural town somewhere.  This is where the family gathers and every inch of the grounds is filled with memories.

Eating the Smorgasborg in the outdoors and about to start the schnapps songs!

A short walk through the woods leads to this dock.

Foraging is big part of Swedish culture.  So much of the country is covered in blueberries, lingonberry, and mushrooms.

Sweden was beautiful and I’m so grateful to have been able to experience it in such an intimate way.

Thank you, Nylen family, for opening up your homes to us and giving us an adventure that exceeded expectations in every possible way!

I have some after photo posts coming up soon, but before then, I’ll do one more Sweden post that will be all photos and videos, no words, and have nothing to do with interior design.



A modern update to a 90’s kitchen

It’s so exciting to see a space come together exactly as the drawing depicts.  In this kitchen everything was spot on.  I’m so excited to show you!

Let’s start with the before photos.


The kitchen was previously dated and just lacked any “wow” factors.  It also had a huge inefficient corner pantry.  On to the after photos!  See more about the planning process at the end of this post!

NOTE: These cabinets are from my good friends at Cabinet Kingdom here in Round Rock.

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We went through multiple rounds of options that varied quite a bit.  A goal was to get the stove centered on the back wall and that was going to be impossible without removing the corner pantry.

Below you’ll see an option where kept the existing corner pantry.  This layout was great, but it didn’t have the symmetry we were looking for.  Also, the client had expressed a desire for a double oven AND plenty of counter space.  With so much square footage being occupied by the corner pantry, alternative solutions were needed.  That’s why in this option you’ll see that I used a much wider range that serves to fill the role of the double oven.

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Now, the drawings from the final layout.

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And here is a comparison from before > drawing > after.

Kahn Before plan after

If you’re having trouble imagining what the future of your home could be, just fill out my online form and tell me what you’re having trouble with.