(#VHouseProject Kitchen Renovation)

Have you ever had a friend that you are always on the same page with? That no matter what season of life you’re in, you can look at each other and just go “yep.” Well, I’ve been fortunate to have that very friend since grade school and we’ve been in sync (and to many *NSYNC concerts) ever since.

Not only is she one of my best friends, but she was also one of my first official clients! She and her wonderful husband decided to take a chance on me to help renovate their home – and I could not be more grateful or excited with how it turned out.

I worked with them to locate the right house for their family (I am also a licensed realtor) and then we got to work on bringing some magic to the house. The house, itself, was built in the 50s and already had some fantastic bones. The previous owners took great care of the home so is was mostly cosmetic updates and opening up a wall to improve the traffic flow of the floor plan.

The end result is a stunning chef’s kitchen that will host many family gatherings and will stand the test of time. It is so classically beautiful, yet modern, that it will easily evolve with my friend’s family through all their seasons of life.

Scroll to the bottom for some holy sh*t before and afters as well as a few sources 🙂

Artesian Designs | navy and white kitchen renovation sw naval arabescato dolomite marble before and after

By opening the wall, we were able to add an island that has become the hub of the kitchen; great for family meals and entertaining. And how gorgeous is that Arabescato dolomite slab??

Artesian Designs | Navy and White kitchen renovation sw naval arabescato dolomite marble before and after
Artesian Designs | Navy and White kitchen renovation sw naval sw software arabescato dolomite marble before and after
Artesian Designs | Navy and White kitchen renovation sw naval arabescato dolomite marble before and after
Artesian Designs | Navy and White kitchen renovation sw aloof gray arabescato dolomite marble before and after
Artesian Designs | Navy and White kitchen renovation sw software arabescato dolomite marble before and after
Artesian Designs | Navy and White kitchen renovation sw creamy cabinets arabescato dolomite marble before and after
Artesian Designs | Navy and White kitchen renovation sw naval arabescato dolomite marble before and after

What is it about Before & Afters that are just so satisfying?? Which before and after view do you like the best?

Grey paint on kitchen walls: Sherwin Williams Aloof Gray
Dark grey paint on family room walls: Sherwin Williams Software
Island paint color: Sherwin Williams Naval
Countertops: Brazilian Arabescato Dolomite via Stone City
Lights: Pendants over island
Gorg Faucet: Elements of Design via Wayfair (on sale!!)
Cabinet pulls: Amerock Davenport via Wayfair
Stellar Contractor: Dolan Builders, Inc.

xo – Kristy

(#csideproject update)

Artesian Designs - Lake Michigan Beach House at Sunset

Wow, it’s been a minute since I’ve checked in here.  Turns out, having two small children is pretty exhausting and I find myself passing out on the couch mid Mrs. Maisel episode instead of pontificating my thoughts here on this blog.

I have been working on the #CSideProject for about, well, three years now.  I am fortunate to have been involved in the entire process – from land acquisition, to architectural drawings, permitting, selections, and now to the final, finishing touches.  It has been a labor of love and I absolutely cannot wait to share the final project.  It is in the verrrry homestretch now after hitting pretty much every road block imaginable (not even kidding) and I wanted to share a glimpse inside.

These photos are from a gorgeous December day that had just an insane sunset.  Check out the view from the Master Bedroom.  The Marvin sliding french doors frame the beach and sunset just perfectly.  Can you imagine enjoying a glass of rosé on this balcony?  Gimme.  Paint color is Sherwin Williams Topsail.

Artesian Designs- Beach House Master Bedroom - SW Topsail - Marvin sliding doors

I have had a lot of fun designing the bathrooms.  I would normally recommend going with neutral finishes in a bathroom so they can stand the test of time, but in a beach house?  Go for it!  It is a vacation home and should feel like it.  The multicolor Penny Round tile was sourced at Floor & Decor (for a steal!) and the Blue Mosaic tile was sourced from the Tile Outlet in Chicago. I just love how they turned out.

Artesian Designs- Beach House Bathroom - Multicolor Penny Round Tile
Artesian Designs- Beach House Bathroom - Blue Mosaic Tile _ shutter vanity

The kitchen is coming along swimmingly. We chose white cabinets to keep the space feeling as light and bright as possible. A wood-toned island will anchor the space, and two large rattan pendants and a sea glass chandelier will add texture.

Artesian Designs- Beach House Kitchen - White - SW Greek Villa

A beautiful hardwood floor from Stuga is currently hiding under the cardboard to protect it during these last few weeks. I was looking for a warm, light wood to keep with the airiness of the beach and couldn’t be happier with the Pippi style. It is exactly what we were looking for – and the occasional knotted plank lends itself to the nautical vibe. Can’t wait to see the whole space uncovered!

Artesian Designs- Beach House Kitchen - Stuga Floor - Hardwood - Pippi

I am heading out there on Monday for what should be the final site visit! Can’t wait.

May your 2020 be as calm and colorful as this beautiful Lake Michigan sunset. Cheers!

Artesian Designs- Beach House Lake Michigan sunset

(kitchen tour)

We had an awesome photographer come by last weekend to shoot some photos of our home – and these photos are just the push I needed to finally get myself in gear and give the photo tour I promised (yes, I know you were all losing sleep).

Alas, low and behold, our magical black and white kitchen!

The Artesian Project | Black and white Kitchen

We are so thrilled with how the kitchen came out (the whole house, really), but the kitchen really is the heart of the home.  When designing the floor plan, we knew we wanted a large island space for entertaining and – let me tell you – our friends flock to the island like a moth does to a flame (or however that saying goes).  We also love the openness of the kitchen; the path flows from the entrance right through the kitchen to the family room without anything cutting up your way.  And then there is the storage – OH the storage!  Not even kidding, just the cabinets to the left of the sink is more than we had in our condo!  It is scary, though, how quickly all these cabinets are getting filled…  Anyways, we love pretty much everything about our kitchen.  It is such a happy and bright space that I even enjoy cooking now.  Please check out the finish guide below.

TheArtesianProject | Black and white kitchen


  • Counters: Danby Marble (made in Vermont; more durable than most marble)
  • Cabinet Paint: Sherwin Williams Black Magic – SW 6991
  • Hardware:  Gilded Bronze – LOVE the pop of gold against the black
  • Pendant Lights: Restoration Hardware Vintage Barn Lights in Weathered Zinc (RH frequently has 30% off lighting)
  • Counter Stools: Restoration Hardware Outlet* (Milwaukee) French Cafe Stools in Weathered Oak

*If you are lucky to have an RH Outlet store within a decent drive, it is well worth it!  Once you are there, join their e-mail list.  They have on-going sales all the time (30% off dining, 40% off entire store).  I would call and ask about the inventory before making the drive.  We got our stools for $60!)


  • Counters: Jet Mist Granite, Honed (incredibly durable with an awesome matte finish; similar look to soapstone)
  • Cabinet Paint:  Sherwin Williams Extra White – SW 7006
  • Hardware:  Venetian Bronze
  • Back splash: IO Subway Tile in Ice with bright white grout


  • Wall paint: Sherwin Williams Alabaster – SW 7008 (the perfect warm, but clean white)
  • Floors: Red oak with 50% Pickled Oak/50% Classic Grey Minwax (note the photo exposures makes them seem a bit lighter than in real life).
  • Appliances: KitchenAid

The Artesian Project | Black and White Kitchen Guide

Are you working on your kitchen?  Have any burning questions?  I am happy to help!!  But in the mean time, bon appétit!

(home sweet home)

www.theartesianproject.comWe are now all moved in and could not be happier about it!  It has taken a week to unpack and get settled, but it is really starting to feel like home sweet home.  We are so glad we decided to take the new construction route as each and every decision in the house is reflective of us – from the floor plan and material choices, all the way down to the door hardware.

We are also thrilled with our location.  Each of our commutes have been cut in half and the number of insanely delish local restaurants and coffee shops within a stone’s throw is incredible.  Not to mention all the wonderfully welcoming neighbors we have met so far!  Our block has a great sense of community and we are excited to become a part of it.

The next few weeks I will be going through room by room and detailing all of the finishes and the process so that you can nab some ideas for yourself.

Until then, have a great weekend!


Last week we had to choose the floor stain which was REALLY HARD.  The wood floors will be throughout the entire first and second floor and are not easy to refinish – so we have to like it.  Plus, they set the tone for the whole house.  After seeing the the unfinished wood installed in the house, we loved how the light bounced off the light floors and kept the space nice and bright.  We also knew we wanted light floors to keep the dog scratches down to a minimum (my friends with really dark floors love the look, but hate what their dogs and kids can to do them!).

So I scrolled through dozens and dozens of photos on Houzz finding finishes I liked, like so (right?!):

Only to realize that the base wood product was different than the red oak which was installed in our house, so it is going to absorb the stain differently and have a different overall appearance – which makes a whole lotta sense.  So then I dove deeper into Houzz and researched red oak and some specific Minwax Stains I had in mind, which is when I found this baby, light and clean without looking unfinished:

So I relayed this to our contractor and he put some samples down of the Classic Gray Minwax and the Pickled Oak Minwax:

Minwax Floor Stains | www.TheArtesianProject.wordpress.comThe Pickled Oak was pretty, but I was afraid the floors would look unfinished in that stain – the pink of the red oak was still very prevalent.  The Classic Gray looked great, but it was much darker than what we were looking for.  So next on the sample board was a 50/50 mix of the Pickled Oak and Classic Gray, as well as some Provincial Stains as I wasn’t sure I wanted to totally rule a brown tone out just yet:

Minwax Floor Stains | www.TheArtesianProject.wordpress.comThe 50/50 Classic Gray and Pickled Oak mixture was exactly right; it kept the floor light enough that the space wouldn’t feel too heavy without being so light that it looked unfinished – and it is interesting.  Now if only I could have realized that before I picked the Classic Gray, had a major freak out moment, and then went back and changed it to the mixture – whoopsies, luckily they had not started yet…

We wanted more of a matte finish to show some texture and keep the floors from ambering later on, so the floor installer used a water-based satin sealant as opposed to an oil-based high gloss.  Here is what the final product looks like:

Minwax Floor Stains | www.TheArtesianProject.wordpress.com Finish3 Finish2 Finish1The cabinetry is being installed today and I can’t wait to see how they all look together.  Heeeere’s hoping!  I hope this post saves anyone else an ulcer that is trying to pick their stain.

Update: see the finished floors in the following room tour posts:
>> (Living Room)
>> (Kitchen Tour)
>> (Gender Neutral Nursery)
>> (Boys Baseball Bedroom)

And with that, I leave you with a terrible song that I could not get out of my head while writing this post, from a terrible band, STAIND.  Enjoy!

(tile style)

Now that all the tile is installed (!!), we had to head over to the house to choose the grout colors that will be poured next week.  Here is a glimpse into the master bath (as it currently stands).


The photo on the left is a corner of the Master Shower, which I am very excited about.  We wanted to create a calm oasis, if you will, and this arabescato carrara marble seems to do the trick.  The photo on the right is a view from the entrance.  The shower sits in the nook at the top left of the photo, with a tub (that we will never use) centered as the focus.  Not seen: a window over the tub, which seemed like a great idea during the planning phase (yay natural light!), but in reality is a front row seat for our neighbors to hang out on their balcony and get a free show (note to self: make appt with a window treatment company immediately).  The tile on the actual floor of the bathroom is an Eleganze Varese tile, which is meant to look like poured concrete.  This should look pretty cool (fingers crossed) contrasting the hard and industrial concrete look against the soft and elegant marble.  Next up: choosing the hardwood floor stain!

UPDATE: View the finished master bath on this post

Have a great week!

(progress report)

Matt and I have been taking frequent trips over to the house for progress checks, but we’ve been careful not to go too often – a watched pot never boils (or however that saying goes).  So we did our usual swing by and then grab dinner on Wednesday after work and were pleased with the how things were going:

Progress Report | www.theartesianproject.wordpress.comNot bad, right?  The foundation was poured and cured, the basement framed, and the floor/ceiling joists were just getting started.

Then after Sunday brunch with my parents at one of our Logan Square go-tos, Lula Cafe (delish – sit at the bar and order a fancy coffee!), we drove over to the house.  HOLY COW was I thrilled with the progress!!  In just a matter of a few days the  basement/first level floor joists were completed as was the framing for the entire first floor – whoopie!  It was finally starting to take shape and look like a home.  There’s our front windows!  There’s the front door!  The fireplace will go right there!

Progress Report | www.theartesianproject.wordpress.com

IMG_5164So thar she blows!  Our contractor said the second floor and the roof are en route and ready to go, so we are (fingers crossed) on schedule!  Time to stop doing the happy dance and start making those decisions I have been putting off…  🙂

Mizzzz Penny Lane says:


(mullin’ over mullions)

Now added to the list of things I never thought I would care about: mullions.  Most of you are probably asking “What the h are mullions??” and a few weeks ago, I would have been in that exact same boat.  Mullions, you see, are window grilles.  But what the h are window grilles?  Window grilles are simply the pattern that goes into (or not) your windows.  Por ejamplo:

Window Grilles | www.theartesianproject.wordpress.comThe first step of the process was to decide: do you want any mullions?  Sure, why not?  I actually have always liked the look without ever really knowing what they were.  I like that mullions can add a bit of interest to your facade without being something so in-your-face.  Just a nice delicate touch.

Step 2: what color do you want your mullions?  Ughhhh.  Well, the windows will be black, so how about black?  But do you want true black or black bronze?  Oye.

Step 3: do you want these mullions applied to your window, integral which is within the pane of the glass, or true separated light (meaning that instead of just adding a grid on top of one large window, the grid outlines 15 mini panes of glass – ie $$$ cha ching).  How about applied?  Oooh about that, we just looked into your windows and that’s no longer an option.  Okay, integral it is.

Step 4: now where exactly on the house do you want these mullions?  Everywhere?  Okay, but that will cost extra (of course).  Ooookay, how about just the front and back facades?  But do you want them on every window on both facades? AHHHH!!

This is where I jumped ship because a la Jay Cutler I just “dooooon’t caaaaare.”  Then I thought about it some more – well I will be living in this house…I want to enjoy it….maybe I would regret not putting these in.

Alas, Step 5: Research the hell out of Houzz and see if anything resonates with you.  I was putting in search phrases which, surely, no one has ever bothered to type in the history of the internet: exterior french door mullions, grilles, window patterns; living room sliding glass doors; back of house windows; mixed window mullions.  So here are a few of my favorite grillz that are awesome, but would probably never work on our skinny mini house:

grillz | www.TheArtesianProject.wordpress.com   

Do you remember when Brooke Hogan had grillz?  Or let me try that again: do you remember Brooke Hogan?

Now I know you are on the edge of your seat after reading this really important, mind-bending of a story…SO we ended up going with Colonial style errywhere on the front and the back.  All colonial everything.

Here’s hoping it all turns out!

(rome wasn’t built in a day)

TheArtesianProject | www.theartesianproject.wordpress.comAs some famous person once said, “Rome was not built in a day,” and the same could not be truer for our future work of art house.  And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we could not be more grateful for the awesome team working on our house and the progress they have made – despite the uber crappy weather we have been experiencing in Chicago.

If you look hard enough and use your imagination, you can see our new basement!  The basement is going to have a lofty ten foot ceiling and some nice windows, which we are pumped about.  Matt is a very tall (dark and handsome) guy and he had to crouch through the majority of the older home’s basements we looked at.  The perk of a new construction: he might as well fit if this will be his man cave.  More details to come on that…

Happy Thanksgiving all you turkeys, enjoy the time with your family and friends 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving | www.TheArtesianProject.wordpress.com